Friday, July 29, 2016

Hola from the CCM!! (July 14, 2016)

Hola everyone!  

I´m sorry I was unable to send out a group email last week, but everything is going great here in Mexico! I´m now mid-way through my 3rd week in the CCM, the first week was pretty long, but other than that time flies by.

I have an awesome district with 8 elders and 4 hermanas. All of us are headed back to the States to serve, some in California, some in Lousiana, and 2 of us are going to serve in Florida. No one in my district will serve in my same mission, but I have met a couple of other hermanas who will be in Fort Lauderdale with me, and they are super nice! Our district leader is a Samoan elder who likes to draw and cook. He is super laid back, and  he keeps things entertaining. Most of the elders are right out of high school, so they can get a little rambunctious, but they are lots of fun. I love the hermanas. Me and my companion share a room with the other two sisters in our district and it is a blast! My companion, Hermana Hirschi, is absolutely amazing! She is from Rexburg, Idaho and she will be serving in Arcadia, California. She also went to BYU before the mission, and she is thinking of majoring in accounting. She is always ready to work hard, be exactly obedient, and share her sweet testimony, but she still knows how to have a great time. She did not have any experience in Spanish before she came, so we have been working hard to learn our language. 

I love learning Spanish! Our teachers are the best! Hermano Castro and Hermana Martinez are both from Mexico, and both of them returned from a mission about 4 years ago. They have the sweetest testimonies, and they are always so patient and encouraging. I love learning Spanish from the Latinos, they speak SO FAST! Thankfully, our teachers are usually willing to slow down for us. I feel like my Spanish is coming along pretty well, I have definitely learned a lot in the last couple weeks. However, I still have a long ways to go. 

Sundays are the best! We always have lots of personal study time, and we get to watch a church video at night (The Testaments, Meet the Mormons, etc.). This sunday we watched a recording of an MTC devotional that Elder Holland gave a couple of years ago. It was awesome, and his fiery spirit motivated all of us to try harder to be more obedient this week. Me and Hermana Hirschi decided to join the CCM choir, so before our Tuesday devotional we got to perform the EFY medley in Spanish with 150 other missionaries. It was the best!

On a normal day we spend a lot of time in the classroom learning the language, studying preach my gospel, and preparing lessons for our investigators. We all look forward to gym time, and on P-Days we always played sand volleyball as a district, which is a blast. Our first investigator was named Elizabeth (our investigators are actually our teachers, but they use real-life situations as background stories). Elizabeth was having lots of problems with her spouse, so she was left to care for her children by herself. It was hard to adapt the lessons to meet her needs, especially when we could not understand her Spanish all the time. We prayed a LOT for the gift of tongues, and even though I still didn´t understand her all the time, and she probably didn´t understand us, we were the first ones in our district to commit her to baptism!

We got two new investigators this week, named Mariano and Camila. Mariano is a student at a local university, he believes in God, but doesn´t know why he needs Him in his life. We taught him twice, and committed him to baptism on the second lesson. Last night we had our first lesson with Camila. Camila is living with her mom and her step-dad at 23 years old. She is sad, but she doen´t know why, and she is looking for direction in her life. It was especially tricky because Hermana Hirschi and I were the last ones to teach and we only ended up with 7 minutes to introduce ourselves, get to know her, and teach the lesson. We came out of the lesson knowing with 100% surety that the Spirit did all the work. We still have no idea how we managed to learn more about her life, teach her about God and Jesus Christ, and commit her to read the Book of Mormon and pray in so little time. It was cool because we had our whole lesson planned out beforehand, but once we got in there we did not end up following it hardly at all, and yet our lesson flowed really well. It just goes to show how essential the Spirit is in missionary work!

Another cool thing we had last night was TRC. TRC is when volunteers from Mexico city (non-members or members, usually members) volunteer to come and hear a lesson from the missionaries. Hermanan Hirschi and I were super nervous because we were worried we wouldn´t be able to understand anything the people were saying. However, as soon as we met Soledad our fears were gone. Soledad is a regular volunteer at TRC. She is an adorable little latino grandma with a head of frizzy white hair, and a couple of missing teeth. She was so sweet, and we loved talking to her. We just ended up getting to know more about her and sharing our favorite scriptures, and it was awesome (even though we still couldn´t understand hardly anything she was saying).

For our Tuesday devotional we heard a broadcast of Elder Renlund, and I loved a couple of things he said. He quoted President Packer "The atonement can wash clean every stain, no matter how difficult, or how long, or how many times repeated." I also loved Elder Renlund´s saying "Missionary service at it´s core is that we take and deliver the atonement of Christ to people." Having been in the CCM for a couple of weeks, I have already learned how central Jesus Christ is to our message. Without his atonement, there would be nothing for us to hope for, and just thinking about that makes me so grateful for Christ. The atonement is what changes lives, and the best part about being a missionary is getting to share that with people! Another quote that I loved was "If you will do what we have been asked to do, with no thought of reward, your faith will increase." Lots of times, especially as a missionary, I fall into the habit of doing things simply because I want blessings, but that is the wrong mindset! We should be doing the things we have been asked to do because we love the Lord, and we are grateful to Him. He has promised us blessings, and they will come, but that should not be our motivation for being obedient. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. I know that the Savior loves us all, and He is waiting with open arms and inviting all to come unto Him!

I hope that everyone has an amazing week! 

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