Sooooooo. Day 1! I entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center) at around 12:30 and said goodbye to my family which was really hard to do. I did my best to hold back the tears though even though it was difficult since I won't see them again for two years! Anyways, the first day is a whirlwind of activity, picking up language supplies, getting your name tag and other random assorted missionary stuff. After picking it all up I dropped my suitcase off in my room and headed straight to my classroom where the was basically only speaking Dutch with a little bit of Engels (English). I met my companions there and we are in a trio which is a little weird since almost everyone else in the MTC is in a pair. That's not even the weirdest part though. We have one Zuster (Sister) in our district and her name is Zuster Parker. And yes she has a pretty awesome last name. So our district is our trio and a solo sister which is almost unheard of. We have pretty much the smallest district but I think that it is an advantage because we're closer to one another and have more personal teacher time. Everyone is already super close with each other and we're a little family of a district! Day 1 was chaotic because of the shock of actually being in the MTC and of all the Nederlands (Dutch) being taught already.
On the second day I had a pretty normal day but that entails basically going to class the entire day with breaks for meals and that's it. Wake up at 6:30 and go to bed at 10:30(ish) and the entire day you are working. We found out on the second day that we were going to teach an investigator on the next day in Nederlands and we all were freaking out because our knowledge was essentially nothing. So most of that day was spent studying basic phrases and words in Dutch to help us. One neat thing that happened that day was when our teachers (Sister Schwab and Brother Norton) told us to ponder on what we should teach our investigator. All four of us came up with different answers but Zuster Parker showed us how they all related to each other. That taught me that the Spirit can testify to each person differently but can all be the right thing for the investigator. The Spirit works a little different for each person. Our zone president, President Seamons interviewed us and asked me to be the district leader! I was shocked but accepted the invitation and I'm serving now and lead the district in all of our meetings.
We taught Greet (our investigator) on the third day and man oh man that was rough! None of us knew what each other were saying so we kept asking each other in Engels what the other person had just said. We made it through the lesson though and I think we taught her something because she invited us back! Later that day we learned how to bear basic testimonies in Nederlands and Brother Norton taught us that it does't matter how complex your testimony is as long as it is said in sincerity. So we all bore our one sentence testimonies and dang the Spirit was strong in that room. I must of had dust or something in my eyes or maybe my eyes were sweating a bit ;)
Also today I learned how to pray in Nederlands and now pray every day in Nederlands.
On our fourth day (Saturday) we taught Greet again and wow what a difference one day can make. We all knew what we were saying and we really relied on the Spirit a lot and the lesson went great! After that lesson Zuster Schwab interviewed each of us personally to just check up on us and she told me that I was doing great at the language and gave me this advanced packet to study to learn more. That was a big boost to me because I had felt that I wasn't doing too well but she brought me up and told me how good I was doing. That was a big blessing to me and the gift on tongues is really working because there is no way I would've learned this much in this amount of time. I'm so grateful for that.
The saying in the MTC is "Just make it to Sunday." So when Sunday hit I was very excited. Sunday was a true day of relaxation because instead of 11 hours of class a day we only have about 5. Our zone is different from all the zones because everyone is speaking a foreign language. So we have the Nords, the Swedes, the Danes, the Dutchies and we are the Surinamers! Our zone every night has zone prayer where some one is picked and they pray in their foreign language. I can't always understand since there are so many languages but the Spirit is always strong and our zone has a unity and special bond that most other zones don't have. In sacrament meeting as well, the Zone President picks a random person from the zone and they speak on the topic of the day. So in the mornings, everyone writes a talk in their own foreign language which is really cool. The Spirit was very strong and it was an amazing experience. That night the new missionaries watched a devotional by Elder Bednar called "Character of Christ" and if you have the chance to watch it I definitely recommend it because it is life changing. It focused on turning outward when the natural man would turn inward and it was super powerful and an amazing message. That really changed my overall goal and made me want to be so much better to help everyone around me and focus on others rather than myself. Sunday was amazing!
Monday and Tuesday went by in a flash, just so so fast. There's just so much to learn and so much to prepare every day to teach Greet and to learn more about the gospel and especially Christ and Nederlands. We had a cool devotional where that Nashville Tribune Band performed for us and they were awesome! Really cool experiences every day here and something amazing happens every day.
One thing they're not good at at the MTC is volleyball. We play every day and they are.... well not good. Oh well it's still fun to play and laugh with all the Elders. I've gotten close with the Nords in the district because they're so funny and so helpful in everything. We get more Dutch Elders today and I'm excited!! They're going to the Netherlands though which isn't as good as Trinidad Port of Spain! I've had an amazing first week and I'm sure I'll have many more amazing weeks to come! You guys are all in my prayers! I love you all!
Proof that I can write in Dutch
My companions, Elder Hunt and Elder Buehler
The Elders again
Uhhhh some random guy Elder Burr
My purpose in Nederlands and English
My perch where I study in my room
Blurry picture of my perch
Het Orlogsbaby! (Warbaby) drawn by Elder Buehler
Cookies my grandma sent me (Thank you!!!!!!)
Some of our flags and Elder Hunt
Our flag in our room
Where my mission actually is