Look at me. I'm a real missionary! I'm happy to say that I have succesfully and joyfully survived my first week and a half at the MTC. I have almost no time to write and I have a ton to say and I hate typing so here we go!
My first day here was just one tender mercy after another. I had been praying that I would see a lot of people I know so I could feel...well safe:) After hugging evryone goodbye, I walked around the corner and saw 2 girls that I knew from school within seconds. I was feeling blessed and then I walked arounf the other corner and heard someone squaling and yelling "SISTER BROWN!!" I turned around and saw Sister Holly King running toward me. I hugged her and started srying and then had to walk in to get all of my stuff. The next person I saw was Megan Line's mommy who helps with paperwork anf so I gave her a hug. So much love everywhere I went!
I got to class right after dropping my bags off and the teacher just started talking away at us in Portuguese! It was 100% overwhelming but I caught on a few days later. My favorite part of that first day was sitting in our first little devotional and singing "We'll Bring the World His Truth" and getting to sing we are NOW the Lord's missionaries. It really hit me. This was real.
The rest of that day and basically ever day since then has been a big parade of seeing people I know and feeling loved by packages and letters and Dear Elders. I feel so loved and so blessed and SO supported. (Holly and Amanda Holloway live basically like 2 doors down and so we all see each other at least once a day. I have also seen Janelle, Dustin, a bunch of people from LDV, Wendy from Kel's lax team and 10 million other people. It's SO FUN!) After being here only 2 days we hd to teach a lesson to an investigator in Portuguese! Is that mean or what? We just ended up mostly reading off our notes but even still we sounded ridiculous because we had no idea how to correctly pronouce anything. We've gotten better and she agreed to be baptized! We looked and sounded ridiculous though especially for the first few lessons- I don't know how she kept a straight face! I compeltely loved teaching and praying for her! She's an amazing person
I will now reveal one of the best keep secrets in the MTC.
So.....it turns out that your first investigator is actually a member (Not the suprising part, especially when you cautch a glimpse of their garments).
Not only is your first investigator a member but they actually (almost always) turn out to be another one of your teachers! How cool is that? (Sorry pre-missionaries! I warned you). After she taught US for the first time, I felt like a kid who found out Santa Claus wasn't real. I was expecting it but it was stillweird since the illusion was kind of revealed. This is such an amazingly organized place! It's pretty cool because she knows exactly what all of our strengths and weaknesses are and so she teaches us SO effectively.
Other cool things to tell you- They just opened a West MTC Provo. They get everything broadcast to them and love down the street in Provo. Apartments in Wyview and they have class in Raintree. They also eat out of tents. How biblical is that?? Apparently we're here at a very historic time. Even with the other campus it is SO crowded! On Wednesday we had over 900 new missionaries enter! It was nice to not be the new kids anymore.
Both of my teachers are phenomenal and I'm learning SO much! I can pray and bear my testimony and challenge someone to be baptized in Portuguese. Very, very soon I'll be able recite the 1st vision and teach a lot better without notes. Sometimes I feel like I'm not making progress but I have to step back and realize that I've been learning this language for a week. It's very new and hard but I love it. The gift of tongues is real and I wouldn't be able to do this without the help of HF.
Even more important than the language is my spiritual growth. As much as I completely love it here I have had quite a few challenges in just this short amount of time. I love my companions and I'm learning so much from them. Being in a trio had a lot of good things but also a lot of challenges that are different from anything I've expected. I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to learn and grow and serve. On the challenges topic- well....my knee. Can you believe I'm having knee problems? I thought if anything I would have problems with mono.
After being here like a day, my knee started hurtung differntly than it had before. I thought it would go away but it didn't and it got worse every day. I decided to get it checked at the health clinic here. After looking at it, the doctor told me that I needed to go see an orthopedic surgeon to have him check it out. Not realyl what I wanted to hear. I went, (fieldtrip!!) and he told me that it wasn't my meniscus which, I don't know, was kind of a relief. He told me that he couldn't kwo exactly what it was until I had an MRI- also not what I wanted to hear. That's scheduled for next Tuesday but they're hoping that I can get in sooner. He told me that he thinks it's a chunk of cartilidege floating around. He said best case scenario, it's something that will heal itself if I'm careful. He told me worst case scanario I would have to go home and get a surgery involving blood, screws, draining and other gross things. Ummmm gross.
I feel like the msot likely option is that I'll have to have an orthoscopic surgery that would remove the cartilidge and let me still stay in the MTC.
I know that HF is orchesterating something for me and I have (and am trying to have) faith that the situation will work out how He wants it to. I'm realizing how fragile my time is here and it's really hoping my make the most of every single second.
So yes, one week in and I'm hobbling around the MTC on crutches .I'm trying to stay off it as much as possible and help it heal on its own. My companions are great but they forget that I'm injured a lot and like to well...leave me. haha It's hard because they don't understand the severity of the situation but I'm helping them catch on:) Yesterday I belted out "If you don't walk as most people do, some people walked away from you. But I won't I won't" Then, when they leave me I sing: "Jesus walked away from none, He gave his love to everyone". And yell "You're not living a primary song!"
I'm hoping it will start working soon :)
I've learned that even though I want to be taken care of, I need to still loose myself and stop focusing so much on MY needs. We truly can always serve otehrs no matter how stinky or debilitating our current situation is. The coolest thing is that when I simply turn my focus outward, I am a million times more happy!
As annoying as it is, I've already learned a lot from my knee situation. I think I'm going to call it the parable of the knee from now on.
I truly know that this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is 100% true. I know that even though people are extremely not perfect (like me) the gospel IS and Jesus Christ IS. I know that HF gives us commandments, not because He needs to feel powerful or anything but because He loves us and wants us to be happy! He knows the way for us to be happy and he's given us the steps. I have a testimony of the small things. Our branch president challenged us on out first night here to start over on the Book of Mormon and finish it before we leave. (I was a little bummed at first becaue I was super close to finishing). I've taken the challenge and learned more than I ever have before. The Book of Mormon brings power and purpose to our lives! I know because I've felt it. The gospel is simple and too often we try to complicate it. It works guys.
Ok well, I need to go. I love you all and I am SOOOOOO grateful for all of your support! I can honestly feel your prayers! Please keep praying and writing and loving.
ps- lots of pictures next week!