Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Week #1 MTC

Elder Acheson with sister Grace 
Tuesday December 23, 2014

Elder Acheson (second from the left) with his MTC district

Hello family and friends! My family is out of the country for Christmas break, so there is a great chance that everyone will get this late. I apologize. 

This almost first week of the MTC has been one of the hardest experiences of my life. I left my family and friends for two years to serve the lord. For those who don't know what the MTC is like, let me describe my experience. I left the car when my family dropped me off, and got my name tag that says “Elder Acheson, l’Eglise DE JESUS-CHRIST DES SAINTS DES DERNIERS JOURS". It’s a weird feeling to know that I now have a mission name badge! 

After I received my keys and badge, I was brought to my classroom where I would be learning French. I took a small computer orientation, and then went back to the classroom. Almost immediately, we stated to learn French. I have five other elders in my district. Elder Tomlinson, who is my companion, he is from Medford Oregon. There is Elder Stevenson who I went to high school with and messed around in French Class with and his companion, Elder Adam, is from West Valley, Utah. Elder Hone, who comes from Lehi, with his companion Elder Pieksma, who is from Nampa Idaho. Our district loves to talk about Star Wars and Harry Potter when we are not learning French for 12 hours a day. 

Learning "door" approaches
The MTC is very exhausting. I feel envious of the missionaries who just stay for a week and learn English. For us foreign language missionaries, we wake up at 6:30, go to breakfast, and then to class and study French for 4 hours. We then go to lunch, return to the same classroom, and study for another 4 hours. We go to dinner after, and then, (you guessed it) go to the same class and study for another 4 hours. Who knew that sitting in class for 12 hours listening to a language you don't know how to speak can get you so tired! We are just glad that we have gym at 8:25 pm so we can distress. 
Elder Tomlinson and I are the only companionship in our district going to Lyon. The other two companionship are going to Paris. Since they have to go into Belgium, they have to do tests to make sure that they are healthy. They have to do blood tests, and even worse, a stool sample. Elder Tomlinson and I are happy we didn't have to participate. 

Elder Tomlinson and I went to my Physical Therapy for my fractured elbow. As we walked into the building, everyone was saying hello to us, and giving us great smiles! I think it was because we had our mission badges on. It feels weird but at the same time, cool to now be an Elder. 

Elders Stephenson, Geslison and Acheson--all high school friends
I am also happy to say that I saw my best friend Elder Geslison again! We sat next to each other as we sang in choir, and ate lunch and dinner together! He is going to the Denmark Mission serving in the Icelandic Region speaking Icelandic! I wish him the best!

In class, we have begun teaching an investigator in French. She only speaks it, and we have to try and tell her that God loves her, and that because of Christ, we can all be saved. It is hard, but it’s amazing to know that with only five days of class, we can now begin to teach in all French! We have even begun praying and singing in French! 

Because it's Christmas time, we have special treatment! We will have an LDS church General Authority address us on Christmas day, but we don't know who it is yet. The amazing thing about the MTC addresses, is that they are more personal, and very spiritual. Elder Bednar came some years ago, and gave a devotional about the characteristics of Christ. Since it was a special address to the MTC, it is strictly for missionaries that are in the MTC at the moment to witness. I wish to describe it all, but it's difficult. Just know that there are amazing things that happen.

There are things called a "Narnia Holes" around the MTC, apparently. They are spots where previous missionaries have hid notes and things for future missionaries. Elder Tomlinson found one in our room, and it had two notes that told us "Keep strong, and don't give up in the MTC! Remember every bit of it, because you will only stay there for 1-2 weeks!” Us Elders going to France are there for 8 weeks…but I'm sure I will remember them. The letters also said to watch the Characteristics of Christ. So all future missionaries, remember to watch that!

We decided as a district to send out a formal request to all our family and friends that we are dying for snacks and stuff to pass the time. We also have a district wide debate about the Hunger Games. The question of the week is: How did Thresh, the male tribute of District 11 die? We need to solve this debate by facts in the book. Not the movie. This question is especially for my sister Grace. Please help me win the debate :) 

The MTC is infamous for the food. We eat it every day, and sometimes suffer the wrath of it. Somehow, we coined the name “Meeting the Minister of Magic" for going to the bathroom. It's fun to say, and helps keep the atmosphere more relaxed as we study. 

I feel stressed here in the MTC, I miss my family, my friends, and my bed. I know that serving a mission isan amazing thing to do, and that I am doing what Christ and God want me to do. I am excited to learn French, don't know how I will do it, but it will happen. I am excited to serve the Lord and teach the people in France about Christ. 

Pray for me and all the missionaries, and if you want me to learn some French, pray for me to have ‘Le don des langues” (The gift of tongues)

I wish you, Mom, Dad, and my sister Grace who are in Europe, and my brother in Albania, and all my other family and friends a very Merry Christmas.  I love you very much,


Elder Acheson

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