Hey Mom and Everyone who will get this email!! I must first apologize for how this email will look because the mexican keyboards are not the most user friendly!
Where to begin... The first day here was so unbelievably hard. I honestly can say that the moment I stepped off of the plane in Mexico city I thought about getting on a plane right back. I had originally flown from boise with Elder Lake to LA where we walked a mile and a half to our terminal. It was a short time later that we realized that I wouldnt be on the same flight. I was the only one on my plane who was going to the CCM Centro de Capacitacion. When I was in line for an hour and a half for customs I ran into another Elder named Elder Langhi and he is Tongan. I could have sworn it was Wuki but he is about a foot taller haha! He is a very cool kid and we were instant friends. I keep running into people that remind me of my friends. While waiting for the bus to the Mtc I met Elder Graves who shares his birthday with me!! He is a stud! He reminds me of Jayson Wild hahhaa and he is going to Juarez. I also met a girl who I swear on first glance was Erin Todd. Hermana Schroeder is her name and It honestly took me a sec to realize it was not Erin. I think that the Lord has been blessing me in this way by allowing me to meet people that remind me of the good influences I have had in my life.
The first week in the CCM is hell week. The Elders say there are three phases to your mission. The first three days, the 6 weeks in the ccm, and finally the remainder of the two years. I definitely did not have Dads experience with the mtc where I was instantly in love. For the first few days i felt moments of despair and hopelessness honestly mingled occasionally with the spirit. I kept asking myself why I made this decision and i kept coming back to the fact that no matter what it is a commandment and I will obey commandments. I also realized the kind of person i will become after this mission. Every day has about 12 hours of studying spanish or the gospel. I have never felt so humbled in my life. Everyone always says oh my gosh you know so much, you will be great. When in reality you can never truly appreciate the difficulty of serving a mission and leaving home until you go. This last week I have felt that God has let me sink beneath the water and just before i drown i am pulled up for air by his hand.
God has blessed me with the greatest companion I could have ever asked for!!! His name is Elder Lambert and he is a Hawaiian kid from Flagstaff Arizona! He looks like and reminds me of Tristan Strickland and his personality is a combination of me and Adam Petersen. So needless to say I love the guy! We taught our first lesson for a half hour two days after arriving here and it was so so so terrible. It is very frustrating to try and learn a new language and with the exception of Elder Medina our district leader who has his first language be spanish, I speak it the best and it is still very diffficult. I used to always think I wanted nothing but a foreign mission and I got exactly what I prayed for but i have definitely thought of the idea of being an english speaking elder in salt lake sounds pretty dang exciting! I have envy for those returning to the States.But I am also excited to make it to my area which I report to on December 14. My district is made up of 6 elders and 2 hermanas. All of us Elders are going to Merida!!!! We have the largest group of kids going to the same mission.
I have realized i did not pack nearly as much as i need. Some things that would have been nice to have are in the following list...hangars, floss, antipersperant deoderant what the heck why do i just have regular kind, gel body wash instead of bars, an alarm clock, a laundry bag, more underarmour socks, consecrated oil vial, a journal for notes instead of just journal keeping, and many other things haha. Also I have no clue how dad didnt keep a journal because i write in mine every night to keep me sane. The food here is not so great, and there are times it feels like a prison haha. The days feel like weeks but the weeks feel like days. I already know this is the hardest thing I have ever done and its not even been a week.
The days do continue to get better though. My spanish is improving and in our second investigator lesson Elder Lambert and I rocked it and the spirit was so strong! Our third lesson we taught we didnt even prepare a lesson and we still did great and committed her to baptism! We get along great and are very much alike.Our zone is awesome!!! We have one elder named elder matthews who claims to spit game at all the hermanas including our own celebrity hermana David Archuletas sister who happens to be here. She is quite popular. One of the guys in my district Elder fuller has actually made pretty good friends with her and he has never kissed a girl and is a bigger guy with glasses who doesnt seem necessarily the ladies man type. He is awesome just not what you would think she would go for. My conclusion to this Analysis is that Elder Fuller is Albert Brenneman from Hitch,
I miss my family so much!!! I read those letters you guys wrote all the time. The other day I was especially thinking about ansley... Please send as many pictures to me as you can.
Sunday was absolutely fantastic. We met with our branch president Presidente Alvaro who is one of my favorite people ever. he radiates the spirit and light of Christ. He always shakes with his left hand and then gives a hug to the left so that we are heart to heart. He is ridiculously stylish too I swear he could be a Martinez. He is a stud and he helps me feel the spirit. On sunday I had the realization that the reason this is so hard is because I am literally in the Refiners Fire. If this was a book I would title this chapter, Out of Meridian and into the Refiners Fire... hobbit pun intended. We also got to watch a movie sunday night boo ya!!
I feel happier each day and have less moments of darkness. I know the adversary work very hard on missionaries. He makes them feel more homesick than you can imagine. I also know the lord loves the missionaries and helps them to feel this love. We watched a devotional by Elder Bednar in which he repeated over 20 times the words, You Can Do This.
I have been thinking of how much respect I have for my missionary friends. It is hard. So hard. But I believe it will be so worth it.
I love you all, and think of you all the time. I want to hug my mom desperately and have no shame in saying I miss my mommy. Dads letter to me helped me so much the first night and i have so much respect for him serving a two year mission.
Love, Elder Saunooke