First of all, things go much faster the second week than they do the first. You know what is going on and you are actually understanding a lot more Spanish.
You don't need to bring a lot of ´´P Day Clothes´´. As stated in the mission Handbook (the white bible), when you go out in public, you always wear missionary attire. The only time you wear something else is during gym time or if you are doing a service project. My companion even wore his church clothes for his haircut. So don't worry cluttering up your suitcase with the nice polo shirts and jeans. Bring clothes that you can play hard or work hard in.
La Tienda (Store)
The tienda is the on campus store. They only take pesos, so if you are planning on buying a lot of stuff, change your money at the airport. (Note from Mom: They give the Elders 100 pesos a week so you only need to exchange dollars for pesos if you plan on spending more than that. Graigry did not exchange dollars at the airport but has been able to get some with his ATM card at a machine on the CCM campus.)
They sell everything from missionary shirts and shoes, to the huge variety of Mexican sweets and candy. This is also where you buy stamps, and your garden variety church books. !!Warning!! so far as I have seen, all the books are in Spanish. If you lose or forget scriptures or other books, you will be reading them in Spanish. You might be able to request another language, but I don't think so.
They also sell large bottles of COLD water, which all the missionaries usually buy at least once.
They also carry a variety of bags and other accessories you might need. Even bumper stickers (I'm not sure why) and ´´I'm a Mormon´´ stickers.
Several guys in my district also suggested bringing a Spanish hymnbook. I brought one and was glad I did, you use it multiple times a day. If you don't bring one, you can buy one at the tienda.
You need to be willing to work. There are going to be things they ask you to do that makes the MTC just seem like school. Don't be deceived! It IS school, and they are giving you homework for a reason. If you do it, you will be blessed and learn so much faster.
Along those lines, this also means you need to be willing to concentrate on what you are supposed to be doing. You will be given a schedule and rules, FOLLOW THEM! I know that I have felt the blessings of obedience.
In other news...
This has been a great week. Elder Jones and I got to teach theschool lesson on the Apostasy. It turned out really great! We had a fun time. We also committed one of our other investigators to baptism, and met another one. Our district meets up every day during gym and does a pretty intense and fun Basketball game. It keeps us sane and lets us relieve stress.
We have been talking about how going on a mission and reminded us what is most important. I'm glad I got to spend some time with my Family before I left, 'cause I know that they are what are guaranteed to last until Post-Mission time! We are all really excited to get out and teach people, even if we are scared at the amount of Spanish we know.
It really has been a great week. We have got a lot of stuff done and I can really feel the gifts of the spirit in my life. I know that I've never learned Spanish so fast and so well in my life. It has to do some with the teachers and the program, but I know that the spirit has been really helping me out.
Out last lesson with Juan, the guy we committed to baptism, we decided to not take notes and just try to follow our lesson. We had planned on talking about the Plan of Salvation, but instead, we ended up talking the entire lesson about the word of wisdom. Elder Jones was particularly inspired, he helped him with his problems, and took out some great scriptures. The part I really felt the spirit was when we were talking about why he needed to obey.
Somehow I was able to tell him in understandable Spanish that our bodies are temples, and are holy. I told him how our spirit is in our body, but is connected with it, and if we are defiling our bodies, we are defiling our spirit. I told him that I knew that when I kept the word of wisdom, I could feel the spirit better, and I felt closer to God. He was originally worried about what his friends would say, but he decided that if the church was true, it didn't matter.
I really like how golden Juan was, even if he was really our teacher with a different accent.
There has been a mild prank war going on in our casa. Nothing too serious, mostly hiding in empty closets and scaring different elders (mostly me). We retaliated in different ways, but most of all I think it just links us together. I am really lucky with the other elders in my casa, they are all really nice and strong in the spirit. Even when we are doing a prank war, there is a spirit of love and safety there. It reminds me a lot of when I had Xane and Andy as BYU roommates.
There are apparently over 250 new missionaries arriving today and tomorrow, so our casa will probably get some new people.
Q. and A. (with Mom)
Q. How are you doing keeping track of all your stuff?
A. I am doing a great job keeping track of all my stuff. My shoulder bag is just the right size for what I need. Most of my books I leave in class. I carry around my scriptures and stuff with me. I am popular because of my expansive medical kit, and candy.
Q. What do you do to exercise?
A. Usually every day for exercise we play basketball or futbol (soccer). Recently though we have really gotten into basketball. Our district has some great games every night.
Q. Did you end up using the sheets you brought or the ones they provided?
A. I am using the sheets they provided. They wash them for free, and you have to take the time to wash yours.
Say hello to all those people who ask about me!