Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How Lovely is the Life I Lead!

This week was practically perfect in every way. Which means it was 100% normal, nothing crazy or out of the ordinary happened. Which is how they like to run things here at the MTC, and it's great! However, because of the repetitiveness of the MTC, we all relish the smallest changes to our schedule. 

A few examples:

On Wednesday our district was assigned to host again, but this time we were on traffic duty. We were required to wear bright yellow coats that clearly needed to learn some subtlety. Watching new missionaries get dropped off makes me feel like it was just yesterday I was being dropped off, but, I also feel like I've been here my whole life - so it's a toss up.

Drop off Traffic Duty
On Sunday a bat decided to join us for Relief Society! He probably heard Sister Carol McConkie of the Young Women General Presidency was speaking and wanted to attend. And who can blame him right? Relief Society in the MTC is combined with all the sisters and it's awesome, they are all clearly soldiers in petty coats, ready to charge to the front lines and win the the war against the adversary.
On Friday we were all surprised to see our flight plans in our mailbox, and nowhere was there a more happier crew! The nine of us headed to Cape Verde next week will be flying from Utah to Georgia to New Jersey to Portugal (with a nine hour layover, but who cares it's Europe!) and then to Cape Verde. So this trip has the potential to take me on five different flights if my first area is not on the main island of Praia. But we are so excited we can hardly contain it. Send us soaring.... up through the atmosphere, up where the air is clear… Oh let's go.... fly to Africa! 

Flight Plans
With the countdown on, all of us are getting a little anxious. We are stoked out of our minds, and we are also realizing that in one week, we will be in a new country with a people who only speak Portuguese. "Nossa!" (This means "Oh my!", "Gee whiz!", "Golly!", etc.) But when in doubt, I'll just shout "Supercalifragiloustiexpialidocious!" Because as the song goes... For when the cat has got your tongue there's no need for dismay, just summon up this word and then you've got a lot to say.
*Bear with my musical connections for one more week, in the MTC we create our own fun. :)

This week all the Africa-bound sister missionaries (there are seven of us in the MTC, two sisters are headed to Mozambique and the rest of us to Cape Verde) started pulling out our Chacos and wearing them. As we admired each other's choice of Chacos, we all started discussing whether the thin sole was better than the thick sole and if it was worth it to have the toe strap or not. Pretty soon we were all second guessing our Chaco choice! At the end of this discussion, I remember thinking, "During Jesus' earthly ministry, I bet he never once wondered if He should have bought the sandals with the thick sole and the toe strap." And while the thought made me laugh a little, it also reminded me that it's not the type of sandal that is important, but it's whose sandals we're following. 
President Monson said, 
"As you and I walk the pathway Jesus walked, let us listen for the sound of sandaled feet. Let us reach out for the Carpenter's hand. Then we shall come to know him. He may come to us as one unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lakeside he came to those men who knew him not. He speaks to us the same words, "...follow thou me..." (John 21:22), and sets us to the task which he has to fulfill for our time. He commands, and to those who obey him, whether they be wise or simple, he will reveal himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in his fellowship; and they shall learn in their own experience who he is.

We discover he is more than the babe in Bethlehem, more than the carpenter's son, more than the greatest teacher ever to live. We come to know him as the Son of God. He never fashioned a statue, painted a picture, wrote a poem, or led an army. He never wore a crown or held a scepter or threw around his shoulder a purple robe. His forgiveness was unbounded, his patience inexhaustible, his courage without limit. Jesus changed men. He changed their habits, their opinions, their ambitions. He changed their tempers, their dispositions, their natures. He changed men's hearts."
When Jesus had completed his earthly ministry, and finished his Atoning sacrifice, He appeared to His disciples and said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19)." Well I am called with the same authority with which Christ called His disciples, and therefore am called to teach all nations - even if those nations start with a tiny group of islands off the coast of West Africa, and if I do He promises to "be with [me] always, even until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20)."

Life is so lovely! Even within the 60's brick walls of the MTC, because life is lovely when you have a calling and a purpose. I love my God, I love my Savior, I already love the people of Cape Verde. Fredrick Beuchner wrote, "The place God calls us to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." and I know there are people who are hungry for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Cape Verde, and I already feel a deep gladness for the ministry I have been called to.

I love you all!
Tchou for now!
Sister Katherine Hanzel

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