Friday, September 27, 2013

Email #5 (Mexico City)

Oh my goodness, thank you so much for all the pictures and videos you sent me. They made me tear up! Especially when Olivia said "I love you Emma!" She looks so old and big! I can't believe she's two. Oh and the video of Mom's cake made me laugh sooooo hard. In all honestly, even though it wasn't the most beautiful cake, it looked SUPER good! I was drooling a little bit while watching the video. I hope someone ate a piece for me! Thanks for singing to me!
I felt so special when I opened up my email and had so many birthday wishes! It was great! I am so blessed to have such thoughtful and amazing friends and family. Ustedes son las mejores!!! I´m actually not sure if that´s correct Spanish grammar, but we're just gonna pretend it is:)
My birthday here en el CCM was really great! It was just a regular day, but the people made it amazing! Especially Hermana Lui, mi distrito, y my roommates, Hermana Hymas and Hermana Grondel. They made me feel so special all day long! Plus, I got enough candy to last me the rest of my time here, and I'll have some great snacks for the plane ride. It was an elder in my district´s birthday too, Elder Caldwell! It´s funny because Elder Caldwell and I share the same birthday AND we are both going to Gilbert for our missions! I love Elder Caldwell and am really excited to see him out in the field so I can say hi to him. He is awesome!
Speaking of a "regular day" here at el CCM, I just realized I´ve never really told you what I do every day! Let me give you a rundown:
6:30-Wake up, get ready (which is interesting with 4 girls to a bathroom... I miss the bathroom in the basement that I used this past summer at home! haha)
7:00-Breakfast, usually cereal. Sometimes a waffle.
7:30-Personal Study for an hour. I usually read my scriptures. I made a goal in the beginning to finish the book of Mormon while I am here, and I´m in Ether! I think I´m gonna do it! I love reading the Book of Mormon, it´s the best.
8:30-Morning class with Hermana Thomas starts. We have class for 3 hours. What we do varies with the day, but usually we do an hour of language, an hour of "Progressing Investigator", and then an hour of Coaching or we learn a Fundamental for teaching. "Progressing investigator" is Hermana Thomas pretending to be our investigator, Ingrid. Hermana Lui y yo queremos Ingrid!!!
11:30-Additional Study time. Sometimes we run overtime with our class time into Additional Study, but usually this 30 minutes is spent in Companionship study, language study, discussing the lesson we taught that day, or more Book of Mormon reading.
12:00-Lunch. Lunches are the best meals of the day here. With the Latino culture, almuerzo is always the most important, biggest meal of the day, so lunch here is usually really good. Sometimes I'm a little wary about what they serve, but for the most part it’s good! They always serve beans and rice with lunch and those are two things you can always count on being good here! Also, their fruit is super good. Especially the plums. I loooove their plums.
1:00-Language study for an hour. We have these rojo libros that we work out of usually during this hour. We have pre-work that we need to do before we have the language lesson with our teacher. If I'm done with the pre-work, I either practice conjugating verbs on the white board or read el Libro de Mormon en EspaƱol, which is really fun! I actually really enjoy language study!
2:00-Gym time. We go back a change in our casa then we usually go to the gym and I get on the bike for 20ish minutes. After that I do my knee exercises and then we go back and change and shower (if needed).
3:30-TALL (Technology Assisted Language Learning). Most people don´t particularly enjoy TALL, and sometimes I don´t either, but even though it´s not the funnest thing in the world, it´s really helpful with Spanish. All last week TALL didn´t work though, so that was funny. We were allowed to come to the computer labs and look up mormon messages or read general conference talks though! That was fun... sometimes I wish TALL was still broken( haha just kidding) that´s bad, but TALL is a very good tool for learning:)
4:30-Additional Study Time. Hermana Lui and I usually read el Libro de Mormon aloud in Spanish during this time. I like this, because it definitely helps with pronunciation.
5:00-Daily Planning time... self explanatory
5:30-Dinner. Dinner isn´t quite as good as lunch but it´s usually okay. I will admit that I am REALLY REALLY excited to get to the airport in Texas next Tuesday and eat a big, juicy cheeseburger.
6:15-Night classes with Hermana Valdez start. This is usually the same routine as morning classes, language for an hour, progressing investigator, then coaching, fundamentals or other stuff on the schedule:)
9:30-We sing a song and say a prayer with our distrito, then we go home and start getting ready for bed!
10:30-Lights out!
Yep! That´s a day in the life of Hermana Lattin en el CCM! The only days that differ from that schedule are Tuesdays, when we have service and a Devotional, Wednesdays, which is our P-day (obviously), and Sundays! Even though the schedule can feel very repetitive and a little mundane, I really love it here! I love learning Spanish and about how we are to bring others unto Christ. It's strange that I'm leaving next Tuesday! I have mixed feelings, because I love the people I´ve met here, Hermana Lui, mi distrito, mi roomates, mis maestras, and so many others that have helped me come closer to Christ. I´m also a little nervous about my Spanish not being up to snuff for the field, but at the same time I am SO EXCITED to get out en el campo and start being a real missionary and teaching real people! Estoy muy animado para ir al campo! I am really going to miss mi compaƱera though. Hermana Lui is truly the best.
This past week has been really good though! We´re getting ready to wrap up everything and we´re learning the last few Spanish lessons so they can send us out into the field. We´re learning the Subjunctive tense right now... so fun. But we have In-Field Orientation on Friday and then we´re almost out of here! We went to the temple for the last time today. It was amazing! I love that temple. Even though the drive there is not my favorite, it is so worth it! I love doing sessions in Spanish. I was very happy to find out that I understood almost everything they said (if I was concentrating)! It was amazing. The gift of tongues is real!
My spiritual realization this week has to do with President Eyring´s talk about pavilions, do you remember that one? President Eyring said, "In the depths of his anguish in Liberty Jail, the Prophet Joseph Smith cried out: “O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?”1 Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible."  Well, I was thinking about the pavilions we hide ourselves from God in, and how a lot of times they aren't pavilions we even mean to build. Often times, when we have an automatic judgment of someone, unclean thought or prideful comparison pop into our heads, that is the pavilion that is keeping us from feeling the presence of God. It is human nature to hide from God... to have these thoughts and feelings that a lot of times just come without our consent. But whether we mean to have these thoughts and feelings, they prevent us from feeling the presence of God and feeling the Spirit. And that is why conversion is a CHANGE of heart, thoughts and actions. We need to strive to become more Christ-like, and that means training our brains and hearts to be more like Christ's. As we do this, those pavilions will not obscure us from the view of our Heavenly Father, and we will be able to have the Holy Ghost with us SIEMPRE! This is so important for a missionary, because the only way we can teach this Gospel is through the power of the Holy Ghost. That is the only way. And if we have an unclean thought or a judgment in our head, the Spirit will depart from us, and we will not be able to effectively teach this Gospel and bring others unto Christ. That's why repentance is so great!
Sorry if that was a little confusing, but I just thought that was something very interesting and something I need to remember, because a lot of times when I'm wondering why I'm not feeling the Spirit, it's because I just judged someone or had a prideful thought in my mind. It's an interesting thing to think about:)
Anyways, I hope your week has been fantastic! I can't wait to hear about your lives next week! I'm not sure when my P-day is yet in Gilbert. But I think I might get to call you guys when I am in the airport in Texas! So on Tuesday around 9:30ish AM (I think), make sure you have your phones on and charged!:)
I love you all more than all the mosquito bites I had on my legs last week (57)! I was going to send pictures today but I forgot my camera cord:( lo siento. But I promise I will send tons next week!
Hermana Lattin


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