My Mission

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hi everyone. I have some news to share with you.

After seeing a doctor in Juarez and struggling with severely debilitating migraines, and after counseling with President Derbez, my stake president and parents, it was decided that I would return home to Utah.

Tonight I was honorably released from my mission. The mission doesn't end here though. My job as a missionary is not complete, and won't be complete until the day I die. It was difficult to remove the nametag after I was released, but I know I need to be here at this time. I don't know what the future will hold but I have a lot of hope. 

Although at this time I am not sure if I will return to full-time missionary service, I am very proud of the work I was able to do in the few short weeks I was able to be a servant of the Lord. I have no regrets and I know that I am where the Lord needs me at this time. I want to bear my testimony that I know that the Church is true and that it is His restored gospel. Through the gospel and priesthood, we can be blessed to live with our Father again someday and we can be sealed with our families forever,

Thank you so much for your examples to me throughout my life and in the recent weeks and months. I love you all so much. If you want to see me or talk at all, about my experiences in the mission, or life, or whatever, I would love to see and hear from you.

As always... make me proud. 

(also.. apparently this email account will be deactivated soon so don't try and email back here. My email address is


A Curious Work

Monday, September 22, 2014

All I have to say about this last week is that.... wow. I never would have expected any of this.

So Dublan. We are missionaries assigned only to the Dublan ward. The Dublan ward is an English speaking ward.

Yep you read that right.



My first area in Mexico is an English speaking ward. I just about died!

It is an interesting first area to have because our "area" is anywhere in Casas Grandes that speaks English. Including those who live half an hour, an hour away, that would attend the English speaking ward in Dublan. We have about six young men and women who are descendants of the apostate group in Lebaron that are ready to be baptized. However we are working on the paperwork now because they have to be approved and interviewed by the First Presidency before they will be allowed to be baptized. We have met only two of the girls but they are absolutely wonderful and so ready for baptism. We pray every day that they will be able to be baptized soon. Both of these girls are already planning on serving missions.

We need more faith like this in the Church!

So the ward.

There are 17 families in this ward with the last name of Jones and the rest of the ward is probably related to them in some way. Well I know at least half the ward is somehow related to each other. 

Entonces... it has been more difficult to learn Spanish. We practice in the streets and sometimes with the members. Needless to say, it hasn´t been as rough of a transition here, and my companion is learning English very quickly!

The food... also American.

Although we traveled with Presidente Derbéz yesterday back to Juárez and we had gorditas (papas con queso) and that is about the only Mexican food I have had since being here. Oh yeah. I am in Juárez to see a neurologist for my migraines. We hope things will be ok and I will get better but things have been difficult in that respect. I spent half of Friday, all of Saturday and Sunday and this morning in bed. It has been rough but I know that things will work out the way they need to. 

Also... there has been so much rain here! Who would have thought I would use my umbrella this much in Juárez? It has rained every day, either during the day or at night after we have returned home. So it has been more humid here but the days have been cooler.

Mexico is so beautiful. I do love it here.

I don´t have my camera right now to send pictures or I would. Maybe in a little bit! 

Not much to report but I love you all and I miss you! 

Make me proud!

All my love,

First transfer meeting

Companions!! Taking a tour of the factory that our Bishop owns

Walking the streets of Dublan

A beautiful night for a companion selfie! :)

Sister Missionaries

My beautiful companion outside the family history center where we emailed

All my drugs. Actually this isn't even all of them. Ha

Spending the night in Cd. Juarez


Weird stuff they had in our house. Yeah... definitely NOT creepy.

We had a piano!
Hna Hernandez likes to practice playing the piano

With the lovely and beautiful Jones family

My companion and the other two Hnas we lived with! Hna Hernandez, Hna Ramirez and Hna Nunez


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hola familia y amigos!

Travel day was crazy. Because we had very short layovers, we were rushing most of the time. I made friends on both flights! They guy I was talking to on the way to Houston, well.. we talked for an hour and a half! About Bulgaria! And India and some other cool places. On the way to Monterrey, I sat next to a lady with her nine month old baby and we chatted about life. It was a lot of fun! However it was a miracle that we made it on our plane to Cíudad Juárez because we were supposed to board at like 4:45 and we were still standing in the immigration line at 4:30, and we still had to go claim our bags and recheck them. After we came out after claiming our bags, we met the mission president for Monterrey and he was worried we were going to miss our flight. He made a phone call and then it was go time. He had all the Monterray missionaries grab our bags and we ran to the other terminal (like ten minutes away). There was a man there waiting to collect our bags, and he ushered us on. Somehow, there was no one in the security line and somehow I managed to get a half full water bottle through security (yeah... what??) and then the guy after security rushed us through and showed us up the escalator, where another man was waiting for us to direct us to the gate. I sat down, and we pulled out of the gate three minutes later. Miracles are real, I´m telling you! Because it was a miracle that we got on that plane that day.

After we arrived, we had dinner at Pte. Derbez´s casa and slept at a hotel near the mission home. In the morning, we had our meeting and then we were assigned our companions and our areas. We had a three hour bus ride but....!!!

It´s official! I have been assigned as a missionary in Dublan, which is located in Nuevas Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. Mi compañera es Hna Hernandez de Puebla Mexico and she is the sweetest! We live in a house with two other hnas. One of them, fortunately, speaks English (Hna Nuñez de Mona, UT). There is a rule in the mission that you only speak English in the house, so while I have wanted to speak Spanish in the house so I can learn faster, it´s been good to speak English so the other two hermanas have the opportunity to learn English. The Spanish will come, I know it. It´s only my second full day here, and already I feel more confident in my Spanish abilities. It´s frustrating at times but I am just trying not to stress about it and I am doing my best to learn as quickly as I can and use every opportunity to speak (or try to understand) Spanish.

We live in a really neat little house with the other hermanas. The house is in something similar to a private compound porque we have a big iron gate all the way around our house and we have a big grassy yard. We have a fridge, microwave, stove/oven, piano, and a dog. Ha ha! I am not even kidding. She went running with us this morning as we were doing our exercise. She is the sweetest dog ever! She´s not allowed inside the house but she loves to come up and play with us when we´re on our way out the door or when we come home (or when we run... ha ha!)

Because we are in the colonies, there are a lot of English speakers. We had the chance to speak to the bishop´s wife last night (mostly in English!) and another member, who is actually feeding us lunch today. The ward we are in is actually mostly Americanos. So there will be mostly English on Sunday. Good for my companion and her English practicing, pero no bueno por mi Español. Ha!

Pero... esta bien! I am already learning so much.

Our preparation days are on Monday, but Pte Derbez allows new missionaries (or after transfers) to write on the day of the transfer. We did not have time yesterday but today we do. 

We don´t have any investigators in the area currently, but we do have a recent convert, and we will be spending the next couple of days getting to know the members and the area. This is not a proselyting mission because Pte Derbez would prefer us to work from referrals rather than tracting and such. 

It´s hot here but starting to cool down. I do love it. Because of the rain, it has been pretty muddy but it´s been good. There are mountains!! And dogs everywhere. It´s a very humble place and I am excited to get to know the people and the language. There are mountains!! And dogs everywhere.

Anyway, yo no tengo mucho tiempo pero te quiero saber que te amo. (I think that´s right... ha ha!).

Con todos mi amor, siempre!

The kitchen

The bedroom (one of two)

For studying!

Our side of the house and what our yard looks like
More of the property

Our dog!! Hna Nunez and I named her Roxie. She's the cutest!!

Mas fotos

Saturday, September 13, 2014

With Elder Anderton, the little brother of one of my good friends Myles from SUU

With Elder Cannell! A friend from SUU

Some kind soul sent us cupcakes

The night we had to wait until 10:00 to catch the bus back from main campus. Night bus selfie with the nativos!

Dos días hasta el campo!

I don't have tons to share this week but I do have a lot of photos! 

This week was our last week in the MTC. Whoaaaaaa. Time flies. Ha! You think I'm kidding. It feels like we got here two weeks ago. 

We had a really amazing speaker on the Tuesday night devotional. It was Elder Joseph Sitati. In his talk, he said "Your success in life depends on whether or not you have a clear vision of where you're going." I don't know what the future holds right now. I have an idea, and I know where I want to go, and where I to end up, and who I want to be. I may only serve a mission for eighteen months, but I DO know that I can be a missionary for the rest of my life. It's my OBLIGATION, my RESPONSIBILITY to be a missionary throughout the rest of my life, formal missionary or not. That's why I- and you too- have been saved for the last days. Because we proved ourselves in premortal existence, and Heavenly Father knew that He could use our strengths and abilities in THIS day. 

I know I am meant to be here right now. So many things in my life have led up to this. So many people, so many little things that have guided me in the right direction. Heavenly Father has been with me all along, and He will not lead me astray because I have seen and recognized His hand in my life, and I know that all He wants is for me to be happy. I'll say again that I do not know what the future holds for me. 

This week has been our final week in the MTC, and while it's been exciting, it's also been nerve-wracking. I've learned a lot in the MTC about the ability and capability that we have to love those around us- whether it be our companion, our investigators, ward members, people on the street... I've always know that one of my strengths is my ability to love deeply those that I associate with. Other people make me happy- other people being happy is what makes me happiest. That's one of the reasons I knew it would be a good idea to serve a mission, and that I would be able to succeed as a missionary. Because other people are my joy.

We've met a lot of people in the MTC. Some difficult investigators, some difficult members of our district, some difficult people in general. We're going to meet a lot of people in our time in the field, and the important thing to remember is that we are expected to have a Christlike love for everyone. It's easy to teach the sweet, kind people that feed you normal food for dinner. But the real test is finding a love for those that shut the door in your face, or throw something at you as you walk by, or yell vulgar things at you in the grocery store. If we can find a love for someone that has such obvious disdain for you... that's when you begin to understand how Christ feels and what it means to have Christlike love. If you can honestly find love for every person on the street, and you can see their divine potential without even knowing their name- that's when you'll be able to be the best missionary, because you'll genuinely want to help them reach that potential. A similar, yet more potent love, exists between parent and child, but the love between a missionary and their investigator is as close as we can get in this time in our lives. Understanding that love and how to grow that love will help you as a missionary bring your investigators closer to Christ... and it will help bring us closer to Christ.

I love you all so much. I want you to know that, and I want you to know that no matter what happens, I will always be here for you. I'm here to help you and support you in whatever way you need me to. Please always remember that.

All my love,

Our district got to host the new missionaries!

Hosting :) 

Fútbol with the elders

with Hno Ashby


With our friends Elder Rumsay and Elder Wood (our gym friends)

With Elders Labrum and Nielsen (our park friends)

With Hna Toleafoa

Last p-day temple visit with our teachers!

Gorgeous people :) 

With our district and Hna Toleafoa, Hno Ashby and Hno Rowley

With Elder Demars and Elder Nisson (our friends... but I don't remember where we met them)
With Elder (Max) Webb!!! and his companion Elder McQuivey. Max and I were in Madrigals together in high school (which was a loooooong time ago) and I flippin' love his guts and it's the highlight of my day when I get to see him

We're going to Mexico!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

There was so much love in this week. Words can't even begin to describe it. I'll get to that in just a second. But first things first!


We got them yesterday, and I kid you not, we were all jumping up and down by the mailbox screaming. 

It was like the day we got our mission calls. Because it's real now.

We have to be on the shuttle at 2:30 AM on Monday the 15th. Our flight from Salt Lake leaves at 6:00 AM and we arrive in Dallas Ft Worth airport at 9:40 AM. Then our flight leaves for Monterrey at 2:25, and I'm not exactly sure how we're getting from Monterrey to Ciudad Juarez, but I do know it's an 11 hour drive because we mapquested it like two minutes after we got our paperwork.

Sooooooooo. It will end up being basically a full 24-hour travel day. Yikes.

Ha ha! But I guess I'm used to that at this point. 11 hour drive? That's nothing compared to the 22 hours we spent traveling from Varna to Vienna. 

The highlight of this week was Hno Ashby making whale noises at us in the morning and also ninja-kicking a spider off of Hna Hansen's skirt. 

That was a beautiful moment, I'm tellin ya. 

This week was filled with so many tender, spiritual experiences. Our district has grown very close, and Monday we had to say goodbye to Hno Snyder. That afternoon, we had a very emotional discussion about the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion. The Spirit that day was SO strong that every single person in our room cried at least once. We discussed that with the Spirit, when you honor your covenants and obey God, He will take you where you need to be, but that you may never know it's happening that way. Sometimes, the Spirit is a strong impression, but most of the time, you are being lead by the Spirit without even realizing it. I can testify to that, because I know I have been lead to the desire to serve a mission by small and simple things, not by one strong prompting. It has taken me many years to get where I am right now. In our lessons with investigators, we can following promptings by allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit. "Treasure up my words... not knowing beforehand the things that [we] should [teach]." The important thing is to stop worrying whether the thoughts you have are you or the Spirit, but that as long as you are doing what is good, then do it, and it will work out. It will work out exactly the way that the Lord would have it.

After dinner, we surprised Hno S with a little program. Elder Thomson accompanied as I sang "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul", and then we all sang "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again". 

That song has been stuck in our heads all week. I feel like it's a constant reminder that our days in the MTC are limited. I think we've all begun to realize this, 

It's rough, I'm not going to lie.

As always, Hna Bunderson and I sang in choir at the Tuesday devotional. In the song, "Where Can I Turn for Peace?", there's a line in there that says "...[He] reaches my reaching". That struck a chord with me (literally.. ha). Christ makes up the difference. We reach as far as we can, as high as we can reach as mortals. We give everything that we can, we sacrifice as much as possible, but it will never be enough. Ahhh, but that is the purpose of Christ.

He is there to make up the difference between what we have to be and what we're trying our hardest to be. 

He can reach any distance, as far as He needs to get to us, as long as we are reaching as far as we can. He is the mediator. He is the one that joins us with the Father, the one that makes up all the differences and deficits that we have as the natural man. He is there to raise us up. He will lift us from the waters. He will heal us if we just look to Him.

Last night, we had another lesson with Hna Toleofoa. She said that President Wall (YES the same President Wall!!) had told them at a mission conference that we had made covenants with certain people before our earth life that we would find them. Because covenants transcend space and time, even the veil cannot keep us from them. 

Last year, when we left Bulgaria after the European Cup, I had a lot of time to think about how much I would miss my sweet friends from Russia, Japan, England, Serbia, Slovakia... Even though I never could understand most of what they were saying, and vice versa, there was a connection there. We were such good friends, and I loved them with so much of my heart. As we drove away through the Eastern European countryside, I knew in my heart that we had known each other before this life, and that we had loved each other so much, that no country, no language, nothing, could keep us apart from one another. That we would find each other in this life, no matter what it took. 

And we did. We found each other.

Those people that I'm preparing to teach. They're the same way. I loved them before I came to this earth, and I testify to you right now that I will find them, and that I love them already, even though I don't remember them yet. I honestly don't care if I only promised one person I would find them. I will not rest until I do. I will not rest until I bring them to the joy that only the gospel has. 

This church is true. I would not be who I am today if I didn't know that. And I KNOW that blessings come from missionary service. I have seen so much evidence of that in the five weeks that I have been serving. Truly the Lord works miracles in His people. 

Don't lose faith. Work to grow it every day. 

I love you all so much, with all of my heart. Make me proud.

All my love,