Wow, what a crazy 2 weeks it's been. I'm technically in my third week of my mission now. Last week I didn't really get a chance to email because the day I normally would've was Thanksgiving, which is why my message last week was so scatterbrained.
The MTC is incredible! I thought, before I entered the MTC, that upon entering I was leaving the real world and entering some fantasy realm, but only a few hours into the MTC I realized that this IS the real world and I had left behind a fantasy world.
Let me explain. Before entering the MTC, I was very much in my own head. If something didn't really effect me, then I didn't particularly care. But here, it isn't about you, and you can't live as though it is, it's all about helping others and identifying what people need and how you can help them.
This is still definitely the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It is constant work, from waking up to going to bed, so with the exceptions of meals and gym time that's about 16 hours of work a day! I thought getting up for Seminary atwas hard in high school, that's nothing compared to waking up at here because you're always working!
I wouldn't trade it for anything though. You may be wondering now what I'm working on for 16 hours a day. Spanish is honestly the smallest part of that. I would say only about 15% of the time my teachers are trying to teach us Spanish, and even then that's not really their goal.
My purpose as a missionary is to invite people to come unto Christ and receive the restored Gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. I have learned that I don't need to know how to speak Spanish to invite people to come unto Christ, Spanish will only provide a way for me to do that.
One of my teachers said something that I really liked: he said that speaking their language doesn't mean being fluent, it means loving the person you're talking to.
What we've been working on the most lately is how to, from a small conversation, identify what they really want and need in life and how to teach the gospel in a way that it applies to them. For example, if someone is really concerned about their family, it's best to teach in a way that highlights how through Jesus Christ families can be together forever and live in eternal happiness. Or if someone feels alone, it's best to teach how after you are baptized, you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and can always have the Holy Ghost to be with you to comfort you and guide you to happiness, no matter how hopeless you feel.
What really hit me hard about this was the first day we were practicing teaching someone who was pretending to be someone interested in the church and one sister was trying to tell him about Jesus Christ and he said to her, "You don't care about me, all you want is to share your religion." It really made me realize that these are people we're teaching, not lessons.
Our teachers are so great here, and they care so much about us! A lot of times our teachers will pretend to be people who aren't members and we have to teach them, all in Spanish. (I joke that all our teachers actually have split personality disorder). We haven't taught one lesson in English.
It snowed about 8 inchesand this morning in was 1 degree Fahrenheit outside. You might be jealous, but my companera and I constantly think of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies while we're outside. Also we had a speaker come and he was AMAZING! I remember afterwards our district got together and talked about what he said and everyone had a different favorite part. It was really great.
Some pictures are attached. The one of the guys tying their ties has a bit of a story behind it. The Elders in my Zone were really envious of the way one of our teachers ties his ties, and so the picture is him teaching them. He's the one front and center.
Also there's a picture of me and my companion in the snow ;)
I am so happy to be here! This is experience is amazing and I wouldn't change it for anything for anything! I invite you all to come unto Christ! Seguira el ejemplo de Jesucristo!
Hermana Julie Brooks
Please send me mail! I love getting mail! There are a few ways to write me.
My email, which you hopefully have: firstname.lastname@example.org
-click on Provo West MTC and send me a letter (the unit number is 880)
- Dear Elder is completely free!
And snailmail, which is
Hermana Julie Kristen Brooks
2023 N 900 E Unit 880
Provo, UT 84602
That's how to get to me until.
I prefer snail mail and DearElders
Thanks all! Love to hear from you!