One month this week! Can you believe it? This week is my halfway point for my stay at the MTC. It feels like I've been here for only a day, but home feels like years ago. Like seriously, It's like a fading distant past haha. I'm trying to imagine what it'll be like after the full two years; it'll be so weird.
Anyway, a lot has happened. One, I've had a new companion for a week now (we were paired up just hours after I wrote my email last week). His name is Elder Ruff and I've actually known him since elementary school so it's pretty cool. The reason he was paired with me and Elder Hafen is kind of a crazy story. He was scheduled to leave for Vancouver Korean speaking last Wednesday but in a last minute doctors appointment, they randomly discovered that he had pneumonia. Crazy right? So he was forced to stay behind as he watched all the other Vancouver elders leave and he's now recovering (though he's practically completely better) with me and Elder Hafen. He's scheduled to leave on April 9th so he has another week left. I would rather go to Korea with a terminal disease than stay here for an extra two weeks. Not that this place is bad, it's great, but Korea will obviously be so much better.
Anyway, in other news, we had some wonderful speakers for our Easter devotionals. We normally have two devotionals every week; one on Sunday and one on Tuesday. But because of it being Easter on Sunday, we had one in the morning and one at night. So far we've had some great speakers: Steven B. Allen and Lawrence E. Corbridge to name a few. We never know who is speaking until they come and sit on the stand 5 minutes before the devotional starts so it's always a stressful crazy thing. Because of how many missionaries are here, not everyone fits into the auditorium so you have to line up really early if you want a spot. Otherwise, you're sent to the overflow. Think of Conference and the standby line, that's what it's like.
Easter morning, all the Korean districts waited in line for 2 hours because we were pretty positive it was going to be someone special. We got awesome seats just 5 rows from the front of the pulpit, we were so excited. Then, the doors behind the pulpit opened and Thomas S. Monson walked out with his wife. Okay I lied, it was Bishop Causse from the Presiding Bishopric, but it was still really cool. He talk was great, and his French accent was even better. For the rest of the day, we had our normal meetings and study time and because Bishop Causse came in the morning, we figured no one special would be coming at night. Half of our district chose to just go to the overflows but my companions and I wanted to try for the auditorium. When we got there, it was already full, but the ushers (I'm telling you, it's like conference) helped us find seats down in front on the side. Luckily, it was totally worth it because when the doors opened, Sheri Dew in all of her glory walked out. Her talk was incredible, as always, so I'm definitely glad we decided to try for those seats.
So something I haven't done is share with you my basic daily schedule. Every morning, I wake up at 6:30 and get ready for the day. Breakfast is at 7:20 and then after that I go to my classroom. The entire day is spent in the classroom practically. It's personal study time from 8:00-9:15, then we have time to go back to our dorms to get ready for gym at 9:30. Gym lasts until 10:20 and then we have 30 minutes to shower/ get ready and go back to the classroom. At 11:00 we have missionary portal assessments (online tests on Preach My Gospel, the Missionary Handbook, and Korean) and then lunch is at noon. After a 45 minute lunch, we start personal language study. That lasts for a good hour and at 2:00, we teach our "investigators." 3:00 marks the start of language instruction. This is actually with the teacher, learning new concepts. That lasts until dinner time at 5:00. At 6:00, we teach our "investigators" again (different ones though) and then at 7:00, we have gospel instruction. This is just learning the basic gospel doctrines and how to teach them as a missionary. That lasts until the end of the day and at 9:30 we go back to the dorms. This schedule changes a little from day to day (such as days when there's a devotional), but it follows the same basic outline.
Korean is coming along pretty well. I still don't know that much, and the only words I know are gospel words. If I had a conversation with a Korean, I practically wouldn't be able to understand them and the only things I would say would be "I love Jesus Christ. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. Will you be baptized?" (pretty forward of me, huh?). But in Korean, it actually translates to "I Jesus Christ love (verb sentence ending). I Jesus Christ Latter Day Church true is (plain form) (marker that turns it into an adjective) that thing am knowing (present progressive verb sentence ending). Baptized will (future tense verb sentence ending)?" So yeah, there's a little taste of Korean for you. As far as how to speak it, I would love you email you words, but they aren't teaching us the romanization here because it would be a waste of time to learn, so I don't really know how to sound it out in english. But I'll try to teach you a sentence, it's one we say for fun a lot. Nay oordlee nun harlsoo eesim needah! If you say it right (from my sounding it out, good luck), you will say "yes we can!" How exciting.
Anyway, I'm running out of time, so this will be if for this week. Kaysayoh!
- Elder Graf