It was so nice to get on the computer today and see all of the emails, I’ve missed you guys! It’s crazy to think that I’ve only been here for a week. my first day alone felt like it contained enough to fill a weeks worth. They’re keeping us busy but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
The flights all went well. I flew to Chicago and Miami by myself but was pleasantly surprised to see a group of missionaries sitting at the Miami airport. Its so cool that we came from all over the country to meet up for the last flight. There are about 20 new missionaries along with myself, most serving in the DR, but three others and one sister serving with my in Puerto Rico.
We were all so grateful to have two Spanish speaking missionaries with us in the group when we got to the DR. Going through customs and finding our ride would have been quite a bit more difficult without them. There was no man holding a cardboard sign with “Elder Jacob” like I expected. With our ride to the MTC we were greeted with some wonderful Dominican rap music, a good welcome for servants of the Lord if you ask me.
It was really weird to look out the window at a totally new country. There were more palm trees than I could count, not nearly as many traffic signs as in the US, and a lot of garbage along the side of the streets. I don’t know how true this is but I heard from another elder that they don’t have garbage systems of sewer systems, so in some places of the DR they both end up on the street.
Our living conditions are better than that thankfully. In fact, the MTC is right next to the Temple, enclosed by the same wall and gate. It really is beautiful here. I’m going to have to get used to walking outside and having it be warmer than it was inside, very different.
My district of 9 elders (one companionship of 3) is really great. seriously, I couldn’t imagine it any other way. It’s only been 7 days but I feel like I’ve known these guys for way longer. I’m really happy with my companion too, Elder Abankie. (Back row in the middle)
He’s from Suriname, a country I had to look up on a map after he told me (North of Brazil). He speaks dutch and English and is learning Spanish along with the rest of us to go serve in the Belguim Netherlands. He’s the only one going to that mission. He was supposed to go to Provo but he couldn’t get a US Visa, so he’s stuck with us. He’s really great though, he served a mini mission back in Suriname so he has some experience. He’s also a really good singer, whenever we’re in the stairwell or the bathroom he just belts it out. He’s going to be the next Alex Boye, I just know it.
We have classes pretty much all day. I can tell you my four years of Spanish really payed off. I feel like I’m way ahead of most of my district,a lot of them have little or no Spanish background. I’ve found that the best way for me to learn is to talk with the Spanish speakers here at the MTC. My understanding and ability to respond has improved so much. Plus I’ve made a ton of new friends outside my district. Whenever they see my they’re like “Elder Jacobbbb! como esta?!”
I really like the mission president and his wife. They really seem to care about us missionaries which is really nice when you’re away from the familiarity of home. The teachers area also really good. They only speak in Spanish (for the most part) so you learn pretty fast here.
The food is really good. I can’t complain. It’s all traditional Dominican food, along with some frosted flakes and fruit loops. A lot of rice and beans and meat. And really really good fruit and juice. Tonight we’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner. I’m excited, to say the least. It’s going to be really odd not having it at home for the first time.
Last night, after a rough lesson with a fake investigator, I was feeling kind of down. It is so frustrating to not be able to say what I want to say, and I really miss home. Then one of the Elders told me that my name tag was pushed up on my pocket, which everyone says here means that someone is thinking of you. So thank you guys. I miss you, but I know that I’m doing what the Lord needs me to do.
con mucho amor,
PS. Sorry I couldn’t respond to everyone! I only get 45 minutes on the computer. If you write me letters, I can write you back whenever during the week though! I think they mail out on Fridays. Until next Thursday!