Sunday, October 25, 2015

Week 3 (New Week, New Things)

   This week flew by.  Each day we had similar classes- language, doctrine, and teaching.  I try my best to learn in each class, so that I can grow to be a better missionary.  My favorite class is teaching.  All three teachers are now playing an investigator and its so amazing to feel the Spirit in the room and to know what they need, even though they are just playing a role.  I leave each lesson humbled that my Spanish was not sufficient to relay what I wanted to say entirety.  I love that feeling because it makes me want to work harder and harder to share what I know with my investigators.  We had TRC on Saturday, which is when we have volunteers come in and we teach them.  We taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The sections in that lesson are faith, repentance, baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.  I thought that would work great if our volunteers were investigators. Unsurprisingly, they were not.  Our first investigator was José, a young adult preparing for a mission.  He will be here in the MTC in two weeks.  That lesson really tested my Spanish comprehension skills because he had just gotten his wisdom teeth out, had braces, and was embarrassed about his wisdom teeth, so he was hiding his face with a scarf.  I didn't know how to teach him with the lesson we had been given, but I put my faith in the Lord, that through the Holy Ghost we would know what to teach.  We decided to go from the beginning, with faith in Jesus Christ.  We stayed on that topic for the whole lesson.  We talked about how a mission took faith and how we needed to trust in the Lord constantly, for the Spirit and for the language.  We then talked about the rules of the mission, how they were harder than what he had been living, and the blessings of following them. I kind of vented my frustrations about the missionaries around me and their disobedience through my testimony.  I told him how I knew that one of the most important things is to strive to be 100 percent obedient, 100 percent of the time.  He got teary eyed at the end, so I hope we were able to touch his heart and help him to be a great missionary!  We taught an older lady named Maria next.  We talked to her about the importance of the Holy Ghost and how it can comfort us. After we were done, we tried to understand their needs and it was amazing that through the promptings of the Holy Ghost we were able to see what they needed and how we helped them. 

   I got a haircut today, my first one that wasn't from my mom or dad and I now realize what great skill they have for cutting hair!  I walked into the room to write emails and my District Leader said my hair looks like tennis ball fuzz! Luckily my hair will be back to being beautiful in a couple of weeks, before I get to the field.  

Elder Jarnagin with his new 'tennis ball fuzz' haircut and his district.

   Other than TRC and a haircut, the week was rather similar to last week in the same schedule and things everyday.  I am so grateful to learn from powerful teachers and to be able to apply what we learn from teaching right then and there. I am grateful for the Spirit and the influence on my life.  I am grateful for hard times, because through them we can grow and our good times are even greater than they would have been.  I am thankful for my wonderful parents and all those who guided me to this point.  I am still so excited to go and to take what I am learning to go and serve those in the Reno area! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Week 2 (MTC Hard Mode)

   This week was hard in multiple ways.  I felt like a palm tree in a storm (figuratively).  I felt like I was hit by one thing, only to be hit by another.  It was hard, but it is though adversity that we grow to be a bigger, stronger palm tree (figuratively).  We taught David this last week and committed him to baptism, which was kind of weird since he's a member, but it was a great learning experience.  He began to teach us as our teacher.  His real name is Hermano Cruz and he is a great teacher and has a powerful testimony.  This week I had a hard time adjusting to constantly being with my companion.  It kind of tried my patience, but I am glad to have the experience to learn and to grow and to know how to be a better missionary.  Another problem we have had here is disobedience. It is hard when your district leaders and various leaders tell you it doesn't matter if you don't get to bed until 11:30, that the white handbook is just a nice book of suggestions.  (For those of you who don't know what he means, 'white handbook', it is the missionary handbook of standards to keep them physically and spiritually safe while serving a full time mission-  you can access it here.)  It is hard when during time to study, no one is studying.  It is hard when those who you are supposed to look up to for guidance are not being good examples.  I am happy to go through this, because if I can deal with it and endure, and maybe help others around me to strive to be the best they can, then I will grow for the better because of it.  I love the experience of being here, because even though it is hard, I have never felt closer to the Lord.  The Spirit is so strong and I have been seeing it work wonders for me and those around me.  Just yesterday we were going over a tense in Spanish that I learned just last year.  Truly it is amazing to see the progress of those around me.  In just two weeks it seems they have received as much education that I received in 5 years!  This week was a lot of the same, studying the language and how to teach, so not many gems to report. 

Mexico City Temple
   The big thing we did this week was that we went to the temple today.  Mexico city's temple is huge and it was great to feel that special feeling of peace and an increase of the Spirit when we went in there.  One of the missionaries in my district yesterday challenged us to go into the temple with a question we were pondering.  I did that and it was amazing the answers I received to the question that I had!  The days still seem slow but the weeks seem so fast.  I am so excited to continue to learn here to teach our brethren and sisters out in the Reno area! 

   Here's a short video about why members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormons for short) build temples.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 1 (Woah so fast, yet so slow)

    Alright, I´ll start from the airport.  This keyboard is a bit clunky, so bear with me.  I walked through the Manchester airport contemplating life, enjoying my bagel, and thinking how different life will be from here.  I got onto the plane and sat next to two southern ladies who had heard of missionaries, but they had only seen disobedient ones.  So that was interesting!  I tried to explain how the mission should work.  I was invited to sit in the row in front by the crew, but thinking I would convert these two ladies I stayed where I was.  They both slept the entire time, so their conversion will come later.  The flight was ok. I got to Atlanta and took the plane train to my next planes gate. There I met Elder Allan, who is now in my district and is my district leader.  The flight to Mexico was "fun".  No leg room and plenty of paper work to fill out to get into the country.  They gave me paper work and lunch at the same time, with no room for either, so I am now very good at juggling paperwork and food.  We got into the Mexico City Airport with no problems, it just took forever because of lines.  There I met Elder Rodriguez who is now Elder Allan´s companion.  We took a long bus ride to the CCM (Centro de Capacitation Misinal or the Missionary Training Center).  Mexico City is quite run down, but the CCM is mucho pretty.  Then we ate and got supplies and met our companions.  My companion is Elder Davey who, in his own words, is loco.  We work pretty well together and he is very spiritual.  He has a powerful testimony, which is a good thing to have on a mission.  We went to our casa and met our roommates, Elder Casey and McLaughlin.  Elder McLaughlin has the coolest first name, since we have the same first name!  The bunks are a bit hard, but they are places to sleep so that´s good.  Next day was mucho orientation as was the next day, those days took forever to pass, but they were informative.  Day two, we taught our first investigator. That's right, day two, full Spanish!  It was scary (lagrimas).  It was good though, we had the Spirit with us and the Spirit really filled the room when Elder Davey said the First Vision in Spanish.  We found out that he (the investigator) is a member of the church and will eventually be our teacher (but he doesn't know that we know).  Conference was great, there were so many talks that spoke to me personally and as a missionary.  We taught our investigator, David, again Monday and we will again today.  The days are so slow, but looking back the week went by so fast.  I have heard this is how missions are.  I look forward to serving the Lord and our brothers and sisters in Reno.  I am loving to prepare for that!  I will see you all in 103 Weeks!