Surprise! I get two P-days in one week, totally exciting right? It's because on Wednesday our schedule completely switched so that all the sisters in visitor center training had the same schedule including the same p-day. But because we will be arriving at Temple Square on Wednesday who knows when my next preparation day will be.
Visitor Center training is amazing! and super hard. Me and Sister Bulaoat have decided that the easiest way to describe VC training is to call is Superhero Training. That is exactly what it is, they are training us to be Super Sisters! The classroom hours have doubled and the number of investigators we teach each day has tripled. They are seriously whipping us into shape. I mean our classroom is on the fifth floor. We have to walk up and down five flights of stairs at least four times a day, at a minimum. To start us off, all 18 sisters who are in VC training with me, got to take a field trip to Temple Square, talk about the best experience thus far! We got the 'guest experience'. Two sisters took us on a short little tour and told us a little of the history of the assembly hall and then showed us the Prophets exhibit. Then our teacher, Sister Welch, took us to Heaven.
We got to go up to the Christus and just sit there and ponder the call each of us received. Talk about such a powerful spirit. Then Brother Billings came and spoke to us. According to Sister Welch our call is so important that the Supervisor of all the visitor centers in the missionary department likes to come talk to all the new VC Sisters. So that is who Brother Billings is, he oversees all the visitor centers all over the world, pretty cool right? He first off told us how important it was for us not to listen or believe anything the members say. For some reason members of the church have this assumption that VC missions are not real missions, but they are. We are the pioneer missions for all the technology use that all the proselyting missions are now starting to use. And as Brother Billings said, instead of a single area that we are allowed to teach in, we have the entire world. The visitor centers alone had over 200 baptism last month. Awesome right? We're one of the highest baptizing missions, and it's all because of the VC Sisters. It's hard to believe that I'll be one of those sisters in less than a week. I am super excited but I feel so far from being ready. I was so grateful for everything Brother Billings said to us, it really just confirmed the call I had received and made me even more excited. He just kept repeating to us over and over, we do everything that other missionaries do, we just do it online. We still have the same relationships with our investigators but our relationships last longer because they don't disappear when we get transferred. We will be able to stay in contact with our converts long past their baptisms, and I am super excited for that.
After leaving the Square Sister Welch shared with us just exactly how VC sister missionaries are chosen, and I don't think I will ever forget. In the missionary department they have a room with a giant map of all the missions where they assign the calls. A larger than life photo of you pops up on the wall with all your information next to it. The instant a VC sister's picture pops up they know she has to be assigned to a visitor center. Instantly. They don't know which one right away but they always know that it has to be a visitor center, and it's not because of what she looks like, like members of the church always like to assume. They look for only two things, to be able to see the light of Christ and a testimony of the atonement in their eyes. Those are the two most important things to them. They want to have visitors come from all over the world and talk with these sister missionaries and be able to see these things in their eyes. How beautiful is that? I was so grateful that she shared that with us, it was exactly what I needed to hear after my week. I just love how inspired the teachers at the MTC are, I have had so many experiences where they have shared something and I swear it was just for me, even if the other sisters say the same thing.
In our class of 18 sisters, 11 of them are going with me to temple square next week, 2 are going to the Mormon Battalion in San Diego and the rest are going to Winter Quarters in Nebraska. Apparently it is really rare to have this many sisters going to a VC at the same time. The most they usually have is 6 and the normal is like 2-3. Brother Billings said that we all must have done something pretty freaking amazing in the Pre-Life to get sent to a visitor center today, and I totally believe him, the sisters in my class are absolutely fantastic! We have learned so much from each other, what a blessing it was to have been put together with them.
So half of my mission at Temple Square will be done in the referral center, which is just Mormon.org chat, and we started that on Wednesday. It was the coolest experience ever! We got to chat with real live people. Sister Anderson, the teacher over the referral center was laughing so hard at us on Wednesday night when we started, our reactions were pretty funny. I'll try to describe just went on, 18 girls all in front of their own laptop staring at a screen waiting for a name to pop up. Now here's the thing, when a name did pop up you had to be the first sister to double click on the name in order to have the chat. It instantly turned into a game. And being the girls that we are, we're all screaming during this whole event. Sister Desjourdy described us as 'Fishers of Men', screaming 'I got one, I got one!' Whenever we got someone to chat with, it was so much fun, Sister Brooks and I chatted with a girl name Tiara who joined the church back in 2012 but has become inactive. We got her information so hopefully we'll be able to stay in touch with her and get her going to church again. We also chatted with a young man who needed help preparing for his mission. We also learned that basically everyone thinks the missionaries on Mormon.org know everything and can fix everything. We got people who were looking for marriage advice, dating advice, and people who wanted to know about transgender operations, and that wasn't even the worse of it. We also got a lot of 'trolls' people who go online just to waste our time and be rude. Talk about an interesting experience.
I'm loving it though, even if it feels like the first three days of the MTC all over again, long class hours, not enough time to eat, struggling to stay awake. Basically the life of a MTC missionary. The devotionals have also been fantastic, we have one every Sunday and Tuesday night so we still have two more to go and we're all praying that it will be an apostle. Last Tuesday John H. Groberg came and spoke to us. That name sound familiar? Think of the movie 'The Other Side of Heaven' He's Elder Groberg who the entire movie is about. So we basically got to hear from a celebrity. It was awesome, he talked about the importance of bearing testimony. it was a beautiful talk, especially because I'm going to a visitor center. I've been told that if we don't bear testimony then we're not missionaries. Bear your testimony at all times, and in all places. We're called to represent Christ, so we have to be his voice which means speaking of the things we know to be true. It was a very powerful talk. I love meeting with the thousands of missionaries in that one room, talk about a wonderful spirit.
We also have been able to go to the temple each p-day. We went this morning and it was wonderful. The first few days of being here I think I was going through withdrawals. I was so used to going so often before my mission that all of a sudden I could only go when they told me I could. The first day back at the temple was perfect, talk about a stress reliever. I love the peace found in the temple, it's sad, I think so many people forget of the beauty that is in the temple because they don't go often enough, going once a week since arriving has been perfect and I wish i could continue that schedule throughout all my mission. I am so blessed though to be serving on temple grounds the majority of my mission!
Oh some cool news, so we were able to talk to some sister missionaries when we went to the square. We found out that President Poulsen is now having sisters stay for 17 transfers instead of 16. So my estimated release date is February 3rd. Also outbound is now only two transfers, it used to be more but President has cut it back because he wants the Sisters on the square as much as possible. That's really all I've learned about my President so far, but one of our teachers is actually from the missionary department and works with President all the time and says he is fantastic. I'm so excited to finally meet him next week. August 6th is the day we arrive on the square. We bus over at 6:00am. we do go to the airport first to drop off leaving missionaries but we are not allowed to call home like other missionaries unfortunately. So no more letters from dearelder.com after August 5th.
Oh and side note, everyone is so fantastic! I have received so much mail it is perfect! I love you all, those back home and those farther from home. I am so blessed to have you all in my life and want you to know that all the letters have just meant the world to me. Mail time is the best time!
I love you all!
Oh and if you could pray for Sister Desjourdy please, she hurt her back pretty back and we're all praying it heals in time so she doesn't get delayed.
-Grandma I hope it's okay that I stole your signature XOXOX, it just makes me think of you everything I use it so I couldn't help :)
-mom can you tell Elaine McGrath that I arrive at temple square on the 6th and I've been told that for the first two transfers I will only be on the square and no where else. I don't know yet what my schedule will be and if I even allowed to tell her.
-I Love you