I guess it's true what everyone says here: The days a really long, but the weeks are really short. I thought everyone was a little strange for saying that, but it's completely true. They jam-pack so much in a day for us that they feel really long. At nine o-clock in the morning - a time when, previously, I would have only gotten up, taken a shower and taken care of email and facebook, we have worked out for a half an hour, gotten ready, had personal or companionship study for an hour and a half and eaten breakfast. That makes me feel like I'm getting something done when I look at it that way - but I still feel like there is ALWAYS more to do. Probably because there is always more to do :) So, we've established days are long, but we all are really enjoying being here and with so much to do it seems like the weeks are just too short. And I totally believe you dad, it seems like we'll be leaving in no time! We've been replaced as the youngest district already.
So - I have a lot to say this week. Mostly just because I took the time to write down a list of all the things I wanted to say so there are a lot. First: Mom - MUCHAS GRACIAS for the package :) It was very 'sweet' of you to send me such a gift on my preparation day. Also, thanks for forwarding those two letters/notes.
Second: I want to share some things I've learned this week that have impacted the way that I view missionary work. First was in one of our classes with Hermano Barrio (p.s. we have the BEST teachers ever! They really actually care about what we know and what we need help with. Also, they enjoy having a good time with us too which we TOTALLY need sometimes). He taught us that the order in which we do things when we're teaching needs to be analyzed carefully. He said that the best way to be an effective teacher and to teach for specific individuals through the Holy Ghost is to:
- Hacer Preguntas (ask questions)
- Escuchar (listen)
- Discernir (discern - Español es facil, no?)
- Ensñar (teach)
The very last thing on the list is teaching. That struck me - it goes along with something that Elder Ballard (Yes, the apostle Elder Ballard) said on Tuesday when he came for the Tuesday night Devotional. He talked about how feelings are the most important part of a conversion process. He has asked hundreds of people who have been 'converted' to the church and almost every single person he asked said that the reason they knew what they were taught was true was through feelings - through the Holy Ghost. It gave me a little hope to think that as long as I can help, along with my companion/s, invite the spirit into a lesson or an experience with an investigator, that will help more than if I speak perfect Spanish. Of course - I still need to work on my Spanish all the time, but it should only be a priority because I need it to help to connect with people.
Hopefully that all made as much sense as it did in my head - I don't have time to proof read :)
I'll try to answer some questions that I've gotten:
Dad - They haven't had any culture classes for our class yet and I don't know that they will because we're state-side (our whole district is - which is really uncommon for spanish speaking districts. We're the only ones in our whole zone going stateside and everyone else is going to Mexico or South America). Although, I have heard that parts of our mission are like a mini Dominican Republic. I'm sure there will be some cultural things to learn once we get there.
We're pretty much restricted to the MTC campus except to go accross the street to the field or to the temple. So, I don't get to go to the creamery.
Also, for anyone who clings on to the past like nobody's business and has been here in the MTC, all the services are moving to a brand new building! So, the bookstore, the health clinic, the clothing store, the barber shop, the mail room, the drycleaning, and all that are in the newly (remodeled or built, I'm not sure) building - 2M on the North side of 1M (where the cafeteria and the info desks are). It's kind of a pain for us because they're moving it clear onto the other side of campus from where we are (17M - pretty much the most south you can get on the campus).
Also, Dad, you can totally have my strawberry milk. You'll just owe me some when I get back :) Just kidding - it's all yours. It's the least I could do for all the help you've given me.
I'm sorry I can't send pictures more periodically - apparently we can't attach pictures to our email here in the MTC. So, when I accumulate a few, I'll send you a memory card. Right now I really don't have that many because while I love taking pictures - we're just SO busy!
This week we had a workshop all about pondering. I had no idea that there could be such a thing - but it actually helped me learn how to study with revelation in mind much more effectively.
Yesterday we had an English 'ayuno' (fast) and our whole district tried really hard to go the whole day without speaking any English. I had a really hard time with it and honestly just didn't talk all that much, but I did make some really good progress in changing my thought process to make it so I would try to think of whatever I wanted to say in Spanish first and try to adjust it so I could. It helped me do our "H.S.I." (Habla Su Idioma) or "S.Y.L." (Speak Your Language) if you're saying it in English.
On Monday, we were supposed to start teaching a new investigator, but there was a mix-up and we actually went to the TRC (Training Resource Center) and impromptu had to come up with 2 20 minute lessons/conversations to have with spanish speakers. I got really freaked out because one of our was with a wonderful native-speaker, but she was just SO fast (and she probably thought she was going slow) that it was really stressful. All I could really do was bear a little bit of a testimony and say a really short prayer. It was a good experience though. I think it will give me more confidence in the future.
I love music! When we are all in the GYM singing and the organist is busting out some amazing harmonies it just gives me chills. I love listening to musical numbers and most of all I love playing the piano! I finally got to play for our branch sacrament meeting this week and it was fabulous! I even got to play a song that is a Spanish-only hymn that was actually fun. I enjoyed the chance to do a little sight reading and learn a new song.
We got to bust out of the MTC on Wednesday :) Hermana McGrath had to get a pin taken out of her finger that she broke a while back. So, we got to go on a cool shuttle to Central Utah Clinic - her friend works there and actually met us there - gasp! I was kind of glad she broke the rules because she brought us slurppees :) It was actually pretty fun and a good chance for me to study with a different surrounding. It can be really hard for me to focus with 6 other people around me studying and discussing in the same tiny classroom all the time. That reminds me - Dad, they can stuff up to 12 in a classroom. Our new district we got this week had 11. Ours is small and only has 7 though. We're lucky ducks because we get to teach a lot more that way.
Well, I'm over my time so I really need to go. Love you all!!
Tenga un buen dia!!!