Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Stomach Bugs, Crawling Bugs, Earthquakes, Gun Shots, Oh My!! - Sister Hannah Avery

Written by Sister Hannah Avery, currently studying at the Mexico Missionary Training Center (MTC) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In four weeks, Sister Avery will report to the Chile Vina del Mar Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hola familia y amigos! (Hello family and friends!)

How in the world are you guys?! I have had the most amazing week! Much better than last week. This week FLEW by, and I can't believe that today marks my THIRD week in the MTC! Crazy!! How are the kids doing in school? They started this week, right? It feels weird to not be there for that. Jake looks like he is doing great! I loved his pictures from this week! That boy will work miracles and bring many people to Christ! I heard from Kolby this week as well, and he seems to be doing great! I love hearing his advice. He is the guinea pig for me, and I get the answers to everything mission related from him and Jake. I am so grateful to have all of this support from them, and all of you, while I am out here!

So what happened this week... let's see. Well, the day after P-Day (preparation day) last week (Wednesday) everyone was up all night with a really bad bug, yes, including me. I am not sure what it was, but we all think that it was the food. The food, like I said last week, is a little sketchy, and we all just put up with it. I have no idea what we ate, but I have never felt so awful in my life, seriously! Pretty much the whole MTC was that way. But, I pushed through it and kept a smile on my face for about an hour at a time, and then basically ran to the bathroom every waking second. It was horrible. But, it is all good now, and I feel good as new :) Maybe that was TMI for you guys, but you know that I say it how it is haha!

I had a lot of really neat experiences with the scriptures this week. One of them was found in Moses 6:31-32. It talks about opening your mouth and the Lord will provide the words for you to speak. That was great for me to hear, because I have been really discouraged with the language. It is NOT easy! But I am getting the hang of it more, and am constantly trying to learn more, whether it is reading the scriptures in Spanish, or studying in class and on my own... and of course speaking the language! That is the BEST way to learn a language. As we always say here, "Hablar Su Idioma"- speak your language! And when you do so, the Lord will fill your mouth and mind with the words which you should speak. I love that!!

Another experience in the scriptures... this one I found thanks to Mom Mom. She wrote me a note in the back of the Spanish hymn book that she bought me. In the note was the scripture Jacob 5:71-72. I was SOOO happy to see that note in there from her! I didn't even know that it was in there until about 4 days ago haha! But it was a great surprise! Anyway, that scripture says, "Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard, for the end is nigh at hand and the season speedily cometh. And if ye labor with your might, with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which shall soon come... and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them." Holy moly! That scripture REALLY helped me this week. So thanks, Mom Mom, for thinking of that and putting it my hymnal! I know that this is not my mission, but is the Lord's mission, and He really IS out here serving it with me! I have some big shoes to fill, don't I?!

Now on to the news about the kids. I am SO proud of all of you! It sounds like you are all doing great in school, your sports, and all of the other activities that you are involved in! I wish I could be there to experience that with you in person, but I can feel your spirits all the way here in Mexico! And I LOVE hearing about what you are all doing! Keep trusting in the Lord and relying on Him for answers and strength, and you will be blessed with ALL of the righteous desires of your heart! :) I love you guys SO much!

Soooooo..... I leave the MTC on September 25th, I think! That is less than a month from now! That is the last day on my schedule, so I think that is when I am out of here and into the real world! haha. And guess when my come home date is?!?!? Jake's birthday!! February 10th, 2015. How cool, right?! You get me a whole 4 days early :)

Here is another scripture reference for you guys. Doctrine and Covenants 80 - Yes, the whole section. It is really short! It says, "Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature that cometh under the sound of your voice. Wherefore, go ye and preach my Gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss. Therefore, declare the things which ye have heard, and verily believe and know to be true. Behold, this is the will of him who hath called you, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ."

Talk about a direct message! I literally had tears come to my eyes when I heard that. I felt like it was speaking directly to me. I know that this is where the Lord wants me, and that I was called to this great work. He has blessed me more than I can explain, and I am so grateful to Him for always helping me through the good, the bad and the worse!

I am not ever going to sugar coat things for you guys. I will say it how it is. The MTC is one of the hardest things that I have ever done, but also one of the best. Literally! I have been beyond homesick, cried myself to sleep at night, and I have even cried during class! But this Sunday (the Lord really helps me out, especially on Sundays haha!) all of us Hermanas were given blessings from the Elders in our District. In my blessing, it said that I will be Christlike and will learn Spanish. It told me that I won't have frustration, and that I will be charitable and share the light of Christ with all that I meet. It also said that the Lord has heard all of my prayers, and wanted me to know that, even if I don't always get answers right away. Can I just say that I feel like I am so blessed?? I feel like I am no where close to deserving of all that I have!

So this week we also started teaching two new investigators. Their names are Lenina and Jonatan. Fernando got baptized, yay! These are all fake investigators, but it feels real for sure. Anyway, we only know about these new investigators, but haven't actually taught them yet. So I won't be able to tell you about that stuff until next week.

The food is still super weird here. Like I said, it usually makes us sick, so I guess it is kind of a blessing to get used to that before the mission field food, but I really hope that I don't come home with a million parasites inside me haha! We found a cockroach in the beans 3 days ago. I don't eat those anymore..beans OR cockroaches...YUCK! The meat comes to us in an un-refrigerated food truck and is never thoroughly cooked, so I don't eat that either. So what do I eat? My diet here is basically a bowl of Cocoa Crispies in the morning for breakfast, and then cantaloupe and soup for lunch and dinner LOL! So healthy, right?!

We have had 3 earthquakes since I have been in the MTC too! Weird. I have never felt them, but we do have to evacuate the building every time. And you can hear the gunshots outside the wall! It is because the jail is literally 2 blocks away. It sounds kinda sketchy, but we are totally safe in here :)

Anyway, that is really all that I have for you guys this week (that I have time to write about anyway!). I love you all so very much and pray for all of you every morning and night. I pray for a LONG time since there are so many of you to pray for! haha! But I love it, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I hope that you all truly feel the love of your Savior, and that you know that you can rely on Him for all things, no matter what. He is ALWAYS listening to us!

Yo se que JesuCristo es me Salvador y tiene mucho amor para todas las personas. Dios es nuestros Padre Celestial y tambien tiene mucho amor para todas las personas. Yo se que el Evangelio es verdadero, y Jose Smith es una profeta de Dios. Yo se que Thomas S Monson es una profeta de Dios en nuestro dia. Dios escucha de nuestros oraciones y responde con respuestas en El tiempo.

(Translation: I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and has much love for all people. God is our heavenly Father and also has much love for all people. I know that the Gospel is true, and Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God in our day. God hears our prayers and responds with answers in His time.)

I hope you have a great week and I will talk to you next week! Keep an eye out for pictures too! I love you so much!!!!!!

Con mucho mucho amor, (with much, much love)

Hermana Avery

Sister Avery Finishes Her First Week at the Mexico MTC (August 20, 2013)

Home Away from Home (September 3, 2013)

Our district classroom - This is where we learn
Spanish and study all day, every day.
Me and mi companera, Hermana Page!
She is from Charlotte, NC, and will be
traveling with me to Vina del Mar, Chile.

La Tienda! Our store at the MTC! TREATS!!

The only girls in our district
Me, Hermanas Page, Nelson and Garrett

This is another one of our classrooms
Hermanas Nelson, Garrett, Me, Page
(and an Elder who thinks he's a movie star! ha!)
This is how I'm learning Spanish! In my scriptures, I highlight
the words I don't know in Spanish and I look them up and
write the meaning above it in English. It's working!!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A New Companion for Sister Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, currently serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Arizona Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

HOLA Familia!!

It has been a crazy week! We got transfer news!! I'm staying in my area and at the Visitors' Center (VC), but I got a new companion. Her name is Hermana Leon. She's from UTAH!! We actually were in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) together. So we're both relatively new, but I'm so excited!! We'll be so great together!!

Dad, as far as transfers go, every Sister here at the VC will have a "Full Field" experience. That's where we get transferred out of the VC into an area anywhere from 1-4 transfers. It's usually 2 transfers, but with how things have gone lately, you never know. For example, my companion is a VC trainer, and usually when you're called to be a trainer, you're there until about the last transfer of your mission. Well she got transferred to be full field, training a new sister. It was super sad, but she told me that she knows that that's where the Lord needs her to be right now.

So, we were in the VC waiting for our investigator to come (he never showed up by the way), and we saw this man come in and sit on the couch. He looked so frustrated, so we went and talked to him. We found out that he brought his non-member friend (we'll call this one Luis) because he wants to learn more. But Luis has this son who is autistic (we'll call his son Pedro). And Pedro was not thrilled at all to come in. So after talking with the member, we sent some Elders to invite Pedro to come in. He accepted.

During the tour, we found out that Pedro loves horror movies. And oh my goodness, he is so deeply affected by them. He said some pretty disturbing things that I'm not going to repeat. Anyway, at the end of the tour, we invited Luis to meet with the local missionaries, be baptized and learn more. He accepted! So I gave him a Book of Mormon. And in the process of handing him the book, Pedro came out of no where, took the book out of my hands while screaming "NO! NO! NO!" It was so scary. On the bright side, we got a new investigator! Luis is so sweet, and he is so hurt by his son. He just wants to help him be happy! Well good news my friend, we know exactly where you can get help:) It's called the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

I love being a missionary!! In companionship study, we were talking about how important it is to stand FIRM! I was reading in Alma, and I read a verse that was talking about how Satan is there ready to pull us away when we aren't standing firm. If we aren't holding tightly to the iron rod, Satan knows exactly how to lead us astray. He's a sneaky thing!

We also were reading about how important it is to share the gospel. I've always been scared about sharing the gospel, because I don't want to offend people or start a heated conversation. Being a missionary, you really don't have an option to be scared :) So this week in personal study, I've been reading a lot of stories in the Book of Mormon about different missionaries and their courage. Alma and Amulek are prime examples:)

This is the Work of Salvation! What happens here determines where we go for eternity. Eternity is a very LONG time. So yes, this work is probably the most important work we can be a part of! Coming to understand that really has helped me to face that fear!

I'm so proud of you guys! It seems like you're all taking a lead on missionary work in the ward! The missionaries are there as a resource to you to help you gather God's children in your ward. Keep using the missionaries! They are there to help you! I love that you gave them the number of our neighbor! He is such a sweet guy!!

I'm doing great!! I hope all is going well at home! Good luck with school and work! TAYLOR!! Enjoy seminary!! You'll love it!

Te quiro mucho!!

Hermana Jeppson

Great Things Happening in Mesa (August 19, 2013)

Missionary Work is Exciting Work! (September 3, 2013)

This is Sister Orr. She came on her mission a
week after her family's farm was destroyed by
a tornado in Oklahoma

This is Sister Avanesjan, from Germany.

Our little District - Hermanas Herber, Shoumacher, Me, Valladares, 
Elders Allred, Neeley (zone leader), and Derbidge (district leader)

Growing Where I'm Planted - Elder Kolby Madsen

Written by Elder Kolby Madsen, currently serving in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Danish.

This week has been way good. I am way happy I can almost understand everything that I read for the most part, so that’s good. Me and Elder Hansen had a heart to heart this week, and we are better than ever. We both had some things that we needed to talk about, but now we are great. I love him so much. He has taught me so much, and I am so grateful for him. I still miss those missionaries who left two weeks ago, but I will forever remember them and their legacy. They were great missionaries, and I will follow their example.

We had a great eating appointment with the Camilla. She fed us flæskesteg, an amazing Danish meal. Don’t worry, I will make it for you in two years when I can perfect it.

We had a our first real appointment with the "miracle family." Juliet and her family are probably my favorite family in Denmark right now. I love just playing games with them, and their little daughter (age six) reminds me of the Campbell’s kids. I miss hanging out with little kids, so it's nice to be around them again.

For our appointment, we went over there and had some way good African food. Right as we were building some nice trust and relationship with the father, their little son started coughing. The whole time we were there he sounded like he had a way sore throat. It was super sad to hear him cough and breath. I felt so bad. At one point he stopped breathing, and the first thing that popped into my head is what to do in case an infant is chocking, but is still conscious. The next thing that popped in is we need to offer a blessing. While I was thinking of this, Juliet was calling  the doctor over the phone to get his advice on what to do. While she was on the phone, her son coughed again and the doctor said it sounded really bad over the phone. So the doctor called an ambulance and they showed up within two minutes. So we didn't really have time to give him a blessing, and we had to leave right after. But we definitely left the house with some more trust and love for the family, and they want us to return and give another lesson.

This week I have had a lot to think about when it comes to what I am doing here and how I can make the most of my service to my Heavenly Father. I think about how I wish I could be better at the language, and how I wish that I could find people who care. But then I came to the realization that I wasn't sent to Denmark to already have a knowledge of the language, or to just be a perfect teacher right off the bat. Or to just find all the prepared people I hear other missionaries talking about in other places around the world, including the States. They talk about how they had a rough month because they personally did not have a baptism, or how they have all these people with a baptismal date. It can be way easy to just think, "Well, am I a bad missionary, or am I in a really hard place in the world, or am I just not good enough in the Lord's eyes, or am I better to be here in an area where it can be considered a little harder work?"

I have come to the conclusion that it's not about baptisms, how many people you reactivate, or how many investigators you have. It's about bringing people closer to our Heavenly Father. Maybe that means we see them on the street and tell them about God, and just hearing about Him brings them closer to Him. Maybe they do want to learn more and invite us back. It's all about our willingness to show the Lord that it doesn't matter where He sends us or what people He puts in front of us to teach. All that matters is that I do my best, and serve my Father in Heaven, and that is through the Danish people. I just have to show my willingness to Him, and share His message that Christ's Gospel is fully restored to the earth. All I can do is thank Him for what He gives me, and bring people closer to Him.

 Med Kære Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

Click here to watch the video, "Heavenly Father Knows Me."

Saying Goodbye to Friends in Denmark (August 19, 2013)

Bomb Dinner and Danish Roots (September 2, 2013)

A Peak into My Life in Peru - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, currently serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Good morning everyone! It is cloudy today, so everything is ordinary.

My ward is really awesome. We have a beautiful church building here in Los Rosales that we can see from our house. We have about 120 active members and 300-ish less active members. We definitely have our work cut out for us. The ward has redoubled their efforts in missionary work over the past two weeks, and boy am I grateful for that.

We baptized an elderly lady named Hermana Teadura. She has seven kids and one who passed away when she was only 18 months old. I can't express how happy I was to tell her that the Atonement of Jesus Christ and mercy of God enables her baby to live in the presence of her Heavenly Father for all eternity without the ordinance of baptism. Elder China and I are going to work with the rest of her children who are all grown up and are scattered in our area.

My living conditions are...different, to say the least. We live on the third floor of the Stake President's house. It's basically on the roof, so it's pretty cool. Our room is nice and tidy (I tend to that). I sweep nearly everyday, and the other day I gave our concrete shower a good scrubbing. A very good scrubbing! When Elder China saw it he exclaimed, ''Osumachu!'' I have no idea how to spell it or what it means, but he uses that word a lot. All of our walls and floors are concrete, so you can't really tell that it's dirty. Our beds are nice and warm because night time is freezing here. It's quite a shock getting out of bed. I have my burglar beanie hat from dad and warm socks that I wear during exercise. Fortunately, we have 20 litros (liters) of warm water. Showers are short but if you do it right, they're always warm.

My area is relatively small. We live off pretty much the only paved road in town. We only need to use a moto taxi (Nache Libre style tricycle) in emergencies. We walk quite a bit and I'm starting to find my way around town.

The perros (dogs) are very nice...most of the time. The rest of them are very angry and I'm not too sure why. I had one come at me the other night and I yelled at it and it seemed to scare him off. Needless to say, I kept a big old rock in my pocket the rest of the night. The two dogs at my house are ''bipolares'' (bipolar). Sometimes they're cute and happy and sometimes they freak out, and there is no rhyme or reason to it.

We had an Obra Missional (missionary workshop) last Friday. We set up an awesome display and gave members a Book of Mormon to give their friends. Afterwards, we played all sorts of games. It's hilarious to see the Peruvians play games. We play ninja and dancing games, and all sorts of other party games after every Family Home Evening or fireside (casual, inspirational meeting). My companion, Elder China, is Bolivian, but his family lives in Japan now. He's a very serious Ninja player...very serious.

On Saturday we got to hear a member of the Seventy speak to our mission and the Lima North Mission. He gave us very good counsel on how to teach about the apostasy to our investigators. A few of the examples he gave were:

 'When did the Apostasy start?' Well, nobody knows the answer to that. It's like when a man's hair begins to grey. You can't pin an exact day on when his hair changed, but little by little it eventually became undeniably grey. Like the Gospel of Jesus Christ after the Apostles were killed, corruption seeped in little by little, and eventually Christianity became undeniably changed from the pure gospel Christ taught.

 'Why did God wait almost 2000 years to restore the gospel to the earth?' When a pilot loses an engine on the plane, he doesn't take the quickest route to the ground. A nose dive is the quickest way to the ground but definitely not the safest. When the gospel of Christ became polluted it wasn't immediately grounded. God waited until a time when it could never be taken again from the earth. The Church has been restored in an age where the Apostles can travel around the world in a matter of hours, doctrine can be obtained online in a matter of seconds, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will never be taken from the Earth until He comes again.The time of restoration couldn't have been sooner. Even in the free country of America, the restored Church of Jesus Christ was attacked and it's first prophet was martyred in cold blood. Imagine if the Church had been restored during the Hundred Years War or the Crusades; it wouldn't have been received.

Afterwards, we went to McDonalds! It was pretty much the same as in the States. Some things never change.

On P-day (preparation day) we went to the beach as a district. It was so beautiful! I'm attaching pictures (note: no pictures of the beach were received).

The Spirit is awesome in the field. You literally see miracles happen before your eyes. We're teaching the husband of a young mom who has been inactive for several years. They've been coming to church and have been receiving everything we tell them. They actually read their Book of Mormon! Their family has also given us references to their friends and cousins. He's scheduled to be baptized on Saturday, and I'm so happy for him.

Well, I love everyone back home. I'm sorry if I don't answer your emails right away. Be persistent and I'll write back! Have a wonderful week.


Elder Avery

Building Houses in Peru (August 19, 2013)

Some Brotherly Advice (August 20, 2013)

Bread Nuggets, English Literature, and Popcorn (September 2, 2013)

Elder China and Elder Avery - Peru Lima West Mission
You can see their church building behind them.

John 10:16: "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

The Work in Albertson, North Carolina - Week 8

Written by Elder Dallin Remund, currently serving in the Virginia Chesapeake Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hello everyone!

How are y'all doing? Well this week was GREAT! We are still trying to find some people to regularly teach. We've been doing a lot of tracting as well as working with the members in the area to find people! It can get difficult out here in the country sometimes! There's lots of Hispanics in our area, but meeting regularly can be kind of hard because they're out working in the fields a lot! But we are praying and holding faith and we are going to do everything we can to find people who are ready for the gospel!

This Friday, I got to go on an exchange with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Seastrand, in Goldsboro! He's from Taylorsville, Utah, and he actually sang in one of Mr. Thorpe's community choirs up at Westminster during my senior year! Haha! We had a great time on the exchange and we taught two people. One of them was a non-member that had questions about why there are so many religions and what he needs to do to make it to Heaven! We DEFINITELY had some answers for him! Haha. It went great. The other lesson was with a man struggling with the Word of Wisdom. It's so sad when people want to quit smoking or drinking, but they don't know how to. We had a good talk, and I think that the missionaries there can really help them.

This weekend, we had stake conference and an Elder from the Sixth Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke. President and Sister Baker were there too and gave great thoughts! Elder Mund from the Seventy spoke on Sunday morning about the Holy Ghost. It was one of the most powerful talks I have heard in a while. How amazing is it that God gave us the gift to have one of the members of the Godhead to be continually with us! He brings peace, clarity, and comfort to the soul. Jesus Christ said he will not leave us comfortless! That Spirit is the comfort we need each and every day!

I finished reading "Our Heritage," one of the books we get to bring out to the field. It gives basic details of the Restoration all the way to where we are now as a church. My testimony of this gospel has increased so much and I can't explain how amazing it is to be where I am right now. We are SO blessed to have the gospel all around the world! I have a deep appreciation in my heart for the early church leaders and pioneers!

This gospel is true and it is wonderful! Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Jesus Christ lives. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church on the earth today!

Con amor, (with love)

Elder Remund

End of Transfer #1 in North Carolina

Yee haw!

Click here to watch more Mormon videos on YouTube

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Two Years by Carli Barlow

I think this beautiful song captures the feelings of every person who loves a missionary. We love you, Sisters Jeppson and Avery, and Elders Madsen, Jensen, Avery, Burgess, Remund, and Brockbank! Your lights are shining, and we wouldn't have it any other way. But we are still counting the days til you come back to us.

Click here to watch on YouTube

Click here to find this song on iTunes

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Some Brotherly Advice - Elder Jake Avery

This is a letter written by Elder Jacob Avery to his sister, Hermana Hannah Avery, before Hannah left for the Mexico Missionary Training Center (MTC). Elder Avery is currently serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Avery will be serving in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission after her training in Mexico. I've added this letter to the blog because I feel like it is great advice for anyone preparing to serve a mission.

16 July 2013

Dear Hannah,

I hope this gets to you in time! Hannah, I'm so happy for you and your mission. The MTC may be hard. There may be home sickness, you may be unsure of the doctrine, Spanish, strange food, sleep deprivation, stress, lack of free time, and everything else I've seen myself and others go through, but I know that you can do it! After all, you were called by a prophet of God!

Reading other people's testimonies strengthens your testimony. The scriptures (including the title pages) are full of testimonies that strengthen me everyday. Don't focus on the language, focus on the Spirit.

Remember to have fun. God has a sense of humor, but remember to be reverent. Make friends and build relationships.

Pray often. A prayer every hour is totally fine. It helps me keep the Spirit and it gets me through the day. You're never alone. I've felt alone, and I know that it's a lie. He's always watching us and He's always mindful. We just need to calm the freak down.

South America is the craziest place I've ever been. The people are super friendly, except in traffic. The people have a deep love of God and of the "Mormones" (as far as I've seen). My Latino friends change every 2 weeks in the MTC, and they are so awesome. Hopefully you will have some Latino Hermanas that you can speak Spanish with.

Remember why you are here and who has sent you. Teach by the Spirit. Say "hi" to Flynn (our dog) for me. Good luck as you get ready! I miss you so much!

- Jake

Sister Avery Finishes Her First Week at the Mexico MTC

Written by Sister Hannah Avery, currently training at the Mexico Missionary Training Center (MTC) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In five weeks, Sister Avery will report to the Chile Vina del Mar Mission, speaking Spanish.

Hola familia y amigos! (Hello family and friends!)

Wow, it has been a crazy week! I am SOO excited right now to get to talk to you guys! I have been waiting for this day to write for what feels like months! The first day went by pretty fast for me. We arrived to the MTC at about 5 PM and I was able to meet my compañera (companion), Hermana Page (she is from Charlotte, North Carolina) and have dinner with her. We then had all night to get to know each other and get our stuff unpacked. Thank goodness for wooby and my signed pillowcase from you guys so that I could go to sleep that night hahahaha!

We live in a house that can fit about 12 girls, but since the Latinas left for their missions yesterday, there are only 6 of us in there now. It is a lot more quiet! Those Latinas sure liked to have fiestas (parties) all night! But they were so wonderful and really helpful with making me learn Spanish!

Speaking of Spanish, that is going pretty well so far. Hermana Page and I (my companion) had a really cool experience yesterday with our investigator, Fernando. He is not a real investigator, just practice, but it feels real! Anyway, we have taught him three times now, last Thursday, Friday and yesterday. Thursday and Friday we used notes to teach him since we still don't know the language well, and we wanted to be able to say everything that we had prepared for him in Spanish. But yesterday was different. We prayed before we went that we would remember the things that we wanted to teach him, and that we would know what to tell him in Spanish, without using notes. We were in there for almost 40 minutes and spoke ONLY Spanish! Talk about the gift of tongues! It was truly one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. It was so amazing! And it made me want to teach so much more too. It was a real boost of confidence, so now I feel like I can conquer anything :) The Lord truly blesses us in so many ways!

The food here is pretty gross LOL! One morning, they had peaches and spam (yes, mixed together!) for breakfast. YUCK! Thank the heavens that they have Cocoa Crispies or I would have dwindled away by now! HAHA! The rest of the food is decent, but definitely NOT Buffalo Wild Wings. Which I could really go for right now- it's wing night! UGH. Go for me, okay?? :)

It is SOOO cold here! It's not cold enough for my big coat, so I have to freeze in my cardigans haha! I am not sure why it is so chilly. Our teacher says it is because we are up high in the mountains. That works, I guess :)

Our day basically goes as follows: We wake up at 6:30 a.m., get ready for the day, and have companionship prayer at 7. Then we go to the building where we learn all of our Spanish and lessons (the John Taylor building), and we do personal study until about 7:45. Breakfast goes until 8:30. Until about 12:30 p.m., we are studying Spanish like crazy. We finish that around 1:00, and go to lunch. Then we come back, learn a lesson to teach from Preach My Gospel, and then until dinner at 6:30, we are learning Spanish and teaching investigators, if we have appointments that day. After dinner is more personal study and then gym time for an hour until 9 p.m.. Until 10:30 (which is lights out), we just get ready for bed and have companionship prayer again. It is an easy schedule, just a really long day.

At first, I was really considering going home. It was making me really sad, because I knew this was where I needed to be, and that I wanted to do this!! I was so discouraged, and really missing home. But time is flying now! Sunday changed my mind completely. We were in devotional watching a movie about Christ and His ministry on Earth. It was amazing to watch, and to think that He was the greatest missionary that there ever was! That night, I told my Heavenly Father that I was going to serve with all that I have and am, and that I would try to fill the Lord's shoes as best as I can. So far, it is going great! And the days don't feel like months anymore. So, word to the people preparing for missions... make it to the first Sunday, and you will be golden! I feel so much better now. Of course, I miss home like crazy, but I have a mission to fulfill first!! :)

I always show people my pictures of you guys, and they think you you guys are the cutest family ever! I am always more than willing to show them, because it is a chance for me to see you (kinda) too! Haha!

One last thing before I finish off this email. My MTC President, President Pratt, told us that if we will read through the entire Book of Mormon in Spanish, highlighting the words that we don't know, looking them up, then writing them in English above it so that we learn the meanings as we read, that we will be fluent in Spanish! I am making it a goal to do that before I go to Chile. I only have 5 weeks, but I am determined!!

Well, I love you all so much! I miss you like crazy. I hope that you have a great week. Please email me! It takes about 3 weeks for letters to get here in the mail, so anything sent after this week will most likely not get to me. So if you write letters, send them to Chile! But I can print your emails, so send them! I am collecting them in a book to read when I am missing home :)

I love you, I love you, I love you!!!! Talk to you next week!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana Hannah Avery

Sister Avery Arrives in Mexico City (August 13, 2013)

Stomach Bugs, Crawling Bugs, Earthquakes, Gun Shots, Oh MY!! (August 27, 2013)

Some Brotherly Advice

To enlarge photos, just click on them and they will open in a larger view.

Hermana Page and Hermana Avery
The new Mexico MTC is on the grounds of the previous
Benemerito de las Americas High School in Mexico City. 

For mom, my missionary name tag :)
The street beside our casa (house) .

My closet is tiny, but everything
fits just fine!
Views of the part of Mexico City where I live.
I'm on the top bunk and Hermana Page is on the bottom.

Hermana Page, Hermana Avery, and Hermana Nelson
at the Mexico City Temple

The beautiful Mexico City Temple!

My MTC District! They call me "mom" because
I'm the oldest...not sure how I feel about that haha!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Baptism in Mexico

Written by Elder Brian Burgess, currently serving in the Mexico Puebla North Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

I sat back on Saturday, and as the 1st Counselor in the Ward, Hermano (Brother) M and Desiree (full names removed for privacy) walked in the water my heart melted. I had something to do with her eternal salvation! I also stood in the circle Sunday to confirm her a member of the church. She has been taught for 6 years. And her two daughters, ages 9 and 11, have been baptized in that time because they had a testimony.

One thing we stress in the mission is that an investigator needs three things: a friend, an assignment (such as to help with a service project or to bring the bread for the sacrament, to help them feel part of the ward), and to be nurtured by the good word of God. This was originally taught by President Hinckley.

In Mexico, in the past, baptisms happened fast. What's happening now is we have to contact those people baptized a long time ago because they are no longer active in the church. So we only baptize people after they have all three of the things mentioned above. That's why Desiree was baptized by the 1st Counselor. His family befriended her family since day one. And so when we asked her who she wanted to baptize her, she said him.

If I never get my toes in the water this whole mission I'll be happy. Because that means that the investigator has that friend in the ward to be with them forever. Because usually what happens down here is someone meets the Elders, becomes really good friends with them, and says, "Sure, I'll be baptized." Well, what happens when the Elder is transferred? They stop coming to church. I know Desiree isn't just a number. She was ready.

This is Desiree. After six years of missionary visits and gaining a strong
testimony, she entered the waters of baptism!

A Peak into My Life in Mexico


Great Things Happening - Sister Lindsey Jeppson

Written by Sister Lindsey Jeppson, currently serving in the Arizona Mesa Mission / Mesa Temple Visitors' Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.


COMO ESTA! This week was great! It was CRAZY, but great. This transfer we had a bunch of meetings and trainings. Elder Craig Cardon from the Seventy came down for a mission tour. It was about six hours long. It was super amazing though. We talked about almost everything. But the topics that were talked about most were:

1) The Atonement: Honestly, where would we be without the Atonement? That's a scary thought, not worth entertaining
2) Planning: Planning is something that is perceived as a waste of time...WRONG... it's a tool used to make sure you don't waste time :)
3) Working With Members: Where would we be without members??

It was very insightful and very powerful. By just being in his presence, you could tell he is a servant of God.

We also had interviews with the Mission President this week, and because there are so many missionaries, they are very limited, so he had a timer. It made me think of Horton Hears A Who, where the dad has 90 kids and spends 10 sec with each of them. Anyway, it was good! President Jenkins is so inspired and he has such a deep and sincere love for the Savior and for each of us missionaries. It's amazing!

This week we'll receive a training at our Visitors' Center (VC) from a Sister who is over all the Visitors' Centers in the world (I'm not sure her name or title). She's also going to update all of our outdated exhibits!!! Yeah!!! I'm so excited!

The Spirit is amazing. Yesterday, we had the morning shift at the VC. People don't really come to the VC on Sunday at 9 AM. The people that come are those who have late church and are bored, travelers that don't have time to go to church, or non-members who are led here by the Spirit. Yesterday we had a non-member come in. It was so evident that the Spirit directed him here because when we asked him what brought him to the VC, he said, "I don't know, just thought I would come."

Turns out that he just got out of the military a few days ago, and you could tell that he was a little lost. He wouldn't admit that, because he has a stinkin' male ego, but he needed help. We took him to the Christus and planned the presentation. We talked about it after, and something that stood out to him was repentance. So we talked about repentance. He got a little uncomfortable and said he needed to leave. When we asked if we could stay in contact with him, he just said he would come back next Sunday, and refused to give us his number. UGH... well, we're praying for him, and we're looking forward to next Sunday!:)

Good news for our investigator, Aaron!! (the one who called the front desk). We haven't been able to get a hold of him this last week, but guess what! Yesterday, we got a voice mail, and he said that he would be here TODAY!! He also said that he has a few questions, so that can be a little scary. But we're so happy that he called back!!

In our area, our investigator, Maria, came to church with us for the first time!!! She's still really sad, but we're helping her build that faith in Jesus Christ. Her daughter being here has really helped. Being brought to our lowest brings us to our highest.

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! It's great! I Hope you're all helping out those missionaries!! They are a resource for you! The Church is true!! Have a great week and serve on!!

con mucho amor,

Hermana Jeppson

Putting on the Armor of God (August 12, 2013)

A New Companion for Sister Jeppson (August 26, 2013)

Saying Goodbye to Friends in Denmark - Elder Kolby Madsen

Written by Elder Kolby Madsen, currently serving in the Denmark Copenhagen Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Danish.

Well, this week has been wonderful. To start off, I got your packages and they were much needed. Thank you so much for the deodorant. It is so bad here, and I was almost out of gel.

Anyway, so this week Tuesday comes around and 7 new missionaries (out of 15) come to the land. We met them and it was fun, but this meant that 3 missionaries who I love very much were going home. So yeah, that kind of stunk. But Wednesday rolls around and the 12 missionaries take off, including Elder Woodsen, the Assistant to the President who I have lived with for the last two months. It was way sad. Anyway, it's hard, but it happens and it's not going to stop, so I just have to get used to it.

Well, after that the week was pretty bland. So next comes Sunday. We met Juliet and her children at church, as well as Camilla. So it was a good day, and that "miracle family" still keeps coming back for more. They love the church. Well, great week, great family, and a some way good service.

Med Kære Hilsen

Ældste Madsen

Miracles in Denmark (August 12, 2013)

Growing Where I'm Planted (August 26, 2013)

Building Houses in Peru - Elder Jake Avery

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, currently serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hi! Sorry, I have no time to write! I've been writing friends!

The field is amazing! Lots of work and personal accountability. I'm getting used to the Peruvian culture which I'll explain more about later. For service on Friday, we got to help build a house on the side of the mountain. The land is free but it's very, very grueling work. You break up rocks with a chisel and shovel to flatten the ground. Out of time. One baptism this week.

With love, Elder Avery

Elder Avery Arrives in the Peru Lima West Mission (August 14, 2013)

Some Brotherly Advice (August 20, 2013)

A Peak into My Life in Peru (August 26, 2013)

End of Transfer #1 in North Carolina

Written by Elder Dallin Remund, currently serving in the Virginia Chesapeake Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

Hello everyone!

Como estan todos? Well, the weeks officially have no significance because I feel like I was here in the library emailing y'all a couple days ago. I guess that's a good thing though because I'm really enjoying the field. Everything feels much more natural now. I'm really getting the flow of being a missionary!

It's been super rainy out here in North Carolina! I love it! It POURS out here. You walk out for a couple seconds and you're soaked! Haha! But things just grow out here. No one has sprinklers in their yards. And no one plants grass. I don't even think they water their crops! Kind of nice for water bills!

This Friday, we had dinner with a family in our ward. We were asked by the bishop to see if they were all right doctrinally because there were some people that heard that they don't like their pictures to be taken and something about pork. I ended up having to ask about it and I was SO nervous I would offend them, but they ended up saying they don't take pictures or eat pork because they want to sacrifice things in their life to focus more on God, like how missionaries sacrifice TV and their family to serve. The sister also doesn't eat any seafood besides fish because Jesus only caught fish out of the sea... And she doesn't wear clothes with zebra patterns or any other crazy patterns... Weird! But hey, I guess it's not bad if they're trying to get more of their focus on God!

Later that Friday, we met with an investigator of ours named Jaime, whose family are all recent converts. (The Hernandez family is his daughter, Daphne's family if you remember my previous letters.) He's a very smart man and he helps Elder Knott and I with our Spanish while we're talking to him, haha! He knows the Book of Mormon is the word of God. He's not exactly sure if the church is true. He says he doesn't know because he hasn't read the Book of Mormon or prayed about it, and he knows he won't receive an answer if he doesn't have real intention. Right now he says he doesn't really have the desire, which is so upsetting, but we believe he will be baptized one day. He gets it, he just hasn't acted on it! Great man!

Yesterday, we went to a birthday party for a Hispanic boy named Danny. We had carne asada and rice and beans! So good!!! They fed us well. We had lunch yesterday at a super great lunch at the Jones' family. Biscuits, roast, rice and gravy, and butterbeans. So Southern! Sister Jones' sister and her husband were there, too. They're a senior missionary couple serving in the area and they're from Magna, UT! It's always fun to connect with Utahns and figure out how close we live together!

Sergio, our investigator, went to church again, which is one of the greatest things to see as a missionary! He's progressing nicely, and the ward is getting to know him well. We are waiting to receive permission from the mission president to see if he could go to our ward instead of the branch that his area is in. He is elect, though!

I've finished my first transfer in the field! Elder Knott and I are staying in Albertson, and Elder Knott got asked to be the new District Leader. He'll be staying busy training/leading! Haha! He's taking the place of Elder Bowes, whose headed back to Queen Creek, Arizona. Hope he says hi to the Maycocks for me!!!

Well, the time is up! I had a great week and I got lots of letters and emails from y'all this week! I will do my best to write back! Keep sending news from back home! I love hearing it. This gospel is true!!!!!

Mucho amor,

Elder Remund

Hey, ya'll, from North Carolina!

The Work in Albertson, North Carolina - Week 8

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Elder Avery Arrives in the Peru Lima West Mission

Written by Elder Jacob Avery, currently serving in the Peru Lima West Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking Spanish.

We received this as a scanned, handwritten letter on mission letterhead. The message at the top of the scan was from one of the Elders who works in the mission office: "Your son got here well and we are so grateful to have another powerful missionary serving here with us."

Dear Family,

President Archibald had us burn our boats today, so I really hope some builder will have new ones ready in two years because I'd like to go home eventually.

I hope everyone is doing well and everyone is happy. Remember that all that keep His commandments and believe on His name will be saved, so there's not very many reasons to be sad. Gah, it feels like I just got here, but it feels like I've been gone for a while.

I just met my new companion, Elder China. He's a little guy with blue glasses. He reminds me of an Ewok! My area is really nice, from what he said. No dirt floors and I'll have hot showers (for now).

Tonight we are getting ready to teach the ward and investigators why reading the Book of Mormon is important. I can't wait! He said that we have four baptisms, and all sorts of other wonderful things about our ward.

I met a kid named Gunne Norton from Mesa, Arizona, who knows Tom Rush! He's a nice kid. Everyone is a nice kid, in fact. Then I met someone who lives in South Jordan by the Jordan River Temple.

I'm so excited to get to work! The Archibalds (Mission President and wife) are super awesome, and President Archibald is really a good Mission President. I'm very glad that I'll be with him my entire mission.

Well, I love you guys so much and I miss you a lot. Wish Hannah the best of luck for me. !Exito en la mision! (Success in the mission!)

Elder Avery
Mision Peru Lima Oeste (Peru Lima West Mission)
Somos Sus Manos (We are His hands)

Wrapping Things Up at the Peru MTC (August 6, 2013)

Building Houses in Peru (August 19, 2013)

Elder Jacob Avery with President and Sister
Archibald - Peru Lima West Mission
New Arrivals in the Peru Lima West Mission

New arrivals in the Peru Lima West Mission

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sister Avery Arrives in Mexico City

Written by Sister Hannah Avery, currently studying at the Mexico Missionary Training Center (MTC). In six weeks she will travel to the Chile Vina del Mar Mission, where she will serve until February 2015.

Hola familia y amigos!

I am officially in Mexico! I must say that I am beyond exhausted, but I am SOO happy to be here!! The flight to Dallas was good. I met a guy from Bolivia who is a member of the church there. He asked me right away if I spoke Spanish, so I must look the part! I was able to talk with him a little, but the language barrier definitely held me back from having a full conversation. Still going strong here! I was the only Sister missionary on my flight to Dallas, with about eight Elders. I was quite outnumbered! And I am definitely the old one of the bunch. Everyone is 18 or 19! haha.

The layover in Dallas was not too bad. I had a McMuffin at McDonald's for $4.50...such a rip off ha! But that is all that I have had to eat today, so I am thankful for it at the moment. In Dallas, I met up with two other Hermanas (Sisters) and about six more Elders. So we had 3 Sisters out of 17 missionaries travelling together from Dallas to Mexico City.

I am not able to write for long since we are about to go to dinner. I am in Mexico City though, at the MTC! AHHH! I didn't get red lighted at the Customs check, hooray! (When entering Mexico, you push a button as you go through Customs. If the button turns red, you have to have your bags searched. If it turns green, you can go on your way. It's a completely random process. Hannah was worried her button would turn red, and she would have to wait for all her bags to be searched.)

The MTC is a lot nicer than anywhere else in Mexico City. People are literally living out of boxes and selling stuff on the streets everywhere. It is so sad, but it makes me want to share the Gospel with everyone that I can so that they can have that light in their lives, even though their life is not easy.

No classes today, just getting checked in and finding out where everything is. I have a name tag on right now (Mormon missionaries wear black name tags with their name and the name of our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to identify themselves to other people). It feels so surreal. I am so excited to get started!

We are about to go meet our companions now and get settled in our room. Then have dinner! Finally! It is super nice here, not humid, and very sunny. It feels a little chilly actually! Anyways, I love you all so much and will talk to you soon, when I have more time! Te amo mucho!! ( I love you so much!)


Hermana Avery

First Missionaries Finish Training at the New Mexico MTC

Sister Avery says Goodbye for 18 Months (August 13, 2013)

Sister Avery Finishes Her First Week in the Mexico MTC

Sister Hannah Avery
Chile Vina del Mar Mission
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sister Avery Says Goodbye for 18 Months

Sister Hannah Avery left this morning for the Mexico Missionary Training Center (MTC) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After six weeks of Spanish and Gospel classes, Sister Avery will travel to her mission in Vina del Mar, Chile.

Doctrine and Covenants 4:1-4

1 Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.

 2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

 3 Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;

 4 For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;

Sister Hannah Avery will serve in the
Chile Vina del Mar Mission

Oquirrh Mountain Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Sunday evening friends and family came to our home to visit with Hannah and say goodbye.

Sister Avery and her sister, Rebekah, made
250 cupcakes to share with our friends and family.

Rebekah also made her sister a banner to wish her goodbye.

This morning at 3:30 a.m., we left for the Salt Lake International Airport. After checking her bags and saying our last goodbyes, Sister Avery navigated security and caught her first flight to Dallas where she would layover for 3 hours. Her final flight would be from Dallas to Mexico City, where she will receive training in Spanish for six weeks before traveling to the Chile Vina del Mar Mission.

Waiting in the security line for her flights to Dallas
and finally Mexico City!

Navigating security LIKE A BOSS!

Sister Avery Arrives in Mexico City (August 13, 2013)

Learn more about what Mormons believe

Learn more about why Mormons serve missions

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Great Week in Virginia

Written by Elder Nate Jensen, currently serving in the Washington DC South Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaking English.

Well, I will send "a day in the life of Elder Jensen next week." Sorry, Kolby's email was pretty long this week, and you can't be mad cuz this was the first week I emailed him first :)

Anyway to take care of some business: 1) They can't forward letters anymore, so everything will have to be sent directly to my apartment. Transfers are next week, so I will wait to know if I am getting transferred or not before I give you my address.  2) When I do know where I will be, I could really use two large drilux, swoop neck tops. My nylon mesh tops are terrible. I dread having to wear them haha.

This week has been good. I was able to baptise Randy on Saturday, and that was really cool. But the highlight of the week was this...We were street contacting, and I stopped this guy and we talked with him for about 45 minutes. It wasn't going anywhere. He said we were preaching about a different Jesus Christ, and he was actually a black panther, haha. We were walking with him because it was our curfew, and he was headed to the 7-11 right by our apartments. We told him if he ever needed anything, like if he ever needed help moving, then to just let us know and we would love to help him. His face changed immediately and he said, "What did you say? Why did you say that? I have been wondering how I was going to move." We told him that it wasn't a coincidence we met him, and that God put us in his path. I bore testimony of our church and the Spirit was so strong he was almost in tears. So we wrote down our contact information and all that stuff. It was powerful. So yeah, that has probably been the coolest part of my mission so far. He lives in DC though, so we will have to pass him on to missionaries in his area if anything happens with it.

Hirut and Bayissa came to church this week too, so that was really good. They are praying to know if they should be baptised, so it's only a matter of time before they get an answer!!

Kolby is doing good, though the language is hard for him. That's crazy about Hannah leaving, and yeah, I am glad I am state side and that I don't have to deal with learning another language haha.

Ok, so September 13, you need to clear your schedule. Our entire mission is going to go to a Washington Nationals baseball game, haha. It's gonna be SICK!!  But you should watch it because we will all be in our proselyting clothes. So, in other words, about 300 missionaries in church clothes. They are gonna have to show us on the TV at least once! I am stoked for that. Not much else to report from this week, but it was a good one for sure. I will send more pictures to you tomorrow. Also, I have lost 20 pounds since being out here, haha. Crazy right??  Love you lots, and miss you guys like crazy!!


Elder Jensen

Elder Jensen's First Letter from Virginia

Hello from Virginia!

Elder Jensen with his Mission President and wife

The group Elder Jensen travelled with to the
Washington DC South Mission