Friday, January 3, 2014

January 3, 2014 - In which the MTC returns to normalcy

Dear Family,

A lot has happened this week! Nothing super fancy or exciting, but we are keeping very busy!

This week we finally started learning cases in Czech; in case you don't know what a grammatical case is, it's basically a marker on nouns and adjectives that tells you which grammatical function it serves in the sentence. For example, in the sentence, "I gave him a cookie," the word "I" would be in nominative (first) case because it's the subject, the word "gave" wouldn't be cased because it's a verb, the word "him" would be dative case (third) because it's the indirect object, and "a cookie" would be in the accusative case (fourth) because it's the direct object. In Czech each word that is cased has an ending added, and so we have to memorize about a dozen casing patterns. It's pretty difficult to remember all of the casing patterns, but knowing it is super important in Czech because they almost never rely on word order to give things meaning, they just use cases. So because of cases, sentences like "Gave him I a cookie," or "A cookie him I gave," are all grammatically correct. If any of that made perfect sense to you, then you'd probably be ahead of our class. I have a bit of an advantage, though, because when I learned German I learned about the mechanics of the four cases (of seven) that Czech uses most often.

Teaching our investigators is moving ahead! We finally were able to meet with Iván again yesterday. We hadn't seen him since before Christmas! He (and also Brother Machado) was on vacation. We had a great lesson, though, and he's really starting to warm up to the Book of Mormon.

Unfortunately Brother Machado got a new job, though, and so we won't be teaching Iván anymore. Brother Machado has been teaching here for almost three years (he taught one of our teachers, Sister White, when she was in the MTC) and the MTC normally doesn't want the teachers to stay longer than that. So next week when we our schedules are readjusted he won't be teaching us anymore. Tonight is his last time teaching us, but he said he'll come and volunteer at TRC.

Our other investigator, Pavel, has agreed to prepare to be baptized! The date we're shooting for is 4 February. This is the day after we leave, but to be metaphorical we're not even in the MTC with Pavel. We had a fun lesson teaching the Plan of Salvation yesterday, and we next see him Monday. He said he'd "come to church" with us on Sunday, also, which is a big step because we've been working on inviting him to come the whole time we've been teaching him.

Tomorrow we're also going to start teaching each other. We've all made up investigators, and I'm going to be teaching Elder Pitt's "investigator" ( and with no companion, so that'll be exciting). After I teach him, he'll teach me. Doing this is meant to help us understand better what it's like to be an investigator, and I'm pretty excited for it.

Mom forwarded some photos from Christmas along to me! It was fun to see new pictures of people. Speaking of photos, yesterday I got the family photo album that Mom and Leslie made for me from Snapfish. Everyone likes to share photos of family here, so it was fun to finally be able to show some of mine.

I mentioned above that our schedules are going to be readjusted. This is an MTC-wide thing; the MTC leadership wants to change our study times to be more like the field where it's a great big block of personal/companionship/language study. (At the moment it's very scattered.) They've also taken the opportunity (for some reason) to switch our P-day from Friday to Wednesday. So don't expect emails on Friday anymore! :)

I realize that I haven't even mentioned our devotional speakers from last Sunday and Tuesday! Sunday we had one of the MTC District presidents speak (he's like a stake president for our MTC branches). He and his wife gave an interesting talk on recognizing the Spirit and being directed by Him. Tuesday Elder Stanley G. Ellis (of the Seventy) and his wife spoke to us about voluntary repentance in the spirit of the new year. (If you're wondering about how New Year's was for us, that was about all we did. It was business as usual, which felt a lot better than not doing anything.

I forgot to mention this in my last letter, but on last Sunday I was released from being District Leader, which was fairly relieving. It was nice to not have that pressure for a week, but then on Tuesday I was called to be Zone Leader along with Elder Nelson, one of my companions. The current zone leaders are leaving Monday, so I'm going to be Zone Leader for the rest of my stay here. If you're not intimately familiar with missionary leadership, for the sake of the MTC and now it means that I'm responsible for all the missionaries who will are learning Czech, Slovak, Croatian, and Bulgarian (and I would also be responsible for the Polish, Turkish, and Slovene missionaries, also if we had any). It hasn't been announced generally yet, but that's... exciting. I'm pretty nervous.

I'm just about out of time, but I'm glad for my opportunity to be a missionary! I know that the Gospel is true and blesses so many lives, so I'm grateful for my chance to be able to share it full-time for two years.

I love you!

Starší Boyce

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