Wednesday, August 27, 2014

AUGUST 19, 2014


I miss you guys, but I am having a pretty good time here.  I have only started to freak out a little bit about going out into the field.  There are only 6 more sleeps till I get out there.......(I am not counting Monday as a sleep because I figure I am not going to sleep much... we have to leave the CCM by 2 o'clock IN THE MORNING).  The Elders in my distrito say that Sacramento Spanish speakers almost always get sent to Stockton.  Apparently you should not google Stockton.... but I am excited.  I am excited slash nervous to speak with real people.  But I know what I need to do to be a good teacher so it will be ok.  I am just super comfortable here so I am super sad to go.  I seriously love it here.

When asked about the weather:
The weather here is amazing.  It is usually 70 degrees all the time.  But it also has these crazy rainstorms.  I experienced the loudest thunder I have ever heard in my life!!! It makes me jump!  The streets are built slanted so that they can handle the water and if you step in it you sink and almost get carried away.  We always take our shoes off and run everywhere.  People always cheer you on from inside the buildings haha.  My hair also does very well here for the most part.

When asked if they had “initiated” another group as they are getting ready to leave in a few days:
We played kickball with the distrito we are passing the book on to see if they could prove their worthiness.  They definitely won( soooo worthy)!  But it is fun because we have been whispering at them every time we see them “….. 4 daaayyyss..... 3 dayyyysss....”.  They are freaking out because they think we are pranking them hardcore. I have been designated to film it... so you guys might be able to see it later. 

When asked about her daily schedule:
 We meet in our classroom at 7 am.
 Personal study until 730 and then we go across the street to the comedor.  I usually eat nutella with cereal unless i am really craving some meat (weird stuff I tell you).  
Back to the classroom by 8 and we do personal study until 9.  
At 9 Hermana Vidrio comes in and teaches us for 3 hours.  In that three hours we usually do an hour language, an hour of religion, and then an hour for us teaching her.  My favorite time is language.  We go outside and learn and then she tells us to talk to latinos!  We run around everywhere and talk to everyone that is latino that we can see about the principle we’ve learned, for practice.  That is one of my favorite parts of being here.  Latino people are the nicest people ever!  And it is so fun to communicate and actually understand what they are saying.  For teaching we go into little fake rooms in another building and Hermana Vidrio pretends to be Teresa our investigator.  I learned the words for decorations so I can say, “oooohh new decorations??” .. EVERY TIME. HAAAAAAAA.  Teaching her is the worst because she tries to always fall asleep in your lessons, and she asks really hard questions.  I am writing them down though so I can answer them later!  

At noon we have planning with our companions for our next teaching appointment.  NOT ENOUGH TIME.  Then we go to lunch.  Lunch is basically dinner so there is a lot of food.  And gym time is right after ( worst schedule ever!).  Then Hermano Ortiz comes in and teaches us in the afternoon for a lot of hours.  He is basically with us the rest of the day.  He is my favorite person ever.  He is on my top ten persons of my life list.  He is seriously amazing. You would like him a lot.  But we do the same thing as before with a different language principle.

Then we go and eat again, and then we go do TALL, which is language learning on the computer.

I actually really like it though! It is mainly grammar lessons. It also has Preach My Gosepl in Spanish and you can practice enunciation and stuff.  Hermano Ortiz comes with us and goes on dual lingo for English.  It is sooooo funny.  It makes my day.  The other day he was like, “She is a man........... que no!!!” He gets so into it.  He is always going que¿¿ que pasa¿¿¿ and sometimes he takes his headphones off and has to breathe for a minute.  It is hilarious.  It kind of reminds me of Nathan sometimes…  in a good way.
Then we go back to the classroom for language study.  I should put that in quotes because by that point our distrito is a little out of control.. it’s bad... but they always make me laugh.  

When asked what she will miss the most about the CCM:
My favorite part of being here is the people.  I love just going to talk to random people and having conversations.  People are so interesting.  I have made that a goal in my mission.  Seems kind of stupid, but just really I want to see people, and try my hardest to get to know them and then I can possibly help them.  It is kind of mind blowing how many people are out there.  I love talking to people.  I also love learning Spanish and being able to communicate with it.  I am really sad this is my last p-day and I really hope I get to speak Spanish a lot.  But if not at least I got to come here!!  

I love the movie nights on Sunday.  I love playing the games of trivia that Elder Jones makes up for us (basically church games for 1000 of us).  I love the devotionals.  I love the service activities.  I love doing stuff with our distrito.  I love sand volleyball.  I love the palm trees.  I love reading the scriptures every day.  I love watching Hermano Ortiz teach people (skilled teacher right here).  I love getting to know people.  I love my teachers.  I love learning Spanish.  I don’t know it is just amazing.  I don't want to leeeaveee.  I love how close to the spirit is always is.  

(((I like how there is not as much pressure)))) 

When asked about her advice to others coming to the CCM:
-Don't drink the milk in the morning without first checking the temperature with your hand.


If you have time watch the MTC devotional by Jeffrey R Holland where he talks about Peter and loving Christ and feeding his sheep.  It was an amazing part of my week.  I have also finished Alma AND I am on chapter 7 reading the Libro de Mormon! Cruising!

Oh fun fact..  I survived the virus!!!  I went to the enfermeria and am taking some anti (you know) pills and I just wear my jacket when I am cold.  #trooper.  Sorry if I made it seem really bad .. President Pratte said we over exaggerate and he had countless parents calling worried.  HA HA.  He was like, “If you are sick GO TO THE DOCTOR”…  so i did.  I am on the road to recovery!

ALSO -I gave my first talk in church on Sunday!  It was pretty awesome.  I loved it!  Oh and I volunteered to say the prayer for a devotional.... in front of 1000 missionaries.... I am questioning my sanity right now.  But I am excited.  

I don’t know if I will be able to email much this next week, but if I do I will be in Sacramento!!!! USA here I come!

And Emily!!!
And her virus!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 12, 2014

Excerpts from our emails from Emily from AUGUST 12th:

Thanks for the email!  I was really missing you guys this week.  It was good to hear what you guys are up to!  I wish I could be there to help with Juliana but I know everything will be fine.  I can’t imagine getting thrown into another culture, and it would be super hard for me to move into someone’s actual house.  It will be fine though.  You guys are awesome so she will love it and be sad to leave.  I promise.

Me taking a picture to celebrate getting to use our shower again.

I was thinking about it this week. I call it the “Garden of Eden” principle.  You are perfectly happy but then you get thrust out into the dreary wilderness and it is really hard.  You have to work the land and get to know new people and new ways, to make a place for yourself and do your best. Then that becomes your new Garden of Eden.  It is hard but you make it better, and then you love that new place.  And when you have to leave that place it is really hard.  That is definitely going to happen to me here.  The more you put into it the more you learn and grow and love it.  It is a process that happens YOUR WHOLE LIFE.  And that’s what makes us awesome.   I am learning a lot and am happy.  I HOPE  THAT MADE A LITTLE BIT OF SENSE.  


I am doing good!  This week has been hard-ish but right now I have the perfect recipe for a good day.  Knowing Spanish plus feeling the spirit plus helping people by touching their hearts #hermanasheffer!!! I will get there eventually. 

Me and Hermana Fly hanging out in our bunks

I told myself this wasn’t going to happen but it totally did.  I just had that cry in my chest feeling and it goes off if any person asks me if I am ok.  One of those.   I am working my behind off ....(mish appropriate)... jk, but it is just hard to have no progress I feel like.  Which is not true.  

It was because my teacher in class picked me and a couple other people to do some extra work with grammar that we were learning.  I was confused why she had picked me.   I was super upset that she had chosen me that I almost started crying right there.  I still think it is because I am more quiet she thought maybe I just don’t know the language, and I don’t talk as much in lessons because sometimes I panic.  I don’t know.  But it really upset me.  I threw a little “I suck at life” party in my head.  She just told the other people they could have free time to study.  

Right after that we had to teach a lesson to her.  We totally went off the lesson plan, and it wasn’t bad but my companion was sharing scriptures that I didn’t even know about, and couldn’t understand so I couldn’t really contribute and I was just frustrated.

So we said the closing prayer and my teacher asked me to sit back down in the little fake living room and then I did it (the cry thing).  It was awful.  But she said that she could tell that I loved the people I taught, tried hard, and that I talked with the spirit.  It made me feel a lot better but I don’t know… it was really rough.  She shared 2 Nephi 32:3 with me and said it will come.  She said as missionaries we speak by the spirit so the people we will teach really think we are angels because we  speak by the power of Christ.  I don’t know … it’s hard, and the Spanish I have learned is a miracle.  But ya I just don’t know.  Hard moment.  I really liked that quote you shared at the end of your last email.  Because really it applied to this week.

My awesome distrito and some others from our Zone playing volleyball before they leave for Chile.

I love these guys!

Okay, two more things I HAVE TO HURRY AND TALK ABOUT.


 I have survived the horrors of a virus in the CCM.  

Sing with me…”Sun-day is a special day, especially when everyone is DY-ING!!“

 I am not even kidding, they were hauling people to the infirmary in their golf carts all night.  Of the thousand people here there have been over 100 in the hospital.  They look like death, too.  Their faces go all white and they are too weak to move.  Pretty much the scariest thing of my life

Our classroom hallway was empty and it was kinda freaky.  I was soo scared I was going to get it.  They have guards in the cafeteria to make sure we wash our hands and etc.  I survived though! It was scary.  Spiritual analogy can be drawn from this….KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN PEOPLE!!!  It was in the span of 3 days too.  Not to be happy about it or anything but I got 2 hours of free relax time sitting with a companion.  I read 20 chapters in Alma and (get ready for it) .... took a nap.  But ya it was bad. I am glad everyone is ok.  

My distrito using the self-timer in our place of learning

SECOND:.  This is a p.s. section that should not be shared with the outside world.  I think, I am not quite sure what the rules are.  But my district was determined to be the most worthy and we were initiated.  After planning time at 9:30 they rushed us into a classroom so we wouldn’t get caught.  They had hung up flashlights on the ceiling so that there was one light that fell onto the table with a book on it.  One Elder was standing over it.  When we walked into the classroom they were humming like monks. They were all wearing their raincoats. Then they sang a song set to the music from the Hobbit dinner song and it was SOOO funny!! It was about President Pratte and the food and the CCM.  I wish I could remember all the words because it was classic!!! I was laughing so hard.  Then they handed our district leader the “Book of Records” and told him to “keep it secret and keep it safe”.

Then they said “BRING FORTH THE SWEATER!”.   Some Elders were hiding in closets and came out of them with the sweater. They put it on our distrito leader and handed him the book. Our leader had to wear the sweater the next day, including during gym time!!! And he could not wash it!!!

I can’t even explain but it was the FUNNIEST thing of my entire CCM experience.

This is my new bag. I love the crazy colors.
We ran back to our casas and the next day we read “The Book of Records” (at least parts of it, because it is 200 pages long). 

There have been over 50 missionaries writing their experiences in it.  It is a big book!!  It is hilarious.  It is written in the style of the Book of Mormon and it is classic!  Some of the experiences in there are soo funny.  OH and Hermano Ortiz and Hermana Vidrio did date because it is written in the book from like 3 months ago!! I have a romantic sixth sense!  

It was an initiation process that started when President Pratte started being President!!! The first person to write in the book is already back from his mission!!! You know how many elders have worn that sweater!!!

It was soo great.  

Our distrito has an inside joke about pirates, so we are going to make up our song to that. I am pretty excited.  

Hermano Ortiz also told us les amo.  It was a happy day.  

So that is all.  Tell everyone that I said hi.  I have sent a lot of letters so hopefully you are getting them.


I miss you guys!


What are these? They confuse me. They look like Lego Hands.

My package! Donuts! Yay! DONA means GIFT and FELICIDAD means Happy so it means a GIFT OF HAPPINESS!! And it was!!  ( A note from Sonja.... this world is messed up as I cannot send my kid a package from the US but I can have a dozen Krispy Kremes delivered? QUE???)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August 5, 2014

Excerpts from our emails from Emily (she made Darren break the news to me that she hadn't taken any pictures this week... WHAT? Is she my child or not???)

When asked about how her clothes were holding up:
My clothes are good but you were right, they do not provide tide and etc. I have just been buying stuff from the tienda. One washer destroyed my companions sweater. It was so hot it bled her clothes into each other. It mostly came out but I felt sick to my stomach.  My aztec skirt I bought at BYU was in that load and it shrunk, but that has been the only blow to my clothes.  I am now just hand washing them in buckets or washing them under brights and hang drying. NOT risking any of that!!

When asked about is she ever figured out if Hermana Vidrio and Hermano Ortiz were married:
We saw HMO ORTIZ and HMA VIDRIO EATING TOGETHER.  We were like spying haha.  #CREEPIN.  So while my companion and I were waiting in the classroom for our extra guidance session I did MATCHMAKER for my hangman word and instead of drawing a noose I drew them as stick figures holding hands.  I wish I would have taken a picture because it was classic.  But we had to hurry and erase it hahah.  Anyways....

When asked about the food:
The food is amazing!!!! I have never eaten so much good fruit in my life!  But sometimes there is questionable stuff that I try once and then avoid.  They serve cold meat sandwiches for breakfast at least once a week.... weird..... but the nutella bar is my FAVORITE.  They have 12 grain bread that I LOVE.  I even love the crusts which is weird but I am converted.  

When asked about the language:
One project I am working on is reading the Libro de Mormon in Spanish.  My teacher Hermano Ortiz told us that if we would start reading the Libro de Mormon in spanish we would know spanish by the time we got to Alma.  I was like ¿QUE?.  So my companion and I started doing that every night for language study aaaaannnnddd it has taken us 3 days to get through the first chapter of Nefi.  haha see what you did there Hermano Ortiz?!  I am going to be done with my mission before I get to Alma!! But I really enjoy doing it so I will keep going!! It is fun to see all the rules I am trying to learn in action plus I am reading scriptures! Multi-tasking! 

One thing we are also working on is HSI.  (hablo su idioma) <google translate SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE>.  Every time we try to talk to Hermana Vidrio in english she says NO!!  Solo EspaƱol!!  Getting crazy.  But we ate lunch with Hermano Ortiz one day and I talked to him in espanol the whole time!!! I was so proud of myself.  I want to know what I am really saying though... because Hermano Ortiz speaks more English but he still says the funniest things.  He always tells us to “estudy” our scriptures and next lessons.  And he always says “remember who are you!!!” ha ha ha it's great!  In fast and testimony meeting this week, I got up to bear my testimony and all my spanish words flew out the window!  But I am glad I did it still.   

Its funny because my teacher told me she thought my sweater was ugly. I was wearing my whale sweater for some increased happiness in my day (who couldn't like the whale sweater?) and I was like, oh ya I love this too, whales are my favorite animal, I got it at Target, does Mexico have Target? before I realized ... oh.    #languagebarrier.  Sometimes its better not to know I guess.

When asked about how her gospel learning is going:
I am doing really good.  My compaƱero and I are getting along ok haha.  We just sometimes had little annoyance issues with our lessons.  But we finally figured it out.  We were focusing too much on the church. I think it is amazing and makes so much sense and helps me so much so I just want to tell everyone about Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith and living prophets and the Book of Mormon and God talking to all people but my teacher was like NOOOO.... YOU ARE HERE TO HELP PEOPLE.  If what you are saying does not apply and help them in their life they are never going to remember or care. I have been trying to really get to know my investigators so I really can help them (which is kind of a trial in spanish!).  

One of my favorite things I learned this week was about prayer.  Praying is so important! Seriously I have prayed so much in my time here... for everything it feels like. It has helped me feel calm. I learned that when you pray in the name of Christ, He is not just only being a mediator between you and God.  You should pray for things Jesus would want to be prayed for and then you are an instrument for him.  I loved that.

More from Emily:

Word of advice for anyone who might be coming here in the future, bring a mosquito net.  

OH and I got your PACKAGE AND LETTER!  So I have gotten one letter and one package but the mail is starting to catch up and more and more people are getting stuff.  We figured that normal stamps take 3 weeks and global take 2 so good call with those global stamps.  

I am going to be really sad to leave here.  I love it here so much.  I can't believe I am already halfway through!!! aaaaahhhhhh!! My spanish is NOT good enough!!!

I want to hear all about Juliana. I sent everyone a letter but it will probably take forever to get there!   I am sure she will love it. I cant even relate though she is one brave girl!!

Anyways got to go! Love you ALL!!


Monday, August 4, 2014

July 29, 2014

Excerpts from Emily’s emails to Darren and I sent on July 29th (when Emily talks about Juliana she is referring to our exchange student from Brazil that we are picking up on August 3rd):

We heard heard via social media that emails were not going through to the CCM, so we asked her if she was getting any physical mail or emails:

I am getting your emails, but that really is happening. My companion’s dad has called a couple of times because he didn’t receive any of the emails! But I think I am getting all of yours! And as far as mail goes, the rumor is it takes 2 weeks to get here soooooo I will get yours eventually. I am thinking since you sent the one right before my birthday I should get it soon.  But there has only been ONE letter come through for my entire district.  My district president said to tell you all to write letters because he gets depressed every time he checks the mail for nada.  When my companion got her one letter it was like a frenzy!! But I am getting all your emails and feeling the love!

The mailman HA 

When asked how the language was going:

 I am definitely not to Spanish-ista quality yet, but my District went to the Mexico City Temple today and I talked to some workers.  Just talking and there was understanding!! I am seriously amazed how much just two weeks of submersion has done for me!!!  The people are so nice too.  My teacher, Hermana Vidrio told us to go talk to people.  I asked, “well don’t they have to be somewhere??....They all look really busy.”  And she just laughed and told me I was used to America.  Americans always have somewhere to be.  She said that anyone will take time to talk to you in Mexico.  I thought that was interesting!

I am learning a lot and studying hard!!  BUT crazy news of the day.  Budadadaaaa!  Armando is our new teacher for the afternoon!  He walked in wearing a suit.

ARMANDO: “Hey guys, my name is Hermano Ortiz and I will be your new teacher!”


He laughed pretty hard.  I knew he wasn’t a real investigator but I didn’t know he would become one of our teachers!!  EXCITING!!  I am excited because I really liked teaching him ( like after the fact when I wasn’t stressed out)!!

So I have the best teachers.  Hermana Vidrio, and Hermano Ortiz.  Hermano Ortiz is a WORK HORSE holy cow.  The only problem is he talks a lot faster than Hermana Vidrio so I am having a struggle.  Every time we say something he is like......... good, BUT SAY IT FASTER!!! MAS RAPIDO!!!! DROP DOWN AND GIVE ME TWENTY!!!! But it’s going to help me a lot!

On life in Mexico:

I loved riding the bus to the temple.  It is just a crazy different culture than small town Richfield and even Salt Lake!! I love it though. The houses are seriously just stacked on top of each other and painted crazy and there is graffiti everywhere and the drivers don’t even drive in the lines. CRAZY DRIVING.  I saw zero speed limit signs.  But I figured out that there are speed bumps placed randomly throughout the road.  So you can go as fast as you want IN-BETWEEN the speed bumps hahaha.  Lizzie would have been FREAKING OUT, probably to the point of tears.  So unsafe.  And I didn’t even have a seat belt!  And there are no crosswalks so people just run across the street all the time!!!   

Heading to the temple!!

There are shops everywhere and they are just garage doors with their business name hand painted on the outside.   It just opens up into the street.  I love it.  I am dedicating a Pinterest board to Mexican architecture because I love the houses, the colors and the metalwork on all of them.  

This is my entire district. We do EVERYTHING together. They are awesome!

So the only other thing about this week is that the water to our entire casa went out the day after my birthday!!! It barely got turned on again.  No bathroom or showers for a whole week.  Okay I really have taken a shower in a week, I just had to travel far to get it.  But other than that I am loving it here sooooo muuuuuucccchh.  I love it.  I have had some good spiritual experiences and I am really enjoying reading the Book of Mormon.  Read it again!!!! It’s the best!!!

More from Emily:

I am excited for you guys to have Juliana!! Crazy that it is already here I am excited for you guys to have her, and I am excited for her.  I would love an opportunity to live for a bit somewhere different!  Which I am!  I am sooo grateful for this experience!

I am doing well! I am actually not TOO stressed out and enjoying myself.  I have only cried and offended my companion once… but we did that all in one blow and now we are good hahahaha.   We also just had a teaching mishap with Armando.  BUT ALL IS WELL.  I lucked out with a good companion!  And the girls in my district are the best.  


I am feeling scattered and don’t really know what to write because I feel like so much has been going on then I sit down and can’t decide what to say.  

But I am doing good and having life time experiences!! I hope you guys have so much fun at the soccer game!