Monday, February 29, 2016

A Picture! A Picture! We Finally Got a Picture! Hooray!

This morning I received the most wonderful surprise... A friend of mine from Lindon Elementary, Diane Godfrey (who was also Leah's Kindergarten Teacher), sent me a text with this picture attached. Now that she has retired from teaching, she volunteers at the MTC. Today she was Sister Dobyns's investigator!  
We have been sad that we have not been able to get any pictures of her at the MTC... this picture from a friend is what you call a "Tender Mercy". A little testament that He is aware of all of our needs (big and small), and an example of one of us being an instrument in His hands to bless others! 
Thank You, Diane for your little act of service!  It meant the world to us!   

Friday, February 26, 2016

MTC Week 2

So no pictures again this week. The little converter dad gave me to upload pictures with does. not. work. Sorry. I sent an e-mail last week asking for a new one, but I guess it got lost in the hurry of things... So yeah. No pictures. Super big bummer. But I can't do anything about it because none of the sisters have a converter either. Sorry! 
Sister Atkinson is going to e-mail some of the pictures she's taken, so I'll forward those to you hopefully! 

Wow! What a packed week! I don't even know where to begin... okay, so this week I have spent a lot of time learning how to teach the PMG lessons! I'm not really sure what to tell you all about that... It's basically just what it sounds like. 10+ hours sitting in a classroom everyday learning about the restoration, role play teaching an investigator, realizing you don't know how to teach anything. Learn how to stick with the basics, and then role play again and again and again! We teach our P.I. Phil almost every night, and then we teach 2 different TRC's 4x a week. So mondays, tuesdays, wednesdays, and saturdays. It has been a really helpful experience, and also 100% terrifying everyday. 
So everybody I ever talked to about going on a mission told me "just make it until sunday!" ... not really sure why. I always thought it was like, wait until sunday! It gets so much easier, or better after that! Which I guess is true, but sunday was definitely my homesick day! Sorry, I know I probably shouldn't talk about that, but I just really missed my piano all day! (uh...and my family. i miss my family every day...) ANYWHO! Sunday really was great though! It's a little sad I only get one more!
Sister Atkinson and I taught Phil, our Progressing Investigator the other day with the entire class sitting behind a 1 way window! That was absolutely terrifying...! But the lesson was actually one of our most effective lessons, so it turned out alright. 
Getting packages has been really fun! I go three days without getting a package notice, and then one day I get 4 of them! So I get to walk all the way from the post office place to my room carrying TONS of boxes, and every missionary I pass looks at me like I am next in line for the throne.. that's been pretty fun! But it gets a lot less fun really fast when you open up a box and find some nectarines that are SUPER soft... and you're like... "what?? I could have eaten these 2 days ago!" But life goes on... 
I love my district guys. Like, REALLY love them! I've come to realize that there is no such thing as an easy MTC experience. Everyone is being pushed to their limits in one way or another and it's really hard! But these wonderful missionaries deal with everything in such a graceful way. I look up to them so much! We actually lost an Elder yesterday. That has been one of THE hardest things I have ever dealt with. He is such an amazing missionary you guys. And amazing person! He was our District Leader too. So he was always checking in on everybody, and making sure that we were all doing alright. He decided to go home to sort some things out, and be worthy to have Heavenly Father's help everyday. I admire his desire to do the right things so much. He told us he has had friends who have gone on missions and never repented of some of the bad things they did before, and he thought that he would just do the same things. But he could not do that. He has felt the spirit so much here, and he wants to be able to feel it even more. He wants to serve Heavenly Father with all of his heart, and he knows in order to do that, he needs to go home for a little while. 
When this Elder left there was never a moment of disappointment, or judgement. It was only love, and pride. But when he left, it just opened my eyes to the reality of how hard it is to be here. And how going home IS an option. I could go home TODAY if I wanted. I had to step back and re-evaluate what I am doing, and why I am doing it. And don't panic. I prayed to Heavenly Father for a really long time yesterday and I have never felt so determined to serve with absolutely everything I've got. I want to truly forget myself and get lost in this work. I want to be the missionary that goes above and beyond, and loved every single person I meet! Elder X leaving was an emotional, hard thing. But I have gained such a stronger resolve to serve my Father in heaven because of it. 
I love this gospel. This is why we are here. Please try to remind yourselves of that EVERY day! It gives me such a greater perspective of everything. I don't get frustrated as much as I used to because I know it isn't the end of the world. And I try to love everyone I talk to that much more because I have started to get a glimpse at just how hard life is by teaching my investigators. Be kind to everyone. Try to not fight. or get impatient. I know it's hard. And it always will be, but it really is worth it to try and keep the peace. Keep the spirit with you ALWAYS. Repent every night. Ask Heavenly Father for help with what you are struggling with, and ask for forgiveness of your weaknesses. If you don't know what those are... you're lying. But maybe not. Pray and ask what your weaknesses are so can work on them.
We are here to grow closer to Christ and Heavenly Father. Don't let a day go by where you don't think about your relationship with them, and make a conscious effort to improve it. 
I love you all! 
Sorry for the picture problem again. 
Next week I'll be writing you from CANADA! 
I'm not sure when I will be able to e-mail next because I fly out Tuesday morning, and I'm pretty sure P-days are on monday... so it may be a while!
Sorry for not sending any letters too- my branch president said you can't write letters during the week.It has to be on P-day! (I still don't know that I believe that, but OBEDIENCE!) P-days get really busy really fast, so I don't always have the time I want. But know that I love you, and am thinking about you everyday! Honestly, every. day. 
-Sister Dobyns

Friday, February 19, 2016

Week 1 - Actually 48 Hours

Alright, this is my first official letter home! 

I cannot believe everything that has already happened since I was dropped off at the MTC only 48 hours ago! 

As soon as I was dropped off I had an escort take me around and pick up somethings like a Preach my Gospel book, schedule for the week, and some other things. Then she took me to my residence, and I dropped most of my stuff off before I went to my classroom. I have 8 people in my district. There are 4 Elders, and 4 Sisters. All the girls are going to Calgary Canada! There is my, my companion Sister Atkinson, Sister Messick, and Sister Black (we went to high school together!). The four of us also share a residence. Then there are 4 Elders, whose names I do not think I remember... Elder Johnson, Elder Hinckley, Elder Bright, and Elder Cannon. The first three are all going to the Gilbert Arizona Mission. But then Elder Cannon is going to North Carolina. Fun fact: He has actually already been serving his mission for the past 3 months in SLC! He told us that he had had a hard time talking to people before his mission because of a social anxiety, so the last 3 months was kind of like a trial run to see if he would be okay. And he is! So that is really amazing! So now he's at the MTC for his official training... which I think is a little funny since he's already seen the real thing! But you really do learn so much here, I'm glad he's not missing out on this experience. So that's my district! 
We had class for like... 4 hours. That was rough... But they're not kidding when they say that they just throw you right into it! It's hard not to feel like you're inadequate when toward the end of the days you are just begging to go to bed. After class we had dinner, and then we had a class called "People and my Purpose." That was terrifying. There were 3 real people, who were actually looking into the church. (a.k.a. NOT ACTORS  like everyone told me they would be!) We were in huge groups of about 40-50 people and we were supposed to all teach them! It was nuts! The first lady we talked to was the worst because nobody knew what to do or say, and when people would try to talk, they would say something kinda insensitive, and that made me not want to even try to talk to her! She told us that he has been abused her whole life by her dad and then her husband. And then she her son died when he was only a few months old. It was really hard because lots of people tried to tell her that we are given trials to grow, and I really didn't agree with that part. I believe that some of our trials are to help us grow, but some of them are just a result of our own, or someone else's agency. And I really feel like what she went through was not because Heavenly Father wanted her to learn something from it. But once someone suggested that I was basically all down hill from there. I really learned that you have to remember to teach people, and not just teach lessons. She has experienced so many hard things that I could never imagine dealing with, and I just wanted her to know that I care about her, and how she is! And I know Heavenly Father feels the same! But once the group got it's foot in it's mouth, she was shut out to anything anyone else really had to say. 

Then yesterday was my first FULL day at the MTC! And let me tell you, the days are SO long here! You are kept busy literally every single second that you are here. There is never any type of down time to catch your breath! Everyone says 1 day in the MTC feels like a week, and that couldn't be more accurate! I am so grateful that today is P-day! When my alarm went off this morning I felt like I had just closed my eyes to go to bed! When I remembered that it was P-day, it made it a little bit easier to wake up and start another day. (Also, don't take that the wrong way, or be worried about me. Life is great, I'm doing fine, and will continue to do so.) 

So anyway, yesterday we woke up and got ready for the day. And wow! You have to get ready SO quickly here! It's a serious struggle for me, but I'm getting better at it everyday.. (says the missionary who has been here for 2 mornings...) So after frantically throwing on my clothes, and giving up on make up, we went to class for study time, and then to a "people and my purpose part 2 class" and that was much better than part 1! We didn't have to teach anybody, we just talked about part one, and how it went and what we would change. We talked about not giving information overload (kinda like this email), and getting to know your investigator before teaching them. Trying to find out what they really need. And other good stuff!
We also talked about how in order to personally grow and become a better person in the gospel while on your mission, you have to forget about you! You always hear "forget yourself and go to work" And that's true because you only grow when you are not thinking about you. Your selfishness is what keeps you from being the best missionary you can be. So I've been trying to apply that. And so far it's been working pretty well! To be honest it's pretty easy because I have a really amazing companion! And the other girls in my district are awesome too! They are all on top of it! meanwhile... I totally forgot to wear my badge the first day! So go me! .... That was awful... I had to run back and get it during breakfast time! 

Last night was really amazing though! We got to meet our Branch presidency and they were amazing! Well..yeah, they were, but their wives were extra amazing! haha! Sister May is this super sweet old lady that reminds me A LOT of grandma dobyns! She gave me this big hug and I actually just broke into tears because she had the most amazing spirit I have ever felt!!! She was so full of love I couldn't believe it! The meeting we had was great too, and during that we each had a one-on-one "interview" with one of the brothers. He shared a really spiritual and amazing message with me, and everyone came back crying when they finished their interviews. 

The MTC is an amazing place. I have never experienced the spirit so strongly in my life. I am so grateful for that because there is never an opportunity to second guess your decision to serve because the spirit is reminding you that it is the right decision every second of the day. 

I love you guys! and hope you have an amazing week! 

Sister Dobyns