I (Mike Forsyth) have commandeered Jenny's blog and will be posting in her favor while she's out. Here's her first email out to the world, particularly those she knows, and if you're reading this that likely includes you.
Hello Friends and Family!
One week down at the MTC. My companion is Sister Van Wagoner from Provo, Utah and she's great. There are 4 Sisters and 5 Elders in our district going to Charlotte, North Carolina and two Elders going to Guam. Everyone is from Utah except one from Wyoming. We get along great and are becoming family. There were actually three missionaries who were ready to go home on about the second day, but we helped them and our teachers helped them realize why they are here. They are doing great and hopefully will stick it through.
We have two three hour classes every day, a half an hour for Gym, and lots of personal and companionship study. We have been teaching our teachers, I'm sure Mike, Dave, and John have done this. They pretend to be an investigator from their mission and we "teach" them, using the things we learned about in class. We also teach people in the TRC who volunteer to come in and act like investigators. We have only done that twice so far. One of them really was a guy who was less active though. He was not acting. That is very rare, because most of them are just volunteering to act. But like 1 out of 100 are real investigators or less actives. It was really cool to teach him, and invite him to come back to church. We have learned alot of teaching principles from Preach my Gospel during class and how to apply them in teaching our "investigators". Oh and also other missionaries from another district act like investigators we have to teach. Lots of role playing, which is interesting. Sometimes it's better than others, sometimes it's hard to put out of your mind that this person you are "teaching" is actually a missionary. But sometimes it does feel real and it does give us practice.
Sunday was really cool, we had a little bit of free time and time to breathe, which is good because we have been going non-stop from 6:30-10:30 every day. We had Releif Society with all of the Sisters here which was really cool. They just had a testimony meeting and one of the girls bore her testimony about how she was abandoned on the doorstep of a church by her mother when she was a baby. But she was so glad, and didn't even blame her mother or hold any anger towards her, because she was adopted into a family that had the gospel and now she is blessed to have it in her life. She said she will have 6 sibilings on missions at the same time! Wow. Last night was really cool, for our Tuesday night devotional, we don't know who will come until we get there. We got there and everyone sat down, and we were singing and then Elder Holland walked in. Everyone started getting so excited, and all of the missionaries who didn't bring paper to take notes on felt stupid. Missionaries started handing out paper to everyone to take notes on. It was really powerful. Such a cool experience. He talked about how the Lord is hastening his work, what an exciting time it is to be a missionary. He talked about how the Lord needs the BEST of the BEST missionaries right now and we need to be those. The purest, cleanest, hardest working, most valient missionaries ever. And he said "If you ever go inactive when you get home, you'd better not catch me in a dark alley." Ha ha. He talked about how Preach my Gospel came about because too many missionaries were going inactive when they were home. They were just memorizing lessons and giving them, but not being converted themselves. And that's what Preach my Gospel is about, making sure the missionary understands and has a deep testimony of the Gospel before they ever go out to teach it, so they come home with at least one convert, themselves. I really like the new teaching program here at the MTC, I don't know how new it is, so I don't know if Mike got it but I like it.
I have always had a testimony, but I feel like my knowledge and love of the gospel has increased so much. After the fireside last night, we had a little testimony meeting as a district back in our classroom and that was cool. For the missionaries who wanted to go home, this is just what they needed. They now want to stay, party because of the spirit they felt at the fireside. Anyway. It's great. I have met a lot of girls on our floor and in our building who are so awesome and going all over the world! When we get new missionaries, all day people say "welcome to the MTC, Welcome to the MTC." It's nice, but kind of obnoxious. So I'm glad that's not me today beacuse I am hearing it every where already. I have seen a lot of friends that are here! Friends from High School, friends from College, girls who were in my ward last semster, and a few friends who work here. It's great and I love it. It feels weird that I am still in Provo.
Oh P.S. I already got pranked the first day at the MTC. That was great. One Elder kicked his foot on a pole outside and pretended to hit his head and we were like "Oh are you ok!" and like 10 Elders started laughing. Rude.