I usually edit Nicole's letters for the blog but decided to leave this one alone. The good and the not-so-good allow us a glimpse into the challenges and blessings of her life as a full-time missionary preparing to go out in the field.
Ni Hao! (she really is going to an English-speaking mission)
THIS IS THE BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE. I shall go into more detail later but let me tell you a few important things first. I have another PDay on Friday now so I'll be e-mailing you again in a few days! AAAANNNNND I get to call home on Tuesday!!!!! I leave Salt Lake City at 7 a.m. on Tues., June 8th and arrive in Minneapolis, MN at 10:35 a.m. and don't leave for Cleveland, OH until 1:30 p.m.! So if it's alright with you guys, I'll call home during those hours. Keep in mind that it's Minnesota time. I don't know the time difference because I can't Google. But you can. So do it.
Last Tuesday we had an amazing devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife. He talked about how the apostles feel it an honor to stand side by side with us missionaries. He talked about the power and authority that we each have being set apart as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You just don't realize what an amazing work this is until you're here. I don't know. Maybe some people do. But I didn't. I know that it's the most important thing that I could be doing right now and I'm so grateful that I did make this decision. Holy cow. Why would you NOT want to go on a mission? I love it.
I also went into the real world last week to go to the poopy doctor. It was crazy. People stare at you and then when you make eye contact they quickly look away. I saw this pregnant teenage girl and wanted so badly to tell her how much her Heavenly Father loves her. But she wouldn't look at me. Oh well. The lady that drove me was this sweet old lady who just got back from a mission to Boston. She never married but is really close to her nieces and nephews. I liked her a lot. So the blood test results came back normal. Dr.Alsoimam said that the medications I'm taking can really mess with my digestive system so I just need to make sure I'm being consistent. I'm still alive soooooo that's good. Speaking of which, will you remind my brothers that I'm still alive? Thanks.
Read Alma 26 tonight. That's the kind of missionary I want to be. I gave a talk on Sunday on humility and I used the example of Ammon and Aaron. All glory to God. It's so incredible. I also sang "Come Thou Fount" with my district in Sacrament meeting. It was powerful. The Elders left this morning for Eugene, OR so now we Sisters are all alone! Crazy. I have so many thoughts. I'm all over the place, sorry. But back to Sunday. I KNEW they were going to call on me to give a talk but I was really hoping they wouldn't because the District President and his wife were visiting that day. But then after the Sacrament, President Creer stood up and said, "We'll now be pleased to hear from Sister Hill and Elder Mangleson." Elder Mangelson is actually from Cameron Park. Weeeird. They just wanted the Sacramento area missionaries to speak I guess. It was only a 3 minute talk so no biggie.
Another great thing that I've learned the past few days is asking Heavenly Father if he accepts your work. For example, my very first lesson here at the MTC went SO bad. I didn't think I was cut out for the work. I wasn't spiritual enough. I didn't know enough. But then my teacher Brother Moss could see that I was hurting inside so he took me aside and told me that what everyone else thinks does NOT matter. It's what our Heavenly Father thinks. So that night I knelt down and just asked Him if He accepted what I was doing. And it was such a wonderful, peaceful feeling!! I know that I am on the right road. Unfortunately, Satan also knows I'm on the right road. It happened again the other day. We had this investigator that was so fidgety and kept falling asleep and asking weird deep doctrinal questions that we could not answer. I felt awful about how it all went. But again I went before my Heavenly Father and He once again assured me that He accepted what I was doing.
Yesterday was a real changing point in my mission. I woke up in the morning REALLY depressed. Like, I couldn't physically get out of bed. I wasn't tired. I was just depressed. I didn't eat. My companions went to breakfast without me, went to gym without me, and then came back to get me for class. I could tell they were irritated with me and OH MY GOODNESS was I annoyed with them. So they went to class without me. I just prayed to Heavenly Father that I could overcome whatever this awful feeling was. I received the strength to get out of bed, took a shower, got ready, and then some sisters invited me to go to the bookstore with them and then to lunch. So I did. Ate lunch with my companions. They were still slightly annoyed with me, but I would be too if I were them. I was awful that morning. We went through the day. Had no unity in our teaching. No one would say how they were feeling. But you could feel it. I wanted to cry. And I don't know what happened or when it happened, but something happened. We went in to teach an "investigator" that night. He was a nonmember whose girlfriend just left on a mission and he just couldn't understand. He felt pressured to join the Church so that he could marry her and he thought the Church was all about agency so he couldn't understand why there was all this pressure for him to do something the he didn't feel right about. We only had 10 minutes to contact/teach him. I HAVE NEVER FELT THE SPIRIT SO STRONG IN MY LIFE. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO UNIFIED WITH MY COMPANIONS. I HAVE NEVER FELT SO MUCH LOVE IN ONE ROOM. Everything my companions said to him, was exactly what was running through my head. Sister Andersen even pulled out this Isaiah scripture which was really impressive. The "investigator" was supposed to stop us whenever we did something the needed to be corrected. But he didn't stop us once. We asked him questions, he answered. Sometimes it was extremely quiet in the room. But the three of us were really, truly, for the first time, listening to the Spirit, to the investigator, and to each other. We just sat there in silence listening. Then we taught him of his purpose here. And how much Heavenly Father loves him. And then I taught him how to pray and how to know if he's feeling the Holy Ghost. And the greatest part is that it wasn't any of us. It totally wasn't. Afterwards, we talked about how all investigators need to first understand that they're children of God and the Elders had not done that at all in their teaching. Then Brother Moss bore his testimony to us. He's such a spiritual, humble man. It was a powerful, powerful night. Then Sister Andersen, Sister Houston, and I went back to our residence hall and decided we needed to thank Heavenly Father for all the experiences. After we prayed together, we went around and said why we loved each other. Then in the middle of that, a sister in our branch knocked on the door. We talked to her. She broke down crying because of her frustration with learning Czech. She's such an incredible example to everyone. Ah, I love her. We talked about trials and then there was another knock on the door and in comes another sister from our branch. We talk and she breaks down crying. She came into the MTC last Wednesday. On Tuesday, the day before she reported, she found out that her mom has leukemia. I LOVE HER. She's so strong. Heavenly Father loves His children. Satan didn't want me to have these experiences yesterday. He's so sneaky and I don't like it.
Anyways, two minutes left. I did see Spencer at the Provo Temple on Sunday!!!! SO crazy. It was so good to see a familiar face from back home. I found him a girlfriend. She's tall and going on her mission to Thailand. haha. But seriously, Spencer's great.
I must go. I LOVE YOU!! DEARELDER ME OR EMAIL ME SO I CAN CHECK FRIDAY AND TELL ME ABOUT CALLING HOME NEXT TUESDAY. YOU'RE ALL IN MY PRAYERS!!! HOPE YOU'RE GOING TO THE TEMPLE. SO MUCH STRENGTH COMES FROM THAT PLACE.