Thursday, August 29, 2013

Week 2

Hola me familia y me amigos,

I wish I had a lot to write about today but unfortunately, I don’t. This week we have just been getting into the routine of the MTC. We wake up at 6:30, get ready till 7, at 7-8 we study (Hermana L and I read the Spanish Book Of Mormon out loud, one verse at a time switching back and forth between books). 
Then we go to breakfast which usually includes waffles, pancakes, something random (yesterday it was a hotdog bun with beans cheese melted on it) and cereal (3 WHOLE KINDS! But they have frosted flakes, so you KNOW Hermana Groves has no problem with that). I know what you’re thinking, “ Waffles and pancakes? Awesome!”  Well you don’t even know the half of it! Apparently they don’t believe in maple syrup here, or butter for that matter. The toppings we get to choose from are:  chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup (yes syrup) and honey. Basically we’re on a sugar high for the first few hours. I think they do that on purpose because we can be so dead in the morning haha.

 After that we have like a 3 hour block of class. Our morning teacher is Hermana B. I like her, but she knows that I am the only person in my class who hasn’t taken at least TWO YEARS of Spanish, so she kinda singles me out when she’s teaching. Which is fine, I mean I get what’s being taught, I just can’t memorize 40 new phrases every day! But she’s cool.  I can tell that she honestly cares about me and my learning.

 After class we have about an hour of gym time, in that time Hermana L really likes to get going.  This past week we did a few different things:  we went in the weight room where i just biked and Hermana did a bunch of weight training stuff (that she remembered from college softball),  we also played basketball a few times with the elders from our district. Well she played basketball, I just kinda ran from one part of the court to the other and attempted to block Hermana L (they put us on opposing teams and they don’t dare guard us).  We’ve also played ping pong with Elder S who couldn’t play basketball with the other elders because he basically broke his finger the day before being too competitive in… Basketball. Yesterday we played volleyball with some Elders from a district in our branch.  That was probably my favorite gym activity because I can actually play volleyball and I didn’t look like an idiot. So HOLLA! That was great.

After gym we have about 40 minutes to "prepare for our next activity." We never shower after gym so you guessed it! Hermana L and I study  during our free time. We then go to lunch at about 1 o’ clock and the food is basically a surprise every day, same with dinner. The only meal we can count on is Tuesday dinner. Its pizza night (by the way mom that reminded me of you because there were jalapenos and pepperoni on the pizza, so whoever orders it out is a Mexican version of you), but anyways the meals are always a surprise.  I grab a plate because it looks familiar, like something Mom would make or something and then WHAT? Not even close to being similar. Haha its almost ridiculous how something can look like chicken and taste like… I don’t even know!

Anyway, after lunch we have TALL which is a computer based program that helps us learn Spanish grammar and things like that.  A lot of the missionaries here joke about wishing they had TALL with them to fall asleep at night, but personally I like it, probably because I can move at my own speed and work on something until I completely get it.

 After TALL we have more additional study time which varies to what we study every day. Friday we started with a teacher in the afternoon which we didn’t have initially. Hermana S is our afternoon teacher.  I don’t know if I told you about our investigator Martha, but it turns out that after we were done teaching her she became Hermana S our afternoon teacher. I really like her.  She is Mexican but served a mission in Temple Square so she speaks fluent English. Because we taught her she knows what our weaknesses are with investigators and she tries to work with them. She also makes sure that I understand things before she moves on. I really like her because she teaches in a different way, and even though I hate it, I understand it.

So after that 3 hour block or so we move onto dinner. I already told you dinner and lunch are about the same here. Yikes. I honestly thought I wasn’t a picky eater before I got here, but I was wrong. Although I’ll eat what’s placed in front of me I have to fight my gag reflexes haha.

The longest part of the day is after dinner. We have to sit in the classroom for 3 plus hours without a teacher.  A third of it is personal language study, another third is additional study and another third is our daily planning for the next day. This part is so hard because we’ve already spent 7 plus hours in that classroom, and now we have a bunch of 18 year old boys unsupervised and bored. Oh my, if I learn ANYTHING during that block I am forever grateful. You know me, I basically have ADD so anytime anyone starts telling a story or talking about something I’m the slightest interested in my attention span is gone. Hermana L is so good at blocking them out, honestly like I’m way jealous of her. She’s got this missionary thing down.

 So after that, at 9:30 we go to our casa,  shower, write in our journals, companion and personal pray and go to sleep. Repeat the next day. But we now have two investigators (both of our teachers and their "alter egos" and that happens during class time every day).

Up until yesterday I only saw one person I knew from home on the daily, Hermana Alainey Carter. But yesterday Elder Josh Bolton (from cedar) and Elder Stockton Fisher (from Hurricane who I was friends with in college) both came and I’ve seen them both at least twice. So that is really reassuring to see familiar faces.

 We also had a live broadcast devotional from Provo on Tuesday and I actually saw Asher on the screen twice. So I thought that was pretty cool, they said you couldn’t see family while in the MTC, pft. I showed them! Haha that devotional was WAY good btw. Neil L. Anderson spoke about love and sacrifice.  I took away this quote from it "We sacrifice the things we love and we love the things we sacrifice for."  Geesh, I wasn’t crying then but I’m crying now, in the computer lab. I just think deeply about it,  and I think about how much I love you, my family and my friends, and how I know that because I love you so much I am willing to sacrifice these 18 months of my life for the better. I know that because I am sacrificing myself unto the Lord I will be blessed and the people I love will be blessed.

 He also said "Your voice WILL be heard, whether you speak out loud or not".  I took a long hard sit and thought about that. It’s like that quote I had on my mirror "Your reflection reflects in everything you do and everything you do reflects on you."  Your actions may speak louder than any words to come out of your mouth. Do you realize that? As a bystander on the street you may change the course of someone’s life. All of us have the obligation to be our best at all times. If we are bearing the name of Christ, whether it is as a missionary or just a member of the church, you are bearing his name and you must live like you believe.
Also kinda on that same subject, we sat with this sister at dinner a few nights ago who asked us why we were going on missions.  We told her, and then she told us her reasoning, and hers was cool. She was sitting in sacrament, and someone was speaking on tithing. She was like, "That is a sacrifice to the Lord but what could I give that would be a sacrifice for me? At the time I was 18 so 18 months was 10 percent of my life so I thought, I should sacrifice myself and serve a mission." I just think it’s funny how mysterious God works in order to hasten his work.

Yesterday I got a letter from Angie and it was awesome! I loved getting physical mail!

 I know that I said my letter wouldn’t be long, and I was wrong, sorry! I want you all to know how much I love you, and just because I haven’t told my companion anything about you that does NOT mean I don’t love you.  I think she’s afraid that if she gets me started I won’t stop! Haha I love you all so much and appreciate the support you are giving to me as I am on my mission. I know that the Lord loves you and is blessing you for the support. Please keep the faith and have a good attitude, a positive attitude goes so much further than a bad one. Treat each other well and show love.  The people in your life are placed there for a reason, and I am grateful all of you were placed in my life. I love you all very much and hope you have a great week!

1John 4:19
“ We love him, because he first loved us.”

Love always,

Hermana Groves

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Leaving St. George

Maddie and her proud parents

When she gets back, Preston will be too big to sit on her lap!

Everyone looks pretty happy, even though it's 5:30 in the morning!

Too bad there isn't "blink correction" for this picture...said Liz, Preston, and Mom...

Saying goodbye at the gate

And she's on her way!

Casa 13

August 22, 2013

Oh my lanta where to begin. I’m famished. The food here is either going to kill me from starvation or from the… well you obviously know. I really thought I wasn’t a picky eater. Well, I stand corrected. I live in casa 13. In my room there is just Hermana L and I.  The first night we had roomates, but one had such good Spanish that she got moved to the 2 week program and left her companion to join a trio.  Casa 13 is known as the cockroach house. We were swarming with them the first few days, and we had to be fumigated.  Isn’t Mexico great? Hermana L is my companion, she’s from Springville, Utah, she played softball at Western Nebraska, loves sports, being one of the guys, hates girls,and speaks almost fluent Spanish.

BUT ANYWAYS I’m in District 13E.  It consists of Elder H, Elder M, Elder D, Elder A (district leader), Elder H, Elder H, Elder T, Elder W, Elder N, and Elder S. These guys are a crazy bunch and basically never do anything when they are supposed to, they’re the closest thing I have to family so I’m learning to love them.  Well I already do, but yeah..Our days feel never ending.  From 6 to 10: 30 we are constantly going, studying, teaching(in Spanish), on repeat.

On our 3rd day we got to teach an investigator, not a real one, she’s actually going to start teaching us tomorrow, but we thought she was. Like I mentioned earlier Hermana L is good at Spanish so lucky we have survived the past 6 discussions with no thanks to me.  So yeah spanish is hard and I cry about it almost every day. PRAY FOR ME PLEASE.

So back to my crazy district, yesterday they caught a hummingbird and it died in the box they kept it in, so there’s that.  It flew in my face, and I almost had a heart attack.  These boys are the younger brothers I’m so glad I was NOT blessed with. But on Monday we were all feeling kind of homesick so Elder H had this bright idea to do a "talk show" "late night with Elder H" and you know what? I ain’t even sorry I was the second guest on the show. Haha, it was a time where basically the class could ask any(appropriate) question to the one being interviewed and I’m gonna be straight with you, it was hilarious. It was during language study time though so Elder A finally flipped the lid on it, but I don’t regret it.  It was nice for me to kinda get to know the guys in my district, as weird as they are.

The weather here is so weird. Weird being good.  It’s perfect weather. It’s not too hot or not too cold, we don’t have a heater, we don’t have AC.  We leave the doors and windows open just to circulate the air, but it’s not bad at all. Also at night we get the prettiest view of the houses on the hill (you won’t get a picture though because were only allowed to talk pictures on p day. Maybe next week? For the first week we kept hearing what sounded like gun shots all day long, followed by sirens. Here’s a relief: only SOME of them are gunshots. I guess there’s a hospital near and whenever a baby is born they do fireworks, whenever someone dies they fire off a cannon, what a relief huh? It really was, because our classroom is right by the exit/entrance so we were legitimately scared. Also there was a tiny earthquake last week, we had to evacuate the buildings, they’re so worried about aftershock and all that.

This morning we went to the temple and we feel like we were chickens running with our heads chopped off. We had a devotional on Tuesday and the man who spoke told us to pray for ourselves to see if Heavenly Father Loves us, does He really have a body of flesh and bones, is He really our Father, does He know who I am and does He love me as a father loves His children. I thought I knew these things but after praying for days and receiving a true answer by the Spirit today I am telling you, you have GOT to do this yourself. I was overwhelmed with love and knowledge it was one of the greatest feelings I have ever received.  I was brought to tears. I challenge you all to pray to find these answers yourself. Also while I’m at it with that devotional read 1 Nephi 8. Decide now what kind of person you are going to be, be the ones who fall to the ground when you see Jesus Christ. I haven’t read any emails besides this first one mom sent me, but I will be able to print them out and read them later, just know that I love you all, I know that I am serving the Lord and doing what He asked of me. It’s hard, but nothing worth having is given to you. You have to work and find out for yourselves, I love and miss you all but would not rather be anywhere else.  I love you all!

Love always,

Hermana Groves

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Arrival at the Mexico City MTC

August 15, 2013, 9:59 p.m. 

Hey Family!
Guess who actually gets to contact her family the first day in being in the MTC. ME! Also Im gonna apologize right now for my bad grammar. This keyboard is different and I cant find the question mark apostrophe ect. Well today was a busy day as you know. After being up at 2 30 I was basically a grumpy mess all day. Im sorry I showed little to no emotion this morning, but i knew once i started crying i wouldnt stop. I didnt start! all thanks to the cute girl in the st. george airport who talked to me and bore her testimony and all that fun stuff she was really supportive, i dont know her but i love her haha. so after the st g flight i met an elder serving in my mission and i follwed him to his terminal.. WELL he was flying to phoenix and i was flying to texas. I almost missed my flight! haha but then i met some nice young elders who were one the same flights as me there on out. They were young and i kinda felt like their mom haha. the dallas flight had a crying baby the whole time, right in front of me! so that was unfortunate. my trip to mexico was fine, nothing too crazy, i got two seats to myself. But at the airport when we were waiting for the missionaries from other cities Big Time Rush came through(that was for you Liz) it was pretty cool. Well Im here now, dont have much else to report. The city of Mexico City is glorious. I wish i had more to share but my letter time is taking away from my dinner time haha I dont know my P day yet so be patient haha my companion is Lexi Lister (the only girl from that fb group that i am friends with. cool) haha I love you, plEASE SEND THIS AROUND. lOVE ALWAYS
Hermana Groves
ps i dont have permission to read my other emails so im sorry that i didnt respond