Friday, August 30, 2013

Week 4 & 468 days to go!

Hola Everyone!
I just really am loving life right now.  I do not think I have ever been so constantly joyful in my life! Even when things get a tiny bit hard, I can't help but be excited for everything I am experiencing!  Guess What? I have been here a month! And it doesn't even seem like I have been gone for long at all!  Does it seem short to you or is the MTC a time warper?

At the end of next week I will begin my sixth week! That means next week is my last full week here in Mexico! Then I head off to Spokane.  I fly out the morning of September 9th :D I am so so so excited.  I can't wait to go out and meet the world!  I am so excited to be able to know these people!  Really, my heart is just so happy thinking about it.  I am also a bit nervous, cause well, it is a BIG thing!  Speaking Spanish and everything will be a huge leap of faith for me.  Keep praying for me, I know you do and I know it helps! :)

So my district has been asked to speak continuously in Spanish.  Like from SUN UP TO SUN DOWN!  Which is really, really, really hard.  But when I put all my effort into it, it totally works.  Write me encouragement to do this even if others are not and even though it is hard. And since I won't get to hear from you until next Thursday, I am saying this for each of you every day: "Hey Hermana Phipps, I (enter your name here) expect you to use your Spanish to the fullness of your capability. I would be so very disappointed to know that you weren't trying all you could to speak it and be ready to do what the Lord has called you to do.  You know you need to speak the language, so DO IT!"

Ahhh guys, thank you!  I can't let you or the people of Spokane down so I am going to do all that I can to speak every word in Spanish.  I promise!  I need to act and not be acted upon.

I really love reading the scriptures in Spanish!  I am actually understanding SO MUCH OF IT!  It is so amazing! And when you read it and know what the English version says, each word means so much more.  I think sometimes I get so used to the words used in the English scriptures, I don't think through the meaning of all the words.  But then I read it in Spanish and the words are just so meaningful because I can compare the two words and the meanings they have.  IT IS AMAZING!

I love hearing about the Sister Missionaries that have come to the BC 23rd Ward. How Awesome!
This week I received letters from members of our ward!  My heart just feels so sparkly...haha... it is the only word I could think of!  So yeah, it feels so sparkly and shiny with happiness!  Thank You Ward Family!!

This week has been lots of fun!  I wasn't called to speak in Sacrament!  Not that I am excited about that..., I am just stating a fact.  The first district to ever be part of Branch 13 left on Monday, so many of the leaving missionaries spoke.  It was really amazing to hear them!  And it will be us in a week and a half.  Our dear Sister Trainers left.  It was hard to know they were leaving!  I looked up to them so much.  Hermana Taylor and I have been called as the new Sister Trainers.  I know Hermana Taylor is PERFECT for this assignment.  She is such a natural leader.  I am looking for how we can magnify our calling.  We need to be doing more especially since we have only 2 weeks to help the Lord in this way.  I am looking for ways to serve the Hermanas.  They are just so sweet and they deserve the WORLD!  But there are so many ways I need to improve in looking out for them.  I will work on that.

Amy sent the most perfect pictures of Kezi and Erika and Karson.  I actually used my picture of Kezi, Erika & Karson with an investigator.  He really loved it!  And I LOVED SHARING IT!! Now I carry that picture with me everywhere I go.  It brings a smile to my face every moment I see it.  I love this work, I love my family, and I love telling you all about it!  I can't wait to hear more from you all next week!  LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU ALL SO SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH!
Hermana Phipps

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Snail Mail Letter

When it comes to mail, Mexico really does Snail Mail, it took 13 days for Emma's letter to get to us.  She has warned us to not write letters to her in Mexico as they may not get there in time.  We can begin to send things to Spokane and she will get them when she gets there! Emma sent the following:

So, it was my second day of teaching our investigator, (who is actually another teacher at the MTC, but we did not know that). I was sharing my testimony that I know that this church makes you better.  But, when talking to my investigator, I said one small word wrong and ended up telling him that, "The gospel of Jesus Christ makes you a girl." Bah! What a great thing for a Sister Missionary to tell a guy! Best news, that 'investigator' will be my evening teacher next week!!  Can I say awkward?! Actually, I am glad I messed up like that.  It is so funny, it makes me laugh all the time.

You were wondering if I have hot water and a washer and a dryer.  I was wondering that the first day.  I took a shower my first morning and it was ICE COLD!  No warmth at all.  A few days later, one of the Hermanas discovered the hot water for the shower!  We have yet to figure it out for the wash basin though.  Oh, and our room is the only room in the house with hot water working in the shower!!  LUCKY US!  As for the washer and dryer, we are the first missionaries to use this house, so we have a dryer and a washer, but they were not hooked up! Some of the girls in our casa had P. day yesterday and they got it all hooked up! So lucky us, dodging another bullet again.

Our house is full of bugs! Crickets, mosquitoes, and cockroaches.  One of my closest friends here, Hermana LuBanc, is a crazy pro at killing the bugs.  The bugs do not bother me much.  The birds here are awesome! They are so happy and I hear chirping all the day long. 

I must tell you about my fellow Hermanas! Hermana Taylor (my companion), Hermana Blankenship and Hermana LuBanc are so funny! I really enjoy spending so much time with these wonderful girls.  They really live a quote I read by one of the apostles, "This isn't missionary work, this is missionary fun!"  I am really having such a grand time.  The guys in my district are super great also.  We are all friends and we do everything together even when we don't have to.  They have shared why they decided to go on a mission.  It was powerful. 

Guess what happened! It was 9 days before we would have a P-day and be allowed to use the computers.  I was getting pretty impatient to get a message or note.  Waiting until Thursday was the longest any group had to wait. (I had flown out on Tuesday and we did not get a P-day until the next week.)  But on Wednesday morning, I went to put on my skirt with the pockets and I found a surprise! Charlotte, Mariah, and Laura had somehow put notes in the pockets!  And I opened them the morning I was needing them the most.  It helped get me through my communication drought.

I am growing a lot here! And, I dried my clothes on the clothes line.  My friend thought it was weird, but sun dried clothes smell great!!   Love you, Hermana Phipps

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Picture Time!

Emma is sending great pictures of her and her companions at the Mexico CCM!

Mexico City is beautiful! And Emma LOVES that it rains every night!!

We think she is staying in the Wilford Woodruff Hall.

Two Happy Sisters!! Hermana Phipps & Taylor!

Emma Loves Her District!  They are FUN & FUNNY!!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week Tres! Time is FLYING by!!

On August 15, 2013 Emma sent the following.  It is now the 19th of August. 478 more days to serve!

This preparation day came so much faster!  But my e-mail responses took lots longer.  I only have 19 minutes and 48 seconds to write.  Seriously, this e-mailing hour might be the most stressful thing EVER.

Here is my big story of the week.  For Sacrament Meeting they have all the missionaries in the branch prepare a five minute talk in Spanish.  Then, during Sacrament Meeting they announce the six speakers for the meeting.  Now... you probably know where this is going... but, let me tell you, I sure did not!

All my campaneras were freaking out saying, "Oh, I just know it is going to be me.  It is always me." I was studying and preparing a talk (kind-of-ish) and just kept feeling like it wasn't going to be me.  I mean I do somehow happen to be picked for these things, but when I was studying, my study felt so personal and my thoughts just did not seem like thoughts that would be shared with a group.  SOOO, all the other girls wrote out their perfect talks and I focused more on just studying the topic.  The topic was repentance and I was finding some of the most personally touching ideas about repentance in the scriptures.  It was a really cool experience!  Well, anywho, the morning before, I started feeling like it might be me who would have to speak.  But all of the girls who had come to the MTC a week before us had not spoken yet, and so I thought I was okay.  But I kept thinking it was me.  Then I realized I hadn't written my talk out like the other Hermanas.  Then I SUPER FREAKED OUT!

[Ahhh! I wish I had more time to tell this story.]  Well, my district leader came and spoke to me and asked me how I was doing.  I told him I was freaked out about the possibility of speaking.  But he told me to have faith. [la fe in Spanish.]  Then our district meeting was on having faith and doing what the Lord wants even if we do not know before hand what we should do.

Well, about a half hour later I was sitting in the Sacrament Meeting room and the Branch President started naming off who was going to speak.  He said one girl's name, and then three Elder's names.  Only two girls speak per week and so I was feeling like my odds were pretty good that I would not be speaking.  Then I heard, "Hermana Phipps."  At first I was thinking, "Oh, that is a cool name."  That name sounds super familiar...Oh no! It was a Hermana and WAIT, THAT IS MY NAME!  My whole district immediately all turned around and gawked at me!  Ha ha, can anyone say pressure?  Especially for a girl who doesn't like speaking in front of people and had thought that in preparing her talk she was mostly just having a personal experience learning about the topic of repentance!  Hermana Taylor [Emma's companion], was looking like she knew for sure that I was going to have a nervous breakdown.  And the Elders in my district kept giving me the 'are you okay' face. 

Well... It was actually one of the neatest experiences I have ever had in my life. I am the kind of person who likes to map out every word she is going to say before she says it.  This time I followed the path I had been laying out in my heart about the lessons I learned about repentance.  The path I thought I had created just for myself to know, not to share with others.  I was nervous, especially at first.  But as I kept going, I felt more and more confident.  The words seemed so strong inside me and I loved sharing them with others.  I wish I could look back and know what I said, I can't remember most of it now.  But I can say I completely knew, one hundred percent, that what I was saying was true.  I know that what I said were the words the Lord had planted in my heart.  I really feel so grateful to have had the experience where I was able to rely on the Lord.

Do I regret not writing down the words, word for word, before? Not at all.  In fact, I think I was led to not do so.  That was not a natural thing for me, to not have written it all down.  But it felt so right and I feel like it went the way it needed to, as guided by the Lord.

So, do you think I can now relax and not have to speak again in Sacrament Meeting ever while I am here at the MTC (CCM in Spanish)?  Think again.  They love re-calling someone to talk!!!!

I only have 30 seconds left.  Love you SO SO SO SO SO SO Much!  My family is the BEST!  I feel so loved.  You guys help me keep going.  Oh, and I got my LETTERS :D !!   

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Two Missionaries from our ward meeting at the Airport!

It really was a tender mercy that Zach came and saw Emma the morning he was headed off to the Mission Field in Riverside, California.  She enjoyed his enthusiasm as she prepared to fly off to Mexico for her MTC experience.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Correct Address for Letters!! & Photo Op too!!

Emma has sent the correct address for the Mexico MTC.  To send mail to her use this address until September 9, 2013.

Hermana Emma Rose Phipps
Carr. Tenayuca - Chalmita No. 828,
Col. Zona Escolar, Deleg. G. A. Madero,
C. P. 07230, Mexico, D. F.

Here is Emma with her DISTRICT and notice the "B" on the mountain!!

First E-mail Home :D

[We were so overjoyed to get this August 8, 2013 -- only 489 days to go! -- Mama Mary does the blog for Emma, she is busy learning the gospel and the Spanish language!!]
I only have 40 minutes and 48 seconds to say all there is to say and there is so much, so here we go!! Your e-mails made me cry. When I read Dad's email I got really teary eyed and one of the guys in my district called me out one it.  Ha ha.  Just so you know, they are completely happy tears!! I am not even feeling homesick at all because I can feel your love and support from all those miles away :).

Mi Adventure:
I love it here so much.  The Mexico City MTC is on a 90 acre property.  It is so big and so beautiful.  Right outside the walls is the city and it is very loud and crowded.  Sirens are going non stop, but inside the MTC you only notice it when you pay extra special attention. I do not get to leave the gates of this place until next Thursday when I get to go to the TEMPLE here! How neat!!

The weather is perfect, especially for me.  It rains every night -- big raindrops.  I LOVE IT!!  One of the first things I learned about this place is that the food is an adventure!  I actually enjoy it!  Want to hear something crazy? Burritos are not really a Mexican food. Americans came up with that!  But they do serve tortillas everyday for tacos and I basically turn every meal into a taco!  I love it! Some of the other sisters are not so impressed by the food, but I think it is fun to try it!  It is definitely different than anything I have ever tried before.  The MTC president is named President Pratt and is related to Parley P. Pratt.  Mom, which of my grandmothers married him?  Anyway, his wife Sister Pratt gave me an avocado she picked off her tree!  But it is a weird avocado.

I love the Spanish language.  I love hearing our teachers speak it non-stop.  Now as for speaking it...
I do not know what I thought it was going to be like, but I had no idea it was going to be like this!  We started classes on Wednesday and then FRIDAY, (as in two days later), they had each companionship teach an investigator for 45 MINUTES!!  Okay everyone, reread that sentence and just think about how crazy that is!  Three days of Spanish and then they throw you into teaching!  Since then we have taught the same investigator everyday except Sunday and today.  Even though that concept should be impossible, it is simply amazing how well it is going!  I mean, by no means am I fluent, but my companion and I used every minute of each of the lessons!  My sentences are pretty strange and made up mostly of verbs, but we do seem to get the point across as best as we can.  I have been working on staying positive, 'cause doing this is definitely not easy.  But one of our branch presidents told me that Joseph Smith once said to a missionary that he must choose not to be discouraged.  Even though it may not seem like so sometimes, it is always our choice to be discouraged or not.  I can honestly say I have not felt discouraged yet!  I know some days it will be hard to fight that feeling, but I am going to not let it happen.  I am decided!!  I know that your attitude effects your ability to feel the spirit and to learn 110%.  I am kinda living moment by moment and decision by decision.  Each choice I make concerning my attitude and outlook definitely changes how I function.  It is really powerful to experience.  Also, I love learning how to teach here!  We learn all kinds of things in our many hours of study!  I can't wait to grow in my teaching skills.

We went to a devotional by the President on Tuesday.  All about temples and I loved hearing every bit of it.  At the end President Pratt announced that some classroom changes were going into effect that night due to two of the foreign MTC'S being completely filled.  Starting next week we are getting about 80 or 100 extra missionaries due to the other MTC'S filling up.  Isn't that amazingly powerful news? My heart is full to be part of this truly immense army. [Webster's dictionary: immense -- 1. marked by greatness 2. supremely good : excellent]

I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE everyone here.  I finally found a fellow Spokaneian! Her name is Hermana Taylor and she is so great! She is from Utah, is in the nursing program at BYU and is an absolute joy to have as a companion.  We also have two other girls in our district and room.  THEY ARE THE FUNNIEST AND MOST BEST PERSONALITY GIRLS EVER.  Sometimes this can be interesting maturity wise, but it is all fun.  In my setting apart I was told to have fun, well the three girls in my district make sure that I am doing just that.  Ha ha, it is so great.  I will most definitely have to tell you more about our crazy, delightful adventures next time.  My district is the best group of missionaries in the world.  I am sure of it.  The 12 of us are always making things awesome.  We are all completely different, but that makes for such fun times.  I will send a picture.  Be sure to notice the B on the mountain and all the houses underneath the B stacked on each other.  It is so neat.

If you want to eat a breakfast like I eat every morning... Make yourself some pancakes.  Big thick and fluffy ones.  But when you go to put syrup on it, stop.  Your options are chocolate syrup and strawberry syrup like the kind you put on ice cream!

LETTER NEWS...The address I gave everyone for the MTC is wrong.  Letters already sent should get to me, but it will take a bit longer.  [Emma's correct address is posted above!]