July 30, 2012

More from the nica

Crazy how fast the time is flying by. I just sent a ton of photos so sorry if my letter is a little short but I have 20 minutes left.  We went and played tennis today for p-day and then went to the palace and cathedral again.  It was fun. 

I got tons of mail this week - like 39 letters - but I haven’t had time today to respond so sorry if I don’t get to it today - but thanks for all the mail.  I had a good time reading all your letters.  I love you so much and can’t wait to see you.  I got my travel plans too...good times!  We had a good week but a hard last couple of days.  Friday was good - and our man got baptized on his birthday and all was well.  Saturday our numbers weren’t very good and on Sunday we had no one at church...not cool!   And we had a man to baptize this week but he didn’t come on Sunday.  But life goes on.  Better week this week.  We are still having a good time together.  I told my companion she needs to come visit me in Arizona.  We had a good training from Hermana Payne.  She is famous in the missionary world from the DVDs we watch.  It was really good and I learned lots.  She said how we are the only people in our areas who have this calling to help people reach salvation.  It is true.  We have what they need to have eternal life.  It was a good meeting.  On Tuesday we went to Masaya to do divisions.  When I said good-bye to my companion we gave each other a big hug.  I love this girl.  She says she feels really relaxed around me.  We both feel real comfortable around each other.  It’s really good.  I am a happy camper. I love you sooooo much and can’t believe that I only have 2 months left...crazy.  The gospel is true and I love you. I only have a few minutes left but here are some pics from the last FHE we did before Hermana Flores left.  The guy is our mission leader and it’s in his house.  I am doing real good.  Happy August!  Adios.  Love, alc.

Hi peeps...more from the DR

     So, it´s just another day here in Santo Domingo.  We´ve had a fairly boring p-day today but that´s okay.  We did go buy a few things.  Then we went back to the house for lunch and Hermana Vera and her companion came over, so that was fun.  I got to see about 10 seconds of the Olympics on Friday night when we stopped at a colmado, or corner store, to buy a snack.  The opening ceremonies were on which was sweet.  I stood there eating my Doritos until the guy working there asked if I wanted to sit down to watch.  I saw them running around with the torch and then lighting a bunch of little torches that were lifted up and a bunch of fireworks.  Then one of the Beatles guys starting singing.  Anywho, we left since I didn´t want to give the wrong impression about missionaries. J  I got letters and your package.  Thanks peeps, you are the best.  We´ve had a pretty good week here.  We set a baptism date with a girl for the beginning of September and another for August 18.  We will have to push that one back so they can come to church a few more times.  Another lady came to church but we didn´t see her since she only came the second hour.  Hopefully we can get some of these people baptized.  They all like the church, but I want to make sure we baptize people who are going to stay and be good members, but hopefully some baptisms soon.      This week I feel like I have a bunch of random stories to tell you...so here it goes.
-I saw a silver Tiburon from a distance this week. Yay! It had an ugly spoiler and was kind of beat up but it was the same body style as our car.
-As we were teaching a lesson this week I noticed the lady had a ring on that looked like a shield with letters inside, but I couldn´t tell exactly what it was.  When we were leaving I asked to look at it and it was a CTR ring.  She had bought it and didn´t know it was something related to the church.  That was our first visit with her, so we´ll see where it goes, but she wasn´t home when we went back for a second visit.
-We have a lady who usually cooks lunch for us and usually I like what she cooks and eat it all, but one of the days this week she fixed some rice with a side of meat.  She said it was something of chicken.  I am pretty sure it was chicken liver.  The good little Hermana Cottam tried to eat some of it but the texture was weird and it had a real strong meaty taste to it.  It looked more like some intestines or something and I just couldn´t finish it.  Hopefully she won´t cook that again.
-We went to teach a Seventh Day Adventist.  I started by saying that it is through Christ that we can have peace and happiness in this life and she said, “You think we can have happiness in this life?”  I said yes and asked her, “You don´t think we can be happy here?”  We ended up having a fairly civilized discussion and we are going back this week to teach the plan of salvation.
-So I have been enjoying late night taco Doritos they have here. Do they have those in AZ?  I hope so...  I also drank my ginger ale that I bought last week.  I think that was the first time I drank from a can since I left home...weird.
-I read the talk by Elder Ballard that Lexxy mentioned in Spanish this week. I also liked when he says that nobody loves you in the way you mother does or would do as much for you as your mother. I love mis padres. By the way it was the Dominican Father´s Day yesterday...so Happy Father´s Day again.
-We had a meeting in the office on Friday.  It was fun to see the CCM president.  We had bacon cheeseburgers and fries for lunch... mmmm.   I got my mail, so that was grand and the package had just gotten there.
-I saw the Bishop from Mendoza this week who was working on the chapel here with another Mendoza ward member. It was fun to see him since I didn´t get a chance to during my exchange in Mendoza.  I sure love my peeps in Mendoza.  I can´t wait for you to meet them too. 
    I hope life is well back at home.  I am excited to get back into the groove at school.   I can´t believe school starts next week for the kiddos there...crazy early!  I love you peeps soooooooooooooooo much.  I was so happy reading about how happy Lexxy is with her salvadoreña.  Things are good here and I am doing well. Can´t wait to see you in 16 weeks... best day ever.  I hope you have a grand week and a great start to August.   Love, ejc

July 23, 2012

Happy Monday, July 23rd ...me faltan 10 semanas

Well, I have had a fantastic week.  First I had to get to know my companion but now we are just laughing all the time.  This is going to be a really good change these next few weeks.  We both say we´d like to stay together until October but who knows.  I love this salvadoreña.  We have a man to baptize on Friday, on his birthday, so that will be good.  We had a new family at church and another couple of guys came for the second time.  One I contacted a while back and now we are seeing more of a change in him.  He is struggling with coffee but Saturday and Sunday he didn’t drink any.  Yesterday when we saw him after church I felt so good when he said, ´Me gusta la iglesia.  Encuentro paz allí´ or “I like the church. I find peace there.”  I really sometimes wonder what people think when we bring them to church since for me it is something I have always done and I feel good there but it’s not different.  But for these people that come off the street it is a different world.  I was thinking how great it would be to see this man blessing the sacrament in a couple of weeks.  Anyway, I am really a happy camper and I love Hermana Rivera.  We just laugh and laugh all day long and are really happy.  She said one night this is the funnest planning session I have had in a while.  I think she just gets me and my sense of humor.  This week we went to get our clothes from the lady that washes them and on the way home we were contacting with the bags of clothes with us.  This one man asked us if we sell clothes too...funny!  It was weird today when my companion asked what a day in my life was before the mission - I talked about my tutor job and she asked how much I made - 10 dollars an hour.  She said when she worked in a factory during the day and they made 6 dollars per day and at night 7.  Crazy how different the world is and how spoiled we are.  I can’t believe how fast the time is going.  I am happy and doing really good.  We did divisions with the sisters in Granada this week.  I was with a newer norte so we had fun “Englishing it up”.  Granada is a nice touristy place from what I saw of it in the bus and walking to and from the bus place. I can’t wait to bring you here... love my Nicaragua.  I am glad you got my flight plans and that is good that I only have to go through Atlanta...can’t wait to see you on Oct 4th.  Until then it will be fun working with Hermana Rivera.  Here are pictures of the two of us.  I have others but I will send them next week.  At least you’ll know who my companion is.  I haven’t gotten any new mail...hopefully this week and maybe my travel plans too.  That is exciting...crazy how fast this is going but I am really enjoying myself.  The gospel is true. I know it.  Adios and happy pioneer day.  I love you sooo much.  Love, alc

Hi peeps! ...me faltan 17 semanas

We went to the park as usual the week after transfers. Then we went to the mall with some of the hermanas. I had a fun time.  I also got lots of letters and the package from Grandma Harvey.  I love the shirt she sent.  I am wearing it right now.  So it´s been a pretty good week.  We didn't have anyone new at Church yesterday, but one girl came and a boy who´s mom is reactivating.  The other hermanas in the ward didn´t have much success yesterday either.  My companion is still sick but she´s on antibiotics and stuff so she´s on the mend.  I am as healthy as a horse, so not to worry.  We went to a ¨cosecha¨ or harvest in another ward in our zone on Saturday.  We split off with the members and the member I went with was nice.  It was cool even though most of us didn´t get to talk to very many people.  We had a good day yesterday when none of our appointments fell through.  We had time to do our contacts too and had a couple of new investigators.  We´ve had lots of rain this week.  We waited out a storm at an investigator’s house and then left to find a few lakes in the streets but we managed to be creative with our routes to get where we needed to.  I got a nice letter from Joyce this week and I also got a good letter from Tami Allen.  I was thinking how it has been 12 years since Tanner passed away, since I always associate the Summer Olympics with that.  I will really miss seeing the Olympics and the presidential election but there will be others.  I finished reading the Book of Mormon out loud in Spanish this week which was cool.  So I´ve read it once in English and once in Spanish during the mission.  The president wants us to read all of Preach My Gospel by the next zone conference.  Maybe you can read through it too just for kicks. :)   Life is good here in the DR.  I am doing good here - happy and healthy. I just sent some pictures from today at the park, so enjoy those when you get them ...like my new shirt?  I am so looking forward to seeing your lovely faces in 17 little weeks.  I can´t believe Lexxy got her travel plans!  I don´t imagine I´ll be getting mine until October.  I sure love you peeps.  Have a great week!   Love your Dominican daughter, ejc

July 16, 2012

Linda Vista Week 19

Hi!  I am here too but I am on a super slow computer.  I am doing well.  Well, I’m still here in my lovely Linda Vista.  I thought I was going to leave here but no...Hermana Flores had changes and I stayed, which was the opposite of what everyone thought would happen.  I was getting all ready to pack up my stuff and sent two envelopes with letters in them home.  They called on Tuesday at about 11 and told my comp that she had changes...not what we were expecting but I am happy here in Linda Vista.  I am with my new companion, Hermana Rivera, from El Salvador who has 13 months in the mission.  She is cool.  I think she is from the Stake Ilopango or something like that.  I think Tanner might have been in that stake.  (Now I only need a Costa Rican companion to have one from all the countries in Central America.)  It will be interesting if I stay and finish here or if I go somewhere new for my next change.  My new companion has a special assignment right now to train the sisters so we will be doing divisions every week and travelling to other areas.  I will come back the same day to work in our area with the junior comp of the other companionship.  It should be cool except I am sort of responsible for the area since she will be coming and going.  I will get to go back to Masatepe since that is one of the areas my companion is in charge of.  Tomorrow we will be going to Granada.  All the places we go are about an hour away so I will be on buses lots.  But anyway, I am doing good.  Happy 16 months today ...crazy how fast the time goes and only 11 weeks to go.  Since there are 30 of us leaving in October they will probably do the exit interviews on Monday during the day.  Then on Wednesday, after the meeting with all the changes where we bear our testimonies, we will go to lunch and maybe Masaya to buy souvenirs (that’s what they did this week), eat dinner, and go to the president’s house. It’s crazy how fast that will be here.  I got 3 packages this week (no letters) - 2 from you with the hymnal and sunblock and one from Grandma Harvey.  Thanks pranks!  Today I read a talk from Elder Ballard from May 2010 about mothers and daughters.  Gotta love mi madre, (y padre, y hermana).  This morning my companion had some Spanish music on and the other day I had recognized the tune but I couldn’t place what song it was in English.  Today I made the connection.  It was “Well Done” in Spanish. J  One of the new elders is from the DR, I think somewhere near Mendoza like Santa Mayor, but I felt a connection to him just knowing he was from the DR.  I can’t wait to bring you all to my part of the world.  Anyway, life is going well.  I really feel excited to work and give it all these last weeks and I am also less stressed about things that used to stress me, just knowing that I will only be doing this for a short time more.  Knowing that my time will come to an end shortly makes me more willing to give it all.  It is great being a missionary.  The convert of last month is now a counselor in the Relief Society and yesterday she conducted the meeting ...loved seeing that!  I was thinking yesterday how odd it will be to be in a church meeting all in English...crazy adjustments ahead.  Sorry I didn’t send pictures but I will next week ...11 more Mondays. J  We had some success with investigators at church yesterday so hopefully we will get some people baptized this change.  The gospel is true.  Well, I am off but I love you tons.  You are the bestest.  Have a great week.  Can’t wait to see you sooooo soon.   ...and I did have a Fanta for breakfast - practically orange juice.  I call it Fanta orange juice. J  Adios my friends.  Love your nica daughter, alc

more from the little DR missionary

Hi peeps!  No changes for me this transfer which is what we thought since we are training.  We went and visited this guy this week who had had contact with the church as a kid or teenager and now he is evangelical.  I try to avoid confrontation and usually just invite to church and try not to disturb the peace. J  My companion likes to try and share but it didn’t go well with him.  Anyways, after the visit with this guy, we ended up having 2 cool lessons with 2 newer investigators that I am excited about. One came to church yesterday for part of it so that was cool. Also at church all of the youth spoke about their experiences at EFY that they had a couple of weeks ago. It was cool hearing them talk and bear their testimonies and to know that they have those same experiences at camp and youth conferences as we do. I was also thinking about when I went to EFY and was a wreck and wanted to call every five seconds and then went to girls’ camp the next week. I think it was Barb Layton who was our leader and I remember her asking the question, “What was the hardest thing we´d ever done?”, and I remember thinking it was those 2 weeks being away from home.  Yesterday I was thinking about how far Alexis and I have come.  There is still stress and hard things in the mission but I am a lot better at handling it all now.  It´s amazing what 10 years and lots of experiences and preparing can do.  So we´ve had a good week.  A few days we walked and walked looking for people to teach but that happens sometimes.  Sometimes when we are walking I start to imagine the walk in Phoenix when I will see you at the end of the terminal.  Then I smile to myself and think what a great moment that will be.  Good news....avocados and mangos are back in season!  Yay!  I have been enjoying avocado sandwiches at night the last couple of nights!    Elder Eickbush came in on Thursday with the mail and he had like 4 packages and letters and stuff.  One of the elders was giving me a hard time and that it was probably all for me.  It turned out the packages weren´t but I did get some lovely dearelders and a letter from Lexxy.  Thanks for the mail that I always know is coming.  I had a lovely exchange with Hermana Avery in Mendoza this week.  I kind of felt like I was coming home, walking those same streets I walked for so long and seeing the people I always saw.  One member said, “Are going to finish your mission here?” and I said that I would like to but I don´t know ...probably not.  They had a baptism in Mendoza on Saturday and it was great to see my dear Mendoza. Hermanas Ball and Domgaard came over the morning I was there, to help with a service project.  We were painting a school of a less active sister.  There wasn´t a lot of supplies to paint with, so Hermana Domgaard and I ended up chatting and supervising. J  Hermana Ball is the artistic one anyway.  Thanks for sending the birthday packages to them.  Anyways, it was great in Mendoza.  I didn´t visit all of my peeps since that wasn´t the point of the exchange, but I did get big hugs from some of them.  I even got to use the cup I always drank out of in Mendoza. J ... gotta love that!  I only have half of the time I was in Mendoza left in my mission ...weird.   Alexis has 16 months!  Wowzers!  Good times ahead.  Well, I am about out of time. I know you´ll get my other emails eventually.  Lexxy, you are super cool!   I will be with you ...well, 18 weeks from tomorrow ...crazy.  I have the best family ever!!!!!   ...until next week.  Love, ejc

July 9, 2012

Week 18 in Linda Vista

So I am here now.  We have changes this week but we still don’t know what will happen with us.  The most logical would be that I will go but who knows?  They have been keeping the trainers with their newbies for sometimes 3 changes these days so we shall see.  Anyway, I am doing real good and I got a bunch of your dearelders this week so that was good.  I was laughing and my companion was like... what happened?   I enjoy the mail.  It has been a good week.  We at least made some progress in our numbers since the last week wasn’t our finest but the work continues.  It is weird not knowing what will happen this week but who knows?  Anyway, we played soccer and wrote in people’s notebooks this morning and then a member called to ask me if I would play the piano at a funeral today.  I was less than thrilled but I said yes.  We ate at Tip Top (the Nicaraguan KFC) for lunch and then headed over to the church.  I played the piano and it went well.  I realized I should have been more willing to say yes and not such a bum and act like it was a big deal but the piano got played and I felt good that I helped the people.  It was a man from the other ward in the building.  I was thinking about how there are lots of things the same here but then some things that are completely different, like the funeral.  Death happens everywhere, the gospel is the same everywhere, but it was different seeing the casket come to the church in the back of a work-type truck and the family come in on a big yellow school bus.  It wasn´t the nice hearse and cars, but you felt the same for the family. There were beautiful flowers and it was good. I felt good as the little American girl who played the piano in the funeral.  I don’t know them and they don’t know me but I felt good serving them today.  I have decided that I need to be more willing to do what is asked as I finish my mission.  I need to focus on the people more and not just do the work.  This will help us have more success.  Anyway, we went on divisions this week.  I was with the new American.  It was fun talking in English and being the one who sort of knows Spanish.  I was sort of reliving the beginning of my mission but it was fun.  On the way home we passed by this pizza stand/restaurant and I asked her if she wanted pizza.  She said ok so we bought a slice (it is less than 50 cents a slice).  When I told her companion that we ate pizza she was shocked because she doesn’t eat things in the street.  The pizza place is more of a restaurant and since I was doing it, she followed me. A similar thing happened once before with her when I ate some fruit and told her to too.  I guess she trusts me.  We had a few people in church yesterday.  One man that we have been working with for a while (who is like the twin of Mr. Boscia at Poston) finally came.  That made me happy.  Sometimes the work is a slow process but to finally see him at church was worth it.  I am glad that Dad had a good birthday.  I can’t believe it’s already July again.  I have been here in Linda Vista 4 months now and next Monday I hit 16 months...crazy.  I need to make the most of these last 12 weeks and give it all I´ve got.  I can’t wait to see you again but to think about the getting back to the real world is weird and sort of nerve-wracking.  No, it will be all good.  I am happy here and doing well.  I know this is the work of the Lord and this was another great decision of my life along with going to BYU- Hawaii.  Well, mahalo.  Yo sé que el evagelio es verdadero.  Les amo muchisimo.  Love your nica daughter, alc 

P.S.  Elena, I drank Fanta today, too, but it was Fanta red not orange... gotta live that up while I still can.  I will look for Elder Garn’s talk in the Liahonas we have in the house.  Mom, the girl that says she is your daughter always asks about you and when are you going to visit her. J  Next week who knows where I will be e-mailing from.  Happy 13 months on Sunday Lenny.  I am doing real good and don’t know what will happen this week but it will all turn out as it should.  I love you so much and hope you have a fantastic week.  I love my favorite forever family.  You are the bestest. I better get going.  Love, alc

Hi peeps...19 weeks

I’m just getting on the computer now.   We had an activity with the hermanas at the president´s house which was fun.  Then we started walking to try and find the bus and my companion suddenly had to go to the bathroom so we walked back to the CCM. Then we took a taxi back to the area. I got to see someone at the CCM from Mendoza which was fun. I am doing good here and the activity was fun with all of the hermanas and Hermanas Hernandez, Mcdermid, and Eickbush.  We just chatted and ate good food and Hermana Mcdermid gave a little lesson about companionships preparing us for marriage.  They are going home at the end of the month so it was good to see her.  So it´s been a good week.  On the 3rd I ate some ice cream in honor of Dad´s birthday and I had a Fanta 4th of July. J ...good times!   I think part of the reason I get such a kick out of drinking Fanta is because you don´t like me drinking it. J ...such a rebel!  I got some mail today at the activity but I haven´t read it all...dearelders from last week, a letter from Chester, and the package.  Thanks pranks.  I enjoyed showing the photo of Chessy to the hermanas.  Elder Eickbush didn´t come pick up the mail last week and I forgot to give Sister Eickbush my letters today, so I think I will just be sending those next week.  I am going to enjoy reading my mail today.  I love mail.  Hermana Mcentire said, “You still get dearelders?” and I said, “Yep!”  My mail reputation is definitely holding up thanks to your faithful dearelders and Lou, who always sends dearelders.  I have been enjoying my new black skirt all week and the hermanas liked it as I was wearing it today.   So funny thing at our house, the bowls we have are really small but we also have mixing bowls, so this week I decided to use those for my cereal.  I get a kick out of eating fruit loops out of a mixing bowl in the morning.   In companionship study this morning we sang “The First Noel”.  We sing in English since my companion likes to and I was enjoying the Christmas song.  This week I was looking through the box of old Liahonas and found one from 2003.  It was in Spanish and I decided to look through the front and see who the apostles were at that time. As I was glancing at the list of talks, guess who´s name I found?   ...30th Ward´s very own, Daryl H. Garn.  You can imagine my excitement and I enjoyed reading his talk about preparing for missionary service...cool!   I also read a talk by Pres. Packer that I think in English is called, “The Golden Years”.   It was cool too and I thought you might enjoy it since it talks about taking care of grandparents etc.  So tomorrow I get to go on exchanges with Hermana Avery in Mendoza.  I am super excited to see my peeps and my old stomping ground.  The lady I ran into today from Mendoza gave me a huge hug.  It was great.  It will be so fun for you to meet these peeps.  It was great chatting with Hermana Ball today and all of the hermanas.  I told Hermana Eickbush that she is one of my favorite people here and that I love seeing her.  She said the feeling is mutual and that she remembers when I got here and that we always had a connection.  We didn´t have a huge success this week with the investigators but that´s how it goes.  We were hoping to set a baptismal date with 2 people but the mom has to get married first, so it will be a longer process with them.  Her little girl was the only investigator we had at church yesterday.   I appreciate that Dad said I would find my work rewarding in small but important ways.  The hermanas in Gazcue are supposed to have a couple of baptisms this month, one I met briefly and apparently the daughter of someone we contacted.   So the fruits come eventually.  Anyways, life is good.  I had dreams about transfers and that I left my area and Alexis was going to be working in Mendoza...crazy!  I hope you all are doing good and that you have a grand week my forever family.  It is always so good to hear from you.  One week left of this transfer...crazy...see you in 19 weeks.  Love you a million.  Love, ejc

P.S.  Here are some pictures from today and from my Fanta Fourth.  The power went out at the other internet place so we had to find another one for our last 10 minutes or so.  Anyways enjoy the pics of me and Hermanas Eickbush and Mcdermid.  Good times!  There’s also one of Hermana’s Ball and Louis and then me with Hermana Espinoza.

July 2, 2012

More from the nica!

So I am here now.  It has been a decent week, not so great with numbers since we had a couple days where we walked and walked and almost no one was home but whatever.  Life goes on and my companion was a little sick too but she kept working and now she is better.  I can’t believe how fast the time is going...13 weeks...wow.  But I am doing real good and I am really not sure about changes.  They are next week.  Today they should know who is training.  I’d like to stay but we shall see.  Probably I will go to a new area to finish my last 2 changes.  When we were at a member’s house they had the radio on and I heard Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror”.  Crazy how music can trigger so many memories and how you remember all the words even though you haven’t thought about that song for over a year.  Now I have just 3 more Fast Sundays, 3 months from Wednesday, and 1 more interview with president and then I will see your lovely faces and we will just have 7 more weeks to write the crazy Lenny.  Crazy times!  I can’t believe that I am actually here doing this. I need to be the missionary you expect me to be...like Elena said.  I do have quite the nica accent I think. 
Anyway, here’s more from your nica girl...  I can’t believe how fast the time is going by.  Soon these 18 months will be a grand memory but I’ve gotta keep working until the last day.  We are doing good.  We found and are teaching a lady who sometimes says a few words in English but I have a hard time speaking English to non-native speakers.  It is weird because I really don’t think the people think twice about speaking to me in Spanish but whatever.  I really do feel like I belong here but I am sure I stick out like a sore thumb on the street.  I really can’t wait to bring you to meet all my favorite people.  It will be so crazy when the people see the dos Hermanas Cottam.  Good day. They won’t know what to think. Today we went to a field to play with our zone and another.  We mostly just chatted but it was fun to see a couple elders that were in my first district over a year ago.  Then we went to Pizza Hut for lunch... real good!  We had a good Fast Sunday yesterday.  Our recent convert said she would bear her testimony if I did. So I was waiting for the opportunity to get up and not have to sit up on the stand and wait but she got up before me.  Then I did, so that I kept my word.  She is a keeper.  We have been working with the members more than usual, which is good.  As I think about leaving these people I realize how important the members are because they are the ones that will stay and take care of our people.  It doesn’t matter how attached the people are to me, I am going to leave someday and they need to have other friends and helpers in the church.  We are focusing on getting references from members.  I did write letters today so I am caught up.  I haven’t gotten mail but hopefully this week.  I hope you have a fantastic birthday Dad.  I can’t believe it’s been a year since you said how you remembered how Grandma Laurel turned 57 when you were on your mission.  I am a happy girl and know this was the best decision I could have made to come on a mission.  This is truly the work of the Lord and I am happy and healthy.  The work is going along.  I know it is true and I love you tons.  You are the bestest.  Have a great week and happy 4th.  Eat a hamburger for me!   Love your nica daughter, alc

Greetings from the DR!

So we just got back to our area after a lovely BBQ at the office with the hermanas and a couple of zones.  I love the Eickbushes!  She gave me a big hug and said she feels like mom.  I will sure miss them in November but then I will have my real family back.  It’s been a good week.  I got my package today with the new skirt that looks perfect.  Thanks and thanks for all the other stuff too.  I got lots of letters this week so it was good.  When I was doing an exchange with another hermana in another area this week they had a quote on their wall that said, “podemos quedarnos en la cama y seguir soñando o levantarnos y vivir nuestros sueños”. Me gusta eso/I like that! ...We can stay in bed and keep dreaming or get up and live our dreams. Live your dreams Lexxy and maybe you can take the controls of Air Force One when I live my dream of being president.  I hope you are doing well and have a good week with birthdays and fireworks, etc.  I am doing good here.  I am pretty sure I am wrapping up week 46 since I left the MTC.  Cool beans!  ...4 Fast Sundays, 2 planners to decorate (since I decorated mine for next transfer yesterday), and 1 interview with president to go.  See you in 20 weeks.  We had interviews with president this week which was good. Hermana Hernandez talked about dental care since she is a hygienist.  Good thing I have my dental appointment in November. :)  It was good to be reminded of things we can do better and make some changes.  I got some good letters from you and feel like I need to live up to all the stuff you say about me about being diligent and obedient.  I have more resolve to do better.  We did exchanges with the hermanas on Friday.  I went to lotes y servicios which was fun.  I was with a Guatemalan hermana. I felt right at home there even though it was a new place.  I slept soooo good there since they have gotten their new mattresses. I was thinking about how good I will sleep in my “marshmallow” bed. :)  It was also the first time I slept with a mosquito net.  When we were on the bus to do exchanges we drove past Mendoza and I saw someone from the bus I know.  It was so nice seeing Mendoza.  I also saw a member while we were waiting for the other hermanas and we were so happy to see each other.  It will be a great day to come back with you guys and see my peeps.  We are still teaching a woman and kids and they are so cute.  The little boy gives me high fives and gets a chair out for me when we come by and then gives me a hug when we leave and sometimes starts crying when I go down the stairs.  Hopefully we can get them baptized this month.  We also have an investigator that was meeting with the missionaries a year ago but now feels ready to be baptized.  He needs to come to church a few more times but he is  great and will be a great missionary someday.  I also contacted a guy from North Carolina who was here visiting his wife´s family. He is a marine and worked at the embassy a few years ago.  It is weird how you feel a connection with someone from your own country even though we didn´t talk much.  It´s been a good week.  I had a little bit of a fever and wasn´t feeling great so I slept it off and we kept working for the most part.  I am feeling better now.  My favorite scripture for the moment is D & C 64: 33-34.  I hope Dad has a good birthday and Happy Birthday Bishop Evans and America.  I was thinking how yesterday it had been 6 years since Grandma Laurel slipped away from us into the eternities.  Even though I haven´t had a specific experience with feeling the presence of angels, I know I have some guiding me and keeping me safe. I sure love my forever family. I will try to send some photos from Gazcue and the last park p-day and from my 1 year mark.  Enjoy!  I love you guys sooooooooooooooooooooooo much!  Have a great birthday Dad!
Love you all, ejc

P.S. I had a couple of extra minutes to send a few more photos.  I couldn´t find a Fanta on my one year mark so I drank an orange flavored Red Rock, which is good since I like red...mmm.  The picture of the sky was on the morning of my one year mark.