This is the motto I came up with for my life so far... The MTC: physically hungry, spiritually fed.
Haha! Really though. I feel like I am hungry all. the. time. We get up at 5:30, shower, get ready, go to breakfast, and then go to class or do personal study/companionship study/teaching/gym (whatever the schedule calls for that day) until lunch at 11. After that we do any of those above mentioned things again until 4, when we have dinner. I know, right? Dinner at 4? So early! Then we have more things until 9:30 when we get to go back to our rooms. Quiet time starts at 10:15 and lights out at 10:30. And let me tell you, by 10:30 I am EXHAUSTED and so ready to sleep, but also starving because I ate dinner six hours ago! Let's just say I've grown pretty accustomed to the feeling of hunger :) Oh well. I'm sure the members will feed me well when I get out to Virginia.
Ok, now let me get down to the good stuff. Right after you dropped me off my host missionary took me to get my name tag, scriptures, etc. I feel like I will remember that moment of having the nametag put on me for the first time for the rest of my life. I've been waiting for the chance to wear it for so long, and I am loving it! It's pretty hard to forget your purpose when the name Jesus Christ is literally right next to your heart. I still have those moments where I see my companions and I in a reflection of a window or something and I think, "Look! Missionaries!" And then that shock comes that it's me! I'm a missionary! Woah. After that she took me to my bedroom to drop off my stuff (I live on the fourth floor, so that was fun), and then we went to my classroom to meet my teacher and my district.
I LOVE MY DISTRICT. I seriously think that I got put in the greatest district at the MTC. It's not what I was expecting at all, but they are so wonderful. First of all, 6 out of the 9 members of our district are native speakers. I definitely came in thinking that I would have some of the most Spanish experience of anyone in my class, but boy was I wrong! They all speak English as well, but grew up with Spanish speaking parents. Because of that our district is treated just like an English speaking district, but in Spanish. We don't do any language study at all. I don't mind it, but it definitely shows me that I have a lot to work on as far as the Spanish goes. I'm in a trio companionship, and my two companions are Hermana Croft from Arizona and Hermana Jaramillo from Colombia. I love both of them! I think we work together really well, especially considering how hard it can be to be in a trio sometimes. Luckily we don't have any problems, which I am grateful for. There are six elders in our district as well, and they are all great. Two of them are my age or older, but the rest are younger, and so far I have been so impressed with them. They are incredibly kind and respectful and have strong testimonies. It's really sad because we're all going to different missions, so we won't see each other out in the field. We've only been here for a week, but we all feel like best friends, almost like family. I love them!
Now, being a missionary. It's a lot harder than I expected, but also a lot more wonderful than I ever imagined. And I'm still only in the MTC! To practice teaching, two of our teachers pretend to be investigators and we go in and give them the lessons, etc. The first one was SO awkward. All we were supposed to do was go in there and get to know them for 15 minutes, and maybe leave a spiritual thought. We had no idea what we were doing and it was very unimpressive. The next times teaching have gone better, though. We've taught the first lesson twice, and are starting to get the hang of it. The hard part for me is that we're supposed to focus completely on the investigator and the spirit to know what to say, but all I can think about is saying the right thing in the right way! We watched a really good devotional by Elder Bednar the other night, though, that helped me a lot. He compared the natural man to the cookie monster... most of the time we think, "I want this and I want it now!" To apply it to missionaries, we think, "I want investigators, baptisms, and perfect language skills now!" Well, guess what? It's just not going to happen. He said multiple times, "It's not about you!" I love how straight up Elder Bednar is. But it's true. If we're doing what we're supposed to, our greatest convert will be ourselves, but we have to completely forget ourselves and focus on others in order to do that. If we're thinking about ourselves and our needs it just won't happen.
The other big thing that I have learned so far is how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ truly love us. Obviously this was a big part of my testimony already, given what I spoke about at my farewell, but I have become even more sure of it in just a week here. Heavenly Father loves His children more than we can even grasp. He knows every single one of them by name and has a hand in their lives. And it is my privelege to go out and find some of those beloved children and invite them to find peace and happiness through coming closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. What a marvelous blessing!
What else? Mom, you'll be glad to know that my skirts are holding up great. I've only worn a couple of them so far, but they are doing wonderfully!
Well, my time is just about up, but I want you to know that I love you all and I love being a missionary! And, family, don't worry. I'm taking lots of pictures. I set a goal to take two to three pictures a day so that I'll have lots of things to show you.
I LOVE YOU!!! The Church is true, and the book is blue! (The Book of Mormon, that is)