Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 24th, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope that you are all ready and excited for Christmas tomorrow, I know that I am! This week has been incredibly busy for me here at the CCM, but I love it here and I am learning so much! This time of year is the best time to be here! We have had a ton of devotionals already and I love hearing about the Gift of The Savior in our lives! Last night we participated in a devotional broadcast from the Provo MTC to like 5 or 6 other MTC's around the world, I think they said that close to 20,000 missionaries around the world were listening to the live stream. It was translated into Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Russian, luckily we got to listen to it in English though! It was given by the Presiding Bishop Gary E. Stevenson and his wife Lisa Jean Stevenson. It was a great devotional all about the birth of the savior and His Gift to the earth. Her talk was about how we can give that beautiful gift to all we teach as missionaries for the Lord! I loved her spirit as she spoke. His talk was wonderful, he related the parallels between Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. It was Joseph Smith's 209th birthday yesterday and he shared the importance of having a testimony of the restoration of the Gospel as missionaries. It was a wonderful talk on how we can become better missionaries through receiving the gift of the Spirit while we teach and I learned so much!

The CCM this week has been much better! I finally feel like I have the schedule down and all of my stuff better organized. I know that the Lord has been blessing me a lot to better learn Spanish through my study of both the gospel and the language itself. Our practice investigator that we were teaching, "Marcos", is actually our new evening teacher Hermano Galicia. He is a great teacher just like our morning teacher Hermano Ramierez. I am so glad that they are full of knowledge and of the spirit. Hermano Galicia tries really hard to only speak Spanish in our evening classes so that we hear it more and become more familiar with it, and even though I do not always understand everything he says I am always surprised by how much I have been able to understand. The hardest part to me about the language is being able to express my thoughts with a limited vocabulary and limited understanding of all of the language rules. I always hear people say how hard English is, but I am a firm believer that Spanish is a more difficult language. I am grateful though for how quickly I have been able to pick up Spanish and how incredibly much I have learned in the two weeks that I have been here!

Being a Zone Leader is quite fun, and I am glad that I was called to serve as one. It is somewhat difficult on Sundays because we are supposed to only speak Spanish in our meetings and we are supposed to lead the leadership meeting and priesthood meetings and I do not feel like I know it good enough to lead those meetings, but I know it will come over time. I know that this calling is going to push me to work harder to learn the language and to be a more obedient missionary. It is kind of weird being the Zone Leader over a bunch of other missionaries that have been here longer than I have.

It rained all night here last night and has been drizzling here most of the day today, it is the first time that it has rained since I got here and I absolutely love it! It is so pretty today with the fresh rain that we have received. The food has been good and I have never gone hungry, on Tuesday nights we get Costco pizza and it is yummy, some days it is mostly American food other days there is mostly Mexican food, but more often than not there is a little bit of both! The last couple of days I have been a bit sick, my head was congested and I had a bit of a sore throat, but today I feel a little better (no sore throat), and I think it will be gone in a day or two more.

I love so much the Spirit that resides here, and I know that even though it has only been two weeks here that I have grown so much already, and I truly cannot wait to grow more throughout my entire mission! All of the devotionals have been wonderful, we have so many wonderful leaders who love us and wish the very best for every single one of us. We have been so blessed and I am so grateful that I was born into the church and have had great leaders to teach and guide me my entire life! I hope that we will all work to be more grateful to God for his endless divine blessings that every single one of us have been given. I know that he knows and loves every single one of his children individually and perfectly, I hope none of you ever forget your worth in the sight of God! He wants so desperately for all of us to return to his fold and become as he would want us to be!

I hope all is well with all of you! I love you and miss you all so much, but I am very grateful to have the wonderful blessing and opportunity to be here in Mexico serving the Lord and bringing the happiness that I have experienced in my own life to those who are searching for more happiness in their own lives! I pray for all of you everyday that you will be healthy and well and that God will watch over you while I am away! I am so thankful for the gift of prayer!

I love all of you dearly and wish you a very Merry Christmas Day tomorrow. It is truly my favorite time of year and I am glad to be here giving to others the gift that I have received! I am very excited because tomorrow we will be finishing an MTC-wide service project we started a week ago. We are making 287 fleece blankets for a rest home for elderly men, many of whom do not even have a bed to sleep on. We will finish cutting and tying the edges of the blankets tomorrow, we will also be making them sack lunches, with cookies purchased and donated by all of the missionaries here at the CCM. 
The greatest gift of Christmas is to give to others who have less than we do! I love Christmas service 
and encourage all of you to do anything, even if it is small, to help someone who needs a little more love or encouragement, a little help, or just to know that someone is thinking of them during this special time of year! Jesus gave us the perfect example of love and service and I pray that we will all work to become more like him!

Merry Christmas to all of you! I love you so very much!

Elder Mitchell J Condie

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 18th, 2014

Hello Everyone,

Well I survived my first week in the CCM! (Centro de Capacitación Misional México)! It was a fun and challenging week for me here. I have grown so much over the last few days! I was one of the first two missionaries to arrive here last Wednesday, which was nice because then I had time to relax from my long day full of traveling, and plenty of time to unpack my stuff! My flights all went well and I arrived here safely and on time. The ride from the airport to the CCM was quite an eye opener for me. First of all I thought that drivers in the United States were bad, but man can I tell you that Mexicans drive ten times worse than we do, so appreciate the good bad drivers at home; and second of all we are so blessed to call such a wonderful place home. All of us have been blessed so much and we need to learn to truly appreciate how wonderful our blessings are. Everything in between the airport and the MTC was so tattered and run down. The CCM is right in the middle of Mexico City, we are surrounded by busy, crowded streets and houses that are practically stacked on top of each other going up the mountains. It is 90 acres and it is fenced all the way around for our safety. It is kind of like its own little city within the city. It has both Dorms and Houses (Casa's). I got lucky and was put into Casa 48 (the dorms are six to a shower and the casa's are only 4 to a shower and they have their own laundry room.) In my room there is Elder Adams from Loa, UT he is super funny, Elder Anderberg from Provo, UT he is really funny and a big guy, and Elder Anglesey my companion from West Jordan he is a fun stout guy, and me. The weather is pretty mild it has been about 70 degrees everyday, the grass is green and there are poinsettias growing all over the campus, it is beautiful. They have huge palm trees and there are Christmas lights on them. The CCM is pretty fun, we are super busy everyday, but it is good because then it doesn't give me as much time to be homesick! The food has been pretty good, they have been making like american food for all of us from the U.S. but it still is kind of Mexican like if you know what I mean. They have done a good job making it easier to get used to it. My testimony of the Savior and of Missionary work has already grown so much, the spirit is so strong here and I love how close we are to the Savior. I am more excited than ever to be a missionary of our savior Jesus Christ.

Our teacher is Hermano Ramierez, he is from here in Mexico City. He is a fun guy and he has a wonderful testimony of our Savior and of Missionary work that he shares with us often! Learning Spanish is both fun and a great challenge! I am slowly grasping it better each and every day. We pray everyday for the help of the Lord in receiving the gift of tongues and I know that it is starting to work for me, He has helped me to remember things that I learned in Spanish Class in High School that I could never recall before and he is also helping me to better understand and remember the things that we learn each day! I know that the Lord looks out for his missionaries and I feel his help every single day! I cannot wait until I can actually speak with the people here without having to stumble over the words and think forever before I can think of the words to share what I want to say! I cannot wait until I get into the actual mission field and can start sharing the Gospel with all of the wonderful people here in Mexico.

I hope that all is going well back home and that all are enjoying this wonderful time of the year centered around our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I know that he truly is the greatest gift ever given to the earth and that we need to remember that it is because of him that we are celebrating and that only through him can we gain all of the happiness this world has to offer us! I am so grateful to have this great opportunity to share his word over the next two years and give to others the happiness that has been in my own life because of him! I hope you all can have his spirit in your hearts during this beautiful time of year that we set aside to celebrate the miracle that this holiday represents. Christmas is my favorite holiday and one of my favorite times of the year, and although I wish I could be home to share it all with you I know that this is the best way that I can spend this Christmas. We have gotten to have a few devotionals since I have been here and one was really neat to see. It was of a traditional, native dance of Mexico that they came and performed for us here! It celebrates the journey made by Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus Christ. It was very neat to see all of their beautiful and vibrant costumes and their amazing dances.

Last Sunday was a great day! Our meetings are all in Spanish and it is hard to understand all that was said, but I was still able to feel the Spirit in our meetings. All missionaries are supposed to prepare a five minute talk for Sacrament Meeting in Spanish and be prepared to share it, the catch is that no one knows who will be called upon to share until the meeting itself, luckily they are nice and didn't make any of the brand new missionaries speak in our branch sacrament meeting. We had a priesthood lesson on the keys of the priesthood and it was cool to see how they work in the church. Later we had our weekly Sunday devotional, it was Elder L. Tom Perry who spoke to us in a broadcast from the Provo MTC, he shared a wonderful and inspiring message on the work of missionaries. It helped me to be much more excited for this wonderful calling that I have as a representative of Jesus Christ. One thing he said that stood out to me was to enjoy the time that I have on my mission because I will never in my life get the chance to do it again like I can now, and I mean to enjoy every single day that I have here in Mexico!

Here is a kind of crazy story that happened on Sunday as well!

Last week we met our Branch President on like Friday, I think, and he called Elder Anglesey to be our District Leader for the first three weeks and then I was to take over for the last three that we are here in the CCM. On Sunday they released the Zone Leaders because they left on Monday to their missions, and they asked me and Elder Anglesey to stand up; I thought they were just going to introduce us as the new District's Leaders, but instead they called us to be the new set of Zone Leaders right there in Sacrament Meeting; I didn't expect it at all, but I am so thankful for the calling and I know that it is going to help me be a better missionary and force me to learn more Spanish. It is kind of a scary calling, but I am excited to get to know the people in our zone better and learn to be a better leader. I know that the Lord will bless me in my calling and that it will help to strengthen me for the mission field!

I love and miss all of you and I hope and pray that you will all be safe and well! I hope that you enjoy this wonderful season of Christmas and that you will all remember its true meaning! I feel your prayers and I am so thankful for them, I can use all that you send my way! I pray that God will be with you all to watch over and protect you while I am gone!

Elder Mitchell J Condie

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hello everyone, welcome to my blog!

Welcome everyone to my Mission Blog. Here my wonderful family will post my weekly messages to you and the things that are going on in my mission! We will try to keep up with it and post weekly! I am so excited to go serve my mission in the Mexico Guadalajara East Mission. I leave tomorrow night and fly to the Mexico MTC to begin my training! I love all of you and am thankful for your support! I cannot wait to get out there to serve and preach the gospel. I love Jesus Christ and his church and I know that through serving my mission I will grow closer to him and learn to love all of his wonderful children. I look forward to sharing many stories with you while I am gone! See you in two years!

-Elder Mitchell J Condie