Sunday, November 27, 2011

24 November 2011-- Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Hi Mom! Hi Dad!
Happy Thanksgiving! You get two emails from me this week. My preparation day is each Thursday, but I was able to write to you both on Tuesday because my companion needed to write home before she left for her mission on Wednesday. What a blessing I get to write to you twice. How are things back home?
I am so grateful for a lot of things this year. The opportunity to go on a mission, to be a student at BYU, to have you both as my parents who love and take care of me with loving siblings interested in the Church again, for friends in the Church who share my faith and friends outside of the Church who help me realize how blessed I am to have this Gospel and Jesus Christ in my life, and for the health and spirit that my Heavenly Father has permitted me to have. There is so many more blessings I could count, but they are innumerable.
Thanksgiving at the MTC is a little different for all of the missionaries. Instead of our normal schedule that we follow each Thursday, which is my preparation day, we have the privilege to hear from a General Authority from 10:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. for a special devotional. We already got to hear from Elder D. Todd Christofferson on Tuesday night for the weekly devotional, but now we are blessed to hear from another one today. This is the first week that I have heard from a General Authority and I get to hear from two! "Count your many blessings, see what the Lord hath done!" This evening, they have scheduled the movie 17 Miracles to play for all of the missionaries to watch. Yes, missionaries get to watch movies. Actually, each Sunday evening before we retire to our residence at 9:30, we get to watch church movies such as Legacy, Mountain of the Lord, or Elder Holland talks. He is an especial favorite because he gives such good talks pertaining to missionary work. Apparently he visits here often to give firesides and devotionals. Hopefully, I am here to hear him talk.
I was very grateful to receive your DearElder letters on Tuesday. I cannot believe that Stephanie, Nathan, and Megan all created DearElder accounts to write to me. I really enjoyed hearing from them. I will try my best to write back to them today, but because of the Thanksgiving festivities, I have been robbed of most of the free time on my P-day today. It may be brief, but I will write them and have them sent in the mail tomorrow. Mail isn't sent out on the holiday. But oh, did it bring joy to my heart to hear from them, and to hear that they all went to the Single's Branch, including Mike! It made me realize the blessings that can come to my family while I serve a mission. Oh, my heart is singing with felicity right now!
So are you going to participate in Black Friday? Dad, this would be the perfect opportunity to buy speakers for my MP3 player. ;-) To answer some of your questions, Dad, I am using my signature card a lot at the MTC Bookstore. It is a blessing that I got that at the ID center before coming here. Thank you. Also, I will need about $75 to get $200 for the airport when I leave for Ecuador. There is an ATM here next to the Bookstore, so I can withdraw money from that. As for what I would like for Christmas, skirts and shirts. Mom, please send me bright colored cardigans that have a three-quarter sleeve length and button up with frilly button-up shirts to go underneath the cardigans, if you would like. That is all I would really need. Please keep in mind that they should be cotton or appropriate for Ecuador weather. I have been going through my clothes and giving a few old things away in preparation to go down to Ecuador. I have plenty of shoes though. Thank you. Love you both!
I think I wrote a lot on Tuesday, so I am going to keep this email pretty short. Mom, I received your package of "surprises" and I was surprised to find those letters from Sue S., Reid, and Joyce. Please tell them thank you. I will be writing thank you notes home to them today, but it was such a joy to hear from them, wishing me luck that my knee will get better soon. You both are too good to me.
I hope you have a great holiday weekend. Enjoy Megan's healthy Thanksgiving dinner. That does sound interesting. You will have to let me know how that goes. And Dad, please tell Kelly's family that I say hi and Happy Holidays. Give the children and nephews all kisses and hugs for me. Maybe place a lifesize cardboard cutout of me to sit at the table with you guys. ;-) This is a great holiday to remember what we are grateful for and to spend with the family.
Love you,
Hermana Melanie Forbush

Finally Get To Write Again!! Written Nov. 22, 2011

Hi Mom! Hi Dad!
I am taking this opportunity to write to you both now on Tuesday rather than Thursday because Thursday is Thanksgiving. The MTC does something very special this Thursday to celebrate "El dia de accion de gracias" but I do not specifically know what. I will keep you posted. My new companion, Hermana Emily Ann Higinbotham, from Orem, UT, has her preparation day today because she leaves for San Jose, California tomorrow. I spent the last week with her district, District J in Branch 55, but all of them have left besides her. She leaves tomorrow morning at 5:00 A.M.
It is rather ironic how most of the missionaries leave between 3:00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. each Monday through Wednesday mornings of their determined departure date. Then, there is enough time in the morning to prepare for the new missionaries to come in each Wednesday afternoon. Last week on Wednesday, I was able to be a host for the incoming sisters with District J, show them their rooms, where they would have their classes, and around the MTC campus. The one sister I was able to host that day before I had to leave for my physical therapy appointment was Sister Jardine from Canada. She had arrived at the MTC the Tuesday night before at a very late hour. The MTC hosted her for the night because she had traveled so far and didn't have anywhere to stay. This was the case for at least 100 elders and sisters traveling from around the world. Unfortuately, Sister Jardine's luggage (both suitcases) were lost after she rechecked them. (Remember what happened to me when I arrived in Spain. Same thing happened for her. Porbrecita!) I put on my most cheerful disposition to reassure her that the Lord takes care of ALL his missionaries. Plus, I told her of my experience in Spain so she could be reassured that this happens to many people, not just herself. I thought this would cheer her up, but her facial expressions and mannerisms did not leave much room for emotions so I couldn't tell. She had arrived at around 3:00 or 4:00 A.M. that morning, though, so she was very tired.
This week we are not welcoming any new missionaries because of the holiday, so last week when I was a host, 655 people entered. That is double or one-third more than the MTC normally welcomes in one week. Actually, Brother Heaton, the Administrative Director here at the MTC gave a fireside two Sundays ago (we have a fireside every Sunday evening at 7:00 P.M. and a devotional every Tuesday evening at the same time). He described to all the missionaries what the church estimated would be the amount of missionaries in the mission field starting next year versus what it will actually be. I hope that sentence makes sense. He described that the Church had studied the numbers of young men and young women in the Church at present and guesstimated 52,000 missionaries would be in the field by the beginning of next year. However, with the number of mission calls being issued, we shall find that 56,000 missionaries will actually be in the field starting next year. That is why building 4M on the MTC campus is being stripped and rerenovated right now to welcome the increased number. Isn't God's work going forth?
To update you on my knee, I went to my follow-up appointment with Dr. Scott Jackson this morning at 8:20 A.M. He said everything looks great and fixed. I have one more appointment with him on December 6 at 8:20 A.M. in his Provo clinic at the Utah Valley Clinic. He promised to give me clearance to leave on my mission at that doctor's appointment. YAY! I go to the Spinal, Orthopedic, and Surgical Physical Therapy clinic at 3303 North University Ave in Provo. They nickname the clinic SOS Physical Therapy. Isn't that funny?! It is definitely saving my soul because I am so ready to leave the MTC as soon as my knee is strong enough to withstand all the walking I will do in Ecuador.
Other than that, Mom, I received both pairs of shoes that you reordered. The Clarks fit perfectly. The Sketchers are a little small, but I am sure that if I wear them here, they will stretch out for sure. If I had the same pair in a size up, it would have been too big. The Sketchers are super comfy, probably the most comfortable shoes I own. Thank you for reordering them in a half size smaller. For the things that I need, I am going to try and find what I need in the MTC Bookstore or depend on the charity of others until I leave for Ecuador. I am using my raincoat with the inside liner to keep me warm and I add the gloves Mom sent me for extra warmth. The MTC Bookstore sells nude control top tights, so I am using a few pair of those. I want to thank you both for doing everything possible to keep me warm and clothed properly. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have your support.
I keep hearing stories of sisters and elders who joined the church as a young adult. Then, they served a mission when they reached 19 or 21 years of age. However, for some reason, their parents disowned them and friends dismissed them. While they were on their mission, they didn't receive any mail or packages from family or friends. Especially around the holidays. Maybe you can put together something for the missionaries here and send it. Don't put a mailbox number on it. Just address it to someone in need of a package. I know you can get creative. My heart just goes out to them for the sacrifice they give to the Church and the Lord. Dad, was your mission kind of like that? I admire you so much more now. Can I just express my love to you for serving your mission amongst all the opposition you must have faced from your family. I can promise you that it definitely made a difference in my life as well as our family's.
Now that I have seen two different districts leave the MTC, I consider myself an expert. I want to fill you in on a few things. The day that I leave the MTC, I am allowed to call you and Dad from a pay phone at the airport. All missionaries are allowed one phone call. President Evans, my branch president, gave me permission to call both of you.  I am allowed to call you on Christmas Day when I am in the field. I am allowed to set up a specific time with you then to talk to the whole family.
I think that is all I can think of right now. I love you all very much. How are my siblings doing?  Please write to me soon. I haven't heard from you yet this week.  I hope I have answered all your questions and requests in your letters.  I love you both very much.
Hermana Forbush

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Keeping My Mission Exciting!! Nov. 10th, 2011

This is written by Mom....................

Well, Melanie had surgery yesterday on her knee to repair the meniscus.  Apparently, she tore it quite bad so Dr. Jackson (who did her ACL surgery last year) felt the need to repair it as best he could.  He said everything went well and she should recover very quickly.  The unfortunate part is that she will not be able to leave out of the country on Nov. 15th as was planned.  She will stay at the MTC in Provo for another 4 or 5 weeks so that she can get physical therapy and gain the strength she will need to walk all those miles in Ecuador.

Since Melanie will continue with her Spanish classes and training here in Provo, instead of going to Peru, as was planned, she will be going straight to Ecuador from here.  She is remaining upbeat and positive as she goes through this.  She knows that the Lord will not give her anything that she cannot handle.

First Setback of the Mission - November 4th, 2011

Dad, you probably received a call from the MTC clinic this morning. They needed permission to get a MRI. I will be getting that tomorrow, Friday, at 2:15 PM. Then, I will take those results to Dr. Scott Jackson who did my ACL surgery on 11/8 at 7:50 A.M. This is an update. Just to let you know what happened, I was simply standing up in my classroom and leaning on a desk. My knee just popped, but it was a significant pop that it hurt pretty bad. My knee became inflamed. The inside of my knee was very tender (what Dr. Sampson at the MTC clinic said was my medial lateral ligament area, not my ACL), and my hamstring became stretched. We will see what the MRI says and the doctor tells me to do. I tried using crutches for two days, but it has become such a nuisance that I have given up using them. I did receive a blessing from the elders in my district though so the priesthood is on my side!