Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week 6: Enjoy to the End (April 11, 2016)

I cannot believe all that has happened at the MTC. Every week has been incredible.
There was temple dedication, Easter, General Conference, the topping ceremony where I got to sign my name on a beam and it is now on top of 20M which will be completed in 2017, it was seriously the best 6 weeks to be here, without a doubt.
Since there's always so much to write, I'm going to tell some of the funnier or more interesting things that have happened in the MTC.

-This week for service we once again cleaned the banos (bathrooms), no surprise there. We did the math (well, Hna Holmes did because she's a math genius) and we've cleaned 112 toilets, 88 sinks and too many urinals. But this last week we decided that we would at least make it enjoyable and so sang Disney songs the whole time. The bathrooms really have some great acoustics. After one of our performances of Elsa's song the main one, I don't remember what it's called the one on the mountain you know, and we leave the bathroom and a cute little older lady dijo (said), "That was a fantastic performance!"

-Down the hall in my residence there are a bunch of islanders. I was learning how to juggle, as I said and one of them from Kitibus was laughing at my somewhat pathetic attempt. Long story short, we ended up talking late into the night about her life back home while she taught me how to juggle. Now every night she comes down the hall and hugs me before leaving and saying "I love you!" in her language and then I say it back in Spanish. It's really been a neat experience to see how everyone is so different and how all of the people on this earth are children of God. She has an incredibly sweet soul and I can see how being here in such a different culture has been really difficult. But she will have such an amazing time and will bless so many people in Fiji.

-Today in class we were discussing different scenarios with less-actives and we were talking about a returned missionary who didn't think that she was doing enough. Being on a mission, there is a completely different spirit. We were talking about enduring to the end and all throughout the scriptures we are promised that when we endure and follow Christ we will receive exaltation. So I'm a little tired and speaking some mad Spanglish as I speak. This is kind of how it went. "Me encanta las escrituras porque (I love the scriptures because) there are so many that have promesas para nosotros cuando nosotros perseveremos hasta al fin (promises for us when we persevere to the end). Like, you're enduring? Cool beans, celestial kingdom for you!" Mi mente es roto (my mind is broken).

-This was a little while ago but here's another example of my Spanish mishaps. (I am so sorry if I have already told this story but here it is again) We were talking about ir+a+infinitive in class and it had been a long day. I was kind of dead tired. Which is always a good combo, spanish and tiredness. My teacher finishes explaining what we are doing and then asks me to do something. I have to really focus to understand and I was not at that moment and so, using the ir+a+infinitive, I told him "Voy a dormir" which means "I am going to go to sleep." Turns out he asked me to explain to the class in Spanish what we were doing, basically to repeat the instructions. So if you ever feel bad about yourself, just remember, when my teacher asked me to instruct the class, I told him I was going to sleep. It's a progress (process).

-The word "awkward" doesn't exist in Spanish which is honestly a little bit unfortunate. The closest thing is "incomodo" which means uncomfortable. Our TRC investigador (investigator) Nicolas is honestly one of the best but we're really bad at transitioning from small talk to lesson. We laughed rather awkwardly and I said rather quietly in ingles, "I'm so sorry I am so awkward." He died laughing because he understands a little bit of ingles and I guess he caught that. He assured me I wasn't THAT awkward as he was laughing and Hna Holmes just shook her head.

-There are so many awesome people here from all over the world! My companera (companion) is a fantastic pianist and so a lot of the times people will ask her to accompany for them. One elder was Elder Parkinson. He was one of the most genuine people I have ever met and he's headed to Germany. His companion for the day was the very first Turkish born missionary in the entire history of the missionary work. While they were practicing I was talking to him and he speaks three different languages, English, Turkish and is learning German. He was so awesome! And he is the very first, talk about representing his family, his country. I was honored to meet him honestly. There is another Turkish missionary coming into the MTC in the next couple of weeks. I love all of the different people I get to meet here!

-We learned present and past subjunctive this week and I learned that I have been speaking Spanish pretty much incorrectly from day one. Apparently it is totally possible to communicate without it, as I have seen but it is so much easier and much clearer to be understood when it is used. It actually made me really excited because I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed with how much Spanish I didn't know. Turns out, as soon as I learned that particular grammatica, I understand so much more and it's only the occasional (okay, many) words in between that I'm less familiar with. I am so excited to KNOW this language. I love it so very much, and it's the coolest thing to be able to express myself in two different languages now. I can't believe I only ever did in one before, Spanish has become such a part of my every day life.

-We finished teaching Nicolas which was incredibly sad, but we did get to do TRC Skype. We taught two different members, one lives in Guatemala and the other one lives in Argentina. It was seriously one of the coolest things. Our second lesson was on the difference between believing and knowing. There are lots of things that we know, anywhere from science to knowledge about different religions. But the difference is that believing is ACCEPTING it as truth. It was a really fantastic lesson. Both times I was honestly terrified. These are native speakers in different countries no less, how am I supposed to be able to understand and teach in a language I am still trying to learn? But both times I was surprised at how much I was able to understand and communicate. Another blessing and testament of the don de lenguas (the gift of tongues).

-Last thing. We had in-field orientation and it was actually amazing. They did a skit toward the end of it and I volunteered to be a part of it. I was in a ward council (a meeting with the missionaries, bishop, relief society president, primary president, young men and young  women presidents) and I was the primary president. During the second meeting, they introduced me and I jumped up and said this silly line and gave the bishop a gold star for being so very reverent. (you can take this out if you want, i guess it's like once I was a beehive status). Anyway, it was a lot of fun and we met an Australian elder who was in our group. They're whole district is from new Zealand or Australia and their accents are the coolest thing. They're learning cebuano which is an offshoot of spanish. Again, the people I have met here are all incredibly amazing and we all get to serve in the neatest places. Fiji, Texas, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, Washington, Minnesota. They're all different countries to us and it's going to be such an amazing experience, I can't wait!

That's all for now, I'll try to send pictures and of course there will be many more experiences that I will remember over time or have in the future that I will try to add in. Also, I want to bear my testimony of the scriptures. They are the word of God, both the Book of Mormon and the Bible, as well as the other standard works. Every question you may have, there is an answer in them. I love them and am so grateful that God loves us so very much as to give us the very way to get back to Him. They testify of Christ, they teach of Christ and they promise us blessings that we cannot possibly imagine if we follow the Savior's example and follow His commandments. There is much we have to sacrifice, we have to sacrifice our impurities and imperfections. But it is so so so very worth it. He wants to bless us, He wants to give us everything. And there are so many hard things but it will all be worth it.

My relief society lesson was on Enduring to the End. But I really hope that we all Enjoy to the End. As cheesy as that sounds, who doesn't want to be happy in this life? I love the definition:

"Endure to the End: To remain true to the commandments of God DESPITE temptations, opposition, and adversity throughout life."

In my lesson I modified it just a little bit:

"Enjoy to the End: to remain true to the commandments of God and to endure temptations PATIENTLY, opposition FAITHFULLY, and adversity CONSISTENTLY throughout life."

Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

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