Friday, September 8, 2017

Earthquake

If you heard about the earthquake in Mexico, don't worry, I'm fine. If you didn't, surprise! It was pretty far south of here, but we still felt it. Apparently, it was an 8.4. Bit of a big one. My teacher told us that 15 people died, but they were pretty far from here. Nothing to worry about in the CCM, I didn't even wake up. And there were sirens. Slept through it all. We were told to email you guys because supposedly you might be worried. That's all, talk again Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

6 September 2017

It's been pretty fun this week. Yes, I found Elder Bischoff this morning and he's going to give me the package after lunch. Thanks for sending it! All he said was that there was jerky, and that is exactly what I asked for! And yes, we did get a picture. After lunch we're going to try to get one in front of the sign, but Elder Bryan had a temple trip so we didn't have time this morning. Tell David that I expect him to be in tip-top shape by the time I get back. I want to go on runs together! My companion has been pushing me really hard physically, and I'm about an hour and a half before my attempt to quadruple the furthest distance I ran pre-mission. This 10K is probably going to hurt. Tom told me about those classes, and he seems to be having a lot more fun with them than your students are.
For my birthday, my district decided that I needed to be sung to, and so they sang to me over breakfast. Some of the Hermanas got me doughnuts in the morning, and then after lunch everyone came up and gave me stuff they bought in the Tienda. They sell root beer apparently, which is pretty awesome. 
I found out that I've been called as a travel leader, which basically means that I'm in charge of the luggage for myself and three other missionaries who are on the same flight out of here. Two are going to Raleigh with me, and the other (Hermana Hendricks, if you ever randomly see her) is going to the Indianapolis mission! This calling would probably be easier if I had absolutely any idea what it entailed aside from the luggage, but they were pretty vague about all that. 
We've been a part of the "mixed" program which means that I had a Latino companion as well. We had our last time teaching together this week before Elder Ronderos left the CCM. He was a cool guy who said he preferred British accents because he watched a lot of Doctor Who. 
My Spanish is getting better every week, and I finally got over a grammar concept that's been keeping me back for a while. I get a lot of compliments on my Spanish now, which I guess is a good sign. One night, our culdesac (or however you spell that) flooded knee deep, which was pretty cool. I don't have any pictures, sorry. I think that's about it for this week, and the next time I email you it will be from Raleigh! ​
​Two of these pictures are the closet of one of the elders in my room whose closet door mysteriously went missing. No, surprisingly, it wasn't me who did it. And he got a replacement door. (The little one)​
​Also, we apparently all committed to Eastern Kentucky University this week. One of the elders in our district has a dad that works there, so we all got shirts and pens.​
​And here is Elder Ronderos right after we finished teaching for the last time and got our pretend investigator to commit to baptism.




Wednesday, August 30, 2017

30 August 2017

Maybe I need to try emailing later, because the only email I have from you this week is one that would result in my death if I tried to have that be the only one I sent you this week. Anyways, it's been a pretty standard week. I finally really got preterit vs. imperfect down, and that took me forever. I'm not a very big fan of Spanish grammar. Conjugations are all over, and almost all of the really common verbs are irregular. This language is going to be the death of me. Also, I found out how the guys in my district have been getting stuff from their families. Apparently, there's some link or path on the CCM (MTC) website where you can select items to send to your missionary, and the way it works is that they send out someone who works here to buy all the stuff and bring it back. If you decide to do that, beef jerky. That's pretty much all I want. Lots of beef jerky. Anyways, we had Christmas again this week. I gave my secret Santa person a roll of cough drops that look like they might be candy, and got a pen that has a weird knit covering. (Yes, the gifts are supposed to be stupid.) We also had a surprise visit from Santa himself! ​
​I don't know how they got the hairnets, and I'm not so sure I want to know how we got the fake fire. It's still sitting in our living room. We got some new people in our house this week because all of our three week program people left, and we got to meet them. Their first night here was our party, so I think they're a little scared of our district. We've only got one more left in here, so we have to make it count. I'm super happy that we're almost done, there's only so many times you can teach your teacher and make it feel like an investigator for real. Speaking of real investigators, we had our first TRC this week! I think it stands for Teaching Resource Center.  Basically, a whole bunch of volunteers come in from around here and they just are themselves. It can be investigators or members or less actives. We taught two lessons in that about prayer, and it was super cool. The first one was a grandma and her granddaughter, and that one was really nice. Our second lesson was the less active mother of said granddaughter and her other kid. You could really feel the spirit, and it felt a lot more real than trying to teach Hermano Trejo or Gayosso (my teachers). I'm just impressed that people would volunteer to come in and be taught in really, really bad Spanish stuff they probably already know. Oh well, it really helps us.
We did have something really sad this week. One of our guys went home to take care of some stuff. He's a really good guy and we're all proud of him for having the courage to do it, but it's sad all the same. He said he wants to come back out and serve as soon as he can. He broke his watch by dropping it earlier this week, and so I gave him mine (sorry mom) with a really cheesy line: "This is so you know when to return to the field." I know, it's bad, but it's all I had. He seemed really happy with it anyway. I think he was mostly just happy that he had the support of his district. That's all for this week, so I'll write again later! 
(And mom, I want some news from home!) 
I can check tomorrow, but I can't write back. And this is my last opportunity to write today. And in random news, thanks to my companion pushing me really hard, I can run here! I used to run out of breath really fast because this is 10-11 times the elevation of Fishers, but I did my first 5K today! I don't know the time because neither of us have a watch, but I did pretty well. You can tell Uncle Michael that when I get back I can run them with him! (Oh yeah, and we're trying for a 10K next pday because I didn't feel like this was too hard. We'll see how it goes.) Bye until next week!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

23 August 2017

Well, time to apologize in advance. I don't have any pictures this week. We aren't allowed to take pictures on any day that isn't our P-Day. It's only 8:30 here, so we didn't have anything particularly picturesque happen this morning. We did play a little basketball in our regular proselyting clothes before breakfast though. Yeah, I have seen Elder Bryan around. I just talked to him at breakfast this morning, and we got a picture. You'll probably have to get that from Sister Bryan though, because I left my camera back at the house and we didn't want to wait to get it. Sorry. I'm trying to stay away from things like sugary cereal and actually eat healthy because my companion and I are running almost every day and doing weights too. We both have a goal of being able to do 100 consecutive push ups with no breaks. As of day one of trying, he's only at 31 and I'm at 34. Not very good, but we'll work on it. As for the eclipse, we had two people come into our classroom and say from the hours of 11-2, don't look at the sun. Don't try at all to see the eclipse. So we didn't. I didn't notice it even get darker at all, so it probably wan't even that dramatic here. And yes, the Spanish is much better. On the first day I saw Elder Bryan, I was able to correct his Spanish. He also keeps on trying to call me Sam, which I find hard to even respond to now. He yelled it this morning and I didn't even turn until he yelled Elder Battraw. Funny side note: only one person here has gotten my name right on the first try, and the teachers (all natives) have trouble saying it at all. I can always tell when they're trying to read my name because they squint and turn the paper a little bit. Really not too different from the U.S. My companion and I try to speak it out of class, but there's still a lot of words we don't know. As for the packages, it depends. One Elder in my district said his mom sent him a package that never arrived, but one of my roommates has gotten one each week. One of the Mexican Elders told me that if you want your stuff to stay safe when being sent, draw a picture of the virgin Mary on it and they'll leave it alone. It might be better to wait, but the clothes situation is getting a little rough. Speaking of clothes, why would I rinse them in the sink? Does that prevent them getting really bad? Anyways, we have one towel hook in our room and four people trying to use it. All of the chairs already have towels hanging off of them. Yesterday we started our mixed group, where I got assigned a Latino elder, Elder Roderno. He seems like a pretty cool guy. We had 40 minutes to get to know each other and prepare a lesson, and it seemed to go pretty well. I have the first vision memorized in Spanish, so I got to do that at least. I'm hoping that you're still teaching so I can get that same benefit too! Well, we'll see how it goes.

Love, 
Elder Battraw part III

I just realized I completely forgot to explain why my last email was titled, "Christmas." Well, my district's first two pdays were completely taken up with temple trips (not a bad thing) and so this first one that we had the whole day was exciting. So we called it Christmas and had a secret Santa gift exchange last night. I gave my person a bag of their favorite suckers from la tienda, and I got a nail file from my guy. There was a twenty peso limit (about $1.20) so there wan't much that you could get your person. It was awesome. Anyways, my hour is up, so time to sign off!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

16 Aug. 2017

Me español es muy mejor de semana uno, pero necesito mas trabajo antes estoy listo. (You can have David try to translate that, I´m sure I made a mistake in there somewhere.) That´s hilarious that you had to be the one to drive Matt to school after all those warnings. Speaking of driving, how is Tom getting along without me driving him all over? Is he any closer to a licence? Tell David good luck with the route from me! I haven't been able to find Zach yet, but he's one missionary among 700. This week we had two really cool devotionals from M. Russel Ballard and Neil L. Anderson, but they were both streamed from the Provo MTC. Elder Ballard spoke on locking our hearts against any romantic temptations, and one of the Latino elders that I'm friends with came into my room afterward and said, "The prophet spoke to me tonight!" (He'd been talking about one Hermana who he liked and was interested in.) So there was definitely some real inspiration there. The classes are hard, but not too crazy. At first I couldn't understand them at all because they were all in Spanish, but I don't even really have to try to keep up anymore. The hard part now are the progressing investigator lessons. Our teachers pretend to be investigators, and they don't let up on the speed or complexity of their Spanish. I've had to say "Otra vez, por favor." more than once. One of the sisters from my district (Hermana Compton) walked up to me yesterday and asked how I'd managed to learn so much Spanish so fast. I told her flashcards and the spirit. Speaking of Hna. Compton, she's from Hawaii! Someplace that starts with an L, I think. I mentioned my step dad was Hawaiian too, and now she wants to know where David is from. I also learned that though our half court basketball isn't supposed to be competitive, it still  is really rough. I got a blood blister on my finger after getting knocked down in a game, as well as bruising most of my right side and hitting one of my toes pretty hard. Elder Hull is trying to run me into the ground by making me run with him, and it's killing me. My shins hurt a lot now, and it's way harder to breathe at eleven times the altitude of Fishers. Oh yeah, and one of my roomates' IPod was stolen from our room after the people came with new sheets, so we don't have any more music. The MTC security has been investigating, but they haven't had any luck so far. And I do apologize about this not being that long or newsy, just not much that is super newsworthy has happened. Every minute of most of our days is planned out for us and most of that is classes.





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

9 Aug. 2017

Well, my first week is finally done! P Day number one is here and my first communication back home! My flight had no problems at all. I was with the guy I met at the temple the whole time, and we met up with another three missionaries at the Atlanta airport. I was really nervous about getting through customs, but I was just asked how long I would be here and had my passport stamped. We found a huge group of probably forty or so misssionaries hanging out on some benches, so we went and sat by them until we were told to get our stuff and go to the bus. Now that was an interesting ride. From what I´ve been told, there are similar traffic laws to the U.S. Not that you could tell. Everybody goes where they want, and the right of way is determined by who´s driving the bigger car. Apparently one of the buses got in a minor accident on the way here and just kept on driving. Accidents are common partly because people drive literally inches from each other. When we got to the MTC (or as it´s called here, the CCM) we unloaded the bus and got in line for medical forms and passport checks and the like. We were ushered into a room where we got a short safety briefing, then were given schedules for the whole time that had our room and district numbers on them and set loose. My district (10E) has 12 people: Elders Hull(my companion), Rasmussen, Kluger, Skelton, Perkes, Benson, Johnson and myself, and Hermanas Compton, Smith, Meyers, and Reed. It´s a pretty awesome and crazy group. All the time there are fireworks going off, or that´s what the teachers insist they are. A lot of the Elders are pretty sure that they´re gunshots, and I´ve heard three as I´ve been writing this email. The classes are really hard, but mostly because of the spanish. It´s been getting a lot easier for me though. I´ve already gone from bottom of the class (everyone except for me and Hna. Meyers had already taken spanish) to being able to correct my companion´s Spanish, who grew up with it around him and took four years in high school. Elder Hull is pretty cool. He ran track and cross country, and is far more athletic than me, especially at the local elevation of 7400 feet.  We got to go to the Mexico City Temple today! It was super awesome, and made the terrifying 45 minute drive worth it. I haven´t sorted through all the pictures and the computer is super slow, so I´ll see what I can send. (The selfie is me and Elder Skelton)







Tuesday, August 1, 2017

1 Aug. 2017

Well I made it to the MTC without dying. Sorry, I couldn't call, the phone wasn't working. Anyways, I'm fine and excited to work! My first P Day isn't until next Wednesday, so don't expect another email until then. My apartment is 50-5(4). See you in two years!