Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hola Niños!
This week has been so crazy but I will do my best to cover everything. The first two days of the CCM were the most stressful days of my life. Mostly because we were paired with our companions and put in districts and rooms right away, but my district was not given a schedule, so we just followed the other new district around like idiots until we finally got one the next day. We also had to just take what we would need out of our suitcases for the next six weeks and then our lugguge is put in a big container until we leave for our missions. So I am not even using half of my stuff yet. We flew in with about 21 other missionaries. There are in total around 35 North Americans here split into three districts. All the Americans are either going to Uruguay or Paraguay, and the Canadians are going to Argentina. Then there are four districts of Latinos that are all serving in Argentina. My companions name is Elder Simpson. He is a cousin of the Jewkes family! Except he is like a mix between Brigham Jewkes and KJ. We are starting to work and live pretty well together. Since we are just coming out of winter we get some really cold weather for a few days in a row. The mornings are super cold, but it warms up enough to go play outside in the afternoon.
Also, on the second day the CCM President called me to be District Leader! I said yes really fast and then later realized how much responsibility came with that. The North American DL¨s meet with the Presidente three times a week, and we run all the meetings on Sundays and have to make sure everything is working in the District. My district is awesome, I just wish I wasnt always in charge. There are ten of us, eight elders and two hermanas. The weird part is that we are mostly all eighteen but there is an elder that is 21, one that is 19, and a hermana that is 22. I have to interview all of them every other week to see how everyone is doing, and it feels super weird because I am younger than them. Its all good, I am just trying my best. Also the food here is awesome! They try to serve ¨normal´ food so they dont freak us out, but it is still different and the Latinos dont like it. We love it and just love seeing them try to prepare an American meal. I honestly prefer it when they make Argentine food anyway. It mostly reminds me of home because it is some sort of stewed meat over a bowl of rice or beans or potatoes. The best part is that no one is sick, and the worst I have felt is sometimes at night I have a headache from working all day.
We have to get up at 6AM because our district service assignment is to clean the kitchen at 6:30 before breakfast. Its not bad because I get to use one of the few showers with warm water since no one else is up. There are six elders in a room, and ours has two other NAs, and two Latinos. They are from Chile and Peru. The Chilean speaks decent English, so we are able to talk pretty well in a terrible sounding spanglish. Spanish is nuts. I have learned more in the past week than I have any other time in my life. Im still not very good, but I can communicate pretty well with the latinos and can teach a somewhat decent lesson. I can actually understand Spanish pretty well but just have a hard time remembering how to say things. We have a morning teacher and an afternoon teacher, both native Argentines that have been off their missions for a year. The afternoon teacher speaks better English and is the one that gives us grammar instruction.
We were really thrown right into things by having our third day here be a fast Sunday. Hello first 24 hour fast. It was pretty intense, but we fasted for the gift of tongues as a district, and I know for a fact that fasting works. On Saturday we taught our first investigator and it went terrible. We barely understood him and could barely get anything worth while out. PS the investigator is our teacher. But after fasting all day sunday and working hard to prepare, on Monday almost all of us had a super successful discusion. I was shocked at how much I understood and was then able to say. It still wasnt anything super impressive, but the difference was too much to deny. This has honestly been the most testimony building experience I have ever had, and I have only been gone a week!! Everyday is like a spiritual high, especially since today we went to the temple, which was awesome! We are litterally right next to it. From where I am sitting right now on the top floor of the CCM I could stick my head out of the window and throw a rock across the street and hit the temple. Its the most beautiful building I have ever seen. We are pretty sheltered here but when we look outside of the complex we can tell we are in South America. A lot of trash and shacks. But I love it and cant wait to get out! Oh and we can't take pictures until the last couple days here so sorry your imaginations will have to do for now. The inside of the CCM is not much to look at but this complex sure is.
It was awesome to hear from you all and Im glad to hear everything is going so well! Josh I hope you sleep well knowing I am on a tiny bed on the top bunk. I know you still will.
I love you all and cant wait to tell you more! The days are finally moving faster!

All my love,
Elder Degn

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