Monday, December 27, 2010

Love, Kristen, Week 9 - Still in Provo!

Hi Everyone!

I hope that you all had a very Merry Christmas!! Or as they say in Tagalog, Maligayang Pasko!! I had a good one here. Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Wendy Nelson, came and spent the weekend with us. That was really great. Elder Nelson is so fun and so is Sister Nelson. I wrote my family a letter about it, and if they'd like to share it with all of you, then they're certainly welcome to.

Well, it's been an emotional weekend, but I'm doing good. I'm NOT sad that I'm not going to the Philippines. I'm disappointed, yes, but I know that I'll get there eventually. No, what I'm sad about is having to say goodbye to my district earlier than expected. I know that if I were leaving with them, it'd only be about 48 hours from now that I'd have to say goodbye anyways, but well, I'd rather say goodbye in the Philippines after having one last adventure with them, than here in the MTC. But you know, it's going to be okay. We're all such good friends, and I love each and every single one of them, but I'm supposed to stay here. Sister Lyman and I are having a hard time with saying goodbye to each other. We've become so close. We had our last companionship prayer last night and started crying. We ended up staying up an extra half hour just talking and trying to comfort one another. I have no doubt that there's going to be some more hard times today.

But there are blessings to be had. Those who are leaving are sad that I am not coming, but those who still have some weeks to go are happy that I'm staying. It's nice to be so loved, haha. The all-elder district that I will be joining later tonight is really excited to have me in their district. More than anything, I think they're just happy to be getting a sister ;). Elder Hong and Elder Simmons (Zone Leader and District Leader) came and talked to me the other day to let me know on behalf of their district just how excited they are for me to be with them, and to see if there was anything that they could do for me. That was really nice of them. I'm excited to get to know all of them. It'll be good.

My new companions will be Sister Decker and Sister Budge. They're six weeks behind me, so I won't be joining their class, but I will do gym time with them (although I won't be going to gym because of my wrist), possibly companionship study if our schedules line up to do that, and whatever other things our schedules allow us to do. Each district (class) has a different schedule. I'll be a "solo" sister, which means that I don't have to always be with them. I can be with two elders if I'd rather. Or I can even be by myself on certain occasions, but I kind of doubt that'll ever happen. Anyways, it'll all be worked out. I'd like to say that I'm excited to be with them, I mean we're roommates, and so they're both great girls, but it'll take some getting used to to be in a threesome, and I'm going to miss Sister Lyman like crazy.

Thank you for the rush of dearelders on Wednesday! A couple even sneaked in on Thursday, haha. I loved it. I read all of them too. Sorry if I stressed any of you out. Turns out you actually had an extra three weeks to get them in :). But thank you. It was really wonderful to get so much mail. I'll write all of you back soon. Promise!


MTC Mailbox # 175
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT. 84604

All right. Now, I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me. Really, the worst will be today when I have to say goodbye to my good friends. After that it can only get better. I've been given two priesthood blessings this weekend. One I asked for right before I went to get the MRI, and in it I was told that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and that He will make that plan known to me very soon. The second was a blessing of healing, and for that I asked each member of my district, besides Sister Lyman, to participate (although she did get to participate by holding a card so that one of the elders would know how to properly anoint the oil). I was promised to be healed and that in fact it was the Lord's will that I be healed. Then I was promised some other amazing things. I know I'm supposed to be here. It's hard right now, but I know that it will be okay. I just need to put my trust in the Lord. Each day I remind myself that I need to choose my attitude. If I choose to be happy, then I will be happy. If I choose to be miserable, then I will be miserable. It's okay that I feel sad that my friends are leaving. That's only normal. But, I can choose not to dwell on it. I know that I'll see them again. In fact, the other day I was just seeking some comfort, and found that scripture in Doctrine and Covenants that says, "Thy trials and thy afflications shall be but a small moment..." I kept reading on a little ways and soon came to the verse that says, "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again." That verse brought so much peace and comfort to me. I know that my wrist will heal. It's only a matter of time. But I didn't know if I would ever see my friends again. We're all going to the same mission, my district, and also Sister McDonald and Sister Salway, and some other wonderful people in the zone. That verse brought me comfort though. I know that I'll see them again, and what a wonderful reunion it will be when I do. They've been such an amazing support to me during this small trial of mine. When the elders in my district gave me the blessing, I felt the spirit so strongly, and felt of their faith that I could be healed. When Sister Lyman and I were talking last night, she said that she too felt the spirit, but that more than that she also felt the great love those elders have for me, and that we all have for each other as a district. She said it was so powerful. I don't know how much more I can express to you all how much I've come to love my district, and how close we all are to each other. We've had hard times every now and then, but when it comes right down to it, we really love each other and will always be there for one another. I have their emails, and will be emailing them as soon as I can to let them know that the doctor's have given me clearance and that I'm on my way :). Sister Lyman and I may email just a little bit between all of that too :).

Well, that is all I have to say. Really, please do not worry about me. I am sad today, but I know that I will be happy. Even now I'm feeling comfort that everything will be okay. I know that the Lord has a plan. I'm on His timetable, not mine :). There's something that he needs me to do here.

I love you all!
Sister Danner

P.S. From Kristen's Mom: Thanks so much for those who sent Dear Elder letters at the last minute last week, when we thought she would not receive them past Wednesday, and before we knew she would not be leaving today for the Philippines. I was so happy to read that she was flooded with letters from so many of you! Thank you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love, Kristen's Mom :-) - week (I think 8 and a half)

It was so great to hear Kristen's voice today! Unfortunately, she was calling to let us know the MRI done on her wrist today showed a compressed fracture that is still healing. Her departure date is now tentatively January 17th. We got to talk to her for over an hour (we think they forgot about her :-) Haha). She was in good spirits and has faith that she will go to the Philippines when she is supposed to be there. She trusts Heavenly Father's timing. She does not seem sad at all to not be home for Christmas(not that she doesn't miss home and us, of course, but she feels she is where she is supposed to be and is happy), and is looking forward to the two devotionals they will have at the MTC on Christmas. She is looking forward to seeing who will be speaking to them.

So, with the departure date change, all letters will still get to her next week, and you can use the MTC address still to write to her. I know she loves hearing from family and friends.


P.S. She also spoke to us in Tagalog and she sounded was pretty cool. Of course that is coming from someone who doesn't know what Tagalog should sound like, but it wasn't English! :-)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 8


Well, surprisingly, I really don't have too much to say this week...although we'll see if I really stick to that as I get going. Things are starting to wind down, and we're making final preparations to leave. Our flight plans came on Friday, which I won't give any details about on here for safety reasons, but I'll for sure let you all know how they went after I get to the Philippines. Surprisingly we've all still been able to focus in class and during study times. But when we get a free moment, we for sure talk about our excitement to be in the Philippines in a week and a half! :)

I'm not sure if my mom updated my blog with how my doctor's appointment went on Wednesday, concerning my wrist, but just in case she didn't, I'll let you know that the doctor took an x-ray and they did find a small hairline fracture. It's not very impressive though, so they didn't put my in a cast, but told me that I need to keep my brace on 24/7 and use my left arm as little as possible. He scheduled an appointment for me this Wednesday to come back for a check-up to see how it's doing, and if it's progressing in the healing process, and I'm having less pain, he'll clear me for the Philippines. My wrist has been feeling great. Still a little sore sometimes, but I can use it to do just about anything (I'm just not lifting things with it really, because he told me not to) and so I think I'll be good to go on the 27th.

REMINDER: The MTC is not going to be accepting any local delivery services after Dec. 22nd. This means no dearelders will be printed off after 12:00pm on the 22nd. I won't get any on the 27th...I won't be in the MTC when they arrive. I don't know what exactly this means for US Postal packages, but just to be safe, try to get any here by the 27th. Thank you so much to those who sent me packages this week by the way!! I really appreciate it and it made me so happy to get a package from you!! So thank you. It was very thoughtful of you. But yes, just a heads up. I would hate for anything to get left behind.

We've been really emphasizing teaching and speaking in Tagalog as much as possible our last week. Sometimes this is frustrating for me, because I honestly get annoyed with Tagalog sometimes. I'm pretty good at it, and in fact my district is always telling me how I'm the best one at it in our class, but I'm not feeling the same love for it that I felt for Spanish. I'm really having to learn to love it. It's a neat language, and a pretty language, so I'm not sure what my problem is, but I think part of it is that I like it when people just get their points across to me, and with Tagalog it can take people so long to get their points across because they are so slow at thinking up words and phrases. So it's definitely a test of my patience. But you know, I need to get over that because pretty soon, it'll be me speaking super slowly and others will have to exercise patience with me, as I will probably not speak a word of Ilonggo once I get to Iloilo.

However, I have had some amazing experiences with Tagalog when I let go of my pride. We teach in all Tagalog now, which is an amazing thing in and of itself as we've only been learning it for 2 months. Sometimes it can be hard to get into the teaching appointments though because in the back of your mind, you know that they're fake, that the people you're teaching have already accepted the gospel into their life. When I think like this and allow my pride to take over, I have a very difficult time thinking up Tagalog words and phrases--even though I know that I know them. It is not smooth and the lesson is pretty much a flop because the spirit is not there. However, when I view the person I'm teaching as a child of God and like someone who I could potentially meet on my mission, and feel a sincere desire for them to come unto Christ through the restored gospel, then Tagalog seems to just flow out of my mouth. Please don't misunderstand me--my Tagalog is still broken...I don't suddenly begin speaking fluently--, but I am able to recall words and phrases and correct grammar structures much quicker and easier and I can feel the spirit helping me. It's an amazing experience, and I can tell that the people who I am teaching, even though they're already members of the church, are touched in some way.

Yesterday Ted Gibbons, who is apparently a prominent actor and writer within the church, came and performed a 45 minute monologue during our Sunday Fireside last night. He told the story of Joseph Smith's martyrdom from the point of view of Willard Richards, one of the men who was with Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail when he was killed. Richards is the one who had bullets fly all around him, but received only a couple of grazes by bullets--not a hole was in his garment. He told us his own conversions story, how he came to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, specific quotes, exact times, every date, every event leading up to the martyrdom. It was an amazing thing to witness.

I'm out of time!

From Kristen's mom: Kristen only has 30 minutes a week to write this, so unfortunately sometimes she doesn't get to complete her thought. That is what happened today.

Love you!
Sister Danner

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 7 and a half

I went to a hand/wrist specialist today and met with the Physician's Assistant, Reese Blackwell, who felt around in my arm and wrist. He seemed to really know his stuff. Anyways, I was most tender in the area between the end of the ulna bone and the bone right above that (I believe the first two letters are st, but I could be wrong). The bone that most people break in the wrist is fine. They took some x-rays (as it's now been six days since the injury date) and when they pulled them up on the computer, there did appear to be a hairline fracture in the ulna bone. It's very slight though and difficult to see. The doctor, Dr. Richards, was not that impressed with it, and neither was Blackwell. They are unsure if it is a hairline fracture or just a line in my ulna bone (apparently sometimes bones get lines in them), but because they are unsure, they are going to treat it like it's a fracture and meet with me again in a week to make the final call about whether or not I can leave on the 27th. For that meeting, I'll see only Dr. Richards (I don't think Blackwell wants to make the final call--I don't blame him), and then we'll see what happens. For now I am to wear my brace (which is basically like a cast) at ALL TIMES even in the shower. I am not to pick anything up, carry anything, and am really only allowed to write and type GENTLY. He'd prefer it if I weren't lefthanded, but that's something I can't control. So yeah, no aggressive notes whatsoever. If I come back and it looks better and I'm not in any pain they'll clear me. But if I am in pain they'll probably hold me back until I'm healed.

The District President told me that if the latter happens, they'll hold me here an extra week or two (probably two at the most, as that's probably all the time it needs to heal if it's not fine by next week) and then they'll call my mission president in the Philippines and ask when he wants me there. Usually the mission president wants the missionary on the next flight out. Sometimes they want to wait an extra day or two. It'll depend. However, I'm praying that I'll be okay to leave on the 27th. If I'm not, then obviously there's something more that I need to do here. Heavenly Father has a plan. Right now I just need to trust Him. I'll get to the Philippines soon enough.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 7

Kamusta Lahatsa!

Well, this week definitely had it's ups and its downs. Thankfully more ups, but the down is pretty bad. I injured my left wrist playing volleyball this week and I'm waiting to see what the doctor says about how it's healing to know if I'm still going to be able to leave in two weeks or not. I'm frustrated because I was not doing anything stupid while playing--the ball was served and I went to bump it over with my arm, but couldn't get under it in time, and so ended up bumping it with my wrist instead (thankfully the ball went over and the other team didn't get it, so we got a point, but I'm hoping my sacrifice wasn't so great). When the impact was made on the wrist, it hurt, but it felt like something that I could just shake off. So I shook my wrist a little, and continued to play. The ball never came to me again, and after a few minutes I noticed the pain increasing, so I went upstairs to run around the track, figuring it wouldn't be a good idea to continue with volleyball.

I did some running on the track and then on the eliptical as well. The pain did not go away though, but continued to increase. I went downstairs to wear Sister Lyman was and told her I wanted to go see the athletic trainers and possibly the doctor as my wrist really hurt. We went to the trainers and they had me roll my wrist, and felt around, and finally decided to simply ice it for ten minutes and see what happened. I did not like that at all. The first half of icing is painful as your entire arm is being numbed up. Ugh. The last half was whatever, but I hated that first half. Anyways though, the pain was still there after the icing and so we visited the doctor. He guessed it was badly sprained but sent me to the health clinic the next morning to get it x-rayed to make sure. He also gave me a brace to rest my wrist in.

All day my wrist was throbbing and the next morning it was still hurting. I couldn't even write or grip anything without a lot of pain. The x-rays were taken though and when I visited the doctor later that day, he told me that he hadn't seen any fractures, and that the wrist was probably just badly sprained. I told him it hurt pretty badly in a certain area and showed him where it was swollen. He thought it might just be ligaments or something though and so told me that they were going to get me into physical therapy. I was releived that my wrist wasn't broken, but frustrated with the thought of having to take time out of my study/classes to go to physical therapy. I said I'd be fine with just going to the athletic trainers during gym, but he wanted me to go to a professional.

Later that day I was eating dinner when "the voice" (intercom system) came over the cafeteria and said, "Sister Kristen Danner please come to the front desk." It is an exciting thing to get your name called down, and so I punched my right arm in the air and said, "Ayos!" ("Great!) and Sister Lyman and I headed down to the front desk. They said the doctor wanted to speak to me, and called him, and then had me talk to him over the phone. He told me that the radiologist had taken a look at my x-rays and believes he saw a small fracture in the area where I complained of it hurting so bad. They want to send me to an orthopedic surgeon to be sure. So this morning, Monday. I headed over to the scheduling office and they made the appointment for Wednesday at 8:30.

The interesting thing is though, my wrist has not been hurting very badly these last 2 days. I've been able to move it without pain, unless I move it a certain way then there's pain in that one area, and can grip just fine now and write as well. I can type this email without any pain and don't even have the brace on (gets in the way). So in my mind I'm fine to go to the Philippines in two weeks. But we'll see what the orthopedic surgeon says. The doctor here thinks I'll be okay to go in two weeks, but worse case scenario I'll have to stay an extra week or two. So please if you wouldn't mind, keep me in your prayers. I really want my wrist to heal so that I can leave in two weeks. The MTC is wonderful, but I'm ready to go and start teaching.

Well, now that that's over, let me tell you some of the GOOD things that happend this week. The first is that Sister Kathy Christofferson (Elder D. Todd Christofferson's, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wife) came to speak to us in Relief Society yesterday. She told us about Mary and the Savior and here's one thing that she said that really stuck out to me. Everything else was excellent too, but this really made me think: Jesus Christ was born in a stable, extraordinarly humble circumstances, especially for the Son of God. For Mary, the timing of his birth could probably not have come at a less convenient time. However, it needed to happen that way, for probably several reasons, but also because half way across the world a group of believers in the Americas were going to be put to death if the sign of his birth was not given THAT night. They needed him to come and He came. Mary could not have known about this, and perhaps it wasn't until she reached the other side of the veil when she realized why Christ needed to be born the very night that he was. It made me think about how sometimes I don't understand the big picture behind everything, why certain things happen at certain times, but that God does, and it may not be until I reach the other side of the veil that I completely understand the reasons for everything. And that's okay. Everything will work out just as it should.

After Relief Society, we were invited to go back and meet Sister Christofferson and so Sister Salway, Sister McDonald, Sister Lyman, and I all headed back to meet her. We waited in line for a little while, and then she greeted each of us with a hug and talked to us about where we were going. When we told her the Philippines, she expressed her excitement for us and told us that she had been to Manila before and what a beautiful place it was that we were going. She was so warm and friendly, and gave me an extra side hug before she said goodbye to us. She was just so nice and a wonderful lady and it was an honor to meet her.

Sister Lyman and I signed up for a "progressive investigator" this week in the T.E. so that we could experience what it may be like to prepare for a specific person, meeting with them consecutive times, and preparing them to come unto Christ through baptism. We wanted to do this in Tagalog, but unfortunately there's only one teacher in the T.E. who speaks Tagalog, and we could not meet with him enough (we do meet with him once a week to practice the lesson we'll be giving in the TRC though, as we do want to practice teaching in Tagalog as much as possible). So we're teaching in English, and we met with him for the first time on Friday. It was an amazing experience. I know that Brother Savage is not a real investigator, that he is already converted and in fact an RM, but the spirit was still there and so strong as we talked with Brother Savage, or "Kostiya" (Russian name...the investigator that he plays) and found out his needs and concerns and helped him better understand his relationship with God, as that is what he seemed to really stand in need of. The spirit was strong as we talked with him and as he talked with us, and by the end we committed him to simply pray to God and ask for help with his upcoming finals, and see if his mind wasn't a little more clear as he took them, and if he could feel that someone was truly listening. We told him that God really does care about him, and knows him, and is aware of him, as he is each of his children. By the end, Kostiya (and Brother Savage himself) seemed very touched and we hope that he'll follow through on his commitments so that we can teach him more when we come back. And I hope to have many real experiences like this in the Philippines. I may not be able to bring everyone to baptism that I meet, but I at least hope to help everyone feel God's love for them in their life so that they can eventually down the road decide to be baptized into his true church and receive all of the many blessings and eventual exaltation that come from that.

I hope to have enough time to write this next part. I found out why "Tagalog" is called "Tagalog." Near Manila there is a river that ancient people lived next to. When others came to the Philippines and discovered these people they were called "The People from the River" and they spoke "The People from the River" language. This phrase translates to "Taga-ilog" in Tagalog, "Taga" meaning "from" as in where someone is from, and "ilog" meaning "river." Eventually the language was shortened to Tagalog. Isn't that so cool??? I love learning things like that!

Well the church is true. I love it. I can feel God's love for me and for others every day. I know that we are his children and that he loves us very much.

Have a great week!!

Sister Danner

Monday, December 6, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 6

Hi Everyone!

Well these weeks are starting to fly by. On Tuesday I could not remember how long I'd been in the MTC. I looked at my roommates and said, in all seriousness, "How long have we been here?" They stared at me a moment and then laughed, and said "Five weeks as of tomorrow." So insane. Three weeks til I leave for the Philippines!!! As of tomorrow my district and a couple others who arrived the same day will be the oldest in the zone! That's weird to think about. We're saying goodbye to some good friends today. None of them are going to Iloilo. We will miss them. We write notes in each others journals though, so it helps, and I know we'll all see each other again someday, in this life or the next.

This reminds me. December 22nd is the LAST day the MTC will accept packages before Christmas. So if you're planning on sending me one, please make sure it gets to me before then, as I leave Decemeber 27th.l I don't know about letters. Better safe than sorry. Also, I hope I don't hurt anyone's feelings, but please don't send me food for Christmas. I'll only have a few days to eat it, and my bags are already at the weight limit. I don't want to have to leave it behind. Letters and pictures are PERFECT! Please don't feel obligated to get me anything. I would just love to hear from everyone for Christmas :). (NOTE FROM KRISTEN'S MOM: I will be sending a package to her at the end of this week or beginning of next week if anyone in the CDA area would like to send their letter or Christmas card in our package. I guess our family will just have to eat the yummy treats we were going to send....)

This week was all about Tagalog. We had three "English Fast" days, where we only spoke Tagalog the entire day (very difficult actually. We're not bad at Tagalog, but we certainly can't express ourselves the same way as in English, so it can be quite frustrating, and we're actually pretty quite most of the day, haha). We also taught the First Lesson (The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ) in all Tagalog in the TRC this week. Sister Lyman and I taught Jason Pagaduan again! I love teaching him. He's super nice, but a very good investigator. At the end of our lesson to him, he told us that we did a good job, and that we actually did better than last time--and last time we taught him in English! haha. At first I didn't know how to take that, but then I thought about it and realized we had improved really. We may not have had as nice of a vocabulary, and yes, our Tagalog was broken, but we still focused better on Jason's needs as an investigator (he wanted to better understand the apostasy and restoration), we asked better questions this time, and we used more and effective scriptures. Also, because our Tagalog is limited, we were forced to keep the lesson simpler. He also felt the spirit as we recited the First Vision to him in Joseph Smith's own words (in Tagalog), and bore our testimonies with conviction. So, yes, again, our Tagalog was broken, but because we knew that what we were saying was true, the Holy Ghost was able to bear witness that what we were testifying of was the truth.

I'd like to share a journal entry that I wrote last night. I simply want to testify of what I know to be true. I wrote last night these words: "All week my thoughts have been turend to the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is something that I have gained a stronger and deeper testimony of. Every time I hear the First Vision (, whether in person or in a movie, in English or Tagalog (the only two languages I've heard it spoken in so far), read or recited, spoken or written, I feel the Holy Ghost and I know that it is true. He did in fact see God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, and they did in fact speak to him. I finished reading Joseph Smith History today and by doing so, have gained more knowledge and appreciation for the prophet Joseph Smith. He truly was a prophet of God, and through him, God restored His true Christ upon the earth today. Revelation was given, priesthood was restored, and the gospel began to be spread throughout all the Earth. Shall I not go on in so great a cause?

I love this gospel. Everything about it is the truth--the truth in it's fulness and glory. Other churches DO teach the truth, but only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches it in it's fulness. Oh the peace and joy this gospel brings to me. Never before have I been as happy as I am now on my mission. I'm learning more about what it means to have the Holy Ghost as my CONSTANT companion. He teaches me daily, constantly, and only when I choose to be in a bad mood and think unkindly of others for whatever reason, does he leave me. When this happens, I do all in my power to change my attitude so that I can have the Holy Ghost with me once again. I need him with me if I am going to accomplish anything in this work. I love this gospel, and have a great desire to share it with everyone, especially those whose hearts are open to it and ready to listen."

Again, that is what I wrote, and I hope it can be of benefit to someone, whether already a member of the church or not. That is why I'm serving a mission though. It's not to have some cultural experience in the Philippines, although I certainly do hope that happens as well :). It's to teach others the truths that I cherish--that God lives and loves us. That he called a prophet to restore the gospel in it's fullness after it was taken off of the Earth with the death of the apostles, and that he has called a prophet today, President Thomas S. Monson to lead and guide this church. I know this to be true. I know also, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I've read it, and prayed about it, and asked God sincerely and with real intent of receiving an answer, if it was true, and received a confirmation that it is. I also know the Bible to be the Word of God, inasmuch as it is translated correctly. I hold it in just as high regard as the Book of Mormon and study from it daily as well. I love those two books that God has given us to be able to learn of him.

I'm so excited to leave the MTC and start teaching people. I hope though that I can be of service still to God, my Heavenly Father, while I'm in the MTC, and help my fellow missionaries in whatever way I can. I love being a missionary. It is a great privelege and a marvelous work that I get to take part in. I am so grateful to everyone who helped prepare me for this time in my life so that I could go forth and share it with others.

I know this church is true. Plain and simple, I know this church is true.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic week!!! Thank you for all of your letters, prayers, and support! They mean so much to me.

Sister Danner

Monday, November 29, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 5

Kamusta Lahatsa!

Apparently "Lahat" is not the word for everyone. It means "all." I've been using it wrong. So sorry :).

Anyways, Thanksgiving was great. We didn't have any lessons that day--in fact the teachers weren't allowed to come to the MTC at all. Sister Lyman and I got some candy, and I got some plastic gloves from the custodian, and we stuffed the gloves with candy to make little candy turkeys for the elders. I then colored the turkeys and sister lyman made some pilgram hats out of cookies and reeses bells. Super cute. We put in on the elders desks and they absolutely LOVED them. It made us so happy. We really enjoyed doing it, and helping them feel happy too.

The best part of Thanksgiving though, by far, was at 10:00am when Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, came to speak to us! He brought his entire family too. All his kids and grandchildren and his wife. He got up and said, "We are delighted to be here. Today, the Holland's are your family. I don't want any of you feeling homesick. In fact,don't you dare wish you were anywhere else." :) His wife then got up to speak to us briefly, a few missionaries bore their testimonies, his grandchildren sang a primary song to us, "Whenever I hear the song of a bird..." that one, and then Elder Holland spoke to us for 45-60 min. It was AMAZING!!!! The spirit was sooo strong! He bore a powerful, powerful testimony of the Savior and his atoning sacrifice for us. He reminded us of all that we have to be greateful for especially those of us going to poor countries. What an opporutnity we have to eat what they eat, slleep where they sleep, and experience their lifestyle. I cannot wait. The spirit was so strong. The most powerful I've ever felt the spirit while listenign to an apostle of the Lord speak, and I've eben fortunute enough to hear from them many times.

Dinner was good. It was at 11:30 am. Weird, but fine. We ate a sack dinner as a district later with a Kentucky Derby Pie from Elder Waggoner's dad (delicious) and an Apple Pie from Sister Lyman's mom (again, delicious). Thank you! We then did a service project for the Humanitarian Center. We cut out patterns for 33,400 backpacks in 3 hours to be given to children in poorer countries. It was great!

So Thanksgiving was definitely a day of spiritual feasting as well as physical feasting. It was really wonderful.

Mom: Sorry my spelling is so bad. I'm just trying to hurry.

Yesterday I was called on to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. Each week the branch presidency assigns us a topic to write a five min talk on, and each week we all write a talk (everyone in the zone), and then on Sunday he calls on two missionaries to give their talks (out of about 30 or so of us). Yesterday it was me and Elder T. His last name is Tongan. I'm not even gogin to try to spell it. My talk was on baptism, and I prepared it the night before, dilgently, not hurriedly, and practiced it once. I ddin't want to stiress about it ebcause I didn't know if I'd be giveing it or not. Gah, spelling is horrible. ANyways, I fiocused mainly on the covenants we make at baptism as well as the promises we are given if we keep those covenants. I learned a lot. When I was called on to give it, i prayed that the spirit would be with me, so that the importance of these doctriens would be conveyed to the hearts of those listening. I'd only pracitced once. I couldn't do it alone. When I got up to speak. I felt the spirit with me, and as I opened my mouth, I felt the spirit guiding my words, helping me know when to pause while reading a scripture or just when speaking, helping me know when to inflect my voice a certain way for emphasis, etc. Mostly. just a peaceful feeling that what I was teaching was true. I learned a lot while giving the talk, and as I looked into the audience, I could see the spirit touching their hearts as well. When I finished and sat down, the second counselor in the presidency stood up to give his talk, but he paused a moment and then, looking into the audience said, "Well, I think we all can agree that we have been spiritually fed today. Thank you Sister Danner for that wonderful talk." Many people came up to me afterwards and thanked me as well, one Elder shook my hand and told me that it was "Absolutely inspiring." I'd only spoken for five minutes, but because the spirit was with me, it was able to teach these, my peers and leaders, what they needed to hear in those five minutes. How grateful I am that the Lord let me be part of that.

Saturday was Tagalog only day for my district. Wow, that was difficult. There's just so mcuh that I want to be able to express in Tagalog the way I do in English! I'm learning that I need to find ways to simplify my language for now, and that as I learn more Tagalog I'll be able to get more creative. We're teaching the first lesson in Tagalog this week :). That should be interesting. Sister Lyman and I are working hard to be prepared for it though. I'll be sure to try to remember to let you know how ti goes!

Thank you for the kind journal notes. There have been times when I've needed to read them, because I'm having a rough moment, or I just need to hear the voice of a friend through their words. I think I've read every single on by n ow. thank you. My journal is almost finished. I write so much! It'll probably only last one more week and then I'll need to get a new one. Haha.

Funny thing about the MTC. People are confused on how to pronoucne my last name :). It's funny. I think part of it is because so many of us are learning a new language taht we take on the pronunciation of that new language. So people will come up to me, read my name tag, and with a confused look say, "Um, how do you pronounce your last name? Is it Dahn--er? Dahn-air? Dan-air?" Haha. And I'll just look at them and be like, "No. It's Dan-ner." Then they'll smack themselves and be like, "Oh! Of course! Geez." If Elder Waggoner's around it's especially funny. He pronounces averything with the "apple" A sound so he thinks they're ridiculous. He pronounces (just for fun) Salamat (all "Ah) Slam-it. Haha. Thank you= Salamat.

Out of time!

Mahal ko kayo!
Sister Danner

P.S. From Kristen's mom....I would have corrected her spelling, etc., before posting this, but she mentioned it so much, and I figured many of you would find it amusing from this English major who most likely has corrected you a time or two. :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 4

Kamusta Lahat!

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving!!!! I hope that everyone has wonderful plans in store for this week filled with family, friends, and good food. I also hope we keep in mind how much we have to be so grateful for in the United States. The more I learn about those in the Philippines, the more I am humbled by my upbringing in the U.S.A. I'm sure I'll be even more humbled once I get there. I'm so grateful for loving parents, great sisters, kind friends, and wonderful food and commodities, and the gospel. We are so so so blessed to live here.

This week was, well, interesting. For one thing, I found it harder for some reason to be as cheery as I have been the other weeks. I found myself instead of being optimistic and happy all of the time, to becoming grumpy and rather irritable. I couldn't understand why...and no, it's not because of well...that. I know some of you are thinking it. But no, I would wake up, and be grumpy because I had to wake up, and then I would tell myself to get over it, and then I'd start focusing on the scriptures and my studies and that made me feel better, but then out of no where I'd become grumpy again. And I'd stay grumpy for awhile. I didn't know what was going on, but I began losing focus during class and my mind would wander to other things. Sister Lyman would ask me what was wrong and I'd either say, "Oh nothing," or "I really have no idea." I was telling the truth. By the end of the day though, I'd realize what had triggered the grumpiness for the day and would resolve in my mind a way to overcome it should it happen again. I'd go to bed feeling better and would always pray for help during the next day, and thank my Heavenly Father for what I had learned. The next day though a new thing would trigger a bad mood in me, and I began to wonder what was going on. By the end of the third day it hit me--Satan was working extremely hard on me. First, I allowed myself to be in a bad mood--I allowed something to bother me, instead of resolving it immediately or casting it aside because it was no big deal. Then, because I allowed myself this, the spirit couldn't be with me, and Satan was able to discourage me further and tempt me. When I realized this I prayed for help to overcome it. Every time I got into a bad mood, I would immediately say a prayer in my heart to become happy again. It always worked too :). However, other things began to distract me, and I still was losing focus. By Friday night, after thinking and pondering about what was going on, I realized how much Satan really knows me, and if he sees any way to discourage me or get to me, he will do doesn't necessarily need to be brought on by a bad mood. Realizing that I was fighting a personal battle with him, just the simple realization, was enough to give me perspective and empower me to fight back. I told my companion what I thought was going on, and she talked with me about it. I then, in an interview with the Coordinating Sister, Sister Whitley, Saturday night told her how much Satan had worked on me that week, and how happy I was to have finally realized that. As I told her about my week, and all the prayers I had said, and all the faith I had needed to exercise to overcome it, she smiled, and said she was so glad that I had realized all that I had, especially so soon into my mission. She then said, "You're a threat. That's why he's working on you so hard. You're a threat to Satan." I thought a moment, and then with a slight chuckle said, "Well then, great! I'm glad that I'm a threat. Each day I'm going to wake up and say, 'How can I be a threat to Satan today?'" And you know what? My days have been much better.

Yesterday was soooooo wonderful. Oh I love Sundays at the MTC! Music and the Spoken Word, Relief Society, Sacrament Meeting, District Meeting, Lots and Lots of Study Time, Evening Fireside, and a church film if we so choose to go to them. Oh the spirit is so strong! I love it!

Sister Lyman and I were asked earlier this week to teach the lesson during District Meeting by Elder Ball. He asked us to teach Lesson 2, The Plan of Salvation, the lesson we had been studying this week to teach to investigators. We were at first unsure how to exactly go about teaching a lesson that had been pretty much taught to each of these elders since they were young. Besides, they'd been studying it all week as well. They knew it. However, we'd been asked to teach it. So, on Wednesday, we had a chance to start preparing it, and we said a prayer and asked that the spirit please guide us in knowing what we should focus on in our lesson that would meet the needs of these elders. After we said our prayer, we both opened our Preach My Gospel's to Lesson 2, and after a minute or two, I read the first principle, "God's Purpose and Plan for Us," and felt prompted that we should teach the elders about their purpose in life and as missionaries. I told Sister Lyman my thoughts and she agreed with me. We then, carefully and slowly, listening for the promptings and confirmations of the spirit, wrote down questions to ask the elders that could be applied personally to each one of them. We did not in any way want to get up and lecture them. We wanted them to truly think about, and have the spirit speak to them about their individual purposes in life and on their missions. We wanted discussion, but also time for quiet contemplation. Each day that we sat down to prepare the lesson, we always prayed and asked for the spirit, and each time we thought of good ways to go about teaching the lesson, and a new question or two to ask them. When the time finally came yesterday to give it, we asked that the Spirit please be there to teach the elders what the Lord would have them hear. As Sister Lyman and I got up and began asking them questions to write down personal answers to, I saw the spirit touch each and every single one of them as they began to truly think about their purpose in life and on a mission. We were able to have a wonderful discussion where the elders shared stories from their lives and insights that they had, as well as scriptures. It was a wonderful lesson, and I was so grateful for all the help that the Lord gave Sister Lyman and I in preparing it. The elders told us later how much they appreciated it.

Well, so, before I end this, I'd like to say hello to Sister Tran, Sister Doig, and Sister Waggoner. Apparently my mom is using her internet communication skills very well on the Missionary Mom website and talks to each of these other Moms. About every Monday-Wednesday one of them will get a letter from their mom about something that I said in my blog about one of their sons, and come up to me and say, "Hey, look at this. Sister Danner said..." Haha. It makes me laugh and it makes them laugh too. Thank goodness they have such great sons and I only write good things about them. Otherwise I might be in trouble. I'm glad that them, and their mom's, get some joy out of my blog.

Well, my time is up. I'm still loving it here at the MTC with all that I'm learning, but I am definitely anxious and excited to take all that I've learned here and throughout my life in the church to those in the Philippines, and see how it will bless their lives. This church is true. I love it so much!

Love you!
Sister Danner

Sunday, November 21, 2010

ILOILO bound....almost!

Elders in the zone (for any other Moms wanting to see their missionary :-)

Photos in front of the Provo Temple

Fall Photos from Kristen!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 3

Hello Everyone!

How I wish every day that I could somehow convey to you all what it feelsl ike to be a missionary. My spirit is fed every single day. I know that this gospel is true and I am so much more than grateful for it. "Grateful" is not even an adequate enough word to describe my feelings for this gospel--to my Heavenly Father for sending His son, Jesus Christ, to atone for my sins--to Jesus Christ, my brother, for atoning for them--and to Joseph Smith for having the faith and courage that he did to bring the restored gospel back to us. I love this gospel. I learn so much every single day. Someone once said, and I agree, that this isn't the Missionary Training Center--it's the Missionary Learning Center. The more I learn, the more prepared I feel to teach those in the Philippines about the true and everlasting gospel. I'm so grateful to be a missionary at this time in my life. I know that it's the right thing for me to be doing. At times it's hard, even in the MTC. We're so exhausted every day mentally from studying, preparing, and learning. But there is so much joy in the work that it is worth it. So very, very worth it.

This week was fantastic. It was rougher than usual though because I caught Sister Lyman's terrible cold and so have been battling that all week. I think I'm pretty much over it--I just have a terrible cough right now and my voice is shot. Elder Doig gets much joy out of my new voice as he thinks it's very funny, but I think his joy will only last another day or so. I really am feeling better and have been taking medicine. In the midst of this I noticed a terrible pain in my right big toe as I was walking, and by the end of the second day made an appointment with a doctor at the MTC to get it checked out. They got me in the next morning and the doctor who looked at it suspected that I had tendonitis and had me go see a podiatrist off-campus. When I came out of the room and told Sister Lyman the news she was elated. "YES!! We get to go off-campus!" she said. I laughed and teased, "Well, I'm happy that at least one of us is glad that I'm in pain!" "Oh I'm not happy that you're in pain," she said smiling, "I'm just happy that you have to go see another doctor and I get benifits from it." She's funny :). We went to the podiatrist the next day and after giving my toe a good look over he confirmed that I had tendonitis and also capsidis. He suspected my shoes were the problem, and asked if I had any others. I told him just the Crocs that I planned to wear in the Philippines (Malindi style from He asked if I could wear those instead. I had some doubts that my shoes were really the problem, but I decided to try it, and my toe miraculously started to feel better. I think the other shoes, since they had a slight heel, were making my toes point downwards too much, and that was causing the tendon to stretch for too long a period of time each day. The Crocs are flat though and very comfy. I'm also taking an anti-inflammatory, Naproxen, and I haven't felt pain in my toe for days. Such a blessing to have good medicine and good doctors in our day!

Elder Bednar came to speak to us this week for our fireside on Tuesday. It was wondeful! It's the fourth apostle in a row that's come to the MTC, which is unheard of I guess. He spoke on doctrines, principles, and applications, and how an understanding of the doctrine while strengthen the desire to do the applications. For example, if one understands the doctrine of the atonement, they will have a greater desire to repent of their sins, rather than a greater understanding of the steps of repentence will make one desire to repent. I hope that makes sense. At any rate, it was a wonderful talk, and great to be in the presence of an apostle once again. Sister Lyman and I always get in line very,very early so that we can be in the auditorium in case it is an apostle (we never know in advance) and not in the overflow.

Another cool thing happened this week! Sister Lyman and I met President Pagaduan's brother!!! President Pagaduan is the president of the Philippines Iloilo Mission. Apparently his brother, Jason, lives in Utah and I think he's in a graduate program for Chemistry at BYU right now. We taught him the first lesson as he pretended to be an investigator for us, for about half an hour, and then when we were finished, we all got up, he led us to the door and said, "Oh and by the way, I'm President Pagaduan's brother." We were like "What?!?" Haha. He had a big smile on his face when he saw our expressions. He laughed and said, "Yeah, my name is Jason. When you said you were going to Iloilo, I thought to myself that that's where my brother is serving as mission president." "No way!" I said. "Can you tell us what your brother is like?" Sister Lyman asked. Jason got a big smile on his face again and said, "He's funny." "Oh good!" I said. I love funny people. "Does he speak any other language besides Tagalog?" Sister Lyman asked. "He speaks English and Cebuano," Jason told us. "And he's learning Ilonggo right now. He kind of has to." "Yeah," we said. "Do you get to speak to him at all?" "Not really," Jason said. "He and his wife are very busy. But I talk to my neice on Facebook sometimes. They have two daughters. One is 16 and the other is 12. I talked to the 12 year old." "That is so cool!" we said. Ah it was so fun to talk to him! I loved it.

Well, new people are coming this week for the Philippines. We'll be getting two new roommates. The oldest district is leaving at 1:00 today. So crazy. I can't believe that it's already been three weeks. I'm going to miss them a lot. Some I probably won't see again. I know of only one elder who is heading to Iloilo in this group. I'm so thankful that everyone in my district is going to Iloilo. I've already come to love each of them so much. I know we won't see each other a lot in the field, but just the fact that we may see each other at conferences and stuff makes me so happy. I want to tell you guys something that Elder Waggoner, the one from Kentucky, said to Elder Lowry from Georgia this week during lunch, because I think it's so hilarious. Perhaps it's one of those you had to be there things, but I think you'll be able to appreciate it. They were arguing over which state was better, all in good fun of course, when at the conclusion Elder Waggoner got all worked up and said loudly, "I've driven through Georgia and you know what? It's like driving on a treadmill. It never ends! And you know what else? As you're driving through, there's white possum hanging up for sale on one side of the road, and white possum haning up on the other side. You REDNECKS!!!" All of this in his Kentucky accent. Oh it was so funny. Everyone around started laughing so hard. I love Elder Waggoner. I keep a log of all the funny things he says in the back of one of my notebooks. I think I'll share them sometime before we leave for Iloilo.

Well my time is up. Thank you to those who have written to me. I'm making every effort to write you back, I promise. Keep them coming Love you all

Sister Danner

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some photos from another missionary's blog!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 2

Kamusta lahat! (Hello everyone!)

This week was fantastic!! I love being a missionary! The spirit is so strong here at the MTC and so many amazing things have happened this week. Two amazing individuals came to speak to us this week, Elder M. Russell Ballard and Sherri Dew, and my district also watched a talk given by Elder Holland in class. His talk was given at the MTC some time ago though, so it was still as though he were speaking directly to us. For those of you who don't know who these people are, Elder Ballard and Elder Holland are members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and General Authorities in the church, and Sherri Dew is a prominent LDS author and has written several books, including the biographies of two prophets. It was wonderful to hear from all of them, and to be in the presence of an apostle. Elder Ballard spoke on being excellent communicators, something we talk about a lot in the MTC. However, the way he explained it was so pristine and clear, and we all felt the spirit strongly as he spoke to us. I wrote about it in my journal, and I look forward to talking more about it when I come home. Elder Holland spoke on "The Miracle of a Mission" and gave us encouragement, advice, and told us his mission story as well, and how much it meant to him. Sherri Dew spoke on many things, but what I remember most from her talk, is when she testified of Jesus Christ and his love for each of us. It was wonderful.

We also did a lot of role playing this week as far as teaching goes. The first time was on Monday, where we went on "Zone Exchanges." Us younger missionaries were paired up with some of the older missionaries (or those who had been here longer) and taught lessons about the gospel to each other. I was a little nervous the first time, but as I began teaching, even though it wasn't for real, I still felt the spirit leading me in the discussion and bringing back to my memory those things that I had studied. It was amazing, and I found ways to also relate and explain things to the "investigators" in a way that they would understand (such as relating enduring to the end to a game of football =D). We also taught in the TRC this week, and practiced our Tagalog door approaches with some people from the Philippines, and then taught them the first lesson on the Restoration to them. It was wonderful to be able to talk with someone from the Philippines, to listen to their accent, and learn just a bit more about their culture. More teaching was done this week, but those two were the most significant for me.

Also! I saw Hermana Brittany Beecher as she was moving in!!! Hermana Beecher was my roommate during my Freshman year, and it was so good to see her again! She's going to Missouri, Spanish Speaking. Oh she'll love it! I was sooo happy to see her again! I ran up and gave her a big hug! We've seen each other in passing during the rest of the week too. I'm so happy that she's on a mission, as I know that she's planned to serve one her whole life, and has always had the desire to do so.

This week I'm reading the book "Our Search for Happiness" by Elder M. Russell Ballard. I love it. I would invite anyone who just wants a better understanding of the LDS church, and why it's members do some of the things we do (send missionaries out to the world, don't wear the cross, etc.) to read it. It was written for this purpose--to help others understand the church, and not to convert people to it. Although, Elder Ballard does admit in the beginning that he would be less than honest if he didn't say he would be pleased if this did happen. But again, that is not the intent. It is very well written, and very clear on many subjects. It's only 125 pages long too, and is a small book. So again, I'd invite anyone who wants to understand the church better, members and non-members alike to read it. I know that I've learned a lot.

Tagalog is coming along quite nicely. I'm so grateful too. I seem to be catching on very quickly. The one thing I struggle with is vocabulary. A lot of the words sounds the same :). Sister Lyman seems better at that. However, I'm better at sentence structure. We're able to help each other in those aspects, although she's been getting on herself a lot for not picking up the sentence structure. I hope to find ways this week to encourage her and support her as she tries to learn the language. It is difficult. However, it is worth it. A lot of the words also sound like spanish words but are spelled differently. For example: trabajo (sp) and trabaho (tag). That's nice though. I am worried about my English spelling though. Already, I'm beginning to spell words with hard c's with a k. For example: "cat" would be spelled "kat" in Tagalog. Also "Chocolate cake" is pronounced the same and means the same thing, but is spelled, "Tsokolat keyk." (Ts=ch) So yeah, everyone be nice about my spelling the first couple of weeks that I come home :).

I also want to add that I LOVE the culture and diversity here!!! Not only do I hear several different languages being spoken a day, and am spoken to in several different languages a day, but I love meeting people from different countries and cultures and learning about them! For example, in my zone alone we have someone from Kentucky (I'll explain), a couple Samoans, and a Hawaiian (again, I'll explain). The elder from Kentucky is in my district, his name is Elder Waggoner, and oh my goodness, I love it when he speaks! He has a wonderful Southern accent, and says the funniest, but sincerest things, such as "What in the sam hill are you talkin' about?", "wrastle" instead of "wrestle", and things like "That's like a dog in a barrell with a porkchop." He just says those things too, not even for our enjoyment. He also threatens to "hog tie" the other elders when they playfully give him a hard time about something, and we can tell by his eyes that he actually knows how to do it :).

The Samoans are the happiest people in our district I think. Their culture is so interesting too. They're very thoughtful of others, so they're very kind. They also love to have fun, and are SO GOOD at volleyball! I always want to be on their team. They hate going to bed, or at least one of them does, because as he said, in their culture they don't go to bed at night because of the tourists. They just stay up and hang out with them. I admire them very much too because they have to learn English when they get here, and then learn Tagalog (or any other language) from English. I wish I could explain more, but there's not enough time. They're wonderful people though.

Sister Faumina is from Hawaii, but she's definitely Polynesian, and told me she's actually from Samoan desent. She told me about the food in Hawaii, a bit about the language, and told me more things about Samoans. She also told me stories about her dad climbing coconut trees, and how she was always so embarassed, haha. I think that'd be so cool!

Well, my time is about up. I love you all. Thank you for your love and prayers and letters!! Seriously letters can make or break a day. Please remember to write.

Also, to college students, no one complained to me about this, but I do want to apologize if I offended anyone by saying you have no idea how busy we are. It's true missionaries are very busy, BUT I had no right to say you had no idea, as I'm sure there are those of you who are just as busy. So I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

Amy! Tell me how you did at State!!! And how LC did!!

Okay, got to go. Love you all!

Sister Danner

P.S. Note from family: Jason said he is going to work on his coconut tree climbing skills.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Love, Kristen - Week 1

(Sidenote from Kristen's Mom: When she wrote her first email to me, she said she had 26 minutes left to write this one!! Look how much she grateful this girl can write! :)

Kamusta Pamiliya! (Hello Family!)

This email is for everyone (for Mom to post on the blog) but I wanted to make sure you all got it personally.

So I've only been in the MTC for less than a week, but it already feels like I've been here at least two weeks. That's not to say that it's been bad, because it certainly hasn't been--it's just a completely new schedule and new lifestyle to adjust to. One thing I've learned is that one really doesn't understand just how busy a missionary is until you are one yourself. So, college students, I'm sorry, but you have no idea :). That's coming from a former (and future) very busy college student. Our schedules are planned for us by-the-minute, and we are expected to be early to every single meeting. We get little to no personal time. That's why us newbies are all so excited for P-Day. We're learning quickly that our time is not ours, but the Lord's, and we're each striving to make sure we use the Lord's time to the fullest and not waste any of it.

Anyways, the first day of the MTC was a whirlwind, but it was so fun and so exciting! When my parents dropped me off, I honestly didn't feel sad, only excitement. That may sound horrible, but it's true. And really, there was no time to even feel sad. The elders who took my suitcases walked with me to my residence hall where a bunch of sisters were waiting for new sisters. One of them shook my hand and told me that her name was Sister Wiseman, and she then took both of my suitcases and rolled them into the residence hall, and despite my attempts to take at least one of them from her, rolled them down the hall, to the sister who had my key, and then we got in an elevator, up to the 3rd floor, and she rolled both of them down to my room. I was the first one who arrived, so I got first dibs on a bunk, and chose the top one closest to the window :). I made to start unpacking, but Sister Wiseman told me I'd have time later and we hurried to get everything else we needed, including my name tag.

When one of the workers at the MTC put my name tag on, it was a neat feeling. It was like, it's official, I'm a missionary now :). I wish you could have been there for it Mom :).

The whole day, us new missionaries were herded around like cows. Everyone was so nice and helpful though. I met my companion, Sister Lyman, and the rest of my district (6 other elders). We got to know one another a little, and found out that all of us are going to the Philippines Iloilo Mission!! So Sister Lyman and I will be able to travel together!

That night we had our first encounter with investigators, but we were in a large group of about thirty missionaries. The "investigators" were of course members of the church and volunteers, but they were such GOOD ACTORS!!! They never broke character once!! And they were so convincing! And it was all impromptu. I was so amazed and impressed. I got a chance to talk with one of them about why he had stopped seeing the missionaries before, and found out more about his family and how his wife had been in and out of the hospital. Although it wasn't a real situation, it was still very neat to experience, and I felt a sincere desire to help him with what he was going through. It was very cool.

My companion, as I mentioned before, is Sister Lyman, and she is awesome!! She has been such a strength and support to me the last few days as I've adjusted to the new schedule, and I hope that I've been the same to her. She's taught me a lot about patience, as sometimes meetings can run over time and cut into the little personal time that we have, and that can really irritate me. And it irritates Sister Lyman too, but she bears it all with a big smile on her face, while I tend to scowl. Haha. I'm learning, and Sister Lyman is a very good example for me.

Tagalog is a challenging language, but it's coming along. I'm grateful for the years I've taken with studying Spanish, and the little experience I had with Russian. Tagalog is similar to Spanish in grammar structure (similar, not the same, so it's still a little challenging), and while there are Spanish and Tagalog words that sound the same, they're still different. Studying both Russian and Spanish have taught me good study skills for learning a new language too, and also because I'm used to learning different languages I think I catch on a little quicker than some people in my class. But that just means I get to help others, which I enjoy. They help me too, by letting me practice on them. Already I've learned how to bear a simple testimony in Tagalog and door approaches. I'm still a little slow, but I'm getting faster :).

Elder Ball is the district leader and he's great! His companion is so supportive of him too. It's great to see them work together as a team. I've come to love the elders in my district. They are all so funny!!! We were all so quiet the first couple of days, but then we played a game together, and we really got to know each other well yesterday outside the temple, and during district unity time. We told unique things about ourselves and some funny stories. I told about my love of penguins and my stuffed animal penguin collection at home (30 penguins at least!) and they were all amazed. I told them too how I would sometimes use penguins to prank Bryant and they thought that was funny.

I'm the senior companion, which doesn't mean much because Sister Lyman and I are on the same level, but I do lead our companion study session and make final decisions. Sister Lyman and I work well together so it's pretty easy.

Sister McDonald and Sister Salway are our roommates and it's lots of fun!

So, like I said earlier I'm learning more and more that this time is not mine, but the Lord's. All of my time is truly dedicated to him. The MTC is wonderful, but it certainly can be overwhelming sometimes. The second day, I was having such a GOOD day! Everyone I saw was happy and smiling and cheerful and kind, and by the time Sister Lyman and I went to our branch meeting on Sunday, I was thinking to myself, "Disneyland has nothing on the MTC. They think they're the happiest place on Earth? Ha! The MTC is the happiest place on Earth!" Well, it was then that the Lord saw fit to try me. The branch meeting, which was only supposed to be about 2 hours long, with interviews going on in the middle of it, ended up being THREE HOURS long and completely took away Sister Lyman and my companion planning time, and was very much threatening to cut into the time we have to get ready for bed. The last twenty minutes I didn't absorb a thing. I was so irritated and so preoccupied with thoughts of getting out of there. My patience was so tested. I was very much tempted to tell Sister Lyman we were leaving early. I didn't, but I was tempted. On the walk home I vented, and Sister Lyman agreed wtih me but still had a smile on her face. That night I prayed and thought while the lights were out, and couldn't belive how my mood had changed so rapidly. I felt prompted to remeber how I was on the Lord's time, and that while the MTC would be very difficult at times, I would have the strength and faith to do those things the Lord requires of me. I felt peace and went to sleep.

There have been other times when I've felt tried and my patience pushed, but I'm getting better and know that it's for my own good. I know this is the Lord's work. I'm excited to be going out to the Philippines soon!

So funny story, I had 8 seconds left, signed my name, went to send it, and the computer logged me out. I ran out of time!!! So I sat and waited for everyone else to be done to see if anyone had ANY minutes left at all. Luckly Elder Tran in my district had five minutes left that he didn't need. So I'm using his minutes. And luckily LDSMail saves your work everyon 5 seconds. Oh so grateful.

Okay, don't want to lose this. I have four minutes left, but I'm sending it now to be safe. Thank you eveyrone for all of your love and support.

Love you all!
Sister Danner

Friday, October 29, 2010

One last hug!

Photos being posted


This is Kristen's mom. I am learning how to post photos to Kristen's blog, and unfortunately didn't get the text next to the photos I just posted. Since I can't see the photos as I write this, I will give a general description. Several are from the airport in Spokane. One is of Kristen with her sister, Kate, before Kate left for school. There is no picture of Amy with Kristen that morning because Amy was running out the door, and Kristen was not ready yet, but I was reassured they said good-bye and hugged each other. ;-) The last is of Kristen and President Baird. He set Kristen apart as a full-time missionary the night before. I woke up at about 5:45 with my first thought being, "I didn't get a picture!" So, I watched the time trying to estimate when it would be safe to call his house. I called at 6:30 :-). I think he was afraid we were on our way over right then. Haha :-D. We went by his business on the way to the airport and got this photo. Now I will try to post more photos with captions. :-)

Kristen's Mom

Sunday, October 24, 2010

See you in 18!

Thank you to everyone for your support, encouragement, and love as I prepared to serve my Father in Heaven in the Philippines for 18 months. I'll miss all of you while I'm gone, but know that I am thinking about you, and that you are in my prayers. I love you! Write me! :)