Friday, September 6, 2013

Katie's first letter!!!

Salut ma famille!

Okay. So...remember when Jacob said that here in the MTC days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days?? I never really got that until around...the end of my first day. Honestly, we do SO MUCH in a day that each day feels like it's been a week. But it goes by sooooo fast!! Already day 3? Like what?

I don't even really know where to start. There is so much I wish I could tell about we'll start with P-days. Well, my P-days are Fridays...obviously...which is nice because I have had absolutely no time whatsoever to write any kind of a letter. The MTC President told us to take 5 minutes that first day to write your family, but I didn't even have 5 minutes. It was so busy!! The first day just flew by! I got there with Aunt Nancy, and right away, this cute little redhead was waiting for us. She was my host person and is going to the Philippines on her mission. I have only seen her in passing since, but she totally helped me figure everything out. She took my luggage and I went and got my books...they were in this yellow bag. It had a French PMG, French dictionnaire, French grammar book, something else French, le Sainte Bible, the Triple Combination (which is so pretty...I love it!!) in French, and some other stuff that I can't think of. The one thing it didn't have was the little orange missionaire book that I bought (remember, Mom??) so if you could send that to me that would be GREAT! I don't want to have to buy a new one.

Okay, so my district. My companions are Sister Pape and Sister Orton and there are 5 Elders and just us Sisters (actually, originally it was just me and Sister Pape, but Sister Orton transferred to the fast track missionaries--us--and so now there are three!). Sister Pape is absolutely ADORABLE and I love her! She is super excited to be here and is totally good with being exactly obedient and we are already like besties. We have a lot in common (like random quirky stuff that I won't tell you ;) ) and so it's fun talking. She's going to the Lyon mission (so Jacob, you'll have to look out for her!) and lived in Paris for 4 years! Her French is about the same as mine though, so I don't feel intimidated or anything :) She went to an American school and just took French in High School same as me. She's just great! Sister Orton is also amazing! I don't know her as well yet because this is our first day with her, but I can already tell that she's ready and willing to serve the Lord. She went to BYU for 3 years before this, so she's a little older than Sister Pape and me, but she's super sweet and I love her already! She's going to the Japan Tokyo Mission and lived in Japan for 6 years!! She went to a Japanese school though, so she's completely fluent. Also in my district is Elder Davis, Elder Bailey, Elder Alloria, Elder Monsia, and Elder Vang (also, they said there was another Elder, but he's quarantined because he's sick I guess....???). Elder Davis is going to the Lyon mission and his French is definitely better than mine. But not amazing! So it's all good. Elder Bailey is going to the Paris mission!!!!! His French is about the same. Elder Alloria is from the Philippines and is in this district for English. He's going to...I think...the California Santa Rosa mission. Elder Monsia is from Ivory Coast but he's most recently from New York. He is going to DC french speaking and he's already completely fluent. Elder Vang is awesome! He's Hmong, but has lived in California. He's going to a mission in Wisconsin Hmong speaking!!! He said one of our prayers in Hmong, and it is a very strange language. But super cool sounding! So yeah, basically my district is awesome.

My companions at the map!  It goes Sister Orton, me, Sister Pape from left to right 

My teachers are AWESOME.  We have like a billion teachers it feels like...but Brother Smith is incredible! He went to the Netherlands on his mission (my mission stole Belgium from his mission...hehe). Sister Palmer...absolutely amazing. She went to Ukraine on her mission and was in the MTC for 12 weeks...she didn't become fluent in Russian until she had been out a full year because the language is so hard...she just got back in February! And then Brother Alexander isn't our actual teacher, but he served in Lyon and because there are so many French-speaking missionaries in our district, he's just helping out.

Yeah so the MTC is nothing like what I was expecting...although I guess I wasn't really expecting anything in just is really cool. We do NOTHING in French. Everything is in English. You know how Jacob said that he had to teach a lesson on day 3? Yeah no. Well, we did, but it was yesterday and it was in English. Wait I take that back. We were supposed to, but first our teachers did a demonstration with a fake investigator (who was me). So how it works is at one point each of us have to make our own investigator. We base them off of someone we know, and then add our personality and voila! We have a fake investigator! We use their name and everything. So they couldn't find the other teacher who was supposed to do it, so Sister Palmer asked me if I would. The lesson was only supposed to be 15 minutes, but it ended up taking the whole rest of the 45 minutes because it was, and I'm not exaggerating, AMAZING. The spirit was so so so strong and by the end I was bawling (you know me) and when they asked if I would follow the example of Christ and be baptized I couldn't even talk...and sister Pape was bawling (Yep! We're one and the same!) and everything went so crazy great. I wish I could tell you about all of the spiritual experiences I've had so far, but that would definitely take too long...haha.

So one thing they really try to emphasize (when I say they I mean President Marion, my Branch President) is not using slang. So we're never supposed to say, "hey guys!" or "dude" or anything casual like that. So my companions and I have been trying really hard and it's is SO HARD. I didn't realize how much slang I use until I tried to stop...but we're getting there! So no worries ;)

Today we got to go to the temple this morning. So great. Like so so so great. The Provo Temple is HUGE compared to the Sacramento I was lost. As you can imagine. But it was amazing, and I loved and it was today that I realized that I'm going to miss the temple so much while I'm gone...Sister Orton is lucky because she has the Tokyo Temple in her mission, so she gets to go like every 2 weeks.

So here at the MTC, in order to be one of the "cool" kids--sorry not kids, Elders and Sisters--you need to have a, uh, we call it a spiderman, but I'm not sure what it's called. We have these cards you swipe to get in the buildings, and a spiderman is the thing that hooks to your skirt/pants/whatever that you hook your card and room key on and it pulls out so swiping is easier!! So yeah Sister Pape and I have been raving about them for the past 3 days. But we just got ours today, so now we're cool too. Hah! :)

Is it weird that I've been telling my companions that a way to remember how to pronounce my last name is to think of petting a fish? I just realized...that's probably weird. But it helps them remember! Sister Orton even just asked me how to spell it because she knew how to pronounce it, just not how to spell it. I'm not sure why I told you that...but basically all I want you to know is that even though I am absolutely LOVING it here, I am so excited to finally get to the country. I'm still kind of stressed about the French, but President Marion and others have really emphasized that the only reason we're here for 2 weeks is to learn the language of the spirit. If they brought us here to learn French, then they wouldn't bring us. They would send us Rosetta Stone and then tell us to come back when our French is perfect. But that's not the point. The point is to learn to recognize, to feel, and to teach with the Spirit of the Lord. And even though I'm scared, I'm happy. I'm here in the MTC (happiest place on earth, President Nally said. Disneyland is only the second happiest place on earth). I'm serving a mission. As soon as I put on my name tag I was like, yeah! I'm a real missionary now! And now I have 2 name tags!!! Life is great.

So, Mom, you don't need to worry about me. You might need to ask me some questions, though, because I have no idea what else to write...if I wrote about everything I would be sending you a novel. Not that this isn't a novel...anyways, so write me! Send me my jeans when you get them! And if you really want to send me oreos, I love oreos so that's up to you because I have a policy never to say no to oreos. Drugs yes, but never oreos. However, my schedule is pretty good. We eat breakfast at 8:15, lunch at 1:20, and dinner at 6ish depending on the day. Much better than Jacob's was. I'm never even hungry before bed :)

Well...I don't have much time left, so I love you!

Je vous aime! (I love you!)

Bises (kisses), Sister Pettingill

Picture from my flight. Super beautiful.

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