Bonjour, tout le monde!
Well, it's been three wonderful weeks in the MTC. It's been five weeks, but three wonderful weeks. Just kidding, every week is wonderful. Just wanted to give a shout out to my BYU friends who fully understood that.
Anyway, we've had some highs and some lows for this week. Let's start with the good:
This week marked our halfway point in the MTC. We're in here for nine, and we're now finished with five weeks. So, to celebrate the occasion, we decided to have a fete (party). So, on Saturday night, we gathered all of the food we had, went and bought chips and salsa from the bookstore (it's a very diverse bookstore), and invited a select few from the other Paris district to come and party with us. Granted, we may have been celebrating the wrong culture with the whole chips and salsa thing, but we had a good time anyway. We basically had a mountain of food, so we didn't exactly want everyone in the whole MTC to know about it and try to come. I mean, who wouldn't want to hang out with the French missionaries, right? Anyway, since we didn't have enough credit left over on our blue cards to hire a bouncer, we made a secret knock to get into the party, and anyone invited had to know it if they wanted to get in. It's the beat of a French Christmas song in the hymnbook ... we figured no one would figure that out. We turned off the lights and used finger lights and had a miniature dance party to celebrate halfway, then finished off the night with party poppers to really make the celebration complete. (Thanks mom for the finger lights and party poppers!)
Unfortunately, we didn't have enough foresight to take out the garbage before we left for the night. The next day, when we walked in the classroom, the smell of salsa and queso had permeated the walls to the point that none of us could stand to stay in the room for more than a minute or so. Thus, we turned on the fan and let the room air out for a few hours. It was tolerable after that.
And now for the low of the week: they took away The Flavor from us.
During our stay at the MTC, our residence consisted of one small room with four closets and enough beds for the six of us. Then, this week, the MTC decided that it was a fire hazard for six missionaries to sleep in a 10x15 room with barely enough floor space to spread out a Monopoly board. So, they made Elder Wallace and Elder Louis move out of our room and into another room down the hall with some Haitian Creole missionaries. We were all a bit sad, because it felt like they broke up the Fellowship.
Elder Barr took the hit particularly hard. But first, some background: Elder Barr talks in his sleep every night. Sometimes, we all wake up to him screaming, "no no no no no!" or telling us that he thinks we're wrong. It's kind of a throwback to my college roommate telling me I have beautiful eyes while he was sleeping. Anyway, the night that Elder Wallace and Elder Louis moved out, we woke up to Elder Barr turning over in his sleep and saying, "Elder Oliverson, I want Elder Wallace to come back and sing me to sleep. I miss him," to which Elder Oliverson replied, "Elder Barr ... are you awake?" followed by a swift and loud, "I'm awake. I just miss him."
Poor Elder Barr. I think he's okay with it now.
Speaking of the residence, we have some interesting neighbors. They're all Spanish speaking missionaries going to Bolivia, so we just refer to them as the Bolivians. We're not exactly sure if they go to class or not, because every single time we go back to the residence, they're always hanging out in the room. Whenever we see them on campus, they always run up to us saying, "Frenchies! Frenchies! Bon-jurr!" They're leaving today though, so we won't look quite as popular as we're walking around. That's okay though, because I think they only liked us because they came in and took enough food to feed a family of 10 every night when they got hungry. I'm not sure what we'll do with all our food now that the Bolivians are leaving. I suppose we'll just have to eat it ourselves.
If you don't know how MTC teaching works, we teach our teachers who are posing as investigators that they met on their missions. This week, as Elder Barr and I were helping Jean-Michael to prepare for his baptism and learn to keep the Sabbath day holy, we were suggesting activities for him to do in place of shopping and playing sports and working. During the course of the lesson, I mentioned that I played board games and card games with my family, to which he responded with a question asking if he was allowed to gamble on Sundays. As luck would have it, neither Elder Barr nor I knew the word for gambling, so we took a leap of faith and told him that he was allowed to play those kinds of games. When our teacher gave us our feedback, he was excited to point out our mistake. Needless to say, I won't be telling any more investigators that gambling is a good activity to do on Sunday to bring families closer.
We had a secret goal this week to find out our teachers' first names. We refer to them as Frere Larimer or Soeur Larsen, so we never had a chance to find out. We guessed the names of our teachers and put the top votes on the board, but they were reluctant to give up their first names. I suppose it was the only leverage they had over us. But, after turning our teachers against each other, we finally found out the first names of everyone. That was satisfying.
We found out our own names this week as well. Elder Louis from inner-city Boston decided to give us Boston names. I'm Treyvon, plus we have Trissie, J, Jamarcus, Shampoo, and Terrell.
Well, I'm out of time again. Thanks for everyone who sent letters this week. It helps more than you know!
Elder Trevor "Treyvon" Wilson