Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Provo MTC

Hey family! 

So I survived until P Day! It's been an exhausting week. When I got here they showed us to a classroom and we started speaking French right then and there. Of course the news you may be wanting to hear most... I am only in the MTC for 6 weeks! We leave for Tahiti on September 29. I was kind of bummed about that at first because that means we only learn French and not Tahitian in the MTC. But the good news is our teacher, Frere Hapairai, is from Tahiti, so he is slipping in a few words here and there for us to learn.

Yeah, so Wednesday, we got to class and started speaking French and waiting for everyone in our district to show up. My district is 12 elders, from the US, except my companion. He is from Canada (Alberta and recently BC, I think). His name is Elder Stewart, and he is awesome! I like having him as a companion. We get along really well. Our entire district reports to Tahiti, so that's cool. So Wednesday night we had some meetings and devotionals and stuff. Thursday we had class and personal study time, companion study time, and more study time. Pretty much we hang out and study all day. Thursday night we met our branch president and our branch. There was one other district made up of mostly of Tahitian elders and one or two Montreal French speaking elders. There are about 22 elders and 1 sister going to Tahiti who arrived on the 19th (so our whole district and most of the other one). Each of us was also interviewed by the branch presidency. I was asked to be a district leader and accepted the assignment. It lasts 3 weeks, so half my stay here at the MTC. It is really stressful because I am now the leader in my district.

Friday morning each companionship had to teach an "investigator" named Tiare... in French! It was way hard because we had no idea what we were saying. But we got our point across I think. Then we had more class and studying, etc. all day long. Friday night we got our first "gym time," or exercise time. There are six huge sand volleyball courts that are super nice! Why didn't I discover how fun volleyball is earlier in my life? My new favorite MTC hobby!  

Sunday was an awesome day. I had to go to Branch council in the morning. Then we had priesthood meeting with our district. Then sacrament meeting with our branch (everyone French speaking who arrived Thursday, plus other French districts who are leaving soon). After that all the new districts met with the Branch President for another church meeting. Sunday night we had a devotional that was really good. It was from President Allen, the missionary department president for the church. We watched a talk from Elder Bednar to the MTC called "Character of Christ." It was probably the best talk I have ever heard. You should try to google it or you tube it. I've heard only people in the MTC have access to it, but it's worth a try. If you can find it, watch all of it. It's so good! 

Oh yeah, so the food. It's not bad, but it's hard to eat healthy and be filled up. I ate really healthy the first few days, but I gave up on that because I would need to eat more often if I only ate fruit and the like... Jon could attest to that. So now I eat lots of breads/cereal/carbs and chicken/turkey/fish when it's available to stay full.  I'm surviving just fine! We were told an elder from a third world country called the MTC cafe the "best restaurant in the world." That really put things into perspective. But I really do miss my momma's cooking. Ha ha

Anyways, stay righteous. I've really learned this week that the gospel is simple. Repent, be baptized, have the Holy Ghost, and endure. And endure. And endure. Repeat as necessary. Hope you are all doing well!


Elder Barlow

P.S. I ran into Josh Boyer (Russia), Ralph Holt (Sweden), and Jaime Menendez (Bolivia) here.