We had some time to get to know our district before it was time for dinner. There are four elders and four sisters in my district. The elder are going to Richmond Virginia and all of the sister are going to Raleigh. My companion's name is Sister Paynter and she is wonderful! I joke that they put us together because our names are similar. She is really sweet and has a very strong testimony and an incredible desire to serve a mission. As we ate dinner we discovered that we have a lot in common. We are both 'older' for sister missionaries and have studied elementary education in college. She also never really thought about serving a mission but felt impressed that it was what Heavenly Father wanted her to do. Her obedience and dedication are inspiring to me and I am so grateful to be able to be her companion, even for just 12 days.
I love being here! I know that this is where I am supposed to be and that I need this experience. I am learning so much more than I thought possible and I am also being very humbled to realize how little I actually know. My afternoon classroom teacher is incredible. She is always asking us why we do the things we do or why things are the way they are. She makes us think about our testimonies and understanding of the gospel. I have learned so much about the Atonement and Christ and why baptism is so essential in the past two days. My testimony has been strengthened a lot more than I thought possible in such a short time. I have no doubt that Christ is our Savior and that His Atonement is the only way we can be able to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. As we are baptized by proper authority and take upon us Christ's name, we gain full access to His Atonement and we are able to be in the presence of God as we continue to live His gospel and repent. Repentance is not just for sins. Repentance happens every single day as we continue to learn and grow and become more perfect. Repentance occurs when our view of ourselves, of God, and of the world becomes more in tune with God's view. I am so grateful and humbled that Heavenly Father has asked me to be a representative of Jesus Christ for the next 18 months and to share the gospel with others. I have spent much of the past two days being taught about my purpose as a missionary. PMG says "your purpose as a missionary is to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive His gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end' (that might not be the exact quote, I am still working on memorizing it). That is my purpose, but that is not all of it. My purpose is also to love, serve, work, and represent Christ in all I do.
I know that this gospel is true and that it will bring more peace and happiness than anything else in this world. That is because this gospel is truly led by Heavenly Father and it is the way we can learn how to become like Him so that we can live with Him eternally.
I love you all
Teresa's notes: Lauren actually had written this before the last post, but she typed in my email incorrectly.