Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The FIRST email of Terra's Mission!

When we took her to the MTC, one of her hosts, (small world!) was Drake's dorm friend  

Hi! hi! hi! hi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well hello. :] Hi Mom. :] This is so fun to email you! It's so much faster than writing a real letter. But still, there's little time. So let me write the best stuff.

First of all, I have received over 25 letters in my first week of being in the MTC. My district teases me about it, because I get so much mail. Of course, I LOVE IT. It's very fun. So thank you to all of you who have written me wonderful letters (Cebre, Jenna, Nathaniel, Lexie, Emma, Kayla, Jake, and of course, you Mom). Tell James that I LOVE his ditto picture. It's fantastic, and so detailed. Tell Lexie that her letter made me cry. That's the first letter that has made me cry. In fact, that's the only time I've cried about anything related to missing home so far. And even then, it was just because Lexie is so wonderful.

Surprisingly, I haven't been homesick once yet. Well, maybe super slightly. But truthfully, I haven't been! Remember me screaming to turn the car around? I'm so glad you didn't. THIS IS THE LIFE. I wish everyone could do this. It's so fun here. So fun, so uplifting, SO FRUSTRATING, so tiring, but just amazing. It's changing me so fast. Everything is backwards for me. During class once my teacher said, "Okay, now we're going to watch a video," and I thought, "but I just want to keep studying!" What?!?! Who does that? And I like gym. In fact, I love gym. I love that 50 minutes of play time. Such precious minutes. I play volleyball with my district everyday. I'm super horrible, but they don't care, and it's super fun. This definitely has been the longest week of my life. But even though it's been SO LONG, I don't care. Because I have loved it all. I've learned more in this week than I have in the past 5 years, I feel like. You're constantly doing something, from morning until night.

I've ran into a lot of people I know (including Erin Owens [hope you're reading this Kayla!!], Julia Larsen, another one of Drake's friends, Elise Crosby, Kari Christensen [that one's for Jake] and some more). It's fun seeing people I know. I've already written you this in a letter, but Sister McDougle is my companion!!! I couldn't have asked for a better companion. It's amazing to work with someone who I've had a year to know and love. She's a bundle of sunshine and even though she's shorter, she walks SUPER fast and it's really hard for me to keep up with her at times, haha. 

This place truly is amazing though. Drake, you're going to LOVE it. You're going to thrive in it. It's indescribable. But Drake, start studying preach my gospel RIGHT NOW. Because I didn't do much of that before I came into the MTC, and now...oh gosh, most of my lowest points of the week were because of that. You want to come in knowing your stuff, because they don't give you any time to learn it yourself. And the stuff that they're teaching you is different stuff, it's hard to explain. Just take my word for it. Don't be lazy and not do it, read it! Read it while you eat! Replace Phineas and Ferb with that.

My district likes to sing. On Sunday, while most of my district was in meetings, a few of us were left in the room with nothing to do, so we started singing hymns, and harmonizing like a mad man. Heaven on earth, right there. Harmonizing is glorious. That's what I'm going to miss in the field. I won't get to sing with big groups everyday. I wish I had more spiritual stuff to write. I feel like this email is scattered and ridiculous, and I want to convey how strong the Spirit is here, but I don't know how. My testimony has just grown in SO many ways. Ways that I never thought possible. I've learned how to actually study the scriptures instead of just reading them. And what a blessing that is. I've learned how to depend on the Spirit, how to trust my companion, how to be patient (well, that one is still a work in progress. It's only the end of week one you know.)  But it's just amazing here. I was definitely meant to be here. This is the life for me. I could be on a mission forever (maybe). It's wonderful to be focused and working towards an eternal goal. I just love it here.

I'm finding a huge lackage of time to write letters, but for all those who have written me, I will write you back!!! Don't fret. :] It just may not be super soon. 

Your support is, unbelievable. I can't imagine what it would be like without everyone who has been so wonderful to me. I LOVE MY LIFE SO MUCH!!!!! I love you all. I'm so ridiculously excited for Drake to start his mission. It is the best thing EVER. Ever ever ever.

Life is grand, like a piano. The grandest piano ever. This is the true gospel. Let your hearts grow for everyone around you and find ways to serve people!! I love being on a mission. Week one was fantastic. And I'm ready for a million more. :] 

Again, I love you all. Sorry for no pictures this week! Next week though. :] Keep sending letters and keep being awesome!!

Love, Terra

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hiram sees Terra!

Hiram (Cebre's husband, who teaches at the MTC) texted just a bit ago and said that he ran into Terra tonight.  (We were hoping that would happen!) Super fun!

Hiram said that Terra is LOVING the MTC and is so SO happy!

He took a picture of Terra and Kellie together, too!

Terra's first letter from the MTC!

We got our first letter from Terra!  She wrote it the first night in the MTC and it came in the mail today.  I'll preface it by saying that this photo is of Terra and her friend Kellie Mcdougle, who was also called to serve in the Columbus Ohio Mission.  They both entered the MTC on the same day, but about an hour apart.  Kellie was on Terra's floor in the dorms and they are good friends.  So they were super excited to know that they'd be sharing this adventure together.  They hoped that they'd get to be in the same group in the MTC and would get to see each other often.

Also, you have to know that Terra was feeling some trepidation about entering the MTC on the days just before while we were in Provo.  She kept looking at her life at BYU that she has had (while getting together with old roommates and good friends) and thought, "Why am I leaving all of this?"  When it was time for her to enter the MTC, we drove down the hill from the Provo temple across the intersection to the entrance of the MTC and she started screaming, "What am I doing?  I can't do this!  Turn around!"  Yes, it was crazy, but it was Terra and we all laughed -- she did, too.  She quieted down by the time we talked to the people at the Security booth and it was just a few minutes later that we hugged and waved goodbye.  So I'm sure you can see how I've been wondering how Terra has been and if she has settled in (and I've been praying around the clock, too!)

Here are some cute photos of her envelope --

Here's Terra's letter --

Dear Mom & Family,
It is my first night in the MTC.  Guess what, I MADE IT and guess what, I LOVED IT!   Mitch Fultz told me once that the moment I step into the MTC, you are filled with peace.  He was right.  It's crazy to think that after I screamed in the car to turn around as we drove into the MTC, that 5 minutes later, all of that anxiety was gone.  All of it.  And I just felt good.  Then about an hour later and then for the rest of the day I was filled with extreme happiness because KELLIE McDOUGLE IS MY COMPANION!!!  It's such a sweet blessing, definitely a tender mercy of the Lord.  
This is a wonderful place.  I love it already.  Everyone is so friendly.  I wish I could write more, but it's lights out in a few minutes.  But know that I am very happy :).  I love you all!  
Love, Terra

But wait, there's MORE! Terra wrote to her sister Cebre, as well. Here are some little nuggets from her letter:
I didn't know what to expect coming in, and I can fairly say that it isn't what I expected. I thought it was going to be, gosh, I don't even know. But in reality, it feels like a little BYU where everyone dresses nicely every day and no one knows each other's first names. And the Spirit is here. What a place. I expected everyone to be 100% focused and mature, but I forgot that the guys that are here are only 19, and that their maturity comes from their mission. 
But I like it here. Yes, it is a little bit scary and it's tiring to always be doing something and having to learn so much, but it's a good place.  It's a very good place.  It's only day two and I've had humbling experiences.  I'm going to be teaching real people and that means I have to really know what I teach them. I realized how very little I actually know. How am I supposed to learn it all in 3 weeks?  I guess I'll be learning as I go the whole mission. Gosh, this is scary, but I'm here and I'm not going to leave. 
I need more faith, Cebre. A lot more faith. A heck of a lot more faith. And I'm not quite sure how to get that. I guess I need to have faith that if I work hard, and trust in the Lord, I will gain faith. How ironic. 
I already feel 5x more boring since I've been here, but that's okay. Maybe I was a little too crazy. I'm sure that however I change is all for the best. 
Love, Terra

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Toodle-loo from Terra

Well, this is it. Here I go. I'm the first child in my family to serve a mission, so it feels as if I'm jumping into a pool I've never been in. But I excited. I am very excited. :] I'M SO EXCITED!!!! I'm going on a mission, and it is wonderful. I still think it's crazy, but I also think it's right. And hey, who said that crazy ideas aren't the right ones? I've had so many wonderful examples before me who have decided to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I look up to them so much. Their examples gave me the courage to go. My friends and family gave me the support to go. And my Heavenly Father gave me the faith to go. I have a testimony of this gospel, a strong one. I love being a member of this church. There are so many people who don't know the blessings of it! And that's why I'm going, so that I can share the truth with them. I have a testimony and I need to share it. This is an amazing opportunity! And this is just the beginning. Well, it isn't even the beginning yet, the beginning starts on Wednesday. Nonetheless, every day is amazing and I'm happy to have things to live for. So this is me saying toodle-loo for a year and a half. :] Here I go. <3 Terra

Later: Pictures of Terra's Departure

Mom taking a picture of Terra and Drake's Dorm Friend
(Connections everywhere!)

Terra waving her "last" goodbye...

Blurry, but beautiful! Terra is actually waving her last goodbye!

Friday, January 18, 2013

The clock is ticking!

Tomorrow morning, Terra and I leave for Utah, so I can take her to the MTC on January 23rd.  This is a new experience for both of us and we are excited!   Pretty soon, Terra will be writing to us every Monday and I'll be sharing her letters with you on here.  Then 5 weeks will pass and it will be a big deja vous while I take Drake to the MTC.  Then Drake gets to share his mission experience with us, too.  This is going to be a huge adventure! -- mostly for them, of course, but it will be new and exciting for all of our family.  And I hope you are able to share it with us.

Terra and Drake are off Boogie Boarding in Santa Cruz right now for the last time in a long time.  Like I told Terra yesterday, there isn't an ocean in Utah and there isn't an ocean in Ohio.  So she has to take advantage of it NOW!  Since I don't have a picture of just Terra and Drake Boogie Boarding, I'll share one of Terra and Cebre.  That will have to do for now.  Maybe they'll think to take one today.  TTFN!

Edited to add -- Terra and Drake didn't take any pictures, but they came home with a great story!  Drake said he was out in the water and a dolphin came out of the water about 10 feet away from him.  He was super excited and turned to see if Terra saw it (who was 5 feet behind him). Terra DID see it, only she thought it was a shark!  So she tried to run back to shore, but she kept tripping and falling into the water, while Drake yelled over and over, "Terra, it's a dolphin!" but she kept thinking shark (and continued to paddle and fall). Eventually, she figured it out and they watched the dolphin together.  :)