So Wednesday is my P-day here in the MTC. Just so you aren't expecting emails on Monday or anything. When people say that the MTC is hard, they are not kidding!!! I know have a testimony about the gift of tongues or there is no way I would understand anything that my teacher, Hermano Nordfelt, tells us. He only speaks in Spanish to us. It is crazy. Wow. I don't even know where to begin. General Conference was great here in the MTC! It was amazing to gather as missionaries and listen to the prophet speak. It was really cool to sustain the new apostles in a large group like that! I think my favorite part about conference was actually when we all stood and sang How Firm a Foundation. I want everyone to go and look at those words and then imagine about 1000 missionaries standing and singing at the top of their lungs. It was so powerful! I love the music here. Maybe it is just because I am on a mission and I don't hear any other music, but every time we here music I get chills from the Spirit. It is awesome!
So I guess I will tell you a little about my district! They are awesome. We have 8 elders and 4 hermanas in our district! Out of the 12 missionaries, 7 of us are going to the Costa Rica San Jose West Mission! So we will be together for the rest of our missions basically! They are really cool.
Also my MTC mailing address is
Sister Rachel Douglas
2009 N 900 E Unit 152
Provo, UT 84602
So I have already had the chance to teach three lessons in Spanish. We teach two more tonight! Crazy! The first lesson we taught went really well. The spirit was there as we testified about eternal families and that she(Jaquelin) could be with her family again. The next two lessons were hard though. We taught about the restoration (EEK!). We tried to mostly teach ourselves and didn't let the spirit do the work. Which we should have. Though the spirit was there as we testified of the truthfulness of prophets and the Book of Mormon, we could tell that it just confused them and they needed to hear something else at that point. We hope tonight goes better! We plan to teach about the Gospel of Christ (which we should have started with!).
What to say about learning Spanish...It is so hard!!! I find it so hard when we are teaching because I want to jump in with my testimony or help out more, but I don't understand what they are saying. Hermana Waterlyn is pretty good and understands way more than me, so she is able to teach, but I feel just a little useless because I don't even know what they are saying or asking. It is frustrating. But I just try to smile and bring the spirit, even though I really have no idea about what is going on! But I am learning! Don't get me wrong! I can now pray, say my testimony, and I get by in the lessons. That is more than I ever could have a week ago! So the gift of tongues is so real!!!
We met with our branch president for the first time last night and he is awesome! President Doman has been a branch president at the MTC for the last 4 years and will actually probably get released around the same time we leave the MTC. So we could be his last batch of missionaries. I am positive I will cry when I leave. President and Sister Doman are sort of like parents to all of the missionaries in our Branch. They meet with us, Sister Doman hugs us, and they truly love us. We had a sort of testimony meeting last night with them and the spirit was so strong. I cried. Of course I cry anytime I bear my testimony or see someone cry or feel the spirit. (Great trait for a missionary, right?).
I wanted to close this letter with an message for everyone. On Sunday night we watched an address that Elder Bednar gave to the MTC a few years ago. It was called Character of Christ. If you can find it, watch it! It will change your life! It was incredible! He spoke about how our purpose as missionaries, really as disciples of Christ, is not about us. It is about helping others around us. Jesus Christ was truly the most selfless person ever, and we are suppose to be like him! We need to be converted to him! And that does not just mean having a testimony! That is something that I have realized while I am here. A testimony will only get you so far. You truly have to love Jesus Christ with your whole heart and follow Him. Be converted unto him! Look out, not in! Don't be selfish, but seek to serve everyone around you. Conversion means consistently being true to what you know. Be converted to the Lord and always be true to Him! And the way to convert to the Lord is to turn away from the natural man. That scripture in Mosiah is indeed powerful, not just some scripture mastery that we are suppose to learn. Look in the scriptures often, not with yourself in mind, but with others and how you can help them! It will change your entire scripture study experience. I challenge everyone who reads this to evaluate their lives and ask God, "Am I on the right path? Do I want to follow the Lord's example and learn to love others before myself?" If you think you are, then just keep taking steps on the path. Becoming converted to the Lord doesn't happen over night. It is a long slow process over a lifetime. And that is why we must constantly be true to Him!
I love you all and I want you to know that deciding to serve a mission is truly the best, though hardest thing of my entire life. It has already changed me and made me truly be on the path to be converted to the Lord.
Hermana Rachel Douglas
Costa Rica San Jose West Mission