Father-Daughter relationship, LDS Mission, Prayer, Pre-mission activities, Service, Spiritual

MTC Mexico City: Week 1

The last 5 days before entering the MTC (Missionary Training Center) went by in a crazy flash. As I look back now, all I can remember is a blur of shopping trips, to-do lists, emails, phone calls and packing.

But somehow, someway, by the time Tuesday night rolled around, everything was done and I was ready to go. How I managed, who knows. But I sure was happy :)

My flight to Mexico City left early Wednesday morning. I had to be at the airport at 6am the latest, which meant I had to wake up around 5am. SO not fun :( Especially after having gone to sleep at 1:00 AM the night before. Esssh!

The final farewell between Papushka and I left us both a bit teary eyed… you’d think we’d be pro’s at the whole airport farewell thing, but no, some things you never get used to I guess. Nevertheless, I could feel we were both happy for everything that was to come and we both knew that the next 18 months would go by in a flash!

My first day at the MTC was not only an eye opener but a very humbling experience. I remember sitting in my first class and listening to one of my instructors –a recent RM (returned missionary) — quote scriptures and talk doctrine like it was nobody’s business! It seemed like it all came too naturally to him that if he had told me he had been born with all that knowledge I probably would have believed him.

He seemed to know so much and all I could think was, “oh my goodness! What have I gotten myself into?” It felt like information was flying at me at 100 mph from every direction… and I was actually being expected to register it all.

I was overcome with the strangest feeling. I had always been more than comfortable with my knowledge of the gospel yet here I was, feeling like I knew nothing at all.

Needless to say, I went to bed that night feeling restless, anxious, scared, frustrated, and so much more. I knelt down on the floor and offered what must have been one of the most heartfelt and sincere prayers of my life. I told my heavenly father exactly how I felt and I asked him to help me. I said, “Father, you know I have a desire to serve you. You know I want to be useful in your hands… and I am WILLING… help me. Prepare me. Provide the way”

The next morning, even though I slept EXTREMELY poorly… waking up every 45 minutes and having crazy dreams all night, I woke up feeling refreshed and happy in a way I could not explain even if I tried.

A few hours later, during my personal scripture study, my prayer was answered. As I read the following scripture, I felt how my Heavenly Father was speaking directly to my heart and how my testimony of the gospel was being reaffirmed. He really is there. He really does listen. And He really does bring comfort when we most need it and lightens our burden.

John 14: 26 – 27

One of the most important things I’ve learned this first week at the MTC is that if you TRULY have a desire to serve the Lord, then you TRULY are called to the work… His work (D&C 4:3), and those that the Lord calls, he qualifies!

Before coming out to the mish, I knew I would face trials and difficulties, but to be perfectly honest, I think I mostly focused on how amazing this experience would be. The best two years and all (or 18 months in my case). I don’t think I ever gave much thought to how having an amazing experience during this time would come free. It would come at a cost. And that cost would be LOTS AND LOTS OF HARD WORK!

I can’t believe how tired I am. Honestly. I’m tired like 80% of the day… I really can’t emphasize enough HOW tired I am… it’s unreal… but I HONESTLY have NEVER been happier in my life. I can’t stop smiling :D

I wish I could write more but time is SOOOO short! So, very quickly before I go;

1. My companion is amazing! She is from Puerto Rico and although we are quite different in character I feel like we make a great team. Her name is Sister Aldana and she waited even LONGER than me to come on the mish. She waited a whopping 8 months! She served a 3 month mini mission and was then in the mission field for a whole month as a set apart missionary while she waited for her visa. She knows so much and I feel so blessed to have gotten her as my comp. She teaches me new things every day!

2. I was called as sister coordinator for all the sisters at the MTC. Can you say PRETTY BIG RESPONSIBILITY right off the bat? I’m realizing VERY fast that leadership positions require lots of hard work, empathy, love, and service. Did I mention lots of time in meetings? I’m not sure why, but I feel like my comp and I are always running around EVERYWHERE. Nevertheless, I feel truly blessed to have been given this opportunity to serve and to grow and to learn. My heavenly Father must think I’m up to the challenge… so, I guess I just gotta roll with it :)

3. I love it here. The MTC is all that and a bag of chips. The people I am meeting here are amazing! The instructors are amazing. Did I mention I SERIOUSLY cannot stop smiling???? :D :D :D

Family, Father-Daughter relationship, Fatherhood, Love, Service

May 13

May 13th is always a very special date for me. It’s the day my father was born. It’s my Papushka’s birthday :) This year, like so many others, we are separated by a vast geographical distance. Sadly, I cannot be with him in person to hug him and kiss him and help him celebrate one more year upon the face of this earth.

It makes me a little sad to know I cannot be with him, but I am comforted by knowing that he will enjoy his birthday no matter what.

Because that’s just the way he is -always looking at the positive in every situation. Being happy and enjoying life no matter the circumstances.

Late last night, my dad posted the following note on his facebook wall;

Tomorrow is my birthday… yay!

I know those who see the Facebook reminder and love me will want to congratulate me, some will just ignore it, and others won’t even notice it until days later.

We all are familiar with that; we all know that’s what takes place every day in our virtual world. But who wouldn’t like to receive a little present from every single friend we have?

I’d love that! And I’m sure you would too :)

But actually… I’d rather have something different and more meaningful this year. Something with a positive repercussions if possible.

This year I’m trying to be sensitive to the needs of others, and I’m in the process of reprogramming myself to be capable of doing one good deed every day of my life until I die. It hasn’t been easy though.

Most of the time I’m so busy pursuing my own endeavors that I forget my daily goal. By the time I kneel down at night to give thanks for the many blessings received, I realize my failure. The failure to pay attention to the needs of those who are less fortunate than me and do something about it.

I know I can do it, I know we all can do it. And it doesn’t require much from us, a simple gesture is sufficient. And it definitely does not require us to empty our wallets.

So… if you happen to notice on Facebook that it’s my birthday and you would like to wish me well, then consider the following; I would appreciate it so much more if you would perform a good deed for someone in need, or to our lovely home, the planet.

In case you’d like to take up my challenge, I’d love to hear what you did! That my dear friend, will give me more joy than anything else.

So… being the good and obedient daughter that I am, I decided to do exactly what my father wished for on his birthday. I knew that were I with my Papushka, I would have probably made him a delicious birthday dinner. So, if I couldn’t make it for him, I would make it for someone else. The lucky recipients were my two wonderful hosts here in Mexico; my Tia Lucy and her husband Paco :)

The menu consisted of Garam Masala chicken over garlic rice, a yummy cucumber pineapple salad and a refreshing agua de tamarinado (Homemade tamarind juice).

For dessert I decided to bake a Swedish Kladdkaka, which just so happens to be one of the things I miss most about being in Sweden! I wanted to find a really GOOD recipe, and I did! Click here to try it out yourself.

One of the best parts about this recipe is that it was SO easy to make. Even though it was all made from scratch, it was no hassle at all :) Awesomeee!

And I swear, this is heaven for anyone who is a chocolate lover, which I TOTALLY am! It baked for 30 minutes and the smell filled the entire house!

When it was finally time to enjoy it, we did not forget who it was truly for… the birthday boy of course! We even blew out candles for him :) How nice are we?

One of the best tasting serve projects I’ve ever engaged in ;)

Dad, I hope I get the opportunity to one day prepare all this for you and have you enjoy it FIRSTHAND!

Before I end this post, I just want to tell you once again how much I love and miss you <3

I want to share with you something I read from the 2004 April General Conference. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke about the sacred nature of being a father in his talk, Fatherhood; an Eternal Calling he said the following and said this,

“… By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Fatherhood is leadership, the most important kind of leadership. It has always been so; it always will be so.”

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you daddy for having raised me in a home where the gospel of Jesus Christ was taught. For filling our home and our father-daughter relationship with love and respect. For always providing for my needs, both physical, emotional, and spiritual. For never giving up on your lame jokes, for always trying to put a smile on my face, and for being my greatest friend <3

As your daughter, I can proudly and confidently testify that you exalted in your calling as father, having been a shining example of leadership and sacrifice.

Happy birthday daddy. I love you!

P.S. I did not cheat on my phase one diet! Well kinda… I made a vegan version of the Garam Masala. No chicken or dairy, just veggies (yeah, they were cooked, not raw) and salad :) It was a sensible compromise I think. Do you know how much self control it took to cook and bake all this and NOT eat it?