Thursday, December 26, 2013

P-Day December 26, 2013

Hello!  Again!  For a second day in a row!

That will probably never happen again, but this is pretty cool.

Admittedly, I don't really know how much I'll write, since I wrote a lot last time, but I guess we'll see.  I do have..... eh..... approximately 45 minutes or so.

Um..... yes!  Christmas!

So, the first devotional we had was Christmas Eve, by Elder Evans of the Seventy.  He talked about communication, and writing, and speaking, only things that uplift us and edify us.  It was actually really neat.  It wasn't the type of talk you would expect for a Christmas devotional, but then he started talking about how Christ was only uplifting and edifying, and it really spoke to my heart.  We know that Christ was never mean or rude, but there is a difference between not being rude and being uplifting.  It makes me want to become more uplifting to others, rather than being nonchalant and indifferent.

After Christmas breakfast (which, by the way, the Honey Graham Os were AMAZING.  They totally made my breakfast morning.  And I've been good about what I've been eating here, just so you know.  I've had oatmeal every morning, and have fruit almost every meal.), and emailing time, our District went to choir practice, then watched a talent show, which was awesome!  It was just all sorts of fun, with people playing the piano upside down, changing lyrics to songs, a Yiddish bottle dance (yes, someone did that), even a magic show!  The magic show was great, but I think my favorite performance was done by a Russian Elder, who performed..... oh, I wish I had my notes with me!  I believe it was Prelude in A Minor by Bach on the organ.  It was SO gorgeous!  It's performances like that that made me wish that I stuck to piano lessons so that I could play the piano and organ.  maybe when I return home to my mission.  

And I laughed as I typed that last sentence, because I pretty much know that will probably never happen.

We then had lunch (potatoes and turkey-- not bad, but it wasn't my favorite meal), and went back to the gymnasium to listen to our Christmas Devotional.

And our General Authority?

Elder Bednar!!!!!!  Just as the rumor had it!

It was actually really interesting.  He spent probably the first 10 minutes or so talking about good questions, and how they differed from better (inspired) questions.  He then did something that had not been done before for a devotional: he passed out 200 cell phones to the congregation, and spent the rest of the devotional answering our questions that we could text to him.  At first, I was trying really hard to think of a question, because it's not every day that you have the opportunity to ask an APOSTLE of the Lord a question.  But as I started panicking because I couldn't think of one, the Spirit gently reminded me that there is a time and place for everything, and that that day I should simply just absorb whatever he and his wife said (she answered a couple of questions).  I think the one quotation that stood out to me the most is that Sister Bednar said that "Despair is the Adversary's tool"   What true words!  When we start to judge ourselves too hard, the Adversary can use it to manipulate us little be little, until we reach the point that it is us being the Devils tools rather than our criticism. (This was the context the word "dispair" is used, as in we're turning against ourselves, being too harsh on ourselves.  Or that's at least how I understood it.)

Also, the choir (us) sang this GORGEOUS song called "Where Shepards Lately Knelt" at the devotional.  If you have an opportunity to, go look the song up.  The lyrics are so incredible!

Up until that point, I had been feeling the spirit all day.  The District went up to our classroom to discuss the devotional for about an hour, then headed back down for another performance.  This time, it was a Jazz band formed by Ray Smith called...... ah, can't remember.

For some reason, I just couldn't feel the Spirit in there.  Like, yeah, the music was great, and I actually had a lot of fun talking to Elder Horne about music (turns out that he's more of a band geek than I thought), but.... the Spirit just didn't seem to be there for me.  

Afterwards, we had dinner in the Residence Halls, and then headed back to the gymnasium one last time to watch last years Christmas Performance that MoTab did with Alfie Boe.

I wanted to feel the Spirit, I really did.  But it was SO HARD with everyone talking!  I admit that even I slipped and let my conversation wander off the performance more than a couple of times.  The chatter became bad enough that the MTC President actually muted the movie/dvd/whatever you want to call it to ask us to quiet down, which made me feel awful.  I definitely worked hard to pay better attention to the performance from that point on, but inside, I knew that I wasn't feeling the Spirit as much as I wanted to.

So, long story short: The first half of Christmas day lived up to my expectations.  The second half didn't.  

Ah!  before I forget; for Christmas, the Sisters and I decided that we should give the Elders pictures of them that we drew for Christmas, and wrote a small note on the back of the picture.  They loved it!  And then felt guilty afterwards for not doing anything for us.  We just laughed at it.

Well, that's about all I can think of!  I'm doing amazing here, and I love you all!

With Love,

Sister Empey

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Good Morning, and Merry Christmas Mom, Dad, and family!

It's 8:00 a.m. right now, and we have 20 whole minutes to write you.  Woot!  Plus, it's P-day tomorrow, so, you'll probably hear more tomorrow.  Which means I can tell you about the Christmas Devotional tomorrow.  Speaking of which, I still don't quite know who the speaker is, but rumor has it that it's Elder Bednar.  We'll see.

The MTC is AMAZING!!!  Mom, I can see why you say that you could have spent your entire mission AT the MTC.  I don't know if you got my handwritten letter yet, but the spirit here is SO incredible!  There are moments where I sit in class and I'm just sort of like "Mind. Is. Blown.  From all the awesomeness that just happened!"  And it helps that my entire district is...

A) Serving the same mission as me (yes, we're ALL going to the Idaho Nampa Mission.  How sweet is that?!?!)
B) They all have a desire to serve a mission, and so they all have been preparing themselves.
C) They all are willing to roleplay all the senarios we do, which is approximately at least once an hour during class.  We do a TON of roleplaying.  (Which yes, MUCH different from LARPing. haha)  I love the roleplaying though.  It really helps me break down what we're doing in class and understand how I'm actually going to apply it.

So, one of the Sisters in the District didn't show up, so I have a three-way companionship.  Both of my companions are incredible women of God.  Sister Clemons is from Iowa, and is a Cosmetologist like me.  Oh yeah, we do a lot of hair talk.  She's also my age... well... sort of.  She was born in '92, but her birthday is Dec 31.  So.... yeah.  I'm the oldest in my district (surprise, surprise).  Then there's Sister Johnston, who's from Tenessee.  She is HILARIOUS.  IF you think I'm birdbrained, she's probably even worse.  I love her so much!  While she is super bubbly and loud, she has such an incredible faith in the Gospel, and I love her excitement for it.

The Elders are great too.  I won't go into much detail, but we have 3 companionships: Elder Sorenson (our District Leader) and Elder Parker, Elder Rose and Elder Horne, and Elder Sulka and Elder Twigg.  We are all very close as a District, and have already talked about meeting up after our missions, which I think is great.

I've also have seen a couple of people I know here.  Jefferson McClain, from choir, is a teacher here, and is teaching one of the other Districts in my Zone/Branch.  I've ran into an old friend of mine, Carleigh Ballard, who, if I remember right, is serving in... Romania?... Can't remember for sure.  And then I've been able to talk to my friend Megan Egbert a lot, who entered the MTC the same time I did and is serving in Florida. 

While I still have a bit of time, I have to thank you for your Christmas presents.  Dad, my companions LOVE the smell of the lavender, and thank you for Barb's ring, mission journal, and necklace.  IT really means a lot to me.  It was really special to me.  Thank you.  And mom.... your care package was just simply awesome.  I was so excited to eat my cereal this morning.  And I want to wear that minion shirt every day.

Dad, can you make sure this GETS to mom and that I sent this to the correct email?  I'd appreciate it.

Well, more tomorrow!  I love you guys, and I'm doing fantastic and loving this Gospel!  Keep the faith!


Sister Hannah Empey

Sister Empey's address in the MTC

Sister Hannah Empey
Jan 07  ID-NMPA
2009 N 900 E  Unit 164
Provo, UT  84602

Sister Empey Enters the MTC

Today, December 18, 2013 Hannah entered the MTC and put on the name badge that she will wear for the next 18 months.  It was a wonderful day. She was so excited.  

About an hour before leaving for the MTC she came over to our house and Ty gave her a fathers blessing.  It was a special time!

It was a beautiful blessing.  After hearing the words from the Lord for Hannah we all knew she was going to have some amazing experiences as a missionary for our Savior.

We then hopped in the car and the whole gang (Sister Empey, Ty, Nancy, Kate, Jake, Paula and Karen) headed to the MTC.

The car was full in fact that our missionary...Sister Empey and Kate had to sit in the very back.  It was kind of funny to pull up to the MTC with Hannah in the back.  It was even funnier to watch us all pile out of the car!!

Hannah was so excited to go...and ready!  We took a few pictures and you could see her almost coming out of her shoes she was so excited.

After pictures we all hugged her.  Some longer than others.  I even saw a little tear in Dad's eye.  His little girl is so grown up and off to serve our Savior.

Jake is going to miss you Hannah!!!

So is Dad!

and then we watched our missionary take her suitcase and walk off to serve the Lord. 

We Love You Sister Empey!