4 WEEKS DOWN

 

Awkard Bike Pose Weekly Temple Pic

Hola!

So I’m sure you’re all DYING to know how my tv debut went.  It was stellar.  Just kidding, they only filmed us for like half an hour, but it was super nerve wracking. They had cameras all up in my grill and sound mics and all that good stuff, but we weren’t allowed to look at the cameras and we filmed the same scene of my teacher coming in to greet us like twelve times.  Good times.
Only me and one of the elders in my district got interviewed.  I GET THE WORST STAGE FRIGHT.  I was super mad because they made me take off my name tag, which is like trade mark missionary so I’m surprised they let it happen, but the questions were super easy like “why are you on a mission” “what’s it like being away from home” blah blah blah.  AND I got to answer in English.  What a blessing!  I don’t know how long it will be till we will get to see it but as soon as I hear I will let you know!
We were feeling all bad about our spanish abilities while they were filming because we couldn’t understand anything the camera guys were saying to each other! We later learned they were actually speaking Italian.  Haha thank goodness!!
It’s pretty crazy that I leave for Argentina in a WEEK AND A HALF.  I should be getting my travel plans today or tomorrow.  I’m feeling more and more confident in spanish, but I’m sure once I get there that confidence will be non existent once again, lol.
My teaching abilities are also improving major.  We took on another investigator (actually one of our teachers, but it’s pretty realistic so he’s practically real.)  He said he had gone through like five sets of elders and told us up front that he was NOT going to get baptized.  My companions didn’t want to teach him at all but I took it as a challenge and forced them to teach him anyway.  And thank goodness we did!  Because he agreed to give up alcohol and be baptized after only our third lesson with him!  Faith truly does bring miracles!!
Larry S. Kacher of the 70 came and spoke this week.  I LOVED his talk.  Afterwards our entire zone had a little testimony meeting with each other and the branch president.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt the spirit so strong!  It was like there were angels in the room!
The church is so true!  Testificio que El Libro de Mormon es verdadero!  The Book of Mormon can answer any question.  Seriously, I invite you all to just read the Book of Mormon if you have a question and I know you’ll receive an answer!
Love you all!
Hermana Strong

I’m gonna be FAMOUS!!!

Cass at MTC??????????????????????????????? In front of temple  Zone in MTC

Hey everyone!!
Thank you for writing me this week! It’s been an eventful one!
For example, I’m sure you’re wondering what my subject line means.  WELL I’LL TELL YA.  Our district was specifically selected to be a part of a documentary, which will be played on a PBS like station in Italy and Argentina.  The documentary is about the church, so we are pretty much representing the entire church in all of Argentina and Italy. No pressure or anything.  They’ve been coaching us all week with practice interview questions, covering topics from gay marriage to what it’s like in the MTC.  It’s a huge deal and we are all freaking out, but I’m super excited.  Like what if I get to Argentina and they’re like “oh you’re that girl from tv!” hahaha.  The filming begins tomorrow so I’ll let you know how it goes.  Also, they said that they’ll send us the link to it when it’s done, so I’ll forward that on when the time comes.  Just feel privileged that you have a celebrity in your midst.  JUST KIDDING.
We also got to hear from another apostle this week!!  M. Russell Ballard came on Tuesday and it was awesome.  Something I really liked that he said was that whenever you’re feeling discouraged or sorry for yourself, write a letter to Joseph Smith as if you were cheering him up while he was in Liberty Jail.  It will make your burdens seem a whole lot lighter!
So remember that girl that took me away when I arrived at the MTC?  Well I was one of those sisters yesterday, which was fun.  Minus the fact that every single sister that I hosted was on the top floor so we had to carry all of her bags up there.  It was a good work out, that’s for sure.
I’m loving my companions, especially Hermana Rossi.  She’s pretty much the little sister I never had, because she knows how to push my buttons, but we’re like the same person at the same time.  I’m sorry for all those years I bugged you, Whitney and Megan.
So our teaching has improved SO MUCH this past week.  I’m learning what it means to really listen to the spirit.  And now, all of our investigators are finally starting to be receptive, and you can tell that they’re feeling the Holy Ghost.  It’s amazing.  My spanish is also improving a lot.  I don’t even use my notes during lessons, and I hardly use any english anymore in my prayers!  It’s awesome!
Well that’s about all I can think of for this week!  Serving a mission is the best thing ever.  It’s not a sacrifice, but an investment, because of all of the blessings that are coming out of it!
I love you all so much and can’t wait to hear from you throughout the week!
Con Amor,
Hermana Strong

Apostles and Pink Eye

Me and my companions the first night Me, Hermana Rossi, Brock and Rossi's friend ??????????????????????????????? The hermanas in my Zone

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Thank you all for writing me and keeping me informed on the happs of the outside world. It is seriously much appreciated.
I feel like my next few emails will be a bit dull because we literally do the same thing EVERY DAY but I’ll do my best to make these as interesting as possible.
The highlight of the week: RUSSEL M. NELSON CAME AND SPOKE TO US. We got a new MTC President so he came for Tuesday Night Devotional. He and his wife both gave amazing talks! When you’re a missionary, the talks given are just so much more exciting and get you so pumped to get out in the mission field!
Speaking of the mission field, I think I’m in for a HUGE culture shock. I forgot to tell you that one of the first things they gave us were filtered water bottles, because the water is so dirty there. I’ve also heard they use badays (i have know idea how to spell that) and that there may not be hot water. I’m hoping that all of these rumors are false, but even if they are, I’ll HOPEFULLY survive.
Downfall of the week: I got pink eye. IN BOTH EYES. So that was super hard to deal with, especially since all of the elders in my zone would sit a seat away from me in the cafeteria. But I luckily didn’t spread it to anyone else. What a blessing!
I was asked how church works here in the MTC. Well here’s how it goes: I have meetings (or “revelatory experiences” as my branch president calls them) the first part of the morning. Then the sisters get to watch Music and the Spoken Word (I feel like Mom and Dad on Sunday nights) then the sisters have relief society all together. Then we have sacrament meeting within our zones, and they call on two random people each week to give a talk in spanish (i luckily haven’t been called on yet). I’m also the zone pianist, which is kind of a big deal lol. Then we get to walk to the temple in the afternoon, and you always run into people you know and it’s the best thing ever. Then there’s a devotional that night and after devotional you get the option of watching a movie (like Meet the Mormons or Legacy). Sundays are the best, mainly because you actually don’t have to study, and they’re really spiritual and great. Everything is spiritual in the MTC though!
Oh yeah, so remember that investigator, Juvini, I talked about last week? Well we were just having such a hard time with him and couldn’t figure out if he was a member or what. And then last week, they tell us that we’re done teaching him. We were all actually really sad and devastated, until in walks Juvini and turns out, he’s actually our teacher, Hermano Roberts. They sure fooled us!
We now have two teachers though, and they are both amazing and I’m learning a lot.
I got to see Cassie Disner a few times, which was really great! She told me to tell you all hi, but she’s already out in the field! It seems like everyone’s already out in the field. I’m jealous of that, but I’ll be out there soon enough!
We teach all the time and are improving every lesson. There’s a lot more to teaching than I thought, but it really humbles you and requires you to trust in the Lord. I’m still in a trio, but we all get along really well and are learning how to work together.
I love you all and keep sending me emails, letters and Dear Elders. They make my day!

Talk to you soon!

Hermana Strong

Greetings From the MTC

Hola familia!

Gosh am I happy it’s finally a PDAY!!  We have been go go go for the past 8 days straight so it’s such a breath of fresh air to be in some sweats and hearing from all of you wonderful people!

We just got back from doing a session at the temple and it was AWESOME!  A lot better than my first experience there haha and then we ate breakfast at the Temple Cafeteria. The MTC food is fine but that temple food was the bomb!  No wonder Natalie worked there for all those years.

I feel like I have so much to tell you but I don’t even know where to begin!  I brought my journal along with me to help me remember what I’ve been doing.

Not gonna lie, the first few days were super hard, but I’m adjusting and loving my time here. On our second day here we already had to teach a lesson in SPANISH. Talk about scary!  But we actually did pretty well and since then we’ve taught like six spanish lessons, so we’re basically pros.  Our first investigator, Juvini, is this 23 year old guy and we can’t tell if he’s actually an investigator or just a really good actor.  He’s really hard to connect with and super aloof, and it doesn’t help that our spanish is super limited.  But we definitely are relying on the spirit and it’s working miracles already!

We have another investigator, Maribel, who is the most amazing person ever.  She’s pretty much a ‘golden investigator’ and the spirit was so strong during our lesson with her.  I’ve never felt so guided by the spirit!  When I told her Christ had come to the Americas she was sooo excited and me and mis companeras were pretty much jumping up and down after the lesson.  It was amazing.

I can pray in spanish and bear my testimony in spanish pretty well, too.  The gift of tongues is so real.  I really don’t think I remember all the stuff Ms. Coronel taught me all those years ago, it has to be Heavenly Father.  I know my spanish is nothing compared to how it will be when I get to Argentina though haha.

So we haven’t had a set teacher since we’ve been here, so basically every day someone random will just teach us whatever they feel like teaching so that’s cool I guess.  But GET THIS. So our teacher the other day starts talking about how he’s from Ventura!  And so I’m like, WAIT, I’m from Ojai!  So he looks at my name tag and like freaks out asking if I’m Will’s sister, and I was like YES!  Turns out it was Alex Castro and he’s like the nicest person ever.  We chatted for a little bit after he was done with his lesson and I’ve never heard someone speak so highly of every single one of you guys haha (granted our entire conversation was in Spanish) but he was telling me about how mom had made his family dinner and how tasty it was and how dad was his home teacher and all of this stuff.  It was nice to be able to talk to him!

Tuesday we had a devotional and Bonnie L. Oscarson spoke (the general young women’s president).  She’s a super good speaker and she had multiple quotes from Elder Waddell (shout out to Will lol).

We get gym time almost every day, which is like the highlight of my life here. I’m like the queen of four square and beat every single person in my zone (obviously the MTC is teaching me about humility hahaha.)

I really like my companions and I’m learning a lot about patience.  Being with people 24/7 is definitely an adjustment but I’m learning how to adjust.  It’s weird, I’m probably the most focused of any of them when it comes to studying.  It surprises me, too, trust me haha.

Sunday after devotional we get the chance to watch a movie or conference talk so, me, Sam and Brock all sat together since it was Sam’s last night.  It was cool having part of the gang back together and it’s especially awesome that we’re all serving missions!  Sam’s finally out in the field so keep an eye out for her when you go to the temple. We watched the talk from David A. Bednar called “Character of Christ” that he gave at an MTC devotional a few years back.  I recommend it to all of you, its LIFE CHANGING.

You should seriously all write me Dear Elders or hand written letters.  They make life at the MTC so much easier to endure haha. Megan and Bethany have been awesome at doing that, so shout out to them!

Thank you all for writing and keep it up!  I love hearing from you all and I love you all so much! My testimony is making leaps and bounds here and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve!

El evangelio de Jesucristo es verdad!

Con Amor,

Hermana Fuerte