Hello! It is p-day at last! i don't know how fast I can type, so I'm just going to do my best and please don't judge the grammar or lack there-of. There is a picture of our zone (super blurry), and my companion Sister Parkinson. She is also going to Dallas.
All the sisters in our zone our going to Dallas and all the elders are going to Tampa Florida. There is a picture of my outfit fail from last night. They told us we had to wear cardigans or jackets tonight devotionals so I just threw on a cardigan over my outfit. As you can tell, I look like Ann from Studio-C. I was crying I was laughing too hard. Needless to say, it was a much needed moment to break free from the stresses of the day.
The pictures in front of the temple are my zone. Elder Simons is from Chesterfield Idaho, he's the tall one with blondish hair. Elder Penrod from Genola, Ut the other tall one with black hair. Elder Haslem, curly hair from Roosevelt, UT, and Elder White the one with a buzz-cut from St. George, UT.
One our first day, one of the Sister Training Leaders from our district told us, "Y'all are goin to be like family!" (she's from georgia). We looked at her and looked at each other and just shook our heads and laughed. Like, no way sister. These are strangers. But I can honestly say we have become best friends. It is so fun to be with each other. We really know how to focus and have the spirit, but when it's break time, we let loose and can relax really well. The sisters in our room are Sisters Olsen and Stewart from Sandy and California. They are also in our zone. They are hilarious! We have had some very hilarious times in our room! Ha.
Thank you so much for the letters and the package! It was amazing to get mail from you all! And Alli, that packet of letters was just the sweetest thing of my entire life and made my day. You are so cute and I love you. I love all of you! (I am typing like a mad man currently).
Life here at the MTC is crazy business. We go, go, go all day. First day we get here, drop all the things off in our room, get bags and materials and cards and keys and all that jazz then right off to classroom. I walk into class and meet Brother Griffiths (our teacher) and Elder Haslem. We jumped right in and started teaching each other our favorite scriptures. I am learning so much about myself and about the gospel. it is marvelous and wonderful. We memorize the first vision right off the bat and started giving it to each other. My memory is awesome here! I know that it was awesome before, but holy cow I can remember lots of things. I know that that is a blessing. Then we went to a teaching class called People and Your Purpose. It's like a room full of 100 missionaries and 1 investigator person and we worked together to try to figure out the needs of the investigator and get to know them. That was pretty cool. At the end of the day, we met with the zone leaders and tried to take a tour around campus. I was so tired I kinda slept through the walking tour. Not sure how that is possible, but I did it, indeed. I didn't sleep well that night at all. Too many thoughts. (PS I'm sorry if i've already told you some of these things. I absolutely can not remember what I have or havent' told you. So there's that.) Oh, our other teacher is Sister Smith. She is also great.
We also met our "investigator" named Justin. It's just our teacher acting as an investigator that he had on his mission. It has been truly amazing to teach him. Justin's friend is a member of the church and so he decided to meet with the missionaries to learn more. We are teaching him about God, the Atonement, and just the plan of happiness. It's amazing! Some lessons go better than others, but it is neat when we really have the Spirit with us and are able to testify of truth and help Justin come closer to Jesus Christ.
Funny story, Elder Penrod and I have the same birthday! January 30, kids! We were so pleased when we figure it out.
The first couple of days, the sisters in my bedroom and I were very motivated and woke up atto go to the morning work-out classes. That didn't last for too long though. We are incredibly tired all the time. They were fun though. Kick-boxing and dance aerobics. Fun stuff.
Now for gym, we just like to go play sand volleyball as a district/zone. It is a blast! We get to take off our shoes and play around in the sun and the sand for an hour.
We do tons of role play. Like Sis. Parkinson will act as our investigator, and I will practice teaching a concept or a principle or bearing testimony. It really helps in our lessons.
Try to find the youth mormon message about a girl reading Joseph Smith's first vision. It's amazing, and I have no idea where to find it.
Speaking of Sister Parkinson. She is great. She is seriously so funny and so supportive and so loving. We finish each others . . . sentences. Not sandwiches. We love lots of the same movies and stories and have similar senses of humor. We can look at each other, have a conversation with our eyes and just start giggling. So great.
Elder White was role playing the other night. The investigator was Sunny from New Orleans. He started talking with southern drawl (totally subconsciously). The rest of us were dying, but we didn't want to interrupt the role-play. So we told him the next mornign and it was just the funniest thing ever. Elder Simon's has this silent laugh where tears start rolling down his cheeks when he laughs. It is so funny. And Elder Penrod laughs so hard in this really deep chuckle that makes him unable to talk. It's the greatest thing of my life. Elder Haslem is so smart and just knows how everything works. Like he was telling us how to do our laundry to avoid setting stains in. SO FUNNY. I love my district so much. We really are like family and it's so fun.
I've seen Elder Erik Lund, and a whole bunch of my friends from Utah State. Elder Scott Wilcox, Sister Hayley Spackman, Sister Ana Cook, Sister Lynette Jex from high school, and many others. It's truly a joy to be here with these people whom I love.
It's crazy. All the new missionaries are starting to get here! I can't believe it's been a week already. This has been the longest and most wonderful week of my life. Wow, I can't even tell you how happy I truly am. It is amazing.
I WISH I COULD TELL YOU MORE BUT THE TIME IS SO SHORT. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!
Sister Gretchen Gilbert