Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Semana Numero Quatro

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!
So, I am a little flustered because we just went for a walk with our full district around the city for exercise on President´s orders, and it was raining, and we got a little lost so we were RUSHING to get ready on time. Now I am sitting here sniffling from my dang cold that won´t go away trying to remember all I wanted to say. So, forgive me if this makes no sense.

Gracie´s words from girls camp keep coming to my mind, 'I have a PHOTOGENIC memory'...haha, meaning PHOTOGRAPHIC of course. I feel really blessed to be able to memorize things quickly, and I thank my mother and all the amazing teachers I had growing up who encouraged me to memorize scriptures, the Gettysburg address, and other things. That skill helps me a lot, but the language is STILL a slow process.

The good thing is, our teachers are so patient with us. They are all 20 or 21 year old fresh of the mission people, and they have the greatest advice. I think it is amazing how the Lord trusts these young people to teach other young people, especially when it is HIS work being entrusted to us. The teachers are definitely not language teachers, and half the time they cant explain grammar concepts, but somehow we get along and we are continuing to learn more and more.
I only have 2 more weeks left in the CCM, and thank the Heavens for that! I love it here, but it is SO DIFFICULT to be in the SAME room for 12plus hours a day. Sometimes I think we are all going insane. Yesterday, I looked around the room and everyone was staring out of the little basement window toward the light...I almost yelled 'Dont go towards the light!' but then I couldn't think of the words in English. Oh yeah, that is frustrating. I can't speak Spanish OR English right now, and it makes me feel really awkward. We are all really good at Spanglish though.
Our roommates left today. I'm not going to say I am happy to have them gone, because that would be mean....but....
Yesterday, President told them to skip exercise to pack their stuff, and they decided to get ready for an hour instead. So, last night, we ALL got to enjoy staying up an hour later for them to pack their things. I tried to sleep, and my companion gave me a headband to put over my eyes, but that started to hurt my head, so I just grunted every once in a while hoping that they would get my point. Obviously grunting isn't a universal language. Anyways, I love them, but now they are on their merry way and me and my comp get the room to ourselves for a day!!! Yippee.

There is a group of 30 North Americans coming tomorrow. That will triple the number of North Americans here right now, which makes us all really excited. Or, I should say, it MADE us all excited until they began telling us that our district might all get split up and put with Latinos for the last 2 weeks. It would be really difficult, but secretly I hope it happens because I feel like it would push us to speak the language all the time. We will find out tomorrow! Either way, it is going to be a change.

I absolutely adore the CCM President and his wife. Their mannerisms remind me of Gma and Gpa Morrey, especially when they both fall asleep on the stand at church. Sister Allred doesn't speak much espaƱol, but she tries and is so diligent and faithful.
So, I have learned how to be a defensive eater. Honestly, if eating was a game, I would be the defensive line backer. Or something like that. BECAUSE I fight for my bread. The bread is delicious here, and most the time I eat a piece of bread and salad for a meal. This last group of Latinos had some chubby elders who liked to have pan *bread, eating contests. This made me, and some of the other Hermanas, very defensive. Moral of the story, I now am a professional at working my way to the bread before anyone else. A hermanas gotta do what a hermanas gotta do, am I right?
For one of our language classes this week, we got to go to temple square at the Santiago Temple and talk with natives. We were supposed to share a message. My companion and I shared Moroni 10:5, which says 'By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things'. Every time we testified I felt so happy. One elderly lady told us, with the biggest smile and tears in her eyes, that our testimonies were simple but profound, and that those were all we needed to be able to preach to the people of Santiago. That was such a tender mercy that day, after being frustrated because we couldn't express ourselves very well.
I had a thought this week. I want you to imagine a tug-a-war game. Pretend you are the bandanna in the middle of the rope. One side has the characteristics of being lazy and selfish, and the other the characteristics of being productive and selfless. Now, in tug-a-war, the rope is constantly being pulled in one direction or another. If one side gives in, the other side gains.
What is the point of our life here? Well, to learn and progress and return to our Father in Heaven. What is it that enables us to keep going towards our goal? The atonement. The atonement isn´t just for sinners, its for us to IMPROVE on the things we are doing right.

If we aren´t trying to improve ourselves¨CONSTANTLY, the other side of the rope is going to gain whether we want it to or not.

Also, Mathew 11:28 says: Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Every time I read this before I always jumped straight to the part that says 'I will give you rest'. BUT, the KEY is that we need to work first, to LABOR, and then the Lord will give us rest.
If you wonder why you don't feel the atonement in your life after you have repented and tried to go to church again, or tried to receive comfort because you are going through a hard time, remember: we must labor FIRST.
Our opportunities to serve here are limited, but we try to help the cooks or each other as much as we can because when we are serving each other we forget our own worries and trials. Its a crazy concept, but it is marvelous and I testify that it is true. If you want help, give help first. Then the Lord will bless you abundantly.
Well, I love you all. I love the emails you send me, and I wish I had more time to respond personally. The support is amazing. It really is no walk in the park to leave your family and friends and land in a foreign country, but thanks to your prayers and the Lords help I know that I will be just fine.
Have a great week! Next week will be my last time writing from the CCM, not that I am excited about that or anything.... :)
Les amo,
Hermana VanCott

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