Thursday, February 14, 2013

MTC - Week 5 - Happy Valentine's Day

"Time doesn't seem to pass here. It just is."
-Samwise Gamgee

Well, I'm at my one month mark in two days. Life doesn't really seem real - ever. Which is good. I feel like time goes by so fast; but at the same time, I feel like I've been gone for years. I saw so many people from Kaysville/Davis this week. Every time I saw someone it was just like "Oh, hey. What's up?" Like it was no big deal or weird to see them. I see Landon Bybee all the time (I told him to text you I love you). He and Matt Smith both work here at the MTC. Oh my gosh. It was SO good to see Matty Smith! :) He was waiting for Jen to pick him up from work so I got to see and give her a hug. They are beautiful people. I'm so happy they ended up together.

This week was definitely an emotional roller coaster. I was either really happy/loving life or extremely frustrated/discouraged.  The first couple of weeks here were SO good. I felt like Spanish was coming along great. 

My district was fabulous. We were having so much fun together. And then last week, I realized we were probably having too much fun. We weren't really taking things too seriously or studying as hard as we should. Slowly our progress with Spanish was slowing down. It was too easy to get distracted because we are all such good friends. I decided last week that I would really try to study as hard as I could in both personal study and language study.But ever since I've really been trying to be obedient/follow the rules/stay productive, I've felt like the mission has gotten WAY harder.

On Saturday, after gym, Hermana Smith was in the shower so I had some alone time in our room for about 5 minutes. It had already been a long, hard day and we still had another 3 hour class, an hour of language study and then more additional study. I was feeling really discouraged and thought I'd take advantage of the quiet time and say one of the most sincere, shortest prayers of my life. I simply said, "Heavenly Father. I can't do this without you. Please help me to feel peace that I can learn this language, be successful with this mission and know that you are helping me."

When we got to class, our teacher said, "Change of plans. Instead of language today, we are going to read out of Jacob 5. The only verses I want you to focus on are 70-72."  We all thought it was pretty weird that he had to spend the next 30 minutes on three verses but as I started reading, I KNEW it was an answer to my prayer...

70: And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.
71: And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.
72: And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; AND THE LORD OF THE VINEYARD LABORED ALSO WITH THEM; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.
Hi?! If that's not an answer to a prayer, I don't know what is. And how FREAKING AWESOME that it talks about serving in THE VINEYARD. VINA DEL MAR-VINEYARD BY THE SEA. Yeah, stoked! I was stoked!  But that's not all....THEN in class we watched a youtube video called 

"Missionary Work and the Atonement" by Holland and Eyring. 

PLEASE go and watch it. 
"I invite ALL of you" to go and watch this video.

"Why is this so hard?...I've thought about it a great deal...I offer this as my feeling...I am convinced that Missionary Work is not easy because Salvation is not a cheap experience. Salvation was NEVER easy. We are The Church of Jesus Christ. This is the truth...Why would we believe, why would we think that it would be easy for us when it was NEVER, EVER easy for Him. In turn, how could we possibly bear any moving, lasting testimony of the atonement if we've never known or felt anything of such an must be prepared to walk something of the path He walked...if the missionaries can come to love and appreciate their mission, the atonement will carry them. " 
                                                                                                             -Elder Holland

This video was made for missionaries, but in reality, I think Elder Holland's words apply to everyone.  This life was not made to be easy. We ALL will feel pain, sorrow, doubt, and loneliness in this life. I know this mission will not be easy. I know that learning Spanish will be difficult. Working 18 hours a day, is a LONG day. Losing Daddy Scott is still hard for me. Not a day goes by that I don't think about him. But I know that if I ever start feeling lonely, like I can't do it anymore, He is with me and will give me the strength to carry on. I know that is true for everyone. I believe that we are NOTHING without Him.  
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever" Alma 26:12

This church is awesome. This gospel is true. I love my companion. She is perfect for me. We leave a week from Monday. I am PRAYING that my new companion will be as patient and loving as Hermana Smith. I will miss this girl. We report the travel office at 3:30 am Monday, February 25. Our plane leaves at 6 am. We get the rest of our travel plans later today when the mail comes. So... 

If anyone wants to write me any more handwritten letters, 
please send them by next Thursday!

You are all beautiful people and I'm so thankful for all the love and support I receive from friends and family. 
I love you all. Think you're great. Give yourselves two kisses from me for Valentine's Day. 
I'll send some pictures home later when we're doing laundry.

All my love,
Hermana Pendleton

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