Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Third Languages & A Ukranian Story

Hey everyone!!
So seeing as it's the MTC, and we have the same schedule for every week, this week was a lot like last week! We spent a lot of time in class, a lot of time studying the Gospel in English and Russian, and a lot of time spent SYLing (Speak Your Language). SYL is when we don't speak any English and try to say everything with the handful of Russian words that we know. So pretty much unless it's gospel oriented, we don't really know the word...surprise! I've been trying to study more colloquial language on the side as well.
People have often said that your third language is easier than your second. Up until a little while ago I was one of those people. Now...to all these people: I say you're wrong! Besides Russian being one of the harder languages in the world, having a new alphabet, a lot of cases...like 6, and sometimes 7 if you read the Bible or old stuff...which we do. So for every verb, there are a ton of ways to say each verb! If you look in the dictionary, it will give you the root and it will want you to know how to conjugate it...magically. I know...a lot of languages...if not all, have cases. :P On top of all that, whenever I'm trying to speak Russian, because I'm already bi-lingual, I automatically start thinking of what I want to say in English, then it automatically goes to German without me wanting it to, and then...Russian kinda gets the leftovers. Just enough left overs that we would put them all down the garbage disposal becuse they are that useless.
Okay, so besides Russian being hard, it's actually coming along quite quickly seeing as I have been here for about 4 weeks. Probably 4 times as much time and effort have gone into this "language camp" as went into my German language camp when I was 15 years old in Switzeralnd. We use a program called TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning) to help us with memorization and pronunciation.  It's kinda like Rosetta Stone on a lot of stuff. Most of my district doesn't like it much, which I don't understand. I like going on there and writing down a bunch of vocab words and listening to the correct pronunciation by a native speaker, and then bringing them around on flash cards or in my notebook to practice.
During the day, we have two 3-hour blocks of "class." These blocks get split up into different categories of learning. For the first hour of each one, we do our "Progressing Investigator" lessons with our two "investigators". They are our teachers acting like people they taught while they were on their missions in Ukraine. Both of my teachers, Sister O'Niel and Brother Mansfield, served in Kiev, Ukraine. So they both picked up Russian and Ukranian. One of them had Russian for their main language and one of them had Ukranian... So we get the best of the best of Ukranian mission stories.


One of them... Brat (transliteration of Brother in Russian) Mansfield told us a story about his companion one time. They lived in a 18-story apartment building...on the 18th floor. (Who would put the missionaries on the 18th floor, I don't know.) His companion was a little strange and liked to make paper airplanes all the time and throw them out the window. Aparently they went pretty far. Over the parking lot and into the field. So one day, his companion comes in with this Boom Box.
Comp: Does this work??
BR. M: It turns on, but the CD player is broken.
The companion shrugs his shoulders, walks over to the window, opens it, and chucks it out. Brat Mansfield was in shock, but then interest took over and he went to the window in time to see it explode just past the last car in the parking lot.


SO... what's the lesson here??
Put missionaries on higher floors so they can safely clear the parking lot!
In other news, on Saturday I started getting a sore throat, then by Sunday I was feeling pretty bad. Headache, stuffed up, achy all over. It wasn't fun. I barely made it through Sacrament Meeting before I went back to the Dom (house in Russian) and slept for a while before dinner where I didn't really eat that much. Then I slept again before the devotional and films that they play on Sunday night. I still have a decent headache. I guess only having 8 hours of sleep does that to me. (Here's where Dad goes, I go to work at 4 in the morning and work until 2 in the morning! :P)
Right now my district is the 2nd "oldest" (MTC time wise) Russian district here. The next district up from us is shipping out to Ukraine and Moldova this coming Monday.
On Sunday, we had our half-way point interviews with the Branch Presidency. They were by companionships, so Elder Lewis and I went in with Brother Hutchings and he asked us normal questions like how is the MTC, are there conflicts, are there problems in the district. Everything's been going great. Then he told us to do a "contact" with him. (Contact is when you meet someone on the street just for a couple minutes and you tell them about the Church or about a gospel principle.) He wanted us to teach him about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. We had 3 minutes to only use doctrine, commit him to something, set up a return appointment, and one more thing that I can't remember. So by the time we started I forgot what those things were, but if you teach it right, like we did, those things come naturally. We then taught him, in English for the first time I think ever for me, about Joseph Smith and the First Vision, (Elder Lewis recited the First Vision from Joseph Smith History) how God and Jesus Christ both live, how just like Joseph Smith, after reading James 1:5 in the Bible went and prayed to God and received an answer. We then introduced him to The Book of Mormon and invited him to read it, and to pray to God for anything he needed help with or answers to. He accepted, and then we exchanged information for another meeting. All with a few seconds remaining.

After we taught, he told us how we did on our teaching, told us that we taught well together and nobody was using up more time than the next person. So it was really cool. It's interesting how even in the MTC, doing "pretend" contacting during an interview, how much the Spirit can be present to make manifest the things that we are teaching.

I hope you are all doing well! Christy, congrats on getting your Patriarchal Blessing! That's way cool...sounds like it was great!
Thanks to Christy for the awesome puzzle that's trickling into the mail!
Congrats to Carolin and Vick for finding ways to the USA...while I'm not here. :/
Congrats to Spencer for doing awesome on his MCAT test! A long time ago.
Congrats to RYAN MOORE for being the BEST fisherman at the family vacation! I hope you ate them all!
Congrats to Katie for getting the pink wrist band at the swimming pool! You're awesome!
Congrats to Dad for bringing the kids everywhere in the Midwest! Drive safely and have fun!
Congrats to AnnaMarie for winning the "send Benjamin pictures of the Family vacation" contest!
Congrats to everyone who sent me a "Dear Elder"!
Alright that's all for today!
Love you all!
Elder Moore!

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