Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I was only able to send a brief email the night I arrived, so here's a bit more detail. The CCM (that's what the MTC is called in Mexico) is big and it is growing! There's close to 700 missionaries here now, and we just heard the Peru and Argentina MTCs have hit capacity so we're getting even more people next week. The neighborhood surrounding the CCM is majorly sketchy- sirens, yells, and even gunshots at all hours of the night. The compound that we're in has giant walls topped with barbed wire, so it's reassuring a bit. Living conditions are adequate if not exceptional, when you turn on the taps the water sometimes shoots out brown. We were issued water bottles with big filters in them so that's all right. The shower water is usually hot and the beds are mostly comfy, so honestly it's not that bad. Unfortunately it doesn't look like the washing machine is working right now but hopefully we can figure out how to fix it. I'm in a small hacienda with 12 missionaries, though two of my roommates are not in my district. They're really great though, and my district is super fun and spiritual. There's 8 elders and 4 hermanas, and we do almost all of our activities together. Every elder is fresh out of high school besides me and one other guy. Elder P. and Elder H. are called to serve in the Ventura Mission, so see if you can find them in a few weeks! I think that's super cool. Though there's no one else in my district going to Pittsburgh, they all really help me to feel the Spirit and together we keep everyone positive.
The weaather is bizarre. I'm up (groggily) at 6:30, and it's still dark and cold. The days are pretty warm, but every evening at approximately 6:30 pm it starts raining. Yesterday it started hailing like mad and it rained so much the gutters clogged. I'd left my umbrella in the room, so me and the comp were stuck under an awning with the devotional in 15 minutes. We watched missionaries make breaks for it and get soaked, this one poor elder totally slipped in a puddle and went ddown in a splash, his shoes flying off in different directions. (my shoes are waterproof by the way). We grabbed some garbage bags from the custodial closet and made makeshift ponchos, so we survived the downpour. then it stopped raining 5 minutes after we got inside.
As far as Spanish goes, the range in my district goes to those who basically don't know a single word to people with a few years of school under their belt. I've been able to help everyone out because I know the most Spanish in my class. Everyone is making tremendous progress though, and it's a real blessing to see the gift of tongues manifest in these missionaries. Hermano B. is our teacher, and from day 1 he only spoke Spanish. It really got us immersed in the language immediately, it was kind of sink or swim. We taught our first disccussion, all in Spanish, on our third day and we've already done three others. Our "investigator" Carlos is very resistant to the missionaries but we're hoping to have a breakthrough soon.

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