March 23, 2013 by jennaljackson
Ola meus negos (Hello my darlings),
So the big news at the MTC this week: I passed my one monthiversary (11 days left weeeeeeeee) and as the subject line insinuates, I’M GONNA BE FAMOUS! That’s right. World tour paparazzi and groupies. So you know how they always do a spotlight on an area of the church in between conference sessions? Well apparently this conference it’s the MTC! And they filmed the MTC choir singing at devotional last Tuesday which of course featured yours truly. They made a big deal of this devotional and made it seem like there was “someone special” coming to speak so obviously the tripanionship tried to spread the rumor that the prophet was coming. We may have succeeded considering we had to get to choir practice an hour early and wait outside the doors for a chance to be able to sing. I attached a pic of our place in the line and you don’t even wanna know how many people were behind us. It was like the MTC version of Justin Bieber tickets, if you had to wait in line and not buy them online and stuff. But anyway, good thing I did my hair that day because the special guest was a film crew. I’m wearing a blue gingham button-up (of course) and I kinda sorta ended up right behind a black girl so I feel like there’s a good chance you’ll get a few shots of me. Be sure to all write me and let me know if you did.
Another great thing that happened on Tuesday was I instated the first weekly Haikuesday! It was an idea I came up with while fruitlessly trying to get to sleep at night and I had to wait like 5 days to debut it but when I did it was great. Basically, you just write people funny haiku all day and if you write them in Portuguese you can count it as language study. I don’t have any of the high-larious ones I wrote because obvi I gave them all away, but here is one Sister Brooks wrote to me:
Te amo, sempre
Eras muita bonita
Como uma cao.
Translation: I love you always. You are very pretty like a dog. (and yeah we did that all day).
Speaking of which, I’ve decided a lofty goal of mine is to procure a Portuguese vocabulary that sort of approximates a semblance of my English one, so I try to practice a few really weird words every day. In case you wondered, so far my favorites are: cabisbaixo (crestfallen), acariciar (cuddle), o duende (elf), and encaracolado (curly). We use that last one mostly to celebrate batatas fritas encaracoladas which is one of the few things we enjoy in the cafeteria. Also Mom this one’s for you: in Portuguese apparently their term for bookworm is rato de biblioteca, or library rat. Lolz.
Other major MTC happenings this week…my class made The Big Move from our classroom in 8M to 18M so the air conditioning could get fixed. Considering I spend more time in that classroom than anywhere else it basically rocked my world. We lost one of our teachers to a new district but gained a new one and he seems cool. We had a huge group of Russians leave for the field this week which caused quite a stir–so it all started when there was a slight commotion when 2 elders switched 2 canisters of cereal from one station with different cereals from another and we were like ummmm ok. Then there was a large commotion when suddenly the line at the cereal station exploded and we though wow people really like those 2 kinds of cereal. But then it got ridiculously long and good old Sister Chartrand beckoned me over from the line to give me the scoop. Apparently the last saturday before a big group of russians leaves, they all do this thing called a cereal “knockout” where they try to empty as many of the cereal canisters as they can in one meal. Whatever we make our own fun here. They said the record was 6…they did 10 #agechangeconsequences and I saw elders with bowls on bowls on bowls of Berry Colossal Crunch and other generic brand cereal. At the next meal they put signs saying “owned by the russians” on all the empty containers, which I thought was a waste because there’s gotta be some type of communist/soviet joke you can make about that that’s funnier than owned by the Russians. Haven’t thought of it yet but I know it’s out there. Also random but great news from the district….one of our elders has a cat who I KID YOU NOT IS NAMED MRS. KITTY. We (well mostly I) have of course decided that she and Mr. Kitty must get married (even though they have both lost the capabilities of reproduction) and I am anxiously awaiting on a picture of her so I can put it next to my pic of Mr. Kitty and see if they make a cute couple. Easily one of the greatest things to happen here so far.
I celebrated my one month anniversary by being a new missionary host, which means I took the noobs around to their rooms and classes when they first arrive. It was way tiring trying to make conversation and orient these girls who have been on a mission for like 10 minutes but it was a good reminder of how far (and long) I have come. Also how much God cares about His missionaries. The first girl I got was a friend from MUN my freshman year so it was fun for both of us to see each other. The next time I had two girls to take and I did not go five steps with them when BOTH of them had host sisters come up who knew them and asked if they could take them instead of me. I couldn’t help but think there are few times when you more need to see a friendly face than when you first walk into the MTC, and I choose to think of it as little baby miracles. I mean not that it happened to me when I got here but I’m strong or whatever.
For this week’s winners of Best Mail Ever we have….EVERYONE WHO SENT ME CHEEZ-ITS! I sent out the S.O.S. and clearly you heard me. I have decided that the size of the cheez-it box you send me is directly proportional to your love for me, so basically Darren’s act of creating a massive cheez-it box out of 7 regular sized ones means that no one will ever be able to love me as much as him not even my future husband or children. Sorry guys. He wins. Also for great letters we have Anne Fiala with a DearElder of only Hoodie Allen lyrics which I chose to translate into Portuguese and send back to her, best language study ever. Dad hashtagged what I can only assume was his first hashtag ever in a DearElder so OBVIOUSLY that was amazing and gets him a prize. Mom who sent me sperrys and the Washington Post (all the things you need to be a Jackson wherever you are!) and Coleman Scholz who just sent me a regular letter but who asked for a blog shoutout so here it is champ.
It has been a week of discussing how to have the Spirit with us and have it guide our lessons, which is a hard concept to implement but makes for great study and lessons. One of my favorite lessons in class was on how to ask inspired questions–all about really listening to our investigators and reading their actions and body language etc. so that we know how they’re feeling, what to talk about, and what questions to ask. We watched a clip by Holland (amazing of course) that discussed how the PMG concept has made it so that many missionaries get really off track and go on for way too long with their investigators. He said that too often lessons are “irrelevant, ineffectual, or uninspiring” and I thought it was a cool way to take the opposite and have it be a sort of 3-pronged goal for my own lessons. I wish it was how I had thought about lessons when I was teaching Gospel Doctrine too. It’s hard to think who am I to bring the spirit into someone’s house with my words and my broken Portuguese but I know that the Lord helps us and that he has prepared His children. It reminded me of a scripture that helped me a lot before I came: “And they shall cry from the dust, yea, even repentance unto their brethren…And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words. Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words I will make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.” Pretty nice promise for a missionary.
Well I’ve hogged this computer for too long so my final thoughts…to explain the rest of the pictures we have Sister Brooks who clearly misses baking a lot and has resorted to creating mini cookie dough balls out of already baked chocolate chip cookies and putting them in pretend rows on her tray. Life’s hard. And we have our st. patty’s day temple pic. Mint was the closest I could come to green but since the Elders aren’t allowed to pinch us I was safe all day.
Oh and BY THE WAY the district elders just walked in and brought us our TRAVEL PLANZ!!! We leave the SLC airport on April 2 at 2:30 and go to Dallas then to London then to Lisbon the next day at 5:40 pm. And then I turn into a real boy. Guys I’m going to portugal!!!!
I’ve hogged this computer for too long and my laundry is done, but I love you all. Also just so everyone knows missionaries can now send/receive emails to/from anyone so if you want to hit me up with a little note after dearelder becomes harder, just hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org! It’ll be fantastic. Happy second-to-last-pday-at-the-mtc to me!