Selfie with some of my favorite people, Me, Sister Hodson, Elder Bagley (Red Hair), and Elder Karlinsey (Behind). I have the best zone ever! There may only be 5 sisters, but we are the 5 best sisters in the MTC! Ima miss them so much! Following the example of the Elder in the bottom right corner (hehe)
I have survived my first week at the MTC and am loving it! Ever since I got here, I have felt a peace and excitement in my heart. I have honestly never been this happy for this long in my life. I know that God is there and is helping through this.
NOTE: Please email me, but if you do, don't expect long replies because I only get 1 hour per week to email EVERYONE. Also, if you want to talk to me personally through email, you need to contact me first, there is honestly no time to talk to every single person I know, plus I don't have all of your emails saved on my email, so you know, that kind of makes it hard. If you want a longer personal reply, send me a letter, just go to the contact button on the top.
So first day here, I literally put my bags in my room and went to my first class. My first teacher is Sister Sheffield. AND SHE ONLY SPOKE INDONESIAN TO ME!!!! I had no clue what was going on and I was so overwhelmed! All the language teachers aren't allowed to speak English so that the missionaries can get used to hearing the language. I haven't heard any of my teacher speak English unless students learning other languages ask them questions. My first day I learned how to introduce myself to someone and ask them questions. After my class, I met my wonderful companions, who I talked about in my previous post, and they are absolutely AMAZING. I love them. Nothing much happened on the first day except a few introduction meetings and such.
I love my language classes! They are really fun, even though I don't know how to say much and don't understand what my teacher is saying. "Teacher" in Indonesian is "Guru". I like talking about my gurus because I feel like I'm a ninja in training, or something. I have already learned how to pray, bear my testimony, and have memorized "Our Purpose" in Indonesian. For only a week to knowing Indonesian, I'm feeling pretty good. I just love the feeling of learning something like this. It makes me really excited to get there!
So starting the third day, we practicing teaching investigators. They're really just RM's who speak Indonesian, for the most part. But we're supposed to treat them as if they were actual people wanting to learn about the Church. The worst part is that we have to do it in our language. On the third day, I didn't even know Indonesian, but I did it anyway. We teach our investigators every day except P Day and Sunday, so we have to learn a lot of vocabulary every single day so that we don't have to use any dictionaries or note cards. I actually really like doing it. My investigator is Gina and she is an actual Indonesian native. I have to teach her all by myself without a companion, which was really scary at first but now I really like teaching her, she is so sweet and smells really good!
One of my favorite parts of the day is gym. Why? Because we can MOVE. I didn't trust RM's when they said they were in classrooms all day, but you are in the classroom ALL. DAY. LONG. We have a 4 hour block in the morning, when I usually have my language class, lunch, another 4 hour block of class time, gym, dinner, 4 hours of class time, and then we go to sleep. THAT IS MY LIFE RIGHT NOW! So we only have teachers with us only one or two of those blocks, and we only learn the language. the rest of the time is up to us, we can study the language or study the scriptures or chat with the other missionaries, it just depends on how you're feeling and how diligent you are in your studies.
Nobody really tells us how to teach people the gospel, except that we should listen to what our investigators are saying and apply what we know about the gospel to their situation, and that's pretty much it.
Oh, my FAVORITE thing to do at the MTC is going to choir practice. We have it twice a week and we sing a song at the weekly devotional, where a general authority is there to give a speech for all the missionaries.
Well, my hour is almost up, so I've got to go... so much to say, so little time...
I am having the time of my life here in the MTC. I am the only Indonesian speaking person here, so it is just me and my teacher (guru) Sister Sheffield. It's so hard but such an amazing language, going to language classes are my favorite thing to do, even though I have got no clue what she is saying. I don't have to speak only Indonesian, at least not yet, but I learned how to share my testimony and pray today. I wrote a whole paragraph in Indonesian of my testimony, all by myself, no dictionaries or help. To say I know that Heavenly Father loves me, I say, "Saya tahu bahwa Bapa Surgawi mengasihi saya". I love it! I am in a companionship with two other sisters, Sister Leydsman from St. George, who's going to the Republic of Georgia, speaking Georgian. She's also the only person in her class, and her language is so HARD, the alphabet is completely different and it's just a really hard language to learn. She's amazing and so nice! Sister Hodson is from Ohio/New York and she is going to the Baltic mission speaking Lithuanian. She's also really nice and has a wonderful singing voice. So far I have not seen any bats, so I've got something going for me. The food is a little sketchy and the beds are like sleeping on a table, but those are the only things that are kind of messed up around here. I have seen quite a few people I know. One of the first missionaries I came across after getting into the MTC was Elder Tucker, who I went to Highland with, who's going to Russia. He said hi to me, I didn't even know that he knew who I was in high school, but I guess he did! I've also seen both of the Romney twins, Sister Walden Hollinghouse (totally butchered it), Elder Sam Simmons, Elder Mac Wilson, Elder Sam Hawker, Sister Morgan Conolly, and my step nephew(?) Elder AJ Balukoff. It's weird seeing all of these Highland people, I feel like I'm back in high school! I actually have P Day on Thrusdays, but our branch president let us tell you guys that we're all settled in. So, I'll see you soon! I'll send photos next time!
HOLLEY STRINGHAM: Salt Lake City, born and raised; returned missionary from the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.; a simple folk aimed on changing the world