Saturday, October 26, 2013

Letter #2 Sister Volmer made STL

Hello Family
     I just have to say, I am not the same girl you dropped off at the airport nine days ago. I'm not. I feel so different. It's the weirdest thing but I feel so different, I act different, and I just feel changed...and I hope I can keep it up :) I'm worried I'm going to go back to the way I was before when I get off my mission, but I doubt it. 
     So, anyways, This week has been insane! When they say the MTC is a roller coaster, they aren't lying! I've never felt such awesome highs or learned from such lows. Last Saturday, I was just feeling like a stinker. I wasn't necessarily depressed or sad, I was just kind of fed up with myself. It's hard to get used to having to make sure your companion is with you all the time, and I just kept thinking "I'm going to be doing this for eighteen months???....are you crazy??" I was just being annoying inside my own head and I decided I needed to focus more, but couldn't. Sister Child (one of us four sisters in my district) was having the same problem, except she was more homesick and couldn't focus. So we asked the elders in our district to give us blessings. Elder Banks, (Our Scottish district leader) gave Sister Child a blessing that was beautiful, and then I asked Elder Straub to give me mine. It was insanely amazing. I love dad's blessings, but it was a totally different experience for me to have a brand new elder, who knew so little about me, give me a blessing that was absolutely everything I needed to hear. My respect for the priesthood has grown so much here at the MTC. After Saturday night, we all became super close as a district. 
    Everyone says that once you get to Sunday, you're fine. They say it's a day of rest. They... LIED!!!! It was the busiest Sunday of my life! But that was mainly because Sis. Horne and I got called as the new Sister Training Leaders of our zone. (The STL's are the sister version of Zone Leaders out here in the field) Yep, only five days in and I was already an STL....can you say stressful?? But I love it :) It's helped me to get to know all the Sisters in our zone soooo well and I love all of them so much! Sunday night was a devotional, and then we watched the most amazing talk by David A Bednar called The Character of Christ. It was phenomenal, and I'm pretty sure it's not open to the public, but it seriously changed the way I look at Christ and how I need to follow him. Let's just say that selflessness is key. It makes it so much easier to choose to serve others now, and it has been such a blessing. I got to sit next Tanner throughout the whole talk. I see him pretty much every day and we always talk. He's doing really well and picking up Russian, but he says it's really hard to teach his Progressive Investigator (PI) when they have no idea what they are saying.
We have been talking with our PI a lot and struggling to get him to progress. We finally made some headway this week when I told him more about myself and made the lesson more personal. He really felt the spirit and he finally prayed to see if God is there for him and he got an answer! So we are moving forward slowly. We teach him for the last time tomorrow.
     The Most amazing thing happened with our TRC this week!!!! (TRC's are investigators that are either actors, or actual investigators and we have to teach them twice) So Sis. Horne and I have been struggling a little bit with balance when it comes to teaching together. Sis Horne struggles with feeling the spirit during PI's and roll play because it doesn't feel real to her, but she really felt it when we were teaching our TRC Ballinda. So the first time we taught Ballinda I was terrified because our old zone leaders, Elder Forson and Menasie told us she was really hard. We were a little scattered, and I was kind of scared because she had no religious background whatsoever because she is from Singapore. Those are hard because she doesn't know anything about the bible or anything. So the first time we were with her we told her about who God and Jesus were and we explained the restoration. She even accepted a Book of Mormon. She seemed a little distant and unresponsive, but it went ok. We decided we couldn't act afraid with her anymore and that we needed to be bold and get to know her better, so yesterday when we went in to teach her again, we really got to know her. It was amazing. She is really such an incredible lady. She is SO smart and she is a computer programmer, and she donates a lot to charity, and she travels a ton. She had lots of fun stories. But at the end of the lesson, we got the biggest shocker ever!! We asked her if she had read the book of Mormon a little since we had been there. And in her cute Asian accent she said "Oh  yes. I read whole book." Our mouths literally fell open. I very tentatively asked "So how did the book make you feel?" and she simply said. "I know book is true." I wanted to bounce up and down in my chair and start elbowing Sis. Horne, but I stayed composed. So I said, "Ballinda, if you believe this book is true, does that mean that you believe that Joseph was a true prophet and this church is true, and Christ really did atone for us, and that God loves you." she paused and then nodded really slowly. She told us she prayed about the book, and it seemed shine to her and she knew it was true! So Sis Horne and I looked at each other all excited and I said. "So now that you believe that our message is true, will you follow the Savior's example and be baptized?"......... SHE SAID YES!!!!!! Oh my gosh we were on cloud nine! After we finally finished up and said goodbye, and told her that other missionaries would teach her a bit more before she got baptized, I just started dancing in the hall. Sis Horne thought I was nuts, but I was soooooo excited. Elder Banks and Elder Mateer just stared at me like I was crazy because I couldn't stop smiling and just babbling about the whole thing. hahaha. It was so great! Now we just have to get our PI to accept it too!
     I love my district so much. We are exactly like a family, and I can't imagine leaving the MTC and not being with them all. We tease each other like crazy, and laugh, and joke around a lot, and sometimes we bicker like little kids. They are some of my best friends now and I know I'm just going to be heart broken when we have to split off next week. Elder Banks (from Scotland) is such a character. He acts all serious and pessimistic but he's really a huge softy! he likes to sit in the corner of the room and sing Taylor Swift and Madonna songs to himself. He is such a serious person...except when he isn't. It's so funny. He wears plaid ties, and I've seen pics from the other elders of him prancing around in a lion onsie at night with a bag of pretzels and a Scottish flag. Elder Mateer seemed like a really serious guy at first, but he's opening up a lot. At the beginning he hated to sing, and now he is the one who sings the loudest during hymn singing in class and he always wants to sing We thank thee oh god for a prophet. His accent is hilarious and adorable. He keeps picking up American terms and then when he realizes it he hangs his head in shame. It's super funny, but I think he likes becoming Americanized. He definitely likes the fries and burgers in the cafeteria. Elder Griggs is a goofball and he takes creeper videos and pics of us in class. He keeps all of us entertained with his loud laughing. Him and Elder Mateer are the new Zone Leaders. The four of us had to welcome in 8 new elders into our zone this week, and that was a lot of fun to meet them all and give them a tour. Elder Straub is a sweetheart and he looks like the black haired kid from meet the Robinsons. He gave me the best blessing and he's got the sense of humor that is always surprising. Sis Child is like our mom. She wakes us up in the morning on time and helps me with laundry and she's super protective of all of us. She is hilarious and has the funnies and most sarcastic sense of humor...she is seriously so nurturing and mommy-ish. Sis Horne reminds me of Katie Hansen a lot. She likes to be very clean and healthy, and she gave sis Child and me the most disgusted look when she saw me tasting Sis Child's soup to see if I liked it. hahaha so funny. Sis Robertson is a petite ball of funny energy. She is so quirky and fun and she's really into running. She runs around the track at the top of the gym while Sis Child and I play volleyball with the elders. Volleyball with the elders is funny, because they don't expect us to have better technique than they do, but we do. They hardly know what they are doing and Sis Child and I totally poned them. Sis Love, Sis Trip, and Sis Cochrine, the other sisters in our zone hang out with us sisters a lot and we are like a huge girl group of friends and we have so much fun together.
    Today at the temple we ran into our mission president, President McCune, who just happened to be there trying to receive revelation on who to pair us up with for companions and which areas we should be sent...coincidence?..... I think NOT!  It was great to meet him and his wife. They were so sweet!
     Thank you for all the mail and packages! I've loved hearing from all of  you and I wish I could write you all back as much as you write me. I feel kind of bad I can't respond to everyone! I'm just so busy! So please understand that if I could write more I would! Elder Banks, because he's our district leader, always goes and gets the mail for our district, and every time he comes back to class he says "Volmer! You have more fan mail!" and everyone groans as he hands me at least two to three letters a day, I swear you guys spoil me!!! If you want to dear elder some of the missionaries in my district by Saturday or Sunday, it should get to them before we leave on Tuesday afternoon. Sis Horne, especially, she's my companion and I think she would like it :) Unless you can't because you don't know her first name...but hopefully. Or send one to Sis Child, Sis Robertson, Elder Straub, Elder Banks, Elder Mateer, or Elder Griggs. haha I think it would be funny for them to get mail from my family, especially when they see you writing me so much. :)
    So, sorry this email was super duper long, I just have had so much to say. This week has been the most insanely humbling week ever. I know that this gospel is true, I've seen the light come into people's eyes as they have shared their testimonies or as they first realize that it's true. It is the best feeling ever to watch someone as they accept that the Lord truly loves them, and for them to realize what they can become through faith in Him. I've learned so much about consecrating myself to this work. I've given the Lord my mouth so he can speak through me, my mind so that he can teach through my knowledge, and my heart so that he can love through me. I've learned to love people automatically and see them for who they are as God's children. I love this gospel. This mission is the best possible thing for me right now, and I'm loving every second of it. Please help in the work. There is no greater happiness than watching as this gospel blesses our spiritual siblings, and they come to know the truth.
     I love you all so much. I miss you like crazy! My companion and all the sisters in my residence love to look through my little photo album full of family and friends, and the picture of my family on the wall. I think about you every day and I pray for all of you! I've loved hearing about all the sports games, and birthdays, and Halloween costume ideas, and new jobs, and the babies, and just everything! Please keep me up to date.
Again I love you all! Stay safe, and the church is true!
Love Forever,
Sister Volmer  (Lenise)

p.s. hopefully my camera cord works and I can send pictures...  Note: Lenise was unable to send pictures. 

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