Friday, January 30, 2009


This week was absolutely nuts and I'm a little worried that my letter will suffer as a result!I meant to write down the topics I wanted to include throughout the week, but I lost it at some point. I'm going to try to remember what these topics were...

Firstly! I met an Elder Loosli, who it seems knows our California Lillywhite's! he says he was in Wade and Kimberly's ward back home. He's going to Poland, and learning to speak Polish which he says is "Like Russian but with a cold" his companion is just barely learning English, he's from Germany and going to Poland too, he knew enough English that he could talk with us a little, but mostly he just looked a bit confused. I can't possibly imagine having to learn two languages here, but it's fairly common--all the foriegn missionaries who are going to non-English speaking missions are encouraged to learn English anyway, and I've met a couple of people who are having to stay here for 3 months to learn two languages (Dutch & Russian or French and Haitian) I feel SO lucky that I get to learn Spanish, because it's really such a simple practical language. I don't mean to says that I'm already this incredibly expert, because I'm REALLY not. But I at least understand the principles of Spanish and many of the rules and grammatical things seems to come pretty naturally too me.

It made me think of President Monson's story about the Missionary who said he "couldn't learn Spanish" and was sent to the Japanese class for a visit. Our Zone studies on the same floor as some Japanese and Togalog speaking zones; I think it was done on purpose because those are probably two of the most difficult languages here. Finish is still winning in over all opinion as the most difficult, but Japanses is terrifying to me, I passed by an Elder doing some language homework on a little white-board, and it looked more like math than something you coudl actually speak! And Togalog sounds like a bit of a nightmare too, the written words are too long for them to even make proper "Togalog Nametags" those missionaries just wear English ones, because it wouldn't fit on the little black plate if they wrote it out in Togalog.

Speaking of Namestags! One of mine broke--not the very first one I got, but the spare nametag that they gave me later, so I went to go get some new ones made! I told her I was Spanish speaking, I SAW her write Spanish on the form, but they gave me Portegeuse.

At first I was going to go ahead and tell them about the mistake, but the difference between the langauges is subtle enough that I think I'll go ahead and keep them and just try not to loose my only Spanish one. My Maestros got a kick out of that, and it is pretty funny... Hermana is the same but instead of Jesucristo it's Jesus Cristo and then the reast is totally different.

We got a new District in our zone this week! And Excitingly, we got FOUR new Hermanas. Two of them (Sister Bell and Sister Fitches) actually moved into our room with the three of us! They are such nice girls, but their having a really rough first couple of days. At first they seemed completely fine. On Wednesday, when they first showed up, they had that overwhelmed but giddy look that all of us have on our first day. We kept asking them how they were doing and they kept saying "Fine! It's great, I'm not nearly as depressed as I thought I'd be!" etc. But by the end of th efirst night they were both like "We're. Not. Fine. This is NOT okay."

It's good though, you have to have that moment of relatiy when everything looks daunting and you're not sure you made the right descision, it'll help you appreciate it later when you understand how important the work is, and what a great descision you made to come. Anyway, that's what I told them on Thursday night when they came 'home' a little depressed and confused. They're really lucky though, because they've got Hermano Richardson teaching them, along with another teacher who I don't know very well, but who I've heard some REALLY great stuff about. The two of their teachers were companions on their missions, and it sounds like they both have a very similiar passion about missionary work. Hermana Bell already told me that when she was a mess yesterday (in tears in the middle of class) Hermano Richardson did his best to comfort her, and he was able to help her feel a lot better. It's hard sometimes because you really want to hug people, but it's not allowed! I talked a little bit about that 'no-touching' rule last week jokingly, but it really is kind of rough sometimes. We've all grown so close, so fast. Hermana Gurney pointed out to me that we (in our Zone) are becoming like family, meaning that we're being more of ourselves around each other. This leds to a lot of bluntness. We've got some companionships that really don't like each other! But like family has to sometimes, we all put that aside and manage to go to work. For example, we've got Elder Master and Elder Wadsworth in my district. These two HATE each other. They have very different personalities. Elder Wodsworth is really laid-back. He's passioante about spiritual things, but his sense of humour imbues everything around him, which gets on Elder Master's nerves because, as Elder Master will tell you himself he's "very serious". He shouldn't be though, because he's actually really annoying to the point of making all of us laugh from exasperation sometimes (you know the type).

But the two of them are amazing together! I thought of them last night... You see, I've always had a little problem with Paul. I know that he's one of those prophets who other prophets just LOVE. But I always kind of thought he was a jerk. I'm not sure where this animosity for Paul came from, but I decided since I've been here that I really need to get over it!

AHHH! That is so frustrating. I just got into this cool story about my scripture study from last night and I've got to sign off! Okay, well, I'm goign to have to finish this epistle in a hand-written letter. Let me give you the gist of my epiphamy, maybe you can figure out what I was goign to say before you get my letter next week.

Gist: Elder Wadsworth & Elder Master = Barnabas & Paul. The Prophets of old had to go through the same hardships as we did, plus getting stoned and all sorts of junk.

ANYWAY! I Love you all, so, so much. The church is true, the sky is blue! I've gotta sign off!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Now Tell Me You Could Resist ANYTHING These Girls Were Pitching

Dear Familia 1-23-09
Last Friday was possibly the best day of my life so far and the proceeding week was so fast and so amazing. The first few days in the MTC seemed agonizingly slow, but it seems like things are making up for that now.
Because of this I feel like I don't have nearly as much to tell you about! It seems like just yesterday I looked at the list of 20 or so things I wanted to include in my letter and wondered if I had enough stamps! But time is passing me by so quickly and I'm so busy that it's pretty weird to think that I've only been here for two weeks--or that I've been here for two weeks already--I can't decide which is more correct.

I feel so loved!!! I can't believe how many letters I got this week, there was hardly a single meal that passed without Elder Stirling (our D.C.) coming over to give me a letter! It's been so wonderful to hear from everyone about life back home and how everything has been going--and I so appreciate the help and advice everyone has been offering me. The "Letters at mealtime" thing has been compared to Hogwarts by the older sister of Hermana Thomas and I think she's got it spot on.
Can I just gush about my two adorable conpaneras for a minute here?! These girls are AMAZING, I'm so lucky to have them with me during this time at the MTC. Whenever one of us has to leave for an interview or something--I feel like I'm missing a limb, and when I am alone for some reason, I just don't know what to do! I can already tell it's going to be really strange to come home in 17 1/2 months and not have a companion with me all the time. Is that why missionary's get married so fast? I always just thought they were kind of weird, but as I write this, I'm sitting on a bench and my companeras are about fifty feet away on other benches and I feel weird even being a tiny bit isolated.

Anyway...tell Grandma THANK YOU!!!! so much for the cookies...or just show her this letter (that's easier). That was really such a wonderful treat, and thank you for the lovely card too--I was so excited to hear from you and of course I ALWAYS love cookies! I can't bake here (obviously) which is a bit rough, I've missed grabbing cookies whenever I want, so it's been great to have a little stash in my room.
Laney's letters are always so wonderful to read--she's a great little writer, I'm happy she's writing little letters for me--I LOVE YOU PENNY LANE! I'm going to be a real good missionary for you, but I still secretly adore bunnies and snuggling--just like you implied in your lovely picture.

Seriously-the "NO TOUCHING" thing here is a little bit intense. I completely understand why it has to be that way, but it's still silly sometimes--like during gym when we want to high-five--we can't! They actually get after us! So--instead, we lift up our hands like we're about to high-five the Elder in question, then drop our hands into an awkward handshake instead.
Also--there was this wonderful moment when I tripped and nearly fell over, an Elder flinched as if to catch me, then immediately shrank back with his hand up--not daring to touch me. I managed to get my balance--then glared at him and said; "You were going to let me fall!" It was hilarious--in fact, we all had a good laugh about the strict regulations on physical contact.
I'll just have to be less clumsy. (Err...Yeah right.)
It was so cool to run into Lauren on Sunday--and it got me thinking how cool it would be to accidentally run into my family at the temple--but of course I'd never ASK to set that up. That would be wrong.

I told you a little bit about my teachers, and also about being cut off from the world, I've just got this funny feeling that they're not giving us all this information!
I mean--really, they wouldn't even tell us who was going to the superbowl (thanks for that info by the way, Mommy!) and they're all going to BYU for school, so everyday I wonder if any of them have classes with Jensen. Probably. That would be so typical of my life.
Anyway, I mentioned in my letter how Hermano Anthony really likes to stress the importance of working with the pretend investigators whenever we get the chance; we decided to take his advice and sign up for a "progressive investigator". We didn't really know what to expect. Our P.I is called Beatrice Ponce, and she is one of the smartest, most intimidating women I've ever met. She NEVER breaks character. Maybe the others don't either--I don't know! So far, she's the only person we've pretended to teach who makes it 100% realistic, she pretends her office is her home--we have to knock and then she opens the door and does a very convincing job of having NOT expected us, to the point that I was a bit worried we had gotten lost and somehow accidentally wandered into the home of a real Catholic woman from Spain.
Whenever one of us would slip out of character or ask her a question as a teacher and NOT as an investigator, she just pretended not to hear us, or said "excuse me?". She's got her office dressed up to be a pretend home, like with photographs taped to the blackboard with chalk-drawn frames and nails.
It's VERY surreal. She really manages to make it feel completely real. There's an Elder in my District whose totally convinced that she's a real investigator. She's not though--she's just a genius. And scary. I think I want to grow up to be just like her.
I've been debating about whether it's too soon to say something...I don't think it is, since my Hermana's made this connection before I did. I wasn't ever considering it, but the other day while studying, Hermana Thomas looked up at me and said "you should teach here when we get back." I honestly hadn't even thought of this until then.
It's REALLY hard to get a job here. But I might want to think about it--at least about trying to. I'd have to be a Spanish Genius of course--but I've got some control over that. And it would mean doing school at BYU probably, but I was probably going to do that anyway.
Anyway--I thought I'd share that!

One lesson I learned this week that I really loved was about the Brother of Jared. Sometimes, this work seems so much bigger than I could ever handle, and it's hard, because you want to do your best and be the best missionary you can be--but sometimes it feels like the Lord has asked me to do something so incredible and then I go out to perform the task for him and come back and say... "Err...Well. I've got some rocks...can you do anything with that?" but the wonderful thing is that the Lord can work with the meager offering that we present to him. As long as it represents our very best effort--he can turn our pathetic little rocks into a great source of light for people in darkness.
I love you all more than I can possibly express! And I miss you all--I wish they would let us have more time to write these letters. I hope everything is going well and that you're all healthy and happy. Jensen, don't stress about school--you are brilliant, remember? I'm completely confident you'll know exactly what to do. Mommy, thank you so much for the scriptures and for being such an incredible influence in my life. Dad, at ward conference, tell everyone that Jesus is the Christ, this is his true church and God loves us and says "Everything, is going to be okay, someday. I know it's rough now, but you're strong. We're all going to be okay, together".
Le Evangelio de Jesucristo es verdad. If it wasn't, I wouldn't be here.
As a missionary, I've been blessed with authority from God, but it's my duty to build and maintain the power that comes with that authority. I can feel God making me and the other missionaries strong. There is no way these 19 year old punks I play basketball with could be so effective without the power of God on their side.
Laney-babe, be a good girl like I know you are. Keep colouring and telling stories. It's your job to make sure mommy and daddy are always smiling.
Until next week, Hermana Lirioblanco

The P.S. Page!
Gloria Irion--I saw her on Sunday during "Music and the spoken word" one of the only things we're allowed to watch, they did "my favorite things" and the camera was right on her!
Choir is amazing, so far we've sung; "Lead Kindly light" and "Jesus once of Humble birth". I really love it.
I got your letter about my IPod right after I sent my MTCE-mail! I'm sorry it's being lame.
The 3 Apocalyptica songs I had on there were "one" which is a metalica cover, "Rusha" which might just be called "track 11" on the album titled "Beyond Time".
Also there is a song called "faraway" on the reflections album. There's two versions--I want the one without words--just music.
I'm not sure what the deal with my Ipod is, I'm so sorry, I should have just stayed up late the night before I left and done all this myself..But I can't now, so I need your help. Are you having trouble putting them on Attunes or the Oped itself?
Other songs I thought of:
Lopez (on the way down I think you said "no Lopez" just wanly know "really?" and "why not"? or just put it one there.
Gregorian chant CD scarburough fair
Gregorian chant CD Nothing else matters
The string quartet cover of Oafish Girls not grey, nightdress, the sleeping sun, Rasputina, Dig Ophelia,and Rusty the skatemaker--might be on there already. I don't remember.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Email Letter

This timer realy drives me nuts---I already started to write you a letter by hand, so I'm sorry if I accidentally repeat stuff, I'm trying to only say things once so as not to be Hermana Broken-Record. Anyway... One thing I know I wrote in my letter but that I first wanted to say here is THANKS FOR THE COOKIES GRANDMA! That was totally amazing of you to send those to me. My companions apprecited them too of course, it's so wonderful to have a little stash of goodies all to ourselves!

I know I complained about the food before, and I still maintain that it's not 'awesome' but it's good enough that I've gained a tinsy bit of weight since I got here... In order to reverse this strange side affect of displacement I started actually playing SPORTS!

Can you believe it?! It's crazy stuff. I play basketball, and I am not the most terrible player. It's a bit weird because of the whole 'no-physical-contact-between-Elders-and-Sisters' rule. Basically, hermanas have to be guarded by other hermanas. In Basketball, Hermana Thomas and I are the only ones interested in playing, so we always have to be on opposit teams so we can guard each other. The Elders are a lot of fun to play with. Anyway, I only mention this because I sent you some pictures in your hand-written letter this week, and you might notice an ace bandage around my ankle.

What happened was--I went to take a shot and I did that cute little jumping in the air thing that yuo do when your aiming for the basket and then I came down right on top of poor Hermana Thomas' foot. She was fine, just doing her job trying to keep me from making the shot, but I rolled right off on her foot and my ankle made that great 'ichy-CRACK' sound that ankles make when you hurt them. I just rolled it, and they made me buy an ankle-brace that I need to wear whenever I'm at Gym now.

Whatever. I made the shot! So it was... worth it? That's weird, since when do I care about being competative? Anyway. We won, and no daddy, that wasn't the ONLY shot I made either. I was doing quite well thank you very much.

Everybody tells this exact story. I don't know what it is about the MTC gym, but everybody hurts their ankles. My companion Hermana Gurney did this exact thing last week when she was playing volley-ball. There's an Elder in my zone who did this exact thing in basketball but her tore his ACL and had to get surgery. We call him Crutchy. He plays the Indian Love Flute and has to stay in the MTC for an extra two months because of the injury.

I'm being careful though! Don't think I'm not being careful. Now that I've got the brace I'm fine, and we started playing volley-ball which has less of a violent history at the MTC, than say... Basketball or Four Sqaure (Four square is suicide).

Anyway, this isn't just supposed to be a stupid story. My favourite new word is Perserverar (which I may have spelled wrong in spite of it being my fav). Our whole theme here has been "Go big or go home,". A little silly maybe, but that's what happens when you get a lot of men together. Everything is a sports analogy. I know this is goign to be really hard, but I was called to serve this mission, and I'm going to stick it out and do my best, even if I come home exhasted and wearing ankle-braces.

I don't have much time but I wanted to talk a little about my teachers. (Mi Maestros) Everyone has been asking how I'm doing with the Spanish, and I've got to admit, I feel like it's too soon to really tell whether I'm progressing like I should be. I'm definately learning. That's for sure... But I figured if I told you about my teachers, you might get a good feel for my education here, and be assured that I'm in good hands.

My two teachers are Hermano Anthony and Hermano Prestwich. They are both awesome and VERY different. Hermano Anthony served a state-side Spanish speaking mission. He's very intense when it comes to learning the language; his whole method of teaching is pretty much shove us out of the nest and elt us hit the ground fifty-billion times before we finally fly. he likes to spring random pratice on us which is REALLY good. He sets up lots of meetings with fake investigators too, which is a really incredibly thing that I'll talk about more in my other letter. Anyway, he's got great stories and he's all for siking us up to serve. He's been back for about three years and is married.

Hermano Prestwich on the other hand is way laid back. He just got home from his mission over the summer, and he served in the same mission as my good friend Andy Moyes! In fact, he told me that he remeberes Andy a little, which was cool because everyone was throwing names at him for ages and he was always like 'No, I don't know that guy,' and then I finally asked about Andy and he was like "Yes!" which was so cool. He served in Mexico and still has the accent to prove it.

Then, we've had a couple of subs. My fav so far was Hermano Richardson, he's a BYU football player and WAY intense when it comes to pretty much... everything. He's a real big man with a very deep voice. He gets really into telling his stories, and Ijust don't know if I can stress the voice enough! As Hermana Gurney said "I'm pretty sure that's what God's voice sounds like. If Hermano Richardson said 'Part the Red Sea, now.' I think I would do it." That pretty much explains it.

He sounds a bit like Till Lindeman actually--that's my lame segway into asking for more music on my Ipod--NOT Rammstien though, I'm not going to bother asking for that, but there's a nightwish song called The Sleeping Sun, that's I'd really love to have while I'm out here. It's gorgeous and totally appropriate.

Anyway, he sounds like Till when he rolls his RRRrrs.

Also, I'm an expert R-roller now. I can't wait to show you.

Anyway, my teachers are SO amazing. They're all such wonderful spiritual people, they really motivate us in addition to making sure we're learning the language and the lessons. I'm really lucky to have them!

I RAN INTO LAUREN! But you know that already, I just wanted to say it! That was such a thrill to see her! I was so excited, I did a little screaming thingy and jumped around on my injured ankle. I'm really excited for her to come here, it's such a wonderful experience. Once you get over the intitual shock and home-sickness, the MTC is really amazing!

I'm totally running out of time now, I've got to go finish my landuary!

I Love you guys all so, so much, and there's a lot more I want to say but it'll have to wait until my hand-written letter!

MWAH! Hermana Lillywhite

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Yesterday Letter

Dear Fambley,
So that email count down thingy on the computers is not a nice way to write anything. It was so stressful! But anyway I hope you got that email because it took a lot out of me – I was FREAKING out when the clock started flashing. Okay, the good news is; it's all pretty much great news. Hermana Thomas is doing much, much better now that we've settled into a normal schedule. Last week when she was having her doubts and feeling especially homesick, she made a little mistake though . She wrote home to her father about her feelings. Her dad is also her Stake President and as her Stake President he took it upon himself to set up some therapy sessions for her here at the MTC. She says she wishes she hadn't said anything since she's doing much better now. She even came up with an adorable little fairy tale for us: basically, in her mind with her new positive outlook the MTC is a fortress and we are among the choice princesses who train inside the fortress until we're ready to go out and serve our people. We have a beautiful white castle across the street that we're allowed to visit once a week with a battalion of guards – who like us, have sworn an oath to our king (this would be the Elders in our zone). One day a white knight will find us and we'll go to that white castle together (not all of us and the same knight though. We stopped that nonsense along time ago.) We can only do this after we've learned to become queens and serve our people and our king. Sweet, isn't she! I told her she should write a short book for aspiring sisters. Or ----- I'll just steal the idea, maybe.
Sister Gurney's taste in music has turned out to be much better than it initially seemed. She's started playing more instrumental stuff and we basically pretend like all the EFY CD's don't exist. Hermana Gurney is also a piano genius it turns out. On Sunday during our free time, we all went to our chapel and Hermana Gurney played the piano for a while, while Sister Thomas and I listened and studied. It was so pleasant ---- it's just too bad that Hermana Gurney is one of those girls who constantly denys her own apparent brilliance. Hopefully, some really conceited person like we are can rub off on her a little. She's got a sort of quiet strength -- or not so quiet. She's also a volleyball genius, which I thought daddy would appreciate about her.
I really love being in a “trinity” as some of the Elders referred to us. They are wonderful young men. Right now we're the only girls in our whole zone, which means we're ALWAYS surrounded by these tall Elders dressed in black. Hermana Thomas pointed out earlier that we've basically taken the place of their mothers and sisters. We've always telling them what to do/how to do it, but we at least try not to be annoying. All of our Elders are unique and wonderful in different ways, but sometimes it's all too apparent that they are 19 year old “guys” (yes, I said the illegal word). Our section of the cafeteria is the loudest and the wildest. Everyone is always shouting en Espanol and jumping up to cross over and talk to people down the seats. I imagine it's about like sitting at the so called “popular” table at a high school. Being the only girls in that group is awkward sometimes but they always clean up our trays for us and jump up from their seat when we come to or leave the table. The other day Elder Williams was flirting with a girl who worked in the cafeteria. It caused a huge scene, actually and another district got involved and the whole thing was really juvenile.
Whenever an Elder is caught flirting, they get a napkin with the page number from the missionary hand book that talks about flirting being a big “NO”, handed to them They think they are being subtle but it really doesn't help the problem. Now, I just notice whenever an Elder is talking to me or my Hermanas and someone slips a napkin into their hand and then it's awkward. This seems to happen at every single mealtime too.
The Elders are great but sometimes (read, most of the time) us Hermanas need to get away. We found a special place just for us. Mom it was so great that you mentioned Jane Eyre because we made the same connection and our little sanctuary is called “El quarto Rojo” (the red room). So called, because one wall is painted a vibrant shade of blood red. We usually go there during our study time to work away from the constant chatter of loud 19 yr old voices speaking in 52 different languages.
Actually the diversity of the MTC is one thing I can really appreciate. There are so many different people from so many different countries studying here and I love talking to them and staring at them shamelessly. The Russian sisters are GORGEOUS. They all have this same intense Eastern European look and their hair always seems to be bleached white blonde or dyed the darkest black #1. I really admire their determination with language study, too. There is only one sister who still uses the translation headsets to meetings and her English is coming along.
The Polynesian sisters might be my favorite people ever though. There is one girl on our floor who sings Tongan songs in the shower every night, so loudly! It's gorgeous to hear. They are just so fun and their broken Tong-lish is the most adorable thing to hear – except maybe for the Japanese sisters who are trying to learn English.
You can just walk around the cafeteria and find people from all over the world to talk to. When I get a little better at Spanish I'm going to try to find some native speakers to talk with me – since I'm pretty sure that's what's been happening with all of these other sisters talking to me.
I LOVE Spanish! I wish I could invent that machine from the matrix and download it into my head though – it's so frustrating when you can't think of a word or when you conjugate something incorrectly. But I think I can safely say I'm doing well for only speaking it properly for 2 weeks. I pray in Spanish and I testify in Spanish and tomorrow I've got to write some stuff on faith in Spanish. It's a gorgeous language.
My notes are turning into a whole different monster. I may end up writing a book after all while I'm here, just by compiling my notes and journal entries and letters.
As you (hopefully) already know ---Elder Holland spoke at the devotional Tuesday night! (He also spoke at BYU earlier, so Jensen may have heard him, too, Maybe?) It was incredible! (By the way, it turns out that we don't go to BYU devotionals on a regular basis. Ill let you know if anything funky happens though. Some of the Elders talked about going to something at BYU but I can never tell if they are joking.
Yeah ---so Elder Holland's talk was one of the most incredible things ever! I took like 20+ pages of notes. The gist of it was that we're examples to the children, specifically our younger brothers and sisters and that we have to be good missionaries to the point of coming home in pieces – not just to honor our earthy families but our Father in Heaven and our brother, Jesus Christ as well. And, to see the wide eyes of the children. It was very moving. And funny. He made his adorable 14(?) year old grandson come on stage to represent the proverbial wide-eyed youngster.
I had an excellent seat, too, because I joined the choir with my two companions. It was a bit of a distraction though. My face came up right away on the big screen right at the beginning and I almost missed my cue.
I can tell you guys are praying for me because I feel your presence with me as evenly as I feel the spirit sometimes. This place is amazing because it inexplicably manages to be cut off from the world while simultaneously staying close to so many far away comforts.
We got to visit the temple this morning. It was so lovely to be there with my companions. We watched the other movies, too – the one I hadn't seen. I'm so lucky to constantly be in this pure environment. Everything we do and say is related to the work. At night, we've been having “Bedtime Stories”. Hermana Thomas boyfriend (?) is a writer and he is writing a sort of book/memoir about his mission in Peru. We've been reading a little bit every night. It's so inspiring!And a relief too, that I'm not going to Lima.
I was so smart to go to Mission Prep as much as I did. Thanks for telling me about it. We had to teach the first discussion (in English) to pretend investigators his week and it was really second nature for me because of how many times I'd already done it. Mission Prep was such a great experience. They really did am amazing job getting us ready for this.
So, I hope daddy is feeling better after his colon yuckisppy. I felt bad that I forgot to ask about it last week and had to wait 2 whole other week before I could say anything.
Really, the best thing I can talk about this week was Elder Holland's amazing talk. You could really feel the truth of missionary work and his love for all of us. The scripture that was on my mind this week was 3rd Nephi 5:13.
At the end of Elder Holland's talk he said that we are disciples of Christ. We don't have to suffer the atonement, but as missionaries we have to experience a little. We have to walk around the edges of Gethsemene and try to at least stay awake. We have to take a few steps toward the cross. We have to get up at 6:30 and study a little. And it's worth it. It's not too much to ask.
It's still difficult sometimes. I was very homesick last night, but lying in my bed I had an epiphany. I've never been away from you before. (A fact which gained some sympathy from people.)
So – I've never felt like this before. I'm so lonely without my family and I'm just now slowly learning how to deal with the separatio. The only similar feelings I ever remember experiencing are to a certain degree, the grief at death, but that's a bit different, and the sort of ache that I feel sometimes when I'm praying to my father in heaven. I think that some part of me remembers my true home in heaven and being homesick in the temporal world is reminding me of the homesickness I feel for my father in heaven's home.
A mission and a lifetime share similarities in that way. In my prayers I hear myself say “I miss you so much, and I want to come home,” and I realize I was speaking directly to my Father in Heaven and saying the same things I might say to you, my dear parents. But, like life, my mission happened for a reason. I have to perform honorably and to the best of my abilities. My focus is on the work for the most part, it's just at the end of the day that I start to feel blue.
Every morning, I wake up (at 6 which isn't so bad) completely refreshed and ready to dominate whatever my task is for the day. Sometimes I try to do something really foolish. Like on Wednesday when I decided to have a go at memorizing all Spanish verbs (dumb) or like last Tuesday when I thought I could write down everything I knew about baptism during my 1 hour of personal time. Still – I'm determined to dominate this language and preach the gospel. The scriptures that they gave us in Spanish are GORGEOUS. I got pretty colored covers for mine. And started reading/marking them already. I'm hoping to soon get to the point where I can put my English stuff in the shelf for a while. I'm actually not too far off if you can believe it.
Um, yeah, I really miss my Ipod. If you haven't sent it already, could you possibly get me a copy of “Children will listen” from Into the Woods! It just really fits well with Elder Holland's talk.
I love you guys – I love hearing from you, and don't worry about me. I'm not homesick to the point of being a cripple and letters really help because then home doesn't seem so far away.
The other day I took a shower at the gym and I thought I was all alone in the bathroom until I heard water in the stall next to me and Hermana Thomas voice singing “Heavenly father, are you really there?” I let her do a solo for a bit and then at the right moment I came in with “Pray, he is there”. It was way fun spontaneously it turns out we weren't alone in there. Afterwards, Hermana Gurney was Like “was that you guys!?”
Spontaneous shower duets are just art of MTC. I better close this epistle now, before I think of something else to say. I love you all so much, the church is true and heavenly Father is watching over all of us after all.
Hermana Lirioblanco

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

KNRS Website

First Email Letter

Hi! They let us set up e-mail accounts, which is AWESOME, however, there is lameness, as always. I only get thirty minutes on my p-day to write e-mails to my family members (at least while I'm in the MTC, the rules might change when I get to Houston, but we'll just see.) And that evil little red counter (up in the right hand corner of my screen) started ticking before I had even begun to set up my e-mail account on here, so it's already at 25 minutes.

There's no POSSIBLE way that I'll be able to say everything I want to about this last week in the time alloted, so I'm going to go ahead and hand write another epist--I mean letter--and mail it to you the old fashion way. I just wanted to let you know that I had an e-mail account now, which you CAN use, though I still perfer, since I get those the day that you write them, and I can only check my messages in this inbox once a week. They don't give you extra minutes to read the letters either, you usually have to just print the e-mails out without reading it and then you write back really fast without even reading what your family said to you. Yeah. Not. Exactly. Helpful. But that's just the way it is.

So yeah, I wanted to let you know what was up. When I actually get to Texas, this email account will be really nice for my lovely family, since DearElder doesn't work anymore... I think. I don't know. No body seems to know a lot about that kind of stuff here, and I keep hearing conflicting reports.

Anyway, to give you a general idea of what's going on before you get the massively-detailed-please-please-stop-talking! version of events from my hand-written letter, this week was amazing. I've really learned a lot and I'm starting to get into the rythym of things here. Planning every last second of the day is not really my style, but it's surprisingly relaxing to not have to constantly be thinking about what to do next or where to go--I exist in a small little bubble that I never leave and I always know what I'm supposed to be doing because it's all written down.

I guess I didn't realise how exhasting it was to be 'recalcitrent' (sp?) I'm afraid to go to google and check that I spelled that word right. It's the word that President Daw used to describe me in our meeting a few months ago. I think he said it means 'one who resists authority'/'rebelious'. I've just been letting the sechduel and everything wash over me. I've been trying to be obediant, even with the rules that are quite honestly kind of stupid and I don't complain (much).

Actually, as I said last week, the only rule I have a real problem with is not being able to write letters more than once a week. I made a list of things I have to mention and it's getting pretty long after seven days... I was SO happy to get your letters! Laney's was the most adorable thing. EVER! I was muy giggly while I read it. I was really happy to hear from Jens and Daddy and Mommy and Aunt Les! It seemed like this week, whenever I was starting to feel a bit trunky or just depressed or frustrated with my lack of immediately knowing Spanish, a letter woudl arrive and I'd feel all better! I love hearing about what's going on back home, and I'm so glad of a sign that life does go on outside of the MTC.

Of course, I KNOW that life goes on outside of the MTC but sometimes it feels like they could drop a couple of bomb and obliterate all of the outside world and the MTC official-folks would go ahead and just not tell us about it. It was hilarious to see the Elders begging one of our teachers to tell them who had won some football game.

I did RC! That's the call center thingy if you didn't know. It was a bit tempting to ask about the world outside "What's going on in the world ma'am, is Obama president yet, I forget when that was happening?! By the way, would you be interested in recieving a free book of Mormon from some of our representatives in the area?"

But really, the call center is amazing, it's a great opportunidad to talk to people and testify. Yeah, I really don't have a lot of time left... I'm trying to type as much as I can before it kicks me off.

I saw Elder Little! A bunch of times actually. It's so hard not to use first names. And Lo--err--Elder Jorgenson arrived on Wednesday and I've seen him twice! It's hard to tell how he's doing so far. I'd wait until after Sunday to make an assessment. Everyone told us to just 'make it till Sunday' which I totally didn't understand. I started to wonder if Sunday was when they plugged us into the Matrix or something, but it turned out to not be that weird (probably, I guess I woudln't know if I was plugged into the Matrix, would I?) Sunday is just an amazing day.

AHHH! The Light starts flashing at 5 minutes! That is so creepy of them... What is their problem?

Anyway, I hope Regina was wonderful! Daddy thank you so much for the story, and mommy thank you for the scriptures and the details! I'm going to write Aunt Les later too, now that I've got her address! Jensen, I hope yu and Chantal have fun, Russell brand with NORMAL hair?! I can't see it.

I love you all, so, so much! This thirty minute thing it rediculous. The Dryers are in rythym with the clock, it's like a bomb.... I'd better sign off! I miss you!

Love, Hermana Lirioblanco

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009