Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Beginnings

25 Febrero 2015


This week has been a crazy week of running around and wondering and getting new news off of new news.... it feels so crazy to think that it has only been a week, but LONG story short, my companion had an MRI on this past Friday and we then went to the hospital this Monday to see what the results were. We went to the hospital thinking that Hermana Simmons was getting better and it was probably just a minor bruising or whatever, but we found out so much more. It turns out that when she landed funny after playing soccer the 2 weeks ago on the 9th that she had completely blown out her ACL and bruised her femur in the process. Don’t ask me how she has been walking on it this whole time (with a little limp) and how she hasn't been in SO much pain... because I have no idea! It is a miracle that she has been able to do so many things these past few weeks and that I have had the amazing experience of getting to spend this time with her.

It is such a blessing to me that everything timed out the way that it did. The fact that my companion and I were able to learn and grow from each other and we were able to learn how to communicate effectively and teach together has been such an amazing blessing that I can’t express in words. I wish that Hermana Simmons didn't have to go home, but the fact that we were able to grow closer in the past few days and become true friends instead of just companions is a miracle in itself! I know that Heavenly Father has a specific plan for her and that this time is going to be so hard and difficult, but that she is insanely strong and determined (she was walking on a compacted- fractured femur without an ACL for 2.5 weeks for goodness sake!) and that I will see her again. I can’t wait for the day that I get the email that she is cleared for coming back to serve and I can’t wait for the day that I hear that she can come to our mission in Cochabamba, Bolivia!

So this upcoming 2 weeks are going to be crazy, still learning more of the language, missing my companion, getting used to teaching as a 3 person companionship, learning and growing and never stopping!

I know that in all situations, things can be hard and discouraging. But I know that when we have even just a little grain of faith, we allow the Lord to help us. The Lord cares about EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US! He cares about you, he cares about me and he cares about the little details of our lives. The Lord is on your side! In the scriptures it talks about how the worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God! Precious even! If that is true, then how can be deny that he cares about us and the fabric of our lives? I know that I can’t deny it. I have felt the love and care that the Lord has for me. That is how I am reminded each and every day what my purpose and true potential is. THAT is why I am out here and THAT is what gives me joy!

Thanks for reading my email again guys! (even if you are a skimmer.. cause I know you are out there ;) Here are some tender mercies that I have been able to notice this week!

Tender mercies: I got AMAZING time of bonding and friendship with my companion, I was able to have American food with President Gonzalez and his wife after the doctor’s appointment for Hermana Simmons. I learned more about myself and my personality and how I can better communicate with others! (wooo!) It rained yesterday for the 1st time since we got here! We were able to see an amazing devotional this Sunday from Elder D Todd Christofferson about the worth of souls.

Well, that is all I have time for this week, but I love you guys and keep on smiling!


Hermana Mather

Me and my companion, Hermana Simmons, with MTC President Gonzalez and his wife
in front of a Lima Peru house (with a cool tree in front!)

Me and my companion, Hermana Simmons, in front of TGI Fridays
in Lima Peru after her doctors appointment! I love her SO much!

The awkward sad hugs

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oh We're Halfway There!!!!!!‏

18 Febrero 2015


I´m halfway there!!!! That is so weird! Am I really going to go out into the field? YES! YES I am ;D

Wow, so much happens every week here at the CCM [Missionary Training Center]... it almost feels like a weird time warp that we all jumped into where we feel like we have pretty much been born here (and by taking on the name of Hermana Mather I pretty much have been born as a little baby missionary ;D) but at the same time we all feel like we are so new! It’s the weird feeling that it has been months (instead of 2 weeks) here at the CCM while it feels like time is flying by and I feel like I arrived yesterday (if that makes any sense at all).

For those of you wondering how my companion is doing, she is doing much better! She still has a limp and her knee is really tight, but she isn't using crutches anymore! She has a MRI scheduled for this Friday so we are hoping and praying for good news so that she can stay out in the field and go to Bolivia with me!

On another side note, Hermana Simmons actually has Dotera oils with her in a little physicians kit, and gives some to me when I have headaches and all the crazy stuff that goes around at the CCM and I actually really like them ;D it’s like I have my own traveling physician ;D She is great!

The other day while I was reading my 6 chapters in the Book of Mormon (which I’m in Alma 17 now, where are you? Did you accept the challenge of reading?) I found some cat hair in my scriptures! Oh my goodness did it ever make me miss home and the crazy cats that just sit on my scriptures while I’m trying to read ;D Those little reminders of home are actually what help me to get through the day because I know that I have a loving family back home who is supporting me. Like the long stated cliché missionary saying, “I am giving up a year and a half with my family to help other families be together forever!”

Funny story for the week, there is a triple person companionship in our district and we call them the triple threat ;D (they are HILARIOUS) and we had a little time between classes at night before we had to have a district meeting and we go out into the hallway to find the triple threat, but they are not there. We searched for them in different classrooms and all over the place. We couldn't find them inside the class building. We finally find them outside and I just couldn't keep myself from fighting laughing. We found them outside doing a synchronized swimming routine! (btw, we don’t even have any water or pools or lakes at the CCM, and we aren't even allowed to swim on our mission). IT WAS HILARIOUS! We ended up calling the whole district out to watch. Apparently, they have been doing this as an Elder Yoga like session but instead of yoga, they decompress by doing synchronized diving routines ;D  The next night we found them doing it again and we ended up getting the whole district to do it! Oh my, it was HILARIOUS! I think we're going to make it a tradition to keep doing the "decompressing dive routine"!

Spiritual thought for the week: PLEASE watch the LDS video “Embark”; it is super cool! I got chills from it! I love the word EMBARK! It has such a weight and meaning to the word! I am Embarking in the service of god and my fellow mean while I'm on this mission. I’m embarking to Bolivia in 3 WEEKS. WE can all embark in our various purposes in life!

Tender mercies for the week!!!! I get to write you guys every week! YAY! Sundays and P-days at the CCM come at the VERY best time where we all need the ´recharge´. My teachers are seriously the best, most loving, amazingly helpful people ever! I love them! and.... (drum roll please!) Our investigators are getting baptized! I know that our investigators are not real while we are here in the CCM, but they are real stories and I have true feelings of love and caring for them! With teaching them I have truly come to know our investigators and want the best for them. I just can't wait to see how it is out in the field!

I have to go for now, but one more thing before I leave: Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."  This is SUCH an amazing scripture and really describes how I have been feeling here at the CCM!  I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ and I am so excited to share this gospel (that is so important and amazing to me) with the people of Bolivia!

I love you all and can´t wait to talk to you again next week!

Hermana Mather

Picture in front of the CCM  [Missionary Training Center] sign!

Funny faces are the best!

Here in Peru they have these crazy workout things,
like playgrounds for adults, in the median of the road!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Last Fruit Snack!‏

11 Febrero 2015

Coming out here to Peru was an insane adventure, especially behind the scenes! Wooo, packing with my mom (thank you so much by the way mom!) and then unpacking and repacking and checking the packing list and the things that I would need and then packing again and then weighing for the plane.  I realized that I needed to live without some things that I wanted but didn't need out here; hopefully I won’t need them. But let’s just say that I’m glad that I brought some snacks for the plane (that I didn't eat on the plane cause I was so nervous) because they have no fruit snacks here! Ah! I am crossing my fingers for Bolivia.  I just looked in the store for P-day and to my dismay, they have nothing that even resembles a fruit snack! So I had my last little packet of fruit snacks the other day and looked over at my companion, making the most pitiful face that I could and held up the last packet saying ´the last fruit snack!´ We ended up laughing and quoting this for the whole week ;D

I am learning so much here! Oh my goodness! Here at the CCM [Centro de Capacitacion Misional; Missionary Training Center, MTC], we have 15 hour days full of learning in classes. My brain feels so full of Spanish as well as gospel topics that I just hope that they won't spill out! Del don del lenguas (the gift of tongues) is a real thing though! I have here for 2 weeks (even though it feels like a month or two) and I know how to pray, testify, meet someone and try to carry on a conversation in Spanish! WOOO!

Another challenge that they gave us when we got here was to read 6 chapters per day in the Book of Mormon to be able to finish the Book of Mormon by the time that we finish our 6 weeks of training. ANYONE who can do this, commit to it now! It is SOOOOO great! And whether you have never read the book or you have read it too many times to count, you will grow and learn so much from it!

My compi (companion) got hurt playing futbol (soccer) this week! :(  I feel so bad for her, we have been praying like mad in our district (group for classes) and in all of our personal prayers. We don’t know what it is yet just because there is a lot of swelling in her knee, but I’m just hoping for her to be able to feel better and recover! Its super hard getting hurt or sick while your all the way out here without family and having responsibilities and classes.  There is one Elder who broke his hand before getting to the CCM, and it was fine then, but he broke it even more while he was here, so he has to go home and get surgery on it... Let’s just say that I’m being VERY careful so that I don’t have to go home early for being injured!

We eat really well here at the CCM! It’s delicious but very repetitive. The saying that we have had for our time here has been Sempre Arroz (Always Rice). They have lots of rice and then meat (eggs for breakfast) and GREAT veggies and fruit! They have the best mangos here! They are sooooooo delicious! They also have this crazy weird fruit that you crack open and drink out the inside... it looks grayish blue and weird... but they grow on you and I actually like them now! They are called granadillas.

I love my teachers here, the classes are long but super fun and challenging and playing futbol with the Latinos is SUPER BIEN! (Super fun) to play with them, especially since we have a soccer field on the grounds of the MTC! It’s not full sized but man is it fun!

This week, we saw a video that a lot of people know about in the church, it is about the Currant Bush. :) It’s all about how Heavenly Father has a plan for us and at times there are points where we overgrow ourselves and God has a different plan for us. At times it can be hard to go on a path that you think is right and be corrected by Heavenly Father saying, "I have made such wonderful progress, and you cut me down", but then there is the reply you receive from Heavenly Father, "I am the gardener here." I know that change can be hard, but that when we find what Heavenly Father’s will is for us and align our will with His (not aligning His will with ours) we can come to see the real potential that Heavenly Father has given us!

Tender mercies this week: My companion and I got some bonding time and are figuring out how best to work with each other! We started teaching investigators (who our teachers are posing as investigators) in the little ´houses´ that they have just for role playing. I haven’t gotten very badly sun burnt yet! Woo! My teachers are SO amazing! They are loving and sweet and truly care about all of us! Love them!

That is all I have time for this week, sorry it is so long... you don’t have to read all of it ;) Just wanted to keep you updated on what I was doing and what was happening!

Love you all!

HERMANA (still getting used to that) Mather

The crazy "Harry Potter" packed bus!
I found a friend at the temple today!

My compi! love her!

The CCM grounds...

... and futbol field

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

¿Que en el Mundo?

4 Febrero 2015

¿Que en el Mundo? [What in the World?]

!!!!!!!!!1ST PDAY!!!!!!!!!!

After so much that has happened in the past week: 24 hours of traveling, 15 hour work days, everything planned to the brim, 8 study books and materials, 2 devotionals and getting acclimated to everything.  How can I summarize it in just one hour? ahhhhhh! Here we go!

I’m alive and well in Lima Peru! Last week was so crazy because we ended up getting in to the Lima CCM [Centro de Capacitacion Misional] (MTC [Missionary Training Center] in English) around 2am in the morning on Wednesday and we were just launched into everything as new missionaries! We got our name tags and we got our 10 pounds of study materials (including our new best friends - our Spanish to English dictionaries!)

Right when we first got here, they let us now that we can’t take pictures except on P-day [Preparation Day – one day a week ~9am-5pm to write letters, do laundry, grocery shopping (not in the MTC), visit local sites, etc.] which is good to keep us focused but I’m so sad that I don’t get to show you many pictures! We also aren't allowed to take pictures inside of the building so forgive me but I can’t send that many pictures :(

It is absolutely gorgeous here! Coming from snow storms and cold into humidity and a tropical summer is just crazy to me! I don’t need lotion because in isn’t like Colorado here were I feel like my knuckles are splitting at the seams! It feels great to me, but that might be because we are inside for a lot of the day (except they put our physical activity at the hottest part of the day which I don’t understand. ;))  I love just studying outside with my companion and hearing all the birds sing and looking at all the green on the CCM grounds!

SPEAKING of my companion! Her name is Hermana Simmons and she is just the best! I love her to pieces and I just don’t know how I would live without her! She already knows quite a bit of Spanish and understands quite a bit which helps me soooooooo much. I have NEVER taken Spanish in my life so having her here to help me (even while I’m slow at learning things) is so great! We are different people so it’s hard to be with someone for 24 hours of the day and have to ever get up and go to the bathroom with someone (which you would think that a girl would be used to that) but I can really see how important it is to follow that rules while out in the field! We are really good at talking through our differences and I just am so excited for the next 5 weeks with her! I just can’t emphasize how much she has helped me already!

The days here are SO long! The first day was probably the longest just because we weren't in a solid schedule and we weren't used to the whole day being planned out from start to finish! It probably feels even longer just because we are trying to learn a different language here! WOW! Spanish is crazy, but we are learning so fast! Every once in a while I have to remind myself that we have only been here for a couple days (I just accidentally wrote "weeks"... woops ;))  ) and that I am not going to be fluent at this point! I have learned so much! It’s crazy! I can meet people and try to carry out conversations and pray and bear my testimony in Spanish how! It’s so crazy! Sometimes I can get a little discouraged but I draw strength from the fact that my sister and my brother and many other people have been able to do this before me!

We rode on one of the buses that they have here today and it was pretty much the bus that is on that one Harry potter movie but with more people on the bus! (we got very up close and personal so after a week of not touching boys and trying to not ever give high fives to the Elders it was just weird to be so close... I felt like I should start screaming... and the sheltered, handshake life begins!)

Funny story for the week: I saved Hermana Simmons from going into the boys’ bathroom here at the CCM. We were getting ready to go to a devotional and were filling up our water bottles and she just started walking into the guys’ bathroom! You should have seen her face when I told her to get out of the Elders bathroom!

Tender mercies of the week: that my companion can speak more Spanish than me and is helping me along the way! That my family was able to say goodbye to me before I got on the plane (to go to Atlanta and then had a 6 hour layover and then a 6 hour plane ride to Peru and a 1 hour bus ride to the MTC). That the heat here isn't killing me or keeping me up at night! That I haven’t gotten sunburnt yet! And that it is soooooooo beautiful here!

I have to go for now, but I love you all and feel as though I haven’t seen you in forever! I miss you and just love being able to feel that much closer to you by writing to you!

Love you all!

Hermana (AYYY!! I’m an Hermana!) Mather

Where I came from...

Helping me pack!

Funny faces while saying goodbye at the Colorado Springs airport

Here is my companion, Hermana Simmons! YAY!

Me and my district (district 109 represent!) in front of the Lima Peru Temple

No email is complete without an awkward companion picture!

...where I'm at (in front of the Lima temple)

Lima Peru Temple

Me in front of the Lima Peru Temple!

Me in front of a Lima Peru street!