I promised that I would finish telling you about my daily schedule, so here it goes!
Tuesdays are P-days, or preparation days. This is the day set aside with time for writing letters, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and other mundane tasks that we need to do to prepare for a week full of meeting and teaching people. Actually, writing letters is pretty exciting. We save letter writing for P-day so that the rest of the week we aren’t distracted by concerns about what to write to people. I keep a notepad with keywords so that when P-day comes around I remember what it is that I want to share with you and the people who write to me. On P-day, we get to wear non-church clothes, which is what I am in the rest of the time. I have a closet full of skirts and blouses and a few dresses, but on P-day I wear jeans and a Butler shirt: Go Dawgs! P-day ends at 5 pm, just in time for dinner and some extra studying. Tuesday isn’t P-day for everyone, which is unfortunate because that means that after dinner they have to go to a three-hour session of class, but on Tuesdays we don’t because there is always a devotional! A devotional is an hour long talk with special music by missionaries and the MTC choir, which is usually about a third of the entire MTC. The talk is given by a general authority of the church, or a man who serves in a leadership role in the church as member of the quorum of the twelve apostles or in a quorum of the seventy, both of which help oversee the church’s worldwide missionary, member development, humanitarian efforts, and many other things. Usually they give us great advice about how to prepare for a mission, how to be enthusiastic servants of the lord once we are in our prospective fields, and all around are just inspiring and leave us feeling on fire! After the devotional, we meet with our districts, or our classmates, and we talk about what we learned or what our favorite parts were. I call it District Time, and it is one of my favorite parts of the week because we all feel comfortable enough and love each other enough to share any thoughts we had. Someone always brings treats, too, for instance a few weeks ago my mom sent me a whole pan of chocolate chip cookie bars, so we all enjoyed that while we talked. I think tonight I am going to share some of my Welch’s fruit snacks. After District Time, my companion and I plan the next day and read from the Book of Mormon together.
Tuesdays are pretty great, but Sundays are the most edifying and best day of the week! We still get up at 6:30 and go to breakfast, but breakfast is always cereal, lines and lines of people eating cereal. On Sundays everyone has a really similar schedule, so the crowds at meal times are monumental in comparison to what they are the rest of the week. They only serve cereal on Sunday mornings so that fewer people have to work at the MTC cafeteria and instead go to church with their own families. After breakfast we have some time to study, but then at 9:30 we watch the broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word which is a weekly broadcast by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of music and some uplifting thoughts, religious and not. I would highly encourage you to look it up, it’s only a half hour and will brighten your day. After that we have Relief Society which is when all of the sister missionaries in the MTC gather and have a speaker, who is usually a teacher or a wife of someone serving at the MTC. My favorite part of the hour is when a sister missionary who is a recent convert to the church bares her testimony and tells us her conversion story. It is always amazing! After that we all have lunch together. Sunday is great because there is always an ice cream sundae bar with an overabundance of toppings to choose from. Sometimes I don’t choose, but instead go crazy. Don’t worry, I balance it out with lots of fruits and salads. After lunch at 12:30 we meet with our branch of Koreans, a branch being a name for a Mormon congregation. Almost our whole meeting is in Korean, from the prayers to the music, from the sacrament prayer to the talks. Every week, all the Korean missionaries prepare a talk on the same subject and after the sacrament (which is like communion) is passed, they announce who will speak. It’s kind of nerve racking, but I’ve figured out that they give us new kids, I mean missionaries, a few weeks to settle in. Every week I am totally ready! I love speaking in church! They say our talks are 3-5 minutes long and 3 minutes should be in Korean and 2 minutes in English to wrap it up. My strategy has been to prepare everything in Korean, but then when my Sunday finally comes, to read the scriptures in English so the adults who oversee us will get the general idea of what I’m saying. Our branch president and his wife were both born in my mission in Korea! They are the nicest, best people and because of them I am super excited to go and meet more Koreans and eat Korean food! Sister Shin, the branch president’s wife, told us that as much as we love kimchi, we will love the Korean people, and as much as we love the Korean people, we will be successful missionaries. I’ve never had kimchi that I know of, so I’ll let you know how that goes when the time comes.
I am once again out of email time, so instead of finishing Sunday, I’ll share a quick story. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!) I was preparing my talk for Sunday about the atonement of Jesus Christ, and I wanted to say that through the atonement we are free from suffering for our sins eternally. I asked a Korean how to say “free from sin” in Korean and her only response was “repentance.”