Tuesday, January 31, 2017

25th January - 31st January

This week has really been great getting used to the MTC and starting to appreciate the lifestyle and the spirituality here. So I am becoming more sociable with the missionaries here and really really like them!!! So my building is the south east asian building and the people on my floor are the Thai's Kambodian's, Mongolians and Malay missionaries (that is the language they speak not necessarily the country they will go to). So within a week almost everyone on my floor will leave to the mission field so I will have a bunch of new friends arriving and I will really miss the ones leaving. They were so kind and they helped us out and I love talking about cultural differences in Australia with them!!! 

So I have been learning heaps in the language classes but they are mostly focused on gospel topics, they don't teach all the numbers and then all the members of the family, they just talk at you and write words you might not know on the board. For those of you reading my emails who aren't from the church an investigator is anyone who is interested in the church and wants to learn more and a companion is a missionary who stays with you EVERYWHERE! You must always be within sight and sound of your companions. I have 2 companions so I always have to be with them doing everything with them. We did TRC last night which is held every Monday night and that's where we teach real members of the church (most of whom are from BYU and are returned missionaries/RM's) in Indonesian. So this is week three of the stay and we currently teach 2 people for 20 mins each but in the 5th and 6th week we will teach one person from Indonesia via skype for 40 minutes which is scary but still really exciting. The first TRC person yesterday seemed to be dissapointed by the lack of language skills from my companions and he just frankly looked like he didn't want to be there but we did the best we could. The second person was a native Indonesian girl about 24 years old who was SOOOOO friendly and she really made me excited to go teach the Indonesian people, her lesson went much better. I am freezing cold here and although the snow looks great it is just... SO COLD! So I can't wait to go to Indonesia. 

I went with elder Jhonson, one of the Malay missionaries who plays the piano, violin, viola and sings and we found saviour redeemer of my soul for a piano/voice/violin trio so we will practice, audition and hopefully get to perform together which makes me so excited! I have found a few moments here and there to play piano which has made me really happy especially knowing I can still play interstellar XD. The food here began tasting really nice but it drops in you like a brick and keeps you full for a long time and now it's all starting to taste the same but it still tastes ok... My favourite and only trusted drink at the moment is mixing their sprite (which tastes like soda water) with cranberry juice, my favourite! 

Til next week

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

18th - 25th January 2017

Hello everyone! It feels like forever since I last spoke to anyone I knew. So this was a crazy week which felt a little more like 3 weeks due to all the new stuff. When I first arrived in the US as I have mentioned, I stayed overnight at a relative's home overnight. They showed me around and looked after me which I am truly grateful after a 24 hour long journey of flights and waiting for flights, The first thing that hit me was the biting dry cold, it was -1 degrees here! The next day I was dropped off at the MTC where I was greeted by a random host missionary who happened to be going to the Melbourne Australia mission speaking Chinese so he had just as many questions as I did.

One of the first things they give you along with a bunch of other newbie books and materials is an orange dot on my missionary badge... It's the dork dot..... nobody likes the dork dot and for as long as you have it on everyone will say welcome to the MTC ALL DAY LONG. My first stop was to my Indonesian language class which as you all know was made easier by my previous knowledge of the language. The other 2 in my class made up my district, their names were elder Nordwald who is from Missouri and elder Al-Rhudan who is from Georgia (America). The MTC has an immersion program for language where in your 2-3 teachers will only ever speak the language to you for your entire stay in the MTC, even in class! Even when explaining things about the language and culture. So it was a struggle for the new guys who had a small book with a few basic terms and phrases to translate. The teachers here are amazing though! In my class we are taught by sister Bartholemew and brother Rowle both of which are from America and served in Indonesia. 

Afterwards I caught up with and got to know my companions. They are both very open and willing to compromise with people and we have a similar degree of introversion that has helped us gel better. I was feeling really anxious (which is not like me) because I had NO IDEA where anything was or what the names of the buildings were and the leaders don't tell you anything here, only friendly elders do. 

The meals despite being all processed food is amazing! We have had pizza, burgers, subway, honey chicken, a bunch of american cereals I have never heard of and every soft drink and juice you can think of except the flavors have very different tastes from what I know... the coca cola tastes like soda water. We have choir practice every Sunday and Tuesday which all current 1500 missionaries like to attend because of the amazing conductor brother brother Aggot. We have some gym time every day except for Sunday where you can play volley ball, basketball, four square, running or you can use the gym equipment but my companionship likes to play four square because there are heaps of people lining up to play and its just entertaining to watch the guy in king get knocked out by the rookie. 

Every Friday we have service for an hour and our jobs switch weekly. This week we did vaccuming. When you have service or preparation days (sort of a day off where you do laundry, buy things ect) you come in casual clothes and that means you get a sack breakfast. This is when you just join one big line where you grab thing like milk, eggs and donuts and put it into a 'sack' which is a brown paper bad, basically just less food is on offer. 

Typically elders are in duos and occasionally trios which I'm in but sometimes there are solo missionaries who are the only ones in their language class and have to stay around  a companionship regardless of which one. Missionaries stay here for either 3, 6, 9, or 11 weeks and we are here for 6 and that is when they say you really badly start wanting to leave so i'm happy. The other elders are extremely friendly and we have made some good friends. We are next door the dorms and classrooms of the Malaysian speakers who will serve in Amy Cranstons Malaysia/Singapore mission, there are only two of them and they are elder Jhonson from America and elder Ngo from Sydney Australia who has helped me feel more comfortable around these strangely cultured Americans. About 1/3rd of the missionaries here are american. 

The tip they give you around here is make it to Sunday and I can testify that is true! Because your first weeks schedule is nothing like the other weeks, it's waaay for busy. On some Sundays we will hear from some important church people sometimes, some Japanese missionaries who had been here for 11 weeks had heard from Elder Holland, Elder Bednar and David Archeletta! I just did my first load of laundry (i'm adulting!) and today marks day 6. The Hungarian speakers will be on the same floor me meaning they will also be in my zone so Nathan Rohner will be with me which will be awesome! I am also a district leader so that means I watch over, interview and collect mail for the Indo and Malay missionaries and I am interviewed by the zone leaders (who are very nice). 

There's a store here with EVERYTHING a missionary could want, shirts of all kinds, missionary bags, pamphlets, books, and scriptures in all different languages, cleaning supplies, lollies, artwork, literally everything. The first night we got here we got to teach some real life investigators (which happens weekly)  in the MTC as missionaries in groups of 50 so that's really cool! And we have an 'investigator' we teach every day who speaks Indonesian and is hired by the MTC to act as a certain personality. His name is Alfred and I have a tendency to takeover the lesson because I do all the talking when my companions don't understand what he said or how to respond. I feel bad for that but they are learning and are optimistic that they will improve

Sorry for the long email it's just I got a lot of questions and have been dying to tell you guys how iv'e been. I love it here and although I was really worried about my stay and my spirituality at the start, I am now feeling settled and way better. I'll always email between 8 and 12pm on Tuesdays (my P days) in American time, thanks for reading and i'll make the other emails shorter. Many of the computers here are really dodgy with a bad keyboard or mouse or it won't turn on or there's no wifi so I will try my best with that. Until next time seeyah! - Elder winfield - Indonesia Jakarta mission

Thursday, January 19, 2017

18th January 2017 - Arrival at MTC

hey it's Liam! I'm in the MTC now and I have literally just arrived, I did a questionaire and got to email for a little. The flight took seemingly forever and I had an amazing time with the family playing their piano, visiting the temple and eating nice meals, im so greatful to them. I don't have much time bit i'll email you more next week when I know more!