Thank you for all the emails! I am going to read them after I get done emailing you guys. This week has been one of the longest weeks of my life. It feels like I have been here for much longer than a week. I am going to do my best to compile my thoughts in an organized way.
The first day here was so crazy. The MTC is built literally within the gates of the temple. It’s really cool. We are like this little spiritual safe haven. The MTC has a separate set of gates within the temple safe haven, so sometimes it feels a little like we are imprisoned here, but I just have to remind myself that no one is making me stay here. The MTC itself is only one building and it’s very small, three floors with one hall of rooms on each. The bottom is our dining room and chapel and other offices. The middle floor is split in half, girls and boys dorms. The top floor is all district rooms. I love my district so much. Our batch was split into two districts. We are the Alma district. We are with our district for 11 hours a day.
The MTC (CCM) is so different then I thought it would be. It’s basically high school except you are assigned a best friend. The first few days were really rough because for some reason I thought that we would have a teacher for the majority of the day, which is not the case. We start the day with 1 hour of personal study, 1 hour of companionship and 1 hour of language. Then we have more personal study and then sometimes we have a teacher but most the time it is more personal study. Then lunch, then some kind of class with a teacher then on your own, then a devotional. We have one hour of activity time each day. We have a courtyard out back behind the CCM which has some basketball courts and some other things. We actually are so excited to go outside after being in the district room all day that we have some way intense games of kickball, soccer. We played ultimate frisbee with a rugby ball the other day, the elders are usually welcoming and let the hermanas play, but sometimes they don’t. And then we are in class until 9 sometimes 9:30 at night. Anyway, each day is different, but I think you get the point, a LOT of time alone, which I am not a very self-motivated person and a lot of the elders in my district are the same way, so there is a lot of talking. Some days are worse than others.
The thing that is most frustrating is everyone in my district, well everyone but me and another hermana, hermana Bronson, seem to get Spanish, well at least they think they do. So for a few days we stayed in class with all of them trying to teach us which ended in me feeling so overwhelmed and more confused about Spanish than ever. We have now learned how to better spend our time. We learned you are actually suppose to plan out what you are going to study the next day, and then follow your plan so you’re not just sitting flipping through a mountain of books, wondering what you should do. It’s hard for me to know what to study when it comes to Spanish, we have like a whole bunch of pamphlets in Spanish, preach my gospel, the scriptures and a few grammar books with simple church phrases and all the lessons in Spanish, well shortened versions of the lessons. They never seem to have the phrase you need, though. We also have a Spanish to English dictionary and that is it.
When I think of how little I knew when I got here, and how much I know now, it is remarkable. Me and my companion had to teach a 15 min lesson the second day we got here, all in Spanish. The most frustrating thing to me is I just have so much I want to share and I am so incapable of saying anything more than “I know that Heavenly Father loves you” which again is a lot more than what I could say before. Luckily my companion is so amazing, she remembers everything, which is sometimes annoying, ha, but that is ok, she is so useful. I am so lucky to be here at this MTC because we have so many Latinos and they are all so willing to help us learn. My only roommates are two Latin sisters. They are both so sweet but we have very short conversations because they speak no English. I love just sitting and listening to them talk and picking out the 4 words I do know.
My number one favorite thing about being here is singing the hymns in Spanish. We sing so much and I love it. You would think we would be so bad at it but actually they sound really good.
Sundays are really special here, sacrament everyone prepares a talk and they call on people randomly. The district leaders get to pick so everyone chums up to them on Sundays. This last Sunday was so amazing. My companion was chosen to speak and I could feel her testimony so strong. Oh and best part, Sundays are all in English so I actually get what’s going on. Then we have a district Sunday school class and Relief Society. PS: I teach Relief Society this week so wish me luck. Then we have lots of free time. I took a nap because I was so exhausted from the week. At night we have two devotionals, one from our MTC president and his wife and the other his counselor and his wife. In one of the devotionals we were instructed to share this scripture with our families: Proverbs 25:25. “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Your words have truly been cold water to my soul. All the little notes people wrote and letters. I wish I could thank each of you personally for the love and support I have felt this week reading those letters every night.
So I can print emails while I am here. Feel free to email as much as you want. Also the LDS pouch is a huge thing here. I need someone to send me stamps through the pouch because you need American stamps to send stuff. (note from mom, you can send post cards and single page letters through the pouch, but no envelopes. We will have to send her stamps through the regular mail.) The missionaries that are already here say the pouch takes a week at the longest to get home. And we can use the pouch when I get to Paraguay too. So if you don’t know how the pouch works ask my mom or dad or Charlsie. They all have my call packet and it explains it all in there. Also mail only takes 2 weeks, sometimes a little more to get here. So that isn’t bad, but again I am fine if you want to stick with email.
Anyway this week has been really really hard but the great part is that I feel the spirit every second of every day. I don’t get hip hop songs stuck in my head, I get hymns. We don’t joke about stupid stuff, we joke about gospel topics and have really deep conversations about spiritual things. It’s really fun to be around people that have been going through the same things as me the past 4 months. I really really love it here. I hope I wasn’t negative. I really really love it here and I have already made so many friendships after just one week. All the hermanas are soooo close, I love it. It’s cool because most of them I never would have picked to be my friend but we somehow have the gospel in common and that is, it’s amazing.
The temple is closed today so we don’t get to go but next week they are opening it early for the missionaries leaving next week. Next week we get to go Monday and Thursday so I am looking forward to that.
Tuesday all the missionaries here, but my batch, leave so we have the whole MTC to ourselves until Thursday when we get new North Americans!!! We are all so excited to not be the new people anymore but we are sad to see the old ones go. Oh I forgot to say that one of the elders here that leaves Tuesday swam with me in high school. He is from Layton, so that is kind of fun.
We watched a devotional that was given at the Provo MTC yesterday. Oh man it was a really great devotional. D Todd Christofferson spoke. Those Provo kids are lucky, I guess so are we because we got to watch it. Anyway, when they panned the audience, I saw 3 kids from Davis that were missionaries. It was way cool. I felt so united. Throughout the world there are missionaries doing their best to learn the language and move the work of the Lord forward. This is just one missionary’s account trying to move the work forward in Paraguay.
Oh also cool thing, there are some Latinos here from Paraguay so they speak Guadini to us sometimes which actually makes me feel soooooo nervous because it’s nothing like Spanish and I don’t even speak Spanish. So ya, any way, something to look forward to.
Love you all so much. I am sorry this letter is so poorly written, I am frantically trying to type so I can get out everything I want to say.
I love you all soooo much,
oh PS: Bad news, we aren’t allowed to take pictures here. I have some because we didn’t know the rule, maybe I won’t send all the ones I have taken so you can get a few each week. (note from mom, she couldn’t get it to work this week… and ran out of time. She said she would try again next week)
PSS: I love my missionary tag. I wear it allll the time. One time I even feel asleep with it on. I love being a missionary.
oh PSS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAR. I thought of you all day, and Happy Birthday Emi and Elli. I thought about you too.