July 8, 2015

Week 2 at the CCM

Dear Family and Friends, 

Week 2 at the CCM. I can´t believe I'm already 1/3 of the way done with my training. ITS NOT ENOUGH TIME!!

But Spanish is really picking up! I hold myself to a certain standard of getting things right "One take Ekberg¨ as Mr. Bitter calls me,  haha. So I've been working on realizing that I have only had 14 days or so in the CCM and I can say almost everything I want to say with some thought. Well, say what I want about spiritual topics and such haha. As far as normal everyday life conversation goes, I can´t. But whats important is I am learning Spanish to preach the gospel, and the other stuff will come! For now I have to be able to ask questions and testify of my Savior Jesus Christ, so Im on my way to success!

Life here at the CCM is weird. Time is weird. Time is relative to us here on earth and it changes and
<blah blah Inception rant insert>. Seriously though, we will be talking about something and be like: Ohh, I remember learning about that last week! Ohh wait...that was yesterday... or something along the lines of, What was that question about the Holy Ghost and such? Ohh that thing we learned on Day 2? yeah... time is weird and I have to write the day of the week in my planner because everyday is the same haha...Except SundaySunday is a real blessing! :)

Elder Barrett and I are still becoming really close, although he and I are from two different worlds still. So in my Zone there are 3 districts. 11A, 11B, and 11C. We are 11C. In 11A there are 4 elders and 4 sisters, and they are the same generation missionaries as us. 11B is the zone leaders district and they are 2 weeks ahead of us. At lunch, Elder Barrett and I sit with the Elders from 11A, so out of the 6 of us, I am the only stick thin one, and the only one not wanting to go into the military after the mission. So our lunch conversations consist of talking about what branch of the armed forces we are going into,
the hunting party we had days before we left, or the biggest deer or elk we have shot. On the daily, they are catching parrots in the CCM, yes PARROTS.
They even whistle back haha. But its been good, there are the different personality types and although its not my cup of tea, I´m glad we are the most obedient group of Elders I have seen...is that bad to say? 

Elder Barrett and I have a 4 person room to ourselves. We live in House 33, which is the furthest house from everything. Its basically on another planet. But it's great!!!... :)

On Pday last week we got to go to the Mexico City temple. Everyone was astonished at the ´3rd world country´ and how different everything was. It's honestly not that different from any big city anywhere in the world, and I'm sure parts of downtown LA will look pretty similar to Mexico. Although I'm sure there are lines on the roads in LA! The Temple was being remodeled so we just got to go in the Visitors Center, but it's like super new and technologically advanced, I think the church is going to redo all the VC to look like it. We got to watch a video on eternal families and God's plan for us. Can I just say, I love my family and I can´t wait to have my own family. I can´t wait to be a dad. BUT in like 5 or 6 years. Now is time for the mission, haha.  I may or may not have been crying during that video though...BE STRONG ELDER!

So about my first investigator. The names have been changed so don't worry, haha. Ricardo was my and Elder Barrett's first investigator. Basically, his wife died two years ago and he has two kids. He works at a sock factory and loves it and spending time watching movies with Will Smith in them. BUT, he really didn't know of why he was here on Earth. So, in our broken Spanglish and trying to understand what his problems and concerns were, we taught him for 5 lessons. By the end of the 3rd lesson we had him committed to baptism but then found out he was an alcoholic. Awesome. But we finished our 5 lessons with him and he was doing better. THEN we found out that Ricardo was really a member acting the part of an investigator (We knew it the whole time) and THEN we found out that Ricardo would be our new night time teacher. WHAT. No. But we did so bad and our Spanish is terrible and he knows what we are bad at and he is going to judge us and laugh at us and...NO!  Elder calm down. RICARDO IS THE COOLEST TEACHER ON THE PLANET. Turns out Hermano Galacia (Ricardo) is our new teacher. He is the ´grandpa´of the CCM as he has been there 2 years, longer than any other teacher and he knows his stuff. So basically we are in good hands. :)

Now, we have two new investigators, Ofelia (one of our morning teachers) and Mauricio (Ricardo or (Hermano Galaica)) haha. Its been good. There is a lot of planning and I think its awesome that your investigators are your teachers because you get instant feedback after the lesson and know what to improve and study for next time. For those of you going to the MTC... don't pay any attention to the above. The investigators at the MTC are real... maybe. 

Fourth of July here was awesome. The lunch staff fed us like kings. Seriously, I thought I was going to explode. But then we started the all CCM 24 hour fast. So that makes sense. Fasting was such a cool experience and specifically for help with the language, it was awesome and I testify that fasting is powerful and works. It does. 

I am sad to report that my stomach was not as strong this week. Monday for breakfast the staff served us these mysterious looking sausages, and me thinking, "hmmm I'm hungry and that's different", I ate them. Then for lunch I had two bacon cheeseburgers (very rare - had to take advantage of the opportunity, right?) WRONG. That day was miserable...ohh my, I apologize to Elder Barrett. Luckily I was able to break out my ´anti-runs´ meds and I'm better now. Better. Be. Careful. But the mosquitos aren't as bad so thats good! 

Ok: spiritual time. Its ok to be stressed! A little bit of stress is healthy and keeps you motivated to be better, BUT too much and you're toast. Learn to manage your stress and prioritize what is really important. Prioritize what needs to be accomplished today and right now. What is important and what does the Lord need me to do right now? A nap may sound good, but learning 5 new phrases for tomorrows lesson is even better. Plus, I fall asleep within seconds at night, haha. 

1 Nephi 2:15 - You can receive revelation ANYWHERE. Even in a tent. Or a hammock. You just need to be in tune with the Spirit. 

Elder Barrett and I joined the CCM Choir. Yes, I am pursuing my lifelong dream of standing in the back row singing bass. YESSSSS. It was seriously cool though and we are going to keep going. :)
No Elder Ekberg, but mom thought the post needed a picture about now.  

God can´t help you remember stuff you didn´t learn. Even though we think ´God will give me it in the very moment´ doesn't meant we don't need to prepare. Do it. Don't be lazy. 

I am called to serve as a missionary and teach the restored gospel. Not provide my investigators with my personal opinions and nonsense. Get out of the way and let the Spirit teach. 

Apostles. I'm sorry to hear about Elder Packer. He has been the ONLY President of the Twelve since I have been alive. Its incredible to see the sincerity and mourning for Elder Packer here at the CCM. On Tuesday (last night) we had our Tuesday Devotional. Elder Paul B Pieper talked about Apostles and Missionaries. We are called the same. The apostles call us to a specific mission through revelation and the Spirit. I, Elder Ekberg have the same first name as the 12 apostles for 2 years. What am I going to do with that? I have the same authority in some respects to them. I can receive revelation for my investigators, no one else can. I need to honor that. 

Last, be a committed disciple before anything else. Jesus called disciples before He called apostles. In whatever we do, we can represent the Lord, be a disciple. 

I love you all and miss you! I wish I had more time to write but I tried to include everything that happened this week and a little bit more of mission life! Please, send letters! Although they take 2 weeks to get here, so this week and next are probably the only two weeks you can send mail, so...email! I will try and get to you! :) Thanks for all the love and support! God Speed. 

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