¡Familia y Amigos! ¿Cómo Están?
It's so good to hear from you all! It has been a great week at the CCM, with lots of food, lots of laughs, and LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of studying. Now, I'm not murmuring here, but we study SO much. It feels like we study for two days each day we have class, because we have a morning block with Hermano Soto, language study, doctrine study, and teaching our investigator (Juan Jose aka Hermano Soto), and we have an afternoon block with language study, doctrine study, and teaching our other investigator (Giovanny aka Hermano Osorio). And of course there's an hour of study before breakfast, 2 hours after lunch, and 2 more hours after dinner. Anyway, all that studying means we're learning FAST. Hermana Glauser and I teach 6-9 lessons this week, and although our Spanish is nowhere near perfect, we're starting to get our routine of studying, planning, and giving lessons down. We've had some good feedback from our teachers (that's the best part about having your teachers be your investigators) although they stay in perfect character during the lesson.
Now, some highlights from the week (besides studying and teaching): I gave a talk on Sunday about the Holy Ghost (almost entirely in Spanish) in front of the branch, branch presidency, and a member of the CCM presidency and his wife (Ahh...). On Sunday afternoon we watched a recorded devotional of Jeffrey R. Holland (another one) where he pounded the pulpit quite a bit. I don't mean to reveal any MTC secrets here, but he was pretty adamant about our need to convert at least one person on our mission--ourselves. Some of my favorite lines from his talk were "Missionary work IS real life, with a capital R and a capital L...if you ever fall away from the church after serving a full-time mission, you'd better hope you don't meet me down a dark alleyway!...I am pretty biased about this, much of the time I want to revoke free agency, wait a second--is this pulpit grounded?" It was a pretty great talk, and those were just the funny lines. I love Elder Holland! Also, have I mentioned that my district is hilarious? Every night we are excused from study atto go back to our houses, and on the way we stop in one of evacuation-earthquake circles pictured in a previous email (called the Circle of Happiness) and everyone has to say one nice thing about everyone else before they can leave. It's a great tradition, and often results in a good hearty laugh (which we all need after a day of studying). The other night, Hermana Glauser was trying to compliment the Elders by saying I like your faces (sometimes our compliments are weird) and accidentally said "Me gust sus carnes" which means I like your meat". Laughter ensued and escalated when she tried to say that "mistakes are okay" (steaks). It was Houghton-worthy.
BTW, Dad, I finally figured out why we're not allowed to play contact-sports with the Elders. Elder McVicker got a really bad bloody nose during soccer, and Elder Nelson got a black eye in Basketball. Oh! Speaking of Elders, when everyone gets to the CCM, they teach the Elders some basic rules. #1: If you are in-line for food, you ALWAYS let the Hermanas go ahead of you (no matter how many there are, or how long the line is) This means that we NEVER wait in line for food, which is weird/nice. #2: Elders always have to carry chairs and such for Hermanas when we go to have class outside. Anyway, it's pretty funny because every morning the elders in our district leave a bit before us for breakfast, and we always pass them in the line. Also, another funny thing about the CCM is that throughout the day you can hear cannons/fireworks/guns going off in the distance. It's a bit disturbing for the first bit, but they're quite common-place now. My companion compares the CCM to the Hunger Games because we're inside a barbed-wire fence, everyone's sorted into a district, and cannons go off randomly. Some of the Elders have taken to saying "muerte" every time we hear one. Oh, goodness, there's so much to tell you all. Our district has decided that the normal days of the week no longer apply to us: Sunday is Sunday still, Monday is Friday, Tuesday is Saturday, and Wed-Saturday are Thursdays 1,2,3, and 4. This is actually a pretty good representation of our schedule.
Okay, don't let my un-spiritual "highlights" fool you, I'm spending LOTS of time studying the gospel and the language, and I'm probably working harder than I ever have before. My spiritual thought for the week is this quote from Elder Holland's talk: "work as hard as you can until someone tells you it's time to go home." This quote wasn't a main focus of his talk, and it's directed to missionaries mostly. However, I think it applies to all of us as we're working through the good times and the bad times of this life. We don't get to be here forever, so we had best work as hard as we can until someone (Heavenly Father) tells us it's time to come home.
I love you all!