Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 2 (9/27/2013)

Last Friday, after I emailed you guys, our District had the opportunity to go to the Temple together.  It was my second time and the first time I was able to perform an endowment in behalf of a deceased individual.  It was an amazing experience.  After the session, as our District sat together in the Celestial Room, Elder Cluff, a tall blond-haired goofy Elder from Alaska, came over to Sister Young and I as we were admiring the beautiful, glittering chandelier that hung above us.  He told us that when they clean the chandeliers in the temple, they take the crystals that together form an amazing masterpiece and clean them individually one at a time.  The temple is full of symbols, and I think that each of those crystals in that beautiful chandelier can be likened unto each individual missionary serving throughout the world.  The Lord cleans and refines us each one by one in His own way, so that together we form an amazing masterpiece that will help bring the world His truth.
Ashley Dyer and her MTC roommates at the Provo Temple
The other day, the Sisters in our District decided that we wanted to do something special for the Elders after they surprised us by cleaning our classroom, so we bought four bags of Swedish fish and distributed them evenly into eight small ziploc bags that Mom insisted on packing for me (Mom thinks of everything) and wrote little cards for each of them that said, "It was very 'sweetish' of you to clean our classroom." and also had the scripture Matthew 4:19 about Christ making his disciples "Fishers of Men." 
That night after class, we Sisters went to the bathroom to wait for the Elders to leave (they won't leave us behind in the classroom at night and instead wait for us to get our things and walk us down the stairs).  We then sneaked back into class and placed the ziploc bags containing the Swedish Fish and cards on each of the Elders' desks for them to find the next morning.  When they found the surprise, they were all very excited and grateful and it definitely put them in a good mood. 
Sister Dyer and her MTC district
Later in the week, I unexpectedly received a surprise package of Krispy Cream donuts from Sister George.  Don't worry.  I didn't eat all of them.  The other night our District had a little donut "festa" (party).  The Elders were pretty excited and Elder Anderson told me that if he could give me a hug, he definitely would.  I gave the rest of the donuts to Sister Spencer, a Sister missionary on our floor, who has been at the MTC for 10 weeks because she had to have surgery on her leg due to issues after donating her own bone marrow to her brother a while ago.  It has been a trying experience as she has watched District after District leave as she has remained here waiting to find out what the Lord's will was for her.  That day, she found out that she had been reassigned and would leave the MTC for Nashbille, Tennessee the next day.  We were so excited for her!  She is an amazing daughter of God and I wish her the best of luck on her mission. 
On Tuesday we attended an amazing devotional.  The MTC choir, which includes our whole District, sang the hymn "Nearer My God To Thee" and then we had the privilege of hearing from Elder Don R. Clarke of the 70.
Sister Young and I have had an amazing week as we have been given two new investigators to teach, Irmao Carlos and Irmao Santos (who are both actually our teachers).  As we have taught them, some lessons have definitely been better than others.  We have noticed an interesting thing that Sister Young dubbed the "Nephite / Lamanite Syndrome."  This syndrome causes us to go through a cycle of teaching great and disappointing lessons as illustrated below:
1) Disappointing Lesson
2) Humble Ourselves (seek Lord's will)
3) Amazing Lesson
4) Become Prideful (seek own will)
5) Disappointing Lesson
We are trying to stay humble as we teach and today when we go to the temple, we have decided to go with our investigators in mind and pray for guidance on how we can best teach our beloved investigators, Irmao Santos and Irmao Carlos.  Irmao Santos is a young man with a 2 year old son without a job who has recently been able to quite heroine and crack and believes that God has been a small light to him.  Irmao Carlos is an old grandfather who has a troubled 18 year old grandson.  We pray for them everyday and try to study the scriptures with them in mind.

On Tuesday Sister Ruiz and Sister Reichman taught their investigators.  Prior to their lesson, Sister Young and I role-played with them as their investigators.  As they taught us, we observed some tension between them as they continuously stopped and debated with one another what they should teach or share at different times.  In the middle of our role-play investigation, the time came when it was their turn to teach.  After they left, Sister Young and I were a bit concerned for them.  We asked all the Elders in our District if we could say a prayer for them and they agreed.  Sister Young said a beautiful prayer for our two beloved Sisters that they might have the Spirit with them as they taught and be able to teach a wonderful lesson. 
15 minutes later, Sister Ruiz and Sister Reichman returned.  Our whole district looked up expectantly and were totally surprised when the Sisters came in with smiles on their faces.  When we asked them how it went, Sister Ruiz said, "Batizado!"  We were all shocked.  It was only their second lesson and they had already committed their investigator to being baptized.  We were all so happy for the Sisters as we celebrated with them. Today we witnessed a problem, a prayer, and an answer so distinctly before our eyes.  It was amazing!
Funny Story: It's starting to get chilly outside, so during gym time on Tuesday, Sister Young and I went to the fitness center for the first time and hit the elliptical machines.  We worked out on the ellipticals for 30 minutes while watching a movie about Joseph Smith (Although we couldn't hear anything, seeing that we didn't have any headphones).  I was working out at slope 10 and resistance 7-10 the whole time, and I noticed that Sister Young was at slope 13 and resistance 2, so she was moving really fast.  She looked almost like a hamster running on a wheel.  However, because she's a runner, I thought that this was just the way she liked to work out and it was just a different method than mine, because she liked a larger slope and less resistance. 
She later told me that her body was burning after the first 10 minutes. However, as we watched Joseph Smith get tarred and feathered and go through trial after trial, she told herself that the pain she was going through was nothing compared to what the prophet went through and that motivated her to keep going. 
Later tonight, I told Sister Young that I had noticed that she liked steeper slopes and less resistance on ellipticals while I used an average slope and higher resistance.  I asked her what she thought was more effective.  She then confessed that she had never been on an elliptical machine before and had just hit a few buttons and started going.  When I explained the slope and resistance levels to her, she said, "Oh!  So that's why I was going so much faster than you."  :)
During class yesterday, a voice came over the intercom calling Elder Fore, a large Native American Elder in our District who we have all grown to love, to the Missionary Travel Office.  The second we heard this, our whole district froze.  We have learned from tips and experience that if you are called down to the front desk, it is probably for nothing significant.  However, the Missionary Travel Office is where you get your "Happy Travel Card" and if you are called down there it could change your mission / life. 
At lunch, we found out that Elder Fore had received his visa and would be leaving for the Brazil Sao Paolo MTC on Tuesday.  After lunch, another voice came over the intercom, "Could Sister..." All of the Sisters in our district froze, including myself.  It was the longest moment ever "...Reichman please come to the Missionary Travel Office."  Sister Ruiz and Sister Young and I were all relieved.  It turns out that Sister Reichman also received her "Happy Travel Card" and will also be leaving on Tuesday for the MTC in Brazil, which is kind of a milagre (miracle), seeing that she has had to submit paper after paper in the last few months because they have found problem and problem with her visa application. 
All of the Elders and Sisters in our District have mixed emotions about this, including Elder Fore and Sister Reichman, but we also have a strong testimony that this is the Lord's will and that these two individuals are needed in Brazil right now.  We will miss them a lot, but hopefully we'll be able to see them again.  (They are both going to the Brazil Recife Mission)  I love them so much and feel like my own brother and sister are leaving on missions and I won't be able to see them for who knows how long.  But I am really happy for them and wish them the best of luck.  Hopefully I won't cry on Tuesday when they leave.  I guess that means I will have two companions next week - Sister Young and Sister Ruiz.  By the way, Sister Young is not Chinese.  She has blond hair and blue eyes (Young is also a non-Asian name you know?  Think, Brigham Young.  :)  )
I love you so much and miss you too! 


P.S.  Could you take my name off of the Shanghai Sisters Relief Society Mailing List?  I can't help anyone with “Ayis” or anything of the sort.  

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