Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Week 4 in the CCM

Hi! :)
So we´re almost there. I think it´s only 12 more days until I get to Ecuador. I feel like I really want to leave right now, but at the same time, I feel like there´s still more for me to learn and that I should try finishing off strong here.

Well there are a ton of new missionaries every week here. The first week we were here, we knew  everyone. Now there are so many people that you see someone new everyday. It´s cool though since I think some of them look up to us as an example, so we need to be the best missionaries we can be.
I´ve been having some really good experiences here with teaching. Every Thursday, we have this thing where members of the church that live around here will volunteer to come to the MTC and we will teach them as if they were an investigator or an inactive member. I think some of them are actually inactive and some have problems or doubts in their lives that they will talk about in the lesson. So last week we taught this one member who came in and it was an amazing experience. He told us that he had doubts and asked us questions. So we based our whole lesson on what he wanted to talk about, (which is what they have been telling that we should teach according to the needs of the investigators, even if we spent a long time planning a lesson, we should always be willing to change the lesson if the investigator needs to hear something else or if the Spirit guides in another direction). But anyway, I guess were really able to help him and he said he could feel the spirit very strong and feels God´s love for him after that. He said that he had been having questions and doubts about things, but that after we taught him he felt so much better. He was very touched since he knew that we actually cared about him and I gave him my Book of Mormon to keep. In the report we got back the next day, he gave us his phone number and he said that he´d really like to talk to us when we get back from our missions to see how he is doing. Even though not all investigators will be like that and some may argue or get angry, it made me really excited to go out into the mission field.

Language: We have language class everyday where we learn grammar, but we've actually learned all of the grammar so now I think we´ll just be doing review now. I´m able to have conversations with the Latinos and I can understand most of what they say. Sometimes I have to ask them to repeat it or they will sometimes slow it down or try to explain it in English. There were two times this week where I planned to speak only in Spanish for the whole day, but it didn't work out well, so I am going to try again a few times before I leave. Also, I really think I will be able to achieve my goal of fluency before I leave, as long as I practice and study the language more and speak less ingles.
Lessons: We teach two of our teachers a few times every week who will play as progressing investigators. In parts of our study time each day, we are supposed to prepare a lesson for them. We try to figure out their needs and the things in their life and try to plan a lesson around that. In our classes too, we are taught how to teach better and things we can do like asking questions and getting investigators involved and feeling like we actually care about them and that they´re not just a statistic. We also have coaching time, were our teachers will come around as we study and talk to us and give us tips and things on how to teach better and we will practice on them.

We teach the lessons all in Spanish. I can pretty much say anything I want to now in Spanish, but sometimes it´s hard if I don´t know a certain word. One my teachers told us to never ever ever speak english in the lesson since you´ll just confuse them if they don´t speak any english.
My district has been saying all the time that they want to speak less english but they never do it. I feel like we´ve been speaking more english this week. So it gets hard when I want to set a personal goal to speak only Spanish for a day when they only talk in english. I think we just need to remind ourselves and discipline ourselves better.

Apparently there is a rumor going around that someone got a worm or parasite from the food and someone else might have, so if that´s true then that would be why people are getting sick. But I think it´s also because it takes time to adjust to food from other countries and your body might reject it at first.
They add stuff all the time at the tienda. They have a ton of candy so some of the people in my district go there every day and buy candy. I even found some dress shoes there that I´m considering getting just so I don´t wear out my shoes too fast but I don´t know. There´s a lot of members of the church from out in the city that come to the store and buy stuff too.  

It rains almost everyday here. But the last few days it hasn´t rained. But when it rains, it comes down hard and when there is thunder and lighting it lights up the sky at night and is very loud.

Well , I really don´t know what else to say since every week we do the exact same things. But I´ll just end saying that I know that I´m supposed to be serving a mission right now and that that I love this Gospel and the happiness it brings to people.
Can´t wait to hear from you all soon!!!
-Elder Gomez

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Third week in the CCM

Hi Mom and Dad!!!!
How are you all doing this week? This week has been really fun. So I heard that the reason why my flight plan says I leave August 3rd is because the church has to buy a plane ticket back to the US but they don´t use it. This is what people have told me, so I´m pretty sure I will be leaving on August 12th. The only reason I´d be leaving early was if  I was so good at Spanish that I didn´t need to be here, and there were actually two Sisters in my district who left this week because they were basically fluent and didn´t need to stay the whole six weeks. But I´ve made a goal for myself to be fluent in Spanish by the time I leave the MTC. So I´ve got like two and a half weeks for that, but I´ve come along so far. I feel like I´m already semi-fluent. We had some Latino roommates who left for their missions this week, and I would usually stay up and talk to them and their friends almost every night. It´s really cool how much I got to know them using only Spanish since most of them didn´t know hardly any English.

I really just want to get out into Ecuador. I feel really excited to get out there and serve.
The food is hit or miss. Most of it can be really good though. I feel like this is the most food I´ve ever eaten though, so I hope I don´t gain weight. Normally I´ll just have oatmeal or cereal for breakfast. But I guess in Latin America, lunch is the biggest meal of the day, so we have an hour for lunch starting at 12:00, which we always get done by 12:30, usually after lunch we go to the store and my compañero and some of the others in my district will just buy a bunch of candy.

When we first got here,they gave us these cards that they add 120 pesos onto every week and we can use that to buy stuff at the tienda or use the ATM here to just take the money out.

This place is starting to get really packed. The first two weeks, everyone knew each other and was friends. Now there´s a ton of missionaries and the cafeteria is packed!

Well I think I´m going to end this letter and just talk to you guys. I think it´s easier and doesn´t take so long.
Love you! :)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Second week in the CCM(MTC)

Hi Mom and Dad,
So it has gotten a lot better here. I feel better and the days have been going by faster. I felt so happy today to be able to talk to you guys today. I really miss you guys a lot and hope you´re all doing okay. I´m going to try mailing letters every week so I have more time to write more things about what´s going on here if I forget anything in emails.
So I´ve gotten a whole lot better en mi español. We speak it so much that it´s kind of become second nature to slip in spanish words when I´m talking or writing or thinking. I´ve also forgotten how to say some words in english at times, but that´s rarely. There´s also a lot of Latinos here that we talk to and I can understand mostly all that they say and have a conversation with them. If I keep it up and work really hard, I´ll probably be fluent in a months I think. Our district has been trying to make goals where we don´t speak any ingles at all and only español, but we´ve kind of slacked off this week.
The food here is really good. They have some weird things every now and then like pizza or corn dogs for breakfast or mashed potatoes with hot dogs in them, but most of it is good. They also have fresh fruit for every meal and it´s really good.
Remember how the Andersons said they had an uncle who was going to be working here? Well he is my branch president. I really like him and he´s really nice.
We have a very rigorous schedule. Everyday other than P-day, our schedules are completely filled. We have classes for a few hours in the morning and night, then we have a few hours of study time throughout the day, Then there´s our meals. We then have this thing called TALL, which is this language learning program on the computer we use for about an hour everyday. Then we have gym time for about 50 minutes, which we usually play volleyball in the sand outside. We played soccer today before I came here to write.
We have this thing here where teachers here will pretend to be investigators and we´ll have to plan and prepare to teach a 20-30 minute lesson to them. It´s cool because we have the spirit with us when we teach and I can say mostly all I want to say in spanish and I can understand the investigators even the ones who are Mexican.
We´ve been having a lot of fun here and I feel like I´ve been starting to talk more and open up more to people, so that´s good. I love all so much and you all make me so happy. I can´t wait to be able to see you guys again, but you´re letters will give me the strength I need.
Love you so much,


Alex and his companion, Elder Scaife

Alex's district

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pictures we found on the internet

We found these pictures of Alex on the internet.  One was from a blog that a teacher at the CCM(MTC) posted.  The other was from an article in the LDS church news about the new MTC.  CCM is MTC in spanish...Centro de Capacitacion Misional.

Alex is in the back on the right side.  This was at the Mexico City airport when they arrived.

Alex is on the back row, 7th from the right.  He isn't wearing his glasses.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First week in the MTC

Hi Mom and Dad! My P-Day at the MTC is on Wednesdays so that´s why you haven´t heard from me till now. But I´ll be emailing every Wednesday. Well we have done a lot in one week. We are pretty much immersed in Spanish, and I can speak it really well now and understand what most people are saying. My companions name is Elder Scaife and he is from Wisconsin and is going to Mississippi for his mission. Our days are pretty much packed and we dont have much down time to ourselves other than at at night when we´re supposed to get ready for bed. Well I got sick on Monday and I think I´m still sick.  I think it´s the flu. I don´t know if it´s something I ate or what but I think I´m getting better. We don´t ever get to go outside the MTC campus other than when we go to the temple, but I think I´m glad since we always hear gunshots and police sirens throughout the day and night, so I feel safer in here than out in the city. The city is way huge! It looks really cool how the houses are all built on the mountain. I´ve got picuters and I borrowed one of my roommates USB chords so I will be able send pictures today. I heard that it takes like a few weeks to get stuff here, so if you sent any packages or letters I may be gone and have to wait to get it in Ecuador. We went to the Mexico City temple today and it was interesting since session was all in Spanish but I was able to understand most of it. I think that in just a week of being here, I can understand and speak Spanish much better than the four years I took in school. But that´s probably because we are so immersed in Spanish. Our district wants to make a goal of speaking only Spanish and only English when necessary, so that helps. And our teachers also want us to try speaking a lot to the Latino missionaries and that has really helped a lot. We actually just got some new Latinos come into our apartment today. Well, I´ll be honest that this has been the hardest week of my life. I ´ve been struggling and it´s been hard to fit in and be happy and I miss you so much. The last few days I´ve been wanting to come home, but today was better and I think I´ll be okay. I know that if Dad was able to be gone for a month at his umpire camp, I think I´ll be able to do the same. Being away from you all has made me realize how much I love you all and want to spend more time with you all when I get home from my mission. Well, I´ll end this letter here, but I still have another 40 minutes so if you get this I will be able to talk. I love you all so much and I really hope to talk you soon.
-Elder Gomez

I asked a couple of questions about the food and water:

The food is pretty good. It´s mainly American but they have good choices

They gave us filtered water bottles so we can drink from those and those will last for our missions

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 1-Mexico City MTC

We took Alex to the airport this morning.  It was really hard for all of us to see him go.  He kept turning around and waving at us as he was walking through the security checkpoint line.  We watched him go through screening and waited until he was out of our sight.  He left us a nice surprise as we got home from the airport.  As we were waiting in the car for him, he went through the house and left I Love You! :) post it notes all over.  That kept the tears coming.

We got a text from him in Atlanta as they were boarding for Mexico.  We know his plane landed in Mexico City but we haven't heard from him yet.  He is probably busy getting through customs and then going through their orientation at the MTC.  We understand that they give them a few minutes when they arrive to email their parents.  We will post something when we hear from him.

I wanted to tell everyone that helped out at his farewell Thank you!  It was very much appreciated.

Here is Alex's address while he is in the Mexico City MTC.  He should be there until August 3.  Mail is very slow in Mexico so packages are not recommended until he arrives in Ecuador.  Letters should be fine.

Elder Alex Todd Gomez
Mexico Missionary Training Center

Here is Alex's email we received when he arrived at the MTC:

Arrived at the Mexico MTC

Hi everyone! We just got to the MTC in Mexico City about 30 minutes ago. Things are a lot different here than in the United States, but it´s really cool!I´ve taken a whole lot of pictures, so I will be sending you pictures, but there´s no SD cards in these computers so I´m gonna have to somehow get a USB chord to use. There´s a lot of missionaries with me that came today. We are the first group of American missionaries to enter this MTC, so that´s really cool. There was a church photographer at the airport taking our pictures and interviewing some of the missionaries, so you´ll probably be seeing us in an article soon. The weather is really nice here. It was raining when the plane landed here, so it´s been cool. Hopefully it´s not too hot tomorrow! I know these two years aren´t always going to be easy but it will be a great experience since I´ll have the spirit with me to guide me in all that I do in this work and to give me peace knowing all is well back at home. Well I´m exhausted and can´t wait to get to bed, so I´ll end it here. I just want you all to know how much I appreciate you all. I love and miss you all and look forward to hearing from you all soon.
-Elder Gomez