Thursday, May 22, 2014

May 22, 2014

Hola familia! 

I only have sixteen minutes left to write this letter, so I'll see how far I get.  Last night, I wrote down what I wanted to cover in bullet points in my journal, so this email is going to be a series of bullet points!

·         EMAIL TIME--As you've probably gathered, I'm pretty sure my email time here changes from week to week!  I started emailing everyone in the U.S. at 6:30 this morning, so it's super crazy to think it's in the wee hours of the morning in Colorado! 

·         PROSELYTING--Hopefully I spelled that right.  Anyway, I get to go proselyting this Saturday!  My companionship is being split up temporarily.  Hermana Schaeffer is going with another hermana from Paraguay and Hermana Simmons and I are going by ourselves.  Hermana Schaeffer is an awesome missionary and knows Spanish really well, so she will be missed greatly.  But Hermana Simmons and I are just SO EXCITED to get out there and talk to real people!

·         HAIR--Mom, I realized I never answered your question from last week's email!  Sure enough, the plugs are really different here, so without a converter, I'm not able to use my straightener and curling iron.  But you know what?  It's been a great break and my wavy hair is loving the humidity!  So not having a converter isn't a problem at all, and I'm excited to buy one in Uruguay!

·         EXERCISE--I thought you would appreciate how I´ve been exercising these days.  I met another North American hermana who loves running, and so we just run around and around in circles in the backyard of the CCM.  Each lap takes less than a minute, so it is repetitive, but it feels SO GOOD to get a run in (especially when we're cooped up inside all day).  Sad news is that my running buddy now has a different exercise time than me (but I think we may be getting switched back to the same time) and that they put up caution tape all around the grass so I can´t run laps anymore!  Hopefully the tape will be gone soon!

·         MOVING--New Latino missionaries are arriving today (the others left on Tuesday), so I had to move rooms last night.  We were spoiled in our last room.  It is definitely the biggest, and we just had five girls to two showers and two toilets.  Now, it is going to be five girls to one shower and one toilet, but I am up for the challenge!

·         PEOPLE--I honestly admire so many people here at the CCM!  I´m quickly going to tell you about the cook.  Every day, we ask how he is doing as we´re going through the line, and he always says "siempre bien" (which means ALWAYS well).  I love the "siempre" part because being a cook is hard and probably not the most glamorous job ever, but he has such a good attitude! 

·         TEMPLE--I forgot to tell you, but I went to the temple last Thursday and am going again today!  I am so jealous Linds got headphones...that definitely did not happen with me, and let's just say it was a little rough.  Luckily, God understands!  Oh and funny thing, the lady who helped me at the end totally wiped her brow dramatically once I finished.  My goal for this week is for that not to happen.

·         CRYING--I have only cried one day here!  Yay!  Like you wouldn't believe this, but out of my companionship, I'm the person who cries the least!  On Friday I just felt a bit homesick so I started tearing up a bit right before bed.  I wanted to lift my spirits so I got my folder out with encouraging letters from people, ancestor stories, and my patriarchal blessing.  Tears of homesickness turned into tears of joy because I realized how blessed I am to be where I am right now.  I loved reading Grandpa Browning's story about our ancestors being angels in our lives.  I totally know they're helping me out!

·         GROWTH--I know every missionary says this, but I definitely feel like I am growing here!  I have especially come to love the scriptures WAY more.  One day, I was studying patience, and I came across D&C 6:36.  I'm pretty sure that's the scripture Linds hangs up, so it was a tender mercy to feel connected to my sweet sister.  I just love that we get to be serving at the same time!

·         PICTURES--Okay so as you know, I am not a technological genius whatsoever.  I'm not really sure how to load pictures yet, but just know I am working on it.  So hopefully some pictures will be coming your way before too long!

·         AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, SPANISH--Spanish is so hard!  But for some reason, I think Heavenly Father has blessed me with the ability to not get too down on myself when I feel like I'm moving slowly or making lots of mistakes.  I am learning more and more every day, so I am grateful!  Oh yeah and guess what??  Yesterday we had a substitute in our grammar class.  He only spoke in Spanish, and I understood most of what he was saying!  And then, he showed our class an example of how to get an investigator and then decided to call on just ONE missionary to continue where he left off.  Guess who he called?? Me.  I was freaking out because I didn't even have my companions with me and every one in my district was watching me, but it went surprisingly well.  Being a hand talker has really been a blessing in the CCM because I can usually get my point across with my broken Spanish, hand gestures, and facial expressions.  But after, I realized I did the exercise completely wrong because I started from the beginning again instead of picking up where he left off, but I still felt SO GOOD about my efforts.  I am just doing my best, and I have full faith Heavenly Father and Christ will help me learn this language.

Anyway, I love you all lots, and just know I am doing okay!!  You are the best family I could ask for, and I truly feel your prayers each and every day!

Have a wonderful week,

Hermana Dixon

Friday, May 16, 2014

May 15, 2014

Hola familia!

I loved being able to hear your voices on Mother´s Day!  So much has gone on this past week, so I hope I can fit it all in!  Also, I’m going to be bouncing around a lot, so just bear with me.  Before I get too far into the email, I just want you to know I am doing GREAT!  Life as a missionary has definitely taken some getting used to, but thus far, I have loved my time at the Argentina CCM.  Every time I walk by a window and see the beautiful Buenos Aires Temple, I ask myself, "Is this real life???"  Probably my favorite part of this whole experience has been meeting PEOPLE!  On both airplane rides over here, I sat by men who showed me pictures of their sweet families.  I loved it!!  My companions are awesome.  We laugh, pray, talk, eat, and learn LOTS together.  My teachers are bomb. Both of them are native Argentinians, and they are just so funny.  And the fact they can speak both Spanish and English so well gives me hope for the future. My district is awesome.  We´ve got three elders and five hermanas in our district.  Isn’t that a crazy ratio? And last but not least, I LOVE the Latinos!  Interacting with them makes me so excited to get out and serve the Uruguayans.  I especially love my cute roomies.  Along with my companions, I room with a hermana from Peru and a hermana from Brazil. Communicating with them has been a little rough, but the other night we started chipping away at the language barrier!  We showed each other pictures of our friends and families, asked each other about boys, told each other about our homelands, and just had an all around good time.  The food is pretty good!  My stomach has felt a little funky, but in general, I’ve loved all the meals.  A typical meal at the CCM includes MEAT (usually two or three kinds), orange juice, potatoes or rice, bread, pasta salads, vegetables, fruits, and dessert (usually it contains dulce de leche)!  It is so much food, but the good thing is, you can pick and choose what you want!  I have been learning so much. My understanding of prayer, scripture study, and working hard has increased, and like I mentioned on Sunday, the most important thing I’ve learned is that God loves ALL His children.  Throughout this week, I’ve realized the gospel is not just for me, a random nineteen-year-old from Colorado. As I’ve met amazing people from America, Canada, and South America, I’ve realized God speaks all languages and understands literally everyone’s thoughts, desires, and prayers.  Every night as I’ve been going to bed, I can’t help but think of all of you back at home.  I imagine all of you sitting around our dinner table and praying for me and Linds to be "safe, happy, and healthy," and it brings tears to my eyes.

Thank you for being so supportive, and I LOVE YOU!

Hermana Dixon