WEEK 1...MTC!! :D)
HOLY CROW THERE IS NEVER TIME HERE TO DO ANYTHING. EVEN P-DAYS (TODAY) ARE INCREDIBLY BUSY AND I'M HURRYING AS FAST AS I CAN SO I CAN WRITE TO YOU ALL! First of all, I love you all and miss you!!!!!! My first day here was insane. On day two I wrote in my journal that it felt like I had been here for two weeks instead of two days . . . It's that crazy. Everyone told me if I could make it tothat I would be okay . . . and it was true. I don't know what I expected the MTC to be like exactly, but it's definitely different from everything I imagined. I'm used to teachers and people that take it easy on you and never really push you to your limits. In high school and junior high I felt like we always wasted a lot of time learning, but NOT HERE. I have decided that the MTC is a mixture between boot camp and studying for chem 105 finals all at the same time. (I would say studying for the MCAT but I've never actually done that . . .). Every single second of EVERY single day is planned out. A typical day here includes waking up at 6 (half an hour early), getting ready, going to the classroom to study for an hour and a half, going to breakfast (30-40 minutes), going back to the classroom with teacher instruction for 3 hours (ONLY GERMAN is spoken in the classroom), we go to lunch (30-40 minutes), come back to the classroom for three hours of teacher instruction (MORE GERMAN--YIPPEE! And the second part of the three hours I work mit meine mieterbeiterin (with my companion) to plan a lesson for our investigator). At the beginning of that three hour classroom block we go visit our investigator and teach him or her a lesson. Our investigator's name is Justus and we have taught him three discussions now. We will be teaching him until and then we will get two new investigators. So . . . you know how we heard rumors about how they have you start teaching in your mission language on day 2 in the MTC? Well that's actually spot on! I taught my first lesson auf Deutsch (in German) !!!! Pretty crazy huh? I would like to say that there is something eerily cool about being a missionary and experiencing the gift of tongues . . . because I can speak, write, and teach in German and I have only been here for one week now. The first day walking into our classroom was crazy! Our teacher (Bruder Alston) just started talking to us in German, and somehow we found the words to respond (IN GERMAN). There were some words and phrases on the board to help us, and on that first day it was really stressful and hard. The teachers here teach with an immersion technique which means that they ONLY speak to you in German. They teach you the gospel in German, they teach you Grammar in German, and they teach you about the MTC in German. This approach words incredibly well because you are constantly out of your comfort zone, and you realize that you need to speak German in order to survive (no joke).
So, I mentioned my teacher. His name is Bruder Alston and he is incredible. He returned home from the Alpine German speaking mission in July and I look up to him a lot. He is such an example of an obedient missionary. He actually served under President and Sister Miles for part of his mission which was really cool. My district consists of me and my companion (sister Rasmussen), and a trio companionship of three elders (Elder Barber, from England; Elder Spencer, from I don't know where; and Elder Smith, from Clearfield). My companion is from Murray and she is awesome! We are incredibly different, but I have found that our differences don't matter as long as we are united with the same purpose. Unser Ziel: Andere einladen, zu Christus, zu kommen, indem Wir inhen hilffen das Wiederhergeshtellte evangelium anzunehman. Dies geschiet, wenn die betreffenden glauben an Jesus Christus und sein Sunopfer uben, umkehren, die Gabe des Heiligen Geistes, und bis ans Ende ausharren. So there you go! That is my purpose auf Deutsch. (From memory so don't judge me on spelling :P). I finally got that memorized. My district is awesome. At the beginning of every class we sing a German hymn (with our little hymn books :D), and then kneel in prayer. Of course we pray in German! We began learning how to pray in German and now all of our prayers: district meeting, class, church, companion, roommate, and as much of our personal prayers as we can are spoken in German. It is really neat!
Pretty much I feel completely at home here and I wake up every day with a smile on my face. I LOVE THE MTC. I LOVE THAT I AM A MISSIONARY. I LOVE EVERYTHING. I think the thing that I am known for most around here is the smile on my face, my eagerness to try anything and everything, and my optimism. My companion and I often joke around with each other that we complement each other perfectly. Ha ha sometimes she is a little on the pessimistic side, doubting her abilities, and her potential, but I always boost her up! The other day I was wearing my orange flowy skirt and my brown shirt with white polka dots . . and she was wearing all black so we joked around that I was the pumpkin and she was my black cat! :D I know I should call her sister Rasmussen ALL the time but my favorite name for her is "meine meiterbeiterin." You know how I have certain sayings that I really love? Like "Oui, bien sur!, and hurry hurry hurry!" I have started saying "meine mieterbeiterin" with the same tone of voice ;) hahaha don't worry my companion likes it. I think we are really good for each other because I am constantly working to set an example for her, and boost up her spirits, and she helps me by feeding my ambitions . . . You know I am a little competitive at times . . . . ;). I really have come to love her though. In fact my district and my branch has become my family here. We spend every day ALL day together. There are so many quirky, different, unique people and we all make up a nice mixture! In my branch (like a really small ward) there are a few girls from Finland, one girl from the Netherlands, and a few elders and sisters from Scotland and England. Holy crow . . . my district leader (Elder Barber from England) and another Elder (Elder Cavin from Scotland) drive me crazy when they are together. Ha ha they are just crazy, they never study, and are always really loud! And Elder Barber tries to slide the mission rules occasionally which is a little bit annoying considering that he is our district leader. When Elder Barber was made district leader I was a little bit baffled . . . but my feelings have completely changed. I realized last night that my branch president is inspired in making assignments for us here in the MTC. Elder Barber may not be perfect but he is perfect to be in that position. We had our first district meeting last night (my district combined with another one), and our branch president sat in on it with us. I was so impressed with Elder Barber and his manners in conducting the meeting. And when some people were getting emotional as we bore our testimonies he brought tissues around to all who needed them. He was so sensitive and led the meeting perfectly. This district meeting was really incredible. So much spiritual strength in such a tiny classroom. The spirit was so strong.
Everywhere here at the MTC is the same way. I am often so overcome with the Spirit that I can't hold back my tears. When we walked to the Marriott center for the devotional last night I imagined us as the Army of Helaman marching together. That really is what we are like.
I will write more soon.
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!
Heidi, Schwester Shelley, Sister Shelley, sister, daughter.
ALSO. Thank you so much for the letters and the package today! I wish you could see me every time I get something in the mail. It's like Christmas!!!! So please don't stop!!!
**Well I was going to attach some photos . . . but I can't get the computer to work :( So that will have to wait until next week. It's like a Bountiful high/BYU reunion here which makes me feel extra at home :D. I see like 10 people I know every day! It makes the hard days not so hard.