Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No Visa, temporary reassignment, and I LOVE MY LIFE!

Dear people,
This week... I have changed. For anyone who has served a mission, this feeling I'm feeling right this second is heaven. I am literally IN HEAVEN every minute of the day. Of course, there are days where it feels... not so heaven-like, but these past couple days have drastically changed my life. I am so grateful for every person in my life.
1// still the Sister Training Leader with mi companera. I'm loving talking to these girls about their lives and going to leadership meetings. I genuinely am in love with every person in my zone and leaving them is going to be SO hard.
2// I don't have my visa, so I'm being temporarily reassigned to a State side mission until it arrives. I find out where on June 6th or 7th. this means... I get to spend my birthday in and English Speaking country where birthday cake is available! YAY!!! :) (it's June 14th btw)
3// An Elder in our district left this week for medical reasons. It was really hard to see him go, but we're trying really hard to make him come back out as soon as possible. We don't want him to get comfortable at home. He has an amazing testimony, and people NEED to hear it.
4// We got a new district last wednesday.They're all going to California, spanish speaking except the girl from California who is going to Colorado. They're all adorable and obedient (Which I am very grateful for. it makes my life SO much easier)
5// All of our Elders in our district leave this Monday. We are going to miss them all so much and we KNOW we will keep in touch long after our missions. They are a third familiy to me and I will never forget the things they have done for me and how much they have helped grow my testimony. I love this district.
1// Our speaker didn't show up for relief society, and the MTC presidency wives ended up speaking. When we got to class after, we convinced everyone that we played heads up 7up with all the sisters instead... they believed us for a good 20 minutes until a logical elder convinced them otherwise. 1,200 sister missionaries... HAHAHAHHAHA. what a joke.
2// Sister Thompson convinced Elder Jessop that she could read braille. She can't. He figured it out 3 weeks in haha.
3// My substitute teacher looks and dresses like Marcus Mumford. I'm glad he's a substitute. He's very distracting. I love and miss my music. BUT I'm staying focused and just escape to a room to play piano when I start to miss it.
4// Elder Jessop got an ingrown hair on his toe, so Elder Nelson tried to perform a ghetto surgery on it in their residence. It got infected, and they took him to the doctor. He just looked at it and said he didn't know what it was, then gave him some HUGE pills, which happened to be the exact same pills that they gave sister Thompson when she got bit by the spider. I'm questioning whether or not he's a real doctor. Oh yeah. They gave him a shot on his bum and he was limping for the rest of the day.hahaha. I'm never going to that doctor.
Other stuff:
1// I never want a smartphone again. It is such a waste of time. I think of all the moments I wasted looking at Instagram and Facebook and twitter and pinterest... UGH. Such a waste of a life. I never want to waste my life with technology again. I want to experience life. Not just pass time.
2// I FOUND VAL... AHEM Sister Garrett. We've seen each other 3 times since we've been here. All 3 times were miracles. We have 100% opposite schedules, and I happened to be running late and miraculously remembered to bring my camera (i never do), and WHAM! I ran into my best friend in the world. Well, more like she bolted up to me from behind and squeezed my guts out. She's tiny, but she sure is strong. I just want to hang out with her and tell her about all the things I've experienced, but we're so busy ALWAYS and our P-days are on different days. Hers is on Thursday. BOO.
3// I lost in the plank war again. This is my week. I can feel it.
Spiritual stuff:
1// We only get to call home twice a year, not because God doesn't want us to talk to our family, but because he wants to call the REAL home first. He is available 24/7 and can comfort us in our hardest trials. ALWAYS.
2// When times get hard, we have two options. 1// Let fear consume you and run your entire life, or 2// increase your faith, and come closer to God.
3// DO NOT SETTLE FOR LESS THAN FOREVER! Nothing is worth giving up having your family forever. My district was eating breakfast at the temple today and we were planning on doing an endowment session, but one of the sealers was eating next to us (his name was Brother Bacon.. HAHA) and he told us to come do sealings with him. Most of my district had never done them before, so it was really really powerful. I was crying like a baby as usual, and I could literally feel the spirits in the room with us. I can't even begin to describe everything I was feeling, but the moral of the story is, do not settle for less than a temple marriage. Nothing is worth giving that up. Nothing. GET TO THE TEMPLE! I cannot wait for the day when I can start my own family in the temple and the many many years ahead. I WILL serve a million missions with my husband, we will love our kids like crazy, we will teach them about how much God loves them, and I will never let them forget who they are.
4// We watched Sister Monson's funeral on Sunday. The love they had for each other blows me away. She packed his suitcase every single time he went on a trip. She was the prophet's wife for goodness sake. She had to stand on her own while he took care of the entire church, and she did it well. My goodness.. I look up to that woman like crazy. I love this gospel. I want a marriage like THAT. 60 something years of pure happiness. And obviously eternity.They were talking about how it's not sad because she died, it's sad because we miss her. someone said "Death is a beautiful door to an even more beautiful room" VERDAD! I'm not even scared to die, it's just the getting dead that scares me haha. I wanna skip that part.
5// "Humility is not thinking less OF yourself, it's thinking less ABOUT yourself."
6// I have started reading Jesus the Christ, and dang. That has 100% changed me as a person. The atonement is REAL, it is available to every single one of us, and we need to show our appreciation for what Jesus did for us by REPENTING! If we don't, it's like slapping him in the face. He suffered so we don't have to. All we have to do is repent. that's IT!
I have had so many incredible moments teaching this week. I can't recall exactly what was said, but the spirit was palpable and I can feel God directing the lesson every time. And the times where we don't let him, they fail epically. I'm not doing anything as a missionary. I'm just living in a way that God can take the reins and teach these investigators.
Chris: He is on vacation in California, so we haven't taught him this week.
Gregorio: He is progressing and growing in his faith. He brought his wife to church!!!!! they prayed together :) They are becoming closer as a family and his faith blows me away. He is a golden investigator and I love him with all my heart. We challenged him to follow the Word of Wisdom on Monday, and he said it'll be difficult because he's Mexican, and that's a part of his culture, but he agreed to try. I'm so so excited to see how it goes. I know it'll bless his family and will enable him to be baptized. HALLELUJAH! :)
My companion and I love each others guts, and we are dreading the day that we have to leave each other. I don't want to ever say goodbye. We have learned and grown so much together. One and a half weeks left. Let's make the best of it.
I'm working really really hard and the language is coming slowly, but surely. It's a miracle how fluent I am in lessons, and how terrible I am outside of them haha. Also, I have no vocabulary outside of church and kitchen topics. I'll work on that.
I have so much to say, but no time to say it. I love you all.
BE GOOD! Stay clean, and give em Heaven :)
Love, Hermana Allred
p.s. I'll send pictures later today.

OH! also, I will leave the monday after I get my reassignment most likely. And I get to call from the airport for a little bit. But I can't talk for too long. I'll let you know more specifics next week when I get my travel plans :)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Locos Pantalones en el CCM

I have 12 days left here and I'm not happy about it. I am in love with the MTC and all the people in it.
My companion and I must have known each other in heaven, because we click SO well. I can't even begin to describe how much I love her and her incredible spirit. We work through problems calmly (something I'm not used to) and everything about us just meshes so well. She's planning on applying to BYU Provo when she gets home so DAD! Hoook her up :) I would really really love to have her in Utah Valley.
We got called on Sunday (they warned us beforehand this time haha.) as the Sister Training Leaders for our Zone, which means NO MORE PRANKS :( We've been trying really hard to be a good example for the new district that comes in today. (Val isn't in my zone unfortunately. I hope I get to see her today!) We get to do the orientation for them today and tomorrow with the Zone leaders.
instead of pranks, I'll tell you about all the funny things that happen to sister Thompson
1// she fell FLAT on her face on the way home from the temple last week. She just fell right over. No tripping involved. Just falling over. After it happened I just laughed and said "I don't know how to feel". She didn't appreciate that.
2// She got bit by a spider and her arm swole up to twice its original size. I'll send a picture later today.
3// She was playing piano in sacrament, and they were the most random songs and had a million flats. The kid didn't ask her to play until right before, so she was stumbling through the whole time. After, the Branch counselor got up and said "Were you playing out of the English Hymn book" (the melodies are a little different usually) to which she replied "um... no. I just suck. Sorry." HAHAHHAHA Way to call her out in the middle of Sacrament. Luckily she has an incredible ability to laugh things off so it didn't bug her. I love that girl.
I don't have my Visa yet. I'm not getting my hopes up for getting it before I leave. And really, I'd be okay if I got reassigned for a couple months. It's like I get to serve two missions in one! I'll be here until Monday June 3rd, so if you're sending letters or packages to me, make sure it gets here by NEXT FRIDAY May 31. The mail room is closed most of Saturday and all Sunday so I can't get my mail.
Every Sunday they have films after the devotional. We usually go to Legacy or the Testaments because there are love stories in them and it's funny to watch all the missionaries get awkward when they kiss. We all lose our minds and wonder if it's appropriate to be watching it haha. Oh the life of a missionary. I truly LOVE it.
Elder Nelson (the blonde one) and I have plank wars every time we go to Gym. Last time we lasted about 15 minutes (we did side planks inbetween), and I was SOOOO close to beating him last time. I just gave out. I WILL beat him before we leave. Just you wait. My abs are killing me.
I forgot to grab my spiritual journal, but I had SO many good experiences this week. I never understood why missionaries would talk so much about their investigators in their emails, but now I'm realizing it's the only thing I want to talk about. God shows us in every lesson how much he LOVES his children.
Gregorio is getting baptized next SATURDAY!!! :) (he's not a real investigator, but I'm just as excited as if he were) We taught him of the importance of attending church to show God our obediance and why the Sacrament is so important. His kids LOVED primary and want to go every week. We promised him that attending church will bless his familiy and he will be able to find a job if he continues to have faith. We didn't have time beforehand to plan for the lesson, and the entire lesson was guided by the spirit. I'm starting to recognize the spirit more and more every day and it's SO obvious when I'm not being completely obediant because everything goes wrong. Miracles truly happen when you're 100% obediant.
One of our lessons with Cris went so well. He has been hard to get through to him because he just seems so content with his life being average. He used to party all the time, then realized he was miserable (YAY CRIS! That's the most imporant step :). He still drinks socially, but doesn't party. We finally broke through to him and taugh him a lesson about baptism. He realized he needs to repent of his sins and I promised him that if he prays sincerely about the Book of Mormon, that he will know the entire church is true. If the Book is true, Joseph Smith is a Prophet, The commandments are real, the gospel is true, EVERYTHING IS TRUE. He just has to have a desire to know for himself. We teach him next thursday, so we'll see what happens.
During that lesson, I felt like I was fluent in Spanish. I didn't have to think about what I was saying once. What a blessing.
Earlier in the week, I FINALLY cried. Not about spiritual stuff, cuz that happens every day. I was in the middle of TALL (it's like rosetta stone but with Gospel related topics) and as I was trying to congugate some verbs, my frustration went through the roof, and I just CRIED my eyes out in the other room with my companion. I had been holding in my feelings for 4 weeks, and I guess I just needed to explode for a good 30 minutes, then get back to work. That's exactly what happened. We taught a really good lesson right after that, and I've been fine ever since. Spanish is difficult, but it's not Mandarin Chinese... that's just what I have to keep telling myself. I will get it eventually, but right now, I need to be happy that I can fumble through lessons.
In TRC (the place where we meet with members who speak spanish) we met with the sweetest little old lady I've ever met. Her name was Sister Applegate. She learned spanish while her son was on a spanish speaking mission and didn't know why she needed to learn it, but she did it anyway. She has an illness and doesn't know how much longer she will be alive, so instead of traveling like most people would do, she is serving the Lord at the MTC because she wants to help prepare the world for the second coming. In her (translated) words "It takes many hands to push the rock down the mountain." So true. I'm a small part of this incredible work and I want to be exactly like her when I get old. She told us she was going straight home to tell her husband about our visit. I cried the whole time... Her spirit is amazing.
My favorite thing she said was "I have a nerve in my face that makes my right eye twitch. Don't worry, it's not sexual harassment. But the left one is." and then she winked at us. HAHAHA. I love her so much. I hope we get to teach her next week.
My district is one of the most incredible groups of people I've ever met. Every single person contributes so much. It kills us all that we won't see each other for TWO YEARS. We're already planning a trip to Bear Lake in May 2015 :) So excited. We are best friends. I am so glad I came here and that I failed the spanish exam over the phone so they put me in beginning spanish. My experience would have been VERY different if I had gone to Peru first.
I could go on forever, but I'll keep it relatively short.
Brandon: I promise I'm writing you back. I just only write letters on P-day cuz that's when we're allowed to.
Val: YOU'RE IN THE MTC! haha. so obviously you wont' see this. but if you do, COME FIND ME! My classroom is in 9M 3rd floor.
Dad: I wrote you a letter last week, but I didn't have time to write all the other letters for the Allred house, so I haven't sent it yet. It's coming!
Mom: I couldn't find your address until yesterday, so your letter is on the way :)
Brittany: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I almost exploded when I saw the pictures you sent. I'm so so happy :) I showed you all off to my district. Everyone wants to date Tara and Amy (they know jennie and brittany are taken). Most of them are 18, so um.. I have a lot of men for you in two years AMY! :) They're so sweet. You'd love them.
Jennie: WRITE ME BACK! :) I want to know what the heck is going on in your life.
Amy: I got your graduation invite! So excited for you to start college! when it gets really hard, write me a letter, then go to the temple. Cuz the temple is the safest place on earth and i love it.
Kitty: My companion thinks you're adorable :) Milo too. How's daddy's house?
Holly: How did your chior thing go?? Daddy told me all about it :) I'm glad you got to be with your friends.
I LOVE YOU ALL! I have to go :( Picutres will be coming later today.
Love, Hermama Allred

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Do you wanna know why I'm crying?

Cuz I'm a girl, and girls cry a LOT! (I hope you all got that reference. if not, go watch my wisdom teeth video.)
I've been a spiritually emotional WRECK this week. So many good things have happened, I don't even know where to start.  (fair warning, my missionary mode batteries are FULLY CHARGED and i'm not afraid to talk about the gospel. so get ready)
First of all, SISTERS! all 500 of you. haha just kidding. there's only 6. I LOVE YOUR LETTERS! I love your sarcastic witty comments and updates on the fam from your point of view cuz guess what... I am in a spirit paradise and I don't even know what's going on out there. so um... tell me more. Hand written letters are my favorite, but send me Dear Elders too cuz the other people in my district get mad when I get a lot of mail. HAHA. just kidding. that's mean.
Okay. SO! I'll start with the fun stuff then move to the spiritual stuff.
The pranks have continued on Hermama Routson and our District.  
1// The free bin is always overflowing with fun stuff on monday and tuesday when the missionaries leave and their suitcases weigh too much. I found two giant bottles of Calcium pills and Hermana Rasmussen and I have been hiding them in all her things. I put a bunch in her suitcase thinking she wouldn't see it until we left the MTC, but BOO she found them today. I was thoroughly bummed out. but then I hid some more in her shoes and felt better. Also, we found a TON of packing peanuts and filled her entire bed with them.
2// We played a game with our district to try to speak more Spanish with each other called Nativo. I dont' want to explain it cuz I'm running out of time, but the winner got some giant caramel filled cadbury chocolate eggs. WELL. In the free bin the other day we found some plastic easter eggs and pink frosting. Naturally Hermana Rasmussen and I came up with the idea to fill the plastic eggs with the frosting and replace the chocolate eggs with the plastic ones. GENIUS I TELL YOU! Well, we all voted for Elder Iman because he loves jokes and we know he'd laugh. and he didn't even laugh. BOOOOO! such a disappointment. Apparently one of the elders tried to sneak one and messed up our rewrapping job. ruined the whole thing.
3// we found this hideous stuffed bunny in the free bin and decided to hang it by the ears in one of the showers. We weren't there for this, but one of the hermanas in our zone told us that a girl opened the curtain and got freaked out and screamed "ahhhh  deamon bunny". Then she threw it on the ground and ran away. A bit of an overreaction to a stuffed bunny, but I'm glad our prank worked :)
Okay now the serious stuff.
This week has been SO amazing spiritually. It's like I'm in Sky High except instead of weird super powers like turning into a hampster, everyone here has the power of God to help people be happy and live with Him forever! Way better, I think.
Janice Kapp Perry came to the MTC (the lady that wrote A Child's Prayer and a million other songs) to speak in Relief Society. WHAT!? It was so incredible. We sang a meledy of her songs and wow... the spirit in that room could convert any Athiest in the world. I was a wreck. Cuz, ya know, girls cry a lot. THEN! guess what.. She wrote a song for sister missionaries and wanted us to be the first ones to sing it. How appropriate :) I was bawling once again. Good thing I only packed waterproof mascara. This girl plans ahead. That was the most powerful moment of my life (there was another one after that). I could FEEL the power we have as missionaries and the number of lives we are going to change as a result of that power. If all of us had only one baptism, that would be somewhere around 1,000 new members. 1 BAPTISM EACH just from the MTC RIGHT NOW. Not to mention the other 60,000+ missionaries in the world. What an incredible feeling.
Russell M. Nelson Spoke! (I forgot to put this in and I'm almost out of time, so I can't write more) SO GOOD!
We have 2 "investigators" right now. Gregorio who has a wife and 3 kids, and Cris who is single and used to party all the time. I LOVE teaching them both. For very different reasons.I really wish you all could feel the love that God feels for his children. As a missionary, I get to feel it every day. I look in their eyes and feel their pain, root them through their trials, and congratulate them on their success. It's such an overwhelming feeling of Love. Everyone should serve a mission if they can. It's such a blessing. SO HUMBLING!
1// Gregorio is so sweet. His love for his family is incredible and every time we teach him, he asks such good questions and prays with such a sincere heart. In our first lesson, we got to know him really well and taught about the restoration. I had just barely memorized the first vision in spanish and hadn't gotten a chance to use it in a lesson. I was nervous to say it, but when I did, the words just flowed so perfectly together and I BAWLED my eyes out. God let me know exactly when I should say it and when to hold my tongue and let my companion speak. The first vision is so POWERFUL in Spanish. The language is beautiful, and the story is just... wow. Everyone should memorize Jose Smith's words. we invited him to pray at the end, but he said he wanted to practice.
Our next lesson, he agreed to pray. As he was praying, I was imagining all the people in Peru who will be praying for the first time out loud and I, once again, bawled my eyes out. I had so much love for him and I was so happy that he had the desire to speak with God. The feeling was indescribable. (p.s. my english is getting really bad, so um.. forgive me if it's hard to read.)
Our third lesson, ANGELS were present. I won't go into detail about what happened, but I felt angels in the room helping us and at the end of our lesson, I was going to show him a scripture about how God loves us and helps us with everything, but I stink with numbers and accidentally gave him the wrong reference. Alma 32:16 (GO READ IT) which is basically saying GET BAPTIZED! I wasn't even going to mention baptism cuz i was scared it would scare him off, but after I realized it was the wrong scripture and that God wanted me to ask him to get baptized, I looked up at his sweet smiling face and asked him if he would follow Jesucristo's example and be baptized by someone holding the priesthood of God. Guess what he said....
HE SAID YES! I was so happy that I couldn't even cry. I have never in my life felt the way I felt at that moment. This was the first time in my time here at the MTC that I have seen the power of God in the lesson. HE knew that scripture was what he needed to hear.  I know this investigator is really my teacher, but I just know that the spirit guides us in everything and that without God, my Spanish would be terrible.
With God, I can not only speak Spanish, but I can teach an entire 40 minute lesson about the gospel and how much he loves his children. WHAT IS THAT!? that's a miracle, that's what it is. I would not be able to do anything without him. I am learning more every day about how weak I am and how much I need to rely on the Savior to make it through my trials.
I feel so blessed to be where I am, and if ANY of you are thinking even a little bit about going on a mission, DO IT! The blessings that you and your family recieve from it are indescribable. I've seen it in my life and I know it's very real.
goodness i need more time to write this email but I have a feeling I'd just go on forever about my investigators and you'd get sick of hearing about it. If you wrote me a letter and I haven't responded, it's cuz my desk is super disorganized and i can't ever remember who I've already sent a reply to.. so write me on Dear Elder and say "hey you. yeah you forgot to write me back. hurry up." and I'll definitely write you back.
Dad: I have a letter ready for you, I just have to find my stamps. WRITE ME ABOUT YOUR MISSION! I love hearing stories.
Mom: I have a letter for you too. THANK YOU for the package. I'm using the nutella for my toast in the mornings. All the other missionaries are trying to snatch it, but some things in life just aren't meant to be shared.
Brittany: SEND ME PICTURES!!! :( I'm so so sad every day when I don't have a package from you with pictures of Mr. M and you and the rest of the family. I miss you all and I only have a couple pictures. Also, I'm holding out on a letter because you said you would send me your address and BOO you didn't :( I have no idea where you live. HELP
Val: I got your Dear Elder and I have a few things to tell you
1// FORGET about the hangers. there are a million here and it's a pain to bring them.
2// bring my black military boots. they should be on the top of my box of shoes at your house. PLEASE! and thank you :)
3// I WILL STILL BE HERE WHEN YOU GET HERE and there's a tiny chance that you could be in my Zone. PRAY really hard.
4// bring your cute white boots that you and frieda both have and if you don't want to bring them to Argentina, just send them home. I promise you'll wish you brought cute shoes for the MTC. your wardrobe will get boring real fast.
5// bring a small bag (your brown one that you always have) you can't have big ones in the lunch room and it's real annoying.
I'm OUT OF TIME! BOOOOO! I have so much to say. The computers here don't work with pictures, so I'll send them later while I'm doing laundry.
I LOVE YOU ALL! please be safe and tell everyone I love them.

2// flying in the hallway on a magic carpet ride

// my room! don't anybody come and stalk me...

 4// my BFF. MAIL
 1// our district decided to hang out outside during language study because it's perfect weather and we hate being cooped up inside all day. It was a good day :)

Guys. I'm a missionary.

This is Leann's email from last week. 
This week was AMAZING as always. First before I forget, I'll answer some questions y'all have been asking me.
1// I have no idea when my visa will be here. None. If I get it soon, I'll go to the Peru MTC for the remaining weeks of training. But if I don't, I'll stay here for the whole 6 weeks. I love it here, and I really don't want to leave. But my Spanish would improve so much faster being immersed in it.
2// As for schedule, I'm going non stop 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM. I have 6 hours of class, three disgusting meals (except fast sunday. We just get dinner.) An hour or two of language study, a couple hours of personal study, an hour of companion study, and random district and leadership meetings thrown in between.
3// WEDNESDAY is P-day and it's the only day we're allowed to write letters, so if I don't write you back right away, it's cuz I'm trying to be obedient and I honestly have NO time.
4// our district = 6 elders, 4 hermanas. Our Zone = 3 districts. our branch = our zone. We all are learning spanish and most of us are going to peru. All the Hermanas in my district are going to Cusco, and the Elders are going to Rangagua Chile and Mcallen Texas.
During Sacrament meeting this week they were sustaining all the new zone leaders and other leaders and they had Hermana Rasmussen and I stand up to be sustained as the new Portal Coordinators. We had no idea. They just laughed and said Branch Presidents forget stuff sometimes. Like telling us we have a calling and asking if we'll accept. It's cool. We accepted obviously and now we pretty much just tell all the new districts how to use the computers and how to write the branch president and write on the board and find the videos we need during leadership meetings. WHOOT WHOOT! It's fun. I'm magnifying this calling into FLAMES (Val... remember that one time I tried to light ants on fire with your magnifying glass for an hour?)
We get a new district today! We're not greenies anymore. There's 5 new Hermanas and all of them are going to California.
Oh my goodness... Hermana Routson. We were having a conjucating race (cuz that's about as fun as we get here in the MTC) and when it was her turn, she bolted to the front of the room and didn't notice her backpack was hooked to her skirt. When she noticed, she pulled her backpack up WAY too far and we all got a little show. HAHHAa. We were dying. Hopefully the Elders have repented of what they saw. Just kidding. haha.
Elder Jessop in our district is a hardcore Parkour... er. He shows us some of the stuff he can do during gym. It's NUTS! I wish I was that cool. I let it slip that once upon a time I took Irish dance and they keep asking me to show them a jig. It's not happening until the last day, that's for sure. They think I'm lying. HA. So serious. I even had a duet once. When they see it, they'll be blown away.\
Whenever someone from our Zone leaves, it's tradition to sing God be with you til we meet again in a circle in the quad and they all go in the middle and take pictures as we sing the last verse. It hit me so hard how difficult it's going to be to leave all the people in my district. I was BAWLING just thinking about it. We're all from all over the place and we'll never see each other every day for 14 hours again. It's so sad. I've grown to love all of them like family and I hate thinking about leaving. They are so incredible... I've seen every Elder cry and their testimonies are POWERFUL. Hermana Rasmussen wasn't feeling well the other day and she asked for a blessing. Sitting there watching my second family (third if you count Val's family haha) give my companion comfort and literally HEAL her was one of the most powerful things i've ever seen. I know for a fact that the person I marry has to be a worthy priesthood holder. My kids deserve that in their lives and I won't settle for anything less. My priorites are growing to be 100% centered around Christ and I have to marry someone who feels the same way.
Throughout the week, I have been broken down, built back up, then broken down again. God knows exactly what he wants me to be, and breaking away the parts that don't fit that picture is the only way to become better. I am so excited to see how much I grown through the next 17.5 months (AH! 2 weeks down! how crazy) I'm learning for the first time how truly incredible the Atonement is. I'm learning how to love people and to listen more than I speak. I'm learning to not to shut down when I get frustrated, and to love people when I don't like them. There's an Elder that I mentioned last week that used to drive me crazy, but instead of being sarcastic towards him all the time, I decided to support him and try really hard to love him, and IT WORKED! I don't get irritated at him anymore and he really tries to be less irritating. What an amazing concept.
I wish I could tell you about all the incredible things I have been experiencing, but I have hardly any time. GaH.
Brother Hardy is one of our teachers, and I respect him so much. He knows exactly how to calm us down and bring the spirit into a lesson. Every time I walk into his class, I feel SO happy to be a missionary. He inspires us to be better. and try harder. And love more. and WORK HARD. Our other teacher knows things, but I never feel anything in his class. Just tired and bored mostly. It's kinda like I'm back in Mr. Carpenter's history class Sophomore year of High School. I'm really trying to appreciate him though.
We get to walk to the temple every Sunday and we do a session on Wednesday mornings. it is one of my favorite times of the week. We get to see nature and the buildings don't hinder our view. THIS IS NOT AN INVITATION TO COME CREEP ON ME! I'd get is so much trouble if I talked to anyone. They drill that into our brains like crazy. But um... You can still send me letters :) my address is on facebook.
My companion and I are getting along great. We talk about everything, and she lets me cry to her when I get good or bad news in a letter. I feel so lucky to have her as my first companion. We work so well together and we're not afraid to tell eachother if there's something bothering us. We have really good goals and we never talk too much about home and we go to bed on time and wake up at 6:30 (we never go to 6:00 gym because it sucks and I hate it. Don't worry though. I go on Thursday Friday and Saturday cuz it's at 8:00 pm)
We had our first chance to teach in TRC (the place where members come to talk about real problems and help us feel less like robots and more like people with actual social skills). We got to teach this adorable girl named Kristina who is a Humanities teacher at BYU. We felt soo good about that lesson. She truly needed help and we could help! It was our first taste of what the mission will really feel like. All our investigators before this had been our teachers with a fake alter ego. And not to be sexist or anything, but I like teaching girls a LOT more than boys. I can realate better. I don't know anything about sports or cars or... really anything to do with boys. We ended our lesson in English because we had a lot we wanted to say to her because she really needed help and we couldn't explain it in Spanish. I felt so good about that lesson. I'm so happy here.  
I never ever ever want to take off my nametag. I love waking up in the morning and putting that on. I wear the name of Jesus Christ (more accurately Jesucristo) and I am literally his missionary. I get to do this every day for 18 months. I AM SO LUCKY! God trusts us with his children. This is more than just babysitting. This is saving souls. In the devotional yesterday they said "No war has ever been free of risk" THIS IS WAR! Satan is so angry that we decided to go on missions. He is trying so hard to keep all those people with calls from coming to the MTC. He works on the missionaries here to keep them from getting to the field. He wants people in the field to come home early. He wants missionaries to become inactive when they get home. HE WANTS US TO LOSE. He is not going to stop trying to defeat us until he wins. We cannot let him win. We have to literally ENDURE TO THE END. Fight against him. Do everything Satan would not want us to do. Go to church, say your prayers, read your scriptures. I PROMISE if you do this with a sincere heart, Satan will NOT win.
Okay... I'll step out of missionary mode for a second. Lo Siento.
To everyone who emailed me: I took pictures of your email and will be writing you a real letter today sometime. I didn't have enough time to respond in an email.
Brandon: Thanks for the package! I've been craving twizzlers like crazy all week. you saved me.
Brittany: will you please send that striped shirt you said I left at Mom's? And I miss your faces :( please send pictures when you can. I need to show all my friends your beautiful family and PICTURES OF VAL and Ace :)
Mom: HAPPY MOTHERS DAY! I can't call cuz I'm in the MTC and apparently there's too many of us. What a good problem to have :) I'll be able to call at the Airport when I fly to peru, so watch out for an email about when that will be. I'll send you a letter and hopefully it gets there in time :)
I love you all! I'm out of time.
Hermama All

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1st email from the MTC!

Guys. This mission stuff is pretty cool. I've never been so happy in my entire life. I wish I could share with you everything that is going on.

The first day, I cried a little when Brittany and Milo dropped me off at the curb, but I haven't cried ONCE since (expect... you know... when the spirit slaps me in the face with warm fuzzies. which is pretty much daily). The first few days dragged on and on and ON and I never thought I'd make it to Sunday. I loved every minute of those days, but it seriously was the longest 4 days of my life. We have every minute of every day (except p day) planned for us. I'm sorry if I haven't responded to your letters at all this week, but we aren't supposed to write letters except on Wednesdays. I WILL write you back if you write me a letter so SEND LETTERS!

The only day I was even a little bit frustrated was Saturday. We taught our second lesson, and I was stressing out hardcore. I've been starting to notice the traits that I have that need to change, and getting easily frustrated and shutting down is definitely one of them. I'm working on it. But it's definitely a process.

My Companion is Hermana Rasmussen (the one with the beautiful long brown hair in all the pictures) I really lucked out. We get along so well. She is so spiritual and relaxed, but she is obedient and is an amazing influence on me. She's from Gilbert, Arizona.

The other two girls in our room are a crack up. Hermana Routson from Hermiston, Oregon is so quiet, but she'll randomly bust out these incredible one liners that make us laugh forever. We started a quote book... one of my personal favorites is "One time I saw a cat eat it's placenta" We were just chilling in our room talking about weird things and she just says that and walks out of the room. Classic Routson. Hermana Thompson is from Las Vegas (HEY MOM! YOU LIVE THERE NOW!) and she's so funny. She just randomly busts out in song and dance. She and I get along just fine :) we sing together in the showers all the time. Tis a fun time indeed. Our favorites are Les Miserables and Etta James. Get ready. When I get back, I'll be a musical fiend.

Speaking of... I MISS MY MUSIC! I didn't realize how much I incorporated music in my life and I really really miss it a lot. I need Mumford and Sons and Bon Iver and Jack White and AHHHH! I miss it all. But I am dealing by occasionally escaping class with my companion to play the piano in an empty chapel. It calms us both down and helps us focus. It really blows me away how alike we are.

My Spanish is really coming along. It surprises me how many words I learn every day. I can pray and bear my testimony without even thinking and I've taught 4 discussions without too many problems. The only problem is when someone other than our teacher speaks to us in spanish... I can understand the basics of what they're saying, but I can't tell the difference between "I read the book of mormon and I believe it is true" and "I didn't read the book of mormon and I think you guys are stupid." I should probably figure that one out... Cuz I just sit there and smile and say "bueno" a million times. I have a long way to go, but I have no doubt in my mind that I will be fluent by the time I hit 6 months. I love learning this language! It's so beautiful and will be useful when I get home.

I'm exhausted all the time... I fall asleep in every morning class for at least 30 seconds, then the teacher tells me to stand up so I'll wake up. Pretty sure I haven't woken up at this time since High School, so i'm struggling a little. What can I say, the spirit drains me. It hasn't gotten easier to wake up at 6:00 every morning for Gym. It's hard enough for me to get up at ALL at 6 let alone run around and get all swole and what not. I hope I get better at it cuz this food is going to make me look like that blueberry chick on the old Willy Wonka movie.

Okay.. the food. IS AWFUL! It was okay the first few days. I thought "oh look! there's ice cream and hamburgers everywhere! This is a dream come true!" now it's more like "Oh my gosh... there's ice cream and hamburgers everywhere... this is a flipping nightmare. GET ME OUT!" I swear if I have to look at another french fry, I might throw up. I feel sick to my stomach all the time. All the hermanas in our district try to be healthy, but the guys are all eating like 4 plates of food every meal, and we're over there with our toast and apple for breakfast. It's going to be funny to see what they look like in a few weeks haha. I'm sticking to wraps from now on.

This place is like Disneyland mixed with boot camp. There's lots of happy tears, then you turn around and see some kid bawling their face off. I'm never sure if it's because of the spirit or because they got a letter that their boy/girlfriend is engaged. I always assume it's the first one because this is heaven and significant others don't get engaged to other people in heaven.

There's a tree here that smells like a creamsicle. No joke. I didn't believe them at first, but we all went out and smelled the tree. IT'S REAL! There's creamsicles in the cafeteria, so I'm pretty sure that's where they got them from.

I joined the choir! The director reminds me of Kronk from Emporer's New Groove and his spirit is so GREAT! He is one of the most talented people I've ever met. The perks of being in the choir? I get out of class early, don't have to wait in line for a good seat at the devotionals, and I get to be on TV!!!! :) Hallelujah.

I really don't want to come home... Sorry family. I just want to be an eternal missionary. I'm scared that nothing in my life will ever measure up to the experiences I'm having right now. I love being here and I can see how fast I'm growing as a person and I DON'T WANT IT TO STOP!

There's a hole on the top of the dressers that people call the Narnia Hole. It's behind the mirror and people write on the little piece of wood that covers it. I'll send a picture of it.

Oh. duh. the Elders in our district are straight studs. Our District leader is the sweetest, tallest, most spiritual person I've met. He doesn't even have to say anything and we all want to be better. I love him. We are like a family. All the Hermanas are so protective of the Elders. We respect each other so much and spend as much time as possible together.

I have a lot of pictures so I'll try to send as many as I can.


Write me letters :) (Dear Elders and handwritten letters are the BEST. keep them coming. Seriously)


Hermana Allred

P.S. Blogger isn't letting me upload the few pictures she was able to send. So I'll get them up when I can :)