Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25, 2015 -- ¡Hola de México! Hello from México

It´s nice being able to type those characters now that I´m in México and the keyboard actually has them. A few people have asked about the differences and similarities between the MTC (Provo) and the CCM (México City), so I will start with that. First thing I noticed was that I am now the minority and everybody speaks Spanish (obviously). Also, the roads are crazy. Just on the way to the CCM, I saw people in the streets at a stoplight walking around selling candy or something (let´s say it´s candy), cars that are about a foot away from each other and a Mexican washing someone´s windshield on the road (like at a stoplight). Then, similar to an oasis in a desert, the CCM appeared with a huge fence all around it. So beautiful, as  you´ll be able to see from the pictures. Palm trees, grass lawns, houses halfway up the nearby mountains that look really cool at night, and the city that goes on FOREVER. Literally, the last 8 minutes of the flight was just buildings from the city. Inside the CCM, the missionaries are more laid back and the teachers are still great. They are all native speakers who know just more english that the 6-weekers do spanish. So they are fluent enough to teach and communicate, but still ask about some words (I had to explain what "you´re going down" meant to my teacher, in spanish it´s something like "va perdiendo" translated to "you´re losing").Oh yes, the food!! The food is a lot different than in Provo. Here we will sometimes have a good main dish (chicken or taquitos or something like that) and they´ll usually have rice and beans and some kind of salsa that they change every day inside. I live mostly off of the beans and rice. I still can´t get over not being allowed to listen to music, even MoTab here. Nevertheless, the work continues.
Some of Mexico City on the way to the CCM

The CCM campus
The trip to México City was pretty wild. When I got there, I wasn´t on the list, they jokingly said I might have to go back to Provo... speaking only spanish. I laughed later. There was a fantastic devotional the night before by Elder Cook of the (Quorum of the...) Seventy and one of the things that stuck out to me was when he asked what we thought missionaries were doing at the airport on the way to their mission fields. One Elder answered that they were probably talking to people about gospel stuff, sharing and whatnot. Elder Cook said that was the correct answer of what they should do, but they usually stood around in groups and talked amongst themselves. That kind of surprised me so I made it a point to talk as much as I could with others on the train and the airport, I even invited others to do the same because I felt it was that important. It yielded great results. I talked to another worker from the church headquarters building and asked him some questions about how the 70 was organized. He knew a lot about that so my question was answered very well. On the next train, a couple of other missionaries and I talked to a Catholic who was on his way to work at the airport Super nice guy, he helped the sisters with their bags. At the airport, we had about 90 minutes before boarding. I talked to a Spanish couple who were on their way to the México City temple (remember them for a very important story later on). An Elder with AP spanish and no MTC training and I spoke with them for about 20 minutes. I was just about as fluent as the other Elder, how about that for a testimony of the gift of tongues! They were members, so very nice about helping us with the language. Then I talked to someone who had a Real Salt Lake hat about soccer for a while. He was able to hold up his own on the topic, I was impressed. Turns out his brother had bought the first ticket ever to the Rio Tinto stadium! He showed me a post he put on Facebook (I remember that) of how he was feeling more nervous than usual with flying, then saw about two dozen missionaries walk over and immediately felt safe. Funny guy and it´s totally true, Heavenly Father blesses His servants. No way would that plane crash :) The last two people were a bishop and his wife on their way to celebrate their anniversary. Very nice people too. I´m happy to report that I left almost each person with a challenge, varying from family history research to studying a topic to share with their families. The purpose of a missionary is to INVITE! Doesn´t matter if they are members or not, everyone needs to be invited to come unto Christ. Great experience on the way to the CCM.

Classes are just about the same as in Provo, language study, practice lessons, fundamentals study (as in BoM and study PMG in english most of the time). One of the most important lessons my teachers have taught since being here was to plan well. I thought I was pretty solid on my knowledge of the lessons like most people who grow up in the church, but the spirit is definitely strengthened by putting more into lesson planning. I learned that the hard way. One of our investigators, Guillermo, had a really strong first lesson, really bad second lesson (because of lack of planning) and pretty solid third lesson (because of good planning). Our teacher actually talked to me and my companion personally about it. Oh yes, my new companion, Elder Pisciotta, is a super funny guy and really nice. Being from Las Vegas, his old stake president was President Richards! Tess was actually in his seminary class. He also used to play Rugby as a side note. Other than that, my district gets along pretty well too. They joke with me about being the new guy, but it´s not too tough since I´m also an experienced MTC goer.

My new companion
My room at the CCM
I´ll end with one more experience at the airport after we landed. We were all waiting for our bags, the spanish couple who we had talked to earlier (told you to remember), approached a couple of us Elders and asked to help with a blessing. I quickly sprung into action looking for the section in the handbook about how to give a blessing, but had no idea how to do it in spanish. Luckily, the spanish priesthood holder gave the blessing to the boy about 10 years old who was in a wheelchair looking very sick, barely getting through the blessing. He and his dad were both said to be non-members. I really felt that we were helping the boy get better through the blessing. Those experiences are my favorite part of being on a mission. To any who are reading this, I want to extend an invitation to you to study in your scriptures the topic of miracles and/or priesthood authority and share with your family. I heard (the Frederick Stake) President Cook made a challenge to study scriptures every day, so I hope this will help. Heavenly Father has faith in us and we should likewise have faith in His power. Thank you so much for your support.  I love you all!

-Elder Allgaier

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