Monday, August 29, 2011

"mormon helping hands" t-shirt [From 29AUG11]

WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm crying! I'm so happy for the Ortons!!!! The baby is so cute! I can't wait to meet him! Please give them my love and let them know I'm SO EXCITED for them!

It was transfers this week. I'm not transferred but our area has changed. Instead of having the northern part of Santa Rosa (College Street and north) and Windsor and Healdsburg we'll be exclusively in Windsor and Healdsburg. Elder Van Gilder will have the north of Santa Rosa with a new missionary coming in today! And Elder Hatch will stay in south Santa Rosa with Elder Rollins. So we'll have six missionaries in the Branch. Very exciting. It was hard to give up those we were teaching in the Santa Rosa area. We've come to love them and enjoyed teaching them and their families.

I had exchanges again this week. Instead of me going somewhere I stayed in my area with Sister Thurston, an English sister. She speaks very little Spanish. So I was in charge of teaching. Thankfully we had Nathalie with us, so she helped me a lot. She translated when I didn't understand and then when I didn't know a word she would help me. But I realized I know a bit more Spanish than I originally thought. Of course I relied on the Spirit and felt it's guidance and felt it lose my tongue. When we exchanged back we met at the Institute building for free milkshakes. So yummy!

For my personal study time I take some time to study specifically for one of our investigators. It’s been working really well because I’m more a part of the lesson and not just testifying. I actually teach. And sometimes I begin teaching. Its’ so fun! It was also good because one time I told our investigator, Pancho that I studied for him that morning. He was very surprised, but pleased. I think it made him feel cared for and he accepted our message better than before. Because he knew I had taken time to plan for him he was more receptive. It was a good experience.

On Friday we had an opportunity to serve. There is a couple that is moving so we helped them pack up their dishes while the Elders moved boxes and other heavy things from upstairs. It was very fun and so good to serve. Also, I got to wear my "mormon helping hands" t-shirt! I took a couple pictures. It was so fun to put it on! I’m very excited to have one. I’ve always wanted one!

We had a baptism on Saturday! It was great! Carlos was nervous but happy to get baptized. When he got into the water the Spirit hit me and I could see how much he's progressed and what a great life he has ahead of him, because of the gospel. I’m so grateful I could be a part of teaching him the gospel. It’s a great privilege to help someone along the path towards eternal happiness and Christ.

So I made a funny Spanish mistake the other day. Thankfully I was talking with a member on the phone and she understands, but anyway it was pretty funny! Instead of saying "le llamaremos" (we'll call you later) I said "le amaremos" (we'll love you later) So funny! We were laughing throughout the day. Oh, good times!

Olivia looks gorgeous and so happy! And the cake is amazing!! Better than mine! I love it!

I'm so grateful you have power.  I did hear about the earthquake and was excited to hear what happened. I’m sad the monument, cathedral, and especially the temple have some damage. Did you feel anything? And the storm? I didn't know about that. How much rain did you get? Was it really windy? I’m sure you had fun playing games and having fun with family.

I forgot until this morning about Old Home Day! How could I?! I’m glad most everyone could join you. I love Old Home Day!

No time left.
I made it through a transfer! Let everyone (family, the ward, anyone who asks about me :) know I love them. And that I’m grateful for their support.

We’re off to get laundry and then who knows what. We aren't quite sure. Actually for sure we're washing our car. Whether in a car wash or by hand, we'll see!
Here’s a photo of me, Carlos, and Hna. C.
Hope your birthdays were great!

over and out
hermana whitney bunny stephenson :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

the best sound to a missionary’s ear is the sound of water in the font [week 14 - 22AUG11]

We didn't end up going to the ocean, but we played ultimate Frisbee instead, with most of the zone. So fun and hot! I actually played and had some good throws and catches. The Elders were impressed. That is, when I actually had the Frisbee! It was fun just to be in amongst the Elders and their playfulness. I think there were about 5 or 6 companionships. Then there was us and Nathlie, our member that is always with us! The Redwood Sisters showed up at some point. We didn’t get any pictures because it was sooo hot and we were all sweaty. Sorry.

We had cantaloupe water... blended cantaloupe with some sugar and water. So yummy! We made watermelon water at home. We had extra so we froze it in our ice cube trays and put toothpicks in them. So fun and delicious! You should try it!

I’m hoping I can send the SD card today. Hna C wants some pics from it. But we don't really have time today. It may get out tomorrow. Almost all of the space has been used up! So 400 pics! It should be fun!

LOVE the package!  Thank you so much! It was a bright spot in my day. Did you know that I now have 40 postcards?! So fun! I did get Rachel’s postcard. Very cute chipmunks!

We went to the temple on Thursday. Perfect timing. In between Olivia’s endowment [Wednesday] and sealing [Friday]. I also met in the celestial room the Bocks? or Bochs? They work with Nana and Grampa in the Boston Temple. They know the Orton’s. Are really good friends. They visit our ward every once in a while. So good to talk with them.

We had a baptism on Saturday. We got to fill the font. The plug wasn't working well so we got something to put over the drain. So I got to go wading! Up to my ankles! Wahoo! Then later to check the temperature I got to go in almost to my knees. So I went wading! In the font.

And the saying is right... the best sound to a missionary’s ear is the sound of water in the font. LOVE IT! The baptism was amazing. The spirit was so strong. The brother baptized was the boyfriend of one of our recent converts. It was a very special experience. We didn’t' actually teach him because he works just outside of our area so the Elders in that area taught him. He lives in our area hence why he was baptized in our area and he was technically our baptism. Although we did none of the teaching, it was a great experience! I got to bear my testimony and I felt the spirit come over me. The words just rolled off my tongue and it flowed. Everyone afterward was impressed with how my Spanish had improved. Little do they know that it was just the Spirit working through me and not me at all!

We were also asked by the Redwood Singles Sisters to bear our testimonies at their baptism yesterday because the family of their convert is Spanish and wouldn't understand the talks. That too was a nice experience. Once again the spirit worked through me and words flowed out of me. I love feeling the Spirit work through me and hearing Spanish come out of my mouth! Amazing!

Oh we finally found a water pitcher with a filter! So excited to use it! What we've been doing is saving all the water bottles from when people give us water and filling them at the church. It’s pretty funny! Carrying 20 bottles around. I have pictures of them all. It’s always a fun time filling them all up. It takes a while!

This week was rough with lack of sleep, but I made it! I'll take your advice and forget myself and get to work. I need to serve others. I need to focus on those I teach. It’s hard but I’m going to work on it this week.

I finished the Book of Mormon this morning! One of our investigators is trying to read it in a month too.

I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Happy Birthday Dad!

Hermana Stephenson / Whitney / Bunny / Minnie!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

"stick to my guns" [From August 15, 2011]

Sunny day here and loving the tan lines I'm getting!
The picture of Lila worked. So cute!

We may be going to the beach next p-day so I might get sea glass, but I’m hoping to go see the redwoods soon. I really want to send a pinecone home! :)

Elders Hatch and Van Gilder are lending us an AMAZING album; "A Nashville Tribute to Missionaries; The Work." Love it! A couple songs almost made me cry.

I love the postcards!!!!!!!!! I now have 32! My New England wall is expanding!

Sooo much has happened. It was a busy, crazy week...
I had my first interview with President Bunker. I loved it! He’s amazing! He suggested I read Lehi's dream and pay attention to how I can apply it to my life. He imagines it as chaos. With people wandering everywhere. It was interesting to read it again with that image. I took a couple pages of notes and marked up my scriptures some more. I don't have my notes with me right now, but what I do remember is that I need to fear God more than man. I can't worry about what others think, I need to go forth and work and do what I do because I know it's what the lord wants me to do, because I’ve had a conviction for myself. I found it interesting that Lehi didn't even realize there were people mocking until he saw people wandering away. He feared God more than man. So I’m trying to implement this into my life. I think it will help me when I want to homeschool my own children and others think I’m crazy or when I want to be vegetarian and I’m mocked. It’s a work in progress, but I’m taking steps. That’s something else President mentioned is that the people were continually pressing forward. They were progressing. So we need to make plans, goals, etc. have something to work towards and do it. They weren't on a moving sidewalk. They had to move themselves. So good! I need to stick up for myself and "stick to my guns" because I know what's right and what the Lord wants me to do. Therefore, I have been working on it ever since. I'm making very little progress, but it's progress. I’m thankful for President Bunker asking me to read it. I am changed, better, because of it.

President knows about not getting to bed on time. He told us to do planning for only 30 minutes and get to bed on time. We’re to report to him every once in a while. He’s concerned about us. I’m grateful he understands my need for sleep. He knows about Lyme and my weakened immune system. He’s very loving and caring about it. Oh, Hermana C. and I had matching outfits when we had our interviews. He really liked it! I have pictures on my camera. So fun!

Things have been going a little better since Wednesday. We still haven’t gotten to bed on time every night, but it's better. Progress! One night we had a member with us and when we went to drop her off her family wasn't home, so she was locked out. We couldn't just leave her outside so we sat in the car until her family returned fifteen or twenty minutes later. Which of course meant getting home about 10:20, or something. (I don't really remember.)

So one morning the water was having trouble draining and I knew it was because of hair in the drain. So I tried just getting it out with my fingers thinking it wouldn’t be too much. I got some out but there was still some in there. Anyway I got some scissors because it was wrapped around the drain and I pulled it out. IT WAS NASTY! I gagged a couple times. It was basically a hairy rat that came out. I have no idea how long ago it had been cleaned but it was a long time! GROSS! We bought one of those hair catcher things for the drain. It’s working well so far.

The branch had a picnic on Saturday. It was good to have a relaxing atmosphere to get to know the members better. They’re great! We love having meals from them and having time with the Elders.

I love you all.
Thanks for your support. Thank you for all you've taught me.
Transfers are 29Aug I think. I don't think I’ll be transferred though. We’ll see.
Off to do some errands and hop from door to door.   :)

Love you,
Whitney Bunny

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I love helping her see the joy... [From August 8, 2011]

This week was a little tougher than last week. We didn't have as many lessons, but the ones we did have were very good. Our investigator with a baptismal date is progressing well. He's excited for baptism and continuing to read and pray daily. Another of our new investigators is excellent! She always has really good questions. Most of the time they follow the outline of the lessons in Preach My Gospel. (Just one more evidence that they are inspired!) I look forward to our appointments with her because the spirit is always strong and she has a real desire to learn and apply it to her life. I love helping her see the joy of living the gospel and the peace and comfort it brings when we let it sink into our souls.

We did have a bit of a scare last night when we came home. We found our carbon monoxide detector beeping, not going off, but beeping. As if it needed the battery changed, but it was the one plugged into the wall. We called the Redwood Singles Sisters (Sister Thurston and Sister Kahrs.) They helped us by bringing theirs over to see if ours was defective. Thankfully theirs didn't go off. We think it had something to do with the outlet. Anyhow, we're fine and grateful to be alive!

From this experience I have a slightly different view and outlook. I am even more determined to do all I can, to be exactly obedient, and I am especially grateful for all the little things. I'm grateful I can hear music, the sound of birds in the trees, laughter, and especially the voices of little children. I'm grateful for the many blessings that I receive each day.

I had exchanges this week. It was really fun. I went with sister Kahrs from Las Vegas to the Redwood Singles area; which is basically from the San Francisco Bridge up to Ukiah. We had a blast! We were instant friends! We laughed all day and found out we both know Ashley Gentile!

Facebook is going okay. All I’ve done is add friends; all the missionaries in the mission. I don't feel very productive, but it will come with time, never mind that I don't know very many people and the Spanish people don't have Facebook, never mind computers. Well, some do, mostly the teenagers or younger people.

I haven't started a blog yet; I wanted to get Facebook up and running first. Also I have to finish my profile. I think my thing will be blogging. But we'll see.

Your canoeing and kayaking sounds so fun! I miss doing things as a family. We don't have much occasion to get together with other missionaries. Its always fun having Nathalie come with us to lessons and seeing the two other Spanish elders at dinners each night. All the missionaries are great. We see the zone missionaries every Tuesday briefly at district meeting.

I can't remember if I told you or not but Charles Schulz lived here in Santa Rosa so there are Snoopy and Charlie Brown characters all over town. I haven't gotten any pictures yet, but I hope to soon. They’re fun to see. Kind of like the horses at the Outer Banks.

Oh! I have a wall of all the postcards you send me. It’s fun to see them. I also have a wall of Jackson’s drawings. I love them. I really enjoy having the quotes all over the walls. They help me to remember what I’m doing and stay focused.

I have a leaf to send grampa to ask what kind of tree it is. Very interesting leaf, only four points. It’s pressing in my scriptures right now.

I am a little worried about getting sick. I’m still trying to figure out when I need to rest or just keep working. Pray that I’ll be able to get to bed on time and then get up on time. Also that I’ll know when I need rest or not. I don't want you to worry. I really am doing okay, just trying to figure out what works.

Say hello to everyone for me. Thank nana and grampa!
Say hello to Naqueilla. She'll be all grown up the next time I see her :(
LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Whitney Bunny/Minnie

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We taught three sisters, [From August 1, 2011]

I'm back. I told President about the talk I gave yesterday. The branch was impressed that I actually knew some Spanish. They were all proud of me. It was fun to see Hermana Christensen's face beaming.

The talk went well. The elders, Hatch and Van Gilder, were asked by someone if one of the missionaries could speak. They nominated me. This was Friday. So thankfully I had Saturday morning to prepare. I used a lot of quotes. It was of course about missionary work and how it blesses our lives. Everyone I talked with liked it.

We taught three sisters, the youngest our age. They were a referral from a recent RM [return missionary]. He gave us basically his whole family! The elders have half because they're in their area. We taught the three sisters. It was a great lesson. The spirit was so strong and we could tell they felt it. We had a good discussion about the restoration. They are very interested to learn more.

We’re actually at the mission office today emailing because we found out we couldn't do it at the Neunschwander's when they aren't there. The computer seems to be working faster. We may not even set up Facebook today because so many things are closed. It will probably happen tomorrow. But I’ll have a profile, Facebook, and probably a blog. Everything will be mostly in Spanish.

I'm so excited for Olivia!!!!!!!!!!! Sometimes I forget she's getting married. I want to do something, but don’t know what I can do. I may send you a letter for her, so I can be there too. Is everyone excited?! I’m excited to see photos of all the fun!

I absolutely love all the postcards. We came into the office one day and one of the sisters says, "Oh! You’re the sister with the 10 or 12 postcards!" they forwarded them to me and I had SO much fun reading them. I put them on a wall. It’s fun to walk by and see all the different photos.

The country is beautiful! There are vineyards more north in Windsor and Healdsburg. But we're usually driving by and I haven’t taken a picture yet.

There's a YW [young woman] that just celebrated her baptism year mark that has come out with us a few times. She’s great to have at lessons. So much has happened, but it's mostly lessons, lessons, and lessons.

I kind of forgot to write it all down. But the photo of our tags in the rose bush has a funny story. Once we took the photos before we could reach back, mine fell right into the thick of the thorns. I got a stick and pulled it out, but it was pretty funny. Hna, C took pictures. It’s comical of me kneeling on the ground reaching into a rose bush full of thorns. I only got a couple minor scratches.

I'm doing okay. Could be better, I’m tired all the time, mostly because we never get to bed on time. We’re working on it and making a real effort. We’ll see how I’m doing after this week. I’m working hard on being healthy and being exactly obedient. Pray that we'll get to bed on time. I think that's all I need.

I'm glad people love the letters. I love writing them. It’s kind of like writing in my journal and therapeutic. I can't think of anything else. I probably will in ten minutes!
I love you and hope you have another exciting week!
Love you all and have fun!!!
Whitney Bunny

I’m in the Spanish Santa Rosa branch. [From July 25, 2011]

I’m at the house of a missionary couple, the Neunshwanders (long cool name!). We do our laundry here and do our emailing. They are office missionaries. Elder N. is in charge of the cars. He’s the one we called on Tuesday right after leaving the chapel on our way home. We got a flat tire 2 min from the chapel! Thankfully Elders Spendlove and Epps were right behind us and stopped to help and change the tire. It was an exciting way to start the day and mission for that matter! Never had flat tire before. New experience. Glad elders were there.
Hna. Christensen is very cute. She does a couple things that remind me of Bonni. She’s about 5 feet tall and from Alaska. She is great!

I’m in the Spanish Santa Rosa branch. There are two elders with us, Elders Hatch and Van Gilder. The area is split in two. They have the south part and we have the north part, which covers Windsor, therefore we are the Windsor area.

Hna Clayton is in pres. Garrett’s branch. Actually all the Spanish sisters were told by him to keep an eye out for Me. He's been looking and waiting for me to come! Hopefully I’ll be in that area at some point. As far as I know there are only four Spanish sister companionships and thereby only four areas. So there’s a likely chance I’ll be there at some point!

I’ve been trying to take pictures, but we don't really have opportunities. I’ll try to take some today of the apartment and the area. I saw my first orange tree!!!!!!! I was very excited. Along with palm trees, cactuses, and vineyards. Beautiful! Weather is perfect! Cool mornings warm afternoons, cooling off at night. Wonderful! The food is great too! I’m excited about real food again. I did gain some weight at the MTC, but I’ve already lost some of it already. Thankfully! Fresh fruit with every meal! Love it! So good. Have peaches from a members tree! So good!

We’re teaching so many people! Planning each night always takes forever! It always runs late. We’re trying to be to bed on time, but finding it difficult.

We always have fun adventures finding our way around. We get lost a few times a day. Our area is actually pretty big. There are a few English missionary companionships that we cover. A singles ward too. So half of Santa Rosa, up to Windsor and including Healdsburg. Those we teach are great! We have some English lessons, too. Because of children who speak English but the parents don’t. My first contact and lesson on Tuesday was crazy! I wanted to throw up I was so nervous. But I made it through! Hna. Christensen pushes me just enough and helps me when needed. It’s fun teaching and finding people on the street.

Thanks so much for the box!!! I love the cards, lotion, popcorn, and especially the bunny and teddy!!!!!!!!!! Love them! Smile every time I see them!

Church was hard because I had to concentrate so hard to understand the language. I didn’t get most if it. Had a major headache afterward. My Spanish improves daily and my understanding. But it's not really me. The spirit is doing all the work. I’m not listening to the Spanish language I’m listening to the language of the Spirit.

And I have VERY exciting news!!! You ready? I'm an online missionary as of Friday! We have training tomorrow. I’ll have two blogs; one Spanish the other English; and a Facebook. I think you can be my friend, family & friends too, just to see how I’m doing, but I can't communicate through Facebook. We are very excited. We’ll have an hour or two each day to update it and such. We’ll find out more tomorrow. All the sisters will be online missionaries by December. So cool! What do you think about the online missionary? I am SO EXCITED! It should a  great tool for staying in contact with investigators and converts and less actives. You’ll be able to see pictures too online. It’s going to be so fun!

We have some baptisms planned for 20 Aug! Cool hugh? Which reminds me.

I have taught in Spanish, basically bearing my testimony. It’s very simple teaching, which is good because the mission is trying to get back to the basics and teach simply. President Bunker harped it into us. He's very strict. Exact obedience is expected. Love both the Bunkers! Sister bunker was declared clear of all cancer the Friday before we came. Yeah!

Yesterday had an experience with a brother that is less active. I understood about half of what was said. I was praying for him and my companion. And all of a sudden a warmth and light of love just came over me. I felt the Savior's love for this man come over me. I felt the great desire for him to return to Christ. I felt that Christ missed him and that he knew he could return and be strong. It was Amazing! I, of course, almost started crying. My eyes filled with tears and I felt a great need to bear my testimony about the savior and his love. I fumbled slightly but they understood. I have no idea if it helped or not, but I’m so grateful for that experience. Now I know, in part, what the savior feels for each of us; for me. Repentance isn’t a bad or negative thing. It’s a returning unto Christ. Coming back to him. It’s just turning around to find he's always been there and holding us up.

Say hello to everyone who is there and their families for me. I love receiving mail from the ward and family. I love any and all pictures and drawings.

I don’t feel older or more mature. In fact I’ve never been so aware of all my faults and weaknesses and realize just how far I have to go to perfection. I’m grateful we have a lifetime to prepare and learn all we need to learn. My teachers in the MTC said they could see the growth in us just in the MTC. Because we're living it, it’s hard to see. But I’m not so nervous to meet people. I thought I would dread it, but I actually enjoy it and sometimes, on good days and moments, I actually look forward to it.
My time is about up but I love you all very much. It sounds like so much fun with all your travels and fun activities. Everything except the fleas. Sorry that happened. And so many! Crazy! Hope it is taken care of soon and quickly.
Whitney Bunny

1 1/2 days! [From July 16, 2011]

It’s been crazy packing. It’s hard to say goodbye to the Elders and Hermana Gueller, along with our teachers. We had our last class with Hermano Scott Thursday and tonight is Hermano P. We had to say goodbye to our progressive investigator too. Very sad and he's only acting!

I got a letter from Sister Meinhardt. She says they have chickens and turkeys, but they haven't produced any eggs. She thinks they're defective. So cute! I’m telling her a little about our chickens in my return letter.

Everyone loved the maple package! There’s only one chocolate left, and a little syrup. So excited to receive it. It was a district event opening it. After opening it a little and getting the SD card and cards (thank you love them!) I saw it was all maple. I decided to let Elder Graham open it. He was so excited. He is reading all the maple letters you sent and loving it! He spouts off some maple fact to any one who asks or will listen. He really wants to come to NH in March 2014. Taffy isn't my favorite thing, but it was good. Hermana Clayton loved it! She ate a number of them! It was very fun to show them where we live on the chocolate map, too. People enjoyed the Boston baked beans. Said they were similar to burnt peanuts. What ever they are!

All 17 missionaries are going to Santa Rosa! There’s a rumor that they're whitewashing. Meaning they are opening new areas and putting new missionaries in them. But who knows. It’s that or there’s a lot going home! It’s about half English and half Spanish missionaries.

LOVE YOU. TALK TO YOU SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1 1/2 days!

"You can leave now." [From July 11, 2011]

Crazy week ahead! And last week. Saw Abby again! Yah!!!!!!! We loved the balloons and glow sticks. We were like little children and having the time of our lives! We had to pop all the balloons, so we took pins and popped them all in 2 seconds! Way fun. Hno P took a video. I’ll have him send it to you. So if you receive an email from Pablo Penailillo that’s my teacher.

I’m so excited about Lila Doris! I would love to see a picture! And thanks for holding Clara. I saw some little children and wanted to hug them. I miss children so much. The Bradley’s family was in church yesterday. It was the best to hear a little child talk and a baby cry during sacrament! Almost burst out of my skin when I saw them. I was happier than ever!

I had a scary, moment on Wednesday. Elder Graham said something hilarious while I drank water and I choked. I either had to spit out the water or swallow it. I tried swallowing which made it worse. So I spit it into the garbage. But still I was choking and couldn't breathe. The elders and hermanas were horrified and their expressions were funny so I laughed more. Finally I focused on breathing. And getting the water out. But it was about 15 to 20 seconds that I couldn't breathe. I turned purple and they were all fearful for me. Hermana Clayton hit me on the back and I think that’s what did the trick. It was pretty funny afterward, but the hermanas told the elders not to make me laugh any more, especially while drinking water. It was a funny memory

Cleaning the temple was amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! We cleaned the crystal of one chandelier and started to reassemble it in the 3 hours we were there. It was very fun! We had to make sure not to get cut. They use vinegar to clean everything. Also got a tour of the fourth floor where all the engineering and projectors are. Way neat! Elder Graham and Klauck were security detail. Really cool badges!

My teachers told us that if we leave the MTC knowing how to teach with the spirit they will have been successful. Last week we had a lesson and after Hermano P said, "You can leave now." I don't need to teach you any more. We helped our investigator come unto Christ and followed the Spirit. It was a really neat experience! Hermana Clayton told him to pray again to know if God is there and listens and loves him. He did that and the Spirit was very strong. Wicked awesome!

I have another p-day on Sat, so I may email again then. We fly out at at 11:25 am, Monday Salt Lake time so I’m calling before that between 8 and 11:25. Only half an hour, but very excited!!!!!!!!!! Need to get a calling card. Very excited. I’ll be sending a box home of things I don't need. Not too big hopefully.

There are 17 missionaries in our travel group, flying into Oakland. Only an hour-long flight I think. Not too long, but then an hour-long drive. Very excited and starting to pack. I’m a little nervous but also excited. My Spanish isn't that good, but I can pray and testify. Some days are better than others. Had a sub this past week that expected us to memorize something in a minute. It took me almost two minutes to memorize the first vision! But doing well, just can’t wait when it becomes second nature. I am a little nervous about my trainer, the first couple Sundays and lessons.

District is VERY excited about maple. Asked a couple days ago where it was. Can hardly wait!!!!!!!!!!!Thanks!LOVE YOU ALL! Give hugs to everyone for me next week. Have fun in NY!

I brought in four sisters. [From July 4, 2011]

On Wednesday we got to host new missionaries. Meaning we bring them to their dorm, pick up badge, books, etc, and drop of at classroom to meet their companion and teacher and district, WAY FUN!!!!!!!!!!! I brought in four sisters. The last two I brought in were companions! Fun to see them around.

Way cool!
Check out the church website for the mission president seminar for articles and pictures of it. There is one with the choir and me in it, towards center, one left in purple sweater with white blouse, hair down.
We had a special 4th July celebration on Saturday. Bag pipes and lots of singing! And we got to stay up late too to watch the “stadium of fire” (BYU) fireworks!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Way exciting, have some pictures. It was fun to be with elders and feel like real people. Sunday was rough with more lack of  sleep and fasting. Made it through though!

I have a CD of our performance. Maybe I’ll send it home since we can’t listen to it here. No music in MTC.

On our temple walk we met our teacher’s fiancĂ©, Hermano Scott and Brenda. Way cute! Have pics of that too!

I’m great and so happy.

There’s a wall with pics of all mission presidents and I love looking at president and Sisters Wilkey and Bunker. There are two new sisters that left a couple weeks ago that went to NH. So fun. They have instructions to say hello if they ever make it to Plymouth.

Quote from district, ¨Your family / parents are the tell them we love them and are so grateful. ¨ We are VERY EXCITED to have a party today and blow up all the balloons and eat cookies. The elders were practically dancing with excitement. Wish I had videoed the opening! Thank you so very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love it! Still want maple stuff with instructions elder graham really wants to tap the maple outside the dorm. And at his house. Which according to him he can get his hands around. No way will that work!

Saw Jenny Oaks Baker last night, and her 3 daughters! Amazing. They got a standing ovation! Played piano, cello, and violin. I am a Child of God. WAY CUTE!

L&N have fun at camp! G too!
Love you all. Thank you for the package and your love.
Love forever!

Amazing and an incredible experience. [From June 27, 2011]

This week was wonderful!
We sang for all of the apostles but Elder Hales. He never came. The first day Thursday it was everyone but Elders Hales, Christofferson, and Perry. Elder Holland silently applauded us and mouthed, “thank you.” It was wonderful. He had tears in his eyes. We were all so touched. There were many tears the first day and not as many the following days. We met Elder Bednar yesterday. He came in to thank us for using our talents for good and bearing our testimonies in song. We were all touched and excited. He's shorter than you think. Probably 5’ 8” maybe 5’ 9”.

I met Marisa Johnson’s companion, the one in the district movies. She's very sweet and nice. Loved having Marisa as a companion.

For the next package the district has asked for fireworks, but glow sticks will do! Also they are all fascinated by the process of making syrup, especially Elder Graham. So could you send some syrup or maple candy; pictures on SD card or prints of trees being tapped, and an explanation of the process from tapping to boiling to the product? Please! They would love it. Also an explanation of the differences between red and sugar maple and whatever other kinds of maples there are. Only sugar can be tapped right? Cause that’s what I told them!

I think I may send you my journal entries again. There’s no way I can explain how amazing and all the adventures I had in 30 min never mind in a letter. All the mission presidents were amazing! They were all excited to serve. The special choir got to listen to part of their sacrament meeting with president Eyring. Which is a funny story! They forgot we were to sing so as consolation we got to listen to the talk over broadcast and we'll be getting a CD of our songs! I’ll send it to you soon. Then we sang in our room after it was done and a few presidents and wives heard us and came in. They thanked us and the spirit was very strong. Amazing and an incredible experience.

Our teacher taught us a new way to highlight the scriptures. He bolds words. Using a fine pen or marker he'll bold the words. It's really neat! I'm starting out with the attributes of Christ. Bolding just the nine attributes whenever I see them. I really like it!

The temple will be closed next week and then the week after for cleaning, so today was our last day as far as we know. But it was really cool because there were two brothers who were deaf! So they had two screens with interpreters. Really cool! I understood some things better too. Really neat.

Elder Jensen is doing well. I’ve seen him across the cafeteria a few times. Said hello when I passed by. Seems happy.

I picked up some rose petals from the temple and hope to press them! Maybe I’ll send them to you soon. How do you like the pictures? Is the plaque picture okay? If not I can do another.

Gingersnaps were the best!!! But because of persisting cough I think staying away from sweets will be good for now. Don’t know what you could send. Still have popcorn and goldfish!!!!!

Love forever

Three weeks left in MTC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Time flies so fast
Whitney bunny