Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week 5 - MTC e-mail August 28, 2009

August 28, 2009


So, this week has been incredible. Most notably Elder Scott at Tuesday night devotional and the temple dedication on Sunday.

SO, the temple dedication... Absolutely amazing! I keep adding to my top 10 most amazing spiritual experiences. Pretty soon it’s going to be top 100 by the time my mission is over. It was held in the gymnasium at the MTC, where all of the mission addresses are held. They closed it for two days before for cleaning. They really wanted it to be like the temple, and boy was it!

As we approached the front doors, we were met by our mission president Smith. He had a huge smile on his. (The same doors every missionary walks in to get there name tag) And as soon as my foot touched the carpet it felt like I was in the temple! It was so incredible! We sat for 45 minutes thinking and contemplating life. Which is always a good thing here because we hardly get a second to breathe. My heart skipped a few beats when I saw 6 men walk in dressed in white, leading them was president Monson. Oh man! So cool! It just kept getting better! Here is an excerpt from my journal, "The dedicatory prayer really hit me as a missionary. The prayer prayed for the missionaries. That we would have safety and guidance by the Holy Ghost. That we would have success spreading the gospel. I couldn't help but imagine the people that I will be able to share the gospel with and realize that they would be able to partake of the blessings of the temple and everything that comes with it. It was at this moment that I began to understand the magnitude of my calling. That we are more authorized to preach the gospel and share our message than anyone else. The prophet and apostles sustain me, so the Lord sustains me in this great work. There is no greater happiness than knowing that God is our loving Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ is His Beloved Son, who gave his life so we can return to be with them both. As Joseph Smith said, the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God. I am an instrument in the hands of the Lord, willing and submissive to let my brothers and sisters know who they are, how much they are loved and missed, and our Heavenly Father wants them back." From another portion of my journal... "God’s purpose will not be frustrated because of our shortcomings, but if we are willing to repent, and SEEK him, we can be his instrument and there is no greater joy in this life than to feel the joy of helping others receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and all of the blessings that come with it."

Tuesday night devotional... Elder Scott spoke to us. Absolutely amazing. I say absolutely and amazing in my letters a lot, but there are not really words to describe my feelings that I have. The spirit touches me and I get overcome with emotion, and it is just a hard thing to describe. Elder Scott gave two apostolic blessings on us. He had everyone that was learning a language raise their hands and he pronounced a promise to us that we would have the gift of tongues. At another portion of his talk, he spoke about our safety and the importance of following the spirit. We will all be in "scary" situations, but if we follow the spirit with exactness we will be protected. He was referring to the safety of the sisters and how we can be more vulnerable. He told us things that we should do to keep safe. He then stopped, got choked up, and pronounced another blessing on us, promising us that we would not be hurt if we are obedient. I felt the spirit so strongly. It was actually quite a relief to hear. Another portion of his talk, he spoke of the reality of Satan. How Satan, more than anyone else can create the illusion of power. In reality, we have everything, every tool to stop him. We can call on God for his help and comfort. Satan would do all he could to discourage and weaken any of his missionaries. It really was just a great message.

Monday night in the Referral Center, I felt prompted to pick up the phone and do calls. It wasn't my usual assignment. My companions and I have been doing online chats and taking over flow calls. So I put my phone on available and started calling. I talked to about three people. Then I talked to a man from Aurora Colorado. About two weeks ago, he fell off scaffolding at work. He broke his leg, ankle, back and other internal injury. He has been in the hospital since then. When I called, I had no idea what I was about to experience. I am so glad that I followed that prompting. He doesn't understand why this injury had to happen. He was really frustrated one night, and all alone, and he saw a commercial from our church. He felt good when he saw it so he decided to call and order a bible. I was calling to confirm he received it. Well, he had talked to the missionaries, but didn't want to set up any appointments. I talked to him for 40 minutes. I shared scripture after scripture with him. I just read to him. I told him how to pray, what to pray for, and promised him that prayer would bring him comfort while he felt alone in the hospital. I shared my experience of loneliness in the hospital. I know that he felt the spirit, and I told him that... so next week the missionaries are going to teach him. :-) YAY!!! The gospel is soooo true! I get to find out how everything is going on Monday. I’m preparing him a lesson. It is sooo great!!!

I love you all! Thank you sooo much for all the letters and support!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Pictures from Hilary - August 24, 2009

Today we received some new pictures from Hilary at the MTC. Click on the small pictures to the right if you wish to see them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Week 4 - MTC e-mail August 21, 2009

August 21, 2009

No more English for our district... instead of fasting food, we fast English! And it is awesome!!!!!!!

Our teacher has really pushed us. we are almost done with 9 weeks’ worth of grammar! :-) It’s a lot. I think I understand most of it. Ya, I do... so josh, you're testimony en espanol was amazing! Just a couple mistakes, BUT, there were two awesome things from it. One, that you did that, and two, that I could understand it. Something must be working here at the MTC. So, two days ago I had a rough day. Spanish wasn't coming easily and there was a lot of tension in my companionship. In the middle of the class room, I knelt and prayed that I would receive a witness of the spirit of my progress as a missionary and in my Spanish. AND THAT WAS ANSWERED!!! Boy was it... I shared a spiritual thought to the class. The first for our class... because of solo espanol. sooo.... I shared 3 Nephi 11:11... I bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. How it contains the writing of ancient prophets on the American continent... how it testifies of Christ and the restoration... I have never before wept in my life wept while I bore my testimony. I have never before felt the spirit that strongly while I have born testimony. It is by far the most amazing experience I have had here. It is a testimony to me that I am here because I am supposed to be. That the Savior is my redeemer. That it is Him that is speaking through me. That if I do all I can to be obedient and work hard, that I can be an instrument and disciple of Christ. I would ask all of you that read this, to ask yourself. Are you SEEKING Jesus Christ? Ether 12:41. It truly is something different to SEEK Jesus Christ. To seek His LIGHT and Understanding in all things. I would challenge all of you to do that. I promise you that you will see miracles in your life...

Also, another thought. I have always found it sometimes a struggle, to have a question, or a question that an investigator might have and look to the scripture for the answer. Instead, now I am trying to look at it as, reading the scripture and asking myself, what question does this scripture answer.

After this amazing experience of sharing a thought in espanol... I was so pumped that I wanted to teach a lesson. In class, we started to prepare a lesson to give other companionships... we had the choice to do it in English or Spanish... I was all about the Spanish. I am amazed of how much I understand. The lord is definitely by my side helping me every step of the way. There is no way I could have done this much on my own. I owe Him everything that I have. This is truly the Lord’s time. And I am trying with all my heart to do my best.

It is so important to listen to the spirit. I have found that during the week, it is time to prepare, that while you teach (on Friday) that you just have to have faith that the Lord will make up the rest. That is what happened a couple days ago. We had a practice for our task on Friday with one of the instructors. We were so caught up in trying to speak Spanish that we weren't listening to the spirit. We asked the investigator if he felt anything while he prayed. He said he did. He felt peace. I could of sworn he said he didn't feel anything. So I go and start testifying about Moroni’s promise. Muy impiortante, corozon sincero y verdadaro intencia.... well, even if I didn't understand the Spanish, the spirit would have told me what he felt. We should have committed him to baptism right away... se bautizara? Well, we all laughed and I learned a huge lesson. I will try my absolute hardest to never let that happen again. I’m glad I got that out of the way in the MTC :-)

I am soooooooo EXCITED for the temple dedication!!!! It is so powerful to sit in a room with 2500 missionaries singing called to serve and listening to general authorities, but to stand with them doing the Hosanna shout twirling our white handkerchiefs in the air! OH MAN! I am like a little school girl jumping up and down I am soooo excited! I let you know all about it in the next email!

So, last time I tried to write a email, it got deleted. :-( and I didn't get to say all I wanted... so..

Elder Nelson has made a complete 180 and in my opinion, one of the strongest elders in our district now. It was a refining experience for him and our district, but it strengthened us all. It let us know that we are indeed called of God and supposed to be here. I dont have time to go into detail, but it has truly been a miracle. He was just called as district leader. :-) Way cool! We all saw it coming!

It was hard to say good bye to the last district. I was very close with the Hermanas and a couple of the Elders. They were really key in my transition at the MTC and getting my feet under me. Kick ball just isn't quite the same. People come and go a lot here, but we have one thing that we always have in common, we are Disciples of Christ. We all miss home, we all have sacrificed, and we all love the Lord. I have enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful people. My "grandma and grandpa" I call them, just left for the Philippines. They were so awesome. Every night at dinner they would come and check on me. There are just so many wonderful people here. I love it!!!

I got to sit in the hall way before the NY missionaries left and I got to tell them my conversion story. It was so amazing. For all of us, whenever we feel down, look back to the time you were converted. It brings me so much strength. I look back and think, how did I do that? How did I have the strength to overcome that? Well, the Lord’s hands are in everything... I shared my experiences of coming unto Christ, and I felt closer to him. When was the last time you shared your testimony or conversion? I would ask you to do that... often. The light of Christ will brighten in you when you realize how much the Savior has done for you.

Thank you, Uncle Steve, for your wonderful thoughts about how to love. I have the list hanging on my mirror in my room... I try to apply it every day! It works! Zion is true and alive!

Chris, I really have to thank you! …for your birthday present… the list of scriptures of encouragement. I read that before bed one night. I think Monday, or the night I got it in the mail. Well, the next morning during study before breakfast, I wrote them on the board. While I was writing them, all I could hear behind me was the rustle of scripture pages. Every person in that room needed that! We refer back to them often. I’m going to make a card and laminate it and put it in my scriptures.

The Lord is in your life. Just seek to find Him. He is waiting with out-stretched hands. All we have to do is reach for him!

I love all of you! I am grateful for everyone in my life that has gotten me here. I love serving the LORD! Here I come, Tampa! :-)

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Week 3 - MTC e-mail August 14, 2009

August 14, 2009

I just wrote a huge email and it is lost!!!!! …it has been an interesting week... I am sending a hand written letter to explain more...

One of the elders was going to leave... through some miracles he stayed...

oh man, I am so frustrated that the email didn't work... the other part of the email had responses to other people's letters, but it got delteted and i didn't have the time to write.


My testimony keeps growing in unique and unexpected ways... I know this gospel is true with all of my heart... I had an amazing teaching experience yesterday... we taught our progressive investigator... Cynthia. I felt what it was like to be lead by the spirit during a lesson... we testified and taught to her needs. we testified with the sprit so strong in the room, that what she was feeling was the sprit witnessing to her that what we were teaching her was true... she started to cry and so did we, the spirit was so strong... I used to never cry when I felt the spirit. Here in the MTC it seems so much stronger that I can't help it any more, especially when I am bearing my testimony.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Week 2 - MTC e-mail August 7, 2009

Fri 8/7/2009 10:03 AM


Don't even know where to start...

I MISS YOU SOOOOO MUCH!!! I really do! Love you all!

Josh, go for it. Use Rosetta Stone! We can talk in Spanish when we get home...

FYI... 41% of the missionaries in the MTC are Spanish speaking... WOW!

On the topic of Spanish, I’ve had my first dream in the Spanish language. Very cool! I didn't hardly understand anything, but the Spanish must be in my head someone where... I only pray in Spanish, well for the most part... I have a hard time NOT praying in Spanish. When we are with English speaking missionaries, we pray in English and I have to concentrate on what to say. I’m not going to speak English at all when I get back!

I had an interesting experience last night. It has increased my faith in the gift of tongues tremendously. So, I had kind of a rough day of Spanish. For the life of me I couldn't remember, number and gender and... so on. I couldn’t form even a sentence. I was really down on myself. Comparing myself to my companions and putting myself down, which is the worst thing you can ever do! But it is hard sometimes. So, I was contacting with Hermana Petit, and I really struggle through it, but I got it done. Hola!... and so on. Asked her if I could teach her, tesitfied of Christ. Like a normal contact. But I didn't feel confident in myself at all. we had interviews with our teacher soon after. Hermano Boyack. He is an amazing teacher. Well, I told him how i felt and he just shook his head, and said. Hermana Vaughan-Schultz... you are one of the best in the class... do not be hard on yourself. He said I just needed to have faith in my ability and the testimony that I have... and just share it! SO I DID! :-) The gift of tongues is so REAL! After I got done talking with him, I went up to Elder Rogers (from Texas :-)) and just started talking and testifying to him like I was a native speaker. I was absolutely amazed. I didn't have to concentrate on word endings of vocab at all. It was a simple testimony. Dios es neustro Padre Celestial. Nosotros somos sus Hijos. Dios nos enio a la tierra para aprender y progressar. Dios preparo un plan para ayudanos a regrasar con El. La Expacion De Jesuscristo es central en el plan de Dios... en el nombre Jesuscristo. Amen. I love this work!!!

We have barely studied Spanish for a week and a half, and are studying 5th week grammar for the MTC standards. our teacher has only taught one other class that has gone at this pace and he has been here almost three years. I know that is because we are a well rounded district with very strong testimonies. I have no doubt that this is the group I am supposed to be with. They are like my brothers away from home. Don't worry Chris, josh and Jesse, I am in good hands! I just expect you to treat the Hermanas with the same respect when you are here. Always open the doors for girls, stand when they leave and come to the table, take their dinner trays and always tell them they are pretty! That is what our Elders do for us! It makes all the difference. They will not eat dinner without us there... I have not seen any other district in the entire MTC that does that. :-) They seem like they are 25 years old... but don't worry; we have our fair share of fun. At gym, we always play together. So far, kick ball, sand volley ball and basketball. It is a lot of fun. Play hard, work hard!

Tuesday night devotional... The PROVO temple mission president and his wife spoke... it was SOOOOOO amazing. So amazing to sit and sing called to serve with 2500 missionaries. I even sang in the choir... can you believe that! :-)

So, on Monday nights, our district goes to the RC. "Referral center" and I had an amazing experience... I called a women, she is a Southern Baptists and has had one missionary lesson. Her hang-up is that when she feels the spirit she wants to shout at the roof tops, hallelujah and praise to the Lord. (I don't blame her, sometimes I feel like doing that to). But she didn't think that she would fit in. I shared with many of my experiences, talked to her for a half hour... She went from, not wanting to read the Book of Mormon, not going to church... to wanting to read it, committed her to read Moroni's promise, committed her to go to church, and to pray if it is true. She didn't want to meet with the missionaries any more, but agreed to let me teach her over the phone... so here it goes. I felt the spirit so much when I talked to her. I didn’t feel like it was even me talking to her. I’m going to contact her again Monday and see how it goes... needless to say, I’m really fired up about it.

"How do you lose yourself?", is what I have been asking myself since I have gotten here. How do you lose yourself and not forget who you are?... Thinking about my baptism and the journey that has brought me to this day, I couldn't help but to think of the dream that i had two nights before my baptism. When I was sitting under and cold and dark over pass. Homeless. With a small fire in front of me as I sat on the ground. in the distance was a light on a telephone pole. It had rained because the light glistened on the wet pavement in front of me. Next to me to my right was a person sitting on the ground, with scriptures in hand... only they let their scriptures get to close to the fire, and there pages blackened. I asked them if I could see them, and I wiped every page one by one until they could see the pages again... I had nothing in the dream, but only the scriptures in my lap. Those were the most precious things that I had. Nobody could take them from me... I had nothing of worldly value, but yet, I still felt happy... that is losing yourself. Not forgetting who you are, but remembering what is really of most worth. I could have nothing in this life other then my faith in Christ, and I could still be happy. What a wonderful thing that is. And how much faith does it take to hold onto that? A LOT! I struggle, but I am going to keep trying.

I r'e y Hare! (go and do!)

My love and thoughts go to you all!

Hermana Vaughan-Schultz
John 15:13

Thursday, August 6, 2009

First Day at the MTC

Exerpts from Written Letter Received Aug 5, 2009


Spanish, Spanish, Spanish! After tomorrow we have to speak Spanish. Me permite hablar (en) ingleis. That is me asking permission to speak English. 9 hrs a day in the classroom. The Spanish is coming along. I woke up really sad and missed home. It didn't help that my alarm clock was el stupido! Left without companion prayer :-( and just didn't feel right. I suggested after our first block of class to return to our room and start over. That feeling went away, and I have had a GREAT day since.

So busy have hardly enough time to breathe. Rushing through eating, ... whew. Next week will be more relaxed. We have had tons of orientations this week. My head feels like it is going to explode.

...make sure the family reads their scriptures. Personally and as a family. Love you!

Boys, be grateful that you have the opportunity to go to seminary. It is a blessing and a wonderful tool to prepare for your mission. I wish a great deal that I would have had the opportunity to go and learn.

We only have sung "Called to Serve" in Spanish class. I am really excited to sing for every large group meeting (about 5 since I got here) we always sing missionary hymns. About 400 missionaries reported the same day as me. It is really powerful to stand and all sing together.

Today, Aug 1st, is our first "half" p-day. P-days will be Friday from now on. I am excited to go to the Temple. It will be nice to leave everything at the front door.

I am excited to teach. The saying goes, days feel like weeks, and weeks seem like days. Days are long! What makes me get through the discouragement, is the people I will teach and meet. When I get jealous of the English missionaries, (because they have it A LOT easier) I visualize the people I get to teach and I HAVE TO know Spanish and I think that is an amazing thing to experience. Already praying and testifying in Spanish has been wonderful. I can't wait until I can teach full lessons. :-)

Home seems so far away. It is going to be the longest and shortest 18 months of my life.

"Til We Meet"

Love, Hermana Vaughan-Schultz

Hilary's first written letter, received Monday, Aug 3, 2009

July 29, 2009 (Hilary's first day in the MTC)
They told us to write Mom first!
So, Hi Mom! All is well in Zion. Yes, I miss you, but the Savior does fill that empty space. I have felt the Spirit so strong. I thought my heart was going to leap out of my chest.

Yes, my name fits on my name tag. It still feels a little weird, but I love waring it already. My companions are amazing. I have two. Hermona Nef, and Hermana Petit. Hermana Petit is Haitian and Hermana Nef is from TEXAS! :-)

We all interviewed with our Branch President Schumway. He is amazing! Our district is half going to Tampa and the other to LA. We all love our testimonies. I got to tell about my family. :-)

I just want to be out in the field now! :-) Spanish is going to be challenging. I saw Caleb Herman & Joey. I think I have been greeted and said "hello" to by 30 different languages. Dinner was crazy busy, soooo many missionaries.

I am well taken care of! My clothes all fit. I'm on the bottom bunk. My desk is filled with awesome books. My companions LOVE my box and my pink bathrobe!

My testimony has already grown today! I can't wait to see where I am in 9 weeks and 18 months. I leave for Florida approximately Sept 29th. My possible return is Feb 15th. See you then!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 1, 2009 - First e-mail from Hilary


The Spanish is coming along well! The first night we started to learn how to pray. By the next day I could pray to Padre Celestial and testify of Christ. So I hope that continues to do well. The first day was really frustrating with the Spanish. I compared myself to everyone else. It seemed like I was the only one who didn't know how to speak Spanish, but, I just had to make myself not compare. Focus on just always trying my hardest, and those feelings have started to go away.

We have hardly any time to think at all... and that actually helps. I have 9 hrs a day of intense study of the gospel and language… on top of Large Group meetings and devotionals. I’m up 15 hrs a day working hard. By the end of the day you fall in bed and out of bed on your knees.

I have two companions, Hermana Petit and Hermana Nef. Hermana Petit is Haitian, speaks French, Creole, and Spanish for the most part... can you see why I was intimidated... her family lives in New York City in Queens. It’s great hearing her stories. She was kind of like mom; she was endowed at the age of 20. She is now 23... Hermana Nef is originally from Idaho, but has lived in Texas for the last three years... Both are really great Hermanas. We try our best at companion study and helping each other with the language.

I have to thank the boys. No one in my District knew what “backpack” was in Spanish... that was one of my proudest moments of feeling like I knew something everyone else didn't.

Our District is absolutely amazing!!! We have 8 Elders. They are so respectful to us Hermanas. In the large cafeteria, every time we approach the table to sit down or leave the table, they all stand. In fact, our whole zone does… the only ones in the entire MTC that does that. So we sit down and say Gracias Elders. We have the perfect mix of serious missionaries and fun hearted. We laugh when it is appropriate, but also cry together as our testimonies are growing so much. When we are talking about a subject in one of the lessons, they always ask me how it was in my conversion. So that is pretty neat.

Today is the first day that the teachers will only talk in Spanish as they instruct us, and they talk FAST!!!!!! I am understanding about half as much more as I did yesterday. It is amazing, even now, when I look back, and see how much i have learned. I have felt strongly that i need to put my faith in the Gift of Tongues. It is absolutely vital for foreign language missionaries... Sometimes, I think that the English missionaries have it made! It would be soooo much easier to just dive into the scriptures and PMG (Preach My Gospel) in English and master it. I try to only pray in Spanish now... my first experience praying in Spanish was nothing short of amazing...

Boys! I know you might not have had that great of a Spanish teacher... But, you can take the initiative to learn. In the MTC, a lot of the understanding is self taught. It helps that the spirit is there to help you learn, but it is definitely self taught. You get what you get out of it. If you know Spanish well enough, they will bump you up to the three week plan. I wish I would have worked harder in the language before I left.