Thursday, November 12, 2015

The MTC Defies Real Time!

The top picture of Brad's MTC District... all 6 Elders (Staršís) and 4 Sisters (Sestras) are going to the Czech Republic at the end of December!
The next picture is "Sweater Saturday."  This is the whole Zone.

Two weeks in and the MTC still ROCKS! Time in this place is the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced. Each day feels ridiculously long. Seriously you lose track of which meal you just ate and which meals you have left. It's crazy. But then the weeks themselves feel like they are passing extremely quickly. I feel like I just got in here very recently. Like maybe a few days ago. Certainly not 2 weeks ago. It makes no sense. And then there is the added weirdness of the fact that I feel like maybe I have actually been here for my whole entire life. It's such an odd anomaly here.

Some things that I forgot to include last week:
  • Our zone is cool. I said that, but I have more to share on this topic. We have a zone table in the cafeteria that we take over and eat. It's a real struggle when new missionaries show up on Wednesday because they don't understand this fact and so sometimes we have to show our dominance by fighting them. (Not really, we just show up early and make sure we get it first at the next meal)
  • Also we do zone singing together on Saturday nights. Anyone can choose some hymns they want to sing and then we sing them all together. It's good fun. Also we have Sweater Saturday and take sweet pictures. Hopefully I will be able to get some sent.
  • To echo every single missionary ever: "Sundays in the MTC rock!"
  • My companion and I are the only ones in our room. That is made to fit 6. Not sure how long that will last, or how we were blessed with that, but it's a pretty sweet set-up for the time being at least.
New things from this week:
  • Breakfast at the Provo Temple is delicious. If you have the means, I would highly recommend picking some up. It is so choice. My personal favorite is the ham and cheese omelet. Yummy, yummy, yummy.
  • We got a 3rd teacher, Sestra Donaldson. She's cool, but she likes us to keep our desks clean. And that is a struggle. Our desks have these little metal cage things underneath, but are not really built to store that amount of stuff that we have. It's like a fiendish game of Tetris trying to fit it all in. Also, Sestra Godfrey is how my other teacher's name is actually spelled.
  • Apparently I remind my teacher Bratr Knapp of a combination between an Elder he knew from his mission, and his uncle. He says I look like his uncle, but my mannerisms are more like the Elder. Really not sure what to do with that information, but I now have it.
Class time with Bratr Knapp
  • Weight gain in the MTC is a real thing people! Everyone warns you about, but I had my doubts. Now I see what a fool I was! Since I have arrived I have gained...Less than 3 pounds. Actually, technically I don't even know how much I originally weighed according to the scale I used to weigh myself. So really I have no clue. But from my parents bathroom scale to the one in the MTC gym there is less than a 3 pound difference. Woohoo.
  • This week our Visa waiters headed off to the Czech Republic. They left Monday, really, really early in the morning. We miss them because they helped us translate sentences when our teachers weren't there.
  • We now have 2 "investigators" we are working with. They're cool. We ran out time on our lessons with both of them. That was a little bit unfortunate. But we will teach more soon. I am understanding Czech well enough to respond and have legitimate back-and-forth dialogue with our investigators. Our lessons are no longer scripted. We can take in a few vocab words, but they don't want us to just read phrases, and they ask us questions that would make it impossible to get by with just a script. It is really awesome and I am loving it.
  • If anyone is in need of hearing some AWESOME church music, look up Nearer My God to Thee and find the arrangement by Gregory Lawrence Duffin. We sang in the choir and it is fantastic.
  • We had Elder Montoya of the 70, who spoke at General Conference come and talk to us. He made a reference to all the Inigo Montoya memes that came out after conference. That was pretty entertaining to hear him bring up. Always great when General Authorities discuss pop-culture.
  • Language stuff from the week: Thursday in Czech is Čtvrtek. For your Czech lesson this week, in almost all cases, you pronounce every letter for every word in Czech. Which just makes that word sound a little bit absurd. Also, smrt means death. Notice, there are no vowels. Apparently those are considered optional. Now sure exactly how, but it just is. Also, there is a Czech equivalent for Hakuna Matata! It is (WARNING: may be incorrectly spelled) v pohodě. And you pronounce the v and the p together. It's a little bit tricky. And the ě is pronounced like yes. It is a great word. One of my favorites.
  • Spiritual highlight of the week: Teaching is very tough. We are only somewhat conversational, and it is difficult to answer questions. But my companion's and my best lesson by far was when we told our own personal conversion stories in broken Czech. Written out, and then we read them to our investigator. That was the lesson where we could most feel the Spirit. What to learn from this is that it does not matter if you are fluent. It doesn't matter if you are the most eloquent speaker. It doesn't matter if you struggle with pronunciation and grammar. The Spirit speaks to our hearts, not to our ears, and when we testify and bear witness of truth, the Spirit will make up for our own shortcomings. In short, we put in all that we can and have faith, and the Lord will magnify our efforts beyond our own abilities.
Please pass along my thanks to the Hacketts and Picketts for the letters/cookies/pictures, and Anne Tavernetti, Cathrine Goold, and Kyle Utterback for their DearElders.

I saw Elder Joseph Sobczak yesterday (a friend from our ward in Roseville). We are on the same floor for classrooms. Because we have 10 people learning Czech, we got moved away from our zone for class and we have a sweeeeet classroom. I will make sure to get a picture with him soon.

Thanks for all the letters and encouragement, love you all, and have a great week!
-Starší Pickett
MTC laundry room & computer time

Melinda note:  Pictures for this blog entry thanks to Sestra DeMann (one of the sisters in his District) since Brad is having “issues” with sending pictures to me!  From Brad:  One of the Elders in my District has a memory card reader which is really finicky and it does not work on most of these computers. They are straight up communistic. We can't get onto the control panel of anything. We open up the home menu thingy and we can turn off the computer, look at the 3 or so available programs so I'll see what I can do.

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