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Monday, March 11, 2013

Learning Spanish

I have had a great time these past few days, and we have been working incredibly hard. We organized some cool zone activities, so today the entire zone went bowling here in downtown San Nicolás :). Every companionship has had some solid success these past few weeks, and we are working towards our goals as a zone. 

Next week, I will try to write more about all of our companionships and the 14 missionaries here in San Nicolás. Today, after thinking it over a bit, I´ve decided to write about learning a new language, which is a crazy aspect of the mission that most people take for granted before heading out to the field. So here is a brief but detailed lowdown.

Learning a new Language. First and foremost, learning a second language is hard. You love it some days, and others you can´t stand it. In some textbooks and college study aids, it says that learning a new language 100% fluently takes roughly seven years. SEVEN YEARS! Don´t worry, though, because a missionary or any other person can become conversant within just a couple of months.

In the MTC you learn the basics: verb conjugating, sentence structure, simple pronunciation, and other small details relative to the culture and the county in which you plan to serve. These studies and practices are the key to success in the mission field. However, even the best missionaries from the MTC really struggle to carry a conversation when they come to the country. It´s all good, though. That´s why we have companions :).

The first goal is sharing the gospel. Each missionary memorizes phrases, vocabulary, and tons of gospel-related sentences throughout the first weeks and even months of the mission.

Then you keep learning more with time. I have been here for about 18 months, and I still learn new words and phrases on a daily basis.

It´s a constant process, but you do have a couple hours each day to study the gospel and language. Despite the difficult process, every missionary learns the language. We aren´t perfect, but with the Spirit we teach people around the world every day. Whether the lesson gets taught in simple, memorized phrases or by a fluent, native speaker, the doctrine contains the same message--and will never change.

Some languages are harder than others. Luckily, I got Spanish :). I do obviously like English as well haha.

Anyways, I hope you all are doing well. I really appreciate your help, prayers, and cards. I will see you all soon.

Thanks again,

Elder Jones :)

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