This week has just FLOWN by, it’s been great! I am just dying to get out into the field in Perù. I don’t know how people survived 9 to12 weeks in the CCM! I am just itching to get out and do some work! One of the big things that we’re taught here is that ”how you finish here is how you’ll finish in the field.” It’s really true. Some people get ‘trunky,’ where they start getting anxious to leave and they pack weeks in advance. My companions and I are working hard to be especially obedient this week because we want to make the best of this time that we can! You only get one shot in the CCM and it can either make you or break you. You can either take off with it and progress a ton or you can be disobedient and lazy and waste the precious time you have to experiment with teaching styles and learn the language. Now, after I’m just about to leave, I feel like I finally have the CCM figured out. It’s like ”Ok, now I’m ready to rock the CCM,” but it’s already over! I’m going into the real world now. Which is why I am so glad that we have training centers! I’m so glad I got all of that awkwardness out here, only in front of teachers and other missionaries. I am SO glad that I’ve figured out how to push through being tired and to use my time effectively. It’s funny because after six weeks here I can comfortably give a whole talk in Spanish and I can teach a 45 minute lesson easily, but all of the Spanish I know is church-oriented so when they drop me off in South America I’m going to be needing a lot of help navigating around. Basically, I know no Spanish nouns and verbs outside of really simple stuff or straight-up Gospel terms. But I’m not even scared! I am SO ready and SO excited to do this! Yeah!! I just want to be in my mission already!
So we had two more earthquakes this week. One of them I heard was in the 6 point range? I don’t know, that’s what I heard. I didn’t feel it, which bummed me out a tiny bit but for the most part I’d rather not experience it.
Two days ago, there must have been something in the food because honestly about half of the entire CCM (teachers, workers and missionaries alike) became violently sick at the exact same time, at 3 in the morning. I was one of the lucky ones that escaped but those who did fall ill said that it was one of the worst experiences of their entire life. Some of the Elders named the event ”the Waters of Mormon.” We have all gotten to the point where we don’t want to even eat food anymore. Last week someone found a zip-tie in their salad. Worst yet, yesterday an Elder found a literal cockroach in his re-fried beans. We pretty much only trust eating cereal for two of the meals each day. We long so much for easy, safe food that doesn’t surprise us every day (for example, honeydew slices with Mexican Whoppers candy in it???). I miss the security of the states so bad and I’m a bit sad that I’ll be going straight to Perù because of this.
I ran into my cousin Zach right after I read my emails last Thursday! Our schedules are completely different so we only will see each other on Sunday, for the most part, but it was really nice to talk to him. It’s so fun to have someone here I know!
Last Friday for our service project, districts 15-A and 15-B (mine) were assigned to wash a couple of houses. All of the buildings here are made of white-painted brick, and they show dirt easily so we have to scrub them fairly often. We had buckets of water that we were throwing at the walls and we used brooms to scrub the highest bricks. Doing projects with these 18 year-old Elders is always hilarious because they do goofy stuff on accident. For example, a few of them started throwing buckets of water at the walls before we closed the windows and totally soaked a couple of hermanas’ rooms! Oh boy… Also we had a hose for filling up the buckets, but one of the boys accidentally hooked it up to hot water straight from the boiler instead of the normal water outlet and a couple people got sprayed with super hot water. After we started yelling ”calientè, calientè!!!” one of the workers sprinted around the building and fixed it. In the end it turned into a water fight, and we were all soaked and laughing. It was so much fun!
Things have been pretty much the same around here. We’re still studying like crazy and having tons of fun.
Today we went to the temple again and it was very lovely. I understand more and more every day. We’re teaching less now than we were a few weeks ago, and we spend most of our class time reviewing grammar, studying the fundamentals of the Gospel in greater depth and sharing our testimonies with each other. I am so grateful for my experience so at the CCM. I have really loved my time here, and I have loved all of the people I have bonded with.
My district is my mission family. I’m going to miss some of these guys while I’m in Perù. Oh yeah, I don’t know if I told you guys but Elder Scott in my district is the one who was on all of my travel information that I received before I entered the CCM. Along with him, I’ll be flying down with my current companions. It was such a tender mercy that we ended up together, all of us Perù Lima Central guys.
You asked me before about what specifically I think makes a good missionary — what it comes down to is having Christlike attributes. It’s not ”your mission,” or ”my mission.” It’s His mission. As a literal representative of Jesus Christ, you have to be constantly developing yourself and using the Atonement to become like our Savior. D&C section 4 is great, it really lays it all out there. The best missionaries are not necessarily the most learned or the most eloquent. They’re sympathetic, sensitive, genuinely kind and have a true testimony. They love the Lord with all of their heart, might and strength!!! A true missionary doesn’t struggle to be obedient to mission rules because they know that these are made for our protection, and that we will be greatly blessed and rewarded for our hard work. They know that ”obedience brings blessings, [and] exact obedience brings miracles.” The key to the work is love! I’ve mentioned this in my last couple of emails. Missionary work will always be hard, but if we are obedient, the Lord will fit his servants to the task that needs to be done. We will be strenghtened. Participating in this great work is probably one of the very greatest accomplishments of my entire life! My only regret is that I didn’t share my testimony more without fear before now. It’s too bad that some people don’t realize that everyone can be a missionary! I was so afraid of being rejected but the thing is, when you talk to someone you care about with the feelings deep inside your heart, and you express that Christlike love, people will have a hard time rejecting your message. I mean, they probably won’t ask to be baptized instantly. They might not be interested in the church. But sharing what means most to you never hurts, if you do it in the right way. I hope you guys won’t be afraid to share your testimony or show the light of the Gospel in your actions!
Something that I have really come to love this week is reading el Libro de Mormòn en español. It’s incredible. The way things are described sometimes paints a new picture of understanding in my head when I study. There are different meanings and connotations attached to every word in each language. I love getting a fresh perspective on stories that I have known, studied and loved my entire life. Also, believe it or not, it’s way easier to read in Spanish because there aren’t the ‘thy’s and ‘thou’s that can make things more confusing in English! :) There’s not really such a thing as ”olde Spanish,” unless you’re counting the use of ‘vosotros.’ In Spanish, saying ”vosotros” is the equivalent of saying ”you all” informally. It has it’s own sets of specific verb conjugations for every Spanish tense. It’s obsolete in Latin America, but used in Spain. We’re learning how to use it here because it’s used in the scriptures! We want to be able to read and understand the scriptures as best we can, of course :) Guys, you’ve gotta study the scriptures as much as you can. Every day. A person who studies the scriptures daily is going to have a truly converted heart for the rest of their life, guaranteed. Remember the fundamentals. Prayer is one of the greatest gifts in the whole world! Use it! God is our Father, and he wants to hear from us. He loves us so much. He will do everything he can to help us succeed. I know that he is very near to us when we pray.
I’m sorry I’m not writing as clearly as I have the last couple of weeks, I am incredibly tired for some reason but I hope you all know how thankful I am for you guys and for all of the support you give me. It means the world to me. Never hesitate to shoot an email over here in this direction, it will ALWAYS be appreciated!
Do all you can to keep the Spirit with you. Christ will be always there for you when you turn to Him. I know this. You’ve just got to invite the light into your life.
Additional Photos from this week: