Today is an important day. It’s Sunday. According to my Facebook it’s Sherie Bedke’s and Taylor Capson’s birthday. Thanks for being born.
But today also marks three years since I entered the MTC. Wide-eyed and impressionable, I was ready to become the next Ammon.
Well, I was not Ammon. I was just Sister Buchanan. But the MTC is where I learned that being just Sister Buchanan was enough.
To celebrate this anniversary, I decided to thumb through some old entires in my mission journal.
“Today I entered the MTC. It has been a roller coaster of emotions … I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed — but that is really normal. I always hate first days and first weeks. I wish I could skip to week two and try to be awesome. Today my goal was to be brave and I made comments in every teaching situation … I’m going to work hard and try not to waste a minute here … I love God. All is well.”
“This morning was rough. Then we had gym time. Sweet, blessed endorphins.”
“I love being a missionary … Tonight I had a wonderful companionship study with Sister Nielson. We studied the Atonement and I’ve never felt such a strong testimony of it burning within my heart.”
“Today was great. I did something new. It’s called wake up at 5:45 a.m. and go to an exercise class at 6:00 a.m … Something amazing happened today. Yesterday I was praying so hard to have a testimony of the Atonement working in my life. I know it’s real but sometimes I believe it’s for everyone but me. Then this morning we had the most beautiful lesson on the Atonement. I knew with all of my heart that the Atonement was for me too. I know that because I have repented, had faith and changed, God will forgive me. It’s amazing. I love the MTC. The spirit is so strong.”
“Yesterday Sister Nielson and I got up at 5:30 a.m. to prepare for our first lesson … Luckily we did though; because we were prepared our lesson went very well. Blessing from the Lord. It is the coolest thing ever to teach by the spirit. I am not very eloquent, but when I teach, the words just seem to flow. I know that’s because of the spirit … I’m trying hard to leave myself behind and become the missionary I need to be. I’m trying not to let Emmilie Buchanan get in the way of Sister Buchanan.”
“Today was my first hard day. I felt the spirit and know I’m supposed to be here, but it was still hard. The constant classroom and studying can sometimes be hard. But it’s still such a blessing to be taught by the spirit and increase my testimony.”
“So this is funny. Yesterday we taught an investigator. We were a little off teaching, but it still went alright. However, this happened: An investigator asked about why we needed the Book of Mormon when we already had the Bible. I immediately thought of how the Book of Mormon was written for our day and began to testify of that. Suddenly, my mind went blank. Awesome. This is what came out:
“‘I know that this book was written for our day … um … prophets have taught us … that … um … this book was written for our day. And that doesn’t explain very much but that’s okay.’
“I felt my face turn red; I was so embarassed. That was my worst fear— that I would be speaking and totally freeze and not know what to say. That happened.
“The investigators were trying not to laugh. Luckily they were members just role playing. But still. Thank goodness that afterward they said they felt the spirit and felt it powerfully when I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Thank goodness the spirit can cover my mistakes. Luckily my companion saved that situation and bore her testimony. LUCKILY it didn’t totally shatter my confidence and Sister Nielson and I shared a good laugh about it. Luckily my biggest fear has happened and now I can only improve. Thank goodness the Lord is always teaching us lessons.”
Tonight we taught a teacher named Brother Davis who took on the role of an investigator named Lorenzo. He was struggling to keep the word of wisdom. Sister Nielsen and I went in with the intention of teaching him about the word of wisdom, but I felt strongly that we needed to focus on faith, the Atonement and the strength that can come from Christ. I bore my testimony on faith and could tell he was truly touched. Sister Nielsen taught about repentance, the next principle we had planned to teach, but I felt strongly that we needed to deviate from the lesson.
“I felt prompted to ask him what the most important thing in the world was to him. He said that it was his new found faith. I told him that he was the most important thing to God. I bore my testimony of how much God loved him and how God would bless him as he tried to make changes in his life and come closer to Christ. It was the most incredible feeling. It was a power that was not my own. I was the mouthpiece for God in telling Lorenzo how much God loved him. Then Sister Nielsen shared Isaiah 41:10. Tears streamed down Brother Davis’ face. That, along with the question I felt prompted to ask confirmed to my heart that we were not teaching an investigator named Lorenzo. We were teaching Brother Davis, a son of God. We finished the lesson with Mosiah 24:14-15, our testimonies and a prayer. Brother Davis told us that we had touched him and brought him closer to Christ, not as the investigator, but as himself. The spirit was so strong and I felt so much love for him.”
“Tonight I had my first chance to teach the law of chastity. I’m not gonna lie. I was kind of freaking out.”
“Today I started packing. That’s weird because I feel like I just got here. But it’s good because I’m ready to go. I came to a sweet realization. When I bear my testimony, my soul feels like it comes alive. It’s an amazing feeling— knowing with every fiber of my being that this church is true. How I love this gospel. I’m so grateful to share it with the people of Montana.”
Serving a mission was the single greatest experience of my life. It has forever changed me. Not a single day has gone by in these past three years that I don’t think about Montana and the sacred work I was engaged in there.
The gospel is true. Go preach it.