Friday, September 2, 2016

Week Tres - Provo MTC


Ok so the weeks here are weird, it's week three but I've really only been here like 16 days so it's not that long.  How is everyone!? I hope everyone back at home is awesome with school/college starting up.  I'm getting pretty used to the routine here and tbh it's not that bad. 

The usual daily routine consists of forcing myself out of bed at 6:30 in order to be "exactly obedient" (that's a saying they have here, "obedience brings blessings but exact obedience brings miracles." and I DEFINITELY need a miracle if I'm gonna learn two languages in 9 weeks haha!) Then we exercise for an hour, then we study for 3-4 (Personal study, companionship study, and language study) And all the studies are supposed to be aimed towards how we can teach our current investigators better.  Speaking of investigators!  We finished teaching "Nicole" and that was a fun first experience!  She was very nice and was encouraging to our week old French.

Elder Todd and I with Nicole

Now Elder Todd and I are teaching our teachers, Kimble and Vanderholm, who are pretending to be investigators.  (investigators are people who wanna know more about the Gospel and get taught by missionaries)  They are good actors let me tell you.  Vanderholm's character is so intimidating and just stares judgingly the whole time haha!! It's pretty scary and difficult to teach when the room feels so tense.  (and when you can't freaking speak French)  But ya!  We usually have 2-3  3hr lessons inbetween meals and then go back to the residence where we hang out, sing hymns and sleep.  

On P Days! (which are Fridays) We wake up and go straight to the temple! Then we eat from the temple cafeteria and it's SO GOOD!  yummys.  Then we come back and do our laundry, and write emails! (Which is what I'm doing now)  At 2:40 we have a giant soccer game with all the French speakers!  It is very fun and very hot.  I better get used to it.  Then at 6PM, P Day ends and we have a class.  

---Some random thoughts--- 
 It's so awesome seeing all these Elders I knew from high school come in! I'll pass someone I know every once in a while and I'll get so excited.  Elder Kerr learns French in the same building as me so we get to talk all the time! (when we aren't diligently studying French and The Lord's work, of course.)

Elder Kerr and I being Ethauns
The MTC has no regard for a sense of time.  It will feel like 10PM when it's only 11AM and the days come and go so fast but so slow.  I'm thankful we all have watches otherwise I would never know the time.  

I. Eat. So. Much. Food. Here.  But we do a fair bit of exercise so it's fine.  And I drink 2 glasses of chocolate milk every meal.  Praise for the BYU creamery.

I have had the oddest dreams while I've been here.  And they're always like action adventure end of the world type stuff.  And I can never remember them, just little parts.

We've met so many people who are already fluent in 2,3,4 languages and it's nuts! Like how do you do that!! And then I realize that will be me in two years lol.

We always toss an orange around for entertainment during study time.  Until it breaks and leaks all over my white shirt...

I spilled food on my new pink tie and I had to clean it before Wednesday, because on Wednesdays we wear pink. (ties)

There are a few Elders here who were also in bands before they came! So it's fun to talk to them about music. 

We taught TRCs this week! TRCs (idk what it stands for  [*see note below]) but basically we teach LDS members who speak French as practice! It's fun teaching actual people and not actors! I'm so stoked to go out in the field.

OK! STORYTIME! So we have a pretty busy schedule locked up here in the MTC so nothing THAT exciting really happens.  BUT! Elder Todd and I made it to the "outside." Here's how.  
Elder Todd's jaw has been bugging him, so he talked to some people about it, and turns out our Branch 2nd councilor (one of the guys that runs the French part of the MTC) is a dentist!! And he knew just what to do to fix it, he just had to make a retainer thingy to keep his jaw from doing stuff while Elder Todd slept.  So, he invited us to come see him any time on Monday.
So Monday after breakfast we hopped on a shuttle to Markham's (that's the Dentist's name) office! It feels like it's been so long since I've been in a car!  We started driving and I realized, We are SO CLOSE to BYU! Like across the street.  I saw the buildings where some of my friends live, and that was crazy.  It's odd to think that the world is so close but I feel so secluded haha!  Anyways, we get to the dentist's office and it turns out to be a KIDS DENTISTS OFFICE with an aquarium with the finding nemo fish and everything.  

Markham sits us down and they make a mould for Elder Todd's retainer.  Markham then tells us it will take about 2 hours to make the retainer, so HE INVITES US TO HIS HOUSE FOR LUNCH! SCORE!  We meet his dog, Axel, who was some rare "ridgeback" showdog breed and very pretty.  We then met his wife who was so so nice and they made us the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life.  (Probably cause I'm used to the MTC food by now) They also gave us their homemade wine!!! (Don't worry mom and dad it was just grapejuice) But seriously this stuff was amazing.  They grow like hundreds of types of grapes from all over the world and every year make around 1200 bottles of very fancy grapejuice. They invented their own steamer and everything. It's called Chateau Markham and there are several varieties consisting of many different combinations of grapes.  That was seriously probably the best stuff I've ever drunk.  Drinken? Drunken? Idk.

So as we finish up our food, Markham goes back to work ON HIS UNICYCLE and tells us the directions to walk back.  When we were walking back I felt like a real missionary haha! Everyone was looking at us and some people stopped to talk and we got honked at!  I felt like a celebrity as a missionary in Provo lol.  

When we got back to the dentist, we got the retainer, and as we were waiting for the shuttle to take us back to the MTC, we talked with the dental assistants and it was so fun!  Since it was a kid's dentist they made us balloon animals and gave us stickers hahaha!

The balloon animals Elder Todd and I got

The stickers which we naturally decorated our nametags

But ya it was quite a fun time, and it made me super excited to be out of the MTC.  6 weeks to go!

The French is actually coming really well! I can understand most when people talk, and I can speak pretty confidently to friends and in lessons.  Studying has been difficult cause we have to stay focused for so long but it has been so rewarding.
ALSO! I saw my first guitar in a while! Nicole, our investigator (who is really a teacher) had it to play hymns on our weekly sunday temple walk!  I REALLY wanted to play it but didn't ask cause I didn't wanna be "that guy" hahaha!

I'm not gonna lie, this was a pretty difficult week and has been very humbling.  Of course learning languages is hard, but the emotional and spiritual impacts of the MTC are brutal.  It's hard trying to be a perfect missionary haha! It takes a lot of sucking up your pride and trying to be humble enough to learn from the Lord.  I truly know that God answers prayers, I have seen crazy cool things happen as answers to my prayers since I've been here.  

Thanks again so much to anyone who has written me or sent me anything, you guys are THE BEST.  top notch.  number one. best of show.  first place.  Thankuthankuthanku

Also sorry my emails are so long, they will calm down now that I'm getting used to the new lifestyle.

  All the lovezzzzzzzzzzz, 

      Elder Jenkins

*From the MTC Wikipedia Page:

Teaching Resource Center

Missionaries review a mock teaching session in the TRC.
The Teaching Resource Center (TRC) gives missionaries some experience teaching in their mission language, even if it is their native tongue. All missionaries visit the TRC each week. Volunteers who speak the language role play as "investigators" (people who are investigating the church) in these teaching situations.[8] At the end, Missionaries watch a video tape of their teaching session to find ways to improve their language skills and teaching style.
Volunteers are usually returned missionaries and/or BYU students with language abilities. Members of other faiths are able to volunteer as well. All volunteers must present a temple recommend or BYU ID card to participate. As visitors to the MTC, volunteers must pick up a guest pass at the main desk before going to the TRC.

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