Hello for Mexico! I apologize for any grammatical errors. My English is deteriorating.
Friday (July 18): I never thought that I would be able to swim on my mission…and then God sent a miracle. RAIN!!! and tons of it. We probably got 6 inches in a matter of 2 hours. No joke. And our little casa is at the end of the culdesac so it got flooded. The rain actually happened during my gym time so we were in P-day clothes and my companion and I took some sweet pictures in the water. It was awesome!! Also because of the storm we had no power in our casa for a little over 24 hours so I wasn’t able to write much about today. We got a new teacher, so now we have 3 hours of learning in the morning, and 3 hours at night. I guess thats the language push I was hoping for.
Saturday: Today was pretty rough. My saturdays are fairly hard because I have to prepare a 40 minute lesson and a 5 minute talk in spanish for sunday the next day, as well as collect reports from each person in the district about how their week is going. On top of learning Spanish. So yeah I have a lot on my plate on Saturdays. Although I think Im going to start using my P day to write my talk and prepare my lesson. After class in the casa, there was this HUGE tie trade with the other district who lives in the casa with us. No offense mom, but you bought me some pretty ugly ties from the thrift store right before I left. But no worries, I traded the ugliest tie I had (our district rated it a 0.5/10) and traded it to this dude for a 7.5/10 tie. Luckily, we were each very happy with the trade. What a blessed day.
Sunday: Sundays are super nice. I didn’t get called on to give a talk unfortunately. But my lesson was really good. Not only did I only have 10 minutes to prepare for it, I only used about 10% of that small lesson I prepared when I was actually up there. I’m glad the Spirit could take over the lesson for me. That night we had the privilege of listening to a man who lives here at the CCM (not sure what he does here..but he’s in charge of something). He gave the best talk I have heard in at least 4 years. Wow! That guy blew me away. He talked about how we need to remember Lot’s(from Bible) wife and not look back. We must move forward in our missions. He also shared a hilarious story about one of his young men leaders who, whenever he was climbing a rock wall or doing something else hard, would always shout “Cates, youre a DISEASE!” And he talked about how he later realized that, when his leader called him a disease, he was saying how you should never give up, never quit, and never stop, just like a disease. I thoroughly enjoy that analogy, considering my interest in medicine. I also met Hermana Wible today! We talked about Jamas and how he was doing. That was super cool! Tell sister Wible I met her!
Monday: Today was pretty rough. I was bothered by a lot of things. I was really seeking the Lords help today because I am not a good leader, but Christ is. I think the most important thing a district leader can do is be a good example, and I’m trying so hard, but sometimes I can slack off a little bit or crack one too many jokes, and I was just really wanting to shape up. I got to bed as soon as possible so my bad day would end.
Tuesday: MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THE WEEK FOR ME. Its funny how the Lord takes care of my problems for me SO QUICKLY. I don’t know if this happens to everyone, but seriously if I have an issue or a concern one day, the next day it is taken care of, or answered. It’s as if the Lord is saying “Hurry up. I have some real mountains for you to climb so I need you to stop stumbling over these pebbles and get to work. I’m working fast, so should you.” It’s just so amazing. Yesterday, Monday, I was kinda struggling also because I wanted to gain a testimony of Su objectivo (not sure what it is in english…its that thing in the beginning of Preach my Gospel that talks about the purpose of missionaries…maybe called My Objective as a Missionary..?) because I wanted to be sure that my heart, not just my mind, was out on a mission for the right reasons. And today, Tuesday, I learned why I am serving a mission.
I AM SERVING A MISSION FOR THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS BECAUSE I HAVE FELT THE ATONEMENT IN MY LIFE, AND IT IS MY TURN TO BRING THAT TO OTHERS. This is why I beg the Lord every night to give me the focus, the strength, and the fortitude to work with all my heart, might, and mind. This is HIS work, and HIS glory, and I cannot be a hinderance to him. I need to be a prepared vessel, that senses the power of the Lord and directs that to the people I will be teaching soon. I want to be a source that god can use to bombard his children with the Spirit. A portal of untethered access that The Lord uses frequently to perpetuate his love for the people of Veracruz. 3 nephi 7:17-18.
Also today I gained a stronger testimony of the power of specific prayer. I didn’t want to say anything about this earlier to inhibit concern, but I hurt my ankle pretty bad playing soccer. I wasn’t doing anything stupid, just kicked the ball at the exact same time as another elder. My ankle was pretty messed up and I could hardly walk. Anyway, I remember reading a letter that Alex Bertha sent to the ward about specific prayer, and I wanted to try it out. I asked the Lord to bless my ankle, and I would ask Him to “healing it by soon” and profess my faith that “it would be healed soon”. And guess what!? It’s completely healed now. My ankle was monstrous and it healed in a matter of 5 days. A miracle!
Wednesday: Today I got to teach two practice lessons and it was amazing how my Spanish flowed so easily. My thoughts are translating to Spanish very very quickly now. I cannot wait till I can actually think in spanish. Today I also started an in depth study of the Holy Ghost, so that I can teach with more power and recognize it even more in my life. A report of my efforts will come soon.
Thursday (the day this email is being written): Today has been really really really good so far. We actually left the CCM today to drive down to a Consolate in Mexico City to extend our visa from 6 months to 2 years. We had to wake up at 5:30, but then we had to wait until 7:30 because apparently one of the CCM vans got stolen the night before. What an amazing feat. We are surrounded by 12 feet of barbed wire and even a little moat on one end of the complex. Anyway, we drove an hour down to this Consolate in the city and I finally got to see the beautiful part of mexico city! Its SO gorgeous. The CCM is in the middle of the ghetto. Its like a whole different world down by the Consolate. We had to wait in line for a long time, so my companion and I got bored and started street contacting while we were in line. We saw this super tall African guy who looked just like Michael Jordan, so naturally we had to talk to him. Anyway, this guy was so awesome for a few reasons;
1. He looked like Michael Jordan
2. He told us how “dumb everyone in Mexico is because they think God and Jesus are the same person, but THEY ARE TWO SEPARATE BEINGS!”
3. He was really receptive to what we were saying, and very kindly corrected a little of our spanish
4. Accepted a Book of Mormon from us
5. LIVES IN VERACRUZ (so were going to go baptize him when we get down there hahaha)
Man it was so cool!!!! Its hard to experience the beauty of the real life of a missionary and then head back to the CCM and have to wait for 4 more weeks….
But yeah, thats about it for this week! I was able to make it through all the days of the week so thats good. Its been great. Life is great. Missionary work is great. The church is true. Study it. Pray about it. Its that simple.
Love you guys SO SO SO much and miss you all!