Friday, August 1, 2014

Week 1 from the MTC

            My first week at the MTC has definitely been interesting! It was quite a lot to handle at first when Brad and Tanja dropped me off and I was basically thrown into a totally new world.  They ran me from one spot to the next, giving me paperwork, and name-tags, and all kinds of stuff, and it was a little bit overwhelming at first. I am in a trio, so it is Mortensen Elder, Peregoy Elder, and myself (it's backwards because Hungarian is a weird weird language...).  I really like all the Elders in my district and in my zone. There are two Hungarian districts so about 13 missionaries going to Hungary. We also have two Finnish districts in our zone and all the Elders and Sisters are super awesome and really nice! They definitely made an effort to make us feel at home for our first MTC experience and they are all super cool. There was also a group of Albanian missionaries who just came in yesterday in our zone.  I haven't really gotten to talk with them too much, but I could get a look at myself when I first went into the MTC, and I must have looked terrified, because that's what these missionaries were looking like. This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. When we first walked into the classroom, the teachers only spoke Hungarian to us and tried to explain what was going on, and it was really confusing and a little bit overwhelming, but after the first week, I really am starting to feel like I know what is going on, and I am even getting to learn Hungarian pretty decently (for only being here a week...) The days started off super long, and seemed to be impossible, but now that I am starting to get into a groove of things, they actually go by pretty quickly (relatively speaking of course).

        Just for a point of reference I will give you a quick run through of what my days are like. First -I wake up at 6:30 every day, and let me tell you, it is going to be one of the biggest struggles of my mission!  I am able to get up, but I am just exhausted afterwards. I know that I will be able to get used to it (and it's not like I got that much sleep in high school), it's just definitely going to be a struggle getting up every day that early. After that we shower and get ready and then head over to breakfast.  In case you were wondering, our zone has claim to a table, and all the other missionaries know to stay clear, because that is the Hungarian/Finnish table, and we don’t mess around. The food is ehhh, about what you would expect from the MTC. Sometimes it's decent, other times it makes me just a little bit sick, but no complaining, it's free food! So after that we go straight to class where we usually have personal, companion, and language study. This is the time we use to prepare lessons for "investigators" (They're actually just our teachers). On the third day we taught a lesson in Hungarian, and that was pretty tough, but like I said, we are all learning super fast and we can put together a pretty decent lesson.  We have some trouble understanding what the teacher is saying when she asks us questions and we have no idea how to respond as soon as things go off script. For personal study we study things on our own and find out what we think would be good to teach the investigator. Then companion study is when we talk about it with each other, write out a solid lesson plan, and then maybe do some role playing stuff to practice leading a discussion. After which is language study, which basically means translate as best you can into Hungarian, and then CRAM memorizing so that you don't blank as soon as you walk in to teach the lesson. Then we have some additional study time which is nice because we use that to work on memorizing too. After lunch we go back to class and actually teach the investigator. Which is super awesome, and in the first lesson I was able to bear my testimony to the investigator in Hungarian and it was really awesome and I could feel the spirit so strong. After that we have some classroom instruction, then later on in the day we get gym time (which is obviously the most looked forward to time of the day.) So far we have gone to the field and played soccer, played basketball in the gym and played beach volleyball, and it's super fun too, because we usually do this all together as a zone. After gym we have dinner (at like 5, so I am literally always starving right before I go to bed). After dinner is MORE classroom instruction where we hit the language stuff hard! Nothing is too confusing so far with the language, but it is just hard to remember all of the different vocab and how to pronounce stuff. We do about another 4 hours or so of class time, with some computer language study, and then we go back to the residence at 9:30, get ready for bed, hang out a little bit and talk, and then quiet time at 10:15 to do some scripture study, and lights out at 10:30. It seemed unbearable after the first couple days, but it's amazing how things start to fly by.

        I already have seen a lot of friends from BYU around campus and made a lot of cool friends in my district/zone. The MTC is definitely an interesting experience and I am a little bummed that I still have another 8 WEEKS before I can actually go into the field, but believe me, after studying the language I think that the extra time is definitely going to be needed. I love you all and miss you so much! I hope everything is going great back home and believe me, I am thinking about all of you every day! Feel free to write me letters too, because it does get a little bit lonely in the MTC. There's also this thing called dear elder that you can use where you basically send an email, and then they print it off at the MTC and give it to me that day. Look it up, it's a real thing, I promise. So I love you all and I will hear from you next week!

Dalton Elder

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