Last Friday we got another opportunity to go to the University. That was awesome. There are people here that are looking for this gospel. We got some numbers to give to missionaries out in the field. One lady asked for the address of the church.
Tomorrow we get to go on splits with missionaries in the field. We will leave for half the day and go teach lessons, contact, and just do whatever our companion for the day has planned. I am so excited! Please keep me, my companion for the day, and the people we meet in your prayers tomorrow.
On Tuesday a bunch of people left the CCM for the field and then a bunch arrived yesterday. Since we've been here longer, we were given silver stickers to put on our name tags so that the new missionaries can distinguish between the new group of missionaries and the older ones. So, we all now have dork dots on our name tags. It's great. The dots give us a sense of superiority since we are so well-learned in the workings of the CCM and, of course, all-knowing (in case there is any discrepancy, that last sentence contained a dorky dot of sarcasm, and we are not all-knowing, hence the given name of the dots: Dork Dots).
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary. Nearly every day, my companions and I express some sort of gratitude and wonder at having this in our lives. The Lord is so good. I love Him. I love God. I love the Holy Ghost. I am grateful for opportunities to come to know each one of them individually and develop my relationship with each one. They are one in purpose, yet individual beings. I love that, throughout our lives, we have many opportunities to know and love God, to know and love Jesus Christ, and to know and love the Spirit.
Also I love all you guys! Hugs :)
Our view from our room. Pretty grand, right? The temple is right in our line of sight.
This is a picture of a typical lunch they serve up for you. The different kinds of meat and rice vary every day and so does the bowl of beans. You pour the beans over your rice and eat them together. So so good. I love Dominican food, or at least what we've had here.
The bunch of hermanas that left for the field on Tuesday.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of the Santo Domingo Temple. 15 years ago today, the Santo Domingo Temple was dedicated by a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley. It has since blessed many lives, including my own, brought many families together, and given peace to many souls. It was the last large temple of its kind to be built in a foreign country thus far. Being able to go to the temple each week has been an amazing blessing. I have seen it bless the lives of many people who have traveled from far away places and come to stay in the same building as the CCM, just to be able to visit the temple.
Last Friday we had the privilege of going to the University in Santo Domingo, about a 15 minute walk from the CCM, and talking to people about the Restored Gospel. They gave us about an hour and a half, some pamphlets, and some Books of Mormon, and let us loose. It is amazing that somehow, with such limited Spanish, we were able to get across our message to so many people and introduce them to this gospel. The Dominicans are so open. They just love to talk. They were all so kind and really got involved in conversations with us. I don't think we got turned down once. People would even start listening in on our conversation with other people, even if we weren't directly talking with them. Nobody cared that our Spanish wasn't the best. They would just listen and help us out if we made a mistake. I can't wait to go again tomorrow!
On a much, much lighter and sillier note (and to go along with the subject of this email)... this week, on Saturday night to be exact, our District "broke the barrier." For anyone unfamiliar with this term, you will soon find out what that means. Our teacher announced that we had a ten minute break, so my companions went to leave the classroom, while the Elders remained inside to talk to the teacher. I was standing at the door, about to leave, when I hear one of the Elders fart. The teacher just goes, "Whoa. AHHhh.. NOoo!" And quickly starts to flee the scene, waving her hand in front of her nose. I laugh and leave, telling my companions what just happened since they were in the hall and didn't hear it. When we came back from break, the Elders were still talking about it. They tried to keep it a secret but pretty soon they found out I heard it. They laughed so hard. Everyone knew what had... passed. Soon enough, we were sharing embarrassing stories for a good twenty minutes, and laughing hysterically together. Sometimes you've got to bond in strange ways I guess.
Speaking of bonding, five of us girls, whose rooms are all connected, made a fort for P-day eve.
Also attached is a picture of all the girls in the CCM right now and pictures of us five girls making a pyramid in front of the temple. I look super tan in those pictures. That is not accurate. I am pretty sure I'm the same as before.
Every day we have the choice to love others or to think of ourselves. So why not love? We have been given much by God, and so we too must give.
I love this work. I love the Dominican Republic. I love God. And I love this gospel.
I love you all... keep being you - exemplifying those defining, strong characteristics that you have and seeking to grow more though Christ.
Last Friday began with us getting locked in and ended with the pipe under our sink bursting. On our way to breakfast the door to our room would not budge, and we had to yell for help from the other Hermanas in order to get out. We were laughing so hard. The rest of the day went fairly normally. Then, as we were getting ready for bed, at about 10:15, Hermana Jenson puts the stool back under the sink, which barely nudged a pipe. Apparently, this pipe took great offense and thought the nudge it received was greater than just a nudge, because it commenced to burst and water started heavily leaking out. Hermana Jenson yelled out and went to grab it, trying to put it back together, while Hermana Juchau and I ran down the hall to get Hermana Romney for help. It honestly was hilarious. When we got back, Hermana Jenson had some brown mucky stuff on her hand. She held it up and just said, "Hermana Shaw's mucus." We bust up so hard. The sink got fixed and everything was fine. It was a companionship bonding moment.
So I have this robe with a hood. I walked out in it and Hermana Jenson just says, "You know, it would be so cute if we sewed some little animal ears on your hood." Of course I was all for this. All through the week we searched for extra fabric around the CCM and a few days later we finally found some extra ribbon in Hermana Jenson's suitcase and she sewed me some ears for my robe!
Here we are with Hermana Garcia, our amazing teacher who got brutally taken away from us to teach some new missionaries that arrived. We were all so upset. She is the sweetest girl. But I'm sure our new teacher will be great as well!!!
On Sunday we talked a lot about faith. I love this scripture that describes what happens if we have faith in Christ. Moroni 7:33: "....If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me." This is amazing to me. With faith in Christ, we can do whatever is the Lord's will. We will be strengthened and uplifted and carried and enabled to do all things. Learning Spanish can be hard, but I know I can do it through my faith in Christ. With Christ, we can do all things. We can become greater than we ever could on our own. We need Him. We need that strength.
I love you all and I love this gospel. Thank you for the emails; I wish I could write you all back individually.
I LOVE YOU ALL,
Hola from the Dominican Republic! I love you all!
Wow. This has been an incredible experience so far. Trying to even scratch the surface of my experience here seems like such a daunting task! We only have a limited amount of email time, so the computer lab is full of stressed out missionaries and clicking keyboards :)
My experience at the CCM (Missionary Training Center) in Santo Domingo has been incredible. There are 45 missionaries here total, all going to either the DR, Puerto Rico, or Haiti. There are 4 floors: we eat on the first, have classes on the second, and sleep on the fourth. I share a room with my two other companions and we all share a bathroom. There's another room with two girls in it connected to ours. They have their own bathroom.
I have AMAZING companions (I'm in a trio). We have so much fun together just singing and joking and laughing, which helps us work even harder since we're having a good time. I seriously love these girls. Hermana Jenson is hilarious and upbeat and so positive. Hermana Juchau likes to laugh with us and offers a much needed mellowness. We all work well together and I love it. Both of them have such strong testimonies and a good work ethic.
The food is great; for lunch they always fill half our plate with rice, the other half with meat, and give us a bowl of beans. It is so delicious. Everything is authentic Dominican food.
For those of you asking about the storm: I am fine. We are inside mostly all day and we are in a very sheltered, stable, secure building right next to the temple. We only go outside for a little over an hour of gym time every day or to walk around the temple.
Language classes are going great. We are learning quite a bit. Our teachers are Dominican. One of them hardly knows English, which I love because it forces everyone to speak Spanish.
My district has 6 boys and 3 girls. I am enjoying being here with them.
Today we went to the temple. It was amazing. It's bigger than the Sacramento temple, and very pretty. It felt so great to be in the temple again. It's like coming home whenever you go to the temple.
Almost every day we have a lesson with an "investigator" (the investigator is really just our teacher who pretends to be someone else). We have had three lessons with "Diana" and one lesson with "Juan." Diana is progressing beautifully. She committed to baptism the second lesson and set a date on the third. It feels so good to teach. Even though we struggle with our Spanish, the Spirit speaks all languages. To be able to testify of my beliefs in another language still astonishes me.
Last week, after learning how to testify in Spanish, our teacher took us outside to share our testimonies with the people around the temple. That was an amazing and wonderful experience. I LOVE this gospel and I love telling people about it. This culture is so willing to converse about beliefs and listen. I can not wait to be able to share my testimony every day in the field and to be able to express the feelings of my heart with even better ease and fluency. The Spirit was so strong when we shared our beliefs. For some reason it feels easier to share my testimony in Spanish than it does in English. I love this language and I love this culture already. I can't wait to learn more about it and actually LIVE among these wonderful people.
I love you all,
Write me! I would love to hear from you! :)
Santo Domingo East MIssion
SDQ 4102, 2250 NW 114th Ave.
Miami, FL 33172-3652
8540 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33195 - 2698
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission