This has seriously been the best week ever!!!!!!

Actually it’s been really challenging in a lot of ways, but mostly good ones. It’s amazing how little things help keep us afloat here.

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I’ve been really concentrating on reading the Book of Mormon this week and it has helped me through so much. We don’t have much personal time here, so when I say I’m reading it, I mean I bring it everywhere and read in the lunch line, when my companion goes to the bathroom, all the time haha. I feel weird without it now.

An excerpt from my Branch President letter last week:

I’m almost done with Words of Mormon! I love the Book of Mormon so much… It has truly been a delight to read the doctrines of Christ made so plainly available to us and I find myself hungering for more personal study time… It’s crazy and wonderful how quickly it transforms from a difficult task to one that you rejoice to be able to spend time doing.

My relationship with my Heavenly Father through prayer has shifted dramatically in the time I have been at the MTC. I have come to expect answers without question, and to often receive clear, direct promptings. The reality of these things has been proven to me again and again, especially when my companion receives similar or complementary revelation as we pray together. Nevertheless, I am still seeking to deepen this relationship and the diligence with which I follow the Lord’s commandments…

Reading the Book of Mormon is truly the solace and comfort I’m seeking when distractions and worries come,there is such peace that flows from its pages… I have such a testimony of this now.

Now I’m in Mosiah and I feel this even more! The Book of Mormon is such a strong testimony of the reality of Christ and I feel the Spirit so strongly when I read it every day.

Last Friday Hawkins Egch and I were able to do sealings in the Provo temple. It was beautiful. The blessings of the temple are real and wonderful. I had such a powerful witness of the importance of sealings and felt such awe to know that through the gospel of Christ we can truly live with our families forever. What blessing that is! I hope we all can remember these blessings and work towards strengthening our families this week. It was a great reminder that through my service in Mongolia I’ll be able to help unite families and bring them closer together through coming closer to Christ.

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Saturday I got called into the front desk and I got to see President and Sister Jaggi!!! It was so amazing to be able to talk to them. It makes me even more excited to meet my mission president and his wife as the Jaggis’ testimonies were so strong!!! Our stake is so wonderful and I’m so grateful to have grown up amongst so many amazing friends. One huge blessing that I get from church is definitely the community of people who bear one another’s burdens. The mission presidents were in a super restricted area by themselves as the apostles would be there teaching, so I thought I wouldn’t get to see them. But I was praying to run into them so I could have a hug from Sister Jaggi! Somehow I knew she had something to say that would comfort me and she did. I’m so glad that my prayers were answered…

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This morning we left the MTC to get our 3rd rabies shots and there was a hot air balloon festival happening in the street! The roads were closed so we had to walk, which was actually amazing. It was a beautiful day!!!!!! I’m so happy to be outside in the summertime and see flowers and trees and hear birds (There are so many that live at the MTC!) It was really interesting because there were tons of little kids there and everyone waved and said hello to us. I think inside it’s easy to forget what it means to wear a name tag at times, but we are truly representatives of Christ called to teach and uplift others! I hope I can remember that more fully even when I’m not wearing a name tag in Mongolia.

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I love you all!!!! I’m finding out more and more crazy things about the country haha… It seems Mongolia is the place people like to tell tall tales about so  I’ll have to see which are true.

Next door in our residence hall is a set of Brazilian sisters that only jut started learning English a few weeks ago at the MTC. It’s been interesting to communicate with them and think about what it will be like to teach our classes. We are finishing the last of our online course this week (seriously I had no idea I’d write so many essays on my mission!!!!) and then we’ll start teaching at BYU!!!!! How crazy. My own class!!! I’m terrified and excited. My companion has been a huge help with assignments as she’s a veteran teacher but in class we teach alone.

Our “investigators” are going pretty well. They have such different personalities and it’s been great to see how differently we need to teach them. Tomorrow we start TRC so we get to meet two more people!!!! I’m so excited!!!!

As for the language I feel a lot more able to communicate my ideas this week as I can actually use more than one verb in a sentence now haha. SIMPLE SENTENCES ARE TERRIBLE. Haha. Be thankful for everything you are able to express… We’re doing SYL which means Speak Your Language so there are long stretches of time when we can’t speak any English. In a bit it will be 24/7!

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I love you all! We are a family here in our district but I miss you too (: We have bonded so much here and overcome a lot of struggles this week and I’m convinced it is because we have started saying nightly prayer all together and trying to eat meals together. It’ll work for you too!!!

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I bear my testimony that the promises that Heavenly Father makes us are sure. You don’t have to be perfect to receive and feel his love, you just have to reach out to him. We are his children and He wants to speak with us!!!

Lots of hugs!!!!

Sister Shanti de Ruyter

[The following is a video of Sister de Ruyter bearing her testimony in Mongolian]

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