Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Week 4 (June 22)

I've hit the month mark! Crazy! The weeks continue to fly by here. This is a pretty exciting one here at the MTC because it is the new mission president's seminar. So, I will get to meet my new mission president on Friday! Also--President Brown (President of the MTC) ate lunch with me and my district yesterday and told us to be early to the devotional on Friday...which probably means it's going to be an apostle. Can't wait to find out who!
Congratulations to Daniel! He will love it here for sure. I will miss him by 9 days... I leave on August 8th. Maddy, it was good to hear that girls camp was "mahtava"! To answer your question, yes I have my wallet and no my iPod is not in it. Please find it soon :) Tyler and Erica, have fun at Jubilee! (I'm sure you will just be happy that it's over... but you should try to enjoy it too!)
This is my companion, Sisar Christofferson's last week here. She leaves for Finland on Sunday. She is more than ready to leave, so these next few days will be hard for her. It's sad for me to think about because I've only known the MTC with her here! We will be getting a new group of Finns in a couple weeks, so it's weird to think that I'll be the "mama finn" soon. Minä rakastan soumea kieli! (I love the finnish language... That sentence is wrong though because "suomea" is the partitive form of "Finnish," but it needs to be in the partitive genitive form in that sentence, but I can't remember what that is...) That just gives you a little taste of the mental process that has to take place when you speak Finnish. My elders and I were joking this week about how the hardest part about Finnish is probably that everytime you form a sentence, a philosophical battle goes on in your head. My elders are hilarious. I am often moved to tears because I'm laughing so hard... and everytime I do, they all roll their eyes and say "oh no, here she goes again." They're great though. One of the elders in my district, Elder Manwaring, has made a game out of stealing my meal card from me. Usually it's not a big deal, but one day this week he stole my meal card before lunch, and then forgot that he did! So, he and all the other elders left for lunch while Sisar Christofferson and I were tearing through all my stuff trying to find it. She asked me if I thought Vanhin Manwaring had taken it, but I didn't think he would just take off for lunch and not tell me. Eventually, I went to lunch and just gave the cafeteria staff my ID number. Vanhin Manwaring asked me where my card was, and I told him "en tiedä!" (I don't know!) I think it was in that moment that he remembered it was in his pocket... but he still didn't tell me. Later in the classroom, my teacher was telling me I could just get a new card, and Vanhin Manwaring said "Sisar Shaw, I think if you search the scriptures, you'll find your answer." He had stuck my ID card in my Mormonin Kirja (Book of Mormon). Anyways, that story gives you an idea of the 19 year old boys I am privileged to spend all day every day with. They're actually really great, I'm really impressed with the Elders in my district. But they're definitely 19.
Have a great week, everyone! When do you leave for Bear Lake? I have some pictures that are currently developing, so I will hopefully send you those in the next few days! I think you will enjoy putting faces to these names I keep talking about.
Minä rakastan teitä!
Moro Poro! (That's the Finnish equivalent of "later, alligator!" It literally means "Later, reindeer!")
Sisar Shaw

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week 3 (June 9- June 15)

Wow, 3 weeks! If I were an english speaking sister, I would already be out in the field. Crazy! The time really flies by here. I can distinctly remember a couple of things that Steven said about the MTC while he was here, even though that was almost 8 years ago. The first was that the days go by slowly, but the weeks go by fast. So true! Our days are sooooo long, but it feels like I just had P-day yesterday, and here it is again! The second thing is that you don't come to appreciate Sunday as the day of rest until you go to the MTC... also very true! Sundays here are awesome, and definitely a needed rest from an otherwise stressful week. Something that I really love about sundays here is that I get to play piano at our sacrament meeting. I've always wanted that calling, and I have a pretty unique opportuniy here because I'm the only person in our branch that can play the piano! (With the exception of an elder who is a piano performance major, but he plays the piano for priesthood.)
Alright, first things first: SO glad to hear that the Mavs won!!! I'm sure it was all thanks to Adam and his adorable Dirk Nowitzki jersey. Thanks for your letter, I really love hearing from you guys. Don't feel like you need to limit yourself to sending me a dear elder only once a week :) Erica and Maddy--have fun at girls camp! I would love to hear how it goes. I always loved girls camp, I'm sure it will be spiritually uplifting and tons of fun! Maddy, it was a little disheartening for me to hear that you don't know where my iPod is because I'm 100% sure that you were the last person to use it before I left... you better find it!!! (Vitsi vain... just kidding. But seriously.) Tyler, how is the job hunt going? Tess, I can't believe you let Kyle touch your hair, let alone cut it!!! Haha, I would love to see a picture! Speaking of pictures, hopefully I will send you some soon, but sometimes the Photo machine here is out of order...
An update on life here at the MTC: I continue to love it here, but Finnish continues to be a struggle. I can read and speak the language really well, but forming grammatically correct sentences is a completely different story! And the more grammar principles I learn, the more I realize how much room there is for error! Suomi on vaikea! (Finnish is difficult!) I want to explain a little more about teaching our progressing investigators. Our "progressing investigators" are our teachers role-playing people that they taught on their missions. We started teaching our first progressing investigator, Passi, during our first week--completely in Finnish, which was insane, but I can see the wisdom in it. We committed him to baptism in helmakku (February) instead of heinakku (July)! Oops! We're still learning :) We picked up 2 new investigators last week--Mikko and Hannah. Teaching is probably one of my favorite parts of the MTC because it so closely resembles what we will be doing in the field, but it's also really stressful, cause we still don't know Finnish! Because we are teaching 5 days a week, I can see how much progress we are making which is really cool. We can understand most of the questions that our investiagtors are asking us now, but we still struggle trying to form answers in Finnish.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Week 2 (June 2- June 8)

Sounds like a congratulations are in order for Tyler, Erica, Madeline and Adam! I loved reading your email. Reading the email is part of my 30 minutes however, so i would reccomend sending me a letter through It's just as quick as sending an email, but I will receive it a lot sooner (so maybe send it by Tuesday at noon?) and then I will have the full half hour to write you guys!
I still love it here. I continue to learn and grow everyday, it truly is amazing. Maddy, I was actually able to read most of your google-translated Finnish! Pretty cool. However, you typed in "finish" instead of "Finnish" so that didn't translate over very well :)
Although I learn so much and every day is valuable, the days still seem to pass by without anything too out of the ordinary, so i don't have any cool stories to tell you (yet!) but i thought you might enjoy hearing about what a typical week is like here at the MTC. Wednesdays are P-days, and they are AWESOME. They are definitely needed after a full week of non-stop class and study and more study and more class. It is pretty much our only day where we have personal time, although most of that time is spent doing laundry and writing letters. We also get to go to the temple on P-days. On most other days, we have 6 hours of classroom instruction, which includes language instruction, Preach My Gospel instruction, and teaching our progressing investigators (suomeksi--in Finnish!) We also have an hour of language study everyday and at least one hour of personal study. We usually also have an hour of TALL time (Technology Assisted Language Learning... I think.) Basically we sit at a computer, learn some new phrases and vocabulary and listen to ourselves attempt to say it. On Sundays and Tuesdays we have devotionals in the evenings. Those are a nice break from everything else as well. Last night, Brother Kikuchi of the seventy spoke to us. I'm pretty sure he spoke in a recent general conference. Anyways, his devotional was awesome, and he shared his conversion story which was my favorite part. We have an hour of gym everyday except Sunday, which is also very much needed. I will usually go for a run, do weights or play four-square. My companion Sisar Christofferson and I also like to go to the early morning excercise class for sister missionaries. Even though it's at 6 in the morning, it's totally worth it. It's a great start to the day. Today, it was aerobics. Other days we have a step class, yoga, pilates, stretching and toning and kickboxing! Sundays here at the MTC are great. For relief society, we get to listen to music and the spoken word and then all of the sisters in the MTC  listen to a speaker together... last week it was Susan W. Tanner! We have sacrament meeting as a small branch, and I actually got to play piano last week. After sacrament meeting, we go on a walk up to the temple grounds.
Well, I'm not sure if I covered everything and my time is almost up! I'll try to be a little more organized next week, sorry if my email sounds a little scattered :) I love you guys! Happy summer to you all!
Sisar Shaw

Week 1: The start of the MTC (May 25- June 1)

Today officially marks one week in the MTC...where do I possibly begin? I love it here. Everyone kept telling me that the first week is the hardest, and that I just needed to make it till Sunday...and I kept waiting for it to get hard! I loved my first week! Granted, it is an adjustment. It truly is miraculous that I have been able to get up every morning at 6:30 and manage to stay awake in class! But the MTC really is a special place. I love it! I am a solo sister, which means that it's just me and 6 elders in my district. It's tough, but the elders are really great and keep class interesting.
Voi etta! (Oh my goodness!) Finnish is hard! On our first day of class, I immediately envied every Spanish, French or English speaking missionary. Our district is part of a "pilot program" which basically means that we do everything in Finnish. (Our teachers can only speak to us in Finnish, we only teach in Finnish, etc.) It's actually really great. It's hard of course, but it's amazing how much of the language we have already been able to learn because of it. As part of the pilot program, we also have a "progressing investigator" named Passi. I feel like it is so much more helpful than teaching volunteers at the TRC because we can really focus on tailoring our lessons to Passi's needs. We have already taught 3 lessons in Finnish, and we're teaching another one tonight! Crazy!
My companions are Sisar Christofferson and Ode Nef. Sisar Christofferson is a fellow Finn, but she is 6 weeks ahead of me in the language, which is really helpful. When I first met her, I could immediately tell that I was going to learn a lot from her. She is bubbly and bright and everything I could ever hope for in a companion! Ode Nef is going to Estonia. She is hilarious! I love them both and have already learned so much from both of them.
I love being here and meeting so many strong Elders and Sisters! It's fun to say hello to fellow missionaries as you pass them and hear all the different languages. (So whenever I say hello, I say "Terve!") I have become so used to saying "Hello," "Thanks," "Sorry" and "Excuse Me" in Finnish that I have to consciously think to say it in English.
I have learned so much this week, and the amazing part is that this is only the beginning! I look forward to the next 18 months and all that they have in store.
Mina rakastan tanta! (I love you guys!)
Sisar Shaw