Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hello Family!
It is finally my P-Day and I get to write and express how amazing this week has been. Has it really only been 1 week? The days are packed here so that one day feels like 1 week and 1 week feels like 1 month. I can't imagine being here for 9 weeks or 6 weeks. I have my travel plans and will be leaving next Tuesday morning at 3:30 am. Yuck! My flight from SLC leaves at 7:30 and we have a layover in Detroit, Michigan for about 1 hour. I will try to call any chance I get. I'm sorry Mom and Dad (I know Hawaii might not appreciate you getting a call that early, please let me know if you would rather me just wait for Detroit, Michigan. :) Well, let's see. Where to begin? The beginning! I flew into SLC at about 10:23 and was so excited to see the Hatch family. They are wonderful and gave me a ride to the MTC with a quick stop at J-Dawgs (the best hotdogs on the planet). They truly made me feel at peace and it was comforting to have a familiar face in Salt Lake. As I said "goodbye" to them, I was given a tour by a Sister Moore. She then escorted me to the main room where I received my badge and my packet of information. I then walked out the other side where my luggage and Sister Moore were waiting. We walked to my room, dropped off my luggage, then met my teachers. My companion was waiting in the classroom with the teachers and we got to know each other for about 1 hour while the rest of our district arrived. My companion's name is Sister Francis. She is from Las Cruces, New Mexico. We hit it off right away and I am so grateful that she and I are companions while in the MTC. We are learning together and experiencing some amazing things. After introductions and a few orientations were over, we headed to meet our Branch Presidency. President Whetten is a wonderful man and will be a huge comfort while in the MTC. He gave a few brief introductory remarks and then had each of us bare our testimonies with introductions. After this, he assigned the new Zone Leaders and the Sister Training Leaders. Guess what?! Sister Francis and I are the new Sister Training Leaders. No pressure. We were to take over after the other district left, which was today. Yikes! We were excited to serve though and we both agree this will help us get to know the sisters better. We also get to give tours tomorrow to the new missionaries coming in. Exciting! There are a total of 4 sisters and 6 elders in our district. We get along really well and our teachers, Brother Sebesta and Brother Lisonbee, are both amazing! Brother Sebesta reminds me of a mini Mickey Rooney. After this meeting and tour, we went to our rooms finally and got to unpack before heading to bed.
This week has been classroom time, study time, and a few devotionals. We also began teaching two investigators named Max and Claudia. Even though these are practice situations and our teacher is playing Max, we think of them as the actual people and as we pray for them, we feel of our Heavenly Father's love for each of them. On the fourth of July, they let us watch 17 Miracles which I cried through once again, then we went outside and watched the fireworks with ice cream. It was amazing when the entire group of missionaries started singing the Star-Spangled Banner. Wow! The spirit is so strong here. I am loving the food here which is probably not a good thing heehee, but I am continuing to eat healthy, so hopefully I won't experience too much damage. ;) I like to have granola for breakfast, wraps for lunch, and they have different things each night for dinner. I experienced a stromach ache the first couple days here, but that has definitely gotten better and I am sure it was just stress along with the food.
I want you all to know that this is where I'm supposed to be. I have had my testimony strengthened beyond measure and even though I go to bed super tired, it is the best tired I've ever experienced, if that makes sense. My testimony of prayer, faith, the atonement, and baptism has grown. I wish each member of the church could experience this feeling. It is so amazing to be around thousands of other people striving to be like the Savior. You look around the corner and you see someone kneeling in prayer, you walk down the hall and hear someone quoting a scripture, you pray and you get answers immediately. Our Heavenly Father is aware of each of us and is guiding us each step of the way. Even as I was writing this letter, two elders came in and shared a scripture with us. Wow! I am so excited to go to West Virginia and serve the people. I have a testimony that the Prophet Joseph Smith restored this church to the Earth. He restored the exact church that was on the Earth during the time of Christ through the same priesthood power. Isn't that so amazing?! What a blessing! I love this work!
As Sister Francis and I are teaching one of the main things I am working on is teaching more by the spirit and not talking the entire time. I tend to dominate the conversation. We are learning to teach together still and I know it will come easier as we practice and listen to the spirit's promptings more. I know that this is my chance to learn and practice and I am so grateful for the MTC experience. I want to thank my entire family for all the love and support. Your packages and letters could not have come at a better time. Chips and cheese and candy! Yum! Also, I can't write back on email as much as if you write me a letter in the mail. I now understand all the times past missionaries have said, "Sorry, I didn't have time to write much." If you send me a handwritten letter, I can write back throughout the week, but on P-Day, we only have 60 minutes on the computer. Today especially went fast because I was getting used to uploading pictures. I can only attach 3 at a time, so I will send more either in another email, or in next week's letter. I probably won't get to write for awhile, so when I get on the computer next, I will be in West Virginia! Crazy!
I love you all! Have the best day ever and don't forget how amazing this gospel truly is. We are so blessed to have it in our lives!
Sister Herring
P.S. The sister in the picture is my companion, the other picture is our district on our temple walk on Sunday. For mom: Goodnight Yogi! ;)

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