February 28, 2012

Hola on a Tuesday!

We had a good activity with the hermanas yesterday but got back late so president gave permission to everyone that had to travel far to email today. So, we had a good time. I will send pictures another day. We had messages from the president and his wife and then played games like guess who, battleship, jenga, pingpong, fuzball, and others. It was low key but fun to see the hermanas. I think there are about 30 of us...9 North Americans, 10 Guatemalans and the rest other latinas. It was good and we had a good lunch and left at about 3. I managed to guide us back to the bus station with the buses to Rivas from the chapel where they dropped us off. It was me and my companion and the sisters from Nandaime and we took one of the Managua buses to the bus station. They weren’t totally convinced that I knew what I was doing but we made it fine. We got on the 4 o’clock bus with them and they decided that they wanted to contact the bus. So a few minutes outside of Nandaime we sang “Soy un Hijo de Dios” (I am a Child of God) and talked to the bus and invited everyone to church in Nandaime and Rivas. It was definitely a first for me and my companion but it was good. We got some odd looks but we had lots of contacts. Anyway, it was good. We got here at about 6:30, stopped to buy something at the store, and went to dinner and to a family home evening at our dinner appointment since the husband isn’t a member. We are emailing now and off to work. We were unsuccessful in the investigators at church department, but luckily some girl brought a friend that we didn’t know so that was good. I really want to do some family history work when I get home. I finished the Book of Mormon in Spanish this week. I am hoping to read it again before I come home. I am doing real well. It was funny this week at the baptism of the elders. I played the piano and the North American elder led the music. I have noticed that he knows what he is doing and he said he plays a little piano. Anyway, I asked if he plays another instrument. He said trombone and that totally fits him and I said that I play clarinet. He said, “You would play clarinet”. Funny how marching band stuff is world-wide. Also, they brought my bag and scripture case back from Guatemala that I asked for. It’s real good and the scripture case is leather and was only 12 dollars. I will send a picture of it when I get a chance. Yep, cool- Leap Day and then it is March. We have changes next week and who knows what will happen? President said yesterday that Elder Nelson told the area presidency in his visit to keep the missionaries in their areas for longer periods of time and not switch them so much, but I have been here longer than normal so who knows. I would imagine I will be leaving the lovely Rivas. Well, I am signing off. I won’t know about transfers until next Tuesday probably, maybe Monday, but we will see. The gospel is true. I love you tons and have a great week.  Adios -alc

February 27, 2012

More from the little DR missionary!

How are you, my favorite people on planet earth? Things are good here. Just got back to our area after a lovely p-day with the hermanas. We went to the president´s house and had lunch and chatted and stuff. It was fun and their apartment is lovely. They have a great view of the temple and the ocean. Some of the lovely senior sisters were there too. Here are all of the sisters in the mission, 13 of us. One is going home this transfer to AZ. and we might get another if her visa comes through.  So we´ve had a good week here. We had zone conference this week and I saw Sister Mcdermid there which was fun and then saw her again today. I don´t really know her that well but I feel a connection with her since she has talked to my dear Lexxy. Anyways, zone conference was good. I got a few letters. The DearElders are a little slow getting here right now, so I´m sure when the pouch catches up, I´ll have a boatload. Yesterday was unsuccessful getting new peeps to church. We have a few new people that we have high hopes for. One read the pamphlet we left and looked up the additional study scriptures at the end which was cool. We have a little FHE activity planned this week on Tuesday with some less active sisters. It would be nice to get some people reactivated here. If people just came to church, read the scriptures, and prayed, life would be so much easier. It´s the little things that make the difference. So yesterday at church like 5 minutes before sacrament meeting started, the guy that teaches gospel principles comes up to Hermana Domgaard and me and asks us if we could sing at the end of his talk. We said yes, but we were a little nervous considering our history. The guy then went up to Hermana Loftus who was playing prelude and we waited to see her reaction and just laughed. We sang “Lord I Would Follow Thee” and it turned out just fine. Hermana Domgaard actually got a little choked up during it, so part of it was a Hermana Cottam solo. But we managed and people said they could feel the spirit. So last p-day I fell while we played baseball and then on Tuesday, I totally fell while we were walking. Hermana Domgaard was walking in front of us. I slipped off the side walk and slammed my knee on the ground, but just hopped right back up and kept going. Hermana Loftus tried to help me but I was fine. We told Hermana Domgaard later on in the day and it was funny that she didn´t even see. I didn´t really bleed or anything, just a little scratched up and now a nice bruise. Silly Lenny!  I will try not to fall down this week. Today is like the 4th of July here. There are lots of flags out and stuff. I think Saturday is my halfway mark, so I will switch to my other name tag. Craziness! It is March this week!!!!!!!!! Can´t wait to see your lovely faces. We had “Salon Domgaard” this week at our house. I had her cut my bangs since they were super long. She did that before zone conference and then she wanted to straighten my hair. So they did last night. They had to restraighten most of it this morning but it was fun for the most part. I don´t really like a lot of attention with my hair but whatever. I wore my hair down in the morning today but then put it up. The wind made it a little crazy as you can see in the pictures I sent. It didn´t really stay straight with the humidity and my sweat. But it was fun. We had a good time and that was the cake they made. Good times with the hermanas! It was fun to sit on the couch and enjoy the view from their apartment. We went and visited the less active with the stake president and his wife again. When we were leaving, the president´s wife gave me a big hug and said, “te quiero mucho” or basically I love you. They are super cool. Sometimes I don´t think the members will notice that much when I leave, but it was nice knowing that she really likes me. During the hermana activity today, Hermana Mcdermid gave a little presentation and one of the slides said something like, has anyone´s love changed your life? I was thinking of you dear peeps. You are my life and I love you to pieces. It is going to be awesome just being with you and then I´ll have to get back in the groove with school. That´s exciting that Aleesha´s getting married. That means that all of us that graduated together have either gone on missions or are married. We´ll have to have a big temple trip since we´ve all been there. Love you all so much. -ejc

February 20, 2012

Hola Peeps!

Alexis sent a Nicaraguan flag home
to put up over her bed

So, greetings peeps. We are in week 28 from Rivas. Life is good. Today for p-day we played volleyball again with the elders and then we went to TipTop or the Nicaraguan KFC.  It was funny seeing some Americans there speaking English. That is cool about Elizabeth Smart. The next p-day we are having a special hermana’s p-day at the mission home. We finally had an investigator at church yesterday. She is the mother of a convert who is on a mission right now. She goes to another church but we shall see if we can get her to keep coming with us. A convert that we have been working with finally came yesterday. So that was good. I am doing well. I got to give a talk in church yesterday. They asked me to do it about 20 minutes beforehand, but I think it went alright. Life is good. I asked the lady we eat dinner with to buy some t-shirts when she goes to buy some in another area. I want to send one to Lenny. I sent letters and a package home today. The family we eat lunch with gave me two wooden souvenir type things. They are cool but I don’t want to carry them around so I sent them home. I had a real good reading fest this week when I got all your DearElders from January. There were like 27 pages. It was some good times including letters from Lenny and Chessy. I am doing well. I really want to keep my word to these people and come back to Nicaragua. Lots say they will come back and never do, but I want to be the one that does. I was playing the piano in church yesterday and we sang “God Be With You ‘til We Meet Again” as the intermediate hymn. As we sang I just felt so much love for these people. I really like the lady who was leading the hymns and as we sang the part about until we meet at Jesus´ feet I just couldn’t help but be excited and want to see these people I have met here, in the Celestial Kingdom. Those reunions will be so great in heaven. I hope to see these people before that day, but I was just imagining seeing them in white in the kingdom of God and how awesome that will be. I love these people here. Anyway, I am enjoying the fruit that is in season now. We have mangoes, papaya, and jacote(?) (I don’t know how you spell it but it is sort of like a mini peach) and avocados. Delicious! We are hoping this next week to finally get the family we have been working with to church and hopefully it will happen. I can’t believe we only have 2 weeks left in this transfer. We probably will do divisions this week with the hermanas in the zone. So that should be interesting and hopefully fun.  I love you tons. The gospel is true and like Elena said, you are happy, even if things don’t always work out as a missionary. I love you so much and am really happy. I can’t believe we are almost in March! Well, adios until next week! Love you my forever family. -alc

Hi peeps!

So it's been another good week here in Mendoza...week 27 I think. Craziness. The trio is still going well and we are enjoying ourselves. We went to another zone's activity today to play baseball. It was fun except for the part when I totally tripped and slid on my stomach. Oops. I have a couple of scratches but nothing to worry about, just a good laugh. I tripped the last time we played softball. Seems to be a continuing pattern. The activity was out real close to the airport so we saw quite a few planes come in real slow. Sometimes I was afraid a ball would come while I was watching the planes. :) I remember driving that road at night coming from the airport and how funny it smelled, but now it is normal. Someone said we'll probably smell like the DR when we get home. By the way Hermana Mcentire says thanks for the package. :) It's been a good week and a good p-day. Yesterday we had a ton of meetings with the ward and such and planning an open house for April and meeting with the bishop and stuff. We spent most of the day in the church which is fine since it has air conditioning. :) It is super-hot today and I think winter is over. Our baptisms that we were hoping to have this month aren't going to happen. One moved. The other that we had an appointment with, I called and reminded her a couple of hours before since a member was coming with us. When we showed up she wasn't home and she didn't answer her phone. She's perdida (lost) right now. I got your lovely Valentine's Day package this week and have been enjoying that. Thanks for the awesome mail. I didn't get any letters but we have zone conference this week, so I'm sure I'll have some waiting for me. I saw a guy with an ASU hat on the other day. Funny stuff. I've also seen a BYU shirt in the last couple of weeks. Elder Bednar was in town this week. He gave some devotionals and stuff that we heard about and a member in our ward was his translator so that's cool. We ran out of water one day this week, but luckily our good friend Lucy got it fixed. The power got cut to the pump that sends it to our tank and she had someone fix it. So now we have water. The power is more like it was my first transfer with lots of time without it, but all is well. We've had lots of laughs this week. A member took us out to visit a couple of people, but it turned out to be kind of awkward. One of the people we visited, my comp gave a cheek kiss to, like we always do to the women here, but it turned out to be an old guy. Funny. Then I was reading him a scripture loud, since he can't hear well. Anyways, good times. Hermana Domgaard started referring to herself as the junior junior companion. I'm the junior senior and Hermana Loftus is the senior senior. Sometimes I call Hermana Domgaard junior junior just for fun. We had to drink more of the malt drink this week. It actually wasn't too bad. I think it is an acquired taste. :)  Also, something funny that I enjoy is that Lucy calls us Americanitas. I love her and can't wait for you to meet her someday. That is great that Jason Garry got his mission call. That is cool about the debate being in Mesa.  You'll have to DVR some of the election stuff, especially the returns on election night since that is my favorite. I also heard some member makes ukuleles in another stake so I'm going to have to check into that before I leave. This week I've really been noticing something I think Katherine had talked about. She said something about how during the mission even when things aren't the greatest, you are still happy. I have really noticed that. Even when baptisms fall through and the work is moving slowly and you walk all day long, I still walk around with a smile on my face and still feel real happy. That is true happiness. It is a weird feeling that I've started to pay more attention to. Being a servant of the Lord is what does it. I hope I can have that feeling for the rest of my life. I always feel so happy too when I think about you 3 and that this time away from you is such a sliver of eternity that we will spend together. Isn't that the greatest knowledge ever?!  Love you peeps! -ejc

February 13, 2012

ALC from Rivas

Greetings people. We had a good week. We were super disappointed yesterday when the family who told us they would come to church didn’t come. We went by in the morning and they weren’t there. Not cool but hopefully better luck next week. Also I got to lead the music in church yesterday. I enjoyed it especially because it made me think about good old MVT toro band. It is weird thinking about singing in English. Sometimes I can’t remember the words. School started here today. Their summer vacation was December and January. That is weird to think about but it was fun to see everyone getting all geared up for school and remember those days. I dreamt the other night that I was here with Lenny with people here in Rivas... funny stuff.  Oh, as for mail goes I should get a huge stack this week. I know the zone leaders have it. We didn’t see them all last week but they are coming this week. Well, the story of the week... on Tuesday it was raining nice and hard and we went out to contact a reference in a part with dirt roads and stuff. The lady let us sit down and we chatted and scheduled an appointment to come back. As we left, there was a little hill and it was a little muddy. My companion totally slipped in the mud and fell. I started to slip but caught myself in time. We were quite far from home and there was a large mud stain on her light grey skirt. So the lady let her come wash off and clean up. She ended up taking the skirt off and put a towel around her to wash the skirt and then wore it wet but we were already nice and wet. Anyway, she is fine but it was a memorable event. Today we went to the lake again to take pictures, then we played volleyball at the church, and then we ate pizza. It was fun. I got a nice sunburn even though I put sunblock on in the morning and then used the stick thing to put a little more on before we played volleyball. Anyway, it will just add to my farmer’s tan. I love you so much. You are the bestest. I am doing well, and can’t believe I will be at 11 months this week. Yes, happy Valentines Day and 100th birthday Arizona. As for dates to remember, on the 18th we went through the temple a year ago. I hope the photos get there. Life is good here. We are just trying to find some new people to teach but that is what we do all the time. Anyway, life is swell. I really can’t wait for you to meet my people here someday. It will be awesome. I love you tons. The gospel is true. Love, alc

Hermana Cottam at the lake

Ferry Ometepe

Hola favorite peeps! HAPPY VALENTINES DAY

Just enjoying another p-day here in Mendoza. We´ve had a good week, enjoying the trio and from what we hear we´ll be in the trio for the transfer. Things are good and we are enjoying ourselves. We went to the mall in the morning and had frozen yogurt and I had Taco Bell too. mmmm. We walked around a little and then did our grocery shopping at Jumbo, a store there. Then we came back and played some games and now I´m here. Then I´ll go write some letters and relax before it´s time to get back to work. So this week was good. Bad news is that we haven´t been able to get a hold of one of the people that was supposed to get baptized this month and the other we are probably going to have to push back a week or so just so he has more time. We have a couple other people we are teaching that I have high hopes for, so hopefully I´ll leave Mendoza next month with a couple of more baptisms and fechas (dates). That is if I don´t stay for a 6th transfer. It´s crazy that it is already halfway through February and I have 8 months this week. wooooooo hoooooo. I had forgotten that it had been a year ago on the 4th that I opened my mission call. Hermana Mcentire opened hers on the 11th and was talking about it and then I remembered. Doesn´t seem like that long ago that I got your text saying it came and that I cruised on home from school and then ripped it open. Then we ate at Chili’s and came back for Tanner´s opening. Crazy! Next year at this time I´ll be back in school and home with you peeps. We had a good week this week. On Saturday we had a conference with the whole mission with Elder Gonzalez from the Presidency of the Seventy. It was good and I was asked to lead the music, so we had good seats too. He opened it up for a question and answer session which was good. I also got a boatload of mail from you... DearElders and the newsletter and letters from you and Chessy and Lexxy. I also saw the Mcdermids so that was fun too. I got some of the stuff I ordered too- my new bag and the scripture covers for my bible and triple. He is sending my hymn cover and English cover in a couple of weeks. We rearranged the house this week and moved the beds in the living room area so we each have a bed room to keep our stuff in. We are enjoying ourselves and the transfer is going by fast. I loved all of your mail. Thanks peeps. You are the bestest. Life is good in the DR... no earthquakes or anything this week. Just working on trying to get the ward more excited about things and we are trying to work with the less actives, since there are so many here. I’m glad you like the pictures.  I hope you are enjoying the Spanish class. It was grand reading all of your letters and stuff this week. I´ve got a few people to write today. I love you peeps! Ejc

Here's some pictures I've taken over the past couple of weeks...

my new bag and scripture cases
Hermanas Domgaard & Loftus

with Ward Mission Leader

February 6, 2012

Mas de ALC

So, greetings my favorite family. We are doing good here. I am glad that the changes went well with your new companions Lenny. I think people from Peru have visa issues lots of places. I am glad you got the package and mail. I got lots of cards from you and two packages and one from the Greens. The two packages were one you sent in November for Christmas with two shirts and the other in January with snacks. Muchas gracias. I celebrated Christmas again this week. Also I got the David Archuleta pics. The girl was thrilled and screaming when I gave them to her. She sent you an email in English the other day to thank you. Maybe you can be her Spanish/English pen pal since she needs to practice her English.  So, a few more random things. Yesterday we got word that now the area presidency says that missionaries can go out at 18 years old for the elders and 20 for the sisters. Have you heard that or is it just here? Crazy that today Chelsea has 16 months. Wow. Anyway, I am doing good. I took my shoes to get new soles today. I think I will try to use those my whole mission. I will leave the other two pairs behind here and use the new loafers I bought. We had interviews this week. They went well, and we just need to have more families progressing. Families are the big focus of the mission right now and we are teaching a few and working on getting them to church. On Friday one lady said that she can’t continue with us and we were like, “Why?” She is moving to Jinotepe to live with her daughter so we gave the reference to the sisters there. She is going to live real close to the church there so I hope they can work with her. Afterwards we went to talk to the husband of a lady we talked to a couple weeks ago. They were good friends with some missionaries here about 3 years ago. The lady said to come back and talk to her husband. We went back but they were busy but on Friday we finally got in. They were still busy but let us talk. We got to teach something and they were quite positive. They have committed to go to church with us this Sunday because they couldn’t go yesterday. We are hoping we can get them there on Sunday. We have a visit with them tonight. We are hoping to get some of these new people we are teaching to church this week since we were unsuccessful yesterday. I am happy because we are starting to have more support from the branch and our new mission leader is helping us get more people to work with us. I am happy about that. The gospel is true. Good luck on the Spanish test. You will do great. Well, I better go. I love you tons my favorite and eternal family. Love, alc

Week 26 in Mendoza

So I am here emailing. We went to the park with all of the missionaries which we hadn´t been able to do for a while. Then we went with Hermana Mcentire and her trainee to Pizza Hut. She is doing well...her rash is good, back is good, and hasn´t had any problems with her stomach. I enjoyed chatting with her today. Now we are here and are going to get a smoothie or something after and then maybe play Phase 10 and I will write some letters. I am still in the trio here. My companion lost the little thing that had her money and card in it today in a taxi. She had put extra money in it, so that was a bummer and then they´ll have to replace her card. She had it in the taxi and we think she must have just left it there. She was calm and had a good attitude about the whole thing. Other than that it has been a good day. I love you so much and it was grand getting your emails this morning. You peeps are the bestest. Well peeps, it´s been a good week this week. Change is always a little stressful just trying to get into a new routine and everything. I also am still the one who knows where things are and people to visit, etc. but it´s all good. I like the trio and we are probably still going to be in a trio for at least another week since the president called Hermana Loftus and told her that they are still waiting on her companion’s visa. Her comp is from Peru so that will be interesting. Hermana Loftus is from Portland. She is going home in April in two transfers, which is a couple weeks before her 18 month mark. Hermana Domgaard looks a little like Lexi Sorenson which is funny now that she´s in the mission. Tuesday this week was when everyone was getting settled in and stuff. We had to go grocery shopping and stuff so we weren´t hugely productive that day but it´s all good. It´s been good getting to know Hermana Loftus more since I had just seen her at hermana activities and such. She had the same trainer as I did and called me her little sister when she first got here which was fun. I used to not embrace that lingo but it is kind of true and getting a new missionary sometimes can feel like bringing home a new kid and your habits rub off on them and stuff. She was with our trainer for 3 transfers. Anyways, life is good here in Mendoza, but knowing that there will likely be a change in March is nice. I had a lovely time giving Hermana Ball a big hug today and Hermana Mcentire. Good times! I miss those peeps, but I still see Hermana Ball every week. It´s crazy that it´s February ...almost 8 months!!!!! At the end of the month I´ll be half way. We have 2 baptisms scheduled for this month, one was supposed to be next week but someone in their family died and we couldn´t get her interview in last week. We visited our other one last night and we were teaching, but I was hugely distracted by the music in the background...some classic Brittany Spears and then the song from the Prince of Egypt, “We Believe”. Fun times! I told our neighbor your name, mom, so now sometimes she says that she´s going to call you. She´s crazy, but warming up to my new companions. She says she´s going to visit us. When we were walking home from church she said that we´d need to get the limo ready and stuff. :) The trio is good right now and we work well together. I am learning lots and feel like I will be a better teacher after being with these companions. It is also good for Hermana Ball to be with a more experienced missionary. I sent mail last week but not sure if it made it in the pouch going out last week since there were different meetings and stuff and the office couple didn´t come out. I am doing well and am happy and healthy. Well, my time is up, but I hope you peeps are doing good and have a great week. Mom, I hope the Spanish is going well. Good luck with your test. I am sure it will be fine. I can´t wait until it is time for my favorite hour of the week next Monday. I love you a million. Love you all, ejc