I'm going to apologize now for some Spanglish that may occur, I spend 9 hours a day in a classroom speaking Spanish. So.
I can't believe it has barely even been a week!! When I first arrived at the MTC I got my badge and then a sister host missionary took me through some other booths before taking me t o17M which is the usual sisters dorm. Except it turns out that I'm actually in 3M, a much older dorm that is maybe 20% full. But I can't really complain because everyone in it is Spanish speaking and since there aren't many of us, the showers aren't ever full! Because we were a little bit mixed up, I didn't actually go to my dorm, I went straight to clase (class) where, guess what, Hermano Mecham speaks zero English to us. And apparently, they stuck me in the intermediate clase, which I'm now grateful for but those first couple of days were so hard! Amazing, I understood more than I thought I would after such a large gap between highschool Spanish and now. I was originally in a trio con Hermana Holmes and Hermana Briscoe, pero (but) that night Hermana Briscoe was put with Hma Rosenlund and she moved to our room. After clase, they had an orientation and one of the Brothers talked to us about the Nazarites, people in the Old Testament who set apart a period of time to serve God. Later, we had the oportunidad (opportunity) to sit in with tres investigadores (three investigators) and work with them. It was an amazing learning experience, because they were all so different and each person is a puzzle. You have to understand their very being, their nature, what they care about, what they want most and love them before you can say what they need to hear. You have to love them, or you're just another person telling them how they can change their life.
Day 2, Thursday: Hermana Holmes and I were feeling ambitious that first morning at the MTC and decided to do yoga at 6 am. We haven't actually gone back.. Then in clase, we met an investigator and prepared to teach him. At the beginning, it was almost imposible porque (impossible because) I know the gospel so well in ingles (english), I know what to say, what to do, how to flow and change according to his needs and we have to do it in Spanish! We basically spend our entire day in la clase and are speaking or learning Spanish mixed with the Gospel 9 HOURS a day. Part of which are three hours dedicated to personal, companion, and idioma (language) study. It's literally all we do. And though it's exhausting, it is so incredible to see how much I have improved in only two days.
Day 3, Friday: This was our first lesson con Pablo at 18:15. We spent all day preparing to teach him, planning our leccion (lesson) in english before translating it the best we could into Spanish. Although we had put all of this time into trying to understand him, his needs, and then Spanish, we forgot one key element. We were not Pablo. When we first began, we were a little bit shocked at the idea of a personality we hadn't been able to come up with. He was very polite but very indifferent to the idea that God existed. We stumbled a bit, but we managed to get most of our very scripted lesson taught and at the end he was more open than when we began. If you had told me last Tuesday that by Friday, I could more or less be teaching a lesson in Spanish, I would not have believed you. In fact, I probably would have laughed and then run away. But we did. It was honestly a miracle.
Day 4, Saturday: Saturday's are un poco diferente (a little bit different). Our gym time was pushed back to after breakfast but Hermana Holmes y yo (I) are so strong! And by that, I mean we're super weak and almost died. I am still so sore. We taught Pablo again, and another investigador (investigator) named Reymundo. I really do love Spanish but it was really really hard to say what I wanted to all the time. We planned and planned, but the lessons never really go the way we want them to. In english, it really wouldn't have been a problem. But again, Spanish is un poco diferente. But we learned something really valuable. After teaching Pablo, I was a little bit frustrated that I couldn't get everything across, because I've literally been relearning Spanish for two days. Imagine that. But when we went to teach Reymundo, we had a lesson planned and ended up talking about something completely different - and it went great. Somehow, we were able to teach him on a subject we had not prepared in a different language. It is so amazing to me how blessed we are to have el don de lenguas (the gift of tongues). It is such a huge blessing, because without help from the Spirit, I would be an incoherent mess. I did not make it successful. God did.
Sunday: I have never loved a Sunday so much. We had missionary conference, church, a walk to the templo (temple), devotional and then we watched an incredible talk called The Character of Christ. It completely made me take a look at who I am and how I can become better. It changed my entire perspective on life and being a missionary.
Monday: Everyone says that Monday tends to hit you like a bus. After Sunday, where you get to be taught in English all day, we were right back in the clase being blasted by Spanish. But it was the best day at the MTC so far. Usually we have class in the morning and study in the evening but it switched. We taught Pablo at 9:40 and decided to change our whole approach. We had been so focused on translating spanish and trying to get what we said across, we tended to interrupt each other and fumble when our plan got mixed up. So instead, we generally studied the Atonement in spanish, using scripture after scripture about why Christ is such a necessary part of our lives and I translated one analogy, rather than multiple. It was the best lesson we have had yet. He was so excited to hear about it, and because he really loves science, it was so helpful to have all of the scriptures as evidence of what we were teaching. It was amazing. I cannot believe that for the next 6 weeks mas o menos (give or take), my "job" is literally to learn about the gospel. How awesome is that?!!! Hermana Holmes y yo spent so much time sharing scriptures with each other, talking about how we can help Pablo and honestly learning so so much about the gospel by just talking to each other. I can't say it was the most productive day, but I was on a spiritual high. That night in class, spanish was easier, I was able to speak it and we found even more insight on how to teach Pablo on Wednesday. It was absolutely amazing, I am so blessed and so lucky to be here. The first week was so slow and a little bit hard, but even now, the days are flying by.
One of the things Hermana Holmes and I do is take a "We're missionaries!!" picture every dia (day). Sometimes I'll see elders walking down the hall and get all excited because hey look, missionaries!! before realizing, oh dude (oops I'm not supposed to use that word anymore) I AM A MISSIONARY. It's like, the best thing ever.
There is so so much to learn. I am so excited!!!
(I'm going to send some scriptures that I want added on the blogpost/mass email but I left my journal in my room and so need to get that..)
Love you guys!!!
Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission
Our districto minus Elder Simpson, although he is just as fabulous as we are.
left to right: Hma Briscoe, Hma Rosenlund, Hma Holmes, y yo.
One of our daily "We're missionaries!!!" pictures. Hermana Holmes left all of her books on the bench just outside of the camera's view and when we got back to the room she froze before crying, "My scriptures!!!" Are we missionaries yet? I think we are.
The wind isn't our friend, but the templo sure is.
Art: unfocused pictures that focus on what's importante.
My eyebrows might be missing but by tag isn't and that's what's important.