Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Week 1: Preston England MTC

First of all I can't even believe it has been a whole week because there has just been so much going on! And I also just still can't believe I'm actually in ENGLAND! This is so crazy! But I love it SO MUCH! The first two days were ridiculously busy and there was so much information but it gets much better each day! 
 
The plane ride went really good! I was able to sleep a lot and I sat next to Sister Sharp from Idaho on both plane rides and she ended up being my companion! Sister Sharp is from Declo, Idaho and just did a semester at BYUI and we get along so well! We have so much in common but also have lots of differences so we work together really well! The MTC grounds are absolutely beautiful! The grass is so green here! It either has rained, is raining, or will rain every day so we don't spend a lot of time outside. But the pond is stunning and we have our own swan! She is quite lovely! There are only about 35 missionaries here so we all know each other and have become the best of friends! I love how close we have all came in such a short amount of time! There are six sisters going to Birmingham and one elder! Most are going to Scotland/Ireland with a few staying here for six weeks to learn German for the Alpine mission and three elders here for nine weeks to learn Greek! There are also some elders and sisters from China and some European countries that are also here for six weeks to learn English. Those sisters are the cutest and we are helping them learn! The majority of us are just here for two weeks and it is going by so fast! 
 
The first night we got put into districts and I got put into the Ammon district! Exactly what I talked about in my farewell talk! Our district had TWELVE elders and sisters! It was all the sisters going to Birmingham, Sister Funk (Idaho), Sister Duncanson (England), Sister Thornton (Australia), Sister Christie (Ireland) and Sister Sharp and I. The Elder going to Birmingham is our district leader, Elder Langi (from TONGA!). Then we had Elder McMaster from England going to Ghana, Elder Reid from Ireland waiting for a visa to serve in Salt Lake, and Elder Crowley, Elder Kitchen and Cropper going to Scotland/Ireland! It was a really great district and we all got along really well! We had a lot of fun getting to know each other! I loved all of the different accents in our district it made it really fun! I love when the British sisters copy our American accents because they're so good at it and it is hilarious! Our district room is right next to the pond and we can watch the Swan swimming around all day! It's such a beautiful view for being coped up in that room for so many hours each day! 
Thursday was just lots of orientation and then getting to know our districts better. For dinner we had some meat, we think it was lamb but it was really good! All of the food here is so good! I think I'm definitely going to have to lose some weight when I leave here after all this delicious food! Everyone says the first night in the MTC is so hard, but we were all so jet lagged we were completely fine! I did have a hard time the next two night falling asleep just because of the jet lag and I was so tired all day but then I could not fall asleep for hours! Friday and Saturday were just jam packed with so much information and so much to do! But it has really calmed down a lot since then and we are able to enjoy it a lot more! Saturday Sister Sharp and I had our first "lesson" with our “investigator”! The lesson actually went really well it was just a little nerve wracking for our first time! 
 
Sunday was one of my favorite days here because we had a lot more time to relax and get to know each other a lot better! Sacrament meeting was on the Atonement, but I didn't get picked to share my talk. Everyone that did talk did amazing, and it was just what everyone needed to hear that day! Some of the sisters were fasting for two missionaries, who are struggling, so we walked to the temple during lunch time. It is right on the MTC grounds and it is absolutely beautiful! I love how green it is here and I love the Preston temple! We had relief society, and a temple preparation course that was really good! The Elder and Sister from China haven't been through the temple yet and I'm so excited for them! Then all the missionaries watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration and it was so powerful to all watch that together! It had a whole different meaning to all of us! I think we all cried when it showed the missionaries in England and Scotland/Ireland with the bagpipes playing because it became so personal to all of us! That will be us so soon! Sister Sharp and I went up to our rooms before dinner to end our fasts and we were talking about all the food we missed and we started talking about homemade rolls and homemade cinnamon honey butter like at Texas Roadhouse and just a bunch of other random stuff we missed. When we went down for dinner it was a nice turkey roast and potatoes with vegetables and we got some fruit. Then right before we went to sit down we looked over by the salad bar and there was this random huge basket of rolls and homemade cinnamon honey butter! I think we both died of shock we were so happy, especially because we had been fasting all day! I sat by the four sisters learning English at dinner and it was so fun! They are from China, Portugal, France and Belgium and they are just so sweet! It's hard to understand all of their questions, but we try to help them the best that we can! We had a great devotional about Christ-like attributes and it was overall just a really spiritual great day!
 
Monday will be a very memorable day! We started off with a short lesson with Joe and he hated us! From the minute he opened the door he just did not want us there! He was like "Oh it’s the missionaries..." and "You're American?" and he was just not paying attention and it was so frustrating! He was asking crazy questions but before we could answer he would just change it right away to a whole different direction! But at the same time he didn't care anyway! It was so hard for us but it was good to experience hat because we'll have to get used to that kind of attitude! We were getting super close to our district and just really feeling comfortable together and loving each other a lot! For exercise we got to go over to a church on the grounds and play volleyball and basketball and it was a blast! It was a holiday in Scotland so we had a traditional meal of HAGGIS and meat pies! I tried the Haggis but I totally gagged on it and it was absolutely disgusting! And I didn't really like the steak meat pies, but I have made a really good effort to try every meal here! After dinner President Preston made an announcement that we needed to meet upstairs really quick. He told us that they've never had districts this big and it had become too much of a distraction. They did something they almost NEVER do and they rearranged the districts!!! So I am still in the Ammon District, but it is just Sister Sharp, Sister Funk, Sister Duncanson, Elder Langi, and Elder Reid that stayed the same. We gained Elder Hoggan from Ogden and Elder Herr from Germany. And we lost Sister Thornton, Sister Christie, Elder McMaster and Elder Kitchen. God seems to switch things up when we get too comfortable, and even though we all knew it was for the best it was really tough! It felt like my heart broke a little bit when President told us that! It has ended up being really good though! Sister Sharp and I taught Falon again that night and it went even better! We really focused on connecting with her and getting to know her and it was great! 
 
Tuesday was also a really great day! We started out by teaching David who is from South Africa and it was a great lesson! He was really humble and we taught him how to pray! We had a lot of time in between lessons and classes to get to know our new district and the people that stayed a lot better. Elder Langi is probably my favorite! Just picture the companion from the Other Side of Heaven and that is him! He's got a very thick Tongan accent that is so quiet it is hard to understand him! But he is just so humble and the most hilarious kid ever! Watch out for Elder Reid if he ever makes it to Salt Lake! He's been waiting for a visa for seven months! He is really really short and has such a thick Irish accent and is also just super hilarious! They make such a funny companionship! They spent most of the day just talking to Sister Sharp and me and telling us stories about their lives! In the MTC, we teach two lessons each day! In the morning we have fifteen minute lessons with a one-time investigator and at night we have a thirty minute lesson with a progressing investigator. All of the "investigators" are teachers here and the people we teach are people they taught on their missions or their friends! So at night we taught Dom for the first time on Tuesday! He was pretty nice and I'm excited to teach him again! We had a lesson on stress management that just made all of us feel more stressed but we learned how to cope with it! It was a really great day and I love the new Ammon district as much as the old one already! 
Wednesday (today) was P-day! We got to do a session at the Preston temple and it was absolutely amazing! I loved it sooo much! It is a beautiful temple and it is really big! We also got to go to the store that is like Walmart but it seemed a lot better! Tomorrow we get to take a train to Manchester to go tracting! Sister Sharp and I are a little terrified but also super excited at the same time! 
 
Hope all is going well with everyone, just know that I love you all! I'm doing so great and I know this is where I'm supposed to be! It's crazy that I've already been here one week and in the next week I'll be out in the field but I am so excited! 
Thanks for all the love and support I've already received!

Love, Sister Cebollero

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