How is the MTC?
The CCM is beautiful! Never have I laughed so hard, prayed so often, or learned so much. I feel the Spirit constantly. It is amazing. We were teaching IN SPANISH on our second day here (Friday)! They're crazy!! My companion and I decided that the CCM is essentially a small city full of mini-Mormons who spend all day studying Mormon stuff dressed in Sunday clothes. We are inside a huge fence (which we suspect is electric) that is mostly intended to keep us in. Meanwhile, we hear gunshots and sirens every night while we fall asleep. Don't worry though, there are rumors that the Church pays the police extra to keep us safe. Also, the gunshots are mostly just for celebration when soccer teams win, or so they tell us. Apparently the people go and stand on their roofs and shoot into the sky when their favorite team wins. Or when something else exciting happens.
How's the food?
The food is alright. I've eaten more sugar cereal than I's like to admit, but it's not the teenage boy diet that I expected. The favorite day is pizza day because it is the most familiar food. The Mexican food is yummy, it just isn't familiar, if that makes any sense? Lunch is the biggest meal by far. We've had some weird things...like the other day they gave us a slice of meat that I think was supposed to be meatloaf, but it had all kinds of weird stuff in it. Like I think they might have just pulled stuff from the disposal and put it in our food. I didn't eat it. Also we had soup that tasted like dirt last night. I ate cereal.
How is your companion?
My companion is Hermana Lauren Clark. Funny, right? She's been going to school in Logan for the last four years and just got her teaching certificate. She was definitely not planning on going on a mission and I'm still not sure she is happy to be here. We laugh a lot and we have a lot in common, but we have also experienced a lot of different things. She gets discouraged by the language a lot. But she has such a strong Spirit and is so good at studying the scriptures. I have already learned so much from her. I can see that what President Stringham told me about having to encourage and motivate my companions will be true. OH! And she's going to Ventura, too! We hope that we will get to be companions again at the end of our missions!
Have you met some great people yet?
I have met some awesome people! Our district is super fun! Hermana Clark (I know, weird, right?) and I talk about how we never would have paired up the companionships the way they are because everyone is so different, but somehow they work really well. Our roommates, who are also in our district, are Hermana Taylor and Hermana Palmer. Hermana Taylor is hilarous. She is 21 today. She talks to her zits. She talked to one of mine for me last night. And then she kissed it. With her finger. She says, "Hello zit, welcome to my face. I hope you enjoy your stay. I promise to leave you alone if you promise to leave me alone. I love you, I respect you, and I hope you have a good day." She is hands down the most positive person I have ever met. She wants to be a yoga instructor and hold the babies without mommies in South America when we get home from our missions. I think we will get along great. Hermana Palmer is the most focused and dedicated person I have ever met. She will be fluent in Spanish when we leave the CCM. She is so serious most of the time, but then will randomly say something hilarious and shock us all. They motivate us to study harder and be more diligent. But what's cool is that last night Hermana Taylor came up to Hermana Clark and I and told us she is grateful for our example of our friendship. That was super cool.
How is the language coming?
I am a little frustrated with the language because I know basically all of what we have covered so far. I haven't been taught anything new or anything I have forgotten yet. But for almost all of my district, it is new stuff that we have to spend a lot of time on. Hermana Clark gets frustrated with it a lot and I don't know how to motivate or push her without making her feel like she doesn't know as much as I do. So basically I still need to figure that out, but it's getting better. My brain gets tired because I have to think about Spanish so much and then when I got to write in my journal I have to think about how to spell every word in English because I've been thinking in Spanish all day. Haha THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! But I love it.
Are your teachers all local RM's? Do you like them? Can you understand them?
Yes! All of our teachers are from Mexico and they all served missions in Mexico. They are awesome. I love them! They are all so nice and patient with us, but they also laugh at us all the time. I can understand most of what they say which is awesome. Our other unofficial teachers are the native speakers who are only here for two weeks. They love talking to us and are super patient in helping us learn. I love all of the opportunities I have to talk to them. The best was the other day in the comedor (cafeteria), I got this weird fruit and didn't know what it was, so I asked one of the native speakers, but he was from Bolivia, so he didn't know. Well, he asked his companion and the other guys sitting at the table with him and they asked one of the cooks and found out. Then we all shared the fruit and decided it wasn't really that good. But it was fun to interact with them! We're all friends now.
In other news...One of the funniest things that happened this week...well maybe not one of the funniest, but a very funny thing, was on the first day. We were taking our luggage to our house (we live in house #18, it's pink) on a luggage cart. We made it with relatively few casualties down all the roads to the front of our house, but as soon as we got there, the cart just tipped right over into the ditch and all our luggage fell over! It was so funny. I will send a picture. If I can figure out how to get that to work. Plus, we are slap-happy tired at least 80% of the time, so everything is that much more funny.
On a quick spiritual note, cause I am on a mission afterall, we watched a super awesome devotional by Elder Bednar that he gave on Christmas in Provo a few years ago. The main message was that we need to make the Spirit of Christ part of WHO WE ARE. And we need to testify of who we represent. We need to learn OF Him and study His character. If we do that we will realize that Christ TURNS OUT. Our missions are not about us. When we let go of ourselves and turn out, focusing on others completely, we will become converted to the Lord and it is then that we will change. He read Ether 3:6.
6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger.
Anyway, consider the stones to be people. Think of the Lord touching people one by one. That is my responsibility on my mission. To teach people one by one so that they will feel the love of Christ one by one. As you come to know Him, you will turn to Him.
I know the church is true and I am so happy to be on a mission.