Friday, November 28, 2014

This Week...

Hola todos-

A sweet selfie with our amigos Elders Robertson y Bradshaw! 
This was the BEST WEEK EVER at the MTC! Well, it had kinda a ruff start because the rest of our zone, 15 missionaries left on Sunday night/Monday Morning. However, we had an awesome testimony meeting and I feel like I have 15 new best friends. We're planning a surfing reunion in SoCal.

Monday was a little rough, on account of the no-friends thing. But Hermano Pitcher challenged us to only speak in Spanish, and we totally did it. It was hard, and our Spanish was pretty bad, but we got the message across. And he actually told two funny stories to Elder Hwang! It was fantastico!

Tuesday was awesome, because Dallin H. Oaks came and spoke to us. It was awesome! He and his wife are both really, really powerful speakers!

Les quiero, familia!
Then Thursday was the best, because it was the Dia de Pavo! Thanksgiving! Turkey-Day! It was the best!! David A. Bednar spoke, and instead of a straight up talk, he took questions from the audience, and answered them. That man is soooooo close to the Spirit. He knew the answers, and he knew what to tell us. It was amazing. Service project was good, lunch was good, a crazy Thanksgiving play was good, and then we watched Meet the Mormons! It was great. Then they unveiled the Christmas lights! It was great!!!! I love Thanksgiving! And I love Christmas! And I love when they happen together!!

This was after we shook Elder Bednar's hand. Yep, it was pretty great.

Then today was P-day. We went to the Temple, I finished my letters I've been working on for weeks, and then I took a nap. Then I did all the laundry in the world!

That's all for this week! 
Con amor-
Hermana Long

Friday, November 21, 2014

Another Week, More Stories!

Hola Todos-

Today has been another great week at the MTC, where the missionaries are a little stir crazy, the food is bad and the Spanish is even improving!

I've decided that we need to make a sitcom about our Zone. We have some really funny Hermanas y Eldres and some Hermanas y Eldres who are very funny without trying. Take Elder Hwang- he's this Korean Elder trying to learn Spanish. He's the oldest out of all of us- he's 22. Several times this week, he's tried to talk to us and he's been cut off. Like when Elder Bradshaw was telling a story and he asked Elder Hwang a question, and Elder Hwang tried to answer, and Elder Bradshaw cut him off and kept telling the story. Poor Elder Hwang.

And then there's Elder Rassmussen. He is a crack-up, but I don't think he ever tries to be funny. Yesterday, for instance, he came out of his classroom and was looking for Elder Bradshaw, but he couldn't leave his companion. We told him that Elder Bradshaw had gone to the bathroom, and to try talking to him thru the wall. So he walks over to the wall, stoops wwwaaayyy down and knocks on the wall and says "Elder Bradshaw, Elder Bradshaw" just as the afore-mentioned Elder Bradshaw rounds the corner and is like "What?!?!" It was way funny. It's just great.

The Hermanas are great, too. One of the sisters next door is Hermana Summers, and she's fantastic. She's really open, and hyper, and talks about anything and everything, and barks like a dog. But her companions are really serious, and put together, and it's funny seeing them try to work together.

The rest of our zone leaves on Monday morning, and we do not want them to leave. When they leave, it will be just us 6 sisters. That's it. Nada mass. We will have no friend. We're hoping a big snow storm comes and traps them here for another week.

Playing volleyball in gym is one of the best parts of my day (Sorry, Dad, I know you told me not too, but it's so fun) I'm actually getting pretty good. I'm pretty good at serving, and I had a couple of pretty good hits that had the Elders on my team cheering for me. And everyone in my Zone  tries really hard to help me to get better, and set me up for points.

The food is bad. Like, really bad. Like, worse than Hawai'i bad. I was super excited about the beef stroganoff a few days ago, but it turned out to be real bad. It was kinda funny, me and my compa tried to eat it one night for dinner, but it was so bad we couldn't finish it. Then the next day at lunch, Elder Elkins sits down with us and has left over beef stroganoff. We told him it was super bad, but then he tried it and he was like, it just tastes like food, not bad, not good. Boys. They'll eat anything.

Now on to some more spiritual notes. Learning Spanish is hard. But it really makes me focus on what I want to say. I invited my compa to be baptized in Espanol last night, all from memory, and I had to focus on every word. But I did it, and it was a big deal.

I taught a couple of really great lessons this week, and a couple of rough ones. After a particularly rough one, where I felt like I had finally been able to say what I wanted to say in Spanish, I felt like my investigator just wasn't getting it. Like, he understood what I said, but he didn't think it was important or feel what I was saying. Well, right after the lesson, Hermanas Shupp and Jammet and Elders Garcia and Elkins came and we're gonna teach a lesson, but their investigator didn't show up. And I was like "I have an investigator you can teach- me." I was mostly kidding, but they got really excited and the Hermanas and Elder Elkins taught me a lesson, and Elder Garcia took notes. I learned a lot from that lesson, and playing the investigator. I learned that it is a lot easier for investigators to feel the Spirit. I learned that lessons don't have to be long or elaborate or in perfect Spanish. I learned that if you are excited about what you're teaching, your investigator will feel it.

Well, that's all for this week!
Con amor-
Hermana Long

Friday, November 14, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Hola Todos!

It snowed! It really, really snowed. Yesterday we came out of gym and it was snowing a little bit, but after we finished getting ready for class, it was hard-core snowing! And there is still snow on some of the plants today. It's kinda crazy! The only thing is that I had to go to lunch and then class really fast, so no pictures. I'll for sure take pictures next time.

Learning Spanish is amazing and incredible and muy difícil (super hard), but so rewarding. We have Spanish class with Hermano Pitcher for three hours every day (except p-day, when we have class after dinner). Other than that, we have hours on hours of "personal study", "companion study" and "language study" where we sit in the same classroom and try not to go crazy. Rumor has it, we're getting a new teacher. He may or may not be named "Hermano Tuff" or possibly "Hermano Tuft", and he's probably this investigator we've been teaching. The Elders in our Zone told us that even after he's our teacher, we'll still have to teach him and that it's way awkward.

By the way, we have class in the "George Q. Cannon" building, and in Hawai'i, the big basketball gym is the "George Q. Cannon" building. I always feel a little funny walking into the building to have class, like, ok, class in the big gym today. I kept thinking it would stop being weird, but it has not.

Funny story- we were playing Spanish hangman during a never-ending study session where none of us could pay attention, and the other Hermanas were accusing me of cheating. I wasn't, but I had just picked a really good word that I couldn't spell. So my companion was like "how do you say cheater in Español" and Hermana Shiffler, who usually knows what she's talking about said "Oh, chistoso, I think." That became our big insult for the next day. We'd call one of the other Hermanas "Chistoso" and pretend to spit, because it was just so dirty and vile to be a cheater and such a dirty and vile word. For those of you who speak Spanish, you know where this is going. In class the next day, Hermano Pitcher played a video for us that he said was a bit "Chiste" and the four of us who were in on the game got really excited and said cheater. He looked at us like we were locas, and said "Uh, no, it means funny." We busted up laughing. Turns out a "chistoso" is a joker, and a "tramposo" is a cheater. Awkward.

Other funny stories- we've been getting to know the other Hermanas and Elderes in our Zone. They are super funny. Hermana Summers is our Zone Sister Training leader, so we spend a lot of time talking to her. She sometimes calls herself "Mama Bear", and she seems sooooo much older, even though she's our age. The Elders are crack ups. We'll sit at the table in the caf, next to people, and then they'll leave, and there will be a big hole in the people sitting at the table next to me. This has happened with the same set of Elders like 5 times, and everytime it does, I look over like "what the heck?!?! Every time!!!" and the Elders tell us that if we showered, they would come sit with us. (We definitely do shower, by the way, they just like to give us a hard time.)

One more funny story- half way thru a never ending lesson, we had a break, and someone discovered that part of the wall was hollow. So one Hermana started tapping on it and another and soon we were all tapping the wall. Hermano Pitcher just rolled his eyes and said "Mi clase está loca (my class is crazy) and walked back in the classroom. The next day we were telling some people in the hallway that story, and some of the Elders were like "you know that's our bathroom on the other side, right?" Apparently we'd been knocking on the wall of the Elders' bathroom. Awkward.

Another thing I didn't know about going on a mission- Elders and Hermanas are not supposed to high five or fist bump "because it is not professional". Yeah, its weird. We're really trying for exact obedience, so we try really, really hard to not do it, and the other day one of the Elders went to give a high five to one of our Hermanas, and at the last second they both realized what was gonna happen, and they turned it into a handshake. It was fantastic.

On a more Spiritual note- me and my companion are getting much better at teaching lessons. We have two investigators here at the MTC, and we are learning how to bring the Spirit into our lessons and get the point we're trying to teach. Teaching, and teaching in Spanish, is much harder than I thought it was going to be. But I keep striving and I keep becoming a better teacher.

We love to watch a Mormon Message in our Zone, that is so amazing it makes some of the Elders cry. It's called "Because of Him" and I challenge everyone to watch it who can, and tell me what you think.

Keep writing!
Con amor,
Hermana Long

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Aloha from the MTC!

Aloha mi familia y amigos-

I am officially at the MTC. I am really excited to be here. I am speaking so much Spanish, it's amazing! I still don't have a very wide vocabulary, but I use the words I do know very often.

One of my favorite things is that everyone is learning such different languages. Me and my Compeñera, Hermana Risser, decided that we are just gonna greet everyone in Spanish, regardless of what language they're learning, and most of them respond in their language. I really enjoy hearing so many languages and being able to still communicate.

It's really funny to me to hear people call me Hermana Long, because Hermana Long is my Mom. But Mom, you should know, I am very proud to wear your name around. And Dad, I'm proud to wear your last name. I hope I do it proud.

My first day here at the MTC was a little crazy. There was a lot of information dropped on me in a short amount of time. When I showed up at the MTC, I had a host show me around, and help me with my luggage and get my name tag and books and room number and key and such, and then took me to my room. Our building is close to where I take Español, which is where I went next for a 3 HOUR CLASS! And we were almost to the building when my host says to me "Did I already tell you that your teachers will only talk to you in the language you're learning?" I did not know this (thanks for the heads up, Mom and Dad. In all the conversations about the MTC, you failed to mention this.) SO I walk into the class, and it's all Spanish. Thank you Mom, Dad, Granddad and anyone else who ever spoke to me in Spanish- EVERY BIT HELPS!!!!! Gracias muchas muchas!!!!!

Our teacher is named Hermano Pitcher (I think that's how he spells it, now that I'm trying to write it, I'm not sure. If the spelling changes next week, don't be surprised)  He served his mission in Chile and he is from Utah. He is a very good teacher. He speaks slowly and elaborates when we look confused. I appreciate that a lot. The first day, class felt like playing charades with a caveman. He was making sounds that mostly didn't make sense, and making big hand motions. My proudest moment of the day was during an "extreme round" of "caveman charades." He was trying to tell us a little bit about himself, and I recognized some key words like "mi esposa" (my wife), "embarazada" (pregnant) and "esperanza" (hope and possibly wait), "nombre" (name), "lista" (list) and an obvious baby motion, and a fair bit of español-gibberish. I finally realized that he was telling us that he and his wife are expecting, but they haven't named the baby yet. They have a list but they don't want to name the baby until it is born. I was so excited when I figured it out. 

My class, or my District, is 8, now 7, Missionaries. One of our Elder's visas went thru, so he's on a plane to the Colombia MTC. We have 6 Hermanas, Hermanas Burr and Allen, Hermanas Shiffler and Binley, and Compeñera, Hermana Risser. Hermana Risser is from Southern California. She's really short, and really sweet and funny. I imagine we look a little funny walking around, because I'm 8 inches taller than her. Our Elder is named Elder Weddle, and he's from Ohio. He's the oldest in our district- 24.

Funny story about class- I was teaching Hermana Risser a pretend lesson, and the object was to get to know her, and Hermano Pitcher thought I was going too fast, so he came over to show me how I should do it. So she's made up this character with a whole backstory, and she's talking about her little daughter, and Hermano Pitcher is all "We don't have any kids yet, but someday we'd like to" and I thought, whatcha talkin about, White Man?!?! He stays for a second, and just rolls away. Later we thought that he was pretending to be an Hermana, and meant more like "neither of us has kids yet", but it came out really funny.

We went to the Temple today, which was really nice. It is a beautiful building. Afterward, we took some pictures with Hermanas Allen and Burr, and a non-missionary Hermano was walking by, and we asked him to take pictures of us. He was very nice, and it turns out that he served in Argentina, too, which was cool because we're all going to Argentina.

It's nice seeing Lauren around. I guess she's Sister Bangerter now, which sounds funny to me, because, again, Sister Bangerter is her mom. The first time I was so happy to see her. I felt like Alma when he was reunited with the sons of Mosiah, and was so happy that they were still faithful. Not that I had any worries about her being faithful, but it was still nice.

I can now pray in Spanish. This has been a dream of mine forever! It is not nearly as hard as I thought it was. And I now really have to think about what I want to pray for. Mom, Dad, I challenge you to teach the rest of the family to pray in Spanish and pray in Spanish a couple of nights a week. Let me know next week if you do it, and if and how it helps your prayers. Some of the things we pray for here at the MTC are "por diligencia" (diligence), "por salud" (health), "que bendiga mi familia" (bless my family) and "por don de lenguas" (the gift of tongues, so that we can speak the language). Some of the things we are grateful for are "por mi Compañera" (companion, if you haven't picked that up), "por mi familia" (my family) and "por Jesucristo" (Jesus Christ). I think that shows where my priorities lie.

Pictures will come next week, as I am apparently at a computer that can't download them. Oops. That's all for this week.

Feel free to write to me! I would love to get e-mails!!

Choose the Right! Know you are loved! Adios! Ciao! 
Con Amor,
Hermana Long

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Summary of People and Places

November 5, 2014- December 22, 2014 
Missionary Training Center Provo, Utah
with Hermana Risser

December 23, 2014- March 5, 2015
with Hermana Gomez

March 6, 2015- May 29, 2015
with Hermana Lopez

May 30, 2015-August 22, 2014
Hermana Fasanando

August 22, 2015-November 13, 2015
with Hermana Bindley

November 14, 2015-December 27, 2015
with Hermana Fasanando

December 28, 2015-January 3, 2016
Punta Alta
with Hermana Leavitt

January 4, 2016- February 10, 2016
Ingeniero White
with Hermana Islas

February 11, 2016- March 30,2016
Trenque Lauquen
with Hermana Nomellini

March 31, 2016
with Hermana Antuna