Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week 1: 08/06/2013, MTC First Emails and Pictures!

Sister Sarah Noakes was able to email us on Tuesday, August 6. She was also able to send us some pictures of her roommates, the whole Colorado Denver South Mission zone, and the Provo Temple. We're so excited for her to have this opportunity to serve the Lord. (The new Doctor reference is in regard to Doctor Who, one of our family's favorite television shows. Yes, we're geeks. Nerds. All of the above.)

Her email:

Ahhh Mom! Your emails made me cry! In a good way. Also it gave me a preview of the dearelder that you just sent that I haven't gotten yet. About the new Doctor? Haha I don't remember him AT ALL but that's alright.
Anyways, it's been crazy busy here! I was way way homesick the first day, but I prayed and prayed that I would feel better and be able to focus, and so far I've been totally okay! I still miss you, don't think that means I don't miss you, but it just means I can actually focus on what I need to be doing instead of being distracted by thoughts of home and crying like, always haha.
Okay soooo I'm trying to think of all that's happened (a LOT! We have 16 hour days everyday and every second is filled by something.)
I got here just fine, but you got my letter about that. That's cool that the lady who checked me in knows Polly! Anyways I was an "early arrival" so I got to hang out with everyone else who had arrived early and then we got to eat lunch! All the other missionaries arriving at normal times don't get that. And then I went and met my host missionary and we dropped my stuff off in my room and then she took me to get books and then to my classroom aaaand then I was a missionary! Well I had been a missionary since getting set apart the night before but you know what I mean. Haha. I was one of the first few people there and the first sister there, so I got to get to know my teacher and some of the elders in my district. So my district is who I spend all my time with. There are four sisters and six elders. And us four sisters share a room! So we have myself, my companion Sister Duprey, and then Sister Turner and Sister Gregerson. Our elders are Elder Austin, Elder Rosequist, Elder Welk, Elder Matson, Elder Campbell and Elder Oldham. Elder Oldham is actually the cousin of Emily's boy ;) He walked in the first day with the right last name and he looks a bit like Nick, so I had to ask if he had cousins in Minnesota. Small world!
And then that first night we had to go and teach some "investigators" in these huge groups of like 40ish people. They would ask questions and we would have to answer them and try to build their faith. I say "investigators" because the MTC uses actors who may be members or who may be nonmembers, but we have no way of knowing which is which!
So basically we have a ton of class everyday, 6 hours! In 3 hour blocks. For the first couple of days my companion was sick, so it was hard for us to get some things done but we took her to the doctor and she's doing much better :) OH so she is 22 and from North Carolina. Sister Turner is 21 and from Alberta Canada. Sister Gregerson is 19 and from Irvine California. And the elders in our district are babies. Okay not all of them, but so many of them are super young and fresh out of high school! Okay wait, maybe only Elders Oldham, Austin, and Rosequist. But STILL! I just can't believe it haha. So Elders Matson, Welk, and Campbell are 19 and have done some school, but Elder Campbell only turned 19 on our 3rd day here at the MTC hahaha. And our zone (another district also all going to Denver South), is all elders and they're young too! Or at least it feels that way. I can't believe that there are elders who JUST GRADUATED who are already out here in the field. They are babies and I love them all. No but really, I always talk about how much I love the elders and how much it frustrates me that I can't hug them. They're all sweethearts. I probably sound like a freak but I just love everyone here at the MTC! My heart is just overflowing with it.
So yeah, class all day, roleplaying teaching, teaching "investigators" which are our teachers that are playing investigators they had on their missions or people they just know, and we also teach in the TRC. That's the actors. And we just learn so much! It's kind of scary to think that in less than a week I'll be out in the field teaching real people! But I believe that I can do it. But it's still way scary.
Oh so about going to Denver. So we're flying out on Monday morning aaaaand we have to be ready for the bus to pick us up at 430 in the morning. Ewwww. And we're not allowed to go to bed early on Sunday night. So our flight leaves at 830ish. I might buy a calling card but I'm just not sure yet. I would be calling you way early, and I just don't know if I'll have time at the SLC airport. I'm pretty much positive I won't have time at the Denver airport. So I may just buy one and try to call, but I also am not quite sure of the rules about calling haha.
You should be proud of me! During gym time I've been running/walking a mile every time. I walk the first lap and run the last 9. I have no idea how fast I run it though haha. I should time myself next time. I also usually play volleyball with the sisters in my zone (another district in our zone right now is going to Provo UT, but they're leaving today! So we'll get another district here shortly, but I don't know where they are going.)
I see my friend Sister (Becca) Redd everywhere. Okay mostly just at mealtimes but at EVERY meal time because we have the same one. And I've seen some other friends from school. However I haven't seen Elder McKell yet, although I actually have no idea if he is here or in Brazil or what. Hahaha. So that letter from my mission president apparently says that we can only email immediate family? I suppose that's okay since you're the only one who's emailed me so far, hahaha. And that we're not allowed ipods, only CD players? So I'll clarify that I suppose, since the mission president's wife said otherwise and part of the letter said something about the past president? So I kind of wonder about that hahaha. I will let you know if you need to send me a CD player and some CDs, I didn't bring any.
On Sunday we got to walk around the temple and it was so beautiful outside :) And we had a mission conference which is the whole MTC, and that was super good! Plus sacrament meeting, the Sunday night devotional, and "movies". Our devotional was Jenny Oaks Baker! She played the violin for us at least 4 times. It was so beautiful! And her talk was on spiritual gifts and was way good. And her 4 kids played a song too! It was SO CUTE. Then the "movie" that I watched was an MTC devotional by Elder Bednar called "The Character of Christ". It was probably the best thing I have ever listened to. It made me want to be a way better person. If you can find it somewhere online then you should definitely read it!!
And then Sarah sent another email:
Oops. Okay so.
I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!! And I do miss you bunches. But I know I'm where I'm supposed to be and that I'm doing the right thing. It's just really hard when I think about it too much haha. Like right now. But I am learning and growing so much everyday. I feel so much closer to my Savior and to my Father in Heaven than I ever have before. I can't wait to get out to Colorado and tell people about my Savior and how much I love this gospel! I know that I have people to teach and people who only I can teach (like my patriarchal blessing says, have you read that yet?) I am so excited to be a missionary. Thank you for praying for me. I pray for you guys every night too. I hope you know how much I love you. Remember how I said my heart was overflowing with love for everyone here at the MTC? It's overflowing with love for everyone I know back home too. Thank you for supporting me. I miss you and I love love love love love love you. Tell dad and Spencer to send me some emails too!! Or some letters. Tell everyone to send me letters or dearelder me. I got your package by the way, thanks for the hot tamales :)  :) My call packet is by the head of my bed? On those boxes or whatever? Yeah anyways. Thanks for the quotes, I really liked them!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll send an email with some pictures right now. If you're reading this within the next 15 minutes email me back right away? That's all the time I have left. LOVE YOU SO MUCH! I'm doing the right thing. I know that. When I was struggling I read D&C 68:6, and I realized that, as much as I sometimes think I want to go home, what the true, deep desire of my heart is to tell people about Christ and His love for them.
I'll be seeing you so soon!!!! It will fly by.
And then, pictures ...
Name tags on the MTC room door

Sister Noakes (left) and Sister Duprey, companions

Sister Turner and Sister Gregerson, the other two roommates

Sister Noakes and Sister Duprey in front of the Provo Temple

The whole zone of Colorado South Missionaries

Sister Noakes and her roommates (Sisters Duprey,
Turner, and Gregerson) and two sisters going to Provo.
The sister in the wheelchair was ill but refused to go home!

Sister Noakes

So these are some pictures of me and my companion, Sister Turner/Sister Gregerson, the four of us, our whole zone of Denver South missionaries, and our district + 2 sisters in our zone going to Provo. The girl in the wheelchair is moving in with us and staying another week because she had some serious and unexpected health problems, but she refuses to go home, which is AMAZING! Sorry I can't tell you about specific pictures, because I can't see them hahahaha.
So that's her first email! We've actually received THREE letters from her (I didn't know Sarah knew how to write that many letters!), and it's been wonderful to read them. Emotional, but wonderful. I plan to type up the letters and post them later.

I looked up the talk she mentioned by Elder Bednar, and it is really wonderful. It was originally given at a BYU-Idaho Religion Symposium in January of 2003, while Elder Bednar was still in the Quorum of the Seventy. The talk can be found here:,%20David%20A/BednarDA_CharacterOfChrist.html.

D&C 68:6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.

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