Another week has come and gone and it is so crazy to think that I am almost halfway through my MTC experience...WHAAAT?!! I don't know shqip!! This time next month I'll be packing for Albania...ok, so yeah I still have a month left but it's gonna go fast! Well actually, riddle me this, my departure date is set for June 11 but I leave the MTC on May 28..what's happening?? I'll tell you what, the MTC is being filled to its MAX capacity and they are having to find new places to put us. I mentioned before that they were talking about moving us to Raintree but actually they checked out Raintree and decided to update it a little to put it up to missionary standard (they are pretty old complexes) before moving missionaries there. So they are instead going to move us to Wyview. Which is CRAZY that was my freshman year. If I'm in the same building I will probably freak out. Our branch president told us it was official this past Sunday. Out of the 70 branches in the MTC (each zone is a branch) we are one of 6 that are moving to Wyview. We don't know all the details (like how they are going to feed us!) but we'll have our classrooms and everything there. In fact they are getting so many new missionaries (especially since school is out) that we are moving Tuesday devotionals to the
so that we can all fit. There
either is now or will be soon 70,000 missionaries...WHAAAT?! And as of now 49%
are sisters (I love it!). I'm so glad I got to be here to experience the MTC
(because I love it here! Dreamed about being here only my whole life) but I'm
also excited to be a part of the group that is trying new options. It’s
"historic" as our branch president kept saying. Plus I'll only be
there for 2 weeks so it won't be that bad. But seriously, how crazy is that? It
will be like my freshman year all over again..except COMPLELETLY different.
They are calling the Raintree and Wyview areas the Marriott Center West
MTC campus. I guess they are just 18-month contracts (kinda like
mine, huh?) and they are still looking into more permanent options. We shall
see. But it’s exciting. Being a missionary is exciting!
I remember before I came it seemed everyone told me I would get sick of the food or it would make me sick. I am here to tell you that I still love the food (no shame!). The hardest part is being able to eat so much all the time. Sometimes my self-control when it comes to food is not so great so I just eat all the time. I guess in that regard, maybe its not so healthy. But they have DELCIOUS salads and fruit all the time. And even though I don't love eating dinner at 4:20, the nice part is that we usually get the food before it runs out. (I'm pretty sure they've had strawberries the whole time-they just ran out by the time they got to our shift. Whaat?! so that’s pretty scrumptious)
So just to update you on my birthday since I e-mailed in the first part. The sweet elders in my districts (there are 2 Albanian districts) got me candy and one of them made me a SYL flag tag (SYL = Speak Your Language). The motrat (sisters plural) got me cookies and Motra Wait got me this sweet "Return with Honor" t-shirt. I love it! I also got a dearelder birthday package from my dear friend Sister Diane Standifird, love that woman! I got a fun package from my work/brother/friends! Didn't see that one coming (just kidding) but I still love it. Also another sweet friend Adrianna Hill sent me the Plan of Salvation visual set thing- in ALBANIAN! How cool is that?! And letters from home. It was a most joyous birthday and I felt much loved!
Then the next day VEDEKJA!! (Vedekja=albanain word for "death", we may or may not say this word on a daily basis). Basically I got sick the next day. I had a headache and felt feverish and my body ached. We went to the doctor and he said I didn't have a fever but gave me medicine for chills and told me to manage it. I tried to tough it out for a couple days because I did not want to miss class. But it got bad enough that on Monday I stayed at the residence and slept ALL DAY. There was another sister in our zone who wasn't feeling well so she was my "companion" and I literally slept all day, waking only when the other motrat came to check on me, when they brought me food, and to pee. I tried to drink water as often as I could. Motra Robertson charged me to drink as much as I could and filled up all my water bottles. So each time I drank "for Motra Robertsoooooon!" aka "for Narniaaaaa". That night the elders came to give me a blessing. I thought it was just going to be the elders in our district but all 6 of them came. It was cool to be surrounded by so much priesthood. They have a great opportunity to literally bless the lives of those Albanians we are going to teach. I felt better the next day and went to class but I still didn't feel well. My poor companion was basically teaching solo and I zoned out trying to understand. It was a rough lesson. However the NEXT day I felt much better and I continue to improve. No vedekja for me.
Yesterday we had our first SYL day where we tried to speak Albanain all day. It was hard! I learned a lot and I really think it helped me improve but boy does it make my head hurt! Alright I am running out of time and I wanted to save the best for last.
For our Tuesday devotional we had Elder and Sister Gavaret (sp?) come speak to us. It was wonderful but the part I want to share with you was as Sister Gavaret was speaking about halfway through she started speaking in Spanish (her native language) and even though I could only understand a little, what I felt was the spirit. What came to my mind was that prophesy that everyone will be able to hear the gospel in their native tongue. That's why I'm learning Albanian. Not because I thought it would be cool (Albanian is probably the last language I would have learned). But it is important to Heavenly Father that His children hear about His gospel in a language they understand (well, that they can hopefully understand if it’s coming from me). That why he calls us Americans that have never heard a lick of shqip to come to the MTC and gives us 9 weeks to learn this language that is unlike any other language. And that’s when miracles happen. That's the only way I'm learning this language. It’s hard and crazy but I am so grateful for this opportunity to stretch like I've never been stretched before. I love being a missionary. It’s the hardes,t best thing I've ever done.
I love you all. This church is true. Say your prayers, read your scriptures. Be a [member] missionary.
Peace and blessings!
P.S. Sorry no pictures this week, how about YOU send me some for a change :)