Wednesday, September 25, 2013

May 16, 2013 - Week 1 at the MTC

My shots are done. The MTC is awesome!

The p-days are different for every branch of Elders at the MTC, ours is Thursday. The first few days were the longest most tiring days of my life. After learning Malay for 1.5 days we taught our first lesson to an "investigator" in Malay on Friday. SOOOOO scary.

Some things about the Singapore Mission. No Visa needed for anywhere. About 100 Elders in the mission, 14-20 in Singapore proper. The Malay Book of Mormon is so far only to be had in Malaysia, one is not to be had in Utah. In our mission here at the MTC there are 12 Elders going to Singapore. We are split into 2 districts of 6, each district has its own residence hall room. 6 in a room is crazy. They're pretty much built for 4 and they just shoved another bunk bed in. There is only 1 ladder for the 3 bunk beds, so I and another Elder have to jump into our beds.

My companion is Elder Rodriguez as you have heard. He is awesome. He is Hispanic and speaks Spanish far more fluently than English. He is from Denver. He is very willing to learn and work hard. We get along very well.

On the 28th we will be moving to a "new" MTC. It's really a bunch of buildings and apartments commandeered from BYU but it should be cool. 4 branches of Elders totaling about 200 will be moving over. We will be the first missionaries in the new area. Eventually there will be over 600 if all goes well.

Our p-day, as you might have guessed, is Thursday. It's different for every few branches.

As for spiritual aha moments..... On Tuesday we had a devotional where Apostle Russell M. Nelson and his wife spoke. That was the coolest thing ever. Sister Nelson spoke about how there are over 14 million dead LDS people and all of them are praying for the missionaries. Also she said that when we pray we can ask to be helped by our own ancestors or the ancestors of those you are teaching. She said you can even ask Heavenly Father to send the ancestors of those who are ready to be taught to help you find and teach their posterity.

The coolest thing: The devotional...... The weirdest thing: The food. 75% of it is awful. Mom you'll be glad to know I've sworn off sugar and most gluten until I leave. I don't drink pop or eat much cold cereal.

A typical day goes like this. Wake up between 6-630. Personal study 7-8, breakfast 8-8:30. 8:30-11:30 class. 11:30-1:00 language study. 1 lunch 1:45-4:45. 4:45-6:00 TALL Technology Assisted language learning. dinner 6:00. 7-8 something depends on the day. 8-9:30 something else. 9:30-10:30 personal time.

Malay study is screwing up my English so bad. There is no "is or was" in Malay and there are bunch of weird pronunciation rules. For like an hour or so after every afternoon class periods I stutter, slur and mispronounce everything. It's so awful. I even write the wrong words sometimes.

Glad to hear everything is good up there. Good luck Dad on your knees. Love you all so much and miss you a lot.

Things I wish I'd known beforehand:

#1 - Bring a laundry bag. Garbage bags suck.

#2 - Don't not wash any scrape. On my right foot I got a tiny scrape on the drive home at some time when I climbed out of the suburban. I didn't think about it until Wednesday when I took off my shoe and my ankle was swollen to twice its normal size. I thought it was from traveling so much so I didn't even think about it. On the first Thursday here we had personal interviews with the Branch Presidency. He said I should go to the doc because it might have been a blood clot. Freaked me out, thought I was going to have a heart attack before I got there the next day. Turns out I had a terribly infected cut. At its worst, on Saturday night, my whole ankle and foot was red and ginormous. Was put on some pretty serious antibiotics and it's almost gone now. Had my companion and the whole district give me a blessing Saturday night, that was an amazing experience.

Elder Halpin

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