Friday, August 9, 2013

Wanderers in a strange land

This week when we dropped off Nicholas,  Sydney surprised us and came in while Nick was being set apart as a missionary.  It was a bittersweet day.  We received an sd card from Sydney this week and so we were able to see a lot of pictures.   There were many of her district.  We did find out from Sydney that Nick will move to the other MTC campus, aka old BYU dorms, on Monday.  So, they won't be seeing each other that often.  Writing letters on is easy and Sydney welcomes anything.   
All caps announcement of the week: HAPPY FORTIETH BIRTHDAY, SHELLIE!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!
It finally happened. After swimming in the petri dish that is the MTC for a full month, I finally caught the plague that finds so many missionaries--A COLD.  IN AUGUST.  So, family, I hope I didn't transfer any of my cold germs to you when I hugged you on Wednesday...but if so, it was totally worth it, because YES I GOT TO SEE MY FAMILY. I decided I wanted to be there for Nicky's setting apart in the MTC, so I went straight to the top and asked President Nally (il presidente della MTC)(translated:the president of the MTC) and made sure it was okay. Since he is a sweet and lovely man, he said, "Of course!" and shook me warmly by the hand. Sadly, by the time my companion and I finally found the room, Nick was already being set apart, but fear not because I was able to sneak into the room right in the middle of the blessing.(It was right at the beginning, actually) LIKE A NINJA. It was awesome. Unexpected crying ensued.

This week, I've decided to tell you about my schedule, since a few of you haven't a clue what we do here in the MTC all week. Let me elucidate...

6:15 awaken. It is no fun, but we deal.
7:00 study time. My companion and I usually read scriptures and I, as one of the Sister Training leaders, usually use this time to interview the new girls and making sure they're adjusting to missionary life okay and don't want to lie down and die yet. So far, everyone has been good.
7:45 breakfast. I eat a bagel and intend to continue to eat a bagel every morning. For nine weeks.
8:15 T.A.L.L. Bane of my existence. I can't remember what it stands for,(It stands for Technology-Assisted Language Learning) but basically TALL is a computer program that helps you learn vocab and phrases in your language. It can exhaust your brain fairly quickly, so sometimes my companion and I intersperse our TALL time with watching a few mormon messages. My favorites thus far, the one with the adorable Italian man who is a bee-keeper.  and one called "men's hearts shall fail them" in which Elder Nelson tells a beautiful story that makes me weep every time.
9:15 personal study! The best time of the day! This is the one hour in which we don't have to think about korean and instead just read our scripture or preach my gospel and think about what kind of spiritual help our investigators need. It's great.
10:15 additional study! This is usually the time in which we plan our lesson for the day. We have two investigators (our two teachers role-playing investigators) and we teach one of them every day. Our lessons are getting a lot better too! We don't really need to read our notes anymore as our gospel vocabulary in Korean is growing every day. In our last lesson, especially, we were really able to invite the spirit and give a good lesson on the atonement. It was awesome.
11:00 gym time. Nice because we get a break from thinking about Korean or gospel things, but because neither I nor my companion are particularly athletic, we sometimes have trouble coming up with things to do. Sometimes we play four-square with our district, sometimes we acutally do physical activity, but most of the time we just walk across the street to the field in front of the temple and talk. it's a good time. :)
12:40 lunch time!
1:25 class for three hours. I'm not going to lie, it is hard to sit through three-hours of Korean and gospel study, but one can never underestimate the worth of a GOOD TEACHER. I must say that my district's teachers are incredible. Forsyth Hyung-Je-Nim and Jeon Hyung-Je-Nim take such good care of us and are such great teachers. Forsyth has the most energy of anyone I have ever known. He always keeps us awake and learning Korean in the most entertaining of ways. Jeon Hyung-Je-Nim speaks English and Korean so incredibly fast, you have to be awake in order to keep up with him. Also he does this thing where he switches from English to Korean with no discernable change in speaking pace. It kind of makes your brain confused, but he's so funny and nice, we forgive him always.
4:25 language study. Yesterday during language study, I saw Nicky! It was awesome! He looks so great as a missionary with his shiny new shoes and his clean haircut. His companion seems a little.... but Nick's a chill kid, I'm sure he'll be able to still be friends with him. Hopefully they find they have something in common.
5:40 dinner! and mail time! The best time of the day! It's always a horrible day when a missionary doesn't get mail, so please SEND ME LETTERS. Lack of mail for me makes me all kinds of depressed. Even if it's just a quick sentence through dearelder, I'll take it. Mail is my lifeblood.
6:25 more class. So much class.  But, I kind of love it. It's also during our class times that we teach our lessons. I always dread going into lessons for some reason (I think it's because I'm so nervous) but then, after they're over, I always feel so good!
9:25 back to our little home. Then showers, journal-writing (I'm trying, I promise), goodnight, and sleep by 10:30.
Then we awaken and repeat. The same every day except for devotionals on Tuesday nights and craziness on p-days and wonderful things on Sunday.
Also! This past Sunday for our devotional speaker we had JENNY OAKS BAKER! The violinist! and Elder Oaks daughter!(Elder Oaks is 1 of the twelve apostles to the prophet) I remember we went to see her once in Pittsburgh and it was so much fun! She's amazing. She gave a little talk and then she played the violin for us for the rest of the time. It was pretty much the best and most beautiful thing ever. I'm so lucky to be a missionary.
This week, during personal study, my companion and I were reading Alma 26.(Which is found in the Book of Mormon) It's the chapter where Alma and the sons of Mosiah have finished their missions and Ammon is talking about how far they've come since they set off on their missions so long ago. He talks about how far they've come and how much they've learned. my companion and I realized that this scripture was for US. It was perfect for us in our situations as missionaries and we both set the goal that at the end of our missions, as we are on the plane home, that we will read this chapter and think back on all the ways in which the Lord has blessed us over the course of 18 months. One of my favorite lines comes at the end of verse 36. It says, "Yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land." We will certainly be wanderers in a strange land, but I know that the Lord will bless us so greatly for our efforts. The Lord knows us and He is always mindful of us and our needs. I know this to be true.
I love you all.
I hope you are well.
Arvanitas Jameh
Nitas Jameh & Pappa Jameh

Two elders that are coming to the
Pittsburgh mission. Yay!

The 74 missionaries that left for Korea
about two weeks ago. 

The Korean elder who loved to run up to
Sydney and say her name as fast as he could. 

Sydney's MTC district.  She loves her little district!

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