Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CCM Numero 2

Hi everyone!

Hola from Guatemala! Today is Martes our first pday!  So far I've gone to the temple today, the session was in English but it was awesome! It's a really small temple, on the outside it's about as big as our church building, and all the workers speak Spanish, it was really cool! We went and took pictures with our district in front of the temple earlier this week- hopefully I'll be able to send those pictures. The view from our dormitorio is breathtaking, we are on the third floor overlooking the temple- every night I just stand there looking at the view.  First day they took away all of our electronics, so I won't be able to send any of my own pictures for six weeks.       

Our plane landed at about 6am on Wednesday- we were all exhausted, we took a bus ride to the MTC (in español it's CCM) and the ride was pretty much exactly as I imagined it would be. The traffic here is crazy- the ride was pretty scary. We passed pickup trucks full of guys with guns, BMW dealerships, a Walmart, a Burger King and a bunch of random shops all over. When we got to the MTC they took us to our bedrooms (dormitorios) and told us to sleep. By that time it was about 10 in the morning and all of us were too pumped to sleep.

After we got our pictures taken and had our interviews with the presidency and were sent straight to class.  While we were memorizing our purpose in Spanish they would be sending a couple elders at a time out to the gym. We didn't know it, but it turned out that they were cutting our hair. We now all have the same haircut- buzz. It's pretty cool though because you can tell how long a missionary has been here just by looking at their hair. If it's actually styled you know they've been here longer than two weeks. The food here is awesome, absolutely amazing. The first day we all thought it was gross- but then we realized that it had been over 24 hours since we'd last slept and we all felt sick. Pretty much everything in the letter about the MTC on lds.org is true (https://www.lds.org/locations/missionary-training-centers/guatemala?lang=eng). The food is amazing, the teachers are amazing, everything is amazing. It's a definite culture shock though. All the bathroom stalls have signs in them reminding us to flush the toilet paper. All the brands of food and water are Latin countries. We are not allowed to use the sink water to brush our teeth, and there are no drinking fountains. There are water coolers - like the one's you'd see in an office building- all over. And that's the only water we're allowed to drink or use to brush our teeth. We are also not allowed to touch hands – no handshakes or high fives, or touch our faces. We have guards walking around everywhere outside- and they have guns. Even when we walk to the temple which is three minutes away we are escorted by guards. The gas station across the street also has guards with bigger guns, they're really nice though.  We love talking to them and waving to them.

Only about 2/3's of the missionaries here are Nortes (Americans). The rest are Latinos. The Latinos love the fist-bump explosion, and the joke where they tell you that you have something on your tie, and when you look down they swipe your face. I didn't explain that very well but I hope you know what I'm talking about.    

We are only allowed to speak Spanish here. All of our classes are in Spanish - we sing in Spanish, pray in Spanish, Sacrament meeting is in Spanish. It's a little overwhelming at first, but we're getting used to it. Our district still speaks in English during district meeting and when we're in our dormitorios.  At the mealtimes we can only speak to Latinos- which is actually really really fun. My companion and I have made pretty good friends with the Elderes Garcia. They are the first to missionaries ever to learn Che'zchi (that's how it's pronounced, not spelled). They're going to be here for nine weeks. The Book of Mormon in that language is 736 pages, huge. Every night we have an hour for deportes (sports). It's a concrete pad that has two basketball courts- church building size. And a gym. One is rigged for basketball, the other for volleyball. They also have goals and lines for futsol- but that's been banned recently. Too many missionaries got sent home with injuries. The gym has a couple weights and some ellipticals and cycles. Not a whole lot.

I know all of you are just dying to know about the Narnia holes here. And... we don't have any. I looked. Sorry.

My advice so far for future missionaries going to the Guatemala CCM is to buy lots of ties.  The tie trade is ridiculous here- we call it the real religion. Last night we trooped down to the second floor to the Latinos rooms to trade ties- and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life.  They just mob you to look at your ties and it's really loud and crazy. I made the mistake of bringing some nice ties and they wouldn't let me go. Literally held me in place by my tie. Looking back it was pretty fun- but in the moment it's terrifying.

On Sunday we get to speak English for church and devotionals (except Sacrament meeting) and it's really refreshing. Presidente Cox speaks-and it's amazing. Afterword we all wanted to just get out to the field and start baptizing people.  We teach a lot here, we teach our progressive investigator Alejandro every night, we teach the other districts that have been here longer, we teach the Latino districts-only in Spanish. It's really hard, but it's amazing because we can still feel the spirit even when the language is an obstacle.  Since the third day we've been praying in Spanish and we always pray for eldon de lenguas. The gift of tongues. 

I feel like I have so much more to say, but I'm out of time- it's killing me that I wasn't able to organize this email better but I'm sure you care about the content much more than the organization.   We are supposed to bear our testimonies in Spanish for this email so, Yo se que JesuCristoes el Salvador del mundo. Yo se que nuestra Padre Celestial es amabley bendicenos. Soy muy agradecido para el evangelio resaurado y elexpiación, y para mi familia. En el nombre de JesuCristo amen.

I love you all!

-Elder Goodman

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