Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Week 1 November 24, 2015 First email from the MTC

Bonjour family! It was a great joy to read all your emails and to get your packages and whatnot! I've missed you guys. The Dear Elder messages have been awesome. I got a package full of goodies and I'm very thankful! You guys did wonderful. My companion and the other elders are thankful too. I only get an hour to email so I'll try and fit it all into one.

First: I'll answer your questions the best I can! Right after you dropped me off I followed that nice elder who's learning Mandarin who picked me up at the curb. We went through a building and got our missionary ID cards-- the ones that they add six dollars on every week. You use them to get into buildings. There was no grand meeting or orientation. We went from building to building collecting books and papers with schedules and information like that. Then I was dropped off at the class room. I sat next to my newly-met companion and the teacher Frere (Brother) Kellet entered and spoke only in French for three hours. They were not gentle introducing us in the language at all! I do not recall that much from high school it turns out! Then after that mentally-sapping excursion we went off and did some other stuff.
And he's off...

My companion Elder Iacopucci is from New Hampshire.He sometimes says that things are wicked and tapped maple syrup by hand back in the day. It's pronounced like a Y. We get along great and have senses of humor that overlap plenty! He's got an awesome testimony, a heart in the right place, and is the district leader. Which makes me vice-district leader.

Elder Hacker and Elder Iacopucci in front of the Provo Temple

Our room has just the four elders. Elder Taylor of California is the tanner one in the picture attached. That's all four of us on the first day. Elder Dunoscovic (It's a Croatian last name) is from Utah and he's the other with lighter hair. He has a mad case of the giggles. Elder Taylor references a lot of movies. I'll tell you more about them as time goes on. The shower pressure leaves something to be desired. They have separated stalls and it's warm enough and is never too crowded.
The four roommates on their first day

My district is all going to Paris France save my companion who's off to Eastern Canada. We have the four Elders and six sisters. They are all very nice and it's a hardworking district with a great spirit! I feel close to them already!
The district minus one elder and one sister.  
The whole district
The sisters in the district

6:30 in the morning we woefully roll out of bed and go shower. I descend the ladder since I live in the top bunk. Shower and get all gussied up for the day. Pray. Go to Breakfast from 7-7:30. The we go teach an"investigator" all in French. That lasts anywhere from like two seconds to like 30 minutes. Then we go to class and study for an hour. Companion study for an hour. Language study for an hour. Then we have Lunch at 11:30. Then we have another 4 hour class room session: sometimes with a teacher and sometimes by ourselves. Then dinner at 4:30. After which we have another 3 hour classroom session. Then we have gym time for a bit. And then we go back to the residency hall for sleeping. The first two days were all mixed up and different.
Evening time in the room

A tiny football in flight
On Monday evenings after all is said and done the most beautiful thing happens. All the elders gather up their ties. And go out into the halls. And a makeshift tie bazaar opens up. With trading, and bickering, and the occasional yelling in a foreign language (It's awesome that general small talk covers so many languages. This is by far the most ethnically and linguistically diverse place I've ever been in and I love that. There's a friendly elder from Aruba who pronounces my name in a way that never fails to make me smile. I can't pronounce half of anyone's last names here either.) This tie bazaar is one of my favorite things. Such a beautiful sight and sound.

The people here are very friendly. There's a whole new breed of small talk I've discovered: "What mission are you going to? Do you understand the language as little as I do? Good luck? The hashbrowns are so bad, right?"... stuff like that. The spirit here is something else. Even the cafeteria seems to be filled with the spirit. Studying the scriptures and discussing things and praying have all taken on new meaning while I've been here. It's taxing and difficult but awesome.

Not to say things have been all good. I've been discouraged and fearful and confused at times. But with help from the Lord I've pulled through so far.

I joined MTC choir too.

I can pray in french now.
It's Sweater Monday!

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