Thursday, July 23, 2015

Week 4 -- Still in the MTC

After walking out of the temple doors, Lavell Edwards Stadium is right down the hill.. It's a good things its not football season!

 We had the opportunity to go to the temple again today and ended up doing our laundry before so we got up about 5:50. It was nice to just have it done. Then after the temple we wrote lots of letters which is a good problem to have. I received quite a few this week! and they are definitely bright points in the day. I also got a package from Carrie with some sweets to keep us going, Sister mangum with some of my favorite cookies, as well as some sugar cookies from Jamie. Packages and Mail are super fun so thanks for writing.

The Czech translations seem pretty good now that i can actually read them but there's still quite a few words I don't know. My language study plan is to memorize 30 words a day, 4 phrases, and a scripture almost every day. Since i emailed last week I have since memorized 8 scriptures in Czech. But i started the first vision yesterday and that is a monster so i may slow down a little bit. I have memorized Alma 32:21, Moses 1:39, Amos 3:7, Alma 34:32, 2 Nephi 2:25, 3 Nephi 12:48, ether 12:27 and one more that i can't remember of the top of my head but I do know it in Czech. I am really starting to pick things up faster during study which is definitely the gift of tongues. The language continues to be difficult. The cases are a nightmare and super hard to apply but it is coming. One of our teachers is just fantastic in the language and really loves pronunciation. This week we took a language learning assessment just so we could see where we are and what to focus on. The scores are on a scale from 1-7 and i got a 3.25.

It sounds like our teachers were easier than others but it is still very good. We're not supposed to compare at all but the study has really helped. Tonight we have another TRC, teaching a member. Last week's was awesome. WE asked a ton of questions about their missions and how prayer was important to them and they were really good lessons so I'm excited for tonight again. Along with improving my language study we have really begun to SYL more (speak your language) it involved using what we know all the time and speaking with some English. IT really does help if we can all stay focused. The language is fun but its hard to believe we have been here for a month. Now there's no excuses for being new we just need to work hard. Last Saturday marked two years left in our missions! That was kinda cool not that we're counting down though. This week flew by again and there wasn't much new that happened.

We got to host new missionaries again. However we got new missionaries in our room. There are two of them serving in Los Angeles so they'll be gone soon but we had taken over an extra closet and had to move out. Service was great fun as usual, however no apostles this week. They were still good devotionals but I haven't sung in choir the last couple weeks. I would rather study and its nice to have some extra time. My companion and i usually get a long pretty well for the most part. I am really good friends with one of the other elders in our district Elder Stacy. Hes a wrestler and hes going to wrestle at the air force academy after this. We continue to play a lot of spike ball and our zone is probably the best at the MTC however too many people have been diving and breaking them so we can not longer play in the sand but sand volleyball is really fun as well.

The movie on Sunday we went to see was testaments but they lost the disk so instead we got to watch President MOnson's Biography which was amazing. Just his life story was incredible. Have Dan or Granger got their mission call yet? when does Josh get here? and Sonny? This week I've really tried to focus on being set apart from the world. That I am very much different than i was and i should be able to do much more than i used to. A comment was made by another elder in our zone this week that there is no reason we should be happy here. We study and work hard all day. we have no free time, we are away from all our friends and family and home, there is no reason to like it here. Yet we are happy and we enjoy that and it comes down to the work we are involved in and being set apart.

To some of your questions:
Study time is getting much easier to focus as long as i can stay awake but I've started getting up and walking around if i start falling asleep
The first few weeks i gained 5 or so pounds but lost a pound this week. Quite a few others have put on some weight.
 The pronunciation is similar in some letters but we have a lot of weird rules and a few letters that are way different a ch sounds more like a h out of your throat. All the r's are rolled unless they have an accent and it becomes more of r+z. That is by far the hardest letter. The tone is also difficult in some ways but we are figuring it out. I bought a children's book of Mormon in Czech this week and it is a lot of fun because we can understand a lot of it. In that language test i got a 4 in fluency and a 3 in the other categories which were pronunciation, grammar and something else.

 Our whole branch presidency is golfers so its fun to hear about it from you first so we have something to talk about.

My companion and i haven't had any callings yet but our president has hinted that the time is coming and not to worry. So now we are worried. In our zone, the Czechs, the polish elder and Slovak elder all got here the same day, the rest of our zone got here three weeks before us so they are all leaving in the next two weeks.

WE got ten new Bulgarian missionaries in our zone and then when they all leave were supposed to get about 30 more missionaries so we will see how we grow. All the elders leaving find out their travel plans today or tomorrow, so its getting real. WE are very good friends with them so it will be hard to see them go but it will all work out! I'm glad all your talks went well! as always i appreciate the updates and letters! I hope to hear from you all soon

 Love, Elder Hanis