This has been a great week. The fact that I am leaving in only a couple days is slowly but surely starting to kick in — It was so exciting to get our flight plans: leaving Monday October 14 at 9:45 am from Salt Lake to Amsterdam, then a couple hour layover in Amsterdam and a flight over to Bucharest! I arrive on October 15 in the afternoon. Nobody could focus on studying afterward so we were probably less productive than we should have been haha. I feel bad for the Rome elders and sisters; they leave the MTC at 3:30 am on Tuesday morning…ROUGH. It should also be an interesting experience trying to sleep on a plane in a skirt. Hopefully I won’t be too exhausted by the time I get over to Romania.
We had our last time in the temple this morning — so strange to think that I won’t get to go to the temple for the next 17 months. But I had a great time and it was very peaceful. Also, I absolutely LOVED General Conference this weekend — so many great messages about missionary work and how we can apply the Atonement in our lives. General Conference is a church-wide meeting that occurs twice a year where the prophets and apostles of our church speak to us. I loved President Uchtdorf, M. Russell Ballard, and Adrian Ochoa. It was also SUCH a cool experience when we sang “Called to Serve” during one of the sessions on Sunday — the entire MTC in one room singing that hymn along with the entire church worldwide. For conference, they had us sit on super uncomfortable stadium seats in 19M, the big room on the main MTC campus. To say that I was sore by the end of the weekend is quite an understatement. We also watched the Relief Society broadcast during priesthood because we didn’t get a chance to see it last weekend. Since they had all the missionaries on main campus for the whole day, the meal times were CRAZY. Like literally mobs of people…I can understand now why they needed to make the West campus happen.
Some of us going a bit crazy in between sessions on Saturday
One elder in our group, Anziano Jacob, had his birthday on Sunday and Sorella Clyde (my roommate with the twinzie black skirt-pink shirt combo) had her birthday on Monday! Thankfully I brought all my birthday cards from Paper Source so I was able to get a card passed around for each of them. I think it’s important to make the day as special as possible since we don’t really get days off from class or anything.
We made a goal of speaking only Romanian yesterday. I was quite a bit quieter than usual, but I felt like I really improved as I struggled to find the words rather than resort to explaining easily in English like I tend to do when the going gets kinda tough. Tomorrow is an only-Romanian day as well, hopefully it goes well. I’m really going to miss our teachers, but I think I’m more than ready to leave the MTC. I may be kind of freaking out about the whole “going-to-Romania” thing and I don’t think it’ll really get real until I actually land in Bucharest.
We had a couple of great devotionals this week. On Sunday, after 4 hours of sitting in conference, our devotional was a performance by Vocal Point — an all-male acapella group from BYU that was on The Sing-Off at the same time as the Dartmouth Aires. They didn’t sing any pop songs, just hymns, plus they shared some great spiritual thoughts with us. On Tuesday, Elder John M. Madsen, emeritus general authority, spoke to us about the Atonement and how it relates to the Gospel. Or more accurately, how the Atonement IS the Gospel. He talked to us about the angel Moroni and said something I really liked — we are all modern-day Moronis. We are restoring the Gospel to people who chose this plan at one point, but who need to hear about it now. We are like angel Moroni in Revelation 14:6, bringing the Gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
Other than those things, I’ve just been preparing to leave and continuing in learning as much as I possibly can before I gotta go! I’m sure the language will be forced to come once I am absolutely surrounded by Romanian.
Thanks to so many of you for the great letters!! I’ve loved getting updates about what is going on in your lives! I’m sorry if I’m kinda slow in responding — it’s hard to find time to respond as fully as I would like to so it takes a couple days to get a good response out to you. I have today off so I’ll try to respond to you by then!!
I love you all and miss you a lot! I can’t believe I leave so soon, but I am so excited to be finally getting to Romania and starting the next part of this scary/exciting/life-changing adventure! I’m not sure when I’ll next be able to get a blog post up, but I will as soon as possible!
All the best,
Sora Amy Bray
Sora Merkley and I matched today! So obviously a picture was in order.
What really goes on behind the scenes during a zone photo shoot. I’m amazed we ever get any pictures taken. (I’m barely visible, just my hair and my shirt on the far left)
Crackin’ open a cold cherry limeade at 10 pm…we missionaries get crazy sometimes.