Dear Family, Friends, et cetera,
Mom, Sarah, Cathie, etc thanks so much for finding a bag. If you don't mind sending it while I'm still at the MTC so I can use it as a my "personal item" at the airport so I will have enough room to carry everything that would be wonderful. I'll send my camelpack back before I leave and include any other stuff I don't need to pack because of weight restrictions et cetera. Thanks though. Also, if you could find some of the little socks for the church shoes that would be wonderful. I think the washing machine has eaten some of mine or something.
By the way, since I've written you last I got your letters for the first and second week and I love reading them so much! I especially love hearing different perspectives from people toward the same story... like the fish tank one. Britt, did you figure out how to start it? If not, there are youtube videos on how to start the vacuum sucker cleaning thing without having to suck it. Hopefully you can find it. Dad, I liked the letter in Spanish! I actually understood all of it except I didn't immediately know the word for: radiator. Surprising? Probably not. Mom, you asked about how often I see Ryan. I usually get to see him on Sundays and on Tuesdays. Sometimes there is just enough time for a hug but sometimes I get to talk to him for a little while and that is so nice! Brittany, I loved in your latest letter when you included your testimony. That really touched me and I needed to hear that when I read it. And Courtney, I love reading your letters so much! I love you too and I'm sorry that I don't have the time to write you back every single day. But I do love you so much! I'm not really sure of a way to send pictures while at the MTC, but I am sure I can upload some when I am in California (though I should probably take some first haha!)
I do have a quick question for everyone who has been on a mission. I'm just curious how the MTC used to be. What was it like? I mean how it is now is the norm for me, but when I was talking to RM teachers, they said that the MTC is totally different than even just a few years ago. Like just within the past year they've incorporated the fact that we teach many investigators all throughout the week. Though I was so nervous about that the first few times, I am so grateful for it because it is practice for being out in the field. It is practice conversing and listening and teaching totally in Spanish. It is great because it teaches us what words we need to learn and when we don't know how to explain things a certain way, it makes us figure out a different way to describe it.
Anyway, a few quick things... so we got the new Hermana in our room last week and her name is Hna Roades and she is from Arkansas. She has the partial southern accent and her family is largely made up of Baptists. Her Spanish has a bit of a Southern accent, but one day when she and Hna Asay were teaching, Hna Roades was trying to teach about how through this church we can feel the love of God in our lives and that it blesses families and can also give us peace. The Spanish word for peace is paz. But with her cute southern accent she accidently said pez instead. Pez means fish. So she was telling the investigator about how this church gives us hope, joy, love, and fish. It made us all laugh so hard. I haven't made too many funny mistakes like that, but I'm sure I'll have my share.
I did make a mistake of a different sort last week, though. In the laundry room they have these little one load packages of laundry detergent that you can buy. But we went to the bookstore to get a larger amount because it is more economical. When we were there we got the cheapest one that was there and only when we had already put the load in and gotten it just about started did we realize that we didn't buy laundry detergent. We bought Downy fabric softener. So we had already poured so much in there. Needless to say, our bedroom and classroom smelled quite "fresh" of fabric softener for a little while. It still makes me laugh. Oops.
Let's see what else? I love going to the Provo Temple here! It is different but in a way it is the same if that makes any sense at all. It is the same ordinances and the same wonderful opportunity to learn and grow and pray even though the physical building and the setup of the building and the arrangement of everything is different. I think it is kind of cool that the alters in the endowment room glow. Our group of sisters like to go to the temple with a specific concept or idea in mind and see if we can receive any revelation concerning one particular thing and then we have discussions which always are phenomenal.
Anyway, gym is also wonderful and is a great break from the classroom all day. We do many things like go outside to play beach volleyball, Hna Coleman and I went jogging the other day, and lately we've been going to the little weight lifting/cardio gym and I'll work out for a while but them spend some time stretching and doing yoga on my own or with Hna Koerner (I think that is the spelling.. I still forget).
Last Saturday, they finally gave us a lesson on stress management. I guess they save that lesson for a while until you actually feel some stress. I mean if they had given us that lesson the first day it wouldn't have meant nearly so much as like a week and a half or two weeks into it. Since then living here has gotten so much easier. I mean I want to be this amazing person who is perfect at studying, at the language, at teaching et cerera, but I'm not perfect. I'm just human. Since I've let myself realize that it has been easier and I've just let myself have fun. Still working hard, but enjoying it all along the way. For instance, this Monday, we convinced our substitute teacher to let the rest of the class have family home evening while individual companionships were teaching. So we had this great lesson reading out of El Libro del Mormon on the tree of life and then we had a fun game where we rearranged the classroom to be a maze and one person tied a tie around their eyes and had to try to get at the end listening to the one person who really was the Holy Ghost while the rest of the class tried to yell and confuse the person. It was actually really insightful because at one point Elder Meyers took a turn that basically put him back at the beginning and Elder Lindquist who was the spirit was so disappointed and he understood what it must be like for Heavenly Father and the godhead when we were on the right way and then we make that completely wrong turn. We also just do more things for fun. Take some time and sing as a district, everyone shares their mission placque scripture, share spiritual insights, et cetera. I love it and it is so much fun all along the way!!
My time is just about up, but I'll share one more quick insight from this week. Last Sunday I was thinking about the gift on tongues and how it works. I realized that in the scriptures there are stories of babies whose mouths were opened and they were able to testify of truths so strongly that their words could not be written. How did it work? It worked through the spirit being able to take over and testify through them. I am so many levels above a baby because I have control of vocal cords, I have a language, I have the basis of a different language as well. So if the Spirit can work through a baby to give them the words that were needed to testify, then it is definitely possible for it to share the truth through me as well. I just have to fill my mind with as much of the gospel and as much of the language as I can and then have hope that in the moment I will need it, if it be God's will, the Spirit will be able to work through me to testify of the truth because He has promised me that. That gave me a lot of hope and comfort to realize that.
Anyway, I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!
May the Spirit always be with you!!
Hermana Whitney Whetten