Actually, it's a busy campus teeming with young, eager missionaries from all over the world and who are headed to places all over the world and speaking languages we've never even heard of and learning more than we could have imagined and setting records of MTC entrance numbers and I love love LOVE it!!
Out of 550 missionaries who entered the MTC (Missionary Training Center, here in Provo Ut) I was the last one to arrive. But I immediately felt so welcomed and enthused by the energy of every missionary who passed me and smiled and said hello, sometimes in words I didn't understand. My ushers let me straight to my classroom where I met my colorful and wonderful district (group of missionaries, all headed to Thailand as well.) And a teacher who yep....was ONLY speaking Thai. Did we understand? no. Did he keep speaking it? Yes :) We were all kind of waiting for the 'gift of tongues' thing to kick in....before we realized that's not exactly how it works.
Hmm..the easiest way to describe it is with short sentences that aren't even sentences. We've got: an Australian, a Vegan, a graduate of Millard High, an El Salvadorian who shares my love for papusas, a few more great missionaries, and my little Southern Belle companion Sister Carper. She reminds me a lot of sweet Ashton Meaders: she's got an accent and says things like 'Here we come, Buddha country.' There are 6 six sisters in my district (and we are all roommates) and six elders. And there are 8 more elders in our zone, all of us going to Thailand. This is a pretty big deal that there are 6 of us because there are fewer than sixty missionaries in the country now, and only 16 sisters. I'm excited to boost their numbers:)
Thai, Wow. Thai. It's so great. It's surprisingly easier than I expected. The grammar is so easy. Like to make any verb a noun, you just add a certain prefix (kaan). And there's not much differentiation between subjects and objects. So 'me' and 'I' are usually the same words. It's so nice. There's lots of rrr rolling and funny sounds and tones and color to the language. We've learned how to bear our testimonies and pray. And even though I have so so far to go, I am grateful to do those two, most important things. And I'm also glad that Heavenly Father hears prayers in different languages :) It didn't take my companion long to fin out that I sometimes talk in my sleep...and she said I was speaking Thai the other night. And that the next night I said 'Okay now let me teach you some Thai.' I'm not sure if I believe her, but maybe I'm just in denial. Haha
My teachers are so fabulous. They are teaching the language not by building a foundation of grammar and the alphabet and vocabulary, but by introducing teaching and praying and reading Preach My Gospel (the primary missionary manual). Then the other stuff just comes with it. The rest of the time in class is spent on reaching skills and studying. I love being able to spend so much time in the scriptures. And talking about the Gospel. Teaching is really hard, though. The other day and Elder companionship was teaching my comp and I the first lesson and one of the Elders said something I wasn't sure about. I argued. The Spirit left. And I learned a really powerful lesson. You could throw out scripture after scripture or fact after fact, but without the Spirit, you CANNOT teach.
Time is almost up. Suffice it to say, this week has been a whirlwind. I am learning and growing and making mistakes ans tumbling and standing back up and pushing forward. I have so much to learn in so many ways: the language, knowledge of the Gospel, my testimony, teaching, and so much more. But I am so grateful Heavenly Father has given me the opportunity to work on those things in such a wonderful place.
I love you