Saturday, 28 March 2015

Silliness, prophets and... protestors?


Is it P-day again already? This week felt like it went by super fast. I'm already more than halfway done at the MTC! On the one hand, I'll be really excited to get out of here (as much as I love it, it starts to feel like voluntary prison after a while) but I also feel like two weeks isn't enough time left to be ready for the mission field. One awesome thing that I've forgotten to mention is that both of my wonderful teachers speak some French! It's great!

So, my district is hilarious. In the little spare time we have here, a lot of funny things happen. I made a paper crane one day and the Elders somehow made it into an inside joke which I don't even understand where they flap its wings and say, "donde!" every time... There are a few too many "donde birds" in our classroom right now. Also, we now have a mascot: Resurrected Santiago the Maple Cow the Bunny our Guardian Angel. (Maple cows are a Canadian joke the Elders made up. I have the purple cow power. Mwahaha.) 

Our "mascot"!

My companion and I re-wrote the song lyrics to "Do you wanna build a snowman?" as a door approach. It goes like this: Do you want a Book of Mormon? / It's a testament of Christ / You don't have to read the whole way through / just Alma 32 / It comes without a price / It was brought forth by a prophet / named Joseph Smith / He'd want you to read it too! / Will you read the Book of Mormon? / Here's your Book of Mormon / Okay, bye. 

I am SO excited for General Conference!! Sadly, the MTC choir will not be singing in it (they're only supposed to do that once every 2-3 years). As we've been teaching a couple of member lessons to volunteers at the MTC, we've been inviting them to share General Conference with their friends, and I'd like to extend the same invitation to all of you! Invite someone to watch a session with you or from home, or post your favourite talk on social media. Start thinking about it now! 

The last thing I have to say is a little more serious. There were a few days last week where there were protesters standing outside the MTC. There were only ever 2 or 3, but they were very loud. Last Saturday when my zone walked to the temple, one man followed us most of the way there. He walked a short distance behind us, yelling things like, "You're all going to hell!" and "Hey, you! You with the jacket! You need to repent!" and "If you keep walking, you're walking into fiery damnation!" . . . We ignored him as best we could and sang hymns as we walked up to the House of the Lord. You don't know how many missionaries would have loved to stop and talk to him - but we were asked not to, for safety reasons. That was not the first time, nor will it be the last, that something like this happens to members of the church. I have a strong testimony of the Gospel, and millions of others across the world do, too. We would not put up with that persecution and hatred if it weren't true. We wouldn't serve missions if it weren't true. We would not be as incredibly happy as we are if it weren't true. I testify that our message IS true, and that that fact does. not. change. 

I hope you're all doing well. I love reading your emails and getting Dear Elder letters from you. :) Have a great week, everyone!

Hermana Shaver

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Spanish, cats, jokes, and devotionals

"I only know one word in Spanish; Aloha."

That's a favourite joke of ours in my district. Also, since two of our Elders are going to Spain (actually only one now - one of them left on Monday for the Spain MTC) they're supposed to pronounce most Cs and Zs like TH, and Hermana Perdue and I think it is the funniest thing to just say ALL S sounds with a lisp. Our favourite line: Yo se que Jesu Smith es un folleto. 

Actually though, our Spanish is getting better! (Slowly.) The other day we did practice member lessons with real member volunteers and it was so fun! One was from Utah but served her mission Spanish speaking, and the other was from Honduras and really didn't even speak English. Our investigator lessons are usually pretty exciting too. One investigator asks really hard questions though, like, "Why Joseph Smith and not someone else?" and "My friend is very dedicated to your church but her life is still so hard. Isn't religion just giving people false hope?" We really like opportunities like that...but it's not always easy to explain.

We found a cat on campus! It was a REALLY exciting day. Speaking of cats, my companion sometimes likes to tell me stories right before bed. A few days ago she randomly said, "Hey, have I told you about my cat in China?" The story started out pretty cute but ended in the kitten dying of illness after two days and her burying it with a spoon while grumpy Chinese people yelled at her. Thanks, Hermana. Another really funny thing that happened this week was in the cafeteria yesterday when an elder (whom we kinda know but not really) walked up to us and was like, "Guess what. I just got my wisdom teeth out." He wasn't kidding either, and he was still very much on drugs haha, so that conversation was really entertaining. Not sure where his companion was at.

Oh! And as for general authorities this week, we heard from the first counselor in the Primary presidency, a guy from MTC authorities, and Elder Clark from the seventy. Elder Clark's talk was amazing. I don't know if it's published yet, but future missionaries should seriously all read it. That was Tuesday night. During the Sunday night devotional, we heard from a newly baptized korean girl who had been hired as a TRC investigator and actually been converted, thanks in large part to six sisters who are now serving in Korea! So cool! Also, on the topic of talks, Hermana Perdue and I get to speak tomorrow in the sacrament meeting held for the cafeteria staff - in ENGLISH! We are so excited! :)

Love you all!

Hermana Shaver

P.S. One last thing: Does anyone know how to get a hold of Mike Chen? Or know if he went to the Provo MTC? Because we found some interesting things in our ceiling this week, some of which was signed by a Mike Chen (not too long ago). If someone would look into that for me, I'd be very happy. :)

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Baptisms, Apostles, and Massages (only in the MTC)

Hello again!

MTC life is really cool. I love the language, I love my district, and even the weather is getting pretty nice. The hardest part is the constant exhaustion and lack of breaks. That, and the stress of teaching people I've never met in a language I don't speak about complicated ideas upon which their eternal welfare depends. No biggie, right? (Actually, all of our investigators are paid actors, so it's not actually that bad.)

So I guess once you've been here for a few weeks, you get to practice street contacting on other people at the MTC. Last week my companera and I kept getting targeted because of our Spanish name tags - but the Elders spoke really fast and we didn't understand everything. So we've learned to just kind of smile and nod, and when they stop talking, say, "Sure, we'd LOVE to get baptized!" It works pretty well.
 My district:)
Elders Tanner and Denton; Sisters Howell, McCarty, Me and Perdue; Elders Renner and Malolo

Also, the cool thing about this MTC in particular is that we get General Authorities all the time. Last Sunday we had Carol McConkie from the YW general presidency come to relief society, and someone really high up there in the MTC leadership speak in the evening. then on Tuesday, Quentin L Cook came! That talk was broadcast to all the other MTCs. I sang in the choir, and it felt like I was in MoTab. There were big screens showing us what it looked like to everyone watching from other MTCs, and the cinematography looked exactly like General Conference. Pretty cool, right!? 

Also, we got feedback from our first investigator yesterday. He got to break character and tell us about how we did. Apparently we did really well. He told Hermana Perdue and I that our lessons were incredible (yeah right..). It's hard to believe, but I'll take it! It must be really fun to have his job. The language blunders alone are hilarious. The other Hermanas walked in once and said they wanted to give him a massage (mesaje) instead of a message (mensaje). Because that's totally appropriate. We got a good laugh out of it though!
trilingual life

My zone which is now outdated since half left for Argentina this week.

 Post-it quotes in our hallway.

MTC graffiti!

Love you all!

Hermana Shaver

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Welcome to the MTC!


First of all, I would just like to say that I LOVE being a missionary! It's wonderful here at the MTC. 
It's crazy how much Spanish we've been able to learn in such a short period of time! While we still have a long way to go, we already know enough Spanish to have full conversations with native speakers (though it's a struggle to understand each other - we make it work), teach investigators (which we did on day three), bear testimony of the Gospel, and pray. (One of the first things we are taught is how to pray for the gift of tongues in our mission language.)

So, I think my companion summed it up when she said on the first day, "The MTC is like EFY on crack - plus learning a language, minus flirting with boys." I love my companion. She and I both speak French, which is really fun! The only problem is that we both sometimes slip into French accidentally while speaking Spanish, and sometimes we don't notice when the other does it because it still all makes sense to us. I DO notice when she slips up and uses a word in Chinese though...

Me with with my companion Hermana Perdue (glasses) and Hermana McCarty (left).

My whole district is actually super cool. We have four elders and four sisters, and the 8 of us represent 6 different missions. My companion and I are going to Montreal, two elders are going to Spain (they'll actually leave us as soon as they get their visas to go to the Spain MTC), and the other four are going to Nevada, Ohio, California, and Texas. 

The MTC schedule is rigorous. My P day is Saturday, which makes for a nice weekend, but it means that I get five days straight of nothing but classes (which hurts my brain sometimes). Wish me luck! :)

Also, I haven't cried yet. Actually, that's a lie. I cried once when I had an interview with a member of my branch presidency two days ago and he asked me what I wanted to accomplish on my mission. It wasn't a sad cry though. I just get really emotional when I think about how badly I want others to know the God loves them and that they can hope for better things because of the Atonement of Christ. But I did all my crying about leaving a week or two before I actually left, so I think it's out of my system. :) Love you all!

Hermana Shaver

 With Jessie just before she dropped me off at the MTC!