Wow. Mom, I got your letter last night. I had almost forgotten about the boys' Southeast Asia trip! Michael's letter made me laugh so hard. I can't believe they're already there! They must be in Thailand by now, huh? I'm so glad the motorcycle trip was a success. I wish I could have been there to see everyone on their bikes and scooters. Send pictures please! I can't see the link Dad sent me. This is the only internet access I have besides lds.org. Ah, and please please send on pictures from the boys' trip! I'm dying to hear about it. If I wasn't on a mission, I'd be super jealous. Actually, I'd probably be there with them...
Ok, well, this week was a good one. We're starting to feel the "pressure" as we only have less than 3 weeks left in this place. It's crazy. It's going to pass by so quickly. Last Tuesday, Elder Kikuchi came to speak at our Tuesday night devotional, and he gave some really good advice about how we should be using our preparation time. He said that we should have the first three lessons (the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ) learned and ready to teach confidently. I really took that to heart as I was starting to feel a healthy amount of stress about learning Czech, and I developed a language plan for the last days until we depart on July 4th. We extended it into a district goal to teach each other one principle a day (there's 22 altogether) in Czech. It's super tough. However, I love the stress. It's helped to fill every nook and cranny of my day with learning, and so I feel at the end of every day that I have made progress. I am a better missionary at the end of the day than I was at the beginning. That's something I've been working to do - every day of my mission, I hope to be a better missionary, or just a better person, at the end of the day than I was at the beginning. I feel like I'll get somewhere if I keep at it :) Anyway, the Czech is coming. I've come to terms with the fact that I will not speak Czech very much at all by the time I leave the MTC. Nope. It won't happen. It can't. However, it's going to be okay. I've tried with all of my might to be a faithful missionary - one that the Lord can use and will be proud of - and I know that he will bless me and support me and use me out in the field. He is on my side and wants me to do this!
I've felt a huge increase in the spirit over the last couple weeks. I feel like I'm really starting to learn how to be a teacher and how to help people come unto Christ by means of the influence of the spirit. I've had incredible experiences with investigators this week. There was one lesson in particular where I was teaching a principle, and in the middle of my sentences I felt like I was merely observing. I wasn't saying those things. I wasn't teaching that lesson. I've heard that all the time from missionaries - that they often feel the Spirit take the lesson and teach it. They are merely an instrument by which the Lord can work. However, never in my life have I felt it. I think the Lord gave me that experience here in the MTC to tell me that he recognizes I've been trying, ahh, trying so hard to sanctify myself and be worthy of that powerful spirit. The spirit taught that lesson. I finished, and I sat back in awe. It was a beautiful lesson about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and He wants to speak with us. We can pray to Him, and He is there. Teaching about prayer is one of my favorite things. Most of the people I meet in the Czech Republic will never have prayed or may not know who God is, and why anyone would believe in Him. It is one of the most incredible, exhilarating, even fun things to do to boil down the gospel into terms that are so simple, but just truth in its purest form. It gets me so excited! I can hardly wait to meet people and be a part of their lives; help them come closer to their Savior and their Father. I'm so excited! Can you tell I'm excited? I'm so excited! It's been so wonderful to feel the spirit so strongly here. I learned something very valuable during class last week about how the spirit works. I think this is something most people need to understand more fully as members of the church. I know it was something I really needed to hear. We watched a clip from a previous MTC devotional by Elder Bednar. He spoke about the Holy Ghost. He brought up the age old question of "Is it the Holy Ghost, or is it just me?" He said, "Answer: Quit worrying about it." He said to be a good girl, be a good boy, keep the commandments, and live your convenants. The spirit will take you where you need to be and help you do what you need to do, a lot of the times without you even knowing it. It's so true. I think if we are seeking to improve, if we are seeking to live righteously, our thoughts and consequently our actions will be influenced by the spirit, and we will do what the Lord would have us do. We will stay on the right path. We will know where we are to go next. It's not a matter of using your mind because you can't expect the spirit to guide you in everything.. He will! It's a matter of living righteously, being a good girl, being a good boy.
I'm so happy to be here. I love my companions so much. Being in a tripanionship has turned out to be the best experience - I'm really, really going to miss my companions out in the field. I love my district. I love learning Czech. I love being able to serve the Lord and teach His children. I love you all so much! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers - I feel them here.