One day passes to the next, I keep studying and praying and having fun, and suddenly I've been here for two weeks! How crazy is that? It feels like forever, but then again it doesn't feel like it's been nearly that long at all. I'm excited to have another 7ish weeks to go! :)
Once again, I made a list of some things to write about, so these first few might be kind of jumbled. (Primero: happy belated birthday, Dad! I'm going to write a letter to you for that though, along with some pictures.)
Steve Durtchi played the organ at the fireside on Sunday, but right afterward we have movies/study time (movies as in Legacy, Testaments, Joseph Smith movie, etc.), and he was still playing postlude music so I left without getting a chance to say hi. I'll keep trying though - this week for sure!
Also, I saw Cameron! He and I crossed paths three or four times. He left this morning around 8 for the Brazil MTC; his visa finally came through. He liked the MTC and was excited to be leaving so soon. I'm excited for him. Also, I was planning on asking someone to send me a couple CDs or something, but on Sunday our Branch Presidency announced that President Smith (MTC President) had announced that for the time being, missionaries in the MTC aren't allowed to listen to any music - not even hymns. It's too bad that for whatever reason they had to make that rule - my companion has some CDs that have been really
inspiring. One that I'd definitely recommend is called Nashville: A Tribute to the Prophet Jospeh (or something like that). There are some amazing songs on that CD and I'm going to miss listening to it. Dad, you'd really like it... so would everyone else, I guess. Check it out. I'll let you know if anything changes on the music front. Oh well. Obedience is key. For me it's not really a big deal either.
Okay, I'm going to try to explain my day-to-day routine... as best I can, anyway. Up at 6:30 (and I try to be out of bed before then, because otherwise you wait forever you take a shower... which is ironic when the shower's ice-cold, but hey, helps us wake up) and dressed and at our classroom by 7 sharp. (We have a rule that if you're not two minutes early to class, you're late. Also, we're usually 10 minutes early to meeting and about an hour early to devotionals - as a district we like to get good seats. It's worth it.) We have 45 minutes of personal study time in the mornings - this is pretty tough sometimes because I'm still sleepy, but I try to focus as best I can.
Then we go to breakfast. Meals usually last about 45 minutes and I've been loving the food. I usually eat a light breakfast - oatmeal, juice, and a bagel, most of the time - because otherwise you just want to sleep some more. After breakfast we have MDT - Missionary Directed Time. About three hours to do whatever we want. We're supposed to do an hour of language and an hour of companionship study. My comp and I usually set pretty tough goals, but we almost always meet them, and we've definitely been blessed by how much we're able to accomplish. I love personal study time - I'm almost finished with 1st Nephi and also reading Jesus the Christ, which I love. We read a chapter or two from the Book of Mormon in Spanish every day. I can usually understand most of it, which is nice.
Then we have lunch, and afterward a class from one of two teachers. Usually it's Hermano Adams in the afternoons. He's only been our teacher for a couple days; before that, we had Hermano Cowles, but his schedule changed. Brother Adams is the kind of guy that doesn't hesitate to correct your Spanish/criticize your teaching/call you names in front of all your friends. (He's usually nice about it though - I don't mean to make him sound like a jerk.) He's a great teacher too. I've learned a lot from him already. Class lasts from 1:15 til 5, and then we have dinner. After dinner we have another class, this time from Hermana Ampuño. She's from Ecuador and oftentimes unintentionally hilarious. She once asked Elder Montague if he was scared - out of the blue, with no explanation.
Another elder in our district (there's eight of us) let out a shout of joy at something and she turned around and said, "How come, Elder?" It's become something of a catchphrase now. She's a good teacher though. We usually cover all sorts of topics in our classes (except culture. I don't know if we'll cover it at all, but we haven't yet.) - from grammar to principles to teaching methods to the scriptures and then back to grammar. It keeps things interesting and moving, but still, four hours in the same chair (even though mine has a cushion that Jason left for me!) can be pretty tiring. We're done with classes around 9 and we take a half-hour to plan the next day, and then it's back to the cuarto for decomposing and sleep. (I left out gym, which is awesome, and Sunday and P-day, but in the interest of the time I have left I'll move on.)
I didn't realize there would be so much drama surrounding my last letter! :)That's great though. It's always nice to get mail... I've gotten 10 packages so far (8 from Mom, one from Lisa and Laura, and one from Cheryl and Derrin), and I've been here only 14 days, so that's pretty good. The Swedish fish are the envy of my district. (We're only just now finishing up the bag!) I seriously can't thank you all enough for all the packages. You'll see in my pictures how much food I have. :)
Speaking of letters, I've pretty much only received letters from family (which is 100% fine). The exception is Lori Clemons - she sent me a letter through Dear Elder last week. It was a wonderful surprise. All letters are!
I've got a couple minutes left, though, so let me say this: Being here is a singularly incredible experience. There are about 2,500 missionaries currently in the MTC - it feels like the Army of God. It actually is, pretty much. The Spirit here is incredible and I love it. I learn so much every day that it would almost take longer than I've been here to recount it all. The Lord works in wonderful and powerful ways, and we can learn so much through His guidance. I hope everyone is doing great at home, and I hope to hear from you all again soon. In the meantime, know that I love you and that I can't wait to serve the Lord and the people of Mexico.
Con amor y felicidad,