September 07, 2010
Note: I am not actually writing on my blog – I am either handwriting my letters and my mom is transposing them onto my blog for me – or I am emailing and my mom is posting. I didn’t want you to think I was breakin any rules!
Hey! It’s Sister Brown LIVE from her very first p-day on the mission!
The clock is countin down so I gotta go fast.
First: I can’t write anyone back until I get your address. I have some DearElders but no return addresses! Don’t forget your return address!
Second: I need my Patriarchical Blessing. I made a ton of copies but I think I accidentally packed them with my journs. Mom, could you send me a few?
Third: Will you look up Dansko shoes and see if they have a lifetime warrantee? The black ones are killin me. I’ve tried a few things but nothing has helped enough.
So far, trainin to be a missionary involves tireless discussion and application of 2 things:
1. The gospel.
2. And how to love people by perceiving and fulfilling their needs, wich are made apparent one piece at a time through the spirit.
These are my 2 most favorite things to learn about, improve in, and obsess over.
YES! Throw in some type of literary effort, and a husband, and I could do this for the rest of my life. Happy.
I love the MTC because I have to wake up (sometimes literally) and do something with my life. I have to TRY and THINK and FEEL and DO all day long. It’s exhausting but I can feel myself growing much faster than the rate the days are passing. I can’t believe I’ve only been here six days. My thoughts go so fast all the time. There is hardly any time to think. Hardly any time to cry. Occasionally we’ll have a testimony meeting (like this past Sunday) or a fireside where my mind can slow down. Every time it does I’m overwhelmed. I wish I could find my way to stillness. It’s hard to explain. Every day is so rough. So good. So FULL of stuff. Substantial? Is that the word?
This is what I need. I need something beyond me. I need something to grow into.
I want to tell you some more about my companion Sister Starr.
Sister Starr was thinking about Joseph Smith and the first vision the other day. “How in the world am I supposed to relate that to someone’s life?” she asked.
To me this is simple. Here’s how our companionship works when we teach: Sister Starr is very doctrine based. She is a Power Point presentation kind of girl. She’ll teach you all eight principles of the first lesson before she even sits down. With me– it’s like I want to have a therapy session with my investigators. I want to delve into their darkness and testify them into light. I want to doctor them up with pretty scriptures that offer peace in vague but dazzling terms. Neither of these methods are adequate. But the more we figure out to combine with each other, the better we get. Sometimes we daydream about being in the field, after we’ve been teaching for months and months and our Preach My Gospel books are faded/highlighted/all-loved-up. We dream that we are put back together in a companionship, with my love and her doctrine, plus all our legit knowledge. KABOOM. That’s what would happen ya’ll. If we would really, really learn the lessons and then find exactly how to work together, KABOOM goes the San Fernando Valley. We would rock that place home.
I still have 13 minutes.
Saturday night our teacher Sister Ellsworth (from England. Best accent ever.) had us go outside with another sister and speak to each other. Our goal though, was to listen. Don’t think about what you’ll say next or anything else. Just listen like we do with investigators. Afterwards she told us to come inside and think of a scripture to help the sister we spoke with. We all shared our scriptures together and guess what, everyone needed the same thing. We were all feeling inadequate. Sunday we had a Sister’s Meeting with our Branch President. He asked if we had any concerns. No one raised any. He brought up feelings of inadequacy, because of course, as sisters, everyone is struggling with this. I am too. I have so much love and so much desire but I know even less about the scriptures, even less about how to teach than I thought. He reads us D&C 84:88 and explains that if we have the spirit, we can trust ourselves to do the Lord’s work. The Lord trusts us. I look around. Everyone is tearing up because there is such a FIGHT inside to feel good enough. Such a battle to stay above water and just believe that this can be. I believe in the sisters around me. I know they can do it. Yesterday two sisters from Mexico contacted me on the sidewalk. They were just barely learning English and struggled to share a little message with me. I was so proud of them. It didn’t matter that they couldn’t shower me with clarity. I felt how much they meant it. I knew they would blow people away if they kept working to obtain the word. Why can’t I believe that of myself? Why can’t any of these sisters? How can we preach all day that the atonement of Jesus Christ will make up for our sins and weaknesses and emptiness, if we don’t believe it will work for us? All of us are so beaten up over our own short comings. I looked around the circle at these strong women and decided enough is enough. It’s ridiculous that we let ourselves come down this low. That we let anyone, including Satan, convince us that we aren’t enough. He is holding us back! No way! I know that not having faith in myself, by extension, means not having faith in Christ. He is the one that’s gonna make this work anyway, not me. If I don’t know for sure that I can be effective, I am denying the power of the atonement to fill in my gaps and make me whole. It’s not as easy as it sounds to just get over it, but I’m getting better.
Please send this to Corey and tell him HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I am so proud of you Elder Brother. Brown Coalition for Truth! (That’s what we call ourselves.)