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 weeklydevotional, 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 happenedas 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.they released the Zone Leaders because they left 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