Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3, 2013-iHola Todos!

iHola Todos! (otra vez.) This week, as to be expected, has been a crazy one. Every one's buzzing with the excitement of reassignments, we had our 8 hour in-field orientation yesterday (that was eye-opening), and on top of that our zone was passing around a nasty bug, which I thought I'd escaped, pero no, but not to worry, thanks to my handy-dandy witchdoctor kit, Niagara Falls is no longer, however my Rudolph nose is lingering evidence of my mean battle with my sinus. Can I just say it's really inconvenient when you can't run out of class to blow your nose alone? Nope, you get a three-person train, my poor companeras. Also, as you well know by my change in P-days (so sorry about that, they didn't give us a heads up) we're all trying to adjust to this new, and less-than-desirable new schedule. At the change of the semesters at BYU they change teachers, shifts, and our schedules, too. All of our classes, meetings, and meals are now 2 hours earlier, so we have to wake up earlier than 6:30, and we eat dinner at 4:15....Yeah, it's super different than our old schedule. We're counting our blessings that we only had it for a week.
This week has been great though, as all weeks at the MTC. Actually if I'm going to be honest, I'm really going to miss it here. I mean, I'm glad I'm not staying here forever, but the experiences I've had here are priceless, and I know that I couldn't have had them anywhere else.
This week we had two more awesome devotionals. On Sunday we had Stephen B. Allen from the Missionary department. He talked about how we are at war. He told the story of when he was working in a Stake Presidency and he was at a drinking fountain one day. He said a little boy came to the drinking fountain next to him, and he had the thought to press down on his button. This made the little boys' stream of water go down significantly. So Elder Allen let go, and the fountain rose up, and nailed the little boy in the face! The little boy wiped off his face, and naively tried again and again, 5 times. Still never figuring out who was causing him so much grief. He compared this to all of us. "We are at war." and Satan knows all of our buttons. I really liked this analogy, because while God knows each of us personally, and the things that we need, Satan does too. And he wants nothing more than for us to be "miserable like unto himself". I've seen the reality of this concept in my time here in the MTC. Satan works hard on all of us, but especially once you've made the decision to serve, and have that black tag over your heart, he ups his game.
There are so many aspects to being a missionary that you really can't ever explain to someone. We all have to experience them for ourselves. He related the story of Alma, in Alma 26. This is the chapter often referred to as Alma's homecoming address. While Alma is expressing his thanks to God for helping him to be an effective missionary, he goes on later in the chapter to discuss the feelings he had as a missionary. He used the words "depressed" and "about to turn back". Elder Allen expressed the importance of these statements. As missionaries, these thoughts are completely normal, natural, and every GOOD missionary will have them at one time or another. But then he said this "Remember, having these thoughts is not what is bad, acting on them is what would make it bad." I loved how he emphasized that every GOOD missionary has these thoughts. Satan is working so hard to stop this work, and now, more than ever, he is threatened. WE are threatening him, we are fighting, fighting hard to win this war, and right now, we're are making great strides. But that doesn't mean that it's going to be easy. I've always loved the scripture "Bear with patience thine afflictions. I will give unto you success." It all goes back to that idea of humility. Realizing that we can't do this on our own. Accepting help is something I've never been good at, I'd way rather help others than try and allow others to see me vulnerable. But being here has been a reality check for me. That attitude can't exist as a missionary. I've had so many times when that thought has come into my head "Courtney (oops, Hermana Cox), be patient. Be patient with yourself, with the language, with these silly 18-year-old elders. I'm giving you these challenges, these hurdles, to test you, I know you can do it, do you?" It's pretty amazing how well my father in Heaven knows me. ME. and what I need. He's put so many amazing and wonderful people in my life here at the MTC. I've learned so much about love, compassion, trust, forgiveness, hope, and charity.
Then Elder Allen talked about "Provation", he asked us all what it meant, and if you're like me, you probably didn't know. A provation is something that you've voluntarily given up. So he had a few missionaries come up and talk about the things that they'd given up to come on a mission. A lot of them were "family", "school", and then one elder got up and said "I gave up my girl!" and Elder Allen goes "Yes. You did. And on behalf of all the return missionaries, thank you for the donation!" We all laughed. But then he turned it serious. He said "You promised that you would do this work with ALL your heart, might, mind, and strength' did you not? Pull the foot that's at home, and bring it here. This is your time, and it's time to conform your will to be HIS will. Bury your weapons of rebellion. You can't have it both ways." It was very straightforward, and he really emphasized how we have to be on the offense. We need to do all we can to bring ourselves the greatest chance for success, and that means being fully committed. He drove it home, but then said "I know it will be hard. but obey, don't murmur. I promise that if you give it all to Him, then will come your greatest joy and hope. Don't let him down."
I LOVE when speakers get up there, and in a loving but very firm way, bring us to reality. It's very sobering to keep hearing that this isn't about us. This isn't our work. The Lord is the one in charge.
I know that that's true with my whole heart. I know that this is going to be hard, but I'm excited to be able to put aside everything for this work. We all make sacrifices to be here, and I can't think of a more noble cause to sacrifice for.
Yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador y Redentor. Estoy agradecido por Su expiación y por Su amor y ayuda en mi vida. Yo se que no puede hacer este trabaja por mi mismo y tengo muchas gracias por las cosas he aprendido aqui en el CCM. Yo se que José Smith fue un profeta de Dios, y Thomas S. Monson es el profeta en nuestro dia. Estoy muy agradecido por mi familia (ustedes) y por su apoyo y amor para mi y mi decision a servir una mision. Gracias por su fe en mi y mi abilidades, no estoy perfecto, pero yo se que a traves de ayuda de Dios puedo hacer todas cosas. Estoy muy animado por la oportunidad voy a Seattle y Argentina (eventualmente), estoy animado por la oportunidad traigo este evangelio a la genre allí. 
I love you all so very much. Thank you for the continued love, support, laughs, and prayers. I couldn't do this without you.
Nos Vemos Pronto (We'll see each other sooner than you think!) Les quiero, Mucho!
Con Mucho Amor, Your Hermana Courtney

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