April 30, 2012

Linda Vista week 8

I am doing well.  I had a good birthday. The zone leaders called in the morning and sang and Hermanas Sutherland and Pastran called and played a primary happy birthday song on their cd player. In the night time, Hermana Monestel called so that was nice. I enjoyed all my goods. It was a good day and a regular day. An old couple gave us enchiladas here -not Arizona enchiladas, here that is a fried tortilla filled with rice and meat...mmmmm.  We´ve been enjoying the Oreos, too. Anyway, thanks for making it special even from far away. I love you tons. We’ll have to go to Joe’s BBQ next year. Here are some birthday photos...a real good day and muchas gracias. 

Today for p-day we went to lunch at the El Salvador pupusa place and got shaved ice. anyway.  It was a good week. Our girl got confirmed yesterday so that was good. I got mail too. When Hermana Sutherland asked about the mail they just said no there is just a big stack for Hermana Cottam. Gotta love mail.  Gracias. So we had interviews this week. It went well. I felt like I was only in there for about 5 minutes but it was good. I have gotten compliments with mi espaƱol from a couple of missionaries. The zone leader called and asked who was talking and I said Hermana Cottam and he said “pura latina Hermana”. Hermana Pastran says I have a real good Nica accent. So that is good. Anyway, as for Elena’s comment about the temple in Nicaragua, I hope they announce it soon. But they have been telling the members to do more family history and such to get one. The Church owns land here for the temple but is just waiting for the preparation of the people. That will be the day when one is finally here!  In a letter Lenny mentioned Noches de Amistad and Mom said she liked the idea. We have Noches de Hermanamiento here or fellowshipping night and we have a little message and game and a more relaxed meeting. I have been enjoying my new music and also was listening to the cd Joyce sent a while back and there is a song I like....“The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Loved to Do.”  I like the last verse:

The hardest thing I`ve ever loved to do
Was getting on this plane and coming home to you
In a million ways completely torn apart
As a land so far away still owns my heart.

It will be a very odd feeling coming home and I will have several places that own my heart...Nicaragua, the DR, Laie, and Arizona.  But I will love coming back.  Elena asked about my plans when I get home and I don’t know.  We shall see what happens.  I saw someone this week with a Nexis Lexis shirt like Lenny’s... funny lawyer girl.  I can’t wait to talk to you too...grand day!  Anyway, I did get letters mailed today.  I love you tons.  The gospel is true my forever family.  Love, alc

Hi peeps from the DR

We´ve had a good p-day. We went to the park with the group of missionaries here in the capital. Then we went to the mall with most of the hermanas and I ate Taco Bell and frozen yogurt...mmmm. Then we shopped a little and came home and now I am here on the computer. It was weird today when we were leaving the park, I felt like I was missing someone and was looking around for Alexis. Then I realized I am in another country and she is in Nicaragua, but it was weird and I hadn´t had that happen before. So I moved houses in Mendoza this week. The office elders came on Saturday to move all of the stuff from my house into the other hermanas’ house. I talked to the mission finance secretary (his family lives at Power and Guadalupe). He is going home in July and going back to ASU. Maybe I´ll see him around in January. (I sent you an article about Arizona and SB1070 and our dear friend Jan that I saw in the paper this week. Gotta love good old Jan.) The assistants said that now my new companion is supposedly coming on Wednesday, but they still haven´t got her travel plans, so we´ll see. The trio is interesting and I am not sure if they will keep me here if my companion doesn´t come or move me. I will let you know what happens next week. The first week of the transfer is always interesting, getting used to changes and stuff, and I will have another week like that this coming week. I feel kind of homeless since it is weird that we closed up my house that I had been leaving in for 8 and a half months. I am still waiting to get my stuff settled into a new house. I hear the house in Gazcue is nice with air conditioning and a microwave. Cool. My companions are fine and I don´t think either of them want me to leave. But I think my time is done here in Mendoza...37 weeks. Some of the members have said that they hope my new companion doesn´t come but whatever. I love the members and my dear Egyptian investigator, but I need a new adventure I think. We will see what the Lord has in store. So our Egyptian is doing well. He makes me so happy. He stopped drinking after he read about the word of wisdom in the English Gospel Principles book we gave him. His prayers at the end of the lessons always make me smile because they are simple but so sincere. He is supposed to be going to the ward he actually lives in and the stake president brought a cool member to our lesson last night that speaks English and lives in that ward. I have one more appointment with him before I leave on Wednesday and I think I will give him my contact information at home so I can try and find him after the mission. One night we were waiting for the stake president outside of his office and then a freshly released missionary walked out. He was with some family and I can´t help but think of you and how happy we will be to be back together again. I was reading in the June Liahona about Elder Nelson’s trip to Central America and how he promised the saints in Nicaragua that the Lord would provide a temple when they are ready. I hope a temple will be announced next conference. I will be so happy. It is weird how I feel love for people just because Lexxy loves them. It is odd being one of the oldest sisters now in the mission and I miss having Hermanas Bradley ,Kamisese, Loftus and Ward to look to for advice. Someone asked me if I was going to “die” (or finish my mission) in Gazcue. It is possible but we will see. It was weird to have someone ask me that. So I thought I would tell you about my birthday in the DR. I got up real excited to open my package. Thanks pranks. The new clothes are great and I have been wearing them. I also enjoyed the Oreos. You guys are the bestest. It was a fairly normal day. It was raining most of the day but a nice rain, not pouring. In the afternoon during one of our lessons, Hermana Hernandez called and wished me a happy birthday, so that was nice. Then that night we went and got ice cream. I got me a nice super sundae. I sat down and started eating until the lady was ready for me to pay and then this guy walked in and said he was going to buy all of our ice creams. We weren´t sure what to think but he ended up just paying for it and then walked out. I told my companions that perhaps that happened because I know my parents try to take care of the missionaries at home and things always come back. Hermanas Kamisese and Loftus left notes in the office for me wishing me a happy birthday and they were very nice. Hermanas Domgaard and Ball brought me some of my favorite snacks and a Coke to the zone meeting on Thursday. So it was a good day. Hermana Domgaard wrote in the card they gave me that next year I will probably be eating at a nice restaurant and not at a plastic picnic table. That was funny. I am looking forward to going to Joe’s BBQ next year. I hope you all had a good week. Love you guys. ejc

April 23, 2012

Week 37 in Mendoza with big news!

Hi peeps!  So this is the end of week 36 here in Mendoza. I was thinking this week that I have lived here longer than any other place besides home, consecutively. Crazy. So last night one of the assistants called and told me that I would be training the hermana from Peru that another hermana was supposed to train 2 transfers ago. He wasn't 100% sure about if she was coming and if not I would go in a trio in another area. We are supposed to open back up the area in Gazcue where the office is and share the ward with the office elders. The area by the office has a lot of touristy stuff which will be cool to know. I’m not sure how much success they have had there lately but we will see. There were sisters in Gazcue for four transfers a couple of transfers ago and they didn’t have any baptisms but maybe I will be like you Dad when you were close to the office. The office assistant called this morning and said she is supposed to be coming next week on the 1st, so it will be easiest to stay here in Mendoza until she comes.  I’ll be in a trio with Hermana Vera, my 2nd companion from Peru, and another newer sister, the one Hermana Mcentire just finished training. Hermana Mcentire is also training again. It is nice to know the Lord and the mission president trust in me. We will see if the visa actually comes. I had a feeling about training again when Alexis said she was training...crazy twin stuff.  They are combining Mendoza back again so it will only have one set of missionaries and my companion is leaving the area which she didn't want to do. Having the extra week here will make it easier to show the sisters where our investigators live and close the extra house. We went to the store today and I have been packing and getting stuff together. I am sooooooo happy to hear you talked to Chessy. I want to hear all about it.  It’s so fun that Alexis is on the computer right now, too. We had a good week this week. We said goodbye to Hermanas Loftus and Kamisese this morning. It is kind of sad but exciting for them. Hermana Loftus said she would eat an ice cream for me on Wednesday. J  So we are teaching this guy from Egypt that I think I mentioned last week. He is so awesome and I am glad I get to stay a little longer to teach him. We asked him to read 2 Nephi 31 about baptism and then went on Tuesday night to teach him with the stake president. He said it was still hard to read in English, so the stake president pulled up on his laptop the Book of Mormon in Arabic. He started reading and summarizing what it said, so we had lots of languages going on. We asked him what he thought and he said that these were not the words of men but that they were the words of God. It was so cool! That was probably one of my favorite lessons. I really have an appreciation for the gospel being preached to all in their own tongue. Technology is awesome. My companion said that he is why I stayed here so long. She did not want to teach him as she did not want to teach in English and he lives in an area without missionaries so it is a bit complicated, but I would love to see him baptized. If that is why I am still here in Mendoza, it would make every second worth it. And if he doesn't, I am still happy to be here and I am super excited to spend this week with Hermana Vera and Hermana Avery. If you could look up a talk by Elder McConkie called, “The Power of Gethsemane”, that would be great.  A member mentioned it and it was the last talk Elder McConkie gave before he died. Anyways, I would like to read it. I love the people here in Mendoza and feel like I have a fresh new perspective with Hermana Vera. This transfer wasn’t easy but I am excited for transfer 7. I have done 6 and have 5 transfers left, so I definitely have spent the majority of my mission in Mendoza. So on Saturday we walked and did contacts from about 3 to 5:30 in the heat. We decided to go to a member's house with hopes she would give us juice. She was giving a massage and when she finished she said she was going to give us a foot massage. She was irritated last week that we wouldn't eat with her, but she said a foot massage was not against the rules and pointed to the picture hanging on the wall of Jesus washing the apostle's feet. Funny. I love her. We shared a scripture after, about service. J  I do still have to move tomorrow because we are closing the house I am living in and moving into the one the other hermanas are in, but shouldn't be too big of a deal. I don't think we get our trunky paper (that Alexis mentioned) and flight plans ‘til the transfer before we leave. The Peruvian hermana not coming two transfers ago was a tender mercy because I was so glad to be companions with Hermana Loftus in the trio. She is awesome and the Peruvian not coming for a week now is a relief for me and Hermana Vera since we will have time to get things squared away before I leave. Everything works out how it should. I am really excited for whatever this transfer holds with new companions and maybe a new area. I am off, but I love you a million bazillion. I’m off for week 37 in mi querido (my dear) Mendoza. Thanks for all of the birthday mail! Thanks for everything.  I am glad I will be celebrating my birthday in Mendoza. Love you, ejc

Hola from Linda Vista – week 7

Well, I am on the computer now. We are doing well. I have my newbie companion Hermana Flores from Guatemala. She is my first Guatemalan companion which is odd since about half the sisters are from Guatemala. She is real nice.  That was fast that you got the mail I sent. I am going to send another package today with two more of those little treasure chests that the man in Rivas made for Mom. Anyway I am on now. Hopefully Elena will join us soon. I got the Easter package and birthday envelope and letters so we are doing good in the mail department. Thanks so much.

So, we had a baptism on Saturday. It was a 21 year old girl who has been coming to church for several months and finally decided to get baptized. She came to the Relief Society activity and then we had the baptism afterwards. She didn’t come to church yesterday for the confirmation so hopefully that will happen next Sunday. I think with the all-day activity with the church on Saturday, coming to church was a little much for the parents. Our cook lady and her grandson came to church. We had quite a few changes in the district.  We have a new district leader who has about 5 months in the mission and he is good and the new zone leader is one of my district leaders from Masatepe and he goes home with us. Hermana Sutherland, the zone leader, another elder, and I go home together so that's great! Hermana Pastran from the MTC is Hermana Sutherland’s new companion so that is cool. Maybe we will get to do some divisions with them. Our ´trunky papers´ came this week. It’s the paper we get to fill out right before they buy our plane tickets home. I don’t have it yet but I will get it on Friday at our meeting. So that is exciting. I should have flight plans in a month or two. We will have interviews in the next week or so and a mission tour from Elder Martino. The work is moving along and we just need to keep going. I know we can find the people who are ready. I am happy and know I am where I need to be. The gospel is true. So I'm glad that Elena is training. It should be good. For some reason I guess it was meant to be that I train this sister. She was supposed to come at the same time as my other trainee but didn’t for some dental issues and now she is here. I guess I couldn’t train two at once. It’s crazy I will be home for a year before she is finished. I am glad you got to talk to Chessy. Tell her hi for me. Random stuff this week... we went to do a visit with a member and when he started walking I thought, “I have met the Mike Hallock of Nicaragua”.  Last night it rained really hard and we got wet but we went to check up on this old couple who didn’t come to church. They have little, but she gave us both some hot milk which was nice since we were wet and slightly cold.  Good luck Lenny and Happy Birthday! 23 plus 23 equals 46... cool. Well, thanks for everything. Next week I will be 23 when I write. Love you tons. alc

April 17, 2012

Hi peeps...Week 35 in Mendoza!

We had a fun hermana activity at the zoo today.  There were hardly any people there but it was fun spending time with the hermanas.  That is awesome that Lexxy is training again.  We find out on Sunday about transfers.  I hope you are doing well.  So, I hit my 10 month mark on Sunday and 8 months in Mendoza yesterday.  Lexxy is at 13 months and Chelsea is on her way home today.  I can´t believe it.  I have been thinking lots about her.  Cool stuff.  We had a good week.  We were not successful getting people to church this week, but life goes on.  After church on Sunday the other hermanas came over for lunch.  I always enjoy spending time with Hermana Vera and Hermana Loftus.
We had a fun time at the temple this week. We went to McDonalds after, with the hermanas that were there and I enjoyed a delicious Big Mac, Milky Way Mcflurry and a Coca Cola light...mmm mmm good.
We are teaching an Egyptian man. I invited him to church at the corner store and I really didn´t think he would show, but he has come to church a few times now. He doesn´t live in our area but the area he lives in doesn´t have missionaries, so we started teaching him. The only problem is that he doesn´t speak Spanish, so we teach in English. His wife lives in Puerto Rico and is an evangelical pastor, so he will have to tell her. He is super cool. He converted to Christianity and moved from Egypt. He said he got interested in the Mormons when Herman Cain got asked about Mormons and said something and then the scandal broke out with him. I knew what he was talking about from all of the updates you send. Thanks. Some of the hermanas were asking me today since they knew I would have info. It was super weird teaching him in English but we managed. We also were contacting this week and ran into a less active whose active grandma from another ward was there. It turned out her son had died within the last few days suddenly and I was thinking how the Lord places us where we need to be and how the Lord would send 2 Americanitas to share something with this woman. She was very pulled together and I didn´t really know what to say but I am sure we helped just by visiting. A 16 year old girl that I contacted in August and that we have been teaching on and off finally received her answer that the church is true, but she moved this week. Hopefully she will get baptized elsewhere. I forgot to tell you last week that we got dumpsters in the neighborhood so we don´t have to go chasing after the garbage trucks anymore. J ...the luxuries of life! We went and visited a sister who had surgery this week and while we were there the RS president showed up and the compassionate service leader.  I sure love seeing the Relief Society in action wherever you are in the world.  I love you so much my forever family. That is awesome about Scott Allen. Cool! Have a grand week. I will have transfer details next week. Love, ejc

April 16, 2012

HAPPY 13 MONTHS on the mission!

So, 13 months today.  Can you believe it?  In four short weeks I will hear your lovely voices again and then four and a half months to go.  The time will go by super fast.  For p-day we played volleyball with the zone and then ate at a place called El Eskimo. It was quite nice. (Eskimo is a dairy brand here). Good times!  Anyway, that is cool about Scott Allen’s mission call.  Well, we didn’t have our baptism this week.  The hermano is having a hard time getting married, but maybe in the future.  We almost had another baptism but that should happen this week which will be good to start off with my newbie comp. There is a girl, well she is around 20, who has been coming to church for several months but is afraid of her parents since they are super evangelical.  She doesn’t need their permission but anyway, in our weekly planning on Thursday my companion said, “Do you want to be bold?  Let’s call her and put a baptismal date for this week.” The girl said she had been thinking about it before we called and was going to start praying and fasting. We were pushing for the 14th but whatever. She got interviewed on Friday and on Saturday we saw her and asked what she was going to do. It didn’t end up happening. I am excited that we should have it this week with my new companion. Anyway, miracles do happen!  Yesterday at church we had a ton of people there. The 80 year old we are teaching was all ready to go at 9:15 when we went by his house. That was a nice sight to see him waiting for us and then a family came too that we had never met before. He is a grandson of a member and we went and taught them last night and they seem cool.  It was good yesterday.  Our cook came too, with her member son. Anyway, I also asked this newly returned missionary at church who his mission president was. He served in Peru and the Trujillo mission sort of rang a bell. So I asked him and his president was President Turk. Small world! This missionary came home early from some health reasons but anyway, small world. The sister in the stake who was serving in Arizona, that I apparently met in the MTC, came home too this week for health reasons. Anyway, I keep realizing how blessed I am every day I am here. Thank you for being parents who don’t fight. I don’t understand people very well who get all upset and fight and are angry with their spouses. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And I am so grateful for a roof over my head and my needs and more met. This week we were looking for a house and we went up to a gate where there were some little boys playing.  There were 5 or 6 of them.  The grandma came out and talked to us.  The boys are the sons of a couple of her sons who are single parents.  They are between 10 and 13 and as I saw them I thought of 5 or 6 future missionaries, but they are some of the poorest people I have met here.  My companion asked if they go to school but they don’t because they can’t afford shoes. It was one of the times I have really felt sad about the poverty here. Really there is quite a range of economic levels here and the majority of the area is quite nice but there is another part that is super poor.  Later I thought about Sis. Beck talking about turning rags into riches.  The gospel would change these people’s rags into riches.  President said something about that in our training meeting, that the gospel will bring Nicaragua out of poverty. Anyway, I am happy here and the people are super great and generous even with the little they have. The gospel is true and I want to help more families here find it. I love you sooooooooooo much and am happy being part of our forever family.  We are doing good. I can’t wait for my mail to come, but it should be here on Wednesday. I think the Valentines thing that came super late was actually lost in a pile of mail in the office or something because all of the mail I got with it was from February too.  I have gotten DearElders and letters that you sent after that. So don’t worry. Normally things are pretty fast.  Can you believe I will be 23 soon?  I feel old with some of the elders since they graduated in ‘11 and I graduated in ’07, but there are several sisters who are 25 and one who will turn 30 soon. The training meeting was good. I had to talk for like five minutes about how training has helped me be a better missionary. I don’t know anything about who I will be training. There are three hermanas coming, not just one. We should meet them tomorrow since they will come work with us for a couple hours. As for changes I am assuming I will be staying here. I don’t know for sure until tomorrow but it is a pretty safe bet.  I love you tons. Love, alc

April 9, 2012

Week 5 in Linda Vista with big news!

Greetings my favorite people. I didn´t get your Easter package but I did get mail and a package. Most of it was DearElders and cards and the package from February. It was a Valentine’s Day one you sent but it had jelly beans in it so it was practically like Easter. So that was exciting and whenever I get the other stuff it will be grand. So the news of the week. they called on Saturday and said that I WILL BE TRAINING AGAIN, starting next week. I am assuming here in Linda Vista. I heard there is only one hermana coming and I guess I will be the entrenadora. It shall be good. I sort of thought I would be done training since there are quite a few who haven’t been trainers but the Lord knows what He is doing. That will be good. I have a training deal on Wednesday here in Managua. The good thing is that we know a little bit about changes ahead of time, like we have changes this time and that I won’t the next time in May. I probably will in July and then I will only have 2 changes left, probably in my last area, so that is good. It was Semana Santa here too this week but when we said that it was Semana Santa to some people they said no its not, since everyone is out drinking and partying like spring break. Yes Elena, I am all for the plastic pool in the driveway next year since they do that here too. It looked real enticing especially on these hot days. We did have a good rain storm on Wednesday night. It started pouring at about 8 and we were at a lesson. We waited a little bit to leave and the lights went out for a few minutes but came back. Then we headed out for our house and it was pouring. We were super wet and the main street right by our house was pretty flooded. I started to cross since there was no other option but my companion pretty much started panicking since she doesn’t know how to swim and wouldn’t cross. I got out of the knee deep water back with her and we walked around deciding what to do. I offered her a piggy back ride but she said no since we both would fall. Anyway, I finally convinced her that this was the best spot and I stood in the water firmly and helped her make the 4 steps in the flooded part and we crossed. Anyway, good times in the mission. I think I never mentioned that my companion is a lawyer but she doesn’t practice that. She had been working with her uncle in a doctor’s office. The stake went to the temple last week. One of the members we talk to quite a bit went for the first time. She was so excited to tell us all about it when she got back on Thursday. I can’t wait to go with you in 6 months. That will be the plan Friday morning when I get back. We also found an older couple/family to teach this week. They didn’t come to church yesterday but hopefully next week. He is Evangelical but we did pretty well answering his questions. He said he will either have to be Evangelical or a Mormon but he will have to see what the answer is. I also thought of Grandpa as we taught him since he said he could drive himself to church in his truck but his wife said before that basically he shouldn’t be driving. I thought of Grandma that time that we took her home from church and Grandpa had the tire rubbing against the block wall. Anyway, I got an e-mail from president saying that I am here in Linda Vista because there are families I should find and baptize, so I better find them. The Lord will help us. We may have a baptism this week. He is all interviewed and stuff, just waiting for the marriage. So hopefully that will happen this week.  Anyway, I am doing well. I did get to the post office today so mail is on its way. I got a letter from Lilly from BYU-H. She is in California on her mission a few miles from Disneyland. I am becoming a fan of Tang. They have lots of different flavors and I enjoy it to enhance my water. As for p-day today, I wrote letters and then we went looking for shoes for my companion. She called and got permission to leave the zone and go to Payless so we went with a member. It was actually only about 10 minutes by bus and she got 2 pairs for the buy-one-get-one-half-off deal they do. Anyway, it was good. I love you tons. The gospel is true. Love, alc

Hi peeps...Mendoza week 34!

Happy Easter! I hope you had a good one. I enjoyed opening my Easter presents. Thanks. You are the best. I love you so much. We just finished a fun activity at the mission office with a couple of zones. We played games. I threw the football around with Hermana Ball and some elders, one from Nogales, Az. The Eickbushes fixed hamburgers and hot dogs and it was fun. Next p-day I think we are having a hermana activity on Tuesday so I will write on Tuesday not Monday unless something else changes. Hermana Mcentire was at the activity too which was good. So this week was Semana Santa here. It is kind of like spring break. It actually wasn´t as bad as I had expected about people not being in their houses and stuff. Lots of people had inflatable pools out in front of their houses. I´ve decided that for next Easter I am going to buy an inflatable pool and put it in the driveway and set up a table and play dominoes like a Dominican.  So mark your calendars for that. :) I will be bringing some Dominican dominoes home for sure!We had a little Easter dinner yesterday with the hermanas in Mendoza. Hermana Loftus brought ham and jello and Hermana Domgaard made some potato salad. I brought the coke and some of the ingredients for the salad. It was fun. This week I did exchanges with Hermana Ball. She came with me in Mendoza and it was fun. We walked quite a bit but we enjoyed it and it was nice to talk. I wanted to get empanadas and ice cream at the end of the day but we didn´t have much time and the power was out all over the neighborhood so we just bought coke and cookies at the corner store, the colmado. It was all going well until Hermana Ball got sick and was up and down all night. We made it to the zone meeting the next day and I got your DearElders and one from Lou and one from Lori. I got what Dad sent and it was exactly what I needed. I needed to be reminded of a lot of things. I know the Lord is aware of my situation and so are my earthly parents. Thanks so much Dad! I loved it all but it was nice being reminded that I am making a difference even though it is hard for me to see that right now and that I would find things rewarding in small but important ways. I really love the members here and I can tell when they hug me that they love me too. I will really miss them whenever the time comes. Some say I´m practically a member here and others can´t believe I´ve been here almost 8 months. I will do whatever the Lord wants and if that is staying in Mendoza that is fine. I am pretty sure I will be moving in a couple of weeks but we will see. This is the only area I know and we do our work and if we don´t have success we just keep working. 

I love you peeps a million and I love that we can have a good time no matter where we are or what we are doing or what problems are around us. I know I am doing what I need to be doing and that this is the Lord´s work. The gospel is true my dearest friends and Jesus es El Cristo y El vive! Can´t wait for next Easter.  I am happy and healthy. It is heating up here.  I am just about out of time, but I love you a million my favorite forever family!!!!!!!!!! Until next week, probably next Tuesday. -ejc

P.S. Here´s some photos I have taken in the last few weeks. One is me today with my shirt from Lexxy and the other is Easter morning with my tye dye and plaid shorts. The other is decorations in the other hermanas’ house. That is the little motto our zone leader gave us at the beginning of the transfer and then one from a few weeks ago which is image 46 so gotta love that! Enjoy! -ejc

April 2, 2012

Buenas de Linda Vista

So, we got to see all of conference - in English - which was great. Elena pretty much summed it up for me. I did think of that when President Monson said to travel safely home at the end, that he was talking to me and that I will be enjoying conference in October from my couch in Arizona. There were 10 of us watching in English and 9 of the 10 will be finishing their missions before next conference. The other elder is just starting and will have 3 more in the mission. I think that at least half of the mission will be going home in these next 5 transfers. I have 26 weeks to go. That will go by so fast. I loved hearing all the talks on the family and I just love you all sooooooooooooo much. I also liked Elder Hallstrom’s talk about being active in the gospel and not just the church. It was all really good... Elder Oaks about sacrifice and that parents sacrifice the companionship of their children when we go on missions... Elder Holland when he said don’t delay it’s getting late and step up... & Elder Anderson, what does Christ think of me? There was so much good stuff... David F. Evans about getting real letters as missionaries. Thanks, because there are lots who don’t get real letters and he said that it is never just one boy – it’s a family... and to share the gospel in natural normal settings. I did enjoy seeing my Julie B. Beck. I didn’t see Archuleta, so I will have to see that when I get home. Anyway, we had a good time. I enjoyed it...last conference in Nicaragua.

 I saw a guy today with an ASU shirt on. Funny stuff!  Also, my companion found out that her dog died. She asked the elders from Rivas about it and they couldn’t lie to her. Her mom hadn’t mentioned the dog so she figured something was up. So if something happens to Socks tell me about it por favor. I think her dog died about a month ago. Hopefully I can help her stay perky... but it will be fine. So, for p-day we had a p-day with all of the mission. We were going to go to the volcano in Masaya but it was closed for semana santa or Easter week. So we went to Catarina, a look out spot, and to the prison that I went to about a year ago instead. It was fun. I have pictures so I will try sending some if I have time. Then we ordered Burger King and had it delivered to the church afterwards. Random things/thoughts from this week...I ate ranch dressing for the first time in almost a year and I got to eat Vienna sausage yesterday. I have been out of the USA for a year on the 6th. I was really happy when I got to see the US embassy this week. We passed it when we went to a zone meeting. It is interesting how church buildings and US embassies always look nice and well-kept no matter where you are in the world. I didn’t like crossing the street twice this week. We were at a busy area so they have a pedestrian bridge that you can cross over to avoid all the traffic. Not cool. I don’t like heights like that. I would rather cross through the traffic. Thank you for the mail I got this week. We had a zone conference this week with another zone. It was good.

One of the little lessons was from Hermana Monestel about grammar since some of the letters to the president are quite bad. I thought that was funny. Have a great week and Easter (Easter 2 on the mission). You are the bestest. I wish all families could be so close. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Thanks for all you do. I can’t wait to see your pretty faces at the Phoenix airport. That will be the day...6 months. I love you more than ever. The gospel is true and the best thing for families. Adios until next week. Love, alc

Another week in Mendoza

We have had a good p-day. We went down to a more touristy shopping place with souvenirs and stuff with the other hermanas. I always love seeing Hermana Ball. I bought a flag and a couple other things but I will have to go back and shop in November. So I finished week 33 in Mendoza and only 33 weeks left of the mission. Pretty sweet. Happy April. That is crazy but so exciting. I got a lovely boatload of mail this week, including my birthday box. Muchas gracias. I also got a lovely t-shirt from Lexxy. Thanks pal!  I actually bought one for you today but I will have to figure out how to get it to you. I might send some stuff home with Hermana Loftus when she leaves at the end of the month. I do have to confess that I opened one of my birthday presents. I thought you had probably sent me the EFY cd I asked for, and my companion had asked her family to send it but they haven’t yet, so we decided to open it. I knew I could count on you, although she keeps playing the same song over and over and over again and it is making me a little crazy. Anyway, all the rest is waiting for me to open on my birthday. Thanks peeps. I had a good interview with president this week. We talked more than usual. He asked me the usual questions and also asked what the hardest thing is and I was trying to think of something quickly so I said being away from my family. He said to try and think of what my family expects me to be when I get home so I can be the person they want me to be. I really liked that advice. He also set my release date for Nov. 20 so we are all set. I am just so glad we have such a good relationship. Today when we were walking we were imagining what it will be like to walk in the airport and meet up with our families. I said something about seeing my 3 best friends. I sometimes forget that not everyone has that kind of relationship with their families. I had a good exchange this week with the hermanas. I went to Villa Carmen with Hermana Kamisese for a day. It was fun. We both just enjoyed the peaceful day that we had together. It was nice to spend more time with her since she is going home this transfer. The elders had a baptism at our chapel after conference and I couldn’t help but imagine people we know going down into the waters of baptism. The zone leaders called on April Fool’s Day to ask if our refrigerator was running. I guess they had made some other prank calls too. We are supposed to go to the temple next Wednesday but we think we still get p-day on Monday. I should still be writing on Monday but if not you’ll know why. So I loved, loved, loved conference this week. I hope I get as excited about it when I am home from the mission. It was so good. I watched all sessions in English. The hermanas in the zone came over for lunch between sessions on Saturday and we had lunch with the zone at the church on Sunday. Good times. I feel like they talked a lot about families and Christ and discipleship. I liked when President Packer talked about being happy at home and sealed safely in the covenant. Love that! And Elder Holland’s, don’t delay, it’s getting late. Even though Elder Baxter was talking about single parents I liked what he said, that every single one of their achievements will stand as a tribute to them...so true. I love my parents. I always like Elder Scott when he talks about his dear wife and relationships beyond the veil. I liked president Uchtdorf’s talk and when he said, it is the merciful who obtain mercy. Elder Ballard talked about, that no career can bring you as much fulfillment as a family. When Elder Evans talked about missionaries and writing them letters, the room went crazy with us missionaries although I already have faithful letter writers. I liked what he said about missionary experiences being natural and normal and that we should pray with the intent to act on the promptings we receive. And of course my dear Sister Beck... I just love her! I liked when she talked about switching out robes for rags and saving souls. And then when President Monson said the influence of those released will be felt for generations to come. I just love Sister Beck and am so sad she was released. I also liked at the end when President Monson told those away from their homes to return to your homes safely and I was thinking that applied to Alexis since she will be with you next conference. I loved the music...some of my favorites were...Teach Me to Walk in the Light (reminded me of Irene), Come Thou Fount, and Hope of Israel...that is my favorite hymn in Spanish. I loved the MTC choir and thought about all of the happy parents seeing their missionaries and of course we all went crazy when one of the elders pointed out David Archuleta. Good times! I loved conference and next conference I will be practically home. I love my family and thought of you often. I feel so connected when I know you are watching the same thing. I love you soooooooooooooooo much. Well, time is about up, but I love you a million. Alexis will be home in 6 months. Crazy! Have a Happy Easter. I will be enjoying my Easter stuff you sent. Love you, ejc