Thursday, August 29, 2013

Week One: Days Feel Like Weeks & Weeks Feel Like Days!

I LOVE being a missionary! I had no idea I would be able to say that the first week of being in the MTC but I can! I love it! It is such hard work and you are busy and tired constantly but the Spirit is so strong here and you just feel amazing all day long!  The first day at the MTC kinda feels like a blur now so I am glad that I was able to write you all about it the night I got here. I don't think I am going to go day by day because days here feel like weeks and weeks feel like days.  So my clock is all messed up and I have no idea what happened when. 
First Temple Trip with my companions

MTC West Campus & Finnish Districts
West Campus is great! It is way more relaxed down here then up on the Main MTC and I have already visited the Main MTC like 5 times!  West Campus is probably at least 85 -90% Elders which is kinda cool that we sisters are so few down here. Plus you hear from so many Elders and Teachers that "sisters make the best missionaries".  No pressure there... :) 
My district consists of 3 sisters (me included) and 5 Elders and the other Finnish District consists of 6 Elders and 2 sisters.  So it has definitely been switched since the last group of Finnish Missionaries! My district is Vanhin Richards, Vanhin Hugie, Vanhin Stegeby, Vanhin Wilson, Vanhin Chapman, Sisar Farnworth, Sisar Ross, and Me! I have the best district ever! We can laugh a lot but be serious when we need to be!  One of my favorite things that we do is after our personal study time, we all give short testimonies and share scriptures on what we learned and felt.  It is such a cool experience!  As for my companions they are great! I love both of them!  
This is the best I can do with getting a pic with an MTC sign!

The Language & Teaching
Well, Finnish is hard.  But I love learning it!  It is such a beautiful language but a very difficult one.  Luckily I haven't let myself get discouraged yet so that is good.  We have already taught 4 lessons with our "investigator" Eero, who is actually the teacher for the other district. The first lessons were rough but the last one we did was amazing! And I did it with NO Finnish notes! I was so proud of myself,  you have no idea!  
I really want to share an amazing learning experience that I had before I taught this lesson.  After we had our third lesson we were trying to decide what to teach our investigator next, but since there are 3 of us we all had 3 different ideas and directions that we wanted to go (this is when we as companions start hitting heads).  So for like 30 minutes we were trying to decide, when our teacher came to help us.  He had been listening to our conversation and then decided to lovingly nudge us in the right direction.  He asked us to each individually pray about each of our ideas and see what the Spirit told us that we should teach.  We each did just that and then turned to the lesson that we felt we were guided to by the Spirit and guess what?!  We all opened to the same lesson!  It was such a cool experience and such a testimony builder! I know that when you pray for help and guidance and really search for and listen for an answer, that you will be guided to what you should teach or do. Because of that you could feel the spirit so strong in the lesson that we prepared for Eero, even through all of our broken Finnish! :) 
Sunday's are probably the best! It is a day that you really get to focus and help bring yourself closer to your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. For sisters, our schedule is like this:  We start by going to breakfast and then studying for 2 1/2 hours.  Then you go to the Spoken Word and listen to the Mormon Tab. and then have Relief Society.  Relief society was my favorite because she talked all about how the Lord will stand by you and about over coming trials and having faith.  The Spirit was so strong and I loved her talk!  It was really funny though because the people on the stand kept looking at our row with expressions like, "Are you ok?" because me and my two companions were all just crying our eyes out.  Haha,  it wasn't that we were sad, we were just really touched by the Spirit!  We then got to go to lunch, then Sacrament Meeting with our Zone.  That was cool and it is kinda scary because everyone has to prepare a 3-5 minute talk and then the branch president will just randomly call on 3 or 4 people to speak!  But we all get to prepare and learn more about the gospel by all doing it which is great!  We then have more study time and then a district meeting with our branch president.  That is followed by interviews and then a walk and then we go to choir!  Yes, I am doing the choir and I love it! It is a break from studying and speaking Finnish and you just don't have to think so it gives your brain a break.  We then have a devotional and then watch different kinds of church films.  So the whole day is just filled with a wonderful spirit... kinda like everyday! :)
Famous map picture!
Tuesday Devotional--Niel A. Anderson
I have to tell you about Tuesday Devotional!  We had to go at 4:45 to walk to the conference center to practice in the choir.  My companions and I got there fast so we were on the second row of girls which was cool because guess who spoke!  Elder Anderson!! It was so amazing to see an apostle of the Lord!! He spoke all about love and sacrifice and that through sacrifice you grow to love what you sacrifice for! I love that! Because it was such a sacrifice to leave but I absolutely love being a missionary!! But the coolest part was that it was raining and there was lightning so we had to stay indoors until the lightning stopped so Elder Andersen went to shake hands with the missionaries on the floor of the Marriott Center but then decided to come to the stands right where my companions and I were sitting!! So I got to shake Elder Neil L. Andersen's hand! And he told us how proud of us he was! It was amazing! We were so happy that when we had to walk home in the pouring rain we didn't even care!!! :) We got soaked though!
Our district all soaked from walking home from the devotional :)
Los Angeles VISA trip
Well I did get to go to L.A Wednesday and had to get up at 3:15 in the morning which was rough.  We were so tired and honestly it took us 15 minutes to get our visas and we spent at least 6 hours in the airport.  It was crazy!  I will have to write you about that experience because I am running our of time! I'm sorry! An hour goes by really fast and I am typing as fast as I can!
Answers to  Family Questions:
I am really doing great!  My health is good and I am sleeping just fine! I am so tired by the end of the day that I just crash by the time I get to bed! So that is good because then I don't have time to get home sick haha. And thank you for sending that blanket! It makes all the difference and I am not cold anymore! :)
My favorite part of the day is probably Teaching and Language study. I absolutely love teaching our investigators even though it is stressful and hard and I mess up a lot... I just love it! I absolutely love learning this amazing language too!
We try and speak Finnish as much as we can throughout the day but I only know religious words and a few others which makes it difficult but in class we speak mostly Finnish and practice mostly Finnish so it is about 6+ hours a day. 
Haha yes Cassie there are come "cute" boys haha and they are all alot of fun and we are all really good friends in our districts.  

You can eat as much as you want and drink as much chocolate milk as you want which is really cool!  Haha, the food wasn't very great at first but it is getting better! I don't go back for seconds though so I don't eat very much but I am never very hungry. And yes I am having a lot of fun! It is hard but you laugh a lot and make a lot of friends!
Well I wish I had more time!   Keep writing me and mom you are not sending too many packages! I love them! I love you all and miss you all!!

Sisar Knapp
 The tree on Main Campus that literally smells like Cream Soda... Yeah crazy!

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