Friday, June 28, 2013

Christmas in the MTC

OH MY GOODNESS! OH MY GOODNESS! I am so very excited. This week was sick.  Okay, let me start with the devotional.  I got to be in the choir and that was SUCH a beautiful experience, but that also meant that I got to sit pretty close to all of the apostles.  When they walked in I felt such a strong, comforting spirit.  By that point my week was already made, but get this:  Elder Richard G. Scott LOOKED AT US and gave us a THUMBS UP.  I would know because I was staring at him the whole time.  What a precious man.  I finally got to see him in person!! Oh, how GLORIOUS! Elder Russel M. Nelson looked at us sisters in the choir with an astonished grin and said to Elder Oaks (I could read his lips),"Wow! There are so many of them!"  He seemed surprised to be looking at so many sister missionaries at one time :)  I mean no disrespect by saying this... but the general authorities of the Church (among others things) are some of THE cutest men alive.  Is that bad to say?   I'm sorry.  I just so much enjoyed seeing them in person. 

At the broadcast!
Anyway, yay for the use of more social media and things!  I'm loving life without it all, but if it is going to further the work I'll have to manage.  So, something has really been bothering me.  EVERYONE in my district is taller than me.  I am by far the smallest person and sure... in the real world, maybe you could say I'm average-sized... but here in my district I am the baby of the group.  They actually call me Cara Bebe (baby face).  I don't know how I feel about that... Anyway :) Life is looking up here in the mission field.  Our pretend (but still very real) investigators Josue and Lydia and taking well to our visits.  We've had some very spiritual experiences with them, but I figure... for lack of time I'll only share the real life ones when they come.  If I'm even allowed to share a little about those kinds of things... what are the rules for that stuff anyway?  I'll find out. 

My District :)  Notice I'm the shortest
So, yesterday was half Christmas!  We made a tree, sang Christmas songs all week, decorated as much as we could, our whole district wore red and green, and the best part is: SANTA CAME.  Us missionaries don't have much, but we all put together little presents and snacks and woke up to them under our tree!  Conveniently, a special someone provided us with cinnamon rolls and sparkling cider :)  (Thanks Kel!)  Oh and on Christmas Eve we were blessed to have a little bit of precipitation.  Not exactly a white Christmas... but a wet one :]  For the past four days, the sisters in my district have asked that I tell them stories in my baby voice and whistle them to sleep.  The first night, that nonsense lasted for almost a whole hour and a half.  We've been more responsible since. Hahaha, sister missionaries... They are easily pleased. 

Christmas in June! (Half Christmas!)
My Spanish is coming very well.  Now I know what I need to know, feel me? Listen to these crazy connections in my district:  I am going to Chicago-- Hermana Fisher is from Chicago. Elder Remund is from Utah-- Hermana Fisher, Elder Reis, Hermana Lawrence, and Hermana Arnell are serving in Utah.  Elder Smith is going to New York-- Guess where I'm from? New York!  Hermana Lawrence is from Missouri-- Elder Keine is serving in Missouri.  Hermana Woolstenhulme is going to Arizona-- And that is where Hermana Carr is from.  Isn't that cool??  We are all so close.  They're a huge blessing to me :) 

Sleepy at 9:30 p.m.
Some words of wisdom for you all:  If you are ever discontent with life, please count your blessings.  If you ever feel alone, write down all the ways you've seen God's hand in your life.  I don't want to have to say it again... but I will :) WRITE IN A JOURNAL! It is such a blessing; however, the blessing is magnified when you consistently reread your journal.  And don't forget to practice self-mastery.  Deny yourself of all ungodliness and focus on overcoming the natural man.  When you're tired and you should be working - keep working.  When you want to eat that third mint brownie - No no no. Get some cantaloupe.  We all can have faith in God because He can do anything and everything, but have some faith in yourself as well... because of your faith in God.  You can be so much better than you are and do much more than you are doing. 
As the army of Helaman...
Oh, and here's my personal thought... You can kind of gauge how close you are to the Lord by how much peace you have in your life.  Satan is the father of all lies and imitates every kind of emotion, but the one thing he can't imitate is peace.  Find the peace that only comes from Christ and turning your will over to Him.

If you want to find greater happiness, charity, faith, strength and peace: READ the Book of Mormon.  It is what it is.  And it's wonderful.
Love you all!
Hermana Sanabria

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Come Unto Christ semana pasada...fue muy bien!!!  My district is INCREDIBLE.  They are all hilarious and so exactly obedient in everything they do.  Not every district is like ours and I feel so completely blessed to be with these amazing people. Yesterday was a really spiritually uplifting day.  First, some of us decided to read 2 Nephi 31-33 and pray to receive answers to our questions and receive confirmations to our testimonies.  We got on our knees and prayed together.  Eight 19-year-old kids in a room pouring out their hearts to God and studying His word.  There is nowhere else I would want to be now than here at the MTC. The spirit was so strong in that room.  To top it off, during class time our teacher didn't have any lesson plans so we requested a testimony meeting.  That was the second one that day.  Jeez... I almost can't take the awesomeness.  
Here is a picture of our zone! I'm not standing next to my companion, but I think I already sent you a picture of me with her.  The other girls in our district are the first four from right to left on the front row, and the Elders are a little scattered. Hopefully I'll have more pictures to send next week!
God lives and loves us.  And for anyone that is concerned about the missionary work nowadays...  Man, I promise that the missionaries I know will astonish the world with their sincerity, love, obedience, and faith.  Wanna know something that you already know?  Kay, I'll tell you: The scriptures (I mean the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) are FULL of promises from God.  Some are super duper super cool... Like: ALL of your sins will be forgiven.  Completely deleted from your book of life.  If you don't want it there, God will FORGET it.  Or,  how about... Ask a question.  ANY question. And God will answer it.  How about the promise that God promises to love you always and forever no matter what?  One of the beautiful things that the scriptures do for us is give us hope.  How amazing is that?  And why do they give us hope? Because God makes promises and He DOES NOT LIE.  If He says it, He means it. And sure, it's not completely a free ride.  What good parent would offer that?  Still though, He asks so little in return and it's so simple too.  Just look at the darn serpent on the stick for crying out loud!  
We went to the temple today as we do on any good p-day.  What a great place to be.  Always stay worthy to enter the temple.  Overall, the theme for my week has been: Come unto Christ.  What we say here a lot is to be God's investigator.  I think that came from one of Holland's devotionals.  If you want your investigator to pray more sincerely... Guess what? God wants YOU to pray more sincerely.  If you want your investigator to exercise more faith... God wants YOU to exercise more faith.  Cool to think about, huh? We as missionaries, no matter where we are, we're all trying to come unto Christ.  The reason for that is simply because coming unto Christ is not an event... it's a journey.  And being a worthy disciple of Christ is a constant effort.  Don't have any big sins to worry about?  Work on those sins of omission.  Only because it's fun to improve :)  Anyway, I'll stop ranting.  I'm way to used to writing in a journal... PS: Totally wrote 12 pages last night. BAM! I love you all. I really do.  I'll try to make my report more interesting next week.  Stay strong fellow disciples!
Hermana Sanabria

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Second Week in the MTC!

Well, I am on my second week now! Can you believe it?? It has been a crazy ride, but I absolutely love it here.  The MTC is a huge blessing.  They say you either love it or hate it here; however, I'm not sure why anyone would hate it...You do gain weight here.  I've already gained 8 lbs.  Just kidding, that's impossible ;)  I have gained one though.  Whooo!!!  We had our last Tuesday night devotional at the BYU Marriot center and it was the first time they have ever had to do that because of the fact that we have an enormous amount of missionaries now.  On the 23rd there is this big deal missionary broadcast and I'll be singing in the choir so maybe you'll all see me! 

 We had a surprise assignment at the TRC yesterday.  It was our first time and we were all so scared, but it turned out to be a really spiritual and uplifting experience.  It increased my testimony about the power of bearing testimony.  That is what my mission is.  I am to testify of God and of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.  It really is a relief to finally understand that because when I am feeling inadequate about teaching lessons and always inviting the spirit and saying what I should, I just feel so relieved when I remember that the most meaningful thing I have to share is my testimony... It's simple, but I can never deny it.  God lives and loves me and all of His children.  He wants all of us to return to Him.  The worth of every soul is great in the sight of God.  Sometimes it can be hard to believe that I am of great worth and that I can really make a difference here in the mission field, but it’s not about me.  Nothing is about me or what I do or say, it’s about how God can use me to bless other peoples lives by blessing me with strength and wisdom beyond my own. I am eternally blessed that I can rely on my testimony.  It is such a comfort to me that I truly know these things and that is what will help me to faithfully endure to the end. 

I loved my care package!  Thanks, mommy!

Pray *sincerely* morning and night.  Don't be lazy.  Study your scriptures for at least 30 minutes each day.  You need extra strength this day and age and the gospel of Jesus Christ provides a simple way to obtain it.  You really come to know God and our Savior through scripture study. Consistent and sincere scripture study.  You will change faster than you can imagine when you put all of your faith and trust in the Lord and let go- seriously... just destroy all of your worries and fears and ungodly desires.  The Book of Mormon is true.  It is another inspired testament that testifies of Christ. Read it with a sincere heart (Moroni 10:4-5). 

I think that is all I have to say this week.  I hope you all know that you are very important to me and I miss you all.  A week is a long time to wait to express these things to you, but its a good thing I’ve been keeping busy with the work.  I’m remembering you all in my prayers.  Choose the right.  Let go of all of your selfishness and serve everyday of your life with all of your heart, might, mind, and strength.  I'm working hard to progress and improve so that I can be the kind of person the Lord can use for good.  Love you all!

Your missionary,

Hermana Sanabria 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Week in the MTC!

Well, FAMILY AND FRIENDS!!! I wonder if it is even possible to describe the MTC.....It is simply AMAZING!! I am convinced that the Celestial kingdom is going to feel pretty darn similar to this place.  Excuse my language. I promise I won't be using those words around investigators...

Okay, First day here: I was just so happy I was somehow physically exhausted.  I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry... and ironically...I've done both every day till now! They say the MTC is like a rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs and all over.  Its so true.  Thank goodness for prayer.  Yesterday during study time I told my companion, "I'm just going to say a quick prayer." When I lifted up my head 25 minutes later all she could say was, "Well, you look happy!" And I felt happy because taking time to talk to your heavenly father- like really having a conversation with Him- is incredible!  Of course I have always prayed and at times in my life I have prayed more sincerely than others, but mission field prayers are in a realm of their own.  
My district here is SO close!  They are all so obedient and righteous and humble.  There are 12 of us- and not to brag- we are told that we are everyone's favorite district.  Hooray! I am so blessed to have been put with them.  And with my companion also.  She is so sweet and patient with me and my faults.  We try to speak spanish all day long.  Can you believe I already know enough to do that?!  Its only been a week!  I LOVE the MTC.  
I keep thinking about how my call is so inspired. I can't help but get emotional when I think about my family members in Chicago that I can help come to Christ and changes their lives for the better.  Here's some advice: Study Preach My Gospel along with your Book of Mormon study as often as you can.  I'll be honest- I forgot how amazing it was! My email time is almost up. Oh no!  I love you all SO much! Please write me! I didn't think I needed or wanted letters and stuff from the outside world, but it's lonely here without your usual family and friends! Not in a bad way... Just in a "man... I love those people" kind of way.  I cant wait to write more next time!
 Hermana Sanabria