Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"Diarrhea Since Easter" Letter 7-28-15

CCM Zone
My CCM District

Our Classroom

Diarrheas since Easter...

Sorry for the gross title, but the CCM has been hit with a plague of diarrhea!! Seriously almost a third of the inhabitants here have some violent stomach problems. Luckily I am, at the moment, healthy (fingers crossed).
Our two elders are both out of commission so it’s been just the Hermanas for these last couple of days. We're not supposed to shake hands either. I've been super wary of touching anything. I feel like I'm living in a zombie apocalypse!

Other than that, this week has been great!

Wednesday 7/22
I have learned the tricky art of folding fitted sheets this day because for our service project we folded around 200! We got to listen to music while we did it, which was awesome, but all of the songs were these weird remixes of pop songs on a pretty old radio. Sounded kind of like horror movie music at times but esta bien! Music is music when you've been deprived for a month.

Thursday 7/23
Not much happened today. Hna. Ylst is amazing at sight reading music while she sings, so she learned the harmony to this beautiful hymn "Divina Luz", which I believe is "Lead Kindly Light" in English, and we have sung it for all of our investigators. I'll try to record us singing it or something so I can share it with you.

Friday 7/24
HAPPY MONTH-AVERSARY!! WOOT! I can't believe it's already been a month! We had a wonderful lesson with Alejandro this day. He had questions about gay marriage so we read him parts of The Family: A Proclamation to the World and told him the Heavenly Father has commanded marriage to be between man and wife and His ways do not change even if the world's do. Then we read from John 8 where the woman who was caught in adultery is saved from stoning when Christ tells them that he who has not sinned should cast the first stone. We likened this to us and said that we all have the ability to cast stones at others, though we ourselves are sinners. This really helped explain the commandment of chastity and the commandments of loving one another and righteous judgment. I have been thinking much of how I can be better at not casting stones. 
Our teacher, Hno. Vargas set up an opportunity for us to teach a real investigator--his cousin! His cousin, Alan, has never agreed to meeting with missionaries until now so we felt pretty honored and spent much of the day planning for the lesson which would be on God and His nature as a loving Heavenly Father. Hno. Vargas wanted us all to have the opportunity of teacher a real investigator so the entire district would teach the lesson. We all fasted for the Spirit to be very strong with us because we would have to teach over Skype. 

Saturday 7/25
Since we were fasting, we didn't go to the comedor for breakfast and had extra time to plan our lesson (its tricky teaching with 6 missionaries). We taught the lesson and barely got to know him after 9 minutes of talking when he told us he had to leave. A little disappointing because we didn't get into our lesson, but we asked if we could sing "Soy Un Hijo De Dios" (I am a Child of God) to him, which he allowed, and then he agreed to let missionaries come to his home and teach him! We were really excited about that! Though we only talked for 9 minutes it was amazing how strong the Spirit was! I am amazed everyday at the love God shows us through the Holy Ghost.
Also, Happy Christmas in July! Our closing hymn fro the day was  "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear". (sigh) Oh I just love Christmas :)

Sunday 7/26
Such a great Sunday! In Relief Society we broke up into groups and studied The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Some really wonderful thoughts were shared; one of them being it is no coincidence that this came out 20 years ago, just before my generation was born. Because of this surely inspired timing, I and many of the missionaries my age have had the opportunity of growing up with these teachings so we can know them in our minds and in our hearts. Now, just as we are on missions, the United States has legalized gay marriage. Sure there will be question about this topic on our missions (even though I won't be in the States) and countless after as we live as adults in the LDS church. One Hermana made an excellent comment about teaching about and standing for these teachings with one motive: love. She said we should never ever declare any teaching to condemn someone, but because we love God, we love Jesus Christ and we love them and we know that it is truth.
The overseer of the international MTC's, Elder Kelly Mills has been here this week and gave an excellent devotional Sunday night. He showed us pictures of the building and missionaries in the MTC's around the world and reminded us to realize that we are not the only ones who left our families and our normal lives to serve the Lord. He talked about the importance of finding focus on our missions and really loving the Lord and the people with all of our hearts. He told us the forget ourselves and go to work. He referred to when Christ tells us that he who loses his life will find it. By losing our lives in serving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we actually find it because when we try very hard to bring someone else to Christ, we grow closer too,
He also really emphasized the miracle and importance of sharing testimony, it is sharing light. Somewhere in D & C it says that the angels record our testimonies, which is awesome! He read a quote from the late President Boyd K. Packer that said something like "You cannot find it, grow it or enlighten it if you do not share it." Since Fast Sunday is coming up, I encourage all of you to share your testimony, if not in the Fast and Testimony meeting, then with the family. I promise it will grow by sharing it because I have seen mine grow so much by sharing it for just this past month!

Monday 7/27
We took these pictures for this slide show thing that the CCM does every week for those leaving. Our district wore rainbow colors--I was green. While we were taking our pictures, Elder Mills walked by. I called after him and told him that I really loved his devotional and I thanked him. Then I did the unspeakable and I curtsied. Like, what?! A curtsy?! I don't even know, but it happened. Not my proudest moment.
I've been reading in the Pearl of Great Price. Heavy, but really cool stuff
That pretty much it from this week!

You are the best people ever!!! Truly. Not just saying that!
I love you! Wish me luck as I battle the zombie-diarrhea plague!

Con amor,
Hermana Hauck

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Worms & Sheep" Letter 7-21-15

Jesus Cutout

The Shirt I Got at Zarahemla

Mexico City Temple

The Christus

Temple Visitor Center

Hey-hey, Chili Peeps!

Sounds like things are hopping in St. George. This week has been fun and very difficult, but I feel like I have grown very much.

P-day is always a good time! I kicked it off emailing you lovely people and spent much of the day at the gym and doing laundry as per usual. Then this district that we usually eat with inherited this awesome Jesus cutout, so naturally we took pictures (attached). The food here is great usually, besides some various side effects, but I had a rather unfortunate experience for dinner Tuesday night. They had blackberries in the fruit bar, so I got an entire plateful and ate it before any of my other foods. Shortly after, Elder Barrus, who also had a plate of blackberries, pointed out two tiny worms wiggling through one of his berries. Not sure if I had any little friends in mine, but I've been avoiding the berries this last week.

Wednesday & Thursday
Each of these days mostly consisted of teaching, language class and chastisements. Yes, chastisements. Each of our three teachers has had to tell us that we need to become more focused representatives of Christ. It’s never fun being scolded one time, let alone three, but I definitely feel like it was something that I needed. Don't worry, my district and I were not doing anything bad, but we were maybe taking a bit too lightly the magnitude of our callings. I have the name of Jesus Christ on my tag, which means I need to represent Him and His light with reverence and focus.

We were feeling a little downtrodden from being gotten after, so our teacher, Hno. Vargas shared with us this video that had talks from Jeffrey R. Holland and Henry B. Eyring. They talk of the importance of pressing forward, even when we feel tired. Elder Holland suggests the idea that things in missionary work and life in general are hard because "Salvation is not a cheap experience." I'm not sure what the name of these talks are, but you all should use your computer hacking skills to find that out and read or listen to them. They definitely were counsel that I needed to hear.

Hna. Ylst and I had a really cool experience teaching one of our "investigators", Alejandro, today. We got on the topic of families and he asked how ours were doing, to which we both answered, "As far as we know, well, but we won't know until Tuesday". We explained we can’t call family and he told us that he wouldn't want to leave his family like we did. We both were able to bear our testimonies of Jesus Christ, the Gospel and why we were okay with leaving our families for 18 months. It felt so good to testify of these things because it is one thing to know them in your heart; it's another to share it with someone. I found myself to have a stronger testimony than I even realized. I challenge you all to be more sharing with your testimonies, even outside of church meetings. You never know when you're going to strengthen someone else's and/or your own testimony by vocalizing it.

I finally had time to do personal scripture study on the topic of my choice. I decided to focus on 1 Nephi 8, which contains Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life. This parable is seriously applicable to so much in our lives. We can all decide who we want to be in the vision. I want to partake of the fruit and have everlasting happiness. We got to watch TWO movies today!!! Which was perfect because I have been having withdrawals. Legacy was the first, then later in the day was Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. I loved both so much and they reminded me of the sacrifices that the early saints made for this Gospel. 

Another great language story for you. Hna. Ylst and I were teaching this lesson and the investigator, Cody, said he doesn't believe in the modern-day prophets or the Book of Mormon because somewhere in the Bible it says that there is no other word of God. The Spirit immediately brought to my mind the verse about Christ having other sheep in His fold and I wanted to share this. I knew it was something 10:16..."Matthew?” I thought. I turned to Matthew 10:16 and sure enough saw the word "ovejas," which means sheep, I handed my Bible to the investigator and had him read. Turns out that the particular scripture I was looking for was John 10:16. Matthew 10:16 says something about sending sheep among wolves. #awkotaco! Good thing I'm not teaching real investigators at the moment!

I just got back from a visit to the Mexico City temple. It was so beautiful! It's closed right now so I didn't get to do a session, sadly, but it was so nice being in the Visitor Center and being able to sit and look at the Christus there. I love how His arms extend towards us. We really are His sheep and He really does want us all to come unto Him. 
There's this little store called "Zarahemla" right outside of the Visitor Center where I bought this adorable shirt. I'll attach pictures.

You are the coolest people ever!! Keep rocking the life!

Con amor, 
Hermana Hauck

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"I Love My Mission, I Cannot Lie!" Letter 7-14-15

Our District Plus Two Adopted Hermanas

Awkward Photo with Elder Nate Benson

Our New Latino Neighbors
Hola Familia!

Sounds like lots of fun things are happening in the good ol' States! Is Emme really using the Elsa pottie? And it's great to see Hudsie Bear crawling! You people are my favorite! 
It was another great week here for Hermana Hauck at the CCM! My testimony has grown so much this week as I've had to really rely on the Spirit for the help I need. 

After emailing, the Hermanas and I spent the day at the gymnasio playing different sports and games. We also spent some time in the weightlifting gym. We have a bit of a running joke with lifting because we do our benches and pull-ups every day. We can each only bench the bar ten time (yeah...with no weights on it) and do 4 pull-ups. Later we went to La Tienda and bought matching basketball shorts cause, you know, that's what you do right?

Hermana Ylst and I taught a new investigator, Alejandro (our teacher Hno. Vargas), and it didn't go as well as we hoped. He had lots of questions about the Plan of Salvation and the Book of Mormon that are hard enough to answer in English, let alone Spanish! 
For service this week we cleaned the walls of our comedor (cafeteria). It was actually really fun because we played “Name That Tune” with hymns and Disney songs to pass the time. After we went and bought helado (ice cream) in Le Tienda. At dinner, I saw Elder Nate Benson and almost accidentally hugged him (still trying to get the hang of no huggsies) but luckily he shot his arm forward to shake my hand. 

Today was a total adventure! We had to wake up a half hour early to eat breakfast then board a bus that drove us an hour into Mexico City to the US Embassy where all who were staying to serve in Mexico had to appear for Visa approval. Immediately upon leaving the gates of the CCM is chaos. Absolute colorful and noisy chaos! Seriously almost every building is brightly colored and heavily vandalized with graffiti. There are fruit ad taco stands everywhere and tons of stray dogs. It was so fun watching the hustle and bustle of this place. The traffic is pretty packed and cars and buses are crammed on the street bumper to bumper. We passed this public gym/park that had all these exercise-intended contraptions and these ladies were running on this thing that looked kind of like an elliptical. We must have looked like kids in a zoo with our faces pressed against the windows because we were in awe of this city! Driving back we got to see this really pretty Cathedral and a bunch of different statues and sculptures that are mostly of apostles and saints. We had a pretty normal day after that. Hna. Ylst and I taught the cutest man ever, Lucio, who is probably about 75. We shared 2 Nephi 22 with him and he loved it!

We taught Alejandro again today and it went way better! We felt more prepared to answer some of his questions. We were able to watch President Packer's funeral. All of the messages were so wonderful. I love hearing from our beloved Prophet. His message testified so strongly of the actuality and literalness of the resurrection and eternal families. While in the auditorium where we watched the funeral, this elder next to me, who had been here at the CCM for only 2 days, fell asleep. I felt this breathing on my shoulder as his head was almost on me. Ha-ha! I had to motion to his companion to wake him up/get him off of me. Everyone has been getting kind of sick this week. The Mexican food here is really great, but it has its side affects...I'll say no more.

Some of the side affects of the food put the two Elders in our district in the infermeria on Saturday, so it was all girls, which was pretty fun! I don't think I've seen our teacher, Hno. Vargas, laugh as hard as he did with us today. We went outside for much of the day to get some fresh air because we practically live in our classroom.

The Sabbath is always perfect for letting us catch our breath and be spiritually fed. This Sunday was just what I needed, and I didn't even know I need it! Our Elders were still sick so we had a mini testimony meeting with the Hermanas. I bore my testimony on the plainness of this Gospel. I really like reading and words in general so I sort of always want to put things about the Gospel in beautiful and profound ways. This is not necessary; The Gospel is beautiful and profound on its own. It doesn't need flourish. I shared an experience from earlier this week when Hno. Vargas was teaching Hna. Ylst and I about the importance of bearing testimony and witness in lessons. He asked me how I know that God lives and is my Father. I sort of waited for a second for the Holy Ghost to place some awesome sentence into my mouth, but felt nothing come. This was terrifying to me and for like .05 of a second I thought "Hold up! I have a testimony, right?" I sat quietly for a bit and then realized how simple it all is. I began to cry as I told him in the best Spanish I could muster that I know these things because the Holy Ghost has testified of their truthfulness to me, not ever in some single grand gesture but in hundreds of things. Line upon line, precept upon precept. From my birth I have been taught of goodly parents things which I know to be true through my life experience and the warm feeling I have inside every time I pray, here an inspired lesson or talk and so on.  This realization has helped me SO much in the past days. Another cool experience from today! After our testimony meeting, we were trying to sing the EFY medley but were forgetting a bunch of the parts and didn't know how to sing it in Spanish. About an hour later it was announced that this week the choir would be singing none other than the EFY medley--in Spanish! You better believe District 14 B was there for practice!

Lots of scripture study today which, of course, is amazing! I am realizing more and more how much the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. It is the perfect tool for converting others and our selves. I spent a lot of time studying 2 Nephi 31, which talks about following Christ's example of baptism. Read it! Hna. Ylst and I have been planning for upcoming lessons this week. We're getting better at planning and teaching. Honestly the hardest part is for me to trust that the Spirit will put the right words in my mouth as promised in D & C 84:86 (I think). I have a habit of trying to plan everything I'm going to say rather than studying before hand and allowing the Spirit to prompt me to say what is needed. We met Elder Alvarez from Hermosillo today! He's a crack up and told us lots of fun-facts about his hometown. I'm so excited to actually go there!

The Spanish is coming nicely! The Gift of Tongues is real! It's amazing how much I can understand from my teachers and the Latinos here. I had a 15-minute conversation in Spanish with a teacher about the new Pixar movie, Inside Out, the other day. And in lessons, the Holy Ghost really helps me remember words, grammar principles and so on. The mission is the life!

Lately there have been cannons going of outside the walls from around 4:00AM throughout the rest of the day. At first we all thought it was funny and made tons of Hunger Games jokes, but the novelty has faded. It's the worst! Last night I had this terrible dream that the Hermanas and I were being shot at because I could hear the sound of the cannons! 

I hope you have a wonderful week and that all of your wildest dreams will come true!
You are the best. 

Con amor,
Hermana Hauck

PS: I am sorry if any Spanish words/misspelled English words are found in this email. My brain doesn't use either language fully anymore. I seriously can't remember how to spell the word "Restauración" in English.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"My Strength and My Song" Letter 7-7-15

Las Hermanas
My District

The spot to be.

Hello all!! 

What a wonderful week I have had here at the CCM! I now speak Spanglish quite fluently. Before I tell you about this week's events, I want to tell more about last week and also some general fun facts and info about my stay in the CCM.

Hermana Ylst and I taught our first "investigator" on the first Friday we were here--yes, in Spanish-- and it was scary, but a good experience. The investigator's name was Jaime who was 20 and lived with his girlfriend and their two kids. He asked us some questions that we had no idea how to answer in Spanish, like how to pray and why babies don't need baptism etc., so we had to learn lots that night a tell him the next day when we had our second lesson with him.

Everyone had been telling las hermanas from my district and I that Hermosillo should be called "Hornosillo" because "horno" means oven and it's ridiculously hot there. Our teacher also told us that the accent there is a little deep and some people talk like cowboys. We now say "HORNOSILLO" as slowly and deeply as we can while we air-lasso a cow in slow motion. It might sound crazy but try it, it's hilarious (well, at least we hermanas think it is).

The weather here is very nice. It is warm for most of the day, but around 4:00PM every afternoon it gets stormy and it pours rain. It also can get cold at night. I live in casa 9. I sleep on the top bunk and the bed isn't too bad. :) My bug spray has been well used. There are mosquitos EVERYWHERE! I kid you not, everywhere! We have to swat them away constantly. Amazingly, I have yet to be bitten by any bug (knock on wood) but poor Hna. Harman got like 20-something in the first week. I think she took the bites that I was supposed to get. One night we accidentally forgot to close our classroom windows and the next morning there must have been over 100 mosquitos in there! We had to move down the hall for the mañana. The food is really good here! We almost always have some variation of beans, rice and some meat with tortillas. The fruit is amazing! I get mangos whenever I can. There is also ice cream served usually once a day. :)

I want to tell you that I have been very blessed to have the homesickness at a minimum. The first night was kind of hard because we didn't have much to do, but since we have been super busy. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful district, an especially wonderful companion, and His spirit to be with me to make me feel very loved.

Okay, so this email may be long, pero I have lots to share. Now I'll tell you about everything since I emailed you last Tuesday! *BTW I was super excited to have Tuesday be my P-day here, because it has always been a special day in my heart because it was the day I spent with Grandma Hirschi. #grandmahirschi 

First P-day was fun! We finally were allowed to take pictures and have some free time! Las Hermanas (my sisters) and I played on a playground that is here on the campus and spent a ton of the day in the gym playing volleyball, cycling and doing yoga. We have laundry machines in our casas. We have to buy soap at la tienda (the store) and it smells like really old perfume. We had pizza for dinner so naturally the day ended well!

On Wednesdays we are assigned to an hour of service somewhere on the campus. Our assignment was to change sheets in the infermaria (YAY!) but when we got there the lady at the front desk was like, "We have one bed and it's sheets have already been changed". We just went back to the classroom y studied. We had our fourth lesson with Jaime and he accepted baptism!! Hooray! As we walked back to the classroom, it started POURING! Monsoon rain! Hna. Ylst and I were seriously soaked. We were laughing so hard because we had to literally ring out our skirts before we could go inside.

Our district drew this man we imagined was from Hornosillo (Ya know, the slow-motion-lassoing man) on our white board. He had this sweet black mustache and pointy cowboy boots. His name is Joaquin. We taught our last lesson to Jaime. At the end, we asked him if he would teach us la pelusa, which is this awesome Mexican party dance that I can show you in roughly 18 months.

It turns out Jaime is our new afternoon teacher! His real name is Hno. Martinez and he is hilarious! The kind of hilarious person that can do/say anything and it is somehow knee-slappingly funny! He has a really good American accent, which he uses about 4,000 times a day to make fun of us.

Happy Birthday America! Hna. Ylst and I thought we'd be so special if we wore red white and blue today…Turns out every Hermana here had the same idea because at breakfast everyone was in our patriotic colors! It was so sweet of the staff, they did this total American lunch for us--burgers, fries, apple pie, and American flag fruit display with watermelon, blackberries and coconut. While las Hermanas and I were carrying our trays to a table, some Elders stood up and started singing the national anthem. We weren’t sure if that would be disrespectful to the Latinos there or anything like that so we kind of just stood there awkwardly, but then by the second line or so, every American in the cemoedor stood up and sang along. I had to try to balance my tray in one arm to be able to put my hand over my heart. Go 'Merica!

Fast Sunday! I bore my testimony in Spanish at sacrament meeting. It was like 5 sentences. :) We watched The Testament, which is a movie that set in the Americas when Christ visited the Nephites. It was hilarious because, in the movie plot there was a romance and every time anything happened between the guy and girl, all of the missionaries watching started oohing like crazy. When they kissed the crowd went wild! Well, as wild as missionaries can get. On our way home, my whole district ate entire apples, core and all. Why? Because we are hard core...(can I get a "bah dum TSSH"?).

So I now have one of those embarrassing language stories to tell. You know, when someone says something wrong in another language and makes a fool out of themself. In the lunch line the food servers are always so happy and smiley. I say "gracias" whenever I go through but today I was feeling pretty good and wanted to show a little bit more gratitude. I meant to say "Ustedes son los mejores," which means "You are the best". Instead what came out was "Ustedes son los mujeres,"  which means "You are the women". Every single one of the servers was male. I got some weird looks from a couple of them, but one really cute and nice older man was giving me an encouraging thumbs up. Hna. Harman shortly told me what it was that I had said to them. I nearly peed my pants from laughing! Whelp, I'll never make that mistake again! Monday night was kind of hard for me. I'm doing very well in Spanish and everything but my brain gets tired and I get frustrated when I can't say things that I want to. After pouting for a bit, I realized that this work seems impossible because I am not meant to be capable of doing it without the Lord's help. We need Him in everything we do whether it be learning a new language or just living a regular day. 

I love in 2 Nephi 22 where it says “The Lord is my strength and my song and has become my salvation”. I pray that we can all find our strength from the Lord as we live our lives.

I love you all so much! Sorry this email was really long! Be safe!!

Con amor,
Hermana Hauck