Friday, November 26, 2010

Week 6: A Mystery Revealed, or Thanksgiving in the MTC

Hello Everyone!
So, I just realized that this is the 6th week I 've been at the MTC. That is so crazy to me, it feels like I got here 2 days ago. AAAARGH!!!! Oh yes, and an explanation about last weeks subject. In French the expression for "that's cute" is "c'est Chou" which literally translated is "that's cabbage" Sorry, I ran out of time and forgot to explain.
On Tuesday there was a blizzard snow warning going around. All of the teachers were told to go home at 3:00 so they wouldn't get stuck in the storm, as it was supposed to be a really bad one. We were really excited about it, though it was a little odd because everyone who wasn't absolutely essential to running the MTC were sent home. It felt a little like we were in the middle of a war during a blackout and we were left in the bunkers to fend for ourselves. So there was a lot of hype about the storm. When we woke up there wasn't even half an inch on the ground. It was very anticlimactic.
Thanksgiving was amazing!!! They gave us so much time for our meals. We had an hour and a half for breakfast and 2 hours for lunch which was the main thanksgiving meal. We had breakfast at 7:00, at 10:00 we had a morning devotional. Elder Holland and his entire family came to be with us. His Grandchildren sang "Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird" it was so cute. Elder Holland told us that for Thanksgiving we were a part of his family, so I can say that I had Thanksgiving with Elder Holland. I took 2 pages of notes on the things he said. He talked a lot about the plan that God has for each of us and that he knows our names. He knows our first name. He also talked of Christ and what he did for us. Elder Holland's testimony and knowledge of Christ is so amazing, and he really made me think about my relationship with Christ. 

After The Devotional we had our turkey dinner, that was the only time I felt a little lonely, but it was mostly because they didn't have chocolate cake, and really that is my favorite part about Thanksgiving for me. After lunch we had some down time and our district shared family pictures and talked about our families. I realized I don't have a family picture, I don't have any pictures at all. So, I drew our family so they could have a visual. I think it turned out quite well. Then we Had a service project, we assembled kits to bake the school supply backpacks. Our zone was given the task of cutting out fabric pieces. We rocked it, we were such a well oiled machine that we finished a half an hour early. They told us later that as an MTC we made 33,400 kits. So cool. 

After that we went back to the residence halls for our sack dinner, nasty sandwiches, which I ate only the bread lemonade and cookies, I made some popcorn and ate the last of the Christmas balls that mom sent me. We then had a "Program." We weren't really sure what is was going to be, but it turned out well. I was a fireside thing about the Book of Mormon. Then we had the "Thankfulness Fireside" where about 30 missionaries were able to share what they were thankful for. All in all it was a great Thanksgiving, I really enjoyed it. I love you all and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary and for your support.
Love always,
Soeur Turney

Monday, November 22, 2010

Week 5: Aw, That's so Cabbage

a note from Paige: I have no idea what the title means, it was just the subject of her email and too hilarious to pass up.


This week has been awesome, as usual. Soeur Neumiester's birthday was so great! Mom, thank you so much for sending the package and all the presents they were perfect. We have been having Nutella at breakfast ever since, she is so happy about it. Our teacher was sick that day so Sr. Wiseman and I went and decorated Sr. Neumiester's bed and bought her some little things at the bookstore. We had a party in our room at the end of the day, and it was perfect. Apparently in Sr. Neumiester's family they always give socks to each other, she almost cried when she saw them, and everyone thought the scarf was awesome, good choice mom. All in all it was quite the successful birthday.

Every week we have a Large Group Meeting (LGM) where several zones of missionaries get together and have a lesson about key missionary things. This last weeks was about baptism and how it is central to a missionary's purpose. Helping people be baptized is the main reason we go on missions. I was chosen to be part of the object lesson because I am going to a place where it is "hard to baptize." I stood at the front and was given 3 balloons, yellow, orange, and green. The teacher asked me what my hopes were on my mission and said the balloons were those hopes. He then had me say all the negative things that people had said about missionary work in Paris. And then said, "What are those people who say those things doing...?" And then he starts stabbing the balloons with a pen "...they are bursting your hopes!" Well being the person that I am as soon as he starts stabbing my balloons I pull them away and stop him from stabbing all of them. I think he was a little taken aback by the fact that I wouldn't let him pop all of them. He tried a couple more times but I kept instinctively pulling the remaining balloon away. I suppose that's what comes of having an older brother. The teacher let me keep the balloon. So I had a green balloon of hope, I was a little sad that the orange one got popped but that's okay I guess. After it stopped floating I put it in my journal so I will always have at least one hope. 

Tuesday night i had the coolest dream. If Ben doesn't read this you have to tell him because he will appreciate it. In my dream I was learning how to become a Jedi and going through all the training. Except that the rules I was learning to be a Jedi were the missionary rules. And that was my dream. I just thought it was really funny that in the MTC I am not training to be a missionary but rather I am being trained as a Jedi of the Lord. 

This week we started teaching lessons/discussions in French as well as starting 3 new Progressing Investigators (PI). A PI is generally one of the French teachers that pretends to be a particular person that we teach all the lessons to. They are nice so we can practice teaching all the lessons and and learning how to prepare lessons for specific people and their problems. So now we have 4 and we are teaching all of them in French. It is a bit of a struggle at times but it is so good. It does make me realize how much vocabulary I don't know and how much I need learn.

I love you all very much and I know that the Lord is a part of our lives every day.


Soeur Turney

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week 4: 1/3 of the Way Through the MTC

Bonjour everyone!

I don't know where to start, this has been another amazing week. I can hardly believe that I have been here for 3 and a half weeks. They say that time is different here and I believe it. Every day seems the same, days of the week and dates really have no meaning here. There are Sundays and not Sundays. This Fast Sunday was cool, we have Sacrament meeting and then mission conference. President Smith, the MTC mission President, gave a talk about self mastery and knowing who you are, it was amazing that in the first 5 minutes of his talk he said exactly what I had been fasting for. I have never felt this blessed or like God is so  aware of who I am and what I am doing. 

A side note on food: The food here is great, and they do a really good job, but I cannot believe that I miss vegetables so much. They have them of course but after having fresh tomatoes and carrots all summer I feel deprived. They have a big thing of cauliflower the other day and I was so excited I got a whole bowl full. I don't even like cauliflower, but there you go. They also have donuts every day. Donuts with sprinkles, it is dangerous to my figure. They also have BYU creamery ice cream every Wednesday and Sunday. I think I might finally get my Freshman 15 if I 'm not careful.  

We are so blessed, our fireside speaker this Sunday this last Sunday Sheri Dew. It was funny because all the sisters were so excited when we found out and all the elders were like "who is Sheri Dew?" Silly Elders. She spoke about seeing ourselves in the big picture and about the knowledge that will help us stay faithful in this life. She told us to read Doctrine and Covenants 138 and I suggest you do, it made me excited to think about the people I might have associated with in the premortal world. 

We also had some big changes in our zone. 3 of the older districts left this week so about 40 missionaries from our branch are now gone. It is a little weird, that we are now the "old people".

Tuesdays are devotional, the past 3 weeks we have had apostles, which is really rare. There is a choir practice right before and all the sisters decided to go, When we walked in Elder Bednar was at the podium getting his notes ready. My companion, sister Wiseman started freaking out. He is her favorite apostle and while she normally has the energy of Carol Ann Whitworth and speaks as fast as Sue Woffinden, she was almost incomprehensible in her joy. She was so excited that she got to sing for him. We were sitting right in the middle of the woman's section and apparently they zoomed in on the 4 sisters in our district while we were singing. Elder Bednar gave us a formula for learning the doctrines of the gospel. He also gave us an apostolic blessing that as we have faith and are diligent the doctrines and principles will distil upon our minds as the dews from heaven and will bless us and the generations to come. I feel so grateful for the support and encouragement that we have been given from the Apostles and from the Lord.

Thank you for all the letters and packages!

Lots of love,

Soeur Turney

Friday, November 5, 2010

Week 3: A Whirlwind Adventure

Bonjour everyone!

There have been so many exciting things happening this week it is hard to know where to begin, I am thinking chronological bullet points are the best way to tell you about all the things I want to.

So, Friday night at about 9:36 PM just as we (my companion and I of course) were returning to the residence hall to shower and get ready for bed and announcement came on over the loud speaker announcing that the bathrooms were going to be closed for emergency maintenance. Now, this is a problem because there are 60-100 sisters on each floor and there are 3 floors. They told us the bathrooms on the ground level would still be open, but they are normal public restrooms and there aren't very many of them. So, I ended up brushing my teeth in the drinking fountain. The next morning was of course a mess because everyone wanted to take a shower, but we survived. They kept announcing to dress appropriately because they would be male maintenance workers on our floor, which made us laugh.

Every Sunday we have a Fireside at 7:00. I was having a hard day on Sunday, and I am not really sure why. The special musical number at the beginning was one of my favorite songs, and I was filled with peace and love. It was a testimony to me that my Heavenly Fathers loves me. 

Tuesday I got to go to San Francisco. It was one of the strangest days of my life. We had to be at the travel office at 5:00 am to drive to the airport. I was traveling with 9 other missionaries, all of which are going to Paris. We were picked up at the airport by Edgar, a Filipino man who was really funny. He drove us to the French Consulate, were we gave them a packet of papers and had our finger prints scanned. It only took about 30 minutes and our flight back to Salt Lake wasn't until 4:40, so we went sightseeing at Pier 39. We watched the sea lions and I saw 3 jellyfish. We walked to Ghirardelli Square but didn't really do anything there. I bought some sourdough bread that I am still eating, it is the perfect midnight snack. My favorite part was this guy who was sitting on a small stool holding some branches on the side of the sidewalk. He sat there and scared people, it reminded me of the Gods Must Be Crazy. It was so funny to watch him. I was very sad to be that close to the ocean and not be able to touch it. We flew home and and got back to the MTC at about 8:30pm. I have never had round trip fight like that in one day so it felt a little like a really long and exhausting dream. I was a little sad because we missed the devotional and Elder Ballard came. 

Yesterday (Thursday) we had the best lesson ever. We had our second lesson with our progressing investigator, Erik, and the spirit was so strong. It was the first time we really taught by the spirit and we were able to get him to open up and share his feelings with us. It was so amazing.

Thank you so much the letters and packages, they make me so happy, and make me feel loved. You are the best family ever. I love it here and I am grateful for your support.

Love always

Soeur Turney

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oh She's Happy All Right

Just a little drawing Sister Gaelin Turney sent with a letter this week. I think she's doing okay.