Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles (aka I'm in Mexico)

Hola Todas!

So it´s kind of crazy but I made it to Mexico! We got up super early, rode a bus to the airport, and then flew from SLC to Denver to Houston to Mérida! My misión president, his wife, and the assistents picked us up, we went to the office, picked some things up and had dinner (the exotic subway), and then Hna Rhondeau and I stayed with some hermanas for the night before meeting our companions the next day.

My companion is Hermana Ludlam, she´s from New Jersey, but luckily doesn´t speak any english to me (except to help me understand of course). She´s been out for about a year, and is super nice. We´re in an área called Chuburna, and we´re both new since we replaced the elders that had been there. So the área book is a bit of mess, and it´s going to be a grand adventure!

With my trainer Hermana Ludlam

I´m doing really well. I love sleeping in hammocks!! It´s way nice, and since it´s the cold part of the year, I´m not dying too much in the heat. We have a washer, but I´ve handwashed things too. Also, I took my first bucket shower, which is very interesting... haha. Our house is nice, it´s really big for just the two of us, and one of the bathrooms has a cockroach problem... but it´s all good. Haha It´s beautiful here and I really do love it.
Spanish is okay....I understand a lot, but I have a hard time talking because I want it to be perfect and it´s not perfect yet. I´ll get there eventually though!

Anyway, I love you all and I love being a missionary in Mexico!!!

Vale la pena!

Hermana Wilson

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Football, Airplanes, & Languages

Me, and my beautiful companions.

This week just flew by!!! I officially hit my one month mark, and I have less than 4 days to Mexico!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How crazy is that????? We got our travel plans last Friday; I will be flying out on the 27th from Salt Lake to Denver, and from Denver to Merida! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited. I can't believe it's already time to go! I'm kind of terrified but also so ready!! :) 

So what happened this week....

Chad Lewis (who played in the NFL) came and spoke to us. It was so awesome. he was spiritual and funny and reminded me a lot of some men I know back home. ;) It was really cool because he said that he knows the only reason he could play football was so he would have a platform to spread the gospel. He served in Taiwan and speaks Chinese and is now the NFL's "ambassador" to China, so he's got an in that we as missionaries don't. He was awesome, and it's so cool to see how the gospel is spreading.

Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders

I taught a real investigator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We get to skype members who live in Spanish-speaking countries, and so on Tuesday Hermana Rhondeau and I taught a lady from Merida, but she didn't have a lot of time so we got to skype someone else too. We taught a brother and sister from Columbia named David and Alejandra. She is a member, but he isn't and is currently taking the discussions and we got to teach him and it was so AWESOME! We had like five minutes to prepare something, and our Spanish is questionable at best, but it went so well!! :) It was so great to teach someone who is real. And they said our Spanish is pretty good, and that we have "bonita Espiritus". :) It was like the best thing ever and it made me so excited to go teach in Mexico!!

Part of my zone.

Esperanza the plant died. We're not sure quite how it happened. We were cleaning our classroom and she got knocked off the windowsill. It was a sad day. haha

I'm a plant, I need the sun!
We had the best devotional EVER Sunday night! Elder Godoy from the Seventy (who spoke in Conference in Portuguese.) came and spoke to us. He currently has a son in the MTC so he called his talk a mix of fatherly and general authority advice. He spoke on Alma 26:22 (LOOK IT UP). Here's the basic outline of what he said:
1. You need to repent: be obedient, be worthy and then you'll have the Spirit.
2. Bring forth good works: work really hard, set goals, goals = souls and people and families!  And then you'll get baptisms
3. Pray Continually: really get into the gospel and then you'll have spiritual experiences
4. Exercise Faith: normally this goes 1st (and it's the second thing listed in the scripture) but he put it last and he said if you exercise faith then you'll see miracles. {Follow the scripture chain Jacob 4:24 to Enos 1:20 to Alma 26:24-27 Don't make excuses that kill your miracles}
And if you do that you'll get:
1. The mysteries of God
2. Bring 1000s of souls to repentance
It was seriously the best talk ever, and he was animated and funny about it, and in his imperfect English he really brought the Spirit. And almost as an afterthought he said, "If you're learning a language, don't worry about it. I'm 53 and still struggling with the language!" And lately I've been really worried about my Spanish but I realized that if I can bring the spirit it really doesn't matter. He was awesome. I loved it. It was exactly what i needed before I head out to Mexico. 

I love you all, I love this gospel. I LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary and getting to testify every day of Jesus Christ. It's the best thing ever. The next time you hear from me will be from Mexico!! Wish me luck!!! Have a great week!

Vale la pena,

Hermana Wilson

My desk always looks like this.
Praying Mantis at the Temple.
Travel Plans!!!
         Travel Plans for all!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Tree, A Plant, & Some Weird Trust Exercise


Me & Hermana Rhondeau & Hermana Wells at the Temple.
So I'm pretty sure I'm living in a time warp because I'm headed to Mexico IN TEN DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How is that even possible? I could have sworn I've only been here for like a week, but we're supposed to get our travel plans TOMORROW! That is seriously insane to me. I'm so excited!!!...I'm also terrified because no hablo español.** Haha I'm ready to be a really missionary, and teach real people, but I'm also scared because there's a lot more at stake. I've gotten really comfortable here, I've got the MTC figured out and now I'm going to have figure out the mission field. So it's all terrifying, but I am SO excited! (Also it's cold here and I'm ready to be done with that nonsense.)

Me & Hermana Rhondeau & Hermana Wells at the Temple.
(**Reading that paragraph I realize that I don't really speak English either...Hah hopefully you get what I was trying to say.)

It was a good flew by! We taught Maribel this week about the Restoration and I said the First Vision -from memory in Spanish!- and it was like the coolest thing ever. The Spirit was so strong and then we were testifying and this bug (SPAWN OF SATAN) crawled on her arm and she freaked out.

And thus ended the little moment we were having... -_-

BUT, we got it back on track and it was super awesome and I just love Maribel...Unfortunately we don't get to teach her again because we got switched to another TRC investigator AGAIN!! (We're getting really good at teaching the first two lessons.) We're now teaching Olga who has had a lot of hard times in her life and doesn't really believe in God. It is the saddest thing for me to imagine a life without the hope of knowing you have a loving Heavenly Father, and so it is so hard to try and teach people that. I know He's real, and I just want them to know it too. But we're trying and we're teaching her again tomorrow and I think we're going to use President Uchtdorf's talk from the Saturday session of general conference. He's awesome. 

We had some really good devotionals this week. One was by a man who works in the media department and he showed us a sneak peek of what the Church is doing for Christmas. I'm not allowed to say much's going to be AWESOME so be looking forward to that! The other devotional was about Satan and how we know who is going to win the war. I love that. Why waste time fighting for the losing team?? We know how this is going to end so why not be on Heavenly Father and Jesus's side?? Also something I loved that he mentioned was that light dispels darkness. I thought a lot this week of how true that is, and what I think is really cool is that ANY amount of light dispels darkness. It doesn't matter how dark it is, if you can find the tiniest bit of light it will cut through the dark.

In other news, we had to do a weird companionship trust exercise where we closed our eyes and our companions directed us around the MTC - up stairs, down ramps, around poles - it was terrifying. I learned that Hermana Rhondeau is great at directions and I have trust issues (no surprise there) also I almost walked directly into an elder...awkward...We also found the tree that smells like cream soda.

You read that right.

The Cream Soda Tree.
It's a cream soda tree!! (I would say more like orange cream soda) It's real! It's not a myth or a prank. It's real. I sent pictures. :) On the subject of plants, we also have a district plant (since we're the oldest district now whaaa......?!) named Esperanza. Also supposedly I'm the jardinera...which is a dangerous thing for Esperanza. 

Poor Esparanza!
We got a new district of 10 elders yesterday, and Hermana Wells, Hermana Rhondeau, and I, and  Elder Peterson, and Elder Stout (the Zone leaders) welcomed them. It's weird to by the old ones now...I still feel like I should be one of the babies. Anyway... they seem like a nice group. Haha Oh and Elder Peterson and Elder Stout told them that since the MTC is holy ground they shouldn't wear their shoes inside....and they all took their shoes off. Poor elders. Hahah They'll figure it out eventually. :) 

Well it's been another great week at the MTC! I love you all! I love the gospel! I love being a missionary! I just love life. Hoy es el mejor dia de mi vida. Ten days to Mexico! Ha pray for me. Love you lots!!!

Vale la pena,

Hermana Wilson
Elder Lyons wearing my glasses...we wear the same prescription.
Hermana Rhondeau & I with our District
This is how Elder Lyons & Elder Evans feel about P-day.
Me, Hermana Rhondeau, Elder Lyons & Elder Hernandez

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Conference, Christmas, & Caridad

Hi Everyone!! 

So it was General Conference weekend which is basically Christmas here. I've enjoyed conference before but it is SO much better as a missionary. We get a break from our normal schedule and we get to listen to prophets and apostles! I took notes on a lot of things, but one thing I really took away was that this work is not about statistics, it's about love. And it doesn't matter how statistically good I am if I'm not loving the people, the gospel, and this work. :) Also, how cool was it that people spoke in Spanish!!! We were so excited...and then a little bummed out when they voiced over it. But we watched them later just in Spanish and they were so much better!! There are some things that just sound better in Spanish. ;) 

We taught Raul (the man from Ecuador) again this week. He still speaks really fast, but I totally understood him. We had a really good lesson on the Plan of Salvation and then discussed a little bits about the Trinity and his understanding of God. It was the perfect lead in to teach him the Restoration next time and...we got switched to another investigator. :( It's kind of sad because I really love Raul and I loved being challenged, but our new investigator is great too. 

Fun fact, I met an Elder McKenna this week. Spelled exactly the same way. Hahah how random? Also, he said he's always wanted to marry a McKenna so her name will be McKenna McKenna. Hahhaha. 

Some funny stories for the week: the five hermanas share a room so we always say prayers together before bed, and normally they're in Spanish. Hermana Cook was saying the prayer and said "Por favor bendice nos con castidad..." Hahah she meant to say caridad which is charity, but instead she said 'please bless us with chastity' hahahah we were all dying laughing. Oh the perils of Spanish. Hahahh. Also, Elder Lyons in my district made up this saying "Que en el mundo" which means what in the world, but is NOT actually a saying in spanish, and our Maestra Hermana Iroz has told us over and over again that that is NOT a thing, and it's never going to be a real saying. But the other night in class the elders managed to get tangled up in each others' keys and as she was untangling them she said "Que en el mundo.." quietly under her breath and then looked really ashamed. hahah it was the best thing ever. Also, the elders have also decided that it's officially Christmas time... -_- So we sing Christmas songs and they spray Pumpkin Spice Glade in our classrooms. For the record, I would just like to state that Christmas songs should not be sung before Thanksgiving. Bah humbug. ;) (Although we sang Angels We Have Heard On High staccato and it was the coolest thing ever. Try it.)

We had a really awesome Devo Sunday night. Vai Sikahema came and spoke to us. He played football at BYU and then in the NFL, and he was so great! He talked about how missionary work should just be a natural way of life, it shouldn't be weird or awkward. He was great; Dad you would have loved it! After our Tuesday night Devo, we had district devo review with Pres. & Sis. Doman, President Doman had just spent the day with Elder Holland, and so he shared some really cool things with us. He talked about fathers, and father's love. I know that my dad loves me and misses more than I know, so I can't even begin to imagine how much my Heavenly Father loves me and wants me to return to Him. I'm trying every day to be someone both my earthly and Heavenly Father can be proud of. Also, I finished the Book of Mormon this week, and after I prayed about it I got that quiet confirmation of its truthfulness like I always do, but that night we had the best lesson with Hermana Iroz about testifying of the BoM and inviting others to read it, and we practiced that over and over. I knew that that was an answer to my prayer, and that my testimony of the Book of Mormon is to be shared. 

I'm halfway done here at the MTC how crazy is that??? I love you all so much!

Vale la pena,

Hermana Wilson

Thanks for all of the packages!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week 2: A Lost Tag, A Bat, & Some Scars

Hi Everyone!

Fun fact for you: time doesn't actually exist here in the MTC. I've officially been here for two weeks and yet it feels like way longer than that and no time at all, all at the same time. It is seriously the weirdest thing ever. We were talking in our room the other night about how it seems like we've all known each other for forever; there is just something about the MTC and being thrown into this crazy experience together that forms some crazy strong bonds. 

So this week was the week of packages! Haha thank you all for the birthday stuff; I now have way more candy and treats than I'll ever be able to deal with. Since I've moved and the mail is a little behind I've gotten birthday treats for almost a week straight. It's been awesome! The other Hermanas and I had a little birthday party with the stuff you sent Mom and it was the best thing ever. :)

Some things that happened this week: an elder took my tag after gym (while we're in the gym we put our tags in this cubby thing) and left his behind. I don't understand how he confused my tag with his since he is an elder with a last name that starts with an 'A' and is definitely not speaking Spanish....Elders.... So I had to wear my spare tag for the afternoon which made me sad (that would be the picture of my frowning).On the plus side he eventually realized that he is in fact not Hermana Wilson, turned it in, and I got it back.

Hermana Rhondeau and I and some of the elders in our district got to go to the Consulate this week! (I think that means I'll get my visa on time, but I'm not really sure.) Despite that fact that it rained all day and we had to wait almost an hour for a train, it was really nice to get out of the MTC for a little while. It was also the first time I've been out in public wearing my tag and that was pretty exciting.

Not as fun, two of the elders in my district got food poisoning this week, it shouldn't have been funny but it really was. I actually ate the same thing they did (smoked salmon chowder...maybe not the best decision to eat that) but my stomach of steel saved me. ;)

So the sister of one of my zone leaders sent him a bat in a bag that said "Don't go batty in the MTC" (I think I sent a picture of it). It was a real, formerly live, stinky bat. Kind of gross, but yet awesome and hilarious. For the record, I don't want anyone to send me a bat. 

Speaking of going batty, I now understand better why people go stir crazy at the MTC. Like I told you last week, we moved from West Campus up to the Main Campus, and now we have 0 space. It can be easy (really easy) to feel trapped when you spend 10+ hours in the same 15x12 classroom. #MainCampusProbs. On the plus side, there are way more food options and every time I see a tag in some crazy language I am reminded how lucky I am to be learning Spanish! And everything is closer together so we don't have to walk as far in the cold.

And it is so COLD now. I think Provo decided to skip fall completely which is really sad because I love fall. Oh well, I'll be plenty warm soon enough. :) 

We had our first district leave from our zone this week, and our first new district come in. It is incredible to see how much people change in such a short time here. Seeing the new district also reminds me of how far I've come in these two short weeks. Thinking about all the things I have to accomplish learn right now can be overwhelming, and I am completely aware that it is completely impossible for me to do the things that are expected of me if I try to do it myself. But the best part about being a missionary is that if you are worthy and working hard, you never have to do anything by yourself. We have divine help at every turn. It is the most amazing thing. One of my maestros played a video for us on Missionary Work and the Atonement (it might be on youtube, if you can find it, look it up), it was so incredible. It talked about how missionary work can be difficult and heart-wrenching but that the Atonement will carry us through every struggle, rejection, trial, and hard time. And that we may stand tall knowing that we stand shoulder to shoulder with the best missionary of all time, even Jesus Christ. The video talked about how we cannot convincingly teach about the Atonement if we have not experienced some small fraction of the pain Christ felt, and that we should never be afraid of scars from faithful service. 

As I've been here, I've been humbled a lot. We just taught a lesson to a man who is from Ecuador and speaks the fastest Spanish I've ever heard. I could barely understand anything he was saying, but then I stopped trying to do it by myself, and then it got better. As I focused on the Spirit I could understand what he was saying and actually have a conversation about the gospel with him. It is incredible how far I've come and how much I've learned since I've been here, but I know I could never have done it by myself. There is no way. It would have been impossible. But somehow I'm doing it, and I really love it here. 

I love you all, I love this gospel, and I LOVE being a missionary.

Vale la pena,

Hermana Wilson