The MTC is great, i am loving it. I do admit the first few days were interesting, I swear those first 3-4 days felt like 3-4 years, not that anything was bad there was just a lot of adjusting, and realizing what I got myself into ;) But the spirit here is amazing, the sisters in my room are so great, we have had awesome devotionals and I am past the shock phase and I really am happy and ready to work really really hard! I am a solo sister, 4 elders and I make up the whole mongolia district and they are great elders. We all balance each other out well, serious, funny, hardworking, goofy, etc, it is a good combination and I already feel like I know them really well, we will be able to get a lot done. My companion is sister Soli, from hawaii and she is going to figi! She is great :) The language is actually really fun to learn! A few days ago we had learned just enough to realize how far we had to go and it was a little intimidating, but not anymore. Its amazing how you can feel small and inadequate but not be discouraged at all!! I know that with the Lord anything is possible so i am not worried, it just seems like he is going to have to do a whole lot ;) and he already has! We were reading mongolian within the first few hours of our first day, and we don't have problems with pronunciation anymore :) I can make spitting sounds pretty darn well ;) its funny to say thank you, it sounds like "bi-irthhh-la" and I see spit coming out of my mouth when I say it, I need to learn how to say I am sorry right after I say thank you because I usually spit on the poor person holding the door open, etc ;) It is a fun language to learn, I already accidentally throw in a mongolian letter now and then when writing in english, its exciting :) And I go by Egch now, haha, it means sister and since i'm the only sister in my district the Elders just call me Egch.
So life is good, I am happy and honestly loving this now, and I think I am learning how to get as much as I can out of the MTC. We have an interesting teacher situation, one quit yesterday (she has been here over 4 years) and they are trying to hire another one, and one is on vacation for a week, so we have just one teacher next week, which means lots of "missionary Determined Time", which means we are going to have to be really good at pushing and teaching ourselves, but it will all workout. We came up with a "Master Language Learning Plan!" last night and it should help. It is great to get to study the scriptures and preach my gospel so much too.
Oh and we got to work in the reference Center yesterday! It is where ppl call to request a free movie, book of mormon, etc from commercials and pass along cards and we call and follow up, make sure they got their item, etc. Basically it is missionary work over the phone, it was kinda weird because we were in cubicles with a head set calling people, and when someone answers we follow up, and then bare testimony of what we believe. It was actually really scary, like going up to bat, last inning, full count scary, but mom, Romans 1:16 came to mind ;) It is amazing how I can love someone I don't know over the phone, I got hung up on once and lots of answering machines, but I got a hold of a guy whose grandma had ordered something and he didn't hang up on me so I talked to him for a bit, and then just rambled off a heart felt testimony over the phone, he was quiet but let me keep talking, I'm sure I was making no since but I was being totally sincere, and he said he wanted a Book of Mormon! we mailed him one :) I placed my first book of mormon over the phone :) This really is a message of good news!!! It is exciting to be a part of it :)
i am running out of time, any family can e-mail me back at this e-mail address, I will use it my whole mission. there is also something called dearelder.com, you go there, find mongolia mission and my name, write letter as an e-mail and they print it at the mtc and give it to me for free. If the siblings want to do that it might be easy ;) I love you all soooooooooo much, thank you all for your support, I know I have the best family in the world and it was so hard to say goodbye to each of you because i was also saying goodbye to each of you as my best friends! Love you and hope you all are well, Ashley (Sister Mansfield)