Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015 -- Weekly email and pictures

Last picture before leaving the CCM
Less of a crazy week than the first one, but I still had some good missionary experiences of course. When we're having success, teaching lessons, being able to talk to people, contact and even if the days are a little less sunny, it's easy to be in a good mood and focus on missionary work. But a few days, recently, a lot of appointments have fallen through, people being busy with work or something, and we end up just walking around contacting. Lots of walking. It's a good chance to work on my Spanish (which is getting better and better) with Elder Velez, but I like teaching lessons even more. When we're just doing that, I get a little more homesick. I'm not really a person to get homesick, and it's not really that I miss home. I do, but it's more so that I miss America and stuff that'll be there after my mission. Just sometimes.

Now for a little more on my area. Lots of walking like I said and you already know how hot and humid it is. Really hot and really humid, but even more so in the next few months. I just sent pictures of the house. We tend to go by the out of sight out of mind rule when it comes to bugs. My kill count for cucarachas is about five right now. I'm getting used to the showers now. You can choose between a cold shower or a hot shower. But you have to heat the water on a stove and mix it with cold water in a bucket and pour it on yourself. I'm getting used to the nice cold showers. For contacting, a lot of people have fences in front of their doors so you have a coin to tap on the gate and they come out to talk to you. Very friendly people. We've yet to get a door slammed on us. There are a lot of dogs too, as in everybody and their dog has a dog. They're not very good for inviting the spirit when we are trying to make an appointment or teach a lesson, but usually it's fine. At least they don't chase us. For the weirdest moment contest this week, we had a drunk person come up to us to set up an appointment and ask what we believed. Turns out that happens a lot and they don't remember us, but we set up an appointment anyways and he gave us God's blessing. Nice guy. Thanks for everything and I love you all! And last thing, I realized I forgot to write about general conference (General conference is a semiannual gathering of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During general conference weekend, Church members and others gather worldwide in a series of two-hour sessions to receive inspiration and guidance from Church leaders.). I really like Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's story, President Uchtdorf's talk (he gave two) and I forget who, but the talk about not needing a title to do good (Elder Michael T. Ringwood). Also, the General Authority (Elder D. Todd Christofferson) who said that no one is predestined to receive less than all God has to offer. Keep love for everybody with that information.

-Elder Allgaier

Elder Allgaier with his trainer

Headed on the Metro

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, 2015 -- First Week

Sorry this is not Monday like you would've expected, but the first p-day (preparation day) of the month is on Wednesday so that we can go to the temple (which I'll write about at the end). I feel like so much has happened this first week and a half, like I've been here months already in terms of experiences.

As I said last time, my companion is awesome, but probably didn't say that he is probably the best missionary here. Seriously, I have never felt so loved after so little time. He was AP (Assistant to the Mission President) before his last change (or cambio, Andy, as they're called here) and now only has two changes left. I've also heard that when you get a companion who only speaks English, you learn Spanish a lot quicker. Guess what, his English is probably the worst in the zone. The first few days were pretty rough when we would spend minutes trying to figure out a word or phrase, but it defintely helps me learn faster. The first day, they took us practice contacting in the area by offices in the real world. First person I talked to, I decided I didn't know Spanish. I knew a little about what to say and what to expect in return, but they speak so quiet and quickly. Luckily, it's gotten better since then and now I can actually communicate, más o menos. Whenever I'm having trouble with something, for example rolling my r's (which I can almost do the right way now!) Elder Velez always says "poco a poco" or "little by little". He's very patient with me. When someone trains another missionary, they call the the trainer the dad and the trainee the son. They also see the mission as a whole life, as in when you first arrive, you are born and when you leave, you die. So sometimes they say that I'm killing my dad...

Anyways, first area is..... ESCOBEDO B!!! Not to be confused with Escobedo A, that's another set of missionary's area. The people here are so nice and open to talking to missionaries for 10 minutes or more just on the street about religion, sometimes even inviting us in for a lesson and offers us water. Hermana Diamantina is a suuuuuper nice lady in the sociedad de socorro or relief society in our ward. We have gone to her house probably at least once a day since being here. She gives us references, invites us to have meals, comes to lessons with us, one of her contacts is even getting baptized next week! That is a cool story. She's been having a rough time with law of chastity stuff, just moving out with her boyfriend, but the first lesson I was there for, I bore my testimony on the importance of being baptized and how much the gospel has helped my life. She decided it was time to have him move out then! I'm so glad that my companion is a FANTASTIC teacher and was able to take the rest of the lesson and set me up like that so she could feel strongly about being baptized. Week one!

There's another family who is Asian Mexican, but only speaks spanish with a few English words, except the older daughter who learned english for her master's degree. Apart from her, there is a mother and another daughter who just got baptized the week before I got here and confirmed my first Sunday! Crazy experiences here. I love to teach them the lessons for the second time because they have great questions and just funny people.

So at the temple, we woke up at 3a to walk to a bus to take another bus to the temple. By the way, compechanas(?) are my new favorite food here which we have the eve of temple p-day. A columbian missionary had to share a bed with me to make the same bus and I couldn't shower last night because of the bugs in the shower (sorry for the randomness, just what happened last night). Our house, AKA 'la gata' is not very clean and may just be hot and humid enough to iron my shirts when I hang them up, but it gets the job done and we're not there for long. Anyways, temple. Got there around 6 and did a session in spanish, and yes, it's just as much of an experience as it sounds. On the way back we took a bus to the metro to another bus to the gata. I contacted a couple of people on the way back. Wish I could show you pictures but I forgot my camera. Next monday!

I wish I could talk more, but just don't have time, sorry if I can't get to anybody's emails before my hour is up on the computer. Know that I love you all and thank you for your support. Fotos to come next Monday since I forgot my camera. Love you!

-Elder Allgaier

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 13th, 2015 ¡Estoy Aquí!

Just wanted to give you my third heads up email that all three of the missionaries (smallest group to come here since the President's first arrival) arrived safely to Monterrey! It's so pretty here, especially with the mountains, minus the heat and humidity. Then again, it's pretty much like Maryland in the summer. I'm so excited to get started! My companion whom I have yet to meet was the last AP and he's on his last transfer. Last week he baptized a family of four and yesterday, baptized three others. His reputation is that he is a hard worker, so I'm thinking I'll be challenged, but successful. Also, my President is awesome. 

-Elder Allgaier

Elder Allgaier with his Mission President and the President's wife

Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 8, 2015 -- Getting ready to go to the mission field!

Sorry I'm about to head out of the computer lab for a bit since I just came from getting my visas extended, but I'll be back to send my week summary. Here's a picture from when me and my temporary companion (Elder Forteleza from Brazil) were at the México city temple visitor's center. 

There were six or so other missionaries on the way to the consulate and they were all hispanic, hardly spoke any English. It made me realize how much more I needed to learn, but also how far I've come with the language. I survived at least and was able to participate in a little bit of conversation. Not really any spiritual experiences, which was a bummer and no tacos de calle either. My district said they all got street tacos when they went and they were so good, even worth the bathroom trips afterwards. But my group was small enough that we didn't have any time to get tacos. They made up for it by letting us go to the visitor's center of the México city temple since the actual temple is under construction. That was a very cool spiritual experience. They gave us the presentation in Spanish and we got to talk to other missionaries who were anywhere from one month to 23 months in (to their mission). My flight plans are in and I'm leaving for Monterrey with my companion, Elder Pisciotta who is patiently waiting for me to finish this letter, next Monday at 7am. I'm very excited. Next time I write will be from Monterrey. Love you all! ¡Hasta lluego!

I'm really sorry I couldn't get to everybody's emails today, just had a real crunch for time with visa stuff and other classes.

-Elder Allgaier

A picture of the Monterrey temple in the Mexico City temple visitor's center

In front of the Mexico City temple
Group photo in front of the CCM.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

April 1st, 2015 -- Week 2 at the CCM (This is almost a week late due to Mom's busy schedule!)

CCM sign as you first come in
This week hasn´t been so crazy since I´ve gotten pretty used to the schedule and campus. Wake up, get ready, breakfast, class, lunch, personal study, gym, dinner, class, bed, repeat. The only thing that seems like it´s changing is the lessons and my Spanish, even the food is similar. I usually get some kind of meat or enchilada (yes they serve those for breakfast oddly enough too) cover it with rice, beans and salsa and get two cups of fizzy orange drink. On the topic of my Spanish, it´s coming along well. I might even be able to translate most this email. My conversations with the nativos here have been increasingly diverse, my teacher and I talked about how missionaries were different than full time missionaries for about ten minutes, all in Spanish! To reward me, he let me know who won the Barcelona v Real Madrid game (go Barca!). I love speaking Spanish when it´s more laid back like that and they are nice enough to teach me as we go along. My lessons are struggling along too. One of the things that is hard for me is to both plan well and apply the lesson to the person we are teaching. It´s easier to go in and just have a topic so that I can listen to what they are saying and be more flexible that way, but we can teach more with a plan. I´ve done both a couple of times a least, but have gotten mixed feedback from my maestros (teachers or masters). One said that my companion and I needed to change the way we go into lessons by planning better and the other said just yesterday that we needed to teach the person. Somehow, we´ll find a middle ground. Before the feedback yesterday, we taught a practice investigator who was our teacher (which makes it a little less real to me but I still take it just as seriously). She had problems with her eyes and we went in to teach her about trials and the atonement. By the end she was almost crying, which made it even more odd that she later told us to teach more personally. She is actually playing her sister who is currently inactive and said she does so in hopes that she will receive revelation to bring her back. That just made it 100% real again and I couldn´t stop thinking about how to change for the rest of the day. She also gave us 3 Nephi 17:21 to read (challenge given). So that´s really all from this week, I just keep getting more and more excited for Monterrey! I only have a week and a half left here! Very excited to leave for Monterrey and learn more there. My companion is great, I have sufficient for my needs and then some.

I´m soooo excited for general conference this weekend! Not so much because we have an easier schedule and don´t have to prepare talks, but mostly because I´m excited to hear the talks and take really good notes, I feel like there is so much more I can get out of it now. Can´t wait to hear all of your favorites!

Thanks for reading, love you all!

-Elder Allgaier

Elder Allgaier in front of the "B" (a reminder of the CCM's history as the Benemerito de las Americas school)...
NOT for
 bienvenidos, bautismo or baño like he thought. : )

Another shot of the "B" from the CCM

My companion and me at volleyball
the keyboards here at the mtc, notice the ñ and the pinky keys. tough transition, also no @ sign