Eleanor signed off her email this week with something that she thought rang true: the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days…. I think as parents we could agree with this as well. For Eleanor she is cramming so much into each day that they seem to last a long time; and then it’s Friday and it’s time to email home again and it only seems like yesterday. For us this isn’t a negative thing either but we seem to wait on tenterhooks for news but then Friday comes around and it’s here.
Soeur Holt has had a busy week with similar themes to last week- study, teaching and other bits.
How’s her French? We have also got onto studying grammar in French and I can now conjugate verbs for the present tense until I drop. For Sunday film, we watched Joseph Smith, en francais. I got the gist but definitely have a long way to go with this language.
Sunday seems to be her favourite day: Sunday was amazing as usual, I [saw] a picture by Greg Olsen called “seeking the spirit“. The original actually hangs in the MTC, it’s beautiful and one of the sister missionaries is ginger…
Our Sunday walk this week coincided with the snow, c’est tres froi. This is the slight issue of serving a mission in Barbados with limited luggage space but being in Provo in the winter.
Teaching: As will be gathered, the teaching in the MTC is in role play with different members and teachers taking on the role of learner. Rather than have the same person to teach for the entire six weeks the missionaries have different people participate in helping them to practice their teaching. As always they are teaching in French as this is the language that her and Soeur Redfearn will be speaking in their missions (Eleanor in the Guadeloupe region and Soeur Redfearn in Montreal). They suddenly discovered that Hospice had been hiding his light (English) under a bushel: Last Friday we had our first lesson with Frere Richie who also happened to be Hospice, ̣HE DOES SPEAK ENGLISH. Ironically he introduced us to the new person we will teach called Stephanie who is also our other teacher Soeur Fitch. On Tuesday we taught Stephanie for the first time and I loved it I definitely see my progression compared to my first lesson with hospice.
Study: As always it is a mixture of personal, classroom and group devotional study. In the classroom one of the things that stood out was that our lessons should inspire faith but faith should also lead to action on the investigators part. As you can see from the pictures, they are also heavily involved in discussing and planning their learning and teaching. This particular board we recognise as being written by Soeur Holt.
One of the large devotionals linked with the earlier classroom discussion: Sister Zaballos talked about creating an atmosphere for the spirit for our investigators and this starts with our own personal reverence and spiritual preparation.
We forgot to mention that Eleanor joined the choir last week. It’s not something she’s really done before- but in for a penny, in for a pound! This week she sent us a photo of a French hymn which is not in the English hymn book and we sing it all the time- it’s so beautiful. We’ve found an English translation and the story behind the hymn here.
Other things outside the classroom: Eleanor continues to be grateful for all the emails and letters she gets. After last week’s description of cakes and doughnuts we decided to send her a surprise package from a local company in Provo: I got my massive box of fruit on Monday and it was amazing, definitely nothing that I could have imagined and it’s very much appreciated. Not quite how it looked on the website but knowing how much she likes her fruit we are glad she received it (and hopefully shared it with her dorm). One thing she is definitely sharing are two Advent calendars that we got in the summer from Cadbury’s World in Birmingham: The start of advent was on Thursday and my dorm love their chocolate advent calendars I brought from England. We’re not sure whether we should tell her that her siblings have Lindt this year!
Linked with advent the Church also began an initiative of service and following the Saviour’s example in preparation for Christmas. This is a way for us to also feel connected to Eleanor- as a family we watch the short film each morning, while every evening Eleanor watches the next days video and during planning we set goals on how we are going to achieve that, today is pretty simple as honouring your parents on pday is easy enough…
Although I served a mission 25 years ago I was in an MTC of 16 people, in Provo there is more like 1500. This brings with it greater challenges but also greater opportunities. In her email Eleanor mentioned that: We also had our first TRC where we meet with a member for 30 minutes and basically just chat in French then share a short message. I loved this because I’m a chatty person anyway and because they are able to help you with your French. We had no idea what TRC stood for, and it seems neither does Eleanor. A quick Google search later and we found a redundant Facebook page- which explains that essentially it’s where volunteers are asked to help out with the missionaries.
Again, we’ll close with some final words from Eleanor: I am happy and surrounded by lots of people who keep me happy and motivated for my mission and for my time here at the MTC. The lessons are really interesting and enjoyable and I am learning so much but I can’t wait to get to Barbados, just so that I’m not so cold all the time…