Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Eli Mail 7/2/14 (MTC: Provo, UT) Letter 1
Oh my goodness! My first P-Day has finally arrived! I'm sure you're all eager to hear so I'll jump right in. My mission started when I got through the airport security on Tuesday evening. It was a slap of reality in the face sitting on the plane all alone for probably the first time in my life. But all was well and I met Kelly and Aaron and stayed the night in their cozy apartment. We enjoyed a hike on the Y that Wednesday morning and I marveled one last time as my whole world was on the verge of completely changing. We rushed out into Aaron's car with 2 minutes to spare and drove to the MTC. I was greeted by a "host" missionary and he asked me where I was going. Once I told him he said, "What?? No way!!" This host missionary that happened to help me is from Rotterdam! More on him later. The rest of the day became a blur of stone brick buildings and all sorts of MTC orientation. And Dad, I always envisioned the "Called to Serve" hymn being awesome, and my expectations were fulfilled. Right away we were quickly swept into our classrooms where we met our district. Turns out there are 7 of us "Dutchies," as we're called. 5 Elders and 2 Sisters originally. Do you know what 5 Elders means? Companionship trio! Yes, I'm in a trio which has been awesome. My first companion is Elder Steenblik (yes Mom, I do happen to know him hah!) He's a tall, 6'5" lanky 18 year old Utah kid. His humor is hilarious and I love him. My other companion is Elder Parr. Another Utah kid who I can only compare to Elder Leonhardt. He's an all around sports guy but has a very loving spiritual side and just rock solid in the Gospel. We originally had one Sister from Aruba. And for those who don't know, that's a little Caribbean island somewhere above Brazil. She grew up speaking Portuguese and Spanish, and learned Dutch and English in school. 4 languages! She was transferred and we haven't seen her since day one. And did we jump right into Dutch the first day? Oh, you bet we did. Brother Klippel, our teacher, started the immersion into Dutch right away. And let me just say, learning Dutch has been incredible. I love being challenged and of course it's hard, but it's a real blessing to 'Predijk Mijn Evangelie' in another language. I'll also add, saying your first prayer in a foreign language is really special. It's very humbling offering up a prayer to Heavenly Father in another tongue.