Monday, September 15, 2014

Birthday Week


Another greeaaattt week in the MTC. (Infer what you want from that sentence.) But, this week was birthday week! Well, birthday day. But that was good enough for me. 

Thanks for all the birthday surprises! When I got to the classroom that morning, my district friends had decorated my desk with sticky notes and wrote a big birthday note on the chalkboard (even though it was cleaning check and we were supposed to wipe the board clean, but they let us slide). Also, on my desk were goldfish, homemade cookies, and a note from Sarah!  Her friend, Lauren, who works at the MTC, dropped it off on my desk. The cookies were delicious. I miss homemade food!

My birthday landed on a Tuesday, which is one of the better days to have a birthday here. We have choir and devotional that night. The previous Sunday a member of the MTC presidency announced that a general authority would be coming soon and went over the proper procedure of how we should stand when he came. That led everyone to think that someone cool was coming on Tuesday, and there had been various reports of Pres. Uchtdorf sightings on campus. But alas, he was not there. An Elder Niatii (or something close to that...) and his wife spoke, and they both gave good talks. But at choir on Sunday it was confirmed that someone will be coming this Tuesday. So stay tuned. These kinds of rumors fly around the MTC like crazy. It's the little things.

I opened up packages when I got home that night, and got some fun things! The elephant necklace I got from you guys is the same one as Sister H. has. So now we can be twins. It's really cute, I like it a lot. I also got a really pretty one from Grandma and Grandpa. Lauren and Mason sent me some missionary essentials. When I saw the BYU bookstore bag in the package, it warmed my heart. Also, so much candy! But I've given up whatever no eating junk rules I may have come in with (which, were like none, so it's fine). Nate and Jane sent two pounds of gummy bears! I took them to my class and they were a big hit in my district. Ellie also sent me a box with sparkling cider! But it had a real bottle cap on it that we couldn't get off! After struggling to levy it off with a ladder from our bunk bed (pictures below), Sister H. eventually narrowly avoided serious injury as she pried it off with a pocket knife. We got it though! And it was fun celebration. 

Speaking of adventures in the residence, last P-day I was studying on my bed and from across the room (without my glasses on, I might add) I saw an enormous spider crawling across the floor. It was bigger than a quarter and hairy! I told everybody not to move, and grabbed a shoe, but as I got too it, I knew it was way too big. I have my bug catching limits. It eventually crawled under my bed and Sister H. (she solves all our problems!) and another sister from next door had their heads under the bed for 10 minutes trying to catch it. Eventually it was smashed. We figured it was just preparation for the bigger spiders to come! 

Today the Thai districts that came in just a few weeks before us are taking off! We all went up to the temple yesterday to take zone pictures. That makes us the oldest ones here--well, I'm always the oldest one here--but in length of time here, we're now the oldest in the zone. (Speaking of which, my birthday solidified even further that I am a grandmother here. People gave me flack for it all day. But it was loving. I did, however, find out that one of our teachers is only 21... It was a weird moment for both of us...). But anyways, we take off officially 3 weeks from now! I don't have the official flight information, but I think we take off from SLC around 8 and have a layover in LAX from 9:30 to 1 or something like that. So sometime during that span I'll give you guys a call! I'll let you know more as I do. 

It was a pretty good language week. I've revised my study plan, and I think I'm on track to learn 750 words before I leave this place. That and memorize the First Vision, and baptismal commitment. Oh and also learn how to read and speak fluently... So... We'll see how the last two go. TRC went well this week. I feel like I can understand their responses pretty well when I ask them questions, even if I still can't converse fluently with them. But then I'll ask them to pray at the end, and they'll speak at a normal pace and I won't catch any of it, haha. 

But we've now graduated from TRC with RMs here at the MTC. Now we get to skype actual members in Cambodia. Starting tonight! So that's a more than a little scary... And our lessons are 40 minutes now. Sister S. and I are teaching on enduring to the end. So I'll let you know how that goes next week. Say a prayer for me!

Just a couple of cool things from devotionals this week. Elder Niatii on Tuesday mentioned that our missions will become the spiritual foundations of our lives. And I feel like I can already see this happening. Because I spend so much time (literally all the time) devoted to studying the gospel and how we can present these doctrines simply, I'm gaining a greater testimony of the doctrinal aspect of the gospel, and how everything fits together. I can tell how having these 18 months getting to know the doctrine will help me make sense of everything more. 

I've also realized lately that I am more of a questioner than a lot of other people. I don't know if I was born this way, or if I've developed it after years of anthropology classes in which we're constantly encouraged to critique arguments. But questioning is important to me, and I'm not afraid to not know the answer. Just before companion study and after personal study, my qua-panions (AKA the four of us) like to have a little discussion about what we've learned before we start planning lessons. I love this because we get to wonder about things. My companion doesn't love it quite as much. I think she worries sometimes about asking questions. But in a recent devotional, a wife of an MTC leader (I forget who, her name was Sister Lindahl) talked about the difference between asking questions from a place of faith and from a place of doubt and drew upon the examples of Mary mother of Jesus and Zacharias ( I think this is in Jesus the Christ). And I loved that idea. That we can ask questions and admit that we don't have all the answers. And maybe asking questions will only lead to more questions, but as long as we hold to the faith we already have, it's good to ask. Just food for thought. 

We also watched a taped devotional that Elder Bednar gave on Christmas at the MTC about the Character of Christ. You should google it. I bet you could find it online. It was great! He talked all about how our natural inclination when life gets hard is to turn in, while Christ always turns out and helps other people. Even as he was dying on the cross, he turned to the two criminals also on crosses and started doing missionary work. He talked about what we can do to develop these qualities. Look it up!

Well, I think that's about it for this week. Thanks for all the B-day wishes! 

Sister Fields

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