Oh what a week! Living life at the empty sea. Days go by slow and weeks go by fast. I remember on BYU tours they used to always say the most prayers are said at the Testing Center, well I am here to tell you - there are far more prayers said at the MTC...in fact I don't think they every really stop. But its great. Ahh, there is always so much to say I never know where to start!! I guess I started last week talking about how many sister there are here (which continues to go up) I love seeing them everywhere I go. It seems like every devotional speaker we've had come talk to us has mentioned the fact that there are so many sisters and how much color it brings to the MTC. Its fun to watch old MTC devotionals and when they scan the audience it like all suits but not now!
Another change here at the good ol' MTC is the age change. I would say a majority of the missionaries here are 18-year-old boys and 19-year-old girls. There are still a couple of oldies here (like me) but there are so many young 'uns! This adds a cool little perspective to life here at the empty sea. For one, I feel like they talk a lot about how this is not a efy/youth conference but a missionary training center. There is probably more flirting that goes on too...but I don't know (I can’t really compare too well because I wasn't here before the age change). There are challenges with calling kids before they've had much experience out of high school, but let me tell you, they have been prepared. To hear them bear testimony of gospel truths is amazing. I thought I was exciting about missionary work, they are pumped! The other night we had district review after the Tuesday devotional and the things that they got out of it and the insights they shared were so good! Shume mire! Well, I might be slightly biased because I think our district/Albanians is/are just so fantastic. We all get along so great and they are spiritually mature. I won't lie, sometimes we get a little crazy at the end of the day when our brains are about to explode. It's like that point you get to late at night when EVERYTHING is so funny. But here we hit that point at like 3:00pm... But I love the determination we have to learn the language and our love of the time we have to get spiritually recharged (I love love love love love love love SUNDAYS! - also p-days)
Guess who is in the MTC presidency?! The HACKINGS! Remember them? They used to be the mission presidents of the
mission like 3 presidents ago. I saw her in the cafeteria the other day and
went up to talk to her. She said she recognized me...but I'm not sure she
really did...haha its been a while, but it was nice of her to say it. But she
is so great! I remember we used to always describe her at the one with big
hair...she's still got it! :) I love her! Independence
The language continues to be difficult but I looking at the progress that I have already made its pretty cool. We have 3 main teachers. Bro. McGlothan (I think that’s how you spell it..) was our first teacher. He served his mission in
been back for about 3 years now and is attending BYU. He is a red personality
(if you know what that means) and has a very direct way of speaking and
teaching. It does a good job of showing me where I am and where I need to be.
That can be hard at times but it motivates me to work hard to catch up. He can
be patient too and will sit and explain things until I understand them...but
when he does I often won't forget them. In his directness he is really good
about bringing up the spiritual side of learning our language. Like trusting
that the Lord will help us and that we should just go for it and teach what we
know. Its hard when they test us on the teaching principles because they have
us teach in Albanian and then I am so focused on the language and trying to
remember words that I forget BASIC things (like forgetting to promise blessing
after extending a commitment...whaaat?!). But hopefully it will make us more
confident in the language. I think Heavenly Father would know I would struggle
with the language so He sent me the best companion so I wouldn't have to worry
about that. She is super supportive and we continue to have fun and grow
together in the gospel. Albania
Another teacher we have is Sister Iftiu. She is from
also going to BYU. She served her mission in Tirana,
Albania . She is so great. I would
say she is probably a blue personality. She teaches us a little language but
does a lot more of the missionary training. I will never forget the time we
were so past learning. Our brains were exhausting and we were just at the point
where everything was distracting. She stopped what she was doing and gave us a
little devotional on the Attributes of Christ. It brought the spirit and
focused us like nothing else could. She is great. She just recently became one
of our investigators Linda. Its hard teaching her though because she is our
friend so we don't take it as seriously as we probably should....we're working
on that. We start each class with a hymn in Albanian. I'm getting better at it
now but the first couple times I felt like Sister Taylor in Errand of Angels
when they are singing the hymns and she has no ideas what she is singing. That
me. Everyday of my life. They be changing' all these letter making the
"i" sound liek and "e" and the "e" sound like and
"a" and the "q" and the "ch" sound the same
(don't worry "ch" is a separate letter from "c"...there are
like 10 more letters than English...can't wait till I understand this crazy
I saw Eric Smith the other day. He is my friend from BYU but isn't a member. He is way cool. I guess he works here at the MTC as an investigator which is way cool. He gave me and my shoqen (companion) some good advice to just be ourselves when we teach. He says so many people just get all weird when they are trying to teach (granted we are all newbies-don't judge) but its important to be yourself. Motra Kokol and I talk about that all the time because we want to be representatives of Christ while still being ourselves. Its a balance thing. We have been way better at being reverent this week as we tried cutting out all our high fives and fist bumps (they helped us show our enthusiasm but were a little less reverent). So now we only Rev-five (reverent high five = softly touching hands in a high five motion) and chill bumps (courtesy of Corban Curtis, they are a fist bump using only the middle knuckle slightly extended) I hope you all love these forms of reverent excitement and that they change your life.
I forgot to tell you about our other teacher Brother Vance. He stared out as our investigator Ermal (who committed to be baptized) but is our teacher in training because Sister Iftiu has a summer internship she is leaving for in a couple weeks. He is great. He is a white personality with some blue. He is such a gentle teacher and the epitome of patience. He served in
too and loves telling us
stories about it. I love how each of my teachers have completely different
personalites but they work together to be the perfect teaching team for me. It
is such a testimony to me that the Lord is SO involved in this work. From the
teachers that are so perfect for me to the way the companionship and districts
are organized...it is the best possible way it could be. Does that make sense?
Ahh, I just know that this is exactly where I am suppose to be exactly when I
am suppose to be here. Albania
Fun fact: so my teachers are red, blue and white and my companion is yellow. I've got all the colors around me all the time. It's great!
I love the intense spiritual growth that happens here at the MTC. Its seems like we are just continuing to be stretched to our full capacities EVERY day. But then this is the Lords time and the Lord is efficient so he is going to use this time as best He can and it will bless us for the rest of our lives. Motra Kokol and I decided that serving this mission is the hardest, best thing we have ever done.
I don't have much more time (despite the fact that they have doubled the amount of e-mail time here since they changed the rule to letting you e-mail more than just your family). As always, I love getting letters! Thanks to those of you who have written. Dearelder.com is the best. I love you all! I love being a missionary. This is the Lords work and I'm so excited to be a part of it. Thanks for your prayers. The Church is true!
Peace and blessings!