Thursday, December 19, 2013

From the Edge of Town, Yo. (and my Pday is now Monday!) December 12th, 2013

Arizona is a desert.  If you weren't aware, well, no you know.  Literally. Dirt. Cactus. Dirt. more dirt. And rocks!  People just drive right up on to their yard because they have no grass. So bleak.  But my skies are beautiful.  I saw a meteor fall my second night here. Incredible.
Basically what I have experienced so far is your usual, pretty standard home down to the very lowliest places I have ever seen in my entire life.  It breaks my heart. Some of or our area has trailers in it.  A lot of these families have so little and give so much.  The branch is the tiniest thing you've ever seen and the missionaries play a big part in that.  My first time walking into Sacrament Meeting (which...I've only had one here haha) they asked me if I would play the hymns for the meeting! Bah! I am a terrible sight reader haha and I didn't end up playing because I didn't know the hymns they had already picked out.  But a lady from the primary asked me if I would play the new songs for the primary starting in January.  Since they don't really have anyone else, I agreed.  If this is what I need to do, I know the Lord will help me.  Speaking of songs and singing...they don't sing here in this little branch.  They howl. haha I have never heard anything like it.  And one of the songs was off of an iPad held up to the microphone.  It's just so different from anything I am used to.  But it was good.  It was still church. 
Ah...let's see.  Well, we actually have taught more in English than Spanish lately, which I am definitely grateful for because I know what's going on! But there is definitely a lot of Spanish too!  And since the Lord called me speaking Spanish, and that is the language that He wants me to speak in, I will get better and keep practicing so that I am not totally handicapped without my companera. She is great.  She is so diligent and a great example to me.  I look up to her a lot.  (:
We are teaching a few different people so far and that has been fun.  One that we see everyday is Frank.  Frank lives against a wall near Lowe's.  He has a drinking problem but has really really stepped it up.  He is preparing to get baptized on the 11th of January.  The only problem is that he keeps saying "I'll try...I'll try" He thought that if he had enough faith in Jesus Christ that he would be healed.  We have had to teach him almost every lesson how faith requires us to actually do something about it.  He is just now starting to get it and it is fabulous! Heaven bless that man that he will be able to do this! We have already seen miracles. 
Ivon is someone that my companion had only seen once before I came here.  (man, it feels like I've been here for a month!)  But Ivon has 2 children, is divorced and just lost her job.  We have taught her how the gospel blesses families and that trials help us grow.  I got the chance to ask her to be baptized, also on the 11th, and she agreed!  But we went to see her the next day and she wasn't there...It really worried me.  We haven't seen her for a few days...I am nervous.  But we just pray that something came up and so that's why she wasn't there and we still plan for her every day.  There is hope! (:
Manny was a funny guy we met on the street one day.  Haha we asked if he believed in God and he kept saying "I don't know, but I believe in love" hahaha oh dear. And we also got hit on in Panda Express. Gotta love that.  A creepy middle-aged man.  Asked us if he could take us out to dinner.  No thank you (:
This was funny also: a lady in the branch yesterday, in her broken English, told me I was a Barbie.  That cracked me up.  
We have another investigator named Aishah.  She is completely Islamic but wants to learn about different religions.  Let me tell you, she is the smartest 15 year old I have ever ever met.  She asks us the most complex questions you could ever imagine.  And she comes back so quickly and clever. The only thing that can strengthen her would be to read the Book of Mormon.  It is the keystone!
 One last story about the people we see.  We went to this home the other night to see a lady and her children.  At the closing, we asked the little girl if she would say the prayer. She asked us again how to do it and so we told her, "well, you start by saying this...then what you're grateful for...then you ask God questions to find out if it's true..." and so on.  So, this sweet little girl, 6 or 7 I think, starts to pray.  She literally asks God, "what does it look like where you are?" "what does heaven look like?" and "What do YOU look like?" it was so sweet...and so funny! Because we didn't realize we weren't very clear about that.  Just a cute little story (:
Well. That's about my week for ya.  It was not too bad! I hope all is well with you, too.
Love you!

Tucson, AZ, December 10th, 2013

This is it!  I actually made it to Tucson.  I only left at 2:30 am and got 2 hours of no big deal (;  (p.s. I am on a real keyboard that I understand! whooo)!  It actually reminds me a lot of UT here despite the fact that it has NO snow! How weird. And Christmas is in what? 14 days? See, I never would have guessed because I have been shut off from the outside world for so long and then I came in to no snow.  But it is surprisingly pretty chilly here.  At night time especially.  I brought, hmm, nothing! for the cold. haha fun surprise (:
Word of the week, I love my new companera.  She is so fun! She is so nice and we are very similar.  My last companera and I were very very opposite, so this will be an easier adjustment I think! (I did love my last comp. just sayin!)  haha (:
Pues, estoy muy entusmiado!  I got here yesterday afternoon and we really just spent the day kind of learning the routine around here and our expectations.  Not too bad!  We went to the mission president's home and had dinner and a little testimony meeting and got to go home early! Whoo! OH and our Mission President is SO awesome! His wife is just the bubbliest thing you've ever seen!  She was the first person I saw when I walked down the stairs at the Tucson airport.  She gave me the biggest hug and just started talking like she's known me her whole life.  They are super chill and super awesome! Like I said, estoy muy muy entusmiado!  (:
I was just so tired and nervous when I got here that I didn't really know how things would play our for the first few days.  This morning I still didn't know what area I would be in or who my companion would be. Then my companion ended up getting off of the wrong exit and being late to our meeting this morning.  I was the only one without a comp for a little bit and that made me even more nervous! I was pretty much just held together with a forced smile.  THEN #1 I met my companion.  #2 I loved her already! and thennn #3 we had the greatest first experience I could have ever asked for! 
Basically, we were walking simply from the relief society room to the room down the hall for some training workshops.  There just so happened to be a maintenance man working on the light switches in the chapel that we passed by.  We ended up talking to him and found out he wasn't a member.  My companion did most of the talking at first because I didn't feel adequate enough.  But as I stood and listened for a bit, the spirit whispered and I was its voice.  I got passed my fear and I spoke the feelings of my heart.  (This was all in English heh)  It went so well and we got his number and he wants to hear more! I even whipped out a scripture for him to read and ponder about and I know I did not do that one on my own. Okay, so talk about the perfect, perfect experience to get me so absolutely fired up for this!! All my doubts went away.  All my fears, gone.  I am so grateful to be here. SO completely grateful and I cannot wait for what the next 17 months have in store!!! (:
 I will be serving in a Spanish area for my first transfer! Which I love and am very excited for!  I will end up serving in some English parts as well!  And, of course, where ever I go, I will be seeing many who speak English even in my Spanish areas.  The Hermana I am with knows Spanish very well so I am not worried about my picking up on it.  I think I do alright as of now ( but LOTS to learn!) Wahoo! Adventures. (:
I just would like to say to you all: Never miss an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.  Spread the good word (: it really is not as hard as it seems at all! Just simply start out by being kind and being a good example.  The spirit will work through you.  People are being prepared all over to hear what you have!  DON'T you miss that chance. One more quick experience.  On the plane we sat by the nicest man!  I knew he believed in God because he said something about it, but he did not know what missionaries were.  At the end of the flight, I just thought that I should leave him with a card, but I was so scared!  I just couldn't fight the feeling that he might be searching for this and that if I miss this opportunity, it would be my fault! He is my brother, so I had to.  I gave him the card and told him that he could find out more about us if he looked it up.  Then, hahahaha, (here's a skill to use) I asked him if he liked the Killers.  Then I asked him if he knew who their lead singer was, Brandon Flowers.  He said yes and yes and so I said "Cool! Well Brandon Flowers has a cool video on there if you want to look that up!" hahaha golden.  Way to be, Brandon Flowers. 
Anyways! Stay true and remember that your Heavenly Father loves you! Keep that spirit of Christ this season.  Which is truly, serving. Love you! 

This is it! December 8th, 2013

Well! This is it (: I am actually headed off in about a day and a couple hours...This is my little goodbye for the time being.  I am not sure when my next Pday is!  But thank you for always writing me (: I am SO excited! But I am also pretty nervous.  Yesterday we had in-field orientation. It was an all, ALL, day long workshop.  It got me very excited, though!  I had never felt so nervous, yet so completely at peace, at the exact same time!  I just had the feeling that I could do this. This thought kept coming to my head: You can do this! You can do this because you are called of your Heavenly Father to do this and you wouldn´t be here if that wasn´t the case.  I am so excited for this adventure and I hope that I can do all that is in my power to make this experience mean everything to me; to allow it to change my life!  Until Later ¡Hasta Luego! I love you all!
¡Paz Y bendiciones!
Hermana Hurst

One last thought! December 3rd, 2013

I walked out of my classroom the other day and I saw the most marvelous sky.  It was incredible.  All of the sudden, it hit me! And I knew.  The reason that Jesus descends from the sky is because they are perhaps the most beautiful thing on this earth! They resemble His power, His love, His mercy.  We can learn from this world around us, every day, that we are because God is.  And God loves us so He gave us all of this beauty.  I am so cheesy and I loved this idea so much that, of course, I wrote a poem:

It´s no wonder the Savior descends from the skies:
They hold the power in His eyes.
The glory and light in the morning sun;
The sounding of peace when the storm is done.
The compassionate rain that falls with our tears,
The embracing wind the sends away fears.
The snow that blankets pure and pristine
And resonates through mountains where riverbeds sing.
And the thoughtful moon that guides our feet
To be the glorious stars we are destined to be.
Yes, I´m sure that the Savior descends from the skies,
Because they hold the power in His eyes.

I love you all.

First of all...SHOUT OUT TO THE BRO! - December 3rd, 2013

JARED, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! I was SO stoked when I realized that it is my Pday on your birthday and I get to say...HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND I LOVE YOU! (:

So let´s has officially been over a month that I have been gone.  I have not seen my family for over a month.  I have not seen a boy (that is not an elder) for over a month.  I have not eaten a normal meal for over a month.  I have not waken up after 7 for over a month...and the list continues....Why did I choose to do this? Sometimes I wonder. And then I realize--Duh! It's because I absolutely love it!!!! (:  (:
I cannot even believe how fast this is going! I didn´t know how I would make it through the first week and now I am going to be soooo sad to leave this Garden of Eden and travel off into the lone and dreary world. Haha that analogy was given to us the second week we were here, in Relief Society. Anyways. I cannot believe it! And our district has gotten so close.  The second day that we were here, I talked to some hermanas that had been here for a while.  They were telling me how I would love my district and they would become like my family.  I just thought "pah, well okay..." and guess what! It is totally true.  I love them so much! I couldn´t imagine it any other way here.  If one of them weren´t here, it would be a whole different experience. It´s kind of cool because I don´t even remember becoming friends.  We just were.  We´re all connected in this work; brothers and sisters. I am truly loving this.

This was something I thought was funny: we were all talking one day about where we´re possibly going in the long run and such and all the elders in my district said "yeah, Hermana Hurst will get married first" Pah! what in the world? I am a child. (:

Thanksgiving here was strange. It literally felt like any other day despite the fact that we knew it was a holiday in the states! The cooks in the comedor were very thoughtful, though!  They made us their version of a Thanksgiving dinner.  It was definitely not your average meal for Thanksgiving, but it was better than any other meal we´ve ever had here for sure!  (: 2 holidays in the CCM? CHECK. Thank heavens I will not be here for Christmas.  I think I would cry.

I am definitely not used to a December like this.  When we sang a Christmas hymn the other day, I was so confused.  Then I realized that it is December! What. Crazy...So let´s see, it´s about 73 degrees right now.  Not even kidding.  After I worked out the other day, I decided I deserved a nap! So for the rest of gym time, while everyone else played soccer or something (which I am terrible at), I laid out on the grass and fell asleep!  My point of this story is this: Sunburn in December.  Hello.  It can happen.
So that´s some getting used to.  Don´t get me wrong though, the mornings and evenings are freezing! And it´s actually a little warmer than usual.  We can see our breath in the morning.  Ya know, that´s saying something (; haha

Last night I had a dream that Mom and Dad came and visited me in the CCM.  I woke up crying! hahaha ohh life on the mish. (: 

I guess my Spanish has been picking up! We did TRC yesterday which is where we teach each other lessons.  We got to be taught be the new district in our zone who just came in last week.  It made me feel better about my Spanish (; hee hee just kidding.  That´s not nice to say! But after that, we taught them.  This was pretty cool because we taught an elder who knew some decent Spanish and after we were through, he said that we said words he didn´t understand! That was pretty sweet!!! (:
Spanish is dificil, but I am loving it at the same time and I´m not quite sure how that works to be honest. 

Here is a great story!  Now first let me say that I do understand this scripture: 3Nephi 13:3-4 "But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly."  (p.s. great scripture!)
So with that being said, let me tell you of the time I chose to do something nice for my companion. haha I will pretty much write this straight from my journal.
All 3 of the girls were in the different bathrooms and so I had no where to go.  I decided that it would be nice of me to fold my companions clothes that were in her basket.  (side note, a few days earlier, our cleaning lady randomly lined all of our shoes up in a nice, orderly fashion). Entonces, When my companera came out of the shower and wen to her basket she said "no way! the cleaning lady put our shoes away AND folded all my clothes!" hahaha I just smiled.  Then the other girls came in and she said "I can´t believe this" She folded my clothes! She must love us." And they all were talking about how they´re going to write her the nicest note ever and leave her a tip or something! It was just the greatest moment ever.  I just laughed to myself. (: Good deeds, people.  Good deeds. Do them in secret and your Father who sees will reward thee openly.  (That was not the point I was trying to make by telling that story, but I figured that it´s a good thought).

On a more spiritual thought, this week has been my favorite by far.  I tried so much harder than I ever have to have the Spirit with me this week.  For my sake and also for the sake of the investigators.  What I learned was that, yes, you can just have the spirit with you by doing good and being in good places.  BUT, what I truly found, was that if you sincerely strive to have the spirit with you, with the intentions of having Him with you, always praying, and always striving to make decisions according to have the spirit, you will gain His companionship.  But not just gain it; it will work through you.  When my mind started to wander, the Spirit pulled me back into focus. It silently guided me throughout the day.  This is probably one of the most real experiences I have ever had with the Spirit in my life.  The beautiful thing about this is that once you have that, you never want to leave it.  This new perspective has changed the way I view things: it has changed my perspective on the mission.  I know that by continuing to practice this, it will become easier, and more prevalent. (: I suggest to any eyes that read my words, pray for the spirit in your life! Let it work through you, let it work with you.  You will have never known such joy. (:
Also, one other thing I realized this week was what an example we are to people.  One of the elders from the new district bore his testimony on Sunday and said " I just want to say thank you to the district who will be leaving next week.  You guys have really been a great example to us"...I had no idea that anyone was watching and I wished that I would have realized sooner.  It made me want to be so much better! It made me want to give them a reason to look up to me! I challenge us all, myself included, to become someone that others would want to look up to and become.  Become that person that your Father in Heaven has designed you to become.  (: Anything is possible through Him who created you! Do NOT forget. (: 
Learn to love yourself for who you are! And change the things that you do not wish to be any longer.  1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?...Become a worthy place for the Spirit of the Lord to dwell in.   If you are honest with yourself in every way, you can love yourself more because you will have peace of mind and self respect.  Watch the video ´Stay in the Lines´ by Jeffrey R. Holland (my hero!) It is a good one to watch and reflect on yourself.  No matter what kind of problems you are facing. 

The last thing on this 2.7 mile long email I want to say is to know that everything always works out when you put the Lord first.  As you read the scriptures, ponder what is being said and what you´re learning/what principles apply.  Look for the invitations to act!  And then, most importantly, look for the blessings that the Lord promises us if we do choose to accept these simple invitations.  The Lord blesses us far beyond comprehension.  (:

I love you all!
Paz y bendiciones! 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mission Fun

The District

Hermana Hurst

Almost there!...Changes... (; November 26th, 2013

Well well.  This week has gone by impeccably fast.  It feels like the whole week was one day.  And it has felt like that for the last 2 or 3 weeks...I can´t even imagine what the rest of this journey will feel like.  A month? Probably! Where to even begin!?  
Hmm...a little about Mexico.  It has been raining all de time.  Like ALL de time.  In fact I look like I just stepped out of the shower some days.  But it is a very pretty rain.  My skies are filled with clouds and trees here at the CCM.  It makes me heart smile (: haha all of my roomies (other hermanas) think I am the biggest hippie because of my irrational love for trees.  I just can´t help it.  They make fun of me.  I´ll have to attach the picture of my "future life" that they made me.  It´s cute.......hahahha Oh and there is also lots of lighting.  Even where there is no rain, there is lightening.  I love it a lot.  It´s beautiful!  
So here´s a fun fact, south Mexican food is very different from north Mexican food.  I never knew that before!  I was sitting with the CCM president and his wife at lunch the other day and they were telling me that.  They have pretty much been all over the world for different callings.  And I learned that my kind of food would most likely be north Mexican...So Tucson should treat me well (:  The president´s wife actually grew up in Tucson and so she told me about the food! WHoo whooooo.
Oh and here was a fun time: the other day I was walking out of the girls bathroom a little quickly because my companion was rushing me...anywho, I slipped on the floor! The bathroom floor.  Yes, on my hands and knees.  It was painfully disgusting (see what I did there?). And I walked out after picking myself up and two other hermanas were about to walk in.  This is what I said to them..."Beware the lou!" hahaha I am so funny! Get it? Like from Emperor´s New Groove? When he throws the old guy out the window and he says "beware the groove!" yeah. Super funny, I know. (:  
Another fun thing here is the nights.  The nights are filled with lovely explosions and loud music.  Yes, I fell asleep to Justin Bebier the other night.  And not to mention the next day, Sunday, was filled with random explosions during Sunday school and sacrament meeting.  What a joyful time it is here in Mexico.  I think it was some religious holiday? Whatever it was, they were shooting off these ginormous fireworks from like 6pm to 1am...but not to worry, they started back up again around 5am! FIVE! And they continued randomly throughout the day.  Mexicans party.  
Speaking of Sunday, I think I may have mentioned how Sunday works before, but if not, I´ll share again.  So basically, everyone prepares a talk based on one of the three topics we are given. When we are in Sacrament meeting, 9 lucky people get called up.  You never know if it will be you!  Except...this Sunday, I realized I had forgotten my talk when I had sat down in the meeting.  It was in my classroom! So I knew at that point that I would be one of the lucky ones to get called up and give a talk in Spanish without any notes or help.  I was so right.  I gave a talk on faith.  I started out with this, "Today I am exercising a lot of faith because I left my talk in the classroom!" at least it gave me a good starting line, right? It actually went really well! I even teared up a little haha but hey, that means I was feeling something.  Even my Spanish went pretty well.  I really am getting the hang of this Spanish thing.  Don´t get me wrong, I am no where near perfect, but I am definitely improving each day.  
One of the things that I have absolutely loved here is the Temple.  The temple here has escalators!  I did not expect that at all because I have never seen that before.  But I came around the corner and there were all these angels, dressed in white, ascending up into the heavens! That´s what it looks like when there´s escalators there.  Just a line of angels (: That was neat.
The food is sadly getting worse...but every-now-and-then they surprise us.  They even made us tiny cinnamon rolls the other day!  One of the cooks there that I am friends with was like"Hermana, take as many as you like." then he waited intently for me to try it and said "you like? you like?"hahah they are the best! I have a hard time understanding them most of the time, but they really try to speak English for me (:  And as far as the other food goes, a lot of the days I eat peanut butter and nutella sandwiches.  It´s pretty great.
One of my favorite favorite things this week was, as usual, the devotionals!  This week we listened to a talk that Elder Jeffrey R. Holland gave at the Provo MTC a year or two ago.  He is so passionate about this work, it is infectious!  It was all about growing up and really taking this work seriously.  It was perfect for me to hear.  He kept saying things like "Don´t you dare come home and not be changed forever!"  He kept emphasizing to let this work sink into our hearts and become us.  I loved that.  He kept saying "Don´t miss this chance¨" We only get it once.  I will only carry an actual name badge for this time of my life.  I really need to recognize the importance of representing the name I carry below mine: Jesus Christ.  I also loved this part. he said "Don´t go back to what you were.  Even if you were terrific.  That was a younger terrific" It really opened my eyes to the changes I need to make in my life, to the person that I want to be.  That God wants me to be.  This is nothing to be taken light-heartedly. "We expect a lot.  We really expect a lot.  And we do not apologize"  These words also came from Jeffrey R. Holland. An Apostle of the Lord.  And if he expects that much of me, I surely need to expect just the same.  I know I am not alone in this and I know that I will be strengthened as I put my trust in the Lord.  (Sorry. Hit that italicize button again...don´t know how to fix).  Anyways, I just am so so grateful to be a missionary.  Especially at this exact time! There is certainly a reason and I feel so blessed to be able to be a part of the hastening of the work that the Lord promised would come.  How cool is that!? I feel pretty cool (; haha 
Yesterday was a great experience too!! We learned how to sincerely seek for and teach with the spirit.  Our teacher asked for volunteers who wanted to sincerely seek for the spirit.  I raised my hand along with 5 others and the class was divided in half.  The half of us who volunteered he asked us to just pray and start preparing to teach. The other half he took out into the hall and described to them their profile of the investigator that they would be.  When they came back in, I ended up teaching Elder Jeske.  It was such such such a great experience!  I found myself teaching him things that I didn´t even know he needed to be taught until after the fact.  The spirit was so strong.  We both were strengthened from this experience.  The Spirit is the master teacher, not us!  We are simply the instruments in the Lord´s hands and we need to prepare ourselves with the words and teachings of the gospel so that the spirit can take what we´re learned and apply it in our teaching.  Seek first to obtain my word, then the Lord will give you on the hour the things that you should say.  (I think I just combined a few different scriptures, but the same principle applies).  Anyways. I AM SO STOKED TO BE A MISSIONARY OF THE LORD, JESUS CHRIST; to wear His name, and to daily strive to feel of His spirit and love.  (: NOW is the time! Now is the time for men to prepare to meet God. Not tomorrow, NOW. I will end with one of my all time favorite scriptures (except for I think I say that about all of them) Joshua 3:5 "...Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you."  Are you ready? Will you be ready?  Therefore, sanctify yourselves.  Then can you be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. (: 
I love you all!
Hermana Hurst

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Help Thou My Unbelief - November 19th, 2013

This week has been quite the up and down for me.  I have been on a rollercoaster since I woke up on Monday morning.  But it is alright.  (: I have learned so much about myself, about my relationship with God, and that my Savior loves me.  I know He loves me.  First of all, thank heavens I am going to AZ.  Life in Mexico is crazy.  I believe I have mentioned that before...just reiterating.  Oh, and this was and my Hermanas were running around the track last week and there were some Mexican workers sitting under a tree nearby.  We took no notice...we just said hello and kept running.  As we were leaving, we said goodbye and waved and whatnot...and we noticed a flashing light. Yes. These men had been taking pictures of us. Here we are trying to be nice and stuff, just joggin our very attractive basketball shorts and baggy tshirts, looking as good as day, and they were creepin on us! Hahahaha okay. What a hoot. (;
Also, you know how I HATE moths? Like literally...I will cry if I am near one.  Let me introduce you to...THE DRAGON. I have a picture and I will send it (along with all the others) when I am able to access a way to.  Anywho, the dragon is a lovely creature.  A moth to be exact.  It is probably about the size of my hand. It is black. And it is probably the scariest thing I have ever seen.  I have a picture like I said, but not because I took one.  I had someone else take it while I was in the corner hyperventilating. Mmmm gotta love those moths. 
Hey! Here´s something fun!  One of our favorite districts (the friends that left last week) left us something before they left.  Well, they only left it to us 4 girls (we´re pretty much a package deal...and to the fam that is in on this inside joke "standard package, no options").  They told us that we were the worthy ones to receive it and that we should tell no one here.  But you´re not here. (: It is hilarious! It was a map to find all these weird things that they named after biblical stories/people and it lead to the "altar." This was an old fireplace...Underneath it, wrapped in an old pillowcase was "the records" Basically a collection of happenings during the stay of previous elders.  They wrote it in the form of the Bible.  It was hilarious! The district who gave it to us added to it and we will add our stories to it as well before we hide it again and pass it on to anther "worthy" district.  It also had the "sword of laban" and the "sling of david" with it.  These were fly swatters titled as such.  I´m thinking we will leave the "head of laban" with it when we hide it.  You know, Mom, the creepy doll head you snuck into my suitcase before I left (; Classic. 
On to Spiritual matters.  This week was a harder week for me.  But I guess only for a small moment.  Because it has also been a very eye-opening and spiritual week.  
To start off.  Our teachers were demonstrating a lesson with each other and I realized "okay, I am only here for a few more weeks and then that will be me speaking all that Spanish and I barely can understand them!" I panicked.  Right after that it was our turn to teach our teacher (our investigator Mauricio).  We went to knock on his door and I broke down.  Just sat down in the hall and cried for the first time.  After the lesson, which went by painstakingly, my and my companion went outside and talked.  This was awesome, because not only did we lift each other up, but we became closer.  It was just what we needed in order to strengthen our unity in teaching. You see, words come easy to me in life.  I just never really have seemed to have a problem getting up and speaking to people with my heart.  But I can´t.  Because I have a language barrier. Yes, I´m learning, but it is no where near perfect.  It was really frustrating at first.  But what I´ve been learning is how important it is to realize that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us. He KNOWS us.  He would not have sent me here if He didn´t think I could do it. He knows I can do it!  "I give unto men weaknesses that they may humble themselves before me" ( I  think it's somewhere along those lines, right?)  The Lord has definitely been showing to me all my weaknesses here...And I have never been more grateful.  He is teaching me how to make them my strengths.  I absolutely need to humble myself so that I can become teachable.  I need to first be an investigator here in the CCM, learning the Language of the Spirit, and then I can be a teacher.  It is a process.  2 Timothy 1:7 (my favorite scripture) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of love and of POWER, and of a sound mind.  All good things come from God! These doubts, these fears, they are not coming from a loving Heavenly Father.  Satan knows how good we can be! He knows it, and he doesn´t want it to happen. SO FIGHT BACK! We are not here to lose, no way no way.  We are here to win.  To invite others to come unto Christ.  Strive to be that example.  (: you will not do it alone.
We get to watch live devotionals from Provo when an apostle comes.  L. Tom Perry spoke last week.  He gave a great talk! These apostles are hilarious (: He was cracking jokes left and right.  One small sentence he said stuck with me.  It can be applied any where in life, not just in the mission. "By chance!? ABSOLUTELY NOT" We have a purpose.  We have a reason.  And we were not created haphazardly.  Become the person your Heavenly Father designed you to be.  He KNOWS you can be that person.  
One last thought because I write marathons (I can relate to you in some ways, eh, Ma?)
SO another moment of learning.  I was preparing for my investigator, Mauricio.  My companion said to me "ya know, you don´t really have faith"...I was appalled.  Of course I have faith, or I wouldn´t be here.  But she explained to me how I always have to have 50 scriptures that apply to our investigator or make sure we stick to everything that we planned.  She said "You don´t rely on the spirit to teach them.  You don´t believe that they are actually feeling it"...and surprisingly, she was right.  I had no idea that I felt this way,either.  But at that moment, I realized that I was not trusting the Lord to carry me through  these lessons.  I was not putting all my faith in that the Spirit would teach.  I wanted so badly for them to learn that I was almost doing everything I could to convince them...except for being patient enough for the Spirit to teach.  I could not believe that this was true.  It is because I was in confident in my language skills that I felt like I needed to find lots for them to read and blah blah blah.  Anyways.  I learned that I need to put mas fe en Mi Padre Celestial.  Because it is the spirit that teaches, not us.  We are simply tools.  We teach people, not lessons.  And so I prayed, "help Thou my unbelief" and my prayer was answered.  The spirit taught beautifully that day and I just need to remember this for the rest of my days!
I love you all! (: 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week 2 (2nd Epistle) - November 12, 2013

This time here has gone by so incredibly fast.  It feels like days drag on and then all of the sudden, my schedule says I´m on week 3.  That is so crazy.  I have learned a lot this week.  A lot!  About myself, about spanish, about the gospel...about how much my Heavenly Father is aware of me.  I keep having to remind myself that I am not going to be perfect in the blink of an eye.  In fact, I will never be until the day I come to meet my master.  I keep having to tell myself that the most important thing here is the spirit.  The spirit and the gospel of Jesus Christ. You would think that that is all we are learing about here, but with all the emphasis on Spanish, everyone seems to forget every now and then.  Here is something that I was given as a challenge that I would like to extend to you all.

Ask these 5 questions while you´re praying to know God.  Literally and seriously, do this.  It may seem silly because we go throughout our life saying we know God, but have we ever asked? 

1. Are you there?
2. Do you have a body of flesh and bone?
3. Do you know that I exist?
4. Do you know my name? About me?
5. Do you really love me?

Get your own burning testimony of your Savior Jesus Christ.  Make the time to pray and to read your scriptures.  It is so important.

We had an amazing devotional and that was something we talked about.  After, we went back to our classroom to talk  about it.  It was incredible.  We became so much closer as a district that night.  I just felt like we are all here at this exact time for a reason; to learn and grow together.  Here´s a little about our district.
Elder Sundrud.  He likes oragami.  He reminds me of a reserved, sophisticated Chad (our cousin Chad).  He gets frustrated easily and likes to be in charge, but he means well.  He was district leader for a week or so and now he is zone leader because a district in our zone left.  
Elder Jeske is his comp.  He is cool!  He´s super chill but a lot of times that means he doesn´t take everything too seriously.  He likes to make jokes when we´re trying to study.  He likes the same music Jared likes.
Elder Peterson.  He is hilarious!! He´s from ID and he has the funniest voice. I don´t mean that rude...just everything he says he almost says in the form of a question.  It´s really slow and drawn out.  Sometimes he has a lisp and sometimes he doesn´t.  He´s awesome!! 
Elder Sommerfeldt is from Canada.  We call him Canada even though we´re not supposed to have nicknames...heh...He´s funny.  He is our district leader now.
Elder Buchanan is my favorite!  He´s just so nice, right out of high willing to study and learn the language and preach the gospel.  He´s two years younger than me, but I really look up to him.
His comp is Elder Cobb.  I really like Elder Cobb too.  They are just two all-around good guys.  I really look up to them and their example because in the hours we are left alone to study in our classroom, a lot of people goof off for 2 hours and study for a half hour.  They are very diligent and a good example.
The rest is just us 4 girls I´ve talked about.  My comp and I and our sisters Hermana Ennis and Hermana Lundquist.
 (If you are wondering if I goof off, the answer is...okay, it´s sometimes) But we are in a classroom for hours and hours of the day...and if we´re not in the classroom, we are at gym and  my comp makes me run and run and run...This is fine, I need it.  But I also need time to be a perosn for 2 seconds.  A person that is a missionary, nonetheless.

One important thing I have learned recently is that I am here on the Lord´s time, not mine.  I chose this and He chose me.  I would like to inform you that Karlee is in Pleasant View, UT.  I hope she is good company...because Hermana Hurst is here in Mexico and will soon be in AZ.  I don´t plan on visiting Karlee, either.  I am here to serve the Lord, not to think about what I was doing, what I could be doing, what I will be doing after....all of that will work itself out if I just stay diligent! That is the quality I am trying to attain.  Diligence. 

So more about the CCM.  I see PD and Daidre all the time! (Elder Dixon and Hermana Maw).  Some new missionaries arrived last week and there are some friends too! Elder Summerhays made it here and so did 2 girls I know from high school.  It´s fun!

SO.  Here, everyday, I eat fresh pineapple and watermelon...Every day! (: It is great.  It was kind of funny because when Caleb Summerhays got here, I told him hey good thing you got here on a day they are serving something kind of normal, most days it is weird.  And ever since then, it has been fairly normal! What in the world? I spoke too soon.  They all the sudden began American-izing the food!  haha

One thing that I have been missing so much is cookies...just normal, soft cookies....haha

Gym time is wonderful.  As I mentioned, my comp has me run a lot.  But I want to...she just pushes me.  She was a personal trainer before she left.  We do other things after running too like bball, volley ball, and soccer with the other districts.  I taught Elder Jeske and Elder Peterson Crow!  They love doing yoga haha (: I teach it to my district every now and then...I know...I´m pretty cool.

This was pretty funny...this Sunday´s devotional got a little long.  It was all powerpoint and just...fine. (: haha so I hear a weird noise...and i turn around. FOUR elders.  4. were sound asleep and literally snoring out loud in a row.  Hahaha oh, CCM memories.  

We also had a wonderful devotion Sunday evening!! I loved it!!! It was about leaving your old self behind to become the Lord´s missionary now.  The person speaking was someone in the CCM presidency and he was fabulous.  He quoted Luke 17: 32 "Remember Lot´s wife."  Ohh what a great scripture.  I have never noticed it much, but it holds such great power.  Lot´s wife doubted the Lord´s ability to give her something better than what she had.  Don´t keep a summer cottage in Babylon!  We need to gather the glowing embers of the past, and not the ashes.  Look forward to the future with bright eyes and hope (: WE CAN DO THIS! The Lord is on our side!! Every day.  

Something he said that I really liked was this: It doesn´t matter why you came, it matters what you do now that you´re here.

I am here to work.  I am here to serve.  And I am here to change.

Remember this throughout your life, Whatever decision you make, you stick with it until it sticks to you! This life is the test, not the reward.  Hard things will happen, but it doesn´t mean God isn´t watching over us.  It just means that He is giving us the ability to lean and grow.  How great is that! That He is trusting us with the responsibility to find the good in these trials and to grow.  We need to accept and meet that challenge with hopeful eyes and a smile on our face!! WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.  Be patient. Be obedient.  Hearken. Hold fast. Heed. and Have faith. 

I just want to quickly share a poem I wrote the other day after reading some scriptures:

How can we know our Father above?
How can we know to feel His love?
How can we trust with all of our heart
When sometimes we feel so far apart?

We must actually search with true intent.
And turn to our Father, sometimes, to repent.
Remember He listens and guides and ensures
When we put faith to actions, answers are ours.

When in times of doubt, don´t doubt your faith.
Keep walking forward throughout your days.
If you ever feel distant on the path that you choose,
Remember this: God never moves.

He´s constantly watching us from above,
But we must come to Him to feel of His love.  

I love you all so much! (: If you ever feel discouraged, remember to ask yourself "am I daily striving to be close to the Lord?" The Lord only dwells with us in righteousness.
I love you!!! (:

Karlee's 1st Epistle - November 5th, 2013

Ohhh man.  You guys made me cry haha. I have been so strong, it´s insane! Today is the first time I´ve actually let tears fill my eyes.  I don´t know where this strength is coming from, but it most certainly is not from me.  Today we went to Mexico temple.  That was phenomenal.  I was lucky enough to do it in English today.  The next two times I will get to go will be in Spanish.  Driving on the streets of Mexico is soo different.  Everyone just honks if they want to get in a lane and you could literally reach your hand out the window and touch the semi next to you! Ay!  It is quite scary.  But we are very safe here.  That I know.  We live in a complete oasis of beauty amongst all the filth of the city.  Today I saw the prettiest flowers in the world! They were bright bright purple. They were in the middle of a graffiti-filled, dirty city wall. A metaphor.  We missionaries are flowers here in Mexico.  The CCM is probably the prettiest place here.  And wow, it sure is pretty.  It is the biggest MTC! But it definitely doesn´t have as many people as Provo does.  My Spanglish is picking up.  I can pray and bare my testimony in Spanish.  I love the food!  Well....most of it.  It is very authentic.

Here´s a little bit about my days.  As you know, I wake up at 6:30.  Dad, this was not as hard as  you told me it would be.  heh heh.  We then study.  After that, we go to breakfast and then classes or studying time for another 3 or so hours.  We eat lunch then teach an investigator.  Yep, that´s right.  Day number 2 and we were teaching completely in Spanish.  It was hard, but not as hard as I´d expect.  Actually, the people in my distrcit think I´m the best one at Spanish coming into this experience.  We´ll see if that lasts.  haha I know that I can´t do this alone. OR without much practice and study.  We´re supposed to speak mainly Spanish here and about 2 or 3 hours only is spent on the language.  The rest is spent on the principles and doctrine of the gospel.  When I first got here, I was a little overwhelemd with the Spanish part.  I focused a lot on that the first probably 3 dias.  But then I realized!  Whoa, I am not here to learn Spanish.  I am here to learn to bring others to Christ.  The obstacle I have to overcome is the language barrier which makes it so much harder to say exactly what I want.  But! If the spirit is present, then your message will come across.  Whether it be through words, or whether it be through the Spirit.  
Now, for an uplifting story.  Here´s what I learned in the temple today.  I was sitting there with my headphones on, listening to the session in English.  I thought to myself...ya know, I really don´t understand a lot of this and I don´t really know what it all means...That thought kind of bugged  me.  Then all the sudden this song popped into my head.  It was "I walk by faith, a daughter of Heavenly parents.  Divine in my nature by inheritance.  And some day when God has proven me, I´ll see Him face to face...but just for here and now, I walk by faith." Tears filled my eyes as I realized, it really doesn´t matter if I understand it completely.  What matters is that I have the faith to.  And so I will keep walking in faith, knowing that my questions, doubts, and worries will all be answered one day.  All we need is faith and everything just works itself out in the end.  

I think about you all often!  But I try not to let it distract my work.  I realize that when I am working, it is a lot easier to not feel homesick.  Don't get me wrong, I will always miss you and always have you in my heart, but I am doing so well with not letting the fact that I am not with you, get to me.  I talk about you all often, too!  They all think mom is funny (: which means, I do a good job in story-telling, because she is!! haha Ah, I love you all so so so much!

Yo se que La Inglesia De Jesucristo De los Santos De Los Ultimos Dias es verdadera.  Yo se que Dios vive y El nos ama! 

I love you all so much!

Hermana Hurst  

The Arrival in Mexico -October 30th, 2013

First of all, I hope that I got your email addresses correct! 
Ohhhh my heavens. I love you all so much! I made it to the Mexico MTC (CCM)!!! It is so different down here. I have never seen anything quite like it.  Although, it did remind me a ton of San Fran. The streets were a little crazier, though.  Seriously, there were cars everywhere just merging from every direction.  A few of the girls were comparing them to "UT drivers" hahaha. Good one.  

The flights were fine. I could barely keep my eyes open on the second one.  I wish we could hug clouds (: haha anyways.  My comp´s name is Hermana Field.  She is also going to Tucson and we met on the very first flight. 

oh! another cool thing, we are in houses! So we all get our own little place (: I just want to say make sure everyone is just loving each other and have a great week!  Stay close to the spirit. Especially with all the craziness going on.  I love you. I love you. I love you! 
Hermana Hurst