Sunday, July 26, 2015

The MTC experience

Zdravstvooytye everyone!!

Wow has it only been a week? I can't even believe how much has happened, and how many stories I have.... I don't have much time left, but I'll do my best to talk about the important things! 

Basically as soon as I got here, they ran me through a thousand rooms, gave me 7000 pounds of books and study materials, and then shipped me off to my classes. I started with a Russian class, and let me tell you, they don't kid around here. They put everyone in a small group (district) of missionaries learning the same language, and they basically stick them in class for 3 hours at a time, talking about either the language or about the gospel. My teacher greeted us in Russian the first day, and literally spoke nothing else to all of us. Looking back, it must have been so funny for her to watch our faces as we listened to her speak this strange gibberish...:) The second day, we got a new teacher who was even more confusing, and the lesson was longer. Everyone just stared at him and he had to ask questions in russian like 6 times (with hand motions) before anyone would respond at all, because we were so confused. When our teacher left the room and shut the door, we all just looked at each other and died laughing, because we were so lost, and I don't think we knew what else to do.

My district is 5 sets of elders and my companion (Cectpa Meade) and me. Cectpa (pronounced Syes-tra) Meade is from Provo, and she's very sweet. We get along fine, and we are able to teach pretty well together! It's been super nice to have a chill companion, who likes a lot of the same things as me! The rest of my district is hilarious. All but one of the elders just graduated from high school, but they're all mature and have the most sincere and incredible testimonies of the gospel. I have honestly been inspired by each one of them so far. This place is amazing for spiritual growth, and that really shows in the way that my district acts. Luckily, everyone is also really funny, so half of the time we just joke around and help keep each other sane. I'm so happy about how well we all work together! I don't think I could've asked for a better district (which is great, because we spend like 9+ hours together every day)! :)
Unfortunately, we also seem to be cursed... I don't know if it's just the fact that we're new, but somehow no one in our district is ever told about what's going on, so we have had some WAY confusing days. We had the wrong schedule several times, so we went to the completely wrong place, and our teachers had the wrong schedule one time, so they weren't there to speak Russian to us, and... just things like that. Really weird miscommunications. My companion and I have also accidentally gotten locked out of our room several times.... haha, I have some really great stories that I really wish I had time to share! Let me just say, the locks in the MTC are not easy to pick with a bobby pin.... And we have a very elusive maintenance lady who holds the master key. (Don't worry, we eventually made it into our room.) 

We started teaching an investigator, Igor, this week. He's not a real investigator, but he role-plays as one, and he only speaks russian. We started teaching him on the third day, and it was kind of a disaster... We could NOT communicate. It's gotten progressively better, and I've been surprised by how much I can feel the Spirit in our lessons. Even though it's just a scenario, and we have very very broken Russian, the things that we are practicing teaching are true, and you can feel the peace that they bring in our meetings. I have absolutely loved that part of the MTC. The Spirit is always so strong, and I have already learned so much more about the gospel and about myself and my testimony. I just love it. In our lesson to Igor yesterday, Cectpa Meade and I actually sung a song from the Geemnee (Hymns) for our investigator. In Russian. It was a super quirky (and tricky) idea, but it was SO fun, and I love how the hymns can share a message much deeper than we usually can! Haha, it was great.

I have loved running into so many people that I know here. It's basically been like a BYU 56th ward reunion! And then a few from home, too. Seriously, every time I turn around, I see someone else that I know. I love it! :)

Cool, weird story--so, Cectpa Meade left some vazhna (important) stuff when she came to the MTC, so we got permission to go off-campus and buy tennis shoes and other such things. I know we've only been out for a week, and we only went to JC Penney... for like, an hour... but it was super weird to leave the MTC and it felt like a field trip.... so I took a thousand pictures. I'll share the escalator picture with you all. I'm sure I was very helpful, ecstatically taking selfies while she was trying to shop.... 

I really don't have time to write much else. but I love you ALL so much! Thank you for your love and support.

Ya znaoo shto Eesus Kreesto nash Spaseetyel, y eta Bog nash Nebyesney Atiets. Ya znaoo shto tserkov eestinah! (That's me trying to phonetically spell out Russian words because I don't have a Russian keyboard... :) I love Russian.)

Cectpa Montierth

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