Monday, August 16, 2010

First MTC letter 8/16/10

Dear Family,
I feel so loved right now, logging into my email on my first Preparation Day ever, and having two whole automatically generated emails! haha err... I still exist.
I jest. It has been so awesome though. Right now I can't convince myself that I have only been here since Wednesday last. Each day really is a week. This morning I woke a little early (6:00) and did some scripture study after getting showered and dressed and all, then we headed off to the temple for three hours.
Oh wait, I should sum up everything so far.
Aunt Carmen was awesome letting me be around. It isn't super convenient hosting a set apart missionary who doesnt have a real companion around because he can't be alone. But they were good. Ryan was in the bed by me. Jared taught me to drive a manual transmission car before I left! I am so glad I can do that now. Finally feel like I can really drive (that means you definitely can't yet Paul). His truck is "really bad" but I only stalled it once!
So we drove to Provo the next day and I had a delicious last lunch comprised of Coldstone ice cream. SO AWESOME. I miss [having] ice cream whenever I want it. Here, I have to wait for a Wednesday or a Sunday. Once we got here, I realized I left my suit jacket (the blue one) at their house, along with my wallet, and my alarm clock. Smooth I know, they still let me in on the condition that I change into my other suit asap.
Aunt Carmen dropped me off at the curb and straightway a "host" elder came to grab my bags. He carried them while instructing me what to do. We headed to the creatively named 1M building and there I basically got everything I needed in a line going through about 8 stations. Pretty awesome. We dropped off my bags, and the host took me to a small room with about 10 computers and desks. There was a training video and little computerized test to make sure we remembered at least some of it. I got one wrong, but it was a technicality.. so basically 100% in my book.
In the room was this weirdo "Elder Cruz" who was like: "Are you Elder Mark Johnson?" But that was basically it before I was sat down. After finishing I was taken to a room in the basement to meet my district. They are awesome. Elder Cruz was there. He is one of my companions. I have two! And guess what mom?! The other is Elder Weaver! Odds of that were not high.
So let me get  back to what I have been working up to. I entered the MTC August 11 at 1:01 pm and I was in class learning spanish with Hermana Scaife at 2:28. She spoke all spanish and quickly. She is soo nice and so spiritual it's kinda crazy. She said she would pay to teach at the MTC and I actually almost believe it. We can all tell how much she loves it here.
There is this red countdown timer in the top right of the screen that has been counting down from 30 minutes (my computer time for the week) haha so crazy. Anyway it's at 10 minutes cuz i FAILED at logging on for 10 minutes.
Just in case, here is my know..if you want to send me like chocolate or anything..
This needs to replace the address I have on facebook cuz I think they are different. It's in the awkward box right now. [Mail sent to the awkward box apparently isn't addressed properly.]
Elder Mark David Johnson
MTC Mailbox # 253
PER-ARE 1014
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Later the first day we did this super awesome thing where about 40 elders and a few hermanas sat in a half circle around two chairs and a couch. It was a pretend first meeting at the house. There were older guys...WAIT NO WE DONT SAY GUYS, we say, Elders... who pretended to be missionaries who started it off, but after a few minutes they left and we were all supposed to be the missionaries. It was super super awesme! The "investigators" were RMs who were pretending to be somebody from their mission.
All right.  So who is in my district, you ask?
Well, there is Elder Badzinski, who is Australian and really is the character of our district. He is soo funny without really meaning to be. His accent and mannerisms always make us laugh. The other day, he comes back from the bathroom with his companion, and warns Elder Cruz in his Australian way: "Don't use the two toilets on the left, they are, er, blocked up." when Elder Cruz laughed. He said,  "Yea well one was already blocked, and I blocked up the other." I just wish I could send his voice to you all.
Elder Stewart and Bowler play soccer with me and Elder Cruz during Gym. Soccer is the best. We play tagalan speaking vs. spanish speaking, and there are usually around 100 elders playing i think. (i have no idea how to spell tagalan) [I assume he means Tagalog]

We have been blessed and humbled as a district with an hermana three person companionship. I say blessed because every one is more behaved when they are in the room, and humbled cuz it is so apparent how much older they are, and how much more mature they are, and how "elders can never have nearly as much compassion as hermanas."
Speaking of apparent age, the Elders who have been here for about 8 weeks or so seem SOOO MUCH older than us. Even though they are basically the same exact age as us... But I will never be able to make some brand new Provo kid think that because (drum roll)
Our district is being sent to the Lima MTC in 3 or so weeks! And I am the only one who was supprised by that... I have no idea how that happened, but I'm excited. Once we get there, it will really be full language emersion. So where is my spanish now? We have been saying every prayer in espanol for 2 days now, and we had to prepare a talk in spanish yesterday. Though honestly a good portion of mine was to be read out of the Libro de Mormon. We have gone over oso-ing [oso is the spanish word for bear (the animal), by the way] our testimony in spanish and praying in spanish so far. We have done a ton of stuff like practicing approaches and whatnot.

How little eating time there is. We have 45 minutes and I barely get enough food to be full! There are significant lines. The food is a little better than Cannon Center food at Helaman Halls BYU, so I like it! Not to mention, the Chocolate Milk machines are always full!!! I love that liquid.
The amount of space we have: not much. I have about 2 cubic metes of sleeping space, .46 cubic meters of which are used rather inefficiently to make sleep comfortable. The rest is air. I have been waking up every day a few minutes before my alarm because I hear people going to the shower a little earlier than me. What happened to being a heavy sleeper? I have no idea.
How regimented the schedule is. Even Sunday I had stuff I was to be doing literally every 15 minutes of the day if you include sleeping. There are a few minutes throughout the day that cooouuldd be used to take a tiny nap I guess...or laze around... but spending them on scripture study is much better. I have been memorizing a scripture every day btw, today is Alma 29:9, yesterday was my favorite so far, the first vision.
How little (it seems) spanish we do a day. So we learn spanish actively for about 4 hours a day, which doesn't seem like a ton to me, since the other 12 hours are all busy too. But maybe that is just cuz we are still only getting out of the newbie missionary schedule and lessons.
Last night, we decided to go watch LEGACY the mormon movie. It was a truncated version to fit into the amout of time we had, but I have never been so affected by a movie. I've seen it before, but watching with a couple hundred other missionaries was something else. Also, towards the end, I pulled off my missionary name tag, and just stared at the words "Elder Johnson" There are about 1000 Elder Johnsons here, but this one is me, and I finally got here. It was pretty emotional for a bit.
Sorry if this doesnt make so much sense.. my previous attempt probably did, but it got pwned by that red count down timer combined with a failing internet.
Pictures will come next Preparation day I hope! Also, remember to update my facebook mailing address, and also on the blog!
I am having such a great time!
Elder Mark (with a k, yes a k not a c... im the one on the bottom of the stack) Johnson

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