Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hola from the MTC! And adios!

Today is my last day here at the MTC! My Spanish has improved a lot, but is still nowhere near perfection. But they have video-taped some of lessons that Hermana Tapia and I taught, and I have no news of them postponing me, so I guess I must have been good enough! I'm heading out to Oregon tomorrow at 8:30am.

I found out that I would also be coming home December 8th, 2014. I guess they did take into account that I was originally supposed to be here a month ago!
My district and I are super-duper tight. We've exchanged emails and plan on having an MTC reunion but we will see how that goes.

Like I've mentioned last week, the language continues to be my biggest struggle. It is a battle that I fight from 6:30am in the morning to 10:30pm at night, and it is truly exhausting/frustrating. However,  I never get discouraged. I never wish that I was in an easier class. This may sound totally missionary-like and slightly corny, but this past couple of weeks have really reminded me about the war in Heaven and how we chose to come down here to Earth. Sure, it would have been really easy if we decided to stay as Spirit children with Heavenly Father, but would good would that have been? Would good would it have been if we were like...spirit-teens, perfectly capable of going out to the world, getting a job, earning experience, still living in Heavenly Father's "basement"? There'd be no progression! We were sent down here because it WOULD be hard. To gain experience. To gain a body. To progress. To LEARN. I know that if I continue to have faith in Jesus Christ, pray always, read frequently. study hard, work with all my heart, might, mind and strength, I will be able to have the Spirit with me, and not only to guide me with the language, but also to show me the way to Heavenly Father's presence.

My branch presidency is a POWERHOUSE. They have made it perfectly clear what it means to be a missionary. They have shown me what it takes to be a good missionary. I want to share with you all what they have told me: "Obedience brings blessings, perfect obedience brings miracles." (I think that's from Sister Beck, Relief Society President). And right now I could really use some miracles. I'm sure you all can, too! Do what you know to be true and right, and I know we will see some changes in our lives that can only be called miraculous. They all know of my struggle with the language. I'm literally the only one in my entire ZONE who did not ever live in a foreign country or grew up in a Spanish-speaking home, and they know that I feel inadequate. My branch president pulled me aside and told me this: "Change is a process, not an event." He said I will be just fine. My first counselor, Brother Nillson, also pulled me aside. Now, just imagine the voice of Elder Holland, but it's only directed at YOU. Same volume, same tone. He wrote two numbers on the board: a 0 and a 5. He pointed to the 0 - "What does this mean, Hermana?" ... "I have no idea, Brother Nillson." and he said, "This is the number of people who have been baptized just because their missionaries spoke perfect Spanish. Hermana, YOU have been called of God on this mission. YOU have been called to serve the people of OREGON and YOU are going to change their lives forever. YOU have been given the gift of tongues, and YOU WILL LEARN THE LANGUAGE...ok?" and I, just counting my blessings that I went to the bathroom just before this conversation, said "Yes...I mean Si..." And then he pointed to the 5,  "Now, what does this number represent?" ..."I have no idea...." and he said, "This is the number of months it took even the WORST missionary to learn the language." There was a pause, then he continued, "and you know what? that missionary was ME. "

And he shook my hand, smiled, said, "You will be just fine, Hermana." and left.

I knew God worked through other people, but it has never been so obvious as it has been these past couple of weeks. I'm excited to go to Oregon, in hopes that God works through me to bring other people through their trials and to invite them to come unto Christ.
Time's short!

Con amor,
Hermana Blanchard

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