(This is Camille's first MTC email . . . unedited)
It still has not fully sunk in that I am now a missionary. I'll be walking around campus with my companion and I'll see a group of elders or sisters walking and I get super excited to see them, and then I realize that I am now a missionary too. I absolutely love it here!!!
As soon as I was dropped off at the curb and started to walk away, I was so excited! All I felt was peace. Undeniable peace. That is all I have felt since. Every day, every minute, every second and I absolutely love it. Everyone here is so nice, it was sorta...weird at first how nice everybody is to everyone-but it's amazing!
This past week has gone great! I have the best companion ever. Like really. She is simply amazing! Her name is Motra Coleman. She is from Provo, and I am so grateful to God that he gave me such a great companion to work with. She wants to me to work better and work harder. She is such a blessing. We get a long super well! She is so funny and sweet! Ah, I just love her so much already. When we first met, I just knew that we would become great friends. and we have! Our district is so awesome! There are 8 of us in total; 6 Elders and 2 Sisters. The Elders are so hilarious! There is Elder Wright (District Leader and from Utah), Elder Opper (from Canada), Elder Wilcox (Utah), Elder Rasband (Utah), Elder Muncy (California) and Elder Befus (Utah). We are a really close district, we have had a lot of bonding time with gym, service, and class. We all get a long super well and gosh I just love them all. We are super close to the Hungarian district. They sorta took us all in like family. The Novers in that district are like sisters to me, and the Elders like Brothers. The districts Albania and Hungary are just a big weird family. Haha, it's pretty awesome.
The language is coming along quite well. I didn't think that we would start learning the language the day we get there, but haha, I was wrong. We have already taught 3 lessons in Albanian to our "investigator" Petrit. emphasis on the quotation marks. It turns out that "Petrit" showed up to class yesterday in a suit with a white tag that said "Brother Carver". That sneaky teacher. We have four teachers. Brother Carver, Brother Vance, Sister Atkin, and Sister Iftus. They are all such great teachers. Learning Albanian is by far the hardest thing that I have ever done IN MY LIFE. It is so hard. But, with that being said it is coming along so well. I surprised myself yesterday by being able to read 3 verses of 1 Nephi outloud and doing really well with pronouncing and everything. Even though it is crazy hard, I love learning it. Every day I have this desire to do better and to know it better. The only reason that I have been able to get this far with the language, is because of my Heavenly Father. I am blessed more than what I oftentimes think I deserve. The spirit is how I've been able to learn. I know for a fact that if we weren't starting every class with a hymn and prayer that we wouldn't be progressing this much. My setting apart blessing and the blessing Dad gave me on Sunday for my mission, I have already seen parts of that happening. It is such a humbling experience. I thought I had a lot of brain lapses just with english, haha, it is even more so now. At first everytime I wanted to speak french instead of Albanian. Me and Motra Coleman joke that we are fluent in Fralbanian. (french and albanian). We know a lot more albananian though, so it is going well. Gosh, I can't spell. Albanian's spelling and everything is so different, it is tricking me. so sorry if my email doesn't make complete sense and it seems like I can't spell anymore. haha.
The food. It's not like your food Mom, but it is still yummy. The oatmeal I cannot eat though. The consistency is too thick and chunky. I've tried eating it twice, but I can't. The fruit here is yummy and the salads. However, for some reason a lot of the food tastes spicy to me now. I think my throat/taste buds are just sensitive from being sick, that I can't eat random foods because they seem spicy. For instance: Friday there were chicken nuggets in the salad. I ate the chicken. My mouth was on fire. and my companion and the elders around me just started laughing, because I guess it wasn't hot. The Mac&Cheese on Monday was too spicy. Mac and Cheese. I think Heavenly Father is playing tricks on my taste buds right now and he's winning. ;) oh and to top it all off, the fish and rice on Tuesday was too spicy. I think it is hilarious that I have suddenly become a sissy to barely any spicy things. The elders joke that I have never been able to eat pepper in my life because it's too hot. False, I eat it with my eggs, but just a little bit. ;) haha. It really is funny and i'm pretty sure the elders and my companion in my district think I am very weird because of it, but hey, what's the fun in being normal?? haha.
It is so hard to put into words my emotions. I have never been happier before in my life. Like ever. Even when I was sick ( I am all better now though, so don't worry Mom) I was still incredibly happy. Sunday I was feeling a little down, just cause I still wasn't feeling any better and I didn't' know what to do and I was thinking a lot about my family and Benson's back home and i wasn't feeling the happiest. But then the devotional happened. Elder Allen (actually I don't know if he is elder...i don't think it's Brother. um...he's the head person over the missionary department). He talked to us on how our mission isn't about us. It is about Christ. and about the people we are going to be teaching. Then for the movie I watched a talk by David A. Bednar. BEST TALK EVER! It is called the "True Character of Christ." Honestly, I was speechless. This talk outdoes my favorite talk by Jeffrey R. Holland (and that is saying a lot.) Elder Bednar talked about the cookie monster as an analogy. That talk honestly, changed me. I have a new and powerful perspective on my mission. and I realized that even though I was feeling sick, that didn't matter. I could let Christ down and I didn't want to let the people of Albania down. So that night in my prayers I told Heavenly Father that I know I'll get better and to help me give it my all from here on out, because it's not about me, and I'm willing to do anything because I literally am an instrument in his hands. I started to feel better that next morning. And to add on to the spiritual high that I was on, Tuesday evening Elder D. Todd Christofferson was our devotional host. He talked about trust and how "it is better to be trusted than to be loved." He also said that to be trusted by God is the greatest thing that could ever happen to a man or woman. That is what I want. To be trusted by God, and in a way I think I am. He is trusting me with the salvation of some of his children in Albania. and I will not let him down. So, I am doing great. The spirit here in the MTC is so incredibly strong and I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I miss you guys, but I don't dwell on that. I think about you guys everyday, but doing so pushes me to work harder. Not only do I represent Jesus Christ every time I put on my missionary badge, but I also have 'Zollinger' on my name tag, I wear the heritage of my family and my ancestors that died and sacrificed so much that I would be able to have the opportunity to do this.
I'll try to attach photos, but you have to use a card reader for that. Whatever that is. I'll just borrow someones. :)
The Church is True. The Holy Ghost and the spirit is by far the strongest and most humbling power I have ever felt in my life. It comforts and helps me and I know that it can do the same
to anyone who asks Heavenly Father for help. He loves us and wants us to be happy. We need Christ in our lives. Without Christ in our lives, we can do nothing and we amount to nothing.
There is absolutely nowhere that I would rather be than here. I love it here and I feel like I am growing each day. I love it, I love it, I love it!!
I love you all!!
p.s that is the way that Zollinger is spelled in albanian. It is pretty awesome. :)
pps I had to type fast, so I hope that all made sense... haha