Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Andrea McClaine"
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Hello Family! (and friends)

This last week was very busy but wonderful! I hope that I have enough time to tell you all about it.

Well, first of all last Saturday night we had a special "Patriotic Music Fireside". It was AMAZING! It was all about the Reformers and the Founding Fathers who made the Restoration of the gospel possible. The fireside was full of videos of "the Reformers" telling us about their experiences. Some people thought that it was totally cheesy, but I thought it was very touching. It was obvious that the MTC put A LOT of effort into this fireside. There was also a special choir who sang beautifully. And we all sang tons of hymns as well. It was an incredible night, and I am so grateful for all of the people who prepared the way for the restoration of the gospel. I think it was just what we needed to hear at the MTC.

That same night, there were tons of rumors that we weren't going to be allowed to watch the fireworks. I'm not going to lie, I was really worried about that. I LOVE FIREWORKS! But thankfully at the beginning of the fireside they announced that our MTC president would allow us to watch the fireworks. After the fireside we all went outside and watched the fireworks. It was great!!! A lot of the missionaries sang songs, it will make a great memory! I can't believe that next year I will be in France. :]

Last Sunday, for fast Sunday, it was really amazing because all of the testimonies were in French. There was a very special spirit there. There was a big group who was leaving this week and they sang at the end of Sacrament meeting. Those missionaries (2 of my roommates) left this week. It was hard to say goodbye but we were so excited for them to go into the mission field! I can't believe that all of the older missionaries are gone now and we are the old ones now. We were supposed to have a new sister come this week, but she never came. We found out that she decided not to come. We were all really sad (especially the elders Haha). I was especially sad for her because I can see all of the good that has already come to my life because of my decision to serve. As I prayed for her that night I felt a good feeling that she probably has a different mission. I hope that whatever happens in her life makes her happy! We did get a new elder this week. He is from Corona. We talked a lot about CA. He is nice! At the end of July there is a HUGE group of 63 French speaking missionaries coming in. I hope that I can learn and grow a lot so that I can be a good example for them, like the older missionaries were for me.

Because the last group left, Soeur Strunk and I have a new companion. She is our only roommate now. She leaves in 2 weeks for Tahiti. Her name is Soeur Stackhouse. She is great!!!

Last Tuesday night we had an INCREDIBLE devotional by Elder Dellenboch and his wife (emeritus 70) about taking advantage of your mission and loving every second! It was fantastic, probably the best one yet. In his devotional he talked about how Earth is not our home, but that our real home is with our Heavenly Father. While he spoke I felt touched by the spirit and I was reminded of how at times it feels a little hard to be away from home, but that really I am closer now to my REAL home then ever before. That is why I feel so much happiness. I can't wait to bring others closer to their real home as well.

Well, yesterday was our trip to San Fransisco. It was a BLAST! There were 11 of us who went together. I had to wake up at 3:30am to shower and get ready. We left at 5 and got to the Salt Lake airport by about 6ish. When we checked in, we ran into Elder Zwick of the 70...(who of course knows Elder Hales from my district-because of his dad's job) So we got to stop and talk with him a lot. He said that we shouldn't be surprised if there is a France temple announcement while we are there, and that there is a lot that is going to happen while we are there. WOW!! That's exciting huh?!?! I hope it is in Paris, or at least in my mission area.

We flew straight to San Fransisco and right when we got off the plane we saw a woman wearing almost nothing. We were all like "HOLY COW-We are not in the MTC anymore" Haha It was great to be outside of the MTC. Everything went perfectly at the French Consulate. Then we spent the day at Pier 39 and the Guiradeli (spelled wrong) chocolate factory. We just hung out downtown. It was so fun! Everyone stopped and talked to us. There were a lot of members who were excited to see a group of missionaries. We weren't allowed to contact people though because it wasn't our mission.

It is nice to be back at the MTC. I love how clean and pure it is here. I know that I can learn so much here. And there is a lot that I need to learn and do before I am ready to go to Paris.

I am sorry I didn't have time to write more. There is so much that I want to say but I just don't have time for it. I love you all so much! I hope you are all well and happy!

Love Eternally,
Soeur McClaine

PS: I have literally forgotten how to spell in English now, can you please edit my emails before you send them out. Haha Thank you!!! Keep up all of the hard work at home. You are all wonderful!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

what a week!

Hello Family!

It has been a wonderful week! I have so much to write, but like usual, not a lot of time to email. I will try my best to tell you everything. I'm sorry if it is all over the place.

Well, the New Mission President Seminar was AMAZING because literally ALL of the apostles and first presidency were here. On Friday night for our "Special Fireside" Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke to us about how we are the only true and living church on the face of the earth. It was a very powerful message. What a treat! Also, there were 8 apostles there!!!! (Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Elder Cook, Elder Nelson, Elder Scott, Elder Anderson, and Elder Christofferson) We were all thrilled to be with so many of the Lords apostles.

Also, on Sunday for Relief Society Sister Susan C. Jones, from the General YW presidency came and spoke to us about having a zion companionship. She was an incredible speaker and very motivating. I am grateful that Soeur Strunk and I already have a very strong companionship. I'm sure that I will eventually have a difficult companion though, and the advice that Sister Jones gave will help me for the rest of my life, in all my relationships.

On Sunday night we had a fireside with Brother Stephan Allen from the Missionary Department. He spoke to us about all of the new changes that will be taking place in the church to help missionary work. On July 7th the church will be launching a new Mormon.Org that allows people to post their own conversion stories. She showed us a sneak preview. It is amazing! I love how the church is branching out and I know it will help missionary work grow. He also showed us a new movie "The District 2" which is a sequel to a movie for missionaries. It is like a documentary of missionaries and how we can follow their examples. I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK!

Also on Sunday, I met with my Branch President and he asked me to be the new Coordinating Sister. This means that I will work closely with the Zone Leaders and directly oversee the sisters in our zone. I will have to go to a few more meetings a week, but I am grateful for more opportunities to serve. We have a new sister coming this week. I am excited to help her.

So....(I don't know if all zones are like this, but I know ours is) There is a huge competition in our zone to see which district can take the best district photo. Everyone takes district photos and puts them by their class door. My district took some pretty amazing photos this week. I will be sending them in the mail today so you should be getting them soon. I'm pretty sure that we are the best district here!!!! Really though, I love my district so much! They are all amazing! And I found out that one of my good friends from my district, Elder Hales, his dad is the secretary to the first presidency. Pretty cool huh?!?!

As a district we have decided to start having "English Fasts" at least once a week. (Where we speak nothing but french for a whole day) We had our first fast on Tuesday and it was great! Of course it was really hard, but great! We will be having another fast this Monday. Also, we have been contacting and teaching in french a lot lately. It is pretty amazing. The other day we were contacting and as Soeur Strunk was talking I thought to myself "Wow! We are really speaking French right now. When did this happen? Haha"

For our devotional on Tuesday Sister Elaine S. Dalton came and spoke to us about the importance of virtue and confidence. It was incredible! I feel so blessed to hear from so many church leaders here at the MTC.

I have some fun news for you...this Thurday the 8th I will be flying to San Fransisco to meet with the French Consolate (I may have spelled that wrong. I don't know.) So a few of us from my district will fly there together really early in the morning, have our meeting, go sight seeing, then fly back that night. I'm excited to leave the MTC for a day. I feel so detached from the world. Haha

PLEASE wish Kenny a Happy Birthday for me! I miss him so much! I will ask and see if we will be allowed to call from the airport on Thursday. If so I will call and wish him a Happy Birthday. :]

Thank you all for you love, prayers, letters and packages! I feel so special to get so much mail. I am grateful for all of the support I have from home.

Keep up the hard work. Way to go Mom and Dad in keeping your missionary schedule. I'm proud of you!

I love it here! This week my testimony has grown so much! I know that the field is white and ready to be harvested! I know that there are people being prepared right now for me. I can't wait to bring others to Christ.

I love you all!!! Expect a letter soon! :]

Love Eternally,
Soeur Andrea McClaine