Yeah so things are going well here! This week mother nature threw somewhat of a tantrum for us. I lived through my first real earthquake! It was NUTS. Yeah on Tuesday we were just studying in the classrooms with our district when we heard these huge sirens going off — kind of like those sirens that went of for air raids during WWII — and I asked aloud if they were the earthquake sirens and someone goes ”I think those are for wolves.” Sorry, what? I told him, ”Why would we meet outside in the safety points if there was a pack of wolves wandering on campus?” Everyone laughed. Ha so random! Anyway so we go outside and I guess there was a little earthquake like maybe in the 1 or 2 point range but I didn’t really feel it because I was walking when it happened. Apparently earthquakes are really common here! Anybody who knows me knows that natural disasters really freak me out, and boy was I shaking when those huge sirens went off… It was fine though. Then that same night we had the MOTHER OF ALL STORMS. I have the coolest video of the trees blowing and the rain and hail but it’s too big to send in an email. It was like a hurricane though, I swear. The storm just came out of nowhere and everything flooded including all of the drains and there were up to 3 or 4 inches of standing water on the sidewalks.
It happened RIGHT when we had to go to a devotional so we just had to book it like crazy to make it, but we were running through all of this standing water and everyone was SOAKED. In the auditorium everyone was just laughing and pointing at each other. Also I don’t know if I’ve told you guys before but in the thunderstorms here, the thunder is sometimes constant for up to two minutes straight. It’s like people are throwing bowling balls on the roof and it’s really hard to hear what the teachers are saying in the lessons during a storm. Other than some crazy weather everything is pretty much the same.
The food is still weird but I have to say that the fruit is AWESOME! I’ve never had better strawberries.
I WOULD KILL FOR SOME OF YOUR HOMEMADE JAM RIGHT NOW. You guys have NOOOOOO idea how much we all are DYING for American stuff like….. Syrup!!!! Peanut butter! Burgers! Anything but tacos!! So so so many things! Ha Ha!
After three days of no hot water we finally got it all worked out so I’m happy! The birds here are huge, by the way, and they totally look like velociraptors. You can tell that they’re really smart.
Anyway, this CCM is so huge and packed now. When I got here, there were maybe 300 people but now we’re up to 800. We are now officially the 2nd largest CCM in the world, which is kind of lame because it’s fun with fewer districts and everything but it’s all good.
There were some people filming stuff here for the church! We might be on TV in the World News Report between Saturday General Conference sessions this October! You guys should search Mexico MTC on there and tell me what you see! http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/video-first-missionaries-complete-training-new-mexico-training-center
You guys, I love getting your emails about the stuff going on in your lives. Don’t feel like you’re stuff isn’t important to me, because it REALLY is. I LOVE hearing the little stories that are going on back home. They don’t make me homesick, but they make me feel like I’m supported and sort of ”buoyed up” for the next week. I love it. I wish I had enough time to respond to every email that’s sent to me but I don’t…. :( But please know that I read every one and I love them! Also, please tell me what’s going on the news over there. I heard that there are some terror threats and we’re getting really worried here and we want to know what’s going on!
I heard that there is a NEW Temple film! It’s not dubbed for español so I won’t get to see it for a really really long time, if I even do get to but you guys should see it! Also, sending those pictures of the slow loras was probably the coolest thing that has ever happened. I was the coolest kid. Right after I saw those I took a picture of one and las hermanas and I sprinted to the building where we knew Elder Steiner was, trying to find him, but he was in the Elders bathroom and he heard us yelling ”ELDER STEINER WE HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU!” and he just knew what it was going to be so he refused to come out for a few minutes. When he saw it we all started crying, we were laughing so hard. Last P-day was SUCH a good day.
Our district is so close, guys. We’re like a family. I can’t even tell you. I mean, most of the elders have just graduated high school and sometimes when we see them doing something really immature, we ask them ”Are you guys 18?” and they’re always like ”Yeah, why?” ”Oh, because you’re blowing on your nametag and playing it like a cazoo.” But at the same time, these elders have SUCH powerful testimonies, and they say so many really really deep things about serious things like the Atonement. The Elders in my District have such a fresh perspective on many spiritual topics and it’s so refreshing to study with them. Everyone here is like the spiritual A-team and it’s great to be surrounded by so many great CCM missionaries. Last week we all sat down and studied the book of Revalations and the connections to the Doctorine and Covenants, reading about symbolism and predictions for Armageddon…. It was SOOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOOL oh my gosh! It’s crazy to say, but we literally have to peel ourselves away from our scripture study sometimes to go to meetings and devotionals. I love studying my scriptures, they are such a blessing. El Libro de Mormòn is the best.
I thought you all would laugh to hear that we are all starting to have nicknames in our district — I’m Hermana Iceberg, and my companions are Hermana Slickwicki (because once she made this really really awesome shot in basketball over this football kid’s head during gym) and Hermana Bustin’ Capps, or Hermana Capps Lock. There’s also Elder Shermanator, Elder Parkesito, Elder Mr. Wright, Elder Achett, Elder Courtesy, Elder FrankenSteiner… haha! So Funny! We’re still making up ones for the other Elders. These kids are like my brothers, I swear. Sometimes we have to tell them ”¡Que no sean niñas!” though. By the way, Spanish is AWESOME. I love learning more and more. I’m doing so well! We try to only speak in Spanish as much as we can. It’s so weird typing in English, teaching in English and especially PRAYING in English. It makes us trip up on our words, ironically! By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you guys that Hermana Brudnicki is from Green Bay! Woo hoo! She has an accent and we tease her about it a little bit but she’s SO sweet. I love my companionship. We get along so well!!!
Like I said before, we study at least 10 hours a day. Being a missionary is incredibly demanding. You have to work when you’re completely exhausted, and about 5 hours past that. But it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I can’t tell you how many nights I just lay in bed and smile because I’m filled with so much joy. I’m like 400 times better of a person now that I ever have been in my life. I feel so strong and so connected. It’s not just that I pray more or I read the scriptures more but I’m literally a more patient, humble, teachable, grateful, kind person than I ever have been. I’m really working on developing these Christlike attributes so that I can be the best missionary I can be.
This week I’ve figured something new out for myself — we don’t prepare lessons, we prepare ourselves. Teaching isn’t like preparing a talk and then just sitting down with someone, expecting them to patiently listen to everything you say with no questions or comments. We want the person we’re talking to (member or nonmember) to do the majority of the talking. The Spanish really doesn’t matter — you don’t have to know every grammar rule to bear your testimony of how el Evangelio (The Savior) has impacted your life and get your message across! The Spanish is so that we can really listen to those we teach, and be able to hopefully tell them something that touches their heart, once we know what their concerns are. We don’t teach these people, the Holy Ghost does. I can promise you that. The most important thing is that the investigator feels that peace in their heart when we talk. It’s even more important than the information we give them (but that’s still very important too, of course).
Caroline, you are going to LOVE the CCM and LOVE YOUR MISSION. You’re going to be such a better missionary than I am, too. I’m on my fourth week here and I’ve seen what makes great missionaries and what makes the best missionaries, and let me tell you, you’ll be one of the best for sure. You’ll thrive and develop so many life skills here. The more time I spend here the more I understand what it means to be ”set apart” from the world. This is the only time that my name will be right next to and above Jesus Christ’s name, as seen on my name tag.
Setting apart everything that you were living can be hard, but we seriously have the Godhead on our team here. I’m more than happy to be doing this right now. It’s like the story after the Savior’s crucifixion when the 12 apostles went back to fishing because they didn’t know what they should do next. The resurrected Savior appears to them for the first time on the shore of the lake, and Peter jumps out of the boat as soon as he sees him and swims to shore as fast as he can. When they all get there and they are sitting in a circle around the fire, Christ turns to Peter and says, ”Peter, do you love me?” Peter answers yes. Christ asks him again ”Peter, do you love me more than your boat?” and Peter says yes again, somewhat confused. The Lord asks him one more time, ”Peter, do you love me, more than your boat?” and Peter says something to the effect of ”Lord, I love you above all!”
Christ looks him right in the eye, with all of the power of God and says ”Then feed my sheep.”
That’s why I’m here.