Once upon a time, normal missionaries spent about 9 weeks at the MTC and if they were fast tracked, they spent 3-6 weeks reviewing the language and being initiated as a real missionary. When I walked into my German classroom the first day, I was told my good friend from BYU Sister Jensen that we would get 12 days here. Insert missionary appropriate swears. Which are actually none. But today, I got my flight plan and as it turns out, I actually get 11 days in the MTC, because I leave on Logan's birthday—February 17th! Oh goodness gracious, that is just over a week. I therefore decided to not really unpack and haven't been to find anything very quickly because of that decision.
In case you missed it the first time I wrote it, I WILL BE IN GERMANY VERY SOON! While terrified at first, I'm excited now and can't wait to go.
My district of 14 fast track German speakers is the first group of missionaries with such a short sojourn at the MTC. Needless to say (and so written), we are all freaking out but so pumped to go teach people about Christ's Gospel so soon! There are 10 sisters (5 Berliners, 3 Frankfurters, and 2 Alpines) and 4 elders, who all have just taken German in high school. But they are great and have good, strong German names like Elder Krieger and Rasband. I love my district. I fly out with the Alpine Germany sisters as well and we fly from Salt Lake to Amsterdam, and then we fly to Berlin. The Frankfurters leave Tuesday. I share a room with the Frankfurt sisters! We actually didn't get assigned a companion the first day and then some and just moved around as a big German blob and picked our companions as we liked. Last night, we finally got assigned a real companion (who we will have for 8 days) and Elder Krieger got assigned as our district leader. Which means we got mail! Thanks to those of you who wrote me. For those of you who didn't, you only have a week to send free dearelder.com letters!
Anyways, my companion's name is Sister Teusch (pronounced Tishe) and she is great. She is quirky and outspoken and lived in Germany for a while and she's probably the most different from me out of all the other sisters in my district, but we've gotten along fine. Plus 8 days is not that long. My other roommates are Sisters Muncie and Leavitt and I like them too.
There are 3 districts in my branch and they other two districts comprise of foreign missionaries (representatives from Fiji, Haiti, Germany, Chile, Mexico, and Samoa). They're leaving just as fast as we are and most are staying in the United States, but teaching in their native tongue. Yup, we German speakers feel pretty cool being lumped together with those missionaries.
My MTC teachers are Brother Hunsaker and Sister Singer and they are awesome. Except I only get them for a week pretty much. We've mostly talked about the Gospel in English because our German is proficient enough (we all laughed when they told us that), but we will be practicing teaching lessons to people in German.
Lessons that have stuck out to me in the past couple days include the fact that missions change everything (your life, the people you serve, your companions, your future spouse and kids, the bugs on the street, etc). For the better naturally. It's nice to focus on how what I'm doing will affect others.
I like that people smile here all of the time too. Everyone is so excited to learn and teach more about Christ's restored Gospel and even if they have no idea how to not use Mormon lingo (pardon me, I know I've used some in this email--ask a friend), they are great examples to me. We focus a lot on baptism in the MTC, but that's because that is kind of the big overarching theme of teaching. Baptism shows that you understand the restoration of the Gospel of Christ and believe His principle and are ready to act on that truth.
Wish me luck with my last/first full week here! I know that God loves and cares about me and somehow everything will be okay. Love you all :)
Sister Claire Michelle Woodward