Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The first 5 and a half weeks at the MTC

The MTC is intense!  Not unexpectedly so, but I don’t feel just yet that I have hit my stride or rhythm, so any and all prayers would be greatly appreciated!  I really am glad though, I’ve gotten to do so many cool things already.  I’ve taught 6 lessons in French (avec mes compagnes) and I can’t believe how much French I know, it’s amazing.  I can definitely attribute it to a partial gift of tongues (which I pray for all the time) because I can’t imagine learning it so quickly in school. 
So I’ve been here for a few weeks now and I am really grateful for your love and support.  Cool things I have done so far:  playing volleyball during gym time with Polynesians, Polynesians always coming by our class to feed the Sisters candy/food, and getting an impressed reaction from people when I mention that I’m going to Tahiti, speaking French and Tahitian.  I. Am. So. Lucky.  We learn French for the first 5 and a half weeks (now) and Tahitian for the last 5 and a half weeks.  Also, we just found out that we’ll be taught French (so we don’t lose the language). 
Have I mentioned that the 16 hour days are intense?  They have to be though – a lot is expected from missionaries.  I’m in the largest MTC (Missionary Training Center) group in history and the standards are the highest they have ever been.  It’s hard to be so spiritually ON all the time and I definitely have some things that I need to learn before I preach the gospel.
I can already tell that this mission is reshaping the way I view my membership in the Church and I’m SO grateful to have this unique experience. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

MTC - Week 2

Bon soir!!
Today has been one of the best days at the MTC so far, P-Day. Praises for P-day. Not a single class today, took a grand nap, wrote a bunch of letters, went to the temple, and basically regained my sanity. :) I probably mentioned this in my last blog letter, but the MTC is INTENSE. We have rigid 16-hour days that are loaded with importance and progress so you have to bring your A-game every morning (not a problem for me, obviously) otherwise you could fall behind. Fortunately, my companions are pretty dang funny so I'm frequently amused which helps break up the intensity. One of my sister companions has a KILLER Irish accent and occasionally she will use the accent to say the French apology "desolee" and it gets me every time. I have had difficulty getting to sleep quickly because I'm translating my thoughts subconsciously into French & whatnot so I've been pretty tired. However, I bought a silky shut-eye mask and I believe my problems are over in that department. Today we went to the Provo temple and it was such a great experience.
The DearElder letters are a thing of beauty, thank you everyone!!
Things I have learned about Tahiti:
out of all the Polynesians, they are the most slender and the most tall (typically)
everyone has pretty much heard the Gospel, I have to find a way to teach it better than all the missionaries who have taught it before
I will most likely have the opportunity to live off of the main island, on a smaller island
most people speak French, only elderly people speak Tahitian (generally)
raw fish, pork cooked underground for 5-6 hours, watermelon, mangoes, coconuts, and rice are the main foods I will eat (um YUM)
I will be biking up mountains at various points
*more that I cannot summon right now because I just rolled out of my nap recently
I had the strange sensation today of realizing how close I am to my former BYU life while at the same time being totally separate from all of that. I know that a mission is one of the best decisions of my life so far. I'm so grateful for the experiences and people who have brought me to this point. I am so excited for all of the people I know and love who will be coming to the MTC over the course of the next few months!!!!!
The Polynesians still love us white girls, they keep feeding us and asking us to speak French to them. I officially made into the Big Leagues of Volleyball (playing with the Polynesians) so you could say that I'm pretty happy of myself. (Thumbs up for rock and roll: Youtube it)
This has been the most humbling experience of my life so far. I didn't consider myself an egotist but I have definitely learned that while I'm doing okay, I have a LOT left to do. This has been a huge, steep learning curve that I couldn't be more grateful to have. I know that this Church has brought me and my family and friends so much happiness and the reason I'm serving a mission is to bring that happiness to others. I just started reading Jesus is the Christ with my companions and our minds have been blown just by the Introduction/Chapter 1 so I'm sure I'll have a super eloquent testimony of Jesus Christ this time, next week.
I have taken the coolest pictures over the past 2 weeks but you'll just have to take my word for it because I forgot to bring my camera!! I will really see if I can make that happen sometime before next P-Day, but if not, stay tuned. I love you all and I have honestly felt so blessed by your prayers and thoughts, there is no way I would be this advanced in French all by myself. Thank you. I love life, even if it's through the eyes of a sleep-deprived student of the gospel. :)
love, Soeur Carter
P.S. J'adore le langue de Francais et je suis heureuse etre dans le MTC. Je suis en missionare de L'Eglise de Jesus Christ des Saintes des Dernier Jours et je l'aime!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1st Post from the Missionary Training Center

Today is my 6th day in the MTC!! Okay the phrase that gets tossed around here in the MTC is, "The days are long but the weeks are short." So true. I've been here for almost a week and it seems like a week but it still caught me by surprise. I get to go to San Francisco tomorrow to get my VISA and they gave us pass-along cards so we can proselyte at the airport. :) I plan on committing someone to baptism tomorrow.... kidding. My tri-companionship taught our investigator (and she's actually a real investigator from Tahiti!!!) for the third time today in French and I am so impressed with myself as well as the other members of my class (district) because our French is so flipping good. I honestly feel fluent sometimes, it's insane. My tri-companionship is super dynamic, LOVE these sisters. One is Souer J and the other is Souer F and we honestly are having such an awesome experience. We are all really different but we are pretty hillarious when we're together. Souer J has hillarious one-liners and Souer F has the funniest facial expressions!! We have a room just to ourselves and we have pretty much taken over the fourth space (the extra bed is covered with our stuff/fourth closet is filled/desk space:covered) but we're actually pretty neat. There's really not a lot of time to make a mess.
We wake up at 630 every morning and go to bed between 1030 and 1045. It sounds super crazy but it honestly is filled with really meaningful things. We have a teacher who is so intriguing, he has dark hair, big brown eyes and he doesn't get any of our class's jokes. He laughs at random things that we say that aren't necessarily jokes. He is super endearing. The gym time is a LIFE-SAVER. I recently got into this rowing machine that made me giggle the whole time I was "rowing" because I looked stupid but I felt the burn. I also lead ab workouts with my companionship and Souer F just spent a semester doing an internship in India so she teaches us yoga. We work out with a bunch of other Frenchies (people here learning French) and so we know some people from church. Sunday was the absolute best day, no classes and really good talks/devotionals. The choir director is super funny and the choir was honestly massive so when we sang it was like 500 elders and like 600 sisters singing with all our "vigor and vhim" and so I can sing as loudly as I want because no one can hear my specific voice anyway. :) The choir as a whole sounds like super professional.
I have to be mindful of not drinking so much water all the time because you never go anywhere without bringing your companions and we're always trooping off to the bathroom. We have a polynesian group on the hallway (all Elders) and they're always giving us food and greeting us with "Ia Orana!" and we've honestly said it like a hundred times now to each other. Souer J said that they probably rue the day that they ever started that greeting business. Holy cow, a poly just stuck his head in the room and said it right as I typed that!! I desire to be polynesian. Ok tell everyone to do the Dear Elder thing because it makes me look super popular and so far I have a super good reputation with the mail delivery. :) I'm like Glen Coco of the MTC. Ok I don't have very much time (there is a countdown in the upper right hand corner and I only have 30 minutes total) so definitely do the Dear Elder for while I'm in the MTC and it will be fun to keep hand-writing notes as well. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the earth today and I am so intensely proud to be in a place where I can learn how to serve other people by teaching them about the Savior. For all non-members reading this, let me direct you to or so you can learn more than I can share through email at this time.
Je peux parler francais beaucoup maintenant et je suis hate etudier francais pour dix plus semaine! Je suis une missionare pour L'Eglise de Jesus Christ des Saintes des Dernier Jours et je sais que L'Evangile de Jesus Christ est le moyen a bonheur pour vous et vos famille.
I hope everyone is enjoying their February and, everyone reading this: will you be my Valentine? :)
love, Souer Carter