I guess I'll just go through each day and tell you what's been going on and how my schedule's been. Right when I was dropped off a very sweet sister came and brought me around to the bookstore to get the books I needed, and then brought me to my residence hall where I dropped off my things and immediately was brought to my classroom and was able to meet my first companion and district. All my teachers are very kind and helpful! They're all RMs and have only been home for about a year or two which makes it a bit odd and intimidating at times, but they're all great!Â
Every day is about the same except for Sundays and Tuesdays (p-day). We get up at 6:30 every morning and get ready for district study at 7. It's been very difficult trying to figure out how to get ready in a half an hour. So last night I decided to try showering at night and it seems to have helped...and I didn't have to worry about drying my hair! Then after district study, we have breakfast at 7:45, and then class starts at 8:15 until 12:30 for lunch, and then class starts again at 1:30 until about 5:30 where we stop for dinner, and then usually we either have TRC or we go right into planning, companionship study for an hour, and personal study for an hour all in our classroom because they don't want us spending a lot of time in our residence hall (apartments). TRC just started last night. So during our class time, our teachers role play as different investigators and we have to plan lessons and teach them, and then we just recently were assigned a TRC investigator who is basically a paid actor that we have to teach. They can either be just actors, or real investigators who want to know about our church, so it's kinda scary! Sister and Hodges and I were really nervous, but we thought it went very well!
We also have had meetings with our branch presidency and such throughout this week, and were each assigned a calling for our branch. Sister Hodges and I are the sister training leaders, so we have to make sure all our sisters in the branch are doing well and we have to welcome all the new sisters coming into our branch this coming Wednesday! Wednesday night when they come we have to do the new missionary orientation and basically tell them all the basic rules about, being in your residence by 9:30,Â Â quiet time which is 10:15, and lights out at 10:30. Relationships with elders, dress and modesty, and some other things. Then also just give them some comforting advice to help them with their first couple days here! My district is the only district in our branch because the others districts left just the week before we arrived so we kind of have to deal with everything all on our own. Along with being a sister training leader, I was put as the music coordinator, so I have to play the piano for sacrament meeting, and choose the hymns and everything. It was pretty stressful at first trying to figure everything out, but I think I've got it now :)
My companion, Sister Hodges, is absolutely wonderful! (Her name is Carissa, and actually is cousins with the Hodges from New Plymouth! Funny huh?) She is from Nampa and we get along SO wonderfully! We have a lot in common! Her birthday is only 2 days after mine, (we both have a missionary out like I mentioned in my short little letter) we are both experiencing the same anxieties and stress and it's very easy to talk to her! She as well as the 2 other sisters in my district, Sisters Purcell and Smith, are all serving at the Winter Quarters Visitor's Center, so I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of each other the next 18 months which is great because we all get along great!Â
I will just be honest and say that this has been some of the hardest 6 days of my life! I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed and stressed. It is getting better because I'm really learning how to open up to others and rely on my Savior more. The MTC definitely keeps you busy, which can be a good and a bad thing at the same time. We spend around 12 or 13 hours every day in one very small classroom memorizing, studying, (personal and companionship study) planning our lessons with our "investigators", role playing, and learning LOTS from our teachers! I honestly don't have ANY personal time where I can just sit and rest and not feel guilty about not doing anything productive. We do have gym time for about 45 minutes a few days each week. Sister Hodges and I like to just go running/walking. We both got shin splints the first time we ran though so we decided to throw a frisbee back and forth yesterday. My ankle has also been hurting a little bit because I have forgotten to put my brace on, and I have miserable blisters on my heels from my shoes. But it's alright! I've put bandaids on and everything, so no worries! Â I have learned SO much from the scriptures and teaching since I've been here, but I still feel very unsure of myself at times. It's hard to learn how to teach and learn what to teach according to investigator's needs. I've really been trying to learn to have more faith to know that I can do this. I've been way too hard on myself because the first couple days being here I wanted to be perfect at teaching, but I have to be realistic with myself and realize that it's not all going to come at once. The first couple days I was very doubtful and trying to remember why I chose to do this...it's flippin' hard! The new busy schedule, and getting up SO much earlier than I'm used to, being away from home, everything! I've just had to get used to the fact that I'm always going to be tired. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. The days have felt sooo long, and it feels like I'm never going to get out of here. I have been very negative and ungrateful, and I'm really trying to learn to love every second I have here. The spirit is SO strong, and being around all these worthy, wonderful sisters and elders has been such a great blessing! Everyone is so kind and friendly! It's definitely been a good learning opportunity. I KNOW that this is where I'm supposed to be right now even though it's hard. I know that only with the Lord's help I can do this. I am never alone. If I learn to listen to the spirit and rely on my Savior, He will help me to know what to say. I have such a desire to serve, so I know that I AM called to the work. I was chosen and called specifically by the Lord. That's such a wonderful privilege!Â
Anyways... let's see. Sunday, we had sacrament meeting at 8:45, and then missionary conference from 10-12. Since we have such a small branch, we each got a chance to share our testimonies including our branch presidency and their wives. Their wives are so loving and give us each big hugs whenever we see them! Then we had a bunch of meetings. Branch council, training leaders meeting, interviews with the branch president and lots of others things. Then we got to go on a walk to the temple and we took some fun pictures together as a district, and then dinner and a wonderful fireside and then movie night. They have the testaments and other church movies, but my district decided to watch President Bednar's MTC talk on "Characters of Christ." It was so powerful! The MTC is the only place you can watch it, or I would totally encourage you to look it up.Â
By the way...just a little side note. I am going to be able to call home next Sunday on Mother's Day!!!! Woohoo!!! I'll be calling at 2:15-2:45, so everybody be ready!! :)
It's true...the food here is SO delicious...but holy cow. There is SO much of it. Such large portions, and so many choices to choose from! Sister Hodges and I are really trying to eat healthy though. We have decided to always go right to the salad bar and fruit for lunch and dinners. Or we'll get a plate of something else and share it or something so we don't over eat. Haha ;)Â
And thank you all SO much for your notes that you've been sending me! I've absolutely LOVED it!!! It's so hard not being able to respond to you right away, but I have really loved hearing all about what's going on! I should really probably get going now...I'm sorry if my email is a little jumbled all over the place, but I hope you are all doing well! I love you SO much! For the rest of my day, Sister Hodges and I are going to go to an art exhibit at BYU, and then we get to go to the temple! I'm very excited! I've really needed it! Talk to you soon! Sorry, but I'm unfortunately not going to be able to send pictures this week. Both Sister and Hodges and I are having troubles. There's some error thing that keeps popping up that's saying we have to get a chord from the book store....I don't know. I'm really sorry! I'll try my best to send some next week! Oh and by the way...I found out that I will be here until the 17th, and then I fly out to Nebraska. Turns out I will be having visitor center training for only 3 days. So most likely from the 14th to the 16th. Super excited! Love you!
Sister Ferrara :)