Tuesday, January 7, 2014

1st Week at the MTC! "Getting Settled"

From 12/24/13

Hola family & friends! Merry Christmas - I hope all of you are doing well.  I miss you all.

I'm currently sitting in my district's classroom writing on the computer here. There's so much to say I hope I can give you a general idea of what's gone on this week! :) Technically, I have 60 minutes for email today so I will try to write quick. Before I forget, I wanted to let you know that we are not allowed to make a Christmas phone call tomorrow, but we are given a chance to send an email tomorrow in addition to today's. So if you want to write an email again tonight, please do!! I would love to hear from you all! *wink wink*

OKAY. So much to say... Last Wednesday was my reporting date & it was such an incredible day. In the afternoon, just before one [my reporting time] Mom, Dad, Tiffany, Amy and I were able to say our goodbyes at the Provo Utah temple. That was so special! I loved saying goodbye but at the same time, to be honest, I think I was a little in denial/completely oblivious as to what was going on. haha. I was just really ready to go the MTC, without too much thought as to what was actually transpiring. And thinking about it now, that was probably a good thing! haha
We pulled up onto the curb of the MTC, where a huge line of Elders were there to assist missionaries with their luggage & to show them where to go. Two elders helped me with my luggage (WHICH IS RIDICULOUSLY HEAVY) and we were off.
Something that has been a great blessing to me here while at the MTC is that I feel so much peace and contentment, all the time. I was a little nervous about homesickness before heading to the MTC, but the Lord has really been kind to me. I haven't been anxious or worried about things back home. In my heart I just feel so much peace knowing that the Lord will take care of our family during this time apart. So basically, I'm doing really well & I know that feeling comes from the peace of the Spirit. 

Right away I went into the MTC offices to get my missionary name tag, complete with an orange dork dot and all!!! WOO!! I was so super excited!! I picked up a huge bag of missionary books and was led through the other side of the campus where I caught up with my missionary 'hosts'. They were the elders that helped me with my luggage and they loaded my stuff up onto a HUGE bus. I was like wait WUT are you doing with my bags and why are you telling me to get on that bus!?! haha. It turned out that I was assigned to the MTC West Campus & that all the elders and hermanas on that bus were headed to Spanish speaking missions!!! A campus all to ourselves. :)
We immediately all got along on the bus, there were about 70 elders and sisters on the bus I was on. And they made a few bus trips to pick all the missionaries up. The West Campus is ALL Spanish speaking. There are no other foreign languages that is studied here, so right away we got to our campus and everyone spoke 'gringo' Spanish to us and showed us our apartments. At this point I still didn't know who my companion was but I had another 'host' hermana that helped me get to my apartment. Literally we have our own apartment. Like a kitchen, our own bathroom & shower, each companionship has their own room. The works. Special west side campus privileges. haha.
There I met my companera Hermana "G". She is a BEAUTIFUL 19 year old sister from Paris.....Texas. Yes, Paris, Texas. haha. She has natural red hair and everyone here is so envious of her locks. She is the oldest of six in her family and is setting the example for her younger siblings about serving a mission & she is going to a different mission in Mexico.
Practically EVERYONE here is going to Mexico. No lie. A few elders are going to Argentina and a few others are serving stateside Spanish speaking but yeah.....mostly Mexico!! :) Our Zone is all advanced Spanish. LOLOLOLOL I have NO CLUE what I am doing here. haha My Spanish is so bad haha and everyone's first language is Spanish so they are fluent in both English and Spanish. Then there's me...and my gringa companion. (her Spanish is actually really really good) So yeah....back to forever alone.. :) It's coming along slowly but surely. We don't study Spanish in our class (epic fail) because we are the advanced class. SOOO we study the gospel in our class instead of studying the language. Pray for me. haha

Our roommates are in our district as well. They are Hermana O and Hermana C. We get along so well!!! We laugh and study together and have all kinds of amazing experiences together. I just love them so much!! So kind of an explanation, our classes everyday includes the members of our 'district'. So our district is one of the ONLY all sisters districts. So....my companion, Hermana G and I are District leaders...yup.... and there's a grand total of FOUR of us in the class.
Our main MTC teacher is Hermana Cd. WE LOVE HER TO BITS. She is so inspired and loving and yeah, just completely amazing. She served a mission about 3 years ago in Chile and her Spanish is so so impressive. We just met our other main instructor Hermano L. HE IS ALSO AMAZING! We just love him so much in a totally appropriate sister-missionary-way. haha.
A few districts combined make up a Zone or a Branch. We have a Branch Presidency that we also love so much because they are hardcore incredibly inspired men and their wives are just angels as well. Life is so good here and the Spirit is almost physically tangible because of the focus that the elders and sisters have here.
The first night at the MTC we met the MTC Presidency and our Branch Presidency. Hermana G was asked to play the piano in the Branch meeting and I led the music. We met a couple of nights afterward for a Zone/branch meeting and were interviewed during the meeting. After the interviews, a member of the presidency took my companion and me aside to talk with us for a minute. I started to panic a bit. haha. Well, he assigned my companion and me to be sister training leaders of our zone.
STL's are basically the Zone leaders over the Hermanas in our Zone. I felt like it was an incredible blessing because it has given us the opportunity to get to know the sisters in our Zone better. They are incredible beautiful wonderful sisters. I love them all so much. They have strong testimonies and are striving to be the best missionaries they can be. They inspire me to be better and happier.
I do struggle a great deal with teaching others in Spanish. We have 'progressing investigators' during our classroom time. My companion and I teach our lessons to our teachers who act as investigators of the church. It is truly humbling and really difficult. It's one thing to hold a meaningful conversation in Spanish and another to teach the gospel AND try to teach with the Spirit. It's a struggle big time. I have expressed my concerns with my leaders and they have all offered the same counsel, so I know that it's inspired. Stay focused on the needs of others, be obedient, study hard, do the best you can, and the Lord will make you an instrument in His hands to bring happiness to His children through the gospel.
Sorry this letter is super confusing and scatter brained but there's a bit to let you know what's going on :)

I am so happy being here! I can't even express all the things I am learning here and doing and loving!!! :)) I hope you all know how much I love you. Thank you for your friendship and support and the strength each of you have given me to come and serve a mission for the Lord. I know that God really is our Heavenly Father and that we are his children. He wants us to be happy today with our family and those we love in this life and forever. I know that there is a plan of happiness for each one of us. We can find peace and joy through having faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. He is the Master Physician and heal can heal our deepest pains and sorrows.  
One of my favorite scriptures about the Savior is in Alma chapter 7 verses 11 & 12 in the Book of Mormon. If you have a chance, take a moment to read those verses this Christmas and ponder on the life of Jesus Christ and His role as the Savior. But what that really means for you and me! Our Savior Jesus Christ came to take away all our sins, but also to make all that is unfair about this life right, to take away our burdens, sorrow, pains, insecurities, and suffering. He understands the challenges we go through personally, and I know that He invites us to come unto Him and find healing, peace, and happiness. 

I really do love you all. Take care of yourselves :) Enjoy your Christmases and remember the reason for the season. :)

All my love, :)

Hermana Fernelius

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