That’s our district’s motto. You Only MTC Once. For some of us it means taking an extra helping in the cafeteria and for other it means seriously coming out of your shell. For me, it’s living and every moment in the MTC.
The San Fernando, CA missionaries are in the new MTC campus down at Wyview/Raintree. It’s a lot quieter than the main campus, I’ve heard, and we get a lot more time outside than the other missionaries. My district is seriously the best. One of our elders, Elder Simonson, left for home for a few weeks to take care of some family issues before he’ll return to the MTC and meet us in San Fernando. We miss him terribly, he’s a great missionary. I’m proud of the decision he made. Our other Elders (McCauley, Barnett, and Nielson) are fantastic. They’ve definitely become little brothers, and it’s great to see how different their personalities are and how they progress as teachers and missionaries. Elder Nielson is the serious one – he’s a champ at studying, and I really enjoy chatting with him about the Gospel. He’s the definitely the dad of the district (as Elder Barnett is getting distracted talking, Elder Nielson is the one to reach out a hand to keep him from banging his head on a stairwell, etc.). Elder McCauley is our District Leader and has done a great job of keeping us organized and retrieving our mail (just kidding!). He’s got a great sense of humor. Elder Barnett is the little brother of the district – drawing on the board between classes, coming up with silly things to say, but we love him. Anybody messes with Elder Barnett, they have to deal with the CA-SFER sisters.He’s so excited to teach, it keeps us motivated. We decided before Elder Simonson left that we would make ‘our’ elders each a card with things about them that we admire and sharing with them our favorite scriptures. We picked up candy bars from the Creamery and gave it to them the morning Elder Simonson left. They seemed like they appreciated it – Elder Nielson even asked if we could take a picture with him and his card! We love our elders!
My companion, Sister Lewis, is great. We’re similar in some ways, but then completely opposite in others. I think we complement one another well – she’s talkative, I’m not, things like that. She’s an absolute sweetheart! (also, SVU friends, she knows Kirsten Cazier!) I couldn’t have asked for a better companion my transfer. We get on really well. Our other sisters in the district are awesome, Sister Olsen and Sister Humphrys. We live in an apartment together, and really enjoy hanging out and learning together. Sister Olsen keeps us laughing, and Sister Humphrys goes around blessing everyone’s souls.
I am so blessed to have such a wonderful district!!!
It’s incredible how much we are learning – fourteen hours of learning and class time a day. It’s kind of hilarious because we have our classroom in an apartment, and we are in the living room. We’ve got a great big white board, our computers, and a picture of Christ healing the man with palsy. I love being able to look up and see Christ doing exactly what it is we are trying to do – love, serve, and forget ourselves and go to work. Our teachers, Sister Lewis and Brother Pinnock, have been teaching us to look at the Big Picture. It’s not to get someone to commit to keeping the word of wisdom, it’s helping someone to realize how much Heavenly Father loves them and why it is that He asks us to do certain things.
We finished teaching our first “investigator,” Lucky, who is really Bro. Pinnock role playing and being someone he taught on his mission in Holland (why he’s not teaching Dutch, we don’t know). It’s challenging to try to keep up with your companion and stay on the same page, but Sis. Lewis and I realized that praying for unity and for the Holy Ghost to help us to speak does wonders. Our first lesson was a bomb, but our second was great. It’s incredible how much love you have for these people. I can’t wait to get into the field. We are teaching an actual investigator, Rachel, tonight and hope to just get to know her and help her to feel Heavenly Father’s love for her. I’m a bit nervous, but know that we’re prepared and can accomplish what the Holy Ghost wants us to as long as we’re listening.
Sister Lewis (the teacher) was preparing to teach and suddenly turned to me and asked me to share my conversion story. I wasn’t at all expecting it, and was even more surprised to learn that somehow some of the Louisville, Kentucky district had heard about it.
We ‘live’ in the classroom next to 8 elders headed to Boise. Sister Olsen calls them the “Boise Boys” – they’re a jolly lot. Most of them are from Utah, but there is one from Brentwood, England, and another from Pittsburgh. We’ve secretly given them each nicknames: Elder English, Elder Texan, etc. And they’ve responded to them. We are planning on playing a pick up game of soccer our next gym day with at least Elder Hughes (English guy) and his companion.
I can’t even express how much I love the MTC. I miss my family and friends, but I am really enjoying all that I am learning, the experiences I am having, and the people I am meeting and getting to know. I’ve been able to see Elder Stebbing several times, and was able to eat dinner with him last night before Sunday Devotional. His Russian seems like it’s coming along really well, and he hasn’t driven his companion insane yet. :) It was great to be able to see him on my first day! I wasn’t at all expecting it, but apparently they kicked the Russians/Ukrainians out of Main Campus down here.
There’s an incredible spirit here. Last night, we were waiting in the chapel to watch Elder Bednar’s “Character of Christ” lesson, but it blanked out right in the middle of the opening prayer (it was a broadcast). What happened after a few minutes of silence? Some of the Thai elders began singing hymns, and suddenly the entire chapel was filled with voices singing missionary hymns. I would have been content to continue on like that for the rest of the evening. Soon, after singing a hymn or two a capella, an elder went up to the piano to begin accompanying us (his companion looked stunned), and a sister went up to conduct. I am so glad to live among such amazing elders and sisters! I know for a fact that some of those hymns were what some missionaries really needed to hear. I am so blessed to be hear and thankful to be here.
Oh – guess who was first in the district to have to go to the clinic? Yeah, you’re right, me. The elevation change from home has killed me, and it made my feet swell so much that I have terrible blisters. Our Branch President, President Jenkins, made me go to the ER downtown, and they prescribed me some antibiotics and set me up with bactracin and sport tape. The nurse made my wrap “cool” by adding stripes. I think he appreciated having a non-fussy sister missionary.
Well, my time is up. Just know that I love what I’m doing and know that this Gospel is true. All is well!!
Sister Meg Redner