Sunday, June 2, 2013

The New West Campus

Greetings and salutations,

I would be neat to say that I am writing you from the new West Campus Missionary Training Center (Wyview/Raintree)...but I'm not sure if they have set up Internet for the computers yet so we came to the main campus to write e-mails. Can you believe it! They moved over about 110 missionaries over to this new campus. Its still under development and we are definitely guinea pigs, but it is so nice! We live in Wyview (which is fun because that's where I lived freshman year but instead of building 20 it's 21).

The apartments are super nice. We have 4 in our apartment with 2 to each room. My companion and I are lucky because we got the room with 2 closets and since I'm on the top bunk I get the big closet (dreams come true haha) but since we're only here for a couple weeks I'm not really unpacking too much. We have couches and tables which is so nice. No microwave or stove but since they feed us its not a big deal. We have a fridge and are allowed to shop at the creamery. Not getting ice cream everyday is going to be hard. I may or may not have had ice cream 3 times yesterday. We have gym in Wyview too. They have a sand volleyball pit between some of the buildings. They have also painted a couple 4 square lines in the parking lot (since we don't have cars) and they also have the semi circle lines for basketball painted so it looks like they are planning on getting some of those. Quick funny story about gym yesterday. They were late coming to bring the sports equipment to us so I ran and got the orange bouncy ball I got for my birthday and we used that. It worked surprising well except that it was a little light. But then we got it stuck in the tree and so in the process of trying to get it down someone got their shoe stuck in the tree. We're pretty bright people sometimes. But luckily we got them both back and all was well. Most of the buildings are empty now but they are working to prepare them to more missionaries. We are just the beginning. They are hoping to have 1200-1400 here eventually.

Another neat thing about being here is that its great preparation for the field. Not only are we living in more apartment style living quarters but we also have more interaction with "the outside world" and more freedom. For p-day we are allowed to go up to Brigham's landing for food and such (I'm SO excited for SubZero ice cream!). They have also stressed to us the importance of being the first and opening the new campus. We will be the ones setting the tone and being the example. There were missionaries that reported directly here yesterday and will spend their entire stay here. But it is so great here. I love it. For sure that are things we are missing out on in the other campus but there are other things that they are missing out on here. Both are fantastic places and I'm grateful I got to experience them both. But whoever has the opportunity to come to this West side is gonna have a blast. Side note: this is not a side note. But I told you about the Wyview part while forgetting about the Raintree side! We have our classes and our food there. There are 3 classrooms to a apartment. 2 in the bedrooms and one in the living room (both Albanian districts are in bedrooms and our new Hungarians are in the living room). We have 2 bathrooms but they are setting up a place in a different building for going to the bathroom and I hope that catches on. Its a little awkward and a little smelly sometimes. But we're the first and they are working quickly to figure out little glitches like that (since seeing Wreck it Ralph I can't say the work glitch without thinking of it! I love that movie). Otherwise its not that different.

That's pretty much all I have to say about the West Campus so far, we haven't really been here that long. I'll probably have more to say next week. Also, I'll have pictures but I forgot my camera today, sorry! It really its too bad because I took SO many picture this week, so just brace yourself for it next week haha.

Random snippet: So I don't know if you know, but usually when you have a bunch of girls in a room with showers stalls there tends to be a lot of singing. (Girls camp, dorm bathrooms) well the MTC is no exception. In fact there is not only singing that goes on but harmonizing and all kinds of stuff. Its great fun. And from being in the MTC for 7 weeks you start to pick up on the favorites for sure. If you could Hide to Kolob is a big one as well as Come Thou Fount. This might be a weird thing so admit but whenever I'm in there and I hear them singing Come Thou Font, I have this crazy desire to start playing the violin to their song and just have them be like "what in the world". It would throw them off for sure! There are only a couple problems with this, first of all I don't have a violin. Second, I don't play the violin. But I think it would be funny for sure!

Other highlights: our devotional speaker on Sunday was pretty great, Brother Stephen Allen who is a manager of missionary work in some way. He has spoken here before and was really funny. This time he was planning on being funny again but when he found out we were going to watch Sister Monson's funeral he completely changed his talk and just went by the spirit doing different things. He had us sing Come, Come Ye Saints and I've not really looked at that song as a missionary song before but I absolutely love and it might just become my new theme song. But really quick about hymns again, I know I probably talked about it before but I seriously love music. And from singing here were they only put up the lyrics by the screen I feel so much less distracted by the notes that I focus more on what the song is saying. And oh boy, I sure love so many of these wonderful songs. They speak to my soul. But anyways it was pretty neat.

Another neat things about that devotional was that I have been looking everywhere for mission are going to the Philippines to send a hug to my sister but I had not been able to. I was actually sitting next to some sisters going to the Philippines that devotional but a different mission. I was especially worried because I knew we were moving to Wyview on Tuesday and I was running out of time. But then they announced that the sister saying the closing prayer was going to the Philippines Angoles mission! I was going to run right up after to talk to them but then we went straight into watching the funeral, luckily they stayed sitting up on the stand. Right after I squeezed through the crowd barely reaching them in time. One went into the bathroom but I talked to the companion of the sister who said the prayer. I started to explain that my sister was in her mission and that I wanted to pass her a hug and before I could say Abish's name the sister looked at my name tag and said "Abish Curtis is your sister?" Whaat?! I guess she had read her blog and actually sent her an e-mail! How cool is that?! I gave her the biggest best hug I could and told her to tell Abish that I love her and she gave me the biggest best hug back (she is good at giving those big hugs where you just know you are loved- I don't even know her but I felt loved by her and I know she will give Abish a big hug for me). It was such a tender mercy for me to be able to find her. I hadn't really vocally prayed to Heavenly Father to help me find the missionaries going to that mission but He knew the desire of my heart and helped me find them before I left a couple days later. I don't think I would have found them if they hadn't happened to be saying the prayer and if we hadn't been in that room. We usually go to overflow on Sunday but we happened to be in the room and sitting on the floor close to the same side they left on. I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father that loves me enough to makes things like this happen just because it would bring more happiness into my life. I don't believe that was a coincidence for one second.

Well, this week starts our week of consecration. This is usually the last week, from preparation day to preparation day, you speak only your language. All the time. Ever. You can translate for each other but always Albanian first. All the districts in our zone do this. It not only helps you get better at the language but it shows the Lord your willingness to devote yourself. I remember before I saw it as a thing to do to get better at the language but as we talked about it yesterday and set some goals I realize it is also an opportunity to strengthen your connection with Heaven and I like that. I'm going to need all the help I can get if I'm going to communicate in Albanian and teach these people in their native tongue. I love that we have heard a lot her from devotionals and such that we are getting help from both sides of the veil. Not only has there been a hastening in missionary work but also in Family History. They encourage us to as we convert people to teach them about family history work and get them started on their own family. These are exciting times.

I love being a missionary, right now, right here, going to Albaina. I KNOW that this is exactly where I'm suppose to be when I'm suppose to be here and that gives me great comfort especially when it gets hard (like every day). This next week of no English is going to be hard but just like when you want to build new muscle in our bodies you have to break them first. It is the moment when its the hardest and you feel like you can't do anymore but you do more anyways, that’s when its the best for you. I feel like the week is going to break me and build me and I can't wait. I know this gospel is true. I know the Lord love me and I know He love you. Have an absolutely fantastic week!


Paqe dhe bekimit,

Motra Curtis


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