The day she left we got an email just before bed, saying
"I safely made it to the CCM! (MTC or missionary training center in Spanish) Flights where very uneventful and I mostly slept the whole time. Probably the best part of flying was when I was transferring planes and knew I was in the right place because of all the elders I could see. I´d say there´s probably close to 20 elders (Male missionaries) and only 4 of us sisters (female missionaries) that came in on the flight from Atlanta.
From what I saw of Mexico, it is beautiful! I love it. It is huge though, but really colorful. Driving through was different too because while it was beautiful, you could also see the poverty. Buildings really close to each other, crowded buses, buildings that seem to be built on top of each other. Very different than Bellevue and Seattle.
The CCM is beautiful too. It´s dark now, but I can already tell how pretty it is. Since coming in, we have received our welcome packets and information about our stay. It looks like my p-day (preparation day, or the day when the missionaries have the chance to email home, do laundry and such.) will be Thursdays so the next time I´ll write will be next Thursday. Tomorrow is when I start everything else, like orientation and tours. Oh and I finally received my NAME TAG!!! So stoked for that to happen."
Clearly she was enjoying everything :) The next Thursday we got another email, Here is some of it:
"So after writing you guys, I got to head to my room and meet my companions (yep! i have two!). Hermanas (Sister in Spanish) Feigel and Schumacher. Hermana Feigel is from California and is headed to San Antonio Texas and Hermana Schumacher is from Minnesota (she´s headed to Vegas). They are awesome and are great and we have had no problems.
So the first night was kinda hard. Um the drive in was awesome (you could probably tell from my last email). And then i headed to my room. Hermanas live in Casas (houses) and so it´s just me and my compañas in one room. We have our own bathroom. And even better, there´s a laundry room in the casa too. But back to the first night, well I made my bed and was feeling alittle down so I tried looking for the scripture mom shared the night before (Dy. Read it, because it brought me a lot of peace that first night.
C 31), but couldn´t find it. And just as I was about to give up, I flipped the page in my scriptures and my eyes fell across DyC
Basically this was our orientation day. We met our district, our teacher and then went through the rules and regulations at the CCM. In my district, there are 3 hermanas (so just me and my companions) and 8 elders. Basically we spend all day together in classes and stuff like that.
Our normal schedule is getting up at, in the class by 7, breakfast at 8 and then back in class at . Then from we have class with our teacher, Hermano (Brother in Spanish) May. These classes can be language based, scripture/doctrine based or he works with us one on one while other groups study or prepare lessons together. At we have excerise time until and then at 1 we have lunch. At we get an hour on the computers to work on TALL, a technology based language program and then at we have additional study time. From we either teach someone, work on lessons with companions or have other classes, depending on the day. Dinner is at , language study time starts at , more personal study starts at and then at 9, companionships plan for next week. we head back to our casas and at it´s lights out. And sometimes, doesn´t seem to come soon enough. It´s crazy how fast the days seem to go around here... but yeah, it´s a lot of studying.
We taught our first lección in español on Friday (so my second full day in the CCM). It was a different kind of experience, but wasn´t absolutely horrible. My companionship taught Carlos and mostly, Friday was getting to know him and answer the questions he had. (In the MTC or CCM, member volunteer to act as non-member investigators in order to give the missionaries practice at teaching someone who has no background knowledge of the Gospel, or even Christ. It allows the missionaries to learn how to really teach from the very begining. Carlos is an example of one of those volunteers.)
Saturday- basically just the same as Friday. We taught Carlos again and we thought that the second lección went pretty well. Oh and as a side note, outside the CCM there was a feria going on this week (street fair) and will the street fair there was a mass starting every morning at. So cada manaña fuegos artificales (every morning fireworks) went off at , and then at and then throughout the rest of the day. Luckily they have kinda died down a bit so that´s been good, no more being woken up at by fuegos artificales.
So it started off with personal study (as always) and then the hermanas had relief society (a sunday school for just the women). Then the whole district met up for district meeting (like sunday school) and then we had sacrament. Every week, we have to prepare a 5 minute talk (sermon) (in español), that we might end up giving in Sacrament meeting (the sermon part of a LDS meeting) (the presidente de rama (minister) may or may not call on you). Well it just happens that the CCM president happened to be in our branch (rama) this week. And it also just so happened that the elders that spoke didnt´t speak in español.... So after they all spoke, we had a talk by Presidente Pratt on being obedient and following the rules to speak and prepare our talks in español. Don´t worry- I didn´t speak, but my talk was in español. And then, later that night, at 8, instead of studying more, it was movie time!! We watched the Legacy.
Typical CCM missionary day. Study-eat-study-exercise-eat-
tall, you get the picture.
We as a companionship decided to study, pray and think about what to teach Carlos. At some point in time, we decided to prepare a lección (lesson) around the concepts of the Articles of Faith, because our purpose in the lección was going to try and get to know carlos better. Well we get into our lección and we start asking him about different things that are going on and ended talking about something else completely different. It was a true testament to me, that we are doing the Lord´s work, not our own, because we taught what needed to be taught to Carlos, through the Holy Ghost (espíritu santo). We were able to teach to help Carlos with his problems and forget about our own agendas to help him understand better that he is a child of God and that someone out there is watching out for him and cares for him.
We also had a live devotional this night and it was awesome! Elder Johnson of the seventy spoke to us about missionary work and working with the wards once we get out into the campo misional (mission field).
So weird to think that a week ago I had left home...
Today was our last lección with Carlos and we taught him about the Atonement (la expiación) of Jesucristo and how he could apply it to his life. We focused more on how la expiación worked with sufferings and pains than with sins, because we felt that was the answer Carlos needed to hear. It was another great lección with the Spirit being strong. Wednesday was also pizza night and the day newbies arrived. We´re no longer new missionaries!
Hoy (today)- Well it´s cleary p-day because I get to write, but what was awesome about today was that we also got to go to the TEMPLE!! It was awesome. We get to go at least 2 or 3 times. The first time we get to use translators and English if we need to, but I opted to go completely in Spanish. It wasn´t bad at all! And the temple is beautiful and amazing! It is so nice to know that where ever you are and what ever language you´re speaking the church and the words are the same.
Okay and some last general information:
the food here is AWESOME. It´s like I died and went to Mexican food heaven. I think that´s the reason I came here, just for the food (I´m kidding, but it really is that good)."
The Pictures she sent the first week: on the left is her and her two companions, and on the right is EM :) you can see how excited she is for everything!