Monday, June 24, 2013

CCM continued!

-the parents for making it to Africa alive :)
-Nick for giving what I'm sure was a killer farewell talk!
-Happy Birthday this week to my wonderful father and Elder Weight who in fact share the same birthday
-All the kiddos who participated in that wonderful world wide broadcast last night. I had so much fun looking for anyone I knew
-Letters from Miss Claire, Drew (my home teacher from Hawaii), and Dear Elder's from Momma Anderson (Justin, from Hawaii's momma) and Mr. Tynan.
Thanks so much everyone! The mail system seems to be pretty reliant... its the CCM that isn't. We don't have any mail boxes here, so they just randomly deliver your mail when they have enough. Which can be fun because then you aren't disappointed and they're like little surprises. ANYWAY now that I've officially been out a month (crazy huh?) it's time to start mailing to the mission home. Some letters I've gotten 8 days after they were sent, but 2 weeks is a pretty good rule of thumb. If I haven't said anything 2 weeks after you sent it, then you can start getting worried. Dear Elders are also fabulous! They are great because I get a hard copy and can re-read them. We aren't allowed to print anything out here.
Moving on!
Random factoids:
My CCM is in fact the 4th largest in the world, which is crazy to think about since there's only about 150 of us here. I love it though. Where else do you have a personal relationship with the President?
Funny story:
I had my first hilarious spanish mess up the other day. We were with the tutor and were practicing conjugating verbs. So it was my turn and I said "I repented of all my sins" to which my teacher replied "porque?" I was confused, so then I realized I had in fact said that I REPEATED of my sins... not repented. We had a good laugh the rest of the time, mostly my teacher asking after anything, "Are you going to repeat that?" So... yeah, the language, is coming. :)
 Have you met the 10 sisters going to TEG? Yep! The CCM is so small (only 70 sisters) we all live on the same floor so we see each other all the time)
How many are native vs US? going to TEG or just in the CCM? this group of Latinos is super small- only about 15 sisters. Last group had about... 30? 40? Going to TEG, those 10 sisters are all from the US And they are great!
How's the language, etc?  Language is so good! I'm a wizard at praying, bearing testimony and teaching gets better and better. The only thing I'm worried about is navigating in the feild.... Haha. We'll see how that's gonna go. But you know, whatevs, I'll  have a companion and the Lord,as long as I can say "I believe in Christ!" I should be fine.
Another interesting fact: It's easier to learn spanish through the hymns! You sing "soy un hijo de dios" so much, that when you are bearing testimony it comes out that much easier. It's my goal to be able to have some of the hymns memorized.
Otro factoid: In the engilsh hymn book, we only have 2 verses of called to serve, in spanish we have four. (What is it in porugeuse?) in the chorus, it says "listos, siempre listos" which means, ready, always ready. I LOVE that. For so many of us who are serving right now, we didn't have to make any major life changes, we were ready, always ready. We just had to wait for the right time, and heed the call.
Have you been to the temple yet? How was that? We go to the temple every week! The officiators are Senior couples who work at the CCM, and the session is entirely in english because "going through the temple should be in the language you feel the most comfortable with" so that is always a nice english break. Last week the officiators were President Nicholyasen and his wife, so it was really cool because I have never known the officiator personally before.
Any more excursions? We head to the mercado tomorrow! None of the girls have haggled before so I'm the expert who gives tips (Thanks Tiajuana!) We are pretty excited and Hermana Butler and I are on the prowl for woven things, like the shirt that mom called my "mexican shirt". We are really excited!

I say this all the time, but really thanks for all the support. You never know it when you first look at someone here, but some of them virtually have no one supporting them- they are paying for it themselves and the only people writing them are friends from the ward. How grateful I am for my parents example, for the love I feel each week in e mail and through the letters I get, and for all those who keep me in their prayers.There has been a huge emphasis on less active members and how we can help fellowship them. I am so grateful that that would never for a moment ever happen to me because of all the friends and family in my life.
I love you all! Sorry If I can't respond to your e mails... one day. :)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

¿Que pasa, calabasa?‏

It means, "whats up pumpkin?" spanish speakers LOVE rhymes and will use them whenever possible:)

Shoutout to Elder Weight and the Hoffmanns for the fun letters  I got in the mail this morning! Definitely helped pass the time until I e mailed everyone :)

First of all, I feel like I haven't been happy enough in my e mails! I hope everyone knows just how much I love the gospel and this opportunity to share it. I totally understand how much you can feel the spirit when teaching people the gospel. The other day Hermana Butler

 and I (who I haven't talked about enough so we will change that in this e mail) went in and just had written a few questions we wanted to ask. We started talking to him about receiving an answer, and how he was frustrated he hadn't received an answer. I felt impressed to talk about when I was applying for school. So I told about how I applied and thought that whichever school I got accepted to would be the right one. Little did I know that I would be accepted into all of them. Then I explained that I too prayed and was hoping for an answer and wasn't getting it. Why not? I felt so frustrated at the time because I was going to church, I was praying and I was reading and I didn't know what I was doing wrong. But that was the point- I wasn't doing anything wrong. Everything I did was in harmony with God and his spirit and he had so much trust in me with my 18 years of experience and knew that I could make the right choice. It wasn't until I was there, sitting in a folding chair in the middle of the Guatemala sun that it really clicked just how much faith God has in me. I mean, I'm 19. Most 19 year olds are just starting college and have no idea what they are even doing with their life. How blessed I am to have the guidance of the spirit and such understanding and trust at such a young age!
Also: You guys are allowed to ask any questions! Mom, that list of questions you sent with my first e mail was actually super helpful, but if anyone has anything specific they would like me to expound on, let me know!
Funny story:
It's the rainy season, but it's like Hawaii, where it will rain for 5 minutes then clear up 5 minutes later. But again, like hawaii, it will just POUR all day. So one day it was pouring and I had curled my hair so ovio (favorite spanish phrase- obviously) I didn't want it to get ruined. The CCM is tiny so the run from our dorms to the cafeteria (oh yeah, theres only 3 buildings in the entire CCM, one is the gym) is a pretty small one. But I pulled my sweater over my head and bee lined it, leaving my Hermana in the dust. Sorry Hermana Butler. For whatever reason, there were about 20 elders just congregating in the lobby who I guess didn't hear me yell "disculpe!" and "perdon me!" Needless to say, I slipped on the floor. Rubber shoes and linoleum- not a good combo. Well, my instincts kicked in to catch myself, but the only available resource was of course- another elder. So what do my arms automatically do? Wrap around his waist of course! They left as soon as I stuck them on his body but oh boy, I just took off down the hallway. When Hermana Butler retells the story she said she arrived just in time to see me gunning it down the hallway for what she thought was for no apparent reason. We haven't been able to identify the elder, but anytime one walks past, Butler will say "look, thats probably him..."
Last week we got a new "shipment" of Nortes,which unfortunately means that our Mexicans left :( but they assure me they are having a great time in Teguc :) I was feeling kinda bummed because dang, I'm the only one in my zone going to Teg now. But! With the new shipment, came 10 darling girls going to my Mission! They are so wonderful and I love every single one of them. It's so fun that we are able to bond here so much because when we get in the field, it will be that much better!
We also got to go to Wal Mart last week and oh boy that was an adventure. First of all, we wore PANTS! Butler and I were stoked all day and kept doing cartwheels and sitting Indian Style whenever possible :) We must have looked like a spectacle. All the missionaries left in the CCM (about 60) went and so there were all these greengos in Wal Mart with our tags on trying to ask people where the q-tips were :)
Thank you for all the e mails! It is always exciting to open your inbox and see that you have THIRTY! I love everyone and thank you so so so much for all of your support! Have a great week! :D
Also: When Butler and I were studying we found this. I love it so so much; it perfectly describes those I'm preparing to teach:
"And now when Alma heard this he turned him about, his face immediately towards him, and he beheld with great joy; for he beheld that their afflictions had truly humbled them, and that they were in a preperation to hear the word."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

More CCM Adventures

 I used up my entire hour last week just writing this e mail, so I'm gonna try to cut down a bit :)
To the parents for entering the MTC today!
My sister going to Africa!
Miss Sarah surviving her farewell and entering the MTC on Wednesday
My Gwennie leaving the MTC for temple square this week!
And to Matthew for being the only letter I received. It only took 10 days!

I got to go to the temple on Wednesday! The temple is tiny, but beautiful and has such a unique spirit there. The entire session was in English but we had a few natives in our session so they got to wear the headphones. Haha :) We get to go again tomorrow and are so excited!
 Uh hum I get to go to Walley World tomorrow as well as the mall! We are all pretty excited.
Our roomates leave tomorrow and we are really sad but I told them they have to write me and tell me all about how TEG is. They are hilarious. The other night we walked home and saw that one of the closet doors were open to block the hallway. On the door there was a sign that said "no entrar greengas" and had a picture of Butler and I with a line through it. Then they put their suitcases in the way to make a barricade and block us out. We thought they were hiding in the room but it turns out they were next door waiting for us to come home. Later I noticed that they had decorated my "ceiling" (we are in bunk beds) with post it notes of funny things we have said or that I can never say correctly in Spanish. Butler and I are hoping our next roomates can be as cool.
Mum to answer your inquiry, yes I met the other nortes going to TEG. All the girls live on the same floor and we all have a group prayer together every night. Even if you don't know someone personally, you have seen everyone here at least once a day. Theres only about... 130? of us here.
The weather has been AMAZING. So sunny and warm. But not too hot so when we play deportes it's perfect. On Saturday we went to Deportes and it seemed a little overcast. While we were playing volleyball it started POURING hawaiian rain. Luckily we didnt care and played while we were soaking wet. The kids from Arizona and Nevada were stoked! The fun was cut short when Hermana Cameron made us come in side. For real?

The food is still amazing and we even had sushi the other day! (shout out to Nick!)
Yesterday was a favorite, the entire day mostly consists of watching church movies (Chubby, watch "journey of faith") and randomly singing!
On Saturday night Hermana Larson asked Butler and I to sing. We agreed, then tried to figure out what.... We decided on "un oracion de nino" because it would be easy to just do the parts. So we practiced with Hermana Torres, but she couldn't do it because we were singing in spanish and the timing is different. We managed to find a hermana the day of and ran through it once.
When we sang it went really well and we felt awesome!
Then, the Branch President walked up and thanked us. He took out his phone, and started playing it for us. I asked "oh! could you e mail that to my dad?" He thought that would be a great idea so I gave him dads e mail. THEN he let me write you guys a message. A short one but still, it was fun to have a connection to home. And SO NICE that he recorded it for me!
I love the CCM so much! The first couple days were long and hard but im so grateful to be here at this time with so many who are so excited and willing. It really is such an incredible opportunity and I go to bed each night with a full heart. I was reading in Mosiah 2 and just couldn't help but think how much it all related to missionary work. Also, Alma... 36:24? my new mission motto. :)
Hugs and butterfly kisses to you all!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Guatemala CCM Up-date

Hey guys!
 Here is the week's breakdown:
Mom, after you dropped me off at security I was this close to start crying, but managed to hold back my tears with the thought that I chose this and this is exactly what I need to be doing.
Slash,  I didn't need the TSA officer to think I was crazy when I gave him my passport ;)
At the airport, there were 15 other hermanas and 18 to 20 other elders in Salt Lake. Most  of them were from Utah, but some were from Ohio or Virginia. I ended up sitting by Andy Kendall (went to high school with him) on the plane so that was funny and we chatted the entire flight to LA.

 In LA we met up with some others so there was about 40 in total. We pretty much over took the entire terminal and it was great because we could just chit chat the entire time. ;) 
I ended up sitting by Andy again and another girl, Hermana Smaellie from Saint George who is in my district.
My district is so great! Seriously, it feels like Hawaii because we call eachother family and our District Leader is Papa Dillie. We pray together, read El Libro de Mormon together and sing together, always.
So when the plane landed in Guatemala we made it through customs just fine (no smiling! At all!) then went to the luggage. All the missionaries waited for eachother and then everyone is like "everyone got their luggage?" when I realized the carts had in fact stopped. In my broken spanish and his broken english I explained I was missinig one maleta extatamente. Through some other hermanas helping communicate they gathered all the ones that hadn't been claimed, then directed me to a desk. Luckily (I'm so blessed!) I had the address and the phone number for the CCM to give to her so that was fine.
We loaded up on a school bus and then arrived at the CCM! We were told they would take our cameras away, so another Hermana (Alyssa Edwards, she's from Vegas, in my district, and we went to EFY together!) and I took pictures out front by the sign and by the flags.

 I didn't know who my companion was yet so no pictures for that. But next p day we should be leaving (to the mercado or wal mart, no one knows yet) and we will get our cameras then so yes Mom I promise to take oodles of pictures :)

We had an hour to nap but when we went to our room there were no beds. They had just finished building our room (literally, installing the bathroom and everything) that morning, which meant no beds, so we just wandered into rooms where there were beds that weren't claimed and crashed. During the day we could hear them building our beds. Bienvendida Guatemala!
Out of the forty missionaries I arrived with there was only one Elder going to Tegucigalpa. So when I met two sisters who were going to Tegucigalpa I was ecstatic! They are from Mexico, so they will only be here for another week. We also met our teacher, Hermano Lopez who is sooo funny and from Guatemala. He learned English on his mission from reading the Book of Mormon. He went to Puerto Rico so he didn't have to learn it, but he wanted to because he felt like he should. And now he gets to teach us! He is mucho sassy and we love him to bits. 
We got settled in our room that night with the same sisters who are serving in Tegucigalpa. (Sorry, when I say we I mean Hermana Butler and I. Shes a doll, always making sure I have toothpaste and stuff because everything was gone. Disclaimer: my bag is returned) They are Hermana Torres and Aranda and are our best friends. Seriously, when we get home depending on who is home first we always greet the other with a loud Bienvendida! and hugs and kisses. They understand English so it is super helpful when I can't understand what they are saying in Spanish. They speak to us in spanish all the time and are always teaching me and help me with my pronunciation which is super helpful! 
The other night I walked down the hall to the bathroom and when I came back the door was locked, so I knocked and Aranda says "Quien es?" (who is it) I said "Tu hermana favorita!" but she was being super sassy and playing dumb. She said "estamos todos!" (rough: we are all here) and I just busted up laughing. When the door was finally opened I said "Estoy triste" and I acted super sad until both hermanas came over hugging me and kissing me and saying in english "no hermana we love you!" We are all praying that we can be companeras some day.

On Thursday we went to go get vaccinated. I thought all my vaccines were fine, but the doctor said "hermana Snelson I need to talk to you" and  I was stressing that I needed to get another Typhoid (news flash, they are not fun) but then I thought maybe it was because I was an MA. It turned out to be Dr. Cameron, from my home Stake, I think and he said what they all say "Oh we love your dad! He is so great! You have such a great family! We have never met you before but it is so nice to meet you!" Everytime I see him in the halls he has to pull me aside and say "Oh my favorite Sister, how are you doing today?"
We got back to our classroom when someone from the office came up asking for Hermana Snelson. I turned and said "que pasa" and and soon as she said "su maleta" I stood up and started dancing. Hermana Butler and I were to leave immediately. We went to the office (in the CCM) where they said that they tried to call the airport but they wouldn't answer the phone and so we were just going to go there ourselves. We loaded up in a van with Roberto, a jack of all trades who has been working here for 15 years. He told us (in spanish) that he had been learning english for the last 6 months because he wants to be able to talk to the elders and the hermanas. He was super nice and Hermana Butler and I had fun practicing our spanish.
We got to the airport and got pointed in different directions and were eventually told by Roberto to sit and wait. So we sat there for a half an hour while everyone is walking past staring at the gringas wearing skirts, name tags attempting to talk to each other in spanish.
Roberto eventually emerged with my suitcase in hand that was covered in suran wrap because they were going to mail it. We have no idea why it didn't arrive (well, Roberto might, but doesnt have the capacity to tell me) but I think it might have gotten left in La. Either way! We were very very happy.( Roberto even offered to tak us to McDonalds after to celebrate :)
We also taught for the first time Thursday night, but it was in English. Our investigator, Alejandro can understand it but has difficulty speaking so we were teaching mostly in spanish. I felt frustrated after because I wasn't as prepared as I should have been, but then I realized I had just barely arrived and was doing pretty freaken good.
Friday morning I was studying and realized how much of a difference it makes to study with a purpose. I had Alejandro in mind and was searching for the things he needed, rather than thinking of my own needs.
We taught him again that night and it went oodles better and I was able to use a lot of spanish! We asked about his family and he told us his dad was dead. I asked (in spanish) if he knew he could live and see his father again. He seemed really excited and asked "como? como?" but we explained we didn't know the words and would teach him the next day.On Saturday Butler and I drew the diagram of the plan of salvation and color coordinated it with the plan of salvation pamphlet. We just taught about the pre existance and he asked how we knew that. We explained that through the Holy Ghost, we were able to know for ourselves. We explained that we could tell him as much as we wanted, but it was up to him to pray.
Oh, our entire district teaches the same investigator so we coordinate our lessons. Someone had taught him how to pray earlier and so we were just emphasizing it. 
On Sunday we watched a lot of church movies (mountain of the Lord. Sarah and Nick, you have to watch it. Its about the construction of the Salt Lake Temple and is amazing. Nick, you will love the rad facial hair, and Sarah, you will love the cute kids. Oh,  and temples and stuff) and had meetings (in english. They split up the nortes and the hispanos) In Sunday school everyone had to prepare a 10 minute lesson with their companion before then were randomly asked to teach. I managed to slip under the radar last week, but we will see what happens...
Fast and testimony meeting was combined with our entire branch and was entirely in spanish. The spirit was so sweet as everyone (including nortes) bore their beautiful and simple testimony. Hermana Butler got up and said (en espanol) "the church is true. My companion always says this to me when I am said or discouraged and I love it" thanks for the shout out, girl.
We were up late with the Mexicans laughing so much that someone knocked on our door asking us to be quiet. Whoops.
Yesterday our entire district wanted to concentrate on teaching with the spirit and it went so great! Alejandro told us that he liked what we were saying and we shared a couple personal experiences and scriptures and everything was just.. perfect. Hes coming to devotional tonight, and hopefully church on Sunday so well see how it goes.
To answer my mothers questions:
How long did it take? to get my suitcase?
 only one day, thank goodness. The flight from LA to Guatemala was 4 hours

How was the plane ride? Great! Just slept the entire time. I was thiiiis close to sleeping on Andy's shoulder out of habit... You know me. Breaking the rules as soon as I get em ;
 How's everything going? It is great! I love the CCM and am so grateful to be here. It is perfect because I still get the spanish, the culture without immediately throwing me into the realities of living in central america

Glad to hear that you like your companion!  Will she be going to your mission? Nope, Nicaragua. Most of the nortes going to Honduras are going to Comayaguela. I know of several Hispanas who are going to Tegucigalpa and only 2 other norte sisters. I can't talk to the Elders much except for my district, so there might be more boys, I have no idea. Torres told me that there are about 20 hermanas there currently.

Where is the MTC president from? Idaho I believe. He's super nice. His wife can be kind of scary but shes just crazy about the rules because she doesn't want us to get sick! Like, sisters aren't supposed to shake hands... crazy, si?

What's your schedule like? Give us a typical day:
Wake up: 6:30. Hermana Aranda is in charge of getting us all out of bed and made a point to tickle me when I wouldnt get up.
We have time to shower in the morning but I just get dressed then wait for Hermana Butler to "put on her face" :)
We have personal studying for an hour, then we eat breakfast.
By the way, the food is amazing! (of course it is, this is the true church, after all) We have a gormet chef. It varys between hispanic food and american. The other day for breakfast we had cold cereal and toast and everyone was stoked! We also had pizza for lunch so it was a very american day. But last night for dinner we had beef tacos with hommade tortillas and half of an avocado with pico in it. So it really depends. The portions are HUGE so we ususally as for "muy pequena" or Butler and I just share.
After breakfast we have language study. Butler and I usually study together. Hermano Lopez usually comes in at that time and we have more language review and then deportes!
Sports are our welcome break during the day. We either play volley ball (and get HECKA tan) outside do stationary bike and elipical inside. Yes mom, Im stretching and keeping up my flexibility and impressing all the Elders and Hermanas
We shower, then eat lunch.
Then back to the classroom! We stay in the same classroom which is nice so I can just leave my books there. There are a lot! We usually go over a principle of the gospel now. Lately we ve been watching part two of the district but since we ve finished we just go over ways to teach and stuff.
More studying.
more learning.
Before dinner we start planning for teaching that night. Since we teach the same person we usually just talk as a distict about different things he needs. For example, when hermana Butler and I found out Alejandros dad was dead, we told everyone we needed to teach about the plan of salvation. So we split it up (pre existance, the fall, the creation, judgement bar, kingdoms) and decided who taught what. We have 6 hermanas and 5 elders in my district (sisters represent!) so 5 companionships. Then we plan with our companion, eat dinner some time in there. Plan some more then the first companionship goes to teach. we just plan while they teach, and practice spanish wiat for their report (it went great, maybe concentrate on 3 nephi 11) then go to teach.
We usually have 15 or 20 minuutes before its  time to plan for the next day so we have been taking that time to get to know each other. Everyone brough their photo albums so we were looking at the elders girl friends and talking about eachothers families.
Butler and I plan for the next day, what things we want to concentrate on, improve on, and then go to our room after family night prayer.
All the hermanas have "oracion" together where we sing a hymn in spanish pray, then share any CCM announcements for that day.
after laughing with the mexicans and complaining I never have time to write we wish each other "buenos noches!" at exactly 10:30 then go to bed.

How's the weather? Its great! Its the rainy season but it kinda reminds me of Hawaii in the sense that the rain will only last for 5-10 minutes. Its always sunny when we have deportes and was only kind of rainy on sunday when we went to church

More news? See above :)

Shout outs:
Felicidades to the parents for starting training! hows it going? 
Matty Spence for entering the MTC tomorrow! Congrats kid!
And Miss Sarah Johson who will be giving her farewell talk and Im sure is stressed out of her mind writing her talk. Youll do great baby!
Belly- everyone loves my earrings! Thanks again!
Bee- my mexican roommates love the notes on the bags and get excited any time I find a new one.
Random: one of my night teachers love Nacho Libre and quote it with me all the time wtih my accent. The roomates love my accent too.
Sarah: can I get mish e mails for people?
For all those who have e mailed me, I am so sorry I didn't have time to reply. I'll know now to write less to the fam next week.
Love you all! Talk to you on Tuesday or Wednesday!