Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 1: In which I enter the Missionary Training Center (Hola!)

28 May 2016

Hola, mi familia (y amigos)! I'm not sure how to do the upside-down exclamation point-thing, so I guess I'll try to figure that out at some point. Anyway, while I've only been here a few days, I'm really enjoying it and have already learned a lot! I'm glad I was given the opportunity to let you know I was here a couple of days ago. I am in a trio of companeros (I also couldn't figure out how to make the squiggly thing above the "n"). Their names are Elder Day and Elder Woodfield. They're both pretty cool, and are super strong spiritually. Elder Day is going to Arkansas. Elder Woodfield is also going to Yakima, and I'm not sure where the two of us would be without Elder Day. See, Elder Day had already had some experience with Espanol, so he has been able to help both of us a lot with our studies.

Our district is also pretty awesome; we're the only three Elders in it, but the four Ermanas are super spiritual and have already learned a ton of Espanol. Already last night, the companionships in our district individually taught someone named Jacob (although I'm pretty sure he was a teacher trying to help us out). It was a really cool experience. We, uh, had a little trouble, as we were given an entire half-hour to fill. Still, with the help of Elder Day and some soon-obsolete notes, we were able to survive with only a dozen or so cringe-worthy moments. I kid, I kid. We did have some of those moments, but overall I think it went just fine. In the room, my companions and I play a little game called "guess the flavor of the jelly bean". Not the most creative title, but at least it doesn't really need further explanation.

Also, I was assigned to be the District Leader. The main thing that means here is I get to collect (and guard) the mail. I also plan out the district meetings and give short, 5-minute devotionals every day. In Espanol, of course. That's in addition to preparing talks in case they announce me as a speaker (in Espanol) one of these Sundays. They will, of course. Yeah, I'm still working on knowing enough to properly do that. After this Sunday, I'll also be assigning different people in the district to give lessons during district meetings on Sunday. Yikes. Whatever points I might get from giving people their mail, I'll lose them all just for having to assign them lessons. At least the district meetings are in English! I also get to pick the hymns, which is pretty sweet. Tomorrow, I'm playing a special musical number on one of the cellos they have here in storage. I'm going to hopefully run over it today with the Hermana who's playing piano with me.

The first and second days here were a little different than they are normally, since we didn't get time to exercise. Basically, we study Spanish all the time. We have a ton of classroom instruction, where the teacher speaks nothing but Espanol. In addition, we've got bucketloads of time to study on our own as a district, in companionships, or on our own. Yesterday, though, the schedule began to kick into full swing. For exercise, basically our whole district and some of the other Elders y Ermanas in the zone played Four-square. Yeah, I'm not very good at sports. Still, after a few tries and after analyzing how the more experienced players moved and acted, I was able to drastically improve my performance at the distinguished sport. Okay, maybe not that distinguished, but it was still a fun and effective workout. The food here is okay, though not as good as at BU or (especially) at home. I miss you all a ton, but I'm really glad I have the opportunity to be here. I haven't run into anyone I know here yet, but I still have a few weeks.

Today is P-day, if you hadn't figured it out already from the fact that I am emailing you. Every Saturday, at least at the MTC. Here, though, the P-days are pretty much pre-planned. One of the best parts is the zone gets to go to the Temple later today. All things considered, it will almost certainly be in Spanish. I'm pretty psyched.

I realized yesterday that the shirts we packed for exercise clothes don't exactly work for the MTC, even if they're fine normally. I didn't try to wear one and get in trouble or anything, but the MTC rules don't allow shirts with anything about sports groups or musical groups. Whelp, I guess my Red Soc shirt and BPYO shirt are probably not the best options, then. For exercise, I just wore one of my work shirts. In addition to my shirts, I'm pretty sure the black shoes I love to wear may be questionable (I'm not supposed to have boots, but they're a gray area). I know I don't have them yet, but it may be wiser to send another pair of shoes instead.

We have waaay too much food. It's all junk, of course. We've got a whole drawer full of Reeses, sour patches, jelly beans (to play our little game, of course), and other assorted stuff. Don't send any food unless it's something especially awesome, like specialty stuff that the other Elders likely wouldn't have experienced yet, like European stuff. Really, though, it would very possibly be a waste.

I wouldn't mind some highlighters or colored pencils, though. Also those little sticky bookmark things. I had to buy a separate notebook, too. I can do without, but I suppose some stuff for marking scriptures would come in handy. I guess I was just too used to marking them electronically. I may get to do that again, as apparently Yakima is a mission where the missionaries get iPads. I'd totally be down for that. 

I think everything else is handled, and I am actually having a lot of fun trying to learn Espanol! I still have a long, long, way to go, but I have learned more than I could have possibly done on my own. Only three days, and with some help, my companions and I were able to teach (struggle through) teaching someone, and only in Espanol! It's pretty cool, and there is definitely a great spirit here at the MTC. I think everyone feels it.

Mi companeros son mui, mui importante y super espiritual. Yo testefico que mediante la Espiritu Sancto, podemos tener la don de lenguas. Estoy mui agradecidos por mi companeros, mi poderosa familia, y mi amaroso Padre Celestial. Mui bien, mi familia!

[My companions are very, very important and super spiritual.  I testify that through the Holy Ghost, we can have the gift of tongues.  I am very grateful for my companions, my powerful family, and my loving Heavenly Father.  Very well, my family!]

I love you all so very, very much. I hope you all have a wonderful two years, because I know I will! Just be sure not to have too much fun while I'm gone, because I'm going to want to have some with you when I get back. Oh, and say hi to Molly for me.

Hasta en el futuro,

[Until the future,]

Elder Adams

MTC drop off