Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sólo Español

Holaaa mis familia y amigos!

It has been another week here at the CCM. We just completed our 3rd week here and on the 4th already. I can't believe how fast the time has gone here. Yesterday was the half way point, so I have another 3 weeks of language learning and testimony building. 

Everything is good, it's been a little challenging though. We started teaching two investigators a day so we have to pray about and plan our lessons each day. I am memorizing 17 words and 6 phrases a day and 2 scriptures a week. I am memorizing Joseph Smiths first vision currently. We have TALL everyday and prework we have to complete for our language study classes in the morning and evening. We have other things to study in Preach My Gospel and Book of Mormon study. 

This last week was a bit stressful for me having to do all that. I have been pretty tired lately. But I have been on my knees a lot just praying for help and energy to do everything. All is well though, if any of this was easy then it wouldn't be worth it and my testimony wouldn't be growing. I learned this week that every time we feel the Spirit, it is an opportunity to grow. I know that is true because I have grown a lot here and I'm grateful for this opportunity to train to be the Lord's representative.

Our lessons with our investigators have been going pretty well. Elder Cordon and I are working pretty well together and we are giving effective lessons. The Spirit is always with us to help us and guide our through what we say to them. Daniel Silva is our morning investigator/teacher and Genaro Medina is our evening investigator/teacher. Daniel is really stubborn, haha. He doesn't really listen to what we say and he falls asleep and never follows his committments. Our lesson yesterday with him we tried to help him understand that the Gospel is meant to bless our lives and we are teaching him because we love him. We also tried to convey that obedience is important and that he needs to pray and read the Book of Mormon to find out and gain a testimony of God for himself. Genaro on the other hand is a great investigator. He is listening to what we say and doing the commitments we ask him to do. We are getting the lessons down pretty well and our Spanish is getting even better as the days go on. Hermano Silva looked each of us up on sent us friend requests on Facebook and followed us on Instagram. That was the first social media I had seen in a while. 

We also did this thing called TRC. We taught actual people rather then our teachers. Sometimes they're inactive or recent converts but we taught a lady that is a member but not totally active. We just asked her about her life and we shared a little bit about ours. At the end, I felt impressed to share Helaman 5 verse 12 with her. She wrote on the evaluation that she was grateful for reminding her that we must build our foundation on Christ.

On Monday, my district and I put 'Sólo Español' on our name tags to let everyone know that we only want to speak Spanish. It is meant to help us speak the language more and help us learn as we only speak our mission language. It is now Wednesday and it has been a bit of a struggle but I have enjoyed it. Writing emails and in my journal is difficult because I always write Spanish words now without even trying. 
Sólo Español
We are learning Por vs Para right now. We also role play as investigators and missionaries which is helpful for our lessons. Elder Cordon and I always make friends and talk to the Latinos here. They are so nice to us and funny. They are so willing to help us with our broken Spanish. The Latinos in our building always come and talk to us which is so fun. We talk about Mexico and where we are from and which mission we are going to. I always ask them about Culiacán. The first thing they say is how hot it is there. We also play soccer or fútsol with them during gym time which is really fun because they are really good and score all the goals for us, haha.

A district in our zone left this week. They were the oldest district here when we got here. This last few weeks I have gotten pretty close to everyone in our zone. We all hang out at gym time and sit by each other at meals. Yesterday I taught Rip Tide to Elder Atagi who is one of the zone leaders who knows how to play the ukelele and we all sang and jammed out. 
Zone Leaders Elder Hutchings and Elder Atagi
We also have zone devotionals which are really awesome because everyone shares their testimonies and share what they learned during the week. There are 33 people in our zone. I still haven't met anyone going to Culiacán yet. Elder Cordon and I overheard that a few people in our zone haven't got any mail while they have been here so we kinda felt bad since both of us have gotten letters and packages. We decided to write secret letters to them so they wouldn't feel left out. We then just decided to write letters for our whole zone. We wrote ones for all those that left and will eventually write everyone else. We sign our letters with 'Your Friends at the Secret Missionary Society' so they don't know its from us. Two of the missionaries in our zone have been disobedient and causing problems and distracting people. We had a big discussion about them in our leadership meeting and how we could help them. They left on Monday so things are better now. It was kinda sad to see 16A go, they are are going to Chile. Seeing them leave makes me excited to leave here and start my missionary journey in Culiacán.

My companion and I have gotten a lot closer. We both like to sing songs and say silly things haha. Our district has gotten pretty close too. We started doing this thing where we put each of our names in a hat and we pick a name then we have to write a nice little note about them in Spanish. It's a way to get closer and practice Spanish too. We all like to distract our teachers and talk to them about missions and music and everything haha. At the CCM we have tie drafts after all our classes. We each bring a tie we don't like and put it in the draft. We put our names in a hat and draw to see who picks 1st 2nd and so on. My first tie draft wasn't a great experience because I brought one of the nicest ties to trade and end up with a crusty yellow one. There was about 25 people in the draft and i was third to last haha. I will get a good tie eventually.

The food here is pretty good and I eat a lot. For lunch today we had ribs which was probably my favorite meal here so far. They almost usually serve some sort of chicken. On Tuesdays we get Costco pizza which is really big slices. They also serve tamales, enchiladas, tacos, steak, salad, soup, cereal, rolls, fruits, veggies, and sometimes dessert. I run a lot during gym time when we play soccer. Today is P day so I played soccer for about 2 hours today and also basketball and volleyball. Today we also cleaned our room, did laundry, emailing, and gym time. I got my first sunburn from being outside here too. Yesterday, we had service and we washed down some chairs and tables. We do service every Tuesday. Tomorrow we go to immigration. We go somewhere for our visa since we are staying in Mexico for a while. It'll be the second time we'll be able to go outside of the CCM. I'm not quite sure what we have to do for immigration but other missionaries told us to bring our cameras.

My favorite days here are Sundays. We have a leadership meeting in the morning. We then have Priesthood meeting. Last Sunday we talked about Priesthood ordinances and practiced saying them in Spanish. We then have Sacrament meeting. Elder Cordon and I blessed the Sacrament which was a cool experience. Everyone in our zone has to prepare a talk in Spanish based on the topic that our Branch President gives us. He then picks who is going to speak during the meeting and you have no idea who is going to speak until he announces it. Some people weren't prepare to speak so they kinda just winged it. I luckily didn't have to speak but my companion did. He did a good job. We then had a district meeting which are always really Spiritual. I love my little district. They give me so much strength and support as a district leader. The zone leaders leave next week so my companion and I might be called to be the new zone leaders, but we will just have to see. We have a class on Sunday with the MTC Presidency as well. My favorite part of the day is the devotional. They played a past talk by Elder Holland which was amazing, he is such a powerful speaker. He talked about how we are the Hope of Israel. I also liked the part when he said everything good in his life has come because of his mission. I am grateful for the blessings I will receive as a missionary and the opportunity I have to change peoples lives. We also watched three videos. One about the first sister missionary, one about a stonemason for the Salt Lake City temple. and then Finding Faith In Christ. They were all really cool to see but I especially love the one about Christ and how he healed and blessed the people. I have gained a stronger testimony of the Atonement. I cant even imagine what Christ went through in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. I am sooo grateful for Heavenly Fathers and Jesus Christs love for me. We ended the day with a zone devotional and I said the closing prayer.

Yesterday an area 70 came for our Tuesday night Devotional. Elder and Sister Venazuela came and gave some good talks but their English wasn't very good so it was kinda dry. Elder Cordon and I also sing in the MTC choir every Tuesday. Yesterday we sang A Child's Prayer which I really enjoyed. We put the bunk beds together in our room and we call it Cuddle Kingdom haha. Elder Skinner and Elder Austin are fun to room with. 
We made a pantry out of the boxes from our packages and taped to the wall to put food in which is pretty handy.

I'm striving to be exactly obedient and be a good example for my district. I'm continually trying to be the best missionary that I can be and be patient with my companion. I know Lord will bless me for my efforts here. I know with all my heart this Gospel is true. I love it so much and I'm grateful for the blessings that we can receive from it. I pray for everyone back home every night. I miss everyone!! Thanks again for the support and prayers.

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