Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Duties to Fulfill

Upon my first few days at the MTC, I got a few callings - iI was assigned Senior Companion, Music Coordianator, and Sister Training Leader.

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First and Last Week at the MTC

One thing I discovered about myself here at the MTC is that we are all capable of doing hard things. When I first left my family and entered the MTC, I was terrified. Completely, totally, and utterly terrified. Everyone was so kind towards me - they could tell I was new by my deer-in-the-headlights eyes. We got our nametags, schedules, and pamphelts and were thrown into a classroom filled with strangeres we never knew existed until that very moment. The first night, I found myself upset and dearly missing my family and friends. I stayed up all night reading letters and testimonies written to me and found comfort in those. As the week went on, I was worked to near exhaustion and sickness. Somehow, I was able to forge on. I can do hard things. I could keep going when things got rough and the work was seemingly too tough. I found I could do almost anything in the Lord. I am able to do hard things.
 I was fortunate enough to be placed in the best district ever. There are only 8 of us - two of the companionships of trios. I am so blessed to have been placed in a trio companionship with Sisters Griffeth and Stevenson. Sister Griffeth is from Preston, Idaho and has a very can-do attitude. We actually found out last night that we took Integrated Physical Sciences together at Utah State! She is so kind to everyone and isn't afraid to share personal experiences. Sister Stevenson is a sweetheart from Carlsbad, California. She is the most spaztic woman I've ever met, but I love her to death. She's an amazing teacher and I look up to her. I'm the youngest of the companions, but that's okay because almost all the Elders are younger than me.
The Elders in our district are hilarious. They are all so kind and just bring a great spirit into the room. We all love them! The best thing about them is that one moment, we can be reduced to tears by laughter, and then the next moment, tears come from the testifying power of the Spirit. There is nothing stronger than that. Here, I've never laughed more or harder in my life. I wish I could explain to you the jokes that are made - but they would just sound silly... Such as... 
"There should be a celebrity mission. You wouldn't be assigned to a certain area, just celebrities. You could be a missionary to Beyonce or Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber. AND CONVERT THEM ALL."
"My favorite actors are Morgan Freeman and Will Smith." "Elder Mobley, you just like them that cause you're black and they're black."
"You know what? What if there was a Budist man here? Posing to be a missionary to learn all of our tactics??? And then, when he's sent to the mission field, he converts everyone to Budism INSTEAD?"
I know. I am in a ridiculous district. But I love them to death. And the best part?? We are ALL going to the same mission - Jackson, Mississippi. I couldn't have asked for a better blessing in my life at this moment. I am so very excited to be serving with all these excellent sisters and elders in the South. They do not know what they're getting.
Most of the MTC has consisted of studying the gospel, teaching, and goofing off at district meetings. The first three days, we're given several hours of personal and companion study. It is exhausting to be reading that much of Preach My Gospel and the scriptures but you quickly get used to it. Our teachers are amazing - Brother Gill and Brother Corbitt. Brother Gill is actually dating a girl in my stake and like to bring her up every hour or so to me. She's actually here at the MTC right now, preparing to serve in the Tennessee mission - so we always joke that we're going to kidnap her and bring her to our class. Bro. Gill can never keep a straight face and by the time class is over, there are pictures of the Pac-Man ghosts and people crying because they don't know Jesus drawn all over our white board. Somehow, we fit some learning in.
Brother Corbitt is the sassiest man you will ever met. Every time he says something that he's passionate about, he always always says, "MAN." Whenever he walks, he unconsciously puts his left arm on his hips and loves to pound the desks. And our favorite mannerism of him? Once we say something he likes, he exclaims in his loudest voice, "MMMM SISTA." Brother Corbitt is the best teacher I've ever had and we have all just learned so much from him. Sadly, he left us yesterday to go on vacation, and by the time he returns, we will all have left for Mississippi. So we all had some heartfelt goodbyes and he singled us all out and told each of us something he loved about him or her. He told me (yes, I wrote this down), "Sister Durrant. You are a warrior and so strong. You have such a passion for this gospel and are constantly filled with insight. You'll be an amazing missionary." I'll miss him!
On Sunday, as I'm sure most of you are well aware, the MTC was given the wonderful opportunity to participate in the Worldwide Leadership Broadcast held in the BYU Marriott Center. It was a humbling experience walking over there. The whole MTC left at the same time and we walked in a giant mass of black suits and colorful blouses. As we journeyed over, a rumble started as the Elders began singing The Army of Helaman. Soon, everyone was singing this beautiful missionary song. There was nothing more powerful then watching 3,000 missioanries singing with all their heart about the work they are about to embark upon. My heart was filled at that moment and that was when I finally realized I was a missionary and that I was finally apart of the Army of Helaman.
In the devotional, it was announced that Facebook will be implemented into the missions and that churches will be opened up daily for tours. My companions and I rejoiced at this news! How wonderful is it that we are apart of this?! I cannot wait for Mississippi to start it. My older brother participated in the experiemtation of giving church tours and I know a dear friend from Colorado serving a mission that uses Facebook. It will be great to see all these tools used in the missions. The best part of the whole broadcast was when a clip show, played along with a missionary medley played. It started out with children singing I Hope They Call Me on a Mission. I remembered singing that song over 10 years ago and it struck me that I was finally here. Tears were falling down my cheeks as I let the Spirit wash over me. Words cannot describe the joy I felt during that clip show.
When we left the devotional, members watched us all leave and they waved at us as we walked by singing. Sister Stevenson turned to us and remarked, "It's like a missioanry parade!!"
Yesterday, I got so sick. I couldn't keep anything down and just wanted to lay in bed all day. Future missionaries - whatever you do -- DON'T EAT THE SCRAMBLED EGGS. But I knew I had to go to class, despite how miserable I was and how sick I was. Then, I began to notice the tender mercies that I was given. My companions were praying that I might feel better quickly. We were given an extra hour of study time, where I was able to rest. My amazing mother sent bread a few days earlier that helped settle my stomach. Before I knew it, I was feeling so much better. I had never experienced healing so quickly before in my life. I knew that the Lord was watching over me and making sure that I would be okay so that I might do what I needed to do. Being sick taught me that people are always there for me and that, despite how sick I am, I can keep going. I found that I could do hard things.
My favorite experience so far is getting to teach Rob. Rob was played by an instructor here, but he was a real investigator several years back. He had a recent bad divorce and lost his children. He struggled with many things, but what struck me that most is that he said he didn't feel like he was receiving answers to his prayers. When Sisters Griffeth and Stevenson and I went in to teach him, the Spirit was so palable - it soaked the room and by the end, we were all in tears. Rob turned to us and said, "You Sisters were the answers to my prayers." In that moment, I knew that this was why I am serving a mission - to touch people's hearts and to invite them unto Christ. It was the best experience I've had thus far teaching an investigator of the Church. It makes me so anxious to get out to the field and start meeting the wonderful people of Jackson, Mississippi. Tender mercies, ladies and gentlemen. Tender mercies.
Which will begin Monday. Our whole district, among some others, will head out at 2:00 AM Monday morning to the Salt Lake Airport - where our plane leaves at 7:00. We have a lay-over in Atlanta, Georgia and will finally reach Mississippi by 3:00 in the afternoon and finally get out to the mission field. I cannot stress how joyful I am that the MTC time was shortened so that we can get to the field faster. The work is progressing!!
I am so very grateful for this opportunity to serve. I have never felt more blessed in my life. I testify that the Spirit is real and that the Lord is there. He is giving us tender mercies every step of the way. Things happen for a reason. I was given this district for a reason. I was given my companions for a reason. I can feel the Lord's hand in my life and never so potently as I have here. I love each and every one of you. I miss my family like crazy and pray for them every night. But I know I'll see them soon and that they will be fine. I've given up so much, but I've done it for my Lord. Everything will be ok.



All my love,

Sister Sarah Michéle Durrant

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