This is Bryce here, not Tomas. While he didn’t say outright that he wouldn’t be sending an email this week, I’ll be very surprised if he does. He found out last week that he’d be training a new missionary, and that started on Saturday, so he’s got his hands more than a little full right now. Training a new missionary is already an added load, but this particular instance makes it even more challenging.
His new companion was called to the Czech-Slovak Slovak area, just like Tomas. However, he was assigned to teach the Gospel in Ukrainian. This means that he went to the MTC and got his 8 weeks of language lessons, but all of it was in a language almost no one speaks in his mission. (Why did this happen? Well, while many people don’t speak Ukrainian, the Ukrainian refugees who have fled the war do, so it’s definitely needed. But it’s a strange case, to be sure.)
Tomas’s mission president has asked all the new missionaries to learn Slovak in addition to Ukrainian (which makes sense). He’s also asked all their trainers to learn Ukrainian. So now Tomas is teaching a missionary how to speak Slovak, and doing his best to learn how to tackle a new language at the same time. (For reference, Ukrainian is related to Slovak about the same way French is related to Spanish. There’s definite overlap, but . . . they’re also definitely different languages. Ukrainian also has the fun of the Cyrillic alphabet. весело!
How is he doing all of this? Well, they get an extra two hours of time each morning that’s set aside just for language study. In addition, the mission is running some Zoom classes a few times a week, taught by native speakers. And then there’s the bonus of actually living where these languages are being taught. I think one reason Tomas was specifically chosen for is that his Slovak skills are some of the strongest in the mission.
Any which way you slice it, his day to day life took an unexpected turn in the space of about a day. That’s the way things can go on a mission. It was great to talk to him yesterday and hear how upbeat he is about the challenge in front of him. WIsh him luck!