Cuarto Semana – (Fourth Week)

Things just keep chugging along here at the CCM. Lots of Spanish and gospel study. We started a game called El Latino, which was really just an excuse to try and make us use Spanish all day long. The longest any of us made it was lunchtime. We also had the opportunity to talk to some members who live in la ciudad (the city) around the CCM. I can certainly tell that I’m improving, and I can mostly understand people. Now I just need to kick it up a notch to be able to understand the Cubanos.

A lesson we had recently that I liked a lot talked about listening to people to understand and not to reply which I thought was rather good and deserved some mention. Also for service we worked in the lavanderia (laundry room) with Hermano Lechuga (Lettuce (yes that is his real name)). He worked us hard and wasn’t afraid to chuck poorly folded blankets across the room to get them refolded. Also, whenever the sheets would finish washing he, and then all those around him who realized what was happening, would start throwing the wet clothes across the room to the people nearer to the dryers to have them put them in. To finish, there was a top secret championship arm wrestling tournament when we finished early. Winner got a caffeinated beverage too.

We were able to go to the temple this week finally! I’ll send some pictures. The temple was really cool looking and just outside they had a little store that sold some really cool ties. Would recommend if you happened to be in the neighborhood.

Hasta Proxima Semana (Until Next Week),
Elder Kitch

His new tie! 🙂
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mexico City Temple

When he called, he was running around all over the place. He had to do a transfer with another missionary (not his companion) because he forgot to get his temple recommend. He left it back at the house. They were heading to the temple for the first time. The Mexico City Temple is one of the only two temples that still do live session rather than video. The other is Salt Lake City. Jared and I are so jealous. We’ve never done a live session before! It’s also all in Spanish. 😛 He’ll use the translators for sure for this first trip if he can. He heard that some of them are broken, so he may have to do it all in Spanish. LOL! It’ll help him learn it. 😛

He exchanged his money for 500 Pesos, so he could get the tie he wants to buy. He thinks it’s about 300 Pesos for a tie. That’s roughly $15 U.S. He wasn’t sure if he’ll be able to wash it, but he thinks that it’s wool or cotton. I told him to ask them when he buys it. He said, “well yeah… if I can understand their Spanish!” Hahaha! I said, “don’t you think between you and your whole group you’d be able to figure out what they are saying?” Haha! 😛

Both of Elder Barrientos’s parents are Latino. (He can’t roll his R’s but he’s really, really good at Spanish) Every time they go and do service, the people who they do service for are all Hispanic and don’t know any English. They always try and look for a translator, and they always grab him because he “looks” Hispanic! Haha! For their service projects, the first week they were cleaning empty houses at the MTC/CCM, getting them ready for other missionaries. Last week he missed because he was sick, but this week they helped to do some of the mass laundry they have. 

After the laundry, they set up an “illegal arm-wrestling rink”. Hahaha!! Competitions aren’t allowed on your mission. 😛 Jared asked if he got in on that action. He said he went up against the first guy and lost, but he didn’t feel too bad because that guy beat everyone there! LOL! The winner got a caffeinated beverage. I said they are breaking all kinds of rules! Hehe! He said now all the guys in his District/house want to organize another round just between their District. 😛 He’ll have to let us know how it goes!

Since he was heading out into the city to the temple, we wished him a safe trip. In his first letter, he said that the traffic is so crazy! Going to the temple basically takes up your whole P-day. It takes 5 hours. An hour to get there, three hours for the temple, and another hour to get back.

His week has been pretty good. Pretty normal. Just learning Spanish!! So much Spanish! He’s getting more and more comfortable.

He still has a cough and little bit of a stuffy nose, but he’s feeling better overall.

They are continuing to practice their “fake” lessons. It’s actually called “practicing teaching interested persons”. He just calls it that. Jared said it’s role-playing. 🙂

As he was walking around, we were able to see more of the grounds of the MTC/CCM. It’s so pretty there. But there is quite a bit of pollution. It looked hazy it’s pretty bad.

We got him caught up on the kids and what they’ve been up to. Alayna has been watching a little 7-month-old little boy named Isaiah this week. She’s getting experience while I’m still around to help her. Eli has started working at Rubio’s. His co-workers have been going on and on about how awesome Walker was when he worked there. They said when he was on shift, he got food out in just over three minutes, but ever since he left it has been over four, close to five minutes. They said Walker never told anyone what to do and never asked for help, but if they asked if he needed help, he would gently say, “yeah that might be nice.” Everyone said Eli has some BIG shoes to fill! Walker thought that was pretty cool to hear. 🙂 We told him that Brian, the guy who he trained before he left, is now training Eli. He’s teaching him all the “Walker” tricks on how to score free food. Cooking the quesadillas and burritos just a little too long or putting a crease in the burrito so it busts open and you can’t serve it! Hahaha! Oh, the things we are learning about him now! Hahaha!!!

Everyone at the MTC/CCM is getting a little stir crazy. They’ve been out there for over three weeks now and next week it will be one month of their 24-month missions!!! Some are ready to get out. Others are terrified because they don’t feel confident in their Spanish just yet. From most everything we’ve heard though, the missionaries don’t truly learn their language until they are out in the field.

They started doing TRC finally. We asked what that stood for, but he couldn’t remember. He said maybe Training with Real People Center? Eli said, how about Training Real Chaps!? LOL!! We thought that was pretty funny! TRC is where they get to speak to locals there in Mexico and have conversations to get a real feel for how the language is in a regular conversation. He had two teenagers. One was a girl who was painfully shy and didn’t speak, but the other was a 17-year-old guy who has finished school and gave them a better idea of how conversational Spanish is. In the classroom, the teachers will try to use more common words and make it easier for the students to learn, but having a natural conversation with the locals who aren’t trying to dumb it down really helped them a lot.

The next day they didn’t have TRC but were told to go out and talk to people. Other missionaries were having TRC, so they jumped in! They spoke to two kids. It was a lot of fun because they were into Marvel and sports. Elder Wurtz, Walker’s companion apparently knows a guy from back home that works with the people in Marvel. He’s in the management, not putting out the movies, but he does stuff with the rides. The kids were freaking out, they were like, “No te creo!! No te creo!!” (I don’t believe you!!)

He said he and his companion felt pretty good about how well they did with speaking with the locals. They were both better at understanding. If they didn’t know a word or something, they were able to figure it out through context.

Their lessons are going really well. He’s starting to learn how to explain things. This week he went through the entire Plan of Salvation with their “investigator” (their teacher). He was able to explain the second half which is the harder part to explain. The Premortal Life, the Spirit World, the Resurrection, the Justice and Degrees of Glory are all kind of hard to explain in general but even more so because you have to translate it into Spanish. She’s going all-in with being an “interested person”. They explained Resurrection and she asked, “So do you mean like reincarnation?” So they had to explain that it’s different. In her character, her husband died. They explained that in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom he needed to get everything done including baptism, but the good news is that he could still be baptized. They didn’t get too much into the details of that though, because they weren’t ready to teach about the temple yet.

It’s interesting teaching Catholics however, they already believe very much in an afterlife, and the Hispanic culture already teaches about being connected to their deceased family members. What we all didn’t really know is that they really dislike Adam and Eve. They believe that they are the reason we have to experience pain and suffering and misery which is what the Bible kind of teaches. The Book of Mormon expands on that and clarifies that that misery and pain is necessary. It’s how we learn and grow. Jared pointed out too that we wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for Adam and Eve, but Walker said that they would rather have stayed in the presence of God not receiving a body. So they’ve been practicing explaining that to people, and it’s been going well.

Eli shared that Gambino, one of the managers at Rubio’s, said, “Bless Walker’s soul” for having to talk with the Cubans and Puerto Ricans because they speak insanely fast. Even fluent Spanish speakers like him and Sister Pena in our Ward have said they had a hard time understanding them. Sister Pena’s husband is Cuban, and she struggled for a while when she would talk to her in-laws. He said that anytime a Hispanic person finds out he’s going to Florida and going to be teaching the Cubans they say, “OH!! They speak muy rapido!! Muy Rapido!!!” Hahaha!!!

He’s learned the phrase, más lento por favor. Which means, slower, please. And, repetir por favor. Which is, repeat, please. I’m sure he’ll use those a LOT out in the field I’m sure! 😛 He knows he’ll be going through another training process with the Cuban people when he gets out there.

I said he’ll probably meet a family that would love to help teach him the language. He mentioned it’s entirely possible that one or more of his companions might only speak Spanish too. That makes him nervous. He doesn’t want his first companion to be Spanish speaking only. I don’t blame him. It will help him learn it faster I’m sure, but that will make for a very tough transition. He prefers his companion to be really good at Spanish but wants him to be able to speak English too. 😛 He’s confident, even if that happens, he’ll be able to understand and communicate with him. He’s one of the better ones at Spanish out in the MTC/CCM, especially in regards to the Church. He knows less about other subjects, but even when they were talking about Marvel with the kids, he was able to understand them. Apparently, ‘the study’ and ‘studio’ sound very similar. Studio is estudio, and the noun study is also estudio. So crazy, but I guess we have plenty of words like that.

Elder Moore made up a nonsensical Spanish song when he was in the second grade, sung to the tune of “The Mexican Hat Dance”. He sang it for us. .. well the lines he could remember anyway: 

El perro, el perro, el perro, es mi corazon
El gato, el gato, el gato no is buello
Cilantro’s es can tante, cilantro es muy famoso
Cilantro eso hombre ques el diablo

The dog, the dog, the dog is my heart
The cat, the cat, the cat is not good
Cilantro is a singer, Cilantro is very famous
Cilantro is the man, with the cheese of the devil.

The second verse:
El perro, el perro, el perro nunca sin razon
El gato, el gato, el gato es obsceno
Cilantro es caliente, Cilantro es cariñoso
Cilantro es mejor que tu esposo!

The dog, the dog, the dog never without reason
The cat, the cat, the cat is obscene
Cilantro is hot, Cilantro is affectionate
Cilantro is better than your husband!

The brother who ran the laundry yesterday’s name was Brother Lechuga, so his name is Brother Lettuce. His last name is lettuce. 😛 Another brother leading the service’s last name is Brother Consuelo which means comfort. Another guy is named Moroni pronounced Moronee and Nephi pronounced Nefee. They are fairly common names for Church members in Mexico. 

Some of the people in his classes have been so inundated with learning Spanish that when they go to talk or write in English, they are messing it up or forgetting words in English. It hasn’t happened to him yet, but he thinks it’s pretty funny. 🙂 They say you know the language once you aren’t translating English into Spanish, and you are just thinking Spanish.

He’s still working on the treats we sent. There was SOOO much Brookside!!! Haha! Elder Moore has been helping him out with it. 😛 Elder Moore told them last night that his goal is to gain 45lbs in Texas! His companion Elder Barrientos is very health-conscious, and he kept saying… “Nooo! That’s so bad!!” Elder Moore clarified that he doesn’t want to be fat but girthy. He wants to be muscular underneath all his fat. He wants to look like Brigham Young or like Chris Pratt before he lost all of the weight. Hahaha! He seems like quite the character. Walker thinks he’s hilarious! 😀

It was getting time for him to get over to the bus to leave for the temple. We wished him a safe and fun trip today. He’s really excited to see more of the city. I told him to take lots of pictures even if his camera isn’t good. Poor quality is better than none at all. 😉 (The pictures we ended up getting were actually really good. We’re hoping something was just on the lense the first go-around)

We said our I love you’s. Alayna gave him heart hands. Eli gave him a Dab. Then Walker said he thought Eli would really like Elder Hogge. He’s a big-time dank memer. LOL! One time there was a guy he knew on a phone call with his family, and he asked, “do your parents want to see a sick Dab? ” Hahaha!!

We wished him a wonderful time at the temple, and then he had to load on the bus.

I Googled a picture of the Templo de la Ciudad de México. I’ve never seen it before. It’s very pretty. 🙂

He looked SO good and is really happy. I could see it in his countenance that he’s loving his time there. Makes my Momma heart so happy for him! Until next Friday! <3

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