Kumusta pamiliya mo,

This is it.  Goodbye America!  Next time you see me, I will be a full-fledged Filipino.  Hopefully I even forget my English:)  So quick highlights from the week:
  • I got to host the new missionaries on Wednesday, help them with their bags and take them all over the place as newbies.  And help them to not break down and want to go home.  There were not even close to as many sisters as there were elders that came.  There were only probably around 60 or so sisters out of 700 people, and our zone got no new sisters, just elders.  I wonder how the numbers will start changing at the MTC now that the excitement has died down over the age change.  Hopefully not by much.
  • On Wednesday, my kasama and I also got to do a teaching demonstration at night for all the new missionaries.  We had a fake investigator and sat on the stage and allllll the missionaries watched us and we taught the "how to begin teaching" lesson, and they were probably just waiting for us to make a mistake.  But ha joke'lang, they don't even know how to teach yet.  Even though there were so many people watching, it went really well and there were a lot of the new missionaries who told us that it helped them a lot.  I felt cool.
  • The two investigators we have been teaching while being here at the MTC both committed to be baptized!  That was probably the most fulfilling part of the week!  They were hard, but Heavenly Father helped us out.

And now for the spiritual, full-blown missionary part of my letter.   I feel like so much has happened since I became a missionary and learned how to be a good missionary.  I have to remind myself that it's only been 6 weeks and that there is still so much I have to do and learn.  Like the language.  But I figured it would be fun to put together a list of the most important lessons I've learned from being a missionary and from being here in the MTC. 

1. MY PURPOSE: The purpose of every missionary is "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel..."  Every single part of that statement in PMG is so true and SO important.  I work to help Heavenly Father bring back His children and I am a missionary because He has called me to share His restored gospel.  Nothing else matter while I'm here unless I fulfill that purpose.  Everything I do while a missionary revolves around that statement.    I know that as I work towards that purpose, always revolving everything I do around it, everything else I need as a missionary will fall into place- obedience, charity, humility, etc. When my mission is hard, when there are things that don't go how I want them to, or as I look to how I can be my own best missionary, it comes down to this basic principle.   

2. DEDICATION: I will get out of my mission what I am willing to put into it.  I need to work in every aspect of my life to do the best I can at every moment.  Only after I show commitment and dedication to this work that Heavenly Father with do the rest.  He will help me learn Tagalog, he will put words into my mouth to say, and He will guide everything I do.  It is easy at the MTC to slack off and to only to the minimum because it is hard.  But being dedicated to this work qualifies me for His blessings.  I know that He can work miracles, especially in my life as a missionary.  But I know it starts with putting forth my part.

3. TURNING OUTWARD:  Okay, this Character of Christ thing gets its' own bullet point.  I have learned so much about how important it is to turn outward and look for opportunities to serve and help other people.  Turn outward in Christlike attributes when the natural man turns inward.  I have learned how important it is to find someone who needs a friends or help and how much joy serving others brings.  I am trying always to be selfless and forget myself in this work, because it is not about me.  I do not expect blessings from what I do, but I do it because I love Heavenly Father and I want to become more like Him.

4. LOVE:  Love my companion, love my fake investigators like real people, love my teachers, love all the people in the Philippines, there is just so much love that is involved with this work!  And the best way to learn love is though serving them

5. THE ROLE OF THE HOLY GHOST:  I could not do this if I did not have the Holy Ghost with me always.  Lessons we teach will not go well unless taught and guided by the Spirit, I can't speak Tagalog at all unless I have the Spirit, and I can't find true meaning in missionary work unless I can rely on the Holy Ghost.  I studied this cool little dude like it was my only thing to do.  It was so awesome to learn about how the Holy Ghost speaks and touches me and how powerful it can be in conversion- mine and the people we teach.  The Holy Ghost is awesome!!

6. HUMILITY: Like I always have said, this is not my work.  It will not be my success and it will not be my mission.  This is 100% Heavenly Father's work and His children, and His success.  I can't really do much on my own and I have to rely on what Heavenly Father wants.  And that's hard.  I want to be able to rely on my strength and my skills.  But I've realized I can't just do this by myself.  Alma 32:9-10 forever!

Funny story for the week:  Apparently I am really good at sleep talking.  Well, I guess I already knew that.  But now it is definitely a reality.  On Tuesday, my roommates woke up to me sleep talking in Tagalog and none of them could figure out what I was saying.  But it was full on sentences and apparently it was fast.  If only I could do that when I was awake too... because that would help a lot.  Ha and then on Wednesday, me and my kasama had a full conversation with each other while asleep.  Everyone was complaining the next day because we were talking so loud and they just thought that we had stayed up late talking.  Nope, because neither of us remembered anything.  Seriously, this whole thing might be a problem.

Well, farewell for another week.  As always, thank you thank you thank you for all the support and love I have at home and all over the place!  I am so grateful to have you!!