Wow. I cannot believe I am here....in Mexico....at the CCM (MTC in Spanish, pronounced say say eh may) and I've already been here for one week!! Time really does fly...it truly does. The days really are long...but I feel like I got here yesterday! First off, I just want to tell you all how much I love being a missionary. I love to wake up, speedily get ready in 25 minutes, and pin on my nametag before I go to breakfast. It truly makes my heart leap everytime I put the name of Jesus Christ on my chest. I love being a missionary. I love it. The work is so true, and so incredible, and I cannot even believe that God called ME to do it! Wow!
CCM....okay, first off, it is GORGEOUS. It is so green and beautiful. There are palm trees everywhere. I have never seen such a clean and beautiful place. There really is a stark difference between the CCM and Mexico City. On the way from the airport, we looked outside and it was just filthy. There is always smog in the air. The sky is literally brown, except those rare occasions when the blue shows itself. We even saw a star last night. But it truly is a protected place. There are individual buildings for the classrooms all around the CCM. They are named after the prophets. I study in the Lorenzo Snow building. We all eat in a giant cafeteria, but they are remodeling the REAL one, so hopefully it will be ready while I'm here! The schedule at the CCM is pretty simple....wake up, breakfast, study, lunch, study, gym, study, teach, plan, bed. No joke. I'm in a classroom ALL DAY. But I LOVE it and I NEED it. There are about 200 missionaries here currently. It feels really empty since it can hold about 1400, but we will have 500 in August. The food is okay. The people who fix it are WONDERFUL!! Everyone is sooooo kind. You literally say hola to EVERYONE. We truly are a family. Truly. The food usually has 2 options. 1 American and 1 Spanish. The American does always have a twist. We'll have hamburgers, but the meat will have surprises in it. We'll have sandwiches, but it will have more surprises. It's plain, boring American, but with a spicy Mexican twist. :) I'm always hungry. There’s fruit, but you can't have any food with you other than the cafeteria. :( I truly love it here. You feel safe and protected. It's all Spanish, so I am learning way more quickly than I would have at Provo.
Spanish - I am learning slowly. I can't get discouraged. I have to keep telling myself that I make progress everyday. I can pray, give a testimony, and halfway teach a lesson without notes. That's more than when I started! But I have lots to learn. Our teacher for the 6 weeks we are here is Hermana Arno. She is sooooo sweet! She's probably 5 feet tall. I love her. She is such a great teacher! I learn so much everyday. The Lord is truly helping me out!
Teaching - so, the 2nd day we were here we had to teach a lesson to an actor playing an investigator IN SPANISH. What????? On my second day?????? I was dying. Hermana Kivett and I wrote down everything we wanted to say word for word in our notebooks and just read the lesson. Our investigator's name is Jose Romero. He is incredible!!! He was baptized after the missionaries taught him, and now he volunteers to help us struggling missionaries. He's 21, so he's very relatable. Our lessons have improved with him SO MUCH! He agreed to baptism, and now we can teach him without notes. It's slow, and we need a dictionary sometimes, but the spirit is so strong!! Every time I come out of a lesson, I am reminded of why I love being a missionary. Story: One of the elders in my district was trying to tell him the Jesus Christ would take away all his sins, but he said he'd take away all his fish. The word for sin and fish are very similary in Spanish. It was hilarious!!
My district - HOLY COW I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!!! There are 6 of us. My companion and I, and Elder Pogorewski (pronounced Pogreski) and Elder Curtis, and Elder Jones and Elder Sellars. All of them just graduated, except Elder Po-blah-blah graduated with me and Hermana Kivett. I have to admit, when the age change happened, I thought I'd be serving with all these Elders that didn't take it seriously because they just graduated...but boy was I wrong!!! These young elders really have it together. I've never seen so much strength in young men in all my life!!! They have taught me SO MUCH!!! I love laughing, studying, and telling stories with my district. They are so incredible!
Our Generation - there were 50 missionaries that came in with me. 41 Elders, and 9 Sisters.
4th of July - so Mexico doesn't celebrate this holiday (duh), but a lot of the teachers wore 4th of July ties, and they fixed us this GIANT BBQ for lunch. Hamburgers, corn on the cob, apple pie, the whole 9 yards. They even played the star spangled banner so we could sing it. All the latinos were saying contratulations all day. It was so sweet!
Sunday - I love Sunday!! It's just a day full of spiritual amazingness. I love it!! We have 13 in our zone, so sacrament is REALLY short, but it's amazing. I play the piano since I'm the only one who plays. Thank you mom!! I seriously love the feeling of Sunday!!! I bore my testimony since it was fast and testimony meeting, and I said it WITHOUT MY CHEAT SHEET! Go me!
Sirens and gunfire - yes it's true. There is gunfire everyday. And there are sirens ALL THE TIME. We may be shielded from the outside...but we can hear it.
Missionary - so being a missionary hasn't sunk in. I saw a couple of elders and said "hey look it's missionaries!!!!" Wow...that's embarassing.
The people - I LOVE THE PEOPLE. I never understood how much you could love the people, but I do. They are all so sweet, and kind, and I love them!! I've become friends with a few of the workers, and we say hi everyday. Alejandro teaches me kitchen terms in Spanish, and the soup guy is always wanting us to have his soup. It's so cute!!!
I truly feel all of your love and prayers. I don't know how to describe it. I feel strength everyday. I wouldn't be able to do this without all the support from home. I was able to say my first prayer in SPANISH in front of my generation. It was a great day!! I truly can't do it without all of you guys!! Funny story: So everyday for gym our district plays the other district in volleyball. It's so fun!! I've been getting way better!! The joke is that I say "lo siento" (I'm sorry) when I miss the ball. I'm the only one that apologizes. So whenever someone sees me, they reenact my "lo siento lo siento lo siento!!!" in volleyball. They are all supportive of me, and I'm pretty sure they like me :) Everyone says I have a good attitude!!! :) Yay!! Well, I love you all soooo much! I'm sure I've forgotten something, but I will write next week if I do. If you have specific questions please ask them!!
This work is amazing!! I love being a missionary!! Prestos todos Prestos!!!