Hola me familia y me amigos,
I wish I had a lot to write about today but unfortunately, I don’t. This week we have just been getting into the routine of the MTC. We wake up at 6:30, get ready till 7, at 7-8 we study (Hermana L and I read the Spanish Book Of Mormon out loud, one verse at a time switching back and forth between books).
Then we go to breakfast which usually includes waffles, pancakes, something random (yesterday it was a hotdog bun with beans cheese melted on it) and cereal (3 WHOLE KINDS! But they have frosted flakes, so you KNOW Hermana Groves has no problem with that). I know what you’re thinking, “ Waffles and pancakes? Awesome!” Well you don’t even know the half of it! Apparently they don’t believe in maple syrup here, or butter for that matter. The toppings we get to choose from are: chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup (yes syrup) and honey. Basically we’re on a sugar high for the first few hours. I think they do that on purpose because we can be so dead in the morning haha.
After that we have like a 3 hour block of class. Our morning teacher is Hermana B. I like her, but she knows that I am the only person in my class who hasn’t taken at least TWO YEARS of Spanish, so she kinda singles me out when she’s teaching. Which is fine, I mean I get what’s being taught, I just can’t memorize 40 new phrases every day! But she’s cool. I can tell that she honestly cares about me and my learning.
After class we have about an hour of gym time, in that time Hermana L really likes to get going. This past week we did a few different things: we went in the weight room where i just biked and Hermana did a bunch of weight training stuff (that she remembered from college softball), we also played basketball a few times with the elders from our district. Well she played basketball, I just kinda ran from one part of the court to the other and attempted to block Hermana L (they put us on opposing teams and they don’t dare guard us). We’ve also played ping pong with Elder S who couldn’t play basketball with the other elders because he basically broke his finger the day before being too competitive in… Basketball. Yesterday we played volleyball with some Elders from a district in our branch. That was probably my favorite gym activity because I can actually play volleyball and I didn’t look like an idiot. So HOLLA! That was great.
After gym we have about 40 minutes to "prepare for our next activity." We never shower after gym so you guessed it! Hermana L and I study during our free time. We then go to lunch at about 1 o’ clock and the food is basically a surprise every day, same with dinner. The only meal we can count on is Tuesday dinner. Its pizza night (by the way mom that reminded me of you because there were jalapenos and pepperoni on the pizza, so whoever orders it out is a Mexican version of you), but anyways the meals are always a surprise. I grab a plate because it looks familiar, like something Mom would make or something and then WHAT? Not even close to being similar. Haha its almost ridiculous how something can look like chicken and taste like… I don’t even know!
Anyway, after lunch we have TALL which is a computer based program that helps us learn Spanish grammar and things like that. A lot of the missionaries here joke about wishing they had TALL with them to fall asleep at night, but personally I like it, probably because I can move at my own speed and work on something until I completely get it.
After TALL we have more additional study time which varies to what we study every day. Friday we started with a teacher in the afternoon which we didn’t have initially. Hermana S is our afternoon teacher. I don’t know if I told you about our investigator Martha, but it turns out that after we were done teaching her she became Hermana S our afternoon teacher. I really like her. She is Mexican but served a mission in Temple Square so she speaks fluent English. Because we taught her she knows what our weaknesses are with investigators and she tries to work with them. She also makes sure that I understand things before she moves on. I really like her because she teaches in a different way, and even though I hate it, I understand it.
So after that 3 hour block or so we move onto dinner. I already told you dinner and lunch are about the same here. Yikes. I honestly thought I wasn’t a picky eater before I got here, but I was wrong. Although I’ll eat what’s placed in front of me I have to fight my gag reflexes haha.
The longest part of the day is after dinner. We have to sit in the classroom for 3 plus hours without a teacher. A third of it is personal language study, another third is additional study and another third is our daily planning for the next day. This part is so hard because we’ve already spent 7 plus hours in that classroom, and now we have a bunch of 18 year old boys unsupervised and bored. Oh my, if I learn ANYTHING during that block I am forever grateful. You know me, I basically have ADD so anytime anyone starts telling a story or talking about something I’m the slightest interested in my attention span is gone. Hermana L is so good at blocking them out, honestly like I’m way jealous of her. She’s got this missionary thing down.
So after that, at 9:30 we go to our casa, shower, write in our journals, companion and personal pray and go to sleep. Repeat the next day. But we now have two investigators (both of our teachers and their "alter egos" and that happens during class time every day).
Up until yesterday I only saw one person I knew from home on the daily, Hermana Alainey Carter. But yesterday Elder Josh Bolton (from cedar) and Elder Stockton Fisher (from Hurricane who I was friends with in college) both came and I’ve seen them both at least twice. So that is really reassuring to see familiar faces.
We also had a live broadcast devotional from Provo on Tuesday and I actually saw Asher on the screen twice. So I thought that was pretty cool, they said you couldn’t see family while in the MTC, pft. I showed them! Haha that devotional was WAY good btw. Neil L. Anderson spoke about love and sacrifice. I took away this quote from it "We sacrifice the things we love and we love the things we sacrifice for." Geesh, I wasn’t crying then but I’m crying now, in the computer lab. I just think deeply about it, and I think about how much I love you, my family and my friends, and how I know that because I love you so much I am willing to sacrifice these 18 months of my life for the better. I know that because I am sacrificing myself unto the Lord I will be blessed and the people I love will be blessed.
He also said "Your voice WILL be heard, whether you speak out loud or not". I took a long hard sit and thought about that. It’s like that quote I had on my mirror "Your reflection reflects in everything you do and everything you do reflects on you." Your actions may speak louder than any words to come out of your mouth. Do you realize that? As a bystander on the street you may change the course of someone’s life. All of us have the obligation to be our best at all times. If we are bearing the name of Christ, whether it is as a missionary or just a member of the church, you are bearing his name and you must live like you believe.
Also kinda on that same subject, we sat with this sister at dinner a few nights ago who asked us why we were going on missions. We told her, and then she told us her reasoning, and hers was cool. She was sitting in sacrament, and someone was speaking on tithing. She was like, "That is a sacrifice to the Lord but what could I give that would be a sacrifice for me? At the time I was 18 so 18 months was 10 percent of my life so I thought, I should sacrifice myself and serve a mission." I just think it’s funny how mysterious God works in order to hasten his work.
Yesterday I got a letter from Angie and it was awesome! I loved getting physical mail!
I know that I said my letter wouldn’t be long, and I was wrong, sorry! I want you all to know how much I love you, and just because I haven’t told my companion anything about you that does NOT mean I don’t love you. I think she’s afraid that if she gets me started I won’t stop! Haha I love you all so much and appreciate the support you are giving to me as I am on my mission. I know that the Lord loves you and is blessing you for the support. Please keep the faith and have a good attitude, a positive attitude goes so much further than a bad one. Treat each other well and show love. The people in your life are placed there for a reason, and I am grateful all of you were placed in my life. I love you all very much and hope you have a great week!
“ We love him, because he first loved us.”