Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mexico City CCM—Week 2

To My Wonderful Family and Friends,

I’ll answer questions first:

There are no cats in the compound, but I’m sure I will see many when I get out in the field. The only animals we see here are birds . . . lots of weird-looking birds. And bugs, galore . . . yay? (Alyssa has been catching bugs for 9th grade science). I’m jealous you get to eat shave ice! I’d kill for some ice right now—read the part about my dream—it was awesome! (haha) By the way, “jaja” means “haha” in Spanish, that’s how they spell it because they say their “j's” as “h's”.  (I usually take out the jaja references so the letters are easier to read.) That is so awesome you guys got to talk to Mrs. Jones on the phone! I’m really jealous of her—she gets to talk to my family and I don’t?! Have fun with that bug collection stuff. I didn’t!

Yes, I have to write a whole list during the week of things I do—otherwise, I can’t remember what happened—the days all run together. I hope I don’t include too many details, but let me know if I do. I’m sure the blog looks awesome. I am bad at blogs so tell Ellen thanks for helping out! I really don’t think they are very careful about the food and things like refrigeration, but we are getting used to it. That is awesome that Sheridan (Rockhill) would help the other hermanas! She is such a sweetheart, which is why she was so missed when she left here. And that is amazing for Chad (Madsen). If you see him before he heads out, tell him I am so proud of him and that I’ll be praying for him every day. Tell him he made the right choice and that he will be an amazing missionary! I will include more about my study, language accomplishments, and stories later on. And tell Dad thanks for sharing that scripture. I showed all the girls and we all love it!

(D&C 80:1-5: "Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant, Amanda: Go ye, go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice. And inasmuch as you desire a companion, I will give unto you my servant, Hermana Garrett. Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss. Therefore, declare the things which ye have heard, and verily believe, and know to be true. Behold, this is the will of him who hath called you, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.")

Okay, now to the good stuff:
I hope it isn’t too annoying, but I’ll probably write the way I wrote my last email. I think I would enjoy reading it better this way:

People I’ve Seen
So last Tuesday, we watched a devotional by Elder Bednar. I was sobbing all the way through both videos since I am a cry baby, and when we were all getting up to leave, I saw Mrs. Jones (one of Amanda’s—and everyone else’s—favorite English teachers at Oak Canyon Jr. High) out of the corner of my eye and totally freaked out! I ran right over and we both started sobbing and she said that she was so happy to see me because she had been having a rough time adjusting and I was like her "daughter here" it was really sweet and it’s been awesome seeing her almost every day!

(I heard that she and her husband would be leaving on August 26th to serve in Mexico, so I called her to see if she could take a few things for Amanda. I didn’t get a hold of her, so I tried again on Sunday evening and she answered—but she was already in Mexico! It’s been so nice to know that she is there with all of these missionaries—taking care of them like she did at school! I am so grateful for her. She said she has eaten lunch with Amanda and has seen her almost every day and it helps both of them feel at home.)

I also ran into Hermana Livingston (Emily and Amanda grew up together and spoke in Sacrament meeting together before they left) and her companion Hermana Dodsen! Sadie Dodsen went to PGHS with us and they just happened to be companions! What are the odds? I also ran into Hermana Hymas (Cassie is also from Lindon), but I don’t see either of them very much because they have different meal schedules. Yesterday, I saw a kid I went to EFY with almost 5 years ago! It was my first year and I had the biggest crush on him! His name is Elder Larkin and I’m pretty sure we are still Facebook friends from way back when. We both recognized each other so it was fun.

The food has been getting a little better. Most of the meat is cooked (way over cooked, actually), but at least it’s not raw like it’s been in the past. We did have a few weird meals as usual, hot dog and potato soup was one of them. They pretty much put hot dogs in everything—the rice, the beans, the soup, and most of the time the vegetables. They’re even more sketch than American hot dogs, though, so we don’t eat them.
Earlier this week, we had curly fries! We each went back for seconds and then thirds. They tasted like Arbys! It was like heaven. They also give us popsicles on the daily. It’s rad. They taste like those fruit bars Mom and I love, but like ten times better.
Cereal is a must-have here (and don’t worry mom, I am eating fruits and vegetables . . . and lots of beans . . . cocoa beans! ;)
Today was the best ever though. While feeling like it was just any other breakfast, we got our waffles and went to go get some cereal, but guess what they had?? NUTELLA and PEANUT BUTTER!! For our waffles! It was a good day!
So there are tiny little earthquakes very often here. I think we have had four so far and there are sensors all around the CCM that go off as soon as even the tiniest one hits. None have been bad, it’s just annoying that we all have to go outside during class and meals and such. Hermana Page is praying one happens while I’m in the shower so I’ll have to go out in a towel. What a goof ball—but I love her!

Cockroach in the Beans
The other day an elder found a cockroach in his beans. Yeah, that’s pretty much the extent of the story. We are extra cautious now to say the least . . . haha!

District 8A Beach Volleyball Champions
We play beach volleyball with our elders at gym time sometimes, and us girls stink really bad. I think they don’t like playing with us, but they feel like they have to because they are stuck with us. We have fun, though, and there’s a really nice beach volleyball court, so it’s a good time, except that we get mosquito bites galore (like seriously—I got probably 12 in the hour we were out there). But oh well, what can ya do? (Maybe use some of the four bottles of bug repellant your mom packed?! Or maybe they’re resistant to that . . . )

We are only allowed to take pictures on p-day, so we will be taking some today, but I was only able to download 2 to Dropbox. They were on self timer, so they look really bad (it’s our district in our classroom). I will put a few more on Dropbox as soon as Hermana Avery sends them to me.
I Sent Ya’ll Some Letters
I sent a bunch of letters—hopefully you’ll get them. I sent some for friends to you guys, too.

Thanks, Dad, for all of the awesome music you put on my iPod! The other hermanas and I love all of it! We dubbed p-day ‘disobedience day’ where we listen to music. Don’t worry, we are only breaking that rule because without music, we may all go insane! (Luckily it’s all Hymns, EFY, or classical music—I don’t think they can get too wild with that!)

I Had a Dream . . . about Ice
So, there is no such thing as ice here. The milk is usually warm unless it’s in the morning, and the water is all warm. Pretty much I’m missing cold beverages and ice. So the other night I had a dream all about ice. It was really nice. In my dream the cafeteria workers brought out a huge cart of ice (like the ones we used to have at the Garden Restaurant), and they were like, “Dig in!” So we all ran over with buckets and scooped as much as we could and took them back to our casas, but by the time we got home, it was all melted and we were crying. A bit ridiculous, but I really wish we had ice. (Amanda worked at a Shave Ice stand before her mission and LOVES cold drinks—she’s really suffering! I think the pioneers might have something to say . . . )

Under the Sea . . . or the Shower Head
We have back-to-back bathrooms and you can hear everything that is going on in one bathroom to the next, so, whenever Hermana Page and I shower at the same time, we like to sing Disney songs and break into parts. It’s kinda awesome and it bonds us . . . kinda weird, but yeah, we are just practicing to be a really great duo when we get home!

The Mexicans are Shooting Each Other
There are always random large boom sounds that we hear mostly on the weekend, but also a lot during other parts of the day. Our teacher said that there is a jail close by so that is what she thinks it is. I’m not sure why there would be a lot of gunshots at the jail unless they are killing people . . . and another person said they are fireworks. Another said that every time someone gets arrested, they shoot in the air. I’m not sure which is true, but it’s making everyone’s imaginations go crazy!

It’s pretty much the same every day:

Wake up, Personal Study, Breakfast
Personal Study, Investigator Teaching, Language Class, Coaching, Personal Study, Lunch
Language Class, Planning Session, Investigator Teaching, PME (PMG in English), Dinner
Service/Study Time, Gym, Study Time, Bed
Yep, it’s a party!

Maestros y Investigators
(Teachers and Investigators)
For the majority of the morning, Hermana Balderes is our language, PME, and LdM (BOM) teacher. She is really sweet and she says the funniest things. We all have the same phrase running through our heads whenever we do or say something wrong and it is, "no misionaras, ¡no!" she says this constantly when we do things in class she doesn’t like.
Such as . . .

When we were studying the parts of the body, she kept saying a word, and no one was getting it, so then she says shakira, and immediately I think ‘hips don’t lie’ and start dancing a little jig. Apparently dancing is not allowed because that phrase was screamed at me! I thought it was funny. But what is she thinking saying something like that and not expecting us to all think ‘hips don’t lie’ and dance? I mean really. Maybe she should choose her hints a little more carefully . . .  :)
and . . .

Our investigator, Fernando, became our night teacher as well as Hermano Hernandez. They are really funny and we keep begging them to tell us about their dating life/newlywed-status, but they won’t. Maybe one day we can get them to tell us a little about the real world. It’s killing us not hearing things like that!
Hermana Balderes and Hermano Hernandez are two new investigators (or should I say their characters are our new investigators). We are practicing a lot and I’m feeling more and more prepared for the field.

Study and Language Accomplishments
Studying is going well, as is the language. It is very surprising how much we do know already, but at the same time, how much we don’t know. We have made a goal to only speak Spanish unless we are in our casa or it is p-day. So it’s super quiet and thoughts are spread out since we have to look up like every word we don’t know.

Spiritual Highlights of My Week
We had our devotional on Sunday and it was from the February 2012 MTC devotional and IT WAS AMAZING!! If you can look it up, all of you should!! It will seriously change your life—whether or not you are a missionary!

My other favorite thing that happened was on Sunday. Us girls were feeling a little homesick and overwhelmed with language studies and investigators, so we decided to ask our Elders for priesthood blessings. They were nervous and a bit hesitant at first, but they agreed and we were all four able to get one. One of the elders in our district, Elder Fiefia, had never given a blessing before. I had the privilege of being his first blessing ever and the spirit was so strong. It was short and sweet and you could tell he was very nervous, but afterwards I could tell he was trying to hold back tears. I shook all of their hands, and he tried to hug me, but of course that isn’t allowed. He came up to me later, though, and thanked me for the opportunity and said he’d never felt the spirit as strong as in that moment. He’s such a sweetheart and he’s going to do amazing things in Guayaquil Equador!

Scriptures to Read
I found these scriptures today and love, love, love them!!
Mosiah 2:41
John 14 (pretty much the whole chapter, but mostly 16-24ish)

Please Pray for Hermana Garrett
Hermana Garrett received an email today saying that her twin sister, who is in Minnesota serving her mission right now, is having a really rough time, as is her family, so please pray for her.
Well, that’s it for this week. I love you all so much!!

Sorry if it was a really long email! I guess I had more to tell you about than I thought.


Hermana Nelson:)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mexico City CCM—Week 1

Mexico City CCM
My Dearest Familia and Friends,

Wow! So much has happened this week. People aren't kidding when they say that days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days. I had that exact experience this week—mostly the first day, and then each day seems shorter and shorter.

I am going to write this email a little differently since I have so much to talk about. I’ll put it in little sections and if you don't want to read something, just skip it.

First, I'm going to answer questions:

Prayers on my behalf would be more than appreciated. I am having a hard time adjusting, but every day is getting better. I have become really close with the other companionship of girls in our district and we are having a good time adjusting together.

My schedule is full all day every day. We don't have many breaks, but I'm learning a lot. Most of the day is comprised of language class, then personal study, with meals in between. Gym has become a great blessing so we can have some down time after dinner and final planning to go and take out our stress. I only wish I could listen to some music while doing it, but it's okay.

My P-day, as you have probably already figured out, is on Tuesday. I will probably be writing earlier in the day, but today we went to the temple, so I wasn't able to get here as quickly as I'd hoped.
Bus Ride from the Airport to the Mexico City CCM
We did get money cards with 120 pesos added to them each week (don't even ask me how much that is in dollars, because I have no clue, but I do know we get 20 more pesos than the elders). I usually don't spend the money. The only things I've gotten are stamps and paper and flash cards. I'm going to try to spend as little as possible to eventually save up for these awesome sandals in the "la tienda" (store), or I may just not use it and give it back to the church so other missionaries can have some as well.

We don't need sheets at the CCM (MTC), but since Emily comes today, I'm sure it's already too late—sorry.

That is awesome about Mrs. Jones!! I will for sure look for her. I don't think I've even seen any missionary couples yet . . . kinda weird, but I'll for sure look out for her. (One of Amanda's favorite English teachers at Oak Canyon Jr. High is leaving on 8/26 for the Mexico MTC!)

The food is okay. I will tell you more about that later as well. I'm not sick, so that's good news. My clothes and shoes are working out great! All of the hermanas are getting blisters and my shoes didn't even need to be broken in, so that was money well spent! (Thanks to Chacos, Keen, and Ahnu!)

That’s awesome that obedience was the topic in Stake Conference! I actually wrote a Sacrament talk about that for church on Sunday—more about that later.

Mexico is a bit sketch outside the walls of the "compound" as we like to call it. But yeah, driving in and out is a little weird and when we are in the CCM (MTC), it feels like we are in a whole different part of Mexico! They keep up these adorable little gardens (I'll send pictures) and the palm trees are cute.

Thanks for not calling me dude, dude. Tell the Singles Ward I miss them as well and get involved! Accept your callings! Seriously—it will enrich your life. Look at me being all grown up and telling you what to do! The meals are okay . . . not sure if I want "all I can eat." We aren't in heaven here like you were at the MTC!

Okay, now on to the good stuff:

Scriptures to read
Genesis 22:2
Esther 4:14
(These got me through most of my week)

New Address
Hermana Nelson
Carr. Tenayuca-Chalmita No. 828
Col. Zona Escolar, Deleg. G.A. Madero
C.P. 07230, Mexico, D.F.; Mexico.

Pancakes for every breakfast and they don't have maple syrup—just chocolate syrup. They must think we are fatties in America or something . . .

All-you-can-eat cereal. That has pretty much saved me here . . . Dad, I've been eating Cocoa Pebbles for every meal! Oh, and they have box milk! The church is true!

Weird foods we've gotten:
—A bowl of Spam and peaches—um, gross!
—Honeydew and Whoppers, yep, Whoppers—like the chocolate candy. I'm not really sure what they are thinking, but apparently that is a good combination.

People I've Seen
Elder Cutler (Brayden's little brother)
Hermana Moore (Tiffany)
Hermana Moore from Lindon
Hermana Howe (Allie)
Hermana Sargent (Ashley)
Brother Clark (Jenny Clark's cousin!)

Our District
8 Elders
4 Hermanas (including Hermana Garrett and I)
Our District
We've gotten really close with Hermana Avery and Hermana Page, and it's been fun being in the same casa (house) with them! It's like a slumber party every night, except they aren't in our room.

We are sort of empty right now because the latina hermanas left yesterday, so it's been quiet and all of the rooms are empty now. The casas are really nice! They used to be for the girls going to school here, so they have a kitchen (but they took out all of the appliances), they have a dining area (where we don't eat), and a family room (that we don't use too often). There are 5 rooms, 4 to a room, and it's been fun. The latinas that lived with us for the first few days were really sweet, but they didn't speak English and we didn't speak much Spanish, so it was fun trying to understand what they were saying.

Hermana Avery and Page live down the hall and they are the sweetest! Hermana Avery is from South Jordan (originally Maryland) and Hermana Page is from Charlotte, North Carolina (and she was actually in Kelsey's ward at BYU)!
Hermana Avery and Hermana Page
Upon Arriving at the CCM
I unpacked and found all of your cute notes and Devan's stupid letter . . . jk. But really, though, I guess it could be useful . . .
Alyssa's (and other) Cute Notes Decorating the Casa
Running Shoes Panic
We were going to gym for the first time on Thursday, and I panicked because I thought we didn't pack my shoelaces. I was seriously about to break down, because I'd just been frustrated the whole day, when I reached inside and there they were! Thanks for remembering everything, Mom.

Temple Trip
We were able to go to the temple this morning and it was great. It's a really cool temple. It almost looks like a Myan temple or something. It was hard doing the ordinances in Spanish, but there were plenty of workers to help us out.

Girl Probs
I promise this isn't gross . . . but I wish it were! We met our Branch President, President Torres on Friday. It was really nice getting to meet him, but while talking to us about our experience at the CCM, he kept saying stuff that was making me really homesick—stuff like, "I know you miss your moms and want to give them big hugs right now . . ." and "I know you miss your mom's cooking . . . " and "Your dad was probably your best friend . . ." Anyway, I was holding back my tears the whole time because after saying all that, he said, "Being homesick is silly and just come talk to me if you are." That didn't help any. Then he asked me to pray in Spanish, which I'm not very good at yet, and I couldn't help but cry a little during the prayer. But afterward I was talking to the other hermanas, and they all felt the same way. So we cry and laugh and do pretty much everything else together. It is much fun.

Sacrament Meeting Chaos
Well, first thing they tell us on Saturday about our Sunday meetings is that we are all required to prepare a 5-minute talk for Sacrament Meeting in Spanish, and that we will be called at random by our Branch President . . . and we won't know until he announces us that we are speaking. I was very nervous, but luckily Hermana Garrett got called and not me. 

Rules, Rules, Rules
I'm not disobedient, I think, but the CCM has extra rules on top of the white handbook rules that I think are a bit much, but hey, I guess I will just have to obey if I want to succeed. I can't listen to music because they don't want it to distract from the spirit . . . honestly, I think it would bring the spirit more, but I'll obey.

Hermana Rockhill
She is a legend. Sheridan left the week I came in, and all the hermanas miss her so much! It was nice to hear things about someone I know though!

Fernando Montes
Fernando is the investigator we have been teaching. He's really just a teacher, but we are supposed to teach all 4 lessons to him in Spanish because he doesn't speak English (even though he does). It's been cool and miraculous to have the "don de lenguas" or gift of tongues in our lessons. We are learning mucho! We've been singing in Spanish during our lessons and it has been going well. It brings the spirit and Fernando loves it. I may just keep up this tradition during the mission because it really opens people up.

Ferocious Diaria
(Not sure if I spelled that right)
During orientation, the doctor here at the clinic made it apparent by repeating this phrase over and over again when talking about washing our hands before we eat and such. I just had to add something gross in there!

The Spanish is coming along—slowly, but it is coming. I'm starting to remember more and more of what I learned in my Spanish classes at school and it is nice. There isn't much time in the schedule for anything else but studying the language, so there has been a lot of that.

The Packing List Lied
First off, it's cold out, and I should have brought more warm things, but it's all good and I'm doing just fine. Hangers are apparently required here—didn't know that. I went without them for awhile until the other hermanas in the casa left and then I acquired some of theirs (just because they left them of course). Chacos (or really just sandals in general) are okay for any warm place that rains. So yeah, we could have gotten more summery sandals. Oh well.

We pray so much here. I thought we would, but seriously I am getting so much practice because we pray like 15 times a day.

Until next week,


Buenas tardes!
Hermana Nelson
Hermana FawAn Amazing Hermana in our Casa

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mexico City MTC (CCM)—Arrival

Dear Family and Friends!

We made it! Sorry I couldn't call in Atlanta, but I couldn't figure out the pay phone . . . haha. Um, I don’t really know what else to say. It’s been weird so far, hasn’t really sunk in yet. And, sorry mom for the spelling and no punctuation. The keyboard is different and I haven’t gotten it to work yet so I don’t care if you edit it a bit.

The MTC is beautiful! My companion is Hermana Garrett and we actually got to fly together the whole way so I already know quite a lot about her! She is from Pleasant Grove, originally from Orem, and is 20. She is going to the Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission!

We flew out with 10 sisters and about 20 elders. The plane was full of us! We talked to a few people on the plane and were able to have some mini-missionary experiences before it all even started. It was funny when we got to the airportyou could immediately spot us because we were all lost and dressed way nicer than anyone else around!

It still feels like a whirlwind and I’m really just ready to go find our apartment and go to bed. The plane really wiped me out and I’m not wanting to go on one for a while now. . . well, I guess I will have to six weeks from now!

Well, just wanting to let you know I am safe and I guess I will talk to ya'll on my p-daywhenever that is . . .

Oh yeah, I forgot to get my camera out and take pictures, but we did see some funny things on the way here, and since we probably won't be leaving the MTC much, I'll just tell ya about it:
Saw a CPK billboard . . . yay for chile relleno!

Saw a huge black rat at the airport while waiting for the others to get there.
Saw a couple from our singles ward (Becca will know who they are) Diana Rupp and her fiancée!

We are all pretty much from Utah. One of the girls and I got really close on the plane and she’s actually form Cedar City and knows Brad! Her name is Hermana Groves.

Oh, and Lyss, there are buildings all around here that are bright colored with white converse shoes painted all over them. Thought you would like that! Hopefully I can get some pictures later!

Love you all!

Hermana Nelson

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Well, the time has come my friends.

I will be entering the Mexico City MTC tomorrow afternoon and I am thrilled!

For those of you who would like to write me, or receive my weekly emails, please email me!


And for those of you who love handwritten letters as much as I do, please send them, because I love them (and I promise I will try my best to write back)!

I love you all!