Week 1

My oh my, where do I even start with this week?? Get prepared for a spacy email cause I have a lot to say and not a lot of time.
 
Man, no one was kidding when they said missions are hard. But they also weren’t kidding when they said they were great! Holy cow guys, I LOVE SOUTH AMERICA! I have no doubt I am meant to be here. I’ll be honest I was a little disappointed to find out that since the mission split in July, Lima East doesn’t really have any of the jungle I was expecting. But today we actually got to break out of the CCM and go to the temple and shopping and I felt so at home out there on the streets of Lima…let’s be real, we all know I’m a city girl anyway. Actually to be honest it reminded me of Jersey a lot…like Union City or Jersey City. Way awesome.
 
Is it possible for the gospel to be truer in Spanish? I think it might be…I swear I was born to speak Spanish. Maybe I’m a little later in the game than I could have been, but wow, it’s a beautiful language! And with that I think I’ll tell you about my first miracle. Yes, it’s only been a week and I’ve already seen a couple miracles! 🙂 I’ll be really honest, I was so overwhelmed when I first got here. I still have a testimony of this gospel but for some reason the first day I just kept thinking “What the heck am I doing here????” and it was just kinda rough. I didn’t realize how easy my life was at home. I felt so unprepared and just…ahhhh. But the first thing we learned to do in Spanish was how to pray. When we went outside as a companionship to practice on our second night, I prayed in Spanish and it was maybe the most sincere prayer I’ve EVER given, because I had to think about it so much and only the purest thoughts and feelings of my heart could come out. The Spirit was amazing. Later this week I found this scripture in personal study and that helped me too. D&C 50:16 “He that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.” Of course 16 was my field hockey number, so that just makes it even better.
 
Man am I TIRED. Sometimes I feel like I’m way slow…but believe it or not I’m learning how to get ready in 30 minutes. Am I not turtley enough for the turtle club? Thank goodness both my companions are very patient. Or at least they act like it…There is soooo much to do and this chica is definitely not used to waking up at 6:30 everyday. By the time I am usually just waking up, I’ve already showered/gotten ready, had breakfast, studied for an hour, learned something new in Spanish and been to class. Mission life is an adjustment, needless to say. Every time I close my eyes to pray I think I might fall asleep…and here in el CCM we pray A LOT. Everything begins and ends with a prayer, and I feel that I constantly have a prayer in my heart because I can’t get through the day without it. Something I like here is that we always pray on our rodillas.
 
My district is pretty cool, but sometimes, the elders are just….SO eighteen, haha. They are kind of awkward around us hermanas sometimes but they’re fun. I was a little annoyed one day because we seriously cannot focus in district meetings or in class when the teacher isn’t there. But then they impressed me. One of the elders accidentally ate a pecan which he’s allergic too and swelled up real big and got super red and couldn’t talk, so two other elders gave him a priesthood blessing and he was totally better by the end of the day. That was the second miracle this week. They can be crazy but it’s nice to be doing this work alongside strong priesthood holders! They’re awesome.
 
I didn’t realize until I got here how much I needed the MTC to be honest. There is so much to know about how to be a good missionary! And so much that I can improve on. I feel grateful to be here. Maybe the most important thing I learned so far is that I can expect at least one convert out of my mission, and that’s myself. I need to apply the missionary purpose of inviting others to come to Christ to myself, and I love the opportunity I have to get closer to Him while I’m serving here.
 
 The Spanish background I have definitely helps a ton, but our teachers speak nice and clear and slowly enough to understand so we’ll see how I feel about that in 5 weeks. Luckily enough, my last name is easy enough to say for native Spanish speakers! Go figure. They still all ask if it’s Italian though. Everyone else calles me Hermana V. I don’t want to make it seem like the Spanish is easy for me though, I may know more than some missionaries here but it’s definitely a challenge, and it’s one I think I need to make me a good missionary. We do speak a lot more English here than I thought we would though.
 
I just want to take a nap sometimes but there is seriously NO TIME for that! Not a moment to waste. My study notebook that I’ve had since high school has gotten more full in the last week than it has the last year and a half. Crazy.
 
Oh yeah and I’m totally a legit missionary now because not only do I have a nametag but I have a watch tanline! (or burnline…) Sweet! It never rains here but it’s humid and my skin is loving it. My hair, not as much. I guess it’s a trade-off.
 
I wish I could say more but I’m almost out of time and want to try to send some pictures! Love you all SO very much. Sorry if I couldn’t respond to a few personal emails…I still love you con todo mi corazon! (Haven’t figured out how to type an accent yet…)
 
-Hermana Villarini
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