Week one letter from DJ
I’m going to try to type quickly and really without any sort of coherency because I have limited time...only a half an hour. The first week here has been great. Let me first tell you about the schedule a little bit. Wake up is at 630. We have an hour and a half to get ready and eat before personal study at 8 and then companionship study at 9 till 10. My companionship is actually a threesome...me, Elder Young, and Elder Powell. They are both awesome guys and we get along so well. I’ve been really blessed when it comes to companions. After comp study, we have class from 10 to 1145. In all the classes, we learn a mixture of Spanish (both grammar and vocab) and preach my gospel. We are getting information shoved down our throats at an amazing rate, but by the grace and blessing of God, we aren’t exploding yet, and we’re actually remembering the vast majority of it. Lunch is after that class, and then another class from 1230 to 230. Then we have an hour of PAC (or personalized language study time) to do whatever we want to study Spanish, then an hour and a half for sports and recreation...just something to get us moving and exercising. Then we have another class from 5 to 615 then dinner until 7. Our last class is from 7 to 9. Then we have a half hour planning session followed by a half hour block where we practice lessons and contacts and stuff with other companionships, and then a half hour to get ready for bed and lights out at 1030. The day is definitely long, and the first couple of days were horrifically long. They’ve been going faster, but they’re still draining. I find myself being more tired in the morning, than in the evening actually.
As far as classes go, they’re great. We have two teachers. One for the first two classes and one for the last two. Hermano Martinez teaches us first and then we have Hermana Davila in the evening. Both are superb teachers and we are learning a ton. The classes are focused a lot on application. So we study a lot of topics in "Preach My Gospel (from now on referred to as pmg) about how to more effectively teach lessons and cater to the needs of the investigator. We started off by learning how to teach lesson 1 (8 basic principles of our faith) in English to get down the doctrine and method of teaching and now, we’re moving to Spanish soon. For the Spanish stuff, we’re learning grammar and contacts. Well let me explain it this way: for grammar we’ve learned present tense regular and irregular, subject pronouns, articles, and other basic stuff as well as numbers, months, days, and stuff like that. But we’ve been more focusing on applicable Spanish. For instance, the first day, we learned how to pray and bear our testimonies in Spanish. Now we have progressed through being able to contact people on the street...that is so we can greet them, get to know them a little bit, share a short message with them about the gospel, ask them if they want to learn more, tell them about church, invite them to church, and set up later appointments at their houses. We’ve also learned how to talk about how God loves us, the restoration, the BoM, and the Holy Ghost in Spanish. It’s a lot. And it feels like we’ve been learning Spanish for about a month, but it’s only been 5 or 6 days. We also do a lot of practicing lessons in class, where somebody will be an investigator (teacher or student) and the others must teach a lesson, practicing the principles we’ve learned.
I know Patrick was curious to know how they pronounce things here. Most of SA pronounces the ll and y as a "y" sound. Argentina and Uruguay however pronounce ll and y as "sh" (as in sho me shama, instead of yo me yama.) that is what im learning. although I've heard mention that those here in Buenos Aires pronounce it more as a "zh" sound, kinda like the "je" in "je m´apelle".
Speaking of French, my brain seems to think that as long as im speaking a foreign language, then there's not a problem. As such, I continue to have Italian and French words and phrases pop up at the most random times. It’s kinda weird and somewhat annoying but it’ll go away. There are more Latinos here than North Americans here which is awesome because we can speak with the natives and both my teachers are natives too.
This MTC is so much better in that we learn so much faster and better because of the Latinos. My teacher was telling us that they had a student from Provo come here once with 2 months of experience and he understood less than the one month kids did here. A lot of that has to do with going out proselyting each Saturday (2 hrs for the first 2 Saturdays and 7 hours the rest of the Saturdays). That is why the contacts are so important, because we are actually going out to talk with people every week. This week it’ll be slightly nerve wracking, especially if they have questions, because we probably won’t understand too well, but it should be a great experience. Im really excited.
Argentina is beautiful, I think I told you about all the trees. And the weather is really nice...it’s warm to be sure, but it’s not as humid as everyone seems to think it is. It definitely isn’t anywhere close to New York in summer, let alone Missouri. Um, overall things are going well.
Its amazing to see how fast and how much testimonies grow here...I guess that’s bound to happen since we’re studying the gospel 16 hours a day constantly. And the spirit is really strong here, it’s so nice.
More than anything, I'm fine. Don’t worry about me. I'm doing great and learning lots. Hope everything is going well for you guys back in the states. I know you are praying for me and I thank you for that. As much as I pray here, I fear it’s not enough. Tell everybody I love them. Have a great week.