week one:

MADRE!!!!!! and familia!!!!!!!
Have I been here for a week?? or 27??? because it feeels more like the latter!!! This has been the longest 7 days of my whole life!!!! I have been looking forward to writing you guys all week and I miss you so so much!! SO! I AM HERE! IM on a MISSION! its the weirdest feeling ever but every day I come to like it a little more.
The MTC here is called el C.C.M. It stands for el Centro de Capitación Missional. It is a really clean, nice and well kept facility and a lot smaller than I thought! THere are only 13 sisters here and about 65 elders. A pretty small group!!! I Love my district!!!!! I am in a threesome companionship with Hermana Shumway from Texas and Hermana Haupt from San Diego. Then therer are 7 other elders in my distrcit. Most of them are only 18! Hmmm Im trying to figure out where to even start!!!!! The days all blurred together!!! Every morning we wake up at 6:30 and eat breakfast. Then we have personal study time and then class starts at 8:30. Then we have class till lunch at 12 and then we got to this language study thing called TALL on the computers. From 2-3 we have physical activity time and I have beeb doing VERY GOOD at exercising and eating healthy! yall would be proud of me :) I do laps around the field and jumpr rope a little and do sit ups and lunges and I even use the resistance bands you guys gave me! haha!! After that, we have a half hour to shower and stuff and then additional study time. Then we have class again until 6 and then dinner. and then class again (or sometimes a devotional or something) and then at 9 we plan and then head up to bed at 930 and then im in bed by 1030. SO theres my typical day! haha in class, we learn different grammar vocabulary, in spanish of course, and learn how to teach the lessons in spanish. Most of what we have learned so far is how to pray en español, how to bear testimony, and just other vocab words and stuff for teaching lessons, meeting people, etc. I am learning it slowly but surely!
Okay, so Im not going to lie, this week has been HARD. The first few days were so so rough. But the last couple of days I have been feeling better, little by little, day by day. I am definately learning PATIENCE. Its just a whole different lifestyle you have to get used to and I am learning that it takes TIME to adjust. You just put so much energy into studying, and sitting in class, and you dont have your family or friends, and you have to follow all these rules and everyone expects so much of you. Its just a lot all at once. But I have given it time and every day I feel happier and I definately feel my Heavenly Father cheering my on! And you know what else? |Every day I am learning a little more about how AWESOME it is to be a missionary. It is HARD. But it is SO GOOD! I just need to be patient with it and slowly get used to everything. i have had glimpses of the happiness that will come from my mission. The MTC is hard cause you just want to leave and go out and be with the actual PEOPLE but instead you are stuck in here in class. haha. But its necessary, because we are learning how to teach effectively and how to actually SPEAK their language!!!! hahaha!! So i kep reminding myself that I just gotta be patient and make it through the next 5 weeks and learn all that I can and it will be worth it in the end!!!
And I have been feeling SOOOOO much better these last few days because I am really coming to love my companions and the people around me! Its so fun having a small CCM because im becoming so close ALREADY with the other hermanas and our awesome teachers and even alot of the elders!!! Hermana Haupt is the more latino looking one in the photos. She is so funny and so cute!! hah fiun fact: her brother is 23 and his name is Dillon and he also works at Lu Lu Lemon!!!! I was like what the HECK?!?! haha so random!! Hermana Shumway has super super curly red hair and she is more quiet and reserved but the SWEETEST most thoughtful sister ever. I LOVE THEM BOTH! and we laugh alot and have fun together. I think we all balance each other out. Also, all the teachers here and the CCM president and his wife, the Gonzaleses, are SOOO GREAT! I LOVE LATINO PEOPLE ALREADY!!! Our teachers are these two Peruvian hermanas that can speak english a little and they are so fun. I love them. Hermana Gonzales is the mission president\s wife. She is a very happy, outgoing woman but also so fiesty and bold and all the elders are afriad of her hahahaha.
The best part of my weeek, hmmm. Ill share the 2 best parts.
1) I got to leave the CCM and go out into the center of Lima to the Immigration offices! and I got to do it twice! One morning the teacher comes in and shes like, Hermana Gardner? Elder Utai? You guys need to come here and go to migraciones for a few hours. WE were like what?? So It was me and Elder Utai (The funniest, Samoan 18 yr old kid, the one I sat next to on the airplane!!! He is hilarious.) and elder Herrera and just the 3 of us had to get into the car and drive 30 minutes to downown Lima into the busiest office building place because we filled out a form wrongon the airplane hahah!!! But it was such an adventure and I loved being out in the city!!! It was such an answer to prayer, honestly!!! Heavenly Father was like "There is life after the CCM Tessa! I promise!" haha but really, that day I became so much happier because I was able to feel a little bit of the happiness that will come from going out and it hoinestly feels SOO amazing to walk around a crazy city with this name tag over my heart that says "'Hermana Gardner -- La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de los Ultimos Dias." I feel so happy just walking artound smiling at all the people and saying "Hola! Buenos Dias!!" and having everyoine stare at you cause youre walking around with a dress and a name tag and the elders in their suits and everyones like, who are these crazy happy people?? hah! and we had a few random members come up to us and they were so sweet and excited to see missionaries and it feels soooo good when people say "Hermanas!! Elders!!!" It is so happy. I cant wait to get out there. Pray for my sanity in the next 5 weeks!! haha!
But really, the CCM is a good, good place to be. I am learning so much about my Heavenly Fathers love for me. Last night. Elder Waddel of the 70 came and spoke to us and I have never heard a more INSPIRED talk in my whole life. Everything he said touched my heart so much and I felt so so happy inside. I know that Heavenly Father hears my prayers and KNOWS MY HEART!!! That is what keep coming back to me every day and I cry just writing this to you guys because I feel it so strongly: "HE KNOWS YOU, TESSA. HE KNOWS YOU." I wouldnt be here and i absolutely couldnt do this if i didnt know tis and most importantly FEEL this with all my heart.
Thank you for your prayers!!! I can honiestly say that I feel you guys here with me and I feel your prayers and the stregnth that comes to me from them. I DO feel your love and arms around me. Thank you SO MUCH. I look at the photo album mom, every night, and cry haha!!! because I miss you guys! But it makes me feel so happy that I have a loving family back at home that loves me and is with me in my heart.
I took a few days, but now I can honestly say that I am happy here. And I just know that it is going to kee[ getting better and better. I know this is where I am supposed to be.
Im sorry I dont have time to reply to everyones emails but THANK YOU to everyone who wrote to me!!!!! Really really, thank you so much and I will write back to you soon!!!! I love you guys and I love having a team cheering me on back at home!!!
Alli, Happy Birthday girlfriend!! Im so thankful for you and your love in my life!!!
Funny moment from this week:
A latino guy was giving us a tour around the campus our first day and he was like, "Youll learn spanish,,,it will be a piece of, brownie." I was laughing SOOO HARD!!! Im just the crazy girl in our district that laughs at everything haha but i try to have fun. Like I said, it had been so fun getting to know my district and learning and growing with them. its like a new little family away from home...or someything like that haha. We have fun together and \i am already making friends that will last a lifetime. It is such a cool expereince.
also, I got to go to the TEMPLE this moirning and it was 10x better than the first time when i got endowed!!!!!! It was SOO AWESOME and I felt so at peace.
I love you guys! I feel your love EVERY DAY! literally i feel it so strong i swear. I wish I had more time. Ill try to send some pics next week.
LOVEYOU ALLLLLLLLL!!!! Pray for the people in Peru!!!
paz y amor,
Hermana Gardner

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