April 26, 2011

Another week in Guatemala - 3 weeks to go!

Alexis emailed us a day early again this week.  It sounds like she is doing well!

Hola everyone- 
So, today we got to go on our field trip. It was fun. Look up the relief map and the mirafloras museum and marcado central if you want to see where I was. By the way you would love the public buses here- they are either red or have super cool paint jobs. Real sweet. Saw another Chuck E Cheese today or maybe it was the one I saw before, but cooliosis. The city is pretty cool.  The relief map that was cool and showed all the mountains and layout of Guatemala. Elder Rogers also told us how it goes along with Book of Mormon history and makes a lot of sense. Then we went to the market.  I bought something for mom that I will try to mail this week. Then we went to the mall and museum there. We got to eat at McDonalds which was mighty tasty. I got a bigmac and fries and a diet coke and I tried the summer mcflurry of orange sauce and chocolate chips. It was good.  So, my birthday was good. I got sung to in spanish and english.  Not really too different than any other day here, but 1 b-day down 1 to go. Sister Ayala my twin teacher drew a birthday cake on the board and one for Elena and labeled them 1 and 2 like her and her sister go by here. Anyway, I am sad she is leaving for vacation and tomorrow is the last day we will see her. But I just found out that I am moving up to the Latino district and will get a new latina companion tomorrow. We had a spanish exam yesterday and I was not sure I did that well, but I am guessing Sister Ayala put in a good word for me. She knows that I understand more than most of the class. Four of the sisters are moving up. I am excited and know it will be great for my spanish, but hopefully the latina won't get too frustrated with me. We get the new group tomorrow and it is small. There will only be 4 districts here. The most has been 10 and we had about 7 before. It will be nice.  Easter was nice. I taught Relief Society with Sister Sutherland on the last chapter of "Preach My Gospel". And we had a special sacrament meeting where we sang like 8 hymns and they had short talks and read "The Living Christ".   I played all the hymns. Sister Smith, the other piano player, played while the sisters sang "He Sent His Son" in spanish at the end. On Sunday President Steimle taught us about the Atonement. He related Heavenly Father sending Jesus Christ to a plane ticket to get back home, and how our earthly fathers would pay any price for the ticket home from our missions if the church did not provide one. I thought about how that is true and that Dad would pay anything for my plane ticket home in 17 months. That made it more real to think about the Atonement. I love you Dad! Also President Steimle said that we did not have the usual Easter baskets and treats to wake up to, but thanks to mom I did.  I was the only one with an Easter treat from home. Thanks mom! In our devotional last week, Elder Martino pointed out D & C 100:1 and how as we serve, our families will be taken care of. I know this is true. So the temple last week was great. It was an english session, but I had to do the last part in Spanish because there are not enough english workers. It was interesting and I did my best and I understood some of it. We go again tomorrow, so that will be nice. On Wednesday we got to get out and proselyte. Even before we talked to anyone, I had this great feeling about how awesome this work is and how this is going to be the best experience ever. We have the greatest message in the world to share that can heal anyone. We got 12 contacts and gave away 3 Books of Mormon and lots of pamphlets. I was with Sister Crandell and Sister Pastran. It was great. And we got to see a McDonalds and Wendys, too. By the way there are tons of Shell stations here. Today we went by the American Embassy, which was cool. It was like the one in London - boring building, but I enjoyed seeing the American flag, but unlike in London there was a big line of people next to it trying to get visas. I am so blessed to call America home. I will enjoy being here but will be happy to come back to the good old USA. Oh, I got dearelders from Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom and the Thorntons. I don't really have letter writing time this week so I am not sure when I will be able to write back. My letters from last week just got mailed yesterday because of the holiday last week.  Love you tons!! Thanks for being the most super cool people on planet earth.  Hope you had a good birthday Lenny! and a good Easter.  
Love, Alexis 


April 19, 2011

Guatemala Week 3 - a day early

Alexis' email came a day early and it was great to hear from her!
Hi everyone- Life here at the CCM is pretty good. Sorry that I could not tell you my pday changed just for this week. They gave us the schedule for this week after pday last week, but it is all good.  I can mail stuff to Chelsea - the man that is in charge of that kind of stuff just mailed it and said it was less than a dollar. I gave him a dollar and he gave me some Guatemalan money back. So that worked out well.  So, I burned my tan skirt with an iron last week. Sister Steimle was able to repair it enough so it will be fine to wear. My companion asked her to shorten some of the sleeves on a couple of shirts the day before, so I knew she had a sewing machine. The burn was just two marks close to the side seam, so I had her take it in a little and she got rid of one of the burns. It looks fine now. I am sure I will be able to get some more native skirts in Nicaragua anyway. But Sister Steimle was very helpful.  So, my exercise here has been fun. The last couple of days I do 18 minutes on the bike and got in 4 miles, which was good. Sometimes I pretend I am riding in the neighborhood. Afterwards we have been playing speed which has been fun. Next week, everyone except the 12 of us in the district will leave for the field and we will be alone for a day or two until the next group comes in. It is a small group and there will only be 37 of us for 3 weeks here. There are 9 elders and 1 sister coming from Provo and the 6 Latin sisters and the rest are Latin elders. It will be great. The temple was great last week and I am excited to go again today. It will be fun. I saw the Hubers yesterday, so that was good. I am not sure how long they have been here for. Next to the CCM is a hotel like building that people use to stay in when they do temple trips. I think the Hubers stay there in an apartment with other missionaries. I am excited because tomorrow we get to go out and to a plaza and do some proselyting with our native companions. It should be great and fun to experience what it will be like to be a missionary in the field. We also will go see some sights on Tuesday when we are all alone here. My pday will be Wednesday next week. I think it was just a one time deal since Easter week is a big thing here. On Sunday we watched that video about Zions Camp and had a discussion afterwards about how this mission is our Zions Camp. The Lord is preparing us for something in the future. We do not know what exactly right now, but this is a time we are preparing and becoming the people He wants us to be. That was a cool correlation to think about. My spanish is coming along. I just need to practice all the time especially when we are with the Latinos. Yesterday we taught 2/3 of the Plan of Salvation in spanish twice. The second time went quite well I thought. I am excited to keep on learning and being able to speak more fluently and understand more when someone speaks to me. On Saturday, I got to play the piano in two meetings where there was a young mens group and primary group getting excited about missions and the CCM. It was fun to see the members of the church here and how great they are. We had our Sunday meetings in a chapel behind the temple. I liked seeing the building and I played the piano there too. The only thing in between the CCM and the temple is a little building and a Shell station. Gas is like 35 quetz and I am not sure if that is for a liter or not. Anyway.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY Elena if my letter does not get there before Monday.  LOVE YOU TONS! Thanks for being so awesome. Love, Alexis

April 13, 2011

Hola from Guatemala...week 2

Here's Alexis' latest letter from the Guatemala MTC: 
Hi family-  Guatemala is great.  One of my teachers is a twin and her identical sister works here too.  They are awesome and remind me so much of Elena and I.  They were companions in Provo when they went on their missions to Missouri and Ohio.   Sister Ayala shared a scripture with me that was cool Alma 17:13.  That is really true and cool to think about.  So, Elder Hinckley was here last Sunday with the area presidency.  It was great and I got to play the piano for sacrament meeting and the devotional.  It was great and fun to have them here, which does not happen often.  Also they were here to meet the mission presidents in the area.  On Thursday all the mission presidents came and met us.  It was fun to meet my president and his wife.  They spoke little english and we could communicate alright.  I asked them about knowing Laura Flores and they knew her and remembered Walter's name.  A relative of the Flores is a patriarch in their stake in Costa Rica.  He told us there are 4 stakes, 3 districts, and 2 branches in the mission.  He said he expects 100% obedience not 99% and that we will be blessed by doing so.  He talked about faith in Moroni 7:33.  They were very nice and I am excited to see them again in 5 weeks.  We can listen to music here and they have it playing all the time in the foyer area.  It is funny because sometimes they play Christmas music which is cool.  We also watched two devotionals from the Provo MTC by Elder Holland.  Chelsea mentioned one about making our missions change our lives.  The were both great and he was very encouraging and told us that our missions will never end and should never end.  We should always be feeding the sheep.  He talked about "Preach My Gospel" and the reason it came about was to help keep missionaries from going inactive when they came home because apparently the message never got into their hearts.  Anyway, both were very good talks.  My companion is from Heber, AZ and graduated from NAU in secondary history ed.  We also have a Latina companion from Costa Rica who is going to Nicaragua North.  Her sister will get here in two weeks and is going to my mission.  It is fun to talk to the natives and it definitely helps with the spanish.  On Wednesdays, a lady comes and sells things like bags and scripture cases and notebooks and tolietries in the MTC.  I decided to get a scripture case for my spanish scriptures, so I got the 2 cases for the Bible and Book of Mormon and a mini case for my little hymn book for 10 dollars.  I think that was a great deal. I probably will not buy much else since I do not have tons of room to take things to Nicaragua.  Elena is lucky that once she leaves Provo she will be in the country to stay and not have to make sure her bags are the right weights again.  Well, the food is really good here.  Some of it is a little different but it is all pretty tasty.  I am excited to go to the temple this afternoon.  It will be great.  The weather here is nice right now.  I am sure it will get warmer, but so far so good.  I am enjoying it here and the people are so nice and I am excited to get to Nicaragua.  I know this is where I need to be.  This is a great work!  Check out GuatemalaCCM.com and my picture should be up.  Anyway life is good here.  Love you lots and lots, Alexis

April 6, 2011

Greetings from Guatemala

Here's the email we got from Alexis today.   She made it to Guatemala at 6 a.m. this morning.
Hola familia-
Just figuring out this spanish keyboard. So we made it here safely and got all our bags and stuff through customs.  When we got outside we waited for about a minute and then this man came up to ask if we were going to the mtc and we said yes.  Then this super sweet school bus came and took us here.  It was about a 20 min drive and there are lots of american things here, even Chuck E. Cheese.  Sweet.  Then we had breakfast- eggs, ham, bacon, and bread which was good. Then we had about 3 hours to unpack, shower and nap which was nice.  We have had a couple meetings- one about rules and the other was a welcome from the President.  He is very nice and they are from CA.  I will look for the Fillmores and Hubers.  There are 3 groups of people here- the old north americans who have been here 3 weeks, the latin people who are only here for 3 weeks, and us new north americans.  So, I am assuming that they only get new people every three weeks.  I have a new companion - Sister Crandell from Heber, AZ.  She was the sister you saw get on my flight in PHX.  She is cool and I think we will do great.  We will also get a Latina companion to eat with and exercise with so that we can learn more spanish, so that is good.  I have bottom bunk now, which is fine since the bed is easier to make.  The beds were numbered and I got number 5 which is the bottom.  The rooms are nice and the bathrooms and showers are too.  There is bottled water in the bathrooms and hallways to drink and brush our teeth with.   Last week they just put in tile in the bedrooms so it is nice.  I think there are about 60 missionaries here.  The temple is right here and one of the senior couples goes with us each week to make sure it all goes well.  My p-day is still wednesday, but today is not a usual pday but we still get to email.  We had chicken with rice and broccoli for lunch.  They have ice cream too.  I will have to pick and choose what to eat so I do not get too much since we are supposed to eat what we get and not waste.  The food is good, so I do not think that will be a problem once I adjust to the new setting here.  I am doing well.  The people are so nice.  Two of the head workers are learning english so that is nice to know that they know what we are feeling.  It is poor here, but I think it will be something you just get used to.  Here at the CCM (MTC in espanol) it is a great facility.  The traffic was crazy and our bus just stopped on the busy road to back into the CCM driveway.  People were honking, but it was kind of funny.  There is an elder with us who had never been on a plane before and he was fine with that, but he was a little nervous with the crazy traffic.  We will definitely learn how it all works. So I think all the mission presidents from the area will be in town tomorrow, so we can meet them all which will be exciting.  And on Sunday, Elder Hinckley and Clark and the Area president will be here, which does not happen all that often.  So, all the sisters coming to central america do the split training and all the elders going to guatemala come here too.  They do not have enough room for all the elders going to central america here.  It was so great to talk to you last night.  It seems like it has already been a while since that happened but that red eye flight makes the days even weirder.  The president and his wife live down the hall from us and our teachers are sisters, maybe twins.  They look a lot alike.  On their name tags is says sister so and so 1 and sister so and so 2.  They were really happy here to get piano players.  I played at the welcome meeting and another sister plays too.  That was fun and the piano was real nice.  I am so excited and happy to be here.  It feels alot homier here.  We still have a busy schedule, but there are just so much less people.   I have like 4 minutes left, but I just want to tell you that I love you soooooooooo much and that is was so fabulous talking to you.  I am excited to learn so much here and the people are so good to us.  I am excited to be here and to eventually get to Nicaragua.  I know that it will be great and that I will just love the people.  I love you soooo much! 
Love, Alexis 
Thanks for being the bestest earthings on planet earth!

April 5, 2011

More MTC Pictures!

We got to talk to Alexis tonight on her way to the Guatemala MTC!  She sounds great and is doing well.  Alexis said they got to watch a special that KSL did about the Provo MTC and said we should check it out.  If you want to watch it, click here.  Alexis sent more pictures from the MTC.  Enjoy!


April 2, 2011

MTC Pictures

Here are some pictures Alexis sent from the Provo MTC.  We got to talk to her for 5 minutes yesterday.  She got to call home to let us know her travel plans changed a little bit.  She is heading off to the Guatemala MTC on Tuesday!