Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Final Week at the MTC

Hi hi everyone!

I cannot believe I leave the MTC tomorrow (Tuesday)!! We leave at 4:30am for the airport. I will be in the mission field in less than 24 hours!! Wow, I cannot wait!! This last week of training at the MTC has been incredible. I will fill you all in.
Pointing to my mission on the MTC map! 

Tuesday night, after I emailed home, we had the devotional that takes place every Tuesday night at the MTC, where a General Authority comes. Guess who came for us!? Elder Neil L. Anderson, one of the Twelve Apostles of our Church. He was incredible! We didn't even know until that night that he was coming. I guess the Apostles never come in July because that is their one month off for travel with their families, but his oldest grandson is in the MTC. How lucky are we! I do not think I have ever been in the same room as an Apostle. When he walked in, the whole auditorium of missionaries stood. I felt the Spirit testify to me so strongly that Elder Anderson is an Apostle of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That is a feeling I will never forget. He talked about teaching with the Spirit. It was amazing because I had been praying about that all week!! I always feel like I am not teaching by the Spirit, but his talk helped so much. We don't need certain skills or this or that to teach by the Spirit. We simply need to be humble, teachable, and obedient. 
I found Elder Slater at the Sunday night Fireside last week! So fun seeing him! 

Wednesday, Sister Edgel and I had the best lesson with Al (our "fake" investigator, who our teacher portrays). I have taught him everyday the last two weeks, and this was our best lesson. Not because we were good teachers that lesson, but because we testified so strongly and the Spirit was so present. He said something along the lines of "this Church seems too good to be true. I have to be missing something!" I bore my testimony and witness that it truly is what you see. I said that is why I am here, away from everything I know for 18 months, because this Gospel is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I will do whatever it takes for others to feel what I feel. This lesson was one of the most spiritual experiences I have had, and it was much needed for Al. I know he felt the Spirit too. 
​Our district with our morning teacher, Sister Stanford (to the left of me). She is from Southern California and served her mission in Indiana. 

On Thursday, we had In-field orientation. It takes place the Thursday before missionaries leave for the field. It was ALL DAY! But so so good. They talked to us about goals and planning, finding, working with members, etc. They helped us see what our missions will actually be like. I loved the insight about working with members because I think that is a huge part of a mission that is usually not talked about enough.
Thursday night, I saw Victoria Platt, who was baptized into the Riverside Ward when we were in young Women's!! She works in the TRC (Teaching Resource Center), which is the place in the MTC who organizes "fake" investigators for us to teach. so her job is to be an investigator, and she acts how she did when we was taking the lessons years ago. It was so fun seeing her!
Sister Edgel and me with our afternoon teacher in the MTC, Brother Kezele. He is from Idaho and served in the Baltic Mission. He is the most incredible teacher! 

Friday and Saturday were normal days in the MTC. Morning class, afternoon class, planning, personal study, companion study, gym, etc. 
Sunday was the best! I love Sabbaths in the MTC. They are so spiritual! In Sacrament meeting, there was a special musical number. A kid played the cello, and he was so bad haha. Not to be mean. BUT, I realized that I want to start playing the cello again when I get home from my mission, SO DON"T SELL IT MOM AND DAD! Music is a great way to bring the Spirit, and I love that. I want to be apart of it again. Hopefully playing for 11 years, I haven't forgotten these last two years since high school...
We had a district pow-wow. I started it haha because I love to share feelings! It was a great bonding experience for everyone in my district before we leave. I think it gave the Elders a lot of confidence. We had speakers and meetings the rest of the day. One speaker really touched me, as she talked about us ending our service as missionaries in 18 months. I vowed that when I take my name tag off and end my full-time service as an official representative of Jesus Christ, that I want to know I gave it my all with no regrets. I want to give 100% these next 18 months. We had a Departure devotional that night, where the MTC Presidency addressed us. We then had our Sunday Fireside, where the Administrative Director, Brother Heaton, talked about charity. And once again, that is what I had been praying for! I am working on having charity with everyone around me because that truly is the key to missionary work. 
My cute companion Sister Edgel and me in front of the Provo temple! 

Other things about the MTC. I loved my branch presidency, things are going well with my companion, Sister Edgel, and I still love my district. My teachers here were incredible!!! They strengthened my testimony so much here. People have asked about the food...haha let me just say I am excited to get away. There is so much, and it is so unhealthy!!!! the Elders love it, of course, but I am excited to eat exactly what I want. 
​Victoria Platt and me at the MTC. It was so fun running into her! 

Today is not my P-day, but since we are flying out tomorrow, we really will not have one this week. They are letting us email home really fast and do some laundry. 

Okay so, EMAIL IS SO HARD!!! There is not time to read and respond. I am trying to read them and write down your name, so I can hand write you back and mail it. I love love hearing from people, but email is not good haha. One hour is not long enough. Because I leave the MTC tomorrow, dear elder will no longer be a form of communication! Well, I guess you can still use it actually but you'll now send it to the "California Sacramento Mission." 
​Our district on our Sunday Temple walk. 

These two weeks have flown by. I have had the best experience here, and I want to try to be a teacher here after my mission when I am at BYU. The Lord blesses me daily with more strength than I need. I haven't been tired, which is great! 16 hour days will get ya sometimes. I love this experience, and I am excited to meet my Mission President tomorrow!!! 
Thank you all for your letters, emails, and words of kindness! You all know I am good at responding, so if you do not hear back from me, it is because there truly is not enough time in the day. But I think about you all and pray for you everyday. I love this Church, and I would not want to be doing anything else than sharing it with others. 
Next time I'll write will be in California!!!
Love y'all so much,
Sister Hickman 

p.s. The amazing and patient, Katie Turner, is the one updating my blog, social media, etc. She takes time out of her day to post these pictures on here that I send. I never see this blog, but I am thankful she does all of my social media for me!!!! She makes it all possible!! 

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