Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Birthday

Well, one week left in the CCM!

Everyone in our district is starting to get a little antsy to leave.  We don't know when we leave yet but we know that it is soon!  This week is just a lot of review, In Field orientation, and waiting!  It is weird to be counting days rather than to be counting weeks!  I am excited to leave the wall (what we affectionately call the 15 ft+ beast that keeps us safe), and start the real adventure!

First of all, some other things to talk about...

My Birthday
I felt like my birthday actually started on last Tuesday, because that was the day that my sister delivered a package from my mom that she had in her luggage.  Because we don't see each other much, she demanded that I open it there.  It had inside some scrumptious cakes.  They were a little out of date, so I fed them to one my my roommates first, and after he didn't die, or get ill, I dug in!  I still have some kicking around, but I am saving those for a special occasion!  I kept the wrapping in my journal, and didn't think much about my birthday again until the night before.

After we finished with our Daily Planning at 9:30, we started walking back to the apartment and we noticed that right behind our house there was a MASSIVE party.  I mean MASSIVE!  It seemed like everyone from the surrounding area was there, except for the Missionaries!  They kept up the music up until pretty late (1 or 2 in the morning), but I was able to sleep through it, which I know was a blessing of the Lord.  I joked that they had done it for my birthday, and that I had been invited, but that I wasn't allowed outside the wall.

That night, we also did a temporary tie trade.  To explain it more, every day in our district, we rate ourselves to see how well we did speaking Spanish all the time.  The highest is a 10 out of 10, and that is pretty hard!  Every day we add up the numbers from our district and make a running total.  Our goal is 120, which is every person in our district getting a 10.  We made a goal the night before to try to get 120 on my birthday.  To help us remember, Elder Wilcox, Elder Jones, and I picked one of our favorite ties and interchanged them for the next day.  The rules were that if the person wearing your tie heard you speak English without doing your best in Spanish, they got to keep your tie.  It wasn't very traumatizing for me, but Elder Jones and Elder Wilcox put in some very special ties.  It made the next day interesting.

The next day started pretty normal, except for we were all stressed about our ties.  We went and studied for a couple hours and then went to breakfast, which wasn't that elaborate.  Then, we had church, which was pretty good.  We had priesthood (which is always good), Sunday school, and finally Church.  First of all, if I haven't yet, let me describe church at the MTC.  You meet with your branch and everyone is given the same topic to prepare a talk on, then during the course of the meeting, the Branch President chooses those that will give talks, so you have no idea beforehand.  There isn't even a guarantee that you won't speak 2 weeks in a row!  I hadn't spoken my entire time at the MTC, and I could feel my number coming up, so I made sure to prepare a talk. 
Everyone is supposed to speak all in Spanish, but it usually ends up being a mixture, and depending on the person, all in English.  Because of our goal to speak Spanish the entire day, we decided that if you had to speak, you had to speak all in Spanish.  I was of course called, and made sure to make that joke that it was my birthday present from the Branch Presidency.  What followed was a talk that I don't remember much of because of stress.  But I was assured that it was good.  What I mostly remember was I know I spoke all in Spanish, and that some of the missionaries were looking pretty intimidated (which made me feel pretty good).  I was pretty proud of myself, and I think I can honestly say that it was the first talk in our branch (that I know of), that was totally in Spanish, without any English, which was pretty cool.  Everyone said it was a good talk, and one of the Elders came up to me and told me how proud he was that he understood all the Spanish I spoke.
After that we had lunch, which was by far the best lunch we have ever had at the CCM.  It was ham, with some teriaki beef stuff, and genuine curly fries.  It is pretty easy to guess which is the most popular item.  I didn't get as many as I wanted, but it still made my day much better.

Then we had class with the president, which, I have to admit that I slept most of the way through.  I blame the fact that they don't usually remember to turn on the Air conditioning in the auditorium, and when I am in a comfy seat, and I'm warm, it pretty much puts me out completely.  I was kind of disappointed, because it was the first devotional I have slept through since the first week (no joke!), but I did feel very refreshed afterward.

We then had some study time and then a recorded devotional by Elder Holland.  It was a lot longer than a normal devotional but it was pretty good.  He talked a lot about the power of the Book of Mormon, and about how even in the first chapter, there are eternal truths that affect us today.  He also talked a lot about how important it is that we make sure to have a testimony before we teach others.  He talked about that part of the reason that the Missionary lessons were revised into Preach My Gospel, was to better convert the missionary.

We then had dinner, which wasn't extravagant, but there were ACTUAL POTATO CHIPS, which I took two bags of, because it was my birthday (they were REALLY small bags, so don't anybody think I was being too greedy). 

Then we studied a little, and went to the video. 

Before the video, I got together with all the people from my BYU ward that are here and got a group picture.  Because there are 3 guys and 1 girl, we got some funny awkward photos.  For those of you interested, we have here Elders Henrie, Herring, and Potter, and Hermana Deem.

The video was the testaments, which is definitely a favorite of our family.  It was another great present from the CCM.

One of the sweetest parts of the days was the end.  When Elder Jones, Wilcox, and I all wrote ten out of ten on the board.  Unfortunately the other people in our district didn't do nearly as well, but we did get our first 100 on the running total!  It felt good to switch our ties back, and the feeling of accomplishment was a great birthday present to myself.  Our heads all hurt afterward.

All in all it was a great birthday!

Everything else seems kind of dry in comparison, but it was all fun!  Spanish is definitely coming, and I am loving it!  We make sure to have fun as a district and it is pretty cool.  Always remember that when you are with the lord, everything is sweeter and the time flies!

I get to go to the temple again today!

Elder Graigry Henrie

Q&A with Mom

1. Are you still staying really healthy?  Some of the other missionary blogs I read of missionaries at the CCM say they have a lot of tummy trouble.
I have been pretty OK, those probiotics are literally SAVING MY LIFE.  I had tummy trouble for about a day, but that was at the beginning, before I got I on a regular schedule with my pills, and after that I have been great the entire time.  I am really glad you made me bring those!
2. Did you get more of your birthday cards?
I think I now have all of them.  I got like 7 letters yesterday and I got a lot of glares from my fellow district members.  I love the talking card, it brings back a lot of great memories.
3. Have they given you any travel plans yet?
Nope, from what I've heard, we don't hear until the weekend before.  When I get them though I will try to tell you.  I know that I am leaving September 3 from the MTC.