Man I have so much to say! First of all the CCM is super nice. Its hardly a part of Mexico city. We have these huge 12 foot barbed wire fences around us so that no one can come in. Mexico city is very interesting. There are people everywhere. The food is really good and American. All the teachers and leaders here can kind of speak english but they all say that “they will help us learn spanish as we help them learn english”. Its really hard sometimes to get clear instructions on what we are supposed to be doing for certain activities in the classroom.
Wednesday, July 9: In the airport on wednesday I struck up a conversation with a dude in the terminal and the lady sitting on the plane, and both conversations kinda ended with “wow that sounds like an awesome religion and I really respect it, but Im catholic.” and I would just say “look for two guys who look and dress like me when you get home, and well see about that!” Also no computers here have an apostrophe, so my apologies. When we finally made it to the Mexico City airport some Elder got lost, so we were standing around in the airport for like an hour. I got bored and started talking to some people that were walking by. The Netherlands and Argentina World Cup game was going on at the time, so I asked them about the game and they were really really excited because Argentina won right? My spanish is still a little rusty. When we made it to the CCM they provided us with a nice set of scriptures in spanish and a ton of language learning materials. They really take good care of us here.
Thursday: We got to teach an investigator today! A real one! It was incredible. The spirit was so ridiculously strong. The investigator, had such a strong spirit and I loved that dude so much even though I hardly know him. I know what it feels like to love an investigator. Heres a super cool story and sent chills throughout my entire body. So when we were teaching this investigator about the Atonement, there was this huge crack of lighting right at the most spiritual part when he confessed to us that he would really want something like that. Right after our lesson, we had this meeting about how to be better missionaries. We watched a short video of Elder Holland who said that when we teach with power and the Spirit, “That is when the lightning strikes” in the heart of the investigator, and they know that it is true. SO COOL. I don’t believe in coincidences by the way. Also today I got called as district leader…we each had a short interview with the Branch presidency and that is what they used to determine who the new district leader would be. I don’t remember what I said or what I did but I guess thats where Im supposed to be! Our branch presidency is so funny. President Torres told us “Be excited about your new calling for about 5 minutes, and then start being worried” hahaha and he was right. My job is hard. I have a ton of stuff to do and I feel bad because I drag Elder R around with me. But Im excited to be the district leader. Keeps me on my toes.
Friday: Today we finally had gym! This whole week I’ve been playing out of my mind….meaning, Ive been playing basketball ridiculously well. I hit a three over this kid who is committed to play at Utah State after the mission. That was kinda cool! But soon my luck shall fade. Also today we got to start teaching an investigator, with just our companions, IN SPANISH. Heres the thing though: the second I walked into the CCM, I pretty much remembered all the Spanish I learned in high school. I know that the Lord is blessing and helping me and I was able to give the lesson! I love my companion. Also we had an additional meeting (to our already busy schedule) for district leaders and they asked what things we could do to unify our district. I figured we could have a district prayer together. So I get back to the house that were all staying in and Elder T comes up to me with a hymn book and was like “Hey can we sing a hymn as a district?” I was so happy. And the guys liked our hymn and prayer so much that it has become a tradition every night. I don’t think I’m biased at all when I say that we have the best district here. Were all really athletic too!
Saturday: I learned a ton of spanish today. We have a lesson everyday, and I prayed really hard with Elder R for the gift of tongues, and I truly felt words being placed into my mouth that I had never learned before. It was super cool. One of them was desarrollar, which I learned (after the lesson) that it means to develop. Perfect for the lesson. You better believe I said a good thank you prayer after the lesson.
Sunday: Today was a wild day. I was running all over the place because we each have to prepare a talk in spanish and they randomly call on us to give it. No prior notice. We have a sacrament service and then President Cisneros (the second counselor) gets up and calls out 4 names, and those people give talks right then. We also had a devotional from Elder Bednar (a video, unfortunately not in person) but it was super good. Then I had district leader meetings and I had to prepare a 40 minute lesson for my district in spanish (this is a weekly thing apparently). Man but I cannot stress how much the Lord has blessed me with this language. The more I study Spanish, the more I realize it makes way more sense than English, and I’m improving so much every day. Its kinda scary how easily I’ll remember words that I learned in 8th grade. And Ill take no credit for any of this. I have two companions: Elder R and the Lord. As a sidenote, this place is heavenly because, with such a lack of wardrobe selection, the Elders here have FINALLY developed a love for ties that I have had the past 4 years of my life. So many people trade ties here and its just so beautiful. Elder K (a stud basketball player, he looks just like me except 2 inches shorter and 1/4 mexican) has this gorgeous aqua tie that shifts between shades of green and blue depending on how you look at it. And thats not all, it has embroidered paisley on it. Unfortunately for me, he loves it as much as I love my America tie, so Ill never get that paisley one. Because I love my American tie. My American and his paisley tie are regarded as the best two ties in the district.
Monday: We spend most of our time in the mornings in the classroom with Hermana S, then we go eat, go back to the class to study, eat, study, teach. Thats the schedule every day. Its awesome. Hermana S is a diligent teacher that works hard to make us better missionaries. I set a goal for myself to finish reading the BOM in spanish before I leave the MTC. You may find this interesting, its our goals we set as a district:
1. Be more respectful to others around us praying
2. Finish the BOM in spanish in the CCM
3. Memorize our purpose, D&C 4, the first vision, baptism challenge, and 10 points of a good teacher by week 3
4. Magnify our study time
5. Speak only in spanish on only tues and thursday
6. Show up to everything 5 minutes early
7. Always do pre and post class homework on time
8. HAVE FUN!
Hermana S gets on me a lot as district leader. Always wants me to tell everyone to be quiet and such. I think it may be a cultural thing here for teachers to be pretty harsh? I’m not sure. But she’ll count how many mistakes we make in spanish or if we forgot our homework and if he hit 5 strikes then we do push ups. I couldn’t do any because I was busy laughing super hard. I wish every school in the US did that…kids would get a lot stronger and smarter much faster hahaha.
Okay Im running out of time, but I have one last story to share. There is this one Elder in my district. He doesn’t look athletic at all but he’s a baller! We do this computer program called TALL that helps us learn how to pronounce spanish words and phrases. Anyway, he was sitting next to me while we were doing this. We all wear these huge headphones and headsets to listen/record ourself speaking spanish. So the other day I was working on verbs so I didn’t need my headphones, and I could hear everyone else. When he was speaking spanish he sounded EXACTLY like Elder Calhoun when we was trying to practice Dutch on his bed in the movie “The Best 2 Years”. I could hardly breathe I was laughing so hard. Gotta work on my self control with my laughter. He took it well though and laughed with me. I love that kid. I love my whole district! I love the CCM!
I love you guys and miss you all,