Friday, August 26, 2011

Pictures from the MTC!!

Here are the first pictures we got from Jenn at the MTC!

 Sister Knutson SOLO

Jenn's New Roomies!

 Class Time &
First Trip to Provo Temple

Jenn's Lessons!
Jenn's District Elders  & the HUGE MTC World Map where her mission is!
Must learn to sit on the floor.... Thai Style!

So nice to see -- some things never change! Here's our Jenny!!

MTC #3!!!

Here are the highlights of her letter, Tuesday August 23rd.

week 2!!!!!! i cant believe it. another massive amount of growth and not being to keep up! its incredible how much we fit into a day and still not have enough time. i love this place. its gotten so much easier with the 3 elder companions, i really do love them. i learn from them everyday and im slowly but surely becoming the kind of missionary the Lord wants. constrantly being humbled and reminded i cant do this on my own. relying on the Lord means everything. there is no way anyone could do this on their own. something i live by these days: work harder than you did they day before. may have made it up to. quote me. everyday i understand my thai teachers better, i am starting to truly love the language. its pretty fun now, sooo happy about that! its not for me, it's for the people of thailand.  we have our fingers crossed for an apostle at the devotional tonight. hope you gave caden a birthday kiss from me!  I LOVE YOU ALLLL!!!!!!!!!! thanks for your prayers:) im so blessed!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The average day in the (MTC) life of Sister Knutson!

6:30 - Wake up, get ready for the day
7:20 - Breakfast
7:50-10:50 - Class (4 of us, in Thai)
10:50-11:50 - Personal study time
11:50 - Lunch
12:35-1:35 - Computer language study
1:45-2:45 - Language study (classroom)
3:10-4:00 - Gym (I usually play 4-square or frisbee)
4:50 - Dinner
5:35-8:35 - Class (4 of us, in Thai)
9:00-9:30 - Daily planning for the next day
9:30-10:30 - Personal time, lights out.

MTC #2!!

Written tuesday August 16th, first P-day

Hello!! It is officially P-day (preparation day) so I can write you without feeling guilty or sister roommates turning the lights off on me. First of all, thank you so much for the dear elders!!!!!! I can't explain how great they are. They come instantly and we check during lunch and right before dinner. So tell people to do that! a.k.a. our family!!! Anyway, back to the good stuff.
Where to start?!! It's been the craziest, most wonderful week of my life. My emotions on a daily basis= (she drew a giant squiggle going up and down really fast.) I don't know how to explain it any better! Well, the first 3 days were like that... The saying is true, 'If you can make it to sunday, you're fine.' As you know, I'm a solo sister and that was a definite challenge. As a missionary you have an instinct to be with someone ALWAYS and it always changes who I'm with, (companion elders, roommates, older thai sisters) so I didn't have someone else who was going through exactly what I was. I think I prayed every 5 minutes for the first 3 days! The mission schedule didn't take that long to adjust to, I love having something to do every minute. Study time is amazing, it goes by so fast and you always have something to be learning or studying. So just sitting here writing in the middle of the day is a strange feeling.
My 3 elder companions are awesome!! I am so blessed. They graduated high school early, wicked smart, attend BYU, all know at least 3 other languages and are here for the right reasons. I've really come to love them and appreciate their quirkiness. Elder Monteus is my favorite. He's my size, looks like Mario/adorable monkey, comes from a humble mexican family, knows 4 languages, quiet, hilarious and has taught me so much about missionary work and the spirit. He's patient with me and helps me with Thai. The others (math major = Elder Buss and ROTC army guy = Elder Staten) get frustrated when I'm slow ha.
As I said before, everything has been in thai! Our teacher, Sister Wangwida Pong is from Thailand and has served there. She's adorable! And hard. The elders would pick up what she's saying fast and speak back. I can understand what's going on (most times :) ) but speaking and pronouncing the tones (there's 5) is a challenge. The second day we were teaching an investigator!! The gift of tongues is so real, but it requires lots of work and faith on our part. The first few days I struggled comparing myself to the elders and their quick learning abilities. Sitting in class 7 hours a day and  not understanding much and speaking back pushed me.
The 4th day, we had a lesson in english about setting goals and it was the first time we spoke in english. The teacher talked to each of us personally and she was so helpful and gave me sections of Preach My Gospel to read and scriptures. She said I don't relate my mission success with how much vocab I can say, but how hard I'm trying and my faith. I can already pray and bear my testimony in thai! So that's amazing in of itself! I give all the credit to The Lord, who knows how to give me peace and also stretch me as far as I can go! I knew it would be hard, but not in the ways it has been. I LOVE it. I've grown so much! I need prayer and scripture study and 100% focus like never before.
We're teaching this investigator (who is an actor) and that's helped me so much draw closer to The Lord. For the first 3 meetings, it's been weird and I haven't said much, and my companion would ramble in thai. (Yes, he capable of that ha) and I wasn't seeing those teaching experiences as teaching a real investigator so it was hard to prepare. It wasn't until my other companionship did their lesson after much preparation and felt the spirit guide them, that I realized I did not see this opportunity in the right way. I expressed to my companion (army guy) that we need to pray to see him as an actual investigator and use this time to prepare for the thai people. I prayed for guidance on what to teach and I had no idea how easy it would be to figure out! My companion wanted to teach on the restoration and I knew he wasn't ready nor do we have the ability to speak about it. I felt unsettled and confused but kept getting drawn back to The Savior. As soon as i suggested it, my companion said, "now that feels right." So now we will utilize the thai scriptures to give him parts to read and us simply testify. It made me so excited! Now for the next language study I'll study for our appointment. It was a little test of what the mission will be like! I know my thai is still broken, but my testimony is strong and it's through the spirit he'll feel and learn.
I will never take my companion for granted! This has been such a blessing! In a different way. Each day I pray to learn from them and I ALWAYS do. I want to be a missionary like them in different ways, and I totally help them focus when they go on tangents about biology or math ha!
I really hope it doesn't sound like I'm complaining about the MTC! I really  love it. It's gotten so much easier and getting used to what to expect is huge. Once sunday came, it was bliss! It's seriously like ultimate sundays here. Allll the sisters met in the devotional hall and listened to the spoken word (Mormon Tabernacle Choir). Then it's personal study (what I live for!) and then relief society. It was amazing! The general primary president came and I swear she spoke directly to me the whole time! She played a video of Christ visiting the Americas and hugging the children. Just music. Beautiful. I swear two of them looked thai :) Then our branch met for sacrament  where we're all asked to prepare a 2 minute talk. They randomly pick 2 of us! Not me this week. Our branch consists of my district, (4 of us) the older thai's, (they leave in 2 weeks, very advanced) and an english district of about 20. All the leaders have been mission presidents of some crazy mission and are incredibly spiritual men. We're well taken care of here.
Sunday night was devotional/fireside. One of the MTC leaders spoke about the success of a missionary. It's amazing, the whole center packed full of missionaries sang the EFY melody! So amazing. It takes obedience, hard work and sacrifice as well as "wanting what he wants." And labor with the possibility, not guarantee of baptisms.

I'm excited for the weeks ahead! I love you, so much. Keep the letters, e-mails, dear-elders coming! :) Chog di'! (good luck, good bye)
P.S. I feel like I have no time to eat! Too much to do!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jenn's first letter!!!

Written August 11th, her second day of being in the MTC.

I'm alive! And well! And speaking thai! Kind of :)   I'm not supposed to write letters until P-day, but our MTC president made it clear to write to our parents and let them know we're alive! And I really wish I could greet to you in script-thai (scribbles) but I'm no that far yet. Maybe by the next letter!
Oh my, where to begin?! Time goes by very silly here, longggggg days but short weeks. First things first. I"m a solo sister! Meaning I don't have a companion. It's so nuts! My "class elder" companions are my makeshift one instead. And there's three of them and we make a district. So I'm always with Elder Meteroso, Elder Stakeshift and Elder Buss. There is an older thai district that have been here for 2.5 months with 6 other sisters and 6 elders. But we don't really see them that much because they're so advanced. And technically Sister Roper and Sister Carpenter are my "companions" but I never see them so I call them my escorts ha. At the very first meeting the MTC president had all the new missionaries turn to their companions and tell them "I love you!" And he saw I had no one, so he called me to the very front, at the pulpit and had me introduce myself as a solo sister! That was in front of like 400 missionaries! On camera! Ha! It's been a definite challenge but I'm literally relying on the Lord every minute of every hour. It's insane how much i pray! I love it and I totally need it. The elders (my companions) are really focused and intelligent so I know I'll be pushed every day to keep up with them!
Thai class is insane! From the very beginning, everything has been in thai. Haven't heard my teacher speak a sentence of english, no joke. We're teaching an investigator tomorrow (yes on the 3rd day) and I have no idea how that will happen! I love it! The gift of tongues is real! Every part of my body, brain, heart, everything is constantly trying harder and taking it all in. I've learned so much already about myself, the Savior, prayer, thai and planning. Every second is planned. It's incredible. Time is precious! With that said, have to sleep. Lights out!

Thank you guys (p.s. not allowed to say guys!) for everything!
Love, Sister Knutson "solo"

Trip to the Provo MTC!

Hi! This is Jenn's little brother, Scott. Dropping Jenn off at the MTC was the of best of times, and of the worst of times. Or something like that.

Jenn and I at the Vancouver BC temple before the journey!

The drive to the MTC.

Right before the drop off.

Jenn, scared out of her mind.
Bye Jenn!!!!!

Opening the mission call!

 Dear Sister Knutson: You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Thailand, Bangkok Mission.