Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Days Feel Like Weeks and the Weeks Feel Like Days

Hola todos mis amigos y familia. Me amo mucho! 

This week was pretty good for me. Most of the time it was really, really good, but a few days I was just so tired!!!

Thanks to everyone who has been writing me! I have gotten 2-3 letters every day this week! My district is always so amazed when we open the mailbox! Thank you so, so much. Seriously, it is so encouraging and so sweet. I can't think of everyone who sent me letters right now but I'm trying to write each of you back as I get a few free minutes here and there. My little Sunbeams at church (3 year old class) drew me pictures! They are on my wall next to my bed, along with pictures of my family and friends, my favorite guitar pic, and a picture of my dogs :) Also, feel free to write emails if you want to. I can print them out on Wednesday mornings and then have a little time in the afternoon to respond.

The other day we did show and tell with our district, and everyone brought pictures of their families and friends, etc. A bunch of the Elders are obsessed with Libbie now. They're like “WHOA! WHO IS THAT BLONDE GIRL?!?! SHE IS SO BEAUTIFUL!" Ha-ha it was so funny. I'm really beginning to love all the kids in my district. They are all so different but so awesome. Elder Buchanan has the most hilarious laugh I have ever heard! Plus everyone is getting sick and losing their voices right now so his voice keeps cracking when he laughs, and it makes it 100 times funnier! So far I haven't really gotten sick, besides the fact that the food here is bleh and the air is so dry. But my district as a whole could definitely use some prayers for health! Four elders slept through gym time yesterday, and that's a big deal because we love to all play volleyball together. I'm chugging Emergen-C and Airborne like crazy, so hopefully I won’t get sick.

My district (from top left) Rogers, Farley, Buchanan, Harman, Cordon, Morrison, 
Knight, Aldrich, Alexander, and Naulu

We got to go to the temple this morning, so that was super fun. They actually have a cafeteria downstairs where we got to eat breakfast after we were done and the bacon was amazing! My dad would be so pleased.

Spanish is going SO GOOD! The gift of tongues is for real! I'm basically fluent, and by that I mean I'm fluent in all the basics. Haha! But I'm getting better. We actually had a really cool experience the other day where a random girl just walked into our classroom and was pretending to be an investigator asking us questions. And I was just talking back to her like it was nothing. Everyone else in the district was just like "uh what?" And then she asked the question of how can we feel God's love when we read the Bible if there is so much war in it. Then it was crazy--my companion just started speaking fluent Spanish out of the blue, and she told this really amazing analogy of a tunnel. She said it's like being lost in this long dark tunnel and you're scared and alone and sad and just wanting to find the light, when all of the sudden you see this tiny little light way off in the distance, so you start running towards it. The closer you get, the bigger and brighter it gets, and when you reach the end of the tunnel it consumes you. You feel so much joy and peace and happiness. Then she paused for a minute because she realized she was speaking perfect Spanish, and the "investigator" was crying. Then I piped up again, because I realized the moral of the story. I said "If you didn't experience the darkness, you wouldn't appreciate or understand the light." and then I started crying, too, because the spirit was so strong in the room! Everyone was just staring at my companion in disbelief. It was so, so, so, so, so cool!!! She has never studied any Spanish before the MTC and has been really struggling, so I know it was only through the grace of God that she was able to speak that well. It was SO COOL. 

Another really amazing realization we had this week was last night at a devotional. Someone said "Joseph Smith's first vision is the first missionary work in our day. Joseph was the first investigator, he had the same questions as investigators now do. And Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were the first missionary companionship of this dispensation. Their answers to him were the same answers we help our investigators find." It was an amazing realization, because I literally wear Jesus' name on my chest every day. My name tag says "Hermana Knight" AND "Jesus Christ" on it, because I am literally a representative of him. It is such a powerful thought. (For more information about Joseph Smith and this vision, click here.)

I've been studying a lot lately about some deeper doctrine stuff because we have a pretend investigator named Olga who likes to ask really, really hard questions. She doesn't believe in God, but we are still making some decent progress anyway. She understands all the basics like the first vision, the atonement, the apostasy, etc. But she asked us “Why do you pray to God and your church is the church of Jesus Christ? Why isn't it the Church of God?" So anyway, now I'm learning so much about the deep doctrine of Christ as our mediator between us and Heavenly Father. If you have the chance look up some of the verses in the Topical Guide for "Jesus, Mediator." It is truly fascinating. I'm so glad we have an investigator like that, because I love an intellectual and theological challenge. 

The first district in our zone left this week. It was so sad!! We don't get to see the people in other districts too often, but we do have church services on Sundays, and nightly devotionals with all the other people in our zone. So it was still hard to say goodbye, especially to these two sisters, Hermana Jarvis, and Hermana Bower. They were my trainers here at the MTC, so I'm really going to miss them.

Now that the other district left I'm the only pianist in our zone! I am playing hymns all the time. It's a good thing I was playing for my Institute class the last few months so I got a lot of practice reading hymns. This Sunday I'm playing four new hymns and accompanying a musical number. At first it was little stressful, but I'm actually really enjoying it because I get to take a break from study time for about a half hour every day to go practice piano. That really relaxes me and helps me feel God's love. 

Speaking of music helping me feel God's love, I had a really cool experience last week. We were having a devotional with the entire MTC on Sunday, and for the opening song we sang "Onward Christian Soldiers." IT WAS SO COOL. Like 3000 missionaries all singing this Christian anthem together in an auditorium. It was so powerful. I was getting choked up through the whole thing. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be a part of such an important cause. 

I also wrote a song about my time here so far which was pretty fun but made me miss Dolly (my guitar) so much! Also I'm losing my (guitar-playing) calluses, and I'm very upset about it. :( My branch president thinks I'm like the coolest person ever though because I know how to play the mandolin.

The last thing I wanted to say is that my companion is having a bit of a hard time right now. She's just struggling with some different things, I don't want to say any details, but I wanted to ask that all of you could send a special prayer out for her. Please and thank you! 

I think that's about everything. I'm having a good time here and trying to enjoy every day to the fullest. Thanks for all the love and support. Keep the letters coming!! I love you all!

Love, Alison 

Knight, Aldrich, Bower, and Naulu

 Goodbye Sister Bower! I will miss you!

 Class time

 The view from my seat in class

Our chalkboard 

Our classroom

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