Friday, February 8, 2008

Fire Drills, Creole and Many Changes

Things are going well here at the MTC. It's been a trying week for all of us in our district. I'm sure Jen's told you, but they took my teachers away from our district this week, which was really hard. We loved our teachers so much and it will be very different without them. You all also probably know that Jen is going to be the only teacher that we have. We're going to be combined for the other teaching part of the day with another district. So there's going to be 20 of us together trying to learn a new language. This has already proven to be difficult, but I know that the Lord will bless my district and they will be able to still learn this language. I am so glad that I can help them. The highlight of my day is when I can help the elders in my district (Sister Skinn is so good she doesn't really need my help). I know they truly appreciate all that I have been able to help them with. To me, it is a great privilege to help them and I feel a responsibility to share all that I know with them. I have been truly blessed with my district. All of the other districts have problems, but not mine. We all truly love each other and make sure and say it too! I know that because we have those deep bonds that we will get through this difficult time just fine.

I haven't even talked about the elders yet have I? Well, there's Elder Merrill, who is a convert (also Elder Gardner) they have both been members for two years and are incredible. Elder Merrill's work ethic and testimony is so impressive to me. Elder Walker is Merrill's companion. they are hilarious together! They are both so sarcastic, but because Merrill is loud, he always gets the blame for the teasing they give each other. They have become good friends of mine and I feel so blessed to have them around. Then there's Elders Daley and Wardenburg. Elder Wardenburg has the BEST sense of humor. He is so goofy and has absolutely no shame in it. This week he's been parting his hair down the middle and pulled his pants up really really high once. He topped it off with really big glasses. He keeps us all smiling. Elder Daley has the biggest heart. He is a farmboy and as such is so chivalrous with me and Sister Skinn. He doesn't let us do anything! He has such a big heart and is so compassionate. I've been able to work with him on the language and he has such a strong desire to learn. Then there's Elders Kearl and Schwendiman. Elder Kearl is from Clinton, Utah and LOVES to hunt. Really. LOVES it. He really surprises me sometimes with how thoughtful he is. Elder Schwendiman is my district leader and is so laid back. He is kind to everyone and is a great leader. I can't say enough about my district. Then there's Elders Gardner and Markarian. Elder Markarian is a newbee to our district. All of the Brasilian elders got their visas, so he was put into our district. He's adjusting, but is already such a blessing for us and for Elder Gardner. Elder Gardner LOVES math. So clearly we can teach each other a lot!

Well now I live with four other girls in one room! Yikes! It's close quarters here at the MTC, but I'm never in my room so, nao faz mal (no big deal). We got a new sister this week and she's pretty quiet. She's very kind and sweet, so she'll be a good contrast to me, since I can be a bit feisty sometimes...

Before we went through this big teacher change I was able to learn some creole from Irmao Schlappi. He served in Cape Verde, where they speak a Portuguese creole. He told us to come find him before and after class to keep learning creole, and believe me, I will. It's a great language and I will love speaking it with the Cape Verdians I meet in Portugal.

This week there were more changes as well, our oldest district left this week for their missions and so that was sad, but we gained two new districts and the best part is...there is a fluent Portuguese speaker!!! YAY! So I've talked with Elder Clegg and his Portuguese is PERFECT, well, for a Brasilian. It's been nice to be able to talk with someone and he will certainly help me out. Hopefully we'll be able to plan our lessons together, but it will take some thinking so that we will be able to still be around our companions or our districts. But I know everything will work out. It's so great to be able to practice speaking. I was able to go to the TEC and Jen helped me with teaching in Portuguese. It was a bit rough, but it was my first time going through the lesson in Portuguese, or anything in Portuguese, for that matter.

Well, having all of the sisters in one building has been an...adventure. Last week I was ready to sleep (since it was bed time) and the fire alarm went off. Man was it loud! We all thought it was a drill or a mishap, but don't worry, when i got out to the hallway I saw smoke. Someone had burned popcorn and set off the alarm. A half hour later and we were able to go back in. Actually it was about 45 minutes later. How annoying. Lesson for all: keep the rules and no one will have to leave the building at 11:00 at night.

Gym time has been fantastic. We can play volleyball, basketball, run on the track, lift weights, but I play four-square. That's right, four-square. Keeping up the family tradition. My district has gotten really into it. They are hilarious! I can actually hold my own too. We have so much fun that more and more people are starting to play because they know where the fun's at.

Well that's about it! Life is good here! I've been reading a lot about trusting in God and there's a passage in Alma 57 that I want you all to read. I think it's verses 22-27, somewhere around there. It talks about the stripling warriors. I learned so much from that passage about how when we trust in God everything works out and I know this to be true. I love you all!

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