Friday, July 29, 2016

Letter #2 - First Full Week!

July 29, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

I have officially survived one week at the MTC. So it turns out that my district is a Pilot district for iPad training at the MTC, so that's pretty cool. It sounds like that If I had arrived a week or two earlier, I wouldn't have had the opportunity. Information we record about our investigators is typically kept on paper in a binder, but now we will be able to have the "area book" on our iPads and record everything digitally. It's been a bit of a struggle for me since I personally prefer paper for things like this, but I have been learning to use it and I'm slowly coming to appreciate the iPads. Mostly they are useful for things like finding scriptures that you don't remember the reference for, but can remember a couple of phrases. We have access to, but nothing else on the internet as far as I can tell. We also have the Gospel Library app downloaded and have access to all of that content, which is nice. My companion and I used a Mormon Message in a lesson the other day. They are also teaching us to use the technology appropriately through their "Safeguards" program. 

Let me tell you a little about my schedule. We are awake from 6:30 to 10:30 (except for the day we do service, and then we get up at 6:00). Most of our time is spent in a classroom. It's pretty small and only barely fits the 12 of us and the teacher (and maybe an assistant teacher or two). My exercise time is the first hour of the day. My companion and I both enjoy volleyball (thanks to all those pickup games at Campus Plaza) and that's what we do for our hour at the gym. Next we get a half hour for breakfast, and then we are off to our class room. Lunch is 40 minutes and Dinner is 45 minutes. There are usually pretty long lines, so my companion and I often do some studying in line while we wait. We have about 6 hours of instruction time. This time is different for missionaries, but ours falls the three hours before dinner and the three hours after dinner. So from 6:25pm-9:30pm we are being taught, and that's been hard for me because I'm usually pretty exhausted by that point. The rest of the time during the day is spent studying and preparing to teach investigators. We teach up to 3 investigators a day and lessons range from 20-45 minutes.

On Sundays and Tuesdays we have devotionals. Since Sunday was Pioneer Day, we had a special devotional. The Nashville Tribute Band came and played, and the choir sang and practiced with them. Look them up, they've got some decent stuff. About 1,400 people were in the MTC choir and that included yours truly. One Tuesday Elder Condie spoke to us. That was good, but less interactive and they happen so late, that I was just working to stay awake.  That's the jist of our schedule. 

You start teaching "investigators" on your second day at the MTC. The first one you start out with is your teacher who typically acts as one of the investigators they taught on their mission. After you teach them a couple of times, you then teach potentially real investigators. They don't tell you if the person is actually investigating or not, but from what I understand, these people are typically recent converts, and they act themselves before they were baptized. And then there are some that are really investigating intermingled among them. So we are trained to treat them all as real investigators. We meet with one three times a week and another person four times a week, and then our teacher acting as one twice a week. We have met with four different investigators thus far. It's been a really good experience. The MTC does everything in it's power to make these experiences as realistic as possible and it really gives you a chance to feel and rely on the Spirit as you do your teaching. Everything done at the MTC prepares you for life in the field, from the infinite number of stairs to the fact that they randomly call on you to speak during sacrament to keeping you busy and awake all day long. Already there are some elders who regularly fall asleep during class. My class has a nice view of the street passing the MTC and the top of the temple. It's really nice. 
 Well, that's probably all the time for writing that I have today. I love you guys and am having a pretty good time here. I hope that you are all well!

Sister Prue 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Letter #1 - Week 0 Day 3

July 22, 2016

Dear Family and Friends,

I'm finally here! The MTC is great. It's overwhelming at times and we keep a rigorous schedule here, but it is great. The first day consisted in getting all of our study materials (which took all of 15 minutes) and name tag. It felt like a big moment, getting my tag, but in reality it was a 15 second event. Then we jump right into things. The first day focused on teaching us our purpose as missionaries and learning how to get to know our investigators and how we can help them. They took us into three different rooms, one after another, and had us ask investigators questions. It was a bit hard to do with such large groups, but I think we all learned a lot. 

The huge part of day 1 was getting my iPad. I'm not entirely sure that this is the case, but it sounds like not all missionaries who are using iPads on their mission get to train with one at the MTC, but I am one of the lucky ones. What having an iPad means is that I am able to receive and read e-mail daily, but I can only respond to friends and family on P-Day. So if you have something to tell me, you can let me know immediately! Kind of cool, no? 

Day one also consisted of seeing a lot of people that I already knew. The first was Brother Justice, who was one of my bishops. He helps oversee dining services and I was able to see him and he sat and talked to me and the sisters in my district during dinner. It also seems there may be some advantages to having a friend in dining services ;) I also saw my co-worker, Sister Delgado and that was fun. Today I saw two friends from the singles ward I just left.

Now a little about my district. It consists of 8 elders (4 companionships) and 4 sisters (2 companionships). My companion is Sister Pasikala. She is Tongan as well as Sister Mapa. Her companion is Sister Thomson. These are the people that I interact with all day every day and so far they all seem pretty cool. Most of our day is spent in one classroom, and this will be more true for the following weeks (we're still going through tons of orientation). These are the people that get to help us grow and see us succeed and fail. Our teachers are two girls and they are both really sweet and nurturing. 

The MTC is an incredibly intimate experience, and just in the few days I've been here, I've been able to see how seriously the Lord takes this work. Emotions are raw and the Spirit is strong. We are all working hard and striving to do our best and we are blessed for it. Everyone who works here is nothing but kind and compassionate. Parents, if you have a child here - know that they are being well cared for. We are being pushed the hardest I have ever been pushed, but also in the most loving way I could ever imagine. I'm having a hard time describing the love I have felt here. I have also been surprisingly at peace. There are moments when I internally freak out and am overwhelmed with what I must do for the next 18 months, but I am trying to take it a day at a time and for the most part, I have been very happy. They say that if we can make it through Sunday, we're going to be okay, haha. 

I think I'm going to wrap this up. You can either e-mail me or use (which is free) and if you get your letter in by 12, it will be printed and delivered to us at 9:30. Also, I was assigned to be the Sister Training Leader (I think that's what it's called) for my district. I'm not sure what that means yet. I was only assigned last night. Hopefully my letters can be more organized in the future. I love you all!

Off to the MTC

July 20, 2016

Our first stop of the day was at Charming Charlie.

 Then we took a pre-MTC stop for pictures.


We saw Isaac Richards!

Then to the Cougareat for Chick-Fil-A and friends.

It was then time for the 1:15 drop off.

See you in 18 months!

Getting Set Apart

July 19, 2016

Kelly was set apart by President Michael Packer.
Bill Dupree happened to be going to the church for basketball just then. 
He was our home teacher for over 10 years. It was great to have him there!

Farewell Lunch with Friends

July 17, 2016