Friday, June 27, 2014

Happy Thursday!

Hello! :)

Wow time is just flying by, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days! But I have learned so much! We leave for New Hampshire in 3 days and I am freaking out because I don't feel ready yet but I also am excited to finally get out there! I was really good at writing in my journal the first couple days and then things got more busy and I got more tired so I will try and give you a good run through of my week as best as I can! Let me just say the MTC is not what I thought it would be, its much harder and harder in ways I didn't think it would be. BUT I woudnt be anywhere else. I am working harder then I ever have in my life but I know Heavenly Father is helping me. Alot of missionaries were really stressed an overwhelmed the first couple days to the point of tears and breakdowns and usually that is me. Before the mission I got stressed really easily and would have breakdowns when I got really stressed. Well I will have you know I have only cried once and I cried because I decided to look at my homesick book which has pictures of all the family.  I don't know why I did that because then I cried my self to sleep after that. But what I was trying to say is that I know Heavenly Father is helping me and I have been blessed with patience and faith that I have never had. So the highlights of the week, Sunday me and Sister Reeves were called to be Sister Training Leaders for our Zone! Totally wasnt expecting it but I am grateful for the opportunity. We also had personal interviews with President Washburn on Sunday and he told me that all my teachers and leaders all had good things to say about me and that they were really impressed with my desire to work hard. It was good to here because I know there is stuff I still need to learn and also things I can do better at but that someone recognized that I was trying my best. On Sunday night Janice Kapp Perry came to speak to us at our devotional and it was awesome! Her and her husband are the cutest. The main point of her talk was the ability that music has to bring the spirit. I don't think that was a coincidence that I just happen to be here when she came! She had us sing a medley of primary songs that she had written and that was amazing and then at the end we sang the EFY medley with As Sisters in Zion and The Armys of Helaman and I dont think I have ever felt the spirit so strong in my life!! She made a new version of As Sisters in Zion and it is perfect. But when we were singing I felt like my spirit was just going to burst, I cant even explain it but wow what a neat experience. So there is a seminar going on for new mission presidents so the Quorum of the twelve has been here as well as the first presidency but we haven't really seen them. But D. Todd Christofferson gave a deviotional for us on Tuesday and of course that was amazing too. He spoke on the worth of souls and one thing that he said that I thought was pretty cool is that, "The worth of a soul is its capacity to become like God." Just think about it for a second. I hope it reminds you that no matter what you are awesome because you are a child of God and you can become like him!! I definitely needed to hear that so I hope it helps someone. So things have basically been just study learn and teach since we've been here. Were in class for 8-9 hours a day learning the doctrine, but most importantly how to teach the doctrine. I never really under stood what the doctrine of Christ was which is really sad but now I do. We have been teaching fake investigators but when we teach them it is so real. One of our investigators name is Kitty Zhou from China and she is the sweetest thing! She grew up buddhist and so the first lesson we taught her was so hard and didnt go very well but last night we were able to really help her understand that she is a child of God and that she does have a Heavenly Father who loves and wants her to return back to him. We taught her how to pray and when she understood that she could talk to God and have a relationship with him she was just like in awe. Th spirit was so strong and even though we didn't teach her much it made me so happy to know that I had helped someone simply know that they have a Heavenly Father who loves him. That was so foreign to her and so seeing that made me realize how much I take that knowledge for granted because if you really think about it it is really cool. Well I dont have much time but all in all my testimony is growing and I am growing as a person. My faith has been strengthened in my Heavenly Father, his son Jesus Christ and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the only way to really be happy is through the gospel of Jesus Christ and through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can truly be forgiven of our sins and be able to live with God again. I am grateful for that knowledge and cant wait to finally get to share it with the people in New Hampshire in 3 short days! I love you all so much! Remember, Heavenly Father loves you :)

Sister Innes

PS Still havent figured the whole picture thing out! :(

Sunday, June 22, 2014

First letter from the MTC

June 20, 2014

Wow. It is only Friday and I feel like I have already been here for a week! When I was dropped off I was kind of nervous and scared but everyone was so nice and I felt sooo welcomed as I walked to my room and got my things. Eveyone is so happy here its awesome!! My Companions name is Sister Reeves and she is from Houston, TX. We've been able to become pretty close in the last couple days and she is pretty amazing! She is 19 and goes to BYU and is majoring in chemical engineering! She loves to workout so I was so excited when I found that out! Its funny though because she is going to the Detroit, Michigan but the other two sisters in our district our going to New Hampshire too. There names are Sister Gillies and Sister Keown, they're both amazing too! We all get along really well and are all well motivated so I'm excited for the next week with them!  Well after we got all squared away in our room we got to meet our teachers, Brother Pliler and Brother Davies. They are both really great and I'm so excited to be taught by them! I have already learned ALOT. So much that I'm trying to no be overwhelmed. We had a new missionary orientation and the MTC Pesidency spoke to us. They are all very kind and very close to the spirit. It was an awesome meeting! We then had a meeting where we had about 50 missionaries and we all had to try and teach 1 investigator. We got to do this with 3 different people and wow was it HARD. If anything it made me realize how crucial it is to have and teach by the spirit and also that we need to show the investigator that we truly do care about them, and that we also need to teach in a way so that the understand. That first night was horrible. I didn't sleep at all. I talked to alot of missionaries and they said thats how their first night was too. Last night I slept MUCH better! Maybe because I used my doterra oils. :) Yesterday was probably the LONGEST day yet! Sister Reeves woke up not feeling good after throwing up in the middle of the night so after waking up late because our alarm didnt go off we tried to go to the health clinic but it wasnt open until 8 AM so we got sack lunches and had to hurry and get ready in order to make it to class by 7:40. We were five minutes late because we thought it started at 7:45...but we were still the first companionship to the classroom. Ha! Us newbies are still learning the ropes :) but the rest of the day was way better! We learned about weekly and daily planning, personal study, companion study, and how crucial those are to teaching by the spirit.  We had another meeting on investigators and it was sooo good. I felt like I finally starting to understand what they meant when they say, "What do you think God wants for them? Once again I cannot know what God wants for my investigator if I do not have the spirit with me and also learn to see these people as Heavenly Father sees him. After that we had study time and wow I found out very quickly how bad I am at studying. I could not concetrate for more than an 20 minutes. I was kind of feelin down on myself but then had to remind myself it was only my second day. We finally had gym time and all the sisters in my district played basketball and foursquare (we heard you arent a real missionary until you play foursquare so we thought we would try it out:) We had some Tongan sisters play with us and they were so funny and hilarious! Then we had 3 more hours of class. I know sounds really long, but class goes by so fast. Brother Pliler asked us if we had any concerns and I said I was worried that I wouldn't be able to teach by the spirit and he asked me why and I told him that I think I lack faith. He gave us some awesome scriptures, my favorite one was Alma 32:27 and it talks about having a desire to believe. Since then I have been praying for a desire to believe and a strengthened faith in my Heavenly Father and the faith that he will show me and teach me the things He would have me say and do. Last night we got to meet our branch presidency while were here and they are so amazing and so loving and kind! We got to know eachother better and then we had personal interviews. Our President is President Washburn and then his counselors Brother Hall and Brother McClay. Brother McClay is out of town so we didnt get to meet him yet but I hear he is pretty awesome too. My interivew was with President Hall and it was just what I needed. He was so kind and gave me some great inspiration. He asked me my concerns and he let me know that I wouldnt be a perfect missionary when I left the MTC but that I should be focusing on my 6th month mark. He said until then I should look at everything as a learning and growing process. He asked me what I cherished most and I told him my family, and he told me that my blessing for going on a mission would be my relationship with my Savior, and thats what I would cherish most when I got home. And that relationship will help me in all aspects of my life. I was told by somebody yesterday that serving a mission is showing your Heavenly Father unconditional love. I know there are SO MANY things I have to learn and work on. And wow this is not easy but I love it here already. I love this gospel, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve and experiences I am having! Thanks for all the love and support. I love you all!!

Sister Innes

PS I couldnt figure out how to upload pictures so hopefully I can send some next week!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Deciding to go on a mission-

I remember the day the news came out that the age for girls to go on missions had changed from 21 to 19. I wasn't able to watch that first session of conference when it was announced, so my mom called me afterwards and I didn't believe her at first! I was so surprised. Well as conference weekend continued I was overwhelmed with feelings that I needed to serve a mission. When I told my parents they told me that I should give it some time to make sure it was the right thing for me. So I put the idea away for a while but it was always there in the back of my mind. There would be days where I felt like a mission was what I needed to do and then days where even the thought of it scared me TO DEATH! Since the age change many people had asked me if I planned on serving a mission and for the first couple months my reply was, "I don't know, it doesn't feel right to me right now" and then eventually it was "No, it's not what I'm supposed to do." But, it still was always there in the back of my mind. Sometimes I would even drive by the MTC and get so jealous of those missionaries there. I longed to be there but still didn't know if it was right for me. Last January I auditioned for the Media Music major program in the Commercial music program at BYU. A couple days before my audition I was really struggling with the whole mission thing so I went to the temple and had a chat with Heavenly Father. I basically ended up telling him that if I didn't get into this program that I was going to go on a mission if that's what he wanted me to do. I know kinda silly but...long story short, I didn't end up getting into the program. I was DEVASTATED. And then I thought well now I have to go on a mission, my reasoning was all wrong people and I soon realized that. After another long talk with my parents I decided that I needed to just let things be for awhile and that a mission wasn't right yet. I was honestly very confused and those next couple months following were very hard for me. It seemed like everything I had planned was falling through...I was really lost. After winter semester I went back home for the summer to save up on money, it was a very different summer for me. I had decided that I was going to continue in school and try and figure out another major. Well the week before I went back to school I was able to attend a friends missionary homecoming and while there I met an awesome girl who had just recently returned from a mission as well. We got talking and I was asking her about her mission and then she asked me if I had any plans of serving a mission and I told her I had though about it a lot but I felt it wasn't right for me right now. She then continued to tell me that if I ever had the thought of serving a mission that I should go start my papers with my bishop just to get a better answer. I told her that I thought about it all the time but it just didn't feel right for some reason. We had the best conversation ever and she gave me a lot of confidence in serving a mission. I have no doubt that I was supposed to meet her and have that talk with her that day. She challenged me at the end of our conversation to meet with my bishop and start my papers. So.. I got all moved back to Provo and the second Sunday I was back I met with my bishop of my new ward and asked if I could start my papers. He gave me great council and told me I would make a great missionary. As I went home from our meeting it still didn't feel right to me so I didn't even touch my papers. That semester of school was so hard for me, I honestly hated school but I got a job working at the MTC and that was probably the highlight of my semester. I was a security guard, I know you're probably asking yourself how I could be a security guard! I thought the same thing but let me tell you, that was probably one of my most favorite student jobs I've had and I wouldn't mind going back! I think the reason I loved it was because I got to be around all those missionaries, it made me so happy to see them and know I was helping in some way of building the kingdom and protecting the Lords servants. I did not enjoy school one bit and I was having a really hard time finding a major so I decided I was going to take this semester off to work and figure things out. At this time I decided that my mission was going to be music and I was going to try to spread the gospel as much as I could through my music. In November I was offered a job at the Montage in Deer Valley singing in their lounge twice a week. I was ecstatic to say the least! I was also offered some other music related things and decided I was going to take this semester and focus on my music career. I had it all planned out! The following Sunday was fast and testimony meeting...I had been asking The Lord for opportunities to help share the gospel through music. So this fast and testimony meeting I had decided I wasn't going to go up because I had the Sunday before. But man the spirit would not leave me alone and it even went as far to tell me that I was supposed to go up and sing "Be Still My Soul" for my testimony! I couldn't decide if I was just having crazy thoughts or if the spirit was really telling me to do this. The thought would not leave me alone though so I went up there and sang my testimony. Before I did I let my ward know that this was not something I usually did but I felt like someone needed to hear that song. Immediately after a girl in the ward ,who is one of my dear friends now, got up and continued to thank me for my song and say that I was a direct answer to her prayers. And I was overwhelmed with this spirit, I knew that the spirit had told me to do that. That was my first experience where I truly felt I was led by the spirit to help someone else. Keep that in mind as I tell you this next part.. Two weeks later after I had received this new job I was talking with my mom on the phone. It had been a rough day for various reasons and I had told her that I knew I wasn't supposed to go on a mission, little did I know...that night as I was getting ready to go to bed I was studying general conference talks from the conference in October. Most of the talks were about hastening the Lord's work or mentioned missionary work in them. After I studied a few talks I had the impression that I needed to serve a mission again. But I put it away and started saying my prayers. As I began to pray this voice came very strong in my head saying, "You need to serve a mission!" And it kept repeating over and over again! I couldn't get anything out in my prayers. I knew it was the spirit because of that experience I had in church 2 weeks before. It was the same voice! And then as the realization hit me that this was my answer, this was REAL! I began to bawl and I'm crying again just thinking of it. I had so many emotions, I was scared and nervous for the most part. My roommate, heard me crying and asked me if I was okay and I told her, "I think I'm supposed to serve a mission." And she starred bawling too...I'm really grateful for her. She offered to say a prayer and we continued to cry as she prayed. When it was over I thanked her and she went to bed while I stayed up thinking. I had many thoughts that were very comforting and I began to be excited! I thought of how I would be able to use my music to serve others on mission and I also realized that this job I was given was to help pay for my mission! I was feeled with the spirit and I finally fell asleep but when I woke up I decided to read my patriarchal blessing and there was a paragraph in there that took on a whole new meaning for me, I won't share it because it is sacred to me but it reaffirmed to me that now was the time to serve a mission! I prayed that morning and told Heavenly Father that I would do his will if this is what he wanted me to do and that morning I decided I AM GOING ON A MISSION!! :) I tell this to you because I do know that the Lords answers prayers and I also know that he answers them in his own timing! I know that he has a plan for us. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church on this earth. I know that it truly is the gospel of Christ and it is centered on Christ. Christ was a perfect example of following Heavenly Father's will. As I go on my mission I know that this is Heavenly Father's will for me and I'm trying to follow Jesus' example as I go on this mission. I know that there are people out there in New Hampshire who I am meant to find and help them find joy in their lives and I'M SO EXCITED!! :) A quote I have kept close since I have made this decision is one by President Hinckley that says, "Forget yourself and go to work!" As I prepare for my mission I worry about leaving everything I have right now and all the opportunities but this brings me back to focus! I know The Lord will greatly bless me for choosing to sacrifice 18 months of my life to serve him. I know that it will all work our for the best because I am following his will! Did I mention I'm so excited?! :)

-Sister Innes