Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 1 - MTC

Hoi mijn liefde familie!
This week has been great- the motto for new missionaries seems to be "make it to Sunday," which I did. :) 

   The first night after some orientations and welcomes, we got split into groups of 30 or so new missionaries each, and each group got to practice role-playing as one big companionship. Our investigators (3 total) were acting in the sense that they were all members of the Church, but real in the sense that their experiences and stories were real- just from an earlier time in their life.

   The next two days we were in our classroom for 9 hours, trading off between companion/ language/ personal study, or getting instructed by our teachers. I really like speaking Dutch, and it's fun because I feel like I'm deciphering a message using context clues and German and English as my code, rather than starting completely from scratch (like learning French over block class haha). On day 3 I taught Robert, my first investigator (I have a strong suspicion that he is an upper-level Dutch-speaking RM teacher who is acting out the role of a previous investigator) who is a college student from Rotterdam, believes in the goodness and potential of man, and likes discussing whether that goodness comes from a God and if it does (which he doubts), whether God is a mass of energy or a person. We had a great discussion, talking about how he defines and measures "good," and me pointing out that we essentially believe the same thing- we just call that goodness the "light of Christ.. which is in all man who cometh into the world (Johannes 1:9), and I talked about the Spirit as well, and after talking about his family, I told him that he has a heavenly father too, and that we were all brothers and sisters, and that our heavenly father, or God, is in fact a person with flesh and bones and a perfected body, and I told him that I'm just his guide in answering questions, but it's his own choice if he wants to find out for himself if what I'm telling him is true.. started with a prayer, ended with a testimony, and 20 something minutes later I had a second appointment for Tuesday (tomorrow), and I really enjoyed meeting with him. Elders Melligen and Hendersen taught together, and I, the Dutch solo sister, taught by myself. They said their lesson went well and he said that he liked them because they're funny, but after a scripture about the "fruits of the spirit" Robert went off on a tangent joke about apples, bananas and pineapples, which they didn't really get.. haha but they are awesome.

   We are encouraged to come up with language games during language study, and I made up what we call "zij zijn zijn" (it means "they are his" and also sounds funny) which is basically family feud Dutch vocab with this bell in our classroom. 

   Us new "Dutchies" as they call them finally got gym time on Friday, and they have a track where ten laps is a mile so I ran 51 laps before it started getting a little familiar-looking and I ran into these two German-native, Italy-bound sisters, and made them promise to speak in German with me every time we saw each other because I don't want nederlands to ruin my duits. 

   My experience so far at the MTC really has been great, it's interesting that by focusing on our purpose to "invite others to Christ" and be sensitive to them and serve others, it benefits yourself as well. I feel so lucky to have gotten to attend General Conference for my first weekend here, and here are some things that I really liked: Holland saying that we really are not alone when we stand alone because "angels shed tears when disciples are rejected in this world that so often receives gospel with hostility"; Eyring talking about the Book of Mormon being the most powerful written record we have that Jesus is the Christ, and how he likes to go back frequently and drink fully of what the BoM has to offer; and Zwick talking about the need for men and women to cultivate respect for one another, even when having contrasting opinions (I'm all about polite debating- either it will strenghten where you stand or soften your heart to what you used to oppose); Oscarson's "don't just love each other more, but love each other better" [General Women's Meeting]; and the great zone discussion we had about men and women in the priesthood. What did you guys enjoy? I also liked when they talked about families studying Preach My Gospel... share with me any epiphanies and I will with you from Predijk mijn Evangelie.

We also had a guest performance devotional from BYU Vocal Point (I saw Parker O'Very, from my BYU ward- the guy RA), and afterwards listened to a videotaping of Elder Bednar's Character of Christ Christmas in the MTC devotional from a few years ago, which actually touched me and hit me harder than most conference talks. Today is P-day, if you haven't guessed yet, and we got to go to the temple which was definitely good, having only gotten to go once before! 

   Also, I mentioned in the email with the pictures, but I ran into Sister Bacon, who Sister Milne hunted down while serving in Tally, and is basically the reason Sister Bacon is about to go to Portugal and is here in the MTC- Sister Bacon even drove down to Niceville to have dinner with Sister Milne, and Sister Bacon went through the Riverton temple with Sister Milne's parents.. I love connections like that!

    With Sister Bacon from Tallahassee, FL             After running into Isabella at the MTC
   OMIGOSH also I was walking out of the room where we do laundry and GUESS WHO was walking right towards me!? Isabella!!!!! She was finishing up work and it was so fun to see her!!!! She started tearing up and we took pics which hopefully you'll see and I was SO HAPPY to see my best friend :). 

   Thanks for the mail/ emails, something neat is that after breakfast and before the temple on P-days we print off our emails (including pics, so keep 'em coming! Especially of Madi- Sister Hartley wants to see my twin!) so we can read them without taking up our hour/ think about what we're going to reply.

   I houd van jullie!! I really like it here, and it's fun having such full days knowing I'm being productive and part of a cause bigger than myself- there were only 242 new missionaries this week, but apparently this Summer there will be an average of 1900 entering the MTC per week! Wow. 


Zuster Riley (: 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Zuster Riley!!! Love Love reading about your exciting adventure you have just entered!!! You are amazing girl. Thanks for the cards. The kids loved their little notes you left them. I love that positive bit of encouragement you left them. They idolize you and thats a good thing. Unknown to Landon I think he quite admires you. ha ha. Really your an awesome example to so many. We will be sending some letters. Were headed off to Spain this weekend hopefully if we can catch the hop. so there might be a little break. Love ya girl. Your strong and your an awesome leader to all!!