Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Gospel: Personalized January 24th 2017

I live! I am almost, almost, almost back to my normal alto-voiced self. My throat is a bit sore, but after about five days of hacking and coughing I have managed to come out on top. Still constantly using sanitizer just in case, though. As my teacher told us the first day, the MTC is a petri-dish. No one is safe.

As my other teacher would say, on your mission the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. A glimpse into eternity . . . But I swear I just arrived! Then I record in my journal what happened every day and there's always too much to tell. Sister Mayne and I have been over the sisters in our zone officially since last Monday, but the new district that arrived are already feel like old friends of ours. Sister Anderson and I, who are in one of the pictures I've attached, learned we both love to harmonize and spent a lot of fun downtime playing around with harmonies for hymns this week. Yesterday during a very long, slightly hysterical evening of class, Elder Craig and I likened the Spirit to a candy bar, and the metaphor became very long and nonsensical and hilarious to our exhausted brains. It was definitely time for P-day today, haha.

This week there was a huge focus in our training on how to teach lessons according to the needs of the people we're teaching. So, not just memorizing lessons and principles and commitments, but personalizing them for every individual. To do that, we've learned to get to know our investigator first, to plain ask them right-out what they want to gain from meeting with us, and sometimes just ask them to be baptized the very first lesson to see where they're at. I had no idea I would be asking that so often! But it really does make clear our purpose as missionaries.

One thing I had no clue about was the ability missionaries have to promise blessings. Specific ones, too. I think that's what really brings the Spirit into my lessons, though-- when I invite people to follow Christ and feel inspiration as to what specifically they will be blessed with as they do. I had no idea I could do that myself, or how powerful it can be. 

I can't wait to find and teach the people in Missouri being prepared for this message: Jesus Christ lives, and through him we can find happiness! For me right now, the gospel has never been so simple, and it has never felt more personal.

~Sister Fluegel

P.S. Sister Mayne, being from California, experienced falling snow for the first time this week, so whenever its happened she insists on taking pictures. Hence the obscene amount of snow pictures this week.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Week One: The Gospel is SICK January 17th 2017

The rumors are true. Every day in the Mission Training Center is
literally a lifetime.

But I'm so glad to be here. Since day one I've faced cramps,
indigestion, a fever, a throat so sore I felt like I was swallowing
knives most of the time, perfectly-timed coughing during lessons, an
ear infection scare (honestly I'm still scared), and now completely
losing my voice just in time for the temple today. I've been pumped
full of every medicine the wonderful sisters in my district could
think of, but to be honest it's been a bit miserable. And yet I'm
pretty sure compared to most in my district, I've had it easy.

Let me tell you about my companion though. Sister Mayne--or as I like
to call her, St. Mayne 😂 She is one of the biggest blessings I think
the Lord has ever given me. We clicked the first day, but it hasn't
stopped there. We are both of the same attitude on so many things:
using class time wisely, teaching by the Spirit, focusing on our
purpose. We keep getting the same impressions about lessons, it's
frankly amazing. She is more assertive when it comes to the
gospel--"let's testify!" being her go-to phrase--and I'm more "find
out if it's true." We really balance each other out I think. I
love her so much, a crazy amount considering I've only known her for
less than a week. She even gets my humor most of the time. Literally
Heavenly Father blessed us with each other.

For those of you who were like me and knew little to nothing about

districts, zones, and STL's, let me break it down for you. A zone in
the MTC at least is like a really tiny branch/ward. Then about six
companionships of elders and sisters are added each week and put
together in a cclass/district. Sister Mayne and I were called on Thursday to be Sister Training Leaders (STLs) over our district sisters and the rest of the sisters in our zone. Maybe the Lord knew putting us
together would make the MTC too easy unless we also had this extra
responsibility. Sisters are struggling with why they're here, and our
whole district in general can't seem to stay on task. Rumors are
spreading, cliques are forming . . . anyway, the Lord will always test
you in ways that you didn't expect.

I want to share just shortly my thoughts on the MTC devotional
"Character of Christ." It's about Christ, of course. I think it was
the turning point for me so far, watching it on Sunday, so 
I really want to share it. Already the MTC has changed me! 

Character, Elder Bednar defines, as moral qualities strongly developed, strikingly displayed, and consistently lived. Christ's character is constantly displayed by how without variation he turns outward, thinking of others, when we in our "natural man" state would turn inward and think of ourselves. He never thought of himself; in his hardest moments of pain, grief, and betrayal, he thought to heal the guard's ear, his enemy, when Peter wounded the man. It's the hardest thing anyone can do, much less do always, and not possible really if we're trying to do it by ourselves. If we want to follow Mosiah 3:19, to put off the natural man and become like a saint, we need to rely on the Atonement of Christ to emulate that character. And it will easily take the rest of our lives. Line upon line, precept on precept, here a little and there a little we will come closer to Him and living by his example. 

Thank you for your emails. To end, I'll confirm another mission rumor:
Yes, missionaries do love mail. Sorry, Ashley. I have a tablet at least while I'm at the MTC, so I can view my mail throughout the week even if I can't respond yet. Update me on your lives whenever you can! I truly want to know how it's going--the world seems crazy far away right now.

A New Sister Fluegel!

Sister Jessica Fluegel has been called to the St. Louis Missouri mission! She reported January 11th!
Here are some pictures of her call and her drop off day at the Provo MTC!