Thursday, February 28, 2013

Week 2



I have lost perspective of time. This week flew by but at the same time - I feel like I have been here forever. I've settled in well and I am really enjoying the CCM. They give us quite a bit of freedom here. A big portion of the day is for the companionships to do what they need to do - whether that is plan lessons or study espanol.

We've been 'teaching' the Bair’s; they are the Temple President (Patron and Matron). He was also a Mission President in the D.R. about ten years ago. I believe they are originally from the West Coast but that portion of the conversation was in Spanish so I may be way off. It has been eye opening for me to see how many people it takes to run the church. Anyways, they were saying how uniquely receptive the people in the DR are. He said that he had companionships of sister missionaries that were able to get into every door they knocked on. And Sister Bair said we need to be careful because if you compliment the people on something like their shirt or perfume, they will give it to you; that is how kind and generous they are.


We were able to take a trip to the store this week. It was exciting to leave the temple grounds for the first time. It has been strange being in the country but not really experiencing the country yet. The store was fun. I have discovered that I am feeling much more confident with speaking but I am at a total loss when people respond to me. I have mastered the smile and nod.


The Haitian missionaries left. We were so sad to see them go. However, it may be beneficial in that I was picking up a strange mixture of Spanish and French/Creole and that left me confused. They were replaced by a large group of Hispanic missionaries that come from a variety of places. These missionaries are only going to be here for two weeks and then head to Santiago, DR.


In other news, I cut my hair. Actually, I didn’t cut it. It was a district effort. No one had any haircutting experience but I think it looks alright; one of my teachers said it wasn’t a total disaster which was very reassuring. Oh well, YOMO (You're Only a Missionary Once).


All in all, I am doing very well. I can feel myself getting a little better at Spanish everyday and I am starting to understand effective teaching patterns. I can also see myself gaining a better perspective; it is a wonderful experience to take a step away from my comfortable life and re-evaluate.

Much love,

Meg

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Centro de Capacitacion Misional


 
Greetings!

One week down in the CCM (Centro de Capacitacion Misional). I cannot believe it has only been a week; I’ve learned so much and experienced so much change in one week's time. The first three days were definitely the most challenging. I think I was expecting to be eased into the Spanish portion of our training - however that was not the case. By the second day we were planning lessons in Espanol and by the third we were teaching to 'investigators'; we have been teaching lessons every night since. A lot of us came here only knowing the basics in Spanish so it has been a real challenge. We are only the second district to come straight to the CCM- before missionaries would spend three weeks in Provo and then were sent here. I’m not sure if they are used to getting missionaries that are more trained or if that is the standard language learning program for everyone. Nonetheless, they are really pushing us. I think it is very effective because we are learning so much, learning to work hard and be focused, and I think we've all been humbled.

One catalyst for this new found humility is the embarrassment that comes from learning a new language. On Saturday morning we walked to the temple, which is right next to us to converse with Dominican members. We were instructed to introduce ourselves and bear our testimonies. One group of teenage girls we talked to were so patient with us but they did get much amusement from our broken Spanish; one of the girls was trying so hard not to laugh that she couldn’t look at us. Another embarrassing experience was in sacrament meeting; I said the opening prayer. I practiced it over and over but when I said it, I mixed up so many words; I ended up finishing the prayer in English. I am still learning to laugh at myself when I make mistakes. Mistakes are of course inevitable but it does get a little discouraging when you are devoting all our time to it and you mess-up.

I can already tell I am going to love the Dominican people. Our teachers are wonderful. They are so kind and would do anything to help us learn - but they are also full of attitude and are hilarious. I think we are so lucky to be trained here and have Dominicans teaching us. They provide us with insight about how to be effective with the people we will be teaching.

As I said in my last letter, half the missionaries are Haitian. They were able to go through the temple this past week for the first time and are wearing garments for the first time. They love to play basketball with us during fitness and they try to teach us french/creole at lunch (I don’t absorb any of it because there is only room for Spanish in my brain right now). We have had three members of the Seventy come through and all of them seem pretty excited about the Haitian missionaries and the work that is going on there.
 

I love my companion! Hermana Coe is from Mission Viejo, California and is 21. Our Haitian roommates think it is so funny that she is older and so much shorter than I am. I have really connected with her and it feels like we are a team. It’s wonderful to have that support and a friend through this whole experience. Although there are a lot of moments of stress, there are just as many moments of fun and laughter. We are always laughing.

The food here is pretty good. We always have beans and rice for lunch and I enjoy that. There is also always a cart full of bananas at every meal, which I definitely take advantage of. The chefs are partial to banana flavoring I believe. One day we had banana pancakes, banana bread, and for dinner a dish called Pastelon de Platano - basically its banana lasagna. All in all it has been good.

Although it is challenging, I am so thankful for the humility it has given me. I already feel like I have a better perspective on life and have learned so much about who I am. It’s easy to get caught up in the failures and how much there is to learn but then there are moments where I remember why I am here. I am grateful for those moments. I am so grateful to be here. I honestly wouldn't want to be anywhere else. I’m so glad Spence got off safe and can’t wait to hear about his first week!

LOVE YOU

Meg
 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

1st Day





We arrived at midnight last night and President Freestone and his wife picked us up and brought us to the MTC. From that twenty minute car ride it was clear that driving is a little different here; red lights don't mean stop and there are no lanes.

There are thirty missionaries in the Santo Domingo MTC. A handful of those are Puerto Rican missionaries and half are Haitians. The Haitians are here for two weeks and then go back to Haiti. They no longer send Americans to Haiti; too dangerous. The Haitian missionaries are very humble and kind. Our hymns are all sung in Creole, English and Spanish.

Elder Rasband and President Anderson (President of the Carribbean area) spent the morning speaking to us. He talked about the importance of missionary work and how each of us need to resolve to be our own best convert. He is a powerful speaker and very motivating.
I love wearing my name tag. I felt so proud walking around the airport as a Hermana. In the Salt Lake airport I received quite a few hugs and people were asking me where I am going; even had a few ladies cry and tell me where there sons were serving. It was a different story in LAX and Miami airport.  All the same, I love wearing the badge.

love you!!!!
Hermana meg


Ran Into Elder & Sister Rasband in Miami Airport

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Meg is On Her Way








The D.R. Hermana's

The Cousins
Meg's Cousin Adelide Put this Together