This week’s email was a bit less detailed than previous ones. This is probably due to the excitement of going to Barbados next Tuesday; Eleanor mentioned that in her district meeting we went through departure procedures, very exciting. As we checked our weather app this week we realized the contrast that Eleanor will be facing when she gets to Bridgetown.
She also gets to phone this Sunday- we can’t wait to hear her voice.
Something that Eleanor rarely mentions except to say that she’s had language lessons is how she’s doing with speaking and understanding French. This week, we asked a specific question and her answer suggests that she’s making good progress: French is good, I can teach lessons… apparently last night I spoke French in my sleep so I think that’s a good sign. I am functional I guess is what I am trying to say. I can understand most things and form some sort of reply if needed in a lesson. As a part of her language training Soeurs Holt and Redfearn were able to speak with a lovely lady called Christie from Normandy, it makes me really excited to get into the mission field and engaging with members. After lunch we taught Céline and Clarence. There seems to be lots of opportunities to practice her language skills.
Eleanor has continued to practice her teaching- her teachers continue to role play people who are learning. It seems that Soeur Fitch (Celine) was taking inspiration from someone close to her: After the lesson Soeur Fitch explained that when she was portraying Stephanie she was really portraying her mum! Stephanie really had all these experiences with the missionaries. It was amazing and imagine how much more she now understands her mum. Some of the topics Eleanor has been able to teach include the atonement; receiving answers to prayers but eventually it turned into a lesson about prophets; and also the Restoration which turned into a discussion about how we should each receive our own First Vision for the growth of our own testimony. These are all central aspects of our faith in Jesus Christ and Eleanor is excited to share her personal story and faith with others.
The devotionals continue. Really exciting for Eleanor was on Sunday evening when the devotional was the PIANO GUYS! They each shared a really uplifting testimony and short message each was separated by a beautiful musical item.
Although there were no pictures or videos we include some examples of their music.
As part of their training Eleanor’s district had infield training all day on Thursday. It was really interesting and explained a lot more of the how of missionary work. This included how to make contact with people, how to work with members and so on. We did a few case studies a lot of role play and watched a comedic skit based on our first week in the field. It’s important for missionaries to realise that in some ways they have been in a bubble of like-minded people for the last few weeks, and that as a result they need to be prepared for life outside the MTC bubble.
The missionaries were able to give a little back to the Temple this week. This is a place of peace, revelation and devotion. Periodically Temples need some maintenance: This morning the temple was closed but we got to clean there for 3 hours. It was actually really lovely and makes me appreciate all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to keep our temples running plus we cleaned the sealing rooms which are absolutely beautiful.
Eleanor began her email by thanking all the people who sent me Christmas cards, postcards and packages this week. Thank you so so much. It really is amazing the outpouring of love that I have received whilst being here at the MTC. Special mentions to the Dysons, Emi Doncheva, and the Wollastons. As parents, we are grateful for all the people who have remembered Eleanor. A peculiar mention went to the BYU English department who sent a card and some fudge. We wondered if this was something every missionary received but Eleanor explained that it came with a note about how they were thankful for my contribution to your lecture a few months ago and hope I am enjoying my mission. Just after Eleanor got her call she came to work with me and I talked with some BYU Study Abroad students about the educational system in the UK and specifically teaching religious education in schools. Eleanor shared her personal experiences as a pupil. I’m assuming grateful thanks are owed to Miranda Wilcox for her thoughtfulness this Christmastime.
We’ll end with Eleanor’s closing words: So that’s my week I can’t believe that my time here at the MTC is almost at its end, I will miss the uplifting lessons and especially my teachers but I am so excited to get to Barbados and meet all the people that the Lord wants me to meet. Give them heaven!!
Oh and Merry Christmas everyone!