¿Qué en el mundo?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My dear people. 

The church is true! In case you didn't know. 

This week has been a very tough, but very spiritual week. The days begin to blur together after awhile, and so the weeks go by so quickly. I've been able to enjoy ALMOST every minute. We leave for Mexico two weeks from Monday, which is INSANE. Seriously, I can't even believe how quickly it has gone. 


(that's my new favorite saying here in the MTC).

Hna Bunderson and I love to do the MTC choir. We got to sing "Jesus Once of Humble Birth" this week in the Tuesday devotional. I have forgotten how much I miss choir! Oh, speaking of that, I see Elder Webb pretty much every day. I haven't gotten a picture with him yet, but it's become a sort of competition between us as to who can see who first.

I usually lose.

Actually I've only won twice.

Hna Bunderson is better at spotting him than me. 

Ha ha.... oh well. It's been a fun game to play! I sure MTC-appropriately-love that kid. 

Oh! In choir, Hna Bunderson has this friend that's going to Slovakia! I talked to her and her companion about how much I absolutely LOVE Slovakia and they were so excited. Ah! What I wouldn't do to go back there! We talked about it for like a good twenty minutes, and I mentioned that I had gone there for model rocketry when all of the sudden, both girls are freaking out...



I guess they had searched Slovakia on Mormon.org and I had come up. Oh man I was DYING. It is SUCH a small world. We had a lot of fun with that one :)

Oh, to mention. Our district's favorite thing is... kickball. Ya. Can't get enough of that one during our gym time. We are SO GOOD. 

This week we started TRC training where we are teaching a progressive investigator. Our girl, named Maria, is from Venezuela and so she honest-to-goodness does not know very much English. Our first lesson... oh man. Don't even ask about the first lesson. We made the mistake of diving right into teaching. Second lesson though, we sat and talked to her for forty five minutes. We just got to know her better. Ha ha! At one point, she wanted me to SING to her. So after five minutes of laughing, I totally sang her a verse from a hymn I'm practicing. We laughed soooo long about that one. The things you will do for investigators!

Third lesson... we sat and talked to her for an hour. At one point, I was so sure I was following the conversation just fine (Hna Bunderson knows more Spanish than I do, so she was able to communicate a lot better) and I thought they had moved on from talking about cooking to talking about sewing. But all the sudden Maria is doing these violent hand gestures (like she was doing SURGERY or something) and all I can do is look at them and say "¿Qué en el MUNDO?" What the heck is going on?!

Ha ha... Maria could not stop laughing. I thought they had been talking about sewing. They were actually talking about cutting open a chicken. 

Spanish. I'm telling ya. You learn new things every day, whether you want to or not.
OH! Mama Oaks! Thank you SO much for the package you sent to us! The Hnas were SO excited (see the picture at the bottom). We love mints and stickers more than ANYTHING, especially Hna B! We're saving the rice krispies for our fiesta on Monday.

Speaking of Monday!

Hno Snyder is leaving us on Monday. So the Hnas did what any good person would do. We sticky-noted the hecka out of his motorcycle.

Ahhhhhhhh. It was a beautiful day of dying from laughter. 

We've been planning this thing for a WEEK. Ahhhh.

We're so sneaky. 

Yesterday we had a really spiritual experience. We were talking about receiving revelation through church attendance, and how important it is that investigators (and members) attend church each week. Hna T and Hno S took us up to the Wyview Chapel and we had the opportunity to sit in the priesthood room, the relief society room, and the chapel. After, we were given the opportunity to give our own "tours" of the church to some of the teachers and workers there at the church, teaching them as themselves instead of fake investigators. Hna Bunderson and I won rock-paper-scissors to teach Hno Snyder. 

We were supposed to give a tour of the church but we never even left the chapel. Ah man. I can't even remember most of the things that I said, but I can remember how strong the Spirit was in those twenty minutes that we had the opportunity to sit down and teach Hno Snyder as Hno Snyder. We were all crying by the end.  It has been a long time since I have felt the Spirit that strongly. 

We don't want him to go on Monday.


We understand why.

This gospel is true. I have had experiences here in the MTC that make me unable to deny the truthfulness of this gospel, of the gift of tongues, of the testifying power of the Holy Spirit. It's real. It's all real. There is a message, an aspect of the gospel, that applies to each and every one of you, no matter what you are going through or enduring. The gospel can help. Christ can help. He wants to help. He wants to pull you from the water, he wants to rescue you. His arm is already outstretched towards you. It's our responsibility to reach out and grab it, to accept His help.

I love you all, and I'm so grateful for the influence that you all have had on me in my life. Every single one of you.

Two more weeks until Mexico!

Be safe. Don't do drugs. Make good choices.

Con Hna Toleafoa :)

More pictures from MTC Week 2

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Empty Sea

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Well... I have survived the four days since I arrived at the MTC! The days have gone by slow but the week has gone by quickly. I was not expecting that at all.

When I was dropped off at the MTC, everything happened so quickly that (as Mom pointed out) I didn't even have time to think about anything else. I picked up my books and took a bus to West Campus where we dropped off my suitcases and headed straight to the classroom.

They don't cut you any slack! Straight to work!

Our teacher is Brother Ashby and he has said maybe 100 words in English since we arrived. 

For someone who knows very little Spanish... this has been muy difficult.

I feel like the phrase I use most is ?Como se dice...? which means "How do you say...." I am so grateful that I am not learning Russian like Kirsten, because Spanish is challenging enough! 

Ahhh! My companion is Hna. Bunderson that I met on Facebook! She is so sweet and we get along really well. Even though she is very young (well... a lot younger than me!), she teaches me so much and is such a good example and companion. Our district (those who meet in our same classroom and we have the same schedule and do all our activities together) consists of 8 elders and 4 hermanas. Hna Bunderson and I are going to Ciudad Juarez, along with 4 other elders. The other two hermanas are going to Tuxtlagutierrez Mexico, along with 2 other elders, and then we have an elder going to El Salvador and an elder who was supposed to go to El Salvador but was reassigned to Chile the day he got here. 

The other two hermanas are in our apartment, and it's just us! Four to a bathroom and two to a room is preeeettttty good considering other apartments have six to a bathroom and the main campus is six to a room and they all have to share a community bathroom. We are truly blessed to be on West campus! 

Our classroom is just in the living room of a former apartment. It's pretty tight and squished but it's a very positive learning environment. On Friday, we had the opportunity to teach a sister in Spanish. Hna Bunderson and I volunteered to go first! I am doing everything that I can in order to qualify for the gift of tongues.... even if it means volunteering to go first teaching an investigator. I also was able to bear my testimony in Spanish that morning, and I have volunteered to say the  closing prayer in Spanish after Sacrament meeting on Sunday. Hna Bunderson and I also gave the message at the zone devotional on Friday night. Oh yeah and I should mention... she and I have been called to be Sister Training Leaders. 

Ah yeah. My second night there and already I've been called to be an STL...

Ha ha... Heavenly Father has a very good sense of humor... 

I won't lie.... it's been hard being here. Wednesday was good because I felt like I was back in Cedar City at school. 

Thursday was the toughest day. I was discouraged by my Spanish progression and it was a long and strenuous day. But Friday was so much better. Prayer truly works. I felt a lot more confident in my Spanish on Friday, enough to bear my testimony and teach the investigator first, at least! It is crazy how much I have learned since coming here. I am using my education to the fullest!! I can tell you that much!

Last night, elders in our zone held a "pre-P-Day" party where they handed out food they had collected over the last six weeks. Their zone leaves on Monday for Argentina. Hna Bunderson and I went over to see all the elders and get some food (we have many elders in our zone but only four hermanas... the elders treat us very well!!) and we were standing there talking to them.

Elder 1: Well... we're just going to give them (gestures to us) all of this food when we're done because we like them better... even though we've only know them for... two days...
Elder 2: You should give them all to me because the hermanas... you know... like to keep their... slim figures...

Ahahaha! We could not stop laughing. That seems like all we do nowadays. Hna Bunderson, Hna Baker y Hna Hansen and I always seem to be laughing! Our district is very lighthearted and we love to make jokes and have fun. You have to in the MTC, or else you can't enjoy it at all!

Ha ha... our branch president President Wilkins specifically told me in my interview that I needed to learn to laugh at myself. Ahhhh yeah. 

My schedule is pretty busy, in case you are wondering. We wake up at 6:30 each day (except for Saturdays (P-Days) and Sundays, where we wake up at about 5:45) and get ready, and then breakfast is at 7:00. Then we are in our classrooms for personal study from about 7:45-10:30. After that, we have gym time until about 11:30 and we have a chance to shower before lunch at 12. We have to be back in our classroom at 12:45 until 4:30, then dinner is at 4:30 until 5:15, and then we are in our classrooms from 5:15 until 9:00. Sundays and Tuesdays we have devotionals, so our schedules are a little different. 

Hna Bunderson and I plan on doing choir! 

I am doing it because I love to sing... Hna Bunderson wants to do it because it means less class time! 

This week has been hard BUT I can see the blessings that are coming from it. I miss everyone so much but thanks to being at school for three years, it is easier for me. 

I wish I could send you all the wonderful pictures from this week buuuuuuuut we just found out that there are no computers on West Campus that can upload pictures and only a few computers on Main Campus that can upload pictures. We were there earlier today (actually... Hna Bunderson and I have been to main campus every day this week due to one reason or another) and we have to take a bus to get up there and it is just a whole debacle.

We are more interested in taking a nap. Ha! 

So no pictures this week. We learned our lesson so hopefully there will be some next week. 

Also! I got a notice that I will be traveling up to Salt Lake to go to the Mexican consulate for my visa paperwork on Tuesday. So that's exciting! It will be nice to take a break from classes and ride with some of the other elders in my district up there.

Well.... a nap is calling me. I love you all and can't wait to see you in 18 months minus one week!

Con amor,