This has been a bitter-sweet week of goodbyes and accepting new realities.
Wednesday Sister Goldrup and I were selected to demonstrate teaching to all the new missionaries. It was weird to think that two months ago I was the new missionary and others were showing me how to teach. Of course since we were teaching a big group, we taught in English. I was so nervous! I kept thinking of all the things I wanted to say, except the words were all in Chinese. Then it hit me, Natali! You have are going to be teaching in English in just one week. Wow, that was something else to hit me over the head. It also made me realize that I will have to figure out a way to put in 100% effort teaching the word in English, but also 100% effort in keeping up my Chinese. I talked to some teachers and they said it is manageable, but requires a lot of diligence. I guess Diligence is the Christlike Attribute I will be working on these next couple of weeks. Sister Goldrup and I are going to email each other every week with new goals that we want to do with Chinese, that way we will be accountable to someone other than Heavenly Father.
Thursday was In-field Orientation and it was another eye-opener. We learned about the hardest parts of missionary work and then best parts of it. We also learned the importance of including members in our search for investigators. My favorite part was that we learned the only way to have a successful mission is to be obedient with a passion. Passion in our work is essential because we won't feel tired if we truly love what we are doing. Passion will help us love those around us and will help us connect with them in a special way that will help them come unto Christ.
Friday I received my temporary reassignment to Atlanta Georgia. Awesome.
Saturday was such a tender day for me. My emotions spilled out quite a lot. I had to say goodbye to Tang Laoshi (Brother Townsend) and it was harder than saying goodbye to my family (sorry y'all). But I don't know if I will ever see this man again who has done so much to help me learn Chinese and has provided multiple Spiritual settings in which my understanding and testimony of this gospel have grown. Luckily I have pictures and his e-mail, so there is a chance we will see each other again, or at least stay in contact. It is during these times of good-byes that I remember what my Mom has said multiple times, "Isn't a blessing to have loved and been loved so much it hurts?" I can testify that it is indeed a blessing to love.
(Left to Right: Sister Goldrup, me, and Tang Laoshi!)
(We love Zhi Hui yu! aka Word of Wisdom)
Saturday night was also an emotional night. We had our final District meeting with President and Sister Dunn and we did an exercise that I believe will impact the rest of my mission and hopefully the rest of my life. With our companions we did a role play of the time when Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" As Sister Goldrup asked me that three times, I felt that I could honestly reply to both her and my Savior, "I do love you." By the time I had asked her that same question three times we were both in tears and my feelings were, at that very moment, wenhede (tender). I could see, more clearly than ever before in my life, that all the Savior really wanted from me was to love those I come in contact with. Love my companion now, and my future companions in the field. Love my family. Love my investigators. And show this love by inviting them to come unto Christ so that they can feel the great capacity of His love for all of us here on Earth, and for those from the past and for those who are getting ready to come down. Yes it was a tender moment for my companion and I, one which I will always remember.
I just want everyone to know that the rumors you hear about the MTC being terrible are not true. I LOVE this place. I have had some of the worst days of my life here, but I have learned so much from those trials. I have loved learning from my teachers and my peers. I have loved studying the scriptures and praying all the time. Saturday I finished reading the Book of Mormon, cover to cover, which I started my first day in the MTC. I have started reading it again. I encourage all to read it, and to love it. It is the keystone of my happiness in my life here on Earth. Love you all and feel free to email me!