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 LDS.org, 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!