Wow. Crazy. This has been the longest and shortest and weirdest and bestest week of my life. I have only been here for 8 days, yet I have seen so many miracles and tender mercies.
Por ejemplo, let's just take a gander at the first day, shall we? ...
After I said goodbye and stopped crying, they gave me my name tag (YAY!) and my books (which are like one thousand pounds) and escorted me to my room. (I live on West campus, by the way, not in the main MTC. I'm in the Wyview apartments). Who was my escort when I stepped off the bus, you ask? Hermana Woodland! My roommate from last semester! SO exciting! I almost cried with joy. Except for I didn't because I had just stopped crying, and so that would have been counter-productive.
Then, after Hna. Woodland gave me the dirt on how things operated at the West Campus, I was swept away to my classroom. The nametag on my desk was written in GREEN marker. This is probably not a big deal, but it really just was. (Her favorite color is green.) I also found out that mi maestra, Hermana Haws, is related to Aunt Sharon! Ella es mi prima! :D I just can't get away from all these Mosers. My goodness.
The first two hours in the class were spent totally in Spanish. It was hilarious. Nobody knew what was going on. She even took us on a tour of the campus, but that was a funny joke because we didn't understand her. We still get lost all the time when we try to find things.
My district is all Hermanas! The first one ever in our zone! And I have been called to be the District Sister-Training Leader, which is kind of like a normal District Leader except for I'm not a boy. And I think there are Elder District leaders over us. Our poor branch presidency doesn't really know how to handle an all hermana district. I guess we just have to shake things up a bit :) I love these girls, though. I literally feel like I have known them my entire life. Mi companera's name is Hermana Wood. She's from Arizona and we get along really well. She gets the bottom bunk, I get the top. This is a little bit of a problem in the morning, because we all know how "with it" I am at 6 am, but esta bien.
Funny story about how long the days are in the CCM:
Last Thursday we were sitting in our classroom, because we are always sitting in our classroom, and we were studying. But actually we were talking and getting to know each other. Then I looked at my watch and said, "Hermanas, we have not even been here for 24 hours yet." And then everyone looked at each other with looks of awe and wonder because it felt like we had been there for at least a week. Those first 4 days are no joke.
Everyone had been telling us we just had to make it until Sunday and then the days will just fly by so fast it's scary. I did not believe them. Well, now I do. This week has been ridiculously speedy. The Sunday's here are WONDERFUL! We wake up, do our thing, have breakfast, study study yada yada.. and then the sisters get to go to Music and the Spoken Word. It was awesome this week because it was celebrating Veterans Day. It was all patriotic, and I'm all about that life. Then we have Relief Society. AKA a general auxiliary leader comes and talks to all the sisters. This last week we got to hear from the 2nd counselor in the general primary presidency. She's a gem. After that I got to go to meetings, cuz I'm a leader, and the zone leader asked me to give the opening prayer! In Spanish! Bless my heart. But I did it and it was fine. That night we had choir practice, and then a nice evening stroll up to main campus for a devotional. THEN we came back to west campus and watched a devotional Elder Bednar gave called "The Character of Christ." It is the best devotional I have ever heard. And he does an impression of the cookie monster, so I highly recommend it. He talked about how Christ was constantly turning outward, even in situations where you or I would have turned inward. After he suffered beyond what any mortal could imagine in the Garden, he turned outward and healed the guard's ear. He told us that it is NOT about what we want. It isn't about what we want for ourselves or our investigators, it is about what God wants for them. We have to be constantly turned outward in selfless service, or our mission will be a waste. It completely changed my perspective on a lot of things. oh It was so good.
It was very nice timing too because our lessons with our investigator were not going very well. That's right. LESSONS. In the plural. I assume you have heard new missionaries teach a lesson in their mission language on the 3rd day? What they don't tell you is that keeps happening. So far we have taught "Alfredo" 5 times. But do you know what is awesome? I can understand what he is saying. Do I know how to answer him? Nope. I have to get really creative with how I word things using my limited vocabulary. But what a miracle to know what he is saying and what we need to study in order to answer his questions. Anyway, our first lesson was fine but our second lesson was kind of a disaster. He just kept asking questions that didn't make sense and I was getting really flustered. So on Monday, I just went in there with the mindset of teaching by the spirit, relying on the Lord, and trusting that all would be well with the lesson and it was! It was such a wonderful lesson. Even though he's no a "real" investigator, the spirit was so strong. I was able to combine words in ways that probably have never been combined before in the history of Spanish grammar, and he was able to understand what we were trying to say. The gift of tongues is real! As long as the Spirit is the teacher in the lesson, it doesn't matter that we can't perfectly communicate. It was a really neat lesson to learn so early on in this journey, which is probably why they put us through that kind of torture. Not torture. Just.. it's really scary, that's all I'm' saying.
Gym time is great. Mostly Hermanas Wood, Sundberg, Hilton, and I just walk around the apartments in the fresh air, but yesterday Hna. Sundberg got a jump rope in the mail. It was like we were 8 years old again. And then Hna. Hilton and I went and played lightning with a bunch of elders and some really impressive sisters. I did not do very well. These people are professionals. But it was really fun.
Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder L. Tom Perry! It was so wonderful. We were singing when he walked in (they start singing prelude hymns 15 minutes before the meeting here) and I think it made the Spirit just that much stronger. He is hilarious. He taught about companionship and testimony. My favorite part was when he challenged us to "never leave a congregation without bearing your witness of this gospel." Powerful.
I am so glad to hear all the missionaries in the Philippines have been found and are safe! That was something Elder Perry talked a lot about. He said there were a lot of miracles associated with those missions. I am inclined to agree.
My days usually go like this:
6:00 wake up because we have one bathroom and 6 girls and this senorita needs to shower
study study study
8:00 teach Alfredo
study study study study study study study
CLASE CON HERMANA HAWS
study study study study
study study study
Zone prayer / song
journal time / companion prayer
Exhausting, right? We get a little loopy sometimes during those long study session. Por ejemplo: the other day I laughed until I cried because I realized all the pictures in the Spanish pamphlets are different from the English ones. It is hilarious. En serio. Go check it out.
Good luck on Sunday, Nathan!! Wish I could be there for your Court of Honor! I'm so proud of you!
Thank you for the dearelders. They are seriously the best things ever. I love them. So feel free to send as many as you want and spread the word! :)
The church is true! I love you I love you I love you!
PS: This morning in the temple I realized that Justin would be 18 right now...the age to serve a mission! Isn't that cool? I am serving on this side of the veil, and he is serving on that side. We're working together for the Kingdom of God! Hurrah for Israel! :)