What a crazy and extremely busy first week here at the CCM (Centro De Capacitacion Misonal Mexico). I haven't really felt homesick yet so I guess that is good news, but honestly there is hardly any time to think about anything so Im not sure how I could be. We have been given a schedule specific to what we need to accomplish each hour. Of course we still have our agency to choose what we do with our time, but one of the things that is most stressed here is being exactly obedient. I never new that I was capable of being so productive in a day. We are working so hard from 7 am to 9:30 pm. Our teacher here recently returned home from his mission in Provo spanish speaking, and he is really nice. He hardly ever speaks to us in English which is such a blessing because it is helping me to learn more of the language. The first day of class I volunteered to say the opening prayer and because I have practiced praying in spanish a lot during my class at BYU, said it in spanish. I have never seen so many Elders look so terrified. Many of the Elders in my district have no experience with Spanish at all! I can't believe that they are all 18 years old! They look so young :). It is truly amazing being here and seeing such a different perspective. I am truly grateful and look up to these young men who chose to serve a mission! What an amazing thing. I know with all my heart that this is where I need to be at this time in my life. I feel like I have accomplished more in 1 week than I have in a typical 2-3 weeks.
I forgot to mention my companion... She is WONERFUL! I absolutely love her. Her name is Hermana Prettyman and she is from New York. She is also 19 and knows a little bit of Spanish. We are constantly working hard and always quizzing each other. We have memorized the missionary purpose in Espanol, and have already taught 3 lessons to our investigator Roque. When I was told that I would be teaching an investigator the second day I had been here, in Spanish, I could not believe what I was hearing! I have been truly humbled as I have offered many prayers to my Heavenly Father throughout this first week. I know that I would not be able to do this alone, but with his help, and the strength from my Savior, I am able to understand and somewhat teach a person about the gospel and Jesus Christ in a different language.
During our lesson a few days ago he was asking us about the Spirit World. I have no idea how, but I was somehow able to explain to him in a way that he understood and told him we would bring more information about it at our next appointment. I have such a strong testimony that the gift of tongues is real! As long as I am trying as hard as I can in every way, the Lord will bless me, and the hearts of the people I teach will be softened and open to our message. I am so proud to wear the name of Jesus Christ on over my heart and I am excited for the precious time I will be able to give all my time, thoughts, and efforts to him.
Also, the campus is absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I feel so blessed to be here and can feel the spirit so strongly. It isnt as hot as I thought it would be, and it rains a LOT! One storm soaked us from head to toe and that was with my umbrella and rain boots... I guess its just preparing me for Chile. Also mom and dad I now understand why I need a rain skirt... haha I have never been so wet!
Sunday was probably my favorite day so far. We had a lot of meetings and devotionals and it was nice to relax and feel the spirit rather than making my head hurt from so much studying. Each week we have to prepare a talk in spanish from 3 given topics and during sacrament meeting the branch president will call about 8 different names and they will be the speakers for that day. Talk about stressful!! Not knowing if you will be the one to give the talk until the actual meeting and if you are chosen doing it all in Spanish. I suppose all of these things that are pushing my limits are stretching me in ways that will help me to be a better servant of the Lord. 6 weeks really isnt that long, and I know I need to use my time wisely.
During one of the devotionals on Sunday, we learned about Lot's Wife and how she longingly looked back to the wicked city, then was turned into a grain of salt. Brother Cates, the director of the MTC, compared that to us as missionaries and explained that we cant let the past get in the way of now. We have to exercise faith in the present to create a better future. He assured us that if we remain focused on the task we have been given now, that God will give us something greater than we could have ever imagined. I am so grateful for the amount of strength other's testimonies have given me. The Hermanas who have been here longer are always encouraging us and giving us advice. I honestly LOVE it here!
Anyway, I need to go, but I want to thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. This is such a wonderful time in my life! I am praying for you all as well. Have a wonderful week and I'll talk to you next Tuesday.