Hola familia! ¿Cómo estan? Everything is A-ok and bueno here in the CCM. La República Dominicana is still hot and sunny, and we still eat pineapple everyday. Qué maravilloso!

This week was pretty awesome. On Sundays we watch an Apostle DVD, which means we watch a recorded devotional that an apostle gave in Provo some time earlier. This week we watched one by Jeffery R. Holland, which was awesome, because I have to say he is so bold, and so straightforward, and so passionate, I just love listening to his talks. I think I mentioned in an earlier e-mail how I loved his conference talk on the Book of Mormon, and this talk was awesome too. He is passionate about missionary work, and every talk I see of his where he is talking to missionaries, he always tell us to not waste our time while we were on the Lord's time - he told us to work hard. He told us that when you run the perfect race (in track or something) you end up hitting the tape and crashing. That is how or mission's should be like - we should pace ourselves just right so that when we don't have to give anymore we can't. He also had a little bit about how we are just like young, hopeful, prayerful medical students. We are studying to save people's lives, and we really need to take that seriously, because people's eternal lives here really are at stake. It is kind of important.

In our district meeting afterwards (which is later on in the night where we get together as a district and talk about what we liked about the devotional and then usually do something else because it doesn't take the whole amount of time we're given. One of the Elder's said this: We are so lucky that we get such a long time to be in the MTC to get ready for our missions, because we won't have as much dedicated time ever again on our missions, or really for our lives. I thought that was really good, because he was right - we are lucky to get to prepare and study for so long. I was kind of getting sick of studying so much; I just wanted to go out and started teaching real people with real lives and real problems, but now I am ok and even happy that I get to stay and prepare so much before I go. So, in summary. The Jeffery R. Holland talk we saw was great and uplifting and wonderful, and all that good stuff.

We went to the University this week (again) and it was great (again). We ran into a lady that we had talked to last week, and it was cool because we could follow-up on her reading and talk to here some more about the church. We ended up teaching most of Lesson 1 and my companion even recited the first vision, which was awesome! The lady (who we refer to as 'the lady on the wall' because we couldn't understand her name - names here are so different!) said she believes the church is true (!), but she doesn't think she needs to go to church to worship; she can just worship in her heart and in her mind. We were all like, oh. That's cool, but not right, but we didn't really know what to say in response. Mostly because I couldn't understand her and didn't know what she had said until my companion told me as we were walking away (she had a really heavy accent and talked rather fast).

We also ran into a pair of guys who were really friendly - they told us all about a trip they took to America and how they thought every one was so nice and really humble and didn't judge them for the color of their skin. I was really surprised to hear that he thought American's were humble. I have never ever heard that before. As we were walking away, my companion told me that it was because they we visiting on the 21 and 22 of September in 2001. And then I understood. It's amazing how a conversation can change when you know small details like that which you missed. Haha.

I keep wanting to tell you about what the city is like, but I keep forgetting. It is so different here! When I cross the streets I fear for my life. Haha. The drivers really are CRAZY! There is honking all the time, and they weave in and out and cut off and turn in front of on-coming cars. It is amazing I haven't seen an accident, gotten hit, or seen any one else get hit. There is also a ton of garbage everywhere. I don't know why, but it is everywhere. And then there are stray dogs around too, which is strange. The worst thing about the stray dogs is that they are UGLY. Seriously. Tan feo. And they probably smell too, but I haven't gotten close enough to check. So, the drivers, garbage and stray dogs are weird, but probably one of the craziest things though is there are open man-holes in the sidewalks. I'm serious. There are holes in the sidewalks with no lids on them! Crazy! Anyway, that is what the DR is like.

Big news this week was that we went to the store. Wow! So cool! It was quite an adventure, really. We all got on a bus (they call them guaguas here) and drove to "La Sirena," or, being interpreted, "The Mermaid." I don't know why it was called The Mermaid, but thus it was. Getting there was kind of cool because it was kind of like what I imagine it would be like to ride on the knight bus. You know - the purple bus from Harry Potter? We swerve in and out of every one, we almost run into other vehicles, etc. The only difference is that things don't jump out of our way, so we have to slam on the brakes sometimes. Sweet.

The store itself was cool. It was two floors and was kind of like a super Wal-mart. They had everything, but still not as much selection as in the US. It was kind of like playing store as a little kid because everything was priced in Dominican pesos (seeing as we're in the DR), and there are 35 pesos to every one US dollar. So, I bought a package of ten envelopes for 18 pesos or something, which sounds like a lot, but really, it was less than a dollar! Cool! So, it was kind of weird to see shirts priced at $500, but it was really less than $20. Funny. So, the really horrible thing though was how much some stuff cost. I had to buy facewash and it cost $425. That is like $12. I think it is because no one needs facewash here, (because their skin is naturally beautiful I think...?) so they don't need much selection (there were like, two to choose from) and they can charge a lot. Ah well. Not so bad. We went to the food section because we had tons of extra time, and the produce was loco! The avocados were as large as grapefruits and the carrots were as fat as my forearms. Haha. Not that big (for the carrots) but yes, that big for the avocados. No joke.

Anyway, that is all the fun we have going on this week. Let me know how you're all doing! I haven't gotten any mail this week! Triste! (Well, I did get one from Ty-ty, but that's it!)

I love you and hope you're doing well!


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