Monday, October 14, 2013

1st Letter - CCM

Beautiful Familia!! Oct. 7, 2013 (& Oct 14, 2013)
Alright, my first letter!
   So technically I’m in Paraguay right now, but I’m going to write about México because Mom asked about life in the CCM.

The CCM was amazing. Seriously one of the best experiences of my life. I miss it so incredibly much! So Basicallly we studied all day. Haha. We woke up at 6:15 (companion choice, CCM norm was 6:30), had personal study, went to breakfast in the comedor (cafeteria), & then went back to our classrooms for 4 hours of: teaching our ‘progressing investigator’ – Jonathan (who was actually our teacher Hermano Lloyd), then class: language, teaching (learning how & practicing), studying the Book of Mormom or preach my Gospel – etc. Then lunch! Oh! I forgot! Gym was originally at night, but the 2nd week they switched our schedule, so it was right after breakfast (only 3 hours of class in the morning) We played volleyball almost everyday: me & my compañeras, Elders Robinson, Fox, & Jardine (from our district), & the other people changed a lot (some left the CCM, new people  came, etc.) It was so fun. I now love volleyball, though I’m still super bad at it.
   So after lunch, we had personal study, then language study (with companions – and/or elders in our district.) Which we usually did outside on the beautiful CCM campus, with the sun, gras, mountain views, birds, & constant honking & sirens. Oh how I miss that.
But really.
      Then we had class for another 3 hours: other ‘progressing investigator’ (Hermano Tapia – our other teacher (our afternoon teacher) – he’s a native Mexican & speaks very little English – both our teachers were absolutely the sweetest men ever. Oh & Hermano Castallenos taught with Hno. Tapia for a couple of weeks because he was training him or something. Hno. Castellanos was our first ‘investigator’ Ulisses the first week we were here); more language learning, & learning fundamentals or practicing teaching, and then TRC – where we taught other missionaries who sometimes pretended to be nonmembers, sometimes were just themselves. We only had TRC on Thursdays. The TRC in Provo has members volunteer & pretend to be investigators (me & Nessa volunteered there once), but Mexico rarely has people come in so we teach each other. Then dinner! Oh & on Wednesdays after lunch we had service project. (like sweeping & breaking the ‘C’ on the CCM sign… I’m actually surprised how quickly they fixed that.”
    After dinner… we wasted a lot of time, haha. It was back in the classroom for 30 min ‘Additional study,’ 30 min. ‘Language study,’ TALL for an hour (Language practice on the computer program “TALL”), then 30 min for Daily Planning Session. Since our schedule was mostly there for us, we spent most that time talking/spiritual thought as a district. Honestly we didn’t get tons done after dinner. The district just talked a lot. Some got more done than others. And the last couple weeks TALL didn’t work, so another hour to talk/learn. Wow, I miss elders so much! They’re so fun. I miss our elders. They were amazing! And I miss my trio. Trios can have so much fun. It’s a little hard to be in a trio, with 8 great elders you are with almost 14 hours a day for 6 weeks, & tons of other missionaries you see & talk to everyday – and then suddenly be in a companionship of two, & you only see the 4 elders in your district a couple times for a couple hours a week. I miss missionaries surrounding me all the time. The CCM is seriously an AMAZING place!! I really can’t tell you how much I miss it.
   P-day: every other week was the temple, which took out a good 5 or 6 hours of the day w/the bus time, waiting, & session (s) – but was amazing. We got to see the city & we sang hymns on the bus. WE did laundry, once played sports, Hna. Thacker got a haircut, took naps, took pictures, read scriptures, printed & read emails, then returned and wrote back later, cleaned, went to the tienda (store) on campus, the post office (again on campus), etc. Sometimes just relaxed & talked. It was a fun, much needed break. And our P-day was Tuesday, so after dinner instead of returning to normal day classes, we had devotional (every Tuesday) so P-day really was a great break if you had it Tuesday.
    Then Sunday (this is what mom actually asked about-realized that after I started writing the – sorry!)
6:30 – wake up (slept in a bit to normal time Sundays & P-days),
7:00 – personal study – at the casa instead classroom (but we usually ended up taking more time to look cute for Sunday)
8:00 – breakfast (all meals on Sunday are 15 minutes later than usual) in the comedor (but Sunday breakfasts were just HUGE juice boxes & cereal with warm milk – unless you came right after they brought out more milk, then it was cold – they also had apples & sometimes a sandwich of some kind – usually fair questionable. The workers didn’t work Sunday mornings – which is great! – but also meant breakfast wasn’t as extravagant). Sorry, more information than you needed…
9:00 – Relief Society – ALL Hermanas (English speaking) together in the auditorium. Hermana Pratt (wife of CCM Presidente Pratt) taught if every week. – It was always amazing. & in English. (:
10:00 – Priesthood/ additional study time for Hermanas. (This was when I usually wrote my talk for the week, wouldn’t have time to translate it to Spanish, and prayed I wouldn’t be called on to speak.)
11:00 – District Meeting (which we did as a zone, but the last week figured out we were the only zone doing it as a whole zone instead of districts & the last week we changed to only as a district :( - at least we only did that once before leaving It was more fun as a zone. Oh, and this was basically Sunday School.) – Also in English!!
11:50 – Sacrament Meeting (as a zone/branch) The only meeting on Sunday in Español (mostly). We usually had 6 speakers – sometime more if there was extra time. They didn’t tell us who would speak until we started. Fast Sunday is wonderful because no one is nervous that they might have to speak 5 minute talks Our topics included: Restoration (week 1), resurrection (week 2), fast Sunday, the sacrament, don’t remember week 5, & the Atonement week 6 (I was sure I wouldn’t speak, didn’t prepare a talk went quite well though & was almost all in Spanish so yay! So I talked twice, Hermana Mills talked twice, Hermana Mills talked twice, & Hna. Thacker didn’t talk at all! There were 4 in our district that didn’t speak at all actually. Oh yeah! Week 5 was Charity. I actually wanted to speak that week. Charity is my favorite topic like ever. It’s so beautiful. But later that week I gave the spiritual thought in district at the end of the day & used some of that material I’d prepared to share about charity & Christlike attributes. So Bueno.
1:00 – lunch (Sunday lunch was always AMAZING & always had ice cream).
2:00 – class w/MTC Presidency. A.K.A. naptime. More people slept during this meeting than any other meeting all week long. Afternoon, right after lunch – bad time. I fell asleep hardcore during this the 1st 3 weeks, then I stayed awake most the time the last 3 weeks. This is all English speaking missionaries in the auditorium. Almost always President Pratt, but sometimes other Presidency member. It was like another Sunday School for the whole MTC – this is where he talked about not during tie swaps (see earlier email about tie swaps). Great lessons but hard to stay awake. He often told us to hit/elbow our companions to wake them up for really important parts of the lesson. Hilarious. & in English
3:00-4:15 – study time (in the classroom – so just talking to the elders) / Interviews w/Branch President. We met with him twice during our MTC stay.
4:30 – MTC Devotional – YAY! Usually devotionals (Sunday & Tuesday devotionals) were previous Provo MTC devotionals that the CCM has on DVD. Those were always members of the Quorum of the 12. A few times we had life devo.’s by Elder Holland. He’s absolutely amazing & so powerful. Again in English the live one was once both (he spoke Spanish & someone translated) – the only devo. That the American & Latin missionaries had together.
6:30 – dinner. Then additional study time until the movie at 8:00, but we usually went straight to the auditorium to get good seats (same for devotional). If you aren’t there at least 15 minutes early you don’t get good seats. So we went early & saved seats for our whole district to sit together. This is when me & Hna. Mills would sing with whoever was playing piano. The piano was up on the stage (and a baby grand, so it sounded good). It was great. Once after, Presidente Pratt thanked us & said we had the voices of angels. (: Sometimes, other missionaries would come join us. Usually the same elders everytime, but not always. It was so fun to get to sing. And Hna. Mills is an amazing singer so we sounded good too!
8:00 – The MOVIE!!!
    Each week we watched an LDS movie, basically what we looked forward to every Sunday. Haha, no it was all amazing!
    The movies we watched during our stay were (again in English): The Testaments, Legacy, the Joseph Smith Restoration movie, The John Tanner story/movie, the one with Parley Pratt (& some guy in Italy – cool story), the Stonecutter & Faith in Christ (both in the same week – short movies). I feel like I’m forgetting one, but that’s 6 movies, so maybe not. The movies were all so good! Loved it. It was in the auditorium & we always sat by our district. I miss my district! My compañeras & all those great elders! But it’s okay because we’re planning a district reunion after the elders all get back.
Well, that was my life for 6 weeks. I miss it more than I can explain. I had so many spiritual & fun & funny & learning experiences & got so close to those people. It was some of the best weeks of my life. I wasn’t as homesick there, but I think that’s because we weren’t really on our missions yet so it didn’t feel real. It was like after those 6 weeks (that went by WAY too quickly) we were just gonna go back home, so I wasn’t missing anything that much (I still did, but not as much).  But coming here to Paraguay, I realized, I really am not going home for another 16 months. But as I’m spending more time out here, understanding Spanish more, getting used to the culture & everything, & getting more invested in the work, it’s getting easier & times is starting to go by quicker. I can already tell that the last year of my mission is going to fly by.
Well, that was the life in the CCM. In the next 3 weeks or so, I will write down funny & spiritual (etc.) stories from the CCM, as I remember them, and then send that letter in a few weeks when it’s done. Then I’ll start writing about other things that are happening here in Paraguay that I don’t have time to email about (because as you can tell – I have basically no time to email after emailing the President & reading emails/copying to print in a Word document.) The stories from here are fewer, but probably stranger as well. I’ll probably send a letter with those things every 3 weeks or so.
So that’s it for this letter, more info than you probably wanted,… too bad. More to come… I love you so so SOO MUCH!! Miss you like CRAZY!!!! Love/Your favorite missionary, Hermana Mary Urie

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