Mis amigas y mi familia,
Learning another language is a very humbling experience. I’ve had almost three weeks of training in Spanish, and while I love learning a new language, especially Spanish, it can be really frustrating sometimes. I know many pretty advanced words but can speak and read with the fluency of maybe a 3-year-old. On Wednesday my district had a language fast from breakfast to lunch, which meant that we spoke ONLY Spanish for that time. It´s a challenge to have a normal conversation when you don’t know words like “skirt” or “sports.” Want to talk about your hobbies or the weather? I can’t really give you much, but hey! Let me tell you about how much Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you! But honestly, I am so grateful for the chance to learn how to teach Heavenly Father’s children in their own language, imperfect as my skills are now. I also know that while sometimes this feels impossible, I have God on my side, and He’ll help me as long as I’m working hard and faithfully.
We got a new load of missionaries on Tuesday. We had class outside in the morning, and we saw several locals dropping off their missionaries and taking pictures in front of the sign. I forgot that they can do that here. 😛
Since I’m in the CCM, I wouldn’t really say that I’m “experiencing” Mexico. However, we do here [sic] quite clearly many sounds from outside the walls of the campus. Apparently someone on the hill really likes to party; we hear loud music and shouting several times a week at all times of the day–and night. There are also a ton of green parrots that nest in the palm trees and make plenty of noise during the day. They’re pretty but loud. And then there are the Bueno bars in the store, or tienda. Holy cow. They are wonderful chocolate-covered wafer bars filled with some kind of delicious peanut butter cream. Pretty much everyone here is addicted to them. 😉
Someone once compared giving your first lesson as a missionary, especially in another language, is much like drinking out of a fire hydrant: you get a lot of it in the face but not much in your mouth. Lessons are getting easier to plan and give as I become more familiar with the language and teaching. However, our investigators are not. One of our “investigators” (who is actually our morning teacher playing a role) is incredibly stubborn. He struggles to believe that God exists and that He helps us, but the investigator won’t pray with us or do really anything to understand. My comp and I are a little frustrated because we don’t know what else to do. We want so badly for this investigator to know the love that Heavenly Father has for him, but we can’t believe for him; he must learn for himself. Hna. Clark and I are praying hard to understand what we can do next.
I was sad when we were told that we couldn’t have our own music at the CCM, but now our district just makes our own. (We still sing opening and closing hymns, but we can’t play use [sic] any music players.) The elders can really lay down a beat, and we have fun singing Disney songs during TALL [editor’s note: TALL is computer-assisted language study] or as we’re walking home from classes. It’s great. 😀
A bit of advice for prospective missionaries: no matter how cute the shoes or clothes are, they are NOT worth the discomfort if they chafe or whatever. Buy shoes that will last well, support your feet, and don’t give you blisters for your entire mission. And girls, buy shoes with either a strap or are closed. There’s nothing much worse than having to run to class and struggling to keep your shoes on.
I forgot to mention something else last week: the food is pretty great here. 😀 Well, I really like it. Sometimes it’s strange to have tamales for breakfast, and occassionally we have carne misterio and have fun guessing what kind of meat we’re eating. It’s never bad, just prepared in a very new way. And they have really yummy sweet bread at pretty much every meal and literally BUCKETS of something similar to Nutella. It´s great. 😀
On Friday we went to the temple to do an endowment session. The temple is one of my favorite places. For members of the LDS church, temples are sacred places where we go to make sacred covenants with God and do proxy work for people have have died without the opportunity to receive those blessings on Earth. Because of those promises we make in the temple, families can live together forever. The temple is the holiest place on earth, and I always feel wonderful peace and joy when I’m there. Par [sic] of the session was in Spanish, so it was a little difficult to follow, but the blessings, feelings, and words are the same in Spanish as in English.
I’ll send pictures in a bit. I love you all! Keep your head up and remember that God made you special, and He loves you very much! Adios!