Hi Mom, Dad, Mama, Papa, B, Rosie, and Joe!!
The MTC is great! Even though the schedule can be boring sometimes (it's nearly the same everyday), everyday is FUN! Everyday is pretty much like this:
We wake up at 6 - a little earlier than everyone else, but we use that time to write letters and in our journal. Breakfast is at 7:15 for us. They usually have eggs, hashbrowns, and sausage, and they always have cereal and donuts every morning. The breakfasts are usually pretty good. They say that the food here will ruin you if you let it, and I can see why: it's all-you-can-eat and drink!!
After breakfast we have an hour of personal study. My companion and I like to study outside on the benches and get some fresh air. Outside it kinda looks like Disney World in the morning with all the nice landscaping and flying birds, and the Utah summer weather is pretty close to Florida.
At 9 we have our classes till noon. Our whole district (6 companionships) go to our classroom where our teacher (Sister H) teaches and talks to us completely in Portuguese!! Our class time goes for three hours, but our teacher mixes it up with Lesson Coaching (asking us how our planned lessons are going for our investigators), a Language Lesson, and teaching Missionary Skills. It's usually during this time that Elder H and I put our lesson together for our "investigator" for that night.
We have lunch at noon, and there's usually burgers, hot dogs, and some other special like spaghetti or teriyaki. The cafeteria is HUGE!! There's tons of tables for missionaries and a ton of staff working during the meals (except for Sunday mornings - hardly anyone works that morning). The building is a dedicated place, so they have a strict rule that you must be in Sunday clothes to come in. For meals it's kinda like a buffet, but you have three choices. You just decide what you want, hop in the right line, and they give it to you on a tray. How they do dishes is really neat! It's a conveyor belt system where you put all your silverware in a moving bin, turn your empty glasses upside down, and set your tray on the belt. Somebody in the back unloads them off the belt and takes it from there.
After lunch we have TALL for an hour. TALL stands for Technology Assisted Language Learning. It's like a cheezy kind of Rosetta Stone for missionaries. You just click on words, phrases, or pictures to learn words and grammar. But it's good for learning gospel vocabulary that are used in the Discussions.
And then we have another hour to study whatever we want, either by yourself or with your companion, and then there's GYM time. With gym you can go outside to the field or the inside gym. Outside there's a field where they throw frisbees and play soccer. There's also beach volleyball and four-square outside. And inside there's basketball, volleyball, and four-square. The whole gym-time is about an hour or so, and we have that 5 times a week.
Dinner's at 5, and then there's another 3 hours of classroom time, although not with a teacher. That's the time that Elder H. and I really practice our lessons and do final prep for that night's lesson to our investigator, and we teach it during those 3 hours. If we're done teaching, we'll usually mess around until it's 9:00 and time for us to go back to our residence halls.
There's 6 beds in our room, and they're all bunk beds. But there's only four elders in the room, so three sleep on the bottom bunks, and one has to sleep on the top. And guess who volunteered to sleep on the top..... :) There's plenty of room for our stuff, like a couple desks, a few closets, but not a whole lot else, but it's home for the next five weeks. In fact today our room was inspected and we got a "Commendable" score - the best one!!
Thanks again for the cookies, the packages, and all the awesome support from you all!!!! I love hearing from you, and I'm so grateful to have such a supportive family!! It's sad, but there's some missionaries who haven't heard from their parents until today. I will definitely get a calling card so I can call you before I head to either Brazil or wherever I get reassigned. But good news!!! One of the elders in my district got their visa yesterday, so he's headed for the Sao Paulo MTC on Tuesday!! Hopefully mine comes soon, but it'll be awesome either way.
Anyways, love you all!!! I only get an hour of email-time on P-day, but don't hesitate to email me back as soon as you can. I've been writing my emails before I email them, so I have extra time.
Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts. Missionary work can be hard, but it's so worth it when you know that you're doing the Lord's work.
Elder Jacob Nissinen