Can you believe I've been here over a week now? Actually that makes it sound like I haven't been here long, when in reality I think I've been here for months! Time is SO different in the MTC, I don't even know how to describe it. EXCITING NEWS OF THE WEEK! Guess who was the speaker for my FIRST Tuesday devotional?? Elder Holland!! Nobody knows who the speaker is going to be until he walks in the room. Before he came in, the MTC president got up and said, "Now I know sometimes it is hard to be quiet when someone exciting walks into the room, but for future reference, please maintain the reverence of the atmosphere and do not disturb the peace when visitors enter the hall' and then he sat down...I guess we should've been expecting someone big, but I totally thought he was just saying that in general for future reference. But then...in walks Elder Holland! I couldn't help but gasp as the whole room stood up to welcome one of our great apostles, and probably a favorite for most missionaries. Needless to say...the Spirit, which is already prominent at the MTC, just EXPLODED when he walked into the room. Oh! And I was in the choir and we got to sing for him! Come Thou Fount. Wow. Enough said?
Choir in and of itself was a fantastic experience, and one of my favorites so far at the MTC. The director is an institute teacher and teaches a class specifically based on the hymns of the church. During rehearsal on Sunday he talked to us a lot about the meaning behind Come Thou Fount. He talked about the people of Ebenezer who originally raised up a stone in remembrance of their choice to turn their hearts and their lives completely over to God. "Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I come..." Just gorgeous. And the mount, our director believes, represents Golgotha. "Praise the mount I'm fixed upon it." So ultimately this song is about turning out hearts to the Lord, and right now our missions are like our personal Ebenezer that we are raising to stand as a testimony for the rest of our lives that we are committed the the Lord and to the pursuit of eternal life.
Back to the devotional...as soon as the opening prayer was said and the song sung, everyone burst out their paper and pens in anxious preparation to listen to Elder Holland. He spoke powerfully and bluntly and in love towards us. You can tell he is passionately interested in missionary work and the missionaries. He said that the Brethren expect A LOT from us, and they don't apologize. But in the end the only thing they absolutely require of us, is ONE convert. And that one convert is our own selves. He wants us to come home from missions CHANGED...never to go back to who we were before. Even if we were great people, we were a "young great." He says that we have to be and do what we expect our investigators to be and do.
The other thing I felt strongly this week was Christ's power to heal us. We watched a video in relief society of Christ administering to the American people after his resurrection. It showed him healing the physical infirmities of the people, and I realized more strongly then I ever have, that Christ can heal us completely. He can heal those wounds and those pains that no one else can see. HE CAN HEAL US. I know this with all my heart. He is waiting for us to reach to him.
I am out of time but more coming soon! I love you all so much and appreciate your prayers. I need every single one! Japanese is incredibly difficult but the Lord is with me and I am learning so much every day. To answer some questions....there are 11 of us in my district and in my class. 4 sisters and 7 Elders. They are all amazing and I am learning from each of them. The Elders can get incredibly goofy sometimes!