Holy moly has this been a CRAZY weeks! I am so anxious to finally be writing everyone!! I want to apologize, our pday is normally on Thursday but we didnt get one last week porque we had just gotten here... so yea!! Sorry that you had to wait! Y another apology to all of the people that I wasn't able to add onto this list becauuuuuse we came to main campus to email and I forgot my sheet that has everyone's emails on it. You are the lucky few that have either already emailed me or I remembered. :)
Anyway! So I am a missionary and this is what has been going on. Wednesday was absolutely insane!! We got all of our stuff and then dropped off everything at our apartments and went straight to our classroom where we had a teacher who only spoke to us in Spanish. Soy positiva que you all can just imagine the look on my face..... haha. When we finally got to dinner everyone in the cafeteria clapped at todos los newbies who had these dorky bright orange dots on our name tags. I was only slightly embarrassed..... but embarrassment is a sign of pride sooo just kidding i wasnt.
First, I am in a companionship with Hermana Tidwell. She is 19 years old from Mesa, Arizona. We get along very well!! We balance each other out really well :) You will see her in a few of the pictures that I plan to upload. So in the MTC you are separated into districts with 8-12 missionaries... well my district has EIGHT SISTERS...EIGHT! And it's been an amazing blessing because all 8 of us get along. Then there are about 4-5 districts in one zone. And I really like all of the other missionaries in our zone. We basically do everything together! It has been wonderful!
So the MTC is split into 2 campuses. There is main campus y then there is West campus where I am at. It's about 7 minutes away from where you are dropped off. West campus is fairly smaller than main but it is all spanish speaking missionaries so it's like our own little world where everyone attempts to speak spanish to each other. I really like it. It's funny porque we will come up to main campus and see all of the other missionaries and always say HOLA HERMANAS or HOLA ELDERS and they just kind of look at us like we are crazy.
On Friday, only two days after I got here we taught our first missionary lesson IN SPANISH. And it didn't go horrible. soy surprised at how much I have already learned since I got here. Our investigators name was Andrea, her husband died about 2 years ago. She has cinco hijos y works at a grocery store. (she is actually a member of the church pero gets paid to be an investigator. Ella tambien a teacher as well.) Anyway, so we had una leccion con Andrea on Friday, Saturday, and Monday-wedneday. Hermana Tidwell y yo went in a way different direction than any of the girls. We really wanted to teach exactly what she needed. We taught about nuestros Padre Celestial (our heavenly father) y El Hijo, Jesucristo primera. We went through the Restoration y following the commandments y finale repentance y orar. (prayer) In our last leccion with her yesterday we felt a little pressured porque todos las chicas had already asked her to be baptized. Our plan was to ask her if we felt prompted to. Our leccion focused on familias eternal y baptism. I gave my testimony about the fact that I, like she was born into the Catholic church and that after a few weeks of investigating and praying that I made the decision to be baptized into this church. We got to the part where we had planned to ask her if ella was willing to be baptized. I did not feel that it was the right time HOWEVER we continued on with the leccion y ella asked a lot of questions like how will she know if we should be baptized in this church and how will God tell us if we should. The worst part about all of these lessons was that it was fine when we would say what we had practiced pero when she would start asking questions we really had to go by what we have learned in only ONE WEEK! The lesson went a lot longer than we had planned and we were the last companionship to teach her that day. She asked a lot of questions and finally I felt prompted to ask her to be baptized. So i did. And to our surprise SHE SAID YES! Now, I know that she isn't a real investigator pero I still felt so strong about it and then I LOST IT. I started crying and started to bear my testimony that I knew that the Book of Mormon combined with the Bible and all of the other doctrines included legitimately change lives and have changed my own. For all of the compnionships in my district she had been very kind but very cold almost when the companionships would come back and say that they felt the spirit but they didn't think that she did. Well once I started to bear my testimony and basically cry like a baby and so did she. It was our last leccion with her and I was so sad porque i wanted to continue to teach her. She expressed to her how excited she was and that she could finally feel the spirit. I was on cloud nine. It was insane because in our companionship I am the senior companion and so my companion has been kinda just letting me do almost everything. And in the lessons she basically just let me talk a lot. She doesn't feel comfortable with the language and neither do I but through the spirit I am remembering words and phrases that I learned in high school. So that was like the highlight of our day yesterday.
So this is was a day in the life looks like for my district:
6 am we wake up and get ready
7:45 we have been having lessons with Andrea pero starting tomorrow we will have more spanish classes that will include learning the gospel in spanish for 3 hours.
11:35 we have lunch
12:35 we have gym where THEY HAVE VOLLEYBALL. SO almost every day I get to play volleyball. Oh and also, there are about 2 or 3 other zones that are on the same schedule as us so we get to meet a lot of other missionaries. And also because of this when we go to gym there are other missionaries who have played volleyball before so we all get together and play. It's actually pretty good and competitive volleyball pero we can't keep score. There is one elder who my whole district thinks is really funny. we call him Elder USC because he wears a different USC shirt almost everyday. And he's really good and I think barely turned 18 so sometimes kind of immature. But he has a good heart and our district has made friends with him and his friend in another district who we call Elder USA because he almost always wears a USA shirt. It's pretty funny.
1:50 we have personaly study, companion study, and then language study for 3 hours.
4:50 we have dinner
5:40 we have language and gospel classes that are also directed in total spanish AND GET THIS: I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL with the instructor that we have for this block. His name is Brother Seth Chatterley. We graduted the same year from galena so that's pretty funny. We didnt really talk to each other in hs but we remembered each other because we both played sports. So we have classes until 9p with him.
9p we have planning for the next day which is normally the same things.
9:30 we ar back in our apartments and get ready for bed and prepare for the next day until
10 where we have companioship study for 15 minutes and then at
10:15 we have personal study
10:30 is lights out and bed time.
On sundays we don't have classes, just a lot of personal study and church. But we are still stuck on a schedule. OH YEA and church is crazy! it's mostly in spanish and two missionaries give a talk each week in complete spanish. Here's the crazy part.... every week there is a different topic y EVERYONE in our zone has to prepare a talk PORQUE they randomly choose one elder and one sister each week and you won't know if you are speaking until they announce it that afternoon in church! So you always have to be ready with a 5 minute talk in total spanish. It's nerve racking! Then sunday night we head up to main campus to have a devotional and watch a movie. The movies aren't normal movies, they are usually talks by church leaders. This week we watched The Character of Christ by Elder Bednar and it was UNREAL. Unfortunately, unless you are a missionary you don't have access to it. But I KNOW that Poppa Hutch would have LOVED it :)
On tuesday nights we also have another devotional on main campus. This tuesday we went early so that we could have dinner here. They have way more options up here than they do on west campus. The food isn't that bad but I know that if I am not careful we will get fat which is no bueno haha.
Ok so here's the thing... I do not if I was quite able to express this like I wanted to before PERO.... I LOVE MY DISTRICT. All eight of the girls are UNREAL. We get along so incredibly well. There are three from AZ, one from Boston, one from colorado, and two from utah. It's honestly like getting to hang out with my best friends everyday. I thought there would be more contention than there is but literally there is like ZERO. I feel so blessed to have this little family. We are suportive of each other and help each other in every single way. Today has been crazy because we have tried to stay together because we love each other so much. Last night trying to pan to day was insane, and we joked that "wouldn't it be easier if we all hated each other? Then we wouldn't want to spend our pdays together as a district." haha
We are struggling uploading pictures here so please be patients :) I am running out of time but here are a few short things that I would like to tell you:
First, there is a website called dearelder,com where you can email me that day and it will get sent to me via my mailbox like the same exact day. Sooooo if you would like to do that ever or get info to me quick... I would loooove it :)
Second, I know that I am missing a few key people in my life on this email... so i stole a few from Poppa Hutch's weekly email but I couldn't find Manta so please forward this to her and let her know that I love her. Also, could someone forward this to:
Lori Mendehall and Kathy Mendenhall (her mom)
Kelsie and then have kelsie send it to all of the the girls
Chris and Heather
and extended Naut family
Uncle lynn and aunt leslie and all of their kids
and i am so sorry if i am forgetting anyone.
Finally, I KNOW that I am where I am supposed to be. I have been on cloud nine since I have been here but know I will have trials and that I have already had some. I have never felt so close to my Heavenly Father and have felt the love of Christ and felt the spirit so much. I am accessing parts of my heart that I didn't know existed. I am where I am supposed to be. I am happy and know that I will have trials but only through my trials will I be able to grow.
I love you all so so so much! Thank you for your support through all of this.