Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Week #3 - Transition from Provo to CCM (MTC) in Lima, Peru

Hola familia!!

I am in Peru!! Can you believe it? its crazy! but first let me get there...

Please don´t send any packages to me in peru. they are extra expensive. they asked us to tell you to just put money on our cards if needed. I didn{t call in Atlanta because there were only 3 working pay phones, we only had half an hour, and a lot of elders hadn{t reached their families at all yet. lo siento. Also, my washing stick thing takes out most stains perfectly, except it doesn{t wash out pen.... suggestions?

Ok so before leaving to Peru this week, we did this thing called TRC. Its awesome- members volunteer to come and be taught. we teach them a lesson for the family or person through the spirit. they aren{t pretending to be investigators- we just teach them a lesson that is necessary for them. we bring all people to Christ- not just nonmembers. its a really great experience for all people involved- i would recommend doing it- its fun, spiritual, and very helpful to us missionaries!

I cut my hair 4 inches. I didn{t get it layered because the lady was in a hurry. it is weird not being layered haha! its ok though because i can{t straighten my hair any more. also sorry about all the { - its right where ' is on the spanish computers.

So monday night we didn{t get to bed until midnight because we were packing, weighing our bags, figuring out everything for the morning flight. it was a good last day in America. We ate lots of good food, smelled as much fresh air as we could, learned spanish, and had a great little district reading of the scriptures together. I loved it! And to top it all off, we heard fireworks as we walked back to our room at night.

Well on Tuesday we woke up at 4:30 am because H. Seaver was leaving the MTC at 5am. So i had to be up with her. It was fine because i had so much adrenaline. I was really nervous to leave throughout thursday-saturday, mostly because i do not know spanish. But on Sunday, in relief society we had this amazing lesson on the atonement. right then and there during the lesson, I prayed and just turned over all my fears and problems i{ve been struggling with to the Lord. I traded my yoke for his. It was a really great experience for me- its the first time i{ve really used the atonement to literally hand over my fears instead of trying to deal with them myself. from that moment on, my burdens were lifted and I was more cheerful than ive ever been at the mtc! It really felt good to replace my worries and concerns with the Saviors yoke.

Anyways... so I had to be on the bus out of provo at 6 am. H. Sanchez and H. Danci from my zone walked me down. I tried to stay awake on the bus to say good bye to Utah on the way to the airport, but I was completely out by the time we passed UVU. At the airport, I became a companionship with Elder Petersen and Ko.... Ko something shoot i cant remember. They are both going to my same mission! and Elder Conrad who is serving in Peru joined us so we were a foursome all day. we ate at mcdonalds for breakfast. we thought that was a good last american breakfast to have. (there are three fast food places that are the same in america and bolivia according to these elders: one burger king, and two subways). so we enjoyed it.

On this first flight from salt lake to atlanta, i sat next to this middle aged gentleman on a flight for his job. I tried talking to him, but i think all of us really made him nervous. he fell asleep (or pretended ha) and I fell asleep pretty fast after for about 1 and a half hours.

We weren{t in atlanta long. but as we were waiting for our flight all the announcements at our terminal were in espanol and english. we all started realizing how real the language change was about to get haha. the airport was huge by the way- biggest in america. it had an underground train! it was cool.

When we got on the plane everything was spanish and english. one of the flight attendants smiled really big at us and started speaking really fast in spanish. He laughed at our faces, but im pretty sure he was saying he served a mission too. he kept talking to me all flight about how i was feeling i think... he didn{t say any english till i was getting off where he wished me good luck! he was really funny and nice. We got to eat twice on this flight!!! check that off of my bucket list: go on a long enough flight to have to eat airplane food. we ate twice i think because we had to sit on the plane for an hour before we left, so like it was a complementary midnight snack. it was fun! i sat next to this girl age 22 who was going to visit family in peru. shes lived in the states since she was 2, but she visits aunts and grandmas etc often. she was really cool. we talked lots and lots. i learned a lot about catholic nuns, because her aunt is one. I was really trying to follow the spirit to know what to say to her. The hardest question she asked was "why do the guys name tags say Elder? what is that?" haha It was a hard question. the elders in front of us tried to help with the answer. We told her a little about the priesthood and authority and being set apart. She thought that was cool. It was fun sitting next to her, and I hope she will see more missionaries in the future and be that much more prepared to talk to them :) as we started flying over South america I couldn{t stop smiling- i am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited to be here!!"!!!!!!!!!

Also she told me about the shootings in the theatre in Colorado. We{ve all been super sad about that, and we wonder if it will be different going to movies when we get back now?

Ok so we get to the Peru airport at 1 am utah time- 2 am peru time. no one showed us where to go so we pretty much wandered around trying to figure out things. there was enough english stuff that we all found our way to some missionaries waiting for us. we got on a bus and had a 45 minute drive to the ccm (peru mtc) i thought i would fall alseep (i slept an hour on the second flight) but i was so excited to be in peru!!!! The city actually doesn{t look super different from american cities. everythings just really packed in. 

So the CCM is cool. its beautiful! minus the sky is smoggy. I{ll have to take pictures. there{s lots of pollution down here- everyone says you just have to get used to it. the place is beautiful though! I love that there{s only 100 or so people here. They let us sleep in till 8:30 but its go time again. I{m not tired at all- im too excited. Even though no one can speak english, ive made it through the first 3 hours... haha. breakfast was this leche that was really carmel tasting, a roll with jam, and eggs. it was yummy. um.... my companion isn{t here yet i dont think but i found out shes from salt lake. but i was told i{m not allowed to speak in english to her. shes really advanced in spanish so she wont speak english to me, they just didn{t have enought native girls.

love you got to go!!!}

hermana black 

Pictures from the Provo MTC

My companion--Hermana Seaver--and I at our desks in our classroom. We sit here pretty much all day!

The Sunday temple walk. Hermana Seaver and I with our companion from the first day. She will fly with us to Peru.

Hermana Black and Hermana Seaver.

Hermana Tew! She was our first "investigator" and became my favorite teacher. I love her so much!

This tree smells like cream soda. Everyone smells it.

Everyone takes a picture in front of the map.

All the zone girls :-)

Hermano Case left us for a week and just got back today--so he wanted to take pictures with us [this is my district]. He's our teacher :-)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Week #2 - Provo MTC

Hello family!

So first off I'd love to send you pictures but I guess a couple of weeks ago they made it so that you cannot upload them from your computer. So, I will be sending you a card with pictures on it soon because I leave A WEEK FROM TODAY! July 24 at 6 a.m.!!!!! Nuts! So, if you want anything to get to me you've got to send it soooon! I will not get any mail on Tuesday. The last day I'll be able to get anything is before 4 on Monday. I will be flying to Atlanta, Georgia, and then to Peru. Then, on August 25 (mal’s b-day!) I will be flying back to Atlanta. It doesn't say that I have flight arrangements after that, but my branch president is pretty sure I will just have to fly back to my home land to sign my visa and whatever and then I  will be going to Bolivia. It's pretty crazy though!

Wed- today we taught Maria again. It was so incredible. We were really worrying and stressing about it- not having any idea what to do. Then one of our resource teachers- sister wilding- sat us down and talked to us about asking the right questions to invite the spirit. We ended up having an incredible lesson with Maria. The spirit was super strong, and my simple Spanish came easily! It was so incredible, and really taught me that if you don't have the spirit you won’t be able to teach anything. If people don't feel the truth, they won’t know in their minds its true, no matter how good your 'evidence'.

Thursday- today I had the opportunity to lead the 4 new sisters around because I’m coordinating sister. Elder Rees and Elder Calaway- our zone presidents- had to become my companions for a while as we did orientation and the tour together. It was really fun. Our zone leaders are super hilarious- our zone even has a secret handshake haha. We made sure everyone smelt the cream soda tree (there’s a tree here that smells like cream soda. I'm serious). It went well. Today was our last day with Maria. It didn't go as well as Wednesday, for hermana Seaver and I, but still a big improvement from our first times.

Friday- today after only two hours of class Hermano Case, our teacher, said "ok its personal study time- see you all in a week!" because he is leaving on a vacation. But we still had an hour of class left. But none of us questioned it we just started doing our personal study time. He came back about 30 minutes later and was like "I'm so sorry! My watch got off time! This happens to me all the time!" but instead of finishing class he just said "well I'm probably just going to go home and pack. Bye!" it was funny. But it ended up being awesome because we had personal study for almost two straight hours. Near the end, Elder Johnson had this brilliant idea to have us all get up and share something we learned during that study time. It was so spiritual and awesome- and helped me gain a testimony of the importance of sharing ideas to help you grow. We were all really looking forward to getting feedback about our experiences with Maria, but Hermano Case had said "she's just going to post a general response for us to watch on the TV". We watched it, but we were all kind of sad that we weren’t going to get more feedback than that because we want to know how to get better. Well guess who came into our class that night? Hermana Tew- the MTC teacher who played Maria. And now she is team teaching the class!!!!!!! AH!!!! It's so great! Because now she knows exactly how all of us are doing with Spanish and knowing the gospel. It’s so awesome! I'm glad the Lord is in charge here. Everything is just so amazing. And she's teaching us how to teach!!! It’s wonderful. But it’s so good that we’ve already had experiences with teaching now, because everything makes more sense and is working out awesome. I love it!!!!

Saturday- today during a workshop I got paired up with this Elder from Australia. He was really confused when I said " the second to last paragraph" he said "My companion does that too! Second TO Last means the second-last AND the last paragraph." He thinks we are weird haha.

Sunday- I was finally able to do choir today. It wasn't Mendenhall or Brother Brenchley directing of course haha. But when we perform tonight it will be Brother Brenchley so I'll finally get to see him. Also, it was hard to write a talk today because I had so many meetings as coordinating sister!!!! So I was super glad I didn't get called on to talk ha. Fireside by Jenny Oaks Baker was INCREDIBLE!!!

Monday- today was just kind of crazy. We fasted for Elder Casey in our zone because he had a cat scan. It was really hard for my district to focus because we are all so ready for P-day!!! and we were hungry. We are teaching 2 investigators now. Hermana Tew is playing one character, and our substitute teacher for Hermano Case is playing one. I'm glad I know some stuff about Psychology from school. It’s been hard dealing with some of my own reactions to stress and homesickness, but it’s been even harder dealing with the way some other people deal with it. I'm grateful that I've learned to think "why is this person behaving the way they are?" that way I know that they aren't attacking me, but that they are reacting to the new situations they are in. I didn't realize how hard it is for EVERYONE. But we are adjusting more and more and its fantastic. to clarify- they do teach Spanish here, but it is all in an effort for us to complete our missionary purpose which is: "to invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his atonement, faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end." so we will learn about a word or grammar concept, and then we are given an investigator situation in which to practice it or something like that. It's really cool. So we learn Spanish in as much as it will help us complete our purpose- it's necessary for us to share our purpose.

Oh I'm travel leader for my group going to Peru. It will be me with 12 elders going to bolivia. I dunno why I'm the leader seeing as I’ve flown twice in my life. haha should be interesting.

thanks for the treats, the letters, and all the great things I've received!! The shirt works great mom- thanks!! I'll be sending stuff back soon that I can't wear for various reasons. It’s not that bad, but I want to strictly obey so that God can work miracles in my life.

I’m trying to decide if I should buy new scriptures. Mine are falling apart, but they have all of my markings in them! Advice to future missionaries: you will be LOST unless you know Preach my Gospel BEFORE you go into the MTC. LOST. Sorry this letter is crazy but 30 minutes is nothing!

Anyways I love you all so very much!!!

Hermana Black 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week #1 - Provo MTC

Hello Family!

So I tried to put pictures on but I can't figure it out and my time is counting down!!! So... I will try to figure out how to send pics by next Tuesday. Tuesday is P-day- so I can only write letters etc. today. I probably wouldn't have time any other day- they keep us super, super busy here!

Thursday: So the first couple of hours were semi hard on the first day. Everything hits you so fast- which is good because it's pretty distracting, but I was homesick which I thought was weird. But I’m doing lots better now. When you get here, you get a host sister to show you how to get where you need to go right at first. My Sister was going to Finland. She was really sweet. She grabbed one of my suitcases and carried up the stairs like it was nothing. I tried to follow her with my other one, and could barely get it up one step. She turned around when she got to the top and was surprised to see me at the bottom still. She had to come and help me haha. 

I started off with two companions- Hermana May and Hermana Seaver. Things were super crazy and complicated and anyways H. May got moved to a more advanced class with a new companion. H. Seaver is great! I love her. She is from Colorado and will be serving in Ecuador. Most companions are going to the same place: I am the only girl here going to Bolivia though so I had to get someone going somewhere else. Both of these sisters will be going down to Peru the same time with me. There are 8 elders in our district, and then me and sister Seaver. They are all great: we have an awesome district. We are already really tight. Except they all love sports including H. seaver. I'm the only one who doesn't love them haha. 

I was made Coordinating sister of our zone this night- h. seaver and I are the only girls in our entire zone (there are 3 districts in our zone) we get 4 new girls on Wednesday though so that’ll be good. Because I’m Coordinating sister I have to show them around and teach them stuff and help them out which should be interesting because I just got here. I’ve seen tons of people: Mckenzie Madsen, Sepi Ika, Megan Stone, lots and lots of people from my Cedar Missionary prep. class, Heather Sunbloom, Sister Stokes and Hansen... and more. Should have broken in my shoes: the sketchers ones gave me giant blisters. All the rest of my shoes haven't been bad though.

Friday: So this day we worked a lot in class. Hermano Case is our teacher and he is awesome! He said that days go by slow and weeks go by fast in MTC. He also read us that the first two weeks you are in MTC you don't know why or how to do anything: you just have to do it. He asked the class why we think that is. Our district leader, Elder Salambene (he's Italian but lived in the states all his life) said "it’s so we can find ourselves." H. Case said "uh, you better do that right now because you are teaching an investigator in Spanish tomorrow." We thought he was kidding. He wasn't. I have found how they teach you so fast and how they stop you from getting homesick: they scare the heck out of you. Needless to say I have never seen so much self motivation. We are all glued to our studies all day every day.  H Seaver is the best at Spanish in our class which is nice.

Saturday: Well our first lesson was a COMPLETE bomb. The investigator is an MTC employee acting, but they are set apart and blessed to be able to say and do things that we will actually see in the mission. They act as someone they met on their mission. It’s so cool! And scary. And hard. Anyways I basically couldn't say anything during the lesson. I wrote my testimony down and how to pray. (We have to only pray in Espanol already.) Sister Seaver talked a lot, but Maria wasn't understanding. I could hardly understand anything. I can understand a lot more than I thought I’d be able to from teachers and classmates. But I couldn't understand Maria well. After going through this traumatic experience we got a lot closer as a district. I might make them do a musical number audition with me. They say they don't want to, but then they "let it slip" that they were in choir. They all sing really loud, but sometimes they will start a verse off as the chorus. It’s hilarious and I love them.

Sunday: we had to have a talk prepared today- they call up people randomly to speak in Spanish, including us new people. And there are only about 30 people in our ward (it’s our zone/branch)., also you have no time to prepare a talk. It’s nuts here!! After the Branch President called people up no one from our district was called. Our zone leaders laughed really hard at our relieved faces.

Monday: everyone says get through Sunday and get to Monday. We had to teach Maria again. It went AWESOME though! We were expected to know more Spanish and teach better without being taught how, in 48 hours. But you know what?? It worked!!! We taught the whole first lesson and I spoke Spanish! BTW- you don't learn Spanish in the MTC. You learn how to teach with the spirit- invite people to Christ. The Spanish is a small necessary part sometimes because people don’t know English. Uchtdorf: "teach by the spirit. If necessary, use words." The gift of tongues is everywhere. I know so much Spanish already! It’s not like I just start talking like crazy, but it is fairly easy to remember things and communicate the little things I want to say. It’s amazing. Elder Reid-head said today that he didn't even know what he said, but him and his companion got the investigator to pray! (We all teach Maria.) So it was cool. We don't even know what we are supposed to be teaching or anything. They just say "follow the spirit and teach her what she needs!" It’s insane but we are learning like crazy so of course inspired.

Food= good. It’s easy to stay away from desserts because they are as big as my head. Thanks for the packages and letters!!! 

I feel like I’m always at General conference because there are cameras at every angle everywhere recording everything. I haven’t been able to go to choir because of my coordinating sister meetings. I am learning lots, especially about listening to the spirit. 

Elder Robison memorizes everything using pop songs and its hilarious. I.E. : "I set fuego. to the lluvia!" (i set fire to the rain). It’s so funny. 

A chipmunk came into our room via the window. 

I’m learning to be more in tune to the spirit. It’s hard work- it’s insane!! But it’s so awesome. Saw Paul! Wow 30 min. is not enough time… this is insane! I'll write more details in letters- mom maybe you could add things I write to you to this. Thanks sorry so crazy!!

Much love, Hermana Black