Okay...so I have a little bit longer to write...but not much. It's crazy how fast time goes by. I've been on the compy for 20 mins already...and that's reading emails!!! AAHHH!!!
So first of all, thanks again for all your Christmas letters/pictures/food/and more food!!! It was so fun.
I'm thankful you guys thought of me for Christmas :)
I was also thinking of you. And I thought of you last week when I was getting ready to leave.
Since I wasn't able to call you on Christmas...I made little personal videos for all ya'll. I forgot to let you know yesterday for Christmas...but here's a belated Christmas :) You can find the videos in my folder under: Don't open -- Until -- Christmas.
All your names should be on them :) Merry Christmas!!
So I love it here... mostly love :) It's just hard. I've already "taught" 3 lessons...soon to be 4 and 5..and they've had to be ALL in Spanish. No notes. AAHHH!!! They were very interesting. But we still felt the Spirit. It really gives me a great perspective of how the Spirit really is there when you pray for it and you're preaching truth. It's so great, that Spirit thing ;)
Christmas day was AMAZING!!! Elder Bednar and his wife came. It was so great. I was in the choir so we got to sing to him. This song touched my heart SO MUCH!!! I suggest ya'll go and listen to it a bagillion times and really ponder and contemplate the words. It's called "Where Shepherds Lately Knelt." Here are the words:
Where shepherds lately knelt, and kept the angel's word.
I come in half belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred;
but there is room and welcome there for me
In that unlikely place, I find him as they said;
sweet new-born babe, how frail! and in a manger bed:
a still small voice to cry one day for me.
How should I not have known Isaiah would be there,
his prophecies fulfilled? With pounding heart I stare:
a child, a son, the prince of peace--for me
Can I, will I forget how love was born and burned
its way into my heart unasked, unforced, unearned
to die, to live, and not alone for me.
SUCH a pretty song. It was so amazing to sing it to Elder Bednar & to sing it to my Savior.
So Elder Bednar said A TON of things that I loved...but I don't have time to write them all down.
Here's a couple of things that touched my heart.
Someone asked who his favorite Book of Mormon person was and why.
He said he had many but he wanted to talk about Nephi. He talked about his faith. When Nephi went back to get the plates, in 1 Ne.4:6 it says "not knowing before hand the things [he] should do." Say what???? Nephi didn't have a play by play of how he was going to get the plates? He had faith? Crazy. He went on to remind us that faith is a principle of ACTION and POWER. We must act before we receive power. If it was the other way around, there would be no need for faith. That is something that I need to work on. Act first. Don't wait for a step by step, play by play of instructions before I act. That's not faith. I've always known that, but it was SUCH a good reminder.
Someone went on to ask what he thought the best characteristic of a missionary is/was.
He talked about selflessness. They aren't self-centered. They know their missions are not for them but for the people they teach. That went on to be something I applied later that night.
On the bus ride home, since I’m in a 3-some now, I got to sit by myself again. This isn't always bad, it's just hard because they don't really see me as their companion yet. I'm the girl in the district whose companion got sent home. So there's not a whole lot of unity yet. We all get along, but we aren't "one" yet. Anywho...getting back to the story...I was sitting on the bus feeling sorry for myself when a thought came into my head. This mission isn't about you!!! It's not about you feeling loved and included. It's not about having someone to laugh with. This mission is for the people around you. My mission should not be about me feeling included, it's to make others feel loved and included!!! Then I remembered the Savior, our perfect example. If he had waited for others to be nice to him, include him, make him feel loved, before he did good, he wouldn't have done much good. "He went about doing good yet was despised for it." I can't wait for others to be kind/include me. I just need to do it. So there's another goal for myself :)
The rest of Christmas was great. I can't go into detail on all of it. But just know it was great :)
So getting to know my branch.
Elder Beddes and Sanders are from CA. Elder Frances is from CA, and then Rogers s from PG/he went to AF. They are all great. All 18 though...:) haha so cute
Hermana Andelin is from Orem...Hanna might know here sister...she's in the orchestra. She is super nice and SO smart. Love her. Hermana Skeen is from Sandy. She's also super cute and funny. When she laughs, she laughs so hard she cries. It's the greatest thing ever. Hermana (my companion that had to go home)...(sniff sniff). She was great. We had the same sense of humor, same personality (except for the horrid part where she didn't like LOTR or the Hobbit). She had a great spirit about her and was very diligent. I'm missing her like crazy!!
Well I gots to go!!!!
Please keep sending me Dear Elder letters...por favor!!! They are the greatest.
Love you guys!!!
Until next week :)
FAMILY!!!!!Hey hey hey!!!
Feliz Navidad. So I only have 20 minutes to email. Crazy short. But I'm still grateful, no doubt about that ;)
But to know where to begin is a mystery to me.
SOOOOOOOOOOO much has happened that I won't have any time to get to like...any of it.
But here is a very very very quick synopsis.
First day. Got dropped up. blah blah blah. Met my district. There are SOOO great. There's an elder from Canada (eh), 2 from Cali, and then 1 from PG/AF. Emmy would know him. Elder Rogers...plays the...something. He looks like he is 14. It's great.
There are/(were) 4 girls in my district. Me, mi companera Hermana Sycamore, then Hermanas Andelin and Skeen. THEY ARE SOOOOOO GREAT!!!
We all get along super duper well and we are constantly laughing.
The first day was overwhelming. I went to bed thinking "what did I get myself into?!?!"
Second day was fabulous. I was thinking "I'm so glad I'm here!"
Third day. First time I cried. Me and Hrma Sycamore had to teach our first lesson in ONLY Spanish. It was so hard. We felt so dumb. So yeah, we both just cried when we got home.
4th day was good...we had to teach our same investigator WITHOUT ANY NOTES!!! I don't remember anything in Spanish...but we just read a bunch of scriptures. It actually went ok. I think. After our lesson when our teacher we there, we watched a talk by elder Holland. He is just great. So great. As always. A lot of it was similar to the "Missionary work and Atonement" talk. But he just said that sometimes we're going to want to give up and wonder why everything is so hard. "it was never easy for him." I have no right to complain. Christ went through EVERYTHING. I can go through feeling stupid in Spanish class. :)
5th day..SUNDAY!! Aaaaaaaamazing!!! It was definitely the break I needed. We still studied Spanish and stuff, but the sisters get to watch "music and the spoken word." It made me soooo happy. Made me think of home :) And all the songs they sang were so great.
6th day. Well...it started out great. We went and did service by cleaning the apartments. When we came back to our apt, we were getting ready to go to gym when someone came to the door and said that the district president needed to talk to Hermana Sycamore. We went asap.
Long story short. Hermana Sycamore left yesterday. Christmas Eve. Around 1. It was so sad. I love her so much!!! We were so alike and everything was just so perfect. She is such a great person, but we all make mistakes. I'm going to miss her. She was definitely loved in our district.
But it's a tender mercy. The 2 others Hermana's are so great. They are trying very hard to make me feel apart of their companionship.
My teacher Hermano Passantino is also so great. I always am feeling so stupid in class because I am just not catching on. Yesterday after Hrma Syc left, we had a Spanish lesson. He gave us a 3 minute break. I wen to the bathroom and cried. When I came back, he said he wanted to talk to me. So we went into another room and he just asked me how I was doing. I told him I was really said about Hrma Sycamore leaving and that I was really frustrated about Spanish. He was SOOO nice! He said that everything would be okay...and a lot of other stuff. I thanked him for being patient with me and he just said that he has never been impatient with me and that I was a great example to the rest of the district. He is such a great teacher. LOVE HIM!!
Yesterday's devotional was amazing. Elder Dave F Evans came. Heard what I needed to hear. "If a dog can learn Japanese, so can you elder." A story from his mission.
Then we watched "Mr. Krugers Christmas". That was a tender mercy. I love Jimmy Stewart. Hope you enjoyed "It's a Wonderful Life."
Thanks for the package and the "Dear Elder" letters!!!! I loved it so much!!! M&Ms!!!!! Pictures!!!! THE LETTERS WERE GREAT!!!
Thanks thanks thanks!!
my p-day is tomorrow!!!
I love you guys!!!!!
Monday, December 30, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Well my end of my non-missionary life has come (for 18 months). The beginning of my full-time missionary life is about to begin!
I am excited, nervous, happy, anxious, grateful, more nervous, and SO EXCITED!!!
I have so many doubts and concerns.
How am I ever going to learn Spanish? What if I can't remember simple basic gospel answers? What if my companions don't like me? Do I even have what it takes to be a missionary? How can I ever measure up to the many friends and family members that have left before me? What if I disappoint them?
But as all of these thoughts could my mind, I have a voice in the back of my mind that reminds me of the words of President Uchtdorf. "...doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ."
And that's what i'm trying to do. Doubt what Satan is trying to get me to believe. Doubt that I'm not good enough to be a missionary. Doubt that my faith isn't good enough.
Have faith that God will bless me. Faith that, although it will be hard, God will expand my abilities and capabilities. Have faith in myself. Faith that God loves me and he is proud of my decision to serve him. Faith that "all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good...therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever "(D&C 122: 7, 9).
I have nothing to fear when the Lord is on my side. I have nothing to fear when I am on the Lord's side.
Isaiah 12:2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.”
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church of God.
Joseph Smith was a true prophet and he restored the fullness of the Gospel with direction for Jesus Christ.
The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It was translated correctly. It is another testament of Jesus Christ.
Our prophet today is Thomas Spencer Monson. I love him and I know he is called of God.
Our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, love all of us. They love us no matter what we do, or what we don't do. The Savior's Atonement is for all. It's power is real. We just need to have faith.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve for 18 months. I love this gospel. I love my Savior and I know that he loves me.
Keep the faith, choose the right, and endure to the end.
I'll see you in 18 months!!
-(Hermana) Chaelyne Cook