How are you all? I hope that you have all been doing fine! It's so nice to talk to you all and read all your emails!! I'm seriously so excited right now. Just to get some details out of the way my P day in the CCM is every thursday and next week I'll be on at this time but it could change the week after! And if you ask me any questions I will have to answer them the week after because I have to print off every email and read them on P day because I wouldn't have enough time to read them all and respond!
But on with the show (there's so much to talk about and I hope that I'll be able to get everything!!)
First things first, I have absolutley fallen in love with missionary work and being a missionary. I love wearing my name tag every day. I always smile when I put it on every morning! It's been a surreal moment looking down some times and seeing it there on my pocket. I'm like "man...I'm acutally a missionary!" I've also come to have an even deeper love, knowledge and appreciation for this amazing and wonder gospel. I now know why it means 'good news'. I know that it is the true church. I feel it and know it with every fiber of my being. My soul delights in the happiness and knowledge that it brings to me and my life. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer! I am so in love with this Gospel and I am excited and honored to go bring this news and knowlegde to others.
In other news, they call me Elder Viejos down here (which being interpereted literally means olds...as in plural old age...haha! I absolutley love it. Brings a smile to my face every time!) I've also been called Elder Anciano which literally means ancient! Haha! The people here in the CCM are so nice and amazing. President and Sister Romney are two incredible people and I love learning and serving with them. All the other elders and sisiters are great people too! Most of us are from North America, like me! But we do have some missionaries from Haiti living here with us all too, and let me just say that they are some of my favorite people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life! They are all so welcoming, and happy, full of light and just fun to be around! They just exude Christlike behavior in every thing they do. Also...they're really good at soccer. During gym hour one day me and my companion, Elder Stoeltzing (who I'll get to later) went outside with some of our district and played futbol with them. Gavin, you would absolutly love playing with them! Right up your alley dude! Their footwork is on point. They would just dance around all of the American elders and laugh at them, all in good fun! That day we were playing out in the middle of Tropical Storm Erika which was INSANELY COOL! The wind was blowing, it was raining really hard, we were out in our street clothes playing keep away in a circle with everyone just having a ball! ( I think Olga might have sent you a video or two mom!) That was a fun day! When it rains it's a warm rain like in Hawaii which is what made it so enjoyble!
I'm also happy to tell you that I have acclimated to missionary life very well. I thrive on being this way. I wake up at six every morning to be the first up and in the shower. I wear my flip flops in the shower and around our room. I never walk bear foot. I technically could here in the CCM since it's like a little slice of America with clean water, clean floors and showers and airconditioning but I think it's a good idea to get myself acclimated to how life will be out in the field so I don't brush my teeth with water from the tap, I use bottled water for that and shaving. But after I shower I just get ready. I have all my ties for the week set out so I grab a shirt and some slacks and get dressed then I put my nametag on (I love it so much Nate was right...it's amazing). Once everyone else in my room is up and ready we head down stairs to the Cafeteria to eat breakfast. They serve this chocolate oatmeal every morning which I love. I have it todos las mañanas! It's become sort of like my vegamite and toast here in the CCM dad! It's not ethnic but hey, it's part of my perfect mornings. After Breakfast we head up to personal and companionship study where Elder Stoeltzing and I plan out our lessons for that night. I have come to love studying the scriptures. They bring me so much joy, comfort and knowledge, especially when things have gotten tough here, and they have! I've recently been reading about the great missionaries of old like Ammon, Alma and Amuleck and the sons of Mosiah! Their stories bring me a lot of excitement and hope that one day soon I will be as great a missionary as they were, because that is something I want so desperatly. I want to become an amazing messenger. I want to teach with the spirit, bear my testimony powerfully and teach simply to the peoples needs. I want to serve them, like Ammon did, I want to love them as Alma did to the Zoramites who were cast out of their synagogues. This is the thing I most desire in my heart. That and to learn the language but I think that's in the same boat!
My companions name is Elder Stoeltzing! He's from Sacramento, California and he's an amazing guy! He reminds me so much of you Gavin. He's really reserved and calculated with his humor and personality but I can tell he has a love of this Gospel and wants to become a great missionary as well. I am grateful for him and the chance that I have to know and serve with him here. In my room there are two other missionaries besides me and Elder Stoeltzing. Elder Larkin and Elder Francis. They're from Vegas and I'm fairly certain that they are the same person, pre ordained to be companions here on Earth because they're so good as companions! Elder Francis is the talker. He is one of the funniest guys I know here so far. He has an uncanny ability to get be everyones friend. He has started this new thing where after Prayer meeting each night he gathers all the other elders into our room and for 20 minutes he does story time with them until about 10:25. I don't really participate much because I'm too busy writing in my journal, which I'm happy to say, I haven't missed a night so far and it's alwasy been at least two pages so I can't wait for you all to read them when I get back!
I've also fallen in love with Spanish! Man, do I love my Spanish! I love getting to speak it and I love learning it. After personal and companionship study our day pretty much consists of classes centered around spanish and the Gospel. Believe me though, there are days when I wanted to pull my hair out and jump out the window because I couldn't understand any of it. But there are also days where I am so happy because I am learning so much and internalizing so much! I choose to focus on those days and the feelings I had then the most because I've learned that that's how I know things are true, through the holy ghost telling me in my heart so I can feel them.
I have a story for you! It was my second lesson in spanish that night (it's just like mission prep, we mock teach people but everyone has a character to play and they never...ever break character...so it's really nice. Me and Elder Stoeltzing's investigator is named Richard!) So we get up there and we didn't really have a lesson planned because they just springed it on us. So we get up there to his room and we start talking to him in Spanish. And guys, the Gift of Tongues is real. I was able to understand what he was saying. I always had to ask him to slow down but I could understand him. Always. And then i was able to TALK BACK TO HIM! I was able to say most of the things that I felt I needed to say to him. It was really broken and slow but I COULD DO IT!! I felt the spirit coursing through my body, I was filled with the holy ghost and the gift of tonges. I was an amazing experience. I treasure it and remember it often! And spanish is coming along really well so far. There are days, like I said, where I hate it and I need extra streangth to focus and understand but then there are days where I can speak really well with people.
Also, I'm a district leader now!! How cool is that? I love being on. I love serving those in my district and being thier leader. It's an amazing feeling. More on that next week.
Things to pray for and do this week.
1. Pray for my Spanish. Pray that I'll be able to focus always and understand and internalize the things that I learn that I may speak it. Pray for me to have an increase in learning capcity.
2. Pray for me to get better at teaching and teaching with the spirit. Pray for me to learn the doctrine and be able to dicern what my investigators need. Pray for me to have the companionship fo the Holy Ghost.
3. Pray that I can be a better leader.
Please read D&C sections 6, 8 and 9 on prayer. Read it and try to see how you can pray and recieve anwers better! Tell me all next week how it went for you! I'd love to hear!
I love you all and miss you all. Especially mom and dad and gav, carston and lucy! I love you all so much!
I have a testimony of this church. I know that it is Jesus Christ's restored church and that it is the only true and living church on this earth. I testify of this!
Hasta proxima semana! Un abrazo!
PS. Here are some photos from this week at the temple and around the CCM. Please keep sending me letters every one! I love to hear from you! Makes my week!