Thursday, August 15, 2013

First 10 Days - First email


Mexico MTC

Church News
Angilyn and other new missionaries checking in

Para mi familia bonita   

Mexico City
Hola mi familia!! I cannot even express how much I have been looking forward to this P-day! This had been the longest 10 days of my life. It feels like it has been months. Thank you for the emails. I`ve really needed some contact with home! Wow... I don`t even know where to start. I guess I will start with describing this BEAUTIFUL place that I get to call home for the next 5 weeks. So... Mexico City is crazy! It seems pretty mellow during the day, but at night it comes alive with sounds of sirens, dogs barking, loud music and the sorts. It is such a busy city. On the bus ride here i was just waiting for our bus to smash into the little cars that drove inches away from us. The roads are really narrow but they still seem to pack as many cars onto them as possible. Here at the CCM we are surrounded by mountains. Crazy, huh? And halfway up the mountains there are houses JAM PACKED together. It`s quite the sight. We have our own little community here, with lots of little houses that we live in. The CCM is on 90 acres of land so we get to walk a lot! It`s been surprisingly chilly here. In the upper 60`s and 70`s. And it RAINS every day around 5-7pm. The first night we got here it was a torrential downpour! I didn’t even think about packing a jacket or anything. The only thing I was thinking about was packing for Honduras, but I wish I would have packed some more cardigans and a jacket. But all is well. I just bundle up with the blankets before I go to bed :) The first week that we were here we had FREEZING showers. As much as I need practice for having cold showers in Honduras, it’s hard to go from cold weather into a cold shower. Luckily they have fixed it since, so I can enjoy some warm showers for the last time! It’s also not as humid as I expected it to be. But it is very lush and green. Lots of flowers, shrubbery, and palm trees. The grass is a little weird. It`s rougher and has these white soft stringy things that grow out of it, and it gets itchy if you sit on it too long. The food here has been interesting. I think they are trying really hard to accommodate for all of these Americans so you can tell they are trying, but some of the concoctions are a little different. For example, they made spaghetti the other night and it had big hot dogs in it. And all the salads have the leftover fruit from breakfast. I`m getting a little sick of cantaloupe.... haha They’ve served tamales and ham sandwiches for breakfast too. But I don`t complain. It’s actually quite good and they feed us well. (but don`t worry Amy, I`ve been very good at not getting any desserts!) Oh and mom.... you were 100% right about papaya.... There was a bright orange fruit that I had never tried, but the second I put it in my mouth I remember what you said papaya tastes like. Yuck! Never again!


                                                                         So, my companions! 

Hermana Despain - Me - Hermana Barney
The first day I got here I got put with Hermana Despain from North Carolina who is going to Honduras SPSE with me. I had been in contact with her for a few months before we left so we were both excited to be companions. After the first day, Hermana Barney from Sacramento, CA joined us to make us a trio! She is going to Provo, UT spanish speaking. Her companion was far more advanced in Spanish so they transferred who to the accelerated class that only stays for 2 weeks. I LOVE my companions. We get along very well and have very similar personalities. We can talk and laugh and be ourselves, we can be really spiritual and learn from each other, and we can cry and be frustrated and not feel judged. I feel like I can be myself around them and we have good communication. The other night, we were trying to say our companionship prayers and we all could not stop laughing. It reminded me of the many family prayers that we have had like that. Where we try to be serious and stop laughing, but the second someone giggles or lets out a chuckle it sends the rest of us into a laughing fit. It made me feel right at home :) haha We also are all similar with our goals in staying healthy. We motivate each other when we are in line for dinner not to get the desserts... haha Some of them are tempting, but others are pretty easy to pass over... haha We also all like to exercise so it`s easy to find something we all enjoy doing and still feel satisfied afterwards. They give us an hour every afternoon to exercise! We always go cycling for the first little bit and then we walk out to this old football field with a track and run. The track is made up of really loose rocks and pebbles so it`s almost like running on a beach. Its a great time of the day for us to really clear our heads and be refreshed. Since we are a trio we get a room and bathroom to ourselves and it`s a lot less crowded.  I also LOVE my district! I`m in district 15E. We`ve all gotten pretty close in this last week. The thing I really like about us is that we can be serious and focused when we need to be, but we can also have fun and laugh together. Those moments are essential for keeping our sanity! The elders in my group are more mature than most, so that is something I am VERY grateful for. We also love to sing Spanish Hymns together acapella style. We sing at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day and it is beautiful. We aren`t allowed to listen to any music whatsoever while we are in the CCM so the hymns have become our only source of musical comfort. I love singing in Spanish. It seems like all the words are more poetically written when translated to Spanish. I`m extremely surprised with how well I am doing with Spanish! It has all come back so quickly. We are in the intermediate spanish class as a district, so the teachers only speak to us in spanish (and sometimes spanglish if we need it). I can understand pretty much everything that they say and I’ve done pretty well with speaking it. My companions and I have made a goal to only speak in Spanish from 6am to one in the afternoon. Every week we are here, we will increase an hour of speaking time. The best way to learn is to speak it! We also read the scriptures and preach my gospel out loud to each other in spanish to help with pronunciation. There is a computer program called TALL that we use for an hour each day that allows us to record our voices and play it back so we can hear ourselves speaking it. Then we can compare it to a native speaking the same sentence. It has been very helpful. We even say all our prayers completely in Spanish. At first they were pretty basic, but now I feel more comfortable in expressing myself fully. I even say my personal prayers in Spanish and so far I haven`t had any trouble with saying what I want to say. I`m telling you... the gift of tongues is so real! As long as we do our part.  

Texas Airport
First companion at the MTC Hermana Despain!
Later we became a trio with Hermana Barney!!

Rain!! Wind!!

So, now I should probably tell you everything that has happened this past 10 days (the loooongest 10 days of my life). When we got to Texas, I met up with a lot of other missionaries for the plane ride down to Mexico. When we got into Mexico there were SO MANY MISSIONARIES!!! Everywhere you turned there
were ladies in skirts and blouses and guys in suits and ties. It was very exciting. When I got to the CCM we headed to the auditorium for a devotional in the pouring rain. Everyone was soaked to the bone. I saw Elder Dial right away and was able to give him some things from home. I also saw my friend from nursing school, Hermana Berrett! 

Hermana Berrett and Me

Even though this place is big, if you know someone here you WILL see them. Either at meals or devotionals or walking on the streets. The first few days here were pretty overwhelming. You get up at 6:30am and hit the ground running! As a district we met our teachers Hermano Clark from Idaho and Hermano Montes from here in Mexico. They are very great! Hermano Montes is so good at bringing the spirit and helping us learn. I was surprised at how much we really dictate our own learning experience while we are here. Even though the schedule is structured, most of the time we are on our own have have to decide for ourselves how to use the time we`ve been given. At first I really struggled with this. I had no idea where to start or even how to start with my studies. As I have prayed for guidance and really tried my best, I have started to notice a pattern and have gotten more comfortable with getting some effective studying in. We prepared to teach our first investigator on Friday! They just really throw you in head first... haha Her name is Andrea and she is from Chile. She didn't believe in God so that was what we focused on for our first lesson. It went really well and I really felt the spirit. It was hard to try and get what you wanted to say across in broken Spanish, but when the Spirit is there is really helps. The next few lessons were tough!! She didn’t seem as receptive and it was really hard to understand her because she is very soft spoken. She just seemed really skeptical and it’s been hard to get through to her. This aspect of the CCM has been the hardest for me. As a companionship we are still getting used to each other’s teaching styles and still trying to get used to the language. Everyone in our district is teaching the same investigator (she’s really just a teacher acting, but it`s amazing how realistic it feels and how much I have really come to care about her). It`s hard because all of the others have already committed her to baptism... yes that’s right to BAPTISM. Yesterday we invited her to be baptized and she turned us down. Holy cow, I have never felt more devastated in my life!! We are all taken aback and didn`t really know what else to do but ask her to pray and see if this is what Heavenly Father wants of her. I walked back to our casa feeling extremely confused, inadequate, and frustrated in myself. But I remembered a quote in preach my gospel that talks about how it`s okay to be devastated when someone doesn’t accept to come to Christ because we love them and we know its true. But at the same time, if I can’t get a fake person to accept baptism than how am I going to get a real person to?!! What are we missing? I feel like I have been praying my guts out  to try to have the Spirit with us while we teach and I feel like the spirit has been guiding me when we prepare for our lesson and while we are teaching, but it just doesn`t work out the way we were hoping. Another part of me feels like we`re doing something wrong. How have all the other elders committed the SAME investigator to baptism and she still hasn`t opened up to the idea with us?? In a way, I`m grateful for this experience because I know that this is going to happen a lot out if the field, but at the same time it’s just a teacher so shouldn’t she be going easy on us?? haha I`m looking forward to getting feedback from her to see why she was being so open to the elders but being so hard on us sisters. I have been praying for humility... so maybe that`s why this is so hard.... whoops :) We shall see. Our last lesson with her is tonight. I need to remember that our purpose as missionaries is solely to INVITE others to come to Christ. Whether they choose to do so or not is up to their own agency.
When people say to make it to Sunday, they are SO right. Sunday was just what we needed to make it through another day! You`d be proud of me to. In Sacrament Meeting with my branch, they randomly choose people to give the talks over the pulpit. They give us a topic before and we have to be prepared if we get picked. my companion compared it to the reaping in the Hunger games... haha but since it was my first week I didn’t expect to be chosen. So when they said, "the first person we will hear from is Hermana Bennett," I think I may have gasped out loud.... haha but it went really well! I gave a whole talk about repentance completely in Spanish with little notes :) The spirit here is amazing. It’s incredible to be a part of something so important and so necessary. One of the elders in my district said something that I really liked, "This mission is not MY mission, it`s the Lords. He`s just letting me be a part of it." I think that attitude is something that has really helped me this past week. Yeah it`s hard, really hard. I feel like I`ve had a lifetime jam packed into these past 10 days but I’ve already learned a lot about myself and my testimony has grown so much. I still have such a long way to go, and I feel extremely inadequate.  But I know that I have been called here for a specific reason and that I just need to be myself. I keep telling myself that I don`t want this mission to change who I am as a person, just help me to become a better version of who I already am. The person that Heavenly Father wants me to be. I also get to go to the Mexico Temple today and do a session in Spanish! That will be a little nerve wracking but I need an extra dose of the spirit today.
Thank you all for you love and support. I can feel your prayers and they are immensely appreciated! I pray for you daily and miss you like crazy. But I know this time will fly and it will all be worth it! I love you!!!!! I`ll talk to you next week!!
Con Amor,
Hermana Bennett





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