Today we got her first letter and it was very exciting! "Hermana" is the Spanish word for "Sister". In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, all female missionaries are referred to as "Sister" in the language of their mission. Men are referred to as Elders. Here are the adventures of Hermana Bettridge!
Hello, family and friends!
My first week at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) has been good! The food here is generally very good (unlike SUU) and I'm trying not to get fat!
My district is great! In our district we have three sets of sisters and one set of elders; it is unusual to have that many sisters and that few elders, but, sisters try to generally leave this time to get back in December before the semester starts and elders are gone for two years so it doesn't matter when in the summer they leave. Everyone in my district is speaking Spanish in the United States. My companion is Hermana Taylor. She is awesome! She is from Gilbert, Arizona and is going to the same mission as me! We are in a room with another set of sisters in our district: Hermana Beach from California going to Iowa and Hermana Andreason from Utah going to Houston as well. The other set of sisters live in the room next to us: Hermana Whitaker from Colorado going to Idaho and Hermana Beckstead FROM HOUSTON going to Iowa. The set of elders is Elder Hernandez from Alaska going to Indiana and Elder McConnell from California going to Iowa.
|Carolyn and her companion, Hermana Taylor in their classroom.|
I'm really glad I am companions with Hermana Taylor! We are different in a lot of ways, she is very organized and wants to be an accountant (she did a year at ASU before coming,) but we are both really knowledgeable about things, we are funny, we walk fast, and eat fast. :) We work really well together planning lessons. OUR SECOND FULL DAY HERE WE HAD TO TEACH A FULL 30 MINUTE LESSON TO AN "INVESTIGATOR" IN SPANISH. I thought I was going to die. We teach a Spanish lesson every day except Sunday and P Day and we get a new investigator every week. I am the only person in my district that has never studied Spanish before. I am lucky to have Hermana Taylor because she is probably the best in our district at Spanish. We can plan a lesson, but we can't predict what he is going to ask us about or how to respond to it. Basically, every lesson we end up teaching about something other than what we planned.
Every day we get up at 6:30 (but we get up at 5:45 three days a week to go to a workout class.) We have gym time for an hour, get ready, eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat dinner, and are in class about ten hours a day! We usually have an hour of personal study (to study the scriptures,) an hour of companion study (Hermana Taylor and I plan our lesson in English and study scriptures together,) an hour of language study with our companion, a half hour teaching appointment, an hour and a half of additional study to study what we need to, an hour of class (taught in Spanish) about how to be a missionary (how to teach, how to fill out our planners, how to memorize scriptures etc,) and four hours of Spanish language instruction from our teacher. Studying that long was really hard, but I am starting to get used to it.
|Hermanas Taylor and Bettridge|
Church is interesting here. We go to church as a zone (there are around four districts in our zone.) On Sunday morning we all write a talk (in Spanish) about what we are learning about in sacrament meeting that day, and the bishop gets up after the sacrament and announces who is speaking. Kind of scary! (It wasn't me, thank goodness!) So that will happen for five more Sundays :) I was called to be the Zone Technology Coordinator (because I know so much about technology... not!) so I will train all incoming missionaries to our zone how to email, write a weekly report, access online assessments etc. I am also the senior companion in my companionship. The branch president and his wife (President and Sister Price) are the best! They are so sweet and really care about us and I love them! Pres Price looks just like Mitt Romney and Sis Price looks like Sarah Palin, so that is funny. They dress up like them every Halloween. They are super cute! They both went on Spanish speaking missions. Church is in Spanish, but if someone from the branch presidency talks it is in English.
I am glad I came well prepared to the MTC. A lot of other missionaries are not. I am glad I had a knowledge of French, even though I am not speaking it, because the grammar is similar. I know I use the conditional tense of a verb to be more polite, even though we haven't talked about that etc. I also know where scriptures are, which can be really helpful in lessons! I wish I had come with some things memorized, like the first vision, but I was generally very prepared.
Emotionally I have been fine. I miss everyone and I miss home, but I know this is what I am supposed to do and I am not overly sad. On Sunday Hermana Taylor and I were having a hard time with all the stress of the language, study, having to be around people all day etc. But, we had a good cry in a classroom together and were fine :) That's what companions are for!
On Sunday a girl in our district said something really hurtful to Hermana Taylor and I and we were upset and kind of mad at her (in hindsight I realize she is just dealing with the stress in a different way and hopefully wasn't trying to be mean.) But, I was really hurt. Then at choir practice that night (we have choir practice twice a week for two hours) our director was talking about William W Phelps. He was a really strong member of the Church and ran the printing press and printed the copies of the first Books of Mormon. He also wrote a lot of the hymns and was good friends with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then something happened and he decided to leave the Church and tell the authorities lies about Joseph Smith plotting to take over the country. As a result, Joseph was arrested and spent over a year in Liberty Jail until it was cleared up. Joseph was in jail when the Church really needed him and when his family really needed him. He even had to miss the birth of his child. Later, William W Phelps repented and wanted to come back to the Church. He wrote a letter to Joseph Smith and apologized. Joseph accepted his apology without question. If Joseph could forgive him after all of that, I can forgive that girl.
On Sunday we watched Elder Bednar's address called the Character of Christ and it changed my life and completely changed how I think about things. Go look it up on lds.org and watch it! I really want to make certain changes in my life to become more like Christ so I can come closer to Him.
Please write me letters at dearelder.com (my mom can help you if you have any questions about that!) We get those letters the day you send them (at the end of the day, so letters won't distract me!) and I get to read something encouraging at night. Emails I can only read on Tuesdays. I love getting dearelder.com letters so much!!
I love you guys and hope you have a great week!