This week was another long one. 16 hour days really take it out of you. Like I think I mentioned in my last e-mail, we started with our first investigator, Joel, last Friday (not even a whole 48 hours after arriving). We taught him a total of 5 lessons before committing him to baptism. Funny story about that actually. So we’re expected to teach the lessons in Spanish. Obviously. My companion understands quite a bit more Spanish than I do, and has got the whole native accent down already, so I always sound like a gringo whenever I open my mouth. But I try my best, and with a lot of help from the Lord, the message usually gets across. So in our very last lesson with Joel, we had planned a whole lesson about the Doctrine of Christ. I was actually doing pretty well with the language so far in the lesson, and we were feeling pretty confident about him accepting our invitation to be baptized. So I was finding him a scripture to answer a question he had about why he had to be rebaptized if he had already been baptized in the Catholic church. While doing this, we were trying to explain to the best of our abilities that Christ has commanded us to follow him. He agreed with this, so I went on and asked him why he thought we had been commanded to do so. He said “No se,” so I said something like “esta bien, puedo explicar.” I was trying to communicate that Christ was perfect, and that He was the ultimate example. But instead of saying, “Cristo es el ejemplo mejor,” I said “Cristo es el ejemplo mujer.” So he got the message that instead of Christ being the ultimate example, He was the ultimate woman. I didn’t realize my mistake until my companion leaned over and corrected me, and we all busted up laughing. Joel was crying. Usually that’s a good thing for an investigator, but it was for the wrong reason, so it doesn’t count. It took us a good five minutes to get back on track. After apologizing profusely, we learned that Joel was actually our new teacher, and he was an investigator first so he could get to know us and our needs better. Which made the whole situation all the more embarrassing. My district still gets a good kick every time someone says mejor or mujer, which is actually quite often, so I don’t think I’m going to live it down any time soon. But I agree, it was funny. But the good news is, we committed him to baptism! That’s all that matters right? I really have learned so much already here. Our new teacher went on a stateside Spanish speaking mission too, and he told us that we already speak better Spanish than some of his companions that he had in the field. He even called us fluent. I don’t know about that, but I’m starting to feel a little more confident that I will eventually be able to get this language. Our district is one of the only intermediate ones at the MTC now, and the only intermediate district that our branch has ever had. It’s nice that we’re able to move at a faster pace, but it also means that the rest of the zone expects us to know a lot more than we actually do. So I think that they’re learning incorrect Spanish when they listen to us. Our new favorite thing is taking English slang and translating it. Which, believe it or not, doesn’t work. Like, ever. Por ejemplo, some of the quotes this week include: “Tengo su espalda” (I got your back), “en su cara” (in your face), and “soy abajo” (I’m down). Also, I don’t think our sarcasm translates very well either. We’ve gotta work on that. But, the quote section of the week wouldn’t be complete without some of the “Idahoisms” from Hermana Joven. The spotlight of this week was, “You smellin’ what I’m steppin’ in?” Translation: Do you understand what I am trying to say? And then in Elder Fa’asa’s corner, we have, (talking to Elder Anderson) “Okay Katy Perry with your sun-kissed lips,” (then Elder DuFour is rolling on the floor laughing, to which Elder Fa’asa replies) “What? Am I your teenage dream?” He was on a Katy Perry roll at the moment. If you’re not laughing, I guess you just had to be there. Also, it may be way funnier to those of us who haven’t actually heard anything but hymns in the past two weeks. So, es cualquier. If you can’t tell, I love my district. We’re just like a family. We fight and pick on each other way more than we should, but at the end of the day when we all kneel down and pray, we all have the same purpose and love each other because of it. I promise I’ll send pictures of everyone so y’all can put faces to the names in the stories, but those will be coming later. For now, I’m about out of time so I need to wrap it up. I wanted to share just a quick little bit of revelation I received this week. After our teacher was talking to us about not getting down on ourselves because of the language, he told us that the opposite of humility is pride. When we think we don’t need God because we can do it ourselves, that’s prideful. But when we think God can’t help us because we are so lowly, that’s just as prideful. I spent the next hour of my personal study time reading every scripture I could find about humility. I came up with the general idea that humility is not believing that we are not good enough. Humility is letting the Lord lead us by the hand and having faith that He knows what is best. I know it sounds like a “duh” moment, but I had always thought of being humble as being brought so low that only the Lord could lift you higher. My perspective has changed a little bit now. I really liked the scriptures Ether 12:27 (my favorite), Micah 6:8, Helaman 3:35, and D&C 112:10. You should definitely read them when you have a moment. Alright well I’ve gotta go, but I’ll be writing again so soon. Thank you so so so much for all the mail! Keep it comin! Love ya’ll.
I LOVE THE MTC! It’s so great! The Spirit here is amazing. You almost have to try NOT to feel it. And there are so many missionaries here! We had 740 report on March 13. Aaaaaand…the percentage of sisters is now….drumroll please…50%! That’s higher than it’s ever been! Ever! And it was only 25% a couple months ago! It was pretty crazy when I arrived though. After we said all our goodbyes, I was quickly swept away to the main building where I received my nametags (yes Mama they’re magnets!), my key, ID swipe card (which we call tarjetas de swipey), my spanish books, and my host, who escorted me to my classroom, where my teacher greeted me in Espanol and immediately began teaching. It was all a little overwhelming at first, but it’s so amazing! My companion’s name is Hermana Hernandez. She’s great. She’s already way good at Spanish, so even though she reported the same day as the rest of the district, she’s leaving next Monday. So I’ll probably have to join another companionship in our district. Speaking of my district, I love them! We have so much fun together! But we have enough sisters to keep the elders on track, so we also get a lot done. We’re the only district in our zone that already know Spanish, so we have a pretty big headstart on the other districts, which is a blessing. Also, our district is the first in MTC history to have more sisters than elders! How exciting is that? We have 6 hermanas and 5 elders, but as soon as my companera leaves then we’ll be tied. Not that it’s a race… But seriously our district is the best. They’ve all given me permission to include their names and pictures in my blog, so I don’t have to come up with any pseudonyms. Although I did have some pretty good ones for some of them ha. So there’s one Elder, Elder Fa’asa (for a while we called him Mufasa, but our Branch President told us to stop ), who got put into the intermediate/advanced class by accident. He’s never taken spanish before in his life. But you wouldn’t know that until someone told you, because he’s learning so quickly. We’re pretty sure he’s either lying or has el don de linguas. His companions are Elders Anderson and DuFour, so we call them El Trio. The other Elder companionship is made up of Elder Jefferson, our DL, and Elder Sailsberry. Besides Hermana Hernandez and I, the other two sister companionships are Hermanas Young and Stevenson, and Hermanas Laudie and Trentman. So real quick I gotta tell you some of the funny stuff that goes on in D. The other night our Zone leaders asked us how we would explain Nephites to those who didn’t know what they were. Elder Anderson started hitting Elder DuFour with his knees. Get it? “knee-fights?” Ha neither did we for a while. The other day, we were going through the days of the week, and I accidently said Tuesday as Juevos instead of Jueves. FYI, juevos are eggs. Ha they’re never going to let me live that one down. And then the other day in our district meeting, Elder Sailsberry was trying to get to the bottom of a rumor that was going around the MTC about something (sorry I don’t remember what), and he begun his question with…”La palabra del calle es….” Hahaha that was hilarious. We never even got to the rest of our meeting. And as we were preparing to teach our investigator, Elder Fa’asa, when asked what he was going to share, said, “I’m just gonna bear my testimony and then amen it.” If you’re not laughing, wait til you see a picture of Mufasa..uh..I mean Elder Fa’asa. And last but not least for los momentos comica in our district, for some reason Elder Jefferson decided that whenever we saw another member of the district around the MTC, we would yell out “Chanchos!” to the other (or “chanchas” for the hermanas). This literally means pigs, so we get some pretty strange looks from people who actually know what we’re calling each other ha. But it’s all done in love. It’s seriously been awesome. But even though it’s been fun, it’s also been a lot of hard work. And I mean a lot. We taught 3 investigators in groups the night we got there. It was really frustrating because even though we were speaking english, I could tell that nothing we were saying was getting through. And we weren’t even here for 48 hours before we had to teach our first investigator. In Spanish. Yeah. Our lesson on Friday was a complete fail. I had a really tough time understanding anything he said. At the end, he tried to tell me that he didn’t know how to pray the right way, but I thought he said “muertos” somewhere in there, and I was ready to jump into the Plan of Salvation. Thank goodness I was so shocked I didn’t have time to open my mouth before my companion answered him. And we were so concerned about using the correct grammar to convey the message, that he didn’t feel anything. But we knew what we did wrong as soon as we left, so the next day, we tried to use as little notes as possible and rely on the Spirit to teach. It was amazing. We got him to pray at the end and the Spirit was soooo strong. I started crying as soon as we left. Even though he didn’t accept our invitation to be baptized yet, he did agree to come to church with us and we will meet with him again tomorrow. I had no idea we would be thrown into Spanish so quickly. But I’m pretty sure that in the past few days I’ve already surpassed everything I learned in the last three years of high school. And the Spanish we use on the mission is totally different that what I learned before. But it’s so amazing. Every day we pray for el don de linguas and I know that the Lord is blessing us because there’s no way we would be able to learn so much so fast any other way. Also, I can’t believe it hasn’t even been a week yet. Every morning we get up at 5:45 to go to early morning gym class, and don’t go to bed until 10:30 at night with no rest time inbetween. It’s true that days really do feel like weeks. I haven’t been here long enough to know if weeks really do fly like days, but we will find out soon! Well, my 30 minutes is almost up and I still have to upload pictures, so I’ll leave you with my humble testimony that I know this is the Lord’s work. This is His Church. I know that my Redeemer lives. He loves us and wants us to come unto Him. His love is the most important thing that we can have to share with other people. We can talk at them all we want, but until they feel Christ’s love radiate through us, our message won’t be His. I love all of you. I hope you are all doing well and I can’t wait to hear from you! Don’t forget–dearelder.com is a missionary’s 4th best friend! Miss ya’ll!
Well this is it! My last night before going into the MTC! I can’t believe how fast the last few months have flown. I thought I had so much more time to get stuff together. Despite how quickly it snuck up on me, I am still so excited to go. I get giddy just thinking about it. I am really excited to go to the Missionary Training Center and learn Spanish and everything I’ll need to know to communicate the message to the people of Virginia. I know it will be so hard leaving my family and friends for 18 months, but I can’t wait to serve the Lord and spread His gospel. I know there will be many trials ahead, but I think that the next year and a half will be the best of my life so far. I hear mail is a real treat on the mission, so I’d love for everyone to write me! My mailing address until April 24th is:
Sister Jacquelyn Mele Karson
MTC Mailbox # 139
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793
I can also be reached (for free) at dearelder.com. Just select the Provo MTC Mission, hit the “write a letter” button, fill out my info, write your message, and voila! It’s that easy. No excuses 😉
I don’t know my actual address in Virginia yet, so keep checking back and I’ll have my sweet mother (who has graciously accepted the task of updating my blog while I’m away) post it as soon as I find it out.
Love y’all, miss everyone already, and “God be with you til we meet again.”