May 4, 2016


Provo MTC


Elder Eisert

Week 2 MTC Letter

Wow, it has been a whirlwind. The fact that I've already been here two weeks is baffling. The days are long, but the weeks are short.

My daily schedule goes something like this:

6:30 Wake Up. You can't sleep in, but sometimes I kind of cheat and open my eyes and just lay in bed. Soon I think I'll be tired enough to learn to sleep with my eyes open.

6:30-7 Make bed. After, I lay on my bed getting as close to sleep as possible, without actually sleeping.

7-7:40 Get Breakfast. They have a nice hot breakfast available in the cafeteria, but you have to wear a suit. Outside the cafeteria you can get a sack breakfast of oranges, bananas, cereal, and other boring things. You wear pajamas to get that! Every night my companion and I decide we are going to get dressed and go get hot breakfast. The only time I've ever been to hot breakfast was the Thursday the morning after I got to the MTC.

7:45-8:45 Exercise time. This is the best time of the day probably. My companion prefers to play basketball or volleyball, while I like to lift weights or run. Luckily, there's another Elder in our zone who is in the same situation, so we do a short term companion exchange so I can lift weights.

9:15-12:50 PCL. This is "Personal, Companion, and Language Study." The personal study involves me sitting in front of scriptures, trying to make my eyes work while using all my other energy on staying awake. Companion study involves planning lessons while trying to conserve enough energy for our ears to work so we can hear each other talk. Language Study is most productive; this is where I study flashcards and learn new words in Mandarin.

12:50-1:30 Lunch. I've learned at the MTC to be grateful for the small tender mercies: Sometimes lunch doesn't make me sick.

1:30-5 Class. Class is fully in Mandarin. Once I speak Chinese better, I can tell you what happens in class. At this point I'm not really sure.

5:15-6 Dinner. Usually I have a salad or nothing, because I'm sick from lunch.

6-9 Class. More of the same as the last block. This is also where we teach "investigators." These are our teacher's pretending to be people they met on their mission.

9-10:30 Residence "Study Time." This is time where we are supposed to study. We don't really study. Generally our entire zone gets together in someone's room, eats snacks sent from our parents, and talks about interesting doctrinal topics or other interests.

It seems a lot of the Chinese speaking missionaries have similar personalities. We all get together and talk about music, comic books, movies, and other nerdy type things. I'm astounded at how similar some of us are.

Something the missionaries who've been here longer talk a lot about is a breaking point. Everyone comes into the MTC motivated and excited. Eventually they realize the MTC gives out near impossible standards and everyone has to break.

One of the Elder's in our zone relayed to us his breaking point. He set a goal to learn fifty new words a day for himself. His teacher walked in on him writing each of these words in a downwards spiral, circling around the cover of his notebook. The design was so intricate and bizarre, his teacher asked if he needed psychological help.

I may have already broken before the MTC, because as hard as things get, everything is kind of funny to me.

As you can tell from my email, the MTC is not easy. I am constantly tired; every new day is the most tired I have ever been in my entire life. We have six hours of language class per day and almost no free time. The food is awful. It's just absolutely awful. Any down time is nonexistent here; even on P-Day, I'm racing to each activity. This is the exact opposite of my ideal situation.

And yet, I'm not complaining. I'm happy! The spirit has blessed me in ways I didn't even imagine. I've been blessed with incredible levity to greet each new problem with optimism. So far, nothing has been able to get me down, and I don't think anything will!


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