Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 23, 2013-First Letter from MTC!

Mom, Dad, and everyone else,                                                         

How are you all doing? Things are going pretty well here in the MTC. I like my district and zone. Today we have a mini- preparation day. Apparently missionaries have a weird schedule the first few days at the mtc, so for the rest of my stay here my preparation days will be on Fridays. I think my district is set to depart on March 5th and 6th. We don't have much time before leaving. And we don't have much time for ourselves. We have lessons in our classroom once or twice a day, and have studying periods for ourselves, our companionship, and then additional study time. After Thursday I felt like we would never get any time to just study what we wanted. Then yesterday we had a ton of studying time, but I felt like I hardly got anything done. We've been given a lot of assignments. Our Branch President talked to us Thursday night, and told us to memorize the First Vision, 3 Nephi 5:13, and Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 (the baptismal prayer) in both English and Spanish. We also were challenged the first day in the MTC to read the Missionary Handbook and memorize My Purpose in Preach My Gospel, aka Predicad Mi Evangelio. The memorization is going pretty well. I mostly memorize the passages in English, then I have something to guide my memorization in Spanish. Oh, yeah, our Branch President also told us all to prepare 4 min 52 second talks for sacrament meeting. Everyone in our branch (which is our zone) must prepare a talk, and then we will find out just before sacrament meeting who will be giving a talk. The talks must be given in Spanish, so that will be kind of difficult. I am one of the very few non-native Spanish speakers in my district, and probably zone, too. Almost all of the Elders and Hermanas (Sisters) here learned Spanish in their home. Either one or both parents are from Mexico or Central America and they are mostly fluent. The first day everyone was just speaking Spanish very quickly and I got nervous. I could hardly pick out what they were saying, but my comprehension is improving. The people here aren't completely fluent though, because they grew up in America, and they talk in English a lot, too. When they speak Spanish, they might throw in a word or term in English every once in a while. I am developing a pretty good ability to speak Spanglish.
Gym time here is interesting, because I don't know everyone yet and who is and isn't athletic. So I've played a fairly good game of basketball and a really poor game of volleyball. The volleyball game was yesterday and afterward I just felt kind of flat throughout the rest of the day. I couldn't focus as well and that's when I felt really unproductive when we were studying. By the way, Sister Cross says Hi. She is standing right here in the Laundry room. I have run into someone I know at almost every meal that I've been here. The ones that are here learning spanish are in mostly beginner classes and don't understand most of what I'm saying, so that makes me feel pretty good. My speed has picked up in my spanish speaking, which is good, but since mostly everyone here is almost fluent, we don't study the language. We study missionary work while speaking the language.
There are two other people that I know that are going to my mission. Two Hermanas in my zone. One was actually in my Latin Dance class, so we were pretty surprised to see each other at the MTC. So far the biggest miracle I've seen was on thursday (it already feels like I have been here a long time. There is a lot in one day.) Thursday morning we were having class for the first time and I couldn't follow what was going on. I could pick out what each person was saying, but I couldn't really connect the thoughts because I was just trying to understand the speed and accents. So I started praying and asked Heavenly Father to help me out and be prepared for the ability to speak the language like President Dickson had said in my blessing. Pretty soon after we had a short break, and I felt like my mind was able to reset. From then on the Spanish has come much easier. The rest of that day I was doing incredible. So I know that prayer really works and God will make a way for us to do what he commands us (1 Nephi 3:7)
I need to go now. Love you! thanks for your letters and all you have taught me. I will try to send pictures soon.


Elder Schenk (it's the same in Spanish)

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