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