1. What was going through your mind as you walked away?
While walking away from the car, I was trying not to think about the significance of saying goodbye, but I was also aware that I was finally where I needed to be. It was a crazy kind of good. The sister who was my host was so sweet (just like everyone else). Everyone at the MTC is so kind and loving!!!! I am most definitely in good hands.
2. What happened first as you entered the MTC?
They first give you your tag, help you get your books, put your things in your room, and take you to class. I then met my companion in class.
3. Who is your companion? Where is she from?
My companion is awesome!!! Her name is Sister Rowley, and she's from Santaquin (the famous Rowley farms). She grew up working on the farms with her family, and loved it. She has the coolest hair, and maybe I'll get a perm just like it someday. We work together super well, even though our personalities are quite different, haha.
4. How does it feel to wear a name tag? How does it feel to not be called Makayla? Do they call you sister or a Portuguese name?
Wearing the name tag is great! I love being called sister (and sisters). However, after learning people's names once, I sometimes almost mess up and call them by their first names (it is a slight adjustment). Our name tags say sister ... and The Church of ... is the only part in Portuguese. I guess we will won't be called Irma in Brazil because they would otherwise mix us up with the nuns or something.
5. How did you sleep the first night?
I most definitely don't have a problem sleeping, haha (tiredness overpowers comfort).
6. Did you unpack all? How is your room?
There is one other companionship in our room (and one other empty bunk bed). Basically the rooms are like a dorm. Also, the drinking fountain, stairs, bathroom, and ironing board are right outside our door! #score.
7. What is your schedule like so far?
I actually really like being on a schedule like this. We basically spend all day in this cramped little classroom, but no complaints (although I do worry about my legs shriving up by the time I get to Brazil and need to walk around a lot). There are 8 sisters in our district and 2 elders. Our district is awesome! Our teacher is Irma Bennion, and even though she never talks to us in English, I feel like she is a mom away from home. I also love our branch presidency and their wives, and our sister training leaders for the zone. All of these people (and more) are so caring. The sisters are always giving hugs and checking in on us. Anyway, we usually learn and study in 3 hour chunks. On Friday we taught our first "investigator" in Portuguese, and will have taught 3 20 minute lessons by tonight. Even though he is an employee, I found that it is so important to love him like a true investigator. It is the only way to acquire the spiritual help needed to get over the language barrier. Exercise and meal time is golden (although half the time we are scheduled to exercise right after dinner which is tricky).
8. How much Portuguese are you being taught a day?
They haven't actually taught us grammar yet, so I'm sure we say things like, "Joseph Smith to translate the Book of Mormon." Yet, Alexandre is an easy investigator and doesn't ask many tricky questions. So far we have been taught tasks such as how to pray, introduce ourselves, bear our testimonies, and invite. It is a work in progress, and we have many many resource books for learning and translating. We usually spend 3 hours learning from Irma Bennion, and then spend an hour on our own doing language study.
9. What has comforted you?
The biggest comforts to me have been the spirit, and the people around me. Like I said, there are too many wonderful people here! 10:15 - 10:30 is quiet time, when you are supposed to reflect on the day and just be "alone" with Heavenly Father. It's great for letting go of any cooped up feelings and refreshing yourself at the same time.
10. What has surprised you?
I am most surprised at how much I love the MTC.
11. What is hard?
The hardest thing is teaching in Portuguese, haha!
12. What is a spiritual experience?
Last night we watched "The Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar. It is wonderful, oh my goodness. If you can find it, you need to read it! He talks about the character of Christ, which is selflessness. Being a successful missionary is all about who we are individually, and how well we focus on others. The language is such an "in your face" concern, yet it is not the most important lesson to learn. This morning I was reading in Jacob when Sharem the AntiChrist uses his flattery, and powerful speech to sway the people. However, the power of God is what confounds him (not the persuasive language skills of Jacob). He is later forced to admit in plain speech that he was wrong. So, do your best and God will do the rest!