Monday, November 25, 2013

Week Cuatro in the MTC


I got my visa! Woot! My one day trip to Vegas was so fun! There were 10 of us total: 7 Elders and 3 sisters. All of us except one Elder are going to the same mission on the same day. It was fun getting to know them; I felt like we all got along really well. I can't wait to get out in the field (in exactly two weeks!!) and see them and meet the other missionaries out there! It was so funny because everyone would stare at us. A few members asked if we were going home. I need to get used to the staring cause it's just gonna be worse in Mexico with not only my name tag but my blond hair and tallness. Jaja!

I discovered two things that I can spell with my name tag:
          HERmana sLAUGHTER
          herMANa SLAUGHTER
     It made me laugh. :D

I've decided that the hardest part of the day is waking up. If I can wake up, I can get through the day, no matter how hard it is. :)

We've had gym outside in the cold until this week. They now have these big dome bubble things (I meant to take pictures but I forgot) and my favorite thing to do is play volleyball.

I made up a joke this week: What do you call a toucan in Mexico?...... Poder (the Spanish verb meaning "to can") Jaja, well at least I think it's funny.


Some stuff that got me through this week:

Matthew 5:44-45 "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which depitefully use you, and persecute you. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Come unto Christ. What does "come" mean? It requires effort. It requires movement. It requires might, mind and strength. It's not just thinking about Christ. It is not even just loving Him. It is an invitation to take action and obey Him.

So we teach a 30 minute lesson in Spanish every day to one of our teachers. It's been really hard for me with my small Spanish vocabulary and my shyness. Usually I write out what I'm going to say in English and then translate it into Spanish in my head while I teach. This week, during one lesson, the Spirit was very strong and I was able to come up with questions and answers that I hadn't prepared beforehand. It was so amazing. I'm not good at thinking on my feet like that, especially in Spanish, so I know it was the Spirit.

Everyone should watch the Mormon Message called "Men's Hearts Shall Fail Them." It's so good!

Don't demand of yourself things that are unattainable. We won't be perfect in this life. Instead, seek for improvement. I think this is especially hard for me because I can be a perfectionist.

This week I've had a a chance to think about what I'm especially grateful for:

1. I'm grateful that I learned English as a first language because as I've learned Spanish, I've realize how much harder English would be to learn second. I'm blessed to be learning Spanish.
2. I'm grateful for the missionaries that taught my parents. I wouldn't be here serving a mission right now if it weren't for them. One of the Hermanas in my district said "You know you've had a successful convert baptism when their kids get married in the temple." I love that because Alexa just got married in the temple and that is my goal when I complete my mission, all because of those missionaries.
3. I'm grateful for prayer. I know that Lord answers our prayers and that He can strengthen us and make us better than we could ever be on our own.
4. I'm grateful for my personality. I know that we're all different for a reason. I'm grateful that I'm shy and introverted--it make being a missionary all that much harder--but I know I'll be able to touch peoples' lives that others can't.
5. I'm grateful for my family and friends. I miss everyone so much and I look forward to being reunited in 17 months.
6. I'm grateful for the support I've received on my mission and the prayers on my behalf.
7. I'm grateful for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know it's true and it has changed my life.
8. I'm grateful to be a missionary at this time and that I'll get to go to teach the people of Mexico.

I am so blessed! We are all so blessed! Happy Thanksgiving to all and don't forget to think about the things that really matter in your life and that you're grateful for! :) <3

Amor, Hermana Sara Slaughter

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week tres in the MTC

This was such a spiritual week and I feel like I have learned so much! Spanish is still hard, but I'm learning more and more every day which is what matters. It snowed this week, rained, sleeted and now today is like perfect weather. I miss Florida!!!

Guess what?! Tomorrow I'm going to Las Vegas! We have to go to the consulate to get our visas in person! So if all goes well, I shouldn't have a problem getting into Mexico! I'm so excited!!! I'll be gone from 4:30am-10:00pm tomorrow to fly there and back. It'll be interesting because it will be my first time in public (Provo doesn't count) with a missionary name-tag on, and from what I've heard, I'll probably get lots of stares. That'll be fun.

Joke time:

What do you get when you put pasta in the sea?
          An Apostasy!

What did the Spanish teacher say when he threw the chair out the window?
          Silla! (pronounced "see ya"-- the word for chair in Spanish)

One of the Hermanas in my district meant to tell an Elder "Mucho Gusto" (nice to meet you), but accidentally said "Me Gusta" (I like) when he shook her hand goodbye. Jaja!!!

We sang in the choir on Tuesday night for L. Tom Perry. The devotional was broadcast to all the MTCs around the world. I was on camera a lot when we sang and even had a close up. Too bad it wasn't General Conference cause you would've gotten to see me a lot. Oh well. :) We sung "Redeemer of Israel" and the words of it really touched me. Verse 2 say "We know He is coming to gather His sheep." As missionaries, we are the ones gathering His sheep.

Sister Perry spoke first and two things really stood out to me. First, Heavenly Father has chosen where we would be born and the life circumstances we would have because He knew the lessons we needed to learn. And second, there's going to be challenges, for that is part of the refining process.

Elder Perry spoke and in reference to something being a coincidence, said "By chance? Absolutely not."

One of our teachers gave us some great insight on faith. Matthew 14:25-31 tells of the story of Peter walking on water. he had faith to get out of the boat and walk on water. Then he let his fears and doubts take over and noticed the winds and the waves--that were there when he initially got out of the boat--and started to sink. That's just like us; we're out of the boat and starting to walk on water, being a new missionary (or whatever it is we're doing). It's really hard so we start to lose confidence in God and begin sinking. It is when we take our eyes off Christ, that we sink. She said it's hard to learn a language, but we always hear of people in the church going on missions and learning a language like it's nothing. But it's SO HARD. The language doesn't just come to us because we're missionaries. We have to work for it.

I've decided that my mission is like marching band. It's super hard. It's a huge sacrifice. Sometimes I want to quit, other days I can't imagine myself doing anything else. Overall, I'm learning so much. And I know it's worth it and when I'm finished I won't regret it. I don't regret doing band for six years and I won't regret eighteen months of serving the Lord.

Speaking of marching band, we passed the BYU Cougar Marching Band while they were practicing!! (It was while we were walking to the devotional on Tuesday) Then on Thursday during class we could hear them practicing. It really made me miss marching band and playing my flute! You can rent flutes here during additional study time so I did that this week and it was fun! It's weird how much you miss doing something when you can't just do it whenever you want. I love not having a phone, though. :D It's nice not having to worry all about that kind of stuff.

Everyone needs to look up Philippians 4:13  and 1 Nephi 7:12 Also, the talk from this last General Conference by Elder Dyches called "Wilt Thou Be Made Whole." I love that talk because he tells the story of Jesus healing the man at Bethesda, and I love this quote from it: "Jesus Christ heals body, mind and spirit and His healing begins with faith." That is so powerful to me!

Oh! And everyone need to watch the video "The Atonement: How It Applies To Missionary Work." So good! "Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not a cheap experience. Conversion isn't easy, retention isn't easy because it requires something from our soul."

"Christ had perfect faith but He was still rejected. If we want to be representatives of Jesus Christ, we can't expect to only see miracles. We must be prepared to walk part of the path to the cross that Christ walked."

The devotional yesterday was incredible! Some of the things that I really liked that she said were:
(1)  "You said "yes" when you got your call and you need to say "yes" every day during your mission." 
(2) "He can make a lot more out of us that we can. Turn yourself over to Him." 
(3) "Be of good cheer, it's not just a suggestion but a commandment." 
(4) "Thank Heavenly Father for blessings you're not aware of."

Today I was thinking about the missionary that I looked up to when I was younger. Now I am one of those missionaries that others will look up to. It's so important to be a good example of a missionary. :) The longer I'm here, the more I know that this is what I'm supposed to be doing with my life right now. :)

We have so much to be grateful for; the Lord blesses us tremendously!! I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I testify that He loves us. I know that He lived and died for us and that he was resurrected and now lives. I know that the Holy Ghost comforts us and testifies of truth. I have such a strong testimony of this church and the gospel because I have received confirmation from the Holy Ghost that it is true. I testify that all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Hermana Sara Slaughter

P.S. Tomorrow is my halfway mark in the MTC! In three weeks I'll be in MEXICO!!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week Two in the MTC

Last Pday was way stressful. I didn't even get to wear my jeans! :( We had hardly any spare time so it was sad, but today is much better! :)

The hermana that I have grown close to in my district, Hermana Turek, was having a really hard day this week. We talked for a little bit at night on her bed. We've been going through the same stuff and it's just so weird cause it's like she and I have known each other for a long time. There's something about having someone comfort you, who knows exactly what you're feeling. You don't have to say the right words, it mainly is about understanding. i was reminded of something a girl at BYU had told me. One of our baptismal covenants is that we will comfort those that stand in need of comfort. But we can't truly do this unless we understand. looking at it that way helps me see my trials as more of a blessing, because even though it's hard and not very fun, I can help someone else or multiple people who are struggling with the same thing.

The language is getting better. I find myself substituting Spanish words in place of English ones. And I'm so used to saying "hola" and "gracias" that it's weird to say "hello" and "thank you." Jaja!! (haha in Spanish) So I guess that's good. :) Teaching investigators in Spanish is painful, but once I know the language I should do better.

Oh my goodness! Everyone look up the song "Savior Redeemer of My Soul" by Vocal Point. Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous! I think it's now my favorite hymn, after "Abide With Me Tis Eventide" of course. :)

Everyone here says that the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. It's so true! I've been here 12 days now, almost two whole weeks! I can't believe it's already been that long since I've seen everyone. :( And! I leave for Mexico in exactly four weeks from today. CRAZY! I know it's gonna fly! I'm kinda looking forward to leaving the MTC cause my district is going LOCO from being here already 12 days. It's good but I'm sick of class and anxious to get out into the field!! Thank goodness I'm not here for 9 weeks! If I was going English speaking, I would've left today!

I'm doing choir here which means I'll be in the choir tomorrow night at the devotional. Elder L. Tom Perry will be speaking and I'm so excited cause he's my favorite Apostle!

It's so weird to me, being a missionary and all. It doesn't feel quite real still. I remember always thinking that missionaries were perfect and didn't have any temptations, even though I knew it wasn't true. If anything, Satan works harder on us because he doesn't want us to succeed. It's hard getting up every day and pushing forward and then at the end of a long day just falling into bed.

I've visited the main bookstore twice and it's weird to think that I used to work there and now I'm a missionary. I saw one of my old coworkers there today, and then another one who I was close with, at the West Campus bookstore on Saturday. It's so fun but so weird to see them.

My district is getting along pretty good. We laugh a lot and have a good time. I think if we weren't forced to be together we wouldn't all hand out, but at least we can get along for mow. I think my companion doesn't really like me cause we're so different but I'm still trying to love her.

Some things that have helped me this week:

           Don't worry what others think. everyone is at a different level and has different skills. Don't let the sound of critics paralyze you. What does it matter what others think anyways??

           The angels of heaven are walking beside us when we do good.

           Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. (That's how I feel every day on the mission.)

I miss everyone back home! I miss having good friends that understand me. But that'll just make coming home that much sweeter. I love being a missionary. I have such a strong testimony of this gospel and i know that I'm supposed to be out here. I love my Savior and Heavenly Father and I know that they love me more than I can comprehend. I'm grateful that I get to share this love with the people in Mexico and I know that they are being prepared now to receive the gospel.

I leave with you my love and this scripture: 

           "Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life."


Hermana Slaughter

P.S. The first picture is a drawing of my district. The second is of the animals that the elders in another district gave to us. I'm a chipmunk jaja!

My companion Hermana Bernhart

Me and Hermana Turek

Week One in the Missionary Training Center

Hola everyone!

I'm on the West Campus! I was a little bummed at first but then was so excited! All the Spanish missionaries are there as of this week so it's pretty cool. Our own little Spanish community at Qyview and Raintree. We live in Wyview and cross the street for class where we spend nearly all our time. The food is better here, less greasy and fried than the main MTC.

My P-day is today!!! MONDAYS! And we're able to go to the temple! :D We went this morning and it was so cool!

We're allowed to go to Brigham's Landing on P-days which is kind of cool too.

Get this: my district is all Hermanas! No Elders. We're all going to the Mexico City, 3 North and 3 East. We're the first ever all Hermana district for Spanish in the MTC. (Which is CCM in Spanish, dad haha). Also we're the first group of non-native sister missionaries to go to Mexico in 25 years!! So I know my trainer will be a native. I'm excited!

Since we don't have any Elders, we can't have a district leader. Instead it's a Sister Training Leader. They picked her on Thursday night and I'm glad to say it wasn't me, but it's my companion Hermana Bernhart. She's from Montana and is a convert as of a year ago.

After my first day I thought to myself "This is so wonderful, I don't know how I could be unhappy ever again." 

The second day, I felt that way until the afternoon when I started to feel overwhelmed with Spanish. All the sisters in my district have experience and background with Spanish, except me, unless you count a two hour study session with my dad, four hours before we left for the airport. I felt like I wasn't really learning and the fact that we had to give a lesson in Spanish the next day absolutely scared me!

Missionary work is so scary! It's still so hard for me! I knew it would be hard but part of me expected that I would lose my fear when I was officially a missionary, but no. It's so hard. You can't know until you've done it yourself.

I love being on a schedule though. And I love following so many rules. Yes, I'm weird. ;) So I have to wake up every morning at 6, instead of 6:30, to fit in a shower and get ready. And every night I seem to stay up until 11 cause I have so many things to do. We're so busy and I need time to write in my journal. It's nice because I don't have anything to worry about beside missionary work, but there's so much we have to do every day. it's hard though because you don't have time to prepare for the next day. You are preparing for a lesson a few hours before it happens. Scary!

I feel like I still can't say much in Spanish, but I'm so used to saying gracias and hola that it's weird not to say them. Prayers are much appreciated, especially with the learning of the language! :)

Here's my testimony in Spanish:
Yo se que Jesucristo es el Salvador y el Redentor. You se que la iglesia es verdadero. Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero. yo se que Jose Smith es un profeta verdadero. Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial y amoroso. Yo se que las familias son eternas. Yo se que las escrituras y los mandamientos son bendiciones. Este conocimiento me ayuada a superar desafios. :)

Hermana Slaughter

Oh! And the best way to contact me while I'm in the MTC is by using Dear Elder! It's awesome! They print off the letters you type and then print them off and I get it the same day. I only have an hour to email every week so it's a lot to try and read lots of emails and respond. So just a thought if you're interested, then I can respond to the Dear Elder!