March 26, 2012

Linda Vista & photos

It’s p-day 3 from Linda Vista and life is good. We had a baptism on Saturday that completed a family so that was good. We were happy to have a baptism for March. Now we just have to keep working for April and hopefully we will find some prepared families. Today for p-day we played Harry Potter Clue with the district and that was fun. One of the elders brought it and then we went out to eat at Hamburlooca. I had a chicken burrito that was good. Now we are writing and then we´ll go to the store and finish up with what we need to do. Anyway, I am excited for General Conference. It is my last one in the mission...see you in October. I am doing well. We had one man come to church yesterday that showed up without us reminding him in the morning and hopefully we can get him to Conference this weekend. He contacted us about a week ago and seems like he could progress and make change in his life, so we will just have to help him little by little. The lady who cooks for us came to church too. She is the mother of a member and she liked church. My companion always asks her if she is reading the Book of Mormon. She has told us that when she reads she can’t put it down. Anyway, it is going well. We had a good mission conference on Wednesday with all of the mission. We went in pants and our polo shirts that they gave us for Christmas.
They gave us baseball hats so that was cool. It was fun and the mission president told us more about his mission and family so that was good. We had some workshops and lots of games. I had a good time. It was in Granada which was really nice and they let us go see a little of it when we left on the bus. It is real touristy. The one senior missionary couple in the mission was there. They are from the north part of Nicaragua and are on a 23 month mission. They have been here 9. I went on divisions with Hermana Sutherland on Friday. She’s my MTC comp. It was a lot of English speaking going on but fun. It was good to catch up on everything. The elders had told her the week before that when we hit a year Burger King delivers J so we celebrated a week later and had Burger King for dinner. On Saturday, we had the baptism and we also brought a new family with us. They came to church on Sunday, too. We had a stake mission activity last night and we really needed to bring someone. We went by everyone we thought was going but no one was going to go. As we were walking my companion and I were just praying to find someone on the street to bring. We passed by this 22 year old guy who was walking alone. We took a few more steps and my companion said, "Let’s talk to him." My companion invited him and he agreed to go. We were still running a little late and a member passed us in their car and took us. We got there on time and with someone, so I was happy. I think the guy thought we were crazy but I know that the Lord answers our prayers and that He is aware of us. Even in something so small, He wants to help us. It was good, so that was a blessing of the week. I am happy here and we are trying to get everyone lined up to go to General Conference this weekend. It’s almost April and only a few weeks until I get to hear your lovely voices again. Well, got to go. Have a good week and last Conference without me.  I love you tons and I know that the gospel is true. I know I am where I need to be. Love you, alc

P.S. Like Elena, I did some bucket showers in Rivas but here no. One thing I am looking forward to is a hot shower. That will be good but really I love it here and can’t wait to bring you here sometime. That will be a good time! I love you soooooo much.

Mendoza...week 32

So I am here now. We have had a good p-day. We went to the park with the other missionaries and it was fun seeing almost all of the hermanas there. Then Hermana Ball and her companion and the four of us here in Mendoza went to the little mall nearby and had pizza and frozen yogurt. I wish they had Yogen Fruz in the States...mmmm! Then we went to the grocery store and stuff and now we are here. I had a lovely chat with Hermana Mcentire and of course the lovely Hermana Ball. We decided that we´ll have to meet up at General Conference next year for a little reunion. So crazy that Christmas is in less than 9 months. I played some Christmas music just for fun last night. Anyways, another week in Mendoza is done. I was thinking the other night as I was taking my bucket bath about how many bucket baths I have had...about 220 I think. Good times! I won´t know how to take a regular shower. I am probably conserving a lot of water so maybe we should do that at home since we live in a desert. :) So this week was fine. It is still difficult finding people and such since our half of the area doesn´t have as many members or investigators, but life goes on. Lucy, my baptism in December, has officially moved and her relatives are all gone too. I will have to try and call her, but it is kind of sad having the person I really wanted to stay connected to here move, but whatever. We did have to figure out the water situation since Lucy always took care of it, but our neighbors behind us now are doing it. It was weird when we were talking to our neighbor and I asked her her name and she said, Elena. It was kind of funny. On Tuesday morning, my companion and I got up and were talking, just sitting on the edge of our beds for a minute and then all of the sudden my companion said, I am going to be sick and ran into the bathroom and started dry heaving for a while. We stayed in the house all morning since she couldn´t really get up and about without getting dizzy but she was determined to go out in the afternoon so we did for a little while. It was a little difficult to eat breakfast that day since she was still sick at that point. :) I tried to be a good companion but I am not really good about taking care of sickies and stuff... if it was Alexis, you both would take care of her and I would say, she´ll be fine. :) Anyways, she´s all better now. We had a noche de amistad (Night of Friendship) on Friday night with a little lesson and then a game. We now have some ward missionaries that help us and they brought the game. It was a trivia game with some trivia about the Dominican Republic and other general trivia, which was a little difficult since it was in Spanish. But I did know a couple of questions like what is the capital of Australia and also what country uses the currency, cordoba......Nicaragua of course! So that was fun. Also we got our April Liahona magazine and when I was reading it I came across an article by someone I knew at BYU-H... Helena Hannonen from Finland who wrote about playing the piano. She was a teacher at BYU-H that Alexis and I talked to a few times. I also got DearElders this week which was grand, including a nice letter from Uncle Tom. We had two lessons on Saturday. One was with a guy that is some philosophy guy and he had read a pamphlet we had given him.  He was visibly affected by its message. He doesn´t really want religion in his life but maybe the spirit can touch his heart. I have faith that maybe we can get to him since he did pray at the end of the lesson. We also visited this inactive guy who had served a mission a long time ago. Sometimes this is hard, but I always remember all of the people who are praying for me and also all of the people who pray for the missionaries. Pretty cool! I love you all soooooo much. I hope you are doing good and have a grand last week of March! Next Monday it will be April. Crazy! Enjoy General Conference! Thanks for all of the love, my favorite family. Love you a million bazillion! Love your little favorite DR missionary, ejc

March 19, 2012

Hola from Linda Vista – Semana dos

So, I am on now. I think I just missed Elena, but whatever. Life is going well here and I am doing great. I got some DearElders on Friday and a few letters so that was good to celebrate my year mark. I mailed letters today. You will enjoy the Queen Mother stamps that are on them...funny Nicaraguan stamps.  I am a happy camper. We are going to have a baptism this week. It is a wife of a less active and she is really good and I was happy to see her ready for church when we got there. She has given up coffee and is ready to be baptized. She has had some difficulties with her son getting sick and stuff that has been happening since she decided to get baptized, but she says she won’t let that stop her so I am super happy for her. So, as long as everything stays calm she will be baptized on Saturday. We have another hermano to be baptized but he is just waiting to get married. He is ready and came to church with a white shirt and tie yesterday. So I am happy. It is a little discouraging like Elena said to go a while without baptizing and I know there are companions who may have not liked my attitude of just do what we can and if we don’t baptize we´ll just keep working.  I have had 4 of my 7 changes without baptizing too, but things will always work out and get better. I don’t let that get me down. We had a Stake and Regional Conference here yesterday. It was Regional Conference for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama that was broadcast from Salt Lake. Our stake president moved and so Elder Martino and another seventy came to reorganize the Stake beforehand. It was a good meeting. I wasn’t expecting to have him there in person or our mission president because I thought it was just going to be the broadcast but it was really good. Elder Martino reminded me of Uncle Howard. It was a good meeting and the new stake president is from our ward. He has only been in the stake six months and has a really great family. Two of the recent converts here got ordained elders yesterday too so that is cool. We have a mission conference this week on Wednesday in Granada with all of the mission so that will be fun. I am excited. Anyway, it has been a good week and should be even better with a baptism this week. So, a few random things from the week... I ate sardines for the first time in my life. The gas went out in the house we eat at, so she was figuring out how to make things without using gas. I started picking out the little bones until they told me I could eat them. It actually was better than I expected. I also won someone over with my math skills. She is in a math class in the university and I helped her and will probably help her again this week. She is hard to win over so my companion was happy when the girl was super happy. Last night I put my arm around her to give her a side hug and she liked that and said the other North Americans didn’t hug her, so I am on her good side now. (A note for Chessy... our Bishop has a Subaru and he and his wife took us home from church yesterday in it. Gotta love Subarus!)   At Stake Conference a lady asked me if I knew her daughter in the MTC and I was like, I don’t think so. The daughter is in AZ, I think Chandler, and I might have seen her in Provo. Her mom said she has a year in the mission and comes home in September and I was just imaging how you talk about us and how soon we will be home. Gotta love the proud parents of missionaries!  Also, I was reading this morning in 1 Nephi 13:40 in Spanish and liked how it said that the Book of Mormon will help convince all families of their Savior Jesus Christ. We are really focused in finding families right now in the mission and it stuck out to me. In English it says kindreds instead of families. It is fun to learn different things reading in Spanish and sometimes things take on a different meaning. Anyway, I am happy because we are going to baptize this sister to complete her family, so that is exciting. The gospel is true. I love you sooooooo much. Love, alc

More from Mendoza!

Hi peeps, so this has been week 31 here in Mendoza. Crazy. I celebrated my 9 month mark on Thursday and then my 7 months in Mendoza and Alexis’ one year mark on Friday. Today for p-day we went to meet up with the missionaries at the park and then went to the office for a few minutes which was fun since I got a letter from Lexxy and then went with most of the hermanas to Pizza Hut down in El Conde. It is really touristy there and I was thinking how fun it will be to one day be a tourist with you 3 walking those streets and maybe we will be in Nicaragua next year. :) Good luck with the Spanish paper. I tell people that you are taking a Spanish class. I think that is awesome. So week 31 in Mendoza... There’s a song that is called “If I Only Had Today” and there is a line that says, “Sometimes I feel like I’ve been here forever and sometime I still feel brand new”. That is what it is like here. It seems like yesterday that I got here but when I think about the companions I have had and things I’ve done, it is all kind of a blur but it really has been a long time. I don’t really like change so maybe that is why I am still here. It is has been a little hard this week since we split the area
and the few people we had in our area aren’t really progressing. The other hermanas in the ward set baptism dates with 3 people this week, so that’s good for them and I think we still get a little credit since we have been teaching them. My companion and I really miss Hermana Loftus but we still see each other all of the time so that’s good. I had a lovely time seeing Hermana Mcentire today and her area is on fire right now with like 10 people progressing and stuff so that is awesome. I also had a lovely time at lunch with Hermana Ball. I love her too. She bought a machete this week and was cutting up a coconut with it. Her companion warned her that she was going to cut herself so her companion took over and guess what... her companion cut herself with it. Silly hermanas! I got a DearElder from Hermana Bradley this week so that was fun along with yours of course. We have been working a lot with the ward directory this week to find some of the members and less actives. If we can’t find the people, we contact whoever we find instead. We have a couple of return appointments this week, so hopefully we will have some new investigators. We got a wonderful referral this week but we taught him a little and clarified where he lives and it isn’t in our ward, so bummer. Funny story about the directory... we were looking for a house and the numbers here aren’t super reliable but we finally came to the right number and it was an evangelical church... funny. We taught this guy in English this week which was super hard to talk about gospel stuff in English but it was fun. One of my favorite ladies moved and I wasn’t sure I would see her again but my companion started contacting someone and I looked over and saw her. She is so funny. First she said, “Don’t talk to me, I don’t like you”. She likes to give me the cold shoulder for a minute and then she gave me lots of hugs and kisses. I love her. There has been lots of rain lately and we got soaked yesterday in the afternoon. We headed for the house. I had intentions of going back out after the storm, after I changed into other clothes. We thought the storm had passed but then it started raining again. By the time it stopped raining the power was out in the neighborhood and we ended up just staying in the house. I am doing good...happy and healthy. One of the hermanas said I was the strong one today since I trained after my 2nd transfer and have been in Mendoza for 6 transfers, but I am fine with it and I don’t know anything else. My time is up but until next week... I’ll be missionarying it up. Love you a million. Love, ejc

March 12, 2012

Linda Vista – Week 1

farewell to Rivas
Linda Vista, Managua I am in the beautiful city of Managua. I am here with Hermana Vanegas who I met my first day here in the mission when she did a mini mission for 6 weeks last year. She is from Rivas so I knew her there too. She has 3 months in the mission. She is funny and says she likes my Spanish since I sound like a Nicaraguan. (She reminds me of Kyra Sedgwick on The Closer except with black hair.) Life is good. I actually told the people in Rivas on Tuesday night that I would be going to Managua with Hermana Vanegas and I was right. She is happy with a North American and on Wednesday morning she said to me that maybe we would be comps. She is cool and doesn’t seem new.  She is really perky and doesn’t need much motivation. I feel like I am the newbie since she knows the area but I am learning my way around so it is all good. It’s cool here in the city and I like seeing the buses and airplanes and more stores and food. I think it is more like home than my other areas, but then I think if you were to see it- it wouldn’t remind you at all of Arizona... crazy how your perspective changes, but it is good. I am in a Ward now and there are lots of good members. There is one older lady that reminds me a little of Grandma Harvey. She is nice. The area is good and the food is good. The mom of a member cooks our food and she does more of a variety of foods and less beans. I actually miss my gallopinto (mixed beans and rice) that I have eaten pretty much every night since I got to Nicaragua. Can you believe it has been a year this week since I left? It has been a crazy start getting all settled in here since we had to move on Friday from the room downstairs to one upstairs. It is a new room the people added on. I would call it a little more industrial style than the other, but it works. It was cool on Wednesday night when my trainer came and stayed with us since she was the only sister going home. That day will come really fast for me but lots to do before then. I am happy and getting settled in here. I have made fast friends with a few members. One asked if I would ever come back and I said yes. She is a 17 year old and the only member in her family but goes visiting with us lots.
I told the man in Rivas that you liked the little box that I sent home. He asked your name, Mom, and is going to make one for you. I haven’t mailed any letters today. I wrote some but I haven’t had a chance to get to the post office. It is close so that is real good. I like the area. I said to Grandma Olive in a letter that my first area was like Saltburn, Rivas like Redcar, and now I am in London.  Life is good here. The members and everyone seem to like me. They are thrilled to have a piano player and it’s a real piano so I am a happy camper. We have a lady to be baptized next week if she goes to church on Sunday. We have an Area Conference on Sunday. I gave a talk yesterday and I think it went well.  I am happy here. I am in the same district with Hermana Sutherland from the MTC. Well, I am off until next week. The gospel is true. Love you tons. alc

Week 31- Mendoza

Well my favorite peeps, so we got the call about transfers last night and the three of us will be staying here. Hermana Vera, my second companion, will come join Hermana Loftus and they will move to another apartment and Hermana Domgaard and I will stay in our house and we are splitting the area. I kind of felt like I was going to stay here this past week, but we don´t know of any hermanas that have had 6 transfers in their area. So I will be here until my birthday and I will have 8 and a half months in the lovely Mendoza. We did finally get some people to church yesterday so hopefully some baptisms in this transfer. I would imagine I will be changed next transfer, but maybe I can go for the world record of transfers in an area. It is possible now that I could only be in 2 areas during my mission. We’ve just been hanging out in our area today and went to the grocery store and Payless to get my companions some new shoes. So this week was a little rough at the beginning. We had a few days like last Sunday with a ton of walking and stuff. We have had a ton of rain the past couple of days. We came in an hour earlier yesterday since it had been raining all day and we were cold and beat. Then we just waited for the transfer call. Also, we found out an older sister in the ward died last Monday. We had planned to go visit her on Tuesday morning but luckily a member told us before we went over there. She was an older lady who had a daughter that joined the church like 25 years ago but the mom joined the church over a year ago and went to the temple last month. I visited her just about every week since I´ve been here so it is weird to think she is gone. We went and visited the daughter and I was wishing Mom would have been there in her Relief Society action because she would have known what to say in that situation. We ended up just singing a song and saying a prayer. That visit also reminded me of why I decided to go to law school. They were talking about some of the legal stuff to do and paperwork following a death, etc. and I want to be able to help people in difficult situations know what to do. Anyways, we also helped the Relief Society president make little cards for the visiting teaching assignments which reminded me of all the good times making stuff with mom in her era as Relief Society president. At our zone meeting this week, we found out that we are going to get some time for dinner between 5 and 6. We can grab something while we are out or get something at the house, so that is nice to have a little break in the afternoon and not just eat stuff when we get home. We had a special fast this weekend as a mission for animo (don´t really know the English equivalent, I guess excitement, good spirits or something), safety, and success. I guess people´s spirits are down since February was the lowest number of baptisms the mission has had in 6 years...hopefully some baptisms soon. We have a couple of people with potential. I got a great load of mail on Thursday... letters from Lexxy (some from before Christmas), Chessy, and Mom and my Easter package. Muchisimas gracias. Dad, I saw a Kia soul (the hamster car) today and thought of you. We have interviews next week and we might be going to the temple sometime this transfer so if I don´t write on a Monday that is why. Mother´s Day is just around the corner. Love you bunches my favorite family. I am happy and healthy. Love you, ejc

March 5, 2012

Greetings... Week 30... Rivas!

So, I am on now. We don’t know anything about changes but I am pretty sure I will be leaving my beloved Rivas...sad day but more adventures to come in a new place. I got some good letters last week and two packages with the skirt and 2 shirts. Muchas gracias. Also, Lenny, I have tried the cookies and cream Oreos and they are scrumptious. Well, I am happy the wedding went well and that you got home safe. Life is going well and we’ve got a few new people we are teaching so that’s promising.  A few people of the Branch went to the temple this week.  I’ve got to find more future forever Nicaraguan families. We are real happy that a lady came to church yesterday. She is positive and has a cousin that is a member who helped us with her at church. Another lady came with her teenage daughter who is going to seminary, too. We are going to Jean’s house to do a family home evening after this and then to her cousin’s house who invited us and the elders over to dinner since one of them is going home this week. Yesterday, I led the music in church and as I looked out at these members I really just felt love for them and I feel like I am a part of their families. I can’t believe I have been here 7 months. I love these people tons.  I am happy here and changing is hard but I know I won’t be here forever. I know I will love the next area and people too. Life moves on and you just hope your companion is cool. I know I am where I need to be and that even though I haven’t had tons of baptisms here that the Lord sent me here for a reason. Even though I don’t fully understand it I know I will eventually. Today we ended up going to the cemetery to take some good pictures of all of Rivas since there is a hill up high there. Then we went to the beach or lake that I have been to before. It was good. I will send pictures next week maybe since one of the elders is using my camera and cord to send his. I am really happy that you are writing Jean. She said you told her something about your bike. Her mom is super funny. They went to Masaya and Managua last week to buy some stuff and she told us funny stories about the bus rides. I can’t wait for you to meet her and Jean someday. I love you tons and had a nice quick e-mail from president that was complimentary so that is always good. Peace out people and have a great week. Who knows where or when I will be emailing next week? Anyway, I love you sooooooooooooo much!  The gospel is true and I know it. Adios. Hasta luego. Love, alc

Mendoza Week 29 or 30...I think I've lost count!

So I am on the computer now. I hope you had a good time in California for the wedding and I´m looking forward to hearing about it. I got a boatload of DearElders last week and twas grand reading the happenings of February. I think I am up to date with the DearElders. Good stuff!  I got one from Donna too which was nice and also a letter from Grandma Harvey. Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom also wrote and they said some sister missionaries took their picture for them at Joe’s which was nice. Thanks for all of the boatload of letters. I love hearing from you. Also the clipping from the Church News was interesting. I imagine they´ll be in the mission in Santiago since I think they are due for a new president. He is in the ward by the office which is kind of where I think I´ll be going next week but we shall see. Usually there are some curveballs so who knows. Maybe I’ll have 6 transfers in Mendoza. :) All is well here. We had a good p-day. We went with a couple of zones to this place to play games and stuff. It was kind of a park and felt like we were on a hike before we got to the place to play ultimate Frisbee. It was fun seeing the other hermanas and elders and stuff. It took a while to get there but it was fun. Then we shopped and ate lunch and then came back to our area to use internet. I bought me some lovely new cookies and cream Oreos that were made in Nicaragua...mmmm. You should try them Lexxy. We are still enjoying ourselves in the trio and I will be a little sad to be changed next week depending on what happens. We heard rumors about elders being moved into some of the areas the hermanas are in, so who knows. All we know is that one sister is going home and probably none are coming unless the one gets her visa. I will let you know next week what happens. I have heard that trios can be difficult but we get along really well and understand each other’s humor and laugh a lot which is fun. I am excited to hear about Lexxy´s transfers. We had a little activity at the Relief Society president’s house this week that we had planned.  Someone we really wanted to come didn’t at the last minute, but it still was fun. This week we are going to help the RS president make little cards for a visiting teaching activity. We had exchanges this week and one of the hermanas came here with me while my two companions went with Hermana Ball. It was fun. It´s hard to get in a groove with someone in just one day but it was good. During our weekly companionship inventory my companions were very complimentary of me. One said that I am very kind with the people and that she could tell that I love them. The other said that I am a peacemaker and have helped her realize that there are lots of things that aren´t that big of a deal. Anyways, that was nice. I hit my halfway mark this weekend which was exciting. I switched to my 2nd nametag for the 2nd half of the mission. We ate empanadas and ice cream and juice. mmmm. Crazy that Mother´s Day is in 2 months! Yesterday was a looooooooooooooooong day. We didn´t have much success getting people to church. We have quite a few couples we are teaching but they can´t progress much without coming to church. In the afternoon we had our weekly meeting and then were supposed to go to ward council but it got canceled. We ended up walking around and contacting for about 2 hours trying to find somebody home. Then we finally got into a house to visit a person we had contacted that said we could come back. I started the lesson and was just going to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon. I asked her if she had heard of the Book of Mormon before and she said yes, but that she did not like the Book of MormonJ... Good times in the mission. We tried to visit some members that would give us some soda or juice but didn´t have success there either.  Even after days like that when we´re exhausted, I am still as happy as a clam. I love you tons, ejc