March 31, 2013
[For sisters preparing to serve... these were things that were helpful for Sister Chase. Luckily, she's kind of a blog stalker and learned about most of these before entering the MTC. While there she picked up several more bits of advice and wanted to share in hopes of helping other sisters be prepared with things they may not have thought of previously.]
• Bring a watch
• Bring a small calendar (it’s nice to know what the date is)
• Bring some pictures of friends and family
• Bring stamps, envelopes, paper, and cute stickers to put on your letters
• Good pens and pencils
• If you get cold really easily at night, bring a small blanket
• Definitely bring a pillowcase
• A laundry bag you can carry (the place where you do your laundry is a totally separate building than your residence hall)
• Hand sanitizer, tissues, small lotion to carry in your purse
• Mints ( you can’t chew gum at the MTC)
• Tell your family and friends about dearelder.com (if they send a note before 12pm [Monday-Friday], you get it that night.
• You won’t get any mail until the first Friday you’re here
• Study the Book of Mormon, mark it, read it, know it, love it
• Camera with 2 SD cards-- to be able to swap one back and forth with your parents
• Bring more garments than you think (you get sweaty during gym and service time, it’s nice to put on a clean pair)
• A little hymn book (though not completely necessary)
• Smallish notebook to take notes and Band-Aids!
• Be prepared for some weird people
• The days are super short and super long at the same time, time is so crazy here at the MTC
• Try to have fun and remain normal. If you’re not laughing, you’re not doing it right
• Your emotions will be up and down all the time
• Bring melatonin if you think you’ll have difficulty falling asleep
• Be prepared to sit A LOT. All you do is sit.
• Just make it to P-DAY. You can do it!
• You won’t get to check your email for over a week after you report
• Don’t be nervous to teach investigators—as long as you’re prepared and have the spirit with you, you’ll do great :)
• When it’s hard, remember that it does get better—if you look, you will see tons of tender mercies from God during the hard moments
• Pray for your future investigators ALL the time—it helps to stay motivated and happy :)
• The elders in our district wish they would have remembered to bring their journal and a couple cans of mountain dew :) [What?! No caffeine at the MTC??]
March 29, 2013
|Kirra... best BYU roomie!|
|Almost ready for the 1 minute 30 second drop off.|
|Sister Haycock and Sister Chase|
|3 bunks and 6 girls to a room.|
|The dreaded "black moldy" shower. Good practice for the misson :)|
|Yay! Sister Clark from Bentonville!|
|Sister Chase would like you all to know that THIS is a mail box. It is to deposit letters written to Sister Chase :)|
|Umm, is this a dumpster they rented to transport the luggage?|
|Sister Emery and Sister Chase|
March 28, 2013
Dear Mom and Dad,
Yesterday night Sister Haycock and I taught Amy, who is technically one of our teachers. The lesson before was horrible. She asked all of these combative questions and the spirit was so not there. We were super frustrated with her. So leading up to last night, I honestly just wanted to drop her—because she was starting to become stagnant—not progressing—investigator. However, we still planned a lesson—we were planning on speaking about the atonement and the sacrament. And about physical and spiritual death and how we overcome spiritual death is by turning to God and repenting and start following His commandments. Before the lesson, we prayed that we would not think about her past lesson, and we would just see her as God sees her and just pretend that it was our first time teaching her. We did just that. We started the lesson by asking her if she is allowing herself to be influenced by prayer and scripture study. Surprisingly, she said yes and then proceeded to tell us how she had an awesome experience reading Alma 22 and 32 (we left her a sticky note with those chapters on it the time before) and how she prayed and told us that she would give up anything, and do anything to know God. And then she said that she wants to know what’s next. So the atonement and repentance was just perfect for her. So I talked about the atonement and then Sister Haycock talked about the sacrament and that’s how we renew our commitment to Him after baptism. So we talked about that and had her read a quote. While she was reading, Sister Haycock and I both looked at each other and I mouthed “baptism”. She nods her head. So when “Amy” finished the quote, we talked about baptism and I asked her “Amy will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority of God?” She said yes! We were so not planning on asking her to be baptized—we were almost planning on dropping her! She was asking for baptism (basically) and it felt so right to ask her. It has been so neat to see and feel the spirit and feel prompted to say and do certain things. It’s clearly obvious to me that God does not give up on us—even when we want to give up on His children as missionaries. Also, we watched the Bible video, “For God So loved the World”. [see below] So good. You all should watch it. And another neat thing I’ve learned is about repentance. Maybe I’m just retarded, but I always thought it was just repenting of sins. However, it means repenting for sins, changing our hearts and minds, and start doing good things. So when you start changing bad things and replacing them with good things, that’s repentance. I never really understood that. It’s so much more than repenting for sins. It is when we recommit to God. I wish I would have learned that earlier. I wish I would have learned a lot of things before! And funny story, one of the sisters in our district (the one that’s been engaged 4 times apparently) loudly exclaimed in class that she has never read a verse in the bible and that she never knew that the bible talked about Christ’s church. It was hilarious. I have no idea how our teacher kept a straight face. Anyway, I better get going. I miss you both!
Sister Amanda Abby Chase
March 24, 2013
Dear mom, dad, family, and friends,
So fair warning, this email will probably be out of order and confusing...there are so many thoughts going through my head right now! Hopefully I can remember to type up all the important things :)
First of all, thank you all so so much for the dear elders, letters, packages, and prayers. I have been blessed to receive quite a bit of mail every night since I've come here, and that has been such a help and a blessing. I knew missionaries loved mail, but I never realized how vital mail is! If I haven't written you back, a letter is on its way, or I am writing one today. I probably won't have a ton of time to write back long letters once I'm in the mission field, so I'm trying to write back as much as I can before I leave NEXT TUESDAY to California!!
P-DAY is GLORIOUS. It is the best. I actually feel like a normal person today. Like I'm doing normal-people things. Like painting my nails, doing laundry, and writing emails. It feels nice to be doing normal human things for once.
I LOVE my companion, Sister Haycock. We are a lot alike and we teach really well together. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father blessed me with a companion that I just clicked with immediately. Though I feel super bad when I have to drag her to the bathroom. That part of being a missionary and having to stay together is SO annoying and awkward for the both of us. (disclaimer...when I say I have to drag her to the bathroom, I still have the privacy of a stall, but it's just weird to have to go to the bathroom with someone).
I really like my district too. I'm the oldest sister missionary in my district. My zone has some older sister missionaries, though. The oldest is 24 I think. My district has six elders and six sisters. And my branch (about 3-4 districts) has more elders than sisters! It's great! I'm sure a couple months ago this place was mostly elders. I like that there's nearly an even amount of sisters and elders. The elders in my district are great...though I don't think my DL (district leader) is a big fan of me because I'm constantly bugging him about the mail (well...not constantly...I ask him like once a day...though I think he still gets annoyed). For some reason, our branch president asked him to hoard the mail until 9:30...so I don't get it until right before bed time! I am definitely learning patience.
So I need to be done soon....but I thought I'd put in a spiritual plug. I am learning a lot about how important charity is in life and in missionary work. And I'm also learning that I am not that charitable. There is a scripture in 1 peter 4:3 (I think) [This reference doesn't appear to be the one Amanda intended.] that talks about if we were charitable, a lot of sins we commit would be prevented. How true is that??? I am definitely learning that I need to see people as God sees them and love them as God loves them. I have a feeling this is going to be what I learn the most on my mission.
So my momma wanted a day in the life of a sister missionary...so I'll end my email with that (This was Monday) : 6:15- wake up, 7:30-breakfast, 9-12- class, then lunch, then three more hours of class, then an hour of zone teaching, then dinner, and then gym time, then study time, and then TRC (teaching investigators), then personal time/write in journal/write home/companionship prayer, then bed at 10:30. We are kept super super busy. The days are long and short at the same time. My favorite part is teaching. I really like it. I have been working on not being nervous and just talking and opening my mouth. My mouth has been filled with words that God wants these investigators to hear. It is super neat. There have been lots of ups and downs, but I am so grateful to be here and I cannot wait to get to California and the share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Riverside. This gospel is true, this church is true. I believe in it and I am striving to live it. Never forget that God gives second chances to all, the atonement is SO real. I love it. I have to go, but I would love to hear from you all! I hope you are all happy and doing well!
Sister Amanda Abby Chase
You probably got a letter from me yesterday, but I want to tell you more things! I wish I could tell you stuff right after it happens, but I can’t text or email you! Also, before I forget, expect a phone call around 7-8 am your time next Tuesday—that’s the day I leave to CA. I’ll call your cell phone. Can you tell dad to be there too? So yesterday’s letter probably seemed negative and sad. But I wrote that to you before the day got better! After I wrote you, we taught our first lesson to Michelle. She has taken a couple lessons from missionaries before. She is single, very depressed, believes in God, but not in Jesus Christ. She needs hope—she needs the atonement. We teach her again tomorrow. Thankfully, I have A BUNCH of conference talks about the atonement. I hope and pray that the spirit might touch her heart. I need to work on not getting nervous-cause there is no reason to. I actually really like to teach and testify of Christ—it’s my favorite part about being a missionary so far. And this morning, we taught a cute old lady, a widow, and less active who wants to come back. She is actually a real person, she wasn’t acting. Surrounding areas will often have less-actives who desire to come back, come to the TRC and we teach them! I felt the spirit strongly in that lesson—I so hope she keeps her commitment to go back to church. I told her it was going to take work, but if she keeps her end goal of eternal family in mind, that she can do it. I hope she does. It’s crazy how fast you can learn to love someone when there are no worldly distractions. I love it. So I feel TONS better now. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven that loves me and wants me to be happy. And I have to tell you a crazy story. So we have a bit of drama in our branch (which has 3 districts of about 12 people each). So the other district has a companionship of elders that got in a fight during choir practice. One kid chest-bumped the other kid and the other said some swear words. Apparently they were arguing over some insignificant church doctrine. Ridiculous, I know. There is zero tolerance for physical anger and they were this close to being sent home. But instead, our district swapped an elder for one of the elders that was naughty, and we got one of the naughty ones. Crazy. I’m glad I like my companion :) Anyways, I hope you all are doing well :) I’ll see you soon! And talk to you on the phone even sooner!
:) Sister Amanda Abby Chase
March 20, 2013
The MTC is a TOTALLY different world. Elder Whiting of the 70 spoke today and compared the MTC to an incubator. It really is! Yep, my companion is going to Riverside. Everyone in my district is! Ashley comes tomorrow! The first day is so crazy. Definitely not a day I’d repeat (or want to repeat). I hope she read Preach My Gospel because that’s how I have begun teaching, I wish I knew more! Investigators ask tough questions. And apparently come July, the Redlands Temple won’t be in our mission, so I guess I didn’t need my Temple clothes. And thanks for sending those packages :) I’m glad she found my driving info! That would not have been good! [The mission had temporarily misplaced Amanda’s driving paperwork. The mission secretary called me (Angie) the day Amanda entered the MTC and wondered if Amanda didn’t drive. Maybe I should have told her she didn’t so Amanda could experience a biking mission:) Although she may have disowned me.] And yes, keep sending me the weather info. Kirra’s mom sent me a note and said that there was just an earthquake in California (Riverside specifically).
P-day is tomorrow! And we get to go to the Temple. Ask dad if he’ll write me—it’d be nice to hear from him. Letters seriously help me keep going. Hopefully you’ve gotten a bunch of letters by now—I’ve sent quite a few. I miss you!
Sister Amanda Abby Chase :)
So everyone who’s ever been to the MTC says that the MTC experience gets so much better after your first Sunday. Not so true for me :/ Today was rough. I think Satan is getting to me here way more than he did when I was at home preparing for my mission. I think he knew I’d go on a mission regardless, so now he’s trying to get me here at the MTC. We decided to skip gym time and take a shower (I just finished getting ready) because we needed it to de-stress—it definitely helped. So now I’m writing you until we go back to class. I feel much better now. Showers help even though the shower has black mold all over it. Sunday was the longest day of my life. Relief Society was in the gym. That was really good—a member of the general primary presidency spoke. Then after, some old lady lectured us “newly endowed” sisters on how to dress (apparently you must not show your knees if you wear garments—yeah, she said stuff like that). So that wasn’t super fun at all. Thankfully my companion and I both knew it was dumb and so we just tried to laugh it off. I just need to stop letting people bug me. I knew that I was going to have an issue with that, but I didn’t realize I’d have an issue with it at the MTC. Although yesterday lasted an eternity, we ended the night with a taped Elder Holland MTC devotional. It was super good. I wish I could tell you all of what he said. Before he started his talk, his wife was with him at the pulpit. He talked about how wonderful of a mother and wife she is and he said to the missionaries something about how we miss our fathers, but “our hearts ache for our mothers”. I just broke down and could barely contain my sobs. My heart does ache for you, mom. I miss you so much. You are such a good mother to me. I hope you know that. Elder Holland made me miss you terribly! Before I never really cried about you or home, but I sure did then. Sis. Haycock was bawling too. We’re pretty alike :) I wish I could tell you all of my experiences and what I’m learning here, but I don’t have enough time! I am enjoying myself though, even though it’s hard. And I have never prayed more or felt the spirit more. I am very glad I am here but I am thankful I am only here for six more days :) The food is decent, but makes me sick. I am also learning how to teach and plan with the spirit. It’s a pretty neat feeling. I’ve got to go now! I hope to hear from you soon :)
:) Sister Amanda Abby Chase
March 23, 2013
I got your CD and dear elder letters :) It was nice to hear from you, Grandma Rhea, Kirra, and Chase. We didn’t get our mail until an hour or so ago! I’ve been dying for some outside contact. Sis Haycock and I saw the road (900 E) today. One day (March 26) we’ll be released from this spirit prison :) I do like it, though. Except for the food (it’s okay…) and the moldy showers. I’m really learning to be humble reeeaal fast. I feel like I get dirtier when I get out of the shower than when I get in. It’s gross. And I should’ve brought some snacks…the bookstore has hardly anything. I’m always hungry. Today we got to exercise—it was nice to just release that energy because we sit in a classroom all day. The MTC is cool because you always feel the spirit—even when you’re exercising! I was watching an old General Conference while on the elliptical today. We also taught our first lesson to our “investigator”, Amy. I felt like we did well for our first time but it was hard and HARD. Amy doesn’t even believe in God, so somehow, we need her to feel the spirit—but when she won’t even let us pray at the lessons—we’re not sure how to even provide an opportunity to feel the spirit and learn. She is super into facts and that stuff. I feel like she’ll come around. I just love my companion. So blessed to have her as my companion. Also, sorry for the sloppy handwriting… I have like ZERO time! I don’t worry about home or miss it much…though I will probably at some point. And thanks for the forecast. Haha :) I’ve gotta go (no time) but I’ll write you soon. Keep sending those dear elders :) they make my day.
:) Sister Amanda Abby Chase
March 13, 2013—
Dear Mother and Father,
It’s 9:32pm and I AM EXHAUSTED. But alive, so all is well :) I immediately stopped crying once my host started talking to me and then I went through a maze to get my tag and other info. Today was long, but it was really good. I feel really happy. And everything is just focused on missionary work—which the gospel of Christ is the focus of. I sorta feel like I’m at girl’s camp or something because we are CRAMMED into a little room and have communal bathrooms. I will definitely be living out of my suitcase for the next 2 weeks! We have 6 girls in a room—4 are in my district and the other 2 are going to Paris, France. One was in my ward freshman year. All 12 people are going to Riverside that are in my district! Kinda crazy. My companion is great. Her name is Sister Haycock and she’s from Bountiful, Utah. She’s normal—which I was really wanting. And we both are OCD…which is either going to be a good thing or a bad thing…only time will tell. She is awesome, though. So far I really lucked out with her. She turns 20 in October. The food is cafeteria food—which is fine. They have us on a super tight schedule—it’s nice to be busy. P-day is next Thursday—we only have 1 p-day. So I can email then and write letters to other people. I’ve only met one of my teachers so far—she seems like she’ll be a good teacher. The other one comes tomorrow. What’s funny is that I am only remembering I have a headache right now. I didn’t even think about it all today. That’s pretty neat. Tonight we participated in a 2-hr long group investigator appt. There was a big room of us and we “taught a lesson” to 3 different people as a group—Doug, Daniel, and George. The people are generally paid actors—but their stories are real. Sometimes it is a non-member. But they don’t tell us. It felt pretty real. I said something during Doug’s lesson. I figure the more I try to open my mouth, the better I’ll learn the right and wrong things to say. But anyways, today was good but I AM TIRED! Tomorrow we have six hours of class time! The MTC is an absolute zoo. But a good zoo. I was so dazed and confused when I got dropped off. Dad, remember at my setting apart you said you hoped that I would be able to control how I feel the spirit? Well, I am! It’s so neat. We sang Called to Serve with 100’s of new missionaries and I didn’t cry! And then they made us sing We’ll Bring the World His Truth”. I didn’t cry then either! I think as feeling the spirit becomes a 24/7 thing—it won’t overwhelm me to the point of ugly sobbing and tears. Instead of crying during the spiritual moments, I am just so happy to be here. Tears have been replaced with happiness. The MTC is a very different place. But I like it so far. It’s weird to call each other “sister”. I’m still getting used to telling people my name is Sister Chase versus Amanda. And I think I’ll have enough time to get ready and pluck my face :) so that’s a relief. Anyway, I hope you know that I’m doing well. I can’t wait to get to California. I love you both very much:)
Sister Amanda Abby Chase
March 9, 2013
You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org though I'm not too sure how much time I'll have to reply to emails!