Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week 3! Already?!

                 (All of cute Distrito 12 C eating ice cream cones post-volleyball. I love volleyball)


So much love on this end. I barely have time to write this letter let alone read all ten of the emails I got this week, but don´t you dare stop writing them... I love them! Thank you so much for all of the support and all of the amazing stories and testimonies. I always cry when I read them and read them out loud and mi compañera is obviously annoyed because she also has to beat the clock. It´s a whole ordeal.

Tomorrow we will be half way done at the CCM. It seems unreal. It feels like we just barely get here. There´s a strange hierarchy going on here because I am definitely among the oldest people here, but everybody who has been here for four or five weeks looks 25. Hermana Chugg and I are the Hermana Trainers for our Distrito and the newer girls feel like little sisters. It has been really fun to be there for them and interview them and comfort them when they are feeling down. (and remind them that it´s only their 3rd day, they don´t need to know the whole language).

I love being here. Last night my roommates and I were having a conversation about how it feels like we are surrounded by people who we would never spend time with in High School, but that we absolutely adore and would do anything for here. It is such an amazing environment of love and acceptance. Alright, I'll quit being cheesy for a second.

My mind has never been more clear than it has here. I know I said it last week, but I wish I had the ability (or motivation) to study in high school and college like I can here. Yesterday, we were learning about the difference between the words ´por´and ´para´, which may not mean anything to those of you reading this, but basically they are really simple words with really complex usages. And I figured out a fool proof way to determine when to use which word. I was able to teach it to everyone in my district and even our maestros had said they had never thought about it that way. More than anything, I was just surprised that such a  complex principle just... made sense in my head. I have never been book smart. And the clarity isn't just coming for the language...

I have discovered so much about apostasy, the grace of God, and the atonement in my own personal study, things that I never really understood before. No matter how hard I searched. I learned that Jesus Christ needed to suffer on the cross. I´m sure the atonement could have been completed in many ways, but due to the perfection of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and the necessity of the Law of Justice, there was a level of fairness that was required for us to ever return to live with them. In the scriptures, it simply says ´´And he suffered because the Lord had commanded it.´´ Powerful. My district is incredible. They are all interested in discussing the deeper meaning behind things, which has been really good for me. It is teaching me to communicate the things that I normally just keep in my brain. We all kind of joke that we were meant to be called Spanish Speaking so that we couldn´t preach deep doctrine. There is perfection in simplicity.

This past Sunday was focused purely on Christlike attributes. We watched a video fireside of Elder Bednar´s where he talked about studying Christ´s attributes instead of his life. It has caused me to pray for the ability to be patient and nurturing in all situations. Which is a difficult thing! I notice myself being much more humble (maybe be admitting that negates the validity of that statement...) and courageous in my dealings with others. Oddly enough, that humility has helped me gain a level of confidence that I was struggling with when I first got here. It´s all about prioritized confidence... If that makes any sense at all.

I´m rambling a bit. It was just a very insightful week. I was determined to spend more time focused on my investigators this week. We start teaching a new investigator tomorrow, which has us teaching three at a time. But last night we taught Juan Jose and I felt the spirit completely overtake me. He told us previously that he was willing to get baptized, but now he said that his wife was angry at him for making that decision and didn't want him to. I am not really sure why, but that affected me so much. I have been able to see how much the gospel has blessed my life, and to see somebody angry at the opportunity to feel purified happiness was absolutely crushing to me. I wept. And I told him, in horribly incoherent Spanish, that the Lord will bless him for his desire to change. And that since he sincerely loves his family, this is the best blessing he could have for them. I couldn't understand what he said in response, but he gave us candy so I'm assuming it went well. As we were walking away from the lesson, I felt prompted to turn back and remind him to pray every single day, several times a day. I'm not sure why that needed to happen, but it felt good to follow up on a prompting that I would have otherwise regretted ignoring.

I apologize, I try to make these emails interesting to read, but there is so much to say and it is all powerful and spiritual and heavy. Don´t give up on me just yet! I haven´t completely lost my wit.

I love talking to the Latinos! Even though they call me a gringo and say things like "Ustede es muy... how you say... hipster." (i'm definitely getting contacts when I get home).
One of the latino maestros came up to me and said:

"Does your family speak Spanish?"
"Your friends?"
"Wow. The way you learn is not normal for the CCM. I have a hard time believing you weren't fluent before you got here."

Hahahaha. I just kind of laughed at him. I still have no idea what anyone is saying most of the time. I just piece together words and hope I'm on the right track. And when I respond, I have a very limited vocabulary. But it makes me feel good that I´m not totally lost.

I love you guys!!! Thank you again for the support. Just an FYI, letters are out of hand here. It takes weeks to send or receive letters. So if I don't respond for a while, I´m not ignoring you! If you sent a letter, I haven´t received it yet (except one Dear Elder... thanks, mom!)

We found a huge bucket of laundry detergent in our casa and hurried and scooped some of it into a ziploc bag just in case it disappears one day. Laundry detergent is expensive! And I guess the closest thing you get to a rush here at the CCM is stealing laundry detergent that may or may not be available for the use of all missionaries.


¡La iglesia es verdadera!

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