Every 3-ish years new mission presidents replace about half of the old ones (at least that's what someone told me) and they have a seminar at the MTC where they have lessons and receive training. This past week over 150 mission presidents were here PLUS all of the 12 apostles (at different times). My kaupod and I got to see Elder Bednar and Elder Oaks from a distance and even though we never got to meet with any of them, it was really cool knowing they were just one building over. Spirit on campus was crazy strong and makes me even more excited to teach the people in the Philippines about the restored gospel! Also, the Prince of Tonga was here this morning for a tour of the MTC, so that's pretty cool. Who knew there were princes in Tonga/that they were Mormon and would want to come visit the MTC? Haven't seen him yet, but I'll be on the lookout for the rest of the day.
CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK
So challenge of this past week is that I realized that I am lazy as heck. All of our teachers keep encouraging us to SYL (Speak Your Language) as much as we can inside and outside of our class so that we can better learn vocabulary and grammar, you're basically supposed to use whatever you can and then just fill in the gaps with English but IT IS SO HARD. I have so much to say and I want to say it fast and it is so frustrating when I have to think about every single word that I say and then listen really hard for the response. Our teacher encouraged Sister Fawcett and I to pick one meal a day to speak only Ilonggo without ANY English to work on our speaking... We started this morning with breakfast and it was the worst breakfast of my life. Haha we literally just sat there in silence and then occasionally would say "maayo" (good) or "indi maayo" (not good) pointing at different foods. The goal is to learn more words so that we can do a better job tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes... I have a really bad habit of whenever I get annoyed and can't think of what to say in Ilonggo, I just say it really fast and quietly in English and pretend it didn't happen and then switch back to Ilonggo...My teachers don't like that... I'm trying to be better though:)
CULTURE ON CULTURE ON CULTURE
This is lowkey the most culture I've experience in my life and I LOVE IT. In our dorm room we speak a weird mixture of English, Ilonggo, Cebuano, Tagalog, and Kirabati. Sister Teririke is from Kirabati AND IS MY FAVORITE PERSON EVER. In any free time we can find she is teaching me a sweet song in Kirabati that has something to do with love but she can't translate it to English so I have no idea what I'm singing. Haha she wrote it down for me and whenever we practice she goes "Wow! You have the gift of tongues!" which is hilarious because first off I'm literally reading off of a piece of paper and butchering every word, and second she came to Provo only speaking Kirabati 4 weeks ago and had to learn Cebuano and English AT THE SAME TIME because the Cebuano teachers only know English and Cebuano and now she can speak both and it is incredible and she inspires me so much. Last night she was thanking me and Sister Fawcett for learning her song because she said us learning Kirabati was an encouragement to her to learn Cebuano and English. WHAT THE HECK. I am so humbled by her willingness to learn and serve and I really don't think she has any idea how seriously amazing she is (even though I try to tell her everyday.) On top of that we have lots of funny moments when we miscommunicate things or try to explain what things mean in a different language. Lots and lots of fun.
We got to clean the temple this morning which was SO FUN. The elders ripped up carpet for 3 hours and the sisters and I scrubbed walls and baseboards and bathrooms for the same amount of time. One of the ladies who was telling us what to do was like "if it looks like gold, it is. don't mess it up with chemicals" So i avoided any thing that looked shiny because I didn't want to be that person. Ummmm what else... I've gotten really good at spike ball and played it almost every morning last week. (also to clarify when I say really good, I mean kind of mediocre). Haha to keep things interesting we up the stakes and gamble for seat position//I really wanted to move seats and my District Leader wouldn't trade with me so I played him and his companion for the seat... We lost like 3 times so that was cool. Still chilling in the same seat. Good news is I found a new partner- Sister Matautia is from Samoa (but lived the last few years in Australia) and IS SO GOOD at spikeball, so I'm ready to wreck some people this week. (Sister Matautia is also the Sister Training Leader and is maybe the nicest, most caring person that I have ever met, lots of good qualities besides being good at spikeball).
Anyways, sorry this was long. Just know that I'm having so much fun and learning so much. I love my district and zone with all of my heart and I'm so sad that the Cebuano kids are flying out to the Philippines next week. This email is mostly just a lot of fun facts about my life, but in all seriousness my testimony has grown so much since I've been here and I feel so much closer to my Savior and get more excited each and every day for the opportunity that I have to serve the people of the Philippines in just 4 more weeks! So so nervous to have to actually speak the language in real life, but also beyond excited. Love all of you, let me know how you're doing! Thanks so much for the letters, emails, and dearelders. They're my favorite part of the day! (besides all of the learning, ofcourse) LOVE YOU!!!
2005 N 900 E Unit 36
Provo UT 84602
^use that for dearelder