I am writing to you a much older and wiser missionary than I was last week. I debated whether I should tell this story and highlight the follies of my youth, but in the end I decided I shall let you in on what transpired this week at the MTC.
But before we get to that let's discuss other items of business. So in answer to your question, yes I did see Elder Buchanan this week. I had been keeping an eye out for him, but I hadn't seen him. I did however run into Sister Shaum who entered the same day as Elder Buchanan. She is in my same residence building but on the first floor whereas I am on the third. She was in my ward during my sophomore year at carriage cove. She looks great and is excited to teach the people of North Carolina! I will still have a week and half in the MTC when she leaves for the field! I am ready to go! Plus I need to get out of the MTC, so I am never again tempted to act like the Elders and participate in such foolish activities inspired by boredom and cabin fever.
Getting back to Elder Buchanan, I was keeping an eye out for him with no such luck, when Tuesday morning service rolled around. Have I told you that every morning for service we are suppose to have a joke. Thanks to Matthew Vance I had a great joke this week. What do you call a turkey that crosses the road, rolls in mud, and then crosses back? I dirty double crosser! Nice one! Ok back to the story...Now if there is a time you don't want to run into anyone, it is at 7am while you have been cleaning for 40 minutes, haven't showered and don't even realize that the concept of make-up exists. You know where this goes...I was happily sweeping the staircases thinking that I could do a pretty good cinderella impression when I hear a familiar voice on the stairs and Elder Buchanan walks down the stairs with the other Elders in his district. We say hi and all the normal missionary pleasantries and then we went to breakfast and I continued my impersonation of Cinderella. Now had I not been one of the Lord's missionaries giving service that could have been an embarrassing moment of oh dear my hair looks awful, but as it turns out I am and it wasn't. Haha in all seriousness it was good to see some familiar faces.
In other news, the new elder I told you about, Elder Murray, got a call from his mission president last friday who told him he needed him in the field the next day. So on saturday morning Elder Murray was on his way to New Jersey. Our district seems so small now with just 8 and what's weirder we have the same number of elders as sisters! Now I am sure in January that will become the norm, but as for now it is still a little out of the ordinary. With all these level-headed sisters you would think we would never do anything crazy, but alas we have spent too much time surrounded by Elders.
Oh another great moment of the week. I think it was about 2 Sundays ago while we were having our Sunday walk we were taking all sorts of pictures. We were also randomly taking face shots of ourselves. So as the story goes, I had hold of a blue camera that I thought was Hermana Thompson's and I took a lovely close up of my face...well as I found out this week that was not her camera, but it was in fact Elder Lawrence's camera (the other missionary going to Albuquerque) and now he has a lovely picture of my face on his camera!
Ok so shall I stop stalling and tell you my story? I think the time has come. Ok so on Monday at dinner we were all sitting around the dinner table having random conversations about everything, when Elder Lawrence looks over at the end of the Cafeteria and says "Hey! We should do the tower challenge as a district!" What is the tower challenge you might ask? Well the tower challenge is where your district eats an entire tower of cereal. To help you get a feel for the size of these towers they take about 4-5 big bags of the malt o maties cereal. Yeah not boxes but bags! Ok so to this query the Elders were excited and not to dampen the spirit the Hermanas all jumped on board! So we discussed the pros and cons of which cereal we should consume. We couldn't decide on a cereal, but somehow we ended up deciding that frosted flakes would be our challenger. So we are all pretty pumped at this point. No one in the zone thinks we can come even close to finishing a whole tower especially with 4 hermanas. We decided that we would face the challenge at lunch because we didn't want to miss out on biscuits and gravy for breakfast. Later that night as we were discussing our feat, Elder Lawrence admitted the only reason he suggested it, was because he was sure that the Hermanas would shoot it down. But now we can't back out because we would lose face in front of the Zone and let's be honest we were still pretty excited at the thought of eating a whole TOWER! Ok so the day arrives. The Hermanas waited impatiently for the Elders to show up to lunch and when they finally did, we commenced. So the first bowl was good, the second bowl was good, the third bowl was starting to taste a little gross, because you can only eat so many frosted flakes. The other zone members just watched and we continued to eat. Our elders plowed ahead bravely and we downed bowl after bowl. Towards the end we had to add a little cranberry juice because at that point we all hated frosted flakes. We wondered why we hadn't tried tuti frooties because they have more air in the tower. Even Hermana Farnsworth who is allergic to milk ate bowl after bowl of cereal. Oh and we didn't do no pansy bowls we had nice big heaping bowls. So when it was all said and done we were the last people to leave the cafeteria and we had eaten that tower down until there was basically powdery crumbs and you could see the springs. I would say in total we ate about 7/8 of that tower and for all intents and purposes we were successful. In total, any guesses on how many bowls of cereal we ate? 55 bowls of cereal!!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!!! What were we thinking?! The hermanas averaged 5-6 bowls and 3 of the elders ate 9 bowls each. I ate about 5 1/2 bowls of frosted flakes. Sure the challenge was, ehem, "exciting", but what we failed to realize was that with every choice there is a consequence and the majority of the district (especially the elders) spent the rest of the evening in varying degrees of discomfort. The Hermanas had done our part, but we had not stuffed ourselves to the point of feeling sick. The elders who did cross that line spent the next several hours moaning in pain, but we had the respect of the Zone. I'm not sure that gaining respect through a silly challenge was a smart thing to do, but again it is the follies of youth. We have all fully recovered, but the funny thing is up until that point I saw most of the Elders eat a bowl of cereal with every meal, and I have yet to see one of us eat a bowl of cereal. So lesson of the week:
A) Don't eat an entire tower of cereal
B) When you are around 19 Elders 24/7, judgment can lapse
C) Every choice comes with a consequence
I promise for the remainder of my time at the MTC I will not do anything so foolish again, and it might be a long while before I can ever eat frosted flakes again!
In spanish news, this week I gave my first analogy in spanish. We were teaching about keeping the commandments, so on my last p-day, I created a Kite out of paper, reused string from our book bags, and our sack lunch bags. We then talked about how we are the kite, the savior is flying the kite and the string is the commandments. If we break the commands the kite crashes as does a real kite if the string is let go of. We talked about how through repentance we can fix our string and once again fly high. So the commandments are not meant to bind us down and take away our freedom, but they in fact give us the freedom to fly and live happy lives. That's the gist of it. We decided to take our investigator outside, but when we got down there I realized that my note card with the words to my analogy was gone, so I ended up having to say it all from memory! I was super nervous at first, but went even better than I hoped because my companion and I taught by the spirit and I remembered all that I needed to be able to say! The lesson was great and it was a lot of fun teaching!
Ok one last experience from this week. Saturday was a little bit of a more trying day. Nothing really in particular it was just hard. I was feeling a little insecure and was just feeling a little upset. We were having class with Hermano Clarke and we were talking about teaching people, not lessons. We were doing a practice with two of the elders and we were being taught as the investigator first. We were pretending to a widow of 2 months. The elders handed me a scripture to read in the book of mormon. I read about one line when the power that comes from reading the book of mormon hit me. I didn't even know what the words were saying I just felt the power behind them. Well that started the water works and all those insecurities and doubts I had completely disappeared as I again knew how much heavenly father loved me. I was feeling good when we switched roles. My companion started teaching first and then the time was turned over to me. Right then Hermano Clarke jumped in and said get them involved, so I asked the first question that came to my mind. As they were answering I was trying to think of another question I could ask when a question formed in my mind. I asked the Elders "If you're loved one was here right now what would you say to them." Then it was silent. We sat for about a minute or two but it felt much longer. I felt impressed just to keep waiting and when I looked over at one of the Elders he had tears streaming down his face. Well that set the hermanas off and we both started to cry as we felt the spirit. The lesson ended, but the spirit did not. I know that the spirit gave and prompted me to ask that question, not for the pretend character, but for that Elder. I know that the Lord is aware of us. I know that I had received inspiration, but I didn't know that until later. Afterwards we all just sat as the elder ended up leaving the room with his companion because the spirit had touched him. I can feel that spirit as I am writing about this experience. There is so much more I wish I could say about this experience, but I don't have any more time. I love being a missionary. This is the greatest joy I have ever felt. I have never felt so close to my father in heaven or to my Savior Jesus Christ. I love you all and I am thinking and praying about you! Take care!