Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Is it Wednesday already?!

The time here is FLYING by. It's crazy. I seriously feel like it was just barely P-day!

Anyway, this week Elder Harman said something that was SO true. He said that he can't remember what it was like not knowing all of us in the district and that he can't imagine life without knowing us. Everyone was like "Yeah! That is so true!" and I was just thinking how always whenI move to a new place, that's how I know I have become adjusted- when I can't remember not knowing people. It's awesome. I'm so glad so many of the people in my district are going to Yakima, because I'm really going to miss these days. It's kind of like EFY all the time but like times 1000.

Another thing that I've noticed being here is that everyone is starting to look so much older! I was looking at some of our pictures from the first week and we looked like babies! And the new district that came this week all looked so young too! It's so crazy how much people mature in the MTC. Also, Elder Rogers is HILARIOUS. The other day at lunch he was telling us these stories about when he was going hunting with his dad and I thought I was going to throw up from laughing so hard!!

District Selfies!!!

Thank you family for my awesome letters! And also a few more people, but I can't remember exactly who...all the days are starting to blur together. Anyway, THANKS! Also, Elder Harman and Elder Rogers and I all three got word from our moms last week that all three of them are now friends on Facebook. It's pretty weird but awesome. It's fun to kind of have this little joke between us about our moms being besties. It's also really a weird thought though that we all three know each other, and we all three know our moms and our moms all three know each other and know us, but they don't know each other's kids.... if that makes sense. Ha ha! That’s just how my brain works. 

Another insight that was said this week by Hermana Aldrich was that it's so cool to think about how many people have been through this MTC. We have had people from at least every continent on Earth, and from hundreds of countries! This week alone I have met 4 British guys, a German guy, a Swedish guy, and a guy from Samoa. There's also an Elder from Georgia who keeps showing up everywhere I am and getting all excited when he sees me. The hermanas like to tease me about him having a crush on me. What can I say? I'm adorable. A couple of people have been calling me Texas which is awesome, because it was my nickname in high school. 

Okay, random hilarious thing- there's this tree right outside of the building where my classroom is and nobody knows why or how or who figured it out, but it smells like cream soda! There's this one particular spot on it that smells so strongly of cream soda and it is so weird. I was going to take a picture of it but I forgot. Next week! I just think it's hilarious, because people have apparently known it smells like cream soda for decades, but who figured that out? Were they just going around smelling all the trees on campus one day? It's so great.

 My name badge

 The back of my badge, with my "dork dot" (used to signify new missionaries the first week)

If anyone is wondering about the grace/works ratio for going to heaven, read John 15:11. It's so good! I love theology. Maybe I'll be a seminary teacher if I grow up.  I'm also trying to learn more about humility, because I've been really struggling with that lately. It’s so easy to get a little prideful at times, after we teach a really good lesson or something, and then God is like NOPE!! and has to bring me back down a little. It's good to have confidence but not be cocky. It's actually been very funny, because my journal entries the last week have been like that part in Tangled right after Rapunzel leaves the tower and she's running around like "This is awesome!" "I'm a horrible person..." "I love being free!" "I am the worst daughter ever". Ha ha!

Rainbow Trees!

 Christmas Lights!!!

Thursday night was really bad. We had the worst lesson ever with our “investigator” Olga. She wants to believe in God, but doesn't , and we were trying to help her see the blessings that He has given her and all the ways that he is involved in her life. She told us she had a lot of struggles and problems in her childhood. So I (in an attempt to level with her, seem empathetic, and give her some hope for the future) told her that I had some really hard trials in my childhood too, and that even though I don't wish they had happened, looking back I can understand the important life lessons I have learned because of it and how much the Gospel has helped me get past them. Then she got really upset and offended and told us that she was physically and sexually abused as a child and that she has PTSD and that she's not grateful for what we learned from it. My companion started crying, and I was overwhelmed with guilt. That was not at all the response I was going for.

Suddenly the pretend investigator Olga personality turned into the real Olga, and she said "You want to cry? Why?" and then I just burst into tears. I just felt like a failure. I told her my favorite thing to do is to help people and that I tend to be a perfectionist sometimes, and that now I not only didn't help, but I made her dig up all this deep nasty stuff from her past and feel like I was belittling her pain. I learned my lesson that I need to go way deeper when getting to know investigators and be extremely, extremely careful with the language, because I think I must have worded my Spanish wrong and that's why she got offended.

So anyway, my confidence was shot for a few days over the weekend. I got a couple of blessings and prayed and studied my scriptures more than ever before. I have been feeling a little lost. It's important to not think about myself too much and focus on serving others, so I won't feel homesick. But I'm starting to really miss Alison. Hermana Knight, is pretty awesome, but I really need to let Alison shine a little more. My companion and I share a lot of the same talents (music and Spanish are my only exceptions) so I haven't really had the opportunity to use these things I'm good at, or feel very needed.

On Monday night we had another lesson with Olga and went in with the simplest plan ever. First, apologize for making her feel unimportant or like her feelings aren’t important, Second, share our love for her, and third, tell her that we understand that she wants to feel God's love, and that we can bear our testimonies as much as we can, and we can share as many personal stories that we know, but the only way she's going to know for herself that He is here, and that He has always been here, is if she asks him. She needed to pray. AND IT WORKED. OLGA PRAYED HALLELUJA. It was amazing. AMAZING. I have never felt the spirit stronger. It took a little bit of convincing but she prayed and it was perfect. My companion was bawling her eyes out, and I was just laughing with joy. It was so sweet to see this amazing change that came upon her. After she finished we asked her how she felt and she said that she feels like her past is really hard still and her future is a little scary and unknown, but that she feels like, right now she can have peace, and that everything is okay. Then I shared the song "All is well with her" It was amazing. 

That night I went home and read all my old journal entries, and songs I have written from the last year or so, and it was so weird it was like coming home or something, like "oh yeah, this is who I am. This is Alison". I realized that the last few days the whole reason I had been struggling was because I was missing myself (if that makes sense). I want to continue focusing on others and their needs, and have a servant's heart, but I also want to make sure I am using my talents that are uniquely me. I am compassionate, I am stubborn (a talent!), I stick up for the underdog, I am a good listener. I have a lot to offer that I have been holding back. 

Elder Buchanan is a doll! 

 This is actually hilarious because the wall is half brown and half white and so is Hermana Naulu!

Trying to write on the chalkboard upside down

All of us missionaries in the district have started this awesome new idea, kind of like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, except it’s a journal. We bought a big journal and we are all bearing our testimonies in the front, and then we are all going to send it around to each other every p-day after we leave the MTC. Like a district journal! There are 8 of us in the states, (unfortunately we can't send it to Elders Rogers and Farley in Ecuador), so one of us will have it each week. Meaning, we will each get to write in it once every 8 weeks. I hope that makes sense... it's such a cool idea. Elder Harman came up with it. It's genius! We're each going to just write a recent spiritual experience, a little bit about our life right then, and our favorite scripture. I'm really excited about it!

Anyway, I have to go now so I have time to send pics. Love you all so, so much. SUPERAR!

Love, Hermana Alison Knight

 Hermanas Knight and Naulu

 Hermanas Aldrich and Knight

Goodbye, Hermana Laursen! 

 Goodbye, Hermana Allen!

Goodbye, Hermana Douglas!  

 Goodbye, Hermana Waterlyn!

Goodbye, Hermanas Calel, Connolly and Hulme! 

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