Hey family & friends,
So, these first few days at the MTC have definitely been fun, difficult, and trying. But, I have loved it too!
Thanks for those who have already sent me letters, and for all the support I have been given to serve a mission! I have definitely needed it for sure. I know I wouldn't have been able to do it on my own.
On Wednesday when I arrived, we all went into a room and sat with all the new missionaries who arrived at the same time as me. We all waited for about 30 minutes until they had a short orientation. While I was waiting, Elder Jake Peterson walked in! I was sooooo excited! He came over and we were able to say hi and take a picture together :) I would send it, but I forgot my camera cord under my bed somewhere...so I'll have to find someone with one that I can use, or just wait until next week and see if Amanda can find it and send it to me. But, Wednesday was great. We stayed super busy all day, and I had to go back and look at my schedule to figure out what we did each day. I felt like I have been here for weeks already...and at the same time, I feel like I just got here today. Then, we had to have a host who went to get our bags for us, and Jake came back over, so we got to talk for a bit. He is heading to Figi today! So I'm super glad I got to see him before he left :) He came back over and was my host which was super fun. Then, after we got our bags, I went back inside to get my name tag and other random things, and my room key...etc. Well, when I walked into the hallway to get my sister escort, Ashlee was sitting there! (she is the girl that lived down the hall my freshman year, she is from Ohio, so I hung out with her one night when we were down there too! but she is going to Norway this week too, so I'm not sure if I will see her again either.) So we went and found Jake with my bags, and it turns out that they had a class together last semester at BYU...weird! But it was super fun, and it definitely helped to make me feel way more welcomed when I got here to have all people that I know. Oh, and also, the lady that was checking us in was looking for me! She was one of the temple workers at the Timpanogos temple when I went through, and she had told me to look for her when I got to the MTC, but I couldn't remember how I knew her. haha So, it was reunions all over the place!
Ashlee helped me to my room and then to my class. I went through a short orientation video, and then met the other Elders and Hermanas in my district. They are so awesome! I absolutely love them all already. I got there super early, so while we were waiting, our language teacher was in the class, and so we were only speaking Spanish. It was definitely already the most Spanish I had spoken in a long time! haha But, I could understand all of it surprisingly! It was great :) Once everyone got there, we got introduced to our new companions. Mine is Hermana Taylor. She is from Kansas, and is super cute. It's way funny though because I was wearing my tall boots on the first day, and she was a good foot or so shorter than me...at least! haha But it's been super fun. We definitely have things that we can help each other with, and there are some difficulties, but who doesn't have those? I think if there wasn't anything wrong, then we would have problems. We all got to learn how to teach that day. We had what's called teaching experiences. We went into 'peoples homes' and the group of 60 of us or so all were able to teach the person after watching other missionaries begin the lesson. It was neat opportunity to see how it actually happens and how to focus what you are teaching to always be focused on bringing others to Christ. With so many people, it was difficult to keep it focused because everyone has different ideas and learning techniques, but also we have time to think about things and interact with other missionaries.
Thursday was a day full of interesting and crazy things. We had a class where we watched movies about peoples lives, then we tried to figure out what we could teach them that would best help and support them in their lives. There are so many good people around the world and they have so much strength that sometimes we need to just sit back and let them do the teaching and we need to listen. I have definitely found that listening is the best way to actually connect with other people. We had gym that morning too and I went and played volleyball. It's been super fun because the other Hermanas in our room are super nice about getting us acquainted about everything as quick as possible. We already know the ins and outs of sack breakfasts before gym time, and laundry hours at 530 in the morning, and emails and letters and everything in between. It's super nice though because then if we have any questions, we just ask them! I have been working a lot on my Spanish, and it amazed me how we can have a 3 hour long class time, completely in Spanish, and we understand and can communicate so well with each other. Sometimes we may need to change the sentence or look up a word, but overall, we are all progressing so quickly. I love speaking, and have definitely noticed that not being afraid of speaking incorrectly makes life so much easier. I have just accepted the fact that my grammar and other concepts aren't the best, but that if I speak with the spirit, then they will understand it anyway. And when our teachers only speak in Spanish, we sort of have to figure it out quickly on our own. haha During our time that we were practicing, we decided as a district to memorize the missionary purpose in Spanish and it was the funniest thing ever! We were all dying of laughter and then have gotten so much closer as a district too. Oh and there are 4 elders and now 7 hermanas in our district. It's so weird to have so many more girls that guys! We met our branch presidency that night, and they are soooo cool! He reminds me so much of President Hinckley it's a bit scary actually. haha :) But, it's been a blast too! We all shared a bit about ourselves and then concluded with our testimony of the gospel. It has been such a neat experience already to be able to meet all of these great Elders and Hermanas in my district. That night, I needed to get out for a bit. I wasn't used to sitting in a chair all day, so I was struggling a bit to stay focused that night. One of the other girls in my room, Hermana Holzer, went running up and down the stairs with me for like 20 minutes. It was great! I definitely needed to get out for a little bit and clear my head out. But, it was a good and busy day.
Friday, I we taught our first lesson in the morning. We had been practicing and getting ready for it all day on Thursday, but it's so different when you're actually teaching! I loved it though. I was able to pray, bear my testimony, and share a story about my life all in Spanish! It was so amazing :) We had personal study and I am learning so much more about myself and how I can help my investigators all the time. We learned how to use the computer programs too called TALL, and we had an interesting experience with that! haha they weren't working, so we all had to share and listen and talk out loud. haha it was super fun. Our teacher has been great too. We always laugh and have fun with them and then speak tons in Spanish! It's been awesome though. We had two more Hermanas join us today too from the beginner class which will be fun :) I played volleyball during gym time too and then went running for a bit to clear out my head. I found out that I can go and play piano too during personal study, so we went and found a chapel to play in! It was awesome :) Tonight was super tough, I was thinking about so many things and it was really hard, but I got two letters and was able to read them once I got home. It was the best thing in the world!
Love Hermana Jessica Peterson
ps. on my phone in one of the notes sections, there is a note with a scripture in it. I think it's in D&C, but I'm not quite sure. Could you see if it is there and then send me the reference? Thanks!
Love you all so much! Can't wait to hear from you soon :) Oh and P days are usually on friday morning!