Well this week was a pretty good week. It was definitely easier than last week was. I think I am finally starting to adjust a bit more to this areaq and our routine here. I m starting to grow to love my rea more each and every day. I am starting to learn the area better and I now know how to get to most of the houses or our investigators without help. It is still going to take me quite some time to learn the roads and addresses better, but I know that will come with time.
I think my first week here was hard because it was all brand new to me. In the CCM it was in many ways just like America, with big houses, well-manicured lawns, American food, Americans (and blonde people ;) ), classrooms, and English. Well here it is much different than that; the houses are all squished together and much, much smaller than our house. Most of the houses have one main room that acts like a dining room, living room, and includes their kitchen/cooking area. Then usually one or two other rooms (usually bedrooms) nd a small bathroom. Most houses don't have a bathtub, just small shower, and many people don't have toilet seats. I have definitely had my eyes opened to the blessing it is to live in the U.S.A. nd specifically Utah.
Our area is very big and covers a lot of different colonias (they are like small community of 10-20 blocks). Many days we only end up working in one or two areas depending on our appointments. It has one fairly large hill and some days it is hart to want to walk up it, but it is okay, because it is fun to visit the poeple that live up there. Our ward is the Buenos Aires Ward, and we are one of three sets of missionaries in it. Our area is very dusty so my shoes seem like they are always dirty.
I feel like in the two weeks that I have been here I have learned a lot bout both missionary work and the Spanish language. The first week I could hardly understand anything that anyone was saying to me and that was really hard. Now I still cannot understand very much, but I understand a lot more than I did. In the lessons I try to listen and understand, sometimes I do and at times I do not. I know that listening helps me learn, but it is a challenge to listen when I do not understand what is being said. Ususally I get to at least talk a bit in the lesson and share a testimony on what I do understand. I am getting better at the language everyday and many of the other missionaries and members have told me that I speak very well, which is nice to hear, but I still have a ton to learn!
The hardest thing for me in the missionary aspect is talking to people in the street. This is because of two things: is is scary to randomly go up to people and talk to them and many people are apprehensive about talking to us; and two is I still struggle to communicate with people in Spanish. Other than this I feel pretty confident as a missionary, but there will always be things I hve to work on to be a better teacher and better learn the gospel.
On Tuesday after our studies, Elder Ventura and I went and met Elder Laver (my district leader) and his companion Elder Ramos for my first exhcange. I went with Elder Lavery to his area. I taught with him that day and stayed at their house that night and worked with him all day Wednesday. He is from Draper and i talked to him a lot bout the language and he gave me some good tips. It was fun to go with him, but I was very thankful to get back to my area, because his area is one big mountain and my body was exhausted from walking up and down hill all day long. It took me like untilto get bck to normal again and I sill have blisters.
Yesterday was fastand I was super thirsty because of all of our walking, but it was good. I hve always loved Fast and Testimony Meeting th most out of all of the Sundays, and I loved the meetin yesterday because I felt the Spirt strongly. We had one investigator in Church, Hermana Victoria, she is about 65, she brough her two grand-daughters wth her. I was glad she came and I felt like she had a good experience. I was bummed though because the Arredando Family, who was supposed to be baptized this Saturday didn't come, which means they won't be baptized for at least another week. I just hope they come next week!
Overall this week was good. It went quickly and I feel much better than last week. Today we cleaned our house well and went to Walmart to go shopping, the Walmarts here are different too! It just feels weird being in a different country!
I love all of you and hope you are all doing well and that you have a good week!
Elder Mitchell J Condie