Hello family and friends!!! Two weeks goes by crazy fast (though in the moment it feels like an eternity)! I can't tell you how wonderful life is right now! It's SO hard here but everything we do is worth it! Let me clarify a few things though:
1) There aren't several classes here. We have several teachers who come in different times but essentially whenever we're not doing something else like eating, sleeping, or teaching, we are studying in "La Clase". It can be rough on a NON-ADD brain (and it is for most of us), but I've found that even without medication (which was on accident just twice the first week), I have developed enough skills to focus the whole time productively. Now I don't miss days for my meds (no one in my district dares let me), and I've been able to help some of the other Elders learn to deal with hours and hours of sitting and studying.
2) Regardless, the number of hours straight studying is DEFINITELY the second hardest thing here. We're building up "focus muscles" for sure!
3) The hardest part is learning how to teach. I always knew I wasn't good at it, but I never knew how to change that. I'm learning, but that is easily the hardest learning curve I've had to deal with (which is saying something considering I've learned enough Spanish in the last two weeks that I'm finding doing certain tasks much more difficult in English)
That all aside, the best part of the MTC is impossible to pick, but the devotionals are off the charts! All I'm gonna say is it makes EFY devotionals (which are awesome) look like cute Primary children testimonies. I'm learning so much everywhere! The SECOND best thing here (which is really close) is mail!!! DEARELDER.COM or hand written/typed mail to my address below (I trust Mom will put it in the blog more cleverly than I could just type it) is really what gets us through those long hours in a room every day!!!
I hope you all keep striving to learn every second you get! Remember what Winson Churchill said, "Nothing easy is ever worthwhile, and nothing worthwhile is ever easy." Never look for the easiest situation, look for whatever will make you grow the most so that you can handle things and they
BECOME easy! Tying a shoe wasn't easy the first time you did it, but it is now because you didn't just have someone else do it or where velcro, you did what was then a hard thing to do. If anything could prepare you for a mission, it would be to start doing that and understanding that concept now! Learn to love improving more than being comfortable!
The set-up for us to teach is kind of complicated, but sufficeth to say that we teach every day since the first Friday except Sundays (which are seriously days of rest, even with things scheduled every hour)!
My companionship just became a trio last Sunday so now I'm not the short companion, I'm the middle! My original companion (Elder Burris) and I are tight as can be. I'm learning so much from him and keep finding opportunities to help him as well. He's from Arizona going to El Salvador and Beliz. He's very patient and great at listening to our investigators (what they do and don't say) and we are both learing together very well. Our third companion is from Minnesota going to Tampa Florida and he has added a whole new range of learning to our MTC experience! There's not a person here I don't love! They're all hard working, extremely different people who all bring something great to offer the Lord! I'll try and introduce a few more each week (especially if I have pictures).
In short, the gospel is true. God is there and he loves each person on earth more than anything else (and there's nothing we can do about it). He answers our prayers. Jesus Christ felt everything we feel and paid the price for our sins so that we can change and learn to live like Him. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, a farmboy, and through him restored His true church on the earth today, La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias. I know that he was a prophet of God. I knew that God and Jesus Christ live. I know that God has called prophets today and that the President of the Church, Thomas S. Monson, is his current chosen prophet. I know this work is the work of God, if it weren't, we missionaries would have messed it up a long time ago :) He cares about everything we care about and I know that all we're asked to do is for our growth and that anyone can learn all of this for him or herself through sincere prayer to God, who hears and answers prayers through the peace that comes through the Holy Ghost.
Here to serve,
Elder Mathew Smith