On August 15, 2013 Emma sent the following. It is now the 19th of August. 478 more days to serve!
This preparation day came so much faster! But my e-mail responses took lots longer. I only have 19 minutes and 48 seconds to write. Seriously, this e-mailing hour might be the most stressful thing EVER.
Here is my big story of the week. For Sacrament Meeting they have all the missionaries in the branch prepare a five minute talk in Spanish. Then, during Sacrament Meeting they announce the six speakers for the meeting. Now... you probably know where this is going... but, let me tell you, I sure did not!
All my campaneras were freaking out saying, "Oh, I just know it is going to be me. It is always me." I was studying and preparing a talk (kind-of-ish) and just kept feeling like it wasn't going to be me. I mean I do somehow happen to be picked for these things, but when I was studying, my study felt so personal and my thoughts just did not seem like thoughts that would be shared with a group. SOOO, all the other girls wrote out their perfect talks and I focused more on just studying the topic. The topic was repentance and I was finding some of the most personally touching ideas about repentance in the scriptures. It was a really cool experience! Well, anywho, the morning before, I started feeling like it might be me who would have to speak. But all of the girls who had come to the MTC a week before us had not spoken yet, and so I thought I was okay. But I kept thinking it was me. Then I realized I hadn't written my talk out like the other Hermanas. Then I SUPER FREAKED OUT!
[Ahhh! I wish I had more time to tell this story.] Well, my district leader came and spoke to me and asked me how I was doing. I told him I was freaked out about the possibility of speaking. But he told me to have faith. [la fe in Spanish.] Then our district meeting was on having faith and doing what the Lord wants even if we do not know before hand what we should do.
Well, about a half hour later I was sitting in the Sacrament Meeting room and the Branch President started naming off who was going to speak. He said one girl's name, and then three Elder's names. Only two girls speak per week and so I was feeling like my odds were pretty good that I would not be speaking. Then I heard, "Hermana Phipps." At first I was thinking, "Oh, that is a cool name." That name sounds super familiar...Oh no! It was a Hermana and WAIT, THAT IS MY NAME! My whole district immediately all turned around and gawked at me! Ha ha, can anyone say pressure? Especially for a girl who doesn't like speaking in front of people and had thought that in preparing her talk she was mostly just having a personal experience learning about the topic of repentance! Hermana Taylor [Emma's companion], was looking like she knew for sure that I was going to have a nervous breakdown. And the Elders in my district kept giving me the 'are you okay' face.
Well... It was actually one of the neatest experiences I have ever had in my life. I am the kind of person who likes to map out every word she is going to say before she says it. This time I followed the path I had been laying out in my heart about the lessons I learned about repentance. The path I thought I had created just for myself to know, not to share with others. I was nervous, especially at first. But as I kept going, I felt more and more confident. The words seemed so strong inside me and I loved sharing them with others. I wish I could look back and know what I said, I can't remember most of it now. But I can say I completely knew, one hundred percent, that what I was saying was true. I know that what I said were the words the Lord had planted in my heart. I really feel so grateful to have had the experience where I was able to rely on the Lord.
Do I regret not writing down the words, word for word, before? Not at all. In fact, I think I was led to not do so. That was not a natural thing for me, to not have written it all down. But it felt so right and I feel like it went the way it needed to, as guided by the Lord.
So, do you think I can now relax and not have to speak again in Sacrament Meeting ever while I am here at the MTC (CCM in Spanish)? Think again. They love re-calling someone to talk!!!!
I only have 30 seconds left. Love you SO SO SO SO SO SO Much! My family is the BEST! I feel so loved. You guys help me keep going. Oh, and I got my LETTERS :D !!