Monday, September 2, 2013

WEEK 1: Week 1 in the MTC!!

Kumusta po kayo??! How are you? Things are great here in the MTC. Today is my PDAY!!! I absolutely love everything about the MTC. It is very very crazy and hectic and at the end of the day my brain hurts but it is a great feeling.
So on Wednesday I was dropped off by one of my best friends Michelle (salamat--thank you!!!) and started this crazy adventure of mine. I walked in and got to put my name tag on....which IS the best feeling ever. Makes everything so official. Then I was given all my Tagalog books, which really weighed like 20 pounds I could barely carry it. Haha I was told to take all my books and Preach My Gospel and something to write with and on and go to class. From the moment I walked into class my teacher has been speaking Tagalog...which is an adventure in itself. He forces us to use our Tagalog ALL the time which is really the best way to learn it. The first day we learned a few words and phrases. I also met my kasamako (companion) Sister Fonua. She is 22, from San Fransisco, and Tongan. She is so great and I am so grateful we get along so well! I have 2 other roommates, Sister Sorenson and Sister Roroa. Sister Sorenson is from Wyoming and Sister Roroa is from Kiribati. English is her second language and Tagalog will be her THIRD language! She is amazing. She was just baptized 3 years ago and is so excited to be a missionary. She is so cute and even sleeps with her name tag on because she just doesn't want to take it off! I am so blessed to have such a good companion and roommates! So my first day we had lots of class and then some orientations with the Mission Presidency. I am learning so much here I just love it! They really stress our purpose as missionaries so we never get distracted. AH okay our first night we had what is called "Wednesday Night Experience" which is when about 30 of us are in a room and there is an investigator in the middle, and we all take turns trying to answer his question and teach him about the gospel. It was really interesting to see a little glimpse of what the real life mission will be like. SCARY. But awesome at the same time. They ask the randomest questions and it is hard to always be prepared for anything. Wednesday was stressful but so awesome to be fully emerged in the language. There is a saying here called SYL - Speak Your Language. So constantly we are always trying to use the little Tagalog we do know. I have developed a little accent and can actually kind of sound semi-natural when speaking it...which is a step up from Spanish. Haha. Oh, I forgot to mention that your first day everyone that is new has an orange dot on their nametag. Aka the way everyone knows that you are lost. Because I felt lost like 90% of the time but that's okay. People are nice here to you on your first day because they understand how you feel. Everyone just says "hi Sister welcome to the MTC" and hearing it like 5049023845 times in just a few hours is overwhelming but fun.
Day 2: My first full day!!! So we wake up at 6:30. Then breakfast. Then class from 8-11. Still FULL Tagalog. We learned how to pray and testify!! It's coming along quickly. I am so grateful for the gift of tongues. ITS REAL! All of it is real. Then we had personal study time, and doctrine study. LOTS OF STUDYING! But its so great. Our district gets along well! They are all just barely graduated from high school so it's interesting. They keep us going and always cracking jokes which is refreshing after so much class time. They remind me of Seth kind of, they are fun and always quoting Nacho Libre so we get along well. We are all going to Legaspi which is rare so it will be nice to see each other in the PINES!!! In our district, we have a tripanionship, another companionship, and then us 4 roommates. I love them all! Okay get know that weird tongue click I used to do when I was little? Well apparantly that is a way to get everyone's attention in the Philippines. So basically all along I was just preparing myself to for the Filipinos to listen to me. Thursday we had more orientations and more meetings at night time. We met our Branch Presidency and their wives. They are all so nice and so sweet. It is awesome to hear about their experiences in the Philippines and just makes me even more excited to go! I was called as Senior Companion as well.
Friday!!! So Friday morning started out great....I saw SISTER GRACIE PLATT!!! Seriously made my day. She is awesome and was just so happy. I can't believe she leaves so soon! I sadly didn't have my camera with me but she got a picture so I will get that emailed to me. So we had class, class, and more class. Haha but really class is great. Still full Tagalog but it is amazing how much we have learned in just a few days. I can understand people when they speak Tagalog pretty fast which is a good feeling. We had first gym time today, and played volleyball. Cute Sister Roroa had never played volleyball or let alone put on tennis shoes so it was an adventure! I taught her how to play and she loved it and wouldn't stop talking about it. Later, I was trying to help her rip off a tag of something and I just looked at her and said "Sorry, I am too weak!" because I couldn't get it off. She looked at me with such a concerned look and said, "Sister, you are strong in the Lord's eyes, and that is what matters!" Haha she is the sweetest. I'm still not used to saying "Sister" and "Elder" I literally catch myself like every ten minutes. But I am so happy here. I really am so mom don't worry about me!!!! So Friday night we also taught our FIRST LESSON IN TAGALOG!!!!! Yes you just read that right. A whole lesson in pure Tagalog. It was hard. Really hard. We learned a lot from it, haha like to not rely on notes and focus on the Spirit. It was a learning experience FOR SURE. I just remember telling our investigator Teresa "MAHAL DIYOS KAYO!!!" GOD LOVES YOU!!!! She just kept looking at me like "Sister yes I know, but what else do you have to say?" Hahaha so funny.  MY companion and I just laughed it off. There was a special Spirit in there though that is indescribable. We didn't want to take notes in and somehow we understood what she was saying. We made the mistake of asking her if she had any questions......yeah bad idea when you don't know Tagalog. Hahaha it was amazing though because we could understand what she was asking us. And it wasn't anything we learned. The Lord is always looking out for us!!! As we lean on Him, He will help us. ALWAYS! It was discouraging to know what she was asking but had no way of responding. So we asked if we could come back tomorrow at the same time and SHE SAID YES!!! So we will be teaching her tonight. We have been preparing like crazy to know what to say to her. Lots of praying and lots of scripture reading.
I really do love it here. Tagalog is such a weird but fun language. "Po" is something you add on to show respect so everything has that or a "ko" at the end and lots of "ng" hahaha the first day it sounded so weird but now it sounds so cool to me. I love everything Tagalog and Filipino. I love my kasama and my roommates. I love everyone here seriously everyone is so nice! I love this gospel. It is a way of hope that everyone needs to hear. It is so true and I am so happy to be learning Tagalog so I can better myself to teach the people of the Philippines.

My first companion, Sister Fonua

My District

MAHAL KITA!!!!! I love you. All of you!!!
--Sister Reategui

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