Week One: The England MTC Experience
The MTC is absolutely amazing! We have about 50 missionaries here in the entire MTC so it is quite easy to get to know everyone here. I've learned that we have missionaries from all over the world. From Switzerland, Italy, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil, Guatemala, China and of course the US. We have a huge map on the wall with pictures of each missionary and where they are from. It is so inspiring and confirms that the Lord is truly hastening His work.
Unfortunately, one Sister Missionary from Finland had to go home because her Visa was rejected(she was serving in Manchester I believe). However, everyone else either has their Visa or work is being done to get that Visa.
Now to the First Day.
The first day was a little hectic, and we had this huge list of things to accomplish. We needed to talk to the MTC presidency and the President's wife. We needed to talk to the Medical Officers and we had to make our beds and then we ate dinner. All of that probably took about 3 hours. After dinner, we had a meeting in the Kimball room, that is where we recieved our first companion, were split into zones and districts. My companion is Elder Mourick and he is from Colorado. We are the Kimball Zone and the Helaman District. We were sent back to our rooms and the day ended with personal study.
Our second day was a bit more interesting... After breakfast, my companion and I met with President Edwards (MTC President) and Elder Mourick was called to be our District Leader. Less than 6 hours later, we were released and called as the new Zone leaders over both zones. Man, that sounds like a lot of pressure right? Well, it really isn't that difficult, we just lead by example and take care of programs and zone prayer. Not too bad.
However, the hard part comes with the classes. As it turns out, almost everyone going to the Alpine German-Speaking Mission took German in high school. Myself and one Elder and two Sisters are all new to this. Elder Mourick grew up with a completely fluent mother and sister, Elder Carr took German in highs school along with Elder Samuelson, Elder Griffey, Sister Wilkes, and Sister Cook. So that leaves me and Elder Hunter in our District without any German background.
So the first day of our German Class, our Instructor speaks completely in German. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. I couldn't even pick out words and kind of comprehend him. But everyone in the two German districts are super encouraging and helpful. Brother Wilkenson and Eckelt, our teachers, are so patient and understanding. They will continue to speak German but will use objects and hand motions so we can understand them. It is really helpful. Since our first day, we've learned to offer a prayer, testify, ask questions and refer to scriptures in German. We have also learned a couple of verbs and key words in the Gospel lessons. Talk about progression.
So our teachers, are playing as our investigators, and they are extremely good at this acting thing. It's as if they are a completely different person, which is good I guess. So when preparing lessons for them, we are preparing our fourth lesson, I have learned that copying down phrases and just repeating them does nothing for me when they answer. So in our second lesson, I decided to write a lesson out in English and then translate it into to German. I was almost word for word when translating, but it was mosly correct when Brother Wilkenson was reading over it. And during the lesson, I understood so much more and actually talked back in German. But let it be known, that this was the Lord, not my comprhension. Before each lesson, we said a prayer as a companionship and then entered the room. So really the Spirit is the one who taught and understood.
Now Sunday was amazing. Sacrament was definitely different but totally amazing. We had five talks from missionaries about the Atonement and they were eye opening. One Elder compared the Atonement to Lehi's vision and it made so much sense. You should definiely try looking into that new perspective. During Priesthood, we talked about Priesthood keys and the Oath and Covenent. We had two MTC devotionals, one from Elder Bednar in Provo, and our own here in England from the MTC Presidency. They were so inpiring. I learned that we just need to trust the Lord and move forward with a steadfastness in Christ. And that any good thought, whether you think it is you or the Spirit is from the Lord and should be acted upon. We had district discussions after a few meetings and man, my district is so intelligent and spiritual. They give so much new insight in the Doctrines of Christ. We also had the opportunity to wach the new Restoration video. that video was the cherry on top of the Sabbath Day.
And the meals, they are fantastic. Not once have we repeated a meal! They have all been different save it be two breakfasts. The cooks put so much effort into our meals it sure is amazing. And the landscape here at the MTC is beautiful. The architecture and its surroundings are all beautifully crafted. The Church surely did outdo itself here. Now here is a fun fact, when President Hinckley was dedicating the England Preston Temple, he also dedicated the MTC and the Stake Centre right next to it as well. How cool!
Now speaking about the Temple, we had the opportunity to visit the Temple today. The session brought new knowledge to me as promised. And the Temple itself is beautiful. The rooms inside are filled with the Spirit and you can tell that it truly is the house of the Lord. After our session was done, one of the workers took myself and five other missionaries to see the Sealing rooms and such. I don't know what prompted him to do that, but it reminded me of the day we were sealed together and that even though we are separated right now, we will see each other in only moments of our lives from now on, that we are eternal and that in the heavens we won't have to be separated because of Him who lives and Him who loves us so dearly.
As I have been here at the MTC, I have been constantly reminded of the covenants I made with the Lord at Baptism and throughout my life. I am reminded daily that He loves. I often feel inadequate because I hardly know anything about German, but am reminded that I don't need to compare myself to those around me and that Heavenly Father loves me just as much as them. I know that I will grasp this language soon because I am not alone. And nor are any of you. He loves each of you so very much and wants the best from us. I pray daily to keep these thoughts with me and the thoughts of my loving family back home. I love you all so much and wish to hear how each of you are doing. Until then, let God be with you.
PS: I will send pictures once I figure out this computer
PPS: I want to hear from all of my friends too!
And I haven't received anything yet, so it might be in the mail right now. Who knows?