So this week has literally been one of the hardest and greatest weeks (semanas) of my life. First off, I arrived in Guatemala at in the morning on Wednesday and we were all exhausted but so excited. And flying into Guatemala was amazing. It is a beautiful country and I love it so much already. We didn´t really do much the first day because we got here so early and were so tired so basically we just met everyone and had some classes and instruction on what to do. But I arrived with a group of about 30 elders and hermanas to the CCM (Spanish abbrievation for MTC) and we all met up in LAX which was super comfoting. Of that group about 11 of us our going to the Guatemala Central Mission and the rest are serving on other countries in Central America like Belize, El Salvador and Nicaurga I think... But my district is made up of 13 people, 11 elderes and 2 hermanas (me and my compañera) and 4 of us are going to Guatemala Central. We have been struggling with the language a lot. I lot of what I learned in high school spanish is coming back to me but I still feel like I know nothing. And when we talk to the Latinas we almost never know what they are saying which is hard. But we have learned a lot of Spanish from them by just speaking with them as much as possible and they are so nice about it. But in our district we have a really strong desire to be able to preach the gospel and we just want to be able to actually communicate so its so hard that we can't. We have one investigator so far! His name is Rodrigo and we have taught him 3 lessons and he is so ready and willing to accept the gospel. He has a baptism date of ! And we are teaching him as much as we can with our limited and poor Spanish but it has been so good. And last night we taugh almost the entire lesson without notes which was awesome. But I felt like I talked way to much because my compañera is not super comfortable with the language yet. And speaking of my compañera her name is Hermana Traveller and she is from Idaho. She is amazing and I love being able to work with her. And she is picking up the language so well. Like last night she had to say a prayer unexpectedly in Spanish and the Hermana devotional that we have every night and she did such a good job. So I am starting to figure out why the boys lost their English writing so quickly. After only 6 days I already almost always am writing in Spanlish which is good for learning the language but not trying to record all that I learn. So in my journal there are a lot of crossed out words so that I could actually write them in English. The Spirit here in the CMM is so strong and so real. It is truly amazing. Last night we had an amazing night with our district. One of our Elders, Elder Andrew, got 2 bloody noses yesterday and so he was feeling super bad and weak. And we were all in class preparing to teach Rodrigo lessons but the Elders in our district asked Elder Andrew if he wanted a blessing and then all of these 18 and 19 year old boys who had never given a blessing before stepped in and gave one of the most amazing blessings that I have ever heard. And the Spirit was just so so so strong. It was absolutely amazing and it testified to me of the power and blessings of the Priesthood in our lives. And this morning we got to go to the Guatemala City Temple and do a session in English! It was awesome! And I felt the Spirit so strongly. here was a rough day for all the Hermanas that came into the CMM last week. All 6 of us nortes (Americans) that came in were super homesick and during Relief Society we just like all lost it but everyone here was just so nice and they all just hugged and loved us so much. And then we had a bunch of other meetings throughout the day and a lot of them were centered around Chirst's Atonement and it was exactly what I needed to here. We watched a devotional by President Holland about the Atonement and in it it said 'Missionary work is not easy because salvation is not cheap'. And its not easy. It's not easy to leave everything behind and to learn a new language but through Christ all things are possible. He knows all that we are feeling and he knows how to help us and he will help us in all things. And after that I just had a renewed strength that this mission is where I need to be and that the people of Guatemala are waiting for me to bring them the Gospel!
So a little more about the CCM. The food here is amazing. But Latinos get super offended if you don't eat everything so almost every single meal we have to ask for small portions because we just can't eat that much. Also they make a lot of foods that are super familiar to us nortes but every once in awhile we eat things that are more native to Guatemala and it is all so good! The CMM has about 200 missionaries in it. It's about half and half nortes and latinos but there are only about 40 hermanas here so lots more Elders. But we are all so happy to be here and so ready to do the work of the Lord. The CMM is completely fenced in and there are guards that walk around outside all the time. It is all one building that has our living quarters, classes, cafeteria and we have a little yard that is made up of like 2 basketball courts where we get to play basketball and volleyball for about 45 minutes a day. And we love that time outside. It is amazing. It rains here a least once a day. It has every single day that we have been here but it is such a nice rain and it just rains for like an hour and then it stops and the sun comes back out.
I am loving everything that I am doing and I am just trying to lose myself in the Lord. It is so easy to do. The people here are amazing and they are so ready to hear the Gospel and I get to be the one that brings it to them which is amazing. And I hope that I will be able to learn the language quickly and effectively. Missionary work is amazing.
I love you all and am praying for each and everyone of you!