Friday, June 22, 2012
Hello family and friends!
Wow! I’ve already been here for four weeks and tomorrow is one month to the date of having been here. It is kind of funny how the first week or two seem kind of slow but after that the time flies by. Before I know it, I’ll already be in California and before I know it, I’ll be at the end of my mission wondering where all the time went. But yeah, I love the MTC so much and every day is practically my new favorite day on my mission. I mean where else can you go to Relief Society and have Elaine S. Dalton speak to you then later on that day go to a devotional and get to hear Sheri Dew?! I am the luckiest person ever! And the best part is that the best is yet to come! The New Mission President seminar starting tomorrow and will go on for like 5 days, the next Sunday and Tuesday devotionals will probably be the most amazing talks I've ever heard in my life and I'm really hoping it'll be some of the twelve apostles.
That being said, I'm pretty sure I get to meet my new mission president for my mission tomorrow!!! They haven't told us a time or a place really, but they told us last Sunday that there will be a time when we can meet them. I'm so excited for that!!
About devotionals, I'm pretty sure we are going to be doing something different on the 4th of July-like a fun fireside type thing. I'm not sure exactly what, but the media department has been advertising that they need people with MCing or fiddling experience. It should be different and fun. It is a little funny because we basically didn't have Memorial Day at all here (I only knew about it because Music and the Spoken Word mentioned it the day before) but I guess the 4th of July is a bigger holiday so we get to do something. It should be fun :)
Before I forget, thanks so much for the letters from everyone!! Reading the letters makes me feel so loved and cared for. It is good to know I’m still on your minds sometimes. Also, the care package I got was fantastic!! Thanks so much Mom!!! I love the headbands and the socks are great (I think I figured out how the washing machine ate the others-- the machines have this rubber thing at the door and the socks fit just about perfectly in there, so after you get the laundry you have to make sure nothing snuck into those). Also, the snacks you put in there are perfect! I love it!! I don't think I can eat 6 pounds of gummy bears on my own, so I have been sharing with the sisters in my room and they love you for it! Thanks a ton!
It is kind of funny how much the little moments matter. With having a trio again we've been having to figure out how to teach with three sisters again. I guess in a way we were sort of getting used to how lessons would go with just Hna Coleman and I, but with Hna Roades it is a little different. I mean it is different in wonderful ways... like Hna Roades has a fantastic ability to pull scriptures out of nowhere which really help to reinforce that this is indeed doctrine and that we're not just making up stuff. But it is different because with three of us we all like to talk about the little things that we like to testify about and there were some lessons that seemed like popcorn. One person threw out one idea that they thought would help change the investigator's life and then the next would jump to a new topic etc. But really we were just talking because we liked to talk about those things. We weren't really teaching what the investigator needed to hear. So we've been working on listening better and focusing more on the investigator and his or her needs. But even more importantly, we are focusing on unifying our companionship and honestly I think that is the part that is helping the most. A week ago Hna Roades decided to buy me an HLJ ring in the bookstore (it is like CTR but the Spanish version. I'm pretty sure it stands for Hacer La Justo or Haz La Justo... not sure which version exactly but I love wearing it so much!!!) Likewise, we needed to have our room be clean before the tour with the new districts because Hna Koerner the coordinating sister wanted to show our room off as an example of how to keep the room. It was getting close to dinner time and Hna Coleman was in the shower after gym but she had grabbed fresh sheets for the week and so while she was gone I made her bed. A different day, Hna Roades made my bed while I was in the shower! Honestly, it is hard to serve at the MTC because almost everything is provided for us, but it is those little things like that which really make the difference. It isn't the time while teaching the investigator that we work on being unified. It is in all the little things all the other times that we work on it. That is what I've learned this week.
Talking about service, once a week we get to do service in preparation for continuing to do service at least once a week out in the field. The past three weeks Hna Coleman and I have gotten to clean the showers. I love doing it! That is probably my favorite job ever! First of all we get to look ridiculous because there at these huge rubber shoes that you slip over your tennis shoes and we get attractive goggles. Then we get to use a power sprayer to spray down the showers. Then there is this foaming stuff we spray on the walls and floor before scrubbing a little bit with a brush. Then we get to power spray it again. The only really gross part is taking the hair out of the drains. But yeah, I love getting to do that job because I love doing the power spraying! It is a blast.
What else? Oh yeah, our district sets goals all the time to work on speaking Spanish to each other much more frequently. We all know Spanish well enough that we can usually get by with explaining what we want to say in Spanish and getting it so others can understand, but it is harder so sometimes we get lazy and just revert to English. but we have this game called El Nativo (or the native speaker). In this game we draw a card which says yes or no and the one yes in the district is el Nativo for the day. That means that they don't know English and can only communicate in Spanish (it is helpful to carry around a dictionary when you're it). At the end of the day we vote and if people guess the real nativo, the nativo gets 2 points and the people who guessed right get one point. But when you're not the Nativo you try to trick people into thinking that you're the nativo because if people guess you at the end of the day, you 3 points! It is a really fun game and a lot of people in the district are really competitive, so it is wonderful because it gets us to speak Spanish much more! I also do other things like I've started writing in my journal in Spanish when I have enough time, trying to read El Libro de Mormon con voz alto (outloud) instead of the Book of Mormon, praying in Spanish obviously (praying in English is kind of weird nowadays for me), practicing speaking, and practicing listening better instead of zoning out when people speak Spanish. It is all good practice and it all helps so much. I am pretty sure I had my first dream in the Spanish language last night even!! I've been looking forward to that for quite a while! I don't remember much but I am pretty sure I was teaching or sharing my testimony or something in with an investigator (not too surprising). I didn't realize it until I woke up and was like... "wait a second :D"
Oh yes, I was also asked to be the new coordinating sister for the zone, so I've been following Hna Koerner around when she has done her responsibilities this week to help me figure out what exactly goes into that assignment. It looks like it'll be a fantastic assignment!!
Oh yeah, thanks so much for finding the copy of elder Bednar's talk "The Character of Christ" for me mom!! It is from the past and it isn't quite the same but the main stories and scriptures are the same and I was so excited when I found that little treasure in the letters from the family. Some small differences are that the introduction was totally different. Like he lead up to a fantastic quote "who you are is far more important than anything you will ever say" which relates to me with the language absolutely at this point. he also took a moment to talk about taking notes in situations like that to make sure that you're not making essentially large plates but instead are writing down just enough that you'll remember the spiritual impressions you received and have direction for if you want to focus on the topic in personal study in the future. Also, he didn't focus on the etymology of words so much, but he did have a funny example that the "natural man" is essentially the cookie monster... "I want cookie now!!" It is so true!!
I think that is just about it! I loved what you said, Mom, that you and I are still basically going to the temple each week together... just in different temples!!
Anyway, love you all! Have a great week! And may the spirit be with you!
~Hermana Whitney Whetten