Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Life in the MTC (What they won't tell you in the introduction pamphlet)

So the first week you are on a totally different schedule than the rest of the MTC missionaries. It's pretty much "initiation time". They have you watch missionaries teach an actor playing an investigator several times, which is fun and then they pass a microphone around so you can teach. This literally happens like 3 hours after you get there so be prepared to teach right away!

It's all in English though so, no worries. You can take the orange sticker off at the end of your first day. Saturday will most likely be your P-day but it all changes the next week. You aren't allowed to go to the temple on your first week but once you hit the second week, you can.

A normal day in the MTC usually goes like this:

(This schedule flips around every single day so this is not what it always looks like just the general idea.)

-Personal study
-Language Study
-"Tall" language practice on computers
-Gym for 45-50 minutes
-Class 3 hours (or teaching investigators)
-Additional study time
-Personal study or planning session with companion
-Return to dorms
-Lights out at 10:30 sharp

P Days are sooo nice though!

-Temple (whenever)
-Laundry (whenever)
-Writing letters (whenever)
-Breakfast and lunch (whenever)
-Bookstore shopping (whenever)
-Dinner 4:45
-Plan for next day
-Lights out at 10:30 sharp

(Keep in mind that this is a Spanish missionary's schedule- I have no idea how everyone else's schedule looks like.)

-On Tuesdays and Sundays we have devotionals. Tuesdays are the ones where someone "big" usually comes. At least according to rumors. I love ALL the devotionals though.

On Tuesday I was in the bathroom and this girl was singing The Swan Princess song in the next stall. So I started singing along with her. We finished the whole song together and then ended up sitting next to each other for devotional. Afterwards I got up and finally introduced myself and she told me her name was Sister Eyring...long story short, it turns out President Eyring's granddaughter has great taste in princess movies- and likes to sing in the bathroom with perfect strangers. Gotta love the MTC :)

Here are some more tips (after being in here for over 2 weeks)

  • They say not to bring headphones, but you need them for the gym, so if not, you can buy them here like I did.
  • I actually like tights. But these little sock thingies changed my life. ...My sockies
  • Okay okay...don't take the fruit to your room (against regulation)
  • You can rent sheet music to play over by the president's office for musical numbers or just to play. Heaven.
  • Have your family send some letters in packages so you can open it anytime of the day-if not, you have to wait until night.
  • Temple cafeteria is to die for! Breakfast there every P-day:)
  • Wait to buy things at the bookstore in the MTC-it's 40% off store-wide for missionaries 24/7!
  • You can engrave your scriptures here for free!
  • Bring good smelling body wash. It makes me happy. 
  • Buy missionary stickers to put on the back of letters...seriously so fun! (You can find tons of these in the bookstore here...and in different languages too!) 
  • Bring at least 2 workout pants.
  • Sooo glad I brought my own pillowcase.
  • They have awesome scripture marking pens here! I think they are like 20-30 bucks out in the real world...$8 here! 
  • Use the computers in the laundry room to e-mail home because they are the only ones that seem to let me send pictures. ???? ..could just be a glitch in the system right now. 
  • Make sure your camera cord is a USB
Sister North from our Zone :) Love her cute girl!
Gotta love 10 hours in the classroom. 
Em!...ok no. Sister ALVAREZ. Love seeing this girl all the time! 

Last day with Hermana Pacheco (green tie) in the front. He gets married next week and we will miss this teacher! Nuestro maestro mejor! Ok we have a lot of amazing teachers but we'll sure miss him! 

Watching a talk by Elder Holland on the big screen..it's like going to the movies. 
The whole hall to ourselves :) (Only for the first week though...we are one of the first BIG waves of missionaries but now it's getting so stinking crowded here. That's a very good thing though!)

Just keep swimming...we're PMG missionaries!

(Hopefully this helps any preparing missionaries out there)

I have seriously been struggling with my studies.

My companion and I are not always on the same page and each investigator is so different, but my teacher, Brother Barnard, said the most inspiring thing tonight.
He said start reading and learning everything, anything that you can get your hands on.
Organize your scripture study.
Start the Book of Mormon over the minute you finish.
Yes, plan according to your investigator, but if you know the gospel already in your heart and mind, the spirit will prompt you to know which truth to share. Learn in well and learn it now. *Elder Ballard's same advice*
Start this minute!
Whenever a prompting comes, a verse stands out, a principle applied, a quotation well-liked, comes your way-write it down, highlight it, write it on your forehead.
If you gain a testimony- you will be able to remember it when needed.
If you're only focusing and learning one principle, then you may never use it - depending on who you teach of course. Learn one principle or 1 scripture at a time, but once learned-move on. Learn some more.
Keep learning. Read Chapter 3 in Preach My Gospel over and over. But you don't have to memorize it word for word. We aren't teaching discussions like missionaries past.
We are Preach My Gospel Missionaries.

Trust me...about Day 2- you're pushed into a room and you start teaching in whatever language you're assigned to. It's like the analogy with swimming. You don't know how to swim? Well, let's push you in deep water and you'll learn real fast.
Start your swimming lessons now.
Highlight your scriptures according to the PMG lesson colors. So helpful in the middle of a lesson. Prepare every needful thing-learn it well enough. This was so extremely helpful to me. I hope it is to you too!

I love my sweet companion.

...Hermanita Silva

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Limited edition: Sister Missionary action figures!

Okay...so you need to know how creepy these things look...

They are selling them at Deseret Book...their faces don't even begin to look normal. We keep these in our room on our desk to remind us to get ready and presentable every morning no matter how tired we are. 

Watch out for these. ;)

Funny things my District Elders say...

...This is what happens when you spend 10 hours a day in a small, confined classroom:

  • "Did you hear about the circus elders? It was in-tents"
  • "I had a dream last night...okay, so it was last year but..."
  • "You're way too wigwam right now."
  • "I first started using crayons when I was 8 and my life completely changed."
  • "I'm a very fun person in a very un-fun situation"
  • "Do you see an orange sticker on my nametag? No, you dont...that's because I'm pretty much a veteran here."

  • "Nope, skinny ties just make me look fatter"
  • "Yolo...is that Russian?"
  • "What should I send my girlfriend for Valentine's Day?...You can make her a cake, or fruit tarts! Fruit tarts are good."
  • The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...(Elder Hamm whispers to Elder next to him), "Take that journey, make that step."
  • "We are thankful for that chair...that is just...there." (during a prayer)
  • "This is why I hate orphans."
  • "Can we be honest??...We are going to be weird when we get back..."
  • "We almost just spiritually sweated!"
  • "Did you hear about the guy that's been waiting here for a year for his visa?" (Yeah right)
  • "Spanish class is diarrhea of the mouth."

...gotta love Elders:)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tips to know before entering the MTC

Okay so I've seen so many lists of MTC tips, but we are all so different and so these are personally my tips:

  • Get extra fruit from the cafeteria. It will come in handy at night time.
  • Pack everything for Day 1 in one suitcase including study materials.
  • The 2nd floor of the main gym has carpet which is good to do lunges and stretches.
  • Use your whole gym time. Your body will love you for it. 
  • Take a picture on your first day at the world map sign (by the cafeteria), of course.
  • Find your mission president on the wall across from the world map!
  • Instead of a lanyard to carry my MTC card and key around, they have these awesome "slidey-clips" you can buy at the bookstore for like $2. You attach them to your dress or your skirt and they extend out to reach any door. Everyone I know has one.
  • Bring a small purse to carry around your small items. Just a good-sized handbag.
  • Buy an MTC water bottle-when else are you ever going to buy one???
  • Don't shake hands during flu season-we all shake elbows here:)
  • Bring family pictures!
  • Bring string or ribbon for your dorm key so you can tie it to your clip too. (We had to cut string off our scripture bookmarks)
  • Tie colored ribbon to your suitcase so you know which one is yours. Or just mark your luggage however you would like. There is so much luggage here and it all looks the same. 
  • No CDs or music in the MTC (But, we do listen to General Conference podcasts while getting ready so...)
  • Bring your own blanket. It brought me a lot of comfort that first night.
  • Keep lady supplies in your personal bag! Not just in your suitcase back in your room. You're never there.
  • Your classroom is your classroom. You will LIVE there. You never switch so I leave all my books, dictionaries, paper, pens, and even my bag in there.
  • Buy those little socks that fit inside your flats. Trust me.
  • Bring snacks in your suitcase. Even with all the food here, during 6 hours of class time, it comes in handy. Fruit roll-ups anyone?
  • Bring a foldable laundry bag for P-days. You might even pack a few extra dryer sheets in a Ziploc. And you don't need quarters...you use your MTC card. 
  • They have caffeine free Coca-Cola here! -just sayin'...
  • You can buy birthday cards in the bookstore:)
  • Bring your own hangers, just in case. (Out in the field there are plenty of hangers hanging around in old missionary apartments but in the MTC...not really). 
  • Don't worry-there are always people to help you here, just like at the temple. The elders who greeted me at the curb when we pulled up were the first of many who completely took care of me. They are awesome! I run into them all the time too! Still friends. 
  • Serve your companion! Do something kind for him/her every day. 
  • After only a few days you will understand how the MTC works. Heads up though...First day= crazy hectic.
  • Day 2= much better.
  • Earnestly chocolate ice cream...try. it.
  • Sisters get $8 each Wednesday on their cards to spend. Elders get $6...already seeing privileges??
  • If you can make it until Sunday, you've got this in the bag! At least that's what they say here...?
  • Bottom floor rooms are the best...never or rarely been used yet!
  • Turn heat temperature in room down when you first get in- it takes forever to cool down.
  • Sing hymns in the showers- all the sisters join in! 
  • Tylenol PM is a lifesaver the first couple of nights because it's hard to fall asleep. You're just too excited to be a missionary!

    ADVICE FOR ELDERS FROM CURRENT ELDERS: (they didn't have a whole lot to say haha)
  • Teaching investigators the 2nd day you're here...be prepared. Study with investigators in mind and how you will teach them. 
  • Splits with the missionaries as often as possible beforehand.
  • Read Chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel before you come...like a zillion times.
  • Immerse yourself in the language but...
  • Study the PMG lessons before language study...seriously. Learn it in English first! Obtain first...then share.
  • Have a nice razor with you and ring an extra pillow and a sweater
  • Oh...and those neck ties with built-in water bottles are pretty nice ya know...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

You may be in the MTC if...

Funny things that happen in the MTC:

-At lunch today an Elder told me how before he left, his mom sprayed her perfume on his Preach My Gospel to remember her by.

-I was in such a hurry at lunch my second day that I told the cafeteria lady to put "whatever" on my wrap- hence, I ended up eating a chicken, ham, salsa, green pepper, spinach, BBQ sauced ranch wrap.

Yeah...take. your. time.

-Earlier today an elder was singing a song from the musical seven brides and brothers...mormon country? ;)

-These Elders next to us were saying how they didn't want to gain weight at the MTC, therefore they weren't going to eat the ice cream. They glanced at me right as I was about to take a huge spoonful of "earnestly chocolate" ice cream. I just smiled.

-I saw an elder walk by with 3 big glasses of orange juice...I know where he spent the rest of his day:)

-Just so you know...I have a favorite bathroom stall here.

-On the intercom yesterday in the sisters' dorms, they announced a "male worker" was entering the building (probably to fix or clean something) and I thought they said "mail worker". I got so excited, I ran out to find him! I think a few of the sisters wondered if I was out for the right reasons:)

-The elders are always pulling pranks. Today Elder Keenan looked away from his breakfast tray for a split-second and Elder Shawn stuck his half eaten apple in his glass of water. When Elder Keenan picked up his glass to take a drink, water went everywhere. Funny thing is though, he said he couldn't remember sticking his apple in there, picked it out and ate the rest of it.

Gotta love the MTC!

...more to come:)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week One: MTC LOVE

There is no place like the MTC. Missionaries everywhere with incredible spirits. This place must feel somewhat like the other side of the veil with 'those' missionaries. It's a little piece of heaven here.
Sometimes I can't help but just look at my name tag and smile! 
I absolutely LOVE being a missionary:)
 This is my adorable companion Sister Biancardi from Portland. We get along so great!
I have the BEST DISTRICT EVER! There's 10 of us altogether who study Spanish in a tiny classroom for 8 hours a day. It has only been 3 days and we're already like a family.
Today I made a very hard decision. This morning in class my teacher pulled me out to talk to me. He said I was advanced enough to be put in with the native speakers and could be sent out to the field in 2 weeks!

Great news, right? No...

I have come to LOVE my district, companion, and zone so tremendously. When you get thrown into change you cannot help but get attached to those who are in the same boat with you.

I had one hour to decide. I was SO torn. I want to get out in the field more than anything, but I also love my missionary family. I knew one thing...I needed to pray. My companion suggested we find an empty room and we knelt down in prayer.

As we prayed, my stupor of thought left me and a couple of thoughts came to me...
#1-You're only in the MTC once.
#2- You may be able to help someone else.

After making my decision I walked back in the classroom and they all looked at me and I felt a confirmation in my heart as I told them- "Elders, I decided to stay!" 

Cheers erupted everywhere and truly, it brought me to tears. 

So...it looks like I'm staying for 6 weeks after all. 

Good thing I rather like it here:)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Goodbye world...Hello MTC:)

Entered the MTC on Wednesday! 

Next week, Hermana Silva will clear up all of the MTC rumors and update you on all of her wonderful experiences at the MTC (companions, district, Elders, Sisters y Espanol). Stay tuned!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mission Call Opening November 20th, 2012

Hermana Silva just entered the MTC on Wednesday February 6th, 2013! Here is her mission call opening...enjoy!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ammon, Son of Mosiah.

I have always, always looked up to this missionary. Prime example here. It's my favorite story in the Book of Mormon and its my goal to go out there with the same courage, faith, strength and patience during afflictions that Ammon had as he began his missionary service (minus cutting anyone's arms off...unless they REALLY somehow tick me off). As Mosiah let his sons go and preach the gospel, he was promised that they would be delivered from the hands of the Lamanites and that they would be able to be powerful teachers amongst those people. And Ammon's story alone showed the truth of that. He was a HARD WORKER for one. He was close to the Spirit...so much so that King Lamoni believed he WAS the Great Spirit. He had no pride or superiority in his heart...I mean come on he was put to work as a servant in King Lamoni's household taking care of his sheep...sooooo ideal right? A field hand. But that's what he ASKED to be. A servant! Because that is how you come to love people...is to SERVE THEM. (Do you see why he is just such a darn good missionary?????) This guy is my role model and gets a high five from me in the next life.

If Ammon could go among a blood-thirsty Lamanite nation and change their hearts with the Spirit, his words, example and testimony...then I CAN DO IT TOO. The people of New Mexico probably won't be out to kill me though. ...i hope. Ammon boasted of his God both day and night and proclaimed His glory. Ammon was born to do what he did and when I say I was born to do this too...I mean it, I know it. I've been waiting for this experience for so long that now that it's here...I'm overwhelmed with emotion at how wonderful this gospel is. What a blessing it is to be here during this amazing time in all the earth's history. I'll say goodbye, put on my tag with scriptures in hand and walk out the door each morning with the knowledge that it is my time on this earth to be a missionary. Ammon had his experience...and now its MY TURN!! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Best Friend.

Time to return the favor! I decided to do a post about how much I'm going to miss my best friend. Since she just did one for me. http://alli-bo-bally.blogspot.com/ 

Hence, why I love Alli: 

Because she shares her little brother with me. 

Because she's my personal photographer. And a good one at that.

Because she converted to being a "Burley Bobcat" when she moved here.

Because of her awkward poses..haha.

Because she let me convince her into doing stage productions with me :) 

Because she loves road trips as much as I do!

Because she lets me come to her Girl's Camp.

Because of her gorgeous long hair!

Because she taught me how to play guitar.

And then all those summer days playing at the docks by the river. 

She doesn't mind toga parties.

She serenades me from my window!

Best DEVO buddy ever.

She waits in line with me to meet Kirby Heyborne! 

She lets me take over her couch.

Because we're going to Peru someday. 

Because she doesn't mind late night Taco Bandido runs. 

Because I LOVE competing with her at Wacky-six.

Because we love to Skype.

Because she's just...weird. 

And because we LOVE TO PULL PRANKS. ;)

I'll miss you! See ya in 18.