Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Couldn't Think of a Witty Title for This!

Oh My Dear Familia,

I love you so much.  I love to read your weekly emails and see how everyone is doing.  It makes me feel so close to you:) and makes me laugh and cry all at once.  Ahaha.  I will try to do this day by day thing:)

Monday:  I got 9 letters that have been waiting for me.  I think 5 were from Grandma.  It literally made my life and saved my life.  Thank you so so so much.  I love you with all my heart.  Also Wyatt, Mom and Dad thank you for the letters. I treasure them.  I usually get mail on Mondays or Tuesdays, just FYI.  Thank you again, really.  Pass the word along to Grandma Judy and tell her I am glad she is healthy and well.  

Tuesday:  We arrived at our apartment in the afternoon to find we had no bathroom water.  Luckily we still had water in the kitchen so we could haul water to flush the toilet.  It was hilarious.  Also we are super blessed because there are sisters pretty close to us, which is really rare.  We just walked to their house to shower in the mornings.  It was really a blessing.  Also, it made me appreciate our bathroom. It is pretty big and really nice compared to theirs. Random toilet facts about Peru: they flush the opposite way-like the water swirls the other way. And also they have perfumed toilet paper here-which I don't know how to feel about.......

Wednesday:  Tender mercy of the day was that in one of our lessons the neighbors were blasting Celine Dion and I loved it.  Also I wanted to mention how cool I think the new Work of Salvation Program is. It really focuses on rescuing less actives.  I that it is so cool, and so cool to call it a rescue..  It really is so important.  Also, the quote "Catch the Wave of Missionary Work" is really cool here because wave in Spanish is ola.  And orar, leer and asistir are pray, read and attend so it is really cool.  Just sayin'.

Thursday:  Homesickness hit me like a brick wall.  It is always sort of there, but it just crippled me.  Then when we went to shower at the other sisters house, they really helped me.  It was a blessing.  Then we had service in the Elder's area and it was really fun to just be with everybody and help people.  We sanded a bunch of walls in their pencionista's house.  It also made me grateful I am an hermana...our apartments are like night and day.  I feel bad for them.  That afternoon I helped in three lessons.  The first was rough, the second was way rough, and the third was great.  Hahaha. Don't ask me why. Spanish is temperamental.  Also that night we were talking to Hermano Miguel (the amazing convert) and I told him to look up "What Does the Fox Say".  He laughed so hard he cried.  So, yay for the internet :).  Also I sent letters on watch for those.  I want to see if they get there before I send more important ones....

Friday:  Well apparently if a dog is sick here, the people hang a lime around its neck and it supposedly heals it.  Random Peru Fact.  Dad should offer that as a service.  Also, OUR WATER TURNED BACK ON this day so that is good. Hermana Saenz was a little sick so we stayed in a few hours in the afternoon.  Then we went back out.  We were in a lesson and she gave us a warm jello drink.  Apparently that is common.  I don't know how to feel about it.  Bleh.  Then the Jehovahs Witnesses knocked on the door so we answered and it was hilarious.  The lady whose house we were in almost died laughing.  You should have seen their faces.  We had a meeting with the Mission Leader who is Miguel's dad.  So I was talking to him and he was trying to pronounce Harry Potter names and it was not going well.  At all.  Hahaha.

Saturday:  Surprise......WE HAD A BAPTISM!  Little Fiorella, an 11 year-old girl with a less active mom who is slowly being rescued.  It was great:)  Except the musical number fell through because it was ward temple night for the first time in a long time.  So guess who sang?  Us!  Mom, you would be so proud.  We sang "Come Thou Fount" in Spanish and English and I sang by myself for parts of it.  Are you shocked?  I am.  Hahaha.  It was a really beautiful service.  It was super spiritual despite the low attendance.  

Sunday:  We were late to church because we were waiting for an investigator and then we sat in the back.  Church is a lot more....noisy in South America.  But it was hilarious.  We had lunch with a member and then we taught a recent rescue.  I took the lead and talked about the importance of receiving endowments.  It was really good!  Spanish wise and spiritual wise.  It put me on a high :)  I just want to speak Spanish so I can be effective.  That is all.  hahaha.  But I seriously love being with the members or in lessons, just working hard.  It makes everything else worth it.

I realize this is scattered. I have faith I will get better at this, hahaha.  I just want you to know how much I love you.  How can I help you?  What are you struggling with?  I am struggling with feeling homesick, but just in the sense I want to be there protecting you, which is quite ridiculous.  Hahaha.  I love you all so much!

Hermana Lauren Bailey
Lauren with President and Sister Douglas

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Literally Have No Idea What I'm Doing! Yay Mission!

Oh My Dear Beloved Family,

You are correct.  My homesickness has hit me like a wrecking ball this week.  Excuse my reference to Miley Cyrus:)  It has been a little rough at times, but opening your email made it all okay.  Also, I should get mail today or tomorrow;)  And I am sending letters today!  I am so excited.  Haha. Anyway, let me try to update you a little.  It may be rough, I am more and more scattered each time.

Wednesday was P-day and besides e-mailing you, we went to lunch with our zone at a mall thing (I say thing because literally nothing means the same thing in Peru as in America) and shopped.  I bought Special K cereal and milk from a bag to eat for breakfasts and it wasn't too terribly bad:)

On Thursday, we do service in the mornings.  This Thursday we went to our District to help a family in our ward move from upstairs to downstairs.  The living arrangements are really weird here, but I don't really know how to explain.  I bet it was the same in Jess' and Derek's, so ask them about it.  It is all just really, really poor, but service was fun:)  Then we had a our lunch (which we pick up from a pencionista) with the other sisters in our area who are actually assigned to be the first internet sisters outside of the US just for this transfer, kinda weird.  Then we met up with a member to go teaching.  His name is Miguel Tapia and he has been a member for 1 and a half months. He is literally amazing and really nice and the missionaries best friend.  He talked to me and I vented about my difficulties expressing my personality in Spanish.  It was really nice and he actually understands me really well and I have no issues understanding him.

Moto taxis.  Sketchier that sketch and we ride them all the time.  It is so so so fun:)  Really.  Google them:)

Friday.  I feel that mornings are tedious at times because some days we don't even leave to proselyte until like 4 and it is awful; with study and planning and training.  Bleh.  But I love getting out and teaching and talking because it is why I am here and it takes my mind off things:)  Cool fact:  If we kill a cockroach on the floor, the next morning it is gone because the ants take it away.  It is awesome.  Also, I was supposed to have my first street contact this day so I went to talk to this guy and as soon as a started talking he was like "No hablo castillano".  And like what the freak is that.  So I just stared at him cause I though I was speaking Spanish.  Then Hermana Saenz came to help and turns out he is from London and only speaks English.  So my first contact was from England and now I know castillano is another word for Spanish.

Saturday.  It smells like the ocean here in the mornings and it makes me think of Carlsbad and my amazingtastic family.  Which is a little rough, but I love you so it is all good:)  The cool experience of that day was that night we had an appointment to talk to a less active named Nefi ( I know, ironic) and with Miguel.  We were going to watch Ephraim's Rescue but we needed another woman to be with them.  So we waited outside his house eating popcorn and talking (good practice for me) until someone could come.  She ended up being one of his lady friends and she was way interested, so we are going to try and contact her this week!  Miguel and Nefi are also way funny and entertaining, so that is nice.

Sunday.  I didn't really know what to expect.  Church is at 8, and at 7:45 we ran to wake up a less active and then ran back to pick up another family.  The ward is pretty big and really nice.  I understand most of sacrament meeting.  I am never going to remember all of these people though.

Funny story of yesterday was that our lunch appointment was with a recent convert /inactive lady who is really, really poor and has a really, really sad life story.  She is old and her husband abuses her and is never around.  But she loves missionaries.  When we got there she told us she had made us (no idea how to spell this) pacha monka.  It was a big pot sitting on a fire.  So it turns out it is potatoes and huge peas and yucca root and chicken.  She gave me a plate with half a chicken, 6 little potatoes, 15 massive pea pods and a whole yucca root.  And I ate it all because she is poor and we have to and I almost died. But it was really good:)

Tender mercy of yesterday it that one of the teachers of the other district in the MTC is in the other ward in my chapel and I saw him last night.  Comforting in a weird way.

My companion is really nice and is teaching me a lot.

2 Nephi 2:6-8 is why I am here.
Mormon 1:7 made me laugh.  Peru in a nutshell.
D & C 31:1-6 is what I needed this week:)

Oh my gosh I love you.  So so so so so so much.  Thank you.  For everything.

I miss you!  I love you!  You are in my prayers always:)  Be happy!

Hermana Lauren Bailey

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Um, Is This Real, Because I Don't Actually Know

Basically I have never felt this weird in my entire life.  But I think it is a good weird, so never fear!!

I freakin' love you people!!

This will probably be the most scattered email yet, because I feel like I am in a dream or on drugs.  I also don't even know where to start.

I miss the MTC like crazy.  Those people were my family! Also, I forgot my camera, so no pictures today:(  But supposedly you got one of me yesterday?  Also my outfit was changed like 6 times that morning and then I just gave up.  I also sweated a lot so that is why I looked like a crazy woman.  So ya.

Anyway,  it was super comforting but also super hard to come to the mission with Bott, Bond and Rush.  They are seriously some of my best friends.  We got to the Mission Home which is an office on the 6th floor of a big building and started training.  We got to sit together through all of that.  There were like12 missionaries in orientation that day, but we were the only Americans.  When we got there, they got all our stuff in the office and fed us breakfast.  We met our Mission President and his wife and they are really so so so so nice.  I really love them already.  Then we just sat through training for like 5 hours, but it flew by and it was really fun.  We all were in a really weird mood because, well, how could you not be.  Then he started pulling us out one by one for to do an interview.  The cool thing is when we got there he had all the trainers picked out, but wasn't going to assign us until after the interview so it would be inspired.

Anyway, in my interview he was super nice and also just made me feel really good about this decision. Which I obviously I usually do, but there are some crazy weird emotions on that day.  And then he told me that he could tell that I was full of happiness and laughter, so I hope he is okay with all that. Haha.  The he told me that he thought there was a good possibility I would be with a North American trainer, and that was super rare and he trusted that we would talk in Spanish all day and learn the language.  So then he promised me that I would probably hyperventilate when I got to my area, but that it was going to be okay.  So then he said, "Well, I know who your companion is" and sent me back.

When all our training was done, about 3:00, I met my trainer.  I am assigned to the San Juan Ward in the San Juan Stake.  My trainer is from West Virginia and her name is Hermana Saenz.  She is really, really nice.  We left the mission office and said goodbye to the girls from the CCM and it was really, really hard.  But I still didn't cry much.  I am shocked.  I haven't really had a breakdown in like a month.  I can honestly say that the Spirit and the enabling power of Christ's Atonement is carrying me so much here.

Keep sending mail to the Mission Home.  That is the only way it makes it I guess? Trial by error.  I am learning.

Hermana Rush is in Ayacucho.  She had to take a 12 hour bus ride today.  Pray for her.  Bond is in Pisco, and Bott is in Caneta or something like that is not far from me I guess.  We only had like a 40 minute ride in a taxi and then we were here.  Our apartment is nice by Peru standards, but I admit it is a massive adjustment, but I am adjusting!  It is actually really, really nice to have a companion who can speak English as well as fluent Spanish.

When we got to the area, we left to meet with the Mission Leader in the Ward and we had a lesson with an 11 year-old girl who is prepping for baptism and her menos activo mother.  We taught the Plan of Salvation and I was able to say things as well, which was super surprising but cool.

The biggest feelings I have right now are in list form:

I can't wait until I can speak Spanish and therefore be myself. It is my number one issue with not speaking it.

I seriously had an amazing District in the MTC and I miss them dearly.  I am so thankful for that experience.

I am so grateful I am here.  It is going to be a painful adjustment at times, I know, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

President Douglas is awesome.  Funny and kind and strict in a good way.  We are memorizing 2 Nephi 31.  The biggest theme of everything he told us was the Atonement, which of course I loved.  So that was a great testimony to me of how this mission will go.

There is seriously a rare amount of sisters in this area and an even more rare, a lot of them are North Americans.  So today was Pday and we got to go shopping with them.  So nice. And they made me feel a lot better about life in general, so I am really grateful.

Oh my dear family.  I love you so incredibly much. I miss you as well, but I am so glad I am here.  I feel your prayers and your faith sustaining me and I am so thankful for that, every single day of my life.  I love my Christ and I know I am really going to be leaning on Him for the next few months, 16.5 to be exact!  Read 3 Nephi 11. That is why I am here :)


Hermana Bailey

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Apparently We Are Living in an Epidemic Environment (which I find hysterically over dramatic)

Hola My Lovely Family!

This is going to be an even more scattered email that usual.  I apologize in advance.  I really don't know of anything particularly exciting that happened this week, especially by day like I usually do it.  So I am just going to hit the basics of like random thoughts and things I my have neglected to mention before.

Ok, first thing, since you are probably freaking over the title of this email, is that everyone has been really sick the last couple of weeks.  I really did luck out.  I was pretty sick one day this week, but only during the night, so it didn't affect my classes or anything, just sleep.  It is actually a constant source of entertainment and hilarity to me in a really sad way.  Apparently it is a bacteria (don't know how we got it, don't know why, everything and everyone is fine) and it makes you have weakness, nausea, and explosive, untrustworthy diarrhea.  Hilarious.  Everyone just runs to the bathroom all day long.  So sad. So funny. And the one day she realized it was a serious issue, Hermana Gonzalez started collecting stool samples for testing.  I avoided her like the plaque.  She is a no nonsense, down to business woman when it is a serious situation.  She literally waited outside the bathroom and if it looked like you were having an emergency, you got a sample kit.  I almost died laughing at the peoples faces.  I think I am a terrible person.  In all seriousness, it is a little scary, just because we didn't know what it was.  But now we do and everyone is on the mend:)

Related to the epidemic, apparently it was bad enough to get listed in a letter to the Missionary Board, "The Peru MTC Epidemic".  The is pretty cool BECAUSE Elder Christofferson and Elder Holland and them read that and we know they prayed for us because on Monday, the day after they would have gotten the letter and had the meeting, everyone was soooo happy and healthy.  It was seriously so cool. A huge testament to the blessings for missionaries.

Also random, our roommates that we got two weeks ago are sooooo funny.  We have gotten really close to them.  Hermana Terry is a music major so she sings all the time and it is wonderful. And Hermana Chaparro reminds me so much of Shay P. that it is scary, in a good way.  Also, we call her the Witch Doctor because she has all kinds of oils and it really helps.  She pretty much has saved everyone this week with all the sickness.  We just laugh constantly.  They are both going to Lima Central, so there is a chance we will see them.  I hope we do just once :)

MY DISTRICT. I seriously love them and am going to miss them all dearly.  I have never gotten so close to 7 people this quickly in my life.  And I am so grateful that Bott, Bond and Rush are going to the South Mission with me.  I would die.  They are my favorite people.  I would have died without Hermana Bott, literally.  We are one of the strongest companionships.  I love her so much.  I don't know what I am going to do without her and my district in the field.  To be honest, I am basically terrified to go into the field.  Just because it is the unknown all over again.   Same emotions as the week before my mission, but slightly easier to handle.  I can't believe this is really happening.  It has flown by.  Ah. Ah. Ah.  I just want to take my companion and my district with me.  Forever.  Which probably isn't healthy, but whatever.

Ah. Change. Why.

Today was amazing in the temple.  We went through without headphones again, by choice because we understand the vast majority of the session.  And it was just a really, really spiritual session.  It was just our district and Hermana Rush's district, and we are all really close as a zone.  While we were in the middle, we all looked at each other and started to cry.  Happy, happy, spiritual sad tears.  It was actually  really awesome.  I am so grateful for the experience I have had here at the MTC.  It is unlike any other MTC I think.  I spend all my days studying outside and talking to member tours and going to my classes with my best friends and laughing all night with all of these missionaries who are angels here on Earth.  Having fun and being themselves while slowly becoming the most powerful missionaries I have ever seen in my life.  It is amazing.

Well on a spiritual note, since I am kind of out of things to say (just a typical busy week of classes and Spanish) I love how close I feel to the Spirit here.  I am constantly open to promptings of the Spirit and I feel the comfort and enabling power of the Atonement constantly.  There is no way I could be functioning without it.  It is a beautiful blessing.

I will leave this beautiful place in one week from today.  We will probably leave around 5:30 in the morning.  I don't think (pretty sure not) I am going to email next week.  I don't know when the next time will be, but I am guessing 13 or 14 days.  That is hard, but it will be an amazing email!

2 Fast Sundays down!!!  17 months to go.  I can't even believe that.  I love you.  So much.

This week I have been obsessed with Doctrine and Covenants Chapter 88: 49-50.  Just FYI

Look up the song, I think it is by Faith Hill, called, "That's the Kind of Day I Wish for You."  It's stuck in my head all the time and makes me think of you people :)

I love you so much.

This week, we have classes until Friday, Saturday is proselyting (I think I will be the Senior Companion with a North American so that is horrifying).  Sunday is our Farewell Sunday and we have meetings all day Monday...well Friday too I think.  Then everyone starts leaving throughout the night until Tuesday.  That is all I know.  It is insane.  So incredibly bittersweet.


Hermana Bailey