I'm not going to lie, these past few days have been really rough. I've already had a break down because of the difficulty of this. It's so hard to have to teach the gospel on my first few days out of the MTC. Let alone in Spanish. The way to teach they taught me in the MTC is way different than the way we need to teach in the field. It helps a little but I am pretty much having to re-teach myself how to get the message across to people. Then there is the language barrier. I have a problem when it comes to comprehending Spanish. I know the words and I can say plenty in Spanish, but I just can't understand what it is the people are saying. It was because of this that I had a break down. I thought I was fine in the MTC because I could speak with my teachers and the Latinos just fine, but here, it's like the people intentionally slur their words and talk really quietly and intentionally make it difficult for me. That's the biggest reason I'm struggling right now.
My new companion's name is Elder Oran. He is a Latino and has been speaking Spanish for his entire life so it should help me to learn Spanish even faster. He was born in Peru but grew up in Provo. He's my trainer and is teaching me how to do everything. We are serving in the Bella Vista ward which is a Spanish only ward. Our area is Arlington and we cover about half of the city. Elder Oran can be a pretty big goof ball at times but when he teaches, it's powerful. We spend most of our time teaching investigators and less active members so we don't really have many dinner appointments.
Sunday was great though. After having a few days to get used to the schedule and adjusting to the Spanish speakers, it's not that bad. I really focused on trying to understand what it is people are saying over the past few days. And it went pretty good. I understood a good portion and had some conversations with members and investigators. Broken Spanish, but Spanish none the least. I also was asked to give the closing prayer in sacrament meeting. But it was almost an entire sacrament meeting based on missionaries because there was a missionary giving the opening prayer, one giving a talk, a return missionary giving a talk, and then me with the closing prayer.
Adjusting to missionary life would be the hardest thing to deal with right now. Add in teaching lessons and speaking Spanish and it is perfect for a stress overload. So far my favorite time of the day is study time when I don't have to teach, speak Spanish, or worry about a schedule. Life in the field is so much different than in the MTC. The MTC had a schedule planned out for me and gave me food. Here, I have to plan my own schedule with a certain amount of study time each day, an hour for each meal, then time to go and teach investigators. My meals have been mostly instant meals so far like ramen, chicken nuggets, and cereal. Lots and lots of cereal. Meal time is the only real free time I have and I don't want to spend it making and cleaning up a huge mess. That'll probably change in the future but I want to keep it as stress free as possible right now.
This entire week has been rough. I think even more than my first week in the MTC. This week I had to say goodbye to my entire district in the MTC. We had all gotten so close and it was so hard to realize that I won't see them for 2 or more years. We had become the best of friends in the short 6 weeks I was there and I really will miss them. Hopefully I'm able to do the same in the mission. So far it seems to be that way because the entire Spanish program is so close.
Virginia is a beautiful state. There are so many trees and the weather has been amazing. All the other missionaries tell me that it could be the most bipolar weather ever. They say that they have seen all 4 seasons in one day. I'm kinda excited to see that happen.
Overall, it's been a really hard experience with lots of stress and difficulty. But it's just the first week. In the few days I have been here, I'm already starting to learn the schedule and language.
Well, today I get to go into DC and enjoy the national mall. The best part is that the cherry blossoms are blooming right now which only happens for 2 weeks out of the entire year!