Monday, September 16, 2013

MTC Email #1

We finally heard from Anna last Thursday! Well, my mom actually received a surprise call from her on Wednesday because she had been pretty sick and had to go to the hospital. Sounds like things are looking up but please remember to keep her in your prayers :). She should be arriving to her mission sometime at the beginning of this week so if you want to write her, please write her at her Arcadia mission address. Thanks!

So the MTC is pretty sweet. I really love it here and feel like I've learned so much! ... In the first couple of days. Unfortunately I got REALLY sick Sunday night and had to go to the ER. At first they thought that I had contracted some sort of virus, they gave me some medicine and sent me back. Monday and Tuesday were both spent in bed in my residence, and since I always have to have a companion with me, she has to stay in the residence with me. The only times I've really been out of residence since Sunday was for meals and to go to doctor's appointments at the health clinic here.

I was sent back to the ER on Tuesday. This time they pumped me full of fluids, pain medication, etc. and then decided that I'm so sick because my body isn't accustomed to the food here. Let me just say, the food here is delicious and the portions are huge, but it's the not the healthiest a lot of the time. Pretty much everything is fried or acidic, two things that the doctors told me to stay away from at this point. So I haven't had a lot of food options and honestly can't eat all that much anyway without feeling really sick.
But enough about that. I don't have a whole lot to write about since over half of my stay here at this point has been spent in bed, but I can tell you a little bit about the first few days at least!

When I got to the MTC, I was rushed around to a few different rooms to pick up my name tag, extra books, etc. Then we were introduced to our teachers and went over some basic rules. That's when I met my companion, Sister Matchett. She's really great. She actually went through a similar experience as I did with getting everything together for her mission. She was going to be starting at BYU-I in January, just like I was, when the big announcement came that the missionary age had changed. Just like me, she decided to start preparing for a mission instead of starting school, and just like me, things took a lot longer than expected. She is really dedicated, knows scripture references like the back of her hand, and has a lot of good insights when it comes to figuring out investigators. But what has impressed me the most is that she has been really good about sticking with me through the ER visits and when I need to rest and everything. I know that it must be so frustrating for her (I know that it is for me), but she doesn't let it show. She and the other two sisters in my dorm have been so supportive through everything.

Anyway, after going over some basic rules and everything, all of the new missionaries went into a big room for a basic orientation. Then we were split up into a few groups and taught "investigators" as a group. Basically, a couple of missionaries would get things started for us, and then they would leave and it was up to us to ask questions and try to teach a little bit. It was pretty intimidating and kind of hard because with such a huge group, a lot of the time the questions ended up being unrelated to one another, meaning that we never really got anywhere a lot of the time. Despite that, it was still a really neat experience and I actually ended up getting up to speak at least once per investigator (there were three different investigators in three different rooms).

Somewhere in there was dinner. My first experience with MTC food. Delicious. I was a little bit intimidated by the portions though. There was SO much on my plate. I managed to eat all of it, but then there was no room for ice cream :( haha
I've had to learn that if I can't finish all of the food, that's okay. Of course at this point I can really only eat a couple bites of anything before I have to stop anyway.

The next couple of days were mostly filled with classes and study time. My teachers are awesome. I have Brother Mullen and Sister Clark. They both seem to really know what they are talking about and are really good at explaining things simply so that we can really understand and apply what we learn to our own teaching. On Friday, Sister Matchett and I "practiced" (it's not longer called role playing) teaching Ken- Brother Mullen in character. It was a disaster. But we learned from it and did much better the next day.
Then it was Sunday. Everyone had to have a talk on baptism prepared just in case we ended up being called to speak during Sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting was really small because our branch consists of two zones, not very many people. (My zone consists of two districts of eight people. So there are sixteen missionaries in my zone.) Relief Society was with everyone on the west campus (there are two campuses here because of how many missionaries there are). 

Then I went to choir practice. It was SO nice. I've really missed being in a legit choir (no offense to the ward choir at home). It was after choir that I got really sick. I still went to Sunday night devotional, but pretty soon after that I ended up at the front desk talking to a doctor on the phone who told me to go to the ER. And you basically know the rest from there.

I've decided to stop resting though. I'm going to try to push through feeling sick so that I can go to classes and everything again. If I start feeling really sick, then I'll go lay down, but I'm going to try to just deal with it. It's really hard because at this point, I don't know if it would be better to rest, or to just push through. But I'm really tired of resting, so I'm going to give it a shot.

On a different note, I just wanted to thank everyone that has sent me letters so far! I'm really sorry that I haven't gotten back to you yet, I don't have a lot of time to write. I haven't even finished writing about everything in my journal yet. I will try to write you all back as soon as I can though!
Also, this is my only P-Day while I'm at the MTC, I don't know when my next one will be. So don't expect another email right away and keep up the letters! I love letters! :D

Anyway, I think my laundry is almost done, so I'll get off now. If I have time later, then I'll try to send a couple of pictures. I don't have very many yet though.
I love you all and hope you're all doing well!
Sister Kretchman

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Last Days

Anna entered the MTC on Wednesday of this past week. We still haven't heard anything from her and are anxiously awaiting her first P-day (Preparation Day. The day the missionaries do laundry/shop/email/etc.) It's gotta be coming soon!

Until then, here are some pictures to entertain you.

At her Going Away party a few weeks before she left. (She's in there somewhere, trust me. Just slightly hidden is all).

Good-bye to the Mcnivens.

Last Monday night she was set apart by the Stake President as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here's what Preach My Gospel (the manual that the missionaries study and teach from) has to say about being set apart (Anna said that her Stake President said very similar things to her):

When you were set apart by priesthood authority, you received the right and privilege to represent the Lord. You received a ministerial certificate that verifies that authority to the world. President Spencer W. Kimball said: “The setting apart may be taken literally; it is a setting apart from sin, apart from the carnal; apart from everything which is crude, low, vicious, cheap, or vulgar; set apart from the world to a higher plane of thought and activity. The blessing is conditional upon faithful performance” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [1982], 478)
After being set apart, Anna expressed to me that much of the stress and nervousness that she had been feeling up until that point were gone. She felt at peace with her decision to be a missionary and new that she was doing the right thing.

Tuesday evening she boarded a plane and flew to Utah where she entered the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday. She will be there for two weeks before reporting to her mission in Arcadia.

Like I said, Anna will not be in the MTC for very long, so this is your week to write her! I know that writing a handwritten letter is asking a lot these days but coming from someone who has been in Anna's shoes, it is SO wonderful to receive mail. Even just a little sticky note saying hi. Do it do it do it.

Here's her MTC address:

Sister Annaliese Nichole Kretchman
2007 N 900 E Unit 97
Provo UT 84602

She will most likely only be there until the 16th/17th of next week so write her NOW :).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Temple Day

Considering that Anna enters the MTC tomorrow, I guess I'd better hurry up and catch up on a few posts...
At the end of July Anna had the opportunity to go to the Washington D.C. temple and receive her endowments. What this means is that Anna was able to receive special instruction that has the purpose of helping us understand the Plan of Salvation better as well as make promises with Heavenly Father similar to those we make at baptism of following his example through the way we live and always striving to be obedient. 

By making these promises with Heavenly Father she is better prepared to serve as a missionary, and really better prepared for continual learning and guidance throughout the rest of her life.

It was a beautiful day that was spent in the company of family and friends (what could be better than that!).