Boy, the MTC is definitely an experience! We pulled up about 15 minutes before my scheduled drop-off time, so I thought we were going to have to wait a while to get dropped off. But as we passed through the gate, they told us we had 2.5 minutes to say our goodbyes! So the final goodbye was a little crazier than expected. But as I was walking away down the sidewalk with my host, I just felt pumped up to be at the MTC. We were sent through a bunch of rooms and received our badges and other information. My host then directed me to my room to drop off my luggage, which is on the third floor of building 12M. That probably means nothing to you, but whatevs. As we were walking to my classroom after that, there were tons of missionaries outside, and I ran into none other than Elder Austin Gorton! I sprinted to him and gave him a nice big hug! We then went to my classroom, which is on the fifth floor of building 18M. About halfway up the stairs, I realized I was going to be in real treat having to walk up to the fifth floor like five times a day. When we got to my room, I was the only one from my district there, so I sat and talked to our teacher for a while. The rest trickled in and I met my companion, Elder Colter May. I will talk more about him and my district later. For about an hour we just sat around and started filling out our daily planners with our schedule and then went to a meeting with all the new missionaries and the temple presidency. That lasted about an hour and then we went off to dinner. After dinner, the day got rough. The enthusiasm and adrenaline died off and everyone was feeling down and a little worried. Talking to other missionaries that have been here longer, they all say that the first day is super rough but only gets better, which I am experiencing myself! Each day gets better and better!
Alrighty, back to my companion and district. My companion is from Bozeman and was actually in the home ward of our mission president in Lubbock. He is going to Lubbock along with me. We have eight of us in our district, with 3 of us going to Lubbock and the other five going to Baton Rouge. At first, no one was talking at all.... except me of course. I thought I was going to be in for a long two weeks! But by yesterday they started showing their personalities more and it has been great fun. My companion and I get along real well. He is one of the more outgoing ones in the district so I can be more of myself with him. He ran cross country and track in high school, so we are going to put in some work here at the MTC and whip ourselves into shape! He is going to try to walk on at Weber St. when he gets home so I will be able to keep in touch with him later on down the road. I really think that they put work into giving us companions. Everyone is paired with someone that is somewhat similar to them. And that goes for the entire MTC. You hardly ever see kids that look like they are opposites. In fact, there are these two missionaries that literally look exactly alike, same stylish haircut and anything! I see them everywhere! I can't help but laugh every time!
There are six of us in our room, and the other two Elders in our district are in the room next door. The dorms are sort of interesting. I see some places that are total parties and just crazy, but then there are other places that are much more under control. Our area is much more under control. Our Zone Leaders, who are in the room next door, say that our Zone has always practices obedience. They make sure that at when its supposed to be quiet time, that its quiet. And then , lights out. We haven't had the lights out before about yet because we are usually finishing writing in our journals and such, but we are working on it. But even after we get our lights out, you can hear voices and yells and banging around for a long time! Last night there had to have been noise until at least 11, which is frustrating to hear because you want them to be obedient and you are happy you are, but at the same time you'd like to be a part of the fun!
I am learning a lot! We have really worked on learning to look at our investigators as God would and focus on what God needs them to hear. It sounds simple but is actually really quite tricky. One thing that is good is that both my companion and I are able to think a little deeper than most of the others and have a little better understanding on that part. I think that really helps us be able to look into the investigators needs. We haven't done any teaching yet. We have spent most of yesterday and today working on getting a plan ready for teaching our investigators, which we will start tomorrow. We have two investigators we will teach and will teach one of them five times and one of them only two times over the next week and a half. I am confident in our ability to teach them. And yes, they are fake investigators, so that takes some pressure off. One thing they are really pushing on us too is our purpose as a missionary, which is to invite others to come unto Christ through faith in Jesus Christ, repentence, baptism, and enduring to the end. It is interesting because each teacher or leader we have teaches it a little differently and makes us look at it at a different angle. So that's been interesting to see the different views on it.
Abby, this will be really funny for you, but there is an Asian kid in our district that reminds me a lot of Anthony! At one point he said that he knows that he is supposed to serve in the Baton Rouge mission because he just really loves black people! And he is on the top bunk and doesn't have a ladder, and it is so funny when he climbs up there because he is so short! Last night he ate like half a jar of cheese dip, and then realized he really shouldn't have done that because he is lactose intolerant! He has said some other hilarious stuff, but I don't want to bore you. What a guy. Another kid in my district is like a bookstore master. He knows everything about that freakin' place. He knows everything they have behind the counter that you have to specifically ask for to buy and everything they sell off the shelf and everything in between. In two days he spent almost $30 bucks at that place, and everything is super cheep there so that is quite the accomplishment. Speaking of cheap stuff at the bookstore, they have the exact same shoulder back that I have, and they have it for $58. If you remember, I spent over $100 on mine! Freakin' rip off.
One last thing, I have seen Elder Coleman Merrill, my friend from track camp friend from Lubbock, two or three times now. Today he told my me that when we fly into Lubbock not to get discouraged because it is just awfully ugly! So that was a nice pick-me-up.... And one last thing about A-Gor, he is getting chunky. He says he's gained 10 pounds but I don't think he's weighed himself in a while. He is going to get huge in Italy!
Well that's all for this week! I have P-Day on Friday so I will have one more here at the MTC before I leave!
I will hopefully send some pics in a separate email...
LOL (lots of love),