Mama Rooke again. This is Rookes last e-mail from Mexico. It's a bit late, she is happily in Sacramento California now. I haven't received an email yet but expect to on Monday. Mondays are her preparation days (p-day). That's the day she basically has off to do things other than missionary work. She would love letters. Her new address is
Sister Sarah Sellers (Rooke or sister Rooke)
8267 Deseret Ave.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628
This will be her address until she comes home even though she will be living in different places near Sacramento.
It's crazy to think that this is my last preparation day here at the CCM, but it's true. Time sure has flown here...except for that first week. And the week where I was sick. But not really, since during that week I was in a haze of despair that was not limited by time or space, and so while I was in it, it lasted forever, but in hindsight felt like a day. Heh. Reminds me of the scripture, "and all these things shall be but a small moment, and shall be for thy good."
Speaking of which, something interesting. This week my friend Hermana Quist came down with the same thing I had, bless her. And it was interesting because I was the only one who truly felt empathy for her situation. The others all sympathized greatly, but only I really understood. Because of that I wanted to serve and help her more. It made me think of the Savior. Not only how he empathizes so strongly with us in our trials, and wants to help us...but also from the other side. How must the Savior feel, when he weeps for the struggles of our brothers and sisters, and then looks at us? I just wanted to cry out to the others, help her! You can't imagine the pain she's in but she needs our help, our time, our compassion...I thought...the Savior must feel that way too, when we neglect those around us who are hurting. So all my sickness days taught me some valuable lessons about empathy and compassion, I think.
Hermana Quist is better now, by the way. It only lasted four days or so. And speaking of sickness, that reminds me...Hermana Aiono.
A few emails ago, if you recall, I told you about Hermana Aiono, my other friend, who tore the ligaments in her knee and was wheelchair bound. The past several weeks she's been in that wheelchair, growing increasingly worried as the day approached...the day when she'd find out for sure. Whether her knee was healed, or whether her mission would be delayed so she could go to the States for surgery. The latter was the option she dreaded. The former was the option that prompted countless prayers and priesthood blessings. She even had one from our Latino Elder friends.
The day did arrive, though, last week. We fasted the day before for her leg, our whole District, and then the Elders gave her another blessing. Then she went off to the hospital.
She came back later during dinner - we saw her roll in, and we rushed over to her. Her face was downcast and her eyes were red from crying. She said, in a broken voice, "I'm going home."
The Elders were starting to cry too...and then she looked up, a grin spreading across her face, and added, "In 18 months."
Our corner of the cafeteria EXPLODED. We were hollering and cheering and applauding, and she leapt from her wheelchair and hugged everyone, and I was yelling in Spanish that she was going on her mission (even though the grammar was terrible because I couldn't recall the correct conjugation.) Her knee was healed completely, a miracle according to the doctors, and she would be heading to Ecuador as scheduled. It was a pretty incredible moment.
That was the big event of the week. A few other girls have gotten sick as well as Quist (even Hermana Aiono, ironically, the next day X'D) but I bought them medicine and took care them, being the only immune one since it's a virus. That was the expenditure on my account recently, by the way.
Some other fun things - I made friends with a bunch of Latina Hermanas. It was a lot of fun talking with them in Spanish - they're so rambunctious and funny. They were only here for two weeks, so they left yesterday. Sad. But I got to take photos with them before they left, so that was nice. We'll keep in touch through our missions. It's crazy how we meet so many people here, for so brief a moment...I get melancholy about it sometimes, if only briefly.
Another fun thing that happened - yesterday, for our service project, we got to go fold laundry again. This time it wasn't a billion districts crammed in there, it was just my Hermanas, and a handful of Elders from another district. Since there were so few, though, one of the workers had a stereo, and started playing a CD of Disney songs in Spanish! I was just absolutely tickled pink, especially when Hakuna Matata came on in Spanish. XD
Here's some funny Español trivia for today. There are two verbs - casar, and cazar. They're pronounced the same because S and Z both make an S sounds in Spanish. But casar means to marry, and cazar means to hunt. Irony! XD
My Spanish isn't perfect, but I'm doing well, I think. I still need to work on building vocabulary and memorizing the tricky sentence structures. But for the most part, I can communicate pretty well. I'm glad. Although when a speaker starts talking in normal, rapid Spanish, then I get lost pretty quick. X'D I figure that'll come only with lots of practice, and lots of HEARING it. So I should still be fine. And teaching is alright in Spanish too. Every once in a while I get stuck for a word, but I can usually find another way to phrase things. I'm enjoying learning it. It's kind of daunting that in a few days I'll need to USE it for real... heh.
We had a great lesson yesterday, Hermana Hopkins and I, with our "investigator" Carlos. We had an awesome lesson about the Book of Mormon, and having a testimony of it, and how important it is to read it and ask the Lord if it's true. The Spirit was really strong. I still struggle a bit with the teaching, in terms of asking questions...that's the thing that comes hardest to me. I just want to lay out the information, and TEACH, and be like, "Here, have all this incredible and amazing information!" I have difficulty stopping and asking good questions, that help the investigator learn for themselves, as well as help us to get to know where they stand at the moment. I've gotten some good advice towards that from teachers, though, and I'm practicing. Our last bunch of lessons have been pretty okay as far as questions go.
I'm nervous and excited and daunted to actually be leaving for the real deal. Here at the CCM, it's hard and sometimes stressful and long days of classes...but there are few bad consequences. There's no grades or anything. But out there in the real world, I'll be bearing the Lord's mantle for real, and teaching His real children of Him. Lives are on the line, so to speak. It's hard not to feel nervous - have I prepared enough? Have I learned enough? What more can I do?
At the same time, of course, I am a little excited. So I'm sure it'll all turn out okay. And awesome.
I'll miss the CCM a bunch though. I'll forever have fond memories of this place. The trees, the fat-head birds getting girlfriends (Ah, spring, everything is twitterpated XD) the food, Mexico City, the colors, our teachers, my sisters...ah. I'll treasure my time here, that's for sure. And I'm going to crave those Milch bars for the rest of my life, that's for sure. XD
I think that's about all I wanted to write this week. I'll close with a section in Spanish just to show off.
Y ahora, español. Me gusta hablar en español. Es muy divertido - porque he aprendido mucho en mi tiempo aqui a la CCM. He estado bien, y he estado feliz. Lo siento, si este gramática es muy incorrecta. Estoy aprendiendo. Y me gusta comer chocolate.
I love you all, and it's been totally amazing being here, learning how to serve the Lord's children in Spanish. The Gospel is true, it's incredible, and God loves you! How incredible is that? WAY incredible! And I'm so blessed to have the privilege to bring that message to the people in Sacramento. The Lord prepares us to be where we need to be, always, and if we follow Him, then we'll be the happiest we can possibly be in this life. It's amazing! ¡Está fantástico, gran y glorioso!
Tengo un testimonio de este - Dios ama nos, y este es la verdad. Hay un plan de salvación. Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador. La verdad y la luz fue restaurado por José Smith, un profeta de Dios, y tradució el Libro de Mormon. Este libro es verdadero, y este iglesia es la iglesia verdad y restaurado. El mismo iglesia que Jesucristo estableció en el mundo, es en el tierra otra vez. ¡Y lo es este! Vengan, todos que nesesitan ayuda y gozo y amor. Vengan a Jesucristo, aprendan de Él, y reciban este gozo. Sé que este es la verdad, y el camino de felicidad. Sé lo con todos mi corazón. Este es verdad. Y voy al mundo por compartir este verdad. ¡Comó gran es mi gozo!
Hermana Sarah Sellers