Holy cow! This week has been so crazy. I have a lot to say in limited time
so I'll just try to get it all down. The first day here sucked. I seriously
wanted so bad to just go home. Then, at about 9 at night, we got our new
roommates, Elders Cruz and Valdebenito. Elder Cruz is from Mexico City
and Elder Valdebenito I think is from Chile or Argentina, I don't remember.
When they got there, everything turned around. I was speaking to them as
well as I could in Spanish, and I found out that Elder Cruz is my age, and
his birthday is on the same day as mine. How wild is that!? Our second day
, we had our first teaching experience....TO A REAL INVESTIGATOR.
Luckily it was in English. His name is José, and he works as a computer tech
in the CCM. We taught him about the restoration and I invited him to be
baptized, and he said that he needed to learn more, but he would. I was so
pumped. The next day (day 3) We taught him IN SPANISH! At that point,
I was able to hold a somewhat decent conversation in spanish (in present tense only),
so it wasn't that bad. My companions (I'm in a trio!!) Elder Flake and Elder Tarin
(from St George and Springville, respectively) couldn't really speak spanish,
so I taught the majority of the lesson. I would say I teach 60-80% of the
time in each lesson because I am the only one who can really. Anyway,
that first time teaching him in Spanish, I committed him to be baptized
on March 15, and he accepted! WOOHOO! We have taught him maybe
3 times since then, and he is on track. We are supposed to teach him in
Spanish, but every time he has a question that he really wants an answer
to, he asks in English, because he knows we may not be able to answer
him in spanish. It has been a little bit frustrating to me that we are expected
to teach in Spanish, but we aren't really learning that much spanish in class.
That same day, we had CRE, which is the same thing as TRC in the Provo
MTC. Basically, our teacher grabbed a few people waiting to go to the
temple and they pretended to be our investigators, and we struggled to
teach them about how the gospel blesses families. It was tough primarily
because of the language, but also because they are already temple-attending
members of the church, so they know everything already.
the language is coming along pretty well for me. However, I still have
a hard time teaching the gospel in Spanish because I don't yet know
the vocabulary associated with the different lessons. Most of my Spanish
practice comes from speaking with the latino elders.
They LOVE us Nortes, and they love talking to us. One day during
gym time, one of the elders tried to take me down.
I submitted him with a guillotine. I had to spend the rest of the time
teaching various jiu-jitsu positions and submissions because they
wouldn't leave me alone. Every day since, they have asked me to
show them other workouts and such. The food is awesome here.
However, portion size varies. Some meals are HUGE. So big that I can
barely finish (and you are supposed to finish everything or you'll offend the chef).
Others are pretty small. But they are all good. On my 4th day here, I was
called to be District Leader! My district is named Malaquias, and there
are only 11 of us. 8 Sisters and 3 Elders. Another thing we have to do every
week is prepare a 5 minute talk in Spanish for Sacrament meeting. each
sunday, the branch president picks a few people randomly to speak and
announces their names at the beginning of the meeting. The Elders a transfer
ahead of me assured me that they don't call on Nortes for their first week....
But I got picked. It went well, I spoke about apostasy. The other night after
we were laughing and having a good time in our room, during my prayer I
had the distinct impression that Elders Cruz and Valdebenito are an answer
to my mom's prayers. I thought that was kind of cool.