Dear family and friends,
Oh, man this week has been awesome! I'll try to cover as much of it as I can, but my time is ratherly limited. So obviously, last Sunday was the broadcast. I wasn't allowed to sing in the choir for that since I arrived too late at the MTC, so that was a bummer, but so it goes. I sat down in the crowd and soon after located all the cameras for crowd shots and I was in the blind spot of every last one. I was like, "Bummer, dude," but it was too late to change seats. So it's not a big surprise that none of you spotted me.
Monday I had a bit of a rough day. I was getting stressed out and was trying to ignore it through most of the day. But then in the evening, I was walking to the classroom to do some study in preparation for meeting with our investigator from the TRC (Teaching Resource Center) and I had never met this investigator and was super worried about it, and then I stepped in a crack in the pavement, turned my ankle, and fell to the ground scraping a huge wound in my knee. So I was stressed out, worried, unsure, and in a lot of pain. Sister Baker is a nurse, so she was able to patch me up ok, but it was still quite the trial. And then we went in to teach Leah, the investigator, and the lesson bombed. It bombed HARD. It was bad. So that pretty much settled it for me and I had a bit of an emotional breakdown. I mean, I've been told that most people go through at least one emotional breakdown in the MTC, so I guess I was just serving my time.
Tuesday really made up for it, though. So on top of having a good day on Tuesday, we ended up having a devotional where we went up to the main campus again, and this time I was able to sing in the choir! So we went to the center and had this amazing choir practice since the director not only helped us sing, but also told the spiritual stories behind the song and the lyrics, and it was such a great experience. And then I noticed that the screens set up were telling who the devotional speaker was, and it was Janice Kapp Perry. No joke. I can't even begin to tell you how amazing the actual devotional was. The best part was that Sister Perry had written new lyrics for "As sisters in zion" so she had all of us sing the new lyrics in the "As sisters in zion: We'll bring the world his truth" medley. So at first the sisters sang, and my companion and a few other sisters around me were like, "Should we stand up?" So we did. It was just four or five sisters who stood, but we sang with such strong conviction, and then when the elders came in, as one, each and every one of them stood and sang. It was like their act was stating, "I STAND FOR GOD" and a tangible wave of the spirit just flooded through the room. It was unbelievable! The rest of the sisters stood as well, and all I could think was, "To see so many people standing for their God. There is no greater sight."
So that was Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday, there was another miracle. We were meeting with Leah at the TRC again, and I was super worried about how things were going to go since last time we had left her more confused than when we had entered. Any time I tried to think of what we were going to teach her, my mind just went absolutely blank. It was the scariest thing ever. But Sister Baker wanted to ask Leah more questions about herself since Leah belongs to like, an evangelist Christian church or something like that (she referred to it as being a Jesus freak), so we wanted to just ask her about the relationship she already has with God. So we did, and Leah relaxed and became way more open to us. Then she started talking about how her friend had handed her the book of mormon, and she had started reading it, but didn't feel that it was really anything special, and then suddenly a scripture popped into my head and I immediately flipped to it and read it, and it was like the spirit flowed through me, I said it with such conviction. The scripture was 2 Nephi 33:10 and it says approximately, "If you don't believe in these words, believe in Christ. And if you believe in Christ, you will believe in these words." I was shaking by the end of reading the scripture and Leah just went dead silent. Then, the next time we taught her Thursday night, I again was just pulling a blank on what to say to her. Leah didn't want to hear any of the lessons, so we decided to just teach her through the spirit. We made the plan to go in and bear our testimonies. So we came in there and Leah was like, "I just keep thinking again and again about that scripture you read to me. I mean, it says that if I don't believe in these words that I should believe in Christ. And I do. I believe it with all my heart. But then it says that if I believe in Christ, I will believe in these words. And, like, I haven't found anything in the book of mormon that contradicts the bible. I know. I've looked." and then Sister Baker and I bore our testimonies and there was this silence in the room and the air was thick with the spirit. We asked Leah how she felt and her words came out as all a scramble. It's like she's facing a war within herself between her religion and believing in the book of mormon. We left the room after we closed with a prayer and Sister Baker broke into tears saying, "She know! She knows!" The TRC is filled with a mix of members and non-members, so some of them are just acting, but what we felt in that room with Leah, it was real. It was so real.
I testify that this is the true church. I have grown so much since entering the MTC. I can't even describe a tenth of what I've been through here. I leave the MTC on Monday, it's only been less than a week and a half, but it's felt like several months.
So a few things I need to talk about before I close, first of all, I found some luggage I'm going to purchase at the MTC bookstore. I get a huge discount in that store for being a missionary. Everything is half off. Also, I would like it if you would scan my patriarchal blessing and send me a printed copy of that. I meant to do that before I left, but I forgot. I can't print anything out, so I'm going to want you to send that to me. That should be all. Thanks!
~Sister Richelle Nicole Jones