Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Dear Mom & Dad,
Got your letters today! Loved them ever so much. Don’t worry, Dad-- I’m sticking to the light stuff during meals, I promise. The sisters in my district thank you for that advice as well. Ha, ha! I’ll have to find out where President Allen served; I haven’t really met with him. Mostly, my district meets with one of his counselors, Bro. Barry. He is really nice and fun to listen to. Oh, Mom, I’m the coordinating Relief Society sister—the “district leader,” per se, for the sisters in our district…and, I guess, our zone for that matter. Sister Dalley, Sister Boulter, Sister Scheer and I are the ONLY sisters in our zone. It’s kind of neat. We’re really close, the four of us. Sister Scheer is going to Texas, so that will be hard when we split up. But right now, we’re going to celebrate because we’re no longer the “newbies!” Yey! As of tomorrow, we’re “seasoned veterans.” Ha, ha!
Just so you know, I bore my testimony at the end of my letter to Grandma & Grandpa. The first part, they’ll probably be okay with. The second part might cause issues. I told them why I was here at the MTC, my purpose as a missionary. It’s in the “Preach My Gospel” manual (which you should totally get one! It’s amazing!) and we memorized it. Anyway, it says: “My purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.” Just thought I’d give you a heads up….
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Dear Mom & Dad,
So, I set up my e-mail and totally wrote you one, too, but the first time I clicked the wrong button and it got deleted…and the second time the computer kicked me off (time limit)! Go figure, huh? No worries.
Here’s the deal with e-mail. …While I am at the MTC, I only get access to my e-mail once a week for 30 minutes. Now that I think about it, that’s probably how my mission will work, too. For now, I’m just going to stick to “snail mail” so my “epistles” don’t get deleted.
Today is my very first “preparation day.” I’m just hanging out here in the crowded laundry room, writing away along with a ton of other missionaries. We got to go to the temple this morning and do a session as a district, which was a really amazing experience. I love the paintings in the Provo temple! So beautiful. After the session, we ate breakfast in the temple cafeteria which was…well, heavenly! I wasn’t even hungry for lunch!
I made a challenging goal for myself—I’m going to read the entire Book of Mormon before I leave the MTC. Doing so will strengthen my testimony of this wonderful work and help me be better prepared to teach my ‘Louisianians.’ (Be quiet, dad—it is too a word!)
Mom, I loved your nightly ritual with Sam! He is such a spoiled pooch! Hopefully, he’s staying out of trouble. Thanks for having Stacia give my sister missionaries Alvie’s number. I thought about giving them Grandma & Grandpas….
We had a devotional yesterday. Our speaker was Elder Daryl H. Garn of the Quorum of the Seventy. He and his wife spoke to us and were just awesome. Sister Garn spoke about D&C 4 (which I have memorized!) and took it apart, verse by verse. She did just great! I’d send you my notes, but I want them! (Ha, ha!) Let’s see, I think my favorite thing she said was about D&C 4:7. She said that no message has appeared in the scriptures more times than this one; there are 100 times it’s either quoted or rephrased slightly. How cool is that?
Elder Garn’s talk was so sweet and loving! He talked about how he got to meet with the First Presidency inside the Salt Lake Temple and the things they talked about. President Eyring stressed the retention of converts and told a story about Pres. Hinckley’s feelings on the subject. President Hinckley had told him that if the Church’s retention numbers hadn’t changed by the time he was grave, he’d jump back out again and say “Retention, retention, retention!”(while shaking his finger at us) That story got everyone laughing. He [Elder Garn]also told another story about President Hinckley. When a temple in Arizona was recently rededicated, Pres. Hinckley took some other ministers through the open house. One asked him why there was no cross displayed anywhere if Latter-Day Saints were Christians. I’m not going to tell you his response because I think it’d be a great family home evening lesson. So look it up (and send me a copy).
Let’s see, who else has spoken to us? Bro. Stephen B. Allen spoke to us on Sunday night. He was awesome! (I know, I’ve used that word a lot. Sorry, I don’t have my Thesaurus!) he could tell when we got in there that we were dragging. He told the elders they could take off their suit coats, which made them happy and he would ask us questions and have us stand up when they applied to us (i.e., Are you the first of your parents’ children to serve a mission?) Then he spoke to us plainly and simply. He told us about some missionaries that had done stupid stuff. He told us about seven stories and then told us that all these had happened just this week. He urged us to follow the mission rules, and gave strong advice and counsel. He said, “When we forget who we are and what we are about, tremendous sadness will follow.” How amazingly sad?! It hurts me to hear that could happen. It won’t happen to me! I won’t let it happen.
The last really great teacher I’ll tell you about was Brother Littlefield. He spoke about baptizing. I was blown away! He works for the Church and he goes around to different missions to help them get their baptisms up. He talked about when President Monson was a mission president in Canada; there was an area in his mission that only got a baptism or so per year. President Monson is so inspired! He pulled everyone out of that area and waited until all the missionaries who knew about that area were gone. He then spread a rumor that he was going to open a new area, and it was where Brigham Young had baptized over thirty people in a month. That part was true, too! Anyway, he started getting letters from all these excited missionaries who wanted to open the area and serve where Brother Brigham once baptized so many. He chose one elder and a brand-new greenie and sent them there. If I remember correctly, it was in a month that they’d matched Brother Brigham’s number and it just kept doubling and doubling again and almost doubled a third time! How incredible is that? And all that because the attitude of the missionaries had changed. Nothing else had, but that did, and that was what made all the difference.
He also told a great story about when Pres. Packer was a mission president, and how he set an example for his missionaries in a zone conference with a big cake. Look that one up, too! It’s a riot, and then it gets very deep. I love it.
Wow—I had not meant for this letter to last so long. Oops. Oh well. You really did get an epistle from me this time. I’d meant to get this out today, but obviously that isn’t happening. Thanks for sending me parts of my blog. Stacia did a really good job. Can you post this letter on there, too?
I love you! I love you! I love you! I love his gospel. I love my Savior. I’m so excited for General Conference. It’s going to be A-MAZING!
Until the next letter,
Sister Morgan Pedersen
2 Corinthians 4:5
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.