Monday, August 4, 2014

Week 2A: Pillar of Light & Lizard - NOT THE SAME WORD!

Danish word of the week! I think this is the longest word I know so far. præstedømmetmyndighed
(Prestah-dome-uh-moolee-hill) It means Priesthood Authority. And it reminds me of Merlin's song in Sword in the Stone when he's packing up his house-it sounds like one of his magic spell words.  (Yes!  That's my girl! jvo)

Week 2 is when things start getting real here at the MTC. The first week we're all running on straight adrenaline, I swear. But by week two we're settled into a routine, and we start to feel how hard we're working! There are a few things about MTC life that are just strange. Like, I can't remember the last time I sat on a couch. And I'm outside for maybe five minutes a day. Even when I am outside, all of the walkways are covered so I see the sky even less than that! Temple walks and P-Days are the most blessed times of my week. Also, I love my morning workout time. I miss dancing so much-I miss being able to MOVE all day every day! But we get a whole hour to work out and stretch every morning. I'm up to like 12 legit push-ups now. haha :) Frandy would be so proud. Also, the food isn't even a little bit good anymore. I haven't gotten sick, but I feel yucky and I would kill for a fresh vegetable.

Ok but on the other hand, there are so many celebrity sightings at the MTC! Sheri Dew came and spoke at our Relief Society meeting on Sunday. She gave one of the most epic talks about the priesthood I've ever heard in my life. She just really drove home the point that we are all able to participate in and benefit from priesthood power and authority. Every time anyone is set apart in a calling-Sister Missionaries, Relief Society teacher, anything-they are given the authority to use God's power to enhance their work. The Priesthood is God's power. It's not a man's power, it's not even an earthly power that we can vote on and argue over and "win." It is Heavenly Father's power here on this earth that is accessible and beneficial to everyone. He decides how to use it, and we know that both men and women are in equal standing before the eyes of God; so we can trust that he is taking care of all of His children equally. I loved it. I probably wrote down every single word she said. We also met John Groberg, the man who inspired The Other Side of Heaven. I totally shook his hand. 

Hilarious language slip-up of the week. The words for "pillar of light" and "lizard" are remarkably similar. One could argue that they are the EXACT SAME WORD. I still can't hear the difference. But this means that if we're not careful, we could bear testimony that Joseph Smith saw, "a lizard, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me." SO THE FIRST VISION TURNS INTO A VERY DIFFERENT STORY. Guys. This is going to happen to me. I know it will. We've been laughing about this all week.

Everything is still going really well. I think the Branch President is confused about me because I haven't broken down crying in one of our interviews yet. I'm honestly doing great and besides not being able to move as much as I'd like, I feel really good about everything! I am just constantly reminded here how important missionary work is! I'm a missionary now! I'm the one who people come to with questions, I'm the one with the calling to teach people and serve everyone and be a representative of Jesus Christ every moment of my life for the next 18 months. Remember the "ask the missionaries, they will help you!" talk? That's me now. It's a completely humbling responsibility. I know that I in and of myself do not have the physical stamina or emotional capacity to be up to that challenge. I've already felt it here at the MTC-I'm TIRED, Danish is hard! But every time I pray for help, or strength, or patience, or focus, that prayer is answered and I am able to continually improve and grow. 

"as to my strength am weak; therefore will not boast of myself, but will 
boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things" ~Alma 26:12

Also I love speaking Danish. The more I learn about this language, the more I love it. I am starting to be able to express myself with a little more creativity, and it feels awesome. 

I love and miss you all so much! Thanks for all of the letters, it really makes my day to hear from you. Even if it's the little stuff. People are in each other's lives for a reason. We're here to take care of each other and make each other laugh and give each other unconditional love. Never forget that! Never take the people in your life for granted. Serve each other and love each other with your whole heart! 

Jeg elsker jer, talk to you soon!
~Sister Van Orden

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