Wednesday, September 18, 2013

#2 CCM Mexico City

My P day wasn´t until today! So here goes!
Once we got here we were assigned our companions and sent to our casas. There are four girls to each room, and 4 rooms in each casa. Each room gets their own bathroom. All the girls are in my district. My companion is Hermana Fox, and I simply adore her. She´s quiet, and very focused which is wonderful. She attended the Air Force academy before this, so she´s diligent about working out which motivates me to get my physical activity in every day. She´s also randomly hilarious. I just love her so much, I´m glad we´ll be in the same mission! She´s 20, and a few months older than me. Other than her, I´m the oldest in the district! The Elders are all 18 or 19! The other hermanas in my room are Hermana Chalmers and Hermana Cefalo. All of the girls are from Utah haha. Hermana Chalmers looks like a ginger Noelle, so I know what N&E´s first daughter will look like. She has Noelle´s looks and Shayna & Tessa´s humor, so I adore her. She really is so much fun. She´s going to Chile Concepcion Sur! That´s Travis´mission, right? Most of my district is going to that mission, except 3 elderes are going to Antofagosta (look up the spelling on that, I probably massacred it). Then there´s Hermana Cefalo. She just turned 19, so she´s very young. She´s going to California. We all have a lot of fun together, and I love the other hermanas in our casa.
I arrived Tuesday night, which was nice because we had the night to settle in before we jumped into classes and what not. Wednesday started bright and early at 630, and we were out the door for breakfast by 7. Everything is so fast paced, there is literally no time to just sit and think for 2 minutes, not even on PDay. On Tuesday we had a welcome meeting with Presidente Pratt. He grew up in Monterrey, but didn´t know Grandpa specifically, but he knew of the Skousens. He´s a cute, funny little old man, but he´s very serious about the rules, which I´m a big fan of. The first meeting, I volunteered to lead us in singing Llamado a Servir. THE FOOD HERE IS THE BEST. Because the Mexican Independence day was that week, we had real Mexican food and I loved it. I feel so bad for the missionaries that are too scared to try anything unfamiliar because they are missing out big time. I have to try a little of everything because I never know exactly what will be at the next meal, and I make sure my plate is completely clean. So much perfectly good food goes to waste here. The first day in class, they brought two real (? maybe) investigators to be interviewed by the whole district. We learned about how the Savior asked questions and let those he taught ponder them and think for themselves. Even on the first day, I was surprised at how much Spanish I knew. I could pray in Spanish by the end of the day!
We spend most of our time in the class room. My teacher is a tiny little Mexicana RM and she´s hilarious. She refuses to speak in English to us most of the time, which was frustrating but now I see how much it has helped us. Her name is Hermana Martinez and she has told me twice that I am pretty, so I definitely like her.
On the 13th, we had our first ïnvestigator lesson. I can´t figure out how to put quotes around investigator with this Spanish keyboard, but he´s not a real investigator, he teaches the class of some of my hermana friends. But we had our first investigator lesson, and the fake investigators are not to speak in or understand English for the entire time we are in there. We´d only been there for three days! But I was able to communicate that God blesses families, and that we can pray to Heavenly Father, and me y Hermana Fox explained a bit about El Libro De Mormon and he accepted the invitation to read it. We didn´t do great, but it was incredible considering that 80% of the words I had spoken I had only learned that day. It was kinda fun! Once the lesson got going, I felt a lot calmer and I was able to think of the words I wanted to say. So, while it wasn´t great, I am proud of myself because doing this was out of my comfort zone in every. way. possible. I wrote in my journal that I can hardly believe how much I have progressed in general after only 3 days.
September 14th was a great day. We played games with my district (I really love our Elderes) during language study and it was nice to not just be sitting at a desk all day. During gym time, we were all just sitting in the bicicle and ellyptical room because the ground outside was soaked and squishy, and I suggested we sing a song, so all the hermanas in the room sang Disney songs together and we had a lot of fun. Then, we had an assembly type presentation we called Mexico Night in honor of the Mexican Independence day. That was the coolest experience ever! It was so cool to see how all the Mexicans were so proud of their country. They showed pictures of the people that led the rebellion, and they would cheer when they came on the screen. We don´t cheer when we see George Washington! But the entire gym exploded each time. They had a ballet folklorico (I have no idea how to spell that) and it was so fun! We stood and sang Llamados a Servir for the opening song, and it was the first time the entire CCM has sung it together. I cried. At the end of the dancers, they stood in the middle of the stage and started singing We´ll Bring the World His Truth in Spanish and all the missionaries that knew it in Spanish joined in. I sang along in English just because I wanted to be a part of it. Everyone was crying. I loved it. It just hit me all at once how lucky and blessed I am to have the calling to be a full time missionary. Singing is definitely my favorite part so far. No one can sing quite like the missionaries here, and everything sounds better in Spanish. I bought myself a Spanish hymn book as soon as I could. The hymns bring the Spirit so fast and so strong, even though I can only understand some of the phrases.
Then came Sunday. When we first arrived, everyone said you just have to make it to the first Sunday. I didn´t really understand that, because I really loved my first week. But Sunday was AMAZING. We had Relief Society first, and we have it with all the native English speakers, and Hermana Pratt, the CCM president´s wife teaches. She is right up there tied with Hermana Bolton for the best teacher I´ve ever had. She compared Adam and Eve´s experience of being cast out of the comfort of the Garden of Eden to tarry in the dreary world to our experience of being cast from our comfortable homes into the CCM, and how we know we have to work but we´re not sure how. Eventually, the CCM will be our Garden of Eden and we´ll be cast out of here as well, because the Lord doesn´t let us stay in the Garden of Eden for long, because there´s no progression. She said all of this a lot better trust me.
Sacramant meeting was different, because it´s only a dozen or so companionship's to a branch. Pace Maughan is in my ward, and the branch president, President Pratt, is related to Arlene Waite and a Kathleen Whetton from Moapa Valley. Small world. Every missionary prepares a talk, and then they just announce which missionaries will be giving their talks. It is supposed to be all in Spanish, but some missionaries filled in English words where they weren´t sure. I did not get called on, thank goodness, BUT I did get called on to say the closing prayer. He just announced my name right before the closing hymn. I get nervous enough praying in English in sacrament meeting, so this was another totally out of my comfort zone experience. But I did it, and it made sense, and I am proud of myself! Sundays we also have a devotional, which is apparently usually just a DVD of one of the Provo MTC´s devotionals. We listened to an Elder Holland devotional which got me pumped of for missionary work even more.
The next day, we had our second lesson with our fake investigator, Carlos. I was really proud of myself, because I spoke only in Spanish and we didn´t have awkward pauses and we took up 35 minutes of time. I felt really good after. Then Tuesday happened. Yesterday was... difficult. We had taught the entire first lesson, because the first appointment was mostly just a getting to know you type dealio. So we taught the Restoration, and I had learned a ton of vocabulary and different verb tenses, and I was truly proud of all my efforts because I put everything I had into learning that lesson. Tuesday morning in class, Hermana Martinez read us his comments. He said congratulations on trying.  But some good came of this experience,  And the Lord has brought me low, so I guess I´m ready to be taught. 
Today, PDay, we actually woke up a half hour earlier because we got to leave for the temple at 7 am, so we had to leave a half hour early to get breakfast before. It´s an hour drive to the temple, so we loaded a bus and left. I´ll send some of the pictures we took. It was such an amazing experience. Even though Mexico City is loud (there have been fireworks, sirens, and the loudest dogs ever every night and on the night of the holiday, we had to hurry home because every shoots their guns into the sky and the bullets can fall on campus), there is an instant peace the second you step even on the temple grounds. I love all the workers inside SO much, because every tries so hard to understand you and they don´t make fun of your limited Spanish and when all else fails they always smile back. I had a headset to listen in English, but I listened to most of the session in Spanish and understood a lot of it. I did the last part in English, but after your first time in the temple, we have to do it in Spanish! And we go every 2 weeks, and I can´t wait to go again. The church is true no matter where you are or who´s running things. This morning was just such a great experience, and I felt the Spirit so strongly, and I thought of some perfect scripture verses to use in the lesson tonight.  
Every second of the day here is planned. There is no such thing as free time. Lights are out at 1030, and you are up no later than 630. I am constantly tired, but I am also constantly happy. This week has been so great, I have learned so much, and I am excited to learn more.
Love you all!
Also, write me some letters! It would be fun to have something in the mailbox to read during the week.

Hermana Rust


  1. I don't know if Hermana Rust gets to read this or not, but I loved reading it. It's amazing to me how I've known you guys since Lorri and Jared were just barely married and the gospel is still true, and we all still go on and your little girl is far away learning to teach the gospel in Spanish. It's like you just bore your testimony to me again, through your daughter, across all the miles that separate us, and the years it's been since I've seen you. Until we meet again, at His feet. Love you, Sister Sue Newbry (Jensen) Haynie

    1. That is a wonderful way to put it Susan! My testimony is her testimony and I am so grateful to Heavenly Father for that tremendous blessing. What a sweet, tender mercy given to me as her mother. Thank you for kind words. I will forward your response to Natalie next week. So nice to hear from you.