Dear family and all else who reads this email, I'M A MISSIONARY!!!! I can hardly believe it! It's amazing and crazy and hard and wonderful and mind-blowing. I've been in the MTC for 5-ish days. Almost a week. I got here on Wednesday and I got my travel itinerary on Friday. That was weird. We just got here and they're already shipping us out. I'm the travel leader for all of the missionaries going to San Diego from the MTC on March19th. Basically it means I assign people companions if their compaion isn't already going and make sure we get there safely. I was feeling special until I realized my name was first in alphabetical order. Oh well. I'll make sure everyone gets there safely.
Thank you, Mom and Sis Balley for the Dear Elder letters! Those are awesome! They are just as good as a regular letter in the MTC. So, keep it up as long as I'm here. Sis Balley, thanks for the counsel and reminder that hard things are good for me and that I can do it.
So, about the MTC and my district and stuff: My district is made up of 6 elders and 6 sisters. That is AWESOME! There are so many sisters here right now. Apparently, this Sunday we had 1,154 sisters at Relief Society. I love my district. (Mom, PLEASE tell Neil (or at least make sure he reads this email) that my district/branch is 47. Please. It will make his day.) Of us six sisters, five are 19 and one is 20. We all get along. One of them, Sis Woomer is from McKinney, so I'm like "whoo! Texas!". But reverently, because I'm a missionary now. My companion's name is Sis Memmott. She's from Farmington, UT and we get along great! Our branch pres, President Whetton, assigned senior companions by last name alphabetically, so I'm the senior companion this week and starting Thursday Sis Memmott will be the senior companion. Oh, all of the sisters in my district are in the same room, which is cool, except it was made for 4 people, not 6. They just stuck an extra bunk bed in there. That's okay, but there's not enough room for all of our stuff. We just have suitcases all over the place. It's great. Ha.
More about the MTC this time: We wake up at 6:30 and then have 30 minutes to get ready before being in the classroom for companionship study/inventory. Can I just tell you that 30 minutes is NOT ENOUGH TIME to do EVERYTHING THEY ASK US TO! They tell us to bathe daily, wash our hair frequently, shave our legs, wear make-up, do our hair etc etc. I barely have time to wash my face, brush my teeth and get dressed! And then we get back at 9:30 and we have to have companionship inventory and then get ready for bed all before 10:15 when we have quiet time to reflect and write in our journals, pray etc. There is just no time to do everything they tell us to. It's frustrating because I'm trying to obey with exact obedience, but I can't because they don't give us enough time! Yesterday after Relief Society they had a new sister meeting where they went over dressing rules. They also talked about grooming. I felt like I spent half an hour being chastised on something I'm trying to do but can't because they DON'T GIVE US ENOUGH TIME. It was so hard. I had a breakdown and cried and cried at the beginning of personal study. The sisters in my district patted my back and talked about how hard it was, validating my feelings. Today is P-day, s I've had ample time to FINALLY DO EVERYTHING THEY WANT ME TO, and it feels so good.
My teachers are AWESOME! It's funny because they all work at BYU and I've seen people I know/recognize. One of my zone teachers was in my Math 110 class last year. And he remembered me, too. That was awesome. Sis Hardy and Bro Lyman are my classroom teachers. Theya re both so full of great ideas and information and they teach with the Spirit like crazy good. Sis Hardy pretends to be an investigator she met on her mission, Kristine, that Sis Memmott and I have taught twice. Our first lesson was pretty bad. We have to work on teaching simply and with the spirit. The second lesson went a LOT better. This one time in class she was pretending to be the missionary and I was role-playing Kristine. She did such an amazing job of teaching with the spirit and relating it to "me", that I was crying so hard! I even got her to cry, which apparently she doesn't do very often. It was so touching. I felt that the church is true, the BOM is true, and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. If I were an investigator, I would have committed to baptism, for sure. OH! This was cool, another teacher, Brother Starkie, that everyone loves, told us that the only reason we wouldn't invite someone to commit to baptism on the very first lesson is because we care more about ourselves than them. WOW. Also, he said that as soon as we stop teaching hte gospel simply and start adding on with our knowledge we stop teaching the gospel of Christ and start teaching the philosophies of men mingled with scripture. It was crazy inspiring.
We went to the temple this morning. The session was FULL of missionaries. There were about 10 people there that weren't missionaries, which was good because we need them.It was awesome being at the temple as a missionary. I've only been to the Provo temple to do baptisms for the dead, so it was a really neat experience. We took a district picture yesterday on our temple walk. I hope to have more time next week to send pictures. I don't have time to take very many. We can't take pictures in our classroom, which is where we spend most of our time.
I've seen Dakota Barber a few times! We got a picture in the laundry room today. It is SO COOL seeing him. I never thought I would see him in the MTC. Never thought I would be on a mission the same time as him. I've seen a few more people I know. It's great. Go missionaries!
My time is dangerously close to being up. I can't wait to email you again next week, this time hopefully with pictures! I love you! -Sister Bishop