For those of you preparing to go on a mission, I want you to know that there is NOTHING to be nervous about or afraid of. The MTC is a safe place where there will always be someone around to help you or direct you to where you're supposed to go. In theory, this place is like jail except that we have a key to our own shared cell. But it doesn't feel at all like jail. There is such an amazing spirit in this place. Even though we new missionaries easily get stressed or tired (usually both at the same time), it is so easy to make friends and to feel the Spirit that you really truly believe you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. If you grab your Book of Mormon and flip to Mosiah 5 and read verses 2-5 (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/5?lang=eng), that's how we feel as missionaries. I don't miss anything about my old life, actually, except for friends and family of course--I thought maybe I'd miss school or the radio stations or my car or freedom but I feel so good and excited about my mission that I crave none of the things I thought I would miss. Being a missionary here is FULL TIME JOB, but it's the best unpaid job you can ever have the pleasure of doing (besides being a parent, maybe--Love you Mom and Dad!)
So enough with the boring summary: Food here is fantastic. There's always something appealing in the cafeteria, maybe too many yummy things--it makes the decision so much harder . . . And the people here are incredible! My companion Hermana Stephens is one of the most inspirational people I've ever met. She got here on Wednesday knowing as much Spanish as first-year student and she's spent every available minute practicing, studying and asking questions. You would not believe where she started. If she keeps this up, she'll speak better Spanish than me by mid-February. I know that it's God's gift to her. She is doing absolutely everything she can to learn the language and there is no way she could have gotten as far as she has in just 3 days unless she had some Heavenly Help. I love and admire her so much and hope that I can keep up with her determination. There are 12 missionaries total in my District (or class) and I love them all already. The elders are so devoted to the work and the sisters are so sweet and dedicated to the language. I don't think I could've been put in a better group! Also, we have fantastic teachers: Brother Norton (who served in Spain for his mission) and Sister Richards (who served in California, Spanish-speaking). They are so helpful and funny and entertaining that the three hours of language study actually just fly by until it's time for lunch. And our branch president, President Swenson, seems awesome. We met with him, his wife and one of his counselors (Brother Cannon) on Thursday night and I have never had such a struggle controlling my emotions. Luckily I was the only one who cried when it was my turn to bear my testimony, so I got the whole tissue box to myself !!! :) I kid you not: all I said was, "I'm so grateful to be here. I love this Gospel--" and then I broke down. Too much Spirit. Just kidding, you can never have too much. And THEN I cried AGAIN when Brother Cannon interviewed me one on one; I opened with the prayer as we sat in this hallway filled with photos of pictures of missionaries and I prayed that the Spirit would fill our interview, and Brother Cannon said E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. what I needed to hear.
I know this Church is true! Every little piece of it! And I know my experience isn't going to "perfect" and I am definitely not going to be "perfect" at anything while I'm on my mission, but the wonderful thing about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it's all about being the best version of yourself--about using your talents, sharing your time, being selfless, getting to know others, lifting and edifying, being good and kind and virtuous and loyal and faithful. I wouldn't want to be anywhere and anybody else.
Love you all!
P.S. I promise I'll send some photos later today or next Saturday (our Prep-Day). Not a whole lot of time today. Talk to you later!
Address for the next 5 weeks for letters/packages:
Sister Nicole Elena Wilson
2005 N 900 E Unit 156
Provo UT 84602