Mom & Dad:
I am officially an "avanzado." It's both scary and exciting to think I'm in the final phase of the MTC. My last group of "three weeks" and out into the field I go. The Lima MTC is a little different now. When we first got here, they were still operating under the "old" program. We had companionship study with our Latina companions, meals, living, and a billion teaching opportunities. Our classes with our North American District were different too, because we actually had lessons on specific grammar principles which made me feel like I was back in Miss K's class. As these last three weeks start though, August 1 marked the start of everyone jumping on the pilot program bandwagon. I definitely feel like the guinea pig because they flopped our group (the hermanas BBB), (the other Elders who came the same time we did were never pilot), from pilot to old style and now back to pilot. The hard thing about pilot here is now we're NEVER with our Latina companeras. We sleep, eat, and exercise with them, but that's about it. Practically the only teaching experience we have together is proselyting on Saturdays. Makes me a little nervous that I won't be able to see "how she teaches in action" before we have to do it for real. I think the program should be tweaked a little At international MTC's because I don't see the point in switching to Lima if I am still basically surrounded by North Americans all the time. Sure, I'm getting used to the food, but half the culture adjustment is the people. There are so many things I learned from my last companion that I could only figure out because I had to work with her ALL the time. I feel sad that the North American newbies will never get to experience that.
The beautiful sun came out today which was wonderful because it was freezing this morning! I think the current tally is that we've see the sun six times and the moon three times.
Had another trainwreck experience playing the piano this morning. I played the piano in Relief Society and asked Hermana Vera (my companion) for her favorite hymn. She picked "Because I have Been Given Much." Perfect, I like that one too! I played the last two measures for an introduction because I didn't feel like playing the whole thing. Hermana Bell's companion, Hermana Sandoval was leading the hymn. Well--first no one really came in because they were expecting a more concrete introduction. However, every time the piano had pretty interlude notes while the singers were holding a note or resting, Hermana Sandoval thought it was time for the next word. Aaahh!! It didn't take long before it sounded like a round was going on. I tried to make the rhythm obvious, but nothing helped. Ha ha--it caught me so off guard in the beginning that I didn't play the first two lines of the song because I couldn't figure what was going on or who to follow. It was so weird. Anyway, I've figured out that only hymns with basic rhythms and notes are allowed--otherwise it doesn't sound too hot. At least the basic hymns are recognizable.
I read Garrett's emails and I have to admit that I'm really glad I'm serving in South America where people love talking about God. Compared to the doors Garrett gets slammed in his face, it will seem like everyone loves me. I wonder what my reaction would be if someone knocked on my door as a missionary for another church. I just take their pamphlet, shut the door, and throw it away. But then I remind myself---the difference is that our message is true and changes lives1
Found out that I'm the only hermana going to Lima North. The Lima North group is lucky because we don't have to deal with overweight bags for awhile. Instead, I just take a twenty minute bus ride downtown to the mission Presidents office--the Mission Home.
Sounds like the garden is coming along. It made my mouth water to hear about fresh raspberry jam. My hands are aching for two things right now--my violin and yard work.
Love Always, Kristin