That's how it's pronounced in Spanish here. The CCM! Holy cow I can't believe I've been here a week. It feels more like years. It's already kinda hard to remember exactly what home was like! Not really - I love you all and I miss you all. Thanks so much for the letters and e-mails. I could spend all P-Day writing this post, but we've got other things to do. Where to begin...
On the Plane
I have to get out my journal because I can't even remember...OK, here we go. So on both the plan to Atlanta and the one to Mexico City I got the whole row to myself, which was awesome! It took loads of pictures in the clouds. This was the first time I'd flown since like 8th grade, so it was super fun for me. At Atlanta, I managed to find some other elders - Elders Enosa, Wilky, and Phipps. They were cool - Elder Phipps is going to my own mission, actually. Then we flew down on the same plane. I was a little worried about customs and stuff. And of course I didn't fill out my sheet in pen. So when I went up to the desk the guy took a glance at it and slashed a big X in it, then told me something in Spanish. He pointed me to a place where I could fill it out again, though, so that's what I did, and thankfully got back through.
Then was the most eventful car ride of my life. There were six of us elders (we met two more at the airport) and the driver crammed into the mission van. And Mexican drivers are craaazy. There were a multitude of times where I thought "there's no way we can make that gap" or "that bus is totally going to hit us." I and the other elders were bracing ourselves constantly. But we made it ok! I guess that's just the way it is here in Mexico. They don't use turn signals often - they just make a go for it. And so everyone just drives crazy. You know it's a problem when there are more rows of cars on the road than there are lanes. I wish I could've taken pics, but I didn't want the other elders to think I was weird or something...
The first couple days are a lot of meetings, and so they kinda drag on a little. Meetings on safety, on the campus, this and that...and I couldn't find mi compañero. So it was this elaborate dance of switching off with elders to go places so that everyone always had a companion. I eventually found him that night! And the next morning we found out he was our District Leader! I like him - he's a good guy, maybe a little (or a lot) more energetic/crazy than I am, but he's good. He's obedient and he works hard (when he's focused). That might be one of the hardest things about a mission. All of you know I kinda like to do my own thing, and so learning to adjust to a companion will be difficult. But I think I'm starting in a good place.
Now that I'm in the thick of things, it's Spanish classes all day. The teachers all teach in a mix of Spanglish or even just straight Spanish. And the second day (the first FULL day) you have to teach your first investigator. In Spanish.
It was pretty tough.
I'm so glad I did the work I did over summer, because my companion knows nothing. He took three years of German! That's ok, though. We can work through it. I can understand our investigator pretty well, and our 3rd lesson yesterday actually went pretty well. The biggest problem really knowing how to respond. My Spanish isn't quite there yet, and I can't really understand any of the native speakers when they're on full-blast Spanish mode...but it'll get there. I am learning so much every day. I'm getting a good amount of time studying (though it never feels like enough!).
We can do it. I just keep in my mind the promise in 1 Nephi 3:7. The Lord has prepared a way.
Some Things About Mexico
Yesterday/today was the celebration of Mexican Independence. We attended a ceremony full of dancing and singing yesterday - check out the Mexican anthem. It was pretty fun to sing, if a little hard to get the hang of. Several hundred missionaries belting out the second refrain of "y retiemble en sus centros la TIERRRRRR-A!" was a sight to behold in the auditorium.
There was fireworks all last night. Mi compañeros in mi casa (the house we stay in) had a little hard time sleeping. Well, we think there were fireworks. At pretty much all times of the day, every day, we can hear SOMETHING exploding. They know how to party here in Mexico.
The food isn't bad. Apparently it's not quite full-on Mexican, though. Which is probably good, because my companion has had diarrhea and one of my roommates was sick yesterday and Sunday.
It has rained almost every day here. I didn't expect that! It gets warm, sure, but the mornings are pretty chilly, too.
My birthday was great! All the elders en mi casa came and sang to me. And thanks for all the birthday wishes!
Ok my time is short. But let me tell you, this is hard. This is, and is going to be, the hardest thing I've done in my life. But it's worth it. Every day I relearn my purpose here. How important this message is. I keep thinking of the scripture, if I can bring just one person unto Christ...how joyful I would be. There's nowhere else I could be that is more important. There are people out there who, even though they might not know it, need to be saved. I wish I could spend a little more time on this spiritual thought, but really, that's the most important thing.
I don't know that I've ever cried so much. The Spirit can be so strong here, and come at the strangest of times, but it's comforting. I need that, I know. Heavenly Father's just letting me know each day that what I'm doing is the right thing. That I can have a difference in someone's life. I need to be here for others. I matter the least.