Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hello All!

 Just as a heads up, my Preparation day (P-Day) is on Wednesday. I can read and respond to emails on this day, but I can receive and write letters daily! If you don't know about you can go there, type in my name and the Provo MTC and you can type letters to me, which get here on the same exact day (if written before 11:00 AM), or if not the same day, the day after. It's so much quicker and cheaper (free) than email or postage, but I love hand-written letters too! I'll be in the MTC for eight more weeks, my estimated departure date is May 19th, so anytime before then send mail to my Provo MTC address (on my blog!)

Where do I start! I only have an hour to write so I'll try to sum up things to the best of my ability!

First of all, I made it through my first week! It's been busy and hard but TOTALLY worth it! I have seen the blessings already in my life, and have heard from my family about their blessings, from me being here and making the decision to serve a mission. I know that we are all blessed, and that the Lord has been good to us!
I arrived early at the MTC because of the long drive my parents had to embark on after dropping me off. We were greeted at the front door and I had help getting my luggage in. It was a quick goodbye and then I officially walked into the MTC. We took my bags to a room and they got me my name-tag (I felt so official, when I put that on!). After we dropped off my bags and picked up all the necessary items up I went into a room that had a bunch of early arrival missionaries. We talked and got to know each other (where we're from, where are we going, etc). I was the only one going to Hungary. I guess the Hungary Budapest mission is not a common mission, so that's kind of cool. Eventually we were taken to the cafeteria to eat lunch. The MTC cafeteria food is not as bad as everyone makes it sound, at least not yet. It might get old after the third or fourth week, but we'll see. I often eat salad and soup. In fact, that's all I ate for the first couple of days. It's good though!
After lunch we got received a host missionary who helped us take our bags to our room and helped us get situated. Afterwards, I went straight to class. I was one of the first people there, being an early arrival missionary. One of my teachers, Brother Grossen, greeted me as I walked into class. The only problem: I didn't understand a WORD he was saying! Everything he said was in Hungarian. I thought maybe as newbies that they would at least speak English to us on the first day! Nope! I was totally wrong. In fact, since I've been here, we've maybe heard ten English words out of our teachers mouths combined (and we and three teachers). Anywho, long story short. It ended up being a long game of Charades between Grossen and I. Note to all of you, if we're ever playing chardes together, don't pick me as a partner! I'm not very good, but Grossen was patient and eventually I understood what he was trying to get out of me (name, where I'm fron and # of people in my family). After I told him about myself he took me to the computer lab and had me do some orientation on the computer, it wasn't bad. After I was done, I went back to my class and other missionaries started to come in.
We have two Hungarian districts (groups of people going to Hungary, that came in at the same time). My district has eight people in it, four boys and four girls, and the other Hungarian district that came in at the same time as us has ten people in it. So we have a total of eighteen people going to Hungary, who arrived at the same time. Although in our zone (which is multiple districts--our branch, as well) we have four different languages: Hungarian, Finnish, Albanian, and Estonian. Supposedly, all four languages are kind of similar thats why we're in the same zone. We don't have class or anything together, but we do go to church together and eat together. It's kind of hard to explain districts and zones over email, but just know that I'm with super friendly people who are also learning a foreign language.
Some of you might wonder who my companion is. I'm not going to elaborate on her too much (although I could) simply because I only have an hour to write (AH!). Her name is Sister Hawks. She is from Kaysville, Utah. She comes from a family of seven-- five kids and her mom and dad. She is super nice and patient! I feel like her Hungarian is coming along quicker than mine, so I often ask her questions. She is very smart and knowledgeable about secular and non secular subjects. I absolutely love her!
Hawks Nover (Sister Hawks) and I have calculated that each day we spend about ten hours in class. That was a brick in the face to me, seeing how I haven't been in school, let alone in a class room for over eleven months (BOO! I MISS BYU!) It was very hard to adjust the first couple of days, but now it doesn't seem to hard. Our teachers, Brother Grossen and Beaumont, and Sister Hardy, who all served in Hungary at one time or another,  have been absolutely awesome. They make the ten hours fun, yet productive. I have been very blessed to have such great teachers! Just to let you know how much we've learned already, Hawks Nover and I have already taught four lessons, teaching the fifth one tonight, all in HUNGARIAN! OH YA! I can testify to you, that the gift of tongues is real! There is no way I could learn Hungarian by myself, it's only through the help of the Lord that I have been able to read, speak, and interpret Hungarian so quickly.
So guess what? The second day we were here the Hungarian Ambassador (equivalent to the President of the United States) came to OUR class to visit US! It wasn't a casual visit, to say the least. He had body guards and we were expected to be on our best behavior for him! We had to practice, yes practice, doing everything before he came!  In order to be the ambassador you have to be able to speak English, so he spoke English to us and Hungarian to our teachers. He asked us why we served missions, etc! He was extremely nice! We ended up taking a picture with him and what he said afterward cracked me up! He said "If you ever get imprisoned when you go over to Hungary, show the officers this picture and tell them to let you go." It was so funny! I love when people with authority can still have a sense of humor and joke around!
In the picture, I'm stand on a step and all the men in the front row are still taller than me (Asian Problems)!
The MTC is very organized and they expect all missionaries to be the same I have a very strict schedule. Not strict, but structured. It goes a little like this
6:30- Wake up
7:15- Breakfast
7:45-11:35 - Class
11:35 - Lunch
12:15-4:00  Class
4:10- 5:10 Gym (YAY EXERCISE!)
5:10 Dinner
5:40-9:30 Class
9:30- Personal study
10:15 -Get ready for bed
10:30- Lights out

Repeat. Yep, there it is. Besides on Sunday, Tuesdays and Wednesdays the schedule is the same!
On Sundays and Tuesdays we have devotional, and let me tell you the Devotionals here are AWESOME!

Yesterday we had an evening Devotional. Stanley G. Ellish (from the seventy) spoke to us I just want to share a quote he used real fast

It's by CS LEWIS

" If you put first things first, second things will come. If you put second things first, you lose both first and second things."

I can especially apply this in my life.
In short, Here at the MTC, sometimes I get caught up with the Language (second things) and I neglect to study the gospel (first things). By NO means do I want to lose both my gospel knowledge and my Hungarian! Try to apply that quote in your life! Tell me what you think

 Every PDAY we get to go to the temple in the Morning. Today, Hawks Nover and I went to the Provo Temple. I had the most spiritual experience in my life. I have never felt the spirit so stronger...EVER! I love the temple. It truly is the House of the Lord and you can feel the spirit if you seek it. I know its hard to get to the temple for people in Rapid City, but I encourage you to do it as much as possible and continue to pray for a temple. One will come! I have faith that it will!

In closing, I'll be the first to admit that the mission is hard, and I'm not even out in the field yet! Letters of encouragement are ALWAYS appreciated by missionaries. I'll also be the first to admit that I've cried more these past seven days than I ever have in my life (ask my parents: I don't cry, ever). I would love to hear from you, and also, can you include your addresses! I didn't get any addresses before I left! While I'm in the MTC we get speedy postage and I want to take advantage of that! Please write or email, and I promise I'll do the same! I just need addresses! You can communicate with me through my parents too. I'm sure they'd be fine with that!

God be with you, 'til we speak again!!

I love you all!
Nover Whitaker

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