I arrived at the Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City) at about 1:20 P.M. We then drove to the CCM (MTC -- Missionary Training Center in Spanish) which took about an hour and 10 minutes. The Traffic was absolutely insane, and the air is so smoggy that when you breathe you are basically smoking. The CCM is far enough away that we do not have smoke in the air. I hear gunshots every night, about 4-5 plus many cars honking at each other. I stayed with an Elder Shauffer all day, and we got all our stuff in our houses. I am in Casa 3, Room 3. I met my companion, Elder Denzil Eugene Watts IV at night, and we had a very uneventful day. Nothing is planned for new missionaries until their first Wednesday. We had a devotional at night by Elder Cook. It was pretty good. But since I had been up since 2:00 am, I fell right asleep when his wife started talking.
We started our first official day in the CCM at 6:30 am. My roommates are Elder Nealson, and Elder Tanner. One is a stick in the mud (Tanner) and Elder Nealson is absolutely crazy. I met my district, 8B, and we met our teacher, Maestro Villanobos. (Wolf town). Through the gift of tongues, (De don del lenguas) I feel as if I remember all of my two years of Spanish, and I have progressed more rapidly in my learning this first week than I did in those two years. Although the previous conocimiento (knowledge) has been very helpful. I realized Wednesday that all of the food is very sketchy. The only good drink is called Frukta Naranja, which is orange soda. Tuesdays we get pizza at night, and pancakes in the morning. Bad lunch. I did not feel the spirit at all this day, and was curious as to why.
This day was about the same as Wednesday, except we started teaching an "investigator" who is actually our night-time teacher. (Villanobos is mornings) All the food is garbage on Thursdays, but in the morning they put out this yoghurt (yogurt) with a cow head on it that is mango flavored, and I grab 3 or 4 and drink them throughout the day because they taste very good. Our first lesson for our progressing investigator was supposed to be Nefi (Nephi) 3-5 talking about him leaving his father in the wilderness to get the plates. In English it would have been the perfect lesson, but in Spanish neither Elder Watts nor I knew how to translate it into Spanish, resulting in a very big fail. I spoke the whole time trying to salvage the lesson, and Elder Watts face turned as red as a tomato. It was funny. During the night, we started a program called "Tall" which is a way for missionaries to learn specific topics in Spanish on the computer. Es bien. (It is good.) This night we found out who our District Leader was, and it is Elder Nielson (Not Nealson). He is the only elder in our District not going to Bogota. He is going to Chile.
Guess what? It was the exact same start as Thursday. Same garbage food, and same beginning with Villanobos teaching us about Mark 9:23. I memorized it, Three Articles of Faith, and 2 Nephi 32:9 and 2 Nephi 33:6, and
1 Nephi 20:10 this day. I don't really feel very connected with my District, and they all know very little about the Gospel. I am feeling very humbled though, as I came into the CCM dissing other missionaries. An Elder who is having a very hard time here reproved me, and I thank him for it (Elder Karren). He has helped me to show more Christlike love towards others and realize that we are all children in the evangelio (Gospel) in spanish. Our lesson with our Investigator "Miguel" was about The Plan del Salvacion. The spirit was very weak, but felt in this lesson. Me and Elder Watts did not have good communication or harmony. The Real thing that made this day the absolute best, was it was Mexican Independence Day. All day they were firing cannons, and Fireworks, and we got some super exotic Mexican food (still bad), and at night it did not stop. I probably slept about 3-5 hours. The craziest thing that happened, is we were sitting in our room, and all of a sudden I see a fuego artificiales, (Firework) and it came straight at our window! It exploded right outside our window, and it scared the h-e double hockey sticks out of us. We also had dancers come in, and they gave some very boring tap dances and dress dances or whatever. Overall pretty fun.
I can hardly remember Saturday. We probably learned Spanish with Villanobos along the lines of ser and estar, and how to talk about the seven principles of the restoration. This day was pretty good, and we became a lot closer as a district, being able to spend more time with each other learning. At this point in the week my district leader does not like me anymore, because I whistle a funny Mexican song all the time. I feel pretty singled out, because there is another elder who does many dance moves like "Cooking" and dabbing, and he doesn't get yelled at, but I dabbed once and was reprimanded by our district leader. Just interesting to see what is in his heart that the lord looks upon. I know he has a plan and it will work out muy bien. The campus of the CCM is very beautiful, and it looks upon a hill with a big "B" which stands for Baptisms! At Night, I started a fast, for the gift of tongues, a stronger gift of discernment, and to be able to make others feel the truth of my words by el Espiritu santo (Holy ghost). This was especially felt during our finale of the plan of salvation with Miguel. The Spirit came into the room and I felt it especially strong, and was given the words to be able to describe it and tell Miguel about it in Spanish.
I fasted with my District, so I did not eat any food. However all the rest of my District but my companion (I somewhat forced him) ate dinner on this day instead of fasting all day. I know we received extra blessing though, Isaiah 28:9 (line upon line) helped me to structure what I asked for in my prayers and what I ask of my companion and investigator in our lessons. Isaiah 58:6-7 helped also me to know what fast I have chosen. We did not teach a lesson, but we listened to a devotional from Elder Bednar from Christmas sometime, about the Character of Christ. Bien. Then we had a really long lesson on chastity, which has to do with page 33 in our handbooks, which speaks of our dealings with members of the opposite sex. It is pretty easy to follow though because I know my wife will be waiting at college, not the Mission. I felt the spirit all day and know that it was with me. In my district there are about 6/10 who do not like me, and try to reprove me all day. I just ignored them and continued to do what I know is right. They call me childish and that I act like a kid. I just say the 2 scripture mastery's from Timothy (don't let anybody despise thy youth) and (that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures) and they started calling me immature instead. I know that Christ wants us all to be as little children. Another good day though.
We learned that after the talks on chastity, we have one elder who is not able to remain in the CCM, due to problems before the mission. He is a fun guy, and we will all miss him dearly. After the talks on Sunday he felt very discouraged, and it made me feel sad that This Elder has to experience this to begin his process through the Atonement of Christ. At least he was willing to confess instead of to hide himself from his own flesh, and abide in his sins. We learned the most Spanish every Monday with tons of new lessons about the Book of Mormon, and how to ask them to read scriptures and what they feel about it. The Food was pretty bien.
New missionaries came in, and I got a few to believe that there would be a dance. It was fun being able to haze them a little, but it was nothing like what we received when we came in. Overall, my district is composed of :Elder Lewis, Elder Nielson, Me, Elder watts, Elder Mooney, Elder Peterson, Elder Karren, Elder Blair, Sister Arrington, and Sister Shakespear. Getting along much better now. We had a devotional from some area Fourth Quorum of the Seventy, but it was such broken English that I barely understood. Mal. We taught Miguel though about the word of wisdom ( we had already committed him to be baptized) and the ten commandments. It was good and the spirit was present through it all.
I do not have more time to write, so it Sufficeth me to say that The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth, and that the Book of Mormon is true, because of the witness I have received through the holy spirit of God. I do not believe that a young boy could have ever made up a single chapter of such a complex book, let alone multiple books and chapters, all very plain and easy to understand. A scripture I would like to share is 2 Nephi, 33:6, which says "Me Glorio en la claridad, me glorio en la verdad, me glorio en mi Jesus, porque el redimido mi alma del infierno. In English "I glory In Plainness, I glory In truth, I glory in my Jesus, because he hath redeemed my soul from Hell.
(Mom interpretation -- "Too Long; Didn't Read" -- Internet Slang)
(Mom interpretation -- "Too Long; Didn't Read" -- Internet Slang)
I am fine, and my future updates will be much shorter than this one. I love my mom!
Also a palm frond almost fell on me. I took it home and have it in my back yard. I will send a picture of it next week!