Monday, September 23, 2013

Last Week In the CCM

This last week has been great but so sad! Whenever I think about leaving it breaks my heart. I love my district and my compañeras so much and I can´t imagine not seeing them for at least 2 years, if ever again. We´ve had a lot of lasts this week. Last Tuesday devotional, last class, last lessons with our investigators (which went pretty well, we´ve definitely improved a LOT since being here), last church- where I got to give another talk, on the Atonement (my and Hermana Mills have both talked twice, and Hermana Thacker didn´t talk at all!), last pictures, last goodbyes with some, and the rest last goodbyes with our district will be tonight. This has been such a great experience and I´m so sad for it to end and to leave all of these people that I love so much! But I know that it´s time to move on to the next step and start teaching real investigators and doing the work. I´m also really looking forward to getting to a point where I can actually speak the language without stopping and taking forever to figure out how to say what I want to say. I´m slightly terrified that they are going to put me with a native for my first companion (which they probably will so I´ll have to learn the language) and I won´t be able to communicate like at all! But I know whatever I need to do, the Lord will help me with.

fun story of the week..
Tuesday when we went to the temple, I stepped out of the temple ground gates! I have officially walked the streets of Mexico!! (just let me have this one)
Also, I couldn´t convince my teacher to go out of the CCM (because they are allowed to leave) and get me real horchata from the streets of Mexico. I would´ve paid for it, but even still, apparently it´s either against the rules or frowned upon or something. And we also apparently live in a sketchy place in Mexico, so this horchata run would carry a lot of risk. While I was willing to risk it, my teacher was not. Hahaha just kidding, I´m not either. But I really want homemade horchata!! I´ll just have to come back one day and have it then, because I doubt the airport is going to have any horchata of acceptable quality.

Well I´d better go start packing!! I love you tons and I´ll email you in a week or so if not sooner!

Hermana Urie

picture #1. Me, my compañeras, and some of the other hermanas in our branch that we play volleyball with.
picture #2. self. explanatory.
picture #3. me, my compañeras, and Elder Mastergeorge (yes that´s really his name). He´s hilarious as well.
picture #4. me and my original district

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Almost Out Of The CCM!

¡Hola! ¿Como estan? I can´t believe we´re almost done with the MTC!! It feels like we just got here a week ago! I am so excited, but a little terrified to go somewhere where they legitimately only speak Spanish. You´d be surprised how much English we speak here at the CCM. But compared to where I was when I got here, I´m pretty impressed with myself. I can actually have a real conversation in Spanish now. The more gospel related, the better, because I don´t know any actual everyday words, but I can officially teach lessons in Spanish and have the investigator actually understand what I´m saying, even though my grammar is awful. It´s pretty wonderful.

So life here is basically the same every week. Eat, sleep, go to class, teach investigators, play volleyball, and be with hilarious people 16 hours a day. Though this last weekend was a tad bit different. It was Independence Day for Mexico!! So on Saturday night we had an awesome show/party thing! They put a stage in the gym and had dancers come and perform traditional Mexican dances and a couple singers singing songs (that all the Latino Elders were singing along with, so I assume they were popular songs. But honestly understanding people speaking Spanish and understanding people singing Spanish is a completely different skill). It was awesome. Then Sunday night the President of Mexico did some sort of nationwide ¨grita¨ (don´t know if that´s how it´s spelled) and basically said great things about Mexico (I assume) and after every phrase everyone would yell ¨¡Viva!¨ It was fun I enjoyed it. Oh and people set off fireworks here all the time whenever they are happy. Usually they do it during the day because they mostly just like the sound, so we don´t get to see them. But last weekend, there were fireworks goin off all times of the day and night, so we got to watch some fireworks! I love it here! I love the city and the people and the culture! I´m actually a little sad to be leaving it all in a week, but I know that I´ll fall in love with Paraguay just as much, probably more. I just can´t wait to go!

So I think my district is a bit nerdy.. We quote Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars ALL. THE. TIME. Like seriously. We quote lots of movies, but those ones come up the most. Oh I forgot to tell you! So the Elder with the fanny pack. He has a storm trooper alarm clock that he often carries in his fanny pack.

Also, I think my fear of spiders has gotten worse here. And by the way, they either love me and want to be around me, or hate me and decide to haunt me. So far, I have found 4 spiders near me, as well as... a spider on my notebook in my backpack, a spider on my Book of Mormon, a spider in the shower with me (and it was like swimming towards me in the water on the floor and was the creepiest thing I´ve ever seen), and a spider on my towel- right when I was about to use it. Needless to say, I can never use that towel again and have consequently given it to Hermana Thacker. So thanks for sending me that other towel. Though I really like that towel so I may steal it back and just wash it 15 times before I use it again. We´ll see.

Alright, to a more spiritual note.. This week was amazing.
In Relief Society on Sunday, Hermana Pratt (CCM President Pratt´s wife always teaches Relief Society) referred to some General Authority´s talk that he gave in some mission in Spain many years ago (I know, real specific of me, lo siento). Anyway, he talked about how home was like a ¨Garden of Eden¨ for us, and going to the MTC was like being ¨thrust out into the dark and dreary world.¨ and by the end of the MTC stay, the MTC was the ¨Garden of Eden¨ and going into the field was the ¨dark and dreary world.¨ Then the first transfer was like being ¨thrust into the dark and dreary world,¨ etc, etc, past our missions into the rest of our lives. I definitely understand the ¨Garden of Eden¨ feeling right now. I´m comfortable and have learned so much and gotten so used to being here, and leaving to another country with another companion, teaching real investigators and doing completely different stuff, while still not speaking Spanish very well, is kind of intimidating. But the point is.. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden because they had progressed as far as they could there. The only way to continue to learn and progress was to leave the Garden of Eden and enter the ´dark and dreary world.´ And that´s how our lives are. We hit a point where we can´t progress further without a change, without a trial. So yes, life is hard, and as soon as you get comfortable, something new pops up to surprise you, but that´s the point. We have so much potential and we can become so great, but not in our ¨Garden of Eden¨´s. And then, referring to 1 Nephi when Lehi takes his family out into the wilderness (or the ¨dark and dreary world¨), we can choose to either be like Laman and Lemuel, who murmured, lacked faith, and chose not to turn to the Lord; or we can be like Nephi and Sam, who knew they were children of God, and that by exercising faith and turning to the Lord they could learn and progress so much and they became amazing men who served God and others, and who were true followers of Jesus Christ. I know that trials, even though they are really hard sometimes, give us the opportunity to learn and grow so much and become so much stronger and so much closer to God and more like Christ- if we will have faith, and turn to the Lord. He will help us through it, and make us stronger and better because of it.

Also, our devotional on Sunday was Elder Holland again!! Seriously, as soon as they showed the computer screen over the projector and we saw that it was going to be another Elder Holland talk, there was a fairly loud-ish ¨yes!¨ that sounded through the auditorium. That makes 4 Elder Holland devotionals (not live of course) since we´ve been here, out of 10 total devotionals. I had already watched this one before I left on my mission, but it was great to watch it again. It´s the one where he talks about Christ coming to the apostoles (forgot how to spell that in English..) after he was resurrected and how he found them back on their boats in Galilee with their nets fishing, because they didn´t know what to do with him gone. I don´t know what its called but it´s amazing, so if you can find it, read it! It´s so powerful! Basically it says how, when Christ asked them, and us missionaries, and everyone really, to follow him and to ¨feed his sheep¨, it was forever. This work is so important and we must follow him forever. When you decide to follow Christ, don´t ever go back to your ¨nets¨ or fall away. He says it so much better than I can, so find it and watch him say it because it´s great.

We´re making progress with our investigators!! I don´t have much time to talk about it, but I just had to mention them. I think Angel is really starting to understand how the gospel can bless his life and really starting to want to learn more about the scriptures and about eternal life and eternal families. And I think Jonathan is really starting to understand that he is a child of God and that God loves him so much and he can be forgiven and live happily. There´s so much I could say about them, but I´ll just be satisfied with that for now. Amazing things can happen and people´s lives can be so blessed when you teach with the Spirit and with love. I can´t wait to get out into the field!

The elders here at the CCM (like a lot of them throughout the entire MTC) got together one night and had a major tie swap (it´s actually happened a couple times in the last couple weeks). Some elder took a picture and somehow the MTC President saw it and apparently they were breaking curfew rules and the president didn´t really approve of this tie swap. So when he was reminding us about obedience he had the picture in the slideshow and was like ¨what you should NOT do with your hour of personal time before bedtime is THIS...¨ and showed the picture and everyone started laughing. It was hilarious. Maybe you had to be there. But it was seriously hilarious.

Well time´s up! But I love you all and I love getting emails and letters from you! I´m so excited and loving it here, but ready to get out into the field and get to work! I can´t believe how time is flying by. I love the quotes and scriptures I get from you, keep sending them! Hope everything is going well!

Con todo mi amor,
Hermana Urie

1. I mentioned a couple weeks ago how an elder in my district broke the ¨C¨ on the CCM sign. Well here´s proof.
2. Me and Hermana Mills with most of our original district that we were only with for about 6 hours that first day.. But we´ve stayed friends and see each other a lot still so it´s fun. Oh, and a random guy photobombing in front of us making a super weird face.
3. Me and my district in front of the Mexico City temple for the last time.
4. One more picture, because this is just so wonderfully my district.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week... 4 I think?

Some stuff I wanted to say last week and didn't have time:
I freaking love my companions. They are weird and hilarious and I love them to death. Also, our district sang Book of Mormon stories in English for our closing song one night. Yep, we are that cool. Also, I wanted to say ¨what the heck?¨ once, but it was our ¨todo en español¨ day (all in Spanish) so I tried to translate it into Spanish, but I don-t know if there-s a word for heck so I automatically just used the other word which in infierno (or something like that)... and then realized what I had just said and I felt so bad for the rest of the night. Never making that mistake again. also, last week was the first and only time I've cried at the CCM. It was after a lesson that I thought went awful because I felt like we weren't helping our investigator who wasn't keeping his commitments and I didn't know how to help him. And then when I did know what to say to him, I couldn't figure out how to say it in Spanish and make him understand that God does love him and he can be happy, but he has to want it, and he has to work for it or it-s not gonna happen. And I felt like the lesson was a complete failure, so after I went into the bathroom with my companions and I just broke down and cried because I didn't know how I was going to be able to help anyone if I couldn't help him. Anyway, I was talking to our teacher (who is pretending to be Jonathan) and he said what I said was exactly what Jonathan needed, so apparently even though my Spanish was horrible, he still understood. I guess that-s what happens when you try to say what the spirit wants you to say. Anyway, our lessons have (overall) been getting better with him and I think we-re starting to actually help him, which is good. He also said we need to be more patient with the investigators, so I guess we-re just expecting too much of a change too quickly. But that-s the point of being here is to learn.
Now to this week.
We saw a huge mosquito. And I mean huge. Like probably at least 8 inches long. It was during¨a lesson at TRC and our ¨investigator¨ (a different one) was jumping around trying to kill it with a pillow, which he eventually did. It was hilarious! Also, there was a huge moth in the comedor (lunchroom). It was under a table and at first people thought it was a bat and my compañera Hermana Thacker was so excited (because she used to work with bats and other birds back at home- something about endangered species, I-m not completely sure), until she saw it and realized it was a moth. Not a bat. But the point is, for people to think it was a bat, it was pretty freaking big.
On Sunday, the talks were about charity and one elder was giving his talk and said ¨we need to have the same love Christ has. Like the ¨legit love¨ of Christ.¨ I found it funny.
There is an Elder in our district, Elder Smith, who is the funniest person ever. He-s such a hipster, and he carries around a fannypack and this week he wrote a rap about his fanny pack. it-s called ¨fanny pack sway¨ they-ve got a beat and everything and their going to record it with someones camera today and i-m going to get it from him and send it to you next week because it is basically the best thing ever. We seriously have the funniest district here.
also, there is an elder in our district who is basically in love with this Hermana in another district in our branch. He is such a sweetie. And at first he didn't know her name, so he just called her ¨Angel face.¨
I am totally a volleyball player now. Like I-m good... Okay I suck, but i-m getting better! We play everyday during gym time and it-s so fun! We are pretty serious about our volleyball. We-re about to start breaking the rules by getting too competitive. But I couldn't hit it right at first so I had a huge bruise, probably about 1.5 inches by 3 or 4 inches, on my wrist for a week. It-s basically gone now, but I was very proud of my volleyball battle wound. My blisters from walking around airports and the MTC those first couple days are practically healed too! Well, I thought they were healing 2 weeks ago, but they-re still here and sometimes they still hurt. Hopefully they-ll be completely gone before I go to Paraguay.
Awesome story!! Our MTC president, Presidente Pratt, was companions with Elder Holland!! What?! Basically the highlight of Sunday afternoon.. except for, you know, Elder Holland-s devotional (not live, our devotionals are usually recordings from previous devotionals at Provo MTC).
Also on Sunday we watched Legacy for our movie, which Hermana Thacker is in love with. I found it pretty cheesy, but hey, after 4 weeks here it-s nice to have some cheese. And it was hilarious watching it with 800 elders.
Also, before anything in the auditorium (movie, devotionals, most of our stuff on Sunday after church), you have to be there like 20 minutes before or you-ll be sitting in the back corner on the hard chairs. So we always go super super early and just read our scriptures in there instead of in the classroom. On Sunday, Hermana Mills wanted to go up and sing with the guy who was playing the piano for prelude music (she sings super well) so we went up and the two of us were singing. And since everyone was basically already there, it was loud so no one could really hear us which was good. But the last 10 minutes everyone is supposed to be quiet and listen to the prelude music, and they decided to enforce that that day. And Hna. Mills wanted to keep singing, so we did but then people could hear us and I was completely terrified. But another elder came up and was singing with us as well, and President Pratt thanked us at the end right before they started the movie and said we had the voices of angels, so that was kinda cool. But my heart was going like 100 miles a minute. but Esta bien. it was kinda fun.

Hermana Urie

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week 3

Time is flying by!!

I feel like I just got here, and like I´ve been here forever at the same time. I love it. I love my companions, I love my district, I love my teachers, I love everything (almost) about it!!! And now i feel like that little 5 year old girl from that youtube video saying everything she loves. it´s great watch it.

So usually I write down things throughout the week that I want to include in my letters, but I kind of forgot to do that this week, so I can barely remember what happened this week because everything is blurring together. so if you´ve already heard some of this, I´m sorry. too bad. also, I only have 10 minutes, so it's gonna be kinda short.

I love the priesthood. I really do. Yesterday I was sick and it was just getting worse throughout the night. So finally I swallowed my pride and was like, alright elders, I need a blessing. Also, the elders in my district 
we´ve decided are "blessing hungry" which is by no means a bad thing! they just really like giving blessings. If anyone says that anything is wrong with them, from supposed food poisoning to cramps to a headache to seriously anything, one of them is bound to pipe up with "do you need a blessing?! we can give you a blessing!" I just love how excited they are about it, but usually we decline because we really are fine. But last night I decided it was time. So all the elders gathered around me and they were all helping Elder Arrington looking at the instructions or whatever (because it was his first time giving a blessing) and then they did it. But from the moment they all stood around me, I could feel the spirit and the power eminating from them and it just grew the whole time. and when he gave me the blessing I was just like "I know Elder Arrington and this does not sound like him. These are the Lord´s words. This is by the Spirit." It was amazing.

So today we saw our teacher in p-day clothes.. that was weird. also, cochroaches still love us so that´s annoying. Seriously, killing 16 cochroaches in 3 minutes is not okay. i guess it´s just to prepare us for Paraguay right?

Lexi Capson and Annie Hoj from school are here!! I don´t have a picture with hna. Capson, but I got one with hna. Hoj (attached in one of my emails).

There is an elder here (in my original district) and every time he sees me he calls me Elder Urie. The first 10 times were on accident, then it just kinda became the norm. Funny funny... sorry this email is way too short but I spent most my time trying to figure out how to send all my pictures!! plus, there´s not really much to report this week anyway. It´s basically the same things. But I´m learning a lot and the Spanish is getting easier, and our investigator is finally starting to progress and the other one committed to baptism! Yay!

I love you all!! I will send more next week i promise!!!

This is the mountain next to the CCM (MTC), Mary loves it, she thinks it's really cool. 

Mary and her companeras.

Mary and her companeras by the sign at the temple.

Mary and Hna. Hoj

Mary and her district at the temple.

CCM sign.