I never thought that in the first week at the MTC I would already know more Italian than I what I knew of Spanish after a semester of it. We are already praying and saying our testimonies in Italian and I'm understanding most of what the teacher is saying. The first day of class was super stressful because our teacher was only speaking in Italian and I had no clue what he was saying but I am feeling more hopeful as the days roll by that I can learn the language. We have been teaching an investigator named Michela for the past few days and I'll just say that the lessons are pretty rough. If it was in English I would be fine but unfortunately she will only speak in Italian with us. I knew that I would be stretched and humbled on my mission but I had no idea it would be so soon.
My first experience with Sunday meetings at the Missionary Training Center was a little different from what I'm used to. If y'all at home don't like the 3 hours of church every Sunday you should try 14 hours of it! In reality it isn't as bad as it would seem because I get to feel the Spirit so much but I have to admit that my butt hurt from all that sitting. At the end of that day we watched a MTC devotional by Elder Bednar from a few years ago titled "The Character of Christ" which was one of the most powerful messages I have ever listened to. Before watching it, I was concerned about how I would go about becoming a missionary and a representative of Christ but Elder Bednar answered all those questions. I learned that if I want to be an effective missionary, I must turn out from myself and help others. I must put away the desires of the natural man and be concerned with the welfare of those around me. When on a mission, one must invite others to come unto Christ because of the Christ-like love they have for them and not to satisfy their ego or to look good for the mission president.
On Tuesday Elder Dube of the Quorum of the Seventy spoke to us about being an effective missionary. He gave a wide range of advice but ultimately the message that I got from it and that the Spirit bore witness to me is that I can't compare myself to other missionaries. I may not be picking up the language as fast as some of the sisters or have the charm and quick thinking of some of the missionaries in my zone, but the Lord chose me to go on this mission for a reason. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses and he knows the specific experiences I've been through that somebody in Italy needs help with. Whatever it is, I shouldn't try to change who I am to fit some mold. In the future I will try to let my personality show a bit more because maybe that's what the Lord needs me to do.
Thank you so much for the package and the letters everybody! Tell Brooklyn and Lily that I absolutely LOVE the pictures they sent me. Even the elder in my district who had just received 2 dozen donuts was envious of my amazing nieces.