Wednesday, October 9, 2013

#5 Letter from Mexico City CCM

Okay, remember how I told you about how we were doing a musical number? Our branch was assigned to prepare the musical number for the weekly CCM class, taught by the CCM Presidency. It´s a decently big deal I think. Well, remember how I had to raise my voice in order to capture everyone´s attention? Two practices later, things were still not going great, but it was starting to come together. We were singing the EFY medley in Spanish, and the parts where we combine were really rough. People were starting and ending at the wrong spots and it was scary, but the Hermana in charge didn´t want to lead the music for the actual number because she didn´t feel comfortable. She announced this and then we sung one more time, without a leader. It was... awful. ´This was on Saturday evening, and we were performing Sunday morning. So after the practice.... I went up to her and told her that I would love to lead the music. I was worried that she would think that I was taking over her duties and that I was being rude, but she was so thankful! We had about half an hour to practice Sunday morning before we had to sing the song. All night before, I practiced cutting off the hermanas with my left hand while bringing in the elders with my right hand and counting out the beats so we could cut off at the same time and the practice went so much better than any other had before (I think it was mostly because I was not afraid to look silly leading or tell them when they did something wrong). I acted just like Mom when I lead! I did the same hand motions when I needed them to be louder or softer and everything. I think you would have loved to have been there seeing me do my thang.
Well, apparently if you lead the musical number it is just assumed that you lead the opening hymn as well, which was in 6/8. We sang As I Have Loved You in Spanish. In English, that song has one word per measure, but in Spanish, they cram 5 or 6 words into the same measure. It went terribly haha. I wasn´t sure what word we were on and no one had the actual music in front of them, they only had the words projected on the screen. It was terrible and I´m 98% sure Presidente Pratt was laughing at me, but it´s all good. I´ve needed to learn to do something I´m not great at and to fail at it miserably and get over it.  One prayer later, it was time for our musical number.

When we actually sang for the class, I lead with all my heart. When I needed it strong, I lead with both arms waving and at one point I dropped my music (we don´t have music stands) and I bent down to grab it with one hand while leading with the other. It sounded so good! The cut offs were great and the Elders came in at the right times and I loved it so much! I had people come up to me and tell me I did great and that it sounded good, and I had some people ask where I learned to lead music like that. I told them I had no idea what I was actually doing, and that I just love music and I´ve watched many great choristers, my mama included. It was so fun, and you know I love being in charge.

My district is also in charge of the musical number in sacrament meeting this week. Guess who they´ve elected to put in charge? We´re singing Abide with Me Tis Eventide in Spanish. At the beginning of our first practice, we had one elder that could sing parts. Now we have seven! I´ve only taught them tenor and bass parts for the chorus, but I am incredibly proud of myself, because it was not an easy task. So these were my music experiences this week, I loved them!

I´m not really sure what else to say. There´s been a lot of time spent in the classroom. I´m so glad I took Spanish before, because even my little knowledge from before has helped me so much. It turns out though that I´m a bit of a perfectionist. I don´t like to try to say things when I´m not 100% sure I´m correct. Because of my silly little fear, I have started talking less and less in lessons. My teacher Hermano Sanchez gets so confused and annoyed with me. He tells me "You know Spanish, but you won´t say it! I know you know it! I´ve  seen you read and translate in Predicad Mi Evangelio without English and you know it all!" Yesterday, Hermano Sanchez told us that we had 15 minutes to read up on la Palabra de Sabiduría y the Ley de Castidad, because we were going to one of the latino districts, and they were going to have one specific problem keeping them from baptism, and we´d have 20 minute to teach them. He then said that we´d be doing it one on one, without a companion (I didn´t like that). I felt pretty ready for it though, because I´ve been studyign those two topics so much. Well, the sweet hermana I was paired with had a completely different problem, she just wasn´t sure that baptism was the right option for her. In English, this would have been a piece of cake, because I could say what I needed to and I had lots of scriptures marked about baptism to support me and what not, but all I had were my Spanish scriptures, and I hadn´t picked out and marked a suitable scripture relating to baptism yet, and I couldn´t look it up in English first. I ended up sharing a scripture in Mosiah and saying what I needed to say in about 15 minutes and resolving her doubts. I still had time, but I was nervous to try and find another verse that I was thinking of, so I ended up ending early and just chatting with her. As our district was walking back to our classroom, Hermana Cefalo asked Hermano Sanchez if she was allowed to bring her English scriptures to appointments and practices. He said we could, then turned to me and said "You can´t." Of course I por que´d and he held up a finger telling me to wait. Once we got back to the classroom, he pulled me aside and said "I don´t measure your progress the same as the others. I expect more from you. I know what you can do. I know you can speak more Spanish than you think. I can´t wait to receive a letter from you in three months in perfect Spanish telling me that I was right. If you want, you can tell me to measure you the same as the others, but I don´t think I should."  Lots of this was in Spanish, but that was the basic gist. I thanked him, and told him I wanted to be pushed and I wanted to learn. I may have also teared up a bit, but what else is new. He said he had confidence and trust in me. None of this was necessary or part of his job description, but from my teachers, especially Hno Sanchez, I have seen awesome examples of the type of teacher I need to be.
I know that I absolutely need to make people feel loved and I need to let them know that I believe in them. The best teachers I´ve had (church or otherwise) have been the best because I have felt loved by them, and I learned the most from these teachers also. I want to work on developing those same qualities and learning how to show it for my investigators.

Earlier this week, Hermana Martinez and Hermano Sanchez were talking to me at the end of class and asked how my family was (I think they may have heard that something had happened, they just didn´t know what). I eventually told themthat Grandpa had died. Even though it´s been a while, I teared up talking about him because I am going to miss him. Hermana Martinez gave me a hug from her, and a hug from Hermano Sanchez because he couldn´t hug me. She´s about 5 feet tall, it reminded me of hugging one of my grandmas. It was gym time then, so I left, but an hour and a half later when I came back to class, Hermana Martinez handed me something with my name on it. She had taped three red index cards together, and each of my teachers, Hermana Martinez, Hermano Sanchez, and Hermano Rangel had written a short note inside.

My teachers are my favorite people, and such great examples of Christlike love. They have taught me a ton about Spanish, but the best thing I have learned from them is how to show love. Auugh I don´t want to leave the CCM, but I´m so excited for Ecuador and to teach real investigators!

Oh yeah, one of my favorite experiences this week happened on Monday. Hno. Sanchez arranged for our entire building to divide up into different rooms and have a little testimony meeting. It was cool because we had a companionship from every week in each room. It really helped me to see just how much I have progressed. Afterwards, the teacher over our room asked me and Hermana Fox if we spoke Spanish before coming here, which we took as a huge compliment. It was awesome to see that I can express myself well enough in Spanish.

I haven´t even written about general conference at all, but this is so long and I need to go! I will say this though: how amazing were Elder Holland and Elder Christofferson? There was so much boldness this conference. Did anyone else notice how much it was stressed that gender is an eternal and essential characteristic? Also, how great was watching that family choir? Those kids had the entire CCM laughing.
One of my favorite doctrines that was stressed multiple times was how all encompassing the Atonement is. The Savior is the healer of all infirmities: spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental.

Se que Padre Celestial nos ama, y yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador. Yo se que Jesucristo sufrió por mis aflicciones y dolores y pecados, y mediante la Expiación, podemos arrepentir. El Evangelio de Jesucristo es verdadero, y La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de Los Últimos Días es verdadera. Yo se que tenemos un profeta de Dios en el mundo hoy, Tomás S. Monson. Yo se que él recibe revelación de Dios por Su iglesia, y yo se que el profeta y los apóstoles son llamados a Dios. I would share more in SPanish but I ain´t got time.

Okay, I love you all, thanks!

.     Hermana Hanson, Hermana Chalmers, a tiny sliver of Hermana Bowen. I love my casa hermanas!

 I look ridiculous in this picture, but these are the only pictures I have this week. Our room is where everyone gathers. 
Hermanas Fox, Cefalo, Chalmers, Eastman, White, Hanson, and once again, a tiny sliver of Hermana Bowen.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Natalie, I LOVE your posts. I almost feel like I am there with you by the way you write with such great details. Loved loved loved your testimony in Spanish, and as I understand that lingo............Bien Hecho! Wow, you have learned a lot in your short time there. I copy all your blog posts and send them to Amanda, pictures too, she loves it. I know you won't see this comment, but maybe your mom will copy and paste and send it on to you in your weekly letter from her!
    Love you Hermana Rust. Adelante!
    Momma J.