So, I'm here at the MTC in Provo, Utah, living it up as a full time missionary, and I am SO happy. I didn't even know it was possible to feel so much at peace with where and who I am, it's fantastic. It's wonderful. It's maganda (beautiful)! I've been here for almost three full days now, but it feels like weeks. We wake up at 6:30 every morning and we keep moving all day until 10:30 at night. Our scheduled are tight, our eyelids droop, our mouths don't really keep up with the language we're supposed to be learning, but we are where we need to be, doing what we were called to do! It's absolutely the best thing ever. I came here expecting me to hate the MTC, and while it can be discouraging and exhausting, I was struck with how easily I slipped into missionary life.
On to the details! My travel to Provo was relatively painless - I flew to Phoenix and then hung out in the USO for an hour or so. But first I had to find it! The USO was moved from terminal 2 to terminal 4, which was were I was going anyway, and it's all fancy and new! I was so happy to get the free snacks and everyone there was just lovely to help a weary traveler in a skirt. I eventually made it to Utah, where I was picked up by Jeanne Stapley, the magical and charming mother to Jill Stapley, my dear friends who decided to put me up for a night. I had so much fun at the Stapley's! It was good to see how they were doing. I also got to see the Crockett's when we went for icecream, and that was so much fun to see them. Lots of laughing was involved.
The next day I entered the MTC. It was a whirlwind of activity, I nearly threw up because I was so nervous, and I was dragged up to several lines that I quickly went through to get my packets, books, language studies, and my glorious little black name tag that I love so very much. It looks pretty dang good on me if I do say so myself. My companion's name is Sister Richmond. She's a nice girl from California and although she and I are very different in personality, we're working hard to be better at working together. It's a great humbling experience for me. Our two roommates are Sister McCoard and Sister Coleman - both outstanding examples who are so incredible, kind, and wonderful missionaries who work so hard to do what we need to. Our room is, needless to say, the best. We're having a little trouble calling each other in our district elders and sisters though. We're not supposed to say 'guys', but old habits die hard. Reeealllly hard. Also, my skirt belt ripped the first flippin day. Goodie. Momma, can you email me Ann's address so I can send it to her to get it mended (again)? Because I can't wear it with a broken belt! Boo. And Dad, did you look at that camera? Because yikes, mine doesn't do the trick. Most of my pictures are from Sister Richmond's camera.
Tagalog is a very difficult language to learn, but we're doing great! It's easy to get frustrated, but already we can pray and bear our testimonies in Tagalog (with notes, of course). We taught an investigator yesterday in all Tagalog...it didn't go super well, haha. But we're learning and Julio understood what we were trying to say. We're teaching him again on Monday, without notes, yikes. But we can do it! We only have six weeks to be fluent in a language after all. And the Lord is helping us so much! We're doing our best and he is blessing our efforts. We stay in our little classroom learning for about 3-6 hours every day. Brother Roxas, our teacher, speaks ONLY Tagalog to us, so we have to learn fast to understand him. But it's so much fun making so much progress in so little time. It's difficult because we keep trying to say some words in Spanish, so we end up with a Spanglish-Tagish language that only we can understand. Before you tell us how silly we are, keep in mind that in Tagalog, the days of the week and the time and certain words are the same as Spanish, so it's hard not to create our own hybrid. We'll fall out of the habit quickly (hopefully).
The food is great! They keep us fed around here, but I'm trying to stay healthy. Sister Howard, a member or our wonderful Branch Presidency and the cutest little old lady you will ever meet, told us about the Philippines a little, about her rat stories (rat in the toliet, long story), about her parasite ("I called him Juan"), and about the spiders in the shower (YES. WE MIGHT GET SHOWERS). But they also all told us about how beautiful it is there, how wonderful the people are, how the sisters get pampered with apartments (woo), and how great the food is. We spent 30 minutes just talking about the fresh mango, pineapple, and bananas that you can get every day of the week. By the end of the night, we were all so ready to just get over there! It doesn't sound as scary as some people made it out to be. But we'll stay here for a little longer to get some more language skills down.
That same evening two nights ago, I was made Senior Companion! Aw yess! Before you get too impressed and start murmuring my name in respect and appreciation...don't, haha. I'm only SC for a few weeks, and then me and Sister Richmond will switch. It's a learning experience. Sister Coulman is the other SC, but we have no idea what we're supposed to do since we haven't gotten any information yet. So we'll see how that goes. OH! I was sitting in class and next door someone screamed "THE ONCOMING STORM!" and I snorted my diet coke. A great Whovian reference. Sister Janae Coons is in my zone and she tells me that she was going to try and be cool until I turned out to be in her district. We just know each other too well to not be ourselves. In fact, she has major problems calling me Sister Green. She slips all the time and I feel like I'm a secret agent and she's blowing me cover. Her companion quoted Mean Girls to me, and Sister Moulton talked with me about Buffy the Vampire Slayer during gym. So I guess missionaries are just people. Go figure! ;)
All in all, I'm having a brilliant time. I'm so happy, so at peace, so exhausted, so about to collapse. But all in good ways. This is God's true church. I know it now more than ever, because every person here is working their hardest to bring it to the world. And we'll succeed. Sorry I can't write more. I want to, but we only get an hour on the computer. If you want me to hand write you (I'd love to), email me your address! I'll start that next week because I can send letters whenever I want! And I'll attach more pictures in another email since I can only do four in this one.
Alam ko po na totoo po ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo ng mga Banal sa mga Luling Araw. Alam ko po na mahalago po ang Aklat ni Mormon para sa inyo at para sa pamilya ninyo. Alam ko po na tinutulungan po ng Dyos any Kanyang mga anak dito sa mundo at ipinanumbalik na po ang Simbahan ni Jesucristo. Sa pangalan ni Jesucristo, amen.
MAHAL KITA!!!!! (I LOVE YOU!) I miss you all so much.