Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Slow Rumbling of the Spirit

Ciao tutti! 

Come State?!  I am in a particularly good mood today so my e-mail might be a little on the over-positive side today. 

One of the Free Services I Provide:

The other day at dinner, Sorella Mikesell was saying "How do I tell my family that I love the MTC without them thinking that I am being sarcastic?" I don't know how to answer that because I'm sure you are all sitting at the computer thinking, "What in the world has happened to Kaitlin? She is never this positive about anything"
Which is true.  

At the MTC there are plenty of things that I would love to complain about, and yet I'm still the happiest person ever. Even when they serve mass-produced steak and shrimp on Fast Sunday.  At least they still have ice cream.

Countdown to Italy

I can't believe that I only have one more p-day here in the MTC. In less than two weeks I'll be in Italy. We hit our one-month mark yesterday and it still feels like my first week here.  

I got to be a HOST for the first time yesterday, which was a ton of fun, but really weird because I just kept thinking about my emotions on the first day and how I had no idea what I was doing. We were joking beforehand on what we would say to these new sisters.   I was tempted to just say, 

"Leave while you can; you can probably still catch your parents at the exit!"  

But instead I turned into the person I always feared I would become, gushing about how wonderful the MTC is and how they are so lucky to be here. The scariest part is that I meant it. It is a weird thought that the sisters just getting here will be leaving the same time I do since they were all going to the states. 
I've already seen friends come and go through the MTC and it gets me so excited to finally be in Italy.

Like a Tsunami

I think what I love most about my time here is how much my teachers get us excited for the work. 

Just the other day Fratello Pesci sat us down to talk about the work in Italy. I made some comment about how we probably wouldn't be teaching very many people because of how strong religious customs are in Italy and how hard it is to be a missionary in Europe. 

He got really serious and started telling us all about how Italy is ready for the gospel and how the people are finally ready for the truth. We are no longer planting seeds in Italy. The temple is being built there for a reason and its because the people are finally prepared for it. 

They way they talk about the work is like a slow rumbling of the spirit, like a tsunami that is building and ready to hit the country

Sorella Mikesell's brother served in Rome and he had sent her this paper about the growth of the church in Italy. The mission re-opened in 1966 and at the time they only had around 26 members and by 2006 there were 21,000 members in Italy. 

The people are so ready for this message and we are so ready to teach it. Our teachers said that we will spend a lot of time teaching and hardly anytime tracting and finding so don't doubt that the work of the Lord is progressing in Italy.

We also had a lot of really great speakers this week. On Sunday we heard from the Provo Temple president and his talk was INCREDIBLE. I usually only take notes when something really powerful hits me and about 10 min into his talk I was furiously writing down notes. 

He talked a lot about the symbolism of the temple and the blessings that come from the covenants we make there. I got a ton of great insights in his talk that I am excited to look for when we go to the temple later on today.   Why Mormons Build TemplesHere

Missions are Forever

 That night we listened to a talk given by Elder Holland called "Missions are Forever" and it was perfect.  

I've been having a hard time with exact obedience to mission rules because honestly I think sometimes people take it too far and people start making up their own rules that they expect other people to follow. 
It's especially challenging when as a 21-year-old you've been on your own for several years and then you willingly put yourself into a situation where people are telling you what to do all the time.  

Elder Holland just reminded me of the importance of exact obedience on a mission and how it's not about following the rules made up by 19-year-old boys, but the rules that Heavenly Father has given us to allow us to be the best and most focused missionaries we can be. 

Missions are so short and so precious, I don't want to waste any of my time having a bad attitude because of rules I don't understand. 

We also heard from this Brazilian member of the Quorum of the Seventy on Tuesday who was really great. His name is Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis and his wife started off talking about her conversion story and how she was grateful for a returned missionary who took the time to find her and teach her the gospel, who just happens to be her husband today. 

One thing she said that particularly impressed me was how she knew that Heavenly Father loved her enough and knew her well enough to send this young RM into the southern part of Brazil to a small town to find her and bring her the gospel and change her life forever. 

When Elder Aidukaitis started his talk he said, "Elders, learn how to baptize.  It will come in handy one day" and pointed to his cute wife. He talked about the Three Kingdoms of Glory and how we have the choice as to which kingdom we want to end up in.  Once we make that choice, all other choices become easier. 

It was really great. It reminded me of how I want to serve as a missionary; I don't want to be mediocre or feel like I just 'got through' my mission, I want to serve diligently and to the best of my abilities. If I make that choice now, then when hard choices come on my mission I can think, "What kind of missionary did I want to be and what decision will help me to become that missionary?"

Which Princess are You?

Other than that everything is going great. It's finally warming up here so we are all happy. The girls keep laughing at me and making fun of my ridiculously good moods.  On Fast Sunday when everyone was grumpy and dying, they made fun of me for saying things like "Can you hear the birds singing?" like some sort of Disney Princess. 

They all think I'm nice or something which makes me laugh because my mom always says "People think your nice, but you're actually not that nice". Tricked them again. 

Sorella Mikesell always says "I feel like God just loves you a little more than everyone else."  So that's the new joke for me whenever something goes right... or even when things don't... like how I only got three letters this week... (two of them being from my mother).   They just say "It's okay because God loves you a little more than everyone else" which puts things into perspective. 

Fish Nuggets

Whenever I feel sorry for myself or feel like I have something to complain about (which is usually the food, like fish nuggets or chicken fried steak for dinner), a stern little voice comes into my head and says, 

"You have NOTHING to complain about." and I think, "You are absolutely right, I don't." 

because everyday I am thankful to be on a mission. Every day I am thankful to be putting all of my energy towards building my relationship with God. I am focused on learning all I can in order to relate to the people of Italy.  

I am doing all I can to align my will with God's will and nothing is more rewarding than that. Nothing is more rewarding then knowing that you are dedicating everything towards fulfilling the will of the Lord.. and this is His will. This is His work and His glory and every day I'm grateful to be a part of this work.

Other fabulous things that happened this week...

Sorella Mikesell's mom sent Cafe Rio through the mail. Hallelujah

My Teacher said that my Italian is coming along really well and that my accent is really great; it doesn't sound too "white girlish." 

Sorella Anderson's brother-in-law sent her the lyrics to Les Miserables so we have been singing "Look down, look down, don't look them in the eye. Look down, look down, you're here until you die" during our cleaning assignments. 

I got a cold this week so I had an excuse to not do anything at gym. 

Overheard at the MTC - the DLVersion

Things the Elders say that make the Sisters laugh:

"Nordstrom only sells knock-off watches."
"Well when I was Student Body President..."
"It is my job to chastise you."
"Mariah Carey is way more talented than Beyonce."
"This (name any gospel principle) reminds me of my championsip (name any sport) game in High School."

"Did you see the quote of the week?" - DL
"Yeah, where did that quote come from?" - me
"I made it up myself." - DL
"Oh so now its okay to quote ourselves" - me

Somehow we still love them to death. Probably because they will wait in long lines to bring me Graham Canyon ice cream when I haven't gotten letters in a week.


Kelsey, I'm so sorry to hear about Tyler, he is really a great guy and I was really sad to hear about his passing. Take comfort in knowing that he completed what Heavenly Father sent him to do and that he is probably so happy to be home with his Heavenly Father. This life is so short, and there is so much for us to do, but it doesn't even compare with the work the Lord has prepared for us after this life. The gospel is such a blessing; you know where he is & and you are so blessed to have had his influence in your life. I hope you are doing okay. 

 (Week 4 - Email dated 3/07/13)

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