Saturday, March 16, 2013

Arrivederci MTC!

Ciao Tutti! 

So it's my week of lasts here in the MTC. How strange is that? I can't believe how fast it has all gone by. We've had our last teaching apointment in the TRC. We've had our last Tuesday Devotional and Choir practice. We've had our last hosting day. Our last lessons with our 'investigators' were yesterday... and now it's our last p-day here in the MTC.

On to the world of real missionary work. 
We are getting so excited to leave. We can hardly pay attention during class. We had one of our teachers, Sorella Urban, guess where our first areas in the mission will be. The guess for me is either in Rome or Ragusa down in Sicilia. I'm fine with all of it. 

Yesterday Fratello Pesci was telling us all about the food there. He said they have something called "la graffa" and its basically a pretzel doughnut with nutella and white chocolate inside covered in sugar. Yikes. 

I'm Dreaming of....?

Italian is still coming along well.. I'm definitely learning faster the second time around. No dreams in Italian yet (that I can remember) but my roommates told me the other day that they heard me sleep-singing in Italian so I'd say that's a step in the right direction ahah.  I think they said I was singing "Lo Posso Scritture" which means "I can scriptures"... so there's that. 

Today is our last temple day which makes me sad because they keep telling us we probably won't make it to the dedication, so that is 16 1/2 months of no temple for me... (wow that number is going down fast).  I saw Preston's car in the parking lot last week which was exciting... I had to hound down some elders for a pen so I could leave a note on his car.  It's weird because I see a lot of people I know who are teachers at the MTC and the teachers I have are friends with a lot of my friends, so It's weird to have those connections to the outside world. 

The Sorellle have been craving a movie night and on Sunday we watched "Legacy" which was probably one of the funniest moments of the MTC.  There was quite a reaction to the pioneer love story in the movie haha.  During the mild kissing scene, the elder in front of us was literally covering his eyes for fear of getting sent home I'm sure. They had to quiet down the missionaries for their hollering and whistling.  But it was a fun little break.

It's Getting Real

Our TRC on Monday was really great too.  We had a mom and her 5-year-old daughter from Milan come in.  Her husband is getting his MBA here at BYU. We had to change our lesson around a bit.  Normally we only teach RMs,  so we had to fit our lesson to a 5-year-old girl.  It was so much fun teaching a family as compared to a single investigator... It made me realize how real this is going to be in a couple of days. 

Oh by the way... I saw Elder Archuleta at the MTC a couple days ago. Well, not actually him... but there was a suit coat left in the TALL Lab (a program we use to practice the language) and the tag on it said "Elder Archuleta" so the sisters all got pretty excited about that.  Suddenly everything becomes funnier in the MTC. 

Italian is Funny

Speaking of funny things... We make a lot of language mistakes that are really funny to us. 

Like when the sisters were teaching their male investigator and asked what he was "expecting"... they used the word in the context of pregnancy and he was pretty confused.   Same as when I asked him if he had a "husband."

My companion used the Italian word for "exciting" in our TRC lesson, which has a much different connotation in Italia (and not one missionaries should be using). 

My favorite was when two of the Anziani were teaching the Word of Wisdom, and our teacher came back to tell us that they kept telling him that he couldn't drink "milk" and he kept asking, "Why can't I drink milk?"  

He told us one where some of the old elders mixed up the words for "help" and "kill" so they promised their investigator that God would Kill him. Ooops. 

Getting Excited

I can't think of anything else in particular that happened this week. We are just mostly getting excited to go to Italy

I'm actually kind of sad to be leaving the MTC because our district gets along really well and I love my roommates so much.   It's sad to think we'll be split up, but at least we might be able to see each other from time to time in Italy. 

They keep joking that I'll be the one sent to Malta for my whole mission and miss everything because I'm the only one who has ever had a desire to learn arabic (they speak a mix of italian and arabic in Malta) so who knows... but wherever I go, I am excited to go. 

I've Got a Message

Being in the MTC has strengthened my faith that I can do this... I can bring people this message, and nothing is more important than that right now.  

I read this quote by President Hinckley that says, "We are here to assist our Father in Heaven in His work & His glory, to 'bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man' (Moses 1:39). Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere."  

What a great work to be a part of:  to bring people the love and support of the Savior Jesus Christ and provide them an opportunity to return to Him.  Every day I am grateful for the chance I have to be a missionary. 

Arrivederci MTC! I'll miss the 4-part harmonies to "Come Thou Fount" in the showers every night. I'll miss the sweet sister sighs and the nervous elder laughs. I'll miss the strange things I overhear on campus like  "IS THAT MITT ROMNEY?!"

... but I probably won't miss it too much because I'LL BE IN ITALY! I leave Tuesday at 12:35 I believe. I'll tell you all about it next time.
Ci Vediamo! 

Con tutti del mio cuore, 
Sorella O'Connor

Sisterly Advice

Paige! I am so excited for you to get here. I've told everyone to look for you, so you'll have a nice welcome party. You'd better add me onto your e-mail list. I want to know who all of your teachers are and everything you are learning. Don't worry about the language. Actually, don't worry about anything. It's hard but I know that you will love it. You'll probably come back speaking better Italian than I will. 

My advice for you (and all other missionaries coming in soon!):

You are making the BEST decision. Lately I've been wondering why I even considered not coming. There is nothing more incredible than knowing how important the work is that you are doing. Elder Holland said that you will never do anything more important in your life; you will do things that are equally important but nothing more important.

A little rundown of the first day:

(I was so lost the first day and wished I had known what will happen after I actually got here): They'll pick you up and take you to the main building where they will give you your name tag, make sure all your information is right, and all your keys and things. Then a host sister will pick you up and take you to your room. You'll drop your things off and just grab scriptures PMG and note taking things (if you don't bring one they will give you an english one here) then she'll take you to the bookstore to pick up all of your learning materials. You take that to your classroom (I'm going to leave notes in your building to look for) where you will meet your teacher and your district and your new companion! After that they might have you do an orientation video (I did mine later) and then to a welcome devotional with the MTC presdiency. You'll eat dinner and after that you'll go to a teaching activity (in English) with a ton of other missionaries. 


Always remember why you came and try to keep the eternal perspective. Make a goal of what kind of missionary you want to be at the end of your mission and then make your everyday choices based off of that final goal. Think of the day when you go home and what you want to be like then.   With that end perspective, it makes it easier to be obediant with the smaller rules and choices along the way. You will never regret being diligent and working hard, and you'll always regret not trying your best.  

Be forgiving of yourself when you aren't perfect.  No one expects you to be.  Growth comes little-by-little and choice-by-choice; it's not a change that happens when the name tag goes on. If you don't get it right the first time, don't be hard on yourself.   As long as you are striving to be better and working on your weaknesses little-by-little, you'll make those improvements as you go. 

I think of it like those "Biggest Loser" shows.   You see the people at the begining and think they'll never lose all that weight.  And they don't lose it all in a week or two; they lose the weight as they make small choices every day to eat healthier and work harder. The same is for the mission:  growth comes in small choices every day.

Lastly, love every moment of it: love the hard times and the happy times, because these times will never come again.  Always be grateful for your call and pay attention to what you can do in that moment to be better.  

Don't worry about what happened yesterday and don't stress about tomorrow.  Think of how you can be an effective missionary by being dedicated to your purpose for that day... the days go by like weeks sometimes and then the weeks go by like days.  As you work hard, the time passes quickly. 

You are in for an adventure. Write it all down; keep notes of funny things that happened during the week to write home about or you'll forget (I wish I had done that more).  You'll be great!  Everyone is excited to have you here.  Always remember that no one wants you to succeed more than your Heavenly Father! Love you! 

Practical Advice for the MTC:

* Bring a plastic little shower caddy to carry to the bathroom... it'll come in handy... also shower sandals would have been nice. 

* Bring pictures! everyone wants to see your friends and family and you'll be glad you have them.
*  Laundry bag for laundry day! they sell them in the bookstore but when I looked they were like $25 or something. 

* Snacks! Not so much candy because you'll get sick of that but popcorn and chips you'll probably want.  You can also get that in the store if you want but the selection is sometimes limited. 

* Bring pjs & workout clothes. You can't do laundry for a week so keep that in mind. You don't want to be sleeping in what you were sweating in earlier that day.
* Don't worry about speakers for the MTC because you can't play music here.  I still don't know why but just bring what you need for Italy. 

* Bring several notebooks and good pens (my favorite are micron pens because they work well in your scriptures).  You'll need different ones for different kind of things... language study, personal study, lesson plans, spiritual thoughts... etc. you can buy all that in the bookstore as well if you don't want to worry about it.

* Bring an alarm clock! Its nice to have one of your own to rely on.. I ended up getting one here.
Also, if you forget things you can buy a ton of things here. They also have a little section of italian teaching tools so take a look at those... they are fun. 


Sister McCann

 Friends from Freshman Year

Goodbye Fresh Nover...  See you in 16 months!!!

(Week 5 - Email dated 3/14/13)

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