Monday, July 22
Well, I get to email a couple days early today because our P day is on Tuesday this week and we won´t have much time because of our trip to the mercado. Even if it weren´t for that, I´d still feel obliged to include a comment about how I can´t believe it´s this time of the week again. It was even more ridiculous to realize that tomorrow another batch of missionaries will leave the CCM and on Wednesday another batch will arrive. That means that the elders who arrived on the 26th like I did will be the viejos, the missionaries who have spent the longest time in the CCM. I´ve been here for almost 4 weeks but it feels like 10 days at most.
Anyway, realizing how little amount of time we have in the CCM makes me think how important it is to be prepared before you enter the MTC. Homes really need to be MTCs because to be an effective missionary you need to know a lot more than what they can teach in 6 weeks (or possibly even two). I´m definitely grateful for the parents and leaders I´ve had that have helped me be as ready as I can be. I think about how much I still have to learn and it makes me feel sorry for the elders who didn´t come from such a strong background and aren´t nearly as prepared.
This week has been pretty much like all the others. One of the highlights was that we´ve begun practicing street contacting (just with teachers or Hispanos, not actually on the street). I actually thought it was pretty fun, although I doubt that "real" people will be quite as easy to persuade to listen to the gospel. Something tells me that setting up 4 teaching appointments in 5 minutes is a bit high.
I never thought I´d say this, but one of the best things about the CCM is that we aren’t graded on anything. It´s a new experience for me to be in a class all day but not to take tests or have to do homework or write papers. I think I kind of like it. You have to know how to self-motivate, it´s incredibly easy to get distracted, but I suppose that what we´re working for is far more important than any grade, so it shouldn´t be that hard.
However, without tests it is difficult to see how much my Spanish is improving. Obviously my church vocabulary has increased a bunch, and I´m finally understanding some of the 32 ways the word "ya" can be used in Spanish. My accent is also significantly better, although I´m sure when I enter the field and finally have a native companion I´ll realize that I´ve still got quite a ways to go. On Saturday my companion and I taught a 45 minute lesson on the second half of the Plan of Salvation. I doubt I could have done that very easily on my day here. I´ve also learned a few phrases in Qui'che (I´m totally guessing on the spelling of that), one of the major Guatemalan indigenous languages. It´s such a cool sounding and looking language. Hopefully I´ll be able to learn some. Although I´m realizing that learning a language like Qui´che or Mandarin would be ridiculously more difficult than learning a language like Spanish that has so much in common with English. It seems like at least half of the longer words in Spanish are just cognates of the word in English. For example, once you know the pattern, it´s pretty easy to guess that dispensation in Spanish is despensacion, that restoration is restoracion, or that immersion is imercion.
Another interesting tidbit, I learned yesterday that one of the elders in my district took Krav Maga for 5 years. In other words, his companions don´t need to be too worried about going into the more dangerous parts of town and getting mugged. Sadly, he´s going to El Salvador, so I won´t benefit from that at all.
Ok, I guess that´s all for this week. I´m sure I´ll have much more to say next time, after our trip to the city. I should also be able to send some pictures because we´ll be allowed to get our cameras for that day. Thanks for all your letters and support! I´m so glad I´m able to be here and am super excited to enter the field in two weeks!