Tuesday, September 23, 2014

MTC Provo - First Week Of My Mission

What a week. I am overwhelmed with so many different emotions and things to write I hope that I can get everything that I want to down.
So my arrival was at 1:30. Mom and I went to some Mexican place for lunch that served missionaries for free on the day that they report. I then was dropped off curbside and immediately was escorted through different rooms to receive my books, name tags, and language stuff. I was on the bus headed to west campus within 15 minutes. At the Provo MTC there is a main campus, and a west campus, west campus is a short bus ride to wyview housing where all the Spanish speaking missionaries reside. I was told to drop my bags in my room and then was immediately taken to my classroom. I met my companion(elder Fillmore) and my teacher brother Johnston. My teacher is amazing, he really cares about us as missionaries. He is really passionate and teaches Spanish really well. He rarely speaks English though, which is fun. In the evening we participated in a role-playing exercise. Now that was the first day, how about the average day...
Wake up at 6:30. Get ready and be at class at 7:00(about a five minute walk from our rooms). Study for 45 minutes on your own until breakfast at 7:45. Eat until 8:15 and return to class for 3 hours of studying items of your choice, with a mock investigator lesson thrown somewhere in there for about 20 minutes. at 11:15, it is daily planning time/more study until 12:30 for lunch. I usually choose to get a sack lunch(a lunch where you pick from pre-packaged foods) so that I can eat after gym time. Gym time(including preparation time before and after) is from 1:00-2:45. Class(this being the only three hour period where we get a lecture from our teacher) goes until 5:45 at which point we eat dinner and then return to class at 6:15 and do PCI(Personal(1 hour) Companion, and Language study) until 9:30 when we return to our rooms and shower/write in our journals and such. Quiet time at 10:15, lights out at 10:30. Repeat.
I'll go a little more in depth now, Waking up is not NEARLY as hard as i expected it to be. I wake up and have energy practically all day. Right now in the first 3 hours of the 9 hour class day, we teach this guy named Raul, who literally only "knows" and speaks Spanish. So communication was nearly impossible at the beginning but now we.re getting the hang of it. My companion and I usually prepare our lesson beforehand and I study Spanish for the rest of the time. The west campus food isn't like incredible. But some people make it sound worse than it. It is set up like the canon center and I actually enjoy eating with my district. Oh my district! So much to tell haha they are a crazy bunch. I might not have pictures this week because we cannot figure out how to upload them:/ but I'll have them next week for sure. There is nine people(one trio) in my district and another district that is fluent in Spanish in our zone. We are all pretty close in the district. I mean there is just some characters in here I'm telling ya. They probably mess around a bit too much haha. I remember thinking before the MTC "oh high school Spanish won't help me i forgot all that." N.o. I remember quite a bit about conjugation and a lot of verbs. Not so much vocabulary. But with my limited knowledge, I still have most of my district coming to me for questions when the teacher isn't here, even though I am seriously one tiny, tiny step above clueless haha. I feel like I have learned so much in just 6 days as far as the language. I honestly feel like I am already experiencing my first taste of the gift of tongues, or in Spanish el don de lenguas. We have focused a lot on church and missionary words and phrases. I can remember a lot of stuff, the challenge for me is to be able to create sentences and say them immediately when responding. I can almost always understand what my teacher says, I just have to respond so, so slowly haha. But I believe that it will come with time. Anyways my district has really good guys, all with strong testimonies. I feel very blessed. 

The MTC is unlike any place I have ever been. The spirit is just unbelievably strong here. Everywhere I go I just feel happy. Not to say it is not hard work because it is. But I really honestly love it here. Like a lot haha. Learning new things everyday, being surrounded by kind people and the Spirit, and everything is structured for us time-wise. It is just awesome I can't think of a better way to say it. I am so excited for the weeks to come and eventually the flight to Mexico. It feels so far in the future kind of like the weeks leading up to my mission. 
Gym time is alright, we have these large inflatable igloo-type things that have basketball, volleyball courts, and some weight-room-type stuff. It is always nice to be able to run around after so much sitting and studying.
During PCI, I do my 5*5*5 challenge, which is our branch president challenging us to read 5 chapters of the BOM, 5 pages in PMG, and 5 pages in the missionary handbook daily. In our time here, that would complete those first two and the handbook is something they really stress.
Speaking of which, the rules are huge. Nobody ever exaggerated when talking about how serious the MTC is about its rules. Some of the most difficult to keep are as follows: Don't call fellow missionaries "bros" "man" "dude" or when referring to a group "you guys." Or their first name. That is SO hard to do haha. Awake at 6:30(that snooze button is still tempting haha). Always be sitting or standing while studying. And always have your top button buttoned and tie uptight. There are more of course but those I break most frequently haha.
I have so many stories from just a week here. I can't even imagine what this week will bring. I just want you all to know how much I love you and hope you are doing well. To my family I miss you guys but I am so excited about the work that I am doing currently. I appreciate all your letters and prayers so much. I can't wait to here how you all are doing.
Mucho amor,
Elder Smith


  1. Haha, you can't call them "bros". That's funny. That is a really full, busy day. Geez, I didn't realize. We love you!