Trois Semaines (Week Three) -- Waaaaoooh, We're Half Way There! Waaaaooooh, Saaaaain Lots of Prayers!
Why hello there!
I can't believe that a whole week has already passed since the last time I sent out an email. Holy cow. Each week as it comes to this time, I always start to think about what I should write about, and I start to think, "wow, it doesn't feel like much has happened." But then I flip through my journal writings of the past seven days, and then I realize just how much has happened! I realize that you haven't heard of all the exciting stories and events that have happened. So I usually create a list of things that I'm planning on writing today.
First, I'll address the title. Just sing the subject of this email to "Livin On a Prayer." I thought it was clever just because we're half way done here with our MTC experience!! It really has flown by. I've heard that missionaries usually get there travel plans between 1.5 and 2 weeks out from flying, and if you think about it, then that's next week. So I may or may not have my travel plans by the next time I am emailing you. We'll see what happens. Now before I get to my week, I'll try to address the questions I got. First off, I am doing well and feeling great. I think that the MTC's goal is to fatten us all up before shipping us all around the world. The food is super filling, plus you can get as much as you want. But so far I haven't gained much, so that's a plus. Next, there are times when I am feeling ready to leave, and there are times where I am definitely not feeling ready to leave. I am excited to leave the MTC just because we are in such a bubble here, and we have no idea what's going on in the world. Sometimes we just feel caged in. And there are also times where I absolutely love this little bubble we're in. We've got no worries except to learn about our Gospel and to learn French. I also feel ready and excited when our teachers tell us stories from their missions. It makes me just want to go have some of my own stories that I can tell to people! Anyways, French is definitely....coming. It's alright.
We are starting to learn different tenses, which can be difficult. Sometimes in class we all just look at our teacher with blank stares, because everything they say is just going over our heads. But it gets better with practice! You'll be happy to hear that my sleep talking is also coming along very nicely. All the guys in my room tell me that they try to have conversations with me while I'm sleeping and don't usually get a response. They also tell me I talk in French in my sleep still. But this morning I got told by Elder Blackham that I answered his question last night! He asked, "was that french elder Hamilton?" Then he said that I said, "No." So I guess I'm learning how to respond. Which is pretty exciting. On the 24th, we had just a normal schedule day.
Class all day long. One of the only change ups was that we heard fireworks, and even saw a few. It reminded us that there really are other people outside of the MTC! So that was fun as well. On P-days, we wake up earlier than usual. because we get to go to the temple early in the morning. When we finish there, we usually come print out emails we've received, and read them during laundry. Then we rest until lunch, maybe catch up on sleep we've missed, and then come email. Then we get dressed in our church clothes for dinner, and after dinner we have a devotional. We have devotionals sundays and tuesdays. They are really great. All of the speakers have been very good. We've heard that tonights is extra special, but we don't know who it is yet! I haven't seen anyone else from the ward, although I did see Matt Rameson. I was surprised when I saw him going into the cafeteria! I said hi and we talked for a few minutes.
I am also excited for Max! That's cool that he gave his farewell! It's unfortunate that he's going to the West campus though, because that's where all the Spanish speaking elders go. Maybe I'll get to see him at a devotional before I go! I sure hope so! So my list is kinda random, so stay with me here as I jump around stories. First, one of our branch presidency was like, a super big make up artist, and has worked on a ton of movies with famous people. So he loves to tell us stories. So after any meetings we have with our zone, he usually tells us stories. And it's right before bed, so basically, we get bedtime stories. They are definitely fun to listen too! Next, last wednesday we had our first TRC lessons. I forget what it stands for, but TRC lessons are lessons we teach to real people, not the plastic fake ones we usually teach. (Okay, that was sarcasm. That just sounded funny, "teaching real people.") But these members come in and volunteer to talk with the missionaries in French. So that was fun. We got to test out our French with people other than our teachers. The next day, our teacher, right before our lesson, pulled me and my companion aside, and challenged us not to take our notes into the lesson with us. So we sent them down, and went into the lesson knowing the subject of our lesson, but not knowing how to say any of it in French. So we just had to use whatever french we do know to teach the lesson. I think it turned out well, and definitely tested and stretched my French abilities.
I've now decided that I'm no longer going to go into lessons with notes..hopefully it helps me improve my French faster. Oh, you'll probably laugh when you hear this though, we sing in almost every lesson. Yeah, my companion loves to sing, so we sing in every lesson. No investigator has complained so far, so they either like it, or they are tone deaf like me, so it sounds good to them. It's one or the other. I wish that I could have been there to see your reaction when you got that picture of me on sunday. That was during lunch. I saw Brother Brown from our ward, and went and talked to him, and he said he wanted to send you a picture of me, so he did! The only other people I've seen from the ward are the Allens, and I talked to them last week. And, for the first time in forever, (actually since the day I entered the MTC) I got to play basketball! We usually go outside, just because it's super nice and we get to see the sunset every night, and volleyball is fun, but the field was closed yesterday, so we went to the gym and played some ball! I was a little rusty, just because it's been so long! But it was still fun. Another funny story I ought to tell you about..So we were going in to teach our investigator named Lupe, which is our original teacher Seour Mckay, and she answered the door, and asked us how we were doing. "Comment ca-va?" In which I tried to respond saying, "ca-va bien." But instead of it coming out normally, my voice had one of the worst cracks I've heard since I was like, I don't, 11? But we all just bust up laughing so hard. She broke character and slammed the door on us! And our teachers never break character!! So that was pretty funny, we had to try that over again. There was one lesson, where we had studied everything we were going to teach about, but then forgot like all the words in French. So after the lesson, we were feeling a little upset with ourselves. Our teacher decided to share something with us. She called it a Tarzan testimony. She said about 10 words, but she definitely got her point across, and it was very powerful. She taught us that we need not know perfect French in order to teach with the spirit. We may not know enough right now to speak fluently, but we know enough to get our point across, and teach with the spirit. Another amazingly powerful experience I had this week was on Sunday after the devotional. After the devotional each sunday, we get to watch films. We went to "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. Holy Cow. So good. If you haven't seen it or read it, I highly recommend to do so. It's a little over an hour long, but definitely worth it. Go watch it. Well I think that that's all the exciting parts of the week. Thanks for your emails! I love hearing what's going on back home with everyone. Until next week! I miss you all! Lots of Love,