Hello family and friends!! Greetings from the Provo, Utah Missionary Training Center!I'll start off by saying I looked like a typical newbie coming in last Wednesday. I had the biggest smile on my face for the first hour even though I was completely lost for most of it. And every time someone would ask my name, I would reply with an overly-excited "Madeline!" Don't worry, I've figured out that everyone refers to each other as "Elder or Sister so-and-so." The embarrassing part is when a group of elders walks past and shouts "Hey sisters!" and I accidentally reply back with "Hi Sisters!" ...oops. But everyone here is SO nice and welcoming so after asking a few questions, I found my way around.There is a strong spirit here at the MTC. A spirit of love, learning, and unity. Our teachers always compare it the amazingness of Disney World, and if you know me, you know Disney World is my heaven on my earth. Well, I think the MTC comes in a very close second. Nothing like learning the gospel, eating great food (in my opinion at least), and meeting amazing people all in one place :)
I met my district when I first got here, and ohmygoodness, I never thought I would grow to love people so much after just five days. They are like my second family. Knowing that everyone here loves the gospel and has the same life plan as you for the next two years or so makes it extremely easy to grow really close to everyone you meet. I was also assigned a companion, Sister Rizzo, that I'll be with for the three weeks that I'm here at the MTC. She's of course serving in the St. George Visitors' Center as well. We spend every waking minute of the day together and always have to be within sight of one another. She's from Alaska and is Italian. Go figure! She's about my height and is super energetic. We get along really well! We;re both super goofy. However, it's really hard to work with someone that you're with 24/7. You can get annoyed, offended, rude, the list goes on. It's been a huge learning experience for me.
We watched a talk by Elder Bednar last night tilted "The Character of Christ." Hands down one of the most inspiring talks I have ever heard. He talked a lot about how Christ turns out to others and not in to himself. How he turns out in love, service and compassion, and is not self-centered one bit. This really helped me in my struggles to get along with my companion and those in my district. Because, let's face it, even though we feel like family, we all have our moments. It's so motivating to see others trying to focus less on themselves, and more on those around them.
I have a firm testimony now that in order to find yourself, you must lose yourself. Lose yourself in service, love, and compassion towards others. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Accept their weaknesses and differences. Kindness should permeate all of our words and actions. I know through service towards others, we not only become closer to those we are serving, but we come closer to our Heavenly Father. He loves all of us more than we can imagine. And He wants us to love His other children too! There is SO much more I would like to write, but we have a limited emailing time. I love and miss you all!! I can feel your prayers every step of the way :)
Love, Sister Martin
P.S. I'll send pics next week!!