Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Letter #1 *~*MTC*~* January 19, 2011

First off, I just want you all to know how extremely exciting and overwhelming it is to be a missionary!! I have now been set apart as a Missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and am now a literal representative of Jesus Christ! As Elder Holland said, we are like apostles with a small "a." Like them we are representatives of the Savior!! And a short message to Erin, Ammon, and Joseph! My family can TOTALLY e-mail me!! :) hooray! I also wanted to first of all thank you Mom for sticking that little note in my scriptures! I found it on the first or second day and it made me SO HAPPY! The MTC has definitely not been exactly what I was expecting, but it has still been wonderful!

The schedule is absolutley grueling, but with the help of the Lord, we all make it through! I wake up every morning at about 5:40 for the early morning sister's workout class. We switch off doing polaties ( i think that's spelled wrong...), step aerobics, yoga, kick boxing, strength training, ect. I seriously wouldn't be able to make it through the day without it!! We also get about 50 minutes of gym time everyday which is fantastic! So after our morning workout class we eat breakfast at about 7, then have class from 7:30-11:30 eat lunch, and sometime during the day we'll have about an hour and a half total for our gym and preparation time after working out. Then we have class again from 12:15-4:30. We eat dinner... I know.... SUPER EARLY TO HAVE DINNER!! And then we have class from 5:15-9:00. We have 25 minutes to plan for the next day, and then from 9:30-10:30 to get ready for bed, write in journals, pray, etc. And then it starts all over again.

Russian is SUPER hard, and I am struggling a bit. I 've really been trying to utilize every spare moment that I can though. I know that I have to do everything that I can to learn the language before He can bless me with the gift of tongues! And I have already felt it!! I think that my German is even better in the MTC!! There is a German missionary in our zone, so it's fun to speak with him every once in a while!! There is a promise in Preach My Gospel that says, "Whenever the Lrod gives a commandment, He provides a way to accomplish it (see 1 Nephi 3:7). Seek His help. Be dedicated in your study (talking about studying the language). In time you will acquire the language skills necessary to fulfill your prpose as a missionary." That give me SO much comfort. I may never be perfect at Russian and be able to understand everything, but if I do my part, the Lord will allow me to have the skills that I need to fulfill my purpose as a missionary!! :) SO COOL!!

It's been fun to run into peopl here at the MTC. I see Siostra Mann many times, and Sister Odekirk (from my semester abroad in Vienna) and her companion was in one of my dance classes at BYU-I and she is actually goign to serve in the Milwaukee, WI Mission!! So, i'm totally planning on writing a note to our home ward--hopefully she'll serve in Rhinelander!! The elder from our South Jordan Stake is in my district, and also Elder Colton Jacobson. (the Elder who's grandparents work at the Jordan River Temple). Cectpa Bullough, who is going to Russia Moscow, is also in my Zone! She ran Cross Country at BYU-I and was in my ward last Fall of '09! She actually lives next door to me, so we have a rockin' time running everyday together in gym! I never thought that I would be sore at the MTC... but I definitely have been!! It feels great! We also found out the other day that the mile record at the MTC is 8:19... we thought that it would be fun to train a bit during our gym time and then blow the record out of the water!! :)

My district is SO great! All of the Elders are SO awesome! And the sisters also! We have 4 sisters and 4 elders and we get along GREAT! We laugh A TON! Our teachers are also AMAZING! Brother Porter served in Rostov. He is about 5' 4" and has SO much energy! He always tells us the funniest stories about Russia also!! We watched Mountain of the Lord on Sunday Evening as a district, because I had been talking about how much I loved that movie!! :) We had a good time laughing, and they all thought it was really funny that i could quote basically the whole movie. Elder Bullough calls my laugh a jovial guffaw!! haha

It has been SO amazing to learn my purpose as a missionary while I've been here also!! I'm goin to quote it for you... so forgive me if it's not perfect, but our purpose is to "invite others to come unto Christ, by helping them receive the restored gospel, through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end!" Wow!! It has SO much power! And just as I wrote it I could feel the spirit! I was blessed to be able to attend an amazing workshop yesterday. Sister Pico who had also served in Rostov talked about our purpose as missionaries. 3 Ne. 11:31-35 tells us of Christ's doctrine. We are to bring people unto Christ! just as is mentioned in our purpose, so we need to be BOLD! Every commitment that we ask our investigators to make should lead them to baptism! We need to include baptism in everything we talk about, because that is how they enter the way!! (2 Ne. 31:18, 19-21) Then, through their obedience they are able to continue on this path by studying the word of God!! I studied the Atonement this morning for my personal study and was able to learn SO much! As a missionary I am able to lead investigators to baptism, which then opens the gate for them to fully utilize the gift of the Savoir's atonement! What a daunting and incredible task. I can't believe that the Lord would entrust me with His precious sons and daughters in carrying such a wonderful message to the world! The study of the Atonement makes us want to share this message with others!! Well, i'm about out of time, but tonight we get to have a devotional, I hope that we will get to hear from one of the Brethren!! The temple was also FANTASTIC this morning!

love you all!!
Cectpa Cunningham!! pronounced sea-ye-stra!!


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