Hola family and friends!
I have officially survived my first week at the MTC! It has been great. Seriously, I have never felt the spirit so strong for such a long amount of time. It's like a whole different world out here, but a great one! So when I got dropped off, they took me in to get me my name tag (I HAVE A BADGE! :)) and dropped my stuff off at my room. Then I met my companion, went straight into classes and have been in classes and praying harder than I have in my whole entire life since then. My companion is Sister Hartzfeld from Oklahoma! She is super cute, favorite color is grey and loves sharks. We do most of our classes and teaching with our district which is kind of like your family out here. There are 12 of us total; 6 are going to Columbus, Ohio and the other 6 (including me) are going to Reno. There are two Elder companionships and 4 Sister companionships and half of the Elders and half of the Sisters are going to each place. It is amazing how fast you grow to love these people. There is something about feeling the spirit and praying together that just brings you together like nothing before. So it is going to be sad when we split up in our different areas! Another thing that I think is so cool about here is how many languages you hear! Everyone you pass greats you in the language they are studying and yesterday at breakfast some Elders came up to us and asked if they could bear their testimony to us in Figian! I didn't even know that was a language. But it was so cool because I had no idea what they were saying but you could definitely feel the Spirit so strong and testifying that what they were saying was true. And come to find out, they had only been here 3 days! Same as us! It's amazing what the Lord does to help further His work here on earth. Every second of our day here is planned out. I guess this week, they had over 700 missionaries arrive (when they usually have only about 200 this time of year) so everything is super scheduled to accommodate all the new missionaries. My day looks like this: wake up at 6:30, get ready and be to breakfast by 7:30, go to classroom instruction from 8-11; in classroom we study HOW to teach, not WHAT to teach and focus on learning the "language of the Spirit" and we have 'investigators" that we teach. Then we have Zone teaching for an hour where we mix with other districts and role play; sometime act out the part of the investigator and sometimes the part of the missionaries. It is amazing to me how even though these aren't real people we are teaching (we get those next week) I still have received revelation for these people! It was weird and kind of awkward at first to pray to find the needs of a person that isn't even 'real' but the Lord answers our prayers and it is such a great learning experience! I don't think I have ever had prayers answered so fast or so clear as I have hear. It has been very humbling and I can feel my relationship with God grow exponentially even though I have only been here 4 days! After zone teaching we have lunch from about 12-1:45 (they have outside vendors that we grab a pizza or sandwich from and then eat outside)then we get personal study time and doctrinal study time. Those are geared toward studying what you need to study for your investigators so that when you are in your lesson, you can know what to say and turn it over to the Lord. Then we have gym time! It is nice to get out and run around and not be in the books (however amazing those books are). Then we teach some more lessons and do more role playing and then at 5:10 we have dinner. It is so early! It has been hard to get used to but they have us eating so early so that other people can come in later and eat their dinner. After dinner we have more class time till 9:00. I love class time. We have some amazing teachers that really help us understand. The lessons are much more geared toward feeling the spirit and how to prepare and how to see people how the Lord sees them. It is much different than I expected! After class time, we have companionship planning session where we talk about what we should study the next day, how our investigators are progressing, things we can work on better as a companionship and things like that. Then we finally get to go home! We live in a dorm- type setting so 6 girls in a room and then there is a community bathroom. There are only 6 showers for a floor so it gets kind of pack but it still amazes me how smoothly thing run even though there are TONS of people here! We then get ready for bed, write in our journals (as much as we can) and then lights out by 10:30. I never thought that I would be so exhausted by 10:30 but I am! I have just resigned myself to the fact that I am going to be sleep deprived for the next 18 months. It a great mental work out here but so amazing at the same time. Later today, we get to go to the Provo temple, so I am super excited for that! Also, there are only certain computers here that have the ability to download pictures and those were full so I will get pictures to you next week of my district and companion! Also, word of advice to those preparing to serve missions, break the habit of saying 'guys'! That is the hardest thing for me to do! But we are supposed to address each other as Elder and Sister (which is so cool by the way, love it!) just because we do represent the Lord and we aren't 'guys' or 'dudes'. So that has gotten some taking used to. Sorry this is kind of scattered, my brain has a lot going on in it right now but if you have any questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer them!
Well, my time is up but I love you all and I will write you next week! :)
Love, Sister Rae