Hola Mi Familia y Mi Amigos!
Oh my goodness. This is definitely the most surreal thing ever. I feel like I have been reading these types of emails for a long time and now I am finally the Hermana that is writing one. CARAZY!! Well to start off, this week was so AWESOME! Insane and long and tough and humbling and insightful and fun but most of all awesome. My grammar is not that great in English or in Spanish any more. I am starting to speak a whole lot of spanglish. But you probably want to know some basics first eh?
My first day was insane. I left you all at the curb and walked around into one building where I received an envelope with my tag and meal card/key to everything I could ever need. #can'tloseit #won'tloseit Then I moved onto another building where they handed me those "8-10" really 20 pounds of books and language study materials. I thought I was strong and then I had to lug that one armed to the shuttle outside and my arm was dead. Sad day. After lugging the 20 pounds of books I boarded the shuttle and said goodbye to my sweet host. Then I was ripping and roaring and waiting for a good five minutes to head down to Wyview where I was greeted by an even cuter host. She was so cute. She took me to my building and lugged all my luggage and I mean ALL the HEAVY stuff up the three flights to the top left apartment. Needless to say I was super impressed by her. She was like a twig, I seriously don't know how she did it. Then after I put my luggage in my room I was taken back to where we were dropped off. Right by the Wyview Chapel and was escorted by a group of host Elders and new Elders to my classroom. Best part of that adventure is when the Host Elders turned to the new Elders and said that speaking with an Hermana was a sin and could get them sent home. It was super funny because I was the ONLY Hermana in the group being escorted to a class at that point. #classy I got to the classroom and was only spoken to in Spanish and told to take an assessment in the classroom downstairs in Spanish, where I really only watched a 20 minute video about gym time where half of the rules didn't apply to the West campus and what is available here. Then we headed back up and were again spoken too in Spanish and were asked to practice phrases on the board which were things like Cual es tu nombre? Mi nombre es....? Simple. Or so I thought. They actually weren't too bad. Most of them I understood from jr. high/high school spanish. Then more and more elders and hermana's trickled in. I was able to meet mi first companera Hermana Farrow. She is adorable and played softball at BYU-Hawaii. She is from San Diego, California and is going to the Nuequen(palandrome #awesome) Argentina. I knew I was in a trio companionship because of the envelope that said so but the other companera never showed. I asked Hermana Farrow about it and she said that she was in the intermediate spanish class that met right below us. Her name is Hermana Myers and she is awesome as well. They are both 19 and super sweet and actually quite mature. I don't feel like I am babysitting at all, partially because they both know better spanish than I do. Eeek...that is ok I have learned very quickly not to compare where I am at and how I am progressing to anyone else in the field except for my past self. It is not helpful or productive, but instead very destructive. Though it is tempting at times to do so. We then went to a meeting with the MTC president which was awesome. They had changed the words to "Will Bring the World His Truth" it read, "Daily we'll learn for NOW we are called to preach the gospel to all the world. We are NOW the Lord's missionaries." So powerful. Perfect for me. We then headed to dinner which was not that bad but definitely not up to main campus cafeteria as I found out today. Way sub par but I will take the hit for the accommodations ie bathroom shared with three rather than 6-8, only three in two rooms rather than 6 in one etc. The west campus also seems to have more open space and freedom it feels like. After dinner we headed over for People and our Purpose part one which seriously was exactly what I needed the first night. We went and were able to teach as a group and talk with three different investigators. It was so powerful and brought the "real"ness of this work to the forefront of my mind! I am so excited to teach and preach others. This gospel is real. After that we returned and met our zone and learned some of the ropes. Our zones favorite himno to sing is 164 in the himnos. Look it up. Pretty funny. Especially in Spanish. The tender mercy of my first day was as we were meeting our zone and they were wrapping up with spiritual videos I had the thought of how nice it would be to see, "Because of Him". I just love that Mormon video. Lo and behold one of our zone leaders Elder George(haha funny I know) said that we would be ending with that video. Big tender mercy #1 of the week!! That night we got back and tried to unpack a little bit and then got to bed late because of it but not as late as others. 6:30 comes early, but hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be.
The second day was just as crazy and busy. Even more so because I had to go up to main campus with Hermana Parlogean because we got the dreaded pink slips for the immunization. Ended up needing a flu shot. Dumb. Who knew you could get flu shots at the Walgreens outside of flu season. Lame. We had our first gym time in the giant marshmallows of west campus. We ran a bit and watched all the elders play basketball. #jealous Then we discovered the diamond in the ruff of West Campus called: SACK LUNCHES. You go in a side door of the trailer and can pick four items and then take them back to your resident hall and eat it all and have about an hour or so until your next class. It is the life. We were all able to shower as well. Super nice! Lots of showering and changing clothes. More than I expected. A lot more freedom and less direction than I thought as well. We met our permanent teacher Maestro Cuadro this day. He is amazing. They are not kidding when they say you will LOVE your teacher. He is so funny and always manages to make the four hours of class time at once fly by. We were introduced to our first investigator through email. His name is Raul Soto and he is from Mexico and has a cousin that introduced him to the gospel. We then had to prepare a lesson and were instructed on the cycle of personal study, companionship study, language study, and how it should work. It was awesome. Hermana Farrow and I got to work. After we had planned it out and translated some of the lesson into espanol we then went and emailed him. I logged onto mine and already saw so many emails. Took mucho self control to not open them right then and there. Thank you for all the love! It is appreciated more than you could ever know. It is weird. It is not like I need it, it just makes the day better and gives you added vigor and something to look forward to at night. It is our zone rule to not open letters until we get back to our resident halls at 9:30. Three tender mercies of the day straight from my journal. They all came from my teachers. Told you he is amazing. First he helped us to realize how similar we are to our Savior and his experience in Gethsemane. The Savior was scared, he turned to his friends but they were asleep. He walked until he fell on his face because of the pain and then he turned to God. If the Savior can do scary things and feel weak, then am I any greater. We have more in common as missionaries with the Savior than I ever could have imagined. Second we are should to shoulder with Christ. He knows us! He knows how hard it is to preach and to have a mission and to be on one. He knows and will aid me and all the other missionaries and you as you open your mouths and share what you know to be true. Third, I am a light. I am a child of God and that means that I can not afford to do things that bring me down. I must be better and stand taller and hold myself to a higher level of obedience. Simply perfect. That night as we met with the Branch Presidency for four hours as they interviewed us. It was good. Saw Jake Titensor at the desk. Apparently he works at the MTC.
The days never get any crazier. Seriously just more and more crazy. We taught our first investigator this day. We taught him at 8:30 in espanol. MUY MUY MUY SCARY!! But it went alright and I definitely felt the spirit. We then were able to review our lesson and improve. A question we hadn't prepared for was Why Joseph Smith? Why did God pick him? It was an interesting question to answer in english let alone try to in espanol. We tried our best but I plan on following up and answering that question better tonight in our second lesson. I believe that it is because obviously foreordination, but simply put it is because our Heavenly Father (Padre Celestial) KNOWS us. He has a plan. He knows what we can handle and he knows our potential perfectly. He chose Joseph Smith because of who he was and could become and who his family was. It is good to know that whatever happens in my life as long as I trust my Father in Heaven he will ensure that I am reaching my true and real potential. We then had gym again with the same GOLD plan of sack lunch then headed up to main campus so that I could pay for that blasted(did I say blasted I meant blessed ;)) flu shot. It was fun to see main campus again and go to the book store where I bought Maestro Cuadro his favorite candy. Good thing I did because he chastised us later for planning our lesson on the floor. Whoopsie! Lesson learned. I finally got all my letters this day and it was AWESOME! Looked for Donovan in the mail room but they said he didn't show up for his shift. Next time I guess. I felt so special. Keep em coming! I love them. I also got my first package. Uncle Mike and Aunt Beps...YOU WIN!! Big time. Those cookies are increible(spanish for incredible and my teacher says it all the time and I love the sound of it when he says it) and seriously SOOOO delicious!! Class with Hno. Cuadro from 4:30-8:30 was simply put indescribable. I learned so much about his life and his struggles and the miracles that he has seen. I will disclose more throughout the coming weeks, but he managed to baffle me again with the power of his message. He told us that we are here in the CCM(MTC) to learn two languages. The first and most important is how to listen and teach by the language of the spirit! Without that we are nothing. Second, we are here to learn spanish. Loved the different view point on this. The second thing I learned was that a mission is not a sacrifice it is an offering to our Lord to show him our love for this gospel and for our brothers and sisters. Loved that viewpoint. We actually got to bed on time this day.
Day #4 (AKA TODAY) (AKA MY P-DAY)!
We started out this day by being at a service project at Raintree at 6:15 meaning we had to wake up at 5:50. Yikes. It was worth it. We just help to clean all the classrooms and buildings her at Raintree. Nice to know our class will be cleaned everyday. We then got sack breakfast and hurried and got ready for the temple. We made it to the 8:40 session. Awesome. Loved it! Noticed a lot of new and different things. Then we headed to main campus to print off our emails and eat lunch. The cafeteria there is way better with such great options. We then headed back and headed over to Raintree to email. HURRAY! Oh Mom and Dad, I saw Jodi Dahl at the temple. She stopped me at the temple and told me to tell you hi. I also saw Jennifer Layton. She is so sweet! I took a ton of pictures dont you worry. But if you would set up the dropbox so that I can empty them in next Satruday and the sooner I get those memory cards for the camera the better. My camera is already full. Yikes!! It is so awesome here. I love this gospel. I love the work. I love my companions. I love our purpose as missionaries. I love you all! Thank you for your love, support, and prayers.
I would like to end by typing my purpose as a missionary in spanish to you. I have been memorizing it the last two days. Invitar a la personas a venir a Cristo al ayudarle a que reciben evangelio restaurada mediante la fe en JesuCristo y su Expiciacion, el arrepentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del Espiritu Santos y el preseverar hasta el fin.
This is what it is all about! Love you and hope to hear from you all next Saturday!!
Remember who you are, what you stand for, and who you ultimately represent!!
P.S. I can pray and bear my testimony in Spanish now. Pretty cool eh? Simple but awesome!!
Love you all,