Hola todos! This is my email to confirm that I have safely made it to the DR MTC and, Mom and Dad, that my mission president won't be calling to say I'm here because he's not here today. As for why I'm at the DR MTC, I'll get to that later. This last week has been a whirlwind. Where the first few days of the MTC were eternal, the last few have been lightning fast. What with teaching two investigators 4/5 days this week, having a giant field orientation seminar, and General Conference and , everything has really been a blur.
One thing that particularly stands out, though, was my lesson with one of our investigators (J***). It was really a perspective-altering, life-changing lesson. I was asked a question I've always had difficulty answering, that being why bad things happen to good people and vice versa. Jose spoke of countless relatives and associates with disabilities, illnesses, and deaths, and could not see a reason for any of them. Trusting in the Lord, I opened my mouth, and I learned more than one thing about the Gift of Tongues, as spoken of in the scriptures. First, IT IS REAL. As I began to speak, the brokenness often accompanying my Spanish when I'm trying to respond carefully faded, and the Spirit filled the room. Second, the Gift of Tongues won't just help you speak well, but it will give a power to your words. Third, it means the Lord will literally put words in your mouth. I don't remember a word I said, but I remember the sweet Spirit that was there and the tears that came to the eyes of J***, as well as those of Elder R*** and I. Finally, it takes complete faith, not just a hope you'll be able to figure out what to say. I spoke literally "not knowing beforehand the things which I should [say]," and spoke without giving myself time to think and analyze what I was saying. The Spirit just led me along the way.
Another thing that stands out this week was saying goodbye to the rest of the zonenight. Who would've thought I'd make so many great friends in just 10.5 days? It was hard to say goodbyes, and I'm going to miss them all dearly. I have everyone's emails, and we're going to be keeping in touch and sharing experiences via a group email.
As for our travel day, we showed up at the Salt Lake airport at ~to fly out at . The flight was three hours, but the time change meant we arrived in Atlanta at ~ . Nobody slept all too well; there was a fair bit of turbulence, and it was an Airbus, so the engine noise insulation wasn't all to great, either. The five of us (Myself, Elder R***, Elder C***, Elder A***, and Hermana G***) had breakfast, then froze in the Atlanta terminal (they had the AC on like crazy despite the overcast weather) until ~ . The flight to Santo Domingo was also rather turbulent, but otherwise uneventful. It took us about an hour to actually get out of the airport, because although we practically walked straight through Immigration and Customs with our straighforward VISAs, the huge line of others getting off the plane, more often than not, had not arranged for all their paperwork to be done or had to dig for money for travel VISAs or whatever. Once we got out, we piled the five of us and all our gear into a van, and drove to the MTC. We're at the MTC because the transfer of missionaries leaving here next leave tomorrow morning, so we are scheduled to go with them. We got to have a Dominican late lunch (which was AMAZING, and was like Mom's mustard pork chops except in a soupier form with plantains substituted for rice--it was called sancocho or something), played some soccer out in the parking lot, and now here we are writing emails. Hermana G*** has breakfast at 6 and leaves at for the West mission, while the other four of us have breakfast at 7 and leave at .
The jet lag is bad right now, though. The time change overnight was brutal, and meant that until about 3-4 hours ago all five of us were so drowsy we didn't even bother talking in anything more than short, simple sentences. I couldn't sleep on the planes, so last night all the sleep I got was a 20-minute power nap in the Atlanta airport that I hardly even remember having.
Thus, I need to get going and get some sleep here soon.
Pero, antes de hacer eso quiero darles mi testimonio de que yo s*e que Dios vive, y que su Hijo Unig*enito, Jesucristo, vive. Yo s*e que el Don de las Lenguas es una bedici*on y un poder real, efectivo, y maravilloso. Yo s*e que Dios es nuestro amoroso Padre Celestial, y que solamente quiere que nosotros vengamos a *El para vivir con *El para siempre. De esto testifico en el nombre de Jesucristo. Amen.
Translation: (I did my best...)
But before doing that I want to share my testimony that I know that God lives, and his only begotten son Jesus Christ lives. I know the gift of tongues is a real power, effective and marvelous. I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that He only wants us to come to Him to live with Him forever I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
Best wishes to you all, and I love and miss ya,