Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 4, 2013 - The Ups and Downs of MTC Life!

This has been quite the week. I passed my two weeks in the MTC so that's pretty exciting! I can't believe I've been here for so long... but honestly I feel like I've been here forever! The days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days!
Finnish is crazy. We've been teaching lessons in it which has been pushing me and pushing me. Our teachers pretend that they're Finnish investigators (real people that they taught on their missions) and we teach them the gospel. It's actually really hard because we're not allowed to have any kind of notes with us (Finnish or English). They only speak Finnish to us and it's really hard to understand them and they act like real investigators so they're not always that nice. My comp and I were teaching this guy Niilo yesterday and it was his second lesson. Earlier in the morning we were practicing and everything was going great. We were actually doing amazing and even our teacher said he was really impressed. The Finnish was just flowing. However, when we went into the room we forgot what we were trying to say and he wasn't receiving our message well. It was so frustrating! Afterwards, we saw how happy another companionship was because their lesson went amazing and my comp and I just felt even more upset. Well long story short, I ended up having my first breakdown here at the MTC. I just bawled my little eyes out in the bathroom and my comp came in and just consoled me as she was trying not to cry too. This language is killer. Seriously. The Lord is humbling me sooo much it's insane. But I'm so grateful to be here. And there are so many amazing people around me. My comp consoled me while I cried, this adorable Sister who's going to Estonia heard me crying and came into the bathroom and just hugged me and talked to me, I found an anonymous note on my desk and some chocolate saying how amazing I was and how this person believes in me. A girl who's also going to Finland in the other district sought me out to give me a hug and congratulated me on making it this far before my breakdown. She and her comp had their's last week, and so did a bunch of the other Sisters. So I gotta admit, I'm pretty proud of myself for making it this far! :) The elders in my zone are amazing. A couple of them heard that I was having a rough day and came up to me and told me to remember that I'm never alone and that we're a family and that they're there for me. One of them even admitted to me that he broke down and started crying his first week here (they've been here fore 5 weeks and are speaking Hungarian) so I felt a little better that I'm not the only one haha.
Despite yesterday being difficult, this really was a great week. I am learning more Finnish, it's just slow and steady. Verrrrrrrrrrrrry sloowwwwww and steady. We had our first SYL day (speak your language) and it was hard because most of the words we know are gospel related words. Needless to say, we just laughed a ton on our SYL day because we all made so many mistakes... and just kept repeating the same phrases over and over again.
I've only made a few bad mistakes so far in the language. We were in the cafeteria and I walked over to the ice cream freezer. I opened it up and there was no ice cream! I was so upset! I yelled over to my companion "EI JUMALA. EI JUMALA" and she was like "WHAT?? EI JUMALA?!" turns out I was yelling "no God" instead of "no ice cream"! I just hope I can work these little problems out before I get to Finland so the Finns know that I do in fact believe in God. and that I am really upset when all the ice cream is gone.
I really like going to the MTC here. We have a lot more freedom than the other campus. I seriously have the best teachers in the world! Veli Arnesen and Veli Stewart. They're so good at balancing each other out and you can tell that they actually care about us and that they love the people of Finland so much. I can't wait to get there and feel that love for them.
Today is the best p day ever! Since the temple is now closed (SAD DAY) we used our temple time for other things. My comp and I woke up this morning and went running with Sisar Hubner and Sisar Vincent. It was glorious running so early. Usually our gym time is in the middle of the day and the heat is unbearable. Afterwards we worked out our abs and then ate breakfast together. After that we hurried and got ready, did our service time, ate lunch as a district, then wrote letters, cleaned our apartment, and did laundry. Now I'm emailing you and planning on going to Brighams Landing after this for dinner. On our p days we're allowed to go to the little outlet mall near by. They have a jamba juice, burger surpreme, great harvest, and some other little restaurants. I'm really excited because quite frankly the food here is horrible. They're in the process of building the new cafeteria (and it should be done next weekish) so we get one choice for all of our meals and practically no fruits or veggies. But oh well, I guess I didn't come on a mission for good food.
On Tuesday we went to the devotional at the Marriott Center. Elder Richardson of the Sunday School General Presidency spoke. He did amazing. Sisar Dayton (my comp) and I were running a tad bit behind our group so we hurried the whole way there. When we got there we headed straight to the bathroom and my hair was a disaster. I just kept saying "ohmyhurrrrr" "oh my hurrrrr". An older lady who served at the MTC with her husband said "sister, what language are you speaking? I said Finnish. She said, that's so cool that they have a work that sounds like "oh my hair"!" hahaha I about died. I had to explain to her that that was actually not Finnish, it was just me saying "oh my hair" in a funny way.
Sisar Dayton and I walked into the devotional and we were ushered to the front. So even though we got there later than most people, we sat on like the 5th row! It was awesome. The Elders on my right were Lithuanian speaking, the elders on our left were Armenian speaking, and the Elders in front of us were Korean speaking. It was so humbling and amazing being surrounded by all of these valiant missionaries preparing to serve all over the world. We really are taking the gospel to "every nation, tongue, and people".
I love the gospel. Finnish is hard. But I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here. I love the MTC. I love the church. KIRKKO ON TOTTA. I just have to keep reminding myself that. God didn't send me on a mission to speak Finnish, He sent me on a mission to take the gospel to His children whom He loves so much. I just happen to have to learn Finnish in order to do that.
I love you all and miss you. It was so good getting all of your letters.  Also can I just say that I LOVE getting letters. It seriously sometimes is the highlight of my day, especially since we get to read our letters everyday but only our emails on p-days which is why it's so hard for me to write everyone back. But I LOVE YOU ALL AND HAPPY 4TH OF JULY.
Sisar Nielsen

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