Preparation-day email excerpts:
I feel like I haven't seen any of you in years. Time isn't even a thing in the MTC. All the days just blend together. It really does feel like the movie Groundhogs Day. Pretty much everything I heard, prior to entering the MTC, is true. Time doesn't feel real, "make it until Sunday!" is SO true, waking up at 6:30 is rough, etc, etc....
Honestly, I really really like it here. A sister was telling me about how much she LOVED the MTC and there is no other place she'd rather be. I laughed when she said that and thought "I'd much rather be any other place in the world right now...rock climbing....running the vita course...laying on the beach in Newport...." So I know there are many other places I'd much rather be than the MTC, but I don't think that there is anything else I'd rather be doing.
I definitely feel content here and it's nice to have a peaceful feeling always throught the day. No homesickness, no complaints (other than not being able to run outside and no diet coke). I think a lot of that is because I have the best companion ever! Hermana Smith and I work SO WELL together. I love her with my whole heart and feel so blessed to have her by my side 24/7. I thought it would be terrible to have someone with me all the time. Sure, it took some getting used to, but I want her to be with me all the time. So things are groovy there.
I have a great district! Oh my gosh. I love all of them so much! There are 8 Elders and 4 Hermanas. We all get along so well and have a blast every single day. I'm definitely the oldest so I feel like the mom of the group (which I like to be). Everyone in my district has had at least a year of experience with Spanish and I've had...nada. It's AMAZING how much I've learned in only a week! It makes me so excited to think about all that I'll know in 18 months. It's so funny. I never get upset about how little I know or how difficult it is to learn this language. Ry-Guy wrote me a letter right before I came in and said, "Don't even, for one second of your entire mission, get frustrated over the language. Just pray hard, study lots and it'll come in due time." Best advice ever. So I just laugh and let people make fun of the silly questions I ask or how ridiculous I sound when trying to speak. Hermana Smith and I had to teach our first investigator our second day here in Spanish. Yeah. That was fun :/
It just makes me excited and really anxious to learn more so that I can participate more in the lessons. Right now I can pray, bear my testimony, ask the baptismal questions and say a whole bunch of dumb phrases in Spanish. I feel like I'm really starting to understand a lot of the grammar. It'll come......I'm not to nervous about it. Imma beet nurrvus (new zeleand accent) about leaving in less than FIVE WEEKS! We are the first Spanish Zone to have a 6-week MTC stay. Everyone who came in the week before us, and everyone prior to them, have to be here 9-weeks. So we'll leave before some of the Missionaries who got here before us. They hate us. I know it.
Elder Caleb Newby, our district leader went to Kenya with Monica and Jacob this last summer! And Hermana Smith knows Chandler Peck from Utah State. So many fun connections here!
I've been really doing my best to work out hard every chance I get. I run about 3-4 miles everyday. My MTC goal is to do 1,000 abs, 100 push ups and 50 squats/lunges every night. So far so good. The food here is eh...okay. I hate how much we eat. It drives me crazy.
I LOVE YOU ALL SOOOO MUCH!!! Really, I am so grateful for your love and support.
This chruch is true. I love this gospel. I am so happy :)
All my love,
Excerpts from letter written later the same day:
Hey, I love you.
I hate writing emails here. Thirty minutes just isn't enough time. They literally time you - once 30 minutes is up, you're logged off. Aargh!
...I absolutely love being a missionary. All of the girls seem to be having a really hard time...and I'm over here just loving it. My nurturing side is really coming in handy. I don't think I've given so many hugs and pep talks in my life. It makes me feel good to help.
I know Heavenly Father is really looking out for me. NO Homesickness? No stress? Loving being away? Yeah, he definitely is close to me. My motivation to work so hard is this...
If Jesus can come to this earth, teach his entire life (and not only teach, but be 100% selfless,) atone for EVERY SINGLE PERSON'S SINS, & be hung on a cross, I can serve a mission for 18 months. Easy.
...I watched all the new missionaries get dropped off yesterday and it was cool to see it from a real-life perspective. It made me think about all of you at home, running around to all your different activities and I smiled. : )
I love you all so much,
Katie, on her birthday- Jan. 23rd, with several of the sweet sisters from her Branch at the MTC.
(Text picture sent to me by Sister Day, the wife of the second counselor in the Branch Presidency.)