Jan. 8th, 2015
To Friends & Family:
"TERVE!" (all I can say - WOW!) In the famous words of my handsome man, Jake Brown, "I'd be lying if I said........this was the greatest week ever! Honestly, I think it has been the exact opposite! I think for a lot of sisters, they love the MTC, but I have had nothing but an emotional rollar coaster crash of a week. I don't want to be a Debbie downer, I just want to be honest! When I got here they whisked me away to all these different places with this dumb orange sticker on my name tag that pin pointed me as one of the"NEW" missionaries. So, of course all you get for the next 24 hrs is ...."Welcome to the MTC Sister" with this huge cheeser grin on their faces as if I'm in for the time of my life. Yesterday (Wednesday) when all the new missionaries arrived I made sure not to say that to anyone because I knew how much I hated it by the end of the day. Anyway, I then found myself with about 5 lbs of books in my arms in a classroom overwhelmed with Finnish where I did my best to follow what they were saying. The rest of the day.....I just really want to forget.
First, I want to share with you somethings about my companions. I am in a tripanionship with Sister Wunderli from Sandy and Sister Harris from the Bay area, California. Total complete opposites and I fit in somewhere in the middle. I thought at first like my last weeks letter said, that I would have a hard time with them, but in only 7 days I have come to love them both so much - especially Sister Harris. We are the most alike out of any of the Finn Sisters, but I love them all. We've all been able to be there for each other. My district consists of 6 people. Our threesome and the Vanhimmat (elder) tripanionship. I love all of them as well. There are two Finnish districts which makes a total of 5 sisarettes (sisters) and 7 Vanhimmat (elders) going to Finland. Our branch also includes the Hungarians (Hunns) and the Estonian missionaries for right now. I have really become close with some of these people and will be extremely sad when they leave in three weeks!
We have a really awesome Branch Presidency. Thurs/Friday mostly consisted of language study all day, every day, except to eat. From day 1 they only talk to us in Finnish. My teachers are Bro. Christiansen and Sisar Egan. Sisar Egan knew Jake and when I mentioned him on Friday she perked up and said she knew him and loved him - everyone did she said!!! She had known the gist of mine and Jake's story somehow and had hoped I would serve my mission still and was proud of me for choosing to serve. I broke down in tears of course, but it gave me much comfort to hear what she said. My teachers are awesome and SO patient with me! I thought I was rather smart when I came here, but I've found out quickly that that is not the case. Finnish is so hard and I have struggled with it and continue to, but press forward as best I can. Hopefully with time it will come.....for me it's just learning to be patient and rely on the Lord and not just my own abilities. Definitely one of my weaknesses.
Everyone says if you make it to Sunday you'll be alright, but honestly it didn't get a whole lot better. Sunday was spiritual and good to have a break from language study, but still I am really missing everyone.
Gym time is my saving grace! I get to play basketball and run and it relieves stress and takes my mind off everything else for a short period of time. Thank the heavens for gym time!!!!! It was funny because no one knew or expected a girl to be half decent at basketball here, so when I busted out with my mad skills they were all in shock LOL!!!! (JK) But gym time helps me a lot.
On Tuesday, we got to go to LA for fingerprinting at the Embassy. We had to be on the bus to the airport at 3:45am. Talk about no sleep and too much stress. While there we were able to meet some really cool people and gave away a book of Mormon. We also got to go the LA temple and walk around and through the visitors center. It was hard being back in the real world, but a nice break from the stress of everything at the MTC. We arrived back to Provo about 8:30pm. Got something to eat, read fast and to bed. (MOM, I REALLY miss your cooking!!!!) I had been struggling throughout the day, especially on the airplanes to keep the tears in. Finally, I asked Elder Martineau, one of the Hungarian elders I've gotten to know for a priesthood blessing. It really helped me feel more peaceful and that night I actually got a decent nights rest. I woke up Wednesday morning and the day just started off bad. I was tired and couldn't understand what the teacher was saying.....everyone else could and finally I just broke down with her and our class about how frustrated I was. Sometimes its hard for me to realize I've only been here 7 days and I shouldn't expect so much. This is very difficult to do.....particularly when everyone else is getting it and remembering everything so much faster and easier. I know I just have to stay positive. Well, the day worsened when I found out about Maggie's suicide. That's when I lost it. I think this must be how the Lord is humbling me. I've realized that this is the magic of the mission. You are stripped of all your desires and wants and needs and distractions so that all you have left to strengthen you is to turn outward and help others!!!! The magic comes in forgetting about yourself and serving others. For me, right now that's a really hard thing, but I'm trying to just take one day at a time and not look at how far I have to go, but how far I have come already in 7 days. This makes me think of a scripture in Either 12:27-28.....God gives us weaknesses so we can be humble and come unto him and be made strong! Anyway time is short! I am sorry if I don't make it to all your letters and emails. Its super busy here and a lot of work to be done! I love you all so much and I am grateful for your examples and support!!!