Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fwd: Letter #7 - 5/15/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Wed, May 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM
Subject: Letter #7 - 5/15/13

Hello again! This is almost the last email you'll get from me in the MTC. Next week is my last P-Day, then the following Tuesday I'm off to Ukraine! I should get my travel plans this weekend, so I'll let you know what they are, mostly because I get to call you in the airport! Only for like 30 minutes, but I'm really excited. I'll make sure to let you know when so you can plan on being available.
Okay, I've got to tell some funny stories. A few weeks ago, Sister Ford in my district was bearing her testimony to someone on the way back to our apartment. One of the things she wanted to say was "Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon." Well, the word for translate in Russian is перевести, which sounds like "pair-a-vest-EE." She accidentally combined the English and Russian and said, "Joseph Smith transvestite..." Oh man, gotta love language spoofs. Here's one of mine: This past week, Sister Barnes and I were chosen to do a teaching demonstration in front of our class, and we were teaching an investigator named Sergei. He told us how hard his life has been, and I responded, "I know that life is hard. We all have concerns, we all have problems, and we all have fears. But I also know that the gospel can help each one of us in our lives." Well aterward, Brat Dean (Sergei) told me that instead of "fears" (straw-hee), I said "countries" (straw-nee). "We all have problems, we all have countries... it's so hard!" [By the way, Brat (pronounced "brot") is brother in Russian...] And lastly, my companion Sister Barnes had a nice English spoof. She makes fun of me because I love seeing the senior couples holding hands and whatnot, so it's become a joke that I'm obsessed with "old people PDA." But a couple days ago, she was explaining that to someone and said I was obsessed with "old people DNA." Gross! By the way, I haven't written about Sister Barnes much, but she is AWESOME. We're in such a groove together, it's great. Sometimes I feel like we're a married couple or something the way we know what each other is thinking and can finish sentences and we know all each other's quirks. It's great. I'm really gonna miss her -- hopefully we're compy comps in the field.
 So, what did I do this week? Well, Elder Russell M. Nelson came to speak at devotional last night! It was super good (how could it not be? he's an apostle of God!) He and his wife talked a lot about linking family history and missionary work, which I think is awesome because I LOVE family history work. I heard that in Russian culture, they have a lot of respect for family, so that'll definitely benefit us as we try to find and teach people about the gospel. Also last night, the choir opened the meeting (we do that every Tuesday devotional) singing "Come Thou Fount," and it was amazing. I've always loved the tune to that song, but this was the first time I really paid attention to the words. I love the lines "O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be," and "Jesus sought me when a stranger wandering from the fold of God," and "He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood." It's such a humbling song, and it really teaches about the love God shows us through His Son Jesus Christ. And I love that not only does God know and love me, but He knows, loves, and watches over those that I love. That gives me a lot of comfort.
I did a lot of teaching this past week. One lesson in particular was incredible. Thursday night I was scheduled to teach our investigator Sasha (female name, but he's a male) with another missionary (to get to know how someone else works). Well, that morning I was studying about what to teach Sasha, and when I was searching for something to meet his needs, I was just overcome with the Spirit. I felt God's love for him, I felt the truth of what I would teach, and I especially felt that God wanted Sasha to know and accept the restored gospel because He has a work for him to do on the earth. And then I just got inspiration after inspiration about what to teach him. He had concerns about Joseph Smith, especially that God would call someone so young and uneducated to be a prophet. Well, the Spirit brought to mind Samuel in the Old Testament, who was also a young prophet (a teenager at the time). I found Samuel 3 (you should totally read that chapter sometime) about when he was called, and I LOVED verse 18 -- here, Samuel tells Eli everything that happened (that the Lord had called him as a prophet) and Eli responds, "It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good." So many people accept the prophets of the Bible, but why not Joseph Smith? Samuel was young (v.1) and uneducated (v.7), and yet the Lord came and appeared before him (v.10) and called him to be a prophet of God (v.20). Exact same thing with Joseph Smith. Why put constraints on the God of the universe? If He wants to call prophets in our day, why not? If He wants to give us more of His words to help and bless us, why not? It is the Lord: let Him do what seemeth him good! He has the power to do it, we have the need for it, and He loves us enough to have restored His gospel in our day through the prophet Joseph Smith. That's the message I'm sharing: He speaks! Not just in the Bible for a bunch of people a long time ago, but right here and right now for US through the Book of Mormon, the prophets, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! (Somebody go get me a rooftop! I just want to get up there and shout it!)
Anyway, I taught Sasha all this in the lesson, including sharing the experience I had while studying about what to teach him. The Spirit was incredible in the lesson, and everything made perfect sense to him. Afterward, Brat Mansfield (who was playing Sasha) said that it was one of the clearest lessons he's ever heard. His needs matched our preparation perfectly (thank you, Holy Ghost!) and he said that his testimony was really strengthened about the Restoration. It was so amazing. I said quite a prayer of gratitude after that lesson. Actually, that's been one of my goals lately -- whenever I pray BEFORE something, make sure to pray AFTER to, to show gratitude. Sometimes I feel like we're quick to ask for help, and then God blesses us for it, and then we walk away (like the 9/10 lepers) without expressing our appreciation for that help.
So yeah, those were the high points of my week for sure. Things have been really great lately -- I'm healthy, I'm really in a groove of learning and working, and God is bounteously blessing me every day. I hope things are well at home. I pray for all of you every day! I thought about you a lot on Mother's Day, Mom, and I watched those motherly Mormon Messages and may possibly have cried just a little bit... or a lot. I'm just so grateful for you, and I'm grateful for who I've become because of you. I can't thank you and Dad enough. :)
Have a great week!
Sister Montgomery
PS -- Another spiritual thought I shared in a lesson: "When you pray for rain, do you leave home with an umbrella?" What's your umbrella?...

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