July 27, 2011

3 weeks left here at the MTC in the DR!

Hola Familia! Things are good here. We went to the gardines botanicos and the zona colonial today. The gardens were kind of like the Dole plantation where you ride this tram thing around. And we took a tour of Christopher Colombus’ house. It was a good time.  We went shopping yesterday, too.  (Also, the president and his wife's names are Stuart and Sandra Glazier in case that rings a bell from Westwood.) So the DR is treating me real good. We had a good Pioneer Day on Sunday. We watched Legacy instead of having a fireside and had ice cream afterwards like we usually do on Sunday nights. We also watched a DVD MTC devotional from Provo in the afternoon and I saw Chessy again. It was a talk by Elder Scott and it was real good and I got quite a few Chessy sightings too. :) The Haitians left on Tuesday morning so it has just been the North Americans here yesterday and then part of today. The Latinos are arriving throughout the afternoon and night tonight. We went shopping at basically the DR equivalent of a super Walmart. It was called La Sirena. It was 2 stories and they had tons of good stuff and quite a bit of American stuff. I guess they have a few of these stores in the DR.  I got a Coca Cola Light - so you can let Mike know about that. They didn't have Diet Coke and had the light stuff or coke zero. But I enjoyed it. We saw an Outback and Chilis and fast-food chains. Today we even saw an Ikea.  Pretty sweet. They have lots of nice cars here, but the driving is a little out of control. Yesterday, the guys that picked us up from the airport took us to the store and today we took 2 Honda Odysseys on our field trip. It was fun to see the city and even the beach. We saw the equivalent of the DR White House. It is quite a palace. The gardens were beautiful and it was fun being in the historic area, although we got poured on. :) I've been thinking of Grandpa Mullen this week since we've been getting a lot of rain and how you always say that Grandpa called it “liquid gold”. I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more of that.  Since it was just the 12 North Americans here yesterday, we had Papa Johns for dinner.  Pretty sweet.  I think of you, Dad, in the mornings since you are getting up about the same time.  I am pretty used to this schedule now.  Muchas gracias for the package and the one on its way.  I haven't got the dear elders from this week - probably tomorrow.  (I poked a little hole in one of my dresses the other day and wasn't sure if I should do anything about it. It's not very big but I don't want it to get bigger, so if you have any ideas or could maybe send a little iron on patch. :) but at least I didn't burn it with an iron. :) Bummer that Lexxy's been sick, but she still sounds as good as ever. :) I'm glad to hear that she's doing better.  She always sounds so good.  Can I just tell you how much I love the three of you. You are the coolest people on the planet and I love you more than ever!!!! I miss you, but I am doing real good and am grateful for this time to serve a mission. Thanks again for all of the lovely mail! You are the bestest! I think of you often and hope that you are all doing as fantastico as I am. :) Love you lots and lots, Elena

July 25, 2011

Greetings from Nicaragua

Well, so it has been a good week. The only bad part was that I got sick. I think I got a little flu bug but I am doing much better now. On Wednesday, I didn´t feel great but I worked like normal. Thursday I felt about the same but my comp knew that I wasn´t feeling awesome so we moved a little slower. Thursday night I had a nice little fever going so I took some meds. and went to bed. Friday morning the fever was better so we went to the meetings we have every Friday with the zone and then came back. We worked a little but our appointments weren´t home so we took a nap in the afternoon for an hour. Then we went to a couple of visits and piano class. The elders knew I didn´t feel awesome so they gave me a blessing when they were all at the church. I didn´t feel great so I suggested we go to the Branch President’s house and see if I could stay there with the wife and my companion could go with the daughter. Then I slept until the elders and my comp came to eat at like 8:30. I felt really good when someone in the house put a blanket over me just like you would do if I was on the couch at home. I felt like I have family here and that I am really being taken care of. I don’t know who did it. My love for the people grew a lot in that small act. Anyway, the elders got there and I wasn´t feeling good. Then I felt like puking. I didn´t have shoes on so I couldn´t hurry outside so I just puked all over the blankets that were on me. The Branch President was nice and just said ¨tranquila hermana, tranquila¨ which I took to mean don’t worry. As soon as I puked then everyone starts calling the nurse and the assistants to the president. I felt a lot better after I puked and just sat there while the elders and my comp ate. I drank a little but puked that on the way home, luckily outside of the house. The Branch President and his wife were cool and took care of it all.  Well, anyway, I told them all I would be fine and that I would take some meds and sleep and I would feel better in the morning. I had a good fever going but I took my Advil and went to bed. I felt better a little on Saturday but not great. We didn´t find two members that could help do some divisions so my comp could go out, so we stayed in all day except to buy some saltine crackers and Powerade. My fever got better and Sunday I felt a little better. We just went to the first hour of church and came back. I ate regular food and my fever got even better and stayed that way without meds. We found two members to do divisions on Sunday so one stayed with me for about 3 hours. Today I am doing fine and have no fever. I am just a little tired but I think tomorrow I will be back to the normal missionary life. I am doing fine and everyone took good care of me. So that was the excitement for the week. Don´t worry, I was well taken care of! So other than that, this week has been pretty good.  Oh, I was reading in the July Liahona/Ensign the article about work and a little part about caring for elderly parents.  I also enjoyed reading Elder Paul V. Johnson´s talk from conference this morning.  I liked how he said that we will have just the right amount of trials in this life - we can do whatever is put in front of us. I am really enjoying reading the talks from conference. I read one each time in my personal study. I also like Elder Holland’s article in the July Liahona about faith and pioneers. We can all have the same kind of faith to face our challenges now even though they are different than the pioneers had.  I am glad to hear that Lenny is doing good in the DR. Well, I don´t know how much letter writing I will get done today or if we will have a regular p-day next week or an activity. They had an activity today playing soccer but we didn´t go since I am still recovering. I am guessing we will have a regular p-day next week so hopefully I can do better on the letters.  I think there were DearElders from the Thorntons and Mary as well as mail from you. I just looked to see who sent them but I am excited to read lots and lots! Well, love you tons and I know the gospel is true. I am happy here and well taken care of. Don´t worry about me at all! Love you lots my forever family! Love, Alexis

July 21, 2011

Pictures from the DR!

Hi, We just got back from a little outing to a museum. The temple is closed for the next couple of weeks. We thought we were going to have class but they told us last night that we were going to a museum. It was the Museo del Hombre Dominicana - I think. It is super hot and sweaty and there wasn't air conditioning in the museum, but it was still fun to get out and about. We walked by the American Embassy - the consular section - not sure if that is different, but it was fun to see the flag behind the gates. Things are good here at the MTC and I only have 3 full weeks left. We are scheduled to head out on Aug. 16th and we hear that we'll pretty much be out in the field that day once we meet with the mission president and get our assignments. Pretty crazy. So the mail I've gotten so far has been dearelders. I bet we have some today but I haven't gotten them for this week yet. Mary sent one to the mission but they brought it over with some other mail yesterday. I think I know Kim's companion. There aren't that many people, but the girl I'm thinking of is Alice. I don't remember her last name, but she was from Hong Kong and was in the Poli Sci program. That's cool. She would probably remember me. On Friday, I marked the one month mark of being on the mission! We went out for a couple of hours to a university nearby and did some contacting. We did pretty well considering our limited Spanish skills. We probably talked to 15 people and gave some of them pamphlets. I wasn't 100 percent sure how to answer people when they asked questions and I couldn't figure out what people were saying sometimes, but it was a good experience. I think we are doing the same thing tomorrow. So, on Sunday, a couple of the elders started having some stomach issues. On Monday, it seemed like most of the Americans were not feeling so hot, but I've been doing good. My stomach has felt a little weird, but no major issues especially considering I've got a Cottam stomach – that’s fairly sensitive. :) The president's wife said that with all the carbs and stuff usually by the 2nd week people start feeling the effects but by the 3rd everyone is good. I think everyone is doing better now and not having much problem. Also, on Sunday we watched a DVD devotional from Provo by Elder Bednar and I'm pretty sure I saw Chessy singing in the choir. So that was fun. I thought she might be in the choir so I scanned the choir during the musical number looking for her. :) After the devotional, we took another afternoon nap. :) Sweet. On Monday we did service - we bagged up the grass at the temple since they are redoing some of the landscaping. I worked with one of the Haitian sisters. It has been great being here with them, even though we can't communicate much - but we can always do service together not matter what language we speak. :) The Hermanas got here last Thursday and it has been good being with them. One is our old companion and the other was on my flight from PHX. She's from Gilbert and it is fun to talk about Arizona stuff. I was thinking the other day that it's been over a year and a half since I graduated from BYU-H. Craziness. Time is so weird. It doesn't seem that long ago, but then again I've done a lot of stuff since then. I love you all so much. You are the bestest! Love, Elena

July 18, 2011

Nicaragua 4 months in!

Hola familia - so Saturday I hit my four month mark! Crazy Crazy! Today my companion hit her 11 month mark and she just got an email that her brother got his mission call to Mexico. So that is exciting. The move went well last week. The house is good and there are some things better and some things that aren´t there that were there in the old house. Better things- the toilet works better and there is a toilet paper holder. The tile is nice too. There isn´t hot water or a kitchen sink (well or a kitchen, just our fridge). There is a sink in the bathroom and then the thing outside that is for washing clothes and things. It is good though and they painted the day we moved in so it feels and smells fresh. I really am doing well. And if some bug bites are my biggest problem that really isn´t a big deal. I have done well with all the food and that kind of stuff so I know I have been really blessed. The bites are healing well and I still get my usual mosquito bites, but nothing too bad. I use the repellent but whatever. Bug bites are just part of life in Nicaragua. Life is going swell here and we are already in week four of this change. The next changes are the 10th of August. I am glad to hear all is well at home and I really enjoy all the mail. It sounds like Elena is doing good. So we went to Managua early this morning and met up with some other missionaries and the lady in charge of all the immigration stuff for both the north and south missions. The immigration place is actually in the north mission I think but I am not sure of all the boundaries. The immigration place was kind of like going to get your driver’s license, but we really just had to stand and wait while the lady got it all done for us. I got my picture taken, some electronic fingerprints, and gave my signature to put on the card. Then they gave us the card and we left. So the members were super excited yesterday to go to the temple. We only had 2 hours of church yesterday so they could go home and get their bags to be back at the church by 12. Then they went to meet up with the stake and then left on their 18 hour bus ride to Guatemala. They will be gone until Friday and are stopping on the way back to go to the El Salvador temple open house. I was amazed how excited they were even with the super long bus ride. We are so fortunate to have the temple so close at home and I need to always take advantage of that when I get back. Not all the members went. The branch president went but his wife didn´t, so she will still be cooking for us. I think there were two families getting sealed. One of them, the parents have been sealed but the kids haven´t. The daughters are around my age and I was excited for them to experience the temple. I got an email that we will be watching the El Salvador temple dedication in August, so that will be fun to be a part of. It will be interesting to hear what Tanner says about it all. Well, this week has been good. We have found some new people and some others that the old elders had on some reports. Last night I said that we could visit someone that we hadn´t visited for a while. We never got to that house but we found a new family on our way that is quite positive. I think that was the Spirit leading us to that house. Sometimes we just have to follow the thoughts we have and not worry about the why. I am enjoying the conference talks. I like Elder Richards’ talk about pain.  I also enjoyed President Uchtdorf´s talk from the priesthood session. I hadn´t heard the story about the man on the cruise ship before that didn´t realize everything was included. I thought that if I had been at home at conference time this would have been one of the stories dad would have told us when he got home from the session. That is a good memory of dad telling us all about that session when he got home every time. I am really realizing that this time should be something I should enjoy to the fullest. Sometimes there are difficult things or things that aren´t as fun as others, but really you can enjoy it all and it will be a great memory forever. This mission is really going to go by fast and I need to enjoy it right now! And to really enjoy it you have got to love the people and have a good attitude. My love for the people is growing and I try to stay positive and keep smiling. I think my smile can get me pretty far especially when I don´t understand everything people say. My Spanish is coming along. I read some of my notes from Provo and realized that I have come a long way, it is just hard to see because it is just a little progress every day. Well, the gospel is true and I know we can be together forever. I can´t wait for that day when the four of us will be together again, but I have got lots to do before then. I like the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 130:2 that says the same sociality will exist in the heavens just with greater eternal glory. I want to be in the Celestial Kingdom with all of you as a family! Well, love you tons and tons. The gospel is true! Thanks for being the bestest! Love, Alexis

July 14, 2011

Hi from the DR!

So, things are good here in the DR. I printed off Alexis' email and read through it quickly. Bummer about all of the bugs and housing issues, but it sounds like she's doing well.  I've had a good week here at the CCM. Things are going well. I like my teachers and the President is way nice. I also LOVE the senior missionaries here. We see them occasionally during the week and then a lot on Sunday. They are so nice. The people are great here. We went to the temple this morning and did initiatory and then a session. There was a lady there (from the DR) working and she was super sweet (just like the sisters in Mesa). She kissed me a bunch of times and hugged me and was so nice. We just had lunch. The food is good - usually rice and beans and meat for lunch and then tacos or something for dinner. They have pretty regular breakfast stuff. We have bananas all the time, so it's a good thing I like bananas because that is my main source of fruit now. :) Dad - you probably wouldn't care for the food as much but it is good and the meat is actually good too. They also have really good juice. Except that one time we don't think they mixed the concentrate with water so it was kinda like syrup. :) (The people that know Uncle Paul are the Lows.) On Sunday we were all super tired still so the President told us to go take a nap, which was super sweet. It was not the usual thing to do, but when the president told us that we should I wasn't going to turn him down. :) I love being here with the Haitians. We aren't immersed in Spanish like I thought we would be since the Haitians all speak French, but I am learning a few things in French like to say good night after we all have prayer together. We have family prayer every night with everyone in the MTC. We will get some Latinos after the Haitians leave so we'll get some experience with Spanish then. We also go out on Friday afternoons somewhere to contact or something. I'll let you know how that goes. :) We get to go shopping I think in a couple of weeks, so it will be fun to get out and about a little. Also, the package of treats the Greens sent has been awesome. It was fun to get it in Provo but know it is like gold here. They never have dessert at the meals, so having something sweet has been fantastic! So for gym here it is pretty funny. They have a few basketball hoops outside and then a "gym" inside. I've shot some baskets a little bit and played a little soccer version of "keep away" with the Haitian sisters outside. The gym inside has a couple of exercise equipment but they don't really work that much and then they have some weights. But the best part is that they have a ping pong table and Foosball tables. :) We all had to play inside since it was raining one day so we played some Foosball. That's what I call intense exercising. :)   Things are real good here and I'm enjoying it. The other 2 sisters are supposed to get here today, so me and my comp won't have our own bathrooms now, but that's ok. We were spoiled being on our own this first week. I might be able to send some pictures, so I'll try that next week. Thanks for sending the duffel. I love you lots and hope that you have a good week! Love, Elena

July 11, 2011

Nicaragua almost 2 months!

Hola Familia- So this week I will hit my 4 month mark in the mission and 2 months in Nicaragua. Crazy that Elena will hit 1 month!  I am doing great. So tomorrow we are changing houses to one that is even closer to the place we eat and I think it is even a little nicer than the one we are in. I don´t think it has hot water, but actually that is probably better because otherwise we have to be more cautious with the electricity bill because the shower heaters use a ton. So the reason we are moving is because the office told us to.  I have had lots of bug bites on my legs probably for like 2 or 3 weeks. We thought it was mosquitoes in the night so we went and got a mosquito net.  The next morning I still had more new bites and so last Monday I sort of determined that I probably had bed bugs not mosquito problems.  I wasn´t sure which would be worse - mosquitoes that could get you sick with other things or bed bugs that are just annoying. So, our district leader ended up calling the zone leaders about getting us new mattresses. These came on Wednesday.  I showed the man that brought them my legs and he said that we pretty much needed to wash everything and fumigate the house. Anyway, the President’s wife called the next morning and then a little while later the zone leaders called and said we needed to move that day.  They came and looked for a house with us and the district leader and we decided on this one, but the person in it wasn´t going to be out until today or yesterday.  I am not completely sure that moving houses was necessary, but whatever (the old house was nice). I am doing fine. My legs still have the old bites that are healing up and I just get a new mosquito bite now and then during the day. I also have something to spray on my sheets, mosquito net, and bed.  But I am waiting until we are in the new house to do it and I need to find a spray bottle to use.  So really, I don´t want you to worry.  I am fine.  This is just part of life here.  No biggie and now I can see that when I need something, the office gets right on it and will take good care of me (and the President responded to my letter from last week making sure that it is all resolved).  So, I wanted to tell you so you know what’s going on but I don´t want you to worry. Oh and Elena, if you get bed bugs it’s really not that big of a deal. Yeah, my legs were itchy, but really don´t stress about the little stuff.   So other excitement this week... There have  been some issues with the water here in Masatepe. I think some pipe or something bringing water in is not completely working so there has been a little shortage. We had a tank but that ran out yesterday. We still get some in the morning so I filled up every bottle we had in the house and there was enough water coming in to sort of shower - more like fill up a cup and dump it over you, but that was better than nothing.  It should be getting fixed soon and I don´t know the situation in the new house. But we have a supply now so we are fine and we will still get some water every morning. Yesterday, it was cool to see how everyone was sharing the water.  Not all the houses got water when it came for the couple hours in the morning, but the people who did spent the morning filling up buckets for the people who didn´t.  The people are so great here.  Other news, my companion has been sick the last couple of days with a cold(we think) so we haven´t got a whole lot done. We tried to do divisions on Saturday but still it was hard to get two people to be ready at the same time - one to go with me and one to stay with her. She went to church yesterday and then we took a break in the afternoon. I got to read some conference talks and I looked over my MTC notes, so that was good.  I took a little nap yesterday which was weird. It really is better to work, work, work and get stuff done.  That’s really when you feel the best. There is a quote in Preach My Gospel that basically says working will solve all your problems and worries and I know that is true. When you are being effective and working like you should you feel good and the time goes by faster. Another cool thing, hearing people mention Joseph Smith. When I hear people talk about him even before we mention him, I think of the line in Praise to the Man that millions shall know Brother Joseph again.  It is so true.  Also a scripture for you - Moroni 8:2-3. Mormon is writing to Moroni and I thought of you all writing to me.  When my companion showed it to me I thought of my good letter writers.  I am glad you got to talk to Elena and that she made it to the DR safely. I got a really nice compliment on my piano playing yesterday. Usually with the sacrament song I will keep playing if the priests aren´t quite finished. I wasn´t sure what people thought about it but last night at a member’s house they were saying how nice it is and that they really like it when I do that. They said I have a great talent. I was glad to hear it because sometimes I am not sure what people think because it is different for them to have a piano and I have to figure out how to sort of follow them. I was really happy to have the compliment last night.  So that’s crazy about that dust storm.  That was funny how Elena described the DR.  I am reminded a lot of Hawaii here except for everyone speaks Spanish and that in Hawaii almost everyone has running water and electricity. Actually most people have that here but most don’t have a tile floor. I am reminded of the bugs and weather and the super friendly people.   Elena that was cool that you had a fun 4th of July fest at the MTC.   We are working and trying to find new people to teach.   Well my time is almost up.  I am doing great.   I love you tons and tons.   Have fun in the DR Lenny!   So, crazy - some sort of parade is going down the street.   I am not sure what we are celebrating, but whatever.   So, love you tons and tons.   Thanks for being so great and sending stuff to me. I hope you are all doing well.  I am doing fantastico.  The gospel is true!   Love, Alexis

July 9, 2011

More pics from Provo!

 Elena sent home the last of her Provo MTC pictures.  Here are a few of them!

Elder Denton, Elder Thornton & Hermana Cottam
...love this one!

Elena's MTC District
Provo Temple

Heading to the DR!

July 8, 2011

I'm in the DR!!!!

After a very long day of travel and flight delays Elena arrived in the Dominican Republic.  She left the Provo MTC just after 3 a.m. and arrived at 11:15 p.m. local time.  It was wonderful to hear her voice on the phone when she called.  It was great to get an email from her this afternoon!

So we arrived late last night and it was pretty crazy going through customs and immigration and getting our bags and then driving to the MTC in the middle of the night. All of my bags arrived but my black duffel is broken. One of the handles ripped off and it has a split in it but I think everything made it so that was good. I´m guessing it must have broke on the last leg because everything seemed in its place.  My p-day will be on Thursday so I will email then.  The president greeted us at like 1 in the morning after we drove through the streets of Santo Domingo.  It was pretty crazy.  I was glad that we were travelling in a large group. 2 guys picked us and our stuff up at the airport and then it was like a 40 minute drive to the MTC Temple Complex. My comp and I have our own room that has 4 bunk beds in it and 2 bathrooms so we each have our own bathroom until the other 2 sisters from Provo get here. There are not any Latinos here right now, but there is a group of Haitians here. We went to the temple this morning, so that was good and we had English headsets and workers that helped us. It was good to go since I didn't get to go in Provo this week.  It is a beautiful complex that we live in.  The buildings are nice and the grounds are real pretty.  I met someone in the temple today who was from Calgary and actually knows Uncle Paul, so I have to talk to her some more when I have more time. Also, I didn't know Sylvia Allred's (from the General RS presidency) husband was the president of the MTC down here a few years ago.  Pretty cool.  I am adjusting to the humidity but the air conditioning is nice in the building and works well. :)  I am doing well here and am getting my appetite back and will adjust to the food over the next little while.  They have bread and bananas a lot and rice and beans and meat, but I'll keep you posted on the food.  It is nice being in such a small group and we have great elders. There are 10 of us total that arrived in my group.  The President lives on the same floor with all of us and our classrooms.  It will be nice to get to know the people here. The president took us over to the temple and is very nice.
I am doing good and it will be a great 6 weeks here.
Love you lots,

July 6, 2011

Last Day at the Provo MTC!

I just put my laundry in and am on the computer now.  Thanks for all the fabulous mail!  That scripture Chessy shared was hilarious - Helaman 3:18 (E & A's favorite number).  I am looking forward to calling tomorrow.  It will be fantastic to talk to you and hear about all that is going on. That's sad about Paul Lemons. Was it kind of expected?  Anyways, I've had a great week here at the MTC.  We had a 4th of July extravaganza on Saturday night with a program of singing and a guy that has worked at the White House a couple of times I think spoke.  They gave us Haagen Daz bars and we went outside to watch the fireworks.  They showed a screen with a map of the world with cartoon missionaries running to each mission as each mission name was on the screen with Hark All Ye Nations playing in the background.  They also had people walk in with flags from all over the world and bagpipes playing.  We sang Praise to the Man too which was cool.  We stayed up late but unfortunately we couldn't sleep in, so we were all pretty sleepy on Fast Sunday.  I bore my testimony in Spanish at our branch this week.  It was short and simple but I thought I should since I was leaving. One of my comps still hasn't got her visa...we should find out around lunch time today if it came through and if not she'll probably just stay until she gets it which might just be a few days.  I'll let you know how it turns out when I talk to you tomorrow.  I'm glad I'm not the one who isn't sure if I'm leaving or not.  We had the MTC director training last week and had a few guest teachers in my class since I'm in the pilot program they'll be implementing all around the world in August.  Not sure how that will work when I get to the DR.  I did meet the DR MTC director which was cool.  He was nice and spoke pretty good English.  I guess there are only around 40 or 50 missionaries and about 10 sisters there.  Crazy!  So we had a great fireside on Sunday with Jenny Oaks Baker. She is Dallin H. Oaks' daughter and is a world class violinist. She played with the national symphony for a while and now does some recordings and stuff.  It was really great.  Another great thing about the fireside was that I sat right in front of Elder Denton and it turned out that Elder Thornton was sitting in the same area too.  Me and my comps had to split up to find a seat and it worked out perfect because we got to take a picture with the 3 of us after which was something I had been wanting to do.  I know that it wasn't a coincidence that I sat where I did. :)   Lexxy - President Mortensen and the branch 40 peeps have been asking about you and said to say hello.  We had a good devotional last night.  Elder Kofford, an Emeritus Seventy, spoke and his wife spoke too for a few minutes.  I sang in the choir and sat next to a senior sister.  This is her 3rd mission and she said that there has to be some blessings for being a widow.  She was super sweet and I thought it was cool how she is continuing to serve.  Sister Kofford told the senior missionaries at the devotional that mission presidents have prayed them to their missions because they are such a strength.  It is great to see the senior missionaries around the MTC.  I can't wait ‘til you get to serve a mission and experience the MTC.  It will be a great experience!  The MTC is awesome and there really is no place on earth that can match the spirit here. Elder Kofford said it is not us but the work that we are doing that makes it special.  I have loved being here.  I am grateful to be a missionary!  I can't wait to talk to you tomorrow.  By the way, that is so cool that Sister Carlson is in our ward.  I guess she'd be in 70th ward too.  I told her and Sister Anderson that I hoped they got to serve in our ward. Pretty sweet.  Have a fabulous day!  Love you tons and tons!  Elena

July 4, 2011

Nicaragua - Week 7 ...Hola from Masatepe!

Here's a large portion of what Alexis emailed us today!  It was so fun to email back and forth a little with questions and comments.
Greetings Earthlings -  Hope you had a good birthday Dad.  It is weird thinking it is the 4th of July. The elders called this morning and wanted to do a barbeque, and went to look for a grill. They sort of found one, but it was getting late and we ended up just going to eat at this El Salvadorian restaurant for lunch and had pupusas.  We have had them before - sort of a stuffed tortilla. They are good and I had an orange Fanta. I mailed some letters today and I am glad to hear you got the package.   Life is going good here.  There were changes last week, but only one elder in the district changed.  The new one is from California, but his parents are Latinos so he already spoke Spanish.   He has the same amount of time in the mission as his companion - they will both hit a year this week - but he has been in Nicaragua for one more change since he only had 3 weeks in the MTC.   So that is exciting that Elena will get to the DR this week... crazy how time flies.   Next week I will have 4 months and Elena will have 1 month!  Yeah, it seems like a long time since I have been home, but you just get in the groove here and this routine is just how life is here.  I am enjoying Nicaragua!   So yesterday we had some cool things happen. Well first, we were getting people to church and this lady and her 2 daughters came.  We need to go visit the lady again.  I know the gospel will help her with the challenges she has in life. Then we went to visit someone but he wasn´t home and there was an older man there visiting. We ended up talking to him. He had been taught by the missionaries before with his daughter.   Anyway, he told us he knows the Book of Mormon is true and that he wants to memorize it.  He said he would come to church with us next week.  My companion told him to pray to know which church to go to, but he said that he already knew the answer and that ours is the true church. We were like ´´SWEET´´ - this guy is golden.  Anyway, we have another appointment with him this week.  He said that it was God who had him come to visit this house he was at and that we showed up - I know that wasn´t coincidence.   Anyway, hopefully I will have some good news to tell you about next week.  So, we did some service this week helping a member.  We ended up doing some hand washing of clothes.  I only washed like two things and ended up just keeping the water full for my companion.   I was fine with that because hand washing is a tough job.   I will be grateful if that is a skill I never have to master.   I think the lady that washes our clothes has a washing machine.  They aren´t quite the same as the ones in the states and I think you still have to do quite a bit of work even with the machine.   Thanks for all the mail.  You guys are so good!   Love you all tons and have good trip Elena!   Happy 4th of July!   Love, Alexis