Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This Week Flew By, But Really

My Familia Whom I Love So Much!

This week really did fly by at an unnatural speed.  I feel like P-Day was two days ago.  So let me attempt to remember important things of the week, but I feel it was a pretty standard week at the CCM, which I love by the way.  Like with all my heart.  I lucked out to come here.

Did I ever tell you that the President of the CCM is not who we thought? The new one got here two weeks before we did.  I really love him and his wife.  They speak decent English, so esta bien, but it was a little confusing.

Ok, last P-Day was way easier than the one before that.  The temple was awesome and then we just sat and talked and played and it was great. So there's that.

Wednesday was HARD.  In our coaching missionary time, our teacher told me and Hermana Bott about how we should teach the first three lessons before we start into commandments, and we had felt really good about the way we had been teaching that.  Getting the big ones out of the way so our investigator would be more prepared for feeling the Spirit in the lessons and it was just hard.  We kind of broke down after that.  But it was just fine after we had one of our female District discussions and buoyed each other's spirits.  I seriously feel so blessed to be here.  My District is amazing and it is just so small and close knit here.

So after we were chastised, I remembered that I GOT PACKAGES!  I had one from my beautiful  family and one from Derek.  So we broke into that and ate all the candy from my family.  It was amazing.  Serious tender mercy.

The next day, Thursday, I guess but don't hold me to that, was awesome!  But really it was just a normal day.  Nothing sticks out to me about that one.  Hahaha, but I seriously still feel like it is so weird that an adult has not consistently talked to me in English since I left home.  I am surprised at how much I understand. So surprised.  It must be the influence of the spirit of this place because how is this even possible?

Friday. Pretty much everyone has been sick.  We think it is the slightly questionable food.  I think 45 people have been ill.  Tender mercy again, that day was a little emotionally taxing for me and when I walked into our room, I saw the remainder of the food from those packages and it saved my life.  I LOVE YOU PEOPLE.

Saturday was proselyting again!! And it was terrifying because there weren't enough Latinas for everyone, so I just went with one of the girls in the District ahead of me (who left this morning).  I knew more Spanish than she did.  It was a little rough, but I actually ended up going to the same Stake and Ward as last time with the same member, so that was actually really cool.  I saw a family that I had been prompted to talk to TWICE last time and I had ignored it.  And so I got to talk to them this time and I think they were planning to go to church Sunday!

I am understanding a ton, but struggle with the confidence to speak.

Sunday was awesome!  I love them.  Yesterday IT RAINED.   It never rains:).  Amazing. There was a tremor this week and I actually felt this one.  So, ya, I feel pretty cool.  Do these emails make sense?  I feel like they don't.

We went to the temple this morning again and it was way cool again:).  I had a headset for half of this session until it pooped out for some unknown reason.  One of the other Elders (Fankhauser) has a brother in the Central Mission and they met at the temple today.  He has been out a year and it was the sweetest thing I have ever watched.  Our teacher (Hermana Loayza) brought Fankhauser's brother to the temple, so she was actually in the session with us and that was really cool.  I love P-Days :)

I love you people!!  So so much!  I know these are scattered.   Haha, just know that I love you and I am doing the Lord's work.  That is all that really matters anyway:)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I Love You So Much!

Well, I am really bad at email organization and the weeks are seriously starting to fly by, so I am going to try and summarize the main events of each day.  Sorry if it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Last P day was harder than I anticipated.  I actually cried while emailing, but it was still better than I imagined.  I am consistently shocked that I am this functional and happy to be here when I miss you all so dang much.  It is truly a blessing that I believe is predicated on the faith of my family.  So thank you so much.  The MTC was super empty until like Thursday because all the North Americans got stuck all over like we did so it was a little freaky.  There were like 40 of us in all, but it was fun and relaxing.

Wednesday was good!  Just lots of classes.  All of the days are really similar to each other.  Funny moments of Wednesday were when Hermana Bott was trying to say she was sad because it is hard to find oatmeal in Peru, but she accidentally said she was sinning because there was no oatmeal in Peru, and I almost died laughing.  Well I almost die laughing every day.  Language barriers are great.  We had a first lesson with our new investigator.  She was late that morning and it was super frustrating.  She had a short time and lots of questions.  So we just went in circles.  Our Spanish was bad and we never really got to a point.  It was frustrating.  Then that night we were teaching the other districts and one of the other girls was saying something super deep when all of a sudden she just took off running because she had a bathroom emergency and I laughed so hard I cried. Hard.  It was priceless.

Thursday was just another day of classes.  Me and Hermana Bott have long edifying talks about life, and the scriptures, and families, and testimonies during our like three hour study time.  It is brutal and I love it.  I am full of love and incredible gratitude for amy awesome district.  We are super close and we never have any drama or anything.  We just laugh and learn and support each other.  It is a massive blessing.  I fee so close to Heaven and the Spirit here. It is insane.  It is almost palpable.  I am so grateful.  I really love the MTC.  I am actually a little nervous to leave it and go into the field now.

Friday was Valentines Day!1 So Happy VDay again!  It is actually Hermana Bott's favorite holiday for some unknown reason, which is funny.  She was like giddy.  Haha.  She had to go to Interpol that day so I had to be in a trio.  It felt weird without her,  just when I had gotten used to it.  During study time a hermana came over and talked to me about some of the struggles she was having and we just talked and talked.  The two other sisters come over and we talked for the whole time, but I think we all needed it.  The Spanish is getting frustrating and it is hard to stay positive.  Then when Hermana Bott got back, she was super frustrated. Which I thought she would be because going to Interpol or Immigration just generally makes you feel like an American moron.  Which is accurate, but still... So I talked to her and it is just so nice to be going through the same things. :)

MTC time paradox:  You always feel like the District 2 weeks ahead of you is like 5 years older and the one behind you is 5 years younger.  It is insane.  I feel at least 5 years older since I left.  I think we have aged.  It is sort of hilarious.

Saturday. Holy crap there are so many people here now.  I sort of regret ever wishing they would get here.  Now the showers are crammed after physical activity so we are going to have to adjust our schedule. Meh.  Oh well, I love them all!  Our Latino roommates are sweet and we got two North Americans too, who I also love.

Sunday was actually super relaxing.  Everyone always says that but I have hated them until this Sunday.  We didn't have a lot to do because they were playing catch up wit the new district so we had 4 hours of study/talk time and it was amazing.  I love Hermana Bott.  I feel like we have been friends forever.  We have been so blessed.  We have like the strongest companionship in our zone.  I love all the girls going to Lima South as well.  It is a huge blessing.  That night we watched an MTC broadcast by Elder Anderson.  He said to sacrifice what you love and love what you sacrifice.  So I have been trying to contemplate that this week.  Obviously I am sacrificing time with you guys to serve a mission, because I love you so much and want others to have what I have. Ah.  I love you guys so dang much.

Monday, hahaha.  Monday was great actually.  And I really remember it because it was, well, yesterday.  That morning me and Hermana Bott had a lesson with our investigator again.  We decided to teach some commandments because the lessons were going really well and you have to teach those anyway, so why not get them out of the way.  So, we were going to teach obedience, law of chastity, word of wisdom, and pray often.  Well, we were already pretty nervous about the chastity part, and then I was in charge of that part.  Once I finished my spiel, she said she didn't believe it because her parents never got married and separated after they had her, so why even try.  And after I just talked in circles about how God loves families and loves marriage and she should want that for her future family.  I looked at Bott in desperation and she just saw divorce in the heading of Matthew chapter 19, so we had her read it.  We started reading it in Spanish and instantly realized we had made a huge mistake.  I could hardly contain my laughter and it was like it blew up and we spend the next 30 minutes putting out horrible, horrible flames.  It was priceless.  But it was actually one of our best lessons because we just talked.  It was awesome.  The Spanish is so frustrating although it is coming along now.  Ah. Actually I really feel like I know just enough Spanish to really jack up the meaning of things.  Hahaha, oh well, it will come I am sure!  The Spanish was a little frustrating this week.  Well, a lot. On Monday we had a breakdown.  Thankfully it was uncontrollable laughter and not tears. Haha. Last night they paired us with a brand new Latina companionship to teach and it was GREAT.  Our Spanish was amazing and theirs was completely understandable the whole time, and it put me on a high.  Ah. We love those two Latinas now.

TODAY. We got to go to the temple!!!!! I have never been so happy and nervous to go in my whole life.  We got there and they gave us our clothes and then we went to change.   We were in charge of one of the younger districts, and it was hilarious because we had no idea what to do either.  Once we were finally dressed, they started handing out headsets.  But they didn't have enough and the room didn't have enough for all of the Hermana companionships in my District as well as 2 companionships in the younger one.  They were 6 headsets short.  So we went headsetless. It was terrifying, and they put us in a separate room because our group was too big, AND WE UNDERSTOOD.  Some of it was spotty, but it was amazing.  And it was amazing to be in there with people I feel so close to.  I could have stayed there all day.  Then we just ran around Lima trying to get to stores for the newbies who need stuff.  Bott got ripped off for a soccer jersey because she is white and clueless.  Made my day:)  I feel so old, in a good way though.:)

Apparently there are packages here for me!!! I haven't gotten them yet, but I am sure I will love them.  Also apparently there was an earthquake last week and we didn't even feel it.  So never worry about those.  I didn't take many pictures this week.  Next week I will have more I think.  Today was just busy because we had to be responsible for others, which was a terrible idea.  Hahaha.  I love you so much.  I can't even express it.  I am so grateful for you:)  Best family ever.  No joke!


Hermana Lauren Bailey

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

Mi Familia Amado!!  Which I think means beloved family.....

Last P Day after I emailed you was actually a lot better than I thought.  I really thought i was going to cry all day or breakdown or something, but we went straight outside to do physical activity and played for like 2 hours so it was fine.  I was really grateful because I seriously missed you guys so much.

Wednesday was harder, I think I had time to think and it was a little harder.  But it go better, smiley face.  One of the girls in our district and going to our mission got transferred to the other district in our zone on Monday and it was soooo hard.  I had gotten really close with her, we were kinda going back and forth and laughing all the time.  And she is really sad.  She had to move because the other district lost like 2 people last week and it was seriously so hard for everyone.  Just too close to home.  We have some pretty hilarious district times and I think I am super irreverent, but it keeps me going.  Our first Spanish lesson was on Wednesday and it was super difficult and humbling, but really good in an eye opening kind of way.

Thursday mostly we just had class like every other day.  It is just like 16 straight hours of Spanish which is sort of difficult.  We started responding supermegawow instead of bien because the only question the Latinos and the Americans can have with each other is como estay and estoy bien is the response.   So now it is supermegawow CCM wide.  I also said santa vaca like holy cow and our teacher laughed for like 10 straight minutes.  I think they think we are hilariously retarded.

Sister Bott and I figured out this week that were were both at Davis High when we heard about the age change.  Probably at exactly the same time. Isn't that insane?  She was there for basketball. And we are pretty sure we have probably met at a party or the preexistence or something because we are really familiar with each other.

Wednesday when I was struggling with homesickness, I had a super strong witness that the shocking strength I feel when dealing with that is due to my incredible family and your prayers and your faith,  and I am so overwhelmed with love and gratitude for you, pretty much all the time, haha.

Friday during personal study in the morning a huge mongous spider descended near our feet, and we have been scarred for life.  Never again will we sit at that table.  We also had companion inventory that night and it was so good and brought us really close together.  I am amazed at how close I have gotten to people her so quickly.  I really feel like my companion is one of my best friends, and we can talk about anything.  I am so grateful for that.  Our whole CCM is like that, especially English speakers because it is just a comforting connection.

Saturday was our day for proselyting.  I was terrified and the morning of classes flew by and before I knew it I was sitting in the auditorium with my Latina splits companion, and we were planning our goals and retrieving our pamphlets.  Then we were on a bus to the Lima North Mission.  It was so sad.  It smelled like fish the whole time we were driving and then it took forever because of traffic.  It just kept becoming a poorer and poorer area.  Then our bus which had me, and Sisters Bond, Bott, and Rush plus our new companions on it stopped at a chapel and Sister Bott and Sister Rush got out with their companions.  I seriously felt pretty scared because I didn't know what to do and my companion didn't speak much English, and my real companion was gone.  We kept driving down dirt roads for 25 more minutes and got dropped off at a different chapel.  I walked out with my companion and we met a member lady and off we went to visit less actives.  At first we struggled because we were all kinda lost and the addresses are kinda sketchy because they are organized weird.  Then we got to some houses and they weren't there.  Then we talked to some member which was amazingly comforting and spiritual.  Then we headed for the mountain.

Ya know those pictures of the mountain shanty house things?  That was were I went.  We walked up a steep dirt hill and then 287 stairs, yes I counted. to a lady who was a less active member.  I didn't really understand a ton, but I got that she couldn't come ofter because she is a seamstress and obviously super poor.  Then my comp asked me to say a closing prayer and I was prompted super strongly to ask if we could kneel.  So we did.  We knelt in the dirt outside her hut and I prayed.  I know that she did not need to humble herself before the Lord by kneeling in prayer, but that prompting was for me and was for everyone staring at the slightly sunburned afro gringa to see that I was not above them.  The mood changed and we were able to hand our pamphlets and teach and testify to six people on our way back to the chapel.  It was the poorest place I have ever seen.

The dogs are everywhere and genetically messed up.  I get stared at.  The children are adorable, but it was so hard.  After that I just sat and cried in the chapel. My feet were dusty, I was exhausted in every way after only three hours.  I had been smashed in the face with the Spirit and I had seen the saddest things ever.  It was so humbling and so spiritual.  My mission is in a slightly nice area and I am so grateful.  I can't cry like that every day, hahaha.

Sunday was good, hard, because the advance district is leaving so the intermediate district sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" in Spanish.  And two Elders who are really close lost it because they are so close and so scared.  It was a pretty emotional and amazing meeting.  All of our classes were really good too.  It is nice to share sooooo many things with all of these people in the same situations.  Hermana Shreve in my district had asked for a blessing that night, and the two Elders in our District (Lewis and Halverson) gave it and it was so powerful.  Two eighteen year-old Elders bursting with the Spirit even though they are afraid.  It was a huge testament to me of the Spirit and God's help and love for His missionaries.

Monday I had to go to a different Interpol place, and it was like three hours long.  I don't know what happened because I don't speak Spanish so I just fingerprinted things and signed things.  I could totally have sold myself into slavery, but I probably didn't.  So don't worry Mom,  hahaha.

We have had amazing Latina roommates and they left early, early this morning.  It was one of the hardest things of my entire life, well since being here.  We helped them out at 2:30 in the morning and said goodbye and bawled and screamed, "Hurrah for Israel".  It was amazing, but hard.

P-day was fun today!  Our zone is the intermediate zone now.  Which is terrifying because we know nothing.  So we had p-day out by ourselves and it is a miracle we navigated it all.  One of the busses we caught (Dad they are exactly like the Philippines including the driving) hit a taxi.  That was sort of awkward.  No one was injured like at all.  Just a weird, random experience, haha

I love you all seriously so much.  Thank you for your prayers and your faith.  I feel it so strongly.  I hope mine is strong enough to help and comfort you.  Please have an amazing week!!  Alma 36!!! I love you so much!  God be with you til we meet again.


Hermana Bailey

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Can't Believe I'm Not Dead

I still am not good at this computer keyboard and I have a lot to say and only 55 minutes to do it.  I don't know if I will have time for pictures, but no worries.  I look the same.  Haha.  A little more sweaty, maybe.  On Wednesday and Thursday, the day we got here, we just went straight into everything and never got to sleep.  But maybe that is a good thing.  I had to get over all the thinking I did at the layover in Atlanta.  Not good, haha.  I love my companion!  We flew together from SLC.  Her name is Emily Bott and she is from Kaysville.  We get along super good.  Thursday and Friday were overwhelming and disorienting.  It gets better, I think.

Friday we started classes and it was crazy.  Our teachers only speak Spanish to us.  All of them.  Our morning teacher speaks English, but our afternoon one doesn't at all.  It is a really fast way to learn, but it is also stressful and requires lots of focus.  Classes from 8 to lunch and then again before and after dinner with physical activity and study time tossed in there.  Saturday was the same as Friday.  So busy.

Homesickness is definitely my biggest problem, but it usually gets bearable if I pray and read my scriptures.  The homesickness made Sunday really hard, but it was testimony meeting and that was cool.  One Fast Sunday down!  Sometimes 18 months sounds really long.  The fireside that night saved my life that day though.  It was about how being away from the comfort of our parents and families gives us a taste of how Jesus Christ felt and makes our whole lives more meaningful.  So I was thinking, that gives you guys a little taste of Heavenly Father's love for everyone of us.  It is so humbling and so crazy.  I am so grateful for our close family and the love we have for each other.  It is a huge blessing, even though it makes this really hard at times.  I just wish I could have you at my side. Smiley face.  I don't know how to do that.

Monday was fun.  We left for Immigration.  We got to spend time in the city.  2 hours in Immigration and 5 hours waiting for the bus, but it was a great break, inca cola (tastes like cream soda) and talking and laughing and disgusting birds and a colorful street.  Great break.

Today was Pday.  Crazy.   Lots of walking.  Crazy bus rides.  We are not old enough to do this.  Haha, but it is good.  I love my district and the district who mentored us through Pday today.  The city is a lot like Manilla.  Like a ton.

Food.  I have eaten fish twice.  Mostly because I don't speak Spanish.  It was alright.  I didn't even throw up much.  Just kidding, it was fine.  Bleh.  So much riiiiiiccccceeee. Gross.  Granadia? Fruit that looks like brains.  Google it.  Yellow, black seeds with like pomegranate like gray pods.  I don't know. Eat it  a lot.  Inca Cola! Really good.

The weather is super nice!  Fair and beachy.  It is hotter some days than others.  I already have a shoe tan line and freckles, and crazy hair!  Not too bad.  :) Oh, my smiley face.  That was too hard.  I love my district.  There are 7 girls and 2 Elders.  We are finally loosening up and getting really close.  I am becoming myself to fight off my homesickness and weird adjusting.  It has really helped, or corrupted.  I can't tell.  Haha.  I love my companion!  She is great.  We really get along, actually.

Spanish. Holy Spanish.  I already understand so much and can pray and testify in Spanish.  Isn't that weird?  I can't even believe it.  I cannot express how much I love you.  It is so hard to be apart, but it is making my love for you more deep, strong and pure.  I want to serve a hard, fulfulling, successful full time mission and then see you again ASAP.  I don't know what else to say.  I love you.  I am safe. Please be safe.  Read Preach My Gospel and the scriptures and pray and you will be doing what I do!

Hermana Lauren Bailey