Letter dated 14 June 2013 (transcribed)
Bonjour from the MTC! Actually . . . I’m on a plane right now. But that’s just a technicality. I’m on a plane on the way to San Francisco to visit the French Consulate to get my visa. But we’ll talk about that later.
The MTC has been such a whirlwind! Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Chuck parked at the curb and within minutes, I was in the MTC, name tag on — a missionary. YIKES! Really the best part of the whole first day was getting my name tag. It made me feel so official and so happy! Still, each morning when I wake up and get dressed, I’m excited to put my name tag on. And I look at it all the time. It’s so fun. (Is that weird?) Anyways, after getting my tag and room assignment, I was brought to my classroom and met my teachers and my district. My district is nine sisters (only sisters — no stinky elders). But they’re all great! I have two companions, one is Sister Kimball. She’s from Murray, UT. She’s 21, and she’s going to Paris. She already speaks French too! So, it’s fun to practice together. She’s super fun. I like her a lot! My other companion is Sister Johnson. She’s 19, and is also going to Lyon and speaks French. She’s great too. After meeting my district and two companions, we jumped right into learning. We had two firesides. One was orientation for new missionaries with the MTC presidency. Another was where we had a big group and we practiced teaching investigators. It was humbling because we all quickly realized we have no idea what we’re doing.
We had dinner after the fireside. Back to Cannon Center food . . . bleh. I was complaining (in my mind – as missionaries have to do) about it until this sister in my district came and sat by me. Her name is Sister Frost. She is from American Samoa and she’s going to St. George, Utah. It took her four days to get to the MTC! She sat down next to me and started eating and kept saying, “Oh my gosh! This food is so good! It is so nice, and this cake is fancy!” which made me grateful for what I have. She says the food she eats at home is much different and not as good (worse than Cannon? I didn’t think that was possible). But she’s great. She has a fantastic attitude and is really happy to be here. After dinner, we met our zone. We have so many missionaries from such diverse places (more foreign than American in my zone). We have sisters from Cameroon, Finland, Mexico, and Albania. We have Elders from Fiji, Tonga, the Philippines, and Cambodia. It’s really cool to talk with them.
We aren’t allowed to go back to our residences until 9:30 pm, so at night, we have personal study and daily planning sessions. After we get back, we prepare for bed, have scripture study / journal writing, and then lights out at 10:30.
The second day I already felt as if I’d been in the MTC for weeks! We wake up at 6:00 AM (it’s the only way you can get a hot shower), we have companionship study and personal study and breakfast. It’s nice to have French speaking companions because we can do our companionship study in French. I’ve already memorized the missionary purpose and First Vision in French. We have six hours of class most days in our tiny classroom. We study the lessons, Preach My Gospel, and practice giving discussions. For my companions and I, there is a French teacher (who just returned home from Lyon and says it’s the best mission in the world) who comes for an hour a day, and we practice with him the discussions in French. It’s really helpful (and fun!). I understand and can speak more French than I thought I could. Speaking French is my favorite part of the day! After class we have lunch, and then we have class until dinner. Right before dinner, we received our travel plans for San Francisco that said we had to be at the MTC travel office the next day at 3 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!
Needless to say, we freaked out since there’s no naptime in the MTC (which I find very wrong). Anyways, so we were totally stressing about it at dinner when I spotted Elder Andrews and Elder Oehler (*these are good friends from her BYU ward). I totally freaked out and accidentally called them by their first names (oops – I’m working on that). It’s so nice to see people you know — very comforting. I’ve seen five Elders from my BYU ward here, so that’s been really nice. After dinner, we had a branch meeting. We were 20 minutes early because our zone leaders told us that the branch president is very strict. He is. He has very specific and definite expectations of what a missionary looks like, what she says, how she acts. We each had personal interviews with the president – that was frightening but he was nice. After the interviews, he called zone and district leaders from our group and guess WHAT? I’m a district leader! Which is both very exciting and scary at the same time! As a district leader, I’m in charge of distributing mail every day, conducting weekly district meetings, conducting weekly interviews with the senior companions in my district and reporting these things to the zone leaders/branch president. I also have three hour leadership meetings every Sunday. It’s a lot of work, but I’m so excited to serve in my district! So, after the branch meeting I went to sleep extremely content. UNTIL. . . my alarm went off at 2:00 AM. BARF. I wanted to cry. But I dragged my fatigued missionary self to the showers and got ready. We were at the Travel Office at 3:00. We left at 3:30, and made it to the airport by 4:30. We made a companionship goal to speak only in French today as we travel and such, which has been really fun. Everyone stares at us while we talk. (I think they just wish they were us.) Also, everyone is really nice to us. Everyone (who is a member) walks up and shakes our hands and asks us where we’re from and where we’re going. Then, they usually tell us a long story about their child/grandchild/cousin/niece/nephew/friend/brother/ mother-in-law’s son’s best friend’s sister who is on a mission right now. It’s actually very cool.
I told my companions about my traveling curse. They thought it might be broken now that I have a badge on, but of course when we arrived, we found out our plane was delayed one hour. Yeesh. I have a problem. But, we’re in the air now and looking forward to getting there.
Soeur Jones 🙂