Yup, I just checked with some other missionaries who spoke directly with Presedente Pratt. He said specifically that we are NOT to make any phone calls to our families at any time. I promise that I will be safe in the Lord's hands and in the hands of my leaders!
My travel plans (in military time) are as follows:
03:30 09/23 Leave the MTC
07:08 Flight from Mexico City to Bogota, BOG (I'm not exactly sure where this is, but I want to say it's Columbia)
21:17 Flight from Bogota to Buenos Aires, Argentina (THAT´S A 10 HOUR LAY-OVER IN COLUMBIA)
08:15 09/ 24 Flight from Buenos Aires to Asunción
Over 24 hours of travel. The rest of my district told my companion and I that we better have at least 3 converts each by the time we actually get to the mission home. Challenge accepted. We're headed to the materials office after this to pick up extra copies of the Book of Mormon to place ;)
Since this is my chance to email you I'm going to take advantage. This last week has been pretty fantastic. Classes for the most part were the same as normal, but on Friday we got to have "In-field Orientation," a FULL day of workshops on how to find investigators, working with members, building our faith and how it affects our teaching, planning and goal-setting.... all the fun stuff! The day went by so fast! Probably the funnest part was when the instructors put on a play about working with the members of the Church. Since they know that we're not quite fluent in Spanish yet and they were more worried about us understanding the message than the language, anyone who wanted to could get a headset to listen to a translator. I was one of these poor souls. It was incredibly helpful, but the teacher who was translating has quite the sense of humor. He would inject hilarious comments throughout the performance, using funny voices, translating any English back into Spanish, talking to the missionaries telling them the answers during discussions and trying to get us to raise our hands, etc. Half of the missionaries (the ones with headphones) were BUSTING up with laughter while the other half were looking around wondering what was so darn funny! Most importantly, I recieved lots of revelation and took lots of notes on how I can be a successful missionary, and I am so thrilled.
....ok, well mostly nervous.
...........and maybe a little bit terrified.
Yesterday was just as wonderful. During our first 3 hour block of classes, we went over our language lesson and then had a Q&A session with our teacher, Hermano Molinaro. For the last 4 weeks he has been playing the roll of Henry Ciau, an investigator that we had to teach the lessons to. As it turns out, Henry was an investigator that Hno. Molinaro taught on his own mission to Los Angeles. He showed us pictures of Henry, his wedding as a commitment to keep the law of chastity, his family, and their baptisms. Even though I didn't get meet this man personally, I feel like I really got to know and love him through our lessons with our teacher, and I was SO happy to see the pictures of him and his family be baptised and recieve those blessings.
We got to spend a bunch of time with both of our instructors, Hno. Molinaro and Hna. Balderas, that night and take a bunch of pictures with them. Did I tell you enough about Hna. Balderas? She was our first "investigator". She is a native of Mexico and converted to the church when she was 15. She eventually served a mission in southern Mexico, near Guatemala, I think. She teaches at the MTC, is the Young Adult Representative in her ward, and teaches institute at night. Basically, she is the ultimate Latter-Day Saint and is the sweetest woman I've ever met in my life. One day in the Celestial Kingdom I really hope to introduce you to her.
The cherry on top of my experience in the MTC is most definitely my district, and I am going to miss them all with my whole heart. For the last six weeks we have spent 12 hours a day together and have become a family. They are FANTASTIC missionaries and are going to do wonders out in the field. Today as we were having our Sunday district meeting, we wrote down a date for all of us to remember. 200 years from now, after we are long dead and have a perfect knowledge, we are going to get together on 22 Sept, 2213 for a district meeting and talk about our lives, our questions, our experiences. This date is now written on a sticky note in the cover of my scriptures. The point of this is so that when any of us are struggling or going through trials and difficulties, we can look at this date and remember what our end goal is. I look forward to meeting with this group in Paradise and seeing what we all have become.
I love you guys with all my heart and soul. I am so excited to be on my way over South America in about 16 hours and specifically Paraguay after that. There is someone waiting for me there that I promised to bring the Gospel to in the pre-mortal realm. I feel this with every fiber of my being. Now I am actually on my way to fulfill this promise to them and bring them back to their Heavenly Father. I am so proud and so honored to be a part of this work, even with all the things that I'm terrified with right now. My God is my rock and my salvation, and he will help me. I am so so thrilled to share this with God's children in Paraguay.
With all my love,
|It has been a long six weeks!|
Hno Molinaro y Hna Balderas, the best teachers a missionary could ask for