Hola Familia y Amigos!
Ok so another week at the great MTC! To start off i am going to answer questions that have been posed to me. First off the welcome bag was more a like a welcome envelope. It contains your placa, your schedule and some little welcome information. Don't worry mom, I am plenty warm with my blankets and even gave Hermana Pearson the slightly sad blanket the MTC provides because she was freezing at night. You can take off the dork dot after the first day, which is a relief because when you have it on everyone grins at you and welcomes you to the MTC, which is nice, but if you didn't know they truly meant it, it could be a little unnerving! My companion hermana Pearson is going to Morristown, New Jersey. Finally celestial breakfast is when we eat in the temple cafeteria after doing a session! Ok so now on to the letter.
On Thursday it snowed like crazy and we still have some of the leftover snow almost a week later. The worst part about cold weather here is that we are outside for maybe 5 minutes at a time walking between class and if you don't have your coat you are freezing, but the classrooms are super warm. Anyway it is a constant daily battle to decide whether or not I bring my coat. I basically have the same schedule Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Which includes gym, personal study, breakfast, additional study, companion study, class, lunch, additional study, class, dinner, language study, additional study, TALL which is language study on the computer, daily planning and then we have about an hour at night to write in our journals and prepare for bed. The other days have slight variations of the order but it is basically all the same stuff. Mainly I study for 12+ hours a day! It is awesome! I love learning about the gospel and I love learning Spanish. I am amazed at how much my Spanish keeps improving and that I am understanding what the teachers are saying to me.
Sundays are a little bit different from the rest of the week. We have a lot of personal study time. The sisters all go to music and the spoken word on Sundays followed by relief society. This week Sister Esplin of the General Primary Presidency came and spoke to us and did a great job! Then we have sacrament. Each week we have to have a 5 minute talk prepared in Spanish on a topic they have assigned, such as baptism and then right after sacrament the Branch president stands up and tells us which two or three of us will be speaking today! It is slightly nerve racking, but at least I will have 9 talks prepared before I hit the mission field. Sunday devotionals are great. We finally sang Called to Serve and it was fantastic! The only problem is that it drives me crazy that we sit when we sing that song. I felt like we need to stand up like we did in primary and sing our joy straight to heaven.
In the devotionals and firesides they all speak about missionary work...of course! One of the general authorities told us that there are 5 times the normal number of applications from sisters in right now than there are sisters in the field. Then he basically told us to be ready because we are going to be the trainers. They tell us that we will be trained and then we will train. It's a little nerve racking, but I am so excited the Lord had me wait to serve at this time when missionary work is booming. They also talk about the inspiration that goes into a mission call and it makes you really feel that the Lord knows us and he knows where we can do the most good. To illustrate the growing missionary numbers...my week there were 270 missionaries (about 40 or so sisters mom), but yesterday over 700 missionaries arrived! It's insane right! I hope that there are enough washing machines to go around!
So for some fun news for the week. In Spanish class they often ask us to create sentences about what we have learned. We were learning tener que which means to have to do something. We were going around the classroom giving our answers when the perfect sentence came into my head. Tenemos que buscar a Nemo! The whole district was laughing and now finding Nemo is a go-to answer when we need to make creative sentences. Basically crazy things happen to your brain when you study a foreign language for hours and hours a day! Along with Disney, the elders have a strange attraction to pokemon. We have these 3 different Spanish books and they are small medium and large. The elders have affectionately named them Charmander, Chamealon, and Charzard. Whenever we are told to get one of our books the elders will pipe in Charzard! Sadly even us sisters sometimes forget and call the books by their pokemon names. The Katie story of the week happened in Spanish class. I was feeling really tired and I'm not sure why...? :) Anyway one of the hermanas had dark chocolate so she gave me a mini piece and I unwrapped it and put it into my mouth. The teacher was on a little story and wasn't asking us anything so I felt safe eating it. Just when the chocolate was in the perfect half solid half melted phase in my mouth the teacher turned and asked me a question and about a split second before he did I knew he was going to ask me a question. The sisters all knew what was happening so they all started laughing and I quickly had to duck my head to ensure no chocolate drool would escape my mouth. The teacher taking pity on me called on an elder instead, but I have learned to be more sneaky in my chocolate consumption and to eat smaller pieces.
Another fun note one of my teachers Hermano Clarke went to the same mission as Brandon Pickett and they know each other. So it's a small mission world.
On Tuesdays we have service in the mornings and when I say mornings I mean we are there at 6:20 sharp to begin vacuuming, cleaning toilets and my personal favorite mopping. Hermana Pearson and I have both named the vacuums harry and speedy gonzales. The best part was mopping the floors. We created the song mop-maker to the tune of match-maker and had a grand time mopping the floor. Then we turned mopping into an olympic sport and had commentary on our great mopping technique. Thus a testament that even service at the MTC can be fun when you have the right attitude!
Even though lots of fun happens at the MTC the spirit is incredible here. Everyday I am almost overwhelmed at the love I feel from my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It is most powerful when we are teaching our lessons. Even though it is hard to teach in a foreign language I can still feel the power of the spirit behind the words I am speaking. Yesterday Hermana Pearson and I were getting very frustrated trying to figure out what to teach when one of the tutors started talking to us and reminded us about the power of listening and loving. So for that lesson we went in and just asked our investigator how he was doing and listened as he talked about his family. I felt the love the Savior had for him and at the very end we were able to bear simple testimonies about God's love for us and the fact that families can be together forever. I felt such joy when I was testifying of these things. Families are central to God's creation and plan for us and what a comfort it is to know that I can be with my family forever. I love my Savior, so much and each day I am humbled and honored that he has called and entrusted me to this great work! I love you all and I am praying for you daily!