Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Week 1 in the MTC

Michael’s preparation day appears to be on Tuesdays while he’s in the MTC, just so everyone knows.  This week’s email was, well, a little strange.  We think there was an email missing.  The first one we got had a subject line of “PS” and starts with the word “Also,” both suggesting that something came before.  And then we got a second one with the subject, “PPS.”  You’ll see, it looks like something is missing.  I’m dying to know what was in the first email!

Subject:  PS

Also, Stacey. I've entrusted you with my facebook. Use it well, and maybe post the blog info somewhere so everyone can read that. And continue working on your assignments. And let me know how those go!

The rest of you, know that I love you all, work hard, and do your best to stay righteous. I know I haven't told you guys much about the MTC experience, but I'll be here for about an eternity. Although I can add that they say we Madagascar missionaries will be teaching English when we get to the country, and teaching everyone about hygiene. That sounds promising.

Gotta go now,

-Elder Arrington

See what I mean?  Something’s missing.  Still he followed up with this one, which is much more informative and includes a little lesson on Malagasy!

Subject:  PPS

So... I just realized how little I wrote before and how useless it all was. I'll see if I can do better this time.

When we showed up, a companionship greeted me and took my bags. They walked me through getting checked in and everything went smoothly. We got to my room, which I share with the other Malagasies (Elders Hamm, Evans, and Horne). The room is pretty nice, about twice as big as my college dorm (but with twice as many people) for those of you who saw that. The food here is pretty good, and we've been enjoying that. They have a wrap assembly line that is FANTASTIC, but of course, everybody goes there. And it moves really slow since the employees have to dish it up and there's usually only two of them there. Regardless, it's worth it. Toward the end of day one we got together and they introduced us to a few investigators (one old guy, one Asian guy, and one VERY black chick. Straight up, she'd be all, "you don't know my life! Why you tryin' ta chaaaange me?") and we (the new elders and people) took turns trying to teach them the gospel. That was pretty fun.

The first day was also when we had our first Malagasy language class, where we learned phrases like "Inona ny dikn'ny hoe...?" which means "what does... mean?" and "Misoatra" Which means "thank you". Mee-sew-tchah. Pronounced like that. Anyway, teaching Miandry our first time was tough, but he was pretty nice to us. Although we had forgetten to learn a door approach, he let us in after a few minutes of awkwardness. He also avoided asking us very many questions and repeated back the same vocabulary we were using so it wasn't too bad. It seemed bad at the time, but compared to now, he was nice. Last time Miandry asked us how Joseph Smith saw God (he had to sign "to see") and we told him that Joseph Smith prayed. He asked that if he prayed he would have the same experience. Not knowing what else to say, my companion answered "Eny" (yeh-knee) which means yes. I finally figured out today a better approach to that, where we could have told him that if he prayed he could KNOW God, but not necessarily see him. The language was the only thing stopping us. As it was, Miandry just said "okay..." and we tried to wrapped up with a testimony. To make a long story short, the language is coming along quickly, but the faster we learn, the better we can teach.

On Sunday we had church, which was fantastic. They split up Priesthood and Sacrament, so we got some studying done then. We also had a devotional thing that we were supposed to go to, and although we were 15 minutes early, Elder Hamm and myself didn't get seats. Which is stupid because Elders Evans and Horne couldn't get in the door and were on their way home when Hamm and I found another way in. We called them back, all four went upstairs, and Evans and Horne literally grabbed the LAST TWO SEATS. For seriousness. It should have been me and Hamm. Anyway, we watched it on a TV in another room. Plus, after that, they left the gym (that's where the devotional was) and watched some other thing while Hamm and I watched a talk by David A Bednar from last Christmas, and it was basically the greatest talk of all time. And Evans and Horne missed out on it. And that's what we call sweet justice. But their thing was pretty good too, so it's all good.

I only have four minutes left, so I'll try to run through a day. We wake up at 6:20 to beat everyone else to the showers (we've almost been late for things a couple times because of lines), go to breakfast after some studying at 7:30, go to class for three hours, take a lunch break, come back to class and study the language on our own, then the teacher shows up and teaches for another three hours (switching about half for Malagasy and half for teaching methods and gospel things). Then we have about 45 minutes at the gym where nobody knows how to play volleyball and the ones that do will only pass to their friends, then dinner and time for bed. Actually, move the second class to after dinner. Then we study as a district/companionships for about an hour, get ready for bed, and lights go out at 10:30. And repeat.

Time to go, I love you all and hope this was better than before,

-Elder Arrington

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