First a bit of logistics: I only have a short amount of time to read/write emails, but I love being able to read so keep writing even if I don't have long responses. Do not send me packages while I am in the CCM (MTC). The mail takes about 2-4 weeks to get here so in later weeks if you want to send me something, send it to my Chiclayo mission address, and finally today is my P-day (Thursday)!! Also can you double check to make sure Heath and Bri are on the email list.
Sam was absolutely right, the days at the CCM are long, but the weeks go by fast. I have never been more challenged mentally, spiritually, and physically then here in Peru. It is incredible how much Spanish I have learned so far, I still am a gringo, but I know that the gift of tongues is real. I love the Latinos here. When I first arrived I knew nothing, but I always like to hang out with my Peruvian brothers, so now I know a bit more than nothing. They really help me with my Spanglish. The food here is really good, but takes a moment to get used to. I have rice about twice a day and every meal has a juice which is always a surprise. Food here isn't overloaded with salt and sugar like in the US, but there is a lot of flavor. Also there is a delicious fruit here called a grenade (pronounced gru-na-da) which is bright orange and look, well, kind of like a grenade. When you open it up there is this booger looking substance inside (Really) and you eat that. It is probably the weirdest food here, but it is surprisingly delicious.
I know that Heavenly Father put me with Elder Coons (mi campañero) for a reason. He is wicked smart and already knew Spanish pretty well before coming out. He also loves the Peruvians, so he helps me with the language barrier. At first I thought he was a bit of a stiff, but then we really got to know each other, and as Becca put is, we are "bros" or "hermos". A couple days ago we decided to share our testimonies with each other for companionship study, it was super powerful. And I could tell that knowing each others testimonies really helped us teach. Oh yeah! they already have us teaching mock lessons, IN SPANISH. ¿Isn't that unbelievable? At first it was super scary, but after our second lesson I could really feel the spirit and I knew that we needed to be challenged in order to grow.
Every day for physical exercise we go to "grays gym". Elder Grey is an Elder in my district who is huge, but has a heart of gold. He gives us tough work outs to help us press our bodies as well our minds and spirits. After our little workout we go and play soccer with the Latinos. I finally appreciate the sport. I usually play goalie, because I am one of the tallest Elders here. I love watching how skilled the Latinos are at passing, and dribbling the ball. One Peruvian, Elder Garcia, always rolls over and acts like his shin hurts when someone steals the ball from him. In the middle of an intense game he did this and a couple of his campañeros carried him off the field, it was super funny.
I love the MTC in Peru, I am either laughing or feeling the spirit all day. Last night I was feeling down about my Spanish so I started to study the Spanish preach my gospel or "Predicar Mi Evangelio". Elder Ortiz, the sweetest little Peruvian from Trujillo read it with me and helped me with my pronunciation. He read a bit of the English Preach my Gospel in broken Spanglish too. It was such a sweet moment that we could assist each other in understanding foreign idioms.
I would write way more, because so much has happened this week, but I only have so much time, and half of it is spent waiting for these computers to load. The picture is of all the Elders in my room: Elder Coons, Elder Ortiz, and Elder Guetierez. They are fantastic Elders and they help me so much everyday. I love all of you back home, and even though I miss all of you, I am so glad I am here. I need to be here, this is what I need to be doing, consecrating my time to serve the Lord.