Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm Goin' To Wichita

Week 7

Oh, my sweet family. Ya'll can stop asking me how Oklahoma is because I'm in Wichita Falls, Texas. Hahah. To be honest, I have no idea where to start this letter so I guess I'll just jump right in. My trainer is amazing. And not even in that way where I have to tell you I'm doing well even though I'm miserable. My trainer really is amazing. Her name is Hermana Gonzalez and she is the sweetest person I could have been paired with. I'm lucky because she was born in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish so even though all the lessons we have taught so far have been in English, I am trying to take advantage of her skills during study time. And so she can translate my stupid jokes. (Tomolo lluvia--I make it rain). So, you know. This is her sixth transfer in Wichita Falls so it's pretty likely she'll only train me for six weeks instead of twelve before she gets transfered, but I'm hoping that's not the case.

The church in Wichita Falls is really interesting. Especially now. Most of this town is pretty heavily Baptist.  There is only one ward where I'm serving, and so there are eight missionaries in our one ward. The reason it's that way is because there are 1000 members in Wichita Falls but only 200 are active. Needless to say we do a lot of work with less actives. And there hasn't been a baptism here since December. Also, the Sunday before I came here there was an ex-mormon who went to the main Baptist church and said a lot of pretty out-of-context untrue stuff about our religion so a lot of people just bible bash us and shut the door in our face. But it's not as discouraging as I thought it would be. In fact, yesterday we knocked a door and asked a woman if we could pray with her.

"That's okay. We actually just got back from church."
Oh! That's great! Which one?
"The Cowboy Church"
"Oh! Okay well we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we would love to pray with you if you'll let us"
"You know what, we have our beliefs and we're happy. So you can take your bogus faith elsewhere."
*door slam*

Oh... Okay. Hahah. But I love it here. The members that are active are amazing. We get fed really well and they already offer to cut my hair and help us out and come to lessons. It's been great. And anyone who isn't a member loves Jesus Christ. Southern hospitality is a real thing here in Wichita Falls. And everyone is pretty honest. The other day, we taught this really powerful and spiritual lesson about the Plan of Salvation to this sweet 20-year-old girl named Leigh. And at the end of the lesson we said,

"Leigh, will you read [this chapter] in the Book of Mormon before our next lesson?"
"Yeah, sure!"
"Okay, great. So tonight, when you get home start reading and... etc..."
"Oh, actually, I'm going clubbing right now. But I'll read it tomorrow!"

Oh man. Good stuff.

I love being on a mission. I thought I would struggle and get homesick and want to start counting down the days, but it's not that way at all. The days all blend together and they're busy. They're shorter than I thought. And even yesterday, we had our first day where every appointment got cancelled and we even got dropped by someone who was investigating the church, and it still wasn't difficult to keep our chins up. But what do I know. I'm greener than green. I still giggle every time I have to get out and back the car. Which is rare because Hermana Gonzalez loves me and never parks in a spot that requires backing.

Well, I love you guys. Thank you for your continued support. God loves you all so much. I know that he cares about all of you and is watching over you and wants you to feel his love for you. Thank you for all that you do. I was so glad to hear that you're doing well.

And guess what?! I'm in America! Mail moves fast! We don't have a time limit for emailing, but I have to be considerate of my companion so letters are still amazing (and packages of course).
My new address is 3001 Kemp Boulevard, Apartment 820, Wichita Falls, Texas, 76308

I love you all. Let me know if you have question, I'm terrible at relaying information.


Hermana Best

Monday, March 17, 2014

Last day in the MTC! (Week 6)

Hi everybody!

This email is kind of a surprise because I didn´t know I would have the opportunity to email you guys until I got to Oklahoma, but since we´re flying on our P Day we have the opportunity to check our emails now. Unfortunately, most of you email me on Tuesday mornings. My P day will probably be on Monday starting this week.

Anyway, Hi! I´m in a very strange mood right now because it feels like the last day of high school and it´s rather hard to focus on studying... But we already taught our lesson today and then Hermana Montoya let us spend the rest of class watching devotionals about the importance of losing yourself in the work of others... So it´s been pretty motivating. Before yesterday, I was scared and not terribly excited to leave Mexico, but now it´s all I can think about. I want to serve the people of Oklahoma, I want to eat sunny side up eggs. I want to meet my new companion and ride my bike. I actually kind of miss the cold, I keep getting sunburned over here (I know, the grass is always greener on the other side).

This week was very interesting. On Tuesday night, our district was feeling rather discouraged. We knew we still had a week left but that we had so much more we wanted to learn. We remembered a devotional we had had about saying specific prayers to the lord, like mini covenants where you make a grand promise and set up the grounds for your blessings. At first, I was a little skeptical... I don´t really like the idea of what felt to me like challenging God, but our district decided that we would make one of these promises to speak only Spanish for 5 days. In the casa, in class, at meals, during gym, and in return, we needed help. We said one grand prayer all together, and then we each prayed individually for what we needed in return. I just asked for comfort in the language the ability to feel closer to the Lord. This was a very effective system because if anyone in our district spoke English, we could all hold them accountable, and we felt like we really wanted to be obedient because it was not just a goal, it was a covenant. What ended up happening is that... it was hard. Surprised? For some reason, we were. It was really hard. But it helped me realize the things I still need to learn more about as it pertains to Spanish. And it actually made it really easy to be obedient to the other rules laid out for us because we were always focused on something the Lord wanted us to do. For example, I had a problem getting songs stuck in my head the first few weeks, and I learned that it was actually distracting me from being able to feel the spirit as strongly as I could be, but when we were forced to speak Spanish, singing songs made me feel guilty, even playing them in my head. So I stopped. And my focus has grown immensely. And my spirit and desire to be here has grown immensely. I´m less distracted by life outside the mission. In this moment, and hopefully permanently, I feel a lot less like Lot´s Wife.

This week was... Not terribly eventful. We did the same things we normally do, go to class, work out, study, go to class, teach investigators, study, eat meat, but something about it really rekindled my faith. It reminded me that I´m here for other people. I´m here because Jesus Christ has done so much for me that it seems sinful to keep this joy from other people. I have gained such a profound respect for my family and all the other people in my life who are strong and willful. I am so blessed to be here. I am so honored to be a part of a gospel I believe with so much of my heart. And for the first time in my whole life, I have my own testimony, a firm testimony in something. Anything. I have never been stable, I have never known for myself what I want in my life or how to obtain it. But I can honestly say that based on no one elses´ testimony but my own, the Book of Mormon and the Bible together contain the fullness of the Gospel; the information we need to make our lives as simple and as happy as possible, and the pathway to greater things. I love this Gospel.

Fun facts and photos:

This week, Hermana Chugg was sick again. :( They made a new rule where companions have to be with their companions when they´re sick, which is terrible because everyone is sick here all the time... Conversations about diarrhea are so common it´s disturbing. But it was actually really nice. We just read our journals to each other from the time we got here until now. And it was kind of nostalgic. I´m lucky she´s coming to my mission though. I´m not quite ready to say goodbye.

Sometimes the latino cooks try to translate what we´re having for dinner and it never really works out quite right. On Saturday, the white board said
Yumm... Buen Provecha.

This morning, I found a scripture that says why we shouldn´t dress our dogs in sweaters. Go read Doctrine and Covenants 41:6. You´re welcome.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week 5

I love all of you so much! If I don´t tell you that enough, I apologize because it´s one of the main things I think about out here! This week has been so stressful, but I have felt my testimony grow so much. This week I officially confirmed that I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, this is where I am supposed to be. But I received so much good news about what´s going on at home and I am SO thrilled that everyone is doing so well and has such great things to share!!

I thought I would start out by saying how crazy it is that this is the last week in the CCM and that is surreal... I thought I would be a lot more excited to get out of here, but I´m actually already feeling a little nostalgic. I love this place. It is gorgeous and powerful and I have never been surrounded by so many people who don´t content with one another. But I´m grateful for the experience and, of course, I´m so excited to get to Oklahoma. Just so everyone has the details, my flight is on Tuesday morning at 6 AM. We have to leave the CCM at about 3 in the morning and we should get to Oklahoma around 2:45 PM. I was really looking forward to calling home at the airport, but the MTC President has claimed that that´s frowned upon because people keep missing their flights and it´s not actually in the handbook as being I guess I´ll just play it safe and hopefully they let me email you when I get there.

I have really been feeling good about the week that we´ve had here. Out district has been really close because of some personal struggles some of the members had. One of them really was having a hard time, but through the power of prayer, their problems were solved and the whole experience strengthened my testimony a lot and strengthened our district together. I think this week is going to be difficult and emotional. At the end of every Sunday, we sing ''Para Siempre Dios Este con Vos´´ (God be with you till we meet again) and everybody cries and is nostalgic because these people have become your family and then you just leave and never see each other again. Unless you´re from Utah. Everyone is from Utah.

We´ve started pointing out things we´re going to miss about being here. Like the purple blossoms on the trees and the flowers that smell like soap, working out for an hour and then going to the Tienda to buy the cheapest candy ever, saying hello to everyone you see and no one thinking you´re weird for calling them brother and sister. Sunday night movies are my favorite. This past week we watched a movie about the construction of the Salt Lake Temple and it made me a little bit homesick. Just because I realized how much I love Salt Lake and the history it possesses. Then I started thinking about how so many people back home always think ´´uggh, why are the Mormons taking over Utah?´´ but in reality, the word Utah literally means Top of the Mountain. The construction of that temple based the layout for the grid system of Utah. Utah History in elementary school was all about the pioneers settling there. I don´t know... it just made me feel like there´s a place for me in Utah.

Saturday was a crazy day. We were told to prepare for ten investigators. Real investigators. Latino investigators, which means none of them would speak any English. So we hurried and prepared as much as we could and then we were thrown into it. We taught Anahi, Facundo, and Edgardo first. The first one was totally discouraging. It was the first experience I ever had to realize that not everyone who we will talk to will be interested in our message. I don´t know why I ever didn´t make that connection, but it stressed me out a little. My teacher talked me out of a lot of anxiety after that and we went to teach Facundo. He lives in Argentina so we taught him via Skype. I actually loved this lesson. He was so personable and so easy to talk to. I think the electronic aspect really cut down on a lot of the nerves for Hermana Chugg and myself and so we went to teach Edgardo and it was a lot less stressful. I realize now that they weren´t real investigators, but thinking they were made it feel real. Afterwards, we went to lunch and came back to teach some more. We taught a young men and young women group of Latinos and I got paired with the young womens leader. She was such a sweet lady. I felt her spirit. I felt her sheer love for me and I had such a strong feeling of love for her. I taught her about faith and the importance of it in every aspect of her life. Toward the end of the lesson, we sat in silence and wept. I told her I could feel the light of Christ in her and she told me she thought I was going to be a wonderful missionary. That she knew what I was trying to communicate and that my words touched her heart. She was remarkably sweet, little, probably in her late 60´s, and less than five feet tall. When she left, she kissed my cheeks and I remember, this is why I´m here! To touch people. To love people who may not feel like they are loved. To help them remember how to find joy in this earth and hereafter. At the end of the day, we only ended up teaching five people. But I was exhausted.

A lot of people ask me why I don´t write my letters home in Spanish. I´m sorry! I know I could, we just don´t have much time. But I will start incorporating it little by little I´m sure.

I´ll keep this email a little short but I want to attach some pictures for you all.


1. My roommates! Hermana Schultz, Rawlins, and Chugg. Hermana Schultz was the first person I met at the airport. Her mom said ´aw, she looks like she´s a missionary!´ And I promptly turned around and said, ít´s the shoes, isn´t it?´ First impressions are my thing.

2. The world´s cutest missionary farmer´s tan.

Yo se que el evangelio de Jesucristo es en la tierra hoy. Yo se que mi redentor, Jesucristo, viva y es mi herano. Esta es su obra y estoy muy entusiasmado que yo soy un misionera aqui hoy. You quiero ayudar todos las personas que necesitan escuchar la palabra de Dios. En el nombre de JesuCristo, Amen.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Only two weeks left in the CCM (Week 4)

Hola, everybody!

I am so glad it is el Dia de Preparacion because it has been an incredibly loooong week. I just want to start out by saying, I love you guys. Every single person who reads these emails or supports me on my journey at all... Thank you so much for getting me here. This is the single best decision I have ever made in my life.

I won't lie... This past week was rough. I learned a lot, I definitely grew a lot, but it was absurdly hard and so emotional for completely unknown reasons. To start, everybody in the CCM got sick. Except me, luckily. But Hermana Chugg got hit pretty bad and had to spend a day in the casa. Apparently when the CCM first opened in July a lot of people got sick from the food, but this was just a little contagious virus that had nothing to do with the food. I should know. I eat everything and it is all pretty darn good.

This week was all about families. I gained so much love and respect for my own family and have been thinking about them all so much and the wonderful influence they have been in my life. I absolutely adore you all. Thank you for everything you have done for me.

Today we got to go to the Mexico City Temple grounds. It was by far the most incredible experience we have had here to date. The temple itself is under internal construction for the next year and a half so we got to go to the Visitor's Center and take a tour. Luckily, the tour was in English and lead by missionaries, one who was in her first week and one who goes home this week. It was incredible to see the difference in them. I am so incredibly honored to be a missionary. In fact, one of the best parts of the day was just being out in public and wearing a name tag. I forgot I was a missionary until I looked down. Everytime Hermana Chugg and I see two missionaries walking alone around the CCM we´re always like ´´aww, Missionaries!´´ and then we come abck to earth and realize that we´re all missionaries. It´s a very weird experience.

The spirit was so strong on the temple grounds. It made me so excited to share this Gospel with real people in the real world. Being in the CCM is like being in High School and getting out into the field is like moving out of your parent´s house for the first time. That´s the closest thing I can think to relate to relate it to. So to know that we only have one more P-day before we leave is very exciting. And stressful.

Now I want to share an experience we had on Sunday... Our Sacrament meeting with our district is in a classroom. We use the stereotypical stake center chairs (that are tan and for some reason always have crayon all over them) and we sit in three rows of them in a classroom made of tile. The sacrament is blessed on the teacher´s desk and we speak by standing in front of a white board at a makeshift podium. It´s a very interesting experience. The walls are thin and we are in a building closest to the edge of the compound right next to a mountain with hundreds and hundreds of houses built up the side of it. (I should stop calling the CCM a compound... but that really is what it feels like). One of the houses plays electronic dance music all the time... It´s unreal. And it is so loud that you could hear it from the opposite end of the CCM. And just to give you some perspective, the CCM is 90 acres big. So we had Sacrament Meeting with ´Sandstorm´and Benny Benassi songs blaring through the walls. And can I just say, it was one of the most spiritual Sacrament Meetings I've been able to experience. The spirit was powerful enough to tune out the music and after a while, we could barely hear it. We all got up to bare our testimonies, being feeble from the end of a 24-hour fast and trying not to be too distracted by the music, and we just all felt such a sense of joy that we were in the world, but not of it. I think we all felt the strongly for the first time in our lives. It was beautiful.

I´ll leave you with a spiritual thought and some pictures...

If every single blessing comes from the Lord, why are we ever disobedient?! Because we become prideful. We think we can receive blessings on our own, but we can´t. We can´t outsmart God. One thing I´ve learned from reading the scriptures is that time and time again disciples of Christ are blessed for their obedience and the prideful are always chastised (and generally destroyed...). This revelation brought new light to the scripture in Doctrina y Convenios that says
´´there is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world upon which all blessings are predicated- And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.´´
(D y C 130:20-21)


1. Hermana Chugg and I  on the bus to the Temple!

2. The amazing Mexico City Temple!

3. The beautiful statue of Christ

4. My friend Hermana Williams! She´s from Salt Lake and we want to   be roommates when we get back. She is the cutest.

5. My artsy side here at the CCM. (Everyone told me that my Holy Ghost looked like a tooth so I made a legend.

6. The best photo ever of the temple and a ghetto sign.