Hello!!! It's been a crazy first week here at the Dominican Rebublic MTC! I got here at 5 am on Thursday, July 16th, so out of 72 hours of being awake, I got 3 hours of sleep; Heavenly Father definitely helped me stay awake and alert:) I've been speaking and writing in Spanish so much that my English is officially terrible, so I'm sorry for all the mistakese that will come haha:)
So much has happpened, but one of the most prominent things about life here as the TIME--it feels like we've lived here a month instead of a week! Iti's been so great getting to know the Hermanas and Elders; there are only 56 of us in the MTC, so we definitely get to know each other. The missionaries who were here 2 weeks before my group are headed to Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Santiago, DR. Everyone who came in the same time as me are serving in the Santo Domingo (the capital) East and West missions. They're all from the States except for 1 from Jamaica and 2 from Haiti.
Wow, it's SO HUMID!! I'm getting used to that and the heat, though:) The Dominicans are the most welcoming people I have ever met, so I'm super stoked about getting into the field when I get to be with them all of the time. They appreciate any Spanish that the Gringos (Americans) can speak, and they love the Mormones (that's what they call the missionaries).
I got to go inside the Santo Domingo temple for the first time today!! It's seriously only 200 feet, maybe less, away from the MTC, so I get to look right out my window each night and have that be the last thing I see before I fall asleep--incredible:) Even just walking around it during the day is amazing:) There are 166 Jamaicans here to do temple work, and since the MTC is also the temple visitors' center, they're staying with us! Because of that, the missionaries did 1 endowment session this morning, but from now on, we'll get to do sealings and more:):) I met my mission president and his wife when they stopped by! Can't wait to work with them! My MTC President is Mitt Romney's second cousin, so that's pretty neat:) President and Hermana Romney are the greatest, I love them SO much!! They're my parents here in the DR; they're with us all the time since the MTC is so small--I love that:)
My companion is Hermana Jessica Flake from Nampa, ID, and apparently she was on both planes with me and the 5 Elders who flew out, but we didn't meet her until we go to New York. I was really worried at first--we're totally opposite people, but after the first 24 hours, we got along super well! She's pretty shy and quiet, but we balance each other out and work great together:) She trains for marathons and plays a bunch of sports, so she definitely motivates me to work out:)
My district has 8 Elders and 2 Hermanas, including myself--Hermana Flake and I were the only new sisters, so there are 7 Hermanas in the whole MTC!! My district has a lot of fun and really gets along--halelujah!!
Satan didn't work on me a whole lot in the months leading up to my mission, and that was a blessing...until he SLAMMED me this week. I'm not going to lie, this has been one of the hardest weeks of my entire life.ThankfulIy I was hardly homesick (I do love you, family), but I went through an INSANE roller coaster of emotions. I picked up the Spanish really fast the first three days--I could speak in whole sentences, and the 3.5 years of Spanish in school all came back to my remembrance. I got incredibly discouraged after that, though--I was terrified to pray out loud in Spanish, and since I don't like doing things unless I'm 100% confident about it, I didn't want to pray or go talk to investigators (in Spanish). My teachers basically only speak in Spanish, and I started to feel really incapable. My whole district has been frustrated, but we're trying to calm down and not put so much pressure on ourselves.I began to question my purpose and my reasons for serving a mission; Satan threw all the worst thoughts possible about the Church into my head, and he tried to make me get back on a plane and come home. I just prayed and prayed and tried to have an eternal perspective. I wanted to give up--it was so hard--but Hermana Romney came out the moment I needed her and talked to me about her experience as a mission president's wife and then as an MTC president's wife--that really helped. I'm so blessed to know her, I want to be just like her someday:) I asked for a blessing from President Romney (normally the District Leader would have, but we didn't have one yet), and he blessed me that I would have peace in my heart; it really helped.
I've already memorized the missionary purpose, First Vision, and baptism commitment in Spanish!! I can also pray out loud and bear my testimony in Spanish and teach the first discussion about the Restoration in Spanglesh (Spanish mingled with English). We teach "investigators" (really our teachers) almost every day--it's terrifying when you can't speak all the words you want to say, but it's prepping us for sure!
I know I can teach the people of the Dominican Republic with the Lord's help. I have a testimony of my Savior and El Libro de Mormon. I testify that this Gospel is true and that's it's the only true church on the earth. I love you all!! Thank you for your prayers and support! I'll send pictures next week!:)
With much love,