August 27, 2012

Greetings from...

So people... I am here in Diriá (sounds like Didia) with the Hermana Parker.  She is from Hurricane, Utah.  So that is a big change for me.  It is very different being with a North American but we have a good time.  She reminds me of Amy Allen.  This is her third change so I am feeling pretty responsible for everything and in the Spanish department, but she does good.  I did have pretty good guesses for the changes and what all happened.  So Diriá is a really tiny town.  It’s a branch with Diriomo.  We live in Diriomo and walk about 15 minutes to the area.  There aren’t many members in our area but it is good. It’s really cute and there is a family from Utah who has a house here but they aren’t here right now.  It’s really small town - no bank or post office but we have all that in Granada which is about 30 minutes by bus.  We are going to Granada on Friday for a zone meeting so we will mail letters and go to the bank there.  There is a grocery store so that’s good.   Anyway, I really am having fun and we are working good together.  She seems happy with me.  I really do miss my Hermana Rivera but life moves on.  I had never felt that way about a companion before but I do feel so close to her and want to see her again but who knows if I will.  It is fun to experience having a North American companion.  I will at least have someone to see at mission reunions and stuff.  She is a year behind me and wants me to take pictures at Disneyland and email them to her. Thanks for sending the family photo to Hermana Monestel. 

Cottam family at BYU-H graduation celebration
She showed a bunch during her talk at change meeting and I was happy to see mine.  Everyone asked which one was me.  That is the photo I have on my agenda.  When she said she asked for photos I knew I could count on you and that you would send one.  Thanks pranks.  It has been raining at night but nothing too bad.  I can’t believe it is almost over...5 weeks.  I love it here and I love you tons.  I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t come on the decision!   The gospel is true.  On Thursday an elder was at our dinner appointment with his parents visiting who were picking him up.  We started talking to them in English and that was fun.  Their other son had gone to the DR in Lenny’s mission and they had picked him up too.   I just can wait to bring you back and meet all my people, see my Nicaragua, smell it, breathe it, live it.  I can’t imagine leaving it but it will be happening in a short 5 weeks.  Crazy... it seems too unreal.  We are hoping to baptize a bunch here this last change.  The area hasn’t been too successful lately but we are going to change that.  There is a member, actually a couple of people, that are really excited and helpful and we have some good vision for the area.  And just a funny story...when I was going through some stuff before I left Managua, I had an extra toothbrush and jokingly told Hermana Rivera that I would leave it for her for her inheritance.  I thought she had forgotten about it but I hadn’t and I wrote a little note and left it under her sheet before I left.  Then, at the change meeting as I told her good bye she said ´you didn’t even leave me the toothbrush´.  I said yes I did and that it was on her bed.  She is super funny.  We had a good time together and even with the newbies that we were with on Monday and Tuesday nights at our house we managed to have a good time.  I really wasn’t happy leaving but now I have realized that this was what I needed.  I was just too comfortable there with her.  I was happy listening to her teach and sit back and listen.  Now I really have to take charge and speak and I am responsible for everything.  I was a little stressed the first couple of days not knowing anything, but now I have a good sense of the area and won’t get lost (except I won’t have to show anyone else the area since I will only be here 6 weeks).  Now I am just excited to get to work and baptize some people.  I have to work at speaking Spanish with my companion but it’s all good.  I am happy and doing well.  I can’t believe it’s almost over.  I love it here.  I don’t know what it will be like getting back to real life.  Anyway, we are finding new people and hoping they can progress and get baptized this change.  I am doing good.  It reminds me a lot of my first area here.  I have gotten a few bug bites but that is Nica life.  I love being a missionary.  I hope you have a great week...5 more emails.  I think for the last one I will send you my list of things I need at home to feel like I am in Nicaragua. J  Who knows?   I will try to send pictures next week. Well, the gospel is true.  I am sure of it.  I love you tons.  You are the best.  Love your nica, alc

Greetings from the DR...

Hi peeps!  So it´s been a wet weekend here in the DR.   We were in the house all day Saturday and the afternoon on Friday, but nothing besides lots of wind and rain to report.  The sun finally came out today and I decided I like living in a sunny place because after not seeing the sun for a couple of days it seemed kind of depressing.  Hermana Louis and I are staying together for a third transfer.  This is the longest I´ve been with the same companion but we have baptisms planned for September so at least we´ll get to see some of the fruits of our labor. A bright side is that Hermana Mcentire is coming to replace one of the Dominicans in our house so we get to work in the same ward and live together.  It also means we hopefully will get to watch general conference together in English at the end of the transfer.  Only 10 more emails since my last Monday I don´t think I´ll be writing, since I´ll see you the next day. J  That sure sounds good.  We´ve had an interesting week with the rain and such.  The district leader called early in the week to tell us to buy food and medicine, etc. then on Thursday we didn´t have our weekly zone meeting but used the time to make sure we had everything we needed.  Since we didn´t have the meeting we didn’t get mail or send out mail so I should have a good stack on Thursday and some to get out to you.  I am going to write my last letter to Nicaragua today. J  We worked on Friday morning and then at lunch time the leaders told us we could go out depending on how the wind and rain was in our area.  It didn´t seem too bad so we went out. By the time we got to the first appointment it had started raining pretty good and the wind had picked up.  The person wasn´t home so we were going to drop off a Book of Mormon at someone´s house and then head in, but then it got real stormy.  We stopped to put our scriptures in plastic bags and then went back to the house soaked as could be.  We gave up with the umbrellas since they were going to break and with the wind it didn´t matter if you had an umbrella. The leaders called to tell us to head in too when we were deciding to start back home.  When we got to the house the other hermanas were there, and said, pobrecitas, since we were so wet, but it was an experience for the record.  So we were trapped in the house until Sunday morning.  I fixed one of the soups mom sent, took a lot of naps, and watched, “On the Lord’s Errand”.   On Friday morning I tried to get more info about the storm but my source was a little 6 or 7 year old girl and I was thinking how desperate I had become. J  I figured you guys had about 100 times more info than us but the leaders kept us updated on whether we could leave and stuff.  It got boring in the house but I did think it was a good rest for the last 12 weeks of the mission.   I taught the other hermanas the cup game we always played at girls camp.  Anywho, it was an experience but all is well.  My companion woke me up at about 6:15 one morning by saying, hermana!.  There was a black thing on the wall by the window but I couldn´t see exactly what it was.  I thought maybe it was a bat but when I put my flashlight on it, it was just a big moth or butterfly.  I said, it wasn´t going to do anything, and then I tried to enjoy my last few minutes of sleep.  Last night I killed a big!  So we have a baptism planned for this Saturday for a 10 year old Haitian girl and we should have another later on in September.  It will be cool to have a couple of baptisms hopefully this month and we need to find some new peeps.  We gave a Book of Mormon to the 7th day Adventist lady last week and we´ll go back and see what she thinks.  The only way to find the truth is to read it.  I was reading the talk by Elder Callister about the Book of Mormon this morning and also by Pres. Eyring from last October.  Pres Eyring talked about how the Book or Mormon helps us to learn to have charity, be witnesses of God, and endure to the end.  I was thinking that I need to remember that these last 12 weeks of the mission and make the most of it.  By the way, Elder Eickbush called me this week with 2 questions, if Pres. Toone is still my stake president and if I wanted to fly into Phoenix.   I asked him if he was making the plans and he said Salt Lake was starting on it.  He did confirm it was Nov. 20th.  I am so excited to see you and can´t believe it is September next week and that Alexis will be home before this transfer is over. Crazy!   I sure love you peeps and congrats on the baptism Lexxy.  I am excited to hear what happened this week for her transfer.   It looks like Dad is learning some Spanish. :) ...sabe mucho.   I can´t wait for a Spanish fest.   I was thinking how weird it is that when Alexis and I see each other again we will be able to talk to each other in another language and you guys too. J   My planner for this transfer has a family photo and a picture of the Laie temple. J  I’m glad Lexxy decorated hers.  Yep, I gotta make these last 12 weeks count and focus on the people we are teaching. I sure love you my forever family!  Well, I am signing off for now.  I love you sooooooooooooooooo much!!!!! ejc

August 20, 2012

6 weeks people!

Well, it was a good week.  We had a baptism on Saturday, but the man didn’t show on Sunday to get confirmed ...not cool, but it will happen this week.   But I won’t be here.  I really love the man.  He is so cool and it took 3 months from the day we contacted him to his baptism but it was well worth it.  Yesterday we went to visit him and he said, ´aprendí algo de usted´ (I learned something from you).   I asked what did you learn?   He said, ´que no todos son malos´ (I think he was saying that not all white folks are bad).  I hope that’s not the only thing he learned but really I thought nothing would top the baptism of Ericka in June, but I would say this one did.  He is a changed man and he even bore his testimony at the end of the baptism.  I had the same feeling of joy and satisfaction watching him that I did with Ericka and I thought that it was worth 18 months just for that moment.  He is super funny too.  When we passed by on Saturday before the baptism he was calling for help from the back room.  He was trying on the jumpsuit for the baptism but it was too small and he couldn’t get it off.  Luckily the mission leader showed up real quick because we couldn’t help him.  We were just dying laughing.  Anyway, I can’t wait for you to meet him someday.  He is so cool. 

We had interviews this week.  It was good, real short but good.  President was very complimentary so I was happy.  I sometimes wonder what he thinks but he made me feel good.  I have been enjoying my last week with Hermana Rivera.  I won’t know until Wednesday where I will be headed.  I am not too stressed since my attitude is that I can deal with just about anything for 6 weeks. I love being a missionary. I can’t believe it will be over so soon.  These last 6 weeks will fly by.  Hermana Flores (the one I trained here) is going to train.  So that’s exciting.  Well, I got mail this week...the ward newsletter, my ballot, and letters.  As for the ballot, I filled it out and will mail it to you tomorrow so you can take it to the polls if it gets there in time.  I doubt it will, but whatever.  My companion got the package you sent and was a happy camper.  She said it was the second package that she has ever gotten on the mission.  The lacey socks are her style.  She’s a cool girl.  I guess that she is kind of my Latina Chessy.   I don’t know how we got into our groove but we just have a blast together.  I love this girl.  She needs to come to Az.  She says she wants/wanted to be a flight attendant.  I feel so close to her and I don’t know why.  Yesterday when we finished the agenda for the change she said that that was the end of the ´cambio mas divertido´, most fun change.  I definitely agree and I did decorate my last agenda with a Nica flag and a family photo.  Yesterday at church I was so happy to see a family we found this week, walk in.  We didn’t have anyone there and I just didn’t want the change to end that way.  So I was thrilled when the couple came in.  Really, what Elena said is true...maybe the people don’t accept the message or do what we want them to, but I hope they remember that the American girl came and they felt the spirit.  Somehow, someday, they´ll accept it and find the truth.  I know I couldn’t live without it.  I love testifying of the family and how even though we aren’t perfect and have difficulties we are happy.  I am a happy girl.  I love you tons.  I know the gospel is true.  Well, I just have a couple of minutes left.  We had a good p-day.  We went to a Mexican restaurant that was good, like a restaurant at home.  Tonight we are going to eat bean soup at Ericka’s house and have Family Home Evening close by with other people.  It will be good but I have a feeling we will be eating all night.  I love it here and am sad to leave but 6 weeks people ...that seems so crazy.  Well, give my best to the Laytons.  That was a shock I am sure, but at least we have the comfort of the gospel and plan of salvation.  Well, I know I will be going where the Lord needs me.   Love you soooo much!  Have a great week.  Thanks for being the bestest people on Earth.  Until next week.  Love, alc

More from the DR...

So I am on the computer now a little later than I had planned.  We went to my companion’s doctor’s appointment this morning and then we went to a place to look for shoes for my companion and had lunch.  Finally they told us to go to the doctor´s office at the CCM and then we took a taxi back to our area and are emailing now.  I did get to see one of my favorite Mendoza members at the CCM, which was nice except we didn´t get to talk much just gave each other a big hug.  They told me they would give me the same meds they gave my companion when I go home, like all of the missionaries to kill any possible thing.  Anyways, that is so sad about the Laytons.  Let them know I am thinking of them.  Sad.  Also, too bad that Lexxy doesn´t get to stay with Hermana Rivera but maybe you´ll have another cool companion to finish and if not, it´s only 6 weeks. :) and 13 for me ...soooooooooooooooo excited.  So we have had some ups and downs this week but we are on the uphill now.  We got a hold of our investigator and she said, don´t come by.  So that was kind of sad since I know she knew what she was doing was right and rejected it.  But maybe there will be another time for her.  We are still getting the Haitian girl ready for baptism the first of September and we have another guy we put a baptism date yesterday for the 15th of September.  He is reading and really receptive and comes to church on his own.  I hope maybe he can get on a mission before he´s too old.  I often picture the people dressed in white or as a missionary or in the temple and sometimes I wonder how I can see them in that state but then they turn away or it doesn´t turn out just like I planned with the happily ever after but that´s life as a and downs.  But we keep going.  Anyway, I got a boatload of DearElders and letters this week.  I will try and get some letters out this week but we´ll see.  Only one more week of this transfer and then we´ll see what happens and if we stay together or not.  I wouldn’t mind a change but I wouldn´t mind seeing these baptisms so we´ll see.   I have decided when I get home that I want to read Pres. Monson´s biography and the book you mentioned about Emma.  I sent in my ballot last week.  Speaking of politics, we have a new president here...not a mission president, but the president of the DR.J   On Thursday there were lots of airplanes and helicopters flying around and stuff. It was cool.  I was wishing I had been in Gazcue by the palace to see all of it.  The district leaders told us we would be having inspections this last week by president but he never showed.  I don´t know if he´ll come tomorrow or if it was some sort of scare tactic for people to clean.   Last night we contacted this girl and her grandma and invited them to church.  When we were leaving the girl started speaking in English and she is on vacation here from Massachusetts.  She said, good night, to me which was weird to hear someone say that in English.   My companion sometimes does, but it was weird in the street. As I meet people I can´t imagine a life not knowing that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than I can understand and knows exactly what I need and how to help me...  not to mention an earthly family that will be together forever.  I think my favorite part as a missionary is trying to help people feel the love God has for them through me.  Even if they don´t recognize it at the moment or accept the message, I want them to remember the American girl who brought them a smile and cared about them.  It´s weird sometimes the love you feel for people.  Well peeps my time is just about up, but Lexxy, live it up these last 6 weeks.  Next week I will have news about transfers.  I can´t wait to see you but until then life goes on as Hermana Cottam for 13 more weeklets.   I love you peeeeeeeeeeps so much!  Love, ejc

August 13, 2012

7 weeks more in my land of Nicaragua

So, I am here now.  We have been relaxing today.   I wrote letters and will finish them later.  I did get mail last week and a package with socks in it...not Socks the cat.  J  But anyway, we both are a little sad since the zone leaders called at lunch and my companion is going to be a trainer.   We really hoped to be together until I finished but that’s the mission.  That’s okay... logically I will be headed to a new area for my last six weeks but I won’t know that for another week.   At least I have time to prepare myself.  We had a good week.  But highlight of the week - our hermano got confirmed and we should have a baptism on Saturday so that is good.   I was so thrilled and filled with joy as we walked in to church and he had a white shirt and tie on.   He looked great.  I can’t wait for him to get the priesthood and progress in the gospel.  I had an experience (and have had this thought before) realizing why certain scriptures are scripture mastery.  When we learned them in seminary I didn’t really understand how some of them were important for me but really they all have something to do with the missionary lessons.  We were in a lesson and someone was asking about if someone could really see God and my companion said something about Moses seeing God face to face.  She couldn’t remember the reference but my good little number tricks and the spirit helped me remember that it is Exodus 33:11 - face to face 33, 11 (don’t know if you understand that but whatever, I do in my little mind).  I have realized on the mission the significance of the scripture masteries.  Also as we were in a lesson my companion was talking about the priesthood to a member man and how he needs to use it and bless his family with it.  Her dad is a member but she said she doesn’t have a memory of her dad using the priesthood or giving her a blessing.   This is one of the things I have come to be more grateful for on the mission - a family sealed in the temple and a father who worthily holds the priesthood.  Thanks Dad.  I thought that if I was home right now, this week Dad would have given me a blessing to start school - great tradition.  I love you so much.  As for investigators this week, we just had the man in church who should be getting baptized on Saturday.  I have seen him from the beginning and what a change he has had.  We had him pick out the hymns for the baptism and gave him the clothes so he feels more excited.  I imagine him blessing the sacrament or in the temple and it makes me so happy. So hopefully I can finish my last week here in Linda Vista with a baptism.  That would be sweet.  I know Hermana Rivera will be a lifelong friend.  I really feel like she is my sister and we just have a good time together.  At least I have this week to prepare myself to leave.  We will see what happens for my last 6 weeks but it will be an adventure.  On the 10th they were celebrating Santo Domingo here.  It was for a Catholic saint but I thought of Lenny in her Santo Domingo land ...17months on the 16th and 14 for Lenny. Tomorrow we have interviews with president ...last one before my exit interview. Crazy!  Hermana Rivera says thanks for sending a package.  That will be good for her to get even though I won’t be with her.  I can’t believe how fast the time is winding down.  I feel a sense of urgency thinking about it.  I read my call letter today and was reliving the memory of opening my letter.   I really don’t know what I was thinking or what you all were thinking ...but who knew 18 months later ...and Nicaragua is my new home and will be a part of me forever.  The mission is great.  The gospel is true, so what else matters?  I really feel like I am living the best transfer of my mission and don’t want it to be over.  6 weeks ago I was afraid to be her companion ...funny how first impressions are deceiving, but she is the best.  I am happy for her to train again.  I guess the Lord has other things in store for us.  I just didn’t want it to end.  But life rolls on.  Crazy that it has been a year since I got to my beloved Rivas.  The time is passing so quickly.  I just can’t wait to see you in 7 weeks.  (Hopefully the newbie who comes here plays the piano because everyone in the ward says they don’t want me to leave since there isn’t anyone here to play the piano ...but they´ll be fine.)  I love you tons.  Las familias son eternas.  Love, your Nica daughter, alc

14 weeks until liftoff!

Just getting on the computer now after another quiet p-day.  My comp doesn´t really like to leave the area on p-day and would rather sleep as she is still trying to get well.  We went to the store and I bought a new umbrella and a souvenir towel of the DR.  We got a few groceries and stuff and then went back to the house.  I ate lunch and organized my desk a little bit and my letters.  Then I was just listening to some music while writing letters.  At least the garbage truck came by today since we had missed it for a couple of weeks and the trash was piling up.  Good times waiting for the trash truck. J  Thanks for the emails and dearelders and letters.  I got my ballot too this week.  Also that´s cool that the US finished with 46 gold medals.  Well, my dearest family I just love you soooooooo much.  Things are good in the DR.  We had a few people at church yesterday but the lady and son we were hoping to baptize soon didn´t show. We had a great zone conference with Elder Anderson of the seventy who is the new president of the area.  He´s from Mesa and lives close to Westwood.  He and his wife were very nice and I spoke with them briefly at the table at lunch.  He asked who my stake president was and I said, Pres. Toone.  He knew him.  I remembered later about Pres. Toone going to Westwood.  Pres. Anderson told us that we received our callings long before we got the envelope in the mail.  He also talked about the importance of learning the language of the spirit and how it is just as important as learning the mission language.  Sister Anderson gave me a hug as they left and said, be the best you can be.  They were very nice.  Also a plus about the conference was getting to go to the office to see my favorite Eickbushes and getting my mail.  I love the Eickbushes.  They were gone a few weeks ago, back in the states for a funeral.  When I saw Hermana Eickbush on Friday she gave me a big hug and then told me while they were in the states she bought the last black skirt they had at the same store where Mom bought my new black skirt.  It was grand seeing her and she gave me my last planner too.  Only one more to decorate.  Hermana Mcentire was there too and she said thanks for the birthday package.  I loved the mail I got and Lexxy wrote good long letters too.  Also one of the office elders said he might be in Arizona in November when I get home, visiting another elder that lives in Gilbert.  Yesterday it rained pretty hard but we waited it out at a member´s house.  We had another member with us who is hilarious.  When the rained stopped we left but the streets were kind of flooded.  I told her my shoes were fine to get wet and that they had been wet many times before but she was trying to help me keep dry.  She ended up giving me a piggy back ride to cross some ankle deep water. J ...funny times.   She is really nice and super funny.  I was kind of glad not to walk in the water since it was pretty dirty. Anyway, that was a funny story of the week.  Lexxy mentioned in her letter that she feels she has gained skills in stress management.  I agree.  I was also thinking this week how I feel comfortable fielding questions from investigators and I think that will also be a good skill to have.  Anyways, life is pretty good here.  I haven´t had the missionary success I have been hoping for but life goes on and I just try and remind myself how I felt when I was teaching Kamal. I would just like to have some more of those moments ...but they´ll come.  I hope you all are doing well. I am so glad Alexis is living it up with Hermana Rivera.   I enjoyed the note I got from Hermana Rivera. J  I am happy and healthy ... just trying to “missionary it up” for 3 more months. Crazy it has been a year this week since I left the MTC.  I sure love you peeps and look forward to your letters and emails. Email is seriously the fastest hour of the week and the best!   I can´t wait to see you, my forever family, in 14 weeks from tomorrow.  Love your DR daughter, ejc

August 6, 2012

More from the nica...8 more weeks!

Hola!  Well, it has been a decent week.  It really boggles my mind when I think that I only have 8 more weeks. 8 more emails. 8 more Domingos at church here.  I can’t believe it.  I sort of feel anxious thinking about it... not anxious in a bad way, but just a sort of sad and happy feeling, bittersweet.  But I am sooooo excited to see you and talk nonstop.  We did have a hermano come to church yesterday.  He may get baptized this week. Anyway, we did have a couple cool experiences this week.  We were out contacting and this one lady let us in and told us she had been visiting the church in another area but had stopped. We taught her and she accepted a baptismal date in this first visit.  She told us she had prayed a few days before for direction in her life.  I love being the answer to someone’s prayers.  She couldn’t keep the appointment on Saturday but we will see her this week.  Yesterday we were a little bummed with not lots of people at church and we were fasting.  But during Relief Society someone from the Bishopric came and got us to come meet a family that had showed up.  President had told everyone to include in their fast the blessing of baptizing a family this month.  This family is moving to our area next week and said they will come next Sunday.  Afterwards my comp said there is the answer to our fast.  So that was cool.  The gospel is so true.  So we had a good p-day.  We had to go to immigration to renew my ID card.  It was good since we are here in Managua so that makes it easier.  Then we went shopping and dropped off the groceries and went to lunch.  We went to the nice restaurant that we went to about 4 months ago.  I had a bacon cheeseburger and a banana split.  It is quite expensive for here but about 9 dollars.  My companion isn’t used to spending that much (well now neither am I) but it was good.  She asked me if it was normal for me to go to this type of place at home.  I said sort of.  One part is super ritzy with the tablecloths, etc. but we were in the part more like Outback or Red Robin.  She said it was good and we were with the other hermanas.  It was good to see some of the Olympics on the TV.  I saw the DR runner win the 400m hurdles, so that was cool.  Congrats on the DR Olympic gold.  What happened to the Nica boxer who was in the semi-finals?  Now we are emailing and then I will try to get some letters written.  I got mail and the little package from you this week and a letter from Grandma Olive.  Gracias.   Anyway, I am a happy missionary and I love it here.  I hope to finish here with my Hermana Rivera.  I told her that I feel like I can be myself.  She is funny.  On Saturday she was tired and had a headache and said she wanted to go home.  I asked which of the two - here or in El Salvador.  She said either.  We joke about going on the buses that go from Mexico to Panama. J I really am so blessed.  I have realized that more on the mission.  I have a great family, great parents who don’t fight, and we are sealed together forever.  At home that’s more common but here it’s not.  Well, I love you tons.  You are the bestest.  See you soon.  Have a great week.  Love, alc

P.S.  Here are more photos from our tennis adventure last week.

It's August!

So I am on the computer now.  We´ve had another fairly boring p-day in the area but it worked out ok since we got water in the house and could clean real good and fill all our stuff up. The water has been a little issue this week but we have water now so that´s good.  It is great having water. I sometimes remind myself that in 15 weeks I hopefully will never have to worry about water and power again.  Oh the joys of the mission.  I am happy and healthy.  Crazy...Lexxy will be home in less than 2 months and I will be in 3 and a half.  I was thinking this week how it has been 1 year since I was finishing up in the CCM and 2 years ago since we were in Homer and 5 years ago since we were starting at BYU-H.  We´ve had a pretty good week this week.  Yesterday the people we really wanted to show didn´t make it to church, but one lady showed up on her own which was a nice surprise.  We´ll just keep working with these peeps.  Hermana Ball says thanks for the birthday package.  I imagine Hermana Mcentire got hers too but I haven´t seen or talked to her for a while, but hopefully this week at the zone conference with Elder Anderson.  I am looking forward to that.  It should be a good conference and I will get to see my lovely Eickbushes.  Yay!  I don´t know when we are going to the temple.  We thought this month but I think next transfer.  So luckily we went a little bit earlier to our district and zone meeting this week because while we were waiting for the elders with the keys to open up the church, president and his wife and the assistants drove up. It was nice seeing them.  (I talked to president and said something about going home in November and I verified with Elder Eickbush that it was set in the computer.)  We had a hurricane warning last week and they told us to make sure we had food and stuff but I guess it weakened.  We had a lot of rain on Saturday.  About 6pm I thought I should check my phone but blew the thought off.  Then it started raining so we took cover in a corner store and I checked my phone.  The district leader had called and they told us to go in the house.  It was pretty windy and lots of rain.  There wasn´t much to do in the house since we didn´t have power and we were fasting but I did get to bed early and learned I shouldn´t blow off my thoughts.  I hope you have a grand time when you go Flagstaff.  Do lots of rompecabezas for me... aka puzzles. :)  I was really excited this week when I saw an identical twin to Mom's bike, riding around town. I can´t wait to bike ride together.  I saw a little of the Olympic swimming today on a TV we passed the Olympics!  When are they over?  Well, peeps, my time is about up but life is good here in the DR.  I hope you all have a great week.  See you in 15 weeks!!!!!   Love you sooooooooooooooo much!  Love your DR daughter, ejc