February 25, 2014: MTC Provo, Utah

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Dear Family and Friends!

I am doing so good! Everything here at the MTC is wonderful and I can’t believe how much I am growing! We got a new district last week, and all of the Elders in our zone are pretty awesome! One of them aspires to be rich just so he can become a Disney platinum VIP member and get into all of the parks around the world for free lol, we sing Disney often and have wonderful conversation. I have to thank you all for the letters and packages! It is seriously such a spirit lifter to see a letter with your name on it 🙂 . Mom, I got everything and it is wonderful!

Portuguese is coming along well, we teach lessons without any notes (I might have already told you that) and it is a super big accomplishment for us! I’m sure we still sound funny, slow and make mistakes, but we are so much more confident in our speaking abilities.

Not only is the language coming along wonderfully, but there have been so many spiritual epiphanies and growths. In order to be a missionary, I need to exhaust all my resources to growth and a desire to teach. Recently I realized, that here is the place to polish new habits and behaviors before I get out into the field. In a recent devotional, we were reminded of a list of Christ-like attributes and told to really reflect on our lives and the Christ-like attributes we do and do not use.

I took this assignment very seriously and decided to look at a list of attributes and pray intently to have one attribute pop into my head and even more importantly, I was planning to take on a simple task like, ‘be on time’ , ‘give 10 compliments a day’ etc… but that was not what the Lord had in mind for me! This next part is funny. As I was praying, I was putting too much dependence in the miraculous enlightenment that comes with being a missionary, and I thought of a random scripture and decided that it must be divine inspiration and all my answers would be in that scripture! The scripture was Amor 1:3-5. lol. A lot about fire and brimestone. I read the verse about 5 times over to make sure that there was not something directly applicable to my quest for christlike attributes.

I continued my scripture study and came to a pretty wonderful conclusion.  If I were to produce one task (like giving a certain amount of compliments), I would be building Christlike attributes, but being the prideful person that I am, I know that I would take some of the glory because I want others to see me as more perfect, and that is a bad foundation to build Christ-like attributes on! I have such a strong testimony of prayer and that our Heavenly Father knows our needs better than our own, and when we turn to do His will, we are happier. This may not be medicine for everyone else, but I came to the perfect solution to bettering myself without taking pride in myself. I need to study out the source. Rather than focus on the “WHAT” I can do to be better, I need to study out the “WHY” I become better.

This next year and a half is going to be a time in which I conduct a study of the Savior’s life. I have such a great love for His sacrifice and I know I have an un-prideful desire to be like Him because it is all He asks in return. I am going to forget the Preach My Gospel list of attributes that can make me better, and I am going to study the actions of Christ out and implement similar behavior into my life. I hope this makes sense to everyone! I know this makes perfect sense in my head and I can become a better person by doing so. Just like we don’t want to just teach our investigators ‘what’ to do (stop drinking coffee, go to church etc.) They need to know ‘why’ they should do it.

When we convert ourselves upon the doctrine, the ‘why’ we do something, I know it will touch our souls and impact our life far more than if we were only focused on the ‘what’ we need to do. Again I hope that all makes sense!!! I love this Gospel so much and have a sincere desire to be better. I testify that God wants desperately for us to become better and if we turn to Him with a sincere desire to grow and we are willing to act, then He WILL aid us.

I’m healthy, working, learning and happy! Don’t worry!

Love,

Sister Dean

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MTC Provo, Utah

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Dear Family and Friends!

I made it past the first week! I have to admit I was a little shell shocked the first few days, but I am loving the MTC now! We still are working extremely hard, but we have adjusted and are learning to love the work. I have lots of cool stories to share! Guess who I saw this last Sunday? I’ll give you a hint:  he’s an apostle…his name starts with an ‘H’ and he strikes fear into the hearts of the sinners everywhere! Yup, Elder Holland came to the MTC! He and his son spoke to us during devotional and it was really great. They testified of Joseph Smith and I was in the choir and we were able to sing Praise to the Man for the apostle and his family and I swear we were one step below the Mormon Tabernacle Choir :).

I know I mentioned it before, but I am in a trio and the three of us make up our district lol. We have two teachers, Irmao Lefevere and Irmao Neilson and they both bring so much to our learning. We still teach lessons about every day, and it is crazy how far we have come! We are able to teach lessons without any notes now! I admit, we take a while to think and conjugate and then to speak, but it is so nice to be able to communicate what I want to say, even if it is slow and sometimes difficult. My companions and I have been setting some awesome goals and we are memorizing 10 new words a day (5 verbs and 5 nouns) and 2 phrases. It doesn’t seem like much, but we already have 100 new words memorized and at least 20 phrases! (Memorizing phrases is super useful because you memorize the grammar and sentence structure of that phrase and it is easy to substitute out words and make similar phrases, which makes speaking a WHOLE lot easier). Image

My companions are super fun! Sister Mobley has a very loving, yet matter of fact demeanor and she always references her cats in our lessons (when we have to make sentences etc.) Sister Horn is a very sweet and outgoing individual as well; we are all different, but I am so grateful to have them in my life. We have found our niche and are all able to get along and laugh with one another all the time! I always have Sister Mobley stories, (she gave me permission to share these 🙂 ) #1) I was talking to an elder and he asked me how I felt about the Vikings, and I was like ‘I’m not a fan, mostly just because of where I grew up and the support I have to have for my team” Sister Mobley chimed in eventually and said “I like the Vikings! They were a very commanding people with good war tactics” lol. “Sister Mobley we meant the football team, not the people.” Another of my favorites was just the other day when we all were home getting ready for bed. We were talking about dehydration and sister Mobley told us that she heard about a woman who was stuck in her car for weeks and survived dehydration by sucking on a button! We told her we just couldn’t believe it and we all laughed. A little while later Sister Horn and I said “Sister Dean, found dead in a ditch. She choked on a button, but her body was hydrated” LOL, this may not be so funny to you, but we were all bent over with laughter! After a long day of Portuguese we get very silly at night.

Not only is the language coming along wonderfully, but the spiritual growth I am witnessing is crazy! I know that this year and a half is not in the least bit my time, but it is all His time. I want to be as obedient as I can so I can be privy to His guidance and to be an instrument in His hands for bringing happiness to all of my brothers and sisters. It really is indescribable the things that are happening to me as I turn my cares over to the study and to the work :). One of y companions is having a slightly more difficult time with the language, but we set goals and practice HARD  and pray HARD. We were going into teach our first lesson to a new investigator, Thaigo, and I was worried for her because me and our third companion had been advancing more rapidly and I was afraid she was discouraged. We had been planning for this lesson for quite a time and we said a powerful prayer before we knocked on the door with pleas to let the language come smoothly so we can convey our love and our message to Thiago. We met Thiago and as it was this sister’s turn to speak I looked over ready to help her, but she didn’t need it! She looked him in the eye and delivered her portion of the lesson and the spirit was there and touched me immensely! I know she worked so hard to deliver her part of the lesson, but that was a witness of the aid Heavenly Father gives to His missionaries.

We were also able to go the Temple in Provo! Every P-day we get to attend 🙂 . I love the temple so much and am so thrilled to have it in my life. I love all of you and cherish all of the family and friends who took the time to go to the temple with me over the past few months!

I love you all so much and pray that you will find missionary opportunities in your daily lives because they are wonderful and make me happy beyond explanation! Keep your letters coming! I cherish them while I can!

Love,

Sister Dean

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MTC Provo, Utah

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Dear Family and Friends,
     I made it to the MTC (or CTM as you would say in Portuguese)!  I’m trying to type as fast as I can to get in as many details that I can, but the p-day computers have been typed on so vigorously that the letters are half faded off of the key board and it is really psyching me out and interrupting my WPM.

I got the the MTC Wed. night and I was absolutely loving the orientation and all things missionary. Day 2 was our first lesson day and there we found out that we were expected to plan our first 30 min lesson for an investigator the next day IN PORTUGUESE!!!! I was freaking out at first and it was super stressful, but we’ve been teaching lessons to investigators in Portuguese every day since and I feel sooooo much more at ease! Our investigator’s name is Leandro and he is such an insightful man, it is really cool seeing how the Gospel works on people (even if the investigator is paid to be there, I know we all can feel the Spirit). It’s kind of funny, in our district there were only 4 sisters! (Imagine a district all of sisters 🙂 . My first companion was Sister Taylor from Florida and she didn’t speak any Portuguese (or Spanish). During our lessons with Leandro he would ask a question that we would understand, but our Portuguese is so limited that we didn’t know how to answer. I’d look to Sister Taylor and she just shrugged her shoulders, then I racked my brain to try and use words and hand signals to convey an answer lol. It’s kind of funny, but I’m pretty proud of myself for using my Spanish and little Portuguese skills to create a comprehensible answer.

I had heard so much about the MTC and I can testify to two truths. 1) You are busy busy busy and 2) the food is fantastic. You hear stories of people gaining so much weight at the MTC and it is totally possible!! There are SOOO many different extravagant dishes and it’s all free! The problem is they stick a starving college student with a tray in a Mecca of food with a billion different options and let her loose… there is no end to the possibilities. Don’t worry though, I like to think that I have a handle on it… even though It kills me sometimes to show self restraint and choose between the cheesecake and the super deluxe mouthwatering brownies :).

I love you all so much and know that this is an inspired establishment 🙂 The work is hard, but it comes with more ease every day; especially as I am learning to identify my blessings and commit this learning to the Lord! This is a beautiful work and I pray earnestly to be a better instrument in my Heavenly Father’s hand!

Todu Bem!! Tchau!

-Sister Whitney Dean

Cardigans and Countdowns

Being in the single digits is seriously crazy! Today was a whirlwind of preparation; ALL of my packing is done, farewell is taken care of and we even got pictures in today! Hopefully these pics will satisfy all of the inquiries I’ve been getting from family and friends! Buying sister missionary clothes was tough but fun. This is only a taste of my wardrobe but I’d love to share where I got anything to help any prospective missionettes along! Pictures courtesy of the lovely Sarah Dean 🙂

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This is my green combo! The Top, cardigan and belt I got from this cute little boutique in Rexburg, Lulu Bella , the skirt is the polished pocket skirt from the Missionary Mall And the bag is from Deseret Books!

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Surprisingly enough, The shirt was once again from Lulu Bella and the high waisted pencil skirt  is from the Missionary Mall!

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And last is the yellow!! I LOVE this skirt! the top is from target and the cute coat is on sale at Shopko!

AAAAAAAAND for my good friend, a poll: