Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week 1 in Peru: Lima MTC

Ay, one hour is going to FLY by! Sorry if I don't have time to reply to all your emails!
This week has been CRAZY! I feel like I've been here for a century, but in a good way!
First off, the first couple days were really hard, to be honest. I felt like a toddler thrown in a pool and expected to swim (or as Hermana Snyder said: More like a shark tank!). Everyone overestimated my Spanish ability and I was just overwhelmed with everything, especially the lack of sleep.  Getting to the MTC was seriously so weird -- no one to greet us, nothing. The guards opened the gates and we were handed packets and keys to our room and that was it. The first day and a half was mostly orientation stuff and trying to stay awake / communicate with people.  I felt pretty down the first couple days watching the American districts have so much fun together and speak English, etc. I was just struggling to keep my head above water, much less have fun with my district.  It kind of sounds dramatic but I had to figure out why I´m here.  The investigators (actors but they legit seem real) were very difficult. I felt like we barely had anything to work with because one of them just rejected everything we said. I was like GIVE THE GRINGO SOME SLACK HERE. But day 3 and every day since has been SO. MUCH. BETTER. I have prayed more than I have ever in my life and the gift of tongues is absolutely REAL.
MY DISTRICT: Okay first off my comp: (I´m gonna try to answer the questions Dad wrote as I go along). She´s from Nauquan, Argentina. She was super hard to understand for the first couple days and she had to learn to be patient with me :) For ex, she pronounces all her y´s or double l´s like SH. So capilla = KAPEESHA. And yo = SHO. I´m still not used to it, haha! A little more about her: she´s AMAZING. Super pilas (they use that word in Arg. and Josh -- Elder Cannon, used it a lot in his letters, there´s basically no translation in English, it just means super dedicated, on top of things, obedient, awesome, etc) I was called to be senior comp. (No idea what they were thinking, haha) but she has taught me way more than I could have ever hoped for. I´m so grateful for her example. She is also a great teacher as far as the lessons go. She´s a lot like me in that she´s independent and a go-getter and we work together super super well. It´s seriously natural in lessons to teach together.
She and all of our district (10 of us) are going to Piura!! It´s super awesome because I know I´ll for sure see them all again! All 6 of us girls live in the same room (3 bunk beds) There´s me and H. Garcia, then H. Sepulveda and H. Tiñini (Bolivia), and H. Huanca (Bolivia) and H. Atencio (convert as of a couple years - Lima). Elders: Ortiz (San Diego but he´s Mexican and fluent, zone leader), Bazan (Bolivia), Chambi (Bolivia, District leader - loves imagine dragons but knows basically no english, haha), and Chacara (Lima - he speaks SO fast. I told him that if all the Peruanos speak that fast, I should just go home, haha. It´s an inside joke in our district that if he´s gonna talk, he has to repeat everything he says becasue H. Sepulveda and I can´t keep up, haha).
H. Sepulveda is from spanish fork! We were instagram buddies for a few months before this. I LOVE HER SO MUCH. We are seriously soul hermanas. Her mom is from the DR but she grew up in Puerto Rico and her dad is from Chile so her Spanish is super super good (it was her first language) and we help each other a lot. We´ve already made plans to hang out all the time in UT once we´re back. I would LOVE to be her companion at some point in the mission. She´s the best.  (NOTE: H. Snyder isn´t in our district but she´s the third hermana that´s american on the 2 week track. She is SO awesome. So outgoing and just the best. She lived in the DR for 11 years but she´s definitely white, haha. From Orlanda FL. We three bonded especially in the first couple days when we were overwhelmed, haha)
SPANISH: Let me just say that the English Language is a beautiful thing. For reals. On the third day we watched an episode of The District with Spanish subtitles and I seriously almost started crying. From the moment we got here we have spoken, read, talked, prayed, taught, and thought in Spanish. It takes a lot of mental concentration to focus all the time at translating what other people say, especially the Peruanos who speak ridiculously fast. I was super jealous of all the American missionaries for the first couple days but now I am SO  grateful to be on the 2 week track. We are getting way more of an immersion experience, and although it´s a challenge and our brains are fried 100% of the time, WE DON´T HAVE TO BE HERE FOR 6 WEEKS. The CCM is great, really, but there´s no way I could last that long. There´s only so long you can be sitting in classes all day and stuck on this campus that isn{t super big. I want to be out in the field! My Spanish has improved exponentially! I feel really comfortable with it. Like I said, I´ve been teaching, praying, thinking, everything in Spanish. Somtimes at night I´ll start writing in my journal in English and after a while I´ll stop and realize that I switched to Spanish on accident, haha!
PIURA: Can you even believe that ONE WEEK FROM THIS MOMENT I will be in Piura!! Ahhhhh, so crazy. We leave I think at 6am on Tuesday morning. Stoked doesn´t even cover it. There are 3 more hermanas who have been here for 5 weeks (american) and 2 elders who will be traveling with our district to the field. Also, whenever we tell the teachers, people in the street, other Peruanos, etc that we´re going to Piura they say: "Ay, es tanto calor alli!" And we´re just like WE KNOW OKAY. Haha. I´ve basically resigned to my fate to just melt like a popsicle starting next week.
SUNDAY: we got to watch the Trujillo temple dedication!! It was absolutely AWESOME. Uchtdorf and Bednar were there. I felt the Spirit so strongly and it was such an exciting day for Peru!! Today we got up at 5 (AY!) to go to the temple, but it was totally worth it. So beautiful, so cool. We took a bunch of pictures that I´ll try to send.
OBEDIENCE: It´s important people. This week we got in trouble for leaving the classroom at 9:20 to go to our room (we´re not allowed to go back to our room once we leave it each morning at 7:15 until 9:30 after planificacion de compañerismo). But that night we had already planned earlier in the day during a break we had, so we were like "sweet, we´ll just start the bedtime routine earlier to take advantage of our time." Nope. As we were getting ready Huanca and Atencio ran in and said the DL wanted to talk to us downstairs. Apparently the prez had asked the DL why half his district was missing before 9:30. WHOOPS. So lesson learned. Sometimes we may not know why we have to follow a certain rule, or commandment, or piece of counsel, but the important thing is that we OBEY. This is the Lord´s work. It´s his timetable. Also funny story: we didn´t realize that we couldn´t play full court bball so when one of the American elders told us that he was like "but it´s okay we´ll just say sorry later" -- about 2 minutes later he got a bloody nose. Coincidence? NOPE. Obedience, people :)
My district really really wants to learn English so during a break this week I wrote our objective in English on the board and while I said each word aloud E. Bazan wrote the SPanish pronunciation as he heard it below. THis is some of what we came up with, it´s super hilarious to read with the Spanish pronunciatio¨n: "Invait oders tu cam ontu Craist bai helpin dem tu ruisiv da ristord gaspel dru feid en Yisus Craist..." etc. They´re gettin pretty good :)
So in the beginning of this week when I was having kind of a hard time, I was praying to know what to do to just feel the Spirit, to feel like I´m supposed to be here, and to know how to move forward. Immediately after I turned the page of the pamphlet I was reading -- Plan de Salvacion I think -- and say a picture of Christ with Mary Magdalene. SHe is sitting on the ground looking up at him with her hand outstretched and he is kneeling next to her and immediately it came to me: HUMILDAD. I needed to learn and apply humility. Since then I´ve been studying it in depth and it has blessed my life SO MUCH. I´ve become so much more grateful, I´ve been able to recognize HIS hand in all things, and I´ve been more teachable, less judgemental of others, and I´ve had a renewed faith to work and work and work. That was such a tender and special experience for me. I had been praying a ton, but it wasn´t enough. I needed to be humble.
Speaking of praying, I calculated it and we say LITERALLY 18 PRAYERS EVERY DAY. This isn´t counting the little prayers to be able to understand/speak Spanish well. Every meal, every class, every study and planning session, activity, devotional, etc. Pray, Pray, Pray, that ye may come off conqueror.
Some random notes: Tell Taylor Pulsipher that Hermana Arteaga says HI!! She´s from where Taylor served and apparently they are besties.
Also there´´s several BYU people here, which has been fun. Hermana Esser was in Ethan´s ward and Hermana Messina was in my BOM class.
Also I saw the Merrill´s niece, she´s super nice. Also one of the branch presidents knows the Davis´grandparents. Small, small world!
Answers to some of your questions: My teachers are super super awesome. Super pilas. This whole place is run very seriously, strictly, and with an amazing spirit. I love it.
Food: super delicious, athough they could lay off on the rice, haha. We had lomo saltado a couple days ago.
Sports: yep. Bball, soccer, ping pong (watch out, Ricky, I´m getting pretty good:), sand volleyball or regular, basically everything! H. Sepulveda and I run, do suicide sprints on the bball court, play soccer with the elders, it´s super super fun.
Weather: cloudy, enjoying the 75 degrees while we can!!!!
Can you get me Emily Lemons´email?
Also can you guys google how to get a clothing tag thing off from the store? Thanks to kohl´s they didn´t take it off so i have no idea what to do.
Also I THINK I FORGOT MY CAMERA CHARGER OR MAYBE IT DIDNT COME WITH MY CAMERA?? i´ll look harder and get back to you guys.
Tell Tanner Craft to bring snacks to the MTC. We have meals at 7, 12, and 6 but we get hungry in between.
´NO TIME LEFT. So sorry i didn´t get to read or reply to all the emails!
The missionary life is THE BEST. I´m beginning to feel the pure joy that everyone talks about! We just committed one of our investigators to be baptized and it was the greatest experience. The church is SO ABSOLUTELY COMPLETELY TRUE. Sorry for the all caps, I´m just so happy and loving the mish life!
Hermana Parks

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