I feel like the I didn’t explain to a lot of my non-member friends that I’m not going to be in France until June. So for anyone who doesn’t know, for the first two months, I’m in Provo, Utah, preparing for France by learning the language and getting more familiar with the Gospel. I don’t know the exact date of when I’m leaving to France yet. We got a sheet with the departure date but it said April 12 (haha)! But it sounds like it’ll be June 6 or 7.
Anyway–It’s snowing! The last few days here at the MTC have been awesome because it’s been either raining or snowing. It’s awesome. My companion is Elder Samuel Hunter. He’s really good guy. He’s fun to be around but he’s also serious about getting missionary work done. He also took four years of French in High School so he’s been helping me out loads with learning the language. The district is really cool too. I share my room with Elder Hunter as well as Elder Russo and Elder Cheel. Elder Hunter, Cheel and I are all going to the France Paris mission. Elder Russo will be serving in Toulouse (I hope I spelled that right). Elder Cheel is serving a Mandarin speaking mission in Paris. It’s awesome because he walks around with two name tags: one in French and one in Mandarin. He provides most of the laughs in the district too. He’s like a human iPod. He’ll sing a song and do all the beats with it too. The other guys in our district are Elder Turnbow, Elder Zollinger, Elder Cushing and Elder Jensen. Elder Jensen was in my mission prep class back in Queen Creek! It’s pretty cool that we’re both in the same distrcit now. All of those other guys will be serving in the Geneva mission.
I also saw Elder Ryan Garrison! Aside from the host missionary who helped me with my bags when I arrived at the MTC, Ryan was the first missionary I saw. I walked onto campus and he was there with his companion it was awesome. I’ve seen him once since in the cafeteria. He also left me a creeper note. We got a bag with books and stuff and I found a note from Ryan in there! Some of the other Elders got notes from their friends too.
Everyone in the district, except for me and Elder Cheel, has experience in the French language. Thankfully, my Spanish education is kiciking in TREMENDOUSLY. Yesterday we had to teach an investigator in French. Elder Hunter and I prepared a script and used that to guide us through the discussion. To my surprise, I understood almost everything I was reading and almost everything that our investigator was saying. We also have to prepare talks in French. The Branch President will pick random missionaries to give the talk during Sacrament meeting this Sunday. And yeah, it has to be in French. I’m still preparing mine, but I’m surprised because I’m finding it easy to construct sentences. What takes the most time is looking up every other word in the dictionary. But it’s coming–I can see it. It’ll get there eventually. :)
Also–We’re going to SAN FRANCISCO! We’re hopping on a plan Tuesday morning to visit the French Consolate to get our visas. We’ll have lunch there and then fly back the same day. I know it’s not really anything special but for some reason I’m excited for it (haha).
I’m having lots of fun here but I’m working hard. We’re meeting with our investigator again later today so Elder Hunter and I have been preparing our lesson. And I’m doing the best I can in studying French.
Also–Elder Cheel wants me to let everyone know that he brought lipstick. And he really did. The other night he brought out lipstick to kiss his letters home–hahaha.
I hope everyone is doing well. I don’t think it’s hit me yet that I’m not seeing anyone for two years. I feel like I hardly have time to think about that. They put us to work right away. French class is pretty intense. Our teacher, Sister Mumford, hasn’t gone over the basics of the language yet. She just dived right in by making us teach, sing, pray and testify in French. But I’m learning!
I got Sister York’s letter. Thank you so much! And I also got your letter, Mom. Thanks for the encouragment. It means so much.
I hope you’re all doing well. Write me! I hope to send out a few more letters soon! :D
~ Elder Smarquez