Thursday, December 3, 2015

Finishing MTC Week 5 I Guess?

It just does not seem like it has been nearly long enough that I have actually been here for 5 weeks. The MTC is awesome and I am a huge fan. Very sadly our zone is shrinking drastically next week. On Tuesday we will be losing all 6 of the Bulgarian Elders and the 2 Croatian/Serbian Elders and the 6 Croatian/Serbian Sisters. They came in 3 weeks before us and so we have spent the last 5 weeks getting close to them, only to have them leave to missions we aren't going to. So basically volleyball is going be sad. And our zone table is going to be very small. But it is alright because most of them are unbelievably ready to leave, and we wouldn't want anyone to get MTC cabin fever and go insane.

Czech, Slovak and some Croation and Bulgarian Elders 
(the Croations and Bulgarians are leaving this week)

The majority of this email will be dedicated to Thanksgiving, because it was awesome. So, here is how the day went.
PDAY: We had Black Friday on Thursday in the laundry room. It was complete insanity. Basically they told everyone who had a Thursday P-day to go Thursday morning to do laundry. Not sure the thinking behind that one, because it literally became a free-for-all in that room. I waited behind a Sister and as soon as she took her clothes out I started loading mine into the washer. Then she tried to offer it to her friend, only to turn around and realize I was already putting my clothes in. That is how crazy it was. But we got our clothes loaded and all of that, and got them into dryers too.
Devotional with an Apostle: Then we went to the devotional with Elder Oaks. Yeah, an Apostle. No big deal, it happens at the MTC. We're just cool like that. So that was just a little bit fantastic. It was also like Black Friday getting into the devotional, but it did not take away form the Spirit that was there. It was very cool. His whole extended family performed some amazing violin/cello/guitar/piano songs and they were stellar. I heard from a random person (this is how the MTC works, you can't fact check anyone) that she is considered one of the best violin players in the world. I would like some independent confirmation on that, if someone could make that happen. (Note from Mom- I did confirm that Elder Oak’s daughter is Jenny Oaks Baker, a Julliard trained Grammy nominated violinist with 13 albums to her name! I was able to email back that confirmation to Brad!) But either way, she was amazing. After the devotional we went back to our classroom and studied.
This is where my 1st challenge of the week comes in. We had a gratitude challenge from our zone leaders (who are amazing) to write down 20 things we were all grateful for. So I started doing that and then I decided that I had way more than 20 things to be grateful for. So I wrote 50. I think that is enough to get the general idea of the fact that we have so many blessings that we can and should appreciate in our lives. So I challenge you all to participate in a gratitude challenge. To take a little time to sit down and write out 50 things that you are grateful for in your life. Big things, little things, whatever comes to mind. For example, I put the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I also put good whiteboard markers. So there is a whole ton.
Thanksgiving Meal: After our study time we went to our Thanksgiving lunch feast. It was quite good. Not nearly up to the Pickett/Allison Thanksgiving, but it can't be when the food is being prepared for over 1,000 people. I did really miss Grandma's delicious jello, they did not have anything even close to that. And Apple Cider. But overall, a great meal, and a great place to spend it at.
SERVICE: After lunch we attended our service devotional, where we had two speakers about service and about our service project, making meals for needy families and children. Then the A group (not me) went and started the service project while the B group (me) stayed in the devotional room and watched 17 Miracles. Let me just tell you, that is a humbling movie. Kind of makes you feel like "Maybe I should never, ever complain about anything in my entire life ever again." If you haven't seen it, go watch it. After that we went up to our classrooms and ate
our Thanksgiving dinner feast of PB&J's, chips, fruit, and soda. But it's totally fine, because we felt very glad we weren't eating burnt rawhide or flour with water instead. Also there was a rather obnoxious Elder in the hallway who was trying to be funny and so I started speaking Czech to him instead of English. That was quite enjoyable. Oddly enough, no one around here other than the people who are learning it understand Czech...After our Thanksgiving feast we went to do service. That was super fun. We had a big missionary assembly line going and we were scooping out different measure of food. It was really awesome. I love service, it is great. We got the total later that night, in the MTC we made 357,347 meals. Not too shabby.
MTC Devotional:  After service we had a big devotional all together again. It was the strangest MTC devotional I have attended. Good, but also strange. They had some displays of musical talent that included an awesome organ solo, the song "Rubber Ducky" complete with a Sister who could actually make the rubber ducky sound. And there was also an improve jazz piano duet that was quite snazzy. They also played the song "Glorious" sung by David Archuleta and I think some people might have had heart attacks and died from excitement. I may or may not have been one of them. After that we got candy canes and then went out to all the Christmas lights to take some pictures. I did not have my camera, but I will procure those photographs at some point. That was Thanksgiving. Overall, it was one of my favorite days since I have been in the MTC.

Other important things that occurred this week:
  • I did see Elder Jeremiah Brown yesterday, we hosted in the morning, so I did not see him then, but I saw him as I was walking into dinner. We are going to be taking a picture on Tuesday, and I will make sure to get one of myself by the map as well. Super fun to see him.
  • We had Temple breakfast this morning. If any of you live in, near, or basically within 500 miles of Provo, get off the computer and drive to Provo immediately, and enjoy the savory deliciousness that is an egg and cheese omelet from the Provo Temple cafeteria.
  • Czech is such a wonderful language. I did not have any too embarrassing slip-ups this week, but my companion told our investigator that the teaching of Jesus Christ could bring him "four" instead of "happiness." In the Czech the difference is "čtyři" versus "štěstí." Our investigator was just a little bit confused. Casing is still just a little bit insane, but we have decided to be happy we are not learning Finnish. I have heard that going from English to another language, Finnish is the most difficult in the world to learn. Because it has not 7 cases like our feeble language, but 12. Or possibly 15. I have heard 2 different things. Either way, both would prove fatal to basically everyone. Poor Finnish Elders. We pray for them.
  • Apparently a favorite hymn of the MTC is "If You Could Hie to Kolob." We sang it at the Sunday devotional and everyone got extremely excited. That was fun and sort of random.
  • Sunday was AWESOME this week. The topic for lessons and talks was Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Such an incredible topic. We could study it for our whole lives and never stop learning more. Writing a talk for it was a very enjoyable experience. As part of this awesome topic, I give my final challenge of the week. Some of you may be receiving 3 challenges from me this week (Luckies!). But this one is very important. Read Elder Holland's talk form the April 2015 General Conference. It is called "Where Justice, Love and Mercy Meet" and it is superb.

Oh. My. Goodness. The Christmas cheer package is amazing. I did indeed open up my Christmas sweater early, for sweater Saturday purposes of course. Christmas tree is up in our room (our teachers' boss is a Scrooge, so we can't have it in the classroom.). The mandarins were completely and utterly beautiful. Sooooooo great. And the Nativity is, of course, up. In our room, because apparently even that is too much Christmas for Scrooge Jones. Unbelievable. That is all for this week, hope you all have wonderful spiritual experiences, and thank you all for the love, support, letters, and packages!
-Starší Pickett

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