Saturday, November 27, 2010
So the past couple of days have been really interesting ones, but they still have been good. On Monday, the travel office called Hna Demke down to tell her that she had her visa. That implied that I didn't, so we asked, and of course, since I'm still in Provo, I didn't have it. They told me to plan on not going to Peru, but that it might come in on Tuesday. So we went and checked on Tuesday, and it still wasn't in. That's when I got to call home. I'm not sure how long our conversation ended up being, but it was definitely more than 5 minutes. I guess your cell phone isn't long distance, (but they thought that it was) and so the lady ended up turning the phone off. So, I love you. That's what I about to say before the phone clicked off Mom. I just wanted you to know that.
So early Wednesday morning, we woke up and got Hnas Demke, Reid, and Flores all ready to go to the Peru MTC. We had 3 of the elders from our district get up and help take their luggage to the travel office/bus. I thought that was really nice of them. Cameron-if that happens to you, (where the sisters in your district leave before you do) you better get up and help them (yes, even if it is only -5 degrees outside and it is 5:45 in the morning). That's one thing that I love about the MTC, is how (most) of the elders really do respect the sisters. Anywho, sorry for that tangent. After saying goodbye to them, I become a trio with Hna Morlock and Hna Nielson. They're both supposed to go to Bolivia, and they'll go to the Peru MTC if there is room. I had to move all of my stuff into the next room (because Hna Demke and I had a room to ourselves). It's been good though. Our district does feel smaller, but I think it does make it easier for us to bond.
Thanksgiving was really good. We had a morning devotional where Elder Holland and his family came. His grandchildren sang "My Heavenly Father Loves Me" and it was so tender. He spoke to us and told us that he didn't want anyone homesick on Thanksgiving and that his family was our family today. It was so amazing. We then got the traditional Thanksgiving dinner (which didn't match up at all with the amazingness of Thanksgiving at home, but that's okay!) Later we had the chance to participate in a humanitarian service project, putting together kits to make backpacks for children who don't have the ability to buy their own school supplies. All together we put together 33,400 backpack kits. It was really cool. We then had another fireside in the evening where a few missionaries got the opportunity to talk about what they were thankful for. I thought a lot about the things in my life that I am thankful for. I am definitely thankful for the big things in my life, like my family and this gospel. Those are the 2 most important things in my life. I would be a compeltely different person if it weren't for those 2 things. I didn't get homesick really. Probably because it didn't feel like Thanksgiving, so even though I knew it was, I didn't miss it. I'm glad that I got to experience Thanksgiving in the MTC
Anywho, as far as my visa goes, I still don't know when it'll come. The travel office is closed today, so I'll stop by on Monday and see if they have any news. I decided that I am going to be happy with wherever I am. If the Lord wants me here in Provo, I am more than happy to stay. I have an awesome district, and my companions are really good. When the Lord wants me to go to Peru, I will be more than happy to go there too. I know that my Spanish is get so much better, and it'll be a good experience. I really am ready to be wherever the Lord wants me to be.
I loved the Thanksgiving pictures! I do love you guys so much, and even though I wasn't there, I could still feel of your love for me. I decided to go ahead and open my presents and I love them!!! The jewelry holder was awesome! Everyone that's seen it has thought it was really cool. I'll have to take a picture and send it to you! And I love the MP3 player too! I haven't used it yet, but I'm excited to get out to the field and to be able to listen to music once more! I think the dear elder letters are delivered Monday-Friday. I get them after dinner. I think if you get them in before noon I'll get them later that day. I don't really know much about what will happen when I fly out. I'll talk to the travel office on Monday and find out. Hopefully my visa will come sometime next week and I'll be able to call you and let you know rather than waiting until next Friday to email you.
So I've gotten the chance to play the piano in Sacrament meeting a couple of times, and the people in my zone (branch) have told me how much they love it. They are always so sweet and telling how many lives I am going to touch through my music. I so hope that that is true. It has been such a powerful influence in my life, and I hope that I can touch the lives of other people through it.
Well, it's time for me to be done again. I love this Gospel. I love the chance that I get to be a missionary. The Lord is trusting me to teach His Gospel to the people in Peru, and I love it! I know that the church is true, and that we are blessed when we are obedient. I love you all!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The administrators appoligizes to Jamie's blog followers for being so slow this week at posting Jamie's letter and the pictures she sent (life happens!).
My name tag! That's right! I'm officially Hermana Williams!
It seems like everything is becoming one big blur. Really, I think the MTC has developed some way to warp time. They could probably make a lot of money off of it.
Thank you so much for the packages and all of the letters. I love getting everyone's letters! They are awesome. I'm still not sure if you can send me packages in the Peru MTC. I'll guess we'll just find out when I get there. You'll have to let me know how Thanksgiving goes. I'll probably be so jetlagged that I won't even realize that it's Thanksgiving.
This week has been a really interesting one. I've had really good parts and really not-so-good parts. On Wednesday, Hna Demke and I ended up teaching what is called a "progressive investigator" here. This woman spoke only in Spanish and since we speak Spanglish (mostly English right now) it was very difficult. It was worse that we didn't even really have a plan going in to the lesson, and therefore the Spirit wasn't able to help us much. After that, we went right into the TRC and taught a woman (who spoke Spanglish too). She had a little probably 14-month old baby boy with her. While he was adorable, he was running all over the place, and it was distracting, and since we didn't really have the Spirit to begin with, it was just rough. Because of these experiences and then the ones we had last week, I really am coming to have such a strong testimony of the importance of having the Spirit in missionary work. It cannot happen without the Spirit. I've experienced trying to do missionary work with and without the Spirit, and the Spirit makes it possible. It is the Spirit which speaks truth to the heart. We are merely instruments in the Lord's hands. That's pretty much a summary of what I learned this week. It is important to focus on the work and have the Spirit. Oh-something else I learned too was that I really can feel the power of people's prayers. One time when I was feeling discouraged, I prayed that I could feel the strength of the prayers that were being said specifically on my behalf and on the behalf of all of the missionaries, and I did. I had never understood that statement "we can feel your prayers" but I did this time. Thank you for all of your prayers for me. It really means so much to me.
Considering I've only been in the MTC for 2 1/2 weeks, my Spanish is coming along fairly well, although I am looking forward to the day when I think and dream in Spanish. Right now it's all just translation going on in my head. I sometimes wish that I was just going English speaking, not because I don't want to learn Spanish, but because I just want to get out there and start teaching people about how wonderful the Gospel is! But I know that learning Spanish is going to be the way that I will be able to find those people in Peru that need the Gospel. I'm not learning Spanish for me, I'm learning it for them, and because of that, the Lord will bless me.
I'm sorry if this seems more like a journal entry than a letter home. I'm just kind of telling you about what I've learned this week and what is going through my head right now.
Oh! So I got some pictures printed out that we took with Hna Demke's camera. They aren't the best, but hopefully you'll be able to tell who is who. I'll try to get those sent out today so hopefully you'll have them by tomorrow. Hopefully you enjoy them.
So this week there were about 700 new missionaries that came into the MTC. It was kind of ridiculous. I guess it's because they aren't going to have people come in the day before Thanksgiving, which is nice. I'm just glad that I already came into the MTC, and that I don't have to say goodbye again. The next time I see you will be to say hello! But I don't really think about it too much. There is still so much I need to do and become!!
So I've heard rumors that Cameron got stuck up on the roof. WITHOUT ME?!?!?! Just kidding, it totally made me smile! I love those moments, smiling and praying for you that you are doing well. And-I got a little package from Ammon (Elder Arcia) yesterday! He sent me a Stripling Warriors coin from Deseret Book. It's nice to know that he still exists, and that he is thinking about me. I should write him sometime.
So I guess you can send pictures to me. I just can't send pictures to you yet. I think I'll be able to email you pictures home once I get out into the field.
Well, I'm going to wrap this up. I know that Christ lives, and that He is my Savior and Redeemer. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove on that beautiful Spring day. I know that the Gospel is true and that we can be together as a family forever. I love you guys so much!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I'm so sad to hear about Bro Thompson. I will definitely been praying for them and their family. He was such a wonderful man. His testimony strengthened mine so much.
Life at the MTC is fine. I'm finally getting into a routine, which has been good. This really has been an emotional roller coaster. I've learned so much this week, and I'm going to try to answer all the questions you asked, but I'll probably be sending a snail mail letter as well. I'm going to basically try to write as much about my experiences this week in the next 25 minutes or so (and yeah, I only get a half hour to email. The computer has a timer on it, and it'll kick me off when the timer runs out.)
Hna Demke and I had a cool experience on Sunday. We had our companionship study in the morning, and we were studying from Preach My Gospel, in ch 4 about the Holy Ghost. We talked and learned about the difference between the gift of the holy ghost and the power of the holy ghost. We definitely felt the Spirit. Then later, we went to Mission Conference, and while we were there, one of the speakers spoke about the same thing! I got a lot more out of his talk because we had studying about the things he talked about too.
Another thing I've learned this week is that it is impossible to do missionary work without the Spirit. There have been a couple of times this week that I just haven't been feeling the Spirit as much, and it is so hard to do what I need to do. I have no idea what I need to study without the Spirit. I don't know what the investigators need to hear without the Spirit. The Spirit is so essential to missionary work.
Teaching with Hna Demke has been good. We've struggled a little bit to balance out our teaching. She's much more willing to speak up and talk, and I'm much more willing to sit back and let her talk. We realize that it's not the best way to do things, so we're working on fixing that. That means she's going to try and step back a little bit, and I'm going to have to try and step it up. We did have a really good experience in the TRC the other day (The TRC is a place where people from the "world" come and pretend to be investigators while we teach them). We were teaching an older woman named Joann. We started off getting to know her and then Hna Demke started talking about prophets, and then I brought up the Book of Mormon. Joann had some questions which we were able to answer, and then Hna Demke started talking about the Restoration. She touched on it, and then turned to me to let me talk. I recited the First Vision (this was all in English) and I felt the power of the words that I was speaking. Hna Demke and I both felt the Spirit, and we knew that Joann could feel the Spirit as well. It is so amazing the work that the Lord can do through the Spirit. We still are working on our weaknesses in teaching, but we know that when we do let the Spirit work through us, amazing things will happen.
So...just so know, I'm actually going to be speaking Spanglish for the rest of my life. It seems so be a good language. I pray in Spanglish. Good thing Heavenly Father understands all languages! A mission is definitely the best way to learn a language. I figure this is so because we are learning the language not for ourselves, but to communicate to other people who can't speak English that God loves them and that He had a plan for them. And because we aren't learning it for ourselves, the Lord blesses us so much more as missionaries. I love it. I just hope I soak in enough Spanish to survive in Peru.
Oh yeah! I got my flight itineraries! I'm going to make a copy of it and send it to you in the snail mail. It'll be a lot easier than typing it all up in an email, and honestly, who wants to read about it anywho? :)
So this week we the MTC got to hear from Sis Sheri Dew at a Sunday Fireside and Elder Bednar at the Tuesday Devotional. Both were very exceptional. Elder Bednar's talk was really good too. He taught us a lot. I wish you all could have been here. It definitely will help me not only for the rest of my mission but for the rest of life as well. He talked about doctrine, principles, and applications, and how the doctrine is really the basis of application. It was so good.
So I wanted to tell you a little bit about my district. There are 12 of us right now. There are 6 elders and 6 hermanas. All 6 hermanas are leaving to go to the Peru MTC in 2 weeks though. My comp, Hna Demke, is serving in the Peru Lima South Mission. Hnas Flores and Reid and serving in Ecuador Quito, and Hnas Morlock and Nielson are serving in Bolivia Cochabamba. Then, we have 4 elders serving in Torreon, Mexico, and 2 elders going to North Carolina Charlotte Spanish speaking! We're just going all over the world! It's great! I love my district. They really are like my family here at the MTC. We eat together, spend all day in class together, go to the temple together. Even though the elders are a little immature at times, they still do have strong testimonies and they want to do what is right. I love getting to know my district. We have a classroom that is specifically for us. We each have our own desks and can keep stuff there. It feels kind of like I'm back in Elementary school again! We only have 2 teachers- but they're awesome! One of teachers, Hermano Black, married my Relief Society president last year in the Colony. She also served a mission, and I remember one lesson she taught about making decisions that was one of the things that pushed me to serve a mission. So basically they are just awesome people.
Oh-fun little fact about Hna Demke-she loves the movie Oscar!! We spent a while a lunch today quoting it. It made me love her even that much more! We have been getting along pretty well. I definitely think that she will be one of my good good friends when we get back from our missions.
Because today is P-Day, my district got to go to the temple this morning. It was the first time I've been to the Provo Temple so far. It was kind of neat to see that there is more to that building than just the baptistry. It was a really good experience. That temple will always have a special place in my heart though, because of all of the many times that I would go and do baptisms on Wednesday nights with Ilarene and other friends.
Well, I only have 3:30 minutes left, so I should probably wrap this up. Thank you so much for the letters and the packages! I love it! And that shoulder strap you sent me Mom has been a lifesaver. Thank you!! And yeah, I'll definitely be sending you a snail mail letter with answers to all of your questions. I just wanted to get in as much about this week as I could. And I'll be sending Cameron a nice long advice letter too. So be watching for that either this week or next week.
This Gospel is true. I have felt the Spirit in confirm truth to my heart more this week than I have before. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that He restored the Church. I know that God has a plan for everyone, and right now, His plan for me means being on a mission and serving Him with all that I have. I love you all so much!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Hola mi familia!! Como esta? Oh my word! This has been such a ridiculously insane packed 3 days. It has felt like forever since I said goodbye to you. It's probably a good thing though, because in the MTC they don't really give you time to miss your family and friends. I feel like I've done a pretty good job separating the MTC from BYU, but sometimes there are things that cause me to remember just how close I am to the things and people I love. I've heard the bells from BYU multiple times, as well as seeing the SWKT and bell tower lit up at night. As we were outside today, we heard the cheer from the football game. It made me miss it, but once Hermana Demke and I went to lunch, I was able to focus again. Cheer loud for me!! :) I also ran into Thomas Ferrin the other day. That was fun. He didn't know that I was serving a mission. He was visiting his wife Laura who works in the MTC mail room.
Being a sister on a mission is somewhat special, I think. My teachers, Hermana Black & Hermana Wood have asked us on multiple different occasions why we are serving missions. It's a little easier for the elders to answer, I think, because it is a commandment. Each of the hermanas in my district though have different reasons for being out here. In my district there are 6 elders and 6 hermanas. It's a pretty fun group. Sometimes, the elders are way more immature than the sisters though, and it shows that they are only 19. For example, today in class, we had just finished going over how to ask questions in Spanish. My teacher asked if anyone had any questions. One of the elders rose his hand and asked "is it morally okay to knock people out? Like drug them up, but not do anything?" It was out of the blue. We had to just laugh and kind of roll our eyes. It's been good though.
Mi espanol is coming along. I feel kind of overwhelmed. Everyone else in my district has taken some spanish, whether it was in high school or college. I'm pretty much going off of what Trent taught me (which actually has been a big help). I can bear a simple testimonio en espanol, as well as pray. I had a funny experience though on thursday. Our teacher had given us an assignment to bear our testimonies in spanish to 3 other people who were not in our district by the time the day was done. Hermana Demke and I went out to bear our testimonies, and we found another spanish speaking elder that had been there longer than we had. As I was bearing my testimony, I was trying to say "I know that Jesus Christ is my brother," and I said. "Yo se que Jesucristo es mi hombre." For those of you reading this who don't speak spanish or who don't want to use google translate, I basically just told this elder "I know that Jesus Christ is my man." Needless to say, I got a funny look from the elder as he explained what I had just said.
It's kind of funny, because I've spent a lot of time reading other missionary emails, but now that I'm on the other end, I'm not entirely sure what to write. My companion, Hermana Demke is taking good care of me. She is helping feel good about my Spanish, and the fact that I have only been really learning Spanish for 3 days. I know that the Lord is helping me. I know that if I were just out in the normal world trying to learn Spanish that I would be no where near knowing what it is I know now. I am coming to love the Spanish language. It really is so beautiful and fun to speak. I cannot wait to come back from Peru and be able to speak fluently.
It's been a little bit of an adjustment getting used to the schedule. Hermana Demke and I are the only ones in our room (the other hermanas in our district are in the room next door). We set our alarm to go off at 6:00, instead of 6:30. We're supposed to be in our class be 7:00, and if we wake up at 6:30, it just doesn't get us enough time to get ready.
Thank for the package and the letters. I was so happy to see the pecan tarts. I love those little things! The necklaces are beautiful. As far as sending pictures go, I'm not sure if you can attach them or not. I would just print them out and send them to be safe. Oh-for the next 2 weeks, P-Day will be on Friday. And then the week after that I go to Peru, and I'm not sure when my P-Day will be then. I'll try to get some pictures sent. Right now, the picture machine is backed up by a week and a half or so, and I can't email pictures here in the MTC. I think I'm just going to email you for now, Mom, unless I hear that I can email more than just one person. There is so much I want to tell you all, but the little red letter are counting down so annoyingly.
I know that the Church is true though. There is no way that this many young men and women would come and gather together and do this type of hard work if it wasn't true. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I love Him dearly. Thank you for your prayers. I need them. Know that I am praying for you, and that I am being taken care of.
I love you all so so so much!
Jamie is in dorm 4M or the Matthew Cowley building (how's that for a coincident, not).
She wrote "The Spirit is really strong here. You can't help but feel good about the work that is going on. My companion is Hermana Demke. She's from southern California. She is a fun sister and I think she's just what I need to start out right now.
"Tonight we had the chance to watch some missionaries teach the gospel to an "investigator". I have so much to learn! Good thing the Lord will help me.
"Thanks for all of your prayers in my behalf. It makes me smile to know that you're thinking about me. I just wanted you to know that I am doing well. The Church is true! Isn't that awesome? I love you all so much!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Jamie and "Princess"
"I love to see the temple"
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Thanks for your interest in following Jamie's mission. She and we appreciate your support.
If there are errors here, they are the errors of men (okay, one man. :^) ).
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Well folks, this is it! I am going on a mission!! Tonight I was set apart as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Peru Piura Mission. It hasn’t really hit me yet-it’s kind of surreal. My sister Laura is my companion. She and I are both wearing our church clothes. Yay for skirts and dresses for the next 18 months. I’m so excited for this new adventure. Be sure to write me and tell me all about your adventures in your lives. I love you all-and I’ll see you in 18 months! (My mom will keep my blog up for me-so don’t worry about me breaking any rules ;)