Monday, October 21, 2013

Lenise's first LONG letter :)

Oct. 18, 2013
Hey family!!!!!!!

Well, guess what...I'm a missionary!!! It's crazy to think about, but it's true. I got here safely! I sat next to a really nice man on the plane who asked me a ton of questions about my mission and kept me sane...I might have been freaking out a bit, but he kept me from crying. When Mindy picked me up I calmed down a bit and took a very needed nap before being taken to the MTC. It's only the third day here and I already feel like I've been here for ages! The first day here was definitely overwhelming, but I'm slowly slipping into the routine here...which is BUSY BUSY BUSY! I don't have a single moment set aside to even stop and think, we are constantly moving, working, planning, teaching, and serving the Lord. I already absolutely adore my district which is made up of eight missionaries; four elders and four sisters. My very first EVER companion is named Sister Horne, and can I just say she is such a sweet heart. She is very soft spoken and very kind and has such a sweet spirit. She is 20 and from Mesa Arizona. The other companionship of sisters in our district is Sister Robertson and Sister Child. Sister Robertson is from Wisconsin and she is a petite little ball of positive energy, and then there is Sister Child who is such a super-star teacher already, and she is from Vancouver Washington. The four of us hit it off the first day and we laughed and talked a TON! It was so crazy, its like I recognized them immediately, they all seemed so familiar to me. We all share a room, with two other Spanish speaking sisters who have been here for two weeks, and will only be here for five more days. Our elders are pretty amazing! We have Elder Barb who is just 18 and he is really nice and sweet. He was a convert at twelve and his testimony is SO powerful! Then we have Elder Banks who is 19 and who is from Scotland! He has a wicked awesome accent and he is really funny and easy to get along with. Then there is Elder Mateer, who is from Ipswich England, and he is 19 and he has a pretty sweet accent too. He's pretty serious, but once you break him out of his shell, he's great to talk to. It's funny because both him and Elder Banks have a very dry sense of humor and they are very sarcastic, which I'm fine with because I understand it and we laugh a lot in class. Don't tell the British Elders I told you this, but I think they sound like they're from the band One Direction. Haha! The fourth Elder is Elder Griggs who is also from Washington. He is really nice and kind of the class clown. He definitely likes to crack jokes!
 The eight of us are pretty close already and we talk a lot at meal times and during class. It was funny because the Elders from Great Britan have a bunch of others words for Bathroom (the loo) and the hoods of cars (a bonnet) and also chips (crisps). We were teasing each other back and fourth and they like to make fun of our american accents! They aren't as perky and outgoing as we are because it's just not their culture and they think it's really funny that we are, but they also say that they know they will have to get used to it here in Provo and start acting the same way. (I swear Elder Mateer shuttered at the thought) 
 Our teachers are amazing! They are Brother Trone (who is kind of intense but super nice and helpful one-on-one) and Brother Pliler, who is super spiritual and really brings the spirit to class every day. We also have Sister Lamb who sometimes teaches us during zone classes. Our zone is soooooo good as well! Our zone leaders are the best! One of my zone leaders is Elder Forson, who just happens to be Kelton Forson's little brother! When I told him I was Sharee's little sister he got really excited and we had fun talking at lunch about our siblings. (Kelton was my EFY councilor) I also love one of the Sister Training Leaders (pretty much the sister version of a zone leader) Her name is Sister Nicholes and she is from England too. She is so spiritual and helpful and just amazing! She has been here a week longer than us and she has such a powerful testimony. Our zone gets along really well, and there are a bunch of missionaries going to Provo with me. I think there are two zones that are all going to Provo and we all came on the same day to the MTC. When Mindy dropped me off, the guy at the front gate said "Welcome to the MTC, you are one of 604 missionaries coming today." Holy cow.... there are a bajillion of us here. 
The food here is great! I'm trying to eat healthy, and I think I'm doing okay. Except...for yesterday at dinner....The elders all got dirt cups and there were none left...and Elder Mateer saw me eyeing his, and he just smirked at me the way the British do and told me to eat the dirt cup. I said no, but he insisted....and it tasted REALLY good....but yeah. 
The first day was a bunch workshops and orientations and the first evening they put 35 of us in a room with one investigator (an actor or real investigator; they wouldn't tell us which) and they had all of us teach them. I'm not gonna lie, it was REALLY hard the first time, and we didn't exactly know what we were doing, and the spirit just wasn't there. Then we rotated to a new room with a new investigator. We had definitely learned from the first investigator to listen and see what the investigator's needs were, and the second discussion was SO amazing! We were really able to connect with him as a group and discern his needs and really touch him. The spirit was so so so strong, and it really put me at peace. On the first day I got to see Brother Rhoten (Lance) and he was really suprised to see me! haha
My second day ran a lot more smoothly. We had workshops and class time and we were just busy busy buys. I totally have sympathy for missionaries who don't write home very often. THERE IS NO TIME! I'm constantly rushing from one place to the next, and because of the altitude change I have to catch my breath a lot. We climb stairs constantly and the grounds at the MTC are very big. I haven't been given a chance to go work out yet, but I get to tomorrow and I'm really excited! I'm craving playing some volleyball...and wearing basketball shorts. We also got an investigator who we are supposed to teach over the course of our stay in the MTC. It's really just Brother Trone, acting like an investigator he had on his mission named Kelly and today we tought him for the first time. I'm not going to lie, we struggled a bit, but the spirit was still there, which Sister Horne and I prayed really hard for, and he invited us back which is great! We are going to talk to him about the restoration tomorrow because we really think he can connect to the story because he is really looking for purpose in life. It was great because I saw Elder Hunt (Jaron) at lunch on thursday, and I saw Elder Gill (Tanner) at lunch and dinner on thursdays. Tanner is doing great and he was super stoked to see me, it was really funny! All the sisters in my district thought he was funny when he ran up to me calling my name with his big goofy grin and shook my hand very enthusiastically! haha gotta love Tanner! I told him Kelsy said Hello :)
What's crazy is I feel like I've changed a ton in just the last three days. I've talked to Mom and Leisha before about how Missionaries have this certain way of talking, right? Well guess what...I picked it up the second day. I realized it when I was baring my testimony to Sister Horne, and I realized that I was doing it and it just came without trying or thinking about it and I can't stop. So I might sound a little different to you guys later... hahaha at least the way I arrange my words and how I sound a little haha Idk why, but its just how it is. It's amazing here. The MTC is a crash course in growing up, a crash course in getting out of your comfort zone, a crash course in the truths of the gospel, a crash course in teaching,a crash course in feeling the spirit, and it's just a crash course for a lot of the hard things in life. But it's also a crash course in love. I don't think I've ever loved a group of people so much so quickly. I love the elders and sisters around me so much, it's unbelievable. I didn't know I had all this unconditional love inside me. It's insane. We all have the same purpose and it's so encouraging to have them by my side as my temporary family. I'm not going to lie, it's really hard work here. And I'm terrified by the fact that I feel like I don't know anything! I thought I knew the gospel...but apparently not like the super-power-awesome-spiritual teachers and missionaries know it. It's so humbling. I'm relying on God a lot, and my relationship with him has been multiplied ten times over in just three days. I don't feel like the same person who came here, it's so strange. The way Elder Banks describes it, he feels like home is a dream and we've all passed through the vale and the only life we've ever known is this mission. And it's true. That's how it feels. I still remember and miss you all, but I'm realizing that this is where I need to be, no matter how much the thought "What on earth have you gotten yourself into????" has crossed my mind over the first few days. It's like my body has been disconnected from my head and I just feel calm about being here. I always thought I would freak out a bit, but it just feels so normal, like I was always meant to be here and these people were always meant to be in my life. What's crazy is that I think I' might have known them from before this life, if that makes any sense. But I'm growing and everyone says that I will have changed even more come this time next week, so we'll see what happens. I know we have a father in heaven who loves us and watches over us and wants us to find those who are lost and need the gospel in their lives. Honestly, we are incredibly blessed to have the gospel in our lives and I already love the people of Provo, even though I haven't met them yet. I know they need this gospel and I'm so excited to get out in the field and teach them already.
I love you guys to death and pray for you multiple times a day. Tell Riley I say "Happy Berfday!!!" haha welcome to the life of a teenager! I hope you are all doing well and that you are all safe and happy. I know God will keep his promise to me and keep you safe. I miss you all so much and can't wait to hear from you! I love you I love you I love you! This gospel is true. Help others understand that!
All My Love,
                   Sister Volmer (Lenise) 

If you could send me some of my religious piano music, and some religious vocal sheet music, I would absolutely love that! I have a few opportunities here at the MTC for musical numbers and it would be great to those. Also, when my watch gets there, would you send it also? That would be a life saver! Thanks a million! Oh! And my P-days here are fridays! I only have one more p-day left here after this, but yeah...just saying. Love you!

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