Thursday, November 19, 2015

MTC Week 3- Czech Out This Language!

Close up picture of Starší Pickett's missionary tag 

Sweater Saturday... Brad's Zone of Elders practicing their European GQ look!  
Elders going to Czech, Slovakia, Poland, and one going to England, Slovakian speaking

 Ahoj! This week has been pretty great. Lots of fun things to talk about. It seems really crazy to think that I have already been here for 3 weeks. Seriously, the space-time continuum is broken above the MTC. That's the only explanation I have. Also, I have a new appreciation for the phrase "in the world but not of the world" from the scriptures. Because technically speaking, the MTC is right next to BYU, and is part of Provo and all that. But in actuality...Not even close. Someone hears some little bit of news from the "outside world" (we actually call it that) and no one has any way to verify it, or to find out anything else about it. It's very interesting.

Czech Elders

Highlights of this week: the good, the bad, and some other stuff too:
  • We are now teaching to investigators being role-played by our teachers. And our lessons on Friday and Saturday were on point. It was awesome. Our investigators were asking questions, we were actually able to understand and answer (miracles do happen!), it was so great. It's fun to actually have enough knowledge of Czech to have real lessons instead of just we read a script and hope really badly that they can understand what we are saying and don't have too many questions.
  • On Monday morning we woke up without power. That was quite an adventure. All of BYU campus lost power for a little while. We got it back about 7 minutes later, but it was still very exciting for us.
  • On Saturday night I had a dream where I was trying to speak Czech to random people. That was a little bit different. I have also had a dream in the MTC about trying to teach people in English. Which is interesting, because we don't ever get to do that here. All of our lessons are in Czech.
  • Awesome fact about the MTC. The song Armies of Helaman, which is the super awesome one about missionaries and all that, we sing it often. Weird. But when we do, we change the line at the end of the chorus. The original is "and we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." In here we sing it as "and we are now the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." Chills every time. It is a super awesome song and I feel the Spirit every time we sing it.
  • I have left the MTC twice this past week. My companion is sort of dying of the plague, so we've gone to the doctor's here and then walked to the BYU health center to pick up some prescriptions for him. But he's probably all good now. We mostly think.
  • Choir is super cool. The director is phenomenal and we sang an awesome song. I wasn't in it this week, because I was practicing for a small group performance of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” in Sacrament Meeting. Also, the choir seats are not good. They are terrible. Really far back and super uncomfortable. Our zone enters by a side door and snags 2nd row seats right in the middle for every devotional. 
  • Fun things about the language now: The word pokoj. It is pronounced pokoy. Because, obviously, j's are actually y's in Czech. What does it mean? That is a very good question. It means peace. Or room. Depends on the context. The problem I have is that I forget that it means room. So when our teacher says she's going to look for a room, I think she says she's going to look for peace. It's a little bit confusing. Another fun story: I mixed up the verb for "to have" and "to be able to" during a lesson. I accidentally told our investigator that "God can body." So that was different. Also, a fun fact for those of you who are linguistic enthusiasts, most people think that Russian and Czech are very close languages. They are, sort of. But not really. The closest is obviously Slovakian, but the second closest is actually Polish. Cases have begun. They are ridiculous. It is not absurdly difficult to do when writing out a sentence, but when you are trying to speak and case at the same time, forget about it. That's where it becomes sheer lunacy.
  • The Injury Count: I am getting over being sick (congestion, coughing, sore throat, etc.). So that's fun. And then Saturday. Ahh Saturday. What a strange day that Saturday was. First off, I was not paying attention while reaching into the toiletry bag of my dreams (we ordered one on Amazon that looked great... and it ended up taking 3 weeks and about 30 emails back and forth to get it delivered.  Hence its name.), and I accidentally grabbed my razor by the blade instead of the handle. Note, this is a very poor life decision. So I lost a little chunk on my skin on the side of my finger. But it's fine now. Also, while I was playing volleyball during gym, I was not my most coordinated self. I went up for a sweet spike attempt, and I came down a little...awkwardly. So I was walking it off, it was all good. But then by body decided it wasn't all good. So I went upstairs and threw up in a trash can. That was good fun. But it's ok, I'm totally fine now. For those of you keeping tally at home, you may be asking why they ever let me out of the house. I swear I am not usually this accident prone. Saturday was an off day for me. Except teaching. We had a really good lesson. It was an off day for my coordination I guess.
  • Spiritual thought for the week. This week we had Elder Kim B. Clark of the first Quorum of the 70 come speak on Tuesday. He use to be President of BYU-I, and someone asked about RMs. He said that the biggest mistake that he saw from RMs was that they treated their missions as a 2 year episode instead of a foundation for their lives. So my challenge to myself and to all of us is to not treat great spiritual experiences as "episodes" but as foundations. Our baptisms, going through the temple, girls camp, high adventure, wherever it is that we have had great experiences, they should be a foundation for our testimonies and faith that we continue to grow and nourish for the rest of our lives. Conversion is a process, not an event.
  •  P-day next week (which will fall on Thanksgiving Day!) will be P-day in the morning+extra/different stuff in the evening. 
  • When the last group of missionaries left the MTC for the Czech Republic, 3 went straight over to Czech, 2 followed late, and 4 got reassigned stateside to be "visa waiters." Most trouble they have ever had with Visas.  (I mentioned to Brad that the refugee crisis in Europe will be making the visa process slow and more scrutinized I am sure.  Please pray for missionary visas and all the refugees who are fleeing for safety.)
  • Thank you Mom for the package by the way! My companion and I set up a bowling alley on one of our cupboards. (we sent him a table top bowling game and a memory card reader... which is why we have PICTURES this week!!)
That's all for this week, thank you all for the love, support, letters, emails, DearElders and packages. Also, please thank the Allisons and Sugdens for their packages. I am working on writing to thank people, but I have very little time to do so!
Love you all!
-Starší Pickett

Our classroom. That is where I spend up to 11 hours of my day. Depending on the day of the week.

Elder Anderson and I ended up with matching Mr. Mac ties on!

This is my case card. The front is the one with the Czech flag. Every noun follows one of 11 pattern words. Every adjective also. And then they all case differently if they are plural versus singular. Also, all pronounces and possessives case. Also, some verbs automatically mean you case what come after it to a certain case. And some certain words. And THEN, some cases causes "mutations" that make it change. It's good times. Our teacher told us cases are going to be difficult for the next year. I will most certainly have more funny stories of language mistakes.

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