Hey everyone, my second week went by super quick, so I'll give you the highlights of the week :) Every Sunday in the MTC there is a devotional given by someone who the MTC presidency invites to come and speak, it can be anyone really. This past Sunday, however, we watched, as a mission, "The Character of Christ" by David A. Bednar (I was a little disappointed because I had just watched it the week before with my district), which is a fantastic talk and I would encourage you all to find and listen/read it if you can :) Anyway, following the video, we noticed the door behind the podium open up and in walks Elder David A. Bednar of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles!!!! He told us that every couple of months he likes to come and visit the MTC on a Sunday and, following the watching of The Character of Christ, conduct an extended question and answer session! He reminded us that this would most likely be the only time in our lives where we could ask a question to an Apostle of the Lord directly, and that the questions should be prompted by the Spirit, not just asking curiosity questions such as "Where is the Sword of Laban?". Sadly, I was not able to ask my question, but it turned out my question was answered through other people's questions and by the Espiritu Santo (Holy Ghost). Afterwards, I recorded my thoughts in my journal and I'm so grateful that Elder Bednar chose to visit while I was at the MTC.
Now I'll give an update on our "investigator". First off, my teacher lied to our district, she told us over and over that our investigator was real, but he turned out to be our teacher's companion and is now teaching us through one half of the day and my original teacher is teaching the other half. I hope that made sense. To be clear, I'm not bitter or anything, I was actually very relieved, but it was a little shocking to walk into class and see "Ronald Tercenio" (aka Brother West) sitting at the teacher's computer in the classroom. I really like his teaching style though, so it's all good :) The language is coming along very well, I feel like I've got a pretty good grip on what is being taught and the different conjugations of verbs and what each conjugation focuses on in the sentence and what the order of the sentence is always supposed to be unless of course a single syllable word is used then the order is reversed and if you're using respect then you need to add another syllable into the sentence at a specific point which is dependent upon what verb is being used and if you're asking a question you have to place yet another syllable into the sentence unless you use specific words that automatically denote the sentence as a question. Now you can all take a deep breath after reading that, because it's actually a lot simpler than it sounds :) I have fallen in love with this language and I am so grateful that I have been called to learn the beauty of Tagalog.
We had our first TRC (Teaching Resource Center) session this week, and it actually went pretty well. Our teachers didn't really explain to us what it was, but we were able to figure it out. For those who don't know, TRC is a time where missionaries are able to teach members of the Church who volunteered about the gospel, specifically the missionary discussions. For those missionaries speaking a language, a majority of the volunteers are RMs who served speaking your mission language, and you can only speak your mission language to them. It was a pretty great experience, our first lesson didn't go over too well (mainly because my companion chose to read a scripture that didn't apply to what we were teaching) but our testimonies were good and the Spirit was felt. He commended us on our Tagalog, saying it was really good for only learning for two weeks. Our next lesson was amazing though, we taught a woman (whose name was Mariah) about the Plan of Salvation, specifically about the Pagbabayad-sala ni JesuCristo (Atonement of Jesus Christ). She asked us why she sometimes felt like the Savior was far away and I was able to bear testimony about how God gives us trials to strengthen us, and sometimes we are immediately given strength and comfort when we ask for it, but sometimes we are meant to continue throughout a trial as a test of our faith, and the rewards of those trials are much greater. I also shared how God doesn't send trials that He knows we cannot handle. In her evaluation, she told us how we shared "an AWESOME response" to her question and that we had "great Tagalog". I can testify that the gift of tongues is real, and we can only receive it, like any other spiritual gift, through preparation and diligence coupled with faith in Jesus Christ.
My companion has gotten to be kind of strange.. Sometimes he'll just stare off in the distance and won't respond to anything I say, which makes planning lessons pretty difficult. He insists that everything is OK, I just hope he's telling the truth. I know that he's trying his best, but he's a pretty awkward kid. It's all good though, I'm sure it's nothing, just the way he is.
We've started teaching two new "investigators" this week. Leonardo is played by Brother West and he is pretty stiff towards the missionaries, we're going to see if we can just get to know him and hopefully he'll open up. The other investigator is named Noemie who is played by Sister Connel. She's very receptive and knows that God loves her.
That's all I've got for this week! Until next time!
Thank you to all who have sent me letters, emails, packages, and many other things that brighten my day :)
Mahal Kita! (I love you!)