Ok here we go...
Day 1: Ok saying goodbye was really weird and hard. I felt so sick to my stomach and did not want to let go, but I did and I was off like a lemming (spelling?). I understand now why the missionaries never give much detail about the MTC... the first few hours they just literally point to the next location you go so you do not get lost. You sit, listen and eat. After getting my tag I sat in my classroom where all the girls in my district already were and my teachers Sister Brinton and Brother Johnson were speaking Cebuano and nothing else.... ridiculous! i sat next to my companion Sister Isaacson. This tiny little, brown haired, brown eyed, 20 year old quiet girl who looked scared out of her mind. then we went to a general meeting where they told us to be obediant obediant and obediant. After dinner we were in groups and we went to teach investigators in groups and it was crazy how I knew these people were not real investigators but you still have this burning inside to help them understand. I think that is one thing the MTC really has to offer newbie missionaries you cant get in other places.
Day 2 was super long and we had zero free time. We met as a branch with our branch presidency ( which I didnt know you had for just your time in the MTC) and we introduced ourselves and bared testimony. My favorite part of this whole day was when we first came into the room to meet the presidency their wives were standing there and gave us hugs! Oh my goodness... I hugged them and I hugged them good. It was so wonderful. The last time I gave a hug was when Melissa and Jessica dropped me off and I was in need. So I hugged them a few more times before the end of the night. It just felt soo so good and I really needed that. they are super cute ladies too, so so nice! Any way so at the end of the meeting I got called as Sister Training Leader. There are no men in my district and so I am the equivalent to District Leader. My mission president called me and told me that I was with my particular companion for a reason and I had tools and gifts that would help her and to help her in every way I can ( she was having a really hard time). All the girls in my district are 20 and younger and I did kind of take on the leader role from the beginning and so all the sisters in my district after I was called were like " we called that easy". I didn't, I have no clue what in the world I am doing, Being district leader just means the girls have to get permission from me to do a few things, I get the mail, I make sure all the rules are followed and I attend a bajillion meetings. It has been fun and I am learning a lot. It is very helpful for me though.. so that I remember to be 100% obediant in everything! It is good, and I love the responsibility but it can be a little stressful at times. Especially because my sisters think I am the funniest thing. I have no idea how this happened but seriously every time I open my mouth at lunch or walking in the halls or what-not... the sisters are dying of laughter. We just have so much fun and are happy and ... I dont know.. It is really nice. Glad someone thinks I am funny. But at the same time they have individually thanked me for being strict on the rules and we all love each other so it is good.
Oh yea.. Sister Isaacson and I get along great. She is younger and so there is a little bit of a maturity difference, but I just accept it and we talk about things in companion inventory and we laugh and joke, and learn together and things are going great. She is not very forward or out there and so as we teach our investigator I have taken the lead and we are working on that... working on getting her to teach more of the lesson and speak up. We are making progress.
Day 3 Friday was the first time we taught our investigator Ruel- he is actually a Cebuano teacher here at he MTC- big ole Tongan guy. But it was terrible... can I tell you. terrible. My mind went blank and I had no idea what to say, I had no idea what HE said! And I got out of there and felt discouraged and incapable and just blah! I did not ever want to do that again. Kill me now. But despite my plee's we teach him every day but Pday and Sundays. It is so hard. Ok... so the teachers are only with us for 3 hours a day. One hour of which is in english talking about how to teach and study more effectively. To this day we have been taught maybe three concepts or grammar rules for Cebuano... past that it is all on our own. We study lessons that we are going to teach Ruel and pray... lots and lots of prayer. We are only allowed to pray in Cebuano now and we are making progress. I have to admit this is the hardest part for me. This language is intense.. not intense just super super long. The BOM is 802 pages in Cebuano!! Anything over three syllables takes me like 3 days to memorize. Most of the time I do not understand what Ruel is saying and I put Cebuano words into English structured sentences. It is getting better, sure, but man is it frustrating. We have taught him on prayer, BOM, restoration, eternal families, plan of salvation and it is amazing to me that we can always tell when the spirit is there. This last lesson we taught I tried to make more personal to his family and their needs and there was this part that the spirit was just so strong and ahhh... those moments are the only reason I can get through teaching in Cebuano. I love love love reading the BOM in Cebuano with my English copy. Sure it takes me 10 minutes to get through a verse... but the spirit is there and it is really exciting!
Ok.. yea lots and lots of food. I do find it ironic that they tell you to eat healthy and balanced meals and then feed you huge meals with a ton of fat and grease lol But they are good. I was pretty bad at first, but I am getting better. No juice. I always have a salad and a bowl of fruit. I am taking less desserts and started running. I actually made up a work out on Tuesday and I am still sore today. Gym time is terrible. I played volleyball at first but I could not take it.. no diving, no keeping score, no competition and the girls run from the ball any way sooo... I decided to run instead. But then one of the sisters came up to me and asked I would come back and play soo... I did and I tried to teach some of them the concept of bump,. set,, spike.. yea we will see how that goes with time.
I did see Scott twice so that was fun. and I saw Blake Jensen, He is going to Germany. I have seen a number of friends from BYU, so that has been fun too!
Sleep: yea I do not really sleep. I normally lie in bed for a few hours and then fall asleep and get up 5 or 6 times in the night but last night was better so that is nice!!
Sunday was really cool. It was not as relaxed as I was hoping because of the bajillion meetings and 7:30 AM sacrament lol but that is ok. I like that our president has us all prepare talks every week and then after the sacrament he just randomly chooses three people to give their talks. I really like that because we can study for them during part of our personal study and it has really been enjoyable. During R.S the Genearl R.S president came and spoke with us, there were 1258 sisters there. Most of the talks on Sunday were just "You can do it!" Which was very needed for the sisters in my district, they were homesick pretty bad. One even threw up. But they were so uplifting and ... hahah its kind of a joke in the MTC. They say "just make it to Sunday!" Because its less drill and kill every second. Devotional was really exciting President Stephen Allen spoke to us and compared our trials of homesickness and wanting to go home with the words in Mosiah about the sons of Mosiah and it was really powerful.
We got to do service of cleaning the bathrooms on tuesday morning at 6 AM and you know me... when I clean its my time. I sing or I just think. well... not my companion. 6 AM and she just chatted and chatted and chatted away. Lol it was ridiculous! She was not picking up any of my hints... I talked to her about it in companionship study but man... that was an eye opener for me. I have zones! Sister Isaacson and I are doing awesome though! From the first day we were laughing and just having a really good time together. I talked to her about how I wanted her to be open with me and tell me what she was thinking and since then she has had NO problem talking... at all. Sometimes I have to pull her back down to earth during companionship study and help keep our focus.
So my teachers both served in my mission less than a year ago and they said... yes you should carry tissue with you when you walk (lack of TP) and to put everything in bags because of the rain. They said that there are a lot of problems there that you dont find in many other places. One of which they said was kind of a more frequent problem then should be is Bishops stealing tithing. People get offended really easily (not uncommon), but they said the people are so nice- they just dont keep their commitments very often. My teacher said that they love love white skin and so the native sisters put on bleach lotion and so do the foreign sisters ..so I will still be super white when I come back. Also my teacher put on 15 pds! Oh my goodness! quite different than what I was told huh... lol oh life!
Any way my time if up in 2 minutes so I just wanted to tell you all how much I love you. I have been so blessed. I was worried that my emotions would just go crazy, but I can feel the Lord protecting me and uplifting me. My tears for you have been tears of gratitude and love. I know I am supposed to be here and I know I will have you all forever! I miss you and pray for you daily! Keep me posted!! I love love love you all so much!!
Oh DAD HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope you had a fantastic day!! I am sorry I was not allowed to write you yet... but keep your eyes peeled.
Sister Sarah Ralph