Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Email, March 31, 2015

Hey Fambam!

This week was great!!  Time runs past me -- crazy to think that tomorrow I will have been on my mission for a whole month!  I only have 17 more months, and next thing you know I will be coming home.  It’s a sad realization, really.

This week we got to talk to REAL investigators!  It was so fun!  My comps and I were all laughing about the fact that they could be aliens for all we know – we tend to be in class pretty much all the time and don’t get to interact much with people outside the gates of the CCM!

Throughout this whole week we had great, great, great lessons.  We have a total of three investigators and each of our visits is overflowing with the spirit.  I don't know how, but in the first 5 minutes of each lesson they always seem to share a unique struggle, and we are able to follow up immediately with a matching scriptural response and a testimony.  It’s magical.  I know this is only practice teaching and is not entirely real, but the same situations will happen in the field with real people.  I consider the experience we’re gaining nothing less than divine inspiration.

This week our district got some sad news.  We found out that Hermana Alonso, one of our morning teachers, has a cancerous tumor in her body.  She is a 4´11" ball of fire and has one of the strongest testimonies I have ever encountered.  This news broke our hearts.  We’ve only known each other a short while, but I have grown to love her more and more every day and the thought of her being in serious danger brings heartache to all of us.  One of my comps pointed me to a great scripture, 2 Nephi 4:20-23, which is applicable to this situation:
20  My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions in the wilderness; and he hath preserved me upon the waters of the great deep.
21  He hath filled me with his love, even unto the consuming of my flesh.
22  He hath confounded mine enemies, unto the causing of them to quake before me.
23  Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time.

This Sunday was Fast Sunday and I took the opportunity to fast for Hermana Alonso’s health and that comfort would find its way to her.  Bless her heart -- she would never tell us what she struggles with, but she comes faithfully every day to the CCM to help us learn Spanish and teach us how to become better missionaries.  She is a true example of the believers; in word, in conversation, in spirit, in faith and charity!

In my scripture study this week I received some great inspiration --- all members, one way or another, are here (in the church) because of the faithfulness and success of a missionary.  This goes to show how conversion can take place in the hearts of all different types of people.  There are families who embark on a new course of gospel principles every day, all over the world!!  This means more wards and branches, more stakes, more meetinghouses and more temples!  This work is hard, for SURE, but not impossible.  Each one of us has the sacred honor and responsibility of sharing the gospel with others.  And if the gospel brings us such great joy, why shouldn’t we share it with others?!  We must be BOLD in sharing our testimonies.  As it says in Romans 1:16, “. . . I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth . . .”

This past Sunday I bore my testimony, all in Spanish!  I wasn't fully aware of what I was doing when my legs carried me to the podium.  In my mind I was thinking, "Oh no!  I don't know what to say or how to say it.  Oh well, here it goes anyway!"  But the Spirit did me right.  I did pretty good and was happy that I followed through.

I am soooo excited for General Conference!!!!!  I keep thinking of a little scene from the Disney movie “Bolt.”  Rhino the Hamster’s brave, “can-do” attitude helps illustrate my excitement for General Conference and enthusiasm for getting to the mission field:

Bolt:    [Gets down close to Rhino's hamster ball] The road'll be rough.
Rhino: [points to his hamster ball] I have a ball.
Bolt:    There's no turnin' back.
Rhino: Guess I'll have to "roll" with the punches!
Bolt:    Easy won't be part of the equation...
Rhino: Promise?
Bolt:    I gotta warn ya, going into the belly of the beast - danger at every turn.
Rhino: [getting closer] I eat danger for breakfast!
Bolt:    You hungry?
Rhino: [cracks his neck ferociously] Starving!

HA-HA.  But seriously, I kid you not when I say that every missionary here is waiting with pens and notebooks in hand, ready for a spiritual outpouring and in-depth gospel instruction!!  You can say that we missionaries are the armies of Helaman with our swords in hand!  (I honestly feel like a legit soldier sometimes . . . the CCM is a form of boot camp to me.)

This past Sunday we had a particularly good devotional given by Elder David A Bednar.  I believe it originally aired a couple of years ago, but he had some boom-boom-pow things to say that knocked me right out of the park!  I especially loved his advice at the end.  He suggested that all missionaries who are looking for answers to questions of the soul buy a cheap, paperback copy of the Book of Mormon.  He wants us to read it all the way through and mark it up, along with praying for revelation.  When we finish, we should write a summary of what we learned and then store the BOM on a bookshelf, so that by the time we are his age, we can have an entire wall of marked BOM´s with all of our inspiration contained within!!  How cool!  I took this very seriously as an answer to my prayers.  Not only can I read the BOM and become more familiar with questions of the soul, but if I do this in Spanish, I am positive it will help me become much more familiar with the language.  So, today I bought a copy at the tienda and I am going to start today!  I know it´s going to be a bumpy ride and trying to understand everything in Spanish will be difficult, but I know with all of my heart that if I have a sincere, righteous desire to accomplish this goal, the Lord can make my weaknesses become strengths (Ether 12:27).

Welp, I´m just about out of time.  I love yall and pray for you constantamente!

Besos y abrazos!

Hermana Moss

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

E-mail March 24, 2015

¡Hola familia!

Things are picking up here in the CCM.  I love it here a lot.  I´m loving the fact that I´m surrounded by other missionaries who have the same goal -- to further the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  I´m not sure if I have said this already, but an Elder from our old district told me that English is the language of the prophets, French is the language of love and Spanish is the language of the scriptures!  I know this to be undoubtedly true!  I am slowly but surely finding it easier to learn and understand the scriptures as I read them in Spanish.

Not a lot took place this week in the way of monumental happenings.  However, I did want to share a little something about everyone in my district.  Let´s start with the elders.  Elder Jordan was born to be our district leader.  He has a lighthearted personality, but is also very chivalrous.  He looks after us, las hermanas, and he has a strong desire to share the gospel in Spanish.

Elder York is Elder Jordan´s comp.  Though a bit travieso, Elder York has a serious side and one of the strongest testimonies of the gospel which shines through when we practice teaching.  He has shared with us how he lost his mom when he was 14 and told us how he was able to overcome his sadness through the help of our Savior.  I don't know if I could endure what he did and be as successful.  His testimony strengthens mine every day.  Elder Despain is a jock that likes to joke around with everyone.  He is one of the zone leaders and has a very serious side, oftentimes quite intense.  He comes from a family where going on a mission is cool, but he doesn't have a whole lot of support.  He receives encouragement from his older brothers whom he idolizes, which is really humbling.  It constantly reminds me of how I have to appreciate my mission and learn as much as I can every day in order to help my brothers with all the experience that I am gaining.  Elder Howell is . . . LEGEN.  At least he says so.  I previously relayed some of his storytelling – maybe later I’ll share more of his awkward experiences.  Most nights after daily planning session we all enjoy what we like to call 'story time with Elder Howell'.  It's seriously the best and we laugh so hard!

Now Hermana time! Hermana Bloxham is super cool.  She and I share a lot of common experiences and I really enjoy being around her.  Hermana Saunders is her comp and is the most adorable person ever!  She is an angel with hidden wings, is great to get along with and has a strong testimony of the Atonement.  And leaving the best for last, we have the famous trio of Hermanas Christensen, Nicholes and me!  We have the most varied backgrounds, but we all get along great and work hard with our investigators.  After almost every coaching session we have with our teachers (who have been role playing as investigators), we’re told how hard it is to be in a trio, but somehow we overcome it and are able to give effective lessons!  YEAAHH!

We got a new district this week -- 6 new elders and 2 new hermanas!  We have been waiting so long for them to finally come so we can show them the ropes and help them adjust to this new journey.  We also got to pass down some traditional signs we have been holding onto for them.  We spent time with them last night during our family home evening and taught them how to play some games.  They will catch on soon, hopefully.  But yeah, it's nice not to be the greenies anymore.

Tender Mercy of the week was probably during “Hermana circle.”  This is where all the hermanas in our zone get together on Sunday and share spiritual insights, thoughts, feelings, etc. for about an hour between Relief Society and Sacrament meeting.  SIDE NOTE: the previous night our district was asked to share brief testimonies with the new district to encourage them about learning Spanish, and although we were running out of time and the meeting was coming to a close, I felt a persistent prompting to share my testimony.  So I obeyed the prompting and said something along the lines of, “don’t worry, everything is going to be fine.  Learn the doctrine first and the Spanish will come.  You may not be perfectly fluent by the time you end your mission, but the Lord has asked you to learn Spanish because there is someone out there waiting for you to enlighten their mind and awake their Spirit in their native tongue, and even if you only use your Spanish to speak to just that one person, you will have accomplished what the Lord needed you to do.”  I said all this not knowing who, if anyone, needed to hear these words.

Anyway, back to Hermana Circle, one of the new hermanas (Hermana Perez) spoke up and shared with us how she had a dream about a woman she believes she is supposed to find and teach on her mission, and how because of what I said Hermana Perez received great comfort and she prays for that woman every night!  My eyes welled up with tears because I was so glad I followed the prompting of the Holy Ghost to share what was in my heart.

I read a great talk from Elder Eyring called “A Child and a Disciple,” and in it he talks about how we will be lead to say things that we will not have previous knowledge of.  I know that as a missionary, we will be lead to say things that only the Lord will know and through the power of discernment, I can use this inspiration to help those I teach.  I, along with Hermana Perez, pray every night for our future investigators and for the help and strength we need to touch hearts and change lives.  I STRONGLY encourage every prospective missionary to make their own binder of favorite inspirational talks.  It has already given me so much hope and light and I love spending spare moments engrossed in the words of our great prophets and apostles.  Their wisdom inspires me and I am so glad I brought the binder with me!!!!!!!!

I gave my first talk on Sunday about repentance!  I was so excited because I had prepared what I felt was a really good talk!  I actually had been praying that I would have the opportunity to speak, if it was the Lord's will, and that if there was someone who needed to hear what I had prepared, that the Lord would give me the chance!  And He did!  Although I ended up reading most of it, I think I was the one who needed to hear those words more than anyone else.  I realized that I am still a baby at learning how to speak Spanish, and how even though I am limited in what I can say, the gospel is truly meant to be taught in simple language, even if one is very fluent and has access to a wide vocabulary.

Sunday was also a great day because I was able to listen to so many devotionals and spiritual messages.  The instruction was so plentiful, I hardly have time to write down all that the speakers were saying and all the revelation that I was getting.  I heart Sundays!

Welp, I'm almost out of time, but I’ll be able to get back on e-mail in a couple of hours to write some more to everyone else.  I wish I could stay on the computer forever and tell y'all everything about my week.  I'll end with a short testimony that I KNOW this gospel is true, Jesus is my savior, and I have been blessed with the knowledge that He loves me.  Check out Alma 22:15 – this is where Lamoni's father (the king over all the land) expresses his willingness to give up all his possessions for the Kingdom of Heaven – it's truly marvelous!!!

I love y'all!!  Moss missionary signing out!

Hermana Moss

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

E-mail, March 17, 2015

Hola Familia!

I am doing alright in the CCM.  Yes, I am getting emails from several friends and family members, including all of yall individually.  It makes me happy to know that I’m not forgotten back home :).  Mom, so you were able to meet Brandon's fiancé?  How is she, isn’t she the cutest?  How is Brandon doing btw? Since Brandon is going to Rome, there’s a chance that he and Tahoe will get to meet!  I see Hermana Mohr all the time!  She’s the Sister Training Companion Leader for her area, but I am not in the same area. 

Thanks for the quote from Sister Barrow – she always has the greatest quotes.  She has so much spiritual evidence to back up her testimony, I absolutely love it!  One of my other favorite quotes this week was one I found in my study journal which I wrote down when I was still at the Y:  "Stick to your task till it sticks to you.  Beginners are many, but enders are few.  Honor, power, peace, and praise, will always come to the one who stays.  Stick to your task till it sticks to you, bend at it, sweat at it, smile at it too.  For out of the bend, and the sweat, and the smile, will come life's victories after a while."

I miss watching Gilmore Girls with you!  It was only a matter of time before Liam got hooked, ha-ha! Tell me all about what I’m missing at home; I want to know what everyone is up to!  Please send me pictures of yall!!

Here at the CCM my favorite part of the day for is sure teaching our investigators.  We finished teaching Obdulio last week.  Turns out that he is actually a teacher here at the CCM and is doing role play so we can practice and develop our skills – guess I should have known that.  This week and every week until we leave will be full of teaching various investigators, most of which will also probably be teachers or volunteers from the church.  It’s good to have the practice opportunities and take baby steps first; you have to learn to walk before you can run.

This reminds me, I have learned so much about myself, how to be a better communicator, and how to be a missionary.  And the funny things is, I am not even in the mission field yet.  This only brings to mind what the Lord has in store for me, and I’m anxious to find out soon!  Mom, I’ve been thinking about our extended family members -- I hope that they can see how much the gospel blesses families.  I know that if I didn’t have the gospel in my life, I wouldn’t be a missionary, I wouldn’t have gotten into BYU, I wouldn’t have received my Young Women medallion, I wouldn’t have gone to 4 years of early morning seminary, I wouldn’t have known true happiness, and so much more that I can ascribe to living the gospel principles.

I have gotten to know my district so well.  I love them, they are my temporary family while I am here.  My district is always swapping stories about our college experiences.  Last night we conducted Family Home Evening amongst ourselves because we were the only district in our zone left after the rest of the districts left for the mission field.  For the activity, we played a game of stories where someone would throw out a specific topic and the rest of us would tell stories until we laugh the hardest and move onto a new topic.  Some of the stories were so hilarious -- Oh my gosh I almost died laughing!!!

I went to the temple Visitors Center today and I got some insanely cool Spanish scripture cases along with some other cool things!  But, we didn’t have the chance to go and do a session because the temple has been closed since last January for remodeling.  I totally felt bummed for not being able to enter the temple, but I still enjoyed myself!  When we got to the visitors center, the temple president and his wife greeted us and sat my district down along with 2 other groups in front of the Christus statue.  Then we got a small tour from some adorable sister missionaries who couldn’t speak any English.  It was reassuring to know that we struggle just as much as any other missionary trying to learn another language for their mission.  We then saw a quick video about families and how the family should be established on gospel principles.  A part of the video talked about wholesome family recreation, and I immediately remembered when dad used to take me and the boys out to the park in California and play baseball with us.  Sweet memories that will always be cherished in my heart.  It was at this moment that I knew there would be no possible future in which I will not raise my family upon this restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  The gospel simply true.  And although my mission will be completed in 18 months, it won’t be technically finished until I have done all I can to teach my children how to come unto Christ.

As for little miracles this week, I felt so close to Heavenly Father yesterday.  Tender mercy, I tell yall.  Sundays are my favorite part of the week – this is when I can spiritually recharge.  I experience at least 16 hours of classes all other days of the week, but on Sundays, I have the amazing opportunity to listen to people talk about nothing except pure doctrine.  Going to the Gordon B Hinckley Auditorium is like visiting the candy store!  It’s like partaking of the fruit of the tree of life as Lehi described it in the Book of Mormon, and all I want to do is share it with others.  I love it so much!

Alas, I have so much more to say, but time runs short.  I haven’t given you a complete run-through of my days, but hopefully this little report on the week’s highlights will do for now.  Worry not -- I promised myself before I came out that I would faithfully write in my journal every day to record my spiritual experiences as well as my physical experiences, without excuses.  So far so good, and I’ll share with you after my mission.

I pray for yall all the time.  With all my love,

Hermana Moss :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

E-mail, March 9, 2015

E-mail, March 9, 2015:


I can’t believe it’s already been 6 days since I’ve been out!  Time goes by so fast, even in the MTC!  The MTC in Mexico is called El Centro de Capacitación, or CCM for short.  I love it here, and I don’t want to leave . . . but I want nothing more than to leave for Nampa!  It simply calls to me.

My flight to Mexico went pretty well, although there weren’t ANY other missionaries that I could find.  I slept the whole time and barely woke up to fill out my visa form.  As soon as I went through Customs and collected my bags, I waited 10 minutes looking for someone with a giant sign that said my name.  But there wasn’t anyone.  I eventually found a tiny little Mexican man with a clipboard that said “MTC” on it.  I was really worried that they forgot about me.  Dad, nobody tried to steal my luggage, thank goodness!  I didn’t have to use my elbows and big girl voice to scare people away.  The little Mexican man seemed to have a speech impediment and I couldn’t understand any of his Spanish.  He then ushered me into this sketchy white van driven by another sketchy man who also couldn’t speak English.

We were on our way to the CCM when the first little man received a call to go back to the airport to pick up another missionary, I think.  We waited for another 3 HOURS for I don’t know what, but I was completely exhausted and starving at 9:00 PM when I was dropped off at the main MTC building by the second sketchy man.  And wouldn’t you know it -- there wasn’t anybody at the reception desk to greet me!  Then, I was hustled to a different building where someone who was working that desk muttered to me in broken English to write a quick email home, hence my very short email to you guys.

I was given my packet of room keys, maps, my Spanish scriptures, my official white bible (missionary handbook) and yes, my name tag!  I looked at it and said to myself that I had finally arrived!  I put that sucker on my left shoulder and didn’t stop smiling till I feel asleep.  After I went through a short video orientation, I was driven in a golf cart to my casa, a small green casa, number 22.  I was met by my companions, Hermana Christensen and Hermana Nicholes!  They are both blonde and the sweetest sister missionaries!  HC is from Austin and spent 2 semesters at BYU; HN is from Utah and is slightly older than both HC and I.  We share the casa with 4 other sisters, all with totally different backgrounds, but all here for the same purpose.

The next morning was filled with meetings and orientations, and I remember the first song we sang was "Called to Serve," en Español.  HC, HN and I finally got to meet the rest of our district -- another pair of Hermanas and 2 pairs of Elders, they are such goofballs!  Again, all of us are completely different people but united for the same purpose.  The best part of that day was when we got to observe a practice lesson to a volunteer investigator given by some more experienced missionaries.  When the lesson ended, the floor was opened up to us to ask questions to the investigator, named Carlos.  We all asked questions and shared spiritual experiences.  The Spirit was so strong.  When we finished, Carlos was asked if he would like to have the missionaries come to visit him again in his own house and he accepted on the condition of his family also being present!!  This happened during the evening, and earlier I was struggling to just keep my eyes open.  But after meeting Carlos and talking to him, I remembered exactly why I was there -- to help people come unto Christ.  It was a great experience.  I felt part of our Heavenly Father's love for Carlos and the ultimate joy of his future lessons.  I wrote in my journal that night that if I brought only 1 person to the gospel of Christ throughout my entire mission, I would consider it a success.

The next day, our district started our Spanish and doctrinal classes.  Our maestros are all native Spanish speakers from Mexico, which really helps when learning Spanish.  We were told that in 3 short hours we were going to meet our first volunteer investigator, Obdulio.  He is a college student and his dad is a violent alcoholic, but he really loves the rest of his family.  HC, HN and I decided to teach him about the Plan of Salvation and review El Libro de Mormón.  We were all given time to prepare our own lessons as companions and I instantly became the walking-talking-sister-translator, which isn’t saying much because I don’t know how to speak as well as I understand.  Just before we were about to teach as a trio, one of the male teachers shared 1 Corinthians 14:19 with me and it gave me a lot of hope and comfort at the time.  Our lesson with Obdulio went well because at the end I bore my testimony in Inglés and the Spirit was so strong!

The next day our district was given 45 minutes of gym time.  We played volleyball and it was so much fun!  Of course, it was guys against girls and the hermanas won every game.  I think we have played together every day since.  We all get along great and are always laughing.  Our lesson with Obdulio wasn’t as productive as we hoped because he didn’t come prepared having read some of the Libro de Mormón like we asked him to, so he didn’t have much to say.  It was a bit frustrating!  It’s hard to know what he wants or thinks when he doesn’t follow through with commitments.  I have high expectations, and it was disappointing.  That night I came to know many things: I have been blessed with patience for my companions to teach with them; the Spirit knows no language barriers; the Lord swiftly answers the prayers of a missionary; and that if the Spirit isn’t present among the companions, then the lesson will not be as productive.

The next day was Sunday and it was the best!  Our district met with our branch president and we were given intro interviews, and all of our other meetings like Sacrament meeting, Relief Society and District Meeting were all great!  This Sunday was special because the rest of our small area would be leaving the MTC the next morning for the field!  It’s weird that they have so much more experience but are the same age as us and that we will be in their position in 5 short weeks!  Our district is really going to miss them because they were the ones who took all of us under their wing and showed us the ropes.  The funniest thing that happened that Sunday was our chastity lesson for all the new missionaries.  Our 2nd counselor to the mission president gave the lesson it and he was so perfectly awkward, it went well!  Sunday ended with a video about some early investigators of the church, I think it was called How Rare a Possession, it was very good.

Yesterday was the best day I’ve had thus far.  As we prepared for our lesson with Obdulio, our companionship was asked to stay behind with our maestra, Hermana Alonso, for individual interviews.  When it was my turn, she wanted me to share what was on my mind.  I told her that I am grateful to be able to help mis compañeras study Spanish and that I’m grateful that I can understand spoken and written Spanish with pretty good accuracy, but I struggle inside myself and am frustrated at not being able to speak grammatically correct.  Hermana Alonso told me that not only am I a well-prepared missionary, but that I’m also one of the most fluent in our district.  She counseled me to have faith and to exercise patience because the gift of tongues does not always come as quickly as we want.  I am so grateful for Hermana Alonso.  She’s a small yet very intimidating woman -- she’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside.  I know she’s this way so that we can be better, and I love her for it.

Afterwards, HC, HN, and I hurried to our lesson with Obdulio.  We spent 30 minutes getting to know him better.  During the next 30 minutes we talked to him about having faith and becoming a true follower of Christ.  We then recommitted him to be baptized within a date of no less than 3 weeks!!  It was glorious!!  All of the other missionary companions weren’t really able to get a baptism commitment except for us!  It was the best day by far!  That night ended with a fun game of signs played with our area.  It’s kind of like monkey in the middle, but with hand signs.

So far, learning Spanish has not been too difficult for me.  I have pretty good comprehension but my speaking is weak.  Trying to read and comprehend the scriptures is the only thing that makes my brain hurt at the end of each exhausting day.  I call my bed Zion, because it is so glorious, ha-ha!  My Preparation Day is Tuesday -- sorry for the confusion of thinking it was the same day as Hermana Mohr’s.  Yes, I see Hermana Mohr all the time during meals in the comedor!  I’m so glad I’m used to Mexican food.  I think all the meals are great, but not for the other hermanas because they don’t have tough stomachs.  It’s normal in the CCM to have upset stomachs, except for me!  Hooray for vitamins!

There’s an elder in our area from Idaho Falls who knows Jason Palfreyman!  He told me that Jason and the other elders over in Idaho apparently saved up their money for a long time to buy a remote controlled car.  I didn’t doubt this story for a minute -- it sounded funny and just like something Jason would do!

I met the Mission president and his wife.  They are native Mexicans and they are the cutest couple on campus!  The CCM is so gorgeous.  It’s a lot nicer than I expected!  I love it here, the weather is great and it almost feels like I’m on vacation and at school at the same time.  All the buildings are named after the profetas and it totes feels like I’m back at BYU.  We are allowed to speak English if we can’t speak Spanish, but Spanish is always preferred!  Dad, listening to these newbies pronounce Spanish would make your ears hurt, no joke, but everyone is trying so hard.  I am composing a list of all sorts of advice for Elijah and Liam, but it won’t be complete until I come back home.  Mom, I’m going to help you speak Spanish when I come home, worry not your pretty little head!  I miss watching Gilmore Girls with you too, I cry at night sometimes.  Keep encouraging Elijah to attend mission prep; it will definitely prepare him for the MTC/mission field.   All computers here have only Spanish keyboards, that’s why my emails are void of much punctuation, so feel free to edit this before it goes on the blog.

I miss you guys so much that is hurts.  I talk about y’all all the time to my comps and my district.  I keep you in my every prayer.  Have a safe and great Spring Break.  Know that I love all you all very much.  Look at 3 Nephi starting with chapter 11, its powerful and probably my favorite scripture story right now.

xoxo With all my love,
Hermana Moss