We heard from Jeremiah just as I was posting this to his blog today (he sent this email last nite). He made it to Ecuador safely! He says it is very pretty and at least people drive in their correct lanes.:) He will be in the mission home for a few days and will receive his new companion and area assignment on Friday.
CCM. Nowhere have I felt more spiritually fed, every single day. I don't
think I even realize how much I'm going to miss it. I'll probably have
withdrawal over the next week or two. We'll see. But I am SO ready to
leave, and can't wait to get going to Quito! My plane leaves at 2:00 in the
morning tomorrow. I hope I can get enough sleep. It's a little harrowing to
be going out into the real world, where not everyone is Mormon. The CCM - I
don't know if I ever explained this - is a walled-off, gated part of Mexico
City. And not one of the particularly nice parts, either, apparently. I've
only had contact with "outsiders" maybe three times - when I went to the
temple, and the two times we taught TRC, which is when we teach volunteers
(the rest of the time it's either teachers or other missionaries). But hey.
It's gonna be great.
Elder Neil L. Andersen
I keep forgetting this even happened not two days ago - that's a testament
to how spiritual this place is that I forgot that I SHOOK THE HAND OF AN
APOSTLE. Well, it was super quick because he wanted to shake the hands of
all the missionaries and we had a giant line that they kept moving pretty
fast, but hey. I did it. This is only the second apostle I've ever had a
change of being close to in my life, the first being Elder Bednar who I
recall gave a fireside or some sort many years ago up at the Greentree
building (am I remembering that right, people?).
Also, I got to be in the choir, which was awesome, because I got to stand
pretty much right behind Elder Richard G. Maynes (who was along for the
ride with Elder Andersen I guess) and thus not more than five feet or so
from Elder Andersen. We sang I Stand All Amazed (in Spanish), which was
also great because it's one of my favorite hymns.
No pics, sorry, we were specifically told not to. That would've been a mess.
And not surprisingly I suppose, Elder Andersen decided to talk to us about
the Atonement. It was a great devotional.
I think that's one of the most important things I've gotten to learn about
here. And what I've learned is that I'll be learning about if for my whole
life. But I am so grateful for a God who loves us so much He sent His only
Son to atone for our sins. That is the message I want to bring to the
people of Ecuador. I relearn it every day, and in the most unlikely of
places - but maybe that's not unlikely, because it's something that can
touch every one of us. I hope it does.
Everything I Needed In Life I Learned In Band
The other thing I'd like to mention is a little I've learned about
dedication. I've gained the reputation here in my district as the
hardest-studying missionary - I won't say it's undeserved, I suppose. They
asked me why I can do that so easily, so easily dedicate myself to
something and I thought about it a lot and this is what I think is the
I learned it in band.
(Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Matchett, Drew, if you're reading this you have every
reason to feel validated, and maybe share this in a pre-game pep talk or
I seem to remember a poster or piece of paper stuck up on the band room
board that said this, or something like it. And you know what, I think it
WAS in band that I learned how to do this! All of my study habits and
ability to focus came from pushing through those last minute attention
drills or the countless hours I spent trying to get that stinking trumpet
lick in Chester under my fingers. Because I learned that process of
relentless practice, I knew how to apply it out here - and it was just
second nature. I slipped right into to it, because I'd been taught to
expect nothing less of myself and that dedication. And I enjoy, it too. I
know the results come because I've seen how they come in the past from this
kind if practice.
So, join marching band.
I'm surprised at how much I miss it. I really miss music and being able to
make it. I love how music can be used to praise God - like singing in the
Well, if that wasn't the geekiest way to end an e-mail. I have so much more
to write about but...another time. Next time you hear from me I'll be in
Ecuador! Hasta luego!
My classroom...I'll miss it, but I won't! I practically lived here for the past month and a half.
The district and our teacher Hno. Juarez! He'll be going to BYU - I'm going to hunt him down there.
|Teacher and first "investigator," Hno. Medina!|