How is everyone doing? I'm doing wonderful! Also, thanks to all who have sent me letters, I love getting them. Also, thank you to my grandma Sharon for the dozen donuts!!! That was so fun to get and they have been really yummy so far! I truly love being a missionary!! The language is coming along! I love speaking Latvian. I'll write my testimony in Lativan at the end. I've learned a ton and I'm always surprised by how much I can learn. It is amazing what you can do with the Lord's help. I've honestly seen the scripture Philippians 4:13 working in my life. "I can do ALL things through Christ which stregtheneth me." It is awesome!! I've memorized (and used twice in lessons) the first vision in Josephs's words. I've also memorized the baptismal commitment and James 1:5. I'm working on Moroni 10:3-5 this week. It is long, but I definitely know that I can do it. So, this week we moved buildings (on Saturday). When I say moved buildings, I mean our classroom moved. We didn't move far, but it was still weird. They are adding AC to our old building, and getting some repairs done before there are a crazy amount of missionaries here. There are already a lot of missionaries here, but they are expecting a lot more to be coming this summer!! It is so crazy to think that there could be more than we already have! The Lord truly is hastening his work!! Oh, also, speaking of moving buildings, they todl us that there is a possibility that we will be moving again, and there is also a crazy rumor (but possibly true) that we will be moving to the raintree apartments over by Wyview where I lived when I was at BYU. It is just a rumor, but I do know that they are going to be moving some missionaries over there, we just don't know who it is that they will move. Who ever gets moved to Raintree apartments will do class and live over there. It would be very interesting.
Well, on another note. I finally had a normal MTC Sunday, but there is nothing really normal about them. :) They are great though! I love Sundays!!! We start out the day with a couple of hours of study time and that is really nice. While we're studying the Elders have branch priesthood meeting. At ten the sisters have a huge (i mean whole MTC huge) relief society meeting! It is so cool! They have some distinguished woman come and speak with us for the whole Relief Society time. This Sunday we had Sister Mary Edmunds!! She was amazing!! She gave such a funny, uplifting, spiritual talk. She talked about not getting discouraged and remembering that our Heavenly Father did not put us on Earth to fail. We were put here to succeed and succeed we can!! It won't be easy, but for all the greatest people we know it wasn't easy for them either. It can be hard, and we can still enjoy life.I've been seeing this in my life so much now. While this is so hard, I'm having the time of my life! This is the best experience I've ever been able to participate in. She also said something funny. It started serious as she said with the increase of Sisters and younger Elders we need to pay attention now more than ever, to not touch the elders besides just a simple handshake. It got funny then when she said to keep a list of those that you want to touch when you get back on your mission. :) It was so funny. I loved it. Anyways, the rest of Sunday was enjoyable. We sacrament meeting as branches. I'm pretty sure that our Branch is one of the smallest branches. We are really small. There are two districts. My district is ten people and the other district is five people. So, our sacrement is fifteen missionaries with only four of those being Elders, so all the elders work together to pass the sacrament eahc week. We also still have our branch presidency of course, but other than that we are really small. Well, this sacrament meeting I got to participate a lot! I'm on of three sisters who can play the piano, so this Sunday I played for the hymns (three of them). I realized how grateful I am that I play the piano as well as I'm grateful for my ability to sight read and the hymns I've learned so far. Thanks mom for making me stick with piano until I came to love it because now it is coming in handy!! I'm sure I'll end up playing a lot on my mission. Also, I accompanined an impromptu (meaing we put it together that morning) musical number for sacrament meeting. Two of the sisters going to Latvia with me sang a beautiful version of "I know that my redeemer lives". It was so good!! I did my best to improvise with the hymn and accompany them differently than just playing that piano. It was beautiful. They also sang one verse in Latvian which was beautiful!! I loved it!!! They are incredible. But that isn't all the participating I got to do. Each week we prepare a sacrament talk and then the branch president decides during the sacrament who is going to talk. Well, lucky me, I got to give a 3-5 minute sacrament talk on baptism. It was great! I learned a ton while giving that talk. I enjoyed giving it a lot and I'm grateful I got that opportunity to give that talk.
Well, in the MTC they also have a Sunday night devotional. This Sunday Greg Doubay came. He is the director of media in the missionary department for the church. It is his department that is charge of Mormon.org. It was such a great talk. He talked about how he has personally seen how the Lord is hastening His work. He talked about a Christmas Mormon.org campaign they did is New York City. In that time that the campaign was running they estimate that 5,000,000 new people who've never had exposure to mormonism before were able to see a little bit about what we believe because of it. Also, activity on mormon.org of first time nonmember visitors went up 200%! So crazy! Also, referalls went up 140%! So crazy!!
Also, something really cool you only get in the MTC are Tuesday devotionals!! It usually is a general authority. This tueday Elder Richard G. Scott came!!!! We heard a rumor it was going to be an apostle or member of the first presidency so we got in line an hour early so we could get seats in that room!!! It was incredible! Way better than listening to him at conference, because he was talking directly to us as well as he was very personal and the spirit was amazing! I wish all of you could have seen it, because it was an amzing experience. His talk was all about our loving Father in Heaven and talking to him through prayer. He talked a lot about how talking to our Heavenly Father in prayer is the exact same as talking to your best friend who is standing right next to you. He bore a profound testimony of our Heavenly Father! It was so amazing and inspired. He also stressed that the Lord has called us missionaries to succeed not to fail and how we could succeed in this life. He even got up again after we sang the closing hymn before the closing prayer and said again, we can do this. There is no reason we can't succeed in what we do. The mission experience will help us discover things about ourselves we never knew. We will develop a greater capacity to serve and love. What an amazing talk. I wish I could type up the notes and share them with you, but it isn't possible sadly.
Well, before I head out a little more about what the MTC is like and what my mission in Latvia will be like. Lots of people want to know about the food. Most of the time it is pretty good and there are plenty of options, but the other day I did eat something (and all of us who ate it) got sick. We weren't sick enough not to go to class, but it took our appetite away the rest of the day, and all of us were pretty miserable so food isn't perfect, but there are some great options. I have to be so careful not to over eat. Also, people ask why I sign letters as Māsa Klauvarda. Well, that is how in Latvian they spell mine name so that it can be pronounced the same, except htye don't have a "w" sound so it is a soft v instead. I don't know what else you all want to know. Also, a few things I have found out about my mission in Latvia is that we will not be allowed to eat with members. Apparently missionaries get very sick when they eat with the members. So, we cook for oursevles and the only time we get to experience Latvian food is occasionally we will be allowed to go to a resteraunt. Also, I found out that this group of us sisters will be doubling the sisters currently in the misison. There are four out there right now! That is so crazy! The Lord is truly hastening his work.
Okay, super quick. My testimony in Latvian
Es zinu, kā Jēzus Kristus ir mans glābējs. Es zinu, kā Dievs ir mans tēvs un Jēzus Kristus is Dieva dēls. Es zinu, kā Jēzus Kristus ir mans brālis. Es zinu, kā ši baznīca ir patiesa. Ez zinu, kā Džozefs Smits bija Dieva pravieties. Es zinu, kā Dievs mani mīla. Jēzus Kristus vārda, āmen.
In English. I know that Jesus Christ is my savior. I know that God is my father and Jesus Christ is God's son. I know that Jesus Christ is my brother. I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was God's propeht. I know that God loves me. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Love you all!!
Es tevi mīlu!!!