Tuesday, March 31, 2009

An-yan, Lunch time quotes, and Memorizing

Hello all!

So yet another week at the MTC has passed: 6 down, 3 to go! Yay! It's been so sad because in my zone is all the intermediate and advanced districts, so every week, someone who we've been friends with for a few weeks, just picks up and leaves. But it's alright, I'm over it.

This week has been really great. We taught our first lesson in Spanish for the first time ever about a week ago. The best part about it was that we taught for about 40 minutes to a teacher in one of the teaching practice thingies and after, the first thing that the teacher said to us when he was giving us feedback was, "Are you in the advanced district?" What?! YESS! Seriously, that's pretty much the best compliment we have ever received here because the Advanced district is only for Native or Fluent speakers--something that I am FAR from, but it was really awesome that he would say that. The ULTIMATE compliment. But was the best part about it was that when we went into teach, we were just hoping to be able to cover all the principles and be able to express our selves with the vocab, etc. But the whole lesson was completely focused on the investigator and we ended up teaching a slightly modified lesson based on the question we asked him, his feelings, his needs, etc. Seriously, the fact that we were able to do that without even thinking about it is really awesome. We were so stoked walking out of there, but we still have tons more to learn and hope that every time we do better and better and meeting the needs of the investigator--in Spanish...

So lunches here at the MTC are everyone's relax time. It's 45 minutes where you can talk about pretty much the most random stuff ever. Our lunchtime topics cover such random topics such as Power Rangers, favorite cereals, movies, Treasure Mountain (Marshall, remember that old computer game we used to have where you were a "Super seeker" trying to climb the mountain to get the crystals? If not, I'm positive Steven does. But anyways, one Elder was randomly talking about it and no one knew what he was talking about so he found me and said, "Hermana Burt will know. So he quoted part of it and I started laughing because--of course--I knew exactly what he was talking about. I seem to be the "go to" gal for random stuff like that...).

ANYWAYS, the reason I was telling this story. So everyone knows that I'm a huge, crazy Disney fan. And randomly if something reminds me of a Disney quote, I'll say it. A few of the Elders get it (like Elder Poulsen who gets every single quote). Well one day they decided to try and stump me at lunch and came up with this list of questions to ask me. Little did they know that I'm like THE MASTER of Disney trivia. Well, they said that they had all these "hard" questions and their first one was, "Ok, what is the direction and number of stars to get to Neverland?" ....seriously? Hahaha, I just laughed and told them the answer (2nd star to the right and straight on till morning). Elder Burris then said, "Dang...she's good." So I gave them some trivia questions which they all had no clue about...until Elder Smith came along. So Elder Smith is in the other district and I didn't really know him very well because his district sits at another table. He found out that Disney trivia was going on and decided to join in on the fun. Elder Smith is awesome. He's super funny, remembers practically every quote from every movie ever (not just Disney), and can mimic/impersonate voices perfectly! Haha, So him and I started talking about Disney and then got on the topic of Disneyland and such. He started talking about how much he's not a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean revamp they did to the ride a few years ago. He then says, "I don't get it. Didn't they see the little plaque that is hanging on the wall as you exit the ride that says, "If any man shall add unto this ride, God shall add unto him the plagues that are foretold on this ride? What were they thinking?" HAHAHA, seriously, I think that was the funniest thing I've heard here at the MTC and I laughed for--no joke-10 minutes. Anyways, so how every few lunches or so, we have our "Disney Quote-a-thons" where we just quote line after line after line from certain movies (he more than me because he has an incredible memory). We've done Robin Hood (full of tons of CLASSIC quotes), Jungle Book, Aladdin, quoted probably the first 15 minutes of Peter Pan, and all the other Disney movies in between. It's great. It makes my lunches because I just laugh the whole time. But don't worry, when lunch is over I totally get back to work and don't think about it. And he leaves next week with his district, so they'll end. Oh well.

Ok speaking of memory. So Elder Poulsen is another awesome Elder here and he and I have a goal where we memorize a scripture a day for the entirety of our missions. Because there is a promise from President Monson that says if you memorize a scripture a day, by the end of your mission you will have a photogenic memory (not only have memorized nearly 700 scriptures if you're an Elder, or 500 if you're a sister). If anyone needs a photogenic memory, I DO. Seriously. Anyways, so we decided to do this and our goal is to memorize 50 scriptures by the time we leave. We started 2.5 weeks ago and already have 28 each memorized. So I definitely think that we will be able to do it. We may even bump it up to 60 depending on where we are in 2 weeks. Who knows. But it's awesome because we're memorizing in Spanish and once you memorize it in Spanish, it's SUPER ridiculously easy in English. I don't count the ones in English though, only Spanish. Anyways, it's been a really good goal for me.

So since I've been here so long, I've decided to learn how to say hi to as many Elders/Sister as I can in their languages. So I've learned how to say "Hello" in about 15 languages. The reason I started doing this was because I learned how to say hello in Korean from watching the show Arrested Development. So I saw some Korean Elders and said it to them and then they all gave me sort of strange looks. I asked if I said it wrong and they said, "No, but 'An-yan' is the lowest form of hello. Only kids use it." So I learned the proper way (An-yan Ah Say Oh) and started saying it to them. And then it was too much fun to stop there, so I learned it in others too. It's really funny because I'll say it and the Elders will say it back and get confused because they see my tag and see that's it's Spanish and don't understand why I'm saying hi to them in their language. Well, I think it's fun at least...But I actually have made a lot of other friends here by just saying Hi to them.

Ok well here's something that I think you parents will like to here. The other day Hermana Flake came up to me and gave me a super nice compliment. She said that she really looks up to me because I work really hard as a missionary, play basketball really well, am athletic, get along well with all of the Elders, the Elders look up to me and respect me, I'm mature, I can sing (whatever, I have no idea what she's talking about because I definitely don't sing), have tons of scriptures memorized, speak Spanish really well, etc. It really took me back because this is the girl that I REALLY look up to. She is seriously the most incredible missionary and is SO prepared. In class when she comments, she has the best memory, and she will just say things like ,"Yeah Elder Erying said in conference a few years ago that ..." or "Brigham Young said..." And she'll go off on these huge quotes. Seriously, it's quite incredible. But still, I thought it was really nice of her to say those things about me. It really brightened my day because I certainly don't feel that way about some of those things.

Well, I want you to know that I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I had an interesting experience this week where we were watching a quick 5 minute video that had just pictures of Christ set to the song "I Believe in Christ" by the Motab. As I was looking at one of the pictures, I suddenly just felt my faith in him literally increase. It was as if it went from one step to another. In that moment I realized how incredible this Gospel is that our faith, knowledge and understanding of Christ can grow and grow and grow. There is no limit. There is no end to how much we can trust in him. The prophet's faith in Him must be incredible, yet I know that his faith grows every day. I love this about the Gospel. The chance we have now, and for eternity, to progress without limit. I love Jesus Christ with all my heart and I am so proud every day to wear his name on my badge. He is the only way and means how we can obtain salvation. It's through our faith in Him. I love being a missionary and can't wait to use every minute of every day for the next 18 months serving him.

Love you all! Sorry if this email is super random! I just type whatever comes to my head! Have a wonderful week, I know I will!

Love,
Hermana Burt

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Secret Combinations, Companionships, & Christian Soldiers

Hello, Hello, Hello!

Today is an absolutely wonderful day. I think that I will first start off this email with a bunch of random tidbits about my district, the mission, MTC, etc. First, we don't have refrigerators in the room so the other day I was buying a water from the vending machine and noticed about 5 items sitting in the bottom where you pick up your item after you purchase it. All these things--such as a can of soda, salsa, queso dip for chips, etc--had post-it notes on them that said things such as "Belongs to Sister Reed. Don't eat. Thanks!" Haha, looks like the girls here are pretty creative when it comes to keeping their food cool. And since it's the MTC, they KNOW that it won't get stolen. Haha. Another random thing is that before we all sing as a district every day (we sing probably about 8 times a day), one of the Elders has a pitch pipe that we use to get our note. It's pretty funny.

Also, we had a district leave this week and it was my favorite district in the world. Elder Nimmer, Burton, Gleed, and other choice Elders were in it. They were my buds in basketball. It's interesting because it seems that districts seem to stay together during gym time. For example, my district ALWAYS and only play volleyball. There's another district that only play four square, and this district only played Basketball (and they were actually GOOD). So now all my basketball buddies are gone and Hermana Mineto (my female basketball counterpart) are in a semi state of mourning for them. ANYWAYS, so before they left, they all pulled me (and my companion) out into the hallway. "Hermana Burt, we have something we need you to do for us? Will you commit to doing this for us and promise us?" I of course had NO idea what they were talking about and am not going to commit to something I don't know. I asked what they were talking about and they said, "Well...it's sort of like a secret combination." WHAT?! I'm positive I made the most horrified face because I don't really try to hide or disguise my facial expressions. Well they all laughed and said they were just kidding (they better be!). They finally told me that they had something that has been passed down from district to district in the zone "since the beginning of time." And that they had been trying to figure out for weeks who to pass this thing onto. Elder Nimmer (who reminds me of Jim Carey with his awesome mannerisms and facial expressions haha) said, "We've even gotten down on our knees. Not praying about it, but we did get down on our knees." Haha, ANYWAYS, they said that they finally decided to hand it down to me. They were a little worried about this because it has only ever gone to Elders, but they decided they'd let me be the first Hermana. Cool. I was excited now. Then they pull it out of their pocket and hand it to me. And you know what it was?...A giant grey eraser (the pulley kinds that they use in art classes) that was the size of a tennis ball....thanks Elders. I feel really honored...

So Saturday was our hump day--aka half way point. At lunch on Sat, we all had a brindar or toast in honor of the occasion. Yeah, it wasn't that exciting. My stay at the MTC is all downhill from here, but only time wise. It's going to continue to go uphill spiritually until the very last day of my mission.

So can I just express how strange Elders are sometimes? There is a new Latino district and Elder Burris was sitting next to them one day and one of the Elders said, "My girlfriend is here at the MTC." Elder Burris asked, "Really?" The other guy said, "Yeah, she's right over there." Elder Burris turned around super fast only to discover that the Elder was pointing at me. "Hermana BURT?! I'm sorry, but you're not dating her. I know her, and you are not dating her." Um.. WEIRD! I guess he did this to another sister--Hermana Johnson who is this super cute petite BYU Cheerleader--and he told everyone that they used to date before their missions but now they "aren't on very good terms, so they don't talk." Lies. It's really sad how people need to lie about things like that....

Oh and my favorite sister in the WORLD left on Monday for her mission. Her name is Hermana Arellano and she is seriously SO amazing. She was only here for 4 weeks, and I really didn't get to know her until the last week, but she's pretty much my favorite person I've met here. She's awesome. She speaks English, Spanish, French and ASL fluently and also knows German and Mandarin. Her parents are from Guatemala but moved to Montreal when she was about 5 (and she knows ASL because she has a deaf sister). She's 23 and going to the Palmyra Visitor's Center Mission. I'm really excited for her, I know that she'll do great.

But the last week she was here, she was in Visitor's Center training and she informed us one day at lunch that at her mission, the majority of the time when they're at the Visitor's Center, they usually aren't with their companions. You give tours alone and TEACH lessons alone--it's probably one of the few missions in the world where you get to do that. At first when I heard this, I was SO jealous! I thought it would be so cool to go off by yourself and teach every once in a while. But then I realized (about 15 seconds later), that that would be horrible for me. If I need to learn anything on my mission, it's how to work with a companion! Because I have no idea and think that I'm so independent that I don't need anyone else and that I can do it ALL on my own. WRONG. I cannot do anything alone. I am SO grateful for my companion. Just being with Sister Anderson for 5 weeks now has REALLY helped me learn how to work, labor, and love a companion. I'm excited to see what I learn from all my other companions and I hope that each companionship I learn something new, different, and apply it. Last Sunday and Tuesday, we had speakers and their talks were BOTH on companionships. Kind of interesting. It's obviously a topic that I need to pay attention too--and don't worry--I took good notes. But I'm grateful for the chance to teach and learn in a companionship. I've learned so much and love seeing that this is the way the Lord has established for missionary work to be done. I know that as I'm here on my mission, it will prepare to work, serve, and love my future eternal companion--because in the end, that's the companionship that's the most important.

So I alluded to it, but for the Tuesday night devotional we had Elder L. Tom Perry come and speak! He is absolutely wonderful! He spoke on "Laboring with a Companion." But my favorite part of the night, was that after the closing prayer, everyone stood up as he did and waited for him to exit the building. The organist was playing music (what's the opposite of prelude?) and was playing "Onward Christian Soldiers." He was still up there, shaking peoples hands, giving people hugs, etc. Well it got to the chorus of the song and very quietly you could here a few people singing the words. Then he started heading out and by the time he was walking out the door, it had gotten to the chorus again and everyone in the room was still standing, and SINGING the words. It was a truly spiritual experience for me. It was awesome to see that all us missionaries were sort of demonstrating our unity in cause by singing this hymn as an Apostle of the Lord was leaving. That's now one of my favorite hymns.

Well, my 30 minutes are running up. Every week I seriously type SO fast trying to say everything that I want to, but as I'm learning about everything else about missionary work, there's never enough time to do it all. But it's alright. This week has been amazing. I love my district, I love my companion, I love and miss all the new people I've meet here and pray for them out in their mission fields. I love the Gospel. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love the MTC and the chance I get to spend ALL day just studying and learning about Jesus Christ and the plan of Salvation. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ really do know us personally. Again, the Gospel is true, don't forget why we are here.

I love and miss you all. Thanks for all the AMAZING letters, emails, dearelders, and packages! I'm really spoiled.

--Love--
Hermana Morgan Burt

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Of Course They're Going to Temple Square...

Hello again!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! You know I'm wearing green! Can you believe it? I've been here a whole month (well as of tomorrow)! Wow, it's incredible how quickly the time has flown. On Saturday will be my half way mark, then my stay at the MTC is downhill from there (time wise, not spiritually or my growth or progress, of course. That will continue to progress!).

Anyways, life here is great as usual. I really feel that this week, I was finally able to get into a groove with my study journal, habits, teaching, scripture marking--aka I feel like my "system" of how I do things has finally (yet, slowly) come. Thank goodness. Since, things have been a lot easier.

The Spanish is coming along quite nicely. Now don't think that it's perfect yet, because it's FAR from that. But I try my best everyday. Last week we had a "funeral" for English though. So even though we've been really good about Speaking in Spanish a lot, last week was the end of any English that we could use. And by funeral, I literally mean...we had a funeral. I gave the opening prayer, Hermana Reese gave a special musical number, a few Elders gave some remarks. It was a really touching service. It all ended with all the English and a few other choice phrases such as "No Me importa" or "rad" being put into the coffin (aka cardboard box). So yeah, it was a wonderful day. In typical Mormon fashion, it was a happy funeral because it was the ushering in of a new era: Spanish only! Hooray.

Of course, I'm still tearing it up in gym. I love playing basketball and I actually have been playing a lot of volleyball too. Since week one, my knees have had permanent bruises on both of them from diving in volleyball so much. There are two volleyball courts. The court I play on has been nicknamed "The Semi-Pro" court by a few Elders and the other court I like to call "The Fun, Amature, Jungle Ball court." I do not play on that court, fyi. I LOVE playing on my hard-core court because it's with a ton of people who have played volleyball in high school before, so it gets pretty intense. There's even an Elder--Elder Heap--who played from BYU on the Men's Volleyball team, so I absolutely love it when he hits the ball because it's like a rocket. AH! I love it so much, so fun. But, unfortunately, I have stopped playing volleyball. Because very frequently, people who have never played volleyball will think that they are good and play on the semi-pro court and yeah...it makes the caliber of the games different. As a result, I get visibly irritated at these players, which is not very Christlike of me. If they want to play, then they are WELCOME to play on whichever court they desire. So as a result, I've stopped playing volleyball because I just decided it's better for me to play basketball, run, or lift weights, rather than have a bad time playing volleyball. And actually, it's been way better. My basketball friends and I can't WAIT till they open up the field. I really want to play Ultimate Frisbee and this other Elder wants me to play soccer with him and his friends. But unfortunately--unlike him--I DON'T play on the BYU Men's Soccer team and have never been any good at soccer, so I kindly passed. But I don't think that they will even open up the field until the end of April and I'll be gone. Oh well, until then, basketball will have to do.

Oh and speaking of gym: they have 4 square. Haha, I haven't played 4-square since the 5th grade and the people who play are SO intense. And the line to play is ridiculously long. But one day I decided to try my luck and play, so I waited 10 minutes in line, got up and made it to the next square, then got out. I decided that 4-square was lame and never played again. But unfortunately, the 2 minutes that I had played it, I ended up hurting one of my fingers somehow. Lovely. Figures I'd get injured playing the world's lamest game.

In other news, my leprosy came back. Which is SO annoying! So I have an appt with an dermatologist tomorrow. We'll see what he says. Because honestly, 4 weeks dealing with this is no fun.

So when I'm at meals, Elders ALWAYS bump into my chair. And I finally figured out why. I naturally just sit on the VERY end of my chair, so when people walk by, my chair is sticking out WAY more than anyone Else's and as a result, they bump into me. Well I figured out--Thanks to another Elder who proposed the question--that it's because I played the violin. And when you play the violin, you sit on the VERY end of your chair when you're playing. I didn't even realize that I still do it, but it's just the most comfortable way for me to sit, even after all these years. Haha, I thought it was pretty interesting.

So this Sunday was awesome as usual. You won't believe it, but I actually sang a special musical number with my district. Yeah, shocking, I know. I don't sing. But we all sang, and it was lovely. I sing so much here, more than I ever have in my entire life. But I LOVE it.

Ok so during Relief Society, we had a counsellor in the General Relief Society Presidency come, and these two girls sang a special musical number. Oh my gosh, it was the prettiest thing I have ever heard. These two sisters are going to temple square. The one is this gorgeous Mexican girl from Mexico who the Elders call "The Incan Princess" and I've heard some sisters refer to her as "Oh, you mean Miss Universe." She's just one of those strikingly pretty girls, hence the reason she is going to Temple Square, I guess. And the other girl was this adorable cute girl from Korea. Well they sang, "I am a Child of God." And the first verse the Mexican Sister sang in Spanish, then the 2nd verse the Korean Sister sang in Korean, and then the last verse they sang together in English. OH MY GOSH. Sister Lee's voice was SO pretty: think of any Japanese or Korean music you've heard, where they sing very light, wispy, soprano, airy. AH, that's EXACTLY how she sang. I started crying during the 2nd and 3rd verses because I think it was honestly one of the prettiest things I've ever heard. Ah...it was amazing. I met Sister Lee later that night on my floor. We talked for about 25 minutes about random stuff. Super nice girl. Oh and by the way, I've made friends with practically all the Asian sisters, don't ask my why or how, it's just happened. You'd think I was going to Asia.

So other random things: there is an Elder here who's legitimate name is "Elder Walking Eagle." YES! That officially is the coolest last name ever. There's another Elder who wears like all these 3 piece Prada or designer suits every day which I think is a bit much. I call him "Elder GQ."

But I love it here! The MTC is one of the best places in the world. And yes, I'm SO ready to leave, but what can you do? I'm not ready with the language yet or the doctrine as much as I'd like. But I do my best and work with my companion and each day we grow more and more. I know that the gospel is true. I can't wait to go out and start teaching people about it! 4 down, 5 to go and I'll be able to. Until then, I better get back to work!

Love you all! You're the best!
Hermana Morgan Burt

Finally some pictures!

Captions above each picture courtesy of Morgan.

We tried to match-green day- But some of the elders thought pink ties were cooler. Oh and don't ask me about Elder Poulson's face. It automatically does that in pictures.

Yay! Love my girls. This is before Hermana Flake moved up to intermediate.

My companion & I!

Hermana Flake, Hermama Reese, Hermana Dewey, Hermana Burt, Hermana Anderson

Every missionary has to have a picture in front of "the sign"!

Week 1- My catchphrase was "no me importa." Which means "whatever" or "it doesn't matter to me." I came back to the class one day to discover it written all over the board. No me importa.

This is day 1 at the MTC. At this exact moment I'm thinking..."What on earth have I gotten myself into." Day 1 was incredibly overwhelming. But don't worry, that feeling went away in about 15 minutes.

One of my teachers called me "the mom" of the district. It's no wonder when he walks into the class & I', reading Book of Mormon stories (for kids version) to my Elders. HAHA.

Hermana Reese, Me, & Hermana Anderson at Provo Temple. This is when we were all still a threesome & therefore, companions.

In front of the Provo Temple. Love Sundays!

This is my friend I met in the Salt Lake Temple the day before I reported (to the MTC)! She is super nice! Just graduated from BYU- in communications. is 25 & going to Des Moines, IA. She was here in the MTC 3 weeks & left for Iowa this past Tuesday. She's awesome! Her blog is http://sisternikkishields.blogspot.com.

My District! Elder Hart, Elder Davis, Elder Wallace, Elder Batholemew, Elder Poulson, Elder Maucotel, Elder Welch, Elder Burris, Hermana Reese, Hermana Flake, Me, Hermama Anderson

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheesy Potatoes, Teacups, and Devotionals

Hey Family!

Ok so this week went by super fast! I can't believe it. I've been here three weeks already--1/3 of the way done with the MTC. Incredible! I was talking to some of the other Elders who leave in about 2 weeks and they said that the first 4-5 weeks go by super slow, and the last 4 go by SO fast. So if it's already going by so fast for me, I can't even imagine how fast the last 4 will go. But who knows, maybe I'll be the opposite. Maybe the last 4 will drag on...let's hope not because the Advanced Spanish district that reported on the 18th with my district are all leaving this week, and it makes me super jealous that they already get to be out of here and will soon be doing "real" missionary work.

But no worries, I'm still loving the MTC. Not loving the food so much. I don't really eat much of it anymore, just applesauce/yogurt for breakfast, salad for lunch, and cereal for dinner. I don't know, nothing really is that great anymore. Haha. Well except when they serve cheesecake for dessert. That's my one downfall, I love my cheesecake way too much. But luckily, they don't serve it THAT often. Haha.

But speaking of food. So one of the other districts were sitting behind my districts table at dinner. And I overheard one of them--my good old pal Elder Nimmer--mention that "These potatoes are from HEAVEN! Seriously, have you tried these potatoes?" He was addressing his district, but he said it with such gusto that I turned around to look. He was about 2 feet away from my chair, saw me look over and said, "Hermana Burt. Have you tried these potatoes? These are delicious and amazing. You must partake." Haha, oh geeze, here it comes. I told him that I wasn't interesting in the potatoes because I've learned that they are not that great and instead they use nasty fake cheese, so they're not as cheesy as I would normally prefer--so I wasn't going to waste my time with them. He then is clearly offended and gets all serious and says, "Hermana Burt, would you commit to at least trying these potatoes?" Of course, playing along with the game, I say no and then he goes off into a whole 5-10 discourse/committment with me about why I should eat the potatoes. How I need to commit just to try them, so that I can know for myself if they are good or not. Pretty much, he was using his commitments from when he teaches lesson and just added the word "Potatoes" in place of "Book of Mormon," "Joseph Smith," etc. It was REALLY funny actually and I was super impressed. And yes, he did get me to try the potatoes and it turns out that they actually were good. So yeah. Good job, Elder Nimmer.

So yeah, the weather here is Utah weather as usual. Sunday it was SUPER sunny and warm. You won't believe it but I actually didn't wear my coat for the first time here (not that it's really that cold here, but I just prefer to be super toasty all the time). But then, of course, the next day it was cloudy and gross, and the day was topped off that night with a bunch of snowfall. Yay...It's slowly melting now and the sun is back.

So remember when I said, "Oh, I have the BEST district ever! I love them so much?" Well that's still true, but after 3 weeks, you get to know people even better. It's just interesting that the Elders who I thought were "really good, solid guys" at the beginning, have turned out to be slackers and the guys who I really didn't have any opinions about at first, are seriously the best guys in the district. Funny how things happen that way. I love my teachers though. They truly are amazing. And the fact that they are teaching at the MTC is really impressive to me because it shows (to me, at least) how much they love missionaries and missionary work, how good of missionaries they were, etc. Not saying that people who don't work at the MTC weren't good missionaries or aren't good people, because there are TONs of people out there who were steller and incredible. But I've just noticed that in my teachers, they are definitely sub par than a lot of the RMs I've met. Idk, maybe I'm overanalyzing it, but I'm grateful that I have them as my teachers because they really are perfect for me and the district.

So here's a funny story, the other day we were practicing the subjunctive during Grammar study. The teacher decided to mix things up and make a game out of it. So what we had to do is find a short passage of scripture, write it down and make it subjunctive, and then pass it to the next person. That person had to read the sentence and then write a picture describing/showing the sentence. Then they would pass that on, then that person would see only the picture, and have to create a subjunctive sentence based off that picture. We did this a few times and it's so funny how things ended up FAR off what originally was intended. My favorite was when the sentence started off, "The brother of Jared prayed until God appeared in the clouds" (or something like that). The picture was of bro of Jared praying, then God popping his face out of the clouds. Well, He had reallly big ears so the next person thought that God was a teapot, then the next person thought that the teapot was a watering can, then the next person thought it was a magic lamp. So God-->teapot-->watering can-->lamp. Haha, makes you wonder why there are so many errors in translation. Good times, though.

So I definitely haven't forgotten how much I love Disney. All the Elders know that I will quote any Disney movie whenever something randomly reminds me of it, I'm probably the only sister who sings "Sing Sweet Nightingale" while singing, and I definitely have sweet Disney Princess stickers on the back of my Preach My Gospels. But let me explain the last part: I have 2 PMGs--one in English and one in Spanish. So for days where I'm too lazy to actually READ the title, I put these stickers on the back. A small Snow White sticker on the English one and a Princess Jasmine one on the Spanish. Jasmine could practically be Spanish, so it's all good. I liked it.

So one of my favorite parts of the week is Tuesday night devotionals where one of the 12 apostles or member of the 70 come and speak. Seriously, I get there an hour early with my companion to get awesome seats. Well last week, Elder Kukuchi from the 70 came and spoke and he was awesome! He's Japanese and a stud! He talked about "How to Become (a) Master Teacher." I put the "a" in parentheses because he didn't actually SAY "a" when he was speaking. Tehe. He just said, "How to become Master Teacher." So awesome. I loved him. Definitely the quote of the night from him was "How many mornings we spend with the Lord determines who you will spend the morning of the 1st resurrection with." Wow. Really puts things into a different perspective. I remember someone else saying that "How you spend the hours between 7 and 10 am on your mission, will MAKE or BREAK your mission." But this definitely applies to our own lives off the mission. But yeah, Elder Kukuchi was awesome.

THEN on Sunday for Relief Society, Sister Elaine Dalton--the President of the Young Women's--spoke to us. She is SUCH an awesome lady. Like seriously, I've loved when she spoke before but hearing and seeing her in person, wow. She has so much love for the Young Women, is so prepared--what a great leader and example. She talked about Virtue because apparently that is the new Young Women's value that they added to the Young Women's theme. They added this about a month or two ago, and I had no clue. So when we all stood up and recited the theme, it caught A LOT of us off guard when that new phrase was added in. She gave us the new Young Women's recognition inserts for Virtue and apparently we are one of the first in the church to get it. So exciting! IT makes me want to go back to Young Women's and do it all over again.

Anyways, I have 2 minutes left so better wrap this up. I love being here. The MTC is awesome, my companion is awesome, my teachers are awesome. I love the Lord and turn to Him daily to help me become a better missionary, teacher, and example. I know that it is only through Him that we can return to live with our Father in Heaven again and with our families for eternity. I love that I have the chance to share this with others who are searching for the truth.

Love you all!
Hermana Morgan Burt

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Week 2 - Elders, Tigrés, & Harmonicas

Hey Everyone!

So what's new in Hermana Burt's life at the MTC. Well a lot can happen in a week, let me tell you...

So this past week, my face literally was falling off. I don't know if it is from the climate change (honestly, I didn't think that Utah was that much drier than in Arizona, but who knows). But starting last Tuesday, my whole face was really dry and flaky, ESPECIALLY the parts underneath the corners of my mouth. Those dry patches were the size of half dollars and were SO embarrassing because they were all flaky and scaly and red...it was bad. We were reading in class about the 10 lepers and afterwards I raised my hands to the sky and yelled/said, "I finally get it now! I have LEPROSY!" Haha, so whenever I'd meet knew people I'd say, "Hi, I'm Hermana Burt and I have leprosy." They thought I was crazy, but it was seriously so bad. It's better now, FINALLY! Thank goodness.

So remember the story last week about "Hermana Tigré?" Haha, well that story hasn't ended. I play basketball ALL the time now (well, whenever I can get another sister to play with me because I can only play with the Elders if I have another sister to guard. It was ok for the first few days, but all the girls would never play again after the first time. So I have to keep finding new girls to play with me. Luckily, this new Sister came who played basketball in high school and so she plays with us most days even though she "claims" she's out of shape. Aren't we all?). I have about 5 or 6 SUPER huge bruises all over my legs, got a fat lip the other day, yeah.. I play pretty intense, but love it. Anyways, I play with a lot of different Elders and so it's funny because I'll be walking in the cafeteria at meal times and hear "Hey Hermana Tigré!" It's sort of embarrassing because the white handbook says that you're not supposed to call missionaries by nicknames, but they don't really listen. And what's really funny is that we had a substitute on Saturday and he saw my name and was all, "So Hma Burt? There's a rumor going around the MTC that you're called "Hermana Tigré." (At this point I just put my head in my hand...) "Because you totally swatted/stuffed one Elder's shot while you were playing last week!" Haha, yes that did happen. Poor Elder, I don't think he'll ever hear the end of it.

So I don't' know if it's just because pickings are slim here at the MTC for girls in general, but as a sister, you get a lot of attention. My companion even said the other day, "Geez Hermana Burt, you have a fan club." Because Elders are always saying "Hey Hermana Burt!" One even calls me "Hermana Burt Simpson" (because he thought that Bart Simpson's name was actually "Burt."). I thought it was funny because I love The Simpsons so much. I definitely called him out on it. In my head I call him Elder Gabbana because he has these obnoxious Dolce & Gabbana eyeglasses. But I'd never tell him that... Haha. I have made a TON of friends with Elders here: my district, the Advanced Spanish district (more commonly known by everyone as "The Latinos"), the other intermediate district, some random German district (who I discovered as AWESOME to sit next to during "films" time because they make their own funny commentary throughout and I'm a HUGE proponent/fan of adding my own commentary during movies), a Japanese district. It's all so random, but I like it. They're fun.

But ok, back the the weirdness of the Elders. So it's common for the elders in my district to take the Sister's trays once they're done eating. I don't think I've ever taken my tray away from the table ONCE since I've been here. But usually, that's my district's job that they've taken on themselves. So I was done eating one day and just sitting and talking with my district. My companion was done eating too, but all the Elders around us weren't at all. So I was just sitting there chatting away. Anyways, randomly I hear "Con permiso." behind me and it's this Elder from one of the other Spanish districts. I've seen him around, but never met him. He says to me, "Excuse me, Hermana Burt, but I was just wondering if you were done and I could take your tray?" I was all... "Um... ok, sure." So he takes my tray and takes it the place where the trays and dirty dishes go. Then he goes back to sitting with his district a few tables over and keeps eating his food. What the heck!? Who does that? And why did he single ME out? It was really weird and all the Elders said, "What on earth was that all about?" Honestly, I don't know sometimes.

So my very first Sunday here I was at the Sunday night Devotional. And it was my first week so of course I'm way out of it, have no clue where I'm going, etc. Well I'm walking down the stairs in this GIANT room where all the missionaries meet to listen to the devotional. Then random as I'm walking down the stairs I see and HEAR this Elder slouched in his chair, eyes closed, playing this melancholy tune on his HARMONICA! Hahaha, I thought to myself, "Oh dear...is this place REALLY that bad?" It was funny.

Anyways, so the Spanish is coming along quite well. It's really incredible. One of my roommates tole me the other day that she woke up in the middle of the night last week and heard me having a conversation in my sleep... IN SPANISH! She said that she could definitely understand what I was saying, but doesn't remember now. But seriously? How awesome is that?! A week and half into it and I'm already TALKING in my SLEEP in Spanish! Hahaha, I mean, it's not uncommon for me to talk in my sleep, I know I do that, but never in Spanish. Score.

So yeah, I'm loving it here at the MTC. My district is super fun, my companion is awesome, I love learning Spanish, I love learning and studying about the Gospel, I love the feeling of the MTC. A lot of people call the MTC "Spiritual Prison," which I suppose is kind of true, but I've also heard people say, "The temple is the House of the Lord, and the MTC is the House of the Spirit." That is definitely true. The Spirit is ALWAYS here, it's wonderful feeling.

The Gospel is true and I'm so glad this is what I'm doing in my life. I love it here! Love you all!

LOVE--Hermana Morgan Burt

P.S. If you're sending me emails, send them via DearElder.com. Because if you send them to my email, I don't have time to read them until P-day, but Dear Elder sends them to me the NEXT day--and I feel cool when the District President hands me mail. :)