Seriously. I'm already PAST a month. only 17 more to go. I mean Courtney's last 17 years flew by, I can't even imagine how fast the next 17 months are going to fly by!! Whooooooo. Happy birthday Squat. So glad you had a girls party plus Tate!! That is so funny. Did he suprise you with a great present for your birthday? Tell me all the deets. Even the stuff you don't tell mom and dad! Like if he KISSED YOU!!!! I don't get enough drama from these sister missionaries... Okay I get WAY too much. I swear every sister dated someone the month before they came out on their mission ha. Oh girls.
Anyway, a lot happened this week. I got an awesome package from Irene! Tell her thank you so much, especially for the Christmas m&m's and the study journal! I started using the journal when I study and I LOVE IT! I had a dream the other night that Bishop called my back home to give a talk in church and everybody in our ward was black!! Then during my talk the little black kids started lighting the church on fire, so Alan Jackson pulls up in his suburban and helped me escape the scene. Then came over to our house and helped me and dad shovel the snow. So random haha. I guess I really miss black people and country music. Typical.
Anyway, we had a very interesting fireside this week. Elder Richard Heaten (MTC director) spoke to us on Sunday and his topic was very interesting I thought. It was about tithing, but we don't pay tithing as missionaries, so I was wondering why he was giving the talk. Then he said when he was in a meeting with Elder Bednar talking about how we can keep more recent converts active and lifetime members he said, the missionaries better need to teach the law of tithing. Bednar said, "If members can have the faith to faithfully pay their tithing they will have the faith to overcome anything." He then read the quote from Pres Hinkley that talks says how we don't pay tithing with money, we pay tithing with our hearts. It made so much sense! In all reality that is something that is very hard for people to let go, especially when already ends are barely meeting up. But the Lord always provides. It's interesting cause a person can't pay their tithing until they are baptized. So we have to teach it in a way that after they have entered that convenant, after the missionaries are gone, then after they get their next paycheck they will say- oh, and I want to pay my tithing for this. He really put emphasis how paying tithing is a privlage. That the Lord literally opens the windows of heaven. You have to be a member to pay tithing because you recieve so many blessing. The key is recognizing them. I remember when I got in that accident and had to pay that guy 500 dollars so he wouldn't report it to the insurance. I remember I literally had like $515 dollars to my name, but I still had to pay my tithing. I debated paying tithing for a week or so. Finally I decided to pray about it. I prayed hard. I knew the numbers wouldn't add up if I paid my tithing. I remember after I said amen a quote fell out of my scrpitures that I forgot I even had. It was from Pres Hinkley and said... Never doubt. For the Lord will not forsake us. HE WILL NOT FORSAKE HIS CHILDREN. I knew that if I paid my tithing things would work out. So I paid my tithing, then wrote a check for $500 for dad to put in the mail for this guy. The next day dad comes into my work with the check in hand and I was freaking out like Dad you didn't mail that yet? He's going to kill me!!! Then dad said, "Lu, you have to rewrite the check...." I was so worried cause I was like great this guy knew I didn't have enough money so he won't accept the check. Then dad said, "the guy called and said he was thinking about it and only wants $200 dollars for the damage and he'll just fix it himself." I seriously almost fell to the ground. At that moment, I realized the heavens had been open and the Lord did not forsake me. From then on I knew I would never be able to afford not to pay my tithing.
We were talking with the MTC president the other day at lunch and he was telling us how this year they were expecting 5,200 missionaries... but they got 5,600! 4,000 more than they have ever had! Right now the MTC has more missionaries than they have ever had. More elders, more sisters and more couples! He said this is the most sister missionaries the church has ever seen! I LOVE IT!!! SO there is tons of construction going on right now and they are adding on and preparing for the years to come. He was so cute, he chuckled and said, you know, we really love dealing with this problem.
So mom, the other day I heard a really cool story from my Branch President. Sweetest old man in the world. He was telling us about is african friend who was a convert and came to BYU after he joined the church. None of his family had ever heard the church before they died. One night in a vision his grandpa appeared to him and said, "I love your grandma dearly, but I cannot be with her. I feel as though she is a million miles away from me. Can you please do our temple work so we can finally be together?" I can bet you grandma and grandpa cook feel THE SAME WAY!! You know how much they loved sleeping on the air mattress on the kitchen floor together, but they can't do that on heavens floor until their temple work is done! So do it for sure! Let the kids do their baptisms, I think it will be a really special experience for them.
I met an Elder from Madrid the other day. I know everyone makes fun of the way they talk, but to hear a native was so pretty!!! Hopefully I'll be able to sound pretty when I do it!
Well.... basically I am out of time! BOOO! I always have so much to say. But I hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving. Aunt Connie told me Aunt Vicky fell down and tore the ligaments in her leg. Tell her I am praying for her!!! Give everyone A HUGE HUG FOR ME AT THANKSGIVING. So sad I won't be there.
I love you all!!! And yes mom, still have the same companion and I haven't heard anything about my visa. 10 came in the other day from Spain, but all for people who had already been reassigned!! So, I have no idea when! Tell ashley I saw Elder Fowers.... Sure she will put together whose older brother it is :)
Love you all! Hugs and kisses.
Love Hermana Marshall