Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Elder Carson's Second Week!

Hola, amigos! 
LESSON 1: Cherish the temple. Just after e-mailing yall last week, I had the opportunity to go to the Mexico City Temple with my district and one other. It was a wonderful experience and a truly beautiful place. Fun fact: the Mexico City Temple is the largest temple outside the US! Anyway, for some reason, going through the temple ENTIRELY in Spanish made it feel like I was going through for the first time. I saw the people there, and it was obvious that they treasured the opportunity they had to be in the Lord's house. The Spirit was so strong, and seeing my fellow missionaries all together in the Celestial Room almost made me shed a tear. Too great. 
LESSON 2: Investing in your investigators is so worth it. We finished teaching Alejandra (the first investigator) and got two more that we'll be working with for the next four weeks. On our first appointment with Sara, we asked her questions about her family life, interests, and church affiliation, and as a result, she opened up to us when the time for sharing a message naturally came along. Our other investigator, Regina, had a different experience. She's a lawyer, so when she started being abrupt with us, we panicked and tried to jump straight into the lesson. The whole meeting had a more defensive feeling to it. 
LESSON 3: WRITE IN YOUR JOURNAL DAILY. I don't care if you need to start a new one today, it is worth it. Looking back on my journal entries from the past two weeks, it's amazing to see how far I've come and all the things I've learned. That feeling of satisfaction will only come if you make an effort to remember the important things in life.
So, apparently name-tag robbery is a thing?? Not for real, but within the district. We like to see if we can grab our fellow Elders' name-tags without them noticing. It was hard at first, but then I developed a technique where you come up from behind and reach under their arm. It worked for a solid three days before everyone got way too paranoid. 
One lunch this week, we had chicken wings, which was fantastic. Most of us got three helpings cause we were all starving. My companion got like six. He's nuts. After we were all nice and stuffed, we piled all the bones onto ONE PLATE, and the very sight of Chicken-Bone Mountain inspired genius in us. Somehow, we convinced one of the Hermanas in our district (Hna. Flores - also Cancun-bound!) to take that plate up to the counter and ask for more wings. When the cook saw her plate, his eyes got huge and I think I saw him stumble backwards a few steps. Everyone at our table was dying of laughter. Needless to say, she didn't get more wings. 
Since I last wrote, we've been visited by the Area Seventy and Bonnie L. Oscarson. I gotta say, the Area Seventy was super entertaining. He told us funny stories, one of which included the line "Spider-Man doesn't wear a tie!" Great stuff. I like the attention we get from General Authorities here at the CCM. 
Anyway, it's about that time... there's probably a good story I'll be kicking myself for not sharing, but next time I'll bring my journal into the computer lab so I remember it all. Time moves fast. Everything's a blur X). 
Stay faithful, my friends. [Insert more missionary humor], 
- Elder Drewski Carson 
Yup, here it is. 
Low-key studying in paradise right now. 
Look, my companions and I are festive! *crickets*

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Drew's First Week!!

Hola, everyone!!!

LESSON 1: The gift of tongues is real. When I force myself to listen to someone speaking fluent Spanish WITHOUT trying to come up with a response, the words come to mind. When I treasure up the words of the scriptures, words come to mind. When I pray earnestly for help, words come to mind. For all you prospective Elders and Sisters who are going to be learning languages on your mission: trust the Spirit. I was blown away.

LESSON 2: Getting out of bed is a lot easier when you get up early. Going the extra mile on mission rules makes you feel like a stud and gives you energy. 

LESSON 3: Never. I repeat, NEVER, eat Mexican food without somehow getting your tie out of the way. 

Week one has been NUTS! So many details... So little time... I'll start with the arrival.

Getting off the plane in the Mexico City airport was probably the most surreal experience of my life. I had company (the plane was full of other missionaries departing from the Mormon Homeland), but even so, I felt a little lost. We huddled in packs and tried to avoid the scary locals who might try to talk to us. Even when the customs officer said "buenos tardes!" I hade a miniature heart attack. I must've looked pretty funny as I sheepishly walked away.

A few representatives from the CCM (MTC) were standing around in suits and ties with signs to shepard all the missionaries to the bus. That's where things got really nuts. We began the 1.5 hour drive to the CCM, and for the first time, I saw Mexico City from the ground. It reminded me of an anthill, with all the craziness. People moving every which way, dodging though traffic, sometimes stopping in front of a car to wash the windows and ask for a few pesos. Colorful buildings whooshed by on both signs, selling everything from car-parts to tacos and helado (ice cream). Lane-lines had zero significance to the drivers, including those of public transportation vehicles. We saw a corvette stingray weaving through traffic, miraculously avoiding a scratch. 

The CCM is sort of an oasis in the chaos. It sits on over 90 acres, and there is plenty of grass and lots of palm trees. When we arrived, a relieving feeling washed over me. What a place to live. The views are great. The campus is inhabited by flocks of parakeets (which have a really annoying call, but are undeniably beautiful) and there is always the backdrop of the concrete jungle flowing up the hillside, like the set of a Jason Bourne movie. 

When we got off the bus, we were gathered in a large building for an initial orientation, where we received our nametags (yay!) and met our companions. 

Okay, pause. I need to talk about my companion. His name is Elder Chamberlain. He's from Layton, Utah, and we're going to the same mission! Cancun-bound!! We're pretty alike, except that he's the naturally-extroverted side of the coin, so it works. You need to complement one another if your goal is to teach well. When one of the Elders in our district spilled on his tie, we had a funeral en our casa (house), and Elder Chamberlain gave a singing eulogy (spelling?). It was great. So funny. 

The schedule has been nuts here! We get up at 6:30 and have classes, meals, gym, study time, and other activities until 10:30. The only reason I have time to e-mail y'all is because P-Day is a thing. 

Spanish is difficult, but it's a LOT easier than other languages. I'm already understanding all the lessons, which are given entirely in Spanish. As for Speaking, it's a process. I'm getting better, and all the Elder's have been making an effort to speak it with each other. That helps a lot. 

My companion and I have already taught FIVE LESSONS in Spanish!! That seems nuts to think about, and it was certainly daunting from the start. The first lesson was a train-wreck (which was expected), but we've been learning more and more every time. The best feeling was getting our fake investigator to pray and feel the love of God. After that lesson, the investigator (who was actually a teacher) told us she loved the dynamic between me and my companion. She said we used the scriptures well, but that we should have extended a baptismal invitation! That's next time. I'm still memorizing the invitation between classes. 

There's lots of other things to talk about, but I'll save some juicy details for next time. It might be interesting to mention, though, that every night I go to bed to the sound of explosions (gunshots or fireworks, I don't know), CONSTANT sirens, and occasionally loud mariachi music accompanied by lots of shouting, discordant, jubilant Mexican people. 

This place is great. 

Love you all, 

Elder Carson

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

I'm here!

Hey Mom and Dad, 

I made it safe and sound! Mexico City is nuts, but it's home for the next six weeks, and my companion is awesome. My P-day is Wednesday, but I won't actually have a P-day until next week.
Also, they told me to copy/paste the following to you: 

Your Missionary's mailing address is:

Elder Carson
21/11/2016 9-D
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The estimated departure date for your missionary is 21/11/2016. The use of the above address on all correspondence will greatly facilitate delivery to your missionary at the MTC. Please don't send packages.

Love you weirdos,

Elder Carson