January 29, 2015
(still from the Madrid MTC)
Hey hey! I don´t have much time! When I opened my inbox and saw so many emails I almost died of happiness. 10 days is too long to go without hearing from your loved ones. I´ll try to read everything and answer people after I write this but no promises! Sorry. I just have seriously no time.
So I guess you guys probably want me to tell you about the MTC. It feels weird to tell you guys about all the basic stuff because it feels like I´ve been here for a while. This MTC, as you know, is super small in terms of people. What I didn´t know was that it would be super small in terms of square footage. We´re in one building. 4th floor is classrooms, 5th floor is dorms, 6th floor is where we eat. That´s it. This is where I learn.
My companion is Elder Rivas. He´s a half-Taiwanese guy from El Salvador who´s been living for the last few years in Belgium. First language Spanish, second language French, third language English. He´s 25 and just returned from inactivity a year ago. I think it´s super cool that he still decided to serve. Super faithful guy. Very energetic.
Almost everyone here is in the 6-week Spanish program. We 2-week French speakers are the smallest district. It´s just me, E. Rivas, and Sister Yaka Yake, who was born in Congo but grew up in Paris. She only speaks French, which is good because it´s forcing me to improve mine. She´s also really strong in the gospel, even though she´s the only one in her family who´s active. The languages taught here right now are French, Spanish and Russian. Every time we sing hymns it´s just super great because there are three different languages going on. All the missionaries here are really great. Kinda sad I only get two weeks to get to know them.
Madrid is beautiful. I don´t see a lot of it, but we do go outside every day for sports, on P-days (my first of which is today) for sight-seeing, and on Saturdays to proselyte in the park. I´ll tell you about that experience soon. Best of all, we get the best view ever of the Madrid Temple, which is so so beautiful. Every day at dinnertime the sun is setting behind it. I´ll have to upload some pictures soon. I just really have no time right now. 10 days´ worth of experiences in 45 minutes? Plus answering everyone else? Impossible.
I´m learning so much here. Not about doctrine or anything, just mostly about how to teach people and how to invite the Spirit into our lives and into the lessons. I´m also learning a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and how I can use my strengths to help investigators and how I can improve on my weaknesses.
A normal day is like this: wake up, shower, eat, plan, study, classes, teach. Lunch, classes, teach, do sports. Dinner, classes, teach, bed. Yes, we´re a week in and we´re already teaching three fake investigators once each per day. We need to tailor our teaching to their needs and help them feel the Spirit. We´re learning a lot from that. Of course, our fake investigators are also our teachers. One of them, as you guys probably know by now, is Soeur Bicchierri, one of Danielle´s companions from her mission. She´s very enthusiastic and says to say hi to you guys and that she loves you. Something else cool is that all of my teachers are 24 or younger and they all speak at least four languages fluently. Usually five. What am I even doing with my life to just know two?
Saturday. Super scary. Especially because I know about 2 phrases in Spanish. Luckily, my companion for that experience, E. Jenkins, was very enthusiastic and not too terrible at Spanish (at least, not for only having learned it for 4 days). So as soon as you get on the metro to the park, it´s go time. The first person we talked to on the metro, miracle of miracles, spoke English! Super good for us to get our confidence up. We got to share in the gospel in words we knew how to use! We gave her a Book of Mormon but didn´t manage to ask for her contact info before she got off. We should have asked sooner. But oh well! We planted a seed, and maybe something will grow from it. But that´s not the exciting part of the day. So we´re walking and walking in this HUGE and beautiful park, and since we stayed on the metro for two extra stops to keep talking with this lady and then had to come back, everyone we talked to had already been talked to by the missionaries who got there before us. Then! I talked to this guy sitting on a bench who for some reason hadn´t been approached by anyone yet. And guess what! HE SPOKE FRENCH! E. Jenkins just stood there while I talked with this guy about the gospel and the Book of Mormon and our Savior and it was great. He was super receptive and so prepared. He said half of my words for me. “I believe it´s important to find and read the words of God,” etc. So cool. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he gave us his contact info to meet with the missionaries in Madrid!! (It won´t be a problem because he speaks Spanish too.) Best feeling.
So sorry I couldn´t answer many people today! I have so many more things to tell you about but that´ll have to happen next week. Or never, honestly, because next week I´ll be telling you about life out in the field! I´m praying for you guys and I know you´re praying for me too. This is a great thing! This is real! God loves us! And I love you guys.