Tuesday, August 9, 2016

First week!

with Elder Georgeson
 My district: me, Elder Georgeson, Elder Woods, Elder Williams, Elder Fuel, and Elder Boyak
 at the temple
temple grounds

the CCM

our classroom

my lunch

Finally the first week is done! It's been a long week, but I've been told that after that they are a lot shorter. So much has happened, I don't know if I can put it all in a single email. My district is the Mormon district. There are six of us, all going to Barranquilla. We are the only elders in the CCM without suits. Well, there is one other going to Barranquilla, but he isn't in our district. The CCM is amazing, I've already learned so much. I already feel pretty fluent. Well, at least in Spanglish. But I can definitely say that the gift of tongues is real, because I'm learning a lot and somehow remembering almost all I learned in my three years of high school Spanish. Everyone here is really nice, they don't even call us Gringos. We are the Nortes. Anyone who isn't Latino is a Norte, even Filipinos, which does happen. We don't have any Norte Hermanas with us, all the Hermanas are Latinas. All the missionaries are super nice, even when the Latinos laugh at our terrible Spanish, it doesn't seem mean. It's amazing what a couple of weeks in the CCM can do to you.

My teachers are really great, they've been a lot of help. I've already taught three lessons; the second one was really good, the others, not so much. In the last one he said that he believes that all churches are true and he doesn't see the need to settle on one. And I couldn't think of anything to say to him. But our teacher helped Elder Georgeson (my companion) and me to come up with a plan for the next lesson tomorrow.

By the way, I'm sorry if I'm not responding to all your questions. I have one hour and want to make sure I get this all sent out.
My flights were pretty good. On my first there were actually three other missionaries, one sister going to the Mexico MTC and Santiago Chile, and a sister and elder (who were second cousins) going to the South Africa MTC for two separate missions. From Salt Lake there were tons of missionaries, and least twenty or thirty. Since our Salt lake flight was delayed, we were worried about our Atlanta flight, but since it was delayed too we made it ok. We met up with all of the other elders going to Colombia and actually had to wait for a while. You could instantly tell which elders were going to Barranquilla, because we were all wearing short sleeves without a suit :)
It's actually pretty chilly here in Colombia, at least in Bogota. It hasn't rained much, today is the most so far. The temple is closed, but we still got to go and see the outside and I got my Spanish scriptures, which apparently they expected me to have already (even though it wasn't in the packet).
We wake up every day at 6:30 and have half an hour to clean up and get ready for personal study at 7. We have one hour, then breakfast, which usually consists of eggs mixed with meat, some strange juice, bread and rolls that are kind of like croissants, and sometimes a small bar of cheese. It's actually pretty good. Then we have classes about teaching, the language, that kind of stuff. The teachers mostly speak Spanish, so it's good practice. Lunch is at 12:30, and we normally have rice with some kind of soup and meat. I can't say that I've liked all of it, but most of it is pretty good. After that it's more studying and learning. We have half an hour every day to teach an investigator (one of the teachers) every day. We have companionship study and one hour every day for exercise. We play a lot of soccer, it's pretty great.
Elder Georgeson is awesome. He's from New Mexico, along with another elder in our district. We both try to speak the language as much as possible, except sometimes late at night when we are both too tired. We have two Latino roommates, and we see a lot of Latinos and spend a lot of time with them. They speak really fast. It's hard to understand sometimes, but I'm getting better. I can almost have a simple conversation :) It's pretty great here.
Actually, Elder Georgeson told me that I can make a Google Drives file to put all my pictures in and share it so you guys can look at them whenever you want. I'll try to do that as much as possible. These are pictures of my lunch today, my classroom, and the CCM.
By the way, Elder Georgeson is our District Leader. He was asked on Friday or Saturday, which means I'm also kind of a district leader, though I didn't get the choice :)
Anyway, if I think of anything else to say, I'll send off a quick email. I love you all, thank you for your prayers, they help me a lot.
Mom, can you send this to the people on my email list if you want? I don't know that I'll have time. By the way, I don't want to say only good things. I do struggle a lot, often with doubts about myself and my ability. But my companion and I help each other, and I can feel the strength of your prayers. Thank you all so much. It seems that every time I'm having a difficult time, we have a class or devotional that helps.

I love you all, and I can't wait to hear back from you next week!

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