Sunday, August 2, 2009

August 1, 2009 - First e-mail from Hilary


The Spanish is coming along well! The first night we started to learn how to pray. By the next day I could pray to Padre Celestial and testify of Christ. So I hope that continues to do well. The first day was really frustrating with the Spanish. I compared myself to everyone else. It seemed like I was the only one who didn't know how to speak Spanish, but, I just had to make myself not compare. Focus on just always trying my hardest, and those feelings have started to go away.

We have hardly any time to think at all... and that actually helps. I have 9 hrs a day of intense study of the gospel and language… on top of Large Group meetings and devotionals. I’m up 15 hrs a day working hard. By the end of the day you fall in bed and out of bed on your knees.

I have two companions, Hermana Petit and Hermana Nef. Hermana Petit is Haitian, speaks French, Creole, and Spanish for the most part... can you see why I was intimidated... her family lives in New York City in Queens. It’s great hearing her stories. She was kind of like mom; she was endowed at the age of 20. She is now 23... Hermana Nef is originally from Idaho, but has lived in Texas for the last three years... Both are really great Hermanas. We try our best at companion study and helping each other with the language.

I have to thank the boys. No one in my District knew what “backpack” was in Spanish... that was one of my proudest moments of feeling like I knew something everyone else didn't.

Our District is absolutely amazing!!! We have 8 Elders. They are so respectful to us Hermanas. In the large cafeteria, every time we approach the table to sit down or leave the table, they all stand. In fact, our whole zone does… the only ones in the entire MTC that does that. So we sit down and say Gracias Elders. We have the perfect mix of serious missionaries and fun hearted. We laugh when it is appropriate, but also cry together as our testimonies are growing so much. When we are talking about a subject in one of the lessons, they always ask me how it was in my conversion. So that is pretty neat.

Today is the first day that the teachers will only talk in Spanish as they instruct us, and they talk FAST!!!!!! I am understanding about half as much more as I did yesterday. It is amazing, even now, when I look back, and see how much i have learned. I have felt strongly that i need to put my faith in the Gift of Tongues. It is absolutely vital for foreign language missionaries... Sometimes, I think that the English missionaries have it made! It would be soooo much easier to just dive into the scriptures and PMG (Preach My Gospel) in English and master it. I try to only pray in Spanish now... my first experience praying in Spanish was nothing short of amazing...

Boys! I know you might not have had that great of a Spanish teacher... But, you can take the initiative to learn. In the MTC, a lot of the understanding is self taught. It helps that the spirit is there to help you learn, but it is definitely self taught. You get what you get out of it. If you know Spanish well enough, they will bump you up to the three week plan. I wish I would have worked harder in the language before I left.

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