Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 4: "Muy Caliente"


I´ll be honest and say that this was a tough tough week. Definitely fun and exciting, but tough. My companion has an accent that is literally so so hard to understand, I never know what is going one. I´m always asking him questions and we both get frustrated over basic conversations so BE HAPPY YOU CAN UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER. We are both put in a new area where we don´t know anyone, any of the members, or any of the investigators so it was a difficult week but difficult is good. Our house is huge compared to some other places. we have four different rooms but we only use two. Its soopa hot here, and the first couple days I was sweating like crazy after only a few minutes walking, and its only going to get worse...

When we first started to teach people, I didn´t know what anyone was saying because they all talk so fast so I didn´t get to say very much in our first lessons. I felt so useless just sitting there nodding, but with time I could add a little bit to the conversation. Its getting better but still lots to learn. We´ve taught a couple families and people so far that seem interested, but mostly set up appointments with people to meet again later this week. So as far as missionary work goes, its tough, but its coming along.

OK so, some funny stuff that happened this week:

1. Elder Mejia, my companion, lost the key to one of our gates, so for a few days we had to hop our fence. the very first time I did it, I smacked my hand on a CACTUS on the way down. It didn´t hurt that bad at first, but all the little needles were stuck all in my fingers, so we had to spend the next 20 minutes disecting my fingers and ripping out each little sliver that was stuck. Call me a baby, but it hurt...

2. I have quickly found out that MOST ( I don´t want to generalize here... but its true) Mexicans are so bad at singing. Whenever we sing a hymn at church or in lessons, people get so off tune it is impossible not to laugh. We were teaching this one family, and when we sang a song together, my companion is so tone deaf I was literally crying in front of everyone because I was laughing so hard at his singing voice. It is so funny. But basically because of all this, my awesome singing skills are FINALLY being recognized.

3. I ate Cow liver! The first weird ish food that I´ve eaten here. I didn't know what it was while I was eating it, probably a good thing, but I noticed it tasted kind of weird. Afterwards they pointed to their stomachs and said it was from a cows inside, and I figured out the mean´t the liver. Que suave.

4. I had to give a short little talk in Sacrament Meeting yesterday, and I went up there and introduced myself, and then said Me gusta mi Companero, meaning to say that I like my companion and hes cool, but what that actually means in spanish is that I´m attracted to my companion. So needless to say it was a great first impression, and my first public mistake with the language.

Thats about if for this week! A couple people have asked me what I would want in a package. If you dear souls do want to send me anything, not that you need to at all of course, but if you do, I would love your favorite snack, a love letter, and/or a tie! Ties are like what makes a missionary cool, its what adds some flavor to our outfit. Plus, I´d always think of you everytime I explain to someone where I got my really cool tie. :)

Love you all! Thanks for your emails, and talk to you next week!
Elder Bernal

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 3: "There is no place in the world I would rather be than right here."

Hola Everyone!

So I didnt think that I would actually end up getting to Mexico very quickly because I gave them my passport so late, but last week on Thursday I got a notice in the mail saying I was leaving on Friday to go to vegas to see the consulate, and then I would be leaving on Monday to go to Mexico, which means...... IM IN MEXICO RIGHT NOW!!!! I've only been here a few hours but I can already tell I'm going to love it. The city I am in is called Guayma; reminds me a lot of Tanzania actually. We are right by the water, and there are also mountains surrounding us, its beautiful. All I need to do is just figure out what everyone is saying to me and then I'll be GREAT.

So the awards this week go to Adrianna, for being the first official handwritten letter that I recieved in the mail! Go nana! Also, props to Cami (Garrets wife, EWWWW) for writing me the most about some pretty random things but also adding some humor and makin meh laugh. you go girls. And last, but certaintly not least, THANK YOU SEMINARY CLASS I LOVE YOU. To Sister Buckmiller and everyone who wrote me letters and sent me candy, I was so happy. When I opened the package and saw who it was from and what was in it, I literally jumped for joy and ended up tearing a hole in my pants, and had to get them fixed. So when you send the next package, please include $4 to reimburse me the cost to fix them....... :)

Being in Mexico means I had to leave the MTC. It was a sad goodbye because I honestly loved the place, and the friends I made there were awesome. On the last sunday we went to the Sunday evening Devotional, Elder Hollands son was the speaker. So ELDER HOLLAND WAS THERE! He only spoke for a few minutes, but still, I saw Elder Holland, and snuck a picture on my camera. Sooo Mckenna I saw him first!!! 

One of the coolest things we did this week was look at pictures from my MTC Teacher´s mission. His name is Hermano Lee, and he served in Bogota Colombia. He showed us pictures of all the crazy stuff that he and his companions did, but the coolest thing I thought was seeing pictures of the investigators and the baptisms. You could see in his eyes how genuinely happy he was for the people who accepted the gospel into their lives, and how proud he was to see them decide to follow the Lord. It made me even more excited to get out in to the field and start teaching and serving. gah i can't wait.

All the preparation that I have done for my mission, and all the support you all have given me up to this point is now taking its course. I am finally in Mexico where the Lord wants me to be, and I am so excited to begin His work. There is no place in the world I would rather be than right here. Praying for all of you and wishing you the best!

Elder Bernal

Connor and his mission presidents

Connor, his mission presidents, and some of the other missionaries in his area

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 2: "Crazy, hectic, but awesome!"


WOW what a first week! So many emotions rushing through with the hard goodbyes and then finally beginning my mission. It has been absolutely crazy and hectic but AWESOME here I don't even know where to begin.

We first took care of a bunch of orientation stuff on the first day and then got sorted into our districts, which consists of 8 missionaries total, 4 girls 4 boys (or Elders and Sisters in missionary language). Right from the beginning of our very first meeting together, there was only Spanish, NO English. Definitely what I wanted to happen but I felt swamped because of how rusty my Spanish was. The first day I just smiled and nodded, pretending like I understand everything when really I had no idea what they were saying. But honestly, the within only the next two days everything came back to me and more, and I can now understand everything we say in class (as long as its not too fast). 

My first mission companion is Elder Leany, and he is currently sitting right next to me so I can't say anything bad about him..... but he's actually awesome. super killa at the piano, from Colorado and also is a bit of a lax bro. We are both the worst Spanish speakers in the class, but he's still better than I am so he helps me out a ton when we are eating or finished with classes.

I got my mailing address! If you want to send me candy, presents, letters, whatever it is, send it to:

Elder Connor David Bernal

2023 N 900 E Unit 822
Provo UT 84602

I wouldn't send anything important yet because I will most likely be leaving the MTC next week! If my visa is processed, then what will happen is I will probably be sent to a Spanish-speaking mission in the states close to the border (maybe Arizona!!???) until my visa gets processed and then they'll deport me.

This week has been full of just nonstop learning and learning. The spirit here is unbelievable, like I've never felt it in my life, and its amazing how fast we can learn, especially the language. There’s just too much to say in such little time, but here’s what I’ve got:

1. "Forget yourself." Obviously, there is a huge focus on humility and its something that I really want work on. Everything we do on our missions, in the MTC and in the field, is founded around humility. It’s not about how good of a missionary you can be, and it’s not about how much you can grow spiritually, and it never will be. It’s about how well you can serve others, and invite them to feel the spirit and Gods incomprehensible love. If I can do those things, then everything else will come. As soon as I can get a better understanding of this concept, then I can begin to understand what it really means to be a servant of the Lord.

2. One of our speakers here said a quote I really liked (prepare to get a lot of quotes from me over the next two years) "The people in your heart don't know what’s in it." He said this in the context of expressing appreciation to those we love. Don't be afraid to get a little cheesy and tell someone you love him or her, and definitely don't just assume that they know. Telling them not only makes them feel happy and appreciated, but you end up feeling so much better as well. the youtube channel soulpancake did a pretty cool experiment on it I you should check out for me since I can't :((((

3. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 is one of the coolest scriptures I've every read. Welcome adversity with open arms, as it is the gateway to becoming stronger.

4. Lastly, and maybe most important we talked a lot about Love <3 <3 <3. If you develop a real and deep sense love for the mission, for the people you serve, and for the Lord, this will be the best two years of your life. When you love, you serve, and when you serve, you understand what really matters in life.

That’s all I really have time for now. The mission is already so much more than I ever thought it would be and I'm loving every day of it. My knowledge of the gospel is growing. I know it’s only the first week but a lot can happen in a short amount of time. I'm still kind of swamped with all the new things that have been happening so sorry if this letter has been really scrambled. Thanks for all you're letters so far! Much love, and talk to you all in a week!

Elder Bernal