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