So, life continues here at the MTC. Seriously (the food aside) this is the coolest place! After the last group of Dutchies left last Monday, another set came in last Wednesday. They are so much fun, especially the new sister, Sister Jones. She's so amazingly talented, and funny.
So, my zone actually has about 35 missionaries. There are only 5 Swedes, but we also have the Norwegians, the Danes, and the Dutch. There is one Dutch Elder who arrived on the same day as me (2 weeks ahead of the other Dutchies) who's going to the West Indies, so he's our "lone Dutchie" in one of the Norwegian Districts.
The MTC is awesome; I've got three fantastic teachers, all returned missionaries from Sweden. Bro. Jorgensen is the youngest and was the one who told me about Pres. Nyman, but Bro. Bush and Bro. Dunn are where to go for vocab and grammar questions
My dorm room is actually pretty great. Although there are 6 beds, it's just Syster Stewart and me. We're right next door to the other 5 sisters in my zone. I have a fridge, and it's been great for keeping my insulin cool. Oh, and it's insane, but from my room, I can see Heritage Halls and BYU printing. I keep an eye out for Doug's car, but I haven't seen it yet.
Syster Stewart is fantastic. She's from a farm in Spokane Washington. She's the second of 8 kids, and she talks about her family all the time. She'll be 20 in December, but we have sisters in our zone who are almost 21. She, Sister Buhler, and I have fun being nerds together.
The Swedish is coming slowly but surely. It's interesting, because every time we teach, it's pa svenska, but truthfully, we don't really use our language aids as much as we used to. We teach at least one investigator every day, and we had two yesterday. Investigators tend to be our teachers taking on the role of an investigator they taught in their missions. One of our teachers, Brother Jorgenson, is playing a 10-year old, and he's freakishly good at it. We love getting to teach him, because he's very quick to catch on, and very driven- the kid read the Book of Mormon twice in 10 days! Teaching him is so cool, especially because he's so enthusiastic about the gospel. Our other investigator, Alex, is coming along well too. Not quite as fast as Adam, but he's becoming more and more receptive to our message.
So, just as an overview, a day at the MTC goes roughly like this:
6:15 Wake up and shower
7:00 Go to the gym and play volleyball and foursquare for an hour
8:00 Personal Study
9:15 Classtime and teaching
2:30 More classtime and teaching
5:45 Language study
7:30 More study time
The schedule doesn't go exactly like that every day, but all of that is fit in there somehow or other, and we are busy every minute of every day. Maybe I don't have as many different activities going on as the high school and college kids do, but I promise, I'm working so hard I essentially fall into my bed every night. Well, technically, I don't fall since I have the top bunk, but I look like a zombie stumbling up the ladder.
We have a lot of fun, singing disney songs, and making up our own parts to hymns (Syster Stewart takes soprano, I take alto. All together, it works out well). We quote movies like no one's business, and over-all just love life as misisonaries.
I love being a missionary. I really do. I'll be honest, it's hard, and I miss my family, and there are times I wish I could be there with them, but I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I have so much fun here and I've seen my testimony grow and my understanding of the gospel has expanded so much already. One of the best quotes I've heard here at the MTC is "The atonement isn't part of the gospel; the atonement is the gospel." It's a different perspective than I had before on the Atonement, and it has reshaped my testimony so much as I've thought about it in the last few weeks. None of the gospel matters without the atonement, and because of the atonement, we have an amazing, bright hope that something better is always going to come, because we have a Savior and a gracious Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can possibly begin to imagine.
Just as a note, to date, I have seen Elder Dexter Murray, Elder Chandler Young, Elder Jaik Brown, Elder Jake Jenson, Elder Nick Elg, Elder Nathan Ricks, Elder Danny David Dawson, Elder Riley McEwan, and Elder Ben Van de Graaf. Sister Victoria Violette, Sister Rachel Page, and Sister Melanie Hunter. I also was able to talk to Elder Adam Isaac a few times before he finally left for Kobe, Japan, which was amazing. I thought I'd said goodbye to him back in August when we all were hanging out at the Bell's one last time before he and Elder Mike Vance went to the MTC, but I was able to shake his hand (because that's the only contact Sisters and Elders can have) just hours before he boarded a plane to fly out to Japan. I haven't heard anything since, but I know that he's going to be an amazing missionary in Japan.
Being a missionary isn't easy. Last week after Devotional, Syster Stewart had a minor break-down. She's had her faith tried much harder in the last few months than ever before, and as a missionary, she wants to be exactly obedient, and know that what's she's teaching is absolutely true. And I can definitely understand that; it's terrifying, in a way, to contemplate that I'm going to tell people for the next 18 months how they should change their lives and why. We've been working together to help her overcome that, and I do think that she's doing better now, but it has made me reflect a lot on why I'm here.
I'm here because the gospel is light in my life, and I want to share it with others. I love the promise of the restored gospel, and I think that promise should be made available to everyone. Someone is out there, waiting for what I have to offer as a missionary. I don't know who they are, or when I'll meet them. I might not even know until after this life, but I do know the Lord has a purpose for me out in Stockholm, and I want to get out there and fulfill that purpose.