Hallo meine Liebe Familie!!!!
Well....it's P-Day! I finally have the opportunity to write! I actually sent you a letter yesterday which you will probably get tomorrow, but I'll give you more detail now that I'm emailing.
The MTC...WOW. What an incredible place. Being here as a missionary is so much different than visiting. Instead of just feeling the Spirit, I carry and strive to carry the Spirit with me wherever I go. The days are long and exhausting, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I LOVE IT HERE.
My companion is Sister Haley Green from Mascoutah, Illinois, which is about an hour from St. Louis. She is a convert of 3 years, having found the Church in Ramstein, Germany while living there, as her mom is in the military. She is the only member in her family. I simply adore her! She is very very sweet and we get along well. Her German is very good; hearing her speak encourages me to work harder to speak better German. Sister Green is also going to the Alpine mission, which is wonderful because not only will we fly out together, but we will also have the opportunity to possibly be companions in the field. Last night at zone conference I was just made senior companion; I'm excited for the responsiblity that comes with being such.
My district is awesome! Sister Green and I are the only sisters, and then there are 6 elders; 5 going to Frankfurt, one to Alpine. Elder Bishop is in my district! It's wonderful having a familiar face and friend. (Elder Bishop was just made Zone leader, actually. Thought you'd think that neat!) Sister Norton is in my zone, and is my doormmate; again, it's wonderful having a familiar face to help with the adjustment period of these first weeks on the mission. Sister Norton and her two companions, Sister Helzer and Sister Rasmussen, are all going to Berlin. Sister Norton's district is also made up of all advance track German speaking missionaries, Elder Savage being one of them. The missionaries in their district are either going to Berlin or Frankfurt; haven't run into any other Alpies yet!
The first day at the MTC was a complete whirlwind. I got my nametag and key, dropped my bags at my dorm, and then went to class for an hour, where I met Sister Green. My teachers are Sister Garlick and Bruder Hodges: both of them recently returned from the Frankfurt mission. My district (J) and Sister Norton's (F) are the only two advance language districts with all one language in them, so we actually get language instruction! Our classes are a good 90-95% in German. I can testify to you now that the gift of tongues is real! I may make many mistakes and I definitely don't speak perfect German, but when the time comes that I need a word, Heavenly Father puts it in my head. I understand 100% everything my teachers say in German. What a blessing and opportunity it is to be a missionary! (Sidenote: Bruder Hodges knows both Spencer Allen and Zachary well. He was never their companion but he knows them!)
The orientation fireside for new missionaries was wonderful! I talked with President and Sister Hacking, and President and Sister Nally. They were so warm and loving to my companion and I! It's comforting, again, to have familiar faces to make the transition easier. The first day was the longest day of my life thus far, but I wouldn't take it back for anything. It was incredible.
Day two was much easier. We had more orientation,class for three hours, and lots of companionship/personal/additional (language) study. I went with Sister Green and played my Hie to Kolob arrangement for Sister Nally. I'm a yes! I'm not sure if/when I'll play, but it felt so good at the tryout to play the piano. I think it's the best way that I am able to share my testimony, and I'm grateful that I've been able to use that God-given talent here at the MTC. At the end of the day we got to meet our branch presidency and have interviews with them. My branch president is President Marion. He is a little intimidating and strict, but very kind and has an excellent sense of humor. His counselors are Brother Vaughn and Brother Keck: all three of them know Papa! When I talked with President Marion, and introduced myself and made the connection with Papa, he said "what?! You're Gordy B's granddaughter? We expect a lot from you!" Great. Thanks for being so wonderful and amazing, Papa. I hope I can live up to this expectation people have set for me, knowing you!
My next P-day is Friday, so I'll write then!! I'm trying to figure out how to attach my pictures....so it might be a week before you get any. (Sorry Mom!)
I love you all! As I said earlier, I love it here at the MTC. I'm loving my mission - I never want to come home!! This work is too incredible, and I can't believe I only have 18 months to participate in it. I'm eternally grateful for the opportunity to be an ambassador, messenger, and power-tool for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Much love from your favoritest missionary,
Sister Natalie Motto