Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas is in TWO DAYS!


Another week has gone by! Christmas is this Thursday! I only have two weeks left in the CCM!

On Wednesday we taught our new investigator ¨Joana¨.  I was a little nervous about teaching her because according to her bio, she is an easily angered Atheist who doesn't tolerate her extremely Catholic family.  The lesson went a lot better than I thought.  She was nice to us and she was already familiar with the church because her sister is a member.  When teaching new people, we tend to put our focus on the importance of families and prayer.

We also got new roommates  this week.  One of them (Elder Barros) is from Brazil and he said he had been to California before. He went to Anaheim, so I assume he went to Disneyland.

We then had our second TRC in the evening.  This lady that we taught was really nice and kept asking us where we were going on our missions, along with the rest of our district.  During  gym time, our zone usually plays volleyball.  It's fun to have bare feet on the sand, but it also makes me miss the beach, haha!

Thursday night some elders had a tie trade.  Everyone brings their ties and swaps with each other.  So I brought my two least favorite ties and ended up with some ones that I liked better. Yup.

On Friday we taught Joana again and focused this time on the importance of faith and how to develop her faith.  The Internet was down on Friday so we didn´t have to do TALL.  We also got to meet the new district in our zone.  Lots of them are going on missions in California, and I think at least two are going to San Jose.

On Saturday we had a really good district study in Alma 32. So much good information on faith.

I still didn't get called on to speak on Sunday, but its okay because the MTC president and a member of the area seventy came to our meeting along with their families.  That means I will probably have to speak next week.  We had two great devotionals and watched the restoration movie as well.  We have a big music performance on Christmas Eve.  Our zone and zone 7 are singing two songs, and I am also in the CCM choir and we are going to sing O Holy Night (in Spanish). Fun stuff!

Monday we taught Joana for the last time, but after the lesson Hermana Arno (Joana) gave us some good information on how to better improve our teaching, she also told us that we were the strongest companionship in the district when it comes to teaching.  (But who knows if she said that to the other companionships in our district). In the afternoon, we played Red Light Green Light (Luz Rojo Luz Verde) and those who got sent back to the line had to say a sentence in the Imperfect tense.  Hermana Velazquez likes making our lessons a little more exciting because she told us her experience in the CCM was really boring.

For Christmas, our district is having a secret Santa, so we all exchanged names. There isn't much selection for gifts since we can only shop at the CCM tienda.  So we will probably end up with a lot of junk food and ties.  It´s also kinda tricky shopping for Christmas presents for your companion. haha.  Christmas day should be fun since we won´t have any classes. Instead we will have devotionals and movies all day.

I got the package!  But I won´t open it until Christmas.  :)  I hope that everyone back home has a wonderful Christmas!

- Elder Burnham

Photos and Stuff:
One of my sketches based on a picture from one of the pamphlets

I live in the apartments, but these are the Casas where some of the other missionaries live.  It looks like a little neighborhood.

The colorful houses outside the walls

The giant lego hands (I seriously don´t know what these are).

More pictures from our temple trip

Our Zone (from a few weeks ago).  Half of them are already out in the field.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Half Way Done! Email #3

I only have three more weeks at the CCM! Time flies!

On Wednesday we taught a lot of lessons.  We taught our investigator Gabriel in the morning and then in the afternoon we had TRC´s, so we had to teach two random people for 20 minutes each.  It was pretty fun.  One of the guys we taught was one of the workers at our dormitorio so we already knew him.  In the lesson we asked him what he knew about our church, and jokingly he said, ¨you have lots of wives and your church has lots of money¨,  so that was fun to try to respond to that in Spanish.  Since my companion is not quite as comfortable in the language as I am, I end up doing a lot of the talking in the lessons.

So, Friday was Dia de la Virgen Guadalupe (or something like that), so on Thursday and Friday, there were A LOT of fireworks going off throughout the day and music playing.  It was pretty cool, but very loud!

Friday morning was not a fun time.  I think my stomach decided not to agree with my breakfast, so I ended throwing up and missing part of our morning classes.  I pretty much felt better immediately after, but we went to the enfermeria and the doctor gave me some Dramamine and crackers.  I never needed it, but I guess it´ll be nice to have if I ever get sick again.  The rest of the day I was fine.

Saturday night we had an awesome program!  A local dancing group came and performed a Christmas program for the missionaries.  They were all wearing the traditional outfits and dresses.  There were some really little kids dancing too and they were so cute. At the end of the show they even had fireworks on the stage. I was surprised that the CCM allowed that!  haha   It was awesome to have some sort of cultural experience, since we don´t ever step foot into the city.

I prepared a talk for Sunday and didn't get called on again.  Our sacrament meeting topic was on Christlike attributes.  It´s almost disappointing when you prepare a talk and then don´t even get to share it. haha

On Monday I realized that there are only ten more days till Christmas. It doesn't feel like Christmas here even though there are decorations everywhere and we have been singing Christmas songs for the last two weeks.  But I am excited!

We will have a sub for a week in place of Hermano Hurtado, because he is getting married.  Since the Mexico City temple is closed, they have to travel a few hours away to the next temple.

We do our service projects on Mondays, and we had the glorious job of cleaning toilets!  Fun stuff!  In the evening, we had FHE (Family Home Evening, or Noche de Hogar) with our zone.  There are now only two districts in our zone.  We ended up playing pictionary on the whiteboard in our classroom.

Today, we are getting new roommates in our apartment.  Our other roommates left last week, so we had the apartment to ourselves, but now we will have to share again. haha

Over all a pretty good week!  Lots to do!  Lots to learn!

Love you guys!

- Elder Burnham

CCM Palm trees

Christmas Creche

 Christmas Lights

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mexico City Temple - Email #2

Another good week here at the CCM.  Our "Investigator" turned out to be one of our teachers.  Hermana Velasques.  Apparently at the CCM, the first person you teach is revealed to be your teacher in the afternoon.  We were so surprised when she came into our classroom and told us she was our new teacher.  So in the mornings we have Hermano Hurtado and in the afternoons we have Hermana Velasques.  And now both of them are going to be new "investigators" that we have to teach. But now we only have to teach 20 minute lesson instead of 40 minutes.

On Friday, Elder Linsenmann and I got to lead our Book of Mormon discussion in class.  We chose 2 Nephi 32 and 33, which focuses on the importance of the Holy Spirit and the power that it can give us. These chapters also talked about the importance of praying for others. I also realized that when you are on your mission, Fridays lose their excitement.  Now Sundays and P-days are the "weekends".

Saturday we had a stress management class that mostly consisted of going outside and doing random exercises and coloring pictures with our names and missions to put on our classroom door. haha.  But we also talked about making sure not do be too hard on yourself and making sure you get enough food and sleep.

Random side note:  At the CCM there are lots of palm trees and those little green parrots flying around and I think that it´s really cool! And sometimes the hills catch on fire, but they are usually small and burn themselves out.

I think that Sundays are my favorite day at the CCM.  We had a testimony meeting and I was able to bear my testimony in Spanish!  (even if I had a little note card).  I also had the opportunity to teach the lesson in District meeting.  I focused on scriptures that talked about having a foundation in Christ.  Pretty much the rest of the day are devotionals.  I think we had three of them.  We got to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional broadcast.  But I think that my favorite part of the day was hearing all the testimonies of my district members in the evening.  They are all such amazing people.

For P-Day, we got to go on a field trip to the Mexico City Temple. It was awesome to ride the bus through the city since we don´t really see much of it while inside the CCM.  Since the temple was closed, we got to take a tour of the visitor's center and walk around the grounds. They also have a neat little gift shop.  It´s a really big temple and they have a really nice visitors center.  The Missionaries that serve at the visitors center gave us the tour.  I hope that I can visit the inside of the temple sometime after the remodeling and construction is done.

Some things are difficult, but everything is great!

Have a great week!

- Elder Burnham


Saturday, December 6, 2014

My First Week at the CCM! - Email #1

Hello!  I was typing a long email when the power cut out for a minute or so and I lost all that I had been typing.  :(  Hopefully I can remember all that I wanted to say.  I have my journal here to remind me of things I wanted to say as well.  Also, the enter key doesn't  work, so this email will look like a huge block of text.  Anywho!  My first full day at the CCM (Mission Training Center - in Spanish "Centro de Capacitacion Misional") was Thanksgiving day!  We got introduced to our district and out teacher (Hermano Hurtado)  and began learning right away. Hermano Hurtado is pretty cool and he began teaching us some basic Spanish phrases for our first class.  Elder Linsenmann and I have two other Elders in our apartment normally built for six people, but we only have four right now.  They are Elder Sanchez and Elder Consiello (I think).  They are both from Mexico and know about as much English as we know Spanish, so it´s fun trying to communicate with them.  We also got to watch a Thanksgiving Devotional broadcast from the Provo MTC (Mission Training Center). It was Elder and Sister Bednar. It was a really good broadcast and it was fun to see Brother Eggett (My choir instructor at the Orem Institute and MTC choir director).  For lunch we had turkey and gravy (even though it didn't really taste like turkey). We also had pumpkin pie provided by Costco.  There is a Costco nearby and so we get to eat things like chicken bakes and tonight we are having Costco pizza.  The food here is pretty good, but sometimes they serve things that I wouldn't normally eat for breakfast,such as tamales or turkey sandwiches.  Some strange things about living in Mexico City is that people are always setting of fireworks throughout the day and the police cars always have their lights on even if they are not pulling someone over or chasing anyone.  The pace of life and the schedule here is really different and takes awhile to adjust to. There is no time for goofing off.  On our second day, Elder Linsenmann and I had to teach an investigator (Hermana Yannis - one of the teachers) completely in Spanish.  We brought in our notes and books and did a lot of reading directly from them, but at times I felt that I was able to form somewhat coherent sentences (mostly in the present tense).  I don´t think that we were able to communicate a huge amount of Information, but we were able to talk for most of the time.  The work here at the CCM is really hard and tiring, but I am really enjoying it and want to keep improving.  The spirit I feel here is so strong and everyone is so friendly.  It´s stressful, but I am not going crazy.  ha ha.  The missionaries that have been here longer seem to be more laid back and calm about everything, so I hope that happens soon.  On Saturday, we taught Hermana Yannis again.  She told us that her father has cancer and that it was really concerning her.  We were able to teach her about prayer and that she can pray to God and that He wants to help her through the trials in her life.  We got our message across even if we were reading from our material for most of the time.  Sunday is one of the more relaxing days at the CCM. We don´t have any classes and we get to go to Sacrament meeting. The meeting is completely in Spanish and everyone has to prepare a talk, but only six people at random are called to give their talks.  I had something  prepared, but I didn't have to speak.  We also got to watch a prerecorded devotional from Elder Holland, and it was so good!  He talked about the importance of missionary work.  On Monday we went back to our normal schedule, except we also got to do a service project.  Our district went to one the Casas (they are little houses where the sisters live) and cleaned and wiped down the walls inside the bedrooms.  At this point in time, I am starting to feel comfortable here at the CCM.  The work is really hard and there are so many things to do, but I am enjoying it.  We taught Hermana Yannis again for the third time and were able to complete the first lesson.  We asked her to read the book of Mormon and to come to church with us on Sunday and she said yes!  (Even if she is just a guinea pig for us to practice our lessons on at the CCM)  I also memorized my first scripture in Spanish (Moroni 10:5 - y por el poder del Espíritu Santo podréis conocer la verdad de todas las cosas)!  On Monday night, our branch had FHE (Family Home Evening) and we just hung out and played some  games.  It´s nice to have some down time amid all the work.  Tuesday (today) is P-day!  We went and walked around the running track and had some Spanish flashcards to practice with.  I also got a hair cut and we did our laundry.  And now I have some time to send some emails. Tonight we have another devotional.  Yay!  I am so grateful that I get to be here and learn so much.  I am grateful for the spirit that I feel here.  I hope that everyone back home is doing great!  I will try to send some pictures in another email

      - Elder Burnham

 and now for some Photos:

My Name Tag

My Companion Elder Linsenmann

Our Room

The view from our room

The CCM (Mission Training Center - in Spanish "Centro de Capacitacion Misional")

Before is was a CCM, it was a school
- Elder Burnham