I have been so looking forward to this! Let me tell you something. This is a magical place. How can I have seen so many miracles already? How can I feel as though I've been to the ends of the earth and back? It's been such a journey since I left you on the sidewalk of the MTC. By the end of the first day, we were already teaching mock investigators, and learning what it means to teach people, and not lessons. That has by far been my favorite part of the experience so far - studying with a purpose, studying how I can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord in helping and inviting others to come unto him and receive his gospel. The gospel in the context of the needs of people is an incredible, beautiful thing. For the first three days here I literally could not sleep at night, my mind was racing with Czech and straining to figure out how we could best help our new investigator. My adrenaline was so high all I could do was smile and say "I'm so excited!" I would pray at night that Heavenly Father would calm my mind and let me sleep so I could get to the next day and be a missionary some more! That nametag - it is the most wonderful thing. I'm already dreading the day I'll have to remove it. Ah, by the way, when I got to my room on the first day, I found out I was rooming with Siostra Susan Folsom! One of my closest friends I went to Romania with. We are in a room with me, my two companions (Sestra bean from upstate NY and Sestra White from Jupiter, FL), Sestra Lethco from Provo who will be serving in Croatia, and Sestra Folsom will be serving in Poland! Our expected departure date from the MTC is July 4 (Lauren, I wish it was 3 days later!). It is a tender mercy from the Lord that I am with Siostra Folsom. She is such a light and has been such a strength to me. Also, she's a marathoner and a triathlete, so we work out together. Perhaps I'll be running the with you, Mom, by the time I come home. Other news - I am in a pilot district. This means that we are trying out new language curriculum that focuses much more on teaching. In other words, usually you will not begin teaching until about 3-4 weeks into your stay at the MTC, but for the 12 missionaries in my district that are going to the Czech, we received an investigator named Jakub (our teacher acting as a 17-year-old Czech teenager) on our second day in the MTC, taught him about his Savior and his loving Heavenly Father on the 3rd day at the MTC, about the restoration on the 4th day, and we will be teaching him how to pray tomorrow! This was all done in Czech, mind you! Can you believe it? It has been a miraculous thing to see. Yesterday I had one of the coolest experiences here - one of my teachers, Brother Machado, taught us a 3 minute version of the lesson on the restoration. He started into it with no preface and went all the way through the lesson, quoting the first vision, and ending with a powerful testimony. When he began, I scooted to the edge of my seat and strained to understand as much as I could. Family, I understood a large portion of it! I could follow what he was saying almost the entire way through! Sestra Bean and I had spent some time studying the first vision the other day, and so when he began quoting JSH... I can't describe it... I felt the spirit so strong. Brother Machado finished and asked us what he said. As a district we could tell him everything. He told us we had just seen a miracle. This was the gift of tongues, and Heavenly Father was blessing his missionaries so that we can go forth and help the people in the Czech who are lost and searching. These last few days have been a rollercoaster. Dad, you were right. This is nothing like I thought it would be. No matter how many friends I talked to, or how much advice I got, it could not prepare me for what I have experienced. For the first three days, I couldn't stop smiling. I was and am thrilled to be here and to do this work. But it's an interesting thing what your mind does when you choose to do something that is very optional, and then you find out that thing is incredibly hard and incredibly uncomfortable. Satan works very hard on the Lord's missionaries. I've seen it with myself, with my companions, and with my elders. He does not want us to do this. He does not want us to keep going, because there is too much power in what we are learning and the testimonies we will be sharing. When Satan fills your mind with those thoughts, you have to constantly remind yourself what your anchor is. Why am I here? Why am I going to stay put and keep forging ahead? It is because I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I love him with all of my heart. This gospel fills my soul with joy. I must share it. I must do it for my Heavenly Father who loves me and loves all of His children. We must bring them back! There is no greater work than this.
I love you all so much. Thank you for helping me be here. I cannot tell you what joy I've felt.