Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013-The final weeks en el CCM

Hello there everyone!
I can't believe it's already time for another p-day! This last week went by so fast!!
As always, things here en el CCM are crazy and hectic, but I'm learning to love every minute, and little things are becoming big things.
This week has been unique in that our schedule changes by the minute. All the teachers and helpers have finals this week and next, and it makes for interesting lessons. We've had a lot of opportunities to teach "new" investigators this week, and it's actually been really awesome. It's fun to get a lot of different advice, because even though the lessons are the same, each teacher and missionary has a different approach. We learned a lot about contacting, door approaches, and the importance of getting your direct message across in just a couple short minutes. We did a bunch of drills where we had to teach the whole first lesson (8 main ideas) in 30 seconds. In Spanish! It was seriously so hard, we got it down after a while, and it was fun to realize how far we've come with the language. That's not to say that it's perfect by any means, but it's definitely coming along!
With one of our subs this week, we did a principle exercise, and so to focus more on the technique instead of the language, he had us teach a lesson in English. It was SO HARD! Praying in English feels so weird, and talking about the first lesson, and inviting people to read the Book of Mormon and baptism in English was almost comical. We were stuttering, and ended up just talking way too much! It was a good feeling to realize that our brains really are starting to work with the language!
 This last week was jam-packed of spiritual experiences! We had two more super great devotionals. First was on Sunday, during Relief Society. Cheryl Esplin from the Primary General Presidency came and spoke to us. She talked to us about missionary work, and realizing the importance of knowing who we are and what our role is.
She started out by having us sing a primary song. She said "I'm going to start humming, and as soon as you recognize the song, I want you to stand up and sing loudly!" She started humming the first three notes of "I belong to the Church..." and we all stood up and sand "of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know who I am, I know God's plan, I'll follow him in faith!...." It was amazing the power, conviction, and spirit in the room. We finished singing "His truth I will proclaim!" it was an awesome moment. This work is amazing. She talked about how important it is to never lose sight of who we are, and what we've agreed to do. This simple, primary truth is one of the greatest things a missionary can remember. She quoted D&C 84:88 : "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." This is the Lord's work. He is with us always, there to help us, to guide us, to "bear us up". I've definitely realized the truth of that this past week.
The next devotional was from Elder David F. Evans from the Missionary Department. He talked about the same principle. The spirit of non-distraction. He and his wife, Mary, spoke about the role missionaries have and how it's so crucial that we "Leave all feelings of ME at the door." This is our Heavenly Father's work, it's not about us! This has been a recurring theme since we've gotten here. We are merely instruments in the Lord's hands. He quoted my favorite, and missionary plaque scripture, Alma 26:12 : "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but i will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things...."
Then, he went on to talk about how our purpose as missionaries is, yes, to help others to come unto Christ, but through repentance. He said "some times the repentance process is hindered by our limited understanding of what it actually means to repent. He took us through the scriptures in Mosiah, where King Benjamin is speaking to the people. The importance of really utilizing the atonement, and being completely submissive to the will of the Lord.
We must YIELD to the spirit, allow it to work within us, and to really shape and mold us into what the Lord wants, not what we want. Everyone deserves that chance for a complete change of heart. We, as members, need it daily, and we, as missionaries, have the responsibility to help investigators understand their ability to receive those same blessings.
It was a really powerful talk. The atonement is amazing. I am so humbled and grateful every time we talk about it, there is so much to learn, and I know that we'll never be able to fully comprehend it's far-reaching effects.
I had another cool opportunity this week. I got called as the Sister Training Leader. It's a new program, and I get the opportunity to go to all of the leadership meetings, and trainings that the zone leaders go to. We've had several meetings already this week, and I'm so excited. With the new wave of sisters, they realized how important it is to make sure that the new girls coming in receive the necessary help, guidance, and training that they need. I've gotten to spend a lot of time with each of the girls and get to know them and serve them better. It's can be time-consuming and hectic at times, but I've loved it so far. I just have to say, I'm so amazed at the strength of some of the missionaries in my district and zone. The little 18 year old district and zone leaders really step up to the plate, and have so much to contribute in meetings and planning. I love to sit back and observe as they share their ideas. I honestly feel so inadequate at times, I still have so much to learn, but I know that that's a part of it. Sometimes the Lord gives us responsibilities to make us stretch and grow. I'm learning tons every day. More than I ever thought was possible. And at the same time, I can feel my capacities to love and learn and serve becoming stronger each day.
I love missionary work. It's hard, and busy, and fun, and so rewarding.
Here's to hoping our visas come tonight!!
Love you all so very much!
xoxoxo your Hermana C

April 25, 2013- 5 Q & A's of the week!

Just really quick before we head to the temple.
1.  How many sisters to a room? Please send photos of your digs! There are SIX sisters to a room! They had to add extra bunk beds to the dorm rooms to fit everyone. The elders in our zone each have only 2 elders to a huge room. Please tell me how that is possible?? I'll send photos later today!
2. What supplies do you think that you will need for the travel time and your time left in MTC and then Argentina?ie; photo card reader, converter, oils, Spanish scriptures.  How are your shoes holding up?
I still need a card reader, not sure about a converter yet. I would love some deep blue.
SHOES. I've been dying all week to write you so that I can figure this out. I already have nasty broken-skin calluses on my heels. the black flats are no bueno. I seriously wear my moccasins every day. Can you send me my two pairs of semi-worn oxfords? They'll do for a while until I can get down there and buy some toms or something. My feet are hating me and my Borns.
3. How were the meals-on-ice in a box?  Look for an amazing one on Friday for dinner! Any requests for you last week?  Saddest day of my life was Monday. I had been mail-less for almost a week, and really looking forward to something. Then I got a package slip! Yay, so I went to pick it up, and we got back to the classroom and I opened it, and inside was a pile of plastic utensils, and a note that said something along the lines of "Sister Cox, today you were sent _____________(It listed out the food items) by one of the local delivery services. Since these items needed refrigeration, we removed them and they have been disposed of. The delivery service will notify the sender that these items are not allowed."
Nothing better than getting super excited for a package of edible food and then having someone tell you "Oh, just kidding!"
So I'm really sorry that you put all of that effort into sending me all of that food. But I guess even the "same day" delivery won't work, apparently they go through EVERYTHING. But the thing I thought was funny (not really) was that that same time, an elder in my district got an ENTIRE cake with whipping cream on it. No refrigeration? confused.
Anyway.... Then, yesterday, I got another package. That one had a note in it too. They'd confiscated my salad!! but the German pancakes were still in there! So the district ate them as a night time snack! So thank you, I'm glad I at least got a hold of one of my tastes of home. The apple syrup was a hit!!!
4. Any news about your travel plans/VISA?We are supposedly going to be getting our travel plans today or tomorrow! A district that has our same gym time that's going to Argentina and got reassigned came screaming into the gym on Tuesday saying that they'd gotten their Visas after all!! So we're really hopeful that we'll be doing the same at dinner tonight! Cross your fingers for us!!
5. Do you know anything more about your mission president?Um.... We know that he speaks a little, a LITTLE English. meaning none. But the AP does, so we should be okay. His wife speaks absolutely NO English. But we found out that he is being replaced in July. With a guy that is a foot doctor from Utah. (Our elders met him on one of their late-night ER trips). But we were laughing because by then we'll all know Spanish.
Okay, we're off to the temple. But I will be on later today and I'll write back more, send pictures, etc.
Love you lots and lots!!!
Te Amo, Hermana Court

Friday, April 19, 2013

April 18, 2013-"REMEMBER that HE has CALLED YOU to SUCCEED."

So this week was awesome. And went by EXTREMELY fast! I can't even believe that we are more than halfway done with our time here, 2 1/2 weeks (if all goes as planned) and we'll be on our way to Argentina!
We had two of the greatest devotionals this week. Well, one was on Sunday for Relief Society, Mary Ellen Edmunds came and spoke to us. It was incredible, she is seriously the greatest lady! She got up and shouted "Watch out WORLD! It's the Sister Tsunami!" She talked about the amazing blessing of sister missionaries, and the lasting blessings that will aid us to be better wives and mothers. The thing I loved the most about her was how very REAL she was. She would laugh, cry, yell, and whisper, and it was such a powerful talk. She talked about how missionary work is not going to be easy, in fact, it's going to be very, very hard. She told us about when she was on her mission and when she first got there she just wanted to give up and come home. But then she pulled out her journal (which was over 700 pages long) and said "If I would have gone home when I wanted to, this journal wouldn't have even been 55 pages. And how embarrassing would that have been?? You can't go home if your journal isn't done! Don't go home, any of you, you will survive!" My companions both nudged me when she pulled out her journal, because everyone makes fun of the "novel" that I already have. I'm not sorry, because it's going to be so fun to look back on everything one day.
Next she talked about all of the blessings that come from being a missionary, the things we have to do to make sure we're doing our part. I honestly wish I could just tell you to go look up the talk and watch it, because it's so good!! But I'll just give you some of my favorite quotes:
"GOD, who knows our capacity PERFECTLY, has placed us here to succeed! No one is foreordained to fail!"
"All you can do is the best you can do!"
"Don't wait until you can do it (speak) WELL, just DO IT!" (this is especially relevant for me, I need to stop being afraid of saying things wrong)
Then she said "The angels in heaven are looking down and saying 'we've got her exactly where we want her!'" We're all here, at this time, going to the missions we're going to for a reason. I'm reassured of that every time we go to the language lab and I hear people speaking Thai or Cantonese. They're amazing, and I have so much respect for their skills in learning a language, but it makes me LOVE Spanish just that much more!
Finally, she said "There have been millions of missionaries, and millions of missions served.... THIS IS YOURS!" I'm going to do everything I can to make this MINE, I know that in essence it really isn't, it's the Lord's work, but I only get one chance to do this, 18 months to be here and make the most of every minute!
Every Tuesday night we have a devotional too, and everyone always hopes that it's an Apostle. The last 3-4 weeks we haven't had an apostle, but honestly they've still been some of the most amazing talks I've ever heard, and we're never disappointed!
But this week, we went in, and they didn't have the picture of the speaker up on the projector like they always do. so of course everyone starts whispering "It must be an apostle!" Then, everyone started standing up, and sure enough, in walks Richard G. Scott!
 One thing that I've always loved about Elder Scott is his ability to convey the love of our Heavenly Father for each of us, just the way he so reverently talks about his relationship with the Lord, and is so sincere in everything he says. I think I've also had a really special place in my heart for him since taking care of Venna for all those months.
He got up and said "I almost feel like I've died and gone to heaven!" He was so cute about all of the missionaries and had so many wonderful things to say to the sisters in particular.
I want to just send you my notes! It was honestly such an incredible talk! He said "Everything good that has happened in my life has come because of my decision to serve a missing. You will NEVER regret this decision." "Those called to learn a new language, you have an extra burden...but 'To reach a goal never before attained, you must do things never before done!'" I loved that! Our Heavenly Father will give us the way to do new and challenging things, but we have to do our part: work, exercise faith, and rely on him.
He then said "I would love to have an interview with each and every one of you. But while that is impractical, there is one who can. I want to talk to you about communication with our Heavenly Father."
He then talked to us about the importance of prayer, and the blessing and gift that it really is. I've actually been thinking a lot about prayer lately, and since being here I've developed such a love and appreciation for the opportunity we have to pray. I've always been a big prayer, I tend to pray for everything. It was funny because my companions that same morning were making fun of me (lovingly) for my tendency to pray forever. I honestly never really believed it when people would say that they would pray and pray, fall asleep, and wake up hours later still on their knees, but let me tell you, I'm a believer now. I've just realized since being here how incredibly blessed I am, and how much I have to be thankful for each day.
Then he talked about the importance of praying with purpose and the way to receive answers. He talked about the 3 ways we receive answers:
 1. peace and confidence
2. unsettling feelings, stupor of thought
3. no response: he expounded on this by saying that "when he withholds an answer it is to have us grow by exercising our faith. we are not to sit passively, we are to act." then he said something that I absolutely loved "You may even want to express thanks, for he is showing His trust IN YOU." God knows the beginning from the end. His plan is perfect, his timing is right, his love and grace are never ending! "Be thankful that God lets you struggle!"
Then he talked about when we receive answers that we don't feel are what WE wanted... There's the scripture that says "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father, in my name, it shall be given....if it is expedient." What is "expedient" may not always be what we think is right, but everything he does is for our eternal good!
Then he ended by saying "No matter how alone you may feel, you can always KNEEL." Prayer is powerful. I felt so much love in that moment, and in so many moments since then. The opportunity and perspective we have about prayer is so unique. It really is a one-on-one time with the Lord. He knows what we need, what we're feeling, our strengths, weaknesses, struggles, and successes, but taking that time and opportunity to pray to him and speak WITH him, shows our love and our desire for a relationship with him.
Then he gave us an apostolic blessing. It was truly incredible, and the spirit in that room was tangible. It was one of those moments where I knew that this is where I need to be. he said "I know he lives, because I KNOW HIM!" It was such a powerful testimony. He sat down, and we sang the final hymn, everyone was in awe, then, a sister got up to say the closing prayer, and then Richard G. Scott got up again, and said "I just want to tell you again, REMEMBER that the LORD has called you to SUCCEED. He inspired your call, he knows who you are, he knows what you need, he will help you to discover things about yourself that you never imagined, he will increase your capacity to love, and he will fit the task to your capability. You will not be asked to do anything you are not capable of."
We all just sat there in amazement at his LOVE for each of us. It was definitely such a unique experience.
So my time is short. I know I probably say this every week, but I honestly don't know how it can keep getting better and better. I love this gospel, I love my Savior, I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to pray and really communicate with my loving Heavenly Father. I'm so thankful for all of you and for all of the love and support that I can FEEL being sent my way. Know that it's being sent right back to you. I'm so excited for what's to come and for the chance I'll get to help others to feel the happiness, peace, love and hope that this gospel brings with it!
I love you all so very much!
xoxoxo Your Hermana Courtney

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April 18, 2013 - 5 Quick Q & A's

1. Have you had the opportunity to go to the Provo temple?We go to the temple every P-day. We go first thing in the morning, so we go to the temple cafeteria for breakfast, and then we go and do a session as a zone. It's the greatest!
2. Have you seen anyone that you know? Yeah, I've seen a few people. Jaden, Connor, Katie, Cassidy, my friend Meg from high school, Melinda. That's pretty much it though. Most of the people here now are 18 and 19 year many of my friends.
3.What is the latest on your VISA and departure date?  Are you learning the language so fast they are sending you out sooner? We haven't heard anything further on Visas since we met with the consolate. Usually people get their travel plans a week or two before they are supposed to leave, so that's this next week for us..CRAZY. So we'll see. we're all really praying that they come on time, but hey, wherever the Lord needs us. Chicago??
4. What real food are you craving that I can send on ice or in a heated bag with the same day delivery service? Are you out of chocolate yet?I don't know exactly how the same day delivery thing works... we get the mail every day after lunch (12:20) and dinner (5:20). But honestly if there's any way for you to send real MEAT that would be fantastic. I do have a microwave in the residence hall. I honestly don't know what they feed us in the "special" food room, but it is unnaturally bouncy and looks way too much like Molly's chow.
5. Do you spend time with other Speaking districts or just the 7 in your district? We have 3 other districs in our zone right now that we see sometimes, they're in the same class hall as us, and we have sacrament/testimony meetings with them. but honestly we spend most of our day in our little classroom. It's where we study, have class, study, teach lessons, study, pray, sing, study, have class, plan, study, and pray. except for the 3 times we leave for meals and bed and gym during the day. We do EVERYTHING in that room.
Which reminds me of a story. So just a little word of caution: MTC humor is an absolute joke. literally. We can't really talk about many things from 'the outside world', and we try and focus as much as possible, but let's face it, 18 year old elders need a little break now and then to sing (in their VERY tone-deaf voices) Hercules and Mulan songs as they dance around the room. Elder Wengert and I both watched Wreck-it Ralph as our last movie, so naturally that comes up a lot. Then, the other day we were sitting in class, getting ready for our Spanish lesson. We have 3 books: Grande (which means big) and we call that one Gary, Largo (Long) and we call that one Larry, and Piqueña (which means little) and we call that one Perry. Elder Wengert couldn't find his little book, so he goes "Hey! Donde esta Perry??" in a Phineas voice. "Hey, Where's Perry?" I feel like maybe this is one of those "you had to be there" times, but we all thought it was quite clever. It's the little things.

So the photo thing... turns out I need a card reader to upload pictures onto the computers here, and probably in Argentina as well. Could you please check at Walmart for that? Someone told me they're like $10 or so. Thank you! But did you get any of my pictures that I sent you last week??

 drawing contests... the Garden of Eden-Hermana Cox

drawing contests-The Garden of Eden-Elder Wengert

Hermana Tanner and I are awkwardly cute. had to send this because we couldn't figure out how my body did that...( my torso disappeared). these don't need to go on the blog ;)

Elder Connor Kent and me!

             Jaden and I.  Love her!
    Sister Jaden Anderson-Lima Peru

Thursday, April 11, 2013

April 11, 2013-Conference week

My District 
left to right: Elder Curtis, Elder Rasmussen, Elder Varney,
Elder Wengert, Me, Hermana Tanner, Hermana Cooley. 

This week was another great one here en el CCM. Thank you for all of your feedback about Conference. I honestly can't think of a talk I didn't LOVE. All of the messages were so inspired and amazing, and very to-the-point. As always, Elder Holland was a powerhouse. I loved the story he told about the father with the sick child, and how we must have faith in our faith. I loved how he said it's important to focus not on the faith we don't have, but the faith we do have. And allowing that desire to work in you. I loved his quote: "Be kind regarding human frailty. Including you own imperfections." and then when he said "Do not hyperventilate!"
I've been trying each week to choose a Christlike attribute to focus on and study. This week I've been thinking a lot about patience, as well as humility and faith. Sometimes when I do things I have a tendency to be independent and expect more of myself than I should. I had this attitude coming here that I would work super hard and be super good at Spanish super quick, and that I'd somehow become a great missionary and teacher overnight. (Yeah, it sounds dumb, but sometimes I plan unrealistically). The first 5 days I was here, I was able to pray, bear my (simple) testimony, and understand my teachers in Spanish. But then, I hit a little wall. For a few days I was frustrated and discouraged because I felt like I wasn't making any progress.
Then I started thinking about that quote: "DO NOT HYPERVENTILATE!" I was immediately humbled. I prayed so hard that night, both to apologize for being stubborn, and also to ask for greater patience with myself and in my abilities. I had been trying to do it all on my own, in MY time. The feeling I got afterwards was this: "Don't stress so much!" I've been called to Argentina, speaking Spanish for a reason. I am capable of doing it. I just need to be patient with myself. The Lord qualifies those he calls. That doesn't mean that it won't be a challenge, or take a lot of effort on my part, but it's going to happen in his time and with his help. Humility is such an important characteristic for a missionary.
We have devotionals here every Tuesday night, and it's usually a member of the seventy, or sometimes a general authority. But this time it was Gerald N. Lund. He's a released general authority, and has written a lot of church books. But he talked about Patterns and Principles of Personal Revelation. He made a lot of really good points, but he said something that really stood out to me: "It is not enough to ask that 'thy will be done' but we must ask 'thy time be done'"-Neal A. Maxwell. We need to always remember that the Lord is in charge, that he has a plan, and he will work with us according to that plan. He said "If you want to speak with the Lord, get down on your knees. If you want the Lord to speak with you, open your scriptures." Most of us do not receive revelation in a way that is "Dramatic" or "Sensational". It is by the "still, small, voice" and if we're not listening for it, we will miss it a midst the chaos and noise around us. He said one more thing that I really liked: Why would the voice of the Lord be a whisper, if it: 1. is harder to hear? 2. is harder to understand? ------the answer he gave us was: To protect our agency.
God wants to help us, and if we are worthy, there is a CONSTANT flow of revelation available to us. But what is required on our part is patience, and faith, and time to listen for those subtle promptings.
I had a really cool experience yesterday. We started teaching a new investigator, Carlos. He's had a pretty rough life. He was raised Catholic, but isn't religious himself. He had a wife and 2 sons, but they are now divorced. He says that he's very unhappy because his family is super important to him, yet their relationships are not good. He doesn't talk to his parents, and his siblings are not close anymore either. He feels very alone and very sad in life. So I asked him what his relationship was with God. We'd gone in planning to teach him the first lesson, which starts out with "God is our loving heavenly Father, Gospel Blesses Families, etc." He said that his relationship with God is bad. So I asked him why. He said he has a brother that he's close to that has been really really sick (a chronic illness, I couldn't exactly catch all of it). And that his main confusion and problem with God is that he couldn't understand why God allows such bad things to happen to good people. Hermana Cooley, who knew Spanish before and tends to kind of take over most lessons, started trying to comfort him. But really she was trying to tie it back into the lesson that we'd planned/scripted/translated. I was sitting there and the minute he said "I don't understand why God allows good things to happen to good people." It struck something in me, and I had the thought that I should share about Davis. I sat there for a minute thinking "I don't know how to say any of that in Spanish! I can't, I'm not prepared!" But the more Hermana Cooley kept talking the more I kept thinking, you have to say something. So I kind of just waited for her to take a breath, and then I started talking. It was a little rough at first, but then all of the sudden I was testifying and telling him things in words that I knew I didn't know. I told him that I have asked myself the same thing so many times. But then I told him that sometimes in this life we are given tests and trials for reasons that are unknown to us. That the purpose of these experiences is to build our reliance and faith in God and the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I told him that I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of our sorrows and hardships, and that through it all He loves us and is there to help us find those feelings of peace. It may be hard to comprehend the extent of God's plan for us right now, but if we have faith and trust in His plan, one day we will know the answers to these questions.
The spirit was so strong in the room. I was crying, he was crying, my companions were crying, and we all smiled as he thanked me and we all knew that we'd finally been able to make the connection we'd been struggling to make. I sat back in awe at the power that had come, and how I'd been able to make sense of my thoughts in another language. I realized right then how important it is to let the spirit do the talking. Our previous lessons had all been a little bit rough. We'd gone in so focused on just knowing Spanish, and not screwing up, but it had gotten in the way of making a real connection and meaningful impact on the investigators. It's incredible how letting the spirit be the teacher can help you to better understand, trust and love each other. It made me so excited to go out and teach even more. I already have such a strong love for the people of Argentina. I know now that I don't have to be perfect in the language, or even a perfect teacher. If I do my best to prepare, and really learn to love and desire to help these people, He will provide the way for me to teach them the things they need to know, and He will in turn soften their hearts so that they are receptive.
I love this gospel so much, and I'm so grateful for this opportunity. It's hard, and some days seem like 10, but I'm realizing how short this time is in the whole scheme of things. I am going to work hard to make the most of every moment.

Hopefully that's everything for now. I'm sure mom will let me know if I missed anything. Thank you thank you for all of the packages and love letters. They have seriously saved me. Oh, I need the black mesh bag for my sleeping bag please, and will you send me a hoodie? My bed is right by the window and the vent (Dad, all those years of our sub-arctic basement were good preparation, but i'm missing my sweats.). Jeans: I think they're the 2Bw/U ones? or if you can't find those, the papaya ones will work. and then did you get my note about my black and cream striped sweater? Thank you!
 Know that I love you all, and that our Heavenly Father loves you. I had an interview with one of my teachers right after that lesson, and apparently still had some tears left to cry as I told him about all of you, and the amazing love and support that is constantly being sent my way. He told me to read D&C 100:1-2. and again, I felt that undeniable love from my Savior. Go read those scriptures. It describes perfectly my feelings about serving, and brought me more peace and comfort that this is the right thing to do.

I love you all so much!
Love, Hermana Courtney

 I have to explain these ones. Elder Wengert loves to play this game called "Pteradactyl".... Here's the gist of it. You sit across from each other, and while hiding your teeth and  trying not to laugh, you say "Pteradactyl!" and try and get the other person to show their teeth. He's way too good at it. 

Here are some cute pictures of my awesome district, and my life here at the MTC. This classroom is literally where we live for 15 hours of our 18 hour day. Love it. 


April 11, 2013-5 plus 2 questions!

Hey guys! So I have so much to tell you all, but first I'll try and answer all of your questions.

5 plus 2 Questions!

1. Where will the sisters and elders in your distrcit be serving, are you all going to Mendoza?
There are 7 of us in my district. 4 elders, and 3 sisters. All of us hermanas are going to Mendoza, and so are 2 elders. The other two are going to Cordoba, Argentina.

2.What color v-neck t-shirt?
blue preferably, or purple. They're actually in the guys clothing section. Davis and Ryan might know what I'm talking about?

3.What food are you craving that we can send you in the MTC? 
Food. Um basically my least favorite part of the day is meal time. Sad, I know. We're always starving, but the cafeteria is no bueno. Elder Wengert and I the last couple of days decided that we're going to have an ice cream eating contest, since that's really the only thing we enjoy eating. We just got back from lunch, and I ate 4 orange creamsicles and a fudgesicle. mmmm nutritious.
But really what I'm craving: mom could you send me some beef jerky? some tapioca pudding? and maybe a sugar cookie from the bake shop?

4.What is happening with your VISA?
We actually met with the consolate yesterday!! Side note: The other district in our zone that's going to Argentina was supposed to leave on Monday, but didn't even meet with the console until Tuesday. So they're without a doubt getting reassigned. We were the lucky and rare ones that got to meet with the consolate only 2 weeks after being here! There are still A LOT of visas to go through, but we're crossing our fingers that they'll get ours to the top of the pile in the next couple weeks.
Funny story about the meeting: So the guy from the Argentina consolate that came to talk to us. He was super white, with strawberry blonde hair and a red beard. No joke. People there look just like we do! Crazy huh?? hIs accent was super cool though! I'm hoping I come home sounding like that!!

5.Can you eat anything from the regular cafeteria or just your "gray" food from the nutrition room?
I can eat fruit and ice cream from the regular cafeteria, but other than that everything is cheap and breaded. When you have to feed an army, you don't get very fancy options.

6.(one to grow on) Is your eye alright now?
My eye was fine for the first week and a half. And then, Saturday night our district had a little bonding devotional, and all the tears I'd been holding in since being here came out with a vengeance! I'm pretty sure that's what caused the first one, too. Just mascara blocking my tear ducts. oops. But i used frankinsense and OnGuard on it (for future reference, don't put OnGuard close to your eyes), but it totally did the trick. it was only Quasimodo looking for 2 days or so.

7.(bonus)What are your guesses for Baby Griner: B or G? date?(mid Sept) wt? ht? name? 
Boy. September 7 at 3:47 pm. 19 inches. 7 pounds 3 oz.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April 4, 2013-Hola Familia

Hola Familia!!
So I'll start by saying I'm sorry that this is the first time you're hearing from me! Our P-days are on Thursdays, and since last week we got here on Wednesday, we didn't have a p-day.
So many things I have to tell you! First, I absolutely LOVE the MTC!
I'll just start from the beginning, and write (the very condensed version) of what I wrote in my journal.
The spirit here is amazing! I'll have to admit I was a little bit nervous as I walked through the masses of arriving missionaries last week, but it was definitely an excited nervous! We got here and had orientation and did all of the welcome activities, and then we got taken one by one up to our district classrooms. I was the first one to arrive in the classroom, and our teacher was there and automatically started speaking Spanish to me. AH! I immediately thought, oh, no. Then another girl walked in and the teacher asked her the same questions and she answered him back ALL IN SPANISH! Awesome, am I the only one who doesn't know this language??
Then slowly, the rest of our district made their way in. My companion(s), I'm in a trio! Are Hermana Cooley, and Hermana Tanner. Hermana Cooley is from Boise, and is just about the sweetest little thing you've ever seen. She's 5'2" and just adorable. She's studying nursing as well, but is barely 19. Hermana Tanner is from St. George, and is also 19. I'm already feeling old! She played bolleyball in high school too, so that will make P-days fun!
So far I've realized that companionships are super inspired, while the three of us are extremely different looks wise, we all have something in common, and we already had an opportunity to begin teaching, and we each have something different to contribute.
The rest of our district is elders. There are 5 boys and then the three of us girls. Our district is definitely on the smaller side!
March 28.
We just jump right in here. They don't waste any time teaching us Spanish and getting us teaching lessons! We teach our first investigator TOMORROW, and it has to be completely in Spanish. What? Today, we were all talking as a district, and we all went around and were telling our stories of how we came to decide to serve missions. It was incredible to listen to all of the different things people have gone through, and the lives people had before. Some of our Elders have been through some pretty rough things, and after sharing everything we all feel super close already. All of our elders are 18 or barely 19. They all found out that I'm almost 21 and now they call me "Hermana Vieja" which is basically "Hermana Old". Cute.
March 29.
Today definitely started to feel more like an official day of missionary work. We taught our first lesson, our "investigator's" name is Hector, he speaks totally in Spanish, and FAST. It went pretty well for the most part, the beginning was great, and then he started going off telling stories and asking questions, and it was crazy! I was so frustrated, because i could completely understand him, but I could only think of answers in English! But I know that I can't be too hard on myself. I've been here for two days for crying out loud. Anyway, it was a really awesome experience, and opened my eyes to what missionary lessons will really be like.
March 30.
Today was extremely long, and extremely awesome! It's Saturday, so the schedule was different. When we were at breakfast, our elders came in and apparently the trio had to go to the emergency room in the middle of the night. One of our elders broke his back and had surgery 9 months ago, they did a cat scan and found out that all of his muscles weren't attached right, and so he has tons of nerve damage! He's going to another doctor on Monday to make a final decision about what he needs to do. We're all praying for him, and hoping that everything works out alright.
Our "distrito" is becoming even closer. It's to the point where we have TOO much fun sometimes. But it's awesome because everyone can also be super deeply spiritual. You can tell everyone is beginning to think more in Spanish already, it's awesome! We had our second lesson with Hector today, and it was So much better than the first one. we relied more on the spirit and on each other, it flowed, and you could tell he was feeling it, too. Bien!!
I'm so excited for Easter tomorrow! Plus, it's Sunday. Everyone, from the first day, told us that this week would seem like 3 weeks, but that once you make it to Sunday, time flies, and then it only gets better from there! "Just make it to Sunday!!"
March 31.
Easter Sunday. I love Easter for the opportunity to focus on the amazing life Christ led and to try and comprehend his incredible selflessness and sacrifice. I love my Savior, and I'm forever grateful for all that he's done for me. There have been so many times when the only thing that's brought me peace is knowing that I can rely on my Savior and that he knows exactly what I'm going through. This peace and comfort is something I can't wait to share with the people of Argentina!
Today we had testimony meeting with our Zone, and they told us that we could bare our testimonios in English since we're so new, but for some reason, I got up and did mine completely in Spanish. It's simple, but I could tell that the spirit was working on me!
Yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador y estoy agradecida por Su expiacion. Yo se que me ayuda todos las dias y trae paz. Estoy agradecida para la oportunidad a servir una mision. Yo se que Jesucristo sufrio para nuestros pecados. Este conocimiento me ayuda cuando necesito consuelo. Yo se que Dios conteste oraciones y quiere ayudar Sus hijos. Yo se que soy una hija de Dios. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.
Today was by far THE best day in the MTC, and also one of the greatest Easters. This morning we had a fireside with Bishop Cosse of the seventy, and his wife. it was awesome. They talked a lot about LOVE, and how it's so important to have a love for those we teach. That's one thing I've learned the very most from the MTC, it's amazing how quickly you can come to love people.
Our Sunday night devotional was with Sheri Dew. But first we sang a rendition of "Called to Serve." We started out quiet, and then on the second chorus got louder and louder and stood up and it was so amazing! I got chills. The power of the voices of over 3,000 missionaries singing that song was one the most incredible and unforgettable moments!
Sister Dew did an amazing job, she talked a lot about the influence of missionaries, and she too talked about LOVE. She talked about how there is no greater example of service and selfless love than Jesus Christ. She asked us the question, "How will you know that you've served a successful mission?" and to that she gave us the answer: You will love the Lord more than you love him right now. More than anything in the world."
She talked about how divine the call of a missionary is and how we've been saved for these days, this is our time, and we are exactly where God wants us to be.
To end the day, we watched a devotional talk by David A. Bednar: "Character of Christ". Probably one of the most amazing talks ever! The quote that I loved the most was "Christ turns out, when the natural man would turn in and be self-centered and self-absorbed". Again, he talked about selfless love, and charity. Love, love, love. it's a very common topic. The one thing i love about Bednar is that he's always very blunt. He said at one point "This mission is not about you! Who cares what you want anyway?" We, as missionaries, or really in any other aspect of life, are not entitled to anything. He says "Get over yourself!" He ended by saying "If you lose yourself in Christ and the service of others, you will find yourself because you won't be looking!"
I love that! This isn't our work, and we definitely can't do it without God's help. Having love and humility are so incredibly important for missionaries. I love this gospel, and I love being here, and I LOVE being a missionary!
April 1.
Today was rough. Our injured Elder went home. He has been in so much pain, and the doctor decided it's best for him to go home and figure everything out. It's honestly amazing how close our district has become in just 5 days! We're down to 3 hermanas and 4 elders now. Smallest district ever, but I think that's why we've been so close. We're all praying for him and we made a pact: no one else goes home! We get to go get fingerprinted for visas tomorrow! We got a letter from the travel office a couple days ago telling us that we get to meet with the consulate next week! Woo! The other missionaries in our zone have been here for 5 weeks and still haven't met with them, and will most likely be reassigned for a while, but we were here two days and got called for meeting with the consulate! So lucky!
So i'm running out of time. But there's basically what life is like here in el CCM (MTC in Spanish). I love it here. My companions are super awesome, and we learn a lot from each other. our district gets closer and closer every day. I never knew it was possible to have so much love for some kids that you've known for a week, but I can honestly say that I love them. I love the gospel, and I know that there is a force at work here in the MTC that makes things happen that couldn't happen anywhere else.
I love you all, familia, but as much as I miss you, I know i'm exactly where i need to be! 
Okay, mom, here's my list of things that I would love to have sent for me (tomorrow, if possible!)
*my exercise pants (did they come in the mail yet?) I'm wearing the most ridiculous outfit to p-day while my stuff is in the laundry.
*peppermint beads
*vitamin D pills
*Protein bars
*Lindsay's address (it's in my cubby)
*jeans (the ones on my desk that AREN'T papaya brand)
*copy of my call letter
*crackers, chips, snacks :)
Love you all so much! Thank you for all of your amazing letters, Easter candy, and support. You mean the world to me, and I can feel the power of your prayers more than you know!!
Love, Hermana Cox

ps. I saw Connor Kent, mom, we talked for a while. he's a cute kid, his companions are goof balls.