Monday, September 9, 2013

Life in the MTC

Magandang araw!

We finally started doing some grammar... It is a pretty different grammatical structure from English.  They use markers in Tagalog like I've heard that they do in Korean.  Does Korean have focus? They told us that people used to have to be in the MTC for 9 weeks to learn Tagalog, but they somewhat recently switched it to 6 weeks. 

First, my schedule.  We get up at 6:30, get to our classroom around 7:05, study a little and then we go to breakfast. At 8:00 we either take turns teaching an investigator or have class until 11:00. At 11:00 we have personal study until lunch at 12:10 (I feel like all we do is sit and eat :P). Then we have language study from 12:55 until 2:10 when we have more class until dinner at 5:10. We use the time between dinner and gym to get changed. Then gym from 6:20 until 7:10. We then have until 7:50 to get showered and back to a computer lab to do TALL (technology assisted language learning) which ends at 8:50. Then we take about half an hour to plan the next day and go to the residence at 9:30 where we have an hour of personal time before bed. That is our Monday Wednesday schedule. Tuesdays are different because we have devotionals on Tuesday nights, and then things are just in a slightly different order on Thursday and Friday, and then Saturday is P-day and Sunday we have church (almost all day...). Pretty exciting, (and a total run on) right.

Actually, I love my companion!    I think it would be so great if you came to the Philippines. I am just going to let you know that there is no toilet paper in my mission and our mission president said we aren't allowed to drink the soda... I guess the health standards at the local coke bottling plant are not very high...  

This is kind of interesting, they give everyone who is going to the Philippines a water bottle with a filter in it, so though I can't drink the soda, :( I don't have to boil my water :). All of the elders from Kiribati are really funny.  It is really great, :) and they all like to drink red creme soda from the vending machines.  We really haven't learned very much about the culture yet.  I really liked the Lorenzo snow quote from mom that talked about that Godliness can't be given, but must be acquired.  Thank you so much for the packages and letters, and all of the great food :)I suppose that you figured out from my letter that my estimated departure date is actually the 7th of October.  Thank you so much for all the mail.

 It turns out that your investigator becomes your teacher. It was supposed to be a surprise, but  some of the other Elders told us about it, but it was still pretty cool. So Felix's real name is Brother Mace.  So basically our teachers alternate, so usually If we have Brother Mace in the morning, we will have Brother Lopez in the evening.  Brother Mace speaks Tagalog really fast :P Brother Lopez was telling us about how including the spirit in your lessons should come first and then the language, and I agree with that.  I hope Mark is doing well in Germany. I am so jealous that he gets to be out in the field already.

Magmahal ako po ninyo!
Elder Benjamin Merrill

P.S.  I still wish our name tags were in Tagalog. But I guess there is some guy who broke away from the church in the Philippines and started his own church with the same name, and so our church uses the English name of the church on our name tags.  In Tagalog, the name of the church is: Ang Simbahan ni JesuCristo ng mga Banal sa mga Huling Araw.

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