From the perspective of her friends the Strong's

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013 - Pictures

 Look at those happy and beautiful girls ready to service.

Yeah! She got our package!

April 25, 2013 - Week 2

Hola familia y amigos,
the MTC is the greatest place ever, until I get to WA, I'm sure. There could potentially be a lot to complain about, but why? What good does that do anyone?? So I just love it. My teachers are about the greatest people ever. They are both in their early 20's , and have more love for missionary work, and us, than I have ever seen in human beings. But they are taking them away from us! This is the first time they have ever switched out teachers in the middle of your stay, and of course it was to MY district. It's just so sad, because they are the parental figure, that give you the shoulder to cry on, they have personal meetings with you to see how you are doing, they are the people along with the Spirit, who teach you how to be a missionary, and how to grow, and  how to love. They are teachers for so much more than the MTC.
It has been incredible to feel such an abundance of love for the people you teach. Though I do not know them, Heavenly Father has blessed me with ways to love them in a very deep and filling way. I can't even imagine how it is going to be in WA. I'm not having any issues with adjusting to the rules. I get a song stuck in my head a few times every day, but slowly the hymns are working their way into my brain. I don't mean to make it sound like I have it easy over here, or that the MTC is is hard too. But the good is just so heavy on the scale that the bad practically just gets bungeed(?) off. Haha bungeed is definitely not a word. I miss google.
One out of the many learning experiences that I would like to share:
After a lesson that did not go so well, we had a SERIOUS companionship inventory. Before we did, one of the teachers gave us feed-back. She told us among other great things, that our ability to love, as women, is a gift, and to let that love be the drive behind everything you do as a missionary. And that our (as companions), weaknesses are each other's weaknesses, and our strengths are each other's strengths. After that, Her.Villalobos, and Her. Robison and I went outside to talk. We prayed that our discussion would be completely open and honest, but that we would be blessed with the Spirit so that nothing was said out of anger, or with the intent to hurt. And we had the most amazing talk. It completely changed our outlook on each other. It was then that I realized like a lightning bolt, how missionary life prepares you to have meaningful relationships with others, and how to lift up those around you, instead of rising to the top alone. Because we have to completely listen to each other, and consider the other's feelings, and there can not be any contention or bad feelings among you, or else the Spirit will not guide your lesson completely. And having a companion is extremely humbling, because even if I am on time and ready to means nothing if my comp. is not. Things like that happen often, and because you can never leave them, you are forced to grow with them. I am so gosh dang stubborn and free-willed, that in normal life, I just leave people in the dust, and say, "I don't care if you're taking too long, or if you want to go do this or that, I could get there 75% faster, if I go by myself." That is one of my biggest issues. I am completely comvinced that I can do everything by myself. And with a comp. by my side at all times, I can NOT do anything by myself haha. I have to slow down for others. I have to listen to someone other than myself. I have to go places I don't want to go, I have to submit to what someone else wants sometimes. It's been good for me. Really good. I'm learning how to be at one with another. And I'm learning the law of consecration verrry quickly, because just as Hermana Platt said, "Your strengths are their strenghths, and their weaknesses are your weaknesses." And vice versa. I have trained myself so well at doing everything by myself, and now I am learning how to ...not. All things are common among us, and we either all fall, or we all rise.
I sincerely love you all, and I thank you a million times over for writing and e-mailing me, and for the packages. I feel strength from your prayers. I know God blesses those that bless the missionaries.
All my love and then some,
Hermana Patton

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April 18, 2013 - Yayyyy!!!

First letter from Zoe at the MTC.........

I am so so so so so entusiasmado (excited) to e-mail you! For starters, I love and love you all.
Okay so the MTC is truly (aside from the temple), the greatest place I have ever stepped foot on, in my entire life. I can hardly express how this place feels. You just have to be here. You have to feel this! Half of the time I can hardly seperate heaven and earth. It's incredible. Elder Richard G. Scott expressed my feelings exactly, (he spoke at my first devotional on Tuesday) when he got up to speak, after the choir had sung, he said, "I feel as if I've died and gone to heaven." That is how I feel. I cry for the day when I have to take my badge off, and can no longer serve full time. I could stay here forever! The MTC is, for the most part, a piece of cake. I mean, you have your entire day planned out for you, but it is up to you how you use that time. For my district being comprised of 18 year old boys, we do pretty well with focusing. We study for, depending on the day, about 12 hours total. Wednesday was so rushed and crazy. Thursday was just so much fun, getting to know everyone better. Friday I can't remember. Saturday can't remember, Sunday was incredible. SO so so incredible. Sundays are by far the best day, everyone thinks so. P-days are overrated and don't last long. On Sunday, all of our meetings are spaced out throughout the day, and we have meals and study times in between. But we don't have to prepare lessons, so that is our "rest". The sisters alone get to attend the "Music and the Spoken Word" broadcast every Sunday before Relief Society, and the speaker every Sunday for Relief Society is a general authority's wife, or women like Sheri Dew and Elaine Dalton. It rocks. Every Sunday there is a devotional. Bro. Greg Droubay (man in charge of the church's missionary media) spoke to us about the projects they are working on in the UK, and what they have already done in NY. It's out of control. The church has tunnels and tunnels of subways COVERED in stuff, as well as buses, and half of Times Square. The NY project ran from Christmas to New Years. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THAT WOULD COST to cover Times Square in billboards about the Savior?? DURING New Years? Gosh, our church is so cool. Monday was a blur. Tuesday was obviously great because of Elder Scott.
Okay so my distict is great obviously I love them. Four elders, five sisters. Three of the Elders are supposed to be in Peru, bu their visas haven't come, and one is going with us to WA. Most of the district went to school together, all from AZ, and were friends. Like...close friends. Two of them were even best friends. How weird is that? Do you know how many districts there are?? There are like 5,000 people here! So for the exciting part....drumroll....I have two companions! Haha I'm in a trio. And I love it. We weren't supposed to be, but the other sister, whoever she is, was too smart to be with us or something, so they moved her to an advanced class before we arrived. But I'm glad she disn't come. Mastering the qualities needed to be in a trio is really cool, and challenging, and wonderful, and I will be so grateful I get to learn how to do it now, so that if it ever happens in the mission field. I will be set. Because it is hard enough to keep track of one person and their needs, and work as one. Try working as one, with three people. Haha. We do a pretty good job though, because we really love each other. Hermana Robison is from Lehi, UT and is a little fashionista hipster who has the same sense of humor as me, so she thinks I am HILARIOUS, which I like. She is very sweet, and attentive, and the oldest, so she is the "mother hen" in the group. Hermana Villalobos is from Chandler, AZ and is a bonita Mexican that couldn't speak a word of Spanish until now. She is really fun. She kind of has the personality of a dude (not super self-aware, or sensitive), so that doesn't always rub me the right way, but 98% of the time, we do great, and love each other. Her boyfriend just got home from the Carlsbad CA mission, English speaking, so that was cool for us! 
As far as Spanish goes, we had to teach our first lesson to an "investigator" (she will soon be our teacher, but they choose someone they know or taught on their mission, and pray to be able to simulate the event as much as possible, so we treat her like a real much as we can) anyways the morning after our second day, we had to teach the lesson we planned 100% en Espanol. SO they don't waste any time here. But I can totally speak Spanish haha. Not fluently obviously, but I can pray completely in Spanish, and have been tempted this whole time to write half of these words in Spanish, but that would probably be annoying for everyone.
I haven't been having a hard time, so don't worry about me. In fact, while eveyone had their breakdowns in this first week, I stayed too stubborn to cry or to feel upset in any way. Which I eventually realized that it was because I was too scared to feel so deeply about all of this, that I went for the neutral route. And so I talked to my teacher about it, and he told us that whatever our capacity to hurt is, is equal to our capacity to love. But that when you are a missionary, Heavenly Father stretches out your capacity to love, and therfore the capacity to hurt is also expanded, but...Jesus Christ already suffered for us, so we can exercise our full capacity to love, without feeling ALL of the hurt. It was cooler in a graph, sorry. My point is, I hope nobody is worried about me, because I am doing great, and I have since that conversation allowed myself to not just put forth 100% obedience, but 100% heart as well.
I love you all.
Thank you for helping me get here in the various ways that you have.
Love always,
Hermana Patton

April 9, 2013 - Saying "See You Soon"

In memory of going to iHop after Riley's phone call at the airport.
I invited Zoe over the morning Riley called from the airport on his way to California. She didn't want to talk or let him know she was there.....she just wanted to hear his voice. By the end of the call I talked her into saying she just got there so she did say hi, anyway after the call we all were a little down in the we went to drown our sorrows at iHop.
So we thought it only fitting that we say our goodbyes........I mean "See you soon" at iHop.