Sunday, September 1, 2013
First Week of Being in the MTC
don't use dear elder, i heard they take like three weeks to get here cus they print them at the provo mtc, then send them to the mexico city mtc. just use email for now, and you can write me letters when i get to paraguay if you want. i don't think i can get packages here, but i'm pretty sure if you just send them to the mission home in paraguay (which you already have the address for) i'll be able to get them just fine when i get there. please send me a copy of my PB, i don't know how to print stuff out here. i did get a little bit of sleep on the plane, and i slept during the devotional that night, which is a shame, as i heard later that it was really good. i have met the CCM (MTC in spanish) president (it's pratt, not platt), and spoken to him briefly on a couple of occasions. i gave the opening prayer in spanish in a meeting for all the new missionaries which he was conducting, and he eats in the comedor on sundays. my branch president is an awesome guy as well, his name is Elder Jewell. he was born in mexico and speaks mostly spanish to us, but he's fluent in english as well. most of the food here is awesome. for breakfast i usually just have cereal cus me and my companion usually get there late. for lunch they always give us meat and then we can grab tortillas and beans and rice and salsa and make super legit mexican tacos. dinner is usually pretty good too. both elders and sisters live in the houses, and only elders live in the dorms. i'm in one of the dorm buildings. my companion, elder Tate, is awesome. he's from utah and is going to the houston south mission. i think usually they try to pair you with people going to the same mission, but since we're in the intermediate class, there's not much option to do that. in class, our teacher speaks almost exclusively in spanish, and i understand most of it, which is sweet. i think a lot of the mtc employees speak a little bit of english, but they're typically much more comfortable with spanish. all the elders/hermanas in my district either have at least 3 years of spanish in school or they spoke spanish at home, so we try to communicate in spanish a lot. my teacher is from highland, and actually knows austin and rachel. her name is hermana haws. in class, we study spanish a little bit, but mostly we just study the gospel and how to teach and when we study spanish, we just study like church specific stuff and apply it to our work. on sunday we watched an mtc devotional that elder bednar gave last year, and when his wife was speaking she talked about service, and said that we as missionaries are ''taking spiritual casseroles to the world'', which i thought was funny and wanted to share. we also had an awesome devotional from the area president, elder johnson, yesterday which was really sweet. he talked about how this is the Lord's mission, not ours, and we need to act like it, and how we need to practice what we preach completely, for example, if we're going to teach someone about God and then ask them to pray to know if the things we taught are true, then we need to have done the same, and ask in our prayers whether the principles are true or not. at first it seemed to me like it would display a lack of faith, as i've known they are true, but when he explained it it made a ton of sense and is such a powerful principle. my companion and i have been teaching an 'investigator' (an employee of the CCM) and it's awesome, i don't know that i'm ready yet but i can't wait to get to paraguay and start teaching for real. i've seen two girls that were in my classes in BYU, and a girl that was living in nanjing at the same time i was there, and went to the same branch. i've attached a picture of my district, a couple pictures of me and my companion, a picture of me and elder peñate (he's in my district, he's a super friendly guy and always has a huge grin on his face), and a picture of the hill behind the CCM cus it's a sweet view cus all the houses are different colors. we're only allowed to take pictures on p-day so i don't have a ton, but hopefully that will do. we get to go to the temple every other p-day and my district got to go today. we did everything in spanish, which was a bit difficult, but it was still a good experience. the architecture there is sweet, as far as my understanding goes, it was built to resemble a mayan temple. it has sweet designs on the outside, you might be able to see them in my pictures but i'm not sure. the elder i taught with on the plane isn't in my district, cus he's in a begginer class, but i have seen him a few times and he's going to the same mission as me, so i'm sure we'll be seeing more of each other. everyone has to write a 5 minute talk every week, and then the branch president tells us who's going to speak at the beginning of sacrament meeting, which is pretty cool, cus then everyone will have five talks already prepared when they're on the mission. they also are supposed to be in spanish. there is often quite a bit of english thrown in, as my district is the only intermediate district in the branch. also, i discovered that i get home from my mission on the 28th of June, 2015. i think it's cus of the way transfers work. each transfer is 6 weeks long, and 6 doesn't go evenly into 104 (2 years), so my mission will only be 102 weeks. for native speaking missions, they're only in the mtc for two weeks, so then 6x+2 goes into 104 evenly, but since i'm here for 6 weeks, it's different. also, all my short sleeve shirts are huge. the neck fits, but the sleeves are too wide and the body is too wide and too long. it's not a huge deal, and i'm not sure if i'll be able to buy shirts that fit better in paraguay or not, but if not, it'd be swell if you could send me some. they also gave me a filtered waterbottle, which is guaranteed for two years, so i guess i didn't really need the other one. a couple of the pairs of socks that i brought from home rubbed the skin off my feet in a couple places, but i think i only brought two or three pairs like that, so i should be fine with socks. i think i covered everything i wanted to, so here you go.