April 06, 2014

Week One


                      Hermana Simmons MTC drop off March 26, 2014 

Hey everyone!

Wow, it's crazy to think that a whole week has passed since you dropped me off here. I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing though haha. It's kind of fantastic that I have a companion all the time and other Hermanas that have the same schedule because we all just get lost together :)
To begin, I'll answer Mom's questions:

- I love my classes, they are just LONG.

- My companion's name is Hermana Martindale. She's going to the San Diego Mormon Batallion Visitor's Center and Temple Grounds Mission. It's kind of a mouthful. She is very nice, and she loves to talk. a lot. it's a good thing I prefer to listen than chat because I'm not sure I could get a word in otherwise :) But she is super sweet and very nice and we actually get along very well.

- The food is alright. They have plenty of different options and portion sizes aren't a problem.

-We have a gym time everyday (except for Sundays and Preparation Day). There are lots of different options of things to do, but our district likes to play volleyball. And we have it with Elders and Sisters.

- And my P-Day is Wednesday, which is why it has taken me so long to email y'all.

Anyways, that first afternoon and night was crazy. (Actually it's all been crazy, but I've just gotten more used to the craziness). They just kept us going and going and going until finally we took a bus down to West Campus (all people learning Spanish stay down by the Wyview Apartments, so I'm actually hardly ever over on Main Campus across from the Provo Temple). We got home late, unpacked, and crashed. Then woke up early the next morning for the first full day of classes.

Classes are so amazing! All of our teachers are supposed to only speak in Spanish, so I feel sorry for the Hermanas who have never had Spanish before. It took me a while, but I am really remembering all of the Spanish words and grammar that I took in school. I know it's not just me remembering these words; I can tell that being in such a spiritual place truly amplifies my ability to learn and remember. In fact, they placed me in the Beginner's class because when I took their placement test before coming to the MTC I hadn't spoken Spanish in so long. But now that I'm here and remembering everything, one of my teachers asked me to get evaluated for the Intermediate class-- I did, and I passed. So maybe in a few days I'll move up.
Things move so quickly here. The first few days felt like eternity, but somehow a whole week has gone by. I can honestly say that being here in the MTC has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life-- but at the same time I have never felt the Spirit so strongly or felt so close to Christ and my Heavenly Father. It's so wonderful to just feel His love and concern as we all work to try to do our best.

We taught our first discussion on Friday night (don't worry, it was just one of the Spanish teachers). And as most of you know, I cry a lot. Mostly when I am anxious/stressed or when I feel the Spirit really strongly. You can probably guess that there were a lot of waterworks during that first lesson! It's nerve wracking enough for me to be speaking in front of someone, let alone trying to teach them (about the Gospel, no less), AND to be speaking in a completely different language. But my companion (Hermana Martindale) and I are working on getting better. We are trying to rely less upon ourselves and more upon the Lord, and to listen to what the Spirit would have us teach and say. And luckily I have not cried in my lessons since (we are teaching an "investigator" named Rodrigo right now).

Just a quick overview of our schedule: We wake up around 6 or 6:30 (depending on how many hermanas want to shower in the morning), go to breakfast at 7:30 for half an hour, then class for 3.5 hours, gym for 1 hr, lunch for 1 hr, and then back to class for 3.5 hours, dinner, then class again until 9:30. So we are completely busy all day long. The teachers here are amazing. They are all returned missionaries, and they have such great advice and are just so in tune with Christ that they know exactly how to help us best.

The Elders in our district leave next Tuesday which is really sad. They have all been so respectful and helpful as we 6 new sisters adjust to life here. Most of them are heading down to Argentina, which is cool. It's fun to be in an environment where everyone is trying their hardest and working so much to grow closer to the Lord, learn their language, and show charity and love to all.
Sundays and Tuesday nights we have a devotional where all the missionaries from Main and West Campus gather in the Main Campus auditorium and listen to guest speakers. So, on Sunday I went to the devo just being grateful to get out of the classroom and somewhere else for a change. Want to know who our speakers were? Richard Elliott (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organist), and DAVID ARCHULETA (he returned from his Chilean mission just last week). hahaha. It was comical and slightly pathetic to see a group of mature, responsible young missionaries start freaking out when they saw David walk into the room and onto the front stand (nobody had known he was coming except for the highest ups). And don't worry, I was not one of the missionaries who ran up afterwards to try to shake his hand (there were plenty of other Elders and Sisters who did, though).

They both spoke so powerfully, and then they performed a few musical numbers for us. And let me tell you, those two are the most talented people I have heard. They sounded absolutely brilliant, and it was so cool to be there live, in the fourth row. And what was even better? I could admire their talents and musical abilities, but I admired their testimonies and examples even more. And that's saying something.

Well, I feel like I've probably lost most of you by this point :) We don't get much time to write emails here (we're only supposed to be on the computer for an hour), so I'll wrap it up. I love you all, and I hope you all have a fantastic week! Happy Almost Birthday to Taylia, Happy One Week-Day to Tinley, and a happy almost General Conference to the rest of you! This Gospel is true, Heavenly Father really does love each and every one of us, and Philippians 4:13!!!

Hermana Simmons 

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