Oh my goodness one hour on the computer is not enough to talk to all of you!! I miss you all so much and there is so much to tell you! Every night I am sure to write pretty lengthy journal entries so that I remember what to write to you. I don´t want to forget anything. I lay awake at night thinking about all that I need to tell you! All of you were in my thoughts and prayers an extra amount yesterday because I knew you were at Wades setting apart and sending him off. I sure can´t wait to hear more about that, and Dad, I would love to hear that poem. Holy cow I feel so loved getting all of your emails from home. Thank you to Mom and Dad and Wade and Amber for writing me. And Mom, thank you for your letter. I received it yesterday. It completely made my day! That is so funny about the lemon and chipotle burrito reminding you of me!!!
So, first of all, the MTC [Missionary Training Center] is amazing (we call it the CCM [Centro de Capacitación Misional] in Española). Oh my goodness it is a roller coaster ride here! We were so right when we compared my mission to a roller coaster ride. I felt a peace and confidence as I flew to Provo and entered the MTC. I felt SO MUCH LOVE as I read each of your letters on the airplane. Thank you!! And the spirit is so strong here! Jetlag was a little bit rough, I was thrown off 8 hours, but all 50 of us missionaries here at the MTC jumped right in to learning in church and Spanish classes! This roller coaster ride has been going for about a week, and each day feels like at least two days, it is so funny how time works. I feel like it has been a month since I left home. That is okay though, I am so grateful for this opportunity. I have felt some of my lowest lows and some of my greatest spiritual highs here. I was not prepared to feel so discouraged with all that I need to learn. Most of our teachers here are natives and they began speaking Spanish right away! AH! I found myself wishing I had learned more in high school. I have a long ways to go with learning the language! I just have to keep telling myself that we have only been here a week and we have already come so far!!! I feel like learning the language and learning to teach the gospel is like standing at the bottom of those 14ers that we love to hike. It is so intimidating, but exhilarating at the same time! And I have so many people to help me along the way; the most important of those, of course, is the Lord. Learning Spanish is such a lesson in humility, and sometimes I am not sure how to cope, but the only person that really understands is Christ. I have felt my prayers become more sincere and heartfelt, as I am not sure how to learn a language, step out of my comfort zone to teach people, and serve others with my calling as a Sister Training Leader. But Christ humbles me just enough to give me more confidence and security, not in myself, but in Him. Through Him I know that I can do anything! Humility is a blessing! The strength and power that I have comes from above, and humility shows me this.
There are some truly amazing people here at the MTC. Our Mission President speaks like Thomas S. Monson, and I feel such peace and joy when he speaks. Many of our teachers are from Spain, and English is their second language, but they have such sweet spirits. Most of them are converts to the church and I love to hear their conversion stories. It strengthens my testimony that this is all real. We can touch people out here and change their lives. We have a message that can make people so happy. Our teachers and leaders here at the MTC are awesome at lifting our spirits after a long discouraging day of learning a language at the MTC. Also, I wanted to tell you about one of the elders there that is really truly inspiring to me. His name is Elder Bobosko and he is from Ukraine, and he is here learning Russian for his mission. He doesn´t understand any of us! He can only communicate with his translator, and I can´t even imagine how hard that is! I think about what a hard time he must have, being around all of us, attending meetings in English, and needing a translator all the time, but I ALWAYS see him smiling. He is so inspiring to me and being around him reminds me that I should be happy! He spoke on Sunday about how sometimes we do not notice our own progress. He told a story of bamboo, and how once it is planted, for the first 4 years nothing seems to be happening, there is no bamboo shoot. BUT in the 5th years, it grows 12 meters! Sometimes in our lives, we do not see the fruits of all of our hard work. It can become so discouraging. But those 4 years are the most important part. We are building our foundation, and then we can see exponential growth.
Sundays are heaven here at the MTC, because we have a break to be solely spiritually uplifted, and it is just nice to have a break from thinking about Spanish words all day. Elder Reina, an Area Seventy came to speak to us, and he gave some amazing thoughts I would like to share with you. First, that we are all witnesses of Christ, and that we all need to touch His hands, one by one, like it says in 3 Nephi 11. He wants us to come unto Him, to know Him. We have these spiritual experiences with prayer. Then we can bring others to experience this happiness. Second, that when we are exactly obedient, we should EXPECT miracles. We embark on long, hard journeys in our lives, but fear is the worst enemy of the Lord. I need to be bold as a missionary of the Lord!
So on Saturday we already went proselyting in the park, after learning Spanish for 3 days! Yikes! Ha ha! I don´t know if I have ever done something so scary in my life. We set goals of how many people to talk to and how many references to get. I was so neat to experience talking to beautiful people in the beautiful city of Madrid. Even though we did not speak Spanish very well, we still gave out a couple of copies of the Book of Mormon and took people´s names down because they wanted to learn more! How exciting! Most of all, I learned that the people here in Spain are so kind and loving, and willing to talk to most anyone. I love that. People have such individuality, and can be blessed by the gospel individually as well.
Also, my companion and I are already expected to teach two "investigators" solely in Spanish! Crazy! Our first lesson with an investigator went terribly wrong. We were SO CONFUSED what she was saying and we could not stop laughing at how funny it was that we were so confused! Ha ha ha. We had a very long laugh attack and soon our investigator started laughing too! Haha. Oh, I was so embarrassed. We couldn´t even stop laughing during the prayer. I am glad to say that all of our lessons have been better since then. It has actually been so fun, because we are starting to understand about 80% of what people are saying, and we can speak probably about 10% of what we would like to. It is so frustrating knowing what I want to say and share with people or investigators, but I do not know how to say it yet! I cannot wait for the day that it just comes and I can speak to any person without a problem. That will be a wonderful day. But for now, we just have to write out our entire lessons in Spanish and do all that we can without reading the paper. It is an adventure! Even though they aren´t real investigators, It is so exciting when they say that they will read the Book of Mormon, or when we can see them understanding what we are saying as we tell them that we KNOW these things are true!
Soooo you guys asked about the food and what not! We have actually been eating a lot of seafood! There is tuna or shrimp or fish of some sort in at least one meal a day. Most of the food si quite delicious! But that is just the MTC I don´t know what the city is like. For PDAY today we are actually going to the city (El Sol) or the center of Madrid. We are so excited to explore, because we haven’t really been to the city yet! I will be sending pictures next week of our adventures! The temple right outside our window is BEAUTIFUL! Sadly, it has been closed for the past week and will be for the next week, but we get to go on a tour and do a session next Thursday! So I will let you know how that went!
Again, thank you so much for writing me. I am so sad that I can´t tell you EVERY little thing. I had so much planned to tell you but my time is running short.
Please keep sending letters and emails (it is very hard because I feel like I don´t have much time to read emails, so letters would be fantastic! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Sorry that I cannot reply individually always to all of you. Just know that the emails and letters are like GOLD to me here on my mission. I am going to try and see if my pictures upload! Hasta Luego... I will talk to you next week and look forward to hearing from you. Ü Haha! I just figured out how to do a smiley on these weird keyboards. I love you my family!!!
Love, Hermana Mather