Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week Three in the MTC

Week three in the MTC! Time is flying by! It seemed when I first got here that the 9 weeks would never end, but the other Italian sisters who were here when we arrived left today for Italy. That will be us soon! Woohoo! The more time I spend here, the more excited I am for Italy and yet also the more grateful I am that I have all this time in the MTC to prepare. It has been a wonderful experience. I've realized this week that the MTC for me is not about learning Italian, Heavenly Father prepared me for that a few months ago, but rather it is a time to grow spiritually and become a missionary!
A few days ago we switched to speaking mostly Italian in our classes and it is incredible to see how quickly the missionaries pick up on the language and how much they understand for the little exposure they have had. We try to speak only Italian when we are together for a few hours in the morning. They can express themselves just about as well as I can!
One exciting thing we had this week was zone conference for all the Italian missionaries in the MTC (about 25). Some of our teachers spoke and one gave a powerful lesson on inadequacy, which is something we all experience here. She told us that yes, we all are inadequate, but that is why we need the Lord's help to do His work. She brought up a scriptural example that really hit me. It's the rarely mentioned "small lad" who gave up his meager portion of bread and fishes for Jesus to perform the miracle to feed the 5000. This small lad was well aware that he didn't have enough to feed everyone and yet he gave up everything he had. When Jesus performed the miracle, it wasn't the small lad who was recognized and glorified, even though it was his food that was multiplied. It was God who was glorified. As missionaries, we are just like the small lad because we give up all that we have and let our Savior perform the miracle and receive the glory. What a wonderful example to me of my purpose. It's not about me. I am also learning to love the Italians already even though I do not know them.
Last week we had Elder Robert D. Hales speak to us in a devotional on our purpose and finding the light of Christ in other people. Funny story; afterwards one of the Italian missionaries followed him to his car and was expecting him to say something to him and Elder Hales stuck out his hand and said while counting, "serve God with your (1)heart (2)might (3)mind (4)and (5)strength. Yes, he counted the word "and" on his hand!
Something else kind of neat; my companions and I were studying together outside and there was a big film crew recording Japanese missionaries. They wanted us to be apart of it for the "natural atmosphere" of the MTC and so they stuck a bunch of missionaries at our table and recorded us for 5 minutes. Apparently it was for a Japanese stake conference. Woot woot, we're famous!
Last week we also practiced talking to people in Italian on a "bus" (which was really a room with the desks rearranged). We did this for almost two hours, switching between being an investigator and being a missionary. Some of the elders in our district really let their personalities shine with this one because we were allowed to get pretty creative when we were investigators. One elder kept repeating "cerco il mio gatto" which means "I am looking for my cat" and he had the missionaries try to help him find his cat before listening to them. Ha! One of the many creative examples.
One of the things we do in the MTC is prepare a talk for each Sunday's Sacrament Meeting. Our Branch President doesn't announce who is speaking until right before, so we all have to be ready with something prepared according to a new topic each week! Apparently it is good practice for when we are missionaries in Italy and they ask us to speak at the last minute. By the time we leave, we will have 9 talks prepared and ready to go! Next week we are going to start giving them in Italian too!
One of the highlights of the MTC experience, something we prepare for each week, is the TRC where we teach an "investigator"(usually just a volunteer from BYU) a full lesson. This week we had two investigators and we taught them about the Plan of Salvation. I've been learning for these last few weeks about how everything we do is for the investigator. We get so caught up in learning Italian and learning the lessons and how to teach them, when really EVERY thing we do is for these Italian people. We don't matter. So, I've been trying to think only about the investigator when teaching, rather than worrying about how I am doing, and it makes a huge difference. The Spirit is so much more able to help us know what to say and how to say it and we feel so much more love for them. It's tough though when you are actually doing it because you are nervous and worried about what to say. Anyways, for me this last TRC was a great experience and I was much more able to worry about my investigators. Even though they are role playing, they are still real people with real needs and we can still meet those needs. I felt my love for them grow and my ability to teach them improve when I concentrated on what they needed to hear rather than what I needed to say.
Love learning with my companions, they share great insights and we are all on a similar journey with our testimonies. I am learning how to have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Savior. It has taken me 21 years to finally realize that I need to do this and how I can do it and it makes all the difference
My companions sing like angels! Favorite moment weas singing hymns around piano
Io so che il vangelo restaurato e vero. So che Dio ci ama and ha ci dato suo figlio Gesu Cristo per la nostra salvezza.

Sorella Askew

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