Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mexicans know how to party!!

Hola Familia!!
Como esta? It is soo weird to think that this is my third week here at the CCM. I cant tell if it has gone by fast or slow haha. Thanks for all the wonderful emails! I love hearing what everyone is doing at home! Sorry I don't have enough time to individually email everyone back but hearing what is going on in the real world helps keep me sane! haha the other day my district and I were saying how we don't know what is happening in the world and one of the elders said the US attacked Syria. Well we all believed him and were freaking out! haha but that actually didn't happen so its all good. 
So mom, you were asking what my typical day is like here so here it is! Wake up at 6:30, get ready till 7, breakfast till 7:30, class till 12, lunch, class from 1 to 5:30, dinner, class from 6:15 to 9:30, go back to our casa for personal study and to get ready for bed, lights out at 10 30. Yeah its a lot of studying which is kinda killing me but whatever. Its chill. Our district has fun! I would take this schedule over sitting at home doing nothing. So this week nothing to exciting has happened. Its just another day here like it would be at home! This week we got two new investigators: Juana and Juan. What are the odds that both of the investigators have similar names! haha we finished teaching Carol and committed her to baptism! So that was cool. Well Carol, who is really Hermana Wilson, is now our night teacher and I love her! It is slightly awkward because I have had many awkward times with teaching her as she pretends to be investigators. Anyways, the two new investigators are acted by Hermana Wilson and Hermano Gutierezz who are both my teachers. So it is weird teaching them and then turning around and having them teach me! On Monday, me and Hermana Rogers taught Juana that night...yeah it didn't go too well. We kinda had a laugh attack all day and were struggling focusing. We didn't really plan which made it impossible for the spirit to be there when we were teaching her. We asked her to be baptized and we got shut down. It was frustrating because we weren't working together as a companionship but from that experience it helped us learn what we need to do to teach Juan the next morning. The lesson with Juan went so good! It was one of our best lessons yet. Hermana Rogers and I spoke equally the same amount, we had the spirit, the conversation just flowed like how a normal person would talk, and we committed him to baptism and to coming to church this Sunday on the FIRST lesson! So that was exciting! Except we taught for 35 minutes and we got a little in trouble because we were only suppose to teach for 20...oops. But it felt nice to finally have a good lesson!
I CAN NOT BELIEVE Hermana Rogers grandpa is in our ward! What a small world. Her dad actually emailed her today too and told her! So awesome! I absolutely love my companion! Its scary how similar we are. I really was blessed with such an awesome companion. She likes vintage stuff like I do! haha. We get along great. We have had so much fun this week! I don't think I have laughed so hard over the dumbest stuff then I have this week. 
Anyways, last weekend was Mexico´s independence day and it was CRAZY! We had a cultural event on Saturday night and watched a Mexican cultural video, there were dancers and singers, and we sang the national anthem like 10 times. But the Latinos here were going crazy! I am pretty sure they were screaming the whole hour and a half we were there. I don't know why Americans aren't that excited for the fourth of July. I wanted to join them! Bombs, fireworks, and gunshots were going off all night but luckily I some how feel asleep! Haha President Pratt told us after the cultural event was over to hurry back to our casas because bullets could fall inside the huge compound wall surrounding the CCM and someone could get hit. We definitely all RAN home. My district always pulls pranks on me and my comp because we are sooo gullible so we decided to get them back. The next morning, we told the elders that Hermana Rogers got hit by a bullet and we were at the hospital all night. They didn't believe us. It was worth a try though! haha we will have to get them next time. Throughout the week, in the comedor we were given Mexican candy which is Gross. It straight up tastes like Styrofoam and chalk. And they just chili pepper powder in most of the candy too.
So Spanish is coming i guess.....I feel like I am just slaughtering the language when I try to speak to someone. Like today I was sitting next to a Latina at lunch and I am talking to her in SPANISH and she replies, Lo siento no hablo ingles. I AM FREAKING SPEAKING SPANISH!!!! ugh. It was annoying. I cant really understand what half of the investigators we teach say so I just straight up rely on the spirit to guide me what to say because i have NO idea what they are trying to say. For ejemplo, Juana says that her dad died three years ago. I reply with a smile "bien". Yeah not exactly good! haha but I am just keeping on trying. It will eventually come! I have to keep reminding myself that Spanish wont just come in three weeks!  
So, Sundays here are probably the best thing ever! I LOVE THEM! Well here at the CCM, our branch president announces after the sacrament who is going to speak in the sacrament meeting. Which is so TERRIFYING!!! Everyone prepares a talk during the week so everyone is somewhat prepared. Oh and they encourage you to give the whole talk in the lovely idioma de espanol. So I am just chilling there in sacrament when I heard Hermana Howell will be speaking. UM WHAT. hahaha surprisingly I actually kinda expected it. I guess I was being prepared by the Spirit! Anyways, it went pretty well! I wasn't nervous at all and went up there and had a good time! It was actually kinda fun! My topic was on the Holy ghost. My talk was Spanglish! ya know..Spanish and English. But everyone said I did a good job and didn't even look nervous so that was great!
AHHH YAY I AM GETTING A PACKAGE!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  Seriously, packages are like christmas here! SO THANK YOU!!! So how has everyone' week been? I hope everyone is doing well!! I am going to try to write you all a personal lettter this week!! I love you all so much! Thanks for all the love and support! I couldnt do it without all of you!! Have a great week!! LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!
Con much amor,
Hermana Howell
Scripture of the week: Galations 2:20. I just love this scripture!! It just makes you think. And i guess I like it because I am an englihs major haha

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I feel like I am on a roller coaster!

Hola Familia!
Wow let me just start out with THANK YOU for everyones sweet emails! and letters. Oh and I got the meds with the note so thank you for that. I haven't received any dear elders so just a heads up to everyone that whatever you are doing is not working. Okay SO much happened this week! First off, we can get packages here! So if you are feeling generous I would LOVE some more mints and a long raincoat that is preferably cute. No one told me it was going to be freezing here! It rains every day and all I have are clothes for hot weather! But luckily today and yesterday it has been warmer. And we finally saw the sun!! It was so nice to see that haha.
So Mexico. Is. Crazy. The driving here should not be legal. But it is so gorgeous! All of the buildings are so colorful I love it! The people are all friendly. So the three sounds of Mexico are car horns, sirens, and bombs. Everyday some sort of bomb or something goes off and freaks everyone out haha. I guess it helps us stay alert during all of the studying! The CCM is right by this gorgeous lush mountain with these colorful houses and I get to see that view every morning. I love it! The CCM is so nice. The casas are pretty nice other than the bathrooms and floors are disgusting. Like our shower is so clogged with hair that it floods the whole bathroom every time one of us shower. Don't worry mom, I wear my flip flops all the time! I am so excited for this Friday because it is Mexico independence day! Which means all the missionaries are going to get zero sleep. The parties here are crazy. There was one last week; people were screaming and playing drums which i guess are the things to play here! yeah none of us got sleep.
My companion is Whitney Rogers who was the girl I told you to look up on facebook! We have gotten along great! We are actually pretty similar. She is a health freak as you all call too so we help each other eat somewhat healthy here and exercise! She is more reserved than I am which sometimes is hard because i just want to be a little crazy at times but we get along which i am so grateful for! So guess what. You know how I was telling you about Hermana Hall last week? We are roommates! How cool is that?! Her comp is Hermana Lesher who is going to Nicaragua too! So we have fun in our room. We have different schedules so I don't really see them that much but I love them! My district is just awesome. There are 8 elders and just the 2 hermanas. I wish we had more sisters but it whatever. We have fun! The 8 elders are seriously awesome! Elder Najaraian is our district leader and he is just the coolest! The first day I met the other Nicaragua sisters and can I just say I am so lucky! They are AWESOME. Hermana Cara Behan and Hermana Natalee Hawkins are hilarious. Seriously I laugh so hard when I am with them. I am friends with them on fb too so go stalk them haha. I am just blessed with all these amazing people! I also see Annie here and there, and also Maddy Collier. Three girls from my byu hall in Taylor are here and SO many oly kids are here. I feel famous because I am always saying hi to people haha:) Like me and Arecenio, Sammy Watchman, Will Christensen, Aaaron Toro, Nate Meyer, and some others are all friends! 
The food is..well I thought it was great until yesterday! I have so much fruit here that it is messing with my digestive system if you know what I mean haha. There is tons of rice, potatoes, meat, carbs and this kinda french like pastries. I have avoided the beans! So that has been so nice. So i am eating pretty great! Pretty sure I am going to pack on the pounds though because of all the carbs. Mom you know me, bread is my weakness;) SO about yesterday. I ate lunch which was this meat thing which i I thought was good, BROCCOLI (there is like no veggies here so I loved it) and some fruit. Well I find out last night that the meat I liked was COW TONGUE: AHHHHHHH hahahah my face was priceless when this hermana told me that. I guess it was in the shape of a tongue. Gross. But the best quote ever was from Hermana Hawkins: "Hermanas, we just french kissed a dead cow." we were all DYING of laughter. Basically anything that happens is funny to missionaries. So dad you are right, i am pretty sure that spaghetti sauce game is so fun!
So moving on to a more spiritual note. Wow this week has been a roller coaster of different emotions. Honestly it has felt like I have been gone for a year. Not 8 days. The first day of class was pretty awful. The teachers just started talking in Spanish which just made me overwhelmed because I had no idea what they were saying. By the way, my teachers are awesome! I was praying for the gift of tongues and nothing was happening. I learned that you have to put EFFORT into learning the language. It just doesn't come. Surprise huh? HA. Well the gift of tongues is so real! I have been studying and learning so much! I am understanding a lot and learning how to speak the language. When my comp and I are teaching our investigator, words spill out of my mouth and I know it is not me saying them. Its so amazing. AH there has been so much spiritual things that happened this week I don't know which ones to tell you! The spirit here is just amazing. I have never felt the spirit so much in my life. I love it. I guess I will just focus on two experiences that happened this week. (Lo siento I am running out of time. Stupid timer)
So first, teaching my investigator. I definitely didn't know three days after you get here you have to teach your investigator in Spanish. Me and my comp taught out first lesson to Carol, our investigator, and it went fine. We didn't feel the spirit really strong and Carol wasn't progressing any where. The second lesson was quite something though! So me and hermana rogers were teaching Carol about the first vision. Carol read the first vision in JS words and I ask her if she feels the spirit. Every missionaries worst nightmare, she says NO. Um what in the world do you do when that happens? haha I am sure the look of our faces was great, wide eyed and opened mouths! I wanted to have carol feel the spirit so bad so I prayed that I would know what to do. All of a sudden out comes from my mouth, "Carol can we sing you a hymn?" HAHAHA my comps face! She doesn't like to sing and her face was priceless! She was a good sport and went with it though. Well problem. We don't know any hymns in Spanish so we decided to sing families can be together forever. We start singing and then realize we are singing the chorus! hahah my comp starts laughing, then carol starts laughing, then I start laughing! Hahah it was bad. I got my comp to focus and we decided to sing I am a child of god. That really brought the spirit. My and my comp were really frustrated because we felt like we didn't have the spirit while teaching Carol. So we asked our elders in our district to give us a blessing and then we prayed so hard to be guided by the spirit to know what to say. Our third lesson was awesome. WE taught by the spirit and not by Spanish! Carol said she felt the spirit! AH it made me so happy. I cant wait have so many more experiences like that in Nicaragua.
Yesterday was a day that really brought my district together. We had a devotional and at the end of the devotional President Pratt told Elder Christensen, who is in my district, to come up after. Uh yeah that is not good. The rest of the district went back to the class to wait for him and his comp to return. I just didn't have a good feeling and felt like something happened to his family. I told my district my feelings and Elder najarian suggested we say a prayer which we did. Elder Christensen walked in and told us his grandma passed away. It just broke my heart. Yes i cried. He shared some amazing insights that the Lord had given him that day and he bore his testimony. There was such a sweet spirit in the room that no one wanted to break. We all gave him encouragement and became like a family. We all kinda bore our testimonies about the plan of salvation. you know how grandpa told me there were other people on the veil helping me on my mission? I told Elder Christensen that and how his grandma was with him. Ah the spirit was so strong. Elders were crying, my comp was crying, I was crying. It was such an amazing experience. So keep Elder Christensen and his family in your prayers! It sounds like his family needs them.
I have learned so much here already its crazy! Sundays here are seriously the best day every! You are just so spiritually fed. This week I have relied so much on our Savior to get through this. Most every morning I wake up wondering how I can do this for 18 months. But before I know it, it is the end of the day! He has given me so much strength and comfort. I know this will be hard. That is why it is called missionary WORK. I love the quote, a mission isn't easy because salvation isn't easy. SO TRUE. I love it here! It is hard and I think about you all a lot but I know it is what I am suppose to be doing. I love you all SO much! I am so grateful to have a loving family who supports me and has taught me correct gospel principles.
LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! Try to write me because I have no time to email everyone! AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO GRANDMA!!!! I HOPE YOU HAVE A GREAT BIRTHDAY!!!! Have a wonderful week and I cant wait to hear from you all next week!! love you love you love you!
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Howell
Oh and my p days are Wednesday so you should get an email every Wednesday but not at the same time each week! I went to the temple today, it is so gorgeous! I thought of you aunt steph with decorating the temples! I loved it!

I made it!!!!

I made it safely to Mexico with all of my luggage! Woohoo! Oh my goodness this day feels like a year. I went to my terminal and there were TONS of missionaries. I joined three other sisters. There were like 20 elders there too. Sister Hall, who was the girl this morning in front of us at check in, and Sister Scott, and Sister Dawn were all on the same flight. Hermana Hall and I just clicked! haha its like we are already best friends. Don't even really know her but she is the sweetest girl and we just get along great so that is good! We met up with more missionaries at the Arizona airport and then hopped on our way to Mexico. Okay Mexico is crazy! It was raining when I got here. It is so pretty here. I love the colors, they are so fun! It still doesn't feel real that I am not coming home for 18 months, I cant really think about it or I get emoitonal so moving on....THANK YOU ALL For your sweet letter! I loved them so so much! I met Cara, Natalee, and Whitney who are all in my mission! They are all so sweet! Cara told me that my companion is Whitney Rogers. She seems like a sweet girl. Oh, and everyone speaks spanish here. Well obvi cause it is Mexico but I feel so dumb. I just nod and smile. Whatever it will come! I already had an embarrasing moment with my insane luggage. DAD you are right. I should have only taken 2 suitcases. I literally cannot walk with all my luggage. Anyways, I hopped on this ramp, which was moving, didn't know that, almost fell over, my luggage is pulling me back, everyone is laughing at me but its okay! hahaha it was funny. Okay well I am starving so i am going to go eat but I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I couldn't do this without all of your love and support. GUYS I am a missionary! This is crazy! Okay much love! Keep smiling!
Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Howell