Friday, August 22, 2014

Week 1 - First letter

Hello Friends and Family!
Wow, what a week. I don't even know where to begin. The trip here to lima was super long. Elder Wagner and I got to be pretty good friends on the way down here. I was feeling kind of nervous about everything, but having someone was really nice and Elder Wagner is a super nice guy. We even placed our first Book of Mormon on the flight to Minneapolis. Anyways, we had just enough time to grab some subway and jump on the plane to atlanta. We had to check our carry on bags in atlanta cause they couldnt gate check it for some reason. Oh well. We didn't get to atlanta until like 30 minutes before our next flight left, but this super nice lady on the plane looked up where our flight was so we were able to just run there and made it just in time. The flight from Atlanta was brutal. I was feeling super sick and was able to sleep on and off but it still was pretty brutal and we were all exhausted by the time we got to Lima. There ended up being like 30 or 40 missionaries sitting in the back of the plane which was really awesome. There was this guy sitting a few seats down from us coming from Ireland to meet his girlfriend in Lima, and I guess he was a lot like Megan because he hated flying. The guy pulls out a bottle of xanax and an entire liter of captain morgan and just went to town. He ended up dowing the whole bottle and somewhere between atlanta and here his pants came undone and he was passed out haha he kept asking the missionary sitting next to him if he wanted to drink with an irishman hahaha. We didn;t get to the CCM here until about 3 in the morning and they generous allowed us to sleep in until 730, but the next day was still awfully long.
My companion was a guy named Elder Searle, but the first morning they gave me a new one named Elder Endicott. He's kind of weird, but he's a good guy. He actually lived in Puerto Rico for two years so naturally he doesn't speak any spanish haha. I probably wouldn't have been friends with him back home but we get along just fine and are able to feel the spirit together so it doesn't really matter. The other guys in our room are really funny. Elder Diedrich is real chistoso (jokester). Anyways, our lives are planned out to the second here in the CCM. We wake up at 630, eat at 7, start personal study at 730, companionship study at 815, and class starts at 9. We have class until noon when we eat lunch, and by 1245 we are back in the classroom. at 3 they let us go out and we have time to play soccer, ping pong, basketball, football, work out, whatever. We just have to go outside. It actually says in the CCM packet, no studying during physical activity haha. I acually scored a goal while there were Latinos on the field yesterday! Then at 430 we're back in the classroom until dinner, then after dinner until about 930. they serve the same thing for breakfast every day. eggs and bread, with a slice of mystery cheese and ham from a can. put it all together and it actually makes a decent sandwhich. for lunch and dinner, its rice with some kind of potato and chicken or beef prepared in various ways. they have amazing rolls though, and the soup isnt bad depending on the day. so the food isnt half bad! its just arroz con todo.
The language is coming along really well. I can understand a lot of what is said and i remember just about everything from high school. I learn more everyday and i'm hoping that by the end of my time in the CCM i can actually understand the language and not just sit there like an idiot during lessons. our teachers are really funny. we have hermano aguilar in the moring and hermano bejar in the afternoon. neither of them speak a lot of english but i try my best to talk tp them in spanish and i feel like they like me haha. i actually made friends with some of the latinos here, which is cool because i can actually have conversations wiht people in broken spanish. i'm going to get bettter though!!
 The spirit is so strong here in the CCM. you can just feel it everywhere you go. there is no way we could get through the 12 hours of classes we have without it.
I had a really cool experience this week. on p day they let us go to the temple in the morning and then shop for 2 hours in the city. I was super excited to go and just relax for a day until i saw they had scheduled me to go to migrations last night and then interpol this morning, meaning i would miss the p-day morning festivities. I was so bummed, like almost crying. the first week in the ccm is so long and stressful and i was just trying to make it to pday. so instead of going with everyone else in my district to the temple, i went with some other missionaries to interpol to stand in various lines while people yell at you in spanish. before i left i felt like i should bring a spanish book of mormon to read while i waited, and while i was waiting with some of the other missionaries, we started talking to this guy who understood english and he told us that he moved to lima from ecuador to change his life and make money for his family. we started talking about the  church (that tends to come up when you;re wearing a name tag with Jesucristo on it), and one of the other elders asked if he would read a book of mormon if he had one. he readily agreed so i gave him the one i had, which was just one of the blue paperback ones they give you. One of the hermanas with us had a pass along card and gave it to him too. the other missionaries got taken to another line so it was just me and him and i just felt prompted to tell him about how reading the book of mormon with his family would bless his life and strengthen the love and relationships in his family. then i got ushered away and thought that would be the end of it. as we were leaving he came running up to me and told me it was his birthday and that he was so excited to start his birthday with a new life and a new book. he said he was going to go on and have the missionaries come teach him! it was a real lesson in humility and putting your trust in the lord. even though i missed out on going to the temple, the lord placed someone in my path who was ready to hear the gospel and i;m sure i got more out of teaching him than i ever could going to the temple. all and all, it;s been a good week.
also, after we went to migrations last night, they took us to pizza hut. apparantly in peru, pizza hut is like a nice sit down restaurant and they had waiters and everything. the pizza however, was exactly the same. it was nice to have something amercian though. even though i've only been gone a week, it seems like so much longer, yet at the same time, it seems like i just got here. missions do weird things to time, man. thank you all for the letters and support! it was so nice to hear from you guys, know that i'm doing fine here in peru. love and miss you guys, can't wait to hear from you next week. the church is true and the book is blue!
Elder Matheson
(or elder mother-son, as the peruvians call me)

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