HELLO BEAUTIFUL FAMILY OF MINE!!!
I have had a very crazy first week here in the MTC. This is probably the hardest, yet most rewarding things that I have ever done in my entire life. Let's take a walk through the first few days shall we? I arrived in the MTC and Elder Keate was my host missionary which was probably my most favorite part of the entire day!! It was so nice to have a familiar face here to welcome me into the new missioinary life. I then went through a big long tour and received all of my tags and other necessary items for life here. We then met as new missionaries all together with the MTC mission presidency and all of the new missionaries. 88 new sister missionaries came into the MTC last Wednesday which is most likely going to be the smallest number they will see for about the rest of forever. My favorite part of that meeting was that we sang 'Called to Serve'. I had been waiting for a year for that moment and I have to say, it was better than I expected. The Spirit was so strong and it was so cool to see the new addition to the Lord's army!!!
I then went to my first class......yeah.....it was all in Dutch. I'm pretty sure all I understood was hello and goodbye. Talk about jumping right in. Our teachers speak in het Nederlands(Dutch) ALL of the time. You either have to be really good at reading body language or start to learn the language super quickly or else you will never survive. Our teachers are Broeder Norton and Broeder Wells. Broeder Wells says that he knows Trevor Israelsen and that we could be friends because I am cool enough to be related to Trevor!!!
There are four sisters in our district. Me, Zuster Raun, Zuster Juchau and Zuster Nogiera. My companion is Zuster Nogiera. She is from Portugal and she doesn't speak english very well. She didn't arrive in the MTC until 2 AM on Thursday morning so I was a solo sister for a whole day....which was kinda weird but I enjoyed it. Because she doesn't speak english very well it is very hard for her to learn Dutch from anyone in our district. I feel as though I have fallen behind because I am trying to make sure that she is able to understand and perform well. We have an interpreter sometimes....but it is hard to find someone who speaks english, portuguese and dutch...we're still working on that.
On day 2, we had to teach our first lesson in Dutch....and I wish I could say that I was phenomenal and that I was already fluent in Dutch.....but it was a train wreck. I had no idea what I was saying....I had no idea what our investigator was saying. I now know how Elder Calhoun felt when the lady in the park spoke Dutch to him and he had no idea what in the world she was saying. I read (in the worst Dutch accent ever) the entire lesson from preach my gospel and I don't think that our investigator got anything out of it....but I made it through. Since then, we have taught two more times and have another lesson tonight. We're getting better at it...even though we still sound like Dutch cavemen.
One super cool thing is that since Zuster Nogiera doesn't have a temple nearby at home, she is going to receive her endowment today....at 1:00. And guess who gets to be her escort.....that's right.....this girl right here. We tried to convince her that maybe she would like to have someone who spoke portugese go through with her but she won't hear of it....so I'll let you know how well I do considering I have only been through the temple a few times.
Conference this weekend was so incredibly amazing!!! Can you believe the missionary announcement?!?! The Lord hastens His work in His own time and it is so cool that the time is now!!! It is time to gather Israel!!! My colegas(companions) and I were talking about it though...and we have come to the realization that we are going to be so old when we come back from our missions. We'll tell people that we are return missionaries and they will respond 'Oh, so you're 21' and we will correct them and automatically be seen as old people. And to put the cherry on top, the only skills we will have when we come back is being really good at making gutteral noises....attractive....I know.
So on Sunday....mijn colega fainted. I missed the last session of conference so that she could rest and we have missed classtime every single day this week(as if we aren't already behind) because we have to keep going to the hospital. We are going to the cardiologist and they have done so many tests it is unreal. She currently has a monitor on her so that they can see what her heart goes through during the day. It's super scary since she is unhealthy, but also because if they don't figure out what is wrong they will most likely send her home.
OK. So here is my favorite part of this last week. On Tuesday nights they have a devotional and someone comes to speak to all of the missionaries and this Tuesday.....drumroll please....it was Elder Bednar. Probably one of the coolest things ever. He taught us how to study the scriptures given to us my the modern day prophets. He counciled us to FIRST, identify the doctrines and principles the speaker is teaching, SECOND find out what he is inviting you to do and THIRD find the promises thay he gives to you if you heed his teachings. He counciled us to put all of the things that we have learned onto one piece of paper from general conference and keep it for the rest of your lives and try to do those things you have learned so that you can receive the blessings promised. I was also able to be part of the choir which is so amazing because they don't let you listen to music in your rooms in the MTC....so choir is the only opportunity I get to sing.
I have to say though that I have never looked forward more to my gym time in my entire life. I play volleyball with all of the Dutch missionaries and it totally helps to relieve the stress that builds up during the day.
So.....I thought that 30 minutes was going to be more time but....alas I have been trying to help my companion figure out a computer at the same time I have written this letter so I'm sorry that it isn't very long. I love you all and I love getting your dearelders everyday!!! It helps me so much to be able to have the strength to be able to learn the language and still feel accomplished even though I am behind. You are all wonderful people!!!