Wendy's birthday was very low key this year. It was not your normal birthday celebration as Wendy had to work in the evening so we didn't do much except open gifts when she got home. This happened around 9:00 at night. We did go out to dinner the night before which was is always nice to do. She got some gifts from Micah and Mariah that dealt with her being a missionary mom. A picture frame and a missionary mom necklace. From Tyler she got a Missionary Mom pin that she received before Tyler left. I gave her a new TV for her bedroom (and Mariah claimed the old TV for college). Her parents also come down the day before and it was nice to visit with them.
I think the best thing of the day for her was hearing from Tyler. We got our first official email from him. This is what truly made her day. How can you compete with a letter from a missionary? I won't do this often, but below is the main body of his letter. He did send personal notes to each member of the family (which is not included below).
From Tyler .....
Day 1: The flight from Idaho to Salt Lake was great, and there was another missionary on that plane, even though we didn't sit next to each other. The flight from Salt Lake to Mexico City was a long flight. The plane was filled with over three halves of missionaries, and the people here at the MTC said that the people that arrived here that day, we doubled the amount of people that were there, so there were a lot of people that came to the MTC that day. Mexico City is a crazy place. There are no lanes in the street, it is just if there is open room, you take it and you go. I learned that there is a speed limit, and that is however fast the car can go. My companions name is Elder Free, and he is from Denver Colorado serving in the Virginia mission. I have a hard time understanding him, but I know that I will eventually get to know him better. I miss home and I want the comfort of home back, but I know that I need to work hard, and that you will be protected and blessed when I am not there. The MTC messed up with my luggage, and they put all three pieces of my luggage in different places, so it took me like a half hour trying to find all of my stuff. Then they left me without my companion and the Comedor, the place where we eat, and I didn't recieve my room key that day either, so it was a very hard day today.
Day 2: The first day was filled with meetings, and they were so long, and they just overwhelmed me. I was able to see who was in my district, and where they are from,and where they are going to serve. That day I also learned that I was supposed to teach and Investigator, her name is Andrea, the next day in Spanish, and they didn't even teach us Spanish! It was a very hard day the first day, and I was so overwhelmed when I was told that. That night was a hard night, but I learned some very important things that hard work brings blessings, so I was determined to learn some Spanish before I went into the lesson the next day.
Day 3: This was the first day of teaching and learning the language. I had a really hard time, and it didn't help that everyone in my district took Spanish for three years in High School. The lesson went well, because I was able to teach a specific lesson on how to pray and what prayer means, and the lesson went very well. We prepared a lesson about the restoration for next time to answer some of her questions. I still had a hard time understanding my companion, but I know that I will better understand who he is. That day we met the District President, and he is a great guy. He served and English Speaking mission to California, and he is great at speaking English. That day was still hard, but it is going better than I thought. We were also told that we had to prepare a 5 minuet talk each, in Spanish, and was on Hope. I pray that I don't get called on, because I would have a hard time with the length of the talk.
Day 4: This day was a better day. I learned some more Spanish, and I didn't read out of a book during this lesson. I was able to learn how to say a prayer and a testimony in Spanish, and it was great to learn that. We were able to teach Andrea about the Restoration and about how you can receive answers to your prayers through revelation and by reading the Book of Mormon. It went very well that lesson because I was able to say a Prayer in Spanish and was able to bear my testimony in Spanish, even though it was a basic one, I know that she was touched by the Spirit and that she received answers to her prayers. My district is becoming to like each other a little better, and that helps, because I am missing home and family and friends, but because of the District, it helps a ton. We are doing a special fast for those who are having a hard time with the language, and I was wanting to participate in it so that I could do better in my lessons and in my classes.
Day 5: Today was the best day in the MTC, because it was a. We didn't teach a lesson, and we didn't have classes, we had a big Day for the entire day. I received a lot of good instructions in all of my meetings, and I had the opportunity to bless the Sacrament during Sacrament Meeting today, in Spanish of course. And I was able to say the prayer perfectly the first time, so the Lord defiantly blessed me then. I did't get called on to give a talk, which was a blessing. We had several devotionals, and they were in a district, as a Zone, then as a whole MTC. It is still hard. and I am still feeling overwhelmed, but I know that the Lord will bless me and will provide the way for me to learn the language.
Day 6: Today was a very good day, yet it was very hard. We prepared a lesson to Andrea about the Atonement and the Resurrection, and she asked questions that I didn't know how to answer. I learn more stuff everyday, whether it is the language, how to become a better missionary, or how to enjoy going on a mission. My district is awesome. We have become like a family. We support each other, we help each other, and when we have questions, we help each other. We had the opportunity to have family (Zone) home evening, and learned that charity and love will be the most important thing in my mission. I love the MTC, because if I have any questions, I have so many people to help me and to teach me how to become a better missionary. I am better at understanding my companion, and we love and support each other. The other missionaries in my District are awesome and we love each other so much. It helps with the homesickness.
Day 7: Today was the most emotional days of my life. I cried so much, I felt the Spirit so much, and it was just a great day today. I learned so much about myself, and some of them are about how I need to testify of the truth more, because I understand that through testifying of the truth, I can bring the Spirit into my lessons. I learned this after giving the lesson to Andrea about Repentance, and I was able to bear my testimony whole on the spirit. I asked if she would commit to repenting of her sins through prayer, and she said yes. Next lesson, I will ask if she wants to be baptized, so hopefully she says yes. I am now understanding that learning the language is going to be a long process for me. I definitely have the gift of understanding, and it helps in the lessons, but I still do not have the gift of tongues with me. Things are getting better, and it is easier to get into the missionary schedule, so things are going better. The district gave a priesthood blessing, in English, to both of the Sisters, and we had a devotional given to us by Jeffery R. Holland (it was a video from 2009) and I relieved a lot of good promptings on how to become a better missionary.
Day 8: Today was the best lesson that we have given as a companionship. We taught her about the difference between our Church's baptism and the Catholic baptism, and how she can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost if she is willing to have faith in Jesus Christ, repent, and be baptized. She said yes to being invited to baptism, and she was willing to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was a great day in our lessons, and we had the Spirit with us the entire time. My district is a very special district, and we are very obedient to the missionary handbook and we do everything to the letter, so it brings miracles. I am so very blessed, so I know that you are praying for me each and every day, and am very thankful for the blessings that you ask Heavenly Father for.