Hola mi Querida familia!
One week and one day since I saw and hugged you last. One week and one day since I donned this beautiful, little black nametag. HERMANA BOREN, it says. Beneath it reads: La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. Sister Boren, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is my new calling and my new life for the next 18 months. I cannot express how much of an adventure this last week has been, but I'll do my best to at least give you a glimpse! Where to begin . . .
After you dropped me off at the MTC and I walked away with my zebra and giraffe print suitcases, that kind Elder escorted me to building 1M, pretty much MTC headquarters. I gave a receptionist my name, and she directed me to another receptionist who gave me my name tag. I was then directed to another set of women who gave me a stack of papers for orientation, and all of the sudden I was outside again with a kind young woman who was my missionary 'host.' She is also going to Argentina--she helped me locate my luggage from the kind Elder, and helped me through a maze of identical buildings to my housing. My room was a classroom as of only a few months ago, and previous missionaries helped convert it to living quarters. Everything is very new and very well furnished. Without further adieu, she helped me pick up my new Spanish Missionary learning materials from the MTC Bookstore, and whisked me to another building and up 5 flights of stairs to my new home . . . ahem, I mean my classroom! It was here that I met Hermano Magallanes, one of my teachers, and my companion--Hermana Alicea! I recognized her from the Sister Missionary Facebook page before my mission. She is absolutely gorgeous, from Vegas, has the most incredible sense of humor, and loves music (we get along great). Later in the week a companionship split when one of the sisters moved to an advanced level spanish, and so we gained a triplet companion! her name is Hermana Telfer--she is from Highland, UT as well. We actually used to be stand partners in Mr. McKendrick's guitar class my Junior year of High School, and both rode Floyd's bus. She is beautiful, softspoken, kind, and has a humor all her own. I am coming to love both sisters and rely upon both sisters greatly!
The rest of that first day is such a blur. I met the rest of my district (a district is a group of Missionaries assigned to the same area. It's like your assigned family away from home). We consist of 4 Elders and 5 Sisters (how cool is that--more sisters than elders?). This is highly unusual, but all of us are going to the same mission--Rosario, Argentina. We are all full of energy and a unity because of this prospect of going to the very same piece of the world. We got started studying spanish after all the missionaries arrived in our classroom, and have been studying our tails off ever since. We set to work learning to pray in Spanish right away, and memorizing 'Mi Proposito' (missionary purpose) in it's entirety. We are so fortunate--our classroom is one of the largest, we have the nicest chairs and desks, a beautiful view of Timpanogos mountain, and a bright RED colored wall. It's perfect. I love having one set class of the same 9 people all day. I haven't had that since Elementary School, and it's refreshing :)
Friday--keep in mind this is only 2 days after arrival--we were to teach our first lesson in Spanish to an investigator (someone who is not a member of the church, whom you are teaching about the church). MTC investigators are teachers acting as investigators, but let me teel you, the intimidation of sharing your testimony in Spanish is no less real nor intimidating. My Companera, Hermana Alicea, and I met "Kevin," our 22 year old investigator on the 4th floor of our building in a miniature classroom. The next 30 minutes I can hardly explain in words. As this man began to present his questions in Spanish, something triggered in my brain. Though the words he said were far from my secular knowledge, I began to understand. And in return, my lips parted and words of testimony came forth. It was imperfect Spanish sentences to put it gently, but never would i have expected to speak as such. I haven't studied Spanish for 5 years, and didn't know any Chruch vocab. Yet somehow I expressed my testimony of the prophet joseph smith, the reality of the influence of the Spirit in our lives, and the importane of Resurrection. There IS a life beyond this one, made possible by the atoning power of our Savior Jesus Christ. I expressed that to him. I have never experienced the gift of tongues before the MTC, but in this brief half hour, I felt it overcome me in full force. I wish I could explain it! The spirit filled me with such light in that moment.
The hardest part of that experience came after, when my sweet companion burst into tears as we walked back to class. She expressed how frustrated she was to not be able to understand or teach any part of that lesson. I felt bad for not having invited her to speak, and for the next while I did my best to give her a pep talk and help her know it would be okay! i gave her a small metaphor about TY and JP's b-ball games, and how though the season started off with a bummer game, they kept practicing and kept playing their hardest. Though you guys didn't end up winning a single game, look at how far you've come!!! I think it helped a little, and since then we've been able to improve our teaching methods and have a better balanced lessons. We teach together (and now with Hermana Telfer :) ) almost every day! I haven't had that experience again--that overcoming ability to speak Spanish--but Spanish is certainly coming more easily than I would have expected.
We study from sun-up til sun down, spanish, gospel, spanish, memorizing, spanish, gospel, spanish, prayer, prayer, prayer. It's incredible, uplifting, and exhausting! I love the gym time (i've run 2.5 miles + every day . . . I haven't had that much time since Summer to run. It's SO AWESOME), even though we sit so much the 5 flights of stairs and the gym time is making all of the sisters (myself included) lose weight. The food is pretty good (nothing compared to yours, mom) and I miss TAPIOCA PUDDING SO MUCH!
My PO Box is #14. Sorry I forgot that, familia . . . but thank you to my friends for your wonderful letters. i look forward to hearing from my family!!! don't worry about sending my pillow, I've gotten used to the fluffy one they gave me here. but My blanket would be nice, por favor :) thinking of you all and love you so very much.
Yo se que Jesu Cristo es el Salvador y el redentor por todo el Mundo. Yo se que soy un hijo de dios, mi padre celestial. La iglesia de JesuCristo es verdadero! (maybe Dad can finda good translating site for you!)
Love you and wish I had more time. We only get 30 minutes :( I'll write more in letters.
God is Good!
Con Amor (with Love)
Hermana Mikayla Boren
P.s. mom I'm glad your Salt Palace training went well (and was an adventure!!) Thanks for sharing that story!!!