Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where did the time go?!!! I got my flight itinerary and after like 14 hours of flying and having layovers in Georgia and Mexico City I'll make it to Tuxtla Gutierrez Monday at like 4pm! They put me as travel leader but didn't give me any emergency phone numbers or anything in case of emergency.. so I'll figure that out haha. I"m traveling with me and mi companera hmna ortega, another hermana, and 2 elders all going to Tuxtla! It's going to be one heck of a day! Can't wait to call you all :) Like seriously get ready for the most fluent gospel diction spanish conversation you've ever had. Probably will blow your mind. (Chiste).

First off, thank you to everyone for letters and emails and such! The MTC is not easy, and that gives me something to look forward to all the time. I love it!

This last week here has been so bittersweet! I love my district way a ton. They are definitely like my family and I'm so bummed that we aren't all going to the same mission like most other districts get to. I may never see these people again! But I know I'm going to meet some really awesome people down in Mexico. Everyone in our district got their itinerary on Friday except for me and ortega and Elder Olaso, which means the boys are going to SPAIN!! They get there visas tomorrow. Except for Olaso who is probably going to be temporarily reassigned. I feel so bad for him! On Monday a lady came in the middle of class and told me and Ortega that we would be leaving Sunday night and then I lost it! So embarrassing!! haha I was literally just having a panic attack in the middle of class while we were learning about the Holy Ghost (the spirit was real strong). haha but I think I'm over it. I think I just realized how I'm actually going to be there! But now I'm just excited. I feel ready to go! 

This week we finished teaching (our real investigator). She is so great and is getting baptized like August 16th or something. She got me so excited to be see how the gospel can change other people's lives. She used to be hard core atheist. Ah her story makes me cry. I love her.

Also Funniest story about me and my companion! hahaha oh my gosh during one of our lessons teaching a role play investigator by our new teacher hermano Blyler (see pictures to come) we just started laughing! First off, Blyler is probably the funniest person I have ever met. And he asked us "so only mormons make it to the celestial Kingdom?" and usually when I run out of things to say I look over at Hermana Ortega and give her the look and she makes fun of me because she says that my voice gets really high pitched before I do this so she knows it's coming.. So my voice starts getting high and we really don't know how to answer this question and all the sudden we look up at Blyler and he is trying so hard not to laugh and then we all just started busting up laughing!!! hahah it was so funny. He said it wasn't even bad though, and we studied it and now I know how to answer that question! It's not members who make it, it's those who follow Christ! We taught that more in detail, but that's the gist of it.

This weeks theme was all about the Holy Ghost and Charity. The Holy Ghost can give us a whole bunch of qualities we are looking for, but the one I am striving for most now is charity!! It's a lot harder to have love for people than I thought sometimes. 

My MTC Spanish is getting really good I think. In one of our lessons with Hermano Lloyd as a fake investigator, he was talking and can be harder to understand. I was able to understand what he was saying and stuff and we were just having a converstation before we started the lesson. Hermana Ortega wouldn't say anything though!! Then like half way through the lesson I couldn't understand for a second, so I started praying for the gift of tongues, and boom just like that I caught back on and started to be able to get it again. Then I started praying for Hermana Ortega because she was not talking. And then guess what? She started saying things that I thought should be said too and they were like perfectly timed and everything. Then the craziest thing of all, at the end of the lesson she tells me "I had no idea what was going on or being said that whole lesson, but I was praying I would say something at the right time, and so I just said that and I have no idea if it fit in or anything" And I was like WAAAAT!! It was so cool. The gift of tongues and the Holy Ghost are real. I like her, she's a good companion.

Also this week we got to skype TRC to someone in Mexico City! It was awesome and he was super nice and talked SUPER slow to us, so we got most of it. haha oh man spanish is going to be beyond rough in Mexico! But I'm super excited! 

I love my mission! 
I love you all!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

This week has been soooo great! It's still my favorite to just be here and teach our investigators (real or fake) and get to know my district and zone better just by like playing volleyball or basketball with them and stuff. I love it. And I"m actually getting way good at basketball haha. Not really, but like a lot better. Me and Hermana Hobbs have started going running in the mornings and it makes my day waaay better. If the MTC has taught me one thing it is that you better figure out how to manage your time, and it's super awesome when you do, who knew I could do so much in one day?
Okay so our TRC investigator this week: We heard she is getting baptized! She is actually a real investigators and she will get baptized after we leave the MTC. Me and Hermana Ortega usually just answer her questions and help her out with scripture study and stuff. It was so awesome, yesterday we left our appointment with her (which always goes over time because she loves visiting with us.. I mean, who wouldn't?) and she said "I just love you guys, and I know its a bit early for the "L" word but that's how I feel". Basically that just sums up how I feel about teaching Ivette. So great. (that "so great" is for you Cody). I literally love teaching our investigators though. One of our other "investigators" (actually just our teacher who role plays) left yesterday and won't be back until after we all leave the MTC and it was sooooo sad. I have learned so much through my teachers examples. It's like I'm the investigator to them and they are missionaries for me. I have grown to love them, even though sometimes they have to criticize us a little. But it has definitely made me better.
So Thursday me and Hermana Ortega had to skip gym and go get her vaccinations checked up on main campus and eat lunch up there. GUESS WHO WAS WORKING! MY SISTER!!!!! Awh it was so beautiful. I was like on cloud 9 the entire day. So happy. That and lunch at main campus is way better than here. Also I bore my testimony to Raven in Espanol and she was super impressed I think haha. Also speaking of seeing people I also so Brandon Chamberlain on our Sunday and Tuesday devotional! He looks like he's doing super good too. 
I have loved being able to learn spanish in the CCM. Friday me and Hermana Ortega were trying all day to just speak what we knew in Spanish and it was so fun. I got to the end of the day and in our last class I was answering why it was important to go to church in spanish. I finished my answer and all the sudden my zone was like "what hmna mcnaught when did you get fluent in spanish?" haha it wasn't that good, but I know that the Lord definitely blesses us when we try our best! I have learned so much about the atonement, and especially about faith since I have been here. 
Everything is so fun here. Me and Hermana Ortega are getting to be really good friends. I think about leaving her in a week and a half and it is so sad. She has been the perfect first companion. Sometimes I feel bad because I tell her literally everything about my day and she makes me feel better about everything, but for her she has no cares in the whole world! haha it's hilarious. Also our district is getting to be like brothers and sisters. For example, there is this awful smell that comes into our classroom randomly (aka the food is not agreeing with someone) and it's sooo gross. We keep trying to blame the smell on the vents to make people feel better but its so gross haha. So the other day Elders Cowley and Carrejo were like Hermana McNaught and Hobbs come quick we can smell the bad air coming through this vent! So we ran over and it turns out it was not coming through the vent, they just wanted us to smell their fart! Sick. So yeah, they are basically like the annoying brothers I never had.. oh wait ;) (that one was for you josh.. email me!) 
On sunday we were assigned to be Sister Training Leaders, aka Zone leaders for the sisters. At first I was like oh no, I didn't really want it because I didn't want to come off like proud I guess.. so I kind of didn't want the assignment, but It has been so great. It basically just entails going to a few extra meetings, trying to be an example and such. The only thing that is not good is that our first assignment for this was to tell a couple of girls that they weren't keeping the dress code... awkward. Luckily Hermana Ortega is hilarious so she just straight up told an hermana her skirt was too tight and it was no big deal. phew. But other than that it has really helped me and mi companera strive to be better missionaries. We made a list of qualities we wanted to have and we are working at them and it has started making us way more effective and obediant. We are always striving to be more obeidient. Never knew it wouuld be so difficult! It's awesome at the same time though. 
Okay I will just leave you with my favorite thing I learned from Tuesday's devotional, and that is that "we love Christ because he first loved us". Wow! We have all hopefully felt a moment where we have Felt Christ's love. We love him because he sacrificed for us. We love other people who feel our love first. It's as simple and as beautfiul as that. The gospel is good!!
Hermana McNaught

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Okay So starting on Thursday:
A group of 19 missionaries going to Mexico City and My mission took the frontrunner and went to downtown SLC (wow) and got our visas! I'm just happy I won't have to be waiting here in the MTC :) yay. The whole time we were downtown I really wanted to like talk to people and stuff, but it turns out that a group of 19 missionaries all together in one spot makes it a little bit impossible to do that. We did talk to one lady on the train that was already a member though. She was super nice and just talked to us about what was going on for her and all about how she wants to serve a mission with her husband. I think that is going to be my favorite part of being a missionary. Just like talking to people randomly. I love getting to know people.

We got 2 new districts in our branch all going to Costa Rica. So now our branch consists of all Costa Ricans, Mexico Merida and then like 6 random spanards and Tuxtla Gutierrez missionaries. A little weird, but I really like my zone so it is super good! They asked me to play the piano in sacrament meeting on Sunday with our branch and I'm super not that great but it is nice to be able to get to do that. That's something I miss. 

Thursday we went and taught TRC which was just members who came and got taught short lessons on whatever they wanted. It was soooo good. It was a lot more comfortable because there was not pressure in like "Messing up". Then we later got another investigator that we will be teaching for the next couple of weeks named Ivette. She is actually not a member of the church and has been atheist for the past 5 years. Oh my goodness I LOVE her. She is so awesome and friendly and usually our lessons go over time with her because she loves to talk, but she also has a lot of sincere questions. Like she wanted to have her questions about the plan of salvation answered and she was super worried about her family being happy after this life. It was so emotional and the spirit was super strong. Anyway I am just so happy to be teaching her. And our lessons are getting a lot better. It also helps that Ivette speaks English half the time in our lessons, which is against the rules, but she really wants us to understand her so she just kind of spanglish's it up. 

Friday we did this way cool practice on "teaching people not lessons". Basically just listening to the Spirit and not teaching what we want to teach. I loved it! It's pretty awesome how well the spirit knows us and I think that if we actually just like listen to what we feel like we should say we can be the answer to a lot of people's prayers! It is so great to be a part of this work:) 
And then today!! The temple is finally done getting renovated and I am so happy about that! I have never appreciated going to the temple so much as I have right now.  It was so nice to just like feel peace and quiet in the temple. I need that relief and I"m so excited that I get to go back every week until I leave the MTC. I feel like there is not a lot to update on this week. Things have been exciting and awesome and I have been crazy tired but I love it here. Really there is nowhere else I would rather be!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ok, Here it goes:

Everything in the MTC happens in a blur! It is literally insane. I'll start off with the 4th of July. We got to go out of class early to have a special devotional and when we got there the speaker took about 5 minutes and then said, "we're going to watch 17 miracles"!! I don't think I've ever been so excited to watch a stinkin movie haha. Afterward they let us go and see the fireworks from the stadium of fire and get some Ice cream and stuff. It was a late night (like 11:30 bedtime) which is hilarious because that isn't even late. 

The pictures of my district!! I LOVE THEM. We are literally like our own little family. It's the best. The 4 elders are going to Spain and were supposed to go to the Madrid MTC but they still haven't gotten their visas. Speaking of which, guess who is going to Salt Lake tomorrow to get her visa??? MEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I was so excited when I got the news because we never knew if we took that picture right. So that means I get to skip some class and go walk around. It's going to be so nice to be out in the world for a little bit. There are like 3 other missionaries I have met here that are going to my mission who will most likely be traveling with us (so don't worry mom, I won't be alone :)). 

Saturday... was interesting. It was a really good day, and the district president called me to meet with him, which was actually really exciting because the sister training leaders were leaving to Costa Rica on Monday and so we needed new Sister training leaders. I was like sweet they are going to call me to welcome the new districts in. We actually get 15 new missionaries in our zone today!! All going to Costa Rica. In one district there are 5 hermanas, one of which I went to high school with, Hermana Ellis. It will be fun to see her all the time. I'm really excited to meet them. But back to Saturday. So I go in to talk to the district president and got the biggest bummer ever. Ugh I am really sorry about Grandpa and I am honestly so glad that I was here in the MTC/on a mission because I almost feel like it was easier to handle it here where I am too busy to think about anything. But the first couple of hours were rough. Luckily Hermana Ortega is ridiculously hilarious and one of my teachers gave me a blessing. But don't worry about me, because I am doing totally fine. I have faith in the Plan of Salvation and I know that I will see him again. I am so grateful to grandpa for opening up the door to those missionaries, and i know that I would not be out here serving if it weren't for him. It is people that are ready to here the gospel and want to be closer to Christ like Grandpa wanted to that I am excited to teach. I am so happy that if he didn't know before that I was out on a mission that now he does. I know I am in the right place at the right time. I love him and I know that it must have been a warm welcoming party into the spirit world for him. I hope Grandma especially is doing okay, and if anything I wish I could have been there for her at the funeral. I am so grateful that Mom and Dad were already heading up to Canada, and I am so grateful that I ended up not being able to travel up to Canada before I left to the mission, because it allowed my last visit with grandpa to be a good one. The Lord knows what's best for us and everything happens for a reason.

The biggest things I have learned this week is just how to lean on the Lord. How to recognize and follow the Spirit. We have had some pretty amazing experiences already with Elder Jones feeling like one of the Hermanas in our room needed a blessing one night, so the elders just showed up at our door after changing back into their suits to give her a blessing. It turned out to be much needed and i am so grateful for the power of the Spirit in our lives. Elder Anderson came and spoke last night at the devotional and spoke a lot about being worthy of the Spirit. I'm grateful to be here where so many people are living in a way that the Lord can work through them. 

Thanks everyone for the emails, letters and especially the DEAR ELDERS! They have been so great. 

Hermana McNaught

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hi family :)

First day we just roll up and boom I get my missionary name-tag. I love being a missionary. Seriously. It has been so great. Like I said before they just throw you right in to Spanish lessons, which hallelujah for taking Spanish in High school, because If I couldn't understand what my teachers were saying I probably would have had an emotional breakdown haha. Also speaking of emotional breakdowns, thanks so much to Abby Clark for giving me the advice of "just making it to Sunday". Yes, everyone and their companion here did say that to me, but I would never have believed that things would get so much better after my first Sunday here. So thank you. The first couple of days are rough. It's weird though, because I don't feel homesick, I just feel overwhelmed. Not with anything in particular, just the whole experience is a lot different. I wish I could describe it. But I think it is safe to say that I have felt every possible emotion there is to feel each day I have been here. But I've already been out for a week! Go me!

The first couple of days you are kept over the top busy doing orientation stuff, but by the third day you are teaching an investigator... in SPANISH. Like what? Our first investigators name was Carlos, and on our fourth lesson yesterday we committed him to baptism. After a pretty rough lesson on the plan of salvatoin, he said that if he was ready in 2 weeks he would be baptized! My companion and i have a lot to learn about teaching haha. 

My companion is named Hermana Ortega from Twin Falls Idaho. She's pretty funny and she's got a really loud crazy personality, I really like her. And we totally get along and agree on a bunch of stuff. I haven't ever felt awkward around her even once. There is soooo much I have already learned from her. We live with 2 other girls in the apartment Hermana Facer and Hermana Hobbs. I LOVE THEM TOO. They are all 5' 4" or shorter. So I look super awesome in pictures. Speaking of which, I tried to get my camera to load up on the computer but it wasn't working. I'll try to get them printed off and send them in a letter to you mama. Ok so back to my roommates. I'm pretty sure me and Hermana Hobbs are kindred spirits. Probably about the same person.

The second night we were here we met the branch presidency. They had us go around and had the whole zone introduce themselves. So many people have hard lives, and have pulled out of crazy stuff. It was humbling. I came away feeling like a pretty boring person and like I didn't have a lot to offer to be quite honest. God knows me though, because a couple of days after the meeting, the branch president interviewed me and told me that when I was introducing myself earlier he wrote in his notes that I was "Rock Solid". Then he went on to tell me how he felt like I would be a great blessing to the people I would work with in the MTC. Oh my I needed to hear that. People here are amazing and I am so impressed with them, but it is nice to think that I could maybe help other people through my testimony of the savior and the gospel too. After all, that is exactly what I came here to do!

Classes have been pretty good. It can be frustrating to try to get everyone to focus during our own study time. There were definitely some wasted hours at the beginning, but we are getting much better. We have gym time everyday and we either go play volleyball or kickball or just run or use the gym machines or whatever. It's way fun to do that kind of stuff with people. The food is pretty decent.

Okay I am sure I am missing a ton of stuff I want to say, but time is beyond limited on these computers! Um I don't want to be a preachy missionary to my family, but if you feel like you want to please look up "the character of Christ" by Bednar. It changed my life. I'm serious. Christ always turned out, he never focused on himself. I love my savior and I am happy to be here where I can prepare a little to eventually help others to feel of his love and use the atonement too. 

Love you!
Hermana McNaught