Before posting the latest emails from Marie we though it best to post some of the handwritten letter we received last Tuesday from her. It was 10 pages long! We won’t post all as some of it is a repeat of what we have already posted and some is just too personal. Here’s Marie’s description of life at the England MTC.
Let me tell you a little bit about how the MTC works. There are 40 of us missionaries here, all of us brand new. We are the first ones here in 6 weeks because they’ve been doing some renovations so everyone is really excited we are here. The first evening we were here they put us into companionships and then into districts, 3-4 companionships per district.
My companion is Sister Ackley. She’s from Farmington, Utah. She’s got naturally curly red hair. She’s 19 and studies music so she sings beautifully. She is nice and friendly and we connect well on many levels.
Our district is the Ammon district. Our district leader is from Finland, named Elder Kinunnen. His companion is Elder Pace (pa-shay) from Rome, Italy. Sister D’Costa is from New Zealand and Sister Agulan is from the Philippines. Sister Galvez is from Guatemala and she is still learning English and is very sweet. Sister Pugmire is also going to Birmingham and she is from Utah. Yes, she is related to the Elder Pugmire in the story of the woman who drowned during her baptism here in England. (You can read the incident here, scroll down to where it says Cartwright Drowning Accident.)
As you can tell there is a lot of diversity in this little MTC. There are a couple of Finns, Norwegians, Chinese sisters, an Elder from Germany, one from South Africa & Australia both, Ireland and a whole bunch of other places. Our MTC president is President Preston and he sounds like Eric Liddle when he speaks so he keeps my attention very well. 🙂 He’s just a jolly old grandpa of an Englishman. He loves to tell jokes and giggle.
There’s a lot of different accents and cultures here. Everyone I talk to I just can’t help asking about their country and main industry and anything they can tell me. Sister Ackley always teases me because one of the questions I always ask is, “What keeps your economy going?” But it really makes them think and then talk a lot more si I get to know people better plus I learn a lot about other cultures and countries.
Districts do everything together. We share a classroom and learn and pray and teach together. The sisters share a bedroom and the Elders share their own room. It was kind of strange at first to have a companion with me all the time because you have to do everything within sight or sound of one another all the time. It was different especially for someone like me who likes to take time alone a lot of the time. Sister A sleeps on the top bunk and I sleep on the bottom. If I want to have a snack before dinner I have to tell her because she has to come with me to the dining room. So that’s unfortunate for me because I’m hungry and I want to eat all the time!
Speaking of the food it’s really good! There is one chef in charge of all the food, Chef Stephen. He’s bald, talks with a northern/Scottish accent, and sings absolutely beautiful tenor all the day long in the kitchen. Sister Ackley and I like to do our study in the dining room just so we can listen to him. Plus it helps us study better. He’s super friendly and he sings with us in the choir during devotionals. He’s always making fun of the Elders for being late for meals because the sisters are always so excited to eat that they’re there right on time. But the thing is they always serve you the main dish themselves. They serve us like we’re all 250 pound men! I could eat a meal and it would last me a day and a half. Whenever I get the main dish I ways end up throwing most of it away which I fell really bad about. They always have a salad bar and fruit basket too so that’s mostly what I eat. After everyone is served they let you serve yourself in case by some miracle someone wants seconds. We’ve ha fish and chips, and steak and kidney pie. Both were good but I’m American and a Wadsworth and I had to put ketchup on the steak and kidney pie and not think about it too much to eat it. I convinced the chef that we needed Ranch dressing for the salad so we have Ranch in the England MTC now. Of course its no mystery that mealtime is my favorite time along with physical activity and bedtime.
Our teacher is named Brother Wilford and he is very young, probably still early 20s. He was born in South Africa and moved to Scotland so his accent is the strangest thing in my life! He keeps me awake though because of it. Our schedule is really full so let me tell you about it briefly. It really is a training center. There isn’t a lot of time for personal things. We get up at 6:30 and eat breakfast at 7:00am. Then we have a little something to clean. Then at 8:00 we have personal study for an hour and companionship study for an hour after. At 10:00 we have teaching practice and then at 10:40 physical exercise. There is a small gym not much bigger than mine and Sara’s room (if that gives you an idea of how small the MTC is) and there is a playing field for us to use too. Most days Sister Ackley and I run around the playing field while the others play ball. Luckily we are both really bad at sports and we both like to run. It’s easy to run here because there is so much oxygen from the vegetation and luckily I haven’t had any allergies yet. We eat lunch at 12:00 and after lunch we read the Book of Mormon as a district, have lessons from our teacher, companionship study, online learning activities and such things then dinner at 5:30.After dinner we have other lesson and our progressing investigator appointments. At 9:30 we are done. They have snacks in the dining room and then we can go to bed. Our schedule is literally filled from 6:30 in the morning to 10:30 at night (lights out).
This won’t surprise anyone. I sleep on the bottom bunk. The first night here I was getting in bed and the lights were already out. I guess I thought tha top bunk was higher up than it actually was. So I went to jump into bed and my forehead and the bunk bed made a rather jarring connection. It. Hurt. So. Bad. But the lights were already off so no one saw it and they didn’t know what the loud cracking noise was so no one asked. I just laid in my bed and had a silent laughing attack for about ten minutes because it was so stupid and so painful! It was totally something I would do! I could feel it instantly bruising up. The next morning my forehead was extremely tender to the touch and kind of discolored. I had a headache all day. The bridge of my nose was especially sore because it took quite a hit. I think I bruised my bones. Quite the way to start off my stay!
The little kids must have been playing around before I left because I found a golf ball in my boot.