Friday, July 26, 2013

Hola Familia y Mis Amigos

Hola mi Familia y mis amigos!

I hope this email finds everyone happy and healthy. If not, you are constantly in my prayers. Thank you all for the emails. I wish I had a million hours to tell you how I love you individually, but please forgive me and know that I am so grateful for each one of you, and I couldn`t make it through the day without your prayers and love.
To begin, we have the `jaja`s. or hahas. I just wanted to say jaja so Eva would know I am now a fluent espaƱol laugher.

First of all, the Latinos pronounce many things in a funny way. I don`t know how appropriate this is, but I want to tell you so you can jaja as well.
My compaƱera`s name is Hermana Fillerup, but when they say it it is Hermana Feel her up. That’s great.

My roommate was trying to say `sheet‘ last night, and that did not go over well. I felt so bad for laughing, but it was so funny.
Anyways. Next story. Our new roommates are very nice, but nothing like the minions. I miss them, still. But, they are fine. The only downside is they do not like to be obedient to the schedule. The first day or two I let it slide, but then it started to mess with our sleep and preparation for the next day. So, we decided to say something kindly and talk about the blessings that come when we are exactly obedient.

Well, may I tell you, if we ARE NOT obedient, there are consequences, as demonstrated by my roommates.

1. They exercised longer than the schedule said, and one of them passed out.

2. They didn´t leave the chapel when they were supposed to on Sunday, and they got locked in during dinner. My companion and I left dinner and looked across the road to one light on in the freezing cold chapel, and our roommates were pounding on the window.

3. You dont get to shower if you aren`t ready to go with your towel in hand.

That’s all. Be obedient. Reap the rewards.

This week has been colder, so we haven’t gotten our daily walks in. In order to cope with our stir craziness, our district began playing games. It now REALLY feels like girls camp, except it is easier to explain how to play `Signs` to beehives than a teacher who doesn`t speak English, believe it or not. Games are fun, and it helps us to focus again when our break is over.

There are a few things I miss. Firstly, I miss ward choir. It`s hard to not understand the words all the time to the hymns, especially because I love hymns. BUT I do feel the spitir of them and I try to remember the words in English as I sing, so that is good. Secondly, I miss cold milk. The warm milk just doesn`t cut it for me. Thirdly, I miss braiding Grace`s hair. I braided one of the hermana`s bangs this week, and I got all teary eyed. Then she got teary eyed. Then we may have broken down for a bit. No worries, I am all better now. But I miss Gracie and her need for perfect hair.

Today we got hot dogs for Pday, and while we were walking there we had men blowing kisses, honking, and taking pictures. Sometimes it is shocking, but we try to just smile and not draw attention. One man on a bike, who was missing several teeth said to us, from what I could understand, that we were beautiful representatives of Jesus Christ. I thought that was nice. It is amazing to receive so much attention because of our badges, and when we are out and about we have chances to explain that we are all brothers and sisters and that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us, and that`s why we are called `Hermana`. I cant wait until I can actually SPEAK Spanish. Right now I can understand about 90 percent of what is being said by our teachers, but Chileans speak very fast, so it sounds like a whole new language. I feel like we will be that Elder from the best two years who says : Elder, that`s not the language they taught me in the MTC!` Oh well. It will come. At least I can bear a simple testimony and pray now.

So, to end on a nice note. I want to talk about decisions. Here in the CCM I have very few decisions to make. My schedule is planned, and really all I can do is decide whether to copy it into my planner in bubble letters or not. BUT I do have the choice of how I view everything and how my attitude is, and how I respond to situations.
As we have taught our fake investigators, I have realized that we need to respect agency, but that it is important to testify that every decision they choose to make is either bringing them closer or farther from God. EVERY DECISION. 3 Nephi 13:24 talks about how we cannot serve two masters. The thing that I want you all to know, and that I testify of, is that despite the decisions we`ve made in the past, we can choose from NOW on who we serve. The atonement is there for each of us to utilize. The most sinful person can still return to God if they understand and use the atonement. We are never so far gone that Heavenly Father doesn´t want us to come back. Please, if any of you are holding onto past sins, DONT. Don`t let them weigh you down and ruin the glorious life you have left. We are here to learn and grow, and from now on each of us can choose how we live our lives.

Every morning I remind myself of this. I always say that I am going to be learning the same materials whether or not I choose to have fun and desire to learn them or be lazy and only learn as much as the teacher teaches us. It can be hard to make those decisions when I am tired or feel beaten down, but when I do choose to stand on the Lord`s side, my trials are easier to bear.
Im now halfway done with the CCM, and have 3 more weeks to go! I taught relief society this past week, so I don`t think I will have any other major responsibilities while I am here except to learn and prepare as much as possible!

I am excited to get into the field and have a change of scenery. It`s mentally challenging to be in the same classroom for 12 hours a day, but it will be worth it.

I love you all! Keep working hard, and keep living righteously. Life is easier when we follow The Commandments!

Hermana VanCott

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