Greetings from the MTC! – MTC #2

Hello everyone!!

 The MTC is crazy…. I’ve never had so many highs and lows in one single day. Seriously every day is so spiritually amazing and then the next you feel like there’s no way you will be able to do this for a year and a half. BUT I would not change it for a thing!

Elder Fernandes, one of the Elders in my district, said something after our Tuesday devotional that really stood out to me. He served in the Marines for four years before coming on a mission (he’s 22). On Tuesday he had said, “If I can choose between fighting for my brothers and sisters and saving my brothers and sisters, I would choose the latter every day.” And that is exactly what he is doing. We are here to share the message of Jesus Christ to SAVE our brothers and sisters. So awesome. I love my district. 

Sister Gomm's District at "The Map"

Sister Gomm’s District at “The Map”

So, classroom instructions have been going well. Those are the main thing that are so awesome one minute and then so frustrating the next. But they are SO essential to training to be an effective missionary. 

You know how everyone says, “just make it to Sunday and you know you can make it the rest of the time here.” Or, “Once your first Sunday hits, everything passes by so fast.” Well, it’s true. Sunday was so amazing. Taking the sacrament is obviously very important and so amazing. Going to the temple grounds and taking a million pictures and a million more ‘selfies’ was so fun. And Sunday devotional. So awesome! We had Brother Stephen B. Allen and his wife talk to us. It was so great and we got chastised and built up like 8 times. Something that Brother Allen said that I really liked was, “Was the Holy Ghost the Sr. companion, the Jr. companion, or was He even in our companionship today?” This especially applies to me and my companionship, but it can apply to you to! Is the Holy Ghost with you today? Yesterday? Will the Holy Ghost be with you tomorrow? You can have the spirit with you ALWAYS if you are mindful of it and have FAITH that it will help you. Faith is something that is very important to this gospel. In fact, without faith you cannot progress at all. Seriously, if you didn’t read Ether 12 last week, read it this week. It is SUCH a good chapter. So after the devotional you have the option to watch different movies/videos. We watched a talk from David A. Bednar that he had given at the MTC a few years ago. And wow. Every single person who is going on a mission needs to watch this video while at the MTC. It was another one of those ‘get torn down so that you can be built back up all within the same talk’ things. They happen a lot here. One of the things he said was, “WHO CARES WHAT YOU WANT” As a missionary, we should not be focused on ourselves. You will not progress if you are focused on yourself. And the same can be said for someone who is not a missionary. The point of service is to SERVE OTHERS. While serving others it does not matter what you are thinking or feeling. And, you will NEVER regret doing an act of service. 

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Okay so Monday, Monday was crazy. In the morning everyone (my district) was doing so well and we did role play with the other district in our zone, and it went SO well. And then as the day went on it just got worse and worse. It was sooo sad. Seriously everyone was having a bad day. It was really eye opening and so good for us to learn faith and to trust in the spirit. Even though it was so awful, we are all so grateful it happened so we could grow from it.

On Tuesday we had a devotional from Larry S. Kacher of the seventy. It was so amazing! Something he said that I loved, “Do not go forward in your own strength, but in God’s strength.” Also, “You get to decide what manner of missionary you will be.”

Something I wrote in my notebook, 

“Reading the Book of Mormon will make you want to come unto Christ.” 
So…. haven’t read it? Read it. ESPECIALLY if you are planning on serving a mission!

So on Thursday we had “in-field orientation” where we learned how to find investigators and what to teach them when you just run into them on the street, (or wherever else you may be). It was suuuper helpful, but Sister Callaway and I had to leave it for three hours because Sister Callaway had to go to the doctor. So we got into a van, they drove us right up to the door and we went into the doctors and had to wait what felt like forever for Sister Callaway to see the doctor. But once she left I had to sit in the waiting area by myself. And, family, if you remember what President Campbell had said when I wasgetting set apart about how on his mission he had been without his companion for hours during one transfer, but he felt that whole time, that there were two people to theside of him.. Even though I was just sitting in the waiting room of the doctors office, I could definitely feel that. That someone was with me as my companion wasn’t near me. And then… when she got back, it was gone. It’s so amazing to know that people are looking out for you, that Heaven is looking out for you. Because I know that Heavenly Father loves each and everyone of us. And He is looking out for us always. And, if you have faith, He will always be with you by having the spirit be with you.

Okay, that is all I have time for! I love you all! Please pray for the people in the first area I will be serving in, that they will be ready to hear the gospel!

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Also, missionary tip: Girls planning on serving missions, my messenger bag that I got is AMAZING! I got it from ogio.com and they give 50% off to people who are serving religious missions! (they’re based in Utah, go figure) You just have to email them and fill out the info so they know you are actually going on a mission. I got the ‘midtown’ bag in the terra color, and it has been wonderful so far! So if you’re looking for a bag, I would definitely recommend that company!

I love you all to the moon and back!
Sister Gomm

I can’t believe I fly out to Philadelphia on Tuesday! I am so excited and nervous!

 

[email from Sister Gomm]

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Life in a Suitcase

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“I hate packing!” We heard this many times over a course of a few days. Trying to decided what things you will need for the next year and a half is hard. A list of what to bring comes with your mission call, your mission president might have an additional list of items, and then you will have spent hours reading blog posts, emails, letters from current missionaries and Facebook statuses on what else you should bring.

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Now to pile all that up and pack it into no more than 2 suitcases and a carry-on that have to weigh less than 50 lbs makes for a great challenge! I should mention that the items on the chair (right side of pic) were shipped to the mission home. It included a super soft blanket, a sheet set, oven mitts, and some stationary.

IMG_2971Of course in the end, it all miraculously works out! And there you have it – all the “things” you will need for life in a suitcase.

Booklet that came with her mission call said she should bring:

  • Record of your immunizations (submit it online, but also take a printed copy with you)
  • $ for a mobile device (not to be purchased before your mission, no set amount was stated)
  • Towels for MTC (laundry facilities are provided without charge to missionaries, bedding is also provided)
  • Government-issued photo id (driver’s license, passport, state identification, etc.)
  • Driving Record (around $10 at your local Driver License Division)
  • Current temple recommend
  • Scriptures in your native language
  • Completed 4 generation pedigree chart
  • A few stories about your ancestors
  • Journal
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks and any other materials needed for taking notes and writing letters
  • Shoulder bags (conservative, no apparent logos or insignia – backpacks are no longer allowed)
  • True to the Faith book
  • Jesus the Christ book
  • Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints book
  • Our Search for Happiness book
  • Personal debit card
  • $200 in cash for travel expenses (baggage fees, meals, and personal needs)
  • $50 cash for MTC (personal expenses – study supplies, snacks, personal items, etc.)
  • Clothes hangers
  • Umbrella (sturdy, solid color)
  • Towels (1 bath, 1 hand & 2 wash cloths)
  • Sheets (1 set – twin size – may be purchased in field)
  • 2 Pillowcases
  • Blanket (may be purchased in field)
  • Personal supplies (makeup, toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, shampoo, deodorant, hand lotion, shaving supplies, combs, shoe polishing supplies, etc.)
  • First-aid kit (current prescription medications (enough for MTC and 1st month of mission), multi-vitamins, cold and allergy medication, decongestants, thermometer, fever reducer, pain reliever, anti-diarrhea medication, antibiotic ointment, anti-itch cream, anti-fungal cream or spray, band-aids, 25-35% DEET mosquito repellent, and medical bracelet, if needed)
  • Sunscreen (30+SPF), lip balm (30+SPF), and heat rash ointment, if serving in a warm climate
  • Prescription eyeglasses, if needed (contacts are discouraged)
  • Miscellaneous: small sewing kit, wind-up or battery alarm clock, foldable laundry bag, small LED flashlight, batteries, inexpensive watch, moleskin for blisters, and extra eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution.
  • Simple, inexpensive camera (optional)
  • If assigned to drive a mission vehicle, you will be required to obtain a local driving license and may need these items: social security card, certified birth certificate, or valid passport
  • Music, music playback devices, and speakers (no headphones & device cannot receive radio signals, play video, or access the internet)
  • If assigned to an area where bicycles are used, you will need to have $400 for a bicycle, helmet and lock
  • Medical insurance card (if you are able to maintain medical insurance
  • Outfits – professional suits, skirts, blouses, jackets, sweaters & dresses (attractive, colorful, fit well & conservative)
  • Outerwear – coats, hats, gloves & scarves, dark leggings, boots
  • Underclothing – white or cream bras, slips (coordinate with color and length of skirts), spandex shorts, nylons & tights (not required), no-show socks, knee-highs
  • Shoes – closed-toe & closed-heel, flat-soled or low heels, shoe inserts, dressy pair for Sunday meetings
  • Accessories – handbags, jewelry, and belts need to be simple and conservative (earrings cannot hang lower than 1 inch below earlobe
  • Preparation Day, Exercise & Other Activities – casual clothing (1 pair of jeans or pants, a few modest T-shirts, loose-fitting exercise clothing, a pair of gym shoes, and pajamas)
  • 2 pieces of luggage
  • 1 carry on bag

Mission Specific Items:

  • Outfits (6-8)
  • Sunday shoes (1-2 – boots and heels no higher than 2″)
  • Proselyting shoes (2)
  • Garments (10-12)
  • Sweaters (2)
  • Winter coat (with zip-out liner for warmth)
  • Winter boots
  • Overshoes, warm boots, thin sock liners, and heavier socks (all optional)
  • Gloves, scarf, ear-bands, winter hat
  • Thermal underwear (2 pair)
  • Raincoat, neck scarf, and gloves
  • Exercise clothing
  • One set of clothing for activities where regular missionary attire is not appropriate (pants must be full length)
  • Pajamas, robe and slippers
  • Shower sandals
  • Jackets or cardigans sweaters (must be worn at church and all official mission meetings)
  • Warm blanket or two
  • $50-$100 in cash to use for emergencies and any incidentals you may need that is not covered by Missionary Support Funds*

Items to Bring not mentioned Officially:

  • Nail care items (clippers, file, polish)
  • Conditioner (only Shampoo mentioned in booklet)
  • Brush
  • Mini Preach My Gospel book
  • Mini scriptures (paperback and sold individually or as a set of 4 different books)
  • Stationary, stamps and envelopes
  • String/ribbon, scissors, tape, permanent marker (you are supposed to write your name on everything), plastic baggies, sticky notes
  • CTR ring
  • Young Women’s Medallion necklace
  • Snacks for MTC (6 hour classes and starving by bedtime)
  • Calendar with family birthdays (no daily planners are allowed)
  • Extra journals/blank notebooks (for firesides & conferences, personal study, notes from companions and other missionaries)
  • Address book (for home and mission people’s info)
  • Sleeping pills (Ibuprofen PM or Tylenol PM)
  • Lanyard for MTC or slide-clip (can be purchased at MTC – used for door access card)
  • USB drive (store pics from mission)
  • Small photo book with family pictures
  • Room fresheners
  • Decorations for walls (cute quotes, etc.)
  • Small recipe book of favorite recipes and room to add to while on mission
  • Book of 30 minute workouts
  • 2 copies of Patriarchal Blessing (one to take notes on)
  • Mini laminated copy of Patriarchal Blessing (can be done at the MTC) to place in your scriptures
  • Scripture case
  • Luggage tags
  • Shower caddy
  • Mini hymn book
  • Under shirts and underwear
  • Q-tips, bobby pins, mirror, lint roller, Tide-to-Go
  • Space bags
  • Garbage bag (for clothes not washed when leaving the MTC)
  • File Organizer
  • Face cleaner and makeup remover
  • Soap & soap holder
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Calling card for the airport
  • Rain boots with fleece lining
  • Light coat (something like a pea coat)
  • Pencil skirts (especially for windy areas)
  • Plan of Salvation Visual Aid

*Missionary Support Funds do NOT cover clothing, luggage, eye care (new glasses or contact lenses), dental visits, co-payments for doctor appointments and prescriptions, cameras, film, souvenirs and traffic fines/penalties. It DOES cover groceries, personal grooming items, laundry, cleaning supplies, haircuts, postage for weekly letters home, fast offerings and transportation.

[written by Sammy’s mom]