January 30, 2012

Hola from Rivas

Well, I am here now. I guess I just missed Elena. I am doing well. We have a new district leader here and his comp. Well, the district leader has been here for 3 changes but this is his first time as district leader. He’s going home this change. He has a new companion from New Mexico who has 17 months in the mission. Anyway, it’s all good. I am glad that Lenny gets to follow after my footsteps with the time I have in Rivas and the time she has in Mendoza. We didn’t get any investigators to church yesterday. One was there with a sister who is a member, so that was a nice surprise. She lives in San Juan de Sur so she isn’t here all the time but we are going to see how we can work with her. We are still working with another lady who came last week and hopefully we can get her there this week. We are doing good, just searching for the elect families of Rivas. I haven’t gotten anymore mail this week but hopefully Friday or whenever the elders go on exchanges with the zone leaders. I did get letters mailed today. I can’t believe it is almost February. Craziness. I am all for the Lenny doing whatever she thinks is best but it would be a nice Thanksgiving to have her there! It will average to 18 months for both of us so that would be cool. We have interviews this week or the next. We just had changes so the next round of changes is March 7th and I am guessing that I will have changes then. Anyway, the husband of the lunch lady is making me some going away present. He is an artist and does little wood type souvenirs. He thought I was going to leave in this change but he was glad to have more time to finish it. Really these people are great! I feel like I have my little home here in Rivas. But yeah, whatever Elena decides, but it would be cool to be all together for our Christmas celebrations. I will wait to write to Lexi since my letters won’t get there by the time she leaves the MTC. It is crazy to think that it has been almost a year since I was in Provo. I am excited to get some mail whenever it comes. Thanks for all you do. You would be really proud of me as I am enjoying eating tangerines - whole ones and not even spitting out the pulp. All the fruits are coming into season in these next few months. Right now -oranges and tangerines...mangoes - soon... which I am excited about since Rivas is the city of the mangoes and I have yet to eat one here. Today we ate papaya at lunch. Hermana Louisa who cooks for us gave us both a gigantic bowl of papaya. It was actually pretty good and I managed to finish it all. We should come back in March 2013 and there will be tons of mangoes at that time. Well, it’s nice and hot and my comp is not a fan. We are a pretty silent pair and my goal this week is to try to get her to do some contacting on her own. She needs to learn but I don’t want to force her too much. She talks in the lessons so that is good. Anyway, we are doing good and trying to work with the members more. Last week we finally got a new branch mission leader so that should help us quite a bit. So life continues in the Nicaragua land and week 25 in Rivas. I am in my 7th transfer of 12. I am just about finished here. I love you so much and am happy here. The gospel is true. Thanks for being so great. I hope you have a fantabulous week. You are the bestest. Well, love you tons. Love, alc

Mendoza Transfer 5

So, I am here in Mendoza. I thought this would be my last couple of days here, but not so, which is fine. We got the call about transfers last night and they told us we were staying the same, which we were actually quite ok with. They are splitting our area and bringing another set of hermanas which will be fun. I called the other hermanas in our zone about the news and they hadn´t heard. We´ve had a good week and we were totally fine staying together, but not so. About 20 minutes later we got a call from the assistants saying that Hermana Ball is leaving and that I am staying and that Hermana Domgaard is coming here. It will be fun. She is from Utah. She´s 6´2”. She came a transfer after me and we both tend to be quiet during the lessons, so it will be good for us. Apparently there were some last minute changes with how many hermanas were coming, so they were changing us all around yesterday. We will be in a trio here for a week until the other hermana arrives and then the other 2 will go to their apartment that is pretty close by. Hermana Mcentire is training in a new area this transfer, so that´s exciting except that she won´t be in our zone. She and her comps came over today and we made brownies (well, they made brownies :)) and then we went down to Lucy’s salon downstairs (our baptism). We got our eyebrows done and nails painted. Twas fun. By the way, I didn´t feel the latest earthquake and I have a good stash of food and stuff so don’t worry. I like the ward here and we have 2 baptisms scheduled for February which will be nice to be here for. Change is always just a little stressful, but it will be good. At least I spent the exchange a couple of weeks ago with my new companion. I am not really excited to have to show someone the area again since this is the 3rd time I´ve had to do that and hear everyone say, “Where´s the other hermana?”, but it will be fine and I imagine I will be changed in March. I will be half way through the mission when I leave this area. Speaking of which I asked president about my departure at interviews this week and he said that it says my release date is January 1st but that I could decide to go earlier if I want to. Hermana Mcentire stayed at the president’s house most of last week because of her back and she said he seemed really okay with us going the three weeks before our 18 month mark if we want. I figure that since Alexis is staying the extra couple of weeks and if I come home early then we average the 18 months. Actually I am fine either way. Also in Joyce´s letter she said that Brooklyn´s baptism is Dec. 22 and she said she hoped I could make it. So we´ll see. My companion and I gave talks yesterday in church which went okay. It was on repentance and it went okay except I kept stumbling over the word for repenting ...arrepentiendo. We had a good time at interviews this week. Mine was still short but good and we got a ride home from the office elders since they were bringing stuff to the new apartment in our area. It turns out one of them is from Gilbert, so that was fun. I didn´t get any letters out last week, but I will this week. I saw a paper this week with a picture of Obama and saw that it was the State of the Union. Sweet...gotta love politics. Thanks for keeping me updated. We had a pretty good turn out yesterday at church. I always tell Hermana Mcentire that you ask about her. I can´t wait for you to meet my mission buddies. Well my time is up, but I love you peeps a million. It will be Mother´s Day before you know it. Week 25 in Mendoza here I come. Love you, ejc

January 23, 2012

hola...p-day 24 in Rivas

So I have been in Rivas almost 24 weeks and I think this is week 46 of my mission. Craziness! We have had a good week. We ended up going to Managua on Tuesday for a training for the soon to be trainers and I had to give a little presentation. Then we stayed the night in Jinotepe to go to the meeting with Elder Nelson on Wednesday. It was super awesome. He shook all the missionaries hands of both missions (about 375) and as he shook mine, he said my name. I was caught a little off guard and I responded in Spanish (mucho gusto) but it was cool and he actually said my name right too! It was cool singing “Called to Serve” in Spanish with all these missionaries. I saw both Hermanas Pastran and the one in my mission said she got the hymn book you sent. I didn't talk to her much since she was a little busy talking with her sister from the North Mission. As they hugged each other I could only imagine my reunion with you folks and Lenny. That will be the day! Anyway, Elder Nelson shared D&C 31:1-6 with us about our families and that they are taken care of. He said we will do more for those we leave behind here in the mission than we ever could have staying at home. It was a real great meeting and I wore my nice suit. Wearing my suit made me think about the day I will wear it home and I just can’t wait. Elder Nelson had people stand up based on where they were from and other things. He had people stand up by what tribe they are from. President Monestel is from Ephraim and his wife is from Manasseh. That was interesting. Most of the Latinos are from Manasseh and there were a few from other tribes like Benjamin. That was cool. They talked lots about family history. We had a couple of people at church yesterday so that was good. One was a lady we visit. It was good to finally have her come to church and tons of people in the branch know her. Anyway, a good treat I had this week is fresco de cacao. It is sort of like chocolate milk but with a few other things like cinnamon... real good. I am glad the wedding went well. Also, you know how we say “missionarying it up”, well some people here say – “misionando” - which is missionarying or missioning. Anyway, I don’t think it is a real word but people have said it to me and I think it is cool. One thing this week was as we met with the other mission and their president spoke... I really felt like my mission president is the one I need. I know all mission presidents are great, but I really could feel that the Lord knew who I would need and sent me here for that reason. He is a great man and I can just see him as a general authority someday. I think he speaks quite a bit of English or at least understands it because Elder Nelson was sitting next to him and he speaks Portuguese not Spanish. They had a translator and all the Latinos had headsets as Elder and Sister Nelson spoke. Anyway, I just love my mission president and he even complimented me on my presentation from Tuesday. We don’t see him or his wife that often, but I feel like I know them really well, and I love them like they are my own family.

There are changes on Wednesday, but I am about 99.9% sure that we won’t have any. The elders in the district do, since one is going to train but they won’t know until tomorrow who is the one leaving. I guess they aren’t going to tell about changes until Tuesday at 5 so that people don’t spend all day Tuesday saying goodbye to people. At least I have a fairly good idea that I will have changes in March since I will have been here 5 changes and that is about the max. I have heard a couple times of 6 changes in an area but that is rare. Anyway, life is good. We are looking for some new families to teach and the work goes on. I am really excited to hear about your Spanish class Mom. It should be fun. I love you tons. I can’t believe it is almost February and Chessy is almost done. Crazy! Well, I still am laughing lots at myself in the mirror and as I read my letters today I was laughing too. Lenny said she can’t wait to hold her baby sister in her arms again. Crazy girl! I love you so much my forever family. The gospel is true and I am a happy camper here in the mission. Love, alc

more from the little DR missionary

I hope things are good where you are. We have had a good p-day. We came to the office and had a BBQ with a couple of zones. I had a hamburger and a hot dog. mmmmm. It was fun since most of the Hermanas were here. One hermana hurt her back and had to go to the doctor so hopefully she´ll be okay. We are doing well. We played a little volleyball and then some card games and it was fun. Crazy that this is the last week of this transfer and then who knows what. I am glad to hear Kelsey´s sealing went well. I got both packages you sent, one today and one last week. Also one from the Greens. I haven´t opened today’s since it is easier on the bus with it still packaged up. Thanks for the mail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It turns out that the Eickbushes know Chelsea´s family. They lived in Alaska for a while and know her parents and also her grandparent´s in Utah. Small world!  We´ve had a good week. I had a lovely time in Villa Carmen with Hermana Domgaard. It was good for the both of us. They didn´t have a lot of appointments that day so we ended up doing a lot of contacting, but it was fun nonetheless. They try and only speak in Spanish when they are in the street which made it a little challenging to try and joke around and get to know each other, but we had fun. She made me lunch and also bought me my first chimi which was basically a Dominican style hamburger. We had fun. Since then, my companion and I have been having way too much fun. We laugh hysterically a lot of the time, so things are good. I slept on Hermana Mcentire´s bed and she slept in my bed during intercambios, and she is still battling her rash. I woke up on Friday morning with a bunch of red spots on my arm that looked a little like her rash. It was pretty funny, but by the end of the day they went away. They were just mosquito bites which was weird that I got so many on my arm since I hardly ever do, but it was funny that we thought the rash was spreading. Poor Hermana Mcentire. We heard that there are 4 hermanas coming which means a lot of training, so it will be interesting to see what happens next week. We have a baptism planned for February with a lady I´ve been teaching since the end of my first transfer but she has trouble getting to church. Anyways, we will see. We visited the ones we visited with the stake president, and they are coming around. I forgot to tell you that when we were there, he said the closing prayer. He thanked Heavenly Father for sending His missionaries. People are always thanking for the missionaries, but it really hit me as he prayed that we are really the Lord´s missionaries, something to always remember and live up to. We always have to be thinking that people are watching. The lady that we found last week by the church, that was having lots of problems, is doing much better and told us yesterday that she knew that we came by the church then because she needed us. She came to church yesterday. Anyways, life is good. We have interviews tomorrow with the president, so we get to come to the office again. You mentioned that you were hoping for rain tomorrow. We got a boatload of rain yesterday. We were sitting in this tin roof shack while it was raining and we could barely hear each other. We got wet yesterday. While we were sitting in their house, the little boy kept handing my companion pieces of corn flakes that she ate. After, she said they were soggy since the little kid had either touched them or put them in his mouth. Gross!  Also I left a dead cockroach in the spare room and my companion found it this morning. Funny! I told her I could have done something worse than just left it.  :)  I hope you have a fantastico week. Thanks for all of the goods and good luck with the Spanish class.  Have some fun with Theresa.  :) You are the bestest ever. Crazy that it is the end of another month. :) I love you sooooooooooo much. Love, ejc

January 16, 2012

Fotos y bautismo... more from Nicaragua

So greetings my favorite family. Well, I heard about the cruise ship. That is crazy. A lady had the newspaper out yesterday.  My watch died this week but luckily a watchmaker man lives around the corner and fixed it for 30 cordobas or less than $1.50. Sweet!  And last week I forgot to tell you that our lunch and laundry lady made me another laundry bag. It is green with a red tie and she calls it my Santa Claus bag. Funny!  On Saturday the power went out as we were walking home. We ate dinner late and were on our way home. It was dark but luckily I had my handy dandy flashlight and we walked home real fast. I called our dinner lady to tell her that we got home safe since I knew she was worrying.  On Sunday she told us she was wondering about us, so good thing I called.  
We had a baptism on Saturday. There was the wedding beforehand and then the baptism. So that was real good. We didn´t get any investigators to church and the man who needed to be confirmed was late, but it got taken care of. So we are happy campers. Also, random note - I believe next week is week 46 of my mission. Cool. Can you believe it?  My companion is cool, but doesn´t like the heat. I have been trying to improve our planning so we have several backup plans since we have had issues with appointments falling through. The heat is the life of a Nicaraguan missionary.  
Well, on Wednesday we have our usual noche de hermanamiento or fellowshipping night. We do it with both branches here and the branch president of the other branch asked me to give the message about 2 minutes before it started. He wanted it about examples of love from the Book of Mormon. Then I was the only piano player there, so I played the piano, gave my little message, and then played the piano. Gotta love the Hermana Cottam show. J  No, it was good and I think the talk turned out ok.  Also, something I was thinking about as we walked home one night with a pretty full moon. It was big and beautiful but I was thinking about how the celestial kingdom will be like the sun, the terestrial the moon, and the telestial the stars. Even though the moon was really big it doesn´t give much light. How great and beautiful the celestial kingdom will be with the glory so bright like the sun. I did mail letters to you, Lenny, and Grandpa today.  The gospel is true and I am so happy to be in this family.  Love, alc
at the wedding

More from the DR missionary!

So I am here now. We have had a good p-day...pretty relaxing. We printed our emails and then met the other hermanas at a small mall that isn't too far. We ate pizza and frozen yogurt...it's called Yogen Fruz. They should get them in the states. Then we did our grocery shopping and came home and now I am here. I will have some time to write a couple of letters and such when we are done here. We've had a good week. Thanks for all of the news updates. Any election news? I liked what Alexis said about putting in the ward newsletter about senior couples and Elder Holland's talk. The office couple here is seriously like having a set of grandparents looking after us. They are the best and I called to ask them to bring us some stuff with the mail this week. Elder Eickbush said that they love us a lot and they are sooo nice. Things are good here. We had a good week with a few investigators at church. Another person that was really interested and we actually set a baptismal date with, we think lives in another ward, but we are still trying to figure that out. Anyways, the work is moving along. We are going to do exchanges with the other hermanas this week, so I am going on Wednesday to work with Hermana Domgaard. She is 6’2” and got here a transfer after me. Anyways, that will be fun for a change and to be in a different area for a day. She has a dry sense of humor too, so it will be fun. I always tell Hermana Mcentire that you ask about her. They still haven't figured out the rash and this week they took pictures to send to the states to see if someone has any ideas. I can't wait for you guys to meet each other. I got Kelsey's wedding invitation this week and give the happy couple my best on Friday. We will definitely have to do lunch and temple outings when I get home. I celebrated my 7 month mark yesterday with a Fanta orange and chocolate from Sheron Bradshaw. Things are good and we don't have any bats at our house like Lexxy did. That was funny. I saw a dead rat this week, so I wrote a letter the Burgeners to tell them. I got lots of DearElders this week and your long letter and more labels and paper. Gracias! It is sooooo nice knowing I always have mail coming. We went to a member’s house this week and she had mom's old crockpot and that same big orange bowl you use for making pies...funny. We went and watched the Joseph Smith movie at a less active’s this week with the stake president and his wife, so that was fun. Another day this week, I knew the Lord was leading us to where we needed to be... that's sometimes what happens when our plans fall through. We visited someone who needed a blessing and called one of the bishopric. Then we went looking for a referral and didn't have success there but started contacting further down the street and ended up running into the right house after all. Then we went to the church to go to the bathroom and found a lady that was sitting on the side of the road by the church who was having lots of problems in her life. I could tell it was serious so luckily the stake president was at the church and he talked to her and she is doing much better now. Anyways, we were where we needed to be.
Love you sooooooooooooo much... ejc     Happy 10 months to Lexxy!

January 9, 2012

Greetings peeps!

Wow!  It’s been a year since the Tucson shootings. That seems like yesterday anyway.  So, greetings from Rivas. I heard about the earthquake at my dinner appointment. They told me about it. You can probably find a story about a ferry in San Jorge, Nicaragua almost tipping over because we have had a pretty windy week. The San Jorge ferry goes from Rivas to the Island Ometepe.  There used to be missionaries on the island and there used to be a unit of the church there- not a branch, but I don’t know what you would call it.  My dinner lady said we can go to the island with her when we come back to visit. Anyway, that was funny about Lenny going back to sleep after the earthquake. About 3 months ago when we were going to Managua early in the morning, my comp woke me up at midnight. I was sleepy, without glasses and knew we had to get up early to go to Managua.  She woke me up saying, “Hermana Cottam, Hermana Cottam, there’s a bicho (unusual creature) on the floor”. Apparently it was a bat, but I didn’t know what she was talking about. So I looked up and went back to sleep. She apparently killed it and we slept with the lights on the rest of the night. I found it quite hilarious afterward that I just went back to sleep, but I don’t think she was so amused. She told the landlady and they closed some openings on the side of the roof so we haven’t seen any since. So, don’t worry about bats here, not a problem.  Elena and I are such good sleepers now - we have come a long way.  I finally got to the post office today and mailed 22 letters and a package of letters back to you. The package has 3 plastic Nicaraguan flags and a real fabric one. My lunch lady gave me that and so if you could put it over my bed that would be cool and take a picture so I could show it to her. As for mail this week - I got several letters and DearElders including one from Uncle John and a letter from Grandma Harvey with her conversion story which is cool to have. We may have a miracle baptism this week. So we had a couple of days this week where we walked and walked and walked and nobody was home. We started teaching a man and he has been 2 times to church and his 3rd yesterday. So he can be baptized. Anyway, his family decided this week they want him to get baptized. The elders are coming with us tonight to do his interview so hopefully we will have a family baptized this week. Crazy how miracles happen!  We are also teaching a widow of 3 years and on Saturday we taught her the plan of salvation and she was crying at the end. She didn’t come to church since her 5 year old was sick but she should come this week. On Sunday morning when we went by he was saying ´quiero ir, quiero ir´or” I want to go, I want to go”...so hopefully they’ll be there next week. The week turned out better than I thought and we have a possibility for baptism this week that we weren’t anticipating. So that is always good. Our district leader said that that’s what happens when you keep working - eventually you are blessed.  Oh, yesterday the mission president came to Rivas.  He went to the other branch earlier in the morning, so I only saw him but didn’t talk to him. His wife gave us some candy and we saved it until after we broke our fast. Only 8 more fast Sundays to go. Crazy!  The time will go by super fast. I probably won’t get mail until next Wednesday when we have the conference with Elder Nelson.  I went to the tailor lady today to get my suit and jeans shrunk. J She said, “These fit you when you came?”  Then I showed her a picture from the MTC and they didn’t think it was me.  She will have all my clothes done by Wednesday so that is good. Also for the ward newsletter I would like you to tell all the couples in the ward to read Elder Holland’s talk in conference and get themselves on missions. We missionaries need these couples.  Well, I better hit the road. Take a look at 1 Corinthians 2:9... I liked it. Love you lots and lots... Until next week when you can wish me happy 10 months. Anyway, the gospel is true. I love you soooooooooooo much. Love, alc       


Hi peeps. We are at the mall. We went to an activity with a couple of other zones and played volleyball. Then we came to the mall with the other hermanas in our zone and ate Taco Bell and frozen yogurt. Then we did a little shopping and now e-mail. Then we will head home and maybe have a little time to write letters and relax before we go out. It’s been a good week. So we had an earthquake here on Thursday. It was at about 5:30 in the morning. I woke up to it and my companion said, “Hermana!”, and asked me if I thought it was an earthquake. I said, “I think so”, and then I rolled over and went back to sleep. She didn't go back to sleep. Some of the other missionaries didn't even wake up to it but the other hermanas did because they live on the 4th floor. Anyways, so that was the cool story of the week... first earthquake experience. :) So we’ve been quite busy this week with all of our appointments and stuff. We have a solid group of investigators right now instead of visiting a lot of the same people. We contacted a lady that lives close to the church and then went back this week and taught her the first lesson. They have been saying they should check out our church and they want to join a church. It also turns out that she is a lawyer which is super cool and she started talking about the lawyerly stuff she does and it was cool. My law vocab in Spanish is limited but I understood most of it. They didn’t come to church yesterday, but I still have high hopes for them. We helped a lady in our ward take down her Christmas tree this week since she is having trouble with her knee. She gave us one of those malt drinks that I had to down. Grosssssss. That stuff is the nastiest. We went and visited a less active member with the stake president this week since he lives in our ward. He and his wife remind me of the Cowleys. We are going to watch the Joseph Smith movie with all of them this week. The stake president said he would bring the popcorn. We have been cooking lots of rice and beans this week. My companion and I have started cooking lunch together. Well, it’s more like she cooks lunch and I help. :) I heat up the canned beans and stuff and she is working on perfecting her rice. She told me this week that when the mission president was at the CCM (MTC) giving a devotional, that they were talking and he said that he knew who her trainer was going to be. That was a couple of weeks before I found out. I really was totally blindsided, but it has been good. Only 3 more weeks and then who knows what. I hit my 7 month mark on Sunday. When Lexxy said that she could work the election in November, I was thinking that that sounded real good. She will be home so soon. It just seems like yesterday that we were visiting Grandpa in Glendale, glued to the TV and radio about the Tucson shootings. Can't wait to see your faces and give you the hugest hug ever, but until then I am living it up in the DR. Craziness! We have interviews this week with the president. Keep me posted on the school schedule for next January, please. I finished reading “Our Search for Happiness” and it was real good. My favorite quote from the book was talking about missionary work and it said, "Weaknesses become strengths, challenges become opportunities, trials become triumphs, and adversity becomes an adventure in the service of the Lord - another fruit of gospel living." Good stuff. You should get the book and read it too.  I only have a few minutes but I love you soooooooooooooooooo much. I really do. Well, I am signing off. Have a fantastico week. I am happy and healthy and sometimes can’t believe I am actually here in the DR.  I love you a million tons, ejc

January 2, 2012

More from alc

Here are a few photos. We didn’t have an activity today but we write with the elders so we waited for them until now. So we are doing good here in Rivas. Not much success with people at church but life goes on. But we are doing good. Happy New Year. You can start saying I will be home this year. Today we went to Maxi Pali which is the Walmart owned store here so that was cool. Anyway, we are looking for families of Rivas to teach and will eventually find them so we just keep going. I wrote letters last week and more this week but the post office was closed today and last Monday for the holiday so sorry, but I will eventually send them. I got lots of sweet mail this week, several cards from you, Lenny, the 30th ward missionaries, Greens, Pothiers, T & D Allen, Kimballs, and Linda C.  I think I will buy a new backpack and shoes soon, but didn`t look too hard today.  I took my suit and jeans to get altered today. The lady wasn´t there but I will stop by again. She has done stuff for the missionaries before.  The suit and jeans are super big and I want to wear the suit to a conference we will have with Elder Russell M. Nelson in a couple weeks. So New Years was uneventful. I ate a Hersheys cookies and cream bar that was sent to me. I did wake up to all the fireworks but slept real good as usual. Also, the lady that I gave the little tree to got a plastic bag and has it all tied up with the bell so it doesn’t get dirty. The lady the picture is of says she wants you to come. I told her that Mom is taking a Spanish class and she said that’s good so she can talk to me.  Lenny’s letters were super funny and so many things she says are things I have thought of or done...like wearing my plaid pj shorts with tie-dye. Anyway, super funny. Also we got our manuals and the Relief Society book in Spanish yesterday and I finally got a conference Liahona in English. Thanks for the pictures you sent. I am glad you sent one of Grandma Laurel and Grandpa Mullen because I didn´t have one with them.  It is nice and toasty hot here and my comp isn`t used to that but we keep going. I am excited for this conference with Elder Nelson. It will be with the north and south missions on I think the 18th or 19th. I just have about 5 minutes left, then off to the alteration lady, dinner and to work. Happy 2012. I can’t believe it.  I am happy and healthy and know I am where I need to be. The gospel is true and las familias son eternas.  Love you tons, alc

Christmas Activity
lady who cooks our dinner
& her nephew

Thanks for all the mail! 


Happy New Year!

Hi peeps. We had a fun p-day. We played basketball and a Dominican game like baseball in the morning with the zone except the other Hermanas weren’t there because they had to go to a doctor to get Hermana Mcentire’s rash looked at. Then we went to the store and ate lunch and shopped.  Happy New Year. I sent out a bunch of mail this week and got some good letters too. DearElders from Uncle John and Brittany D. and some letters from Lexxy, Grandma Harvey, and Mom. Thanks peeps! We had a good New Years. We only had one hour of church yesterday which was fun. We had a couple of investigators there. We came in a little early on Saturday before the real partying started in the streets... lots of loud music, but again I slept like a rock. I had a half liter of grape soda to celebrate before going to bed and some treats. My new snack of the week is hamburger flavored Cheetos...something Chessy would definitely like. :)  They are little round disc shaped Cheetos, some are white and some are a darker color for the meat. They are all covered in the Cheeto powder that tastes like hamburgers. Mmmm. I can’t believe I will be home in a year for sure. It is crazy we were on our trip a year ago and I was thinking we were in New Orleans with the marching band 7 years ago. Craziness. I have been thinking of goals for the new year and that in a year from now I will have taken my tag off for the last time. Weird. I was thinking of next New Years and how we will say that it seems like yesterday that it was the New Year 2012. It is nice knowing a year from now I will be home for sure. So we had a pretty good week, just some days we walked forever trying to find people home but that kind of stuff doesn’t get me down.  My companion screamed during a lesson when a cockroach flew on her which I thought was quite funny. Then yesterday was the story of the week. We decided to try and visit a less active family that we have trouble finding at home but I thought New Year’s Day might be a good day. They live on the other side of our area and as soon as we left the house it started pouring but we just kept going and it was raining hard. We had to walk through ankle deep water in some parts where the streets were flooding. Then when we were close to their house there was no way to avoid a bunch of water. A car drove through it and practically made a wave and my comp was excited to go through it since we were already soaked. So she started in to the water and then totally fell. I thought she slipped off the edge of the side walk but it was actually an uncovered sewer hole. Then she tried to get up and stepped into another one and totally face planted into the water. It was soooo funny. She said she looked up at me and just saw me grinning. I would have felt bad if she had really hurt herself.  She has a nice bruise on her hip and is a little sore, but it could have been worse. I helped her up and we both just about died laughing. She was a good sport about falling in the nasty water. I kept replaying the whole scene in my head during the day and we kept on laughing. Good times...no the family wasn’t home and I told my comp that we could go home and change but the rain was off and on all day so we kept on working and went home a little early. It made for a memorable day. :) We were pretty wet and our bags and scriptures too.  Everything is drying out...but just proof of all the rain. Anyways, I thought you would enjoy that. Thanks for all of the mail and support and love.  Here's a  photo from New Year’s Eve. Also a picture from today with the candy I won during a game. We all had to bring 2 candy bars and then played a game and I won a bunch. :) That’s my grape soda or like one member likes to call it, grape juice. yummm. I love you all soooooooooo much. -ejc
New Year's Eve grape soda

candy bar winnings
Hermanas at Botanical Gardens