Everything is going really well here in Provo...that is the MTC in Provo. I can't believe how much I'm loving life as a missionary. I have never been this happy in my life and I truly know that this is the Lord's work. The weather's been a bit dreary, but today the walk up to the temple was beautiful with snow cascading all around me in perfect white. I feel so blessed to be in such a beautiful place, though it's weird to look at the mountains and realize I'm still in Provo.
Sundays they have Relief Society with all of the sisters in the MTC and they had Sister Elaine Dalton speak to us. It was incredible! She spoke about being perfectly obedient and the blessings that we will receive because of it. That night we had a fireside (which was fabulous) and we always sit in the same place as a zone and as I was sitting there I realized that Sister Skinn and I were the ONLY sisters in our entire area of about 200 elders. You could tell when we were singing that we were the only sisters there. It's a little weird that I am a minority there. I'm getting used to the standing up in the cafeteria when Sister Skinn and I come to the table. I am coming to like it.
My district is still amazing as always. I'm amazed at how we can all be in a tiny room for HOURS every day and get along so well as we do. Truly a blessing. The elders and I are all good friends now and it seems strange to me to think that Ive only known them for a couple of weeks. We are all so close. My teachers continue to impress me so much. They teach by the Spirit and they help me to want to be so much better. Irmao Harmon is always telling us really funny stories from his mission and this week he told us about how EVERYONE in Portugal will call out to the elders and say "Os Elderes!" whenever they pass. Seriously, they will stop a conversation on the phone to yell that out. so they were in Coimbra (which is a big city in Portugal) one weekend, and all of the people had vacated to the country for the weekend. they were walking down the street and a police car came up and over the loudspeaker they said "Os Elderes!" and ducked out of view in their car so that the elders wouldn't think they were really there. Of course, who would think that? Hilarious!
This week was moving week! We moved Wednesday morning and had about 10 minutes to do it. Seriously. We were given from 6:30-8:30am to move, but oh wait! We had service from 6:30 until 7:45, so we ran and grabbed breakfast after service (I vacuum the hallways in the main building, it's great!) and then ran back to our old residence, shoveled down our food, moved our stuff over to our new building and threw our stuff on the ground, changed into missionary attire and then were 30 minutes late to class. Our new building is where Jen works. Haha! So I'll probably see her a bit more, maybe. There are six beds in a room, that's right six. There are four of us in a room right now, me, Sister Skinn and two hermanas in another branch. Come next wednesday there will be five of us, because my branch is getting another sister. YAY!!
The funny thing about this building is that they renovated it from an elders' residence, so they haven't quite finished everything. There are four toilets without stall around them where the urinals used to be. Whoops! And some of the showers didn't have curtains, but now they do. They put up stalls around what used to be the "Tree of Life" showers, with no stalls, no privacy. Now they have about nine showers (with complete privacy, don't worry). It's funny to think that I'm using the Tree of Life showers.
So a couple of nights ago I was planning on unpacking, but I got a bloody nose instead! It wouldn't stop for about a half hour. It was awful. But everything's fine now. I'm drinking more water and hopefully everything will work out better now.
Yesterday we weren't quite awake in class so Irmao Harmon made us do jumping jacks and stretch during class. You need to realize that our classroom is TINY! We have the smallest room in the zone and there are ten of us plus a teacher in there. That was hilarious.
Things are going so well here. I am learning so much. I don't know when I'll be leaving here. I talked with the Branch President and he told me that my leaving really depended on a lot of things: the Portuguese government, my visa and if President Terry can use me right now. So I'm trying to be as helpful as possible. The teachers have had me teach some things for them while they had to be out. so that was great. We all, as a district, do our language study, so I've been helping out a couple fo them who need a little extra help. That has been the best. It makes me feel like I'm really making a difference and am serving the Lord. I love missionary life!
A couple of nights ago the elders were not focusing during our planning time and Irmao Schlappi took that time to teach them a priciple found in 1Nephi 3:14-16 (I think) about diligence and being exact in how we serve the Lord. I think it is good advice for everyone and I am so glad he took that opportunity to teach us all that principle.
I know this is the Lord's work and His Church. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet.
Sister Laura Thomas
MTC Mailbox #298
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793