Oh my heck, can I just tell you how much I love you and I love today! There are birds chirping, I can see the blue sky, it is good weather, I had a donut for breakfast, and I am just happy! Honest to goodness, I am happy. It is a very good feeling. (We also night get an Apostle at the devotional tonight, but we never know who is speaking until 30 minutes prior to it beginning. It is just that I am in the walk-in choir and they said to make sure that we look our best and get as many singers as possible, so that is a clue that tonight is going to be great).
|Thank you for my package! Way to go Broncos!|
This week has been such a roller coaster, but that seems to be the theme here at the MTC where one minute it is going amazing and the next you are flat on you back, but you always get up again. On Tuesday last week, we had a member of the Seventy, Elder Dube, come and speak to us and he was AMAZING. He started by asking a question that just stuck with me, 'Do you feel as great as you look?' I think the reason that I keep thinking about this question is that it is the most amazing thing to be completely surrounded by missionaries and seeing them with their name tags, I sometimes forget that I am also a missionary, and can feel that I am surrounded by good people. Every single person on this campus has put their life on hold for 18-24 months in consecrated service, and whenever I see them, they just look radiant. So the question is, does your inside attitude match the way that other people see you? My answer varies from 'of course!' to 'meh, it is just an off sort of day', back to 'Yes!', and so on. So, family, do you feel as great as you look? I think that you all look amazing and wonderful; I look at your pictures and just love you so much!
After our wonderful Tuesday devotional, the next day in class, we basically had an 'Intervention' session by our teacher. It was really strange because we were all just in class with our regular moods (not always on the edge of excitement because we have now spent basically every waking hour with one another for the past 30 days, but just kind of there), when--in the middle of the lesson--our teacher just stops the grammar principle and asks us how we are doing. It was a very spiritual lesson where we were reading from the Book of Mormon and Bible and I believe it is in Mormon 5:3 (or something like that, I currently do not have my scriptures on me) and Mormon says something along the lines of, 'I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, a Son of God; my mission is to preach everlasting life..". Basically, it was VERY powerful and we just had a heart-to-heart. The next morning, the other set of teachers continued the heart-to-heart with us and we had time to contemplate the reason that we chose to go on a mission. It was a really great experience because being at the MTC is hard, there is a high level of commitment that we must constantly apply and a lot of pressure to learn the language quickly because we only have a limited amount of time to help people (it is better to learn the language ASAP so that you can do as much service as possible out in the field) and now the departure date is quickly approaching; the field is going to be so much harder. I guess that because there are not a lot of people out there trying to learn Mongolian--go figure--and so Mongolians do not really understand broken-Mongolian the way other languages understand (i.e. broken English, broken Spanish). So, the pressure is on, but I feel really good about my progression, it is slow, but steady. After our session, we were given the challenge to memorize Joseph Smith's First Vision in Mongolian, and I have 2/3 of it down. I am working on the ending half today. If it were possible, I would recite it to you right now, but I cannot. So take my word on it. :)
|This is us saying "Hi" to he Thai District|
|You bow to each other and put your hands to your face!|
Also, for about 2 hours, we thought that they moved up our departure date to March 8 instead of March 17 and I had a mini panic attack. I NEED those 10 days! There was a group of us that just kind of freaked out, but it turned out to be a false alarm, so we are back to the 17th of March. Thank goodness. I think one of my biggest worries was because of the food, as superficial as that is, because an extra 10 days is not going to make the largest impact on the amount of language.
I do want to tell you about three different discussions that my companion and I gave, though! Two were on Saturday were we teach just a church member as a practice--it is a 20 minute lesson on any principle we chose, which was on Faith and Hope--to help bring people to Christ. It is always nice because we know that the member is going to give us the benefit of the doubt and be willing to answer questions, but again, this is a 20 minute lesson in pure Mongolian. So the first guy that we got spoke so quickly and quietly that I did not understand almost anything, haha, I even accidentally skipped to the end of the lesson when we were only halfway through and blundered through it all. I walked out feeling very... humbled. The next lesson, though, was great!! The member that we taught spoke Mongolian at a higher level than me, but it felt attainable! He spoke well, read quickly, and was just so nice! I felt like my confidence rose because I understood basically everything that he said. We were then given an evaluation by the member and it turns out that the first one that I blundered through said that the little bit of Mongolian that we knew and used was great and that he felt the Spirit very strongly.
|In class Sunday morning|
|This is also us hanging out in the hall (during the class time, we will get a 2-4 minute break every hour or two) and this is actually what we will do|
The best experience was last night, at 6:30 PM we skyped Mongolia!!! Sister Guild and I gave our first discussion to a member in Ulaanbaatar and it was so great, I honestly just loved him. It was that type of love where I just wanted to be out there, I want to do whatever I can to serve the people, whether I could speak or not, and just help. In the middle of the lesson, I was reading a paragraph from a talk and when I finished, I looked up and asked if he understood, he said no. So then about 5 minutes later, there was another quote that I read, and I totally goofed and read the exact same paragraph again with the same result. We ended up just laughing about it for a couple minutes, but even with that huge mess-up, I still knew that I loved him and hoped that he would get some sort of message from the Spirit that I could not convey in words.
It was wonderful. I love what I am doing. I love the people around me and this beautiful language. I know that I am going to Mongolia because this is how the Lord could best reach my heart and help me become the best version of myself as possible.
I miss you and hope you are having a wonderful day!
**Reminder, Sister Olsen's MTC information is located at the top of the blog on the right for those interested in using Dear Elder, a free mailing service that is available while Sister Olsen is still at the MTC. She won't be there for too much longer! dearelder.com**
|I dyed my hair and I love it! Thanks Mami|
|Sister Olsen with Sister Bottorff who is also from Colorado|