Dear Mom and Dad,
THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for your letters! I can’t tell you how much it means and how much it helps me to hear from you… and mom, don’t apologize for writing more than once a week. I LOVE IT! Especially this early on! It helps me a lot to hear that you guys have been struggling, because I have too! A LOT! Knowing that you pray for me a cajillion times a day is also so helpful! I love you SO much and I can’t express how grateful I am from all the support I have coming from home! Again, it means a LOT. More than I can adequately express!
Today we have a ½ P-day (for our ½ week here). I actually just got your letters last night because our District Leader, Elder Isrealson, is the one who has to get the mail and before yesterday he was unaware he was DL. I didn’t mind so much getting them late because when he finally brought us all the mail I had like 5 letters! All anyone else had was 1 or 2; everyone was jealous!!! :).
I’ve actually been struggling a lot, I think mostly because I’m home sick. It’s really comforting to know you guys miss me like crazy too because I kind of felt like a crazy person, like: why am I having such a hard time?!?! I haven’t even been away from my family for 10 minutes, 3 hours, 10 hours, 28 hours, 2 days, etc. I’m hoping this is the kind of situation where things get easier with time, they seem to be so far! It’s like they say in the movie “The Other Side of Heaven”: “sometimes the Lord calms the sailor, sometimes he calms the storm….and sometimes he just lets us swim.” I kind of feel like Heavenly Father is letting me swim this time as far as homesickness and feeling maxed out and like this is SOOOO HARD! But in ways it’s been a great blessing because he hasn’t left me alone to swim. The Lord has taken this opportunity to show me all His tender mercies, such as bumping into friends at the cafeteria at various time that help brighten my day, or another example, yesterday, during part of our 500 hours of personal or additional study time, 3 Hermanas’ stopped by from the advanced class, they had gotten here Wednesday and are leaving in 12 days! The 3 of them are also going to the Concepcion, Chile mission, that’s why they stopped by, because all 6 of us Hermanas in my district are going to Concepcion on the same day. So, although the Lord hasn’t taken my burdens/trials from me, He has definitely shown His hand and let me know that I’m not alone and that He is right there with me to help me through.
Another thing that is a blessing is that I’m so busy I don’t have time to think about myself! And because of that, I don’t have time to realize/think about how much I miss you! The only personal time I get (on a normal day) is 1 hour before going to bed and in that time I have to shower, dry my hair, get ready for bed, write in my journal and pray. I Love the time for myself, but it’s kind of rough having time to think at the END of the day when I’m exhausted in every way and my resolve, will power and positive attitude are all completely spent, because I find myself feeling sorry for myself for how hard this all is and how much I miss my family. The first 2 nights I cried, or should I say the 1st night I bawled (well as much as you can bawl without causing a scene in a dead silent 1 room apartment with 5 other girls in it), and the second night I just cried a LITTLE bit. Last night I didn’t cry at all though! I actually went to bed happy! Tired, but happy! Each day things get a little easier; I get a little more familiar and comfortable with the schedule, mi companera and the other Sisters and Elders in my district. It was funny sitting in the cafeteria @ meal time the 1st two days because you could easily tell who had been there for a week or more and who was brand new. All the new elders and sisters looked like zombies; we just sat there in silence, eyes glazed over, eating our food, while everyone else sat together talking and laughing. Every day though, we get more light-hearted and we joke around a lot more.
My district actually has 6 sisters, all going to Concepcion together, Hermana Tidwell, Hermana Hall, Hermana Woodbury, Hermana Housley, Hermana Phelps and Me! All of us are 19 except Hermana Hall who is 20 and Hermana Phelps who is 23. Everyone is from Utah except Hermana Phelps, who from Minnesota, and me! My companion H. Tidwell is actually from Provo! She’s easy to get along with. There are 4 Elders in our district and they’re all around 19 and they are so rambunctious… …most of the time it’s funny, except when we are trying to study and they won’t shut up. LOL
Tenemos muchos chistes. (*We have a lot of jokes) They’re all so stupid, but that’s just what happens when you’ve got ten 19-23 year olds stuck in a room together for hours on end trying to learn Spanish. Our district motto, the 2nd day we got here, we decided was “Verdad!” (*That’s true!) …with one fist in the air. So every time we were frustrated, dumb founded, or the teacher, Hermana JeanFreau, asked us or told us something in Spanish that went way over our heads someone would say …”Verdad!” and we’d all start cracking up. Then, the next day I suggested we change it to “Adelante!” which, according to the dictionary, means “onward”, everyone liked the idea so now we say that in place of “Verdad”. Also, just between us sisters, we came up with a new inside joke. Yesterday Hermana Tidwell was asking something about the food we were eating being made of soy, Like the bacon or something so when she said “soy bacon”. Hermana Phelps looked at her really funny and then explained to us how her brain was so stuck in Spanish mode it sounded like Hermana Tidwell was saying “I am bacon” (*soy means “I am” in Spanish) so we all started busting up and saying everything “soy” we could think of to see how it would sound, when I thought of soy nuts, so I was Like “Hermanas, Hermanas! Soy…Nuts!” and we all started laughing even harder!! So every time we mention soy nuts we all snicker.
Nuestra Maestra (*Our teacher), Hermana Jean Freau seems like 23, she served in Phoenix Arizona. All of the teachers here are really young; I think they’re all recently returned missionaries.
So here at the MTC you don’t really get much “frying pan” time, they throw you STRAIGHT into the fire! Yesterday morning, Hermana Tidwell and I taught our first lesson to an investigator (who is secretly our next teacher, Hermano Urquhart)… in SPANISH! It went surprisingly well though in our preparation to teach Hermana Tidwell and I Kind of wrote out a script as to what to say, what questions to ask, etc. Then we talked to some 1-week-in missionaries who said DON’T READ FROM A SCRIPT!!! It will go terrible! It’s better to use Spanglish and have the Spirit than to read from a script. If you do that you won’t have the Spirit. So each companionship was given 30 minutes with Vicente (investigator) to teach. Hermana Tidwell and I took up like 28 minutes; everyone else was finished after like 10. I really felt good when we were done. I did most of the talking because Hermana Tidwell isn’t as experienced in Spanish as I am, she has a harder time (but she’s a trooper!) I felt like the Spirit was definitely there and helping a lot! We ended up breaking away from our script a majority of the time and saying things and answering questions that we hadn’t planned on. Somehow the spirit helped me remember words and things from high school! I know my Spanish, my grammar, and my conjugation were all horrid but the cool thing was that I was able to find ways to say things, from words I could remember (completely wrong) that were in the ball park enough that he could understand what we were trying to teach. Some of the one week in missionaries said Spanglish was good… he’d let them get away with it when they didn’t know certain words. Even the elders in our district who went before us said he let then get away with some Spanglish but I only tried to use English words like 3 times (in 30 minutes), but he wouldn’t let me get away with it, he’d say “no entiendo” (*I don’t understand). So I had to search and fumble for other ways to say things, but I walked away taking that as a compliment, that he knew I could do it and that I had a good enough grasp to communicate…enough. Today, in the evening we teach Vicente again. I think I’m MORE nervous this time LOL. We’ll see how it goes! I THINK I’m the one with the best grasp of Spanish in our class/district (synonymous), besides Hermana Phelps, she took Spanish in college and over all she took like 8 years (between high school and college).
I’ve seen a couple friends so far. I saw Daniel (Elder Watts) the kid from O.C.; I saw Austin (Elder) Fields yesterday, that was probably the most exciting…the Hermanas in my district said it was funny watching because it was obvious we both wanted to hug each other (but honestly it was more him than me)! And he’s been here 2 weeks! Lol I went straight for a hand shake while he almost went for a hug! I also saw Devin a girl from my FHE group last semester, LOVE HER. She’s going to Russia. Oh, and I saw Elder Smith (Taylor’s BF), but I haven’t seen Taylor yet :( our meal times don’t overlap.
So, the company what do you mean it’s not doing well? How so? I will make sure and find out how to say it in Spanish so I can add it to my prayers (Hermana Jean Freau promised us I few would try and pray in Spanish now on Heavenly Father would bless us so much more with el don de lengas (*the gift of tongues))
I love you all soooooo much (x infinity) and miss all your faces right off! Hug the dog for me, keep him alive! Thanks a million for the letters keep em coming! Oh, p-day from now on is Friday so I’ll email you then!
All My LOVE….XOXOXOXOXO……..DAVIS DYNASTY!!!!
P.S. I wrote you another letter this week at night in my personal time. I thought I’d throw it in just for kicks so you can see the dramatic difference between 2 days (I can see why they don’t want us emailing our 1st week here LOL) but ignore the negativity the in the other letter, I’m working HARD I’m always tired, but I’m GREAT! <3