Monday, January 31, 2011

Only 1 more week at the MTC

Hello there family and friends!!!!
Another week has come and gone--soo fast it seems! This week has been a pretty exciting one for us in the 18th Zone :). Several of our districts received their travel papers and it was pretty crazy! My district all got travel plans too...except for me! I figured that must mean my visa hadn't come through and I was going to be reassigned for a bit. Here I come Texas!! Lol, but then my companion, Sister Bray, looked at her papers (she was the appointed travel leader and has a list of everyone she is in charge of) and I was on the list!! They had just sent my travel papers to my old district's mailbox!! Not really sure why, but I was pretty stoked none-the-less! So It looks like I will be heading to Taiwan on the 8th of February!!!!!!!!! We don't report to the travel office until 8am and the plane doesn't take off until like 1130, so things should be pretty chill. Our whole zone has been pretty excited! Eleven of us will be leaving--about three districts. The two French elders (our zone leaders) already left this morning to their Mandarin speaking Missions in France. Another French born in California missionary will be leaving to France (again Mandarin speaking) on Friday.  Anyway, I am pretty pumped that my visa came through and I will be heading out soon!!!! It seems a little strange since I will have been here barely five weeks! Some of the poor missionaries going to Spain, Brazil and Mexico have been here over 13 weeks due to visa problems and many are being reassigned.
Well, life is great!!! I love my district and zone soo much. We are all pretty close and it is amazing to feel the Spirit so much here. We had an awesome speaker this past Tuesday--Elder Evans and his dear wife. She spoke on the impact us going on missions has had on those we have left behind. He spoke on Thomas Monson! It was soo amazing. He said that the reason for the stories are to remind of us of things that we can do in our own lives that will make us more Christlike. I love the stories because they just show how much the Lord can use us to help others feel of His love. He also shared with us some awesome quotes about how we are on the Lord's errand and thus we are entitled to the Lord's help. I need to have faith always that the Lord will take care of me because this is an important work. We also listened to an older Sheri Dew talk about how we are the Great and Noble ones written about in the scriptures. Read Abraham 3 and D&C 138--waaaaay good. Also, read Mormon Chap. 1. It can show us that even though the world is getting worse and worse, we can stay focused on Christ and remain strong. Pay attention to how this happens to Moroni!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Leaving MTC February 8th

Life has been pretty good--it was a bit of a rough week what with being in a new district with a new schedule and all, but I think I've got things figured out! Plus the Lord has been answering a lot of prayers :). This past Tuesday the Gongs came and spoke to us at the MTC!!! Sister Susan Gong was my Chinese teacher at PHS, so it was pretty awesome seeing her! Of course, she didn't see me, but it was still cool. I actually sang in the choir :). It was really awesome and I love it!! Unfortunately with the schedule I have in the Chinese pilot district, I usually have class during Choir practice, so I probably won't be participating in it anymore. The Gongs were amazing and gave us such words of comfort and good cheer. They spoke on reasons we have to rejoice and it was just a great reminder that even though the work is hard and times will be tough, the Lord is with us and has given us such amazing promises and blessings. If we can but endure with joy, all will be well.
On Sunday we had a Brother Allen speak to us on much the same thing. He gave reminded us that we are the elite troops if Jesus Christ. We have been called by revelation and so we will be sustained if we obey with exactness and give it our all. He also reminded us that because we have promised to do such a great thing, Satan is very displeased with us and will do all in his power to stop us from being effective missionaries. He went on to identify the four phases that come with every new experience. First is the honeymoon stage--you love everything!! Then comes the hostile stage--you hate everything. The main part with the hostile stage is that we are focusing inward instead of looking outward. Thus the problem lies within us and requires an attitude adjustment. The best way to escape the hostile stage is to serve others. Then comes the Grin and Bear it stage. We don't necessary love everything, but we are willing to stick with it and to give it our all. In time we reach the Endure to the End stage--we love life and joy in the journey. Times are still hard at times, but we have faith and push on. However, right when we reach this point is when we usually get transferred or put with a new companion! And thus the cycle begins again! I have already been through some of those stages several times!! Luckily the Lord has helped me to feel happiness and love throughout the whole of it.
Well, I found out Sunday that I am leaving on Feb 8th!! But where depends on my visa. If I don't have it by then, I will probably be sent on reassignment--which is exciting! I'll be sure to let you know more when I do! It is kind of an exciting time here because so many  of my friends are leaving or are getting ready to here in the next few weeks. Most of the people I came in with on the 5th left today or will be leaving later this week! Such excitement and crazy times! We are all excited and happy and soo scared but it will be ok :).
I love my new district soo much! They have been really awesome and supportive. I have taught like four more times since last week and it is getting easier and better every time. I feel like my testimony has grown sooo much! Especially this past week when I was really forced to lean on my Savior during the rough spots. I love God and the simplicity of His Gospel. I love Joseph Smith and am so grateful for his courage and strength. I am so grateful for my Savior--who died for me and died for you! I am excited to be able to share that with others every day! I love this gospel and am so grateful for the amazing family and friends I have in my life! You all do so much for me and I love you soo much!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Newest MTC address -Box #115, TAIW-TCG 0208

So big news for this week--around seven pm last Monday I got reassigned to a new district!! They will be leaving for Taiwan in about 2-3 weeks!!! So I will be part of that :). I checked with the health clinic and they said that SLC had received all my paper work, so hopefully the visa is coming along well. My branch president isn't sure how it will all work out, but one thing for sure is that when my district leaves, I will either be going with them or be sent on a reassigment calling to somewhere else. That would actually be kind of cool, so I don't really care.

Along with that I have a new companion! She is Sister Bray from Sandy, UT. She is 21 years old and went to hairschool. She is half Hawaiian and loves to dance. She currently has to wear a boot because she got tendonitis here at the MTC :(. So she might not leave on schedule if she still has the boot--they are hoping to have it off next week though! Anyway, she was in a threesome before (like me!) so now we are all just in twos. It was a little hard at first because they have all known each other for the past nine weeks, but they are all accepting and we've grown to love and include each other. There are two other sisters (Sister Okada and Sister Reece) and a companionship of three Elders (Elders Tate, Leatham, and Mohr). They are all amazing and soo much fun. We all get along great. Sister Okada is Japanese (but born in the USA) but was actually in Japan when she got her call. She will be serving in Canada, Mandarin speaking. The rest of us are all going to the Taiwan Taizhong mission!!!

With that, my mtc mailbox address has changed....though I still get the mail sent to the old district. It just makes it harder for me to get--I usually don't get it until the day after. So if you could change the address to mailbox #115, and then TAIW-TCG 0208. The rest of the address should stay the same. Also make a note that if you dearelder me, please put Melissa Brooke Smith. I had one letter sent to and Elder Brock Smith and I ended up getting it like three days later. But I still get them, so not a big deal. And that only happened once.

Hmm...other cool things: Elder Holland came and spoke to us on Tuesday for Devotional :) :). It was absolutely AMAZING!!!!!! He just spoke on the importance of our calling and the areas all missionaries need to improve on. Here are the three things he said to watch for: 1. Study better. Our investigators deserve who we can be through diligent study. 2. Missionaries don't prepare well. We can be so much more effective if we learn to plan with the Lord's goals in mind. 3. Teach for commitment. He said that we should never apologize for what we know. And we need to be persistant. He says his wife's Avon lady is more persistant than most missionaries are--that shouldn't be the case!! I loved his talk and it just makes we want to be better. We are the hope of Israel :).

Sister Davis sent me some cookies :)!!! Super sweet of her--totally made my day. I have seen Elder Gage here soo much! And I see Elder Hill several times a week too. I also taught my first ever lesson (on tithing) last Saturday!!! It was all in Chinese and so it was a little hard, but I thought we did really good! Always room to improve, but all is good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pics from January 5, 2011 going to the MTC

First Report from the MTC & Please send mail via ""

We get mail two times a day and it is always soo much fun to get letters. I really love it so much :). Also, it is free while I am in the MTC so I think all of my friends and family members should use it!!  So, I am absolutely LOVING the MTC!!!!!! I have had such a great experience and it has not even been a week yet.
My companions are Sister Pomeroy from Austin, TX and Sister Miller from Draper, UT. We all get along really well :). Sister Pomeroy taught English in China for a semester and has had a year of Chinese classes so her Chinese is getting good fast. Sister Miller hasn't had any previous experiences, so it has been difficult for her. But she is doing soo well. In fact, she can already pray in mostly Chinese. It is amazing what can happen at the MTC when the Spirit is with you.
Here is a journal entry I want to share from this morning:
"My first p-day at the mtc!! It is pretty exciting and much needed. We still follow a schedule and we still have personal and companion study. I haven't been moved to another district yet!! Yay! I am enjoying every moment I have with Sister Pomeroy and Sister Miller. It is so fun with them. I love being with them. To recount a little of yesterday--Sunday was absolutely AMAZING!  It seems busy, but it is filled with so many special activities. We were able to watch 30 min of the Spoken Word before r.s.. A sister Clayton spoke and she was just super cute. Gave us great advice on how to make our experiences the best by putting them in a positive light, thinking kindly of our comps and elders, and a few other things I have written down elsewhere. I am glad I have started to keep a good study journal! I think it will be a great help to me for the rest of my mission.
Probably the best thing about yesterday was the powerful mtc devotional we had. Bro Heaton (MTC admin. director) invited all the missionaries who are new converts to the church (less than two years) to talk about their conversion stories. We ran out of time for them all!! But the ones we did hear were amazing. Everytime I heard them I saw my parents. I especially saw my father since he went on a mission after only one year of membership. The Spirit was sooo strong and the Lord Testified to me that I am here because of my parents. It made me so excited for these new missionaries' future families. And it showed me when I get to be a part of."
I love God and I am soo excited for this opportunity to serve. I have learned a lot, made a few mistakes, and have tons of learning to go. I am supposed to be switching into a different district who will be leaving in six weeks. Things haven't really been too clear about that yet, but it doesn't matter cause I am happy just to be here. I love my companions and am excited to be with new ones too. I know the possible comps I will have, but I think they aren't sure who to put me with yet. I should know by tomorrow when class resumes. Maybe tonight!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Hey Everyone!!

So I am going into the MTC this Wednesday--pretty crazy eh? The last few weeks have gone by soo fast! I am very excited to serve so soon! I received my MTC address this week so here it is:

Sister Melissa Brooke Smith
MTC Mailbox # 108
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

If you have a dearelder account you can send letters to the MTC for free :). 
I love you all and would love to hear from you if you have the time. 

Thanks for all of the wonderful support!

--Sister Brooke Smith