The Missionary Training Center (MTC)

By | 6:30 PM
Friday- May 10th, 2013
I am so freaking out! I didn't cry the first night-well at least not till prayer. But I got in bed and slept its 10:56 right now-I am breaking rules already and decided I needed to write. I have not been sleeping...I need a stuffed animal - I miss my big bear and my nice blanket. I don't know if I should be writing right now - because I'm pretty low today - I've divided the MTC is meant to break you...and I feel broken, but they still are not done. I realize I have to focus and I can't really write to you - I need to keep an eye on my Future and my purpose and the people I am learning to love, and not the past and loved ones I left. 
Right now - I want to go home. But I'm going to get some sleep and keep trying - I don't know where my want to stay is coming from but I will trust it. 
If I can get organized, I will try this again - otherwise my P-day is on Thursday. I leave for Oklahoma on May 22 at 6:32 a.m. so I don't know how calling you will work. Thank you for using Dear Elder--I can't tell you how much those letters meant--I got more than anyone else today. :)
Love you!! Sister Longberg

Saturday, May 11, 2013
It's 10:03--I managed to get ready for bed fast enough and early enough to write a letter.
I am in a room with six beds and four sisters. I am the oldest--I want to talk to and hang out with the elders more but my companion says they are having "too much fun" and "not inviting the spirit" and I want to smack her and say her constant planning and time management isn't doing much for my spirit. My companion is Sister S. and she has not cried once, but she claims to be "jealous" that I can so honestly feel the spirit...
We do have fun sometimes though--I managed to convince her that tossing a Frisbee was a good way to spend gym time. It reminded me too much of Eric, though, so we ended up with some sisters going to Chile and we played some volleyball. That was awesome!! It feels so good to laugh, I wish Sister S. could understand that. OK--It is now Sunday, May 12th. I am in the main gym--watching music and the spoken word--everyone is crying! It seems rather cruel to make us watch this Mother's day special--like they are rubbing it in our faces that we won't be calling home today. So lame. I am trying to imagine this place when you were here.,..They say that filling up the bottom half was the best they used to get--well I am in the bleachers half way up and I am watching people standing--I know there are girls in the overflow--I feel so lucky to have gotten a seat at all! I swear there are more sisters than elders--or at least equal too!! So crazy!! 
I get the strong impression my companion is unhappy about her Oklahoma calling--she does everything but say it...oh well. I think I saw Uncle Trent in the choir--that made me happy. :) 
Sister Janice Kapp Perry spoke to us--she wrote the song "As Sisters in Zion" and a handful of primary songs. At the end of her talk we sang a brand new song that she wrote just for sister missionaries. So amazing!
We have the opportunity to teach every day--I am trying to be positive, but teaching is really hard! I don't know the lessons--and i am not confident. But...I am trying to feel the spirit and I have enjoyed the lessons. I am so mad at myself for not picking up the basic doctrines quickly--they really don't focus on lessons here...It's all about teaching people--not lessons--and I am fantastic at getting to know people and bearing my testimony and promising people blessings through obedience and God's love for them--but the actual doctrine is really tripping me up. I cry all the time--but it's slowly becoming less sob-like and more softly feeling the spirit. 
I have yet to figure out why I want to do this...The lessons here are making me feel...mad, maybe? I don't know for sure--but the push for  baptism and constant calls for repentance feels so empty to me. I can call on the spirit to help me promise blessings of prayer--but I can't feel it yet for baptism. I just feel upset when I think of asking people to do that.
I am a spiritual person--all this planning and blindly doing as we are told--never getting the opportunity to sit back and feel the spirit or even organize my thoughts--I could just scream!! I know my poor relationship with my companion is on me--because I don't want to be here. I absolutely don't want to follow the stupid rules--but she does. I want to be with the missionaries outside our dorm last night who made a human pyramid who fell down laughing and jokingly made reference to Samuel and preaching and salvation. I want to laugh! I want this to be fun. My anger is not from Sister S.--it's at myself because I don't want to be wasting all this time and money on my personal experiment--
Today I fasted and prayed--and after dinner I read my patriarchal blessing--and I got zero comfort. Totally sucky, fail. I feel so abandoned. I jumped and no one caught me. My blessing tells me to go to school--I read it and honestly felt that I had forced myself into a situation I will not be able to get out of. I admit though that I do wonder if maybe I am still opposed to no one catching me--I haven't felt my falling slow at all, but I have not hit the bottom yet....
Mom, I miss you every moment. I hate that so much. I HATE the food here--I want broccoli that wasn't frozen and real eggs and red leaf lettuce and milk!! 
I am going to buy a phone card here--on Thursday, I will be able to email you and I will tell you then what I have found about everything....but for now, expect a call while you are milking the cows at around 5:30--and again after I land for either the airport or the mission president's home. I don't know for sure--likely around 3:00 til maybe six???? No one tells me any of this important stuff.
I have really enjoyed keeping these pages with me the last couple of days. It's like talking to you when you are sleeping and don't answer anyways!!
Love you!!! Sister Longberg
P.S. I want to hug Josh so bad right now!! I watched the Joseph Smith movie last night--so amazing--I am so grateful for Josh's testimony of that man--it's very inspiring and I needed to see that movie! 
Mom--I want you to know I am still confident. I miss you and want to go home every day. But I am not finished here--please trust me--I am having fun and I do laugh! I need you--I have enjoyed writing down all my anger--and then moving on--let me do that and don't fear for me!! I am so blessed to have this opportunity--I love my companion--she fasted for me yesterday and told me she thinks the adversary is working extra hard on me because he knows I will change lives--I know I have something powerful to offer!
I love you all!  Karen

Thursday, May 16th 2013
That little countdown timer on the top of my screen.... yeah, not okay :/ 
OK, so, the showers are not as bad as I thought, and at the same time they are. there is one that is always clogged.... and I always get that one!  lame. 
one thing I am most grateful for lately... the priesthood.  I love having all these Elders around!  it's so amazing :)  our district is awesome, there are four sisters and six Elders... and yes, the Elders get really rowdy sometimes, but they turn it off quick if they sense it's offending us.  I'm terrible because I join right in most of the time... they are so much fun.  it's become a game almost where they have to follow us around and make sure they always get our chairs and the door and our trays after meals (which is awesome because that line gets so long!)  I really respect them and I think they are so powerful. 
 I spent money.... I have a problem.  I bought an MTC water bottle (which is awesome)  and some sweeeeet MTC sweat pants (which are even more awesome)  and then I ended up buying a poster of Joseph Smith and the angel... so cool.  I am falling in love with Joseph Smith.... his example gives me so much strength and I am so blessed that on Sunday I was able to watch the Joseph Smith movie.  amazing. 
 OK, 20 minutes left.... GAH!  hate this :(
 so, we do a lot of role playing here.  everyday me and Sister S. get at least two chances at teaching "an investigator"  which is really just a teacher with multiple personality disorder... some of the teachers have really difficult characters, some are much easier.  we got our Progressing Investigator, John, to set a date to be baptized yesterday.... so that was amazing :)  but then our TRC (I don't know what that stands for)  was a complete fail :(  I cried.... but not to bad.  I am actually proud to announce that I have officially laughed more then I have cried!!! yay me :) 
the MTC's main goal I think is to teach us about how to liquefy a lesson to peoples needs,  which is awesome but also really lame because I don't struggle with that at all.  I am amazing at making friends and loving people, but I don't always know what to say because my knowledge is so tiny... I'm so happy that I can already see my personality helping me get in doors, and my spiritual gifts helping me discern what people need to hear.  I am so blessed and so lucky.  I want to be happy more, but I feel joy a lot.  I don't know if that makes sense....  I'm at peace and I'm okay and I'm exited for Oklahoma in a week... but I wish I could laugh and enjoy this more.  we did start a tradition of sharing on giant cupcake right before bed and then taking pictures and laughing.  I love these sisters... even though I get seriously annoyed at them sometimes.  
I'm excited to go to the temple later today :)  I think I am at least.... kinda nervous.
 I'm not getting enough sleep... I sleep fine, it's just impossible to go to bed on time and I have to wake up early to get a good shower choice.... so that's lame and I hope that I can eventually get some rest.  falling asleep in class is not fun :(
 okay, 1 min left!

They said we would have sixty minutes on the computer...they lied. 
OK, it's giving me two more moments to finish up...
Mom, I love you. I am so grateful to you and I need you to know how happy I am and how excited I am. I don't hardly cry any more! I figured out how to stop doing that!!!! I told H.F. I am so grateful for the spirit He gave me and I apologized for all the times I was angry about my tears. It worked! I am so happy. :) I am going to be amazing in Oklahoma. This is so good for me. I am so excited! I am so excited for you. Keep writing to me about your days at work, I can't tell you how much I like hearing about that! OK, I'll see you in seventeen months and three weeks... or something like that!!!!

Thursday, May 16th 2013
Everyone else is still writing their emails. I am really frustrated that we only had 30 minutes. Blech! :/
I had two more things I forgot to add. The food here sucks!! I finally figured out how to get what I need though--but unless you're annoying they only give you nasty fake meat and veggies. I end up eating a lot of salad and yogurt parfaits--although yesterday I did get salmon and quinoa--so good!
I am so unorganized. It's stressing me out so much. I can't keep track of the letters I've already gotten and the things I've told you.
I much prefer to write like this because I can complain about my companion--she was watching me as I wrote my email and she wants me to do the same for her, because that dang handbook tells us to be positive in our emails and she feels that her official duty is to make sure my time here is as full of rules and schedules as possible! I love her, but I hate her!
She told me recently that she is so jealous of me and my close relationship with you and Heavenly Father and the way that I can look into people's eyes and see their needs and become their friend and help them--She calls herself cold and unfeeling. And I want to tell her otherwise, but it's the truth--the rest of us have literally broken down to the point that we've all had priesthood blessings--but not her, not even close. She needs me, but I don't know what I can offer. I want her to just relax--she says she doesn't understand how you can feel the spirit and receive revelation in the middle of a lesson--I told her to relax and let it happen--I honestly don't think this woman has been still her whole life. but I hat saying all that because I am so grateful for her at times--she is strong where I am weak, and I love her strengths. 
On Mothers Day we had Brother Littlefield and his wife speak--I don't know who he is but his talk was beautiful.
Last night for Tuesday devotional, Elder Russell M. Nelson spoke to us. He smiled and we laughed a lot--he told some very cute stories and said my new favorite thing, "Men are that they may have joy, so look like it!!" and also, "Sensitive missionaries can show real concern for the soul."
I am so grateful for my sensitive soul! 
I love you so much!  Sister Longberg

Sunday, May 19, 2013
I just love seeing Uncle Trent singing!! So cool! Except for the super awkward moment with hundreds of sister missionaries in the gym and I see Trent's face on the giant screen and I yell out "Ahh! That's my uncle!" Not realizing how loud it was until after the words were gone--there was laughter--so embarrassing!
I really enjoy writing to you in Relief's fun for me and relaxing.
This week has been great and it's gone by so fast! I don't want to leave the MTC now that I'm finally starting to get it! But I'm excited for Oklahoma. 
OK--I have a story for you and it's pretty amazing so make sure every one's here to hear it...
Here at the MTC we do a lot of role playing--and I hate it, but I see how it helps. Sooo, the MTC has a program called TRC--I don't know what that stands for--maybe Josh knows? Anyway--they told us we would talk to an "investigator". They can be members, less active members, or non members who are curious or were suggested into the program for different reasons. I've had three other TRC lessons--and none went terrible but they were robotic and dead--no real spirit, no love, very by the book, very fake, very acted.
Now--Saturday night--May 18th was our last TRC--and it was real. Sister S. and I knock on a door and a poor dirty looking young lady answers the door. Greasy hair, tattered old T-shirt and baggy old DI jeans. We sat down with her and she was shaking and couldn't make eye contact. I asked her to tell me why she was here and she explained that she had recently had her three young children taken away from her and the therapist that was assigned to her suggested she come to the MTC and participate in this service...She could not have been acting!!! I was terrified and my mind went blank--this is real...she needs help, this is real!!
Sister S. went right in on the first lesson and I just watched Heather's face...the next thing I know I 'm interrupting my companion's rant on being obedient and I say, "God loves you. Did you know that?"
Heather got really uncomfortable and told me how she grew up in foster care and since she was little every man in her life was abusive and immoral. She told me how they told her not to break character, but she didn't want to hear our message any more--the previous missionaries gave her the analogy of Christ knocking on the door, but you have to open the door because God doesn't have a handle on his--she got so mad!
I just started talking--and suddenly our 45 minutes was over and she didn't want us to leave--I don't know what I said, but it spoke to her. In the end, I asked her if I could say a prayer and I asked God to give her a hug. She cried! She told us how amazing that was and asked if I could give her a hug--it was amazing!!
I am so sorry I haven't been super positive. I really am happy most of the time.
I am so busy--and so panicking about leaving--these are real people! Also--I'm not sure about packing my bags and what to bring...I hate trying to fit my life in two and a half bags.
I'm also freaking out about the flight. And making a decent impression on my mission president. I'm only getting maybe four hours of sleep that night--blech  :(
On that lovely note--thanks for the love. I'm happy--I hope you are all happy! 
Love, Sister Karen Longberg

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Today is not a p-day, josh is wrong.
I'm a cheater.
I have to do laundry... there is a computer here... yay!
expect my call at about 4:30, maybe 5:00 am.... yeah :)
I'm super happy, everything is great
my teacher, bro. lisenbee told me something awesome today....
He said that when I first came here, I was on the top on his list as a missionary who would need special help and attention.  and he's proud of me because I proved him very wrong.
he pulled me aside and I was late for dinner.  it made me feel super special, but I know that my strength was not from me.... I turned myself off and sought god, and I've been so blessed for it!!! 
OK, gotta go :)  
I heard there was a giant tornado in Oklahoma.... yeah... not happy about that.
OK, loves and kisses :)
Sister Karen Longberg

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