Joy to the World

Hallo! I cannot believe I have concluded my third week here at the MTC. I'm half-way through the training process and as much as I would love to be in Berlin by now, I don't feel ready! I already know these remaining three weeks will fly by.

Again, Happy belated Thanksgiving. I spent Thanksgiving here at the MTC and it was a bit different, but it was a good different. It was also a very busy day. My thanksgiving day began with a blueberry donut. I love donuts. I can't think of a better way to start off my day than with a donut. Now, you're probably asking yourself why I am so happy about one donut. Well, the food and I have not been on the best terms lately... so this donut was a good sign for my tastebuds (: After having breakfast, the missionaries who were in the Thanksgiving choir left to be seated and ran through For the Beauty of the Earth. Right before our Thanksgiving devotional began, Sister Bates, Sister Depeel, and I placed bets on who the guest speaker would be (note, we bet on nothing haha). I immediately said I thought it would be Elder David A. Bednar or Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. Sister Bates thought it would be Elder Jeffrey R. Holland or Elder Ronald A. Rasband. Sister Depeel thought it would be Elder Deiter F. Uchtdorf or Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Well my lovelies, within two minutes of of placing our bets, it was announced David A. Bednar and his wife would be speaking to us. I was in awe at my ability to have guessed correctly haha.

Elder David A. Bednar is an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is one of the 12 apostles. One of the blessings of the Church of Christ is that we believe in a modern day prophet and modern day apostles. The MTC was blessed this past Thanksgiving day to be able to personally hear from one of Christ's apostles.

Elder David A. Bednar spoke to us live; however, the devotional was broadcast to all Missionary Training Centers throughout the world-- 14 different countries. He announced we would be able to submit questions to him via email or text message. Yes, they handed out phones for this. The questions that were asked by missionaries were extraordinary. What I took away most from everything that was spoken about was the importance of reading the Book of Mormon with a purpose.

The first time the Book of Mormon is read, it is to determine for yourself if it truly is the word of God and if it is another testament of Christ. After that, reading becomes a personal choice. Last April, President Thomas S. Monson (the prophet) invited us to read the Book of Mormon daily. He promises us that our lives will be blessed for daily reading. I know this promise to be true. And even though you should read the Book of Mormon, you should read it with a purpose. We should all be reading it with a question in mind, whether that is if Jesus is the Christ, if Joseph Smith truly translated it, or what it means to have faith onto courage, etc. I invite each of you to read with a purpose, I will be doing so.

Our Thanksgiving lunch was basically our dinner. It was your typical American Thanksgiving dinner, and it was delicious. I did miss the lasagna and Bolivian bread though. Following our meal, we all participated in a humanitarian project. We packaged a healthy breakfast composed of oats and apples. The meal we prepared will be distributed to children who are at-risk or currently living in hunger. 1 in 6 children are living in hunger. It was a privilege to participate in such a good cause that will aid children in the state of Utah.

The evening was filled with music. We were blessed to have been able to spend about an hour with the National Tribute Band. It was practically a private concert. Let me just say, I did not know who this bad was but the minute they played their first song I fell in love. It was sweet to think God loves me enough to bring country gospel music to me haha. I just love country music oh so much. I loved all of their songs. They all testified of Christ, who he is, and of his role in our lives.

We were surprised with a sweet welcoming for this Christmas season. We were invited to exit through predetermined doors, and the minute we walked outside we were all filled with joy to see Christmas lights. It really is beginning to feel like Christmas.

The remainder of my week was not as busy as Thanksgiving day. On Friday some of the Sisters and I tried to see how many Sisters we could fit on the top bunk bed. You see, the bunk beds here do not appear to be as reliable as they are. We managed to fit four Sisters on the top bunk before chickening out. In all honesty, we were terrified of the possibility of falling if we continued adding more Sisters onto the bed. But, we were having a blast being squished, having girl talk, and laughing.

I gave in to eating cereal on Sunday. My appetite has been slowly disappearing. Don't worry, I'm still eating what I can find. Eating cereal was a milestone. I'm proud to say I lasted a little over two weeks without having eaten it. I feel a little bit better, but not fully. I am also in a trio now. Missionaries typically have one companion... I have two. It's definitely something new.

Fun story. So I have this little journal I'm having missionaries I meet sign, and so far the missionaries who have signed it have been the ones who have left. Well, this week we said goodbye to a Berlin Turkish speaking Elder, and the ASL missionaries. The Turkish Elders were supposed to leave this week too-- they are now supposed to leave next week-- so they also signed my little book. The only thing is... the two Turkish speaking Elders signed it in Turkish. There were legitimately two notes in my little book that are in Turkish. Let that sink in.

So, I was quite confused because I did not know what was written. It took me 20 minutes, more or less, to use google translate to translate it. Well, the message was encouraging. It was your typical: good luck learning the language, with God you can do anything, enjoy Germany, etc. I'll admit, it was kind. However, I wasn't going to let them go free.

Take a guess. What would Sister Quintana do? Well, I wrote them a note. This note was very special though. I wrote it in a hybrid of Spanish and German (: It was a reasonably kind note, wishing them the best of luck on their missions and to walk with Christ and... hinting at the possibility I hope they get food poisoning haha (I hope they don't though). I gave it to them with a big smile on my face. I was pleased to hear they died of laughter upon opening it. So there's that haha.

I have been heavily relying on prayer this past week. I know God hears our prayers. I know he is aware of our needs and worries. I know he loves us. I know prayer is powerful when we pray in faith. I also know Jesus Christ is our redeemer. I know he came to this earth to die so that we may live in the eternities. I know December is not here yet, but it is close. I invite each of you to view this video: Light the World I invite each of you to take part in the #LightTheWorld initiative.

Ye are the light of the world... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

I know we all have the capacity to be a light to this world. We can all contribute to making this world a better, sweeter place. I know that as we become lights by serving others, we will experience a change within us that will fill us with joy. Join us in being a light this Christmas season.

Alles Liebe,
Sister Quintana