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