Sunday, November 8, 2015

Last Week of the MTC...what?!

Hello Pamilya!!!

Can you believe this is my last week?! This right here is my last Friday in the MTC! I CANNOT believe how fast it's gone by! By the time I get to the field, I'll have 16 1/2 months left. I'll be home before you know it!

This week has just been about the same as usual - 9 hours of study in the same classroom everyday (ugh...), meals in between (which no one wants anyways because it's like cruise food - there's so much of it you get sick of it pretty fast), devotionals, skyping Philippinos, spending the whole day long looking forward to the end of the day when you get to go back to sleep... and the beloved cycle continues over and over. 

Yesterday we had our In-Field Orientation. It's just a general seminar for all of the missionaries leaving on their missions within the week - and it lasted 10 hours. My life has been glazed over after being in the MTC so long. It's like everything before today was a weird dream. I cannot wait to get to the airport and be in the real world again!!!!!!!! GET ME OUT OF HERE!

Seriously though, the MTC isn't that bad. Leaving will be bittersweet. I love it, it's just super monotonous. And 9 hours of class a day isn't exactly a Disneyland trip. And we're exhausted 24/7, and oh my HEAVENS there are way too many rules. And, you know, everyone gets just a little bit more insane with each day passing, but all in all it's not too bad. I really do love it here and will be sad to leave. 

We got our Travel Itineraries this week!!!!!!! YES YES YES!!! So here's the plan:

Leave MTC.......................................................3:30 am (kill me now)
Salt Lake City- LAX - United Airlines ..................7:35-8:40am 
Call Home - Yipppeee!!!......................................
LAX - Hong Kong (what?!) - Cathay Pacific..........12:25-7:05pm
Hong Kong - Manila Philippines - Cathay Pacific...8:05pm-10:10pm

Arrive in Philippino airport and drive for 2 hours through crazy Manila traffic to MTC.....who know what time because we're traveling into the future:)

So that's it folks! After a couple of days in Manila to get our visas figured out, we're either flying to Tacloban, or flying to Cebu and boating to Tacloban. Not sure yet. I'm sending another email from my mission president in case you didn't get it already about plans when we hit Tacloban. 

As far as flights go, our whole zone and our districts are going to be split up for the Salt Lake to LA flight, but we'll all be together for the other flights and together in the midst of going into crazy Manila city. We'll be able to stick together. 

This Sunday we watched a talk that Elder Holland gave at the MTC several years ago. I think it was called Missions are For Life. He is a great man. Half the time all us missionaries are cringing in our seats because he's yelling at us (in a good and loving way:) ), and then the next half we're cracking up.  It was so good. All about how we have a year and a half to serve our missions with all our hearts and then the rest of our life to think about it. I LOVED IT! 

This week has been super spiritual for me. I've learned a lot and my testimony has strengthened. The biggest thing I've learned all week is that it is good to question. The world can be confusing and the plan can be confusing, so stick with the basics and what you know to be true, don't ever forget them, and then dig deeper. Find out what you don't know and the answers to all of your questions. 

A couple of days ago, Brother Pasikala (I don't know if I've described him before. He is one of the coolest guys I've ever met. He's a DJ, his name is DeeJay..hahaha..., and he's an enthusiast of the Philippino people. He loves life), led our class in a deep doctrine discussion. Basically everyone threw out random questions they've always wondered and we all tried our best to answer them, or look up talks or scriptures on them. It was so cool! Brother Pasikala just broke down in sobs at the end bearing his testimony on how much he loves the Philippino's and how much he loves our Savior/ How much our Savior loves us and the Philippino people. It was definitely pretty insightful. 

Here is a story I'd like to share:

A little girl goes to her Father and says she wants a bike. 
He says, "Okay, save up as much as you can and we'll get you a bike." 
Over the next few months the Father gives her chores to do around the house to earn money for her bike. At the end of a couple months, she grabs her piggy bank full of coins to her Father and they go to the store to get her the bike. 
She sees the one she's always wanted and runs to it excitedly. 
However, when she looks at the price, she begins to cry. 
"What's wrong?" her father asks. 
"I don't have enough money and never will. It's too expensive". 

Then the Father says, "It's okay. You give me everything you have and I'll pay the rest". 

Christ paid the way for us. He expects us to give it all we've got but even after all we can do, we are saved through his grace and his sacrifice. He doesn't expect you to succeed in everything, but He does expect you to succeed in trying to. What's important to remember about this story is that, like the Father, Christ is with you every step of the way. He doesn't just sit back and watch you attempt to get it right. 

In a football game, He isn't the coach or the ref, but our Savior is the quarterback leading the team. 

This week I started reading the book Jesus the Christ. It is so good! I love learning more about the gospel that I never knew before. It's amazing how much more I'm getting from that book and the Book of Mormon and the Bible because I'm actually studying it, making sure it makes sense to me, and then moving on to the next section or the next chapter. 

Our of every single thing I've learned this week, this is the biggest one: If, throughout my life, I had always know what I know now, there never ever would have been a single moment where I would have not wanted to go on a mission. 

This week we had the opportunity to hear from Chad Lewis, a retired professional football player at BYU and return missionary. At one point he had a football friend of his get up and speak - Tayson was name. Tayson served a mission in Australia and his mission president told Chad that Tayson was the best missionary to ever serve in that entire country. One thing Tayson said was, "I've played in many stadiums and I can tell you that not one of them even compares to being on a mission". He told one story of a time where he was injured and was sitting on the sidelines with Chad. Both of them had been injured. They both looked up and in one of the box seats were 6 apostles. Hahaha even apostles like football games. They went up there and talked to all of them. One of the apostles told him, "Tyson, if the Lord needed you to be in this game, you would be. But he doesn't, so it's your job to figure out where that is.

When things get hard just remember  - "If it wasn't easy for Him, then why should it be for us?" - Holland. 

(This totally reminds me of one of my favorite Mormon Messages. It's by D. Todd Christopherson about the current bush. I can't remember what it's called. Look it up if you have time. It's really great. )

Chad spoke about that day as well. He had to sit on the sidelines during the Superbowl. After catching the winning point to help his team get there, he tore a ligament in his foot and couldn't play in the game he'd always dreamed of. He said he looked up, while sitting there on the sidelines, and in the stands saw his family. Right then and there he realized they were his Super Bowl. 

I cannot write in words how much I miss you all and how much I love you all!!!!!! Don't worry, it's going by really fast so I'll be home soon. This is such a good experience for me and for the rest of my life. I can't imagine going a day at home without thinking about my mission. And I haven't even been out to the field yet! Stay strong! You are loved! Don't ever ever forget it:)

Kiss Kiss

Hugs hugs

Sister Makenna Russon

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