Wow! Family email overload haha. Thanks for all the emails. Im sorry for all of the mistakes in this, the keyboard is really different even though we use the same letters and its going to take some getting used to haha
So this place is beautiful. We are seriously so lucky to be at the CCM! It’s not at all like the Provo MTC. There are probably just a little over 100 people here at a time. Ive had dinner with the president and his wife twice already, they are so involved with the missionaries and its just fantastic. The Latinos are here for two weeks and the gringos are here for six. I have three latina roommates and they are muy hermosa. i love them so much. Hermana Choque, Morales y Lopez. Hermana Lopez is from Peru and we have become fast friends. she speaks a little bit of English and between our languages we have been able to communicate really well, and we were both able to share testimony on Sunday in relief society. I had a translator so that was super cool. I have to tell you, the gift of tongues is real. It isnt always what you think it is going to be, but it is definitely there. I am so grateful for it! I’m sorry this email is so scattered, there is just so much I want to tell you and don’t feel like I have time to say it ha ha. So the first few days were really crazy and Saturday was a little frustrating. Everything is in Spanish. My morning teacher, Hermano Lazo speaks perfect English and that is so helpful. Seriously. He’s hilarious and he is the perfect teacher. I have learned so much from him. In the evenings I have Hermano Flores, who is a Chinese Peruvian. He speaks Chinese and Spanish, but maybe ten words of English. Hermano Aguila is from Lima and knows a bit of English because he’s worked here for a while but the evenings are definitely full immersion, Im surprised by how much I’ve learned already.
after that frustrating day on Saturday of headaches and no understanding, Sunday happened. Sunday was perfect. I think it’s going to be my favorite day. It’s a day that is all focused on the gospel and it’s just perfect. it was fast Sunday, and yes here at the CCM it is a 24hr fast. My roommates were complaining about how hungry they were but i felt totally fine and energized. i had important things to fast for and it was nice to have such focus, i was definitely blessed in that regard. We had a great testimony meeting in our branch and then we had relief society with the Latina sisters. That was so cool. Like I mentioned before...Hermana Lopez got up to bear testimony. I. UNDERSTOOD. EVERY. WORD. Todos. Everything. I couldn’t believe it. I think i know the reason too....God gives the gift of tongues particularly when we LOVE the person that is speaking. I LOVE Hermana Lopez. Just like I told you, the feelings I felt for JiWon or for Rosie...that instant pure just need to be friends with them and want to help them know the truth....that’s what I felt the minute i met her. I was bawling by the time she finished her testimony and i felt strongly that i needed to go up too. it was just perfect. And, last night she and I had a conversation for probably half an hour and she told me that she’s been struggling with some things but that I make her happy and bring her confidence. I didn’t know the reason for coming here exactly this week, but now I do. That is definitely one of them. I have learned so much in just a few days.
So I’ll give you some info on Lima, at least my observations. This is the coolest place ever. I know in the Provo MTC you don’t really get to leave but every P-day we get to go outside of the CCM limits! So freaking cool! We rode a "bus" to the Lima temple today. “bus” is an overstatement. It’s like a tiny little van that packs people like sardines from place to place, and the drivers are crazy ha ha. but it was such a fun experience. Central Lima is pretty dirty and there are a ton of people, but you get to the temple and everything is white and beautiful. There are all sorts of weird, Dr. Suess trees here just like Hawaii. There are stray dogs everywhere on the streets and tons of the homes are painted in different colors. There are a lot of traditional, not...so...first world country type places and then you turn around and there’s a 5 star style Mcdonalds haha. It’s so crazy! The temple is tiny, but it’s beautiful. The experience there was the best I’ve had yet. I’m so grateful we get to go every week. After the temple today I was able to shop! It was so coo! They have this missionary specific tourist trap with all sorts of trinkets...get excited haha. The grocery store has all of the things that I’m used to and need.
Hermana Stirling and I are the ONLY ones going to Lima Oeste that I’ve met so far. Apparently a group of Latinos from our mission just left last week, but there aren’t very many Norte Americanos. I’m actually excited about that...because learning the language would come so much faster with a Latina companion. The first counselor in our branch, his wife doesn’t speak any Spanish...and she actually goes to the same ward as my mission president! She said she sat by Hermana Archibald last week in relief society haha, i guess my mission home is probably really close to here. i think my mission is the smallest in Peru.....don’t quote me on that, but that’s what it sounds like. When people hear which mission I’m going to all they say is that it is beautiful and humid. Hermana Wickline is going to Lima South and they keep telling her she’s gonna eat cat.....I’m glad I’m going where I am haha.
The language is coming. It’s cool to see the improvements that I’ve made in less than a week. Obviously I am not anywhere near fluent...I try to talk to my roommates, and if it isn’t Hermana Lopez then it’s usually a very simple conversation....but those Hermanas have muchas paciencia. It’s fun to practice Spanish with people.
My district is hilarious.The elders are all going to the Trujillo mission. They are the funniest boys. Only two of them are 19...the rest are fresh out of high school. some of them are really mature and seem older...others...not so much haha. It’s so amazing how much trust the church has put in the hands of such young men and women with such little life experience. We are doing the most important work there is, The salvation of souls. I think our inexperience is a part of the humility factor that is necessary for the spirit. The spirit is the teacher, we are not. We don’t know the experiences these people are facing, in most cases i dont think i am going to directly relate to them. That’s why I am focusing so much on learning how to use the spirit. we taught our first "investigator", Hermano Flores, last night right after Hermana Wickline left us and she knew the most Spanish...so we thought we were in trouble....but we weren’t. We prayed for the spirit and we opened our discussion with a prayer and it was such an amazing experience. We were able to teach a somewhat coherent lesson! "Gustavo" wanted to know the purpose of life, he just didn’t really feel like there was a reason for him to be here. We were able to teach very basic portions of the plan of salvation, and we taught him how to pray...even though we didn’t know the language to teach that. i was able to bear testimony and though I didn’t know all the words I needed....somehow i was able to relay an experience and testify through the spirit. I know that wasn’t me talking, i know the gift of tongues is real.
the food is delicious. I haven’t had any problems with it. there are some weird fruits here....and I discovered that i absolutely despise papaya haha, but there’s one called...granida...or something...it sounded like granade...it looks like an orange but it has all these super sweet pulpy seeds in it. its interesting. There are some different foods here but it’s so good. the bread is fantastic and the ice cream is the best i have ever had, but don’t worry mom, I’m being extremely careful. lots of veggies and MENOS rice for this girl haha. they were right about rice at every meal. i love the food. it is all made from scratch by the chef at the CCM which I thought was really cool.
Next week Tuesday is a national holiday, so the temple will be packed. Because of this I will have P-day on Thursday, just so you know. also please no packages in the CCM. I think I forgot to tell you. If I forgot something muy importante, you can send it to my mission home address!
oh! there is an Hermana Gonzalez here that went to high school with Lauren Carr! So cool! and tell Hermana Rogers that everyone loves my necklace. I constantly get comments about it!
Brett way to go at the game last week! sounds like you are having a fantastic season! I’m glad homecoming went well, send me a picture! TJ congrats on the quest program! I knew you were a little smarty! Jake and Kace, tell me more about your lives! I hope Jake is doing well in school, and i think he starts basketball pretty soon...good luck with that hermano! Kacey, you can totally make it through AP Euro! I believe in you!
Mis padres, thanks for being such strong examples in the gospel... I can’t even tell you how lucky i feel to have both of you in my life, supporting me, and completely understanding the reasons I’m out here. Not many people have that.
Yo se que la iglesia es verdadera. Yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador y es El Hijo de Dios. Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Oracion es real. El don de lenguas es real. I am supposed to be a missionary at this time. Though I don’t know this language very well, I know that the words I am TRYING to speak are correct and true, and at this point that is enough. The Lord knows each of us and he knows our needs. He knows that I need to learn from certain people and that they need me. I am so excited to see where things go.
This is a huge learning curve. And I thought Summer Sales was hard....HA! So worth it though. My testimony has grown ten-fold and it has only been a few days.
I love you all so much. Thanks for your support and for everything you have done for me! I hope you have a fantastic week and that everything goes well for you. If you can, try to send me one family email per a week, I only have an hour on the computer...and though that sounds like a lot of time the internet is kind of slow and my typing skills are terrible on this thing. of course if you want to send me individual emails, please do that too. It is just easier to send a weekly email with all of your questions and updates together.
LOVE YOU LOVE YOU LOVE YOU!