Friday, June 1, 2012

MTC week 2

It is a new week! Hopefully Sarah was able to figure out the e-mail list problem etc. I forgot to mention one thing when I wrote last week and that is that evidently there is a website called and if anyone wants to send me e-mails while I'm at the MTC that is one way that you can do it. It is different than this e-mail account because they print them out every day and put them in the mail boxes so we can get it sooner. Of course this e-mail address works as well and it is always nice to receive snail mail, but that is just another option you can use. I honestly have no clue how that website works but hopefully it is user friendly and will explain it enough.
Mom asked about the MTC choir and yes, I was able to be in it this week. We have a practice Sunday night and a practice Tuesday night and then we perform at the devotional. My companion was willing to sing in it also which I am happy about. This coming week we won't have the Sunday practice because I guess fast Sundays are different than other Sundays at the MTC but we'll still have the Tuesday practice and sing next Tuesday. This past week we sang about Joseph Smith's First Prayer (I think that is the name of the song?). It was phenomenal and I loved performing it but even more, I loved being able to go to the practices because of the stories told and the testimonies made of the song and that necessary event.
It is kind of funny that that is what we sang about this week because that was kind of the theme of what I learned this week. I always thought that the atomement was the most important thing to testify of it because it is the single most important event in all of history. But this week I learned and realized that while that is true, almost every church has the knowledge of the atonement. What makes our church different is that we have the priesthood power which enables us to, for instance, even fully utilize the atoment (because baptism is a necessary step in utilizing the atonement and also partaking of the sacrament) and that priesthood also enables us to make covenants that are accepted by God both on earth and in heaven. Thus, the restoration is the most important event to testify about because without that we would literally be nothing or nowhere as a church. But with it we have everything needed to become perfected and, if we endure to the end, return to live with Heavenly Father. I love that.
Anyway, I might have sounded a little frustrated about the language in my e-mail last week. I finally pinpointed exactly what my frustration was and it was something along the lines of the fact that I was frustrated because it was "was the fourth day already and I'm not fluent yet!" When I pinpointed that I was able to see how ridiculous that is and so I can work to be more patient with myself. Everyone keeps telling me that the language will come and so I have faith and hope that as I keep working at it daily that that will be true. Some days are better than others with the language because somedays I just feel a big mental block toward Spanish. But every day is a new day. I'm grateful for that because if yesterday was a bad day, that doesn't mean that today will be also. And on the other hand, if yesterday was good, I won't let myself be prideful which will then make today bad. Every day is simply a blank slate and I try to fill it as best as I can. It is just hard trying to balance everything because we have so many things to do all the time... study the Book of Mormon, study Preach my Gospel, study the language, prepare for lessons, memorize scriptures, go to workshops and devotions, exercise etc. I am going to work on finding out how to optimally balance everything I have to do.
The way they teach the language here now is evidently meant to be essentially proportional to 6 months worth of experinece out in the field decades ago. Thus, we are asked to teach lessons from the second or third day... in Spanish. That is scary and hard, but I've already taught 5 lessons and so the nervousness gets easier the more we teach. Last week I thought they were real investigators, but they are just other teachers. We had one "investigator" last week who we taught 3 lessons to but then our second permanent teacher came back from vacations so now we are teaching him (Robert). Those aren't their real names, but that is their investigator name. The first lesson with Carlos was so terrible. We had no confidence in our ability to teach about anything in Spanish so we read quotes and butchered the language. He was so confused because we were trying to cover too many topics without fully explaining because we weren't able to. The second lesson of Carlos was a complete surprise. The teacher walked in and was like "you're going to teach Carlos in 20 minutes." So we simply each read our favorite scripture and testified of that to him and also took the time to get to know him and his neeeds. Then the third lesson with him was so much better. We simply explained and testified better. With Robert the first lesson was also so great. We are realizing that it is hard to cover a full lesson in the time allotted, so we are only covering a few sections so that he doesn't get confused. Much of what I testify about is about how God loves us so much because those are words I know how to say. But each day my Spanish does get better. Anyway the third lesson with him was yesterday and all the other groups took up way too much time so we only were left with 15 minutes so we taught him how to pray.
Anyway, another new thing this week is that a roommate from our zone went out to the MTC in Guatemala for her remaining 6 weeks (she was here for 3). So we have a solo sister in our room who was her roommate. But we also got another sister in our room and district who was bumped up from the beginner Spanish class. It is better that she is in that. But because of that, our trio companionship was broken up. So my companion now is Sister Coleman and I love her. It was easier teaching with 2 other people, but this is good because it makes us all work harder.
Oh yeah, mom. in case Ryan forgot to mention, last Sunday we were told that we sisters aren't supposed to have backpacks because they don't like that look so can you start looking for a shoulder bag for me? I am thinking of something that has plenty of room like a backpack but that slings over your shoulder instead. Like I am thining of a bag like mail carriers used to use. If you could work on trying to find one that would be great. I won't need it while at the MTC, but if you can find one before I leave the MTC and mail it to me, I would appreciate it a lot! Let me know if I need to be more clear in the description.
One more funny thing is something I didn't realize would happen. It is now weird for me to hear English prayers because every prayer for the past week has been in Spanish. And I am thinking and speaking more and more in Spanish, so it is kind of weird to hear English again at meetings etc. Also, I lost track of time so badly here. When we got a new shipment of missionaries in on Wednesday it was crazy to think that I've been here for a full week. I mean I've been here for a week but it feels like I've been here both a shorter amount and a longer amount of time. It is so crazy! But it is because our time is so packed with things to do!
My time is just about up so gotta go. Hope everyone is doing well. I love you!! May the Spirit be with you!!
Hermana Whitney Whetten

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