Ciao family and friends!
Today I am officially half way done with my time in the Missionary Training center! I can't believe it! Days can seem so long but weeks go by in a second. I feel like I just got here! Wow!
So this weekend was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints semi-annual General Conference. All of the modern day Apostles of the Lord and modern day Prophet speak to all the members of the church (and anyone else who wants to listen) about the beautiful messages and doctrine this church teaches. It is very uplifting and probably one of my favorite weekends of the year. It is broad casted on TV, the Internet, and radio to hundreds of countries around the world and translated in hundreds of different languages. You can watch reruns/clips of general conference on lds.org
Anyways I wanted to share with you some of my favorite uplifting messages that were shared this weekend! I really enjoyed listening to Jeffery R. Hollands talk regarding charity and service. We are taught that "charity is the pure love of Christ." This is so true. I really liked how he emphasized that we all need to be better in regards to giving and helping others. However, he was extremely BOLD in saying that he does NOT believe in handouts, he is not trying to push the panhandling business. We must do all that we can before we beg for charity. Obviously this can sound very controversial however the bottom line is... however you see fit.... we must join Christ and lift up the poor. We must count our blessings and remember "what would Christ do?" I have to remind myself of this everyday. How can I simply serve others in big and small ways? And sometimes even more importantly how can I have a good attitude/Christ like attitude while doing it? Twice a week we have "service project assignments." They might as well be called "weekly chores." We go and clean all the bathrooms in the MTC. It starts at 6:15 am and goes for an hour and a half. I have to say that it can be really hard to have a good attitude while do the projects. I am really tired and the last thing I want to do is pull long, hair out of the shower drain. However, I have to just think "what would Christ do in this situation?" He would find it a privilege to serve his fellow men. I challenge you all to do one act of selfless service this week (can be big or small) with a positive attitude! Hopefully we can turn more outward and not stay so inward.
On Sunday nights we always have a live devotional here in the MTC. This Sunday night the speaker was a former BYU all stars football player, former Green bay Packers player, former Philly Eagles player, and most importantly a returned missionary! His name is Vai (I can't remember his last name b/c he has a long Polynesian last name) He now lives in Philly and works for NBC sports as an anchor. Before the devotional started I assumed it was going to be all about his life as a Mormon Pro athlete. However I could not be more wrong. He told countless stories about how for the last 20 years after his "official" missionary service he has tried to be an everyday missionary. Him and his family invite people over every week to have dinner with their family and the local missionaries. He told this story about how like 8 years ago he was getting on an airplane from philly to SLC and on his same aisle was an 9 year old boy who was wearing a BYU t-shirt. He was traveling by himself and was obviously Mormon. Then a moment later a lady came and sat in the middle seat between them. During the flight the lady started to read the bible. So Vai took it as an opportunity to talk to her about religion. She said that her boyfriend was a devout Catholic...she was not...so she wanted to read some of the Bible before they got more serious. She said that she liked the Bible however, she didn't like how "evil" Adam and Eve seemed. Vai continued to tell her that in his faith... Mormonism..... we do not believe that Adam and Eve were evil... in fact the Fall of Adam was necessary and extremely sacred and important for all of mankind. The lady did not believe that a Christian faith could teach that. She asked if that was Vai's personal opinion. He responded and said... "no that is a widely accepted truth we belive." He said "in fact-- even children know this truth." She didn't believe him. So he turned to the BYU t-shirt boy (who had been completely silent the entire time) and said to him "can you tell this lady what we believe in regards to the Fall?" This boy just continued to say the 2nd article of faith. "We believe that men are punished for their own sins and not for Adams transgressions." Vai said that he was SO excited inside! The woman was greatly impressed and took a Book of Mormon. Vai said she never got baptized however............. to this day Vai and that little boy have been in contact. That little boy is now a missionary in Eastern Europe and told Vai that that day was the day they may have not converted that lady but he felt converted himself. What an amazing story! Vai said that because of that little boy his new "travel uniform" always has the BYU logo on it. He says he wears that because he can't wear a missionary name tag! What a great example of being a member missionary! So amazing! A mission doesn't end when we return from our assigned country... missionary work should never end!
Life in the MTC continues to be great! I have made some great friends and am still struggling/loving to learn a new language. It is so difficult to learn however with the pain comes the best gratification! Every little progress seems huge! Even though we are half way through it still hasn't hit me that I am going to Italy! I don't think it will until I land in the country.
I love you all! I love getting all the emails and letters and packages! Sorry if I can't respond right away! Just know that I love you all!! XO -Sorella Fuller