Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Week 6

Hermano Cayetano (my afternoon teacher) and me

Alright this has been a CRAZY week! Crazy awesome, crazy challenging, crazy amounts of growth, crazy amounts of encouragement, crazy amounts of doubts, crazy amounts of the spirit, and so forth. First of all a quick recap of my last week in the CCM and the Trip here. The last week at the CCM was really great, we had a full day just for meetings and training for the field where I learned a ton. Sunday night ended with a testimony meeting with only the missionaries that were leaving. That was really awesome to hear around 30 different missionaries bear their testimonies in different ways. The actual trip was pretty quick, although I had only gotten two hours of sleep before leaving since I had to finish packing and get up at 3 to get ready to leave. The airport was smooth and the flight took only an hour ten. The first day in Monterrey was great, we threw our stuff down in a room, studied and waited for an interview with President Bird, then went out on exchanges with other missionaries. I found myself sitting in my first real lesson in a matter of a few hours.

Both my teachers, Cayetano y Tincoco, and me

The view of the CCM from the airplane while leaving Mexico City, it really stands out because of the big fields.

Alright so this week. I got my first companion on Tuesday. His name is Elder Toledano, he's a native of Mexico and went to the school that used to be where the CCM is. Luckily he knows a good amount of English which is really helpful since I still have a lot to learn. The adjustment was really hard for the both of us for many reasons. First, I am his first trainee. Second, he is new to our area as well. Third, the last missionaries didn't leave very great instructions or take very much care with updating things for us and lastly, our area is huge. So basically these first days have been absolute madness with him trying to train me while we both need to get to know the area and people simultaneously. After things have started to settle down a little, it's gotten better, but it's still really challenging.

The good news is I am growing in ways that would never be possible in a more comfortable position, and I know I am where I'm supposed to be. I'm already starting to get to know the culture and the people here and I love it. The circumstances are a lot more humble than I am used to, but I'm grateful for the chance to experience this and I know it'll change my perspective in life a ton and help me towards becoming a better person and closer to Christ, our ultimate example. The language has been really hard since everyone speaks so quickly and don't pronunciate all too well sometimes, but from what other missionaries are telling me, I'm actually ahead of where most missionaries from the United States start out, since I can understand the gist of what someone is saying occasionally. My patience has really been tried and will continue to be tested while I struggle to learn the language. The good news is it hasn't even been a full week and yet I've learned a ton and am already starting to understand the language more and more everyday. I'm excited to continue to learn the language until I am able to fully understand my investigators and meet their needs.

About conference and Easter and basically the whole weekend. I only heard about 3 talks in English during the first session on Saturday because a member set up his iPad for us in the other room, but the internet was too slow, and I ended up watching the rest of the entire conference in Español. That was really hard because I could pick out words and occasionally phrases and sometimes have an idea what they were saying, but it wasn't really enough to understand the messages and receive revelation. The bright side is I spent many hours listening in Español which was really good experience. So I don't really have a favorite yet, I'm hoping to be able to get an Ensign in English with them later on. Elder Hollands talk sounded like it was amazing, and I wish I could have understood more of it. He's one of my favorite speakers.

Me eating my first Campechana (basically an amazing soft taco with tons of meat, tastes amazing, but it probably super bad for me so I won't eat them too often haha)

Alright now for a crazy experience I had yesterday. My companion woke me up at 6:15 telling me something about how we were moving the "horario" (word for schedule) up an hour. Being as tired as I was I refused to get up any earlier than 6:30. He finally got me up at 6:25 and I quickly got ready. We started studying at 7 and I figured he just decided we needed extra time for studying. I was told the schedule for general conference on Sunday was 11-1 and 3-5 so when he told me we needed to leave at around 9, I was confused. But being the junior companion, I followed his lead and left with him. We arrived at 10:05 and I thought we were an hour early but it turns out we were 5 minutes late...weird. Then after session one we had to travel to a members house far away for lunch and I was curious why we had 3 hours in between instead of 2 since the second session was supposed to start at 3. I wondered if it was actually going to start at 2 or something, but my companion told me different, that it starts at 3. Since our lunch was so far away we barely made it back by 3. After arriving I soon found out we had missed half of the session so it had actually started at 2. I guess my companion knew we were going to be late, but yet he still insisted it had started at 3 since we had argued about it a little earlier. I shook that off and listened for the last hour. After conference a member of the ward wanted us to go with him to give a pregnant woman a blessing which was a really cool experience. Later we went out proselyting and at around 7:30 my companion told me we should head back to our house. I was confused and told him I thought we should keep going since it's still early but he insisted since we need to tally up our weekly numbers we need to return, so I gave in and we went back. After quickly eating since we were starving and then doing planning and totalling our numbers he told me to call our District leader to give our numbers. I refused and was confused because it was only 8:30 and we don't report numbers until 9:30. He insisted I call him and so I finally did. After I asked him why we were calling in an hour early at 8:30 and he was confused and told me no...it's 9:30. After arguing for a little while it finally dawned on me after wondering for several minutes why I've been off by an hour today....hmm what could it be...oh wow. Oh my goodness!!! I freaked out when I realized it was daylight savings time and I hadn't changed my watch or alarm clock!!! (Note: In Mexico, they turn there clocks forward later than we do.) I was completely oblivious throughout the entire day that my watch was off. I felt soooo stupid and couldn't stop laughing to the point where I started crying. My companion and I laughed for probably a good 5 minutes. I just can't believe I managed to be that oblivious and also that he hadn't figured it out earlier either. I will never forget this day for the rest of my life.

Last few things. It's super hot here, got up to 97 one day and it's not even the hottest part of the year yet. It also rained one day and felt cold even though it was only 70 outside. It's almost constantly around 80 degrees in my house which I've started to get used to and we have a fan in our room thank goodness! Our house is cement with two stories, but its pretty tiny compared to what I'm used to. Elder Toledano tells me it's a nicer place relatively so I'm grateful to have it. The food has been great, we eat with members every day for lunch but so far we haven't had anything too crazy. Pizza two times, spaghetti tacos (yes that's a real thing, iCarly stole that) and beans rice and meat another time. Also I ate at subway once between conferences on Saturday. Overall my conditions are definitely a lot different and hard, but I know it's good for me and am truly happy to be here:)

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