Wow. Can you believe it!? Two weeks already gone. That's like just over 1% of the whole mission! It's flying by so fast! hahaha Just kidding. The phrase, "the days are long but the weeks are fast" is a perfect description of the MTC.
I'm surprised how amazing going to bed at and waking up at is! It's different from home in that every day I know I'm going to get 8 hours of sleep. At home I normally didn't even get that much.
We've finally gotten into a stable schedule and all 16 hours are packed with things and it's still really hard to find any time for anything. Which is a good thing. I love it! one of my pet peeves is I hate wasting time, how great that I won't be wasting a minute for the next two years!
It's so nice to have an hour each day dedicated to personal study, with no distractions, it has become a time where I can come closer to God through study. The rest of our day is usually dedicated to class discussions in what we call "thaiglish" (half thai, half english), companionship study, and language study. Speaking of language study... :)
I LOVE this language! It's so cool! I feel like I know so much and we learn absurd amounts of thai everyday! Our zone is still only the Thais, that's what we call ourselves, so we're all so close! I feel like I've known everybody for forever!Whenever I go anywhere, missionaries always ask with a super confused look on their face, "What language is THAT?" when they see our tags! It's really funny because everyone has the same face and it's priceless! Once a couple sisters asked us what language it was while we were in line for lunch. Elder Gage replied quickly, "It's reformed egyptian" (the same language the book of mormon was originally written in in case you didn't know) The sisters hesitated and I said we were translating for the church and working up in Salt Lake at Church Headquarters...:) We told them that we were kidding and we are going to thailand, but the language does look crazy enough to be reformed egyptian. haha Sadly, we haven't started learning the script yet because it's more important for us to learn how to speak and listen than to read and write. All the teachers know that once we learn the script it multiplies your ability to learn more vocabulary, grammar, etc. So we're going to start learning script sometime this week! Once we do I'm going to start waking up early and TRY to read the Book of Mormon! I bet it'll take a couple hours to read the first verse but in Preach my Gospel it promises that if you read the Book of Mormon in your mission language your language abilities will improve dramatically. I can't wait until I can access that promise! But until then I am still studying my heart out. A couple days ago I made probably 75-100 flashcards and they're great! I already picked up more so I can make even more!
Sometimes we get pretty anxious from sitting in a classroom for 10+ hours and so we really look forward to gym. :) I love playing 4-square!! Our zone takes it pretty seriously and it gets really intense some days. We're not allowed to dive so we don't get hurt. I think they have learned that from experience because if we were allowed to dive everyone in our zone would be on crutches... hahaNow that I've finished writing the large plates let me continue, but on my small plates.I'm in the choir. It is the greatest thing about the MTC. Every time I sing with 2,000+ other "stripling warriors" I feel the Spirit so powerfully I can't describe it. Especially when we sing hymns like onward christian soldiers... Outside of choir we all sing as a group and night devotionals. Last night Elder Anderson came and spoke on love and sacrifice. After the meeting the thunderstorm was too bad for them to let us walk from the Marriot Center back to the MTC. So we sang hymns for a while until it calmed down outside. I wish you could all be there when we all sing together, it is so powerful that sometimes I stop singing and just listen and cry. My favorite part of every week is when we sing. And that's saying a lot, because I love every minute here. "for my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads." D&C 25:12It was still pouring when we left and our "army" looked amazing as we walked back in the rain. Never before has it meant so much to me to walk in the rain. I think it was because I was soaked through my coat, I was walking with thousands of other missionaries, and I could always look down and see that special tag on my chest reminding me why I'm here. It was a little taste of what Thailand is going to be like.
Something else I feel I have really learned is to not rely on my own abilities so much. I know that I used to be good at a few things and learned to be independent from that. But being here I've realized that I can't do ANYTHING without Him. I'm quite literally nothing. I've learned to give everything my all with faith that God will do the rest. Because my all isn't enough for anything we do out here. It's His work and I can't do it. The only thing I can do is be a tool in His hand. So I have to trust that He knows what is best for me so He can use me to fulfill His work.
Last night Elder Anderson said, "learn to give up the word "I" for a while." I'm working on becoming completely selfless and trying follow in His footsteps as closely as I can.I love you all and I'll write again next week!
Love, Elder Osborn