Learning Lots - and Some Spanish Too!

I think this week has been even better than last week! The weather here is so nice! It's actually chilly in the mornings and evenings, and it rarely gets too hot during the day (which makes me sooo happy). It also rains quite frequently, often without warning, and we get some good thunder/ lightning storms here. I love the trees, AND I'm surrounded by mountains! I get the best of North Carolina and Utah in one place (too bad I can't go hiking).

The highlight of my week was definitely going to the Mexico City Temple! It was beautiful, and listening to a session in Spanish was very cool. They didn't give us headphones, which was fine with me, but I think my poor companion had trouble following.

I had several "firsts" this week. While I was in the temple, surrounded by Latina women, I felt TALL for the first time in my life. Not even just average height, but TALL! That was weird. A couple Latino elderes challenged me to a weight lifting contest, and I beat one of them! (They were shorter than me, but it was still very satisfying). I tried horchata for the first time, and it was delicious. I also tried several types of Mexican candy; some of it was good and some of it was awful. I got to see Meet the Mormons for the first time, and I absolutely loved it! I especially enjoyed the story about the engineer. Of course, when they showed a missionary leaving his family at the airport, every hermana in the CCM was in tears. Too soon. And, after much practice, I can finally do that snappy thing that all the Latinos can do. It's cooler than snapping, but I don't know how to explain it. I've been doing it so much that my wrist hurts now.

All the hermanas in my district sang "Grande Eres Tú" (How great thou art) in sacrament meeting this week, which was really cool. My companion and I also joined the CCM choir. Apparently my companion really hates bugs... so I have killed a lot of bugs this week. 

We started teaching two new investigators this week, that aren't quite as golden as our first one was. I am now teaching entirely without notes, and I'm learning so much. I think it is really cool that, even though our "investigators" are just teachers playing a role, I am still able to receive revelation about how I can teach them most effectively. 

This has been a great week, and I'm finally starting to get into the rhythm of the CCM. As much time as I spend studying the Language, though, I feel like Spanish is the least of what I have been learning. I have been learning how to get along with the same person literally 24/7 (my companion is wonderful, but it's still hard not being the only one making my decisions now - I guess this is great marriage prep!) I've been trying new things and getting outside my comfort zone. I've been learning how to listen and teach, and developing better study habits. A lot of people don't seem to be enjoying their CCM experience, but I, for one, am loving it. I'll be glad to get to the field in a month, but I'm definitely going to miss Mexico.

I almost forgot one of my favorite parts of this week! I was talking to some of the Latinos, and one of them said: "Repeat after me: erre con erre..." So I said "Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril. Rapidan corren los carros, cargados de asucar del ferrocarril!" This just happened to be the one Spanish tongue twister I learned before I came to the CCM, but they all lost it! It was sooo funny. After that they gave me another one to learn: "El puente de parangaricutirimicuaro lo quieren desparangaricutirimizar, es que lo desparangaricutiremece, será un buen despanangaricutirimizador!" And I finally have that one down too. 

CCM Week 1!

I can't believe that I've already spent a week at the CCM! The first day was really long, but at the same time it feels like I just got here. 

My companion's name is Hermana Sandstrom, and she is amazing! She didn't know any Spanish before coming but she has been working very hard and she is improving so much every day! She is from Alabama, she is going to BYU Idaho and she is so sweet! She brought a pair of Chacos with her on her mission, which is probably one of my favorite facts about her. She is also totally cool with going to the weight room with me every other day! 

My district consists of 4 elders and 6 hermanas. We all get along really well. Our teachers are awesome, and we are learning so much! We started teaching our first investigator last Thursday! By now, I am teaching with almost no notes, which is incredible. 

The language is coming along really well for me, apparently I know way more that I thought I did. I love sitting with the Latino missionaries during meals and talking to them, because I'm getting great practice talking to native speakers! Apparently I have a really great accent, which is sometimes bad because Latinos tend to think that I know more Spanish than I actually do. My gospel vocabulary has definitely improved immensely. It has already gotten to the point where it feels weird to pray in English! 

The food here is great! I always make myself try new things, and I would list everything I have tried except that I can never remember the names long enough to write them down. So far I've only had 1 thing I didn't like! Oh AND I get to stay in the copper sulfate colored house!

My favorite part about being here is also my least favorite: we are always SO busy! It is nice because I know that none of my time is wasted. It feels a lot like a good, busy week at BYU, but without the stress of grades and all the distractions, which is sooo nice. On the other hand, I with we had more time to just study for ourselves. We have companionship study, personal study, and language study, but all of our study time is centered around the needs of the investigator, which I guess makes sense. 

My favorite language mistake I've made so far: I tried to tell the Latinos that I am the oldest (sorry Landon, but I still consider myself the oldest) but I actually told them that I'm the best... so I just said "Oh no wait... la MAYOR... pero la mejor tambien!" 

We get to go to the temple later today! I'm so excited, we are going to get to go 3 times before we leave!


God Be With You Till We Meet Again

June 13, 2016

On Sunday, June 12 I gave my farewell talk in the Kernersville ward of the High Point Stake. Before church began, Jason and Lori (my mom's aunt and uncle from Colorado!) surprised me by showing up with their daughter Nicole. Many of my family members came to sacrament meeting to hear me speak, and they keep telling me I did well, even though I could definitely hear my voice shaking...

After church I had some family and friends over for ice cream so that I could say goodbye to everyone. I am overwhelmed by how many people came to show their love and support for me. I am very blessed to have so many people that make it so hard to leave. I will miss everyone so much.

After saying my goodbyes, I went over to President Baughan's house to be set apart as a full time missionary for the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can still hardly believe how quickly this moment came, it doesn't feel real.

On June 13 I finished up last minute preparations for my departure. I packed up all my suitcases, and surprisingly I had so much room left! I had to pack paper and packing cushions into all of my suitcases to pack my belongings in enough to keep them from sliding around and getting mixed up during their flight. 

I can hardly believe that this is really happening. I'm sure it will sink in on the plane tomorrow morning.