So, I bet you are all surprised to be getting a letter from me today. I got transferred so my new p-day is on Tuesdays, so I guess you all lucked out with the note I sent on Thursday. I'll tell you all what happened, and then I'll try to answer as many questions as I can before the time runs out.
I wrote you all Thursday morning, and around 2pm on Thursday afternoon Elder Johnston and I got pulled out of class for a secondary language evaluation. They had us speak and tested our comprehension some and then sent us back to class. I didn't expect much, but the next thing I know Elder Johnston and I were pulled from class a second time and told that if we were okay with it they were going to transfer us up to the 9 week intermediate Spanish program. So I guess you can't hide much from God no matter how much you try. Actually, I'm quite happy with the change, and I feel like I am making way more progress in my new class than I would have in my old one.
So what does it mean to be transferred in the MTC, pretty much the same thing as anywhere else. You pack everything up, move, get a new companion, get a new district, and start all over again. My new companion in Hermana Cannon. She's from Cedar Hills Utah, and she learned Spanish while living in Puerto Rico for 5 years as a kid. Her dad works with computers or something like that, so they've moved around some, but not nearly as much as my last companion. I really like Hna Cannon (Todd, Hna is the shortened form of Hermana) and we work together well. She's the 2nd in a family of 5 and she also has a younger brother on a mission. Her little brother left the MTC the week before we got here. Talk about a bummer.
My new district is interesting. The MTC really is unique for Sisters because it's like suddenly you are back in Freshman year with a bunch of 19 year old little boys (no offense Trent). They don't really understand how to study or focus or work yet. Hna Cannon and I spend a lot of time trying to get them to focus so we can get work done. I've been told by various people that the districts with the Sisters are the best because they are able to whip the Elders into shape, so I'm working on my patience and Christ-like Love and trying to play nicely with the other children. Mostly we spend a lot of time making the Elder's sing. It's like Primary all over again. When it gets rowdy we make them stand up and sing so they can get the wiggles out and we can invite the spirit back. Honestly, though, we have a really good group of Elders. They are trying, they've just spent too much time at home playing video games and are still working to transfer into the idea that working is okay. I'm on the opposite end. I actually find this place rather relaxing. I'm probably the least stressed I've been in years. I don't have anything to worry about. I just come and work hard and then trust that the Lord will makeup the difference. It's pretty awesome. Not to mention, we're done "working" by 9pm at night and we have all sorts of time off to exercise and eat meals. I actually find myself trying not to be frustrated with how much time they give us to eat and stuff, because there is way more that they could cram in if they would be more efficient with meal times. I guess most people don't really like eating all their meals on the run like I've gotten used to doing.
Okay, I'll try to get through answering questions now, and then if there is anything I feel like I've left out I'll add more if I have time.
Todd, congrats on starting to jump serve for Volleyball. I'm expecting some pretty awesome photos from you. Also, who was this girl who's party you went to. Should I be concerned. Don't make me pry one of your siblings for information. *grin* The food here is pretty sub standard, although I think your brother has a much more discerning pallet than most of the Elders. My district packs away plenty of this food, while I pick at what the salab bar has to offer. I've actually found some good things, although I was heartily disappointed on Sunday to find out that the mashed potatoes were pearl potatoes and the turkey might as well have been SPAM. *gag*. My old companion moved a lot because that's what her family likes to do... or at least that's what she told me. I haven't really seen her since I got transferred so I can't answer that much better,.
Mom, life here is good. I love how the Hna's get some special treatment. My favorite part of the whole week is Sundays. While the Elders go to a regular preisthood meeting all the Hna's get together and watch Music and the Spoken Word and then we have a huge Relief Society meeting. They always bring in an amazing speaking and this week was no different, we had a lady from the BYU religion faculty come and she was phenomenal. Not to mention, listening to Music and the Spoken Word was amazing. The organist played a Bach Cantata, and the fugue left me in fits of joy. If I get a fugue every Sunday I think I can survive the no music thing. Jet lag for me ended on Sunday, when I finally slept through the night, now I just wish I could get naps during the day, then this would really be the life! I guess you'll have to work really hard so Trent and I can do well on our missions, I know you will do a great job, and I'm excited for you. I haven't gotten the speaker but that is because my mail got mixed up when I was transferred. My new mail box is number 104, so if you could send out a note to people telling them that and change it on my
facebook that would be great. As for pictures, Grandma should have sent them to you, so I'd send her a note telling her you want the ones from when I came in. Keep sending letters via Dearelder. The less I have to read on here, the more you all get from me.
Tanner, sorry about all the bugs. I guess we now know who are the 2 most sweet and awesome people in the Okeson family. I wish you could cook dinner for me... the food here is just not quite all that I had hoped and dreamed. It's okay, whenever I don't feel happy about it I remind myself I don't have to cook or clean up afterward, then it tastes a little better. I don't know what you want to hear about the MTC, but I guess you should know there is always something to do. We don't actually spend much time in our residence halls, we really spend all day in class and then go crash when we get home at night. I usually spend a few hours studying the scriptures and then 2 or more hours working on my Spanish. It's really amazing though, because I feel like the Lord is really helping me already, that's the cool thing about being a missionary, the Lord is watching and helping you so much.
Dad, Congrats on getting things going at the plant. I'd been praying for you lots hoping that things would finally come together for you. Also, I really liked the quote you sent me. We've talked a lot about setting goals as a district and a companionship and on our own, your quote was a great reminder. I'm glad speaking went so well for you.
Morgan, I'm glad you liked camp. I remember going in 5th grade on a whole grade camp thing and it was so much fun. Those toilets sounded a little sketchy though, that would be one of those times where I think I would just hold it, no matter how bad I had to go.
Okay, I think that's all the questions I got. I went through your letters and highlighted them so I could try to answer everything. So now a little more about what I'm doing. I have two teachers that we work with primarily. Hna Bauserman is from the area and just got home from serving a mission Spanish speaking here in Provo. I absolutely love her, and it's so nice to get to work with a sister. Our other teacher is Hermano Hidalgo, he's from Mexico and he sure keeps me on my toes with his Spanish. The elder's think he talks too fast, but after 3 years with Sra Blanchard I don't really have any trouble understanding him, except he uses a lot of slang and so that makes it tricky some times. Thursday Hna Cannon and I start teaching in English, and then next week we start teaching in Spanish. I think we're ready. I really like teaching so I'm excited to have the chance to start practicing. In 2 weeks we are switching to only spanish, so that means that I'll be speaking Spanish all day and using it in the dorms. Speaking of the residence halls, I live with 4 other hna's including my companion. We are all going Spanish speaking and the other hna's have been here 3 or 4 weeks. One of them is leaving today for the MTC in Peru. I told her I had a cousin headed to Peru and to watch out for him. I love living with all the hna's, after a day with the Elders it's so nice to be back with all the sisters.
Okay, I'm out of time. I love you all lots and think of you often. Keep the letters coming, you are all wonderful.