Elder Colton

Elder Colton

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spanish 101

Hola mi familia y mis amigos

Greetings from Rose Park.  We had transfers this past week (transfers
are every 6 weeks and it is when our mission president assigns us to
change areas and/companions if he feels it will help us) and Elder
Torres, my last companion, is now sitting on a beach in Tampico,
Mexico.  Maybe he's even engaged by now.  He's had 4 whole days after
all.  (I hope he reads this).

My new companion is Elder Moczygemba from San Antonion, Texas.  We get
along great.  We speak almost only in spanish and my spanish has
improved more in 5 days than it did in half of last transfer.  I feel
comfortable (most of the time) talking to people on the phone now in
spanish.  The only people I still can't understand are the Puerto
Ricans.  They must have lungs to rival Lance Armstrong.  It's like
it's a race to see who can pass out first from talking so fast.  But
thankfully there are hardly any Puerto Ricans here.

So this week I decided I would send a list of things I've learned from
learning spanish:
1. You can understand absolutely nothing of a language and still be
able to understand what someone is saying.  For the first week or so,
my understanding came almost completely from body language and what I
thought they would say based on the situation, and typically it was

2. People appreciate you trying to learn to talk with them in their
native language.  No-one that I've talked with has expressed any
frustrations either in word or body language that I can't understand
everything or can't reply to them without taking 10 minutes.

3. It's really funny when you don't know any of the bad words in a
language.  We had a 10 minute conversation with a man and the entire
time I couldn't undertstand a lot of the words, which typically
doesn't happen much anymore.  When I asked Elder Torres afterwards
what some of the words were, he recommended that I just not worry
about learning those ones. Oops.

4. A smile can say a thousand words in any language.  You can't fake a smile.

5. Before my mission (and still now) I've had a tendancy to want to do
everything myself.  Unfortunately, the language kept me from doing
that for the first few weeks and I realized how to rely on my
companion to help me.

6. Humility.  Ha.  Yes.  I can admit it.  It make me realize that as
great as I like to think I am sometimes, I'm not much without help
from my companion, other people, and Christ.

7. The Holy Ghost, or the third member of the Godhead (along with
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ) absolutely exists and can touch the
hearts of people.  I would try to testify of something I know to be
true and it probably sounded as grammatically poor to the hispanics as
Uncle Brad does trying to sing sounds like to us (Love you Uncle
Brad).  But they could still feel something.  It isn't because I can
explain it eloquently.  It isn't because I know that what I say is
true.  It's because the Holy Ghost makes them feel something in side
that many of them haven't felt in their life.

I love you all
-Elder Colton

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