I’m doing so well here at the MTC! Arriving here on Wednesday was full of mixed emotions, not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into, but I’m so grateful to be here and for the preparation that took place before I arrived. When I arrived, within 20 minutes, I was sitting in a classroom with the rest of my district taking in a Croatian language lesson – Yikes! Ever since, it has been non-stop Croatian study and gospel study.
I am in a trio here and will be for the entire 9 weeks. My companions are Elder Hole from Ogden and Elder King from Folsom California – Awesome Elders who are here for the right reasons and enjoy getting to work and being obedient. The rest of my district is 6 sisters, 4 of which are learning Croatian with us and 2 learning Slovene. My district is a huge blessing! Just yesterday I was made district leader, which doesn’t entail much here at the MTC, but I am excited for the calling and the opportunity to conduct 2 district meetings a week.
In these 3 days, which have felt like an eternity, I have grown SO much! From teaching exercises to scripture study, I feel a great need to preach this gospel. My favorite part of the MTC experience so far has without a doubt been the time within the scriptures. The simple truths within those pages have given me a new light and I can’t wait to share them!
The Croatian language has been grind – there’s no other way to put it. For 10-12 hours a day, we are in a classroom studying the language in some way or another.
Our instructor is a student at BYU who returned from a mission in Croatia over 4 years ago. Aside from my heckling, he has yet to speak a word of English. The first two days it was all simple gospel-related vocab words but yesterday was a tough day, for all of us I think. I went to bed pretty frustrated with myself and most of all, dreading what is to come over the next 9 weeks. Yesterday, in the morning we learned to pray in Croatian, and in the afternoon we prepared to teach an investigator that night. As we prepared for Valentino, our “investigator”, our main focus was language – how can we carry a 10 minute conversation with a guy whom we share about 30-40 words in common with?
As I went into the discussion with my 2 companions, I didn’t really have expectations because I had no idea how Valentino would respond to our questions. Little to my knowledge, Valentino was prolific in Croatian and could speak so fast. Haha he had all of our questions answered and scriptures read within 3 minutes of walking in. We ended up with blank stares and laughs and saying “Drago mi je” which means “Pleasure to meet you”, and we walked out with no commitments, no assignment, and a frustrating discussion.
Coming into the mission, I felt well-versed, ready to have great gospel discussions with those whom I come in contact with. This language is becoming quite the barrier though – It’s taking a new approach. Those simple truths need to be conveyed in a simple manner, believe it or not. Basic phrases like, “God is our Heavenly Father” has taken a whole new meaning in my life. I am determined to become stronger in the language, more optimistic and grateful for the process.
I have been reflecting on the quote “We can do hard things” a lot lately. This language has provided me a chance for extreme humility and to give it all to my Heavenly Father. I simply can’t do it by myself. In my gospel study this week I have been studying in Alma, particularly the Sons of Mosiah. I love verse 29 of chapter 20, when Ammon meets his brothers, who were being held captive by Lamoni’s father. “And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless they were patient in all their sufferings.”
Patience is a quality I have been working on a lot here. All that we endure, ministers to our development as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. I know that this language will come as I continue to be obedient and diligent, and I sure can’t wait for that day haha.
Know that I pray for each and everyone of you daily – I love you guys and wish you all well. The MTC is wonderful, the spirits so strong, and I’m so excited for the challenges and joys that are to come.
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our character, purifies our hearts, expands our souls and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called children of God.” – Orson F. Whitney