Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Another Great Day at the MTC!

[Posted by Allie]


In case you were wondering, yes, it was another great day in the Missionary Training Center! I am astounded that I have only been here for 13 days now because I feel like I have grown and learned so much that it could have been a year, but that also means I am 13 days closer to getting to Mongolia. It is a great thought, but I am SO grateful for the time that I have here. I am not ready yet at all in regards to the language.

Sister Olsen's Zone - Pointing to their new soon-to-be home... MONGOLIA.

Mongolian Crew in front of the Provo Temple 
Called to Serve all over the world!
 To begin, the food here is SO FREAKIN' DELICIOUS!! It is cafeteria style, but there is always a pretty good selection, the  rotation is starting to become predictable, but since I love hamburgers, I can't complain. I am reviling in all the deliciousness before I get sent out and eat nothing but goat heads and eyeballs--yum, right? Really, though, there is ice cream every Sunday and Wednesday (to welcome all the new missionaries), last night they had Chick-Fil-A (amazing!), Fridays are Pizza from Papa John's, but there is always salad to try to keep the poundage off. I think it is kind of funny because I have been able to eat a lot, but haven't gained any weight; also knowing that I am going to Mongolia to walk around helps with not worrying about that.
Sister Olsen and her companion

Also, everyday we have an hour to exercise and it is like an hour of paradise. I have become pretty good at basketball and there is a companionship from New Zealand going to Thailand in our zone (a Zone is a meeting group about the size of the Laredo Branch) and we shoot hoops everyday. I hear that it is a pretty popular sport in Mongolia, so I am ready. Also, it is either basketball, volleyball, or four square, if you want to play a sport since the outside field is closed due to weather, so be ready when I come back. I have some raw talent. There is also an indoor track above the gym, so I run/walk a mile everyday with my companion as we try to memorize Mongolian words/phrases, and I LOVE running. She will go down to play volleyball at the one mile mark, I will then run (without stopping) at least half a mile--the endorphins are needed. I also have started to portion out about 15-20 minutes in the hour to bring my Book of Mormon in English and Mongolian and just read out loud. I will then finish off by going downstairs to play some basketball for about 10-15 minutes. Exercise time is a saving grace and SO AMAZING.
The Elders that are also going to Mongolia with Sister Olsen

As for learning, I feel like last Thursday I finally had a break-though and have really learned to love Mongolian and be okay that I am not going to Latin America. It took SO MUCH HUMBLING over and over again, I think that I have had to learn the hard way because I am just that stubborn. Last week I kept trying, but it was only with half of my heart, and because of that, I quickly fell to the bottom of my class of nine. Then  on Thursday morning we had a one-on-one with the teacher to have a coaching session and he asked me, in Mongolian, how I was doing. I started with the answers like, 'the language is hard and I am trying,' and 'I am confused by the crazy grammar', and other cop-out answers. Finally, he looked at me and asked if I BELIEVED that I could learn the language. I started to cry (a little) and told him that I didn't know. He then (in Mongolian) told me how it will start like a mustard seed and my faith will grow, he also drew a picture of me on top of a mountain with a little 'Mongolian' conversation bubble with little people helping push me up. It was silly, but it was exactly what I wanted to hear.

Study Study Study time learning to speak a new language! 
Since then, I have been reading aloud in both languages and have been able to pronounce the words a little better. We have been teaching 'investigators' (who are really our teachers) and I can now say a small testimony and prayer in Mongolian, and I FULL-HEARTEDLY love Mongolian! We had a rough discussion last night where the investigator started to ask questions and act like a real investigator, but instead of feeling discouraged because we were stumped, I felt invigorated. I cannot wait to get out to the field, it is going to be wonderful even if all I can do is smile and wave. I already love them. 
Sister Olsen with her close hometown friend, Sister Noa
I have such a firm testimony in the power of the Lord in helping us accomplish all things and it really is by faith that I will learn to speak this wonderful language. The Bible dictionary states that faith is to have confidence in something or someone and because of the perfect character of Christ and the enabling power of the Atonement, so long as we earnestly seek and work toward that thing (with confidence!), there is nothing that will be withheld. Also accounting for obedience, of course!

With all my love,

Sister Olsen

**Reminder, Sister Olsen's MTC information is located at the top of the blog on the left for those interested in using Dear Elder, a free mailing service that is available while Sister Olsen is still at the MTC. dearelder.com**

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