Melissa is doing great on her mission. Most of her letters to me are pretty short, but here's some great snippets from them.
To read more of Melissa's letters home, go here!
I love the feeling you get when you walk into the Celestial room. I love the peace in the temple. I love the Spirit there. I feel the Spirit different in the temple than I do anywhere else. It feels like it's too big for me. Like I'm so full. I think of the Grinch and how his heart grew three sizes, and that's how it feels. It's amazing. I love that you get to serve other people. I love how you can always learn. I love the symbolism and the feeling of truth. I am so glad for temples and really sad that I haven't been in six weeks! I know, I'm doing other important stuff, and I got to go to the visitor's center, but it's not quite the same. I hope I get to go again when I'm in Vegas.
You feel so close to God in the temple. You get to experience, just a bit, what it's like to be in heaven. You feel so much love. It's so amazing!
I like to look back on my life and remember those experiences that strengthened my testimony. I feel extremely blessed because I don't think I leaned on Mom and Dad for too long. I found out for myself. Which is one reason I love this church so much. I could find out for myself! I didn't have to listen to everyone else's testimonies or just read the Bible or something like that. I could ask God for myself and find out that this church is true. I know that it is true. I know because I asked. I know because I have read the scriptures. I know because the Holy Ghost has told me, again and again, that it is true. I can't deny it. I am excited to have the opportunity to tell the people of Las Vegas that we have the truth. Not only that, but that they don't have to believe me. They can find out for themselves! Not by searching the internet, not by asking out people, but by asking the one who knows all things, but asking God. And if they ask God, with a sincere heart, truly wanting to know the truth, they will know. They will know that the Book of Mormon in the word of God, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is God's true church once again restored to this earth. It's amazing. You can know this, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your being. I know it and I cannot deny it. I would rather deny gravity than to deny this church. I know that this church is true, better than I know that. It is true.
You know I've been thinking about the whole "real world" thing. We watched a devotional in the CCM, I think it was by Elder Holland, and he mentioned how people are always like, "when I get back to real life" and he's like "what's more real than missionary work?" That really stuck with me. What is more real than the gospel? What is more real than studying the gospel and preaching the gospel? That's what I got to do in the CCM, study and practice preaching. What could possibly be more real than that? Whether in the CCM or out of it, this is real stuff. This is the important stuff in life. But ya, I know what you mean. It's kinda scary to talk to real investigators in Spanish and members who aren't my teachers. Scary. I only understand a tiny portion of what I hear and I usually am to frightened to respond. But, I'm working on it.
The thing I've learned this week is that teaching people the gospel takes time. It's hard for me to not get impatient. I meet a person who is interested, and I want to teach them every day. But they're busy. They don't yet fully realize how important this is, and they have work and other things that they have to schedule around. However, this is my life, all day, everyday, so it's hard because I feel like it's been forever since we've talked, and it's really only been like two days. Also, we talk to people who have talked to missionaries before, and sometimes they don't really remember it. It's like, these people are such a big part of the missionary's life, we keep track of them, we pray for them, all these things, but sometimes, they don't let the gospel into their life, so it doesn't change them. It could help them so much! But they don't let it, and that's sad.
What made me laugh the most . . . I don't know. My companion. Hermana D gets so worked up and excited about things. I feel like I almost am overly not excited just to balance it out. So she makes me laugh.
I had this thought the other day. We all know that the temple is the end goal, it's not baptism. And it just makes sense! Because if not, why are we baptized at 8? You are not accountable until then, so why be baptized the second you can, if you don't really have sin until then? It doesn't make sense. In theory, you would want to be baptized later in life, to get rid of your sins right before you die, right? But, that's not so! Baptism is only the gate to eternal life. The gate to other covenants. And through those other covenants and being obedient and enduring to the end, you become clean, not just once, but over and over and over again. Hence baptism at 8. We need a lot of time to accomplish that. It's amazing how everything fits together. It's not just one event, you need so much in order to live with God again!
(What was the saddest part of your week? The happiest?)
Sad stuff. Investigators standing us up on our appointments and not coming to church and not being able to contact them. I just want to save your soul! BE THERE!!!!! Especially when you have a member there. It's sad.
Happy stuff! AWESOME NEW INVESTIGATORS! I feel like they are golden. Like they're gonna be baptized. I can't wait to teach them.
We're going to start teaching an English class sometime soon. That'll be scary. Apparently I just have to talk to people in English, which sounds pretty easy. But we'll see. Hermana D and I were laughing at how everyone is going to end up having a southern accent because both Hermana D and Elder B have southern accents. All the people I teach will sound normal though!
(Who is the strangest person you've met?)
I talked to someone who was kind of green. That was weird.
You should send me food. If that's possible. I like food. But not as much as Hispanics. SO MUCH FOOD. The plate is like full, with the food just heaped up on it. And you have to eat it all so you don't offend anyone. I have no idea how to serve myself anymore. There is no way I am not going to gain weight. AAAAHHHHHHH. At least the food tastes good. But you get to a point where everything tastes bad once you've eaten too much.
I love the temple!!!!! I wish I could go all the time! But I gotta focus on the living right now, so later in my life I'll worry about the dead.
This week was pretty unexciting so I don't really have anything to say. 'Cept Jesus the Christ is boss. Is that disrespectful? I really love reading it. I am so close to finishing it. I just get sucked in and I don't want to stop. I highly recommend it for a little light reading. (Ha! Everyone knows that is not light reading.)
I love your costume and your decorations. They are fantastic. We actually had a mission party. We went to the mission office, ate food, watched skits about the worst first member present lesson, and watched 17 miracles. It was pretty fun. So no, I didn't really see any costumes. But I switched name tags with Hermana S for the party. People kept on giving us funny looks.
Mish is pretty good. Nothing terrible has happened yet. You know, nothing worse than the usual, people calling us fools, trying to tell us that we are solicitors, being rude. But I'm used to that now. It has given me a better perspective on people of other faiths. Like, how hypocritical I am. For example, people will tell us that we are wrong, and I'll think, but you know nothing about our religion. But, that's what I think about other people. So, I'm trying to fix that. I would love to learn about other religions, I just don't really have a means to at the moment. I think it's super interesting. Basically, I'm starting to see more and more what it's like to be on the other side of the missionary-normal person conversation. The more I talk to people as a missionary, the more I see what it's like from their point of view. Then, I try to stop being so stupid and judgmental. It's a process though.
There are rabbits everywhere here. I think of you when I see them. I really want to pick them up, but I'm pretty sure that's a really really bad idea. Even if I could catch them.