Friday, June 24, 2011

Time is Flying!


Querida Familia,

Well, I'm now at five and a half weeks. Time is flying, and its a little scary how soon I'm going to actually be in Chicago. This week is a little different here at the MTC because all of the new mission presidents are here for training. This means that a lot of general authorities are also here. Half of our lunch room has been closed off for them and we're not allowed to go in the main building. Some of the Elders I know have seen Elder Holland, Oaks, and Christofferson which is super cool. My companionship saw the cars of the first presidency as we were going off campus for physical therapy, but we we missed actually seeing the first presidency by only ten minutes. Today our p-day gets cut short because we're having a "special" devotional. I'm not quite sure what that entails, but I'm pretty excited. Other than that, nothing super new is going on.

Physical Therapy is going well. At first I didn't really agree that I needed it, as it is only a sprained ankle, but I am still having difficulty walking a lot without pain and my ankle is still quite week, so I guess under the circumstances of trying to get me ready to go out into the mission field its understandable. I go to the Utah Valley Outpatient center 2 times a week and I think I will continue to do so for the rest of the time I'm here. I feel bad for my companions because they have to come with me and just sit in the waiting room for an hour and miss class.

Well. Things are going good here. Teaching has really gotten better. My companions and I did something that really helped us prepare for one of our lessons this week. We have an investigator (who's really a teacher, but pretends) who we just didn't know how to help or what he needed. So while we were doing companionship study we all prayed individually to know Lucio's (the investigator) needs and then sat quietly and just pondered and thought about Lucio for 2-3 minutes. Afterwards we shared with each other what our impressions were. It was pretty amazing that we all felt pretty strongly about the same thing (the first vision) even though before none of us had any idea. When we taught him it was amazing. It was the best lesson we've ever taught and we all felt the spirit really strongly. It was incredibly the difference between that lesson and the one before where he just sat there and looked really bored the whole time. Something else really cool about it, is that afterward the teacher actually complimented us and used us as an example as to how to really focus on our investigators. The teachers NEVER talk about the lessons where they are investigators with the class. They always keep it very separate, so it was a huge compliment. He told the elders that if they need any advice on how to show their investigators that they really care, to ask us. It was awesome and it felt so good to feel like we were really helping someone. I can only imagine how awesome it will be when the really are real people that we are helping and caring about.

My time is running out, but I love you all! Thanks for the Dear Elders. I love hearing from you.

Les Quiero!!!!

Hermana Brown

ps. i just realized my spelling is awful at parts. sorry. blame the spanish. loveeee you

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Half Way Point in MTC


Querida Familia,

Hola!! ¿Cómo están? How is everything at home? Things are going well here. We are are around our half way point here at the MTC, which is bizarre. I feel like it has gone by so fast, and I can only imagine that the next month is going to go by even faster, and I don't feel even close to ready. Nothing is really new here. We got another new district this past week, all elders heading to Paraguay or the Dominican Republic. One of the elders is from Chicago though, so its cool to talk to him about stuff. Also the there was apparently a norovirus outbreak in the area, so the MTC got super paranoid (for good reason, sickness gets passed around like crazy here) and we're not supposed to shake hands or hug or anything. I did get x-rays again on my ankle yesterday, but they didn't see anything again. The doctor does want me to start formal physical therapy though, just to make sure my ankle is better by the time I leave. So I get to go on fun adventures off campus.

I took a little bit of time to do the same sort of thing I did last week with the questions, as its easier for me to organize and still make sure I answer your questions.
Q: How are you adjusting to wearing a skirt most of the time?

A: I think I'm used to it. It really hasn't bothered me as much as I thought it would. I do love when I get to wear pants though. Its pretty much the best thing ever.
Q: How is Spanish coming?

A: Más o menos. Something cool this week did happen concerning Spanish though. We practice contacting people every day, and one day we contacted an elder from Peru. I was nervous at first because he spoke hardly any English and we speak hardly any Spanish, but we were able to understand him well and he told us that our Spanish was really good. I did tell him he was probably lying, but he was adamant that our Spanish was excellent. I don't know if he was just trying to make us feel better or not, but just the fact that I could understand him was a huge confidence boost. Unfortunately, I still feel like I can never say what I really want to. Its frustrating. When teaching I still revert back to English for anything I feel strongly about, but starting Monday we are supposed to be teaching only in Spanish. I guess we'll see how that goes. . .

Q: Do you get your pictures developed at the MTC?

A: En la verdad, no sé. I order the prints at a machine in the bookstore, and it generally takes two days for them to get back to me, so I assume they are developed somewhere off campus.
Q: Do you hear any of the news going on around you?

A: Not at all. The MTC is a bubble. Most people like it that way and don't want to know whats happening in the world, but I still do. So keep me updated for the next month!!
Q: How are you devotionals and firesides? Do they have them everyweek?

A: Me encanta the devotionals and firesides! They are probably about the best parts of my week. We have a fireside every Tuesday night. At the devotionals the speaker is always a General Authority and its always fun to guess who it will be. Of course, everyone's bet is always on the Prophet, but no such luck yet.

Q: How are things going with your companions.

A: Muy bien. We get along really well and haven't had any real issues. We are all pretty different, but usually we balance each other out.
Q: Do you all leave the same day? (meaning companions)

A: I'm not 100% sure because we haven't received our travel plans yet. But we are scheduled to all leave on July 19. Hermana Creson and I will for sure leave at the same time as we are both going to Chicago.

Q: How do you receive Dear Elders?
A: The print them off, often with more then one on a page. They fold them up like a letter and then put them in the mailbox. The distric leader checks the mail two times a day and gives me any mail I receive!

I'm glad things seem to be going well for you all, albeit normal. I'm also glad Grampa is doing better! Give everyone my love!! Les extraño! Les quiero!!!

con cariño,
Hermana Brown

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Questions and Answers

Querida Familia!!

Hola! How are things? Things are going well here. We got a new district this week, with 4 hermanas, which is exciting. Now my companionship isn't won't be the only girls in the zone. They are really quiet so far, but I think that its probably still due to feeling shellshocked. Also, I may be accompanying one of the Elders in our district for a musical number. He has a really good voice, and asked me if I could play the piano for him. The song is really pretty, if you want to listen to it its on Go to the youth section, and music, and its called "Shout for Joy." I believe its by Greg Hansen. Other than that, things are pretty much the same as always, as I mentioned they probably would be. I did however take the time last night to compile a list of answers to the questions you (Mom and Dad) asked in the Dear Elders from this week. I'll try to send the girls personal letters with answers to their questions.

Am I getting the Dear Elders?
Yes I am gettig the Dear Elders. Thanks for sending them, I love them.

How is rolling the R's going?
mas o menos. When I'm speaking I can usually do it a little bit. Well enough at least.

Is my temple recommend working?
Yes, my first week here I got a note that mom had called the MTC and asked about it. I went into the secretary's office and she took care of it. She called Salt Lake and they said that both of my recommends were listed as duplicates and thats why they weren't working, but she fixed it so I am now using my original, the one stamped "Missionary."

do I have any ideas on how are family can not be too serious?
I don't know, I already think you all need to calm down. :D

What happened to my roommates? Where did they go?
They left to serve their missions! Two went to the Oakland, CA visitor's center and one to the Rochester, NY visitor's center. We got three new sisters this last week in our room. They are all going to Indiana, but because they are English speaking they'll actually be leaving before we do, which is a little weird to think about.

How is your ankle doing?
Its okay. I have been having weekly Dr. Appointments for it. I still have some weird pain and they said if its not gone by next week they'll do more x-rays, but don't worry, I'm sure its fine.

How is your knee?
No problems so far.

Are you off crutches?
Yes. As soon as I could hobble with out them I basically threw them back at the physical trainer. Hated them

Did I ever get more pain medicine for me knee?
Funny story. Last week on p-day, after I emailed you, we got back to our room to find a note on our door telling me to come to the health clinic as soon as I got the note. We ended up waiting 40 minutes in the waiting room and when I got into the doctor, he said, "I hear you're going to be running out of some meds soon."
Me: yeah, but I'm just going to have my mom send some when she can.
Dr.: there is no "When she can" you can't let that medicine get out of your system.
Me: okay. . .
Dr.: so what medicine is it?
Me: Voltaren
Dr. : Oh. So you're not on any psychotropic meds?
Me: no . . .
Apparently he thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown or something if I didn't get my meds right away. He said the person who talked to him made it sound like I was going to die with the medicine. But, yes, I got your package with it, thank you. Also, thanks for the cookies. They were much better than the Dear Elder ones. :)

Are we allowed to go anywhere on p-day?
Only the temple. The MTC bookstore is pretty goodsized now and has nearly everything I need. Except iron supplements, could you send me some of those, by the way? But no, we aren't allowed to go off the MTC campus at all.

What do we do on P-days?
I generally start my p-days off by having the hardest time ever getting up at 6:30 because I don't have anywhere I have to be by 7. At 8 we go to breakfast, then we have personal study and then the temple. After the templi I write my weekly email and then we eat lunch and write letters. We have a scheduled laundry time so we do that, and then I write more letters. Then we have dinner and class. So basically I have just been trying to get caught up on writing people back.

Last p-day was a little more hectic than usual due to the unscheduled dr. appointment as well as the fact that Hermana Allred left her necklace at the temple so we had to go all the way back to get that after lunch. Hopefully this week I'll actually be able to write everyone I need to.

Do I ever get time to myself:
In the shower. (sort of, they're really just stalls with a curtain.)

Am I getting used to waking up at 6:30?
I don't think I'll ever get used to it. Its still hard, but I definitely apprectiate the 10:30 pm bedtime.

I'm glad to hear you all had a fun time in California! The aquarium sounds great, I'm so jealous.
Tell Amanda congratulations on the baby!! Send me pictures!

I love you all so much! Thanks for all of the Dear Elders, its great to hear from you and to get mail! Keep them coming!

Les Quiero!!

Hermana Brown

Sister Creson, Sister Allred and Sister Brown

Elders in District "Aren't we cool!"

"We are as cool as the Elders!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Little Bit of Spanish


Querida Familia,

Everything is going well here. The days are all pretty much the same, so I don't feel like I really have anything new to write you. So my apologies if this ends up being a shorter email. I imagine most of them while I'm here at the MTC will be that way.

My ankle is healing nicely. I am now in an ankle brace and off crutches, and am mostly pain free. The cookies helped a lot with the healing process, so thank you for those. I loved them. Also, I am sure my district will love you after I give them the ones I couldn't eat.

Spanish is coming along okay. Its still rough to try and teach in it, but outside of class we are supposed to speak our language as much as possible, and as a result Spanish has started to invade my dreams and thoughts. The other day I was talking to someone and was trying to say, "but. . . " and ended up saying, "pero. . ." which I think is a good sign, if not slightly ridiculous. I'm even picking up the filler words that are used in Spanish such as entonces, pues, and bueno.

Things are going really well with my companionship. Last night Hermana Allred was feeling homesick and was a little down and as a result we ended up having a really good talk and were up way too late. (11:10 pm, which feels like the middle of the night now.) I feel like I've known these girls forever, and I'm really glad that we are getting along.

Other than those little bits of news, everything is exactly the same as always. We have class for at least 6 hours a day, multiple hours of personal and companionship study, at least an hour of language study a day, and then we have to fit in 40 minutes of gym time and three meals. Its hard to find something interesting to write about in my journal at night, as every day feels exactly like the last. But its good. I sometimes don't feel like its real life, but its good.

I love you all a bunch! Make sure you give Carmel a big hug for me when you get home! and LOTS of walks!!!

Yo se que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Días es verdadero. Yo se que Jesucristo es el Hijo de Dios y nuestro Salvador. Tambien, se que Dios y Jesucristo nos aman.

so yeah, there´s that little bit of Spanish for you. just to prove I´m learning something.

Con Cariño,

Hermana Brown

A week later. Got to love that color!

An outing to the temple.

The night before the other 3 leave.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

First Week in MTC



First things first, have you heard of You can write me and I'll get them by the next day, then I will have more time to write you on the computer!! Also, my friends should definitely use it.

This week was pretty good. A bit overwhelming at times. Its hard to believe sometimes that I can actually learn this language and learn it well enough to teach people the gospel. But, I'm progressing okay, I think I'm just impatient with myself. I almost wish we had tests so I could gauge how I am doing.

Every Tuesday we have a devotional with a General Authority. Apparently its pretty rare for someone from the Quorum of the Twelve to come, but this week Elder Russel M. Ballard and his wife spoke! On my first Sunday. I was pretty stoked. Elder Nelson's talk was really good, but it was his wife's talk that I really needed to hear. She reminded us that the reason we are on missions is because we made a covenenant in the preexistence that we would serve. That, along with the letter I received with Dad's notes from my setting apart were a much needed boost. 

Every Sunday two people are randomly called on in Sacrament Meeting to give a five minute talk on a topic we were assigned earlier in the week. Last week we could do it in English, and I wasn't called on. This week we have to do it in Spanish. So, I'm pretty nervous about that.

Now for the news I almost didn't tell you, because I'm worried Mom will about me. But I'm sure if I didn't tell you she'll find out someway and kill me. Monday I got to go on a fun adventure off of the MTC campus to get x-rays!!! No worries, I just sprained my ankle really badly while playing four square. The doctor did give me quite the talking to about how I'm not supposed to play any sports while I'm on my mission because of my knee, which was a huge bummer. So I'm on crutches, and have some awesome bruising, but thats better than the grapefruit size swelling I had earlier. Also I can put quite a bit of weight on my ankle now. My companions have been great with helping me. Even when I tell them not to. They get my food and open doors and everything. 

I love you all so much, and hope you are doing well. I'll answer more questions in the letter I'll send with pictures. I hope Brooke's wedding is great, and give her a hug for me!! Enjoy California!! Tell Grampa I hope he gets feeling better!

I love you so much!!

Hermana Brown

The Sprained Ankle

Thumbs Up! All is good!

Chicago here we come!