Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Estoy en... California otra vez!

(This is like 2 weeks' worth of emails so buckle up! haha)

Can you believe it?!?!?!!!  The night we all checked our missionary portals online and saw our missions change to our reassignments was unreal.  It felt like reading my first call again for the first time!  Hermana Weller was reassigned to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Hermana Norton was reassigned to New York, New York South, and Elder Bowler was reassigned to Nashville, Tennessee! It was so cool to have that moment together as the remainder of our district.  We were so ecstatic!  At first I thought maybe it was a mistake because I'm FROM California, but I know now it's where the Lord needs me to be!

The last few days at the MTC were so great.  We felt a lot more motivated once we had travel plans and felt like we really had something to work toward.  We had several opportunities to teach the younger districts grammar and things like planning and got to feel more comfortable teaching in Spanish. 

On Sunday we had an amazing day!  You'd think it was rough not being able to call home when I should have already been in the field, but we had a very great, very edifying day. In Relief Society, we had Janice Kapp Perry speak and wow, what an incredible lady!  She wrote several Primary songs like "I am a Child of God," "A Child's Prayer," "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus," "I Love to See the Temple," "Love is Spoken Here," "We'll Bring the World His Truth," and "As Sisters in Zion" in the Hymn book.  At one point we all sang a medley of her Primary songs, and I felt the Spirit so strong!!  I realized how blessed I am to know the truths of the Gospel since I was little and how much those songs have impacted me growing up.  I heard a conversion story from a sister here who went to two other churches as well as the LDS church when she was growing up because her mom, stepdad, and dad all went to different churches.  As a child, she loved Primary the best because she got to learn about Jesus, while at other churches she just colored Bible coloring pages.  I am so glad that we teach every person, old or young, rich or poor, no matter who or where they are in the world.  Everyone should know about this!  Sister Perry also shared with us a new version of "As Sisters In Zion" that she re-wrote for the Sister Missionaries, called, "The Sisters of Zion."  We sang that all together and all started to cry even more!  It was amazing, and we were the very first people to sing it!  The Spirit was amazing there.  Good music can bring in the Spirit quicker than anything.  We got to meet Sister Perry afterwards and she is such a sweet lady.  I thanked her for all she has done because she truly has left an amazing legacy.

In Sacrament Meeting, I gave a talk in Spanish about Enduring to the End... The Lord knew I needed that, haha.  We had a great last temple walk and went to choir practice.  We sang "Come Thou Fount" and the choir director-- plus the devotional speaker afterwards, plus Elder Holland in a video we watched later-- really drove home the point that our missions will be a defining event in our lives.  We have the responsibility to work our hardest and to let it be an experience that  will change us forever.  I was SO ready to get out to the field at that point... estaba EMOCIONADA! (excited)

Monday morning, Hermana Weller and I said goodbye to Hermana Norton and Elder Bowler, which was super sad.  But we will all see each other after the mission!   Hermana Weller and I spent the rest of the day getting ready to leave-- she left at 8:30 Monday night and I left at 5 am on Tuesday morning.  Saying goodbye was the WORST!  We got super close and are best friends.  I have learned SO much from her and we got along so well.  We were the longest-lasting companionship in the district!  We have this running joke in our district that our MTC experience was like Survivor because most of us left one at a time... their "torches" were extinguished, haha.  So that left me as the "Sole Survivor" because I was the last to leave.  I outplayed, outwitted, and outlasted!! Haha.

So that night I was in a trio for a short while with the new STL's and then early the next morning I left for California.  Driving through Provo on our way out was weird!  I have a ton of great memories and great friends there.  It'll be great to go back after the mish, but for now I'm happy to be here!

It was so awesome to get to call home at the airport and hear y'all's voices! I love my fam!  I sat next to a man named Doug on my first flight and it was really cool to get to be a real missionary with an actual nonmember.  He had some questions that I was able to answer and was so impressed when I told him that there are over 65,000 missionaries serving right now.  He had nice things to say about the church and we talked a lot.  He wasn't very interested in learning more, but hopefully a seed was planted there!

We had the world's shortest layover in Phoenix and then we were in Ontario shortly after.  We were met by Elder Winward, who works in the Mission Office because 20 missionaries had come before us and President and Sister Becerra had already got them and headed to the Stake Center.  We had lunch once we met up with them and then had our pictures taken and then had interviews with President Becerra.  He is awesome!  We talked briefly, but he says I have a lot of faith because I told him about my decision to serve a mission and how I chose to go and received confirmation that my choice was right pretty much once I actually got on my mission.  So that's pretty cool.  Also, Sister Becerra is the sweetest lady and is so classy.  She looks good all the time and reminds me of Audrey Hepburn.  I already just think the world of the Becerras!

We got our companions shortly after, and since there are 7 of us "visa waiters" that came, we were all put in trios because we could essentially leave at any time.  My companions are Hermana Aydelott (pronounced kinda like "idle-it") and Hermana Richards.  Hermana Aydelott has been here since January and is awesome.  I look up to her so much!  She has been the perfect trainer.  Hermana Richards has been here one transfer so far and so we're both newbies.  They are so great and we all just enjoy each other.  We are serving in San Gabriel, which is in the East LA Stake, and we are in a Spanish barrio (ward).  San Gabriel used to not have sister missionaries because it was "too dangerous," but since it opened up for Hermanas there haven't been any problems.  It's not ghetto here, but it's definitely poorer than some other areas.  It's cool because in this mission, we drive a car and have a cellphone and stuff.  I wasn't expecting that in Peru, so it's funny to get call and text and then also to get to drive around in an air-conditioned car!

Our barrio is the best!  The members are so nice and so welcoming to me.  I feel like I've been here longer than a week!  The women in the ward take care of us missionaries with meals and everything and are so sweet.  It's so funny when I tell people around here I'm from Northern California because they're like, "Oh, it's so COLD up there!" HA. HA.
On Wednesday night, we played volleyball at the capilla (church) and it was so fun to get to know the members better and play some ball!  On Saturday night we went to a traditional Mexican boda (wedding) at the capilla and it was a cool experience.  There was a taco truck and we got to have as much as we wanted, but a lot of the meats were... interesting (cabeza, lingua, tripa, etc.).  I tried a tripa one (tripe/intestines) and it was NASTY.  But now I can say I tried it!  Haha.  I just never want to eat part of an animal's digestive system again!

Most importantly, the work here is going well!  My companions have baptized some people before I came and so we've been helping them learn more and are just there for them because the adversary works hard on people after baptism too.  Two of them are teenage girls named Karen and Miriam.  I LOVE them!  They are so sweet and pure in heart. They went to the temple for the first time this weekend and loved it!  They know Spanish but only speak English (most kids here don't like to speak Spanish).  We have a couple new investigators and some people that my comps have already been working with and we are hoping and praying for great things to happen with them this week!  I am getting to speak Spanish quite a bit and do things like give the scripture at the end of a dinner appointment or a lesson and extend an invitation/ask for a referral.  I can say mostly anything I need to say, but understanding really fast Spanish is what I'm working on now so I can contribute more to conversations.  I've been pushing myself to talk a lot though so it's been good so far!  We still teach a good amount of people in English (like Karen and Miriam) so I've had a lot of opportunities to teach in those kinds of lessons.

I am so happy every day to be a missionary.  It's work, but it's also FUN!  I realized that there isn't one part of our schedule that I just dread (besides waking up at 6:30!).  Studying, planning, teaching, all of it is really cool because I feel like I'm doing something that's actually important, that will change someone's life.  I love meeting new people and sharing what I know with them.  We try to talk with everyone we can and have found a lot of people that way and also through member referrals.  They are the best!  I would encourage everyone reading this to think of someone you could refer to the missionaries because referrals make a world of a difference!  I know it's scary... trust me!  You will be doing that person the greatest service because this will bring them so much happiness and purpose.

I am also so so happy to be in the California Arcadia Mission.  I know The Lord needs me here, in this area, at this time.  There are people here ready for the Gospel that I need to teach.  Every day I look forward to finding them!  President Becerra told us that according to L.Tom Perry, there will be 100,000 missionaries out in the field by the end of this year.  The Lord is doubling the amount of missionaries because there are tons and tons of people READY! :)  More than ever before.  Once we believe that, it makes this such a happy work.  Rejection doesn't feel so bad because we can't even dwell on it, we just try to find someone else who is listo (ready)! "No hay nadie tengan tiempo para eso!" (Ain't nobody got time for that! :))

I love and miss y'all!  It's so crazy to be back in LA right now!  This morning all the Sisters and Sister Becerra went hiking up Eaton Canyon and it was beautiful.  I love my home state :)

Con MUCHO Amor,

Hermana Bledsoe

My new desk!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A donde me mandes ire!

WELL... After a week, I regret to inform y'all that I still don't have a temporary reassignment or my visa.  I should be getting news about the temporary reassignment tomorrow, so I will get to call and let you know!  I'm excited to go wherever the Lord would have me.
It's been another great week here at the good ole MTC... three Elders out of the eight of us left in my district got reassignments last week and Hermana Simonson got her visa and left!  Elder Adams and Elder McPherson were called to Portland, OR, and Elder Frehner was called to Seattle, WA.  They all left at the beginning of this week, so Hermana Norton is back in our companionship as a trio and Elder Bowler is Solo for the time being.  It's just the four of us left as super-seniors!  At first we were sad to not get reassignments, but a week later we have all realized that staying an extra week has been for our good.  We have learned so much and had great experiences that I believe are preparing us for the field.  Lately we've been helping the 'younger' districts with Spanish and teaching and it's really helped me too.  There's always people to help wherever you are!
Last Friday we had In-Field Orientation and it got all of us pumped to leave the MTC.  There were some great lessons and speakers and I got to meet/shake hands with Elder Christensen from "The District." Hermana Weller and I were pretty starstruck... this is what our lives have come to here... ha.  Then on Saturday we had a great testimony meeting and lesson all together as a district for the last time with our teachers Hermana Sherwood and Hermano Wells.  Sunday was Fast Sunday, so we had Mission Conference, then later we had a Departure Devotional and then a regular Sunday Night Devotional-- it was so good, Chad Lewis and his wife spoke to us and since they're both athletes, they spoke with so much...pizazz and got us more pumped to go to the field.  By this time I was so ready to leave!! Haha.  We had a testimony meeting and I got up and bore my testimony in SPANISH!  It was crazy.  It's a tradition in our branch that the departing district do the musical number in sacrament meeting and we were fortunate enough to have had Hermano Wells translate "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" into Spanish for us.  We sang the closing song and it was sweet!  I learned SO much that day from all of the meetings that I wish I had time to share!
Monday morning, we all got up at 5 to bid farewell to Elder Adams, Elder McPherson, and Hermana Simonson.  It was hard.  It was even harder to go back to sleep afterwards, so all of us were pretty tired in class that day.  It was rough.  I was SO thankful to get a package from Sadie and to get a sweet Dear Elder from the whole fam that day!  Love you all so much!  All of the stuff in the package was exactly what I needed and the sweats fit perfectly!  I wore them all this morning :)
That evening, I asked Elder Frehner for a priesthood blessing before he left Tuesday morning.  He is the one going to Lima East too (eventually).  It was just what I needed because I've been worrying about what's in store for me (we all have).  Some things that he said were that I would have difficult times, but I would have success and also that my time on a mission is short, but I have the opportunity to bless many.  It surprised us all, including Elder Frehner, when he said that I would bring thousands back to the fold. Thousands!  Obviously it's more of a chain-reaction thing... but how cool is that!  There were a lot of other great things that I can't get into right now, but overall that blessing was exactly what I needed. 
Yesterday it was just the four of us left and we were really missing the rest of our district.  We had some amazing and deep discussions as a little district and it was so cool.  Elder Bowler is such a good sport about being with just Hermanas and we have all learned so much from each other in the time we've all been together.  Elder Bowler really reminds me of you, Dad.  He is going to Colombia, he is super funny (can quote any movie super well) and also a really spiritual person.  He also always has candy in his suit pocket that he shares with us during church meetings and devotionals, haha.  He's the dad of our district.  The Hermanas take turns being the motherly one, but it's me a lot of the time... I always have mints or a Tide-To-Go Pen when my babies need it!  Haha.
Today was a great P-day!  We did laundry first today and went to the temple in the afternoon.  We got to eat at the cafeteria and not have MTC food and it was great!  I had veal for the first time (kinda weird) but I had this AMAZING pie.  I loved it.  It's things like that that make your day when you've been at the MTC for 7 weeks!
So far this email seems more like the large plates, so let me leave you with a spiritual thought... We learned yesterday that the song "Nearer, My God To Thee" is about Jacob in the Old Testament. Ya know, like Jacob and Esaw (sp?)  It's cool when you read the words.  Also, "Come Thou Fount," the part that says "here I raise my Ebenezer" is a reference to 1 Samuel 7:12.  President Nally taught us that and that God raised a stone to save the Israelites in their time of need.  Christ's atonement is the same way, "here to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood."  We are so blessed to have this incredible gift of the atonement!  I know I need to use it every day.  I'm so glad I get to share that message with so many others!!
Les quiero!!
Hermana Bledsoe
 The Elders in my zone and I... haha
How cool is this? Captain Moroni is on top of the mountain!
 At the temple today... squinties!!
 The final eight! I love my district!
 Hermana Weller and I with our teachers Hermana Sherwood and Hermano Wells :)
 My teachers! :)
 Our district with the Branch Presidency
 The Hermanas in my zone!!
Trio :)
 STL and Zone Leaders pic :)
 Elder Bowler, Elder Frehner, and I!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


(You have to watch the Mormon Message about Irene the radio host to really appreciate that haha)

Lo siento for not writing on Monday, our schedule was changed last Saturday and our Monday P-day was switched to Wednesday.  It's a cool day to have it because we really get to see the newbies get dropped off and stuff.  Our new schedule isn't the best, we have gym at 6 am many days of the week when the rest of the MTC has to wake up at 6:30 (every minute counts when you're a missionary!). We also eat at the very end of meal times now, super late.  Okay, I'm done complaining.  We are learning patience in our district with having an extra 2 days before P-day and now we appreciate it that much more!  I'm so glad to finally get to GTL today! (Gym, Temple, Laundry ;))

So this is our last week!  Well, hopefully... most of us in my district still are visa-less and we have been submitted for temporary reassignment in Los Estados Unidos!  We find out tomorrow (Thursday) night!  I'll keep you posted!  Apparently there are so many missionaries in our same situation that there is a 1/4 chance we will actually get a reassignment.  So there is a real chance I could be here another week.  It's okay though.  I really like it here.  I just hope my hermanas don't leave me!  Hermana Simonson got her visa yesterday, while Hermana Norton, Hermana Weller and I are still waiting and still have our four Elders here also. 

We are now the oldest district and all in leadership positions.  It's crazy how fast time flies here.  A week ago, we got a new district and they are great!  I love my new hermanas! They are so sweet and are great missionaries. I am really enjoying being Sister Training Leader, and I am learning so much from all the hermanas in my zone.  Two hermanas in the second oldest district have been switching off being sick this past week, bless their HEARTS.  On Saturday, I was with that companionship when one of them got extremely sick.  It became an emergency situation and thankfully some elders were nearby and were able to stop and immediately give her a blessing.  The Spirit was so strong there in the random walkway where we were, and I was overcome with how much God loves that sister.  Everything in that situation worked out so that she could make it to the hospital as quickly as possible.  I know the Lord looks after His missionaries.  He knows what he is doing.  I am also so grateful to be somewhere where worthy priesthood holders are everywhere and are ready to help others at a moment's notice.  I needed that reminder of the power of the priesthood of God and how important it is in Christ's church.  The world needs missionaries, with the proper authority from God, ready to serve wherever He calls them. 

It's also starting to hit me that pretty soon I will be out in the world as a missionary.  The furthest I've been from the MTC so far on my mission is the Provo Temple across the street.  Pretty soon I will be actually doing what I've been taught to do here and out as a represenative of Jesus Christ-- and I'll need to do it all in Spanish!  I'm actually feeling okay about the language right now.  This weekend I was doing pretty well with it in lessons and things and I felt like I could say pretty much anything I needed to.  I decided I needed to sit down with my teacher Hermano Wells (who is seriously one of the best Spanish/Gospel/anything teachers I've ever had) and ask for correction.  I felt like Henry B. Eyring asking for more mountains to climb.  I didn't want to have a huge pride cycle with my Spanish.  It felt like I was skiiing straight down a hill with no brakes.. it was cool, but I felt like I could crash at any moment and wipe out.  Kinda dramatic example, but you get the picture...  Anyways, he that asketh shall receive, and I was relieved to hear from him that the majority of my mistakes in Spanish are linked to the subjuctive, a hard concept that is always taught in the last week (therefore, we hadn't learned it yet).  He said if I can learn that concept, my Spanish would be great.  I decided to make it a goal to learn that and use it as much as I can as I'm finishing here.  I've learned already how important it is to set attainable goals and reach them.  Goals are so important in life and when you're able to reach them, you gain the confidence to make and reach more.  It is such a simple concept, but it's never too late to learn!

I also met some missionaries here from Mexico... they are going to Spanish-speaking missions, but learned English while they've been here and they're really good!  I bore my testimony to them in Spanish and they said my Spanish was perfect... but they were just really nice, haha.  It's scary/cool to get to talk to people who actually speak Spanish as their first language!

Hmmm what else is new?  Well now that the weather is nice, the fields by the temple are open now and we have had opportunities to play sand volleyball, kickball, and go running in the SUNSHINE!  I love it!  I can't wait to be in Peru where is is warm all the time!  We celebrated our month of being here last week and Hna. Weller and I wore our outfits that we wore on the first day that happened to be matching.  I also got to meet President Nally and Sister Nally (President of the Provo MTC and his wife) twice this week and shake their hand.  Well, Sister Nally gave me a hug.  We had some good devotionals here about Eternal Families/Family History and on Sunday in Relief Society Sister Oscarson, the new General YW President spoke to us!  She is the coolest.  She said when she was called by the First Presidency, she felt really inadequate and expressed her feelings about it and President Monson said, "Well of course not, we just called you!"  It's the same for us in the MTC... we're still new at this and aren't perfect at everything yet.  We've just recently been called and set apart, and God will help us to do the things that He has asked.  

I'm happy and doing well.  Keep me posted about things in real life... I heard the latest thing out there is spray-on lotion (not suncreen, but REAL lotion) jajajajaja (I love laughing in Spanish!).  My companion and I are always laughing and goofy together.  People probably overhear us and think we're actually that dumb, but it's okay.  We have lots of fun together but also are a pretty dynamite teaching duo if I say so myself... I'm not excited to say goodbye!  I can't believe this MTC experience is wrapping up! 

(P.S. Mom, I got the quilt! Thanks!)

Nos vemos!

Hermana Bledsoe

Funny moment: On our Sunday temple walk, the elders were all talking about what sisters they think are cute and want to date after the mish... meanwhile, us sisters were going crazy over all the babies and little kids in families that we saw there!  We are WAY different!
 How cute are we in our matching outfits?!
 Matching companions again...
 New hermanas! Love them!!
(hard to read: it says, "Please, Use the Lord's resources wisely! By leaving on the lights, you invite Satan to waste electricity! Thanks, Building Care) 
 Pretty flowers in the courtyard!
Elder Adams and Elder Frehner being cray
 We had some fun with my fisheye setting...

Pretty spring tulips!
Whooooops I got fat at the MTC! Hahaha