God is Love

Me, my companions, and the cliché map pic — Hermana Wells is in the middle, Hermana Wilson on the left.

Dearest Familia,

To say I have found my own small version of heaven would be an understatement. The MTC is, in every way, a whole type of other world. Within the whirlwind of last Wednesday and these past days that have become their own eternities, the Lord has blessed me with an excitement and an energy that touches my very being and reaches more than my heart. I could not be happier. It is as if God is showing me a way in which happiness can become your very being. Although at times my mind reaches the edges of remembering a life before this that does not even seem real or even obtainable again, I always come back to this work — this work of God that I never knew I loved so much until I fully lived it.

A few facts that you might want to know:

1) I am in a trio companionship with Hermana Wells and Hermana Wilson. As if heaven-sent, I met Hermana Wells within mere seconds of entering Main Campus. Upon first meeting, my heart knew that she is trustworthy and wise and good, with the greatest touch of beauty. I thanked Heavenly Father in that moment for sending me, in a sense, one of His choicest angels. I have learned that she is the embodiment of grace, which one needs a lot of here. She is from Colorado, and will serve in the Panama Panama City Mission. I love her.

We met the last third of our companionship after arriving to West Campus. In these past few days, I have come to know and love Hermana Wilson for her fired motivation, active goodness, and quiet understanding of herself. She is, in a word, strength. She's from Oregon and is going to my same mission (yay!). How grateful I was to have had strength and grace by my side during those first unknown hours.

We have two other sisters in our District: Hermana Cook and Hermana Messenger. Hermana Cook is simply lovely, as in she could probably be based off a character in an Anne of Green Gables novel. She reminds me of those teachers that everyone wants, because she is that rare combination of outward kindness and absolutely delightful humor. Her companion, Hermana Messenger, arrived late Wednesday night due to an airplane adventure in New Mexico. She is as pleasantly surprising as her arrival — full of so much desire to do good and be great, without even realizing that she already is just that. I am continually grateful that God has placed such chosen and good people within my midst, as I have just been trying to keep up with them since the beginning. They are all perfect — a quality that I think has already given me unrealistic expectations of what it will be like among my companions in Mexico.

2) Our District is comprised of us and six elders fresh out of high school (One of whom was almost suspended in high school for selling his homemade snickerdoodle cookies. I don't know why I love that story so much). They are all great and so eager to learn and be good, and already view the sisters in our District as saints, only because we actually do what we're told instead of singing "Called To Serve" in Spanish every chance we get. They are like our brothers now, and I love them.

3) Our Zone is equally as loved and respected as the elders in our District. We met our whole Zone the first night here, and one would think it was the first time any of them had seen a girl in their life. They clapped and cheered and all lined up after Zone prayer to shake our hands and wish us a buenas noches. We later learned that there haven't been any hermanas in their Zone for a good few weeks, which made us famous for simply being girls. It was hilarious. We have three Zone Leaders, and they're the greatest. We have theorized that the longer one stays here, the older one begins to look. This is mainly based off the fact that the Zone Leaders look like they could be in their late twenties compared to the appearance of our elders (If this theory turns out to be true, I will probably be approaching the appearance of a thirty year old by the time I'm done here).

4) Our Branch President is literally a younger version of Elder Holland, both in looks and in his way of direct conviction coupled with the most tender compassion. Everyone loves him. He assigned our companionship to be the Sister Training Leaders for our Zone — we're not entirely sure what that entails, but are grateful for the chance to learn how to love and lead in love this early on in our missions. We should be getting more sisters next week!

5) The rumors are true and we have officially been moved to Main Campus. Before, living at West Campus, I had had to swallow my pre-mission bitterness about being quarantined over there, because I actually loved it within the first day. Being at Main Campus has made us all feel new again, and we're really trying to love it here even though we had a small glimpse of Paradise over on the other side.

6) Concerning food: you will happy to hear that I still eat my peanut butter toast with sliced bananas quite frequently here, along with the occasional avocado toast (made possible by mi mama who sends the most lovely and well-received packages of healthy food and sustaining words). My vegetarianism is still going strong, although we'll see how long that lasts once in Merida.

There are so many thoughts and feelings that I wish I could relay through words, such as getting on the wrong bus on our way back from Main Campus, and being confronted by a security guard for trying to make a break for it; getting up at five in the morning for a service project that never existed in the first place; listening to a song by our elders in tribute of our most beloved Zone Leader ("Viva del Rey, Elder Shumway"). However, out of all these occurrences, the most important happenings here are the building and expanding of testimony and knowledge. Most of this has come from preparing to teach and teaching our investigator, Lorenzo, who believes in God but doesn't know Him. However afraid I was of teaching before, it has now become something I look forward to. To tell people who have never heard these truths for the first time is incredible. We are teaching him about God and His plan for us. In my studies of searching for the true nature of God (which also happens to be one of my favorite restored truths of this good Gospel), I came across a sentence in the Bible dictionary that says God will remain unknown to us until we seek to find Him. He does not force a belief or love for Him, but continually allows us to use the greatest gift of agency in still choosing to search, find, and know Him. I find this interesting, especially in learning that God's greatest work and glory for us is to have eternal life, meaning to come to know God and Jesus Christ. I love that definition of eternal life, and I can't wait to teach that to people who do not know God and do not know that they can.

In terms of coming to know God, I've learned that the greatest way to do that is through love. It never ceases to amaze or surprise me that all people are really searching for is love, in a way to feel love and give love and receive love--and isn't that what God does? I read the scripture in 1 John about how God is love, and that if you do not know love, you do not know God. How beautiful that is to me, that out of everything God wants us to know and master and feel, is love.

While I have missed you these past days, I love you even more. Being here has given me an even greater understanding of eternity, and how grateful I am that my eternity is your eternity as well.

all my love,


P.S. General announcement: my family is the greatest, most thoughtful and most lovely ever. Thank you thank you for all the letters/packages that you sent this week. They might have made me cry just a little, but made me feel joyful and loved even more. I love you!

P.P.S. I'll be going to the Consulate in Salt Lake this Saturday and will wave to you from the train!

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