(: Susquehanna #20

Hello friends and family!

Wow. What a crazy week!

We got to give tours all day Tuesday to missionaries!! 1/4 of the
mission came in the morning, and another fourth came in the afternoon.
It was so so so fun to see so many familiar faces! I got to see Sister
Callaway, my mtc companion. When they all first showed up we went to
the chapel and had a meeting. During Elder Walker’s talk he talked
about a ripple effect, and how we all come here and have the
experiences that we have, and we go and share those with others and
they come and share their experiences with others, and pretty soon the
whole world is filled with the spirit and the knowledge of the
restoration of the priesthood. Elder Walker used us as an example and
had one of the visitors’ center companionships stand and start singing
the hymn Abide With Me. As they sang through the first verse the rest
of the visitors’ center sisters stood up and walked to the front,
joining in the song. By the end the spirit was filling the room. When
we were done Elder Walker had everyone in the room stand and sing the
first verse again with us. Since I’ve been here I’ve been thinking and
studying a lot about Ministering Angels. As we sang I think there were
Ministering Angels around us. While singing I was standing right in
front of Sister Callaway who was on the front row. As we made eye
contact I could see tears in her eyes. Suddenly I pictured myself in a
small classroom back in Provo Utah a short nine months ago. Sitting
next to Sister Callaway, who I barely knew. With shiny name tags with
two names on them. With eyes that were probably the size of golf
balls. I thought about the things that I had known to be true then. I
knew this church was true, I knew the Book of Mormon was true, and I
knew I needed to share this with others. I thought of who I was then
and then thought of who I am now. How the spirit has softened my heart
so I could change. The Lord has humbled me so I could repent. God has
answered me so I can know He is there. I thought of many of the
experiences I’ve had since January and of the many times the spirit
prompted me to do something. Then I thought about the next nine
months. What am I going to do to help others? How am I going to
testify to them? Why am I even talking to everyone I possibly can?
Then I thought of our Savior. I thought of everything He did for us. I
thought of the many times I’ve sat in someone’s living room and told
them that if they were the only person who lived on the earth that
Christ still would have done everything He did. Just for them. And I
realized that this applies to me too. His grace is sufficient for all
men. How great is our call to share the gospel with others! I’m so
grateful that I have nine more months to be here and to love these
people as Christ loves them. To share with them the fullness of truth.
To testify of the prophet of the restoration. To help them know why
this even applies to them at all.

On Thursday we had such an amazing district meeting! We split into two
groups and our district leader gave us all a list of questions and we
had to find answers to those questions from the Book of Mormon. As we
went through the list I realized how it’s true, the Book of Mormon
does answer all of our questions. It helps us know Christ and know how
to return to live with God again. If you’re looking for answers to
your questions, I promise you will find answers in the Book of Mormon.
On Thursday we also had thanksgiving dinner at the Slater’s. Yes, they
are aware that thanksgiving is next month…but Jay told us that he
thinks thanksgiving dinner shouldn’t only be allowed on thanksgiving,
so he invited us over! It was so fun and both Misty and Jay’s parents
were there too. It was so good!

On Friday we went on exchanges. I went with Sister Harvey. Wow. Sister
Harvey is a spiritual GIANT. She is amazing! The tours that we gave at
the visitors’ center were so full of the spirit because she testified
and applied everything to the people that were there. It was on one of
those tours that it suddenly hit me. And I’m embarrassed that it’s
taken me this long to realize this. But when Sister Harvey was talking
I suddenly realized that all of these things really happened. John the
Baptist really conferred the Aaronic Priesthood back to the earth.
Peter, James, and John all conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood. The
prophet Joseph Smith really lived. He really translated the Book of
Mormon. I’ve known this my whole life, but I was just reminded that
these aren’t made up events. They actually happened. We actually have
the priesthood. We really do have the Book of Mormon that truly is
another testament of Jesus Christ. This is all true. Joseph Smith was
a prophet of God. I’m so grateful I get to testify of all of this and
that I can help others know of this truth.

There is a lot of evidence that all of this is true. I talk about this
evidence every single day. But what difference does the evidence make
if you don’t have faith? None of this matters if you don’t apply it to
yourself and allow it to change you. Brad Wilcox gave a talk called
His Grace is Sufficient. Something I love from that talk is he talks
about how people believe that they just accept Christ as our Savior
and they are saved by grace. The point is not that we are saved by
grace, but that we are changed by grace. Yes, Christ performed the
Atonement for every one of us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do
anything. We still have to humble ourselves and apply Christ’s gospel
to our lives. Have you been changed by grace?

I’ve learned a lot this week, and I know I’ll continue to learn more.
I’m so grateful for this gospel and for all of the blessings and
miracles we receive and see from having it in our lives. I hope you
all have a wonderful week!

I love you to the moon and back.

Love,

Sister Gomm (:

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]

Hello – MTC #1

Hello friends and family!

So people always talk about the MTC being like prison. And I must say… if prison is a spiritual powerhouse where 80% of your day is spent in prayer (that may or may not be an exaggeration) and you are learning how to help others learn of the things you believe to be true, and you read and study scriptures that help and uplift you, and you talk to and smile at everyone you pass and everyone calls each other Sister and Elder, then yes, I would say the MTC is exactly like prison. 

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Needless to say, I love it here! My companion is Sister Callaway, and I. Love. her. She is the sweetest person, and so so compassionate and I wish we could stay companions forever! I seriously could not have asked for a better companion. Last night we had interviews with our branch presidency and it was so weird to not be in the same room as Sister Callaway during our interviews, and I’ve only known her since Wednesday! Anyways…

Last night when meeting with the branch presidency, Sister Callaway and I were asked to be our Sister Training Leaders for our zone. It’s so crazy that we are here for such a short amount of time, I can’t believe we fly out to Philadelphia so soon! There’s still so much to learn!

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1 of 2 Pennsylvania Philadelphia Districts currently at the MTC.

We pretty much sit in class for half of the day. But it is so great! I am learning so much and the spirit is so strong here. Our district is the best district ever. I know, I know, I’m sure everyone thinks that…. but mine really is the best. Everyone has such strong testimonies and such a great desire to learn. We even match our outfits. Today we are all wearing red, and on Sunday we even have our branch presidency (and classroom teachers even though they won’t be here with us on Sunday) planning on wearing black and/or purple, so everyone wear black and purple on Sunday! (: So we have eight people total in our district: Sister Callaway and I, Elder Beckstead, and Elder Crowther, Elder Pule, Elder Fernandes, Sister Smith and Sister Maughn. Sister Smith and Sister Maughn are both so sweet. Elder Pule is the sweetest person ever! He is so funny too! Elder Fernandes is so cool, he has such a strong testimony. Elder Beckstead and Elder Crowther are so funny as well. Weird (and very unimportant fact): Elder Crowther’s girlfriend is here, she entered the MTC the same day that all of us did. She’s going to Arizona I think… I guess she sat by Elder Crowther and Elder Beckstead one day at lunch.. I asked them if it was weird, Elder Crowther said it wasn’t, but Elder Beckstead said that it was really weird. Too funny.

Anyways, I saw Preston Shaw and Brittany Prows, so yay for familiar faces! I thought Sister Prows had already left but we literally almost ran into each other in our residence hall!

The days are so so busy here. Every day is planned to a T and you don’t have any extra time for anything! Which is actually pretty great except at night when everyone in your room is up later than 10:30 because we are all trying to write in our journals and do some extra studying. I’m already behind on my journal writing, and I don’t think I’ll ever get caught up! I’m pretty sure I’m still writing about yesterday… 

Sister Gomm, Sister Smith, Sister Maghn & Sister Callaway

Sister Gomm, Sister Smith, Sister Maughan & Sister Callaway – taken on their first day – “dork dots” are still on their badges.

So last night all of the girls in our room, (the Sisters in our district and two other Sisters) were all talking, and we got on to the subject of the Salt Lake Temple (cause that’s what you talk about when on tangents in the MTC) and I told them all if they ever got to go to the Salt Lake Temple to look at the ceiling. They were all very confused so hopefully they can go at some point and understand what I was talking about. Haha

Also everyone sings in the shower (okay not everyone, but lots of people). But they all sing church songs. It’s actually quite humorous. There were two Sisters who were singing Grease yesterday though… I had it stuck in my head all day after that. Okay also! everyone in my zone likes Les Mis, Wicked, and The Phantom of the Opera. What, how did that even happen? I don’t know… but I love it. 

Okay this is the most unorganized email I have ever written, and I am so sorry for that! But I have learned so much in the few short days that I have been here. I have had the Holy Ghost with me constantly, which is the most amazing feeling!! I have made friendships that I know will last forever. I have a better understanding of Heavenly Father’s love for each of us. I know that sharing and living the gospel is the best thing that you can do. I now understand what all of my return missionary friends mean when they say that they hate being home and they miss their mission so much. I can already tell that I will be saying the same things in a year and a half. Also my district all made plans to go to New Zealand when we get back from our missions and watch The Lord of the Rings. Why New Zealand? Cause uh… Lord of the Rings….. Duh… Plus Elder Pule lives in New Zealand so… why not, right? 

We have talked a lot about the purpose of being missionaries. One of our teachers wrote this on the board:

Faith
Repentance
Baptism
Holy Ghost
Enduring to the end
this. is our purpose.

Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. (Preach My Gospel)

I would encourage you all to keep these in mind. Having faith is so important. Ether 12 is a wonderful chapter in the scriptures on faith. I especially love versus 8, 9 and 12. 

Don’t forget to pray. You can never pray enough. We pray so much here, and I know that the Spirit is with us more as we pray and keep a sincere heart. 

Okay that is all I have time for! I’m sorry this is such a disorganized messy email!

I love you all to the moon and back!
Email and write me! I would love to hear from you all!

Love,
Sister Gomm

[email from Sister Gomm]