The MTC has been a wonderful and soul expanding expereince. The first day I arrived I was a bit overwhelmed to be with only Africans who were so unlike me in so many ways. Most are from Zim (Zimbabwe--they always shorten it) and knew each other before coming. It is kind of like having 28 Lone Peakers at the MTC at the same time. That first night with the other 5 sisters from Zim I was quiet and didn't know exactly how to connect to them. They kept speaking their native language, Shona, and so I was intimidated and nervous for the rest of the time at the MTC. President Collins (MTC President) told us that many people have such a great time at the MTC that they cry when they leave. I thought to myself, "That is impossible. I could never feel that way." Well folks, it happened. I'm hooked.
My companion is Sister Matare (Mat-tar-ay). She is a sweet, sincere sister. She is on the quieter side so as we teach I feel like I am doing most of the talking and planning, but she has a great desire to love and serve and I've had many special moments with her just encouraging her through her trials and praying together all the time. The other sisters are HILARIOUS. They are so talkative and wild and I'm pretty sure by the end of my mission I will have a different accent because I already think in a different accent.
I asked Sister Mupariwa (Moo-pa-ree-wah) what she thought of me when she first met me and she said, "I thought, 'Oh no, a white girl.' And then you were quiet and I thought I would never like you." But by the second day I had decided to embrace my isolation and differences and laugh along even if I totally didn't get what was going on. Now I feel like I'm so ME with these girls and it blows my mind because I have a hard time opening up sometimes. They think I'm the funniest person ever. I don't know how it happened but the Lord has really blessed me. Discouragement is a decision! I have had a few moments during this week where discouragement threatened but instead I have CHOSEN to be joyful. I am so blessed to be on a mission!
I have two teachers, Brother Mogadima (Mo-ha-deem-a) and Brother Sibeko (See-bake-o). They are both pretty recently returned missionaries and native South Africans. Brother Mogadima is SO funny. I don't know where he came from. These teachers are amazing. I learn how to improve my teaching every day--that is the point of all of this. We aren't learning any principles of the gospel, just how to teach them. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know and I am humbled to be called to do something so important. We had TRC (teaching evaluations today) and my companion and I taught Sister Collins (president's wife). The Spirit was so strong as I testified to her that families can be together forever and I believe that so fervently that I left my family for 18 months to help others know that joyful truth. Brother Mogadima came in after getting her feedback and told me that he thinks I am the best teacher he's seen in a long time at the MTC and he wouldn't give the rest of the feedback because he didn't want to boost my ego. I was blown away because I felt the Spirit in the lesson but I thought of like ten things I did wrong or could have done better as we were leaving. I am such an imperfect teacher and missionary but that helped me feel a little more confidence in myself. B. Mogadima thinks I will be a trainer my whole mission and wants me to report to him on my daughters and granddaughters. Seriously, that guy is so funny!
My district is the coolest ever. I never knew I could fee lso close to people so fast. It makes me sad to think about leaving them because they are like family to me. It was a privilege to help all of them through the temple for their first time and feel of the Spirit of the Johannesburg temple. I decided I REALLY want to becalled to be a temple worker with my husband when I'm older like Grandma and Royce in Spain. It is the sweetest work.
I wish I could just open a portal and let you step into the MTC for a few minutes just to see the dynamics and let you feel of every relationship I've formed. I have funny inside jokes with so many of the Sisters and Elders and I laugh so hard sometimes that I step outside of myself and think, "Is this real life? Am I really in South Africa joking around with these amazing people?" Obvioulsy we do more than joke around, but those moments when we are eating in the cafeteria and everyone is just on one--those are the greatest. Last night I talked to Elder Pitsoane (Pit-swan-ee), from South Africa, Elder Kane (Con-ay), from Zim, and Elder Woodward, from Vernal, Utah, about which X-men character we would be, what Avenger we would be, and what element we would bend if we were in the show Avatar:The Last Airbender. It actually blows me away how westernized these cute Africans are--they know so many shows, songs, movies, etc. that I never would have expected. Little moments like that I just love.
So basically, I am wonderful. Not going to lie, this week has felt like a million years and I probably won't get to email until next, next Monday but I love it here!
Sister Michaela Proctor