November 28, 2011

More from ALC!

So I am here now. I am glad that you had a good Thanksgiving Lenny. Here it was pretty much the same as a regular day. People are putting up their trees and lights here so it is looking more like Christmas. Thanksgiving isn´t anything here so it was more like it just didn´t happen, but Christmas is a big party here...more on the 24th and the 31st than anything with fire crackers and stuff. I am pretty sure we will go in early on those days but we haven´t got the instructions yet. Well, I am glad you had a great trip and didn´t freeze too much. Glad you are doing well. I got sweet mail on Friday. I got your package with the soap and flashlight on Friday. Muchas gracias and I got the package with candy from Jayne which I was suprised got here so fast. I got DearElders from Annika, you, and the Gehrings. Annika was funny and said she was going to make a chain of the days I had left. Crazy girl. Well, on Friday we had pizza at the zone meeting and from what I understood the President helped buy it for our Thanksgiving treat. So that was good. Well, we were unsuccessful with people at church yesterday but hopefully we can get some this week and maybe find some new people. The meeting went well with Elder Amado and so did the musical number. We did I Need Thee Every Hour. I liked some things he said about how we should look and work with the people who are ready now because there are some and that everyone has their time to accept so work with the ones who will accept now. I also liked his examples of the missionaries in the Book of Mormon - Abinadi and Ammon and that Abinadi only reactivated one soul and Ammon baptized thousands but they were both successful. Anyway, it was good and we got Burger King for lunch afterwards too. We are trying to have some success in one way or another. But we just keep working and eventually it will come. We’re trying to find some new people to teach. The branch gave us yesterday the list of the children older than 9 that haven´t been baptized so maybe we can reactivate a few families and get these kids baptized. The gospel is true. I won´t be sure about the Christmas call until the very last Monday before, because we have changes the 14th so I don´t know if I will be here or somewhere new. Anyway, we can work it out later. Well, we went with the elders on Saturday to visit one of their converts and nonmember husband and sang some songs to them. We sang Away in a Manger last and I thought of you Mom and Grandpa Mullen. Even though I didn´t hear him sing it, I will always think of him. Also fun fact for you Lenny - Sleigh Ride in spanish is paseo en trineo. So look forward to that song next year as we blast it for you. Also they are selling tictacs in the grocery store here so that was a good treat with good memories of having them in church. This week I got to talk to some people in English since we were waiting for a member by the highway where the buses passed and they were asking where the bus to san juan del sur passes. I wasn´t sure but I asked and it was weird talking in English. The lady was from the Phillipines and the husband was from Ohio. Also a man from England asked where the bus to Costa Rica stopped. I wished I would have asked him more about where he was from, but oh well. I also get excited to see shirts from things I know. There are some high school ones and I would be so excited to see a Mt. View one. But I will let you know when that happens. Also, just so you know I am well taken care of here and the lady at dinner calls me her chela and I like that. She is really good to us and so is the lady at lunch. The people are great here. Today we went to the RS president’s house and she gave us each 3 corn on the cob. It was a lot but tasty. Anyway, I haven´t had much time to write letters today and I don´t know if I will get to write many, but I will try. I did send some last week. So, I am doing well. This week we got to ride in a horse drawn carriage when we went out to the boon docks with the elders so that was fun. I had seen these carriages before but never had ridden in one. So that was a first for the week. I can´t believe it is almost December. I will be happy to talk to you on Christmas!  I am doing great and it will be a Christmas to remember. Well, I love you TONS and know I am where I need to be. You are the bestest! The gospel is true. Love, alc

Photos and more from the DR

So I am on the computer now. We are at the mall which is fun because it is all decked out for Christmas with music and all. We saw a couple of the other hermanas here too. We had a little activity with the zone at our chapel today. We played a version of baseball but instead of a ball you use something like a bottle cap. It was fun except the other hermanas weren´t there as they had to take care of something at the office. We had 8 investigators at church yesterday which was great, but we´ll have to see who can really progress, but it was nice to have people show up. We´ve had a good week here. Christmas is in less than 4 weeks! Yippee. We had a good Thanksgiving. Well, it was actually pretty much like any other Thursday, but we did fix some of the stuff you sent and listened to Christmas music. I bought some cranberry sauce too and we sang Thanksgiving songs in the morning. I was thinking of my favorite West Wing episode too. We had our zone meeting on Thursday like always and the mail hadn´t showed up yet, but we called and they were coming so we waited which was nice. I got my 12 days of Christmas package and thanksgiving card and pictures from Kelsey B. and a couple other letters. I loved Annika´s letter.  She signed it, love your sister, Annika. The Greens are so great!  It was grand!  I love mail. I am glad to hear you had a fun trip and I look forward to your letters about it. This week I have quite a few random stories to tell you. I saw a guy with a ASU t-shirt on the other day and I said that that was my university. I had seen it before but hadn´t said anything to him. One of our investigators pulled out 2 white hairs from my head the other day. I thought maybe they were just old highlights but they were pretty much white, which was funny. I guess I have mom´s hair. I ate a couple of the candies Jayne sent, in honor of your trip. I had a little crunchie on Friday for your return. So the lady that we sometimes visit has given us snacks to take home before. On Saturday she gave us each a little pack of saltine crackers and then got out a Malta Morena. It is a drink here that is pretty nasty. It is dark brown and tastes like molasses and malt or something. She opened the bottle and I said we could just take it with us, but she poured it in 2 glasses for us, so we had to drink it. I think it is the smell that is the worst. As I was drinking, I was thinking it smelled like cat food. Then my comp thought I was gagging on it and she started laughing and then I started laughing and the lady was laughing at who knows what since she is really hard to understand, but we managed to down the drink without spitting it all over, but it was quite funny. Anyways things are good here with Hna Ball. She is very nice to me and sometimes does my dishes and this week she shined my shoes while I was in the shower. I have been thoroughly enjoying reading the conference Ensign. I read the talks Dad had mentioned from the priesthood session which were great. In my homecoming talk, I am definitely going to talk about how much I love senior couples. :)  There are so many great couples in 30th ward who I would love to have as a senior couple. I can picture you two as an office couple. It would be grand. My favorite scriptures of the week: Mosiah 2:41 and D&C 90:24.
So I think we have the temple next week so if I don´t email next week just know I will on Wednesday. We visited a new, less active member this week and I felt like sharing the scripture from D&C and as we were talking she said that our message was just what she needed which was cool. It is always nice to know that we are being led by the Spirit. I love you all soooooooo much. It is almost December. Crazy. I can´t believe Lexxy is almost half done. Love you lots, ejc

...So here are some photos. There are some from the activity today. Also a few from Thanksgiving. I did organize my desk today so it looks better than it did on Thursday. Also one from my avocado phase. The other is the Christmas tree we helped decorate. But the freakiest picture is the one with the girl that comes to our English class. So I got the pictures you sent from Lexxy and I actually thought one was me for a second. Then we realized that the girl that Lexxy was with looks like this girl. Maybe her long lost twin. :) Anyway, I asked her if I could take a picture with her on Saturday. Twin stuff is so funny.

November 21, 2011

Hola peeps!

So I am finally on now...super late. So last night the plan was that this morning we would head to Jinotepe and hang out with the zone for p-day, write here, etc. and then sleep here and go to Managua in the morning. Then this morning we got the call that there were some issues with the general authority’s travel plans and he wasn´t coming until next week. But they were going to have an activity here with another zone. Anyway we came but without our stuff for tomorrow since we thought it was off. Anyway, it is back on so we had to go back and get our stuff and come back. So, we just got back and I am here now. But the internet place is closing in 15 minutes. It was a good week. We are teaching some new people and had 5 people in church. Only one is some one that is progressing but whatever. We were happy. I got letters this week and maybe tomorrow in Managua I will have a package, we shall see. Anyway, I am glad to hear all is well in the DR. I am doing real well. Tomorrow I am accompanying two elders who are singing for the musical number. Hopefully, I won´t mess up too much. We are doing Nearer my God to Thee. It will be fine but it is a little more improvising than I prefer.  We are still waiting on the Liahona conference edition to get here. I will be happy when it comes. Well, I don´t know how much time I have left but I am glad all is well where you are at. Too bad I missed you. Happy Thanksgiving. It will be a different one this year but something to remember. Next year I will be partying with you.  We are excited for the meeting tomorrow. We are keeping busy and working with a new family or two and a hermano. This place is about to close but I will have more to tell you next week. It was a good day even though we spent a lot of time on the bus. We played a little futbol and practiced the music. You are the bestest 3 peeps on planet Earth. Thanks for all you do. Even though we are far away I still feel close. I love you and will have a great Thanksgiving Nicaraguan style.  And have a happy DR Thanksgiving Lenny. I did mail a few letters today. I hope the trip is fantastico. The gospel is true and I am where I need to be. Love you TONS. Love, alc

More from the DR land!

So I am on the computer now. We had some difficulty finding a place that had power and wasn´t super slow, but we found one. We met up with a couple of other sisters for a little while today and then had lunch and did a little shopping. I am doing good. I made a pre-Thanksgiving meal yesterday with mashed potatoes and stuffing and I will make that with the turkey meal you sent for Thursday too. Hermana Ball is doing good and settling in to the new life here with bucket baths and all that jazz, but we are doing good. When people ask how my Spanish is coming, I tell them enough to get by. :) I decided with the training to not try to put on a show that I really know what I am doing, but just show her what I know and then we figure out the rest. She says she likes being able to try and talk during the lessons since we both need to and that I am not so set in my ways that we are able to adapt and work together. She says I am doing a good job. Things are good here. I got a lovely boatload of mail at zone conference on Thursday. I got a package from you and I got the package from Jayne so I will be enjoying some English candy. :)  I got lots of dearelders and letters... ones from Donna and Kelsey B. and Grandma Harvey. Gotta love mail. We had a good zone conference. 8 of the 12 hermanas were there which was fun. Hermana Hernandez also made pumpkin pie which was delicious.  It was a good time at the office. I thought about you a lot on Friday as well as Natalie and Matt. I had ice cream a few times this week with my 5 month mark, your anniversary, and of course just whenever. :) I had a Baby Ruth to celebrate Lexxy´s 8 month mark. I got the conference Ensign this week at zone conference too, so I am excited to have that and read the talks again and the ones I missed.  So it´s been a good week here. This week went by much faster than the last one. I think the time goes by slower when there are changes but now the time is going by fast again. Crazy that November is almost over. Soon I will have 6 months and Lexxy will be half done. :) We had a good day yesterday with investigators at church. We had 6. Some were kids of investigators but we were happy with that and we are getting a little more help from the ward too. We still have our baptism planned for the first full week of December. Hopefully our investigator will continue to progress. I think we will be going to the temple in 2 weeks, but I haven´t heard the exact date. I will try and tell you the week before since we will probably be going on a Wednesday. My comp is playing the piano for the stake choir for stake conference in a couple of weeks, so I am singing too, which is fun. We have practices on Sunday. We are having a big mission Christmas party the last p-day of this transfer, the 19th I think. The whole mission is supposed to be there at the office and it should be a good time. I have been enjoying reading your letters lots of times this week, and I had 2 weeks’ worth. So my new favorite food of the week is eggs. I kind of go in waves of what I like. This week I bought some eggs and have been cooking those most nights. I also bought some green salsa which has spiced up my food a little. Also some random things from a visit we were at. This lady we visit on Saturdays usually has a newspaper out which I enjoy looking over sometimes, especially during things like baseball and stuff. Well, on Saturday there was a big picture of one of the republican debates and an article. I couldn´t understand a lot of the words since my vocab isn´t focused on political stuff but I got a great kick out of the article and my comp thought it was funny that I was so interested in it. Anyways, good times. Also at the same appointment there was a little mouse running around especially around my comp's feet. Gotta love things like that in the DR. It was really a cute little mouse and I am just glad it wasn´t some giant rat. Well, I am doing good here and looking forward to our next grand family vacation. At least next Thanksgiving Alexis will be home for the auto show and who knows when I´ll be home... for sure January 1, but I am still hoping the mission president will decide to send us home the transfer early so we can be home for Christmas and get ready for school. I love you 3 soooooooooooo much. You are what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving...more than ever. I love you so much!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a fantabulous trip! I can´t wait to hear all about it. Ejc

November 14, 2011

More from the DR

So I have survived my first week of training.  Really things have been good. It's challenging being the one responsible for making sure things are done the way they should be, but I am definitely talking a lot more. We are working on trying to figure out how to teach the lessons as I didn’t do a lot of major teaching before and my comp is fresh from the MTC.  I was real happy on Tuesday when I saw all of the other American elders from my group and they are training too. Some of them are in new areas too and one is a district leader. Craziness. Everyone we visit says that I talk a lot more and we did put our first baptism date for the beginning of December so we will see how that goes. Crazy that I will have 5 months tomorrow and Lexxy 8!!!!!!   I didn’t get any mail this week which was really weird but the DearElders must have arrived later and I will definitely get mail this week on Thursday when we are at the office for zone conference. We went to the temple the week after zone conference last time, but I’ve heard that we are going in December, so if I don’t email next week on Monday, don’t worry. I will try and give you a heads up but whatever. Give my best to the happy couple on Friday....Natalie and Matt :)  
I am doing good and my comp is good, tries to talk and stuff, and is really motivated. We had a great time at a zone activity today, played volleyball and it was fun talking to the other hermanas and missionaries. Then we went to Burger King with Chessy’s friend and my MTC comp Hermana Mcentire. Good times with the “king”. I thought of Mr. Vogl. We were supposed to go to the park with all of the missionaries in the city like we do every transfer but there is some sort of strike and protests so we didn’t go. Yesterday one of the presidential candidates set up some sort of rally at the corner outside our house and the house was literally rumbling because the music was so loud. Luckily we were just getting ready to leave for the afternoon and when we came back at night they were all gone but it was funny.  I think you would be pretty proud that I haven’t got really lost here. I think that is because I have had to teach the area to two comps. There are still lots of places I don’t know exactly how to get there or I am not sure exactly what street we are on, but I do pretty well considering my directional challenges.  :) I also managed to get us to the zone activity without getting lost. The other sisters gave us directions and luckily I had been there once before. I know the Spirit helps guide us and helps me remember where things are.  I am looking forward to all of the mail that is coming and I am sure I will have some this week.  The Eickbushes are the best!  They always comment about how much mail I get. Good times. I love you all soooooooo much.  Things are good here and I am looking forward to Christmas! Yipee. I hope we can coordinate our calls when it gets closer. I am sure it will all work out. Alexis, I am glad your interview went well and I hope you have a fabulous anniversary Mom & Dad!  25 years since the beginning of the bestest family ever and eternity to go!!!!! Man I love you peeps!!!!!!!!!! Also I am enjoying the Thanksgiving package and the popcorn is delicious.  Well my time is about up.  I hope you have a fabulous week and we will email again soon.  Until next week, your favorite DR missionary, ejc

Hola peeps!

So, here in Rivas this week was a little disappointing since our baptism fell through. The elders are helping us with him still and hopefully we can get him baptized soon. Then we had a lady come up to us in the street and asked if we baptized and we said yes. We visited her and then on Saturday we went and got her to come to the elders’ baptism.  She had been visiting the church in Costa Rica with her member son.  It was an up and down week, but whatever. We keep working and eventually we will have some success with some baptisms. I had a real good interview with the president on Friday. We were first at 6:45 a.m. Interviews were in Jinotepe which is an hour or so by bus. But the earliest bus wouldn´t get us there in time so we went on the last bus on Thursday and worked and slept at the sisters’ house there. We put the two mattresses together on the floor and it was fine. I worked with the new sister there and I sort of had a wake up call that I am not new anymore and that I should stop waiting around, until I don´t know when, and get going. She was looking at me for direction and I was like I don´t know, but it was really good with her even though it was only an hour or so. Also the President gave me quite nice compliments at the end of my interview which I was glad to hear since I wasn´t sure what he thought. He was really nice and I felt like my Spanish didn´t hold me back too much. Elena, I told my president that you were training and quite nervous but it will be great. Have lots of fun and that is cool. Anyway, life is good here. We are working to do some baptizing soon, but it will come eventually. Have confidence with your Spanish. And I bet you’ve realized you have learned a lot, now that you see where you came from with your newbie comp. Seeing the new sister in the zone has helped me realize I have learned lots, but I do tell her often that I don´t understand it all, so she doesn´t worry. I am glad you are doing well. I got lots of mail on Friday too - DearElders from you, Joyce, Brennan, and the Gehrings, and cards from you and Amy Allen, and my twelve days of Christmas package.  I liked Tanner and Tucker’s excerpts from the blog that you sent. I think the same things sometimes about working efficiently that Tanner said. I like to do my things logically but sometimes I just go with the flow and if we walk more than we need to, oh well. Also, I asked the president in the interview about calling home at Christmas and to Lenny. He said we can only make one call but if we arrange to call at the same time that would be how we could do it.  Christmas will be here so soon. We sang a Christmas hymn in Relief Society yesterday which was fun. Also, this is week 46 for the year. So I am excited to hear how the training is going Lenny. I will be writing on Monday next week. We are going on Tuesday to Managua to hear Elder Amado of the Seventy. We will probably be in Jinotepe again on Monday and stay the night there since we have to be in Managua at 7. Anyway, life is going well. It has been hot here this last week, but yesterday and today it has been cloudy. Anyway, I am doing fantastico and I had a real good time talking to the president.  He made me feel real good. He said I am always ready to do what I am asked to and things like that. So that was nice. Well, I love you so much. Have a fantastic anniversary. Can´t wait until you hit your 46th anniversary. Also thanks for sending copies of wedding announcements. I like that. Well, the gospel is true.  LOVE YOU TONS.  Happy 5 months this week Lenny and that means 8 for me.  We are just about done here and I am glad it is all going well. I will look forward to more of your emails next week. I got the picture you sent of Elena and her comp. She is quite tall. I love you all soooooooooooo much and you are the best. You are the bestest family in the universe. Las familias son eternas. Love, alc

November 7, 2011

So greetings - week 13 in Rivas

I have about 45 minutes since we only have an hour on the computer now which includes our time to email the president so anyway. That’s crazy Lenny, but you will be fantastic and you will learn tons of Spanish quick. So my new comp is Sister Ayala from Honduras and she’s cool and we are going to baptize this week. We are happy. We have a new district leader too, but so far so good. I have had good district leaders so far and the zone leaders are cool too. The Latino has learned lots of English since he says the other comp only speaks English to him. Anyway, that should be fun. Just laugh lots with your new comp. You will be great and learn lots together. I think that is good. In our district it is just me, my comp and two elders, but in the zone there are 6 sisters and 12 elders. Anyway, a few things before I forget - the week of the 21st I may be emailing a different day since a general authority seventy is coming for three days 21-23 and we don’t know when will be our day for our meetings with him. There are changes the 14 of December so there is a chance I could be with someone else for Christmas but we will see. I have heard some new sisters are coming so maybe she or I will be training. My comp has 10 months in the mission and is 2 changes ahead of me I think. She is much more upbeat and talkative and the elders have said I am more perky too so that is good. I just have to be more courageous in talking and interrupting her since otherwise I won’t talk in lessons or contacts. It is a little more responsibility being the one who knows the people and where things are but it is good. We are excited the man came to church yesterday and that we will baptize this week. That is a good way to start off. So, 3 new sisters came this week - two from Guatemala and one from Nevada. Two of them are in the zone and I am happy there is another American with me at the zone meetings. It has brought back memories of when I was new and hopefully I can be of help to her. She has a good comp and seems to be doing good so far. Anyway, we were visiting someone the other night and ended up talking to this lady. As we left she gave me a super big hug which was cool. Yesterday we ran the primary the last hour of church. I didn´t really do much since I don´t know primary songs in Spanish except for “soy un hijo de Dios”. But it was good. And before I forget - HAPPY 11-11-11 on Friday. I will be celebrating. I am glad Socks is doing better.
I am in total agreement with Elena about how happy I am to be sealed to you 3! That is the bestest and really super awesome. So I will be home in less than 11 months. Craziness. The gospel is true and I love you tons. I just have a few minutes left. Then we are off to the Pali which is the Walmart owned place to stock up on a few things.  Here there is a Maxi Pali that is new that we will have to check out sometime. Anyway, my comp has a boyfriend that is supposed to write at 2 each Monday so I should be fairly regular with this time. He is on the mission in Honduras. Here are some pics. Some are from the p-day last week and then one is with the daughter of the lady where we eat dinner and then some are from the service we did on Saturday with the elders moving some dirt out of the hole for the outhouse bathroom at a member’s house in the other branch.
Anyway, enjoy and I should have some baptism ones next week. Well, I can´t wait to hear about Lenny’s first few days as a trainer. It will be fun!  Love, alc

I'm here & I have big news!

So I am on the computer now. I am using a mac laptop at a library which is a little weird but it is free and luckily I have experience working on macs thanks to GDP. So, last night the mission president called and I handed the phone to my comp because I figured it was for her and then she put me on. I couldn´t really understand everything that he said, but he asked me to train the new sister. Crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I found out that she is from Utah and is learning Spanish too. When the mission president called I thought he was joking but I realized that he probably wouldn´t be making prank calls. :) So it will definitely be an experience. As I was fasting yesterday and closing with a prayer I asked to know that the changes are inspired. Little did I know what was coming. I am a bit nervous, but I will just trust that this is what I need to do and I am going to need the gift of tongues more than ever. I guess the Lord and the mission president trust me more than I trust my abilities right now. So we went to the office today and I got a package from you. I didn´t open it as it is easier to carry on the bus home, but thanks. I also got dearelders and letters and the shirt from Grandma Harvey last week. So I finished off my big 40 oz jar of peanut butter this week, just to let you know. We also ran out of gas but luckily my comp wasn´t going to wait days to ask one of the members to go get some for us. So we have gas. :) I saw a dead rat on the side of the street amidst some trash and would have taken a picture but didn’t have my camera with me. I will be picking up my new comp tomorrow and my current comp and her new comp will be going to their area tomorrow. It will be real interesting. It has only been 12 weeks since I was doing this myself. I will likely be with my new comp for Christmas as usually the training is for 12 weeks. So I will probably have 4 transfers here. I was hoping for a change, but this wasn´t what I was imagining. So, it was Thursday that I was with Hermana Mcentire and as I was praying at the end of the day, I had the feeling that Lexxy had had a real good day too with her new comp...don´t know if that´s true but I felt that you were doing good, Alexis. Hermana Mcentire, from the CCM, and I spent one of the mornings this week together when our trainers had a meeting. We felt like little kids who were away from their parents for the first time and it was exciting. We had a great time. We spent most of our study time chatting but we went out and worked for a couple of hours in my area visiting a couple of people and contacting. I really hope we get to be companions again. Hermana Mcentire and Chessy´s friend are still comps and in my district so I like that :) At the meeting they announced that they are going to be making improvements to the houses like painting them, new mattresses, and also generators!!!!! Yipee! That means we don´t have to worry about the power. They had some interesting facts about church membership. There are 14 million members, 4 million attend Sacrament meeting, and 2 million pay tithing or are temple worthy. Isn´t that crazy! Can you imagine if all 14 million members were active how much the church would grow. Just thought you´d find those facts interesting. We also started our English and Portuguese classes this week. I taught the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, etc. There were quite a few kids there so it wasn´t too intimidating. The Portuguese classes will not be continuing unless my new comp speaks Portuguese. :) Today I am still with my old comp and her new comp is staying with us tonight until I pick up the newbie tomorrow. I don´t know what I would have thought if my trainer had been an American who didn´t speak Spanish and just finished her training. :) Alexis, it sounds like your comp is like the comp I have had this transfer. It was nice cuz I wasn´t stressed about saying anything but I wasn´t pushed to learn a lot either, but that is going to change. We also have a new district leader so things will be interesting. :) I hope you have a grand week and I´m sure I´ll have lots to tell you next Monday. I am going to be learning a lot of Spanish since this transfer my comp was happy doing most of the teaching and talking. I love you all tons. I am always thinking about how blessed I am to be sealed to you for eternity. There isn´t anything better. That was funny about Lexxy´s dream last week. There will definitely be some big hugs coming in 13 months. All of the people leaving were at the office today and someday that will be me. I love you all sooooooooo much. ejc