Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First P-Day

I read that it wasn't really good to keep track of the weeks for your missionary- it makes it feel very long.  One person suggested to track Fast Sundays instead.  Well, we are one week down and one Fast Sunday has came and went.

I was beyond thrilled today to hear from Jameson.  Here is his letter:

Hola everyone!

This has been a crazy first week. Leaving all my friends, loved ones, and especially my family behind was really hard, and it definitely hit me hard on the 3 and a half hour plane ride to Mexico. I met a bunch of missionaries during my layover in Salt Lake. There was about 40 missionaries on the flight. One of the mom's there was kind enough to send a picture of me to mom and dad saying that I had made it safely so far which was a real blessing, I was very grateful.

The flight was alright I guess. I sat and talked to a 6'6 tall missionary going to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He was really nice and made the trip go faster. I paid for food on the plane which was $10 for a sandwich and chips. I had to fill out a PMM thing on the plane which I needed to go through immigration and customs, some things were difficult to answer because it was in Spanish but the attendants helped us out. I didn't get any sleep on the plane though, I guess I was just excited and full of emotions but I did sleep very well at the first night at the MTC.

I arrived at the airport in Mexico City which was very busy. I had to go through immigration first which was no problem. I then got all my luggage and put it on a cart and went through customs. They asked me if I had any sandwiches or fresh fruit and I was confused so I just said no and they let me through haha. All the missionaries were greeted by people from the MTC and we had to sign four sheets of paper copying our signature each time and making sure that we were the person who we said we were. We all then got on a school bus looking thing and headed to the MTC.
We drove through the city which was kinda scary because there is just so much going on with a lot of cars and motor bikes weaving through cars and busses. It was cool seeing Mexico City because all the buildings are colorful and the city has a lot of graffiti on the walls which was neat to see, it's just a part of their culture.
The drive took about 30 minutes to get to the MTC and we each received a plastic waterbottle. The MTC is a 93 acre campus in the middle of a bustling city with beautiful mountains on either side.
There is a 8 foot tall wall surrounding the MTC with another fence with barbed wire on it which is comforting because it is very safe here. This MTC is also called the CCM which stands for Centro de Capacitacion Misional Mexico.
It used to be a school but was converted to an MTC in 2013. The MTC has its own water well separate from the rest of the city which means the water from the tap is safe to drink. When I first arrived, I got my nametag and house key and a key for my closet which they want us to lock up for some unknown reason.

I had to get a tetanus shot my first day and not a flu shot yet which what I was expecting to receive. We arrived around dinner time so I went and ate at the comedor. The food here is pretty good and and we get fed pretty well. They told us to not do stupid things when eating and during gym time. They said that 4 missionaries ate 140 chicken wings and one missionary ate 16 ice cream bars.
Originally, my companion was supposed to be Zach Erickson who I met on Instagram, but he didn't get his visa so he is at the Provo MTC. I was put with Elder Madrigal for the night since neither of our companions showed up. I had to carry my very heavy luggage to my casa which was about a half a mile away. Almost every night it rains here in Mexico, and so of course the first day I had to carry my stuff through pouring rain. Some of the books and things they gave me as well as my freshly dry cleaned suit got wet so that was fun. They told me not to unpack because I would be getting a new companion the next day and I might have moved casas but luckily I got to stay.
Jameson has the dark bedspread.
The next day I met my new companion, Elder Cordon from North Carolina. He's going to the Mexico City Southeast Mission. (Interesting note Troy's first MTC companion was an Elder Cardon)
I also met the missionaries in my district.
There is only six of us in a district which is not common because normally a district has 8 or 10 missionaries. I was made district leader so pretty much I run the district meetings, get everyones mail, read them the bulletin, make sure their casas are clean, and make sure everyone is following the rules and being obedient. My district has two sets of Elders: Elder Cordon and I, and Elder Austin and Elder Skinner. Elder Skinner and Austin are going to Xalapa Mexico and they are really fun and enjoyable to be around. We also have a set of sisters: Hermana Brady and Hermana Beardall. They are going to Mexico City North and they are also fun and spiritual.

Before it was just Elder Cordon and I in our room but Elder Skinner and Austin moved in because their previous roommate has a athletes foot which is contagious and they didnt want to be around that so they asked if they could move in with us haha.

We have a teacher everyday in the morning named Hermano Silva. He's a return missionary who works for the church and with missionaries at the CCM. Our district loves Hermano Silva! He is a really great teacher. We are learning how to teach investigators about the doctrine of Christ from Preach My Gospel. I have learned so much already in the first week of being here and my Spanish is also improving very well. On the second day, they already had us preparing a lesson and teaching our first investigator. That was quite a surprise for us since he only speaks Spanish and we can only speak Spanish to him. So our first lesson with him was very interesting but wer are getting better as we go. Tonight we are giving him our fourth lesson. It turns out that our investigator will become our teacher after five lessons so that will be cool so he can help us with our teaching. Since day one, they want us to pray in Spanish and I'm so glad I learned how to pray in Spanish at home because a lot of people didn't know how but I am able to. The Spirit here is so strong. I feel it everyday in my meetings, devotionals, lessons, etc. The campus is so beautiful here and they take care it very well. There's about 600 missionaries here right now and every week a new set of missionaries come in while a group another group is leaving. There was 69 incoming missionaries the day I arrived and I found out that out of the new group, I am the only one going to Culiacan. I still havent met anyone going to the same mission as me yet. A lot of the Latino missionaries know a lot about Culiacan so it's fun to talk to them. They say it's really hot there but beautiful. The other night at a devotional, a missionary performed a piano solo and they announced he is going to the Culiacan Mission but it turns out they announced it wrong and he's going to Cancun.

On Sunday morning I had to attend a leadership meeting with my companion. We also had fast and testimony meeting which was really awesome and spiritual. Sundays are my favorite because it's like a Spiritual Recharge. Every Sunday and Tuesday night we have devotionals. On Sunday night, we listened to a talk by Richard G. Scott about missionary work that was really good and uplifting. He talked a lot about the power of prayer and I learned a lot. They show a movie every Sunday night also and my first Sunday we got to watch Meet the Mormons and everyone was excited. When they showed the part about the missionary mom I lost it. Yesterday we had a devotional given by Moroni Gaona who is a member of the quorum of the seventy. He only speaks English so someone had to stand up there and translate his message. But that did not distract from the Spirit because he had a lot of power and authority in his voice. He talked about the tribes of Israel and our mission as missionaries and he got into some pretty deep stuff that I didn't completely understand. I loved a quote he said. He said that a mission is like the tithing our life. That really put my mission into neat perspective.

We found out that this Sunday we are going to be going to the rededication of the Mexico City Temple. The temple is about an hour away from the CCM. Our teacher Hermano Silva is one of the dancers in the Cultural Celebration. All the missionaries were excited because they told us President Eyring and Elder Holland are going to be doing the rededication. I am really looking forward to that.

Everyday we have to wake up at 6:30 am. We go to breakfast then usually personal or companionship study. We have about about 5 hours of studying each day which is a lot but it is very good for us. We also have to go to the lab to do TALL which is a Technology Assistant Language Learning developed by the church to help missionaries with language study. No one here likes TALL haha. We have gym days where we can play basketball, volleyball, ping pong, run, lift weights, or play futsol (which is a soccer on a basketball court). Elder Cordon and I have been playing basketball lately but today for P-day we played volleyball for a few hours which is fun. Every Wednesday is our Preparation Day aka P-day and we are able to write emails and letters, go to the gym, wash our clothes, and do whatever else we need to do. They have a store here (tienda) where we can buy pretty much anything we need while we are here. I got a CCM journal to write notes in during my time here. Today a new set of missionaries comes in so it will be nice not to be the newbies anymore. Almost all the missionaries in our casa read the Book of Mormon every night and we are going to try to finish by six weeks. We played a few prank on the Elders in our district by switching their bed spreads and it was funny because they blamed everyone us except Elder Cordon and I lol. I found out about the Nebraska BYU game and was mad for a while because the Huskers lost, everyone else here was going for BYU so I am the lone Nebraska fan here. That really sucks about Taysom Hill getting hurt...again :/

The first week was kinda rough but my companion and I are starting to get things figured out as we go. I am learning a lot here and I know I'm only going to continue to expand on my knowledge of the Gospel. The CCM Presidente and his counselors are so kind and loving. They told that the language will come as we are diligent in our studies. It wont be an obstacle as long as we teach with the Spirit and love everyone. I am having a great time here so far and I am meeting a lot of new people! I'm excited for this adventure ahead of me. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, they all really helped! I love you all. Hasta luego!

Elder Bennett

Mexico in the Morning

A selfie- Jameson was under strict instruction that I wanted to see his face every week!  

1 comment: