Feb 11, 2014
This could not have been a better week of learning, gaining strength, spiritual moments, and laughter. I don't even know how to go about informing you all about my happenings over the past couple of days, it's simply been crazy! Whoever said that each day feels like a month was totally lying, because I feel like the time is flying and there is NEVER enough time to get everything I want to/need to done. I have learned more Spanish in the last few days then I did in all three years of high school combined and even right now I'm translating this email into Spanish in my head :)
Well I got to the MTC late but it naturally all worked out because I got to say goodbye to the brothers and Challie and share one last meal together which was perfect! When I finally arrived they couldn't locate my district so I just traveled around with the older district in our zone until we had a zone meeting that night (for all of you who for whom that didn't make sense, I apologize). Basically, there were four districts in our zone, two districts arrived Wednesday and two districts were leaving Monday. The two older districts were amazing and took my district completely under their wing. One of them was completely made up of natives so they were fluent and a huge help. The native district studies in the apartment next to ours, but they always leave their apartment to come over and talk to us except now they're all gone and it's crazy how quickly you can become close to people. We took a ton of pictures with them before they left and miss them all like crazy even though it's only been a day.
About my district: Well my companion, Hermana Chynoweth, is simply perfect if not one of the most beautiful people I've ever met inside and out! She was actually one of the people I kind of knew before coming thanks to the facebook group and I could not be happier to have her as my companion. We balance each other out extremely well in lessons and in everyday matters. We share an apartment with Hermana Sturt and Hermana Metler who I cannot say enough good things about. I'm sure we win the award for happiest apartment at any hour of the day. The three of them are all from different parts of Utah and each brings so much to the table. We're basically a companionship of four cause we do everything and go everywhere together! We just all love each other so much we can't imagine being separated :) There are also 4 elders in our district all with EXTREMELY different personalities. Elder Laufenberg is quiet but makes really random witty comments and is a walking giant. Elder Vance looks like Chris (Travis' roommate) and slightly reminds me of him with his off the wall comments but randomly serious side. Elder Snell is probably my favorite, if i can even have favorites, and ALWAYS carries around his dictionary speaking more Spanish then any of us. He's extremely humble and all about the rules but in a totally positive, keeps us smiling kind of way. AND Elder Milligan.....is crazy. I think his focus level is worse then mine, but he literally has us all laughing for the last hour of study time while Elder Snell (his companion) just rolls his eyes. Basically, I couldn't have asked for a better district!!! We do everything together and are excited to start challenging other districts to volleyball because we've got some game!
For MTC West we live in Wyview and then walk to Raintree for classes. All of the Raintree apartments have been converted into classrooms with the front room and the back room both being classrooms, one room being an investigator room, and a spare room for study use. The Church has added a white board and a big screen TV to every room to help with our learning and it's simply incredible. They also built a cafeteria and a bookstore in the Raintree parking lot AND bought out another parking lot and placed three mini climatrons (sorry those of you not native to STL) to use as our gym facilities. Gym time, which is part of our schedule everyday, is thrilling (there truly is no other word to describe it). Volleyball = intense, but four square = out of this world!! I feel like I'm playing with Travis and Kevin all over again. You can't just stand in your square or you'll be out in seconds. It's all simply incredible and I love that we get to go outside everyday multiple times, even though it was raining all week! Plus waking up to the mountains staring you down is always a huge plus :)
It blows my mind to think that BYU is just up the street and everyone is there studying and going to classes just like me. Basically the MTC is one giant Spanish class after another. The teachers are fabulous and dying to help you with anything. I finally resolved three years worth of Spanish questions and am learning tons. When it's time for bed it's hard to shut down all the Spanish that is running rampant through my brain, plus all i want to do is learn, so it's hard to fall asleep or even go to meals because I just want to keep studying and learning more and more!!! No one pre-warned me that I would be teaching an investigator the second day and I can honestly say that I froze up completely. I felt terrible for Hermana Chynoweth who had to totally carry the lesson, but the horrible experience was also the perfect learning experience because I resolved from that moment on to never allow myself to be unprepared. Like the Spanish elders always say, "being nervous doesn't help anything, so just forget it" :)
I think the highlight of this week was our second lesson, for which I prepared like crazy because I wanted to make sure it would go well. (Side note: for those of you who don't know, while in the MTC we teach "investigators" or people pretending to be investigators to the church. We teach them everyday lessons about the gospel of Jesus Christ and invite them to come unto Christ. It's the same investigator everyday and the entire lesson has to be in Spanish. That's why teaching the second day blew my mind!) We prayed as a companionship to be guided by the Spirit in everything we said and the words simply flowed. In the middle of the lesson, when words began to fail and the Spirit was simply incredible, I had my "Elder Rogers" moment (Best 2 Years reference). It was in that moment that I was hit strongly with the great work I have been called to do. Though this investigator may just be an actor, the very act of teaching is quite real and so very important to our purpose as members of the gospel. This is real and the work is not only important to Heavenly Father, it's extremely important for those we are giving it to! I came out of the lesson and just reveled in the remarkable ability I have to impact others lives simply through the spirit I can bring. I could not be more thankful for this work in my life! I know it, I live it, I love it!!! This truly is the gospel of Jesus Christ and we need to do all we can to share it with all those around us. If I thought the fire was set inside of me before, it is now blazing even brighter. I hope my investigators now and in Mexico will be able to see it burning in my eyes at those moments where I completely lack the words to speak!!
This is my purpose and this is my joy, to bring just one soul to Christ!!
Love you all tons,
Thank you for your letters and prayers I truly feel them,