Well, I have been terrible at updating Kylie's blog while she has been in the MTC (and Kylie writes fairly long letters), so instead of trying to put every letter on here written over the last 9 weeks, I am just going to put some excerpts.
From June 6 (after 1 week at the MTC):
"I am doing SO well!!! I have been doing nothing but eating, breathing, studying, praying, and testifying in Spanish for this last week! Right after you dropped me off I was shown where to put my bags, I got my name tag and ID card, and then was taken to a Spanish class. I sat down in a small classroom (with people I later learned would be my district) and a teacher just started talking to me in Spanish, asking me questions about myself, and expecting me to answer in Spanish! I guess there's no time like the present :) I've only said one prayer in English since I got here. So our prayers and simple, but we are learning to expand our vocabulary for things were grateful for. Also, sometimes they're just kinda spanglish. Fake it till you make it!! Also, we were challenged to bear our testimonies on Sunday, even if they were short. So my companion and I both bore our testimonies in Spanish! And after only three days! They were short, but powerful I think. The Spirit truly does make up the difference. ...
The MTC is intense!! We leave our room about 6:50 in the morning, and aren't allowed back until 9:30. Most of my day is broken up into different study times. Companionship, personal, language, computer lab (for Spnaish) 3 hours of Spanish class, and sometimes we have workshops that deal with more gospel oriented stuff. So we have to be very disciplined to make sure that we created study plans that will help us to make the best use of our time. There are also investigators here at the MTC. No one really6 says exactly who they are, we're just to treat them as real investigators. So we've been teaching a man named Carlos. Our first lesson was last Friday. And yup, you guessed it, he speaks no Enligsh!! Well, not to us anyway :) So at a certain time we go to a designated classroom, knock on the door, hopefully get in to door (which we did) and teach him a lesson. The most frustrating thing is when we can understand a question he asks, but don't have to the vocabulary to answer him. We've now had 4 lessons with him. So we learn phrases to hopefully go back and answer his questions. But sometimes you just can't create that atmosphere or Spirit again. We particularly felt the Spirit really strong when we taught him to pray. However, he still refuses to pray in front of us. Anyway, its wonderful practice! We're wondering if "Carlos" will actually end up being one of our teachers. We'll see!"
June 20th Letter:
"I LOVE singing in the choir here!! There's about 500 of us, and our director is so awesome!
Last Sunday, Sister Elaine S Dalton was our RS speaker, which was probably the best meeting I've been to since coming here. It was so great because she's been the general YW president for a long time, including all of my YW leaders. Then that night, Sister Sheri Dew was our fireside speaker. It's just crazy the speakers that come here!!! I feel so incredibly blessed to sit at the feet of the Lord's servants and to learn so much."
June 27th Letter:
"Now for the awesome part of my week! As you know, its New Mission Presidents seminar week here at the MTC. The place has practically been locked down to keep us away from all the general authorities. But we knew we'd have someone big to speak at devotional last night, and we were right! It was Elder Perry! what a wonderul man. What was even more amazing was that 10 of the 12 were on the stand. And close to me! I could see all their faces. And all their wives were there. Elders Nelson, Oaks, Christoferson, Cook, Ballard, Holland, Bednar, Anderson and Scott were there with Elder Perry. And the Presiding bishopbric, and Presidents of the 70, 110 new mission presidents, the list goes on. The feeling in that room was AMAZING!!! And of course we sang Called to Serve as our opening song (I think we sing it every other meeting, but I love it) and it was so neat to sing it with all these other servants (apostles) of the Lord, and to think that I'm having some small part in this wonderful work that they are all engaged in. We all have part in it, but especially being set apart full time. It was just a really neat feeling.
Our message is glorious and wonderful, and it makes sense. Jesus Christ lives, and the true gospel is restored to the Earth today. Restored, not reformed. There's a difference. The Book of Mormon doesn't take away from the Bible, just like the New Testament doesn't take away from the Old Testament. The heaven's are open in this last dispensation. I know it without a doubt. And it is a message that I feel humbled and proud to bring the people in Louisiana, and with all I meet. I love what I'm doing!"
4th of July Letter:
"Anyway, its kind of nice to have PDay on the 4th. It's been a little weird knowing what you're all doing today, what with the breakfast, and the lake, BBQ, and fireworks. I missed last year too! Well, two years from now we'll have to go tubing :) I think I've felt my first twinge of homesickness today, but it's not too bad. There's rumors that might even let us stay out till 10:30 and go across to watch fireworks. Of course, there's also a rumor we just have another fireside, so we'll see what happens :) Or maybe I'll have my normal 3 hrs of class. In any case, my heart is so full of gratitude for what this day means, especially thinking about my ancestors who loved country more than themselves, and took part in fighting for this free country we live in. Especially the freedom I have to practice my religion and even to share it with others.
Last Sunday our fireside was really different. It was more of a monologue by Ted Gibbons, acting as though he were Willard Richards. Willard Richards was there when Joseph and Hyrum were martyred and worked really closely with Joseph. All of the history was amazing that Brother Gibbons knew, even more powerful was the Spirit. I was so touched, thinking about the sacrifices not only of Joseph, Emma, Hyrum, but of our own early saint ancestors. I'm so grateful for the restoration of the gospel on the earth today. There isn't a doubt in my mind that there was a need to have the proper authority of Jesus Christ restored to the Earth, and that that happened. At the end of the fireside our closing hymn was "Praise to the Man." Within the first couple lines of the hymn, slowly we all stood up (totally impromptu about 2500 missionaries in that room, along with leaders and senior missionaries) and sang Praise to the Man. "Mingling with gods, he can plan for his brethren, Millions will know Brother Joseph Again." It was a neat experience. I'm not even sure how to explain the feeling that was there. My testimony of the veracity of the first vision was strengthened so much. I felt like I was part of this powerful army who is armed the most wonderful message. All standing as we thought about this wonderful man Joseph who sacrificed so much, and almost yearning to sacrifice as well for this message to come forth over the earth, that every hear will hear."
July 11th Letter:
We had a little adventure two nights ago. At about 12:47 am our fire alarm went off in our building. It was so loud. Seriously, I don't even know how to explain it. I have never heard anything that loud and repetitive. So all the sisters in our building had to evacuate. Everything was fine though. We don't know if it was a drill or some malfunction or someone did something. Anyway, that was about the most exciting thing to happen here in the last 6 weeks :) We had to wait outside for about a half hour. My companion was joking around that maybe it was happening on the other side of campus in some of the buildings of elders, and they were conducting a social experiment to see how elders and sisters would react differently :) Like the sisters being way to chatty for 1 in the morning. Well, not us, we went and slept on the grass. Kinda funny. Although, I learned something. You know that time old question, what would you grab if your house was on fire? Well, the one thing I grabbed on my way out of the room, while I was half asleep, was my nametag. I love my nametag :) Although, I forgot my teddy bear so I'm glad there wasn't a fire :)
Before I left I was dead set on not cutting my hair no matter how hot it got. Well, I'm not even in Louisiana yet, and I am burning up! And it's not practical, so it's been a hard, long a difficult decision :) but I'm going to cut it!! I figure you all were probably wondering how my hair was doing, so I just thought I'd give you an update lol. We get a free haircut here so I'll get it done soon.
One more thing. One of our investigators name is Carlos, and his baptism date is this Saturday! We had to go over the interview questions with him in our last lesson. And help him understand everything he needs to about the day of baptism and confirmation. Although I learned to be careful about when you read a scripture about baptism by water and fire, because they might think there will literally be fire at their baptism :) lol. ... It might seem kind of silly, because it's not "real" or the "real Carlos" but to us he is :) Anyway, I'm excited, and thought you might think it kind of interesting!! We also have three new investigators! Crazy! K, gotta go!
July 18th Letter:
My week has been pretty good. I have had lots of fear in my lessons about opening my mouth and just trying to express myself in Spanish. It's a long story about the whole thing, but basically, I've been letting myself be frustrated. Then, in a lesson the other night it happened again. We had prepared and practiced so much, it was a really important lesson. And then I froze up in the lesson, letting my fear and nervousness get the better of me. Until, finally I couldn't take it anymore. It was like my testimony was just trying to burst or break out of me!! So, I opened my mouth and I just started teaching and testifying. It was about the atonement mostly. And I felt like for the first time, I was really making a difference, and connecting with this investigator. He needed to hear what I was saying. We've had lots of good lessons, but this was different. The Spirit was strong. It wasn't like the heavens parted and I spoke perfect S
Spanish. But enough that I related to his situation (this investigator was supposed to get baptized but his daughter ran away with her boyfriend and turned his life upside down basically) and.....it was just good. I don't know. I let go of that fear and just had that faith that it'd be alright. So afterward my teacher (also the investigator) talked to me about it, and I've really been working on finding where that strength came from, and trying to not only lift others but also myself in my thoughts and confidence in the language. I was just frustrated because I felt like I was letting Spanish be a stumbling block. And I just refuse to let that get in the way anymore. Anyway....uh I feel like none of that made sense. But that was just one of the biggest things that happened in my week. It was an amazing feeling!
What else...I just got a hair cut! It's short! It barely falls to my shoulders, and has layers. Actually looks pretty good :) plus its super light. Also, have I ever told you I read the Book of Mormon and PMG in Spanish everyday out loud? And I've had the first vision, and my purpose, and most of the Articles of faith, teaching points, and scriptures memorized in Spanish? I realized I've never told you that! It's so neat to teach the first vision in Spanish!
July 25th Letter:
Thank you for all of your encouragement Mom. And Dad. I'll be needing your extra prayers this week! Of course I'm both excited and nervous, but there's something else I'm not quite sure how to explain. Maybe....like I'm not ready, but that I also can't wait to meet the people, but I'm also nervous about just putting myself out there and talking to all those people. I feel like the life of a missionary is just full of opposites. You don't wanna go home, you cant wait. You hate the cafeteria food, you're so grateful because you don't know what you'll be eating in a week. You miss everyone, you don't because your heart is so full of gratitude for this call. I could go on. Anyway, like usual I didn't have time to respond to everything I wanted to in your email, just know that I do acknowledge everything you say. That I read over them, I pray for you each, and I cherish your words and appreciate your prayers.
Thank you SO SO SO much for who each of you are. There aren't really words for what I want to express to you. I just have so much love for each of you. Thank you for the strength you give me!! Love you all!!! Talk to you in 6 DAYS!!!!