CCM Week 3 – Halfway Through the CCM? You must be mistaken…

Hola mi amigos y familia! ¿Cómo está? This last week has been short and amazing! I am so excited for this opportunity to serve the Lord! I feel His love constantly around me and I feel the love He has for all of you! I love being able to tell you all every week about the experiences out here on a mission. So sorry, not sorry, my emails are long. I am about to do a temple session here in the Mexico City Temple so I will try my best to reply to everyone. Anywho, enough rambling, onto the week! ¡Vámonos!

Wednesday after my email, we played sand volleyball with another district and I discovered I’m very aggressive about it. I hit the ball and it goes in the direction opposite where I want it to go and it goes far. I started to get the hang of it but we decided to end the game.

Thursday. We’ve been doing lots of mock teaching. Elder Ramirez still does a bunch of the talking but I’m getting better. Today, we ‘taught’ Brenda our first ‘lesson’ and it was awesome! (Those who have served a mission remember their first mock teachings, I’m sure.) We’re slowly taking steps into introducing the Gospel in conversations we have but for now, we’re still focused on meeting and getting to know them. My Spanish is horrible (Mi Español es horrible) for now but it’s getting better.
We also had a special Thanksgiving day broadcast from the Provo MTC with Elder Anderson. I’ll admit, that touched me more that I thought it would. He shared a quote that I really enjoyed “You can count the number of seeds in an apple but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed.” I really enjoyed that because even throughout the teaching that I will do and may be rejected at the time, it may just plant that seed of question in their minds and they hopefully end up investigating the church.
Later, our district got together and we all went around and said what we were thankful for, classic. I’ve never felt so much love for a group of people that I’ve known for a little over a week! The Lord truly does put you when He needs you and where you need to be with who you need to be with at the time it needs to happen.

Friday was normal for the most part. Prayer has taken a much bigger role in my life and it’s fantástico! More grammar, lessons, Spanish, deadlines (kind of), and so much more! It all just moves so fast here! So far, we’ve had to memorize as much of Basic Core as we can, the First Vision, Our Objective, Moroni 10:5, and the Baptismal Invitation all en Español. It’s a little rough getting ahold of the language. I have most of the bigger words down but it’s the small, filler words like verbs that trip me up. Also, determining what the word referenced to is muy difícil. Is it past or future tense? Is it before or after the subject of the sentence? It’s hard but I’m getting the hang of it.
It’s also made me more sensitive to the Spirit hearing those words you’re so used to hearing in a different language and I’m thankful for that and for this challenge of learning Español.

Saturday, I honestly don’t remember what happened. We were in class all day and we started a monthly fast so not a lot. Although, I was introduced to the game ‘Signs’. It’s a lot of fun! So someone in the middle of the circle has to figure out who currently has the ‘sign’. We had to pass it around without getting caught. If the person in the middle noticed it, they had to tag whomever had it currently before they passed it to someone else. It’s a little more complicated than what I’ve described but if you’ve played it, you know. That was a lot of fun.

Sunday. Oh boy, what a fantastic day! I love Sundays here! We had a movie night in our classroom and we watched the new video about Christ’s birth and the first Book of Mormon video. Let me tell you, those videos are great and I encourage you to watch them. What a party! We also started implementing Come, Follow Me into our schedules today to study as a district. It was amazing! We started sharing our testimonies about following prophets and we just got lost in it. It was amazing and so emotional.
Our district really is special. Apparently, it’s not normal for everyone in a district to go to the same area(s) in the field (most are Houston, while three of us are Houston East). We are a special district, and I don’t say that just because. I say that with a confidence and a knowledge that there is something different. We all connected very quickly, which happens quite rarely. We are farther along in our studies and language progress than most in week 5! There is something different and I know that it is by the hand of God that we are all here at this time at this place learning this language going to where we’re going because God needs us there. It going to be amazing. “Texas ain’t ready [for us]” (district quote).

Monday was very normal. We taught Brenda again and she asked us about plural marriage and if that is still practiced today. We had the opportunity right then to try and explain in our broken Spanish that we did, but we don’t anymore and the reasons why. That was an interesting experience to say the least. It wasn’t really as interesting as all the other days; we were kept very busy that day.
I didn’t mention this in a previous email but an email came across my inbox Monday and reminded me of it. Our first few days here in the CCM, we had the opportunity to have people come in and we had to ask questions to get to know that person better and figure out what best to teach them. It turns out, those people were actually Elders here in the CCM (we didn’t know, we were new! Don’t judge us!). Well, our first guy was known to us as David and he left that morning for Argentina. And we got an email from him at like 6pm Monday night so that was cool. We have a picture somewhere that I’ll try to find and attach before this sends out.

Tuesday was a little rough for me but we all have some days that are rough for us. Está bien. Many times here in the CCM have been rough but I know that the Lord is refining me and my skills through all of this. As the Lord says in 1 Nephi 20:10, “For, behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” I know that the Lord has something in store for me. Maybe it’s to keep me humble and have faith enough to try my best and turn the rest over to the Lord. I may not know now and I may never know in this life but those blessings that don’t come in this life will most certainly come in the next. I know that to be true.

Keep a smile on your face! Keep laughing and enjoy the moments as they come! Talk to you next week!

Fun(ny) things:

  • We’ve had someone taller than Elder Osenbach move in to our casa. He’s 6’9″ (not kidding) and from Texas!
  • Mom sent me some Christmas lights and us Elders have all decided they won’t come down until the Sunday before I leave. It reminds us all of a little part of home.
  • After my call last week with Mom and Dad, they asked if I’d send a photo of our room. So I did. They message me later and Chaz (mi hermono) said our room looks like a bathroom. Rude, but he’s not wrong.
  • There is a story here in the CCM about two Elders and their companions being sent home for climbing the water tower here on site. So our district has made the joke of if you don’t want to do something or you’re offended by something or something isn’t going right, climb the water tower. Surprise, surprise, we haven’t climbed it yet but it’s fun to joke about.

Elder Thacker