Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Mar 26, 2013 Teaching Native Speakers Wk 8

You know, it's not that I don't love the MTC, I do. We learn loads and it's a very spiritual, special place. It's just the same all the time. I'm exhausted. Anyway, we didn't have an apostle come visit last Tuesday, the special event was that the choir was being filmed for a documentary of sorts that will run between the first two sessions of conference on Saturday. The whole thing is about the MTC, I wonder if we'll get to watch it. Anyway, I don't know if I managed to make it on screen, but if I did, I'm in the front right corner, about 5 rows from the bottom. I am sure however, that we will have a special speaker this coming Sunday because it is Easter! We have been preparing a special choir number that our guest speaker requested. I'm pretty excited about it. The choir continues to be absolutely ridiculous. I told y'all about the 900+ people that showed up last week right? Crazy.

 The language is coming along. Our TRC teaching experience this Saturday was pretty humbling though. TRC stands for something that I've completely forgotten, and it is an activity we have every Saturday where we teach people who speak Khmer and are already members. Because most of them are returned missionaries, and our lessons are pretty simplistic by necessity, it usually ends up being essentially a vocabulary lesson, though it is fun to go in depth into subjects such as faith and inspiration through prayer and such.

 Anyway, this last week we taught one of the two native speakers, Om Meak, who is the most adorable 4 foot 9 inch grandma I have ever met. During our lesson, Elder Fowler asked her if she had any stories about a time where she had had her prayers answered. She went on to tell us a story for the next ten minutes or so about her and her family's experiences during the Kmer Rouge. It was absolutely heartbreaking, and even more so because we didn't know the vocabulary to offer sympathy. She is very difficult to understand and her pronunciation is very different that what our teachers are teaching us in class. We came out of the lesson with a whole new perspective on what the people of Cambodia have been through, how much the gospel of Jesus Christ can help them, and how woefully unprepared we are to teach that gospel. I guess that's what the Missionary Training Center is for.

 This morning I woke up at 5:30 to get some extra study time in and read a page from the Book of Mormon in Kmer. It took me 45 minutes, and I didn't understand it all, but I said all of the words. Reading and writing continue to be our major challenges. Though speaking the language is difficult, it pales in comparison to the written language, which is daunting at the very least.

 Someone asked me for confirmation about our stay here at the MTC again. We are here for the full 12 weeks. Everyone else learning languages similar to ours is leaving today or left yesterday. Somebody somewhere goofed and put us on the old language program, so we will be here for 3 more weeks. An interesting side effect of this is that we have now been here longer than anyone else at the MTC, excepting anyone who may have had visa problems. Fun stuff. Someone told me the other day that there is also another group who is a little behind us on the 12 week plan, but they are learning both French and Tahitian, so that might be by design. I love you guys, I love being a part of this work! I love my Savior.

Picture time by Mount Timpanogos

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mar 19,2013 900 Missionaries for Choir Practice!

Hello all! I don't know how the weather in Texas is but it has been an absolutely amazing week, weather wise, here in Provo. We are teaching, and learning, and eating and sleeping and that's about it. A lot of times I wonder why I like it here exactly, but I do! It's awesome!

 Funny story here. During role play we asked our investigator if he had any questions about what he had read in the Book of Mormon since we had last met. He started speaking really quickly and pointing and using a lot of words that I didn't understand, but before too long we figured out that he was asking questions about the Tree of Life. We got into the symbolism and talked about what everything meant and then I asked him to read 1Nephi 8:24 which says something to the effect of, they took hold of the iron rod and followed it to the tree and partook of the fruit. Anyway, while he was reading it, I was looking in my dictionary for the words "rod" and "iron" but all I could find was iron. I began to explain that "iron" symbolized the word of God, or the commandments, and when we follow them, we can endure to the end and partake of eternal life, but no matter how many times I said it and different ways I worded it, he didn't understand me. Suddenly, he lost his composure and broke down laughing and so did the observer. Me and my companions, not really understanding what was going on (kind of typical in these settings right now), began to laugh as well. For about 10 or 15 seconds our lesson was completely derailed. After the lesson, I was told I had been using the verb "to iron" as in to iron clothes. Whoops. I'm kind of glad that happened here and not in Cambodia at least... 

 It is a great time to be in the MTC right now. We had just over 900 missionaries show up to choir practice yesterday. The choir seats hold 588, so it was pretty crowded. We are singing a special piece that was arranged specifically for our choir and our director is really bad at keeping secrets so we kind of already know that there's a pretty good chance that we'll be singing for a member of the Quorum of the Twelve tonight. So cool!

 In our district meeting yesterday we had the opportunity to meet with one of the district presidents here in the MTC. Do y'all know the feeling right after Elder Holland speaks and you get up and you're just pumped to choose the right and go out and do great things? Just like that. He told us that 42% of the missionaries here right now are sisters (Wow.) and that a new MTC is going to be announced for right here in Provo. A whole new, self contained campus. It's so awesome to be a part of this work, especially right now when there are so many people who are just getting the opportunity to serve.

 Tomorrow we're getting a new district of Kmaes, 12 of them, and we're all completely stoked. There are more Vietnamese speaking missionaries, Hmong and even 2 Lao speaking missionaries in addition to the new district of Thais who come in every month like clockwork. Nothing like this has ever happened in Southeast Asia! Our teachers are pretty much bursting out of their seats every time they mention how many new missionaries are coming in. It is so cool! Unfortunately we might never have enough Kmae speakers to have sacrament meeting here in our own language, but who knows right?

 Me and my companions are doing well, some minor coughing, but nothing so bad that any of us have felt the need to miss any class, or gym or go to the health clinic. Elder Fowler just keep giving us Emergen--C and we're just going with it. I love it here. It's absolutely the most amazingly spiritual place I've ever been in my whole life. Just one month left here, gotta enjoy it while I can! Love y'all.

Elder Khem's representation of our district

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Mar 12, 2013 Practicing to Teach

Hey guys! I don't know if it feels like a long time since I've written for y'all but two weeks has flown by for me here! A General Authority (I forgot who, try not to judge) said something along the lines of "In the MTC, the days feel like years and the weeks like seconds". Sooooooo true. The days drag on endlessly but every time it's Sunday again, or P-day or any little event, it feels like it just happened yesterday. Weird.

 This past week we've really been focused on reading. You know, speaking Khmae isn't actually very difficult. It's not. But reading is really a nightmare for us as we're trying so hard to learn. It feels like every word block (Kmae doesn't have spaces between words, spaces separate ideas like, "and by the power of God" or "and it came to pass")  I run into a symbol that I don't recognize and have to go back to the chart and realize that I memorized it last week, and come on I know that! Pretty frustrating and totally exhausting. 

Elder Peterson talked to a doctor on Friday and then left rather abruptly to go home and get surgery. He'll be back in a couple of months, but until then he's out with the missionaries in his home ward. Because he lives in California he even has missionaries that speak our language! Lucky kid. 

We are continuing to teach our teachers during "progressing investigator" time almost every day. They are acting as people they knew from their missions and don't speak any English. Not like they speak English to us very often anyway, but it's great practice and really spiritual. When you strip away all the flowery words that we would say in English but can't in Khmae, all you have left is truth. God loves us. He sent His son to die for our sins so we could live with Him again. God has given us prophets throughout time to teach his gospel. The teachings of these prophets are found in the scriptures. I know that as we follow Christ's example and the teachings of the prophets we will be happy and can return to Heaven and live with our Father in Heaven. So simple. So true.

Adam's companion, Elder Khem

 We often practice what to do the very first time we're meeting someone or the first time we're teaching a lesson. For about 90% of the people we talk to, it's going to be the first time they've every learned about Jesus Christ or even heard of him. We are going to a place where the gospel of Christ just isn't found very often.  I know that as we do what is right and strive to keep the commandments and live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost that our mouths will be opened and filled and that we can teach with the power of God. It's a good thing too, because I might be pretty useless by myself. I don't know much else to say other than be happy! You guys have the truth! Isn't it great? I love y'all. Hope you're enjoying school, and work and family time and all those things that I'm missing out on.  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mar 5, 2013 A Letter in the Mail

Hi everyone.  This is Adam's mom writing to let you know that he wasn't able to email us this week because of a scheduling conflict at the MTC.  However, we just got a letter in the mail this afternoon so I thought I would type it and send to all of you.  Thanks for all your support.  It means so much.    Angelique

Dear Family,                                                                                                    3/5/2013

I love getting letters from ya'll.  Please don't be offended if I don't write back and reply to every letter.  My writing time here is extremely limited. 

 We got the brownies a few days ago!  They were awesome!  And then today we got the donuts.  Wow, you guys must think they don't feed us well, huh?  We had somewhat of a district party to eat everything because it would take me and my companion by ourselves days and days to eat everything.  We pretty much can only eat junk food from 9:45-10:30/whenever we brush our teeth, so unless we eat like 4 every night, they go stale.

 Glad to hear Lubbock is getting so many new missionaries.  Almost all of Sister Casper's zone is going to Lubbock.  They're all leaving like a month before us.  The pool sounds awesome!  It seems like by the time it's all built and everything I won't be at home very often to enjoy it.  Darn.  I hope you guys love it though!  I know ya'll will.

  Now addressing things Dad asked about in his recent letters.  He asked me to talk about why my testimony of the atonement had grown since I arrived.  I can think of three very specific times when I felt that I received a personal answer about the truthfulness of the gospel:  when I was 8 and praying about the Book of Mormon for the first time; when I was 17, teaching with the missionaries about the Restoration; and in my first week here at the MTC. 

 We had a speaker who had been a mission president, and was talking about an experience he had with one of his missionaries.  Long story short, the missionary was told he needed a testimony of the restoration.  He prayed fervently and received a personal witness.  While listening to this talk I found myself thinking about the Atonement.  I couldn't get it out of my head all night.  I realized that though I believed in the power of the Atonement, I had never knelt and thanked my Savior for His sacrifice for me.

  That night after everyone was asleep, I knelt and prayed and did just that.  I asked why he would do something so difficult for me, and thanked Him as fervently as I was able.  As I was finishing my prayer I was absolutely overcome by the magnitude of the act the Savior performed for me.  I felt so loved and wanted, and I knew in that moment that Jesus Christ suffered and died for my sins personally, and I can't explain it, but I know he loves me.  It was a beautiful experience.  To quote what has become one of my favorite hymns since coming here, "Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives, I know that my Redeemer lives!"  I want to let the whole world know it.  I love ya'll.  The Church is true!    Love,  Adam

P.S.  Sorry I didn't manage to get to emailing today, we had a scheduling mess up with moving furniture into rooms here so we got stuck pushing dressers around for an hour or so.  Sorry!  Tell Uncle Bri I would like Romans 1:16 on my missionary plaque.  Thanks!

This was posted in our bathroom above the urinal because the air freshner gets us.
Caution:  This air freshner has it out for your eyes.  If you value your vision, you may want to duck your head while you do your business.  Keep the Faith.