First off, I consider myself to be the luckiest girl in the whole wide world! I can’t believe that I got to see all of you at Conference!! And not only see you from afar but actually run into you after and get to embrace you all! Briggy and Michael, thanks for the jokes. They were so funny and I have shared them with everyone here! I loved seeing you and my heart was so full of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for giving me yet another tender mercy, like he does, everyday to be able to see you all and hug you all and hear how everything is going. I love you all with all my heart!!
Conference was amazing wasn’t it? I loved every minute of it! I also loved waving at all of you before and after! That was the best! Also I have a little explaining to do. I don’t know if you all saw it, but when we got back to the MTC that night we all watched the songs online to see it. During the intermediate song, “called to serve” I didn’t think that they would show us, the choir, since it was the congregational hymn. Well I was wrong and only realized it after the fact when we watched it. The moment they show me I am looking up at the balcony at you all and I then I look back at the congregation. BUT it looks like I’m looking at the screen at myself. hahaha (even though there isn’t even a screen for us to see up there…) So everyone here has given me grief about that moment and we all laugh as I try to explain that I was looking at my family!!! It’s pretty funny though. I was caught in the act! ha.
At 58 seconds into the video is where Maddie looks to the corner. (she is on the top right)
Singing in conference was so amazing though. I couldn’t stop looking out at everyone and realizing how many people actually fit in the conference center! It’s amazing! And every seat was packed! The gospel is So true! And I love when the saints gather together to hear our beloved Prophet and apostles, and other leaders. I absolutely adored conference.
And yes, as you ALL saw, David Archuleta arrived last Wednesday at the MTC. We are Best Friends now. Just kidding. ha not really but he does have the same meal times and his class is in my same building. He teaches in the empty classroom next to mine, so I see him everyday. Our conversations/interactions consist of: He holds the door open for me, “Thanks Elder!” “You’re welcome!” haha that’s about it but maybe one day we’ll actually have a conversation. He looks like he loves it here.
So I got all new investigators this week. I have 6 now. We teach and prepare all day because we’ve been taught (notice that I don’t say I’ve learned ha) all the grammar principles so we just teach, teach, teach, which is good practice for us.
Also I got my Latvian name tag so my name is officially Masa Galagera! And I finally know how they decided to spell my name. It has been changed a couple times.
Also today at the temple I ran into some dear friends!!! It was good to see them all and catch up for a few seconds. Erica did a session with me in the temple. It was great to hear how she’s feeling about her mission and talk to her about the MTC.
And shout out to Lauren, just so you know, I named a little green bug after you that hangs out everyday on the window sill of our building. My whole district now says, “hello Lauren!” When we walk past and see it. It’s hilarious. One day she wasn’t there so I assumed the worst and that she died. I held a funeral service for her only to find out ten minutes later that she just switched windows. hahah. Anyway oh the ways we entertain ourselves here.
I’m still continuing to love it here at the MTC. It’s so wonderful!
Easter is next Sunday and I have been thinking and studying the Atonement a lot the past couple days. I am totally AMAZED at what I have learned. I’m in complete awe. I want to share a couple of my thoughts just as a pre-Easter thought.
Our spirits develop during this human experience. We have trials and sorrows and happiness and joys and through it all our spirits grow and learn. But, I have come to realize that the times I have grown the most were during times of sincere trials and hardships. The times I got closer with my Savior were during the times when I realized how much I needed Him. We HAVE to go through trials and sorrows and pain in order to grow. It is through these times that we experience the Atonement.
A metaphor I have come to love is this. When an eagle egg first cracks and the little baby bird takes it’s first breathe of air, the baby struggles for hours to release itself from the only thing it knows as a home. The mother sits perched nearby as it watched the baby bird struggle for freedom. During this time of struggle, the baby bird grows. Its body is strengthened. The mother knows that if she interferes that the small helpless bird will not be strong enough to live and conquer the skies.
This is how it is with us. Heavenly Father cannot let out lives be easy without a trial or hardship because if He did He would be depriving us of experience that help us grow and strengthen us. We learn from these experiences. They are necessary no matter how hard they are. Heavenly Father hasn’t abandoned us. He is always there. And he helps us when we absolutely cannot do it alone. My teacher likes to remind me, “Why would Heavenly Father do something for you that you can do on your own?”
One of my favorite talks was Henry B. Eyring’s. (click his name to read it). He talked about trials and faith. He shared the story of when Joseph Smith was in jail and what God said to him when Joseph felt abandoned and helpless D&C 122 God says, FEAR NOT what man can do, for God will be with you forever and ever! What a comfort that is to our hearts!
Now the Atonement…
The Atonement is a priesthood ordinance and like all ordinances they have to be done one by one. Not in Mass. Christ suffered for EACH of us one by one. He took us all through the temple of Gethsemane suffering not only for our sins but also for our pains and our weaknesses. For at least one moment in Gethsemane, Christ put YOU at the center of His life, and because of you and your worth His suffering became bearable.
We must stay true to God in our moments of Gethsemane, as Christ did. For God is always loyal to us. He loves us SO much that He gave us His only begotten son to bear OUR sins and sorrows in that garden that night.
Michelangelo said, “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped in perfect attitude and action. I only have to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it”
God can see our potential and using His mastery and skill, sculpt us into what we need to be so that we can be beings like unto our Father in Heaven. God can see the celestial being in our mortal frame.
I am SO thankful for the Atonement and for the love that my Savior shows ME as I go through my trials. Life is not always easy but with faith, the Savior by our side, and with the knowledge of the Atonement, we can do anything!
So as most Latvians attend church this Sunday as part of the only two times they go a year… (can you guess the other time they go… Christmas!) I pray that they will feel their Saviors love and have their heart softened so that when I get there I can teach them by the spirit that the Atonement is REAL and that God has prepared a way for us to return to him. And it is only through that glorious gift of the atonement that we can do so. I love my Savior so much and I thank my Heavenly Father daily for the opportunity I have to be a representative of Christ and share this truly “GOOD NEWS” with the parts of the world that so badly need it.
I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Happy Easter! I can’t wait to hear from you and next P-day is my last one here at the MTC! Crazy!
Love you and miss you and I’m so grateful I got to see you one more time before I head out to Latvia!
An Easter Message:
If you would like to watch 2 short videos on Easter by Elder Uchtdorf and President Monson click below:
We found Maddie after Conference. (Mom took the photo)