Thursday, September 26, 2013

Week 2 - MTC

Querida Familia,

First of all, HAPPY FIVE MONTH ANNIVERSARY EMILY AND CRAIG!! And Craig, I'm excited to hear how your hockey team does! Go Fainting Goats! I'll be cheering for you from the MTC!!:):) And, Em, thanks for the BoM jokes! I had forgotten a couple of those...

I love hearing about what's going on at home!! Please continue to keep me updated on life! Miriam has sent me a couple Dear Elders and I also got a card from Dee. Please thank them for me, Mom. I don't have a ton of time, if any, during the week to respond. As my zone was leaving class last Saturday night we could hear the BYU game. I think that was the most homesick I've been so far because I know you were watching the game and I really wanted to be there! We heard the fight song from our apartment sometime around was cool!  P-day last week was really weird. The temple was amazing (as always), but other than that it was kinda boring if I'm honest. There's so much free time (which is still only like 4 hours total) that I didn't know what to do with myself. Elder Kruger was in the session with my zone at the temple which was cool. This week has been awesome though! The days feel like years, but the week literally flies by. It's a lil bit freaky. Our oldest district of Elders got their travel plans this week. They're all super excited, but we're a little bit sad. Because we only have three districts in our zone, we do so much together that missionaries normally do as districts so we're gonna miss them a lot. It's very possible that there will be tears...but happy tears:) We always eat all of our meals together as a zone. I totally understand why the church encourages us to eat meals as families. We also sing hymns Spanish of course. It's the best. Mom, you asked how many from my district/zone are from Utah? All of our Elders are from Utah. Hermana Kuhn is from Idaho Falls, and Hermana Ward is from Ann Arbor Michigan. The other district has more missionaries that are from out of state.

Other questions you asked...Hermano Martinez is my primary teacher. He continues to be amazing. He is so incredibly humble and it's obvious how much he loves and cares about us. He truly wants us to succeed. He has so much confidence in our abilities, and he teaches with so much power. I wanna be just like him. We have a second teacher (who is also our investigator, Melvin) whose name is Hermano Waddoups (what-ups). Sweet last name, ya? He's just as great as Hermano Martinez. I got the best teachers in the MTC. No question. We also have what are called ZRT's (zone resource teachers). They are teachers whose districts have left the MTC and haven't gotten another one yet. Hermano Byrd and Hermana Avery are the ones that usually come to our class and help out. I don't know when all these teachers stopped being people and became celestial beings...but somewhere along the line it happened. They are all amazing. I learn so much everyday.

Last Saturday, Hermano Waddoups was in Idaho Falls for his brother's farewell, so we had a sub, Hermano Bruce. He served in Buenos Aires, but his first area was in Tierra del Fuego. He showed us pictures, and told us a little about that area. He said it never got above 60 degrees once while he was there. The winds got up to 70mph. When it rains, it floods. The sidewalks are three feet above the ground so that the whole town doesn't flood. In the winter, there is exactly four hours of sunlight, and in the summer you get four hours of darkness. Awesome. Also, he got a knife/gun pulled on him at least 10 times, but he said that was mostly in Buenos Aires, and he said if you just start preaching to them and pull out a Book of Mormon, they usually leave you alone because they don't like preachers. Also, he said he's never heard of that happening to sisters. He was bitten by dogs a few times, but nothing major.

Sundays are officially the best days of the week here at the MTC. We have Sacrament Meeting (in Spanish) at 7:30, although our branch president usually starts ten minutes early. Then we eat breakfast, then I have to go to a branch council meeting, but then we go to Music and the Spoken Word and then Relief Society with all the sisters in the MTC which is always awesome. Then we have some time before lunch and then after lunch we have leadership training meetings and then the best part of the day...our temple walk! I love walking around the temple. We hang out as a zone, take pictures, read scriptures, etc. This last Sunday we went to choir practice for Tuesday night devotional, and then we sat as a zone for devotional. After devotional, our zone stayed and watched "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar again. It's even better the second time. He teaches about how the Savior always turns out, when the natural man wants to turn in. Mom, the one we watch was definitely given at the MTC on Christmas morning. He says so at the beginning of his talk:) It's all about how we can become better missionaries by learning about the character of Christ. He probably gave a similar talk somewhere else but the one we watch was definitely given later than 2003. After devotional, we helped stack chairs and clean up the stage. It was actually kind of fun...especially cause we had a break from our usual schedule!

This week during gym time a group of us were playing volleyball and Elder Martinez (not to be confused with Hermano Martinez, my teacher) and I completely ran into each other. I have a nasty bruise on my knee...gotta love gym time. But really, gym time is the best. It always feels good to run around a bit.

This week my branch President, President Ditmar, discovered how much Spanish experience I've had and asked if I should be moved to the advanced class. I very kindly told him that I was just fine where I was. I definitely am not ready for the advanced class, but I can understand 99% of everything my teachers say. The speaking is coming along really well. There's definitely lots to learn, but I'm always so excited when I can say what I want to and know that my conjugations are correct. It's really hard to teach in Spanish, but I love it. Hermana Kuhn and I memorize missionary flash cards a lot during our language study and it's so helpful. I think we've done close to 70 and each card has three words on it. We've only been doing it since Monday so we've got a lot more to go, but it's coming along pretty quickly. Last night, Hermana Kuhn and I were talking to some beginner Spanish missionaries who leave on Monday for Mexico. I'm so glad I've taken so much Spanish. They're leaving knowing less than I did when I got here. Crazy. I can't even imagine how hard that would be!!

So, some funny stories for the week? As a zone, we had some free time and we were talking about funny things we said while teaching investigators:

Elder Bean was teaching the First Vision, and was trying to explain the part where an unseen force seizes Joseph while he's praying. We get in really big trouble if you say ghost, so he said the next best thing, "Y cuando el estaba orando, un aparecion ataco a Jose Smith." Basically, he said, "while Joseph Smith was praying, Joseph Smith was attacked." We learned that for our purposes, it's not really that important to teach that particular part of the First Vision because it REALLY confuses the investigator.

Elder Bean's companion, Elder Smith, was teaching the First Vision and while talking about Joseph Smith said, "Cuando Jose Smith era un novio..." He was trying to say when Joseph Smith was a young boy...instead he said "when Joseph Smith was a boyfriend..."

I'm running out of time so I can't share the rest, but I think these are my favorites.

Clumsy Hermana Heath moment of the week? I was getting up from studying in the hallway, and I bent down to pick up a few of my books, as I was standing back up, something happened and next thing I know I'm on the ground. I'm still not sure what happened, but I totally fell over. It was quite hilarious. Hermana Kuhn was dying laughing. Well, we both were:) Anyway...

On our way back from Devotional on Tuesday night, Hermana Kuhn and I were talking to some missionaries who were clearly learning English. Come to find out, they were from Hong Kong! I told them that my mom served there and they were really excited...then they asked me if I spoke Cantonese. I told them I could only count to ten and they laughed. Haha:)

Mom, you asked about TALL. It stands for teaching (something) language learning. It's cool, but sometimes tedious as some of the activities I have to do I mastered in like 3rd grade. But it's good for the more complicated stuff.

Kimberly, I read the scripture you shared in family night a couple weeks ago in 1 Nephi 13 and I smiled! Thanks again for sharing that scripture. It's becoming one of my favorites! Recently I've been focusing on the Savior in my studies. I've been reading in 3 Nephi about his visit to the Nephites. It's the best.

Well, I've gotta go, but I think about you all the time. Matthew, everyday when I'm walking around campus, I can't help but think of you. In a year you'll be here! You're gonna love it and I'm so excited to hear about your experiences. It's hard not being able to tell you everything I want to, and I do miss you all very much, but it's definitely worth it. I love it here! The Church is true. I love the gospel! I'm so excited to go to Argentina even though I'm gonna freeeeeeze!!

I love you forever and always!!

Hermana Heath


Temple walk with zone

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