Friday, March 8, 2013

Feb 7, 2013 Humility+Faith+Diligence

I'm here!
President & Sister Freestone with Hermana Bean

The MTC (Mission Training Center) President, President Freestone, is very supportive and is helping me adjust.  It's definitely harder than I thought it would be, and I have to admit, I’m homesick, but I'm working on well as getting used to Spanish language immersion—! J

I have 2 companions (I’m in a threesome): Hermana Sullivan and Hermana Butler.  There are 9 of us in our District: five sister missionaries (me, plus Hermanas Sullivan, Butler, Burgess and Parades) plus four elders (Elders Gallagher, Nadauld, Cadogan and Van De Venter).  My companion Hermana Sullivan is helping me with my Spanish—answering my many questions.  She is so sweet.  Very kind.  Both my companions are fun to be with.  I'm getting used to carrying around heavy amounts of books!  It’s a little bit like being back in school, school, school...!    
This is how a typical day goes: food, Spanish, English, Spanish, English, food, Spanish, English, food, and... silence (a.k.a. sleep!). Try saying that super fast! Ha, ha! Hermana Butler and I sleep on the top bunks; Hermana Sullivan and Hermana Parades sleep on the bottom bunks.  Among other things, I’m starting to get used to living out of a suitcase! J

There is a small cafeteria with some good food!  In fact, the food is great – the USA bananas can't compete with the DR's bananas.  DR’s are WAY better.  The MTC (we call it the CCM which stands for Centro Capacitacion Misional) is so-ooo air conditioned I'm basically wearing my sweater everyday.  Mom-! Maybe I should've kept my winter coat after all?!?!  Hahaha!

We've been outside a couple times (the humidity is better than I thought).  Outside it is blue, green, and white.  It's beautiful!

Service Project Photo
Monday Feb. 4: We all dressed in jeans and t-shirts and walked all the way to the University to pick up TONS of trash!  I saw several geckos, a lot of hungry stray dogs (hopefully I don't see any cats like that), and heard lots of cars honking (about every couple of seconds).  We missionaries get honked at A LOT!  During our service project, I started to get to know a Latino named Elder Peña. He knows English, and is very kind. He's helping me with my Spanish, and I'm helping him with his English. We're good friends.   
Tuesday Feb 5:  I visited with Sister Merino and teacher Hermana Laureano.  Both meetings were very spiritual, helpful, and comforting. 
Hermana Bean with CCM teacher Hermana Laureano
I walked around the Santo Domingo Temple for the first time, too!  We (District 4) have already started our investigator practices.  They're coming along!  I'm at the level of reading scriptures, reading my “baby/beginner sentence” testimony, and greeting at the door.  My other two companions say all the rest:  i.e., the entire lesson (they’ve had some Spanish before this)!!  But I'm doing what I can.  Here's the thing: I learn and memorize mostly by watching.  That's why I color code flashcards; that's why I love ASL, etc.  Learning Spanish is NOT like that at all, so I'm struggling.  But, the longer I'm here, the easier it's getting, so each day is a little bit better than the one before.

Outside the Santo Domingo Temple

Thursday Feb 7:  Today is P-Day!  (P-Day stands for preparation day).  We went to
the Santo Domingo temple!  The initiatories were my favorite part, where I got to be proxy for four girls (one back in 1679).  What was extra special was that so many languages are spoken here: Spanish, English and French!  Beforehand, a Sister Marie Cuenot told me she knows Spanish, French, English, and a little bit of Arabic!  She's grandmother-age but very sparky, chipper, and big-eyed!  I told her my mom went to France for her mission (1982-83), and I greeted her, "Salut, Soeur Cuenot!"  She got super excited and asked if she could speak in French when I came to her.  "I'll do French foh yoh Mama!"  This made me very happy!  :)  So... I heard Spanish from a Latina, English from an American, and French from Soeur Cuenot.  :)  Listening to 3 languages, one after another, whispering and serving in the Santo Domingo Temple was very special to me. No matter what language, it's the same service.  :)  We did an endowment session (in English) and at the end, a Jamaican gentleman greeted me.  It was a wonderful and different experience.  Before leaving the temple, a temple worker (who also works at the CCM) named Hermano Cuevas, showed us sister missionaries a special assembly room in the temple that seats about 500.  He told us that only 5 temples have that room. Afterwards, outside, my District took pictures.  :)
That's my first week at the CCM!  I love and miss you all soooo much!

Love, Hermana Emily Bean

P.S.  Suggestion: do a good deed today!

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