Friday, August 5, 2016

First Couple of Days at the MTC (Letter #1)

Hello Everyone!!

First: #mishspiration for the week (Missionary inspiration):

 "Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest."   Joshua 1:9

The last two days more than ever I have felt Christ's presence in my life as I strive to make his purpose my purpose. I know that He died for each of us and that because of Him we can find happiness in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. That is the message we're sharing with our investigator (actor) tomorrow and I'm so pumped (even though it will be in French and it'll be way rough...)

When you arrive at the MTC the first thing you do is get your name tag with a big orange dot on it signifying that it's your first day (aka that you have no idea what you're doing and that everyone should help you haha). There's this weird phenomenon that I like to call orange dot syndrome, that when anyone who has been here more than a week sees the aforementioned orange dot they lose all control of their vocal chords and have to yell "WELCOME TO THE MTC!!" as loud as they can. We heard that phrase probably 587 times in our short first day.
"Welcome to the MTC" orange dots apparently were removed for the picture.

And that weird phenomenon is just one small peek into the weird dynamics of the MTC. Put thousands of 18-21 year olds in an enclosed space, tell them they're missionaries and can't flirt with each other, then put them in groups to learn a foreign language for hours a day, have them teach fake investigators in said foreign language they don't know, THEN ask them to do it all while they are overcoming technology withdrawal and you have one interesting place. But I am honestly loving every second of it. The spirit is so strong here. It may feel like a weird social experiment at times, but it's amazing. In the words of our branch president "the six weeks you will spend here will be quite unlike any other six weeks in your entire life." I can see already that that is 100% true. I figure I can either take that to mean it's going to be super weird and I can't wait to leave (and there may be a tiiiiiny bit of that), but I'm mostly taking it to mean that these are six weeks to learn and feel the spirit in a way that I never have and (thankfully) never will again, so I may as well fully embrace it. Let's do this.
Soeur Goold and her roomies (in background, Soeur Jones, Allen, Huntsman)
If you know me, you know I'm all about weird word puns so I love that MTC backwards is CTM: Concentration of Tender Mercies (yes it's silly and totally something I would come up with...sorry, it's just too accurate). In the last 48 hours (CRAZY, feels like I've been here forever!!) there have been so many little tender mercies!

TM=Tender Mercy

TM #1: SOEUR JONES IS MY COMPANION!!! For those of you who don't know, we were in the same ward at BYU, are both majoring in nursing, and somehow got lucky enough to be MTC companions. Soeur Jones is seriously so kind, easy-going, spiritual, hard working, and determined to be a good missionary and "Inviter les gens a venir au Christ" (Invite others to come unto Christ). Also, Soeur Allen and Soeur Huntsman, the two other sisters in our district and our roommates are awesome and so easy to get along with! We know it won't always be this easy, but I'm so grateful my first companion was a home run. We keep joking that hopefully this isn't the high point ;)

TM #2: They let us e-mail home the first night here so my mom could know I was alive!

TM #3: the food is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be (although I am definitely looking forward to French food in a few weeks)

TM #4: our p-day is FRIDAY!! That means a) we have the best p-day of the week, and b) we got to go to the temple and wear normal clothes and e-mail just 2-days after arriving! Everyone says "just make it to Sunday," but we only had to make it to Friday :)

P-day clothes!

TM #5: I can already feel the spirit guiding me in random thoughts and helping me know what I should share in what situations. It's such a cool feeling and so incredible to experience the love God has for his missionaries first hand.
at the temple 
TM #6: Soeur Jones and I were SO HUNGRY after the first day (dinner was at like 4) and the vending machines weren't taking any cards and we only had big bills. We were soooo desperate when Soeur Allen let us borrow $2 to get an apple. HALLELUJAH.
TM #7: There is a british elder in our district and he let me try out my accent on him. Said I sounded like a British person from the 1800s (thanks Downton Abbey). Anyway, it made my day.

These are just a couple of sooo many tender mercies we've experienced since being here and I know as we begin to really learn French there will be so many more. I love the scripture:

"But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those  whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." 
1 Nephi 1:20

I know that if I put my faith in Him he will help me through all the challenges I will face. With Him I can become great, without Him I am nothing. #tendermercies
Just resting

Things I'm working on:
-Exact obedience. I'm trying to get over my "spirit of the law" mentality and just obey all the little rules that I don't understand. "Obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles"

-Loving EVERYONE here. It is so easy to love Soeur Jones, investigators, and the elusive "people of France." But I've been struggling to always love all of the other missionaries here. Most of them are easy to love, but when some go about teaching in a way that I never would I find it harder to keep the perspective that we're all in this together. But I'm praying that God will help me see them as His children and that I will remember that they are here to share the gospel just like me, that we all love God, that God loves them just as much as He loves me, and especially that each of them can teach me something about how to be a better missionary if I can just be open to learn from them.
Cami's MTC district
I love you all, please write!! I don't have a ton of e-mail time but I have enough and I want to hear all about your lives (and see pics!!)

Soeur Cami Goold
All the tags
Her roomies: Soeur Huntsman, Soeur Allen, Soeur Jones (her companion), and Soeur Goold
Hanging out in the room

At the temple 

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