I am so grateful for children that like to write, this letter made my week! :) ~her mom
Dear Mi Familia y Mis Amigos,
First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. I know this is late, and I know you were sick, but I hope you still got Diet coke, sushi, and lots of gifts.
AND THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE. Words can not describe my joy eating goldfish (aka american normal food that doesn't make me feel like i'm going to contract some weird disease).
Oh my goodness, when they say you have no time to write in the MTC--THEY ARE RIGHT.
There is so much to tell you.
First of all, I LOVE IT HERE. I love it here so much. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life (yes that includes American Heritage) but it is so amazing!!
so I have my journal with me and I will try and get through as much as possible.
So mom and dad you already know how the first plane ride went but I will let you know about the second now. The second plane ride I had Elder Daniels on my right and a Dominican Woman on my left. I felt impressed to speak with her, and I panicked because she spoke 0.01% english. But I tried, and it was the coolest thing ever!!! I totally communicated with her for about three hours. I let her know what I do as a missionary, and gave her an El Libro de Mormon and she accepted!! She said she would read it with her husband and get in touch with missionaries if she wanted to know more. So that was such a great way to start off my mission. It may not have been so much for her, but it was for sure a tender mercy for me.
After the plane we got on a tiny bus (I will send a picture if it works, I hope it does!) and crammed like 40 missionaries on it. Hermana Jensen and I sat by each other right in the front row and talked to the driver in spanglish. Because our spanish was struggling....and Dominican spanish is crazy nonetheless. But we almost hit like 5 BIKERS. It was so scary! I am not kidding. The drivers, bikers, everyone is crazy on the roads. It made me so grateful that I am not going to be allowed on the roads anyway.... Ay mi madre. (A dominican term similar to us saying oh my goodness). It was dark so I could barely see the city but what I could see was really cool. The people are all shapes and colors, but mostly I just saw all smiles!! I can not wait to serve them.
I'm guessing the first thing you want to know about is my companion! My companion is Hermana Triplett from California. She is 20 and studied at BYU (mathematics and engineering double major). She is way cool, and basically fluent in spanish. So I feel like I have a native companion even though she is for sure american haha. She helps me all the time with my spanish and that's been a lot of help, even though I'm way behind her it motivates me rather than discourages me- because she is SO nice!! We get along great.
There are only 11 sisters here in total. My district is me and H. Triplett, and 6 Elders. They are all really funny. I'm pretty sure we are in some sort of advanced class because they are challenging us to do way harder things than the other classes. But that is okay. :) It is helping me learn so it is a blessing!! The hard things we are asked to do are always blessings!!
So the CCM-- We study spanish all day, and we were are not studying spanish we are eating (and still really studying spanish) or 1 hour exercise time (but still studying spanish unofficially) and then at night we teach fake investigators that are really our teachers. They use our lessons to tell us how to be better teachers of the gospel. I can not wait to tell you about those experiences this week- because there were some really funny moments and spiritual.
Our first two lessons with "Mario Lopez" (really our teacher Hermano Ramirez) went so bad. And when I say so bad I mean out of the 15 min. we talked to him, we only talked for 1 or 2 of them. There were awkward silences because we didn't know what to say. H. Triplett knows spanish but she didn't really know how to teach, and I know how to teach but not spanish so we were stuck saying nothing. It was no bueno. But it could have been worse. Elders in my district told him "somos novios" meaning we are boyfriends, instead of "somos hermanos" (we are brothers). I was dying when they told us that. We are all just trying to learn spanish.
But we prayed and fasted and really really focused and prepared for the next couple and taught him about God, the restoration, and the plan of happiness. And guess what!?! HE IS GOING TO GET BAPTIZED. (If only it were real life though). But I told him about when I thought I lost my earthly father and how that's when I knew Heavenly Father lives and loves me. The spirit was just so powerful and we were all tearing up. But... he has to commit to the law of chastity first and he has "four girlfriends" so um.... we are trying to figure out exactly how to teach him why he can't have four girlfriends and stay at their houses all the time.... I am so awkward at that so i'm just praying the spirit will help me.
On sunday they called on people to bear their testimonies in front of all of the missionaries so no one knew if they would do it- and they called on me! I was freaking out but said a quick prayer and was totally helped to remember all that I wanted to say in spanish. It was really a good experience. There are always haitian missionaries here that only speak french and they are so humble and full of love, and all volunteered to bear testimony. Even though I couldn't understand french, the spirit bore witness that they were telling the truth. That's the cool thing about the spirit, it will always bear witness of the truth no matter the language!!
The pictures you will get (hopefully) are from sunday. the best day here!! We got PIZZA AND ICECREAM. Was I freaking out and tearing up a little bit? The answer is yes. It was so nice. Because I was sick of the rice, beans, chicken, and mystery meat with huge bones sticking out of it. We got to walk around the temple so there are pictures from that too.
Okay so some funny/cool things this week....
I told Mario Lopez that we pray to thomas s. monson (meant to say listen) and he was so confused. My companion just burst out laughing and explained to him that no we listen (oír) to The prophet not pray (orar) to him. I also said "HOLO MARIO" Instead of "HOLA MARIO" at the beginning. Such a gringo.
Elder Page and Elder Milward were teaching a lesson downstairs, when a real woman staying here at the hotel heard and thought our teacher was a real investigator and we were really doing a lesson. She thought the elders were terrible at spanish so she jumped in and taught the whole lesson for them (lol). Thankfully she didn't do that with us too last night!!
So I got really sick two days ago with a cold/cough/sore throat. It's a thing going around the CCM right now, so H. Triplett and I couldn't go to the temple :'(. But that is okay, it was a good morning with personal study for hours instead. Worms is also going around the CCM so I am just praying I don't get them!!! I will die!!! (not really, but ya... die).
Okay so quick thought. My MTC president said this:
Faith is the power,
Obedience is the price,
Love is the motive,
Spirit is the key,
Jesus Christ is the reason.
I loved that and it really stuck out ot me. That is why I am here, and that is how I will live every moment of my mission.
There is so much more, but I am out of time basically. I love you all so so so so so so so so so much. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I love the opportunity to be here.
The church is true. I can feel it even more than ever before. It is so important that we live the gospel, so important. I know that is true. I know it.
Church is true, book is blue, ctr when a choice is placed before you.
Hermana Schmidt :)
p.s. if there are spelling or grammar mistakes i'm sorry I have to type SO fast. Ayyyyy Mi Madre.
Oh, and on p-days we wear peach.
And the group pictures at the temple is my district in the next email AH.