Hallo mein familie und freunden!
This is going to be one long email but I promise I'll keep it entertaining. I was set apart as a missionary last Sunday and boy that was a grand experience. I have no doubt that I will be more than fine out here. Monday and Tuesday of last week felt nonexistent, they flew by. Entering the MTC last week was surreal. The last thing I did before I entered the MTC was take a nap (:
Wednesday. My mom, aunt, and cousins dropped me off at the MTC in Provo. We drove in through the gates and were directed to go to the garage. Every one was so happy to see me (and any new missionary in general). When we got to where we were asked to go, my host companion arrived at our car. As a missionary, I will always have a companion of the same gender with me. 24/7. We all got out of the car and I hugged my aunt and cousins. Then I hugged my mom. I was all fine up to that moment when I hugged my mom goodbye. I think I would have been fine if she had not said anything, but she did... and tears were coming out of my eyes. So I guess what I'm trying to say is: Thanks for making me cry mom, I love you. Once all goodbyes were said, my host companion helped me take my luggage to a building where I checked in and received a boatload of stuff. I got my name tag! It was a bittersweet moment because from here on out, my name is Sister Quintana. I dropped my stuff off in my residence hall and was taken to my classroom. Wednesday was really a "deer in the headlights" kind of day. When we got to my classroom, my host companion kind of gently shoved me through the door without explaining what to expect. When I walked in there were a whole bunch of Sister missionaries seated at desks and this man sitting at a computer. I did not even make it past the door entrance when this Brother started speaking to me in German. Luckily I had learned the basic introduction in German so I was able to respond. I was not expecting him to continue speaking in German though. Sister Seager came in a couple minutes after I did and her reaction was just like mine haha, really confused. A good portion of us kind of just looked at each other with a "what did I just get myself into" look. For the next hour I tried to focus on what my teacher could have been saying but I kept zoning out because of how tired I was. After class, we met our companions. My companion is Sister Lay, she's from Idaho Falls and is super sweet. As missionaries we not only have companions, but we are also placed into a district. A district is composed of many companionships, like 5 more or less. My district is a pure Sister missionary district and it is awesome. All of us are headed to Germany. Another district is headed to Germany too, we all arrived to the MTC on the same day. In total, there are 5 Sisters and 2 Elders headed to Berlin-- all German speaking, except for one Elder who will be Mandarin speaking. The remainder of the German speaking missionaries are headed to Frankfurt.
Thursday and Friday were rough. We taught our first investigator (person interested in learning more about our religion) on Thursday. And in case you were wondering, we taught our lesson in German. Yes, they had us teach a lesson in German the very next day. Wohoo. It surprisingly was not as bad as I imagined it would be. Don't get me wrong, I understood little of it. However, I was able to connect the dots between what I could understand. Sister Lay learned German in high school, so that has been a blessing for us with regards to understanding what our investigator says. Like I said, Thursday and Friday were rough. All the commotion and stress hit some of the new-German missionaries on Thursday... but it hit most of us on Friday. It hit me on Friday. I have been alright with being away from home, but I have been struggling with understanding why God would call me to serve His children in German. I think it is safe to say I'm pretty good at a sufficient amount of things, but I am not quite good at German. And it was frustrating me, a lot. When my teacher called me to meet with him, I immediately thought to myself, "if he talks to me in pure German I think I'm going to explode." The minute I sat down across from him I started to cry. I felt bad because it is always uncomfortable when someone cries since you are not quite sure what to do. He asked me how I was doing with everything and I was honest and expressed my confusion as to why God would have me learn a new language when I knew 2 languages perfectly. He did not really say much because he could not give me a response to my question, but he assured me I would be fine.
Later, as a district, we openly talked about our call to serve in German. There are some Sisters who have had exposure to German but most of us are starting this journey with a blank slate. We all talked about how frustrating it has been to try to learn the language and not understand it. We all expressed how overwhelmed we feel with having to: learn the lessons, learn how to teach the lessons, learn the German language, and all the meanwhile learn how to be okay with always having someone with you at all hours of the say -- not that we don't love our companions, we just miss personal time. We all came to the conclusion that God called us to learn German because we already have confidence and Faith to teach in the languages we do know, so he gave us this challenge to refine us even more.
Left to right: (Sister Seager, me, Sister Lay, Sister Davis, Sister Bates, Sister Depeel, Sister Morrison, Sister Frazier)
Since Saturday, everything has been brighter. We all struggled to get some sleep a couple nights because our heater was making a loud annoying noise at all hours of the night. Saturday night was full of surprises. Not only was our heater making loud noises, but three Sisters nextdoor to us locked themselves out of their room. It was quite a sight to see. Sister Taylor was on a chair trying to figure out the heater issue, and Sister Frazier was on her knees trying to pick the lock of the other Sister's room. Fun times.
On Monday the other German group left for the field! Though we were not well acquainted with them, it was sad to say goodbye. There were some Sisters headed to Berlin, so I will most likely run into them at some point once I'm there. We are now the only German speaking missionaries at the MTC. Our Branch, a bunch of districts joined together, is composed of German, Albanian, and ASL speaking missionaries. It's fun to run into the Albanians on our way to class or anywhere because they ALWAYS say "Hallo Deutchlanders." It's something that they've done since we've arrived, and it makes me feel at home.
Yesterday we had the privilege to hear from an apostle. Elder Adilson De Paula Parrella and his wife Elaine came to speak to us. This was a huge blessing for me. The thoughts he shared were what I needed to hear. I know that the power of God was restored on this earth and that the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and the apostles truly are men of God. I felt so much love throughout the meeting. At one point I felt the spirit of God testify to me that everything will be okay, and that all will unfold the way it is meant to.
Time is nonexistent here. I lose track of the days all the time. It's insane. It does not feel like I have been here a week. The food is not the best. I gave up on it by Sunday. I made myself a PB&J sandwich that day and it was the best thing ever (:
I love that I am here. I am glad I went through with my decision. I know this is where I am meant to be. I know it is hard to trust in God and to trust that all things will come together for your own good, but I promise you that if you just wait it out in patience good will come.
P.s. Huge thank you to all of you who have shown so much to love to me. Know that you are all in my prayers every night. I really do thank you (: