Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Hola familia y amigos!!!

Wow, if I could use one word to describe this week it would be Very Emotional. Ok that´s two words. Lots of learning and lots of growing experiences. We´ve been really working on improving our teaching as a companionship and we had an amazing lesson on Friday with one of our fake investigators. We taught about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and it was amazing. The spirit was so strong and we could tell our investigator was feeling it as well. Everything flowed together and we felt so united in our purpose and felt confident in what we were teaching. It was amazing and all of us were on cloud 9 afterward. I can´t wait until I get to have lessons like that with real people out in the field and see their lives change by accepting Christ in their lives. I love being a missionary :)

On Sunday all of us Hermanas in our district got together during study time and told our stories about how we came to be on a mission. It was amazing how different all of ours were, yet we are all here and all ready and willing to serve the Lord. It was a real testimony builder for all of us and really bonded us together. It helped me remember my own conversion story and see how the Lord has led me in my life to where I am now. He´s amazing and every day my trust and love for him increases. I feel like I am coming closer and closer to Him and that makes every hard moment worth it. 

(This was our awesome district selfie on the streets of Peru...we´re pretty cute, I know ;)

Then a few days later one of my comps was having a hard day and then finally just broke down during our studying and said she just wanted to go home and didn´t want to be here anymore. She struggles a lot with homesickness so it´s been hard for her, but she has an amazing heart and we were all able to come together and comfort her and reassure her that she needs to be here and the Lord has called her here for a reason. A mission was never in her plan until about July when she got a very distinct answer that she needed to go on a mission. She had zero desire to go but she is amazing and decided to be obedient to the Lord. I can´t imagine how hard that would be but she´s here now and working so hard. It just took a little reminding and now she´s doing a lot better. It was really a tender moment though to be able to testify to her of God´s love for her and his desire and need for her to be here on a mission. Powerful missionaries I am surrounded with each day.

(I bought some fun Peruvian Pants today! Aren´t they so fun! They are so comfy too!)

Then on Tuesday all of the advanced group left for the field so that night we all got together with the Elders and Sisters and sang the EFY medley and God Be With You Till We Meet Again through the big door that separates the Hermana hall from the Elder hall of rooms. It was so powerful to join our voices as missionaries of God and sing about our desire to go out and serve his children. I´ll miss them a lot, they´ve been great mentors, but I know the field is where we are meant to be so I am very happy and excited for them as well. So then today we got new missionaries! That´s always fun! There is one Elder from Logan, Jacob Hoggan, but I don´t know him. Sound familiar? It´ll be fun to meet them and grow with them here. That also means we are now the advanced group here at the CCM! SO crazy! Two more weeks! It doesn´t feel real and it´s a little terrifying but I´m so excited as well.

The last big news for this week is more on the sad side...ok really sad. One of the Hermanas that came in our group, Hermana Simmons, hurt her knee while playing soccer during our physical activity time. They went to the doctor for an MRI and apparently she tore her ACL and smashed the end of her femur on the side of her knee with the impact. She has to return home tonight to get surgery and then it´ll probably be a 6 to 8 month recovery before she can come back. It´s really devastating for her and all of us. She is so strong though and I know she will come back even stronger from the experience. She has such a strong desire to be here so I know she´ll do everything she can to get back out as soon as possible. It´s so sad though and really makes me grateful that I can be here. I can´t even image coming home right now, I love the people and Peru so much already.

So yes, that´s about everything that made up this emotional rollercoaster of a week her at the CCM. :) These next two weeks will fly by though! We really only have one more week of class and then the last week we get a day where we actually go out in the field and proselyte and then lots of days to pack and do laundry and stuff. We talked to the last group about their experience out in the field and they said it was so cool but so humbling. The people´s homes are very small and usually you just sit on buckets to teach. The people are very friendly and kind but have so many needs. I´m very excited to be able to just be with them and live among them.

Now for some just fun stories and info, the elders caught a huge beetle the other day and kept it as a pet in their classroom. It was probably a good 3 or 4 inches long and had huge legs and a big horn on it´s head. I saw another one a few weeks ago too which is pretty fun. I also saw a cockroach climbing up a tree behind the person I was teaching one night...yuck! It rained yesterday which was so fun! Apparently it never rains here so we all just got really wet playing outside and trying to enjoy it. :) It´s a very warm, humid rain though which is fun and makes my hair go super crazy!

There are a lot of words that sound similar in Spanish like pescado (fish) and pecado (sins) that we mix up a lot that make for some funny stories. Also pegar (to hit) and pagar (to pay). One Elder in our district was trying to explain to the teacher that he wanted pizza and would give him money if he would go buy him some but he mixed up those words so instead of saying he would buy the pizza he just kept saying he´d hit the pizza. Funny stuff.

But I just hope you all know I’m doing great here and I love it so much! I love being a missionary and I can´t wait to have more experiences here. One last story, one day this week we had just finished changing back into our missionary clothes after our physical activity time and once I got back into class I realized I had forgotten my name tag! Class had started so I couldn´t run back and get it and I seriously felt so lost the rest of the night! I finally had to make me a tag out of a sticky note so I felt a little better! I realized that I love having that nametag on my chest so much and the thought of one day not being able to wear it anymore makes me want to just cry! Good thing I’ve got plenty of time ahead of me, but it really hit me how much I love being a missionary and a representative of Christ. It´s an amazing feeling and I wouldn´t trade it for anything!

I love you all so much and hope you all had a great week! Shout out to Steven, I hope you had a great 18th birthday!!! I thought about you all day long and even wore my green shirt just for you! It was pretty sad not to be there but I know I´ll get plenty of time to celebrate with you once we´re both back :) Love you all so much! Gracias por sus oraciones, Yo los siento mucho y yo sé que oracion es real y tiene mucho poder! (Translation: Thank you for all of your prayers, I feel them so much and I know that prayer is real and so powerful.)

Con amor,

Hermana Cox

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hola familia y amigos!!!

Survived another week here in beautiful Peru! I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine´s day! We did here! Minus the lovey dovey stuff of course cuz we’re missionary now :) But we got candy from the CCM and I cracked open my big symphony chocolate bar I brought. I also read your letters again so that made me happy.

 We´ve been working hard and learning so much and every day gets better and better. We went to Interpol this week to work on our Visas and I met a guy from Chiclayo Peru there and talked to him quite a bit. It´s so fun to be able to speak to people, even though I’m still just a little baby at Spanish. :) We just had to get a bunch of finger prints and have a guy check our teeth and stuff like that. We also made a trip to the orthodontist for my companion because she broke her permanent retainer eating a doughnut...random I know. But it was fun to go!! It looked pretty similar to a regular office except that there was only one seat and everything looked a little older and dirtier, but besides that it was the same! And he fixed her up all right so I guess I don´t need to worry about breaking my retainer here.

(Sisters in my district.)

One day this week our teacher let us listen to church music while we studied and it was seriously so wonderful. We aren´t allowed to listen to our music here in the CCM so it was so nice to hear music again! I didn´t really realize how much I missed music until we got to listen. It brings the spirit so quickly and we were all able to study so much better!

Then of course Sunday was awesome as always. We get a lot of study time and devotionals so it is just a spiritual feast all day. I love it! It fills up my bucket for the week. It helps me remember my purpose here and gets me so excited to be out in the field!!

I am so happy here and I’m trying to be the best missionary I can. I have to totally dedicate my life cuz I won´t ever have a time like this when I can completely dedicate everything to the Lord and have no distractions. I can´t waste a single day because I know it will fly by! It already has! I´m half way through my stay at the CCM and then I’ll be out in the real world.

(Views from my window of the CCM)

(A view of the CCM)

We got to go to the temple again today for P-day which I always love. We had the new missionaries with us and one of their translators stopped working so I gave mine to her and did the whole session in Spanish!! Wahoo! I was praying so hard but it was definitely a miracle for me. I see miracles every day, big and small, and it´s so amazing when I stop and look at it all. We also did a little shopping which is always fun and I talked to a bunch of people in Spanish. I´m getting more and more comfortable every day with speaking, but it´s a lot of work.

(Missionaries in my district)

We have a new teacher though and she´s amazing! She is so nice and explains things so well. And the best part is she gives us hugs and tells us she loves us and stuff. It´s so nice to have someone who we feel comfortable talking with and who really cares. Our old teacher is still good but he´s a guy so he´s not really the touchy, feely type. :) But all the teachers are awesome and they help us so much. Our lessons are improving every day and we´ve gotten to the point that we are able to express almost everything we want in Spanish as we teach. It´s slow and sometimes doesn’t make a ton of sense, but practice makes perfect. Plus it´s all about the spirit anyway. We´ve had a few lessons where the spirit has been so strong and I really feel like I’m helping and teaching someone. It´s hard to want to end lessons like that and have to remember it wasn’t real. I can´t wait to teach real investigators and see their lives change!!!! Overall it´s been a really good week and I am honestly so happy here. I feel the Lord teaching and helping me every day and I love him more and more.

Thanks for sharing stuff about the family history you are doing! I honestly have been thinking a lot about that this week and wanted to ask you if you would share some stories about them you are learning every once in a while. Just email me and I can read them whenever I get the chance. It may sound strange but there have been so many times when I feel like I am being watched over by them or encouraged by them. I realized that here on a mission the only names I am distinguished by are Hermana (sister), Cox (the name of my family), and Christ. That´s whose names are on my heart every day and it´s who I represent here. I wish I would have gotten to know my ancestors better before but I hope I can still do some learning now. So keep up with that! I honestly feel that the more we get to know them, the more they can help us in our lives and we can feel there influence because we have that relationship. And trust me, I want all the help and comfort I can get out here from any source! :) So neat.

Missions are the best! Hope all is going well at home! Love you all so much! :)

Con amor,

Hermana Cox

Girls in my district, Hermana Vernon and Hermana Samuels (One of my comps)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hola!!!!!! WOW, week 2 down! In some ways it feels like it's gone so fast but at the same time I feel like I´ve been gone for SO LONG! I´ve just been studying a lot and practicing and teaching and speaking and teaching and studying and learning and teaching and studying...etc. :) But it´s good and I´m trying to work really hard. It´s so important to be self motivated here because a lot of the progress we make really comes down to using your time wisely and wanting to work hard. There are so many people who slack off in the MTC and then struggle in the field so I’m trying my hardest not to be one of those!

 This week has been pretty good. I had a little rough spot Saturday night/Sunday because I was just getting a little frustrated and discouraged with the language and other things but I´m doing so much better now. Although it was really hard, I learned a lot about obedience, faith, patience, and just God´s love for all of us. It´s so easy to feel like we aren´t good enough and can´t measure up to his expectations or those around us but He taught me that it really is so important to go to him for feedback and assurance, not comparing myself to others or what I think he expects from me. I also am blessed with such amazing companions and roommates which makes things a lot easier. A lot of the Hermanas had a rough few days this week but we were all able to pull together and help each other. Every night we do "Comp Compliments" which is when we all (the 5 Hermanas in my room) take turns going around the circle and saying what we liked/noticed that day about each other that we thought was really neat. It´s helped us grow really close and also trust each other a lot. I love these girls :)

In my personal study I found a scripture in Job 5:17 which talks about how happy is the man who the Lord chasteneth...or something to that affect. It really hit me that I shouldn´t let myself get so discouraged when I feel like the Lord is trying to teach and mold me. I should be so glad that he cares enough to take the time to help me become the missionary he wants me to be. That helped a lot and I’ve been doing so much better these past few days. I think the Lord just needed me to have a little rough patch so I would remember that he is always there for me and will never let me fall if I just turn to him. I feel like our relationship has increased and I feel more focused on my real purpose here. Such a tender mercy for me to learn so early on.

 Then on Tuesday this week we went to Immigrations to work on our Visas which was an adventure! We all hopped on a bus and rode into the big city. The traffic here is so crazy and I finally had to just close my eyes and pray that we would make it there alive :) Just a lot of stop and go, cars everywhere honking, and the lines in the road are basically just guidelines to suggest how many cars should probably fit on the road. Usually there are a few cars squeezing their way through the middle, especially motorcycles. And they all drive super close to each other which is a little scary...but exciting too :) At stop lights people just walk around all the cars to get across the street and we even saw a guy walking down the row of cars selling ice cream...haha so unlike home! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention they do have ice cream here so don't worry about me missing out on that. :) We've had it a few times in the CCM and people sell it all over the streets here.

 I also saw some people picking through the trash along the way and a lot of homeless people which is very sad and isn´t something I’m used to seeing. Here in Lima there are the very rich and the very poor, all together in one big city so you sort of get to see a little of everything. It´s already made me so grateful for what I have though! Even thinking about home the first thing I realize is how much we have and how clean everything is. I´m pretty sure I’ll be in shock when I come home. :)  The buses are packed full of people all the time and you just stand on the side of the road and wave one down and they pick you up and take you where you want to go. It´s actually really nice!

Today we also got to go to the temple again which I loved. It feels so much like home there. My companion´s translator stopped working towards the beginning of the session so I gave her mine and just listened in Spanish. I actually understood almost all of it! It was such a blessing and was so cool to see the gift of tongues in action! Then we just went shopping some more and then came back and met all the new missionaries! They come in every two weeks so we got to say quick hellos and assure them that they won´t die and to just get through the first few days cuz they are rough. :) But I’m excited to get to know them all! There are probably 75 to 90ish of us missionaries here...maybe less since a bunch left for the field on Tuesday. So it´s really small and we all basically know each other.

We´ve taught a bunch of lessons now to so many people. We teach our teachers, the Latino missionaries, and members who volunteer to come in. It´s such good practice but also really hard to communicate in Spanish. I understand a lot now but it´s just forming words and speaking back that is difficult. And now I’ve started forgetting English so that´s exciting too :) It´s so fun teaching them though and it makes me so excited to be out in the field!! I love these Peruvian people so much already and I can´t wait to live with and teach them!!!

The food is really good. Lots of rice, meat, veggies, potatoes, and more rice and meat and potatoes. So it´s really good and I’ve liked it. Also they eat a lot of a fruit called granadias...I’m not sure how to spell it though. Look it up, it´s pretty weird! And their little oranges are green but still orange inside which is also exciting. Lots of yummy bread and desserts too. I´ll probably gain like 15 pounds before I leave the CCM because we all eat so much for meals because we´re starving from sitting in desks all day...not sure how that works but it´s true! :) It's gotten pretty hot this week and still humid but I´m getting used to it.

Let me know what questions you have about anything and what kinds of things you want to hear! It´s hard to remember everything from a whole week and write it all in less than an hour. :) I love you all so much! Thank you so much for all the support and prayers.  I promise I feel them here and it helps so much. I can´t wait to be able to share more stories!! Love you soooooooo much!!!!! :)

Hermana Cox

 Then just some buildings and scenery to help you get a feel for what i see here every day :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Wednesday, February 04, 2015:
WOW!!! I've already been in Peru for one whole week! It's so crazy but at the same time it feels like it's been sooooo long! These are Spanish keyboards and they are so hard to write on so sorry for all the mistakes, i'm just trying to write fast! :)

Traveling went well and I met up with a bunch of sisters at the gate! I dropped my stuff off and went to get some breakfast and could barely eat because I was trying so hard to hold back all the tears. But that was the hardest part so far.  I've done so good since then. All the other Hermanas (sisters) are so great and we've all become such good friends. I'm in a trio with Hermana Samuels and Hermana Alder. I'll try and send pics.My p-days are Wednesdays and I email around this time every week. :)

The Spanish is coming along slowly but surely. I can pray in Spanish, hold a decent conversation with all the Latinos, bear my testimony, and I have the missionary purpose memorized in Spanish. I am remembering a lot from what I’ve learned before but now we're starting into some new things so it will be a little slower learning. Patience :) But it's been going really well and our teacher is awesome. Not going to lie the first day was rough...mostly because everything was new, the people, the food, the country, the CCM (MTC), and everyone speaks Spanish all the time. But after that every day gets better and I am liking it more and more. My companions are so sweet and we all get along really well. We are all very different but that makes it fun :) And all the Latinos here are sooo nice! We have become really good friends with some of the Latina sisters and sit and talk to them at meals and stuff. And all the Latino elders are fun too but super flirty so you have to be careful :) Us white girls I guess ;)

My hair is so crazy here! Like seriously if it were any shorter I might have a fro haha! But I´m learning lots of undoes that will probably be all I do my whole mission. It's harder now that it's short but I'll make it work :) Everything here is so beautiful! Green and lots of plants and birds and beautiful everywhere! It hasn’t been terribly hot yet but its definitely warm.

We basically get up in the morning, eat, study, go to Spanish class all morning, eat, study, go to class, exercise, study, go to class to learn to teach, eat, class, bed :) Lots of studying but it{s good, that's what this time is for :) Our teacher is great but he speaks only in Spanish. I'm getting really good at understanding Spanish, now I just need to work on teaching it. But it helps us learn a lot faster that way. The gift of tongues is so real, it's amazing all I’ve learned so far! We had our first lesson yesterday, but it's just our teacher who dresses up and plays investigator. But he stays in character the whole time so it feels really real still. Our lesson went all right, definitely need to get used to teaching in another language cuz I can’t say everything I want. But we made it though and got some key points across that we wanted to. Haha but at the end I was trying to ask if we could volver (return) to his house but instead I accidentally asked if we could vivir (live) in his house. Hahahah awkward!!! Good thing he's not a real investigator! But it was pretty funny and we got a good laugh out of it.

Then today was p-day!! Wahoooo! Pday is the best after working so hard for a week. We got to go to the temple this morning and it was so great! It was all in Spanish but we had headphones in with English so we could understand. It is a lot smaller than ones I’ve been in but just as pretty and sacred. And the veil is the prettiest one I’ve seen ever so far. So great, I needed it so much. It reminded me of the times I got to go with you guys and with the boys to do baptisms. I love the temple and I’m so glad we are sealed forever cuz I can’t imagine not knowing I could be with you forever!!!! Then we walked outside of the temple and guess what!!! There was my mission Pres and tons of missionaries from my mission!!!! It was their temple day so we got to go and talk to him and he is sooooo nice! He recognized my companions and I cuz we are all going to Lima East and talked to us for a bit. Then I also saw Elder Kolton Pierson there!! SO crazy! I'll attach a pic if I have time! It was really fun to talk to him for a minute.

Then we went to a big store sort of like Cosco to get some things if we needed it and also the distribution center and i got scriptures in Spanish and a little PMG. The transportation system here is nuts, everyone driving all over the place and lots of honking and stopping in the roads and everything. But I love it still and it´s actually really entertaining. :) We ride the bus wherever we need to go or walk and you just cram in and hold on and they stop and go and drive all over and then you just get off and pay half a sole which is probably less than 25 cents and that will get you anywhere you want to go. Super nice as long as you don’t mind being crammed on a bus. But really I love it and it's finally feeling like I’m actually here in Peru. I wake up every day and really don't believe it but getting to be out in the city today make it seem real.Everyone is so nice and all the people talk to you and say hello on the streets. All the kids are so cute and so nice.

I´m running out of time but there is just so much to tell ! Sorry this has been so scattered and crazy! But just know I love you all so much and I am doing so well here, don't even worry about me! I'm getting used to everything and loving it more and more every day.

We were challenged to read the whole BOM before we leave the CCM so we've been working on that and a scripture I loved this week was 2 Nephi 5:27. They did live after the manner of happiness. It wasn’t an emotion it was a way of life. I am coming to understand how to just live in happiness more and more and it really comes from being so close to the Lord and trusting him with your life. I´ve told him over and over that my life is in his hands for these next 18 months and I am on his time. I’m all here and I’m just here to serve and love his people. The more I focus on having that attitude the easier and better life is. I feel myself changing and becoming better every day. It’s hard work but it'll be so worth it.

I hope everything is well at home. I think about you every day and pray for you. I've told the Lord that he is in charge of watching over you while I’m gone so I can focus here and he's fulfilled that for me by helping me to focus and really not be homesick hardly at all. Lots of girls have struggled this week but I have been blessed to have such a strong sense that he is watching over you and I don’t need to worry. I love you and can't wait to share more experiences! Thank you for the sweet letters I found in my bag.  I read them all and totally cried but I loved it. Talk to you next week! Live joyfully and let the Lord be in your heart always.
So much love,
Hermana Cox

Wednesday, January 28, 2015:

I´m here!!! Wow it still doesn´t feel real, but I´m so happy to be here. After you dropped me off I went to my gate and there were a ton of missionaries there. Probably 6 sisters and 8 elders. Then we met up with even more in Atlanta so we looked like a huge army walking through the airport. Everyone is really nice and all the sisters in my room are going to be great. I am in a tri companionship with two other sisters going to my mission. There are sooo many going to Lima East so that should be really fun! These are Spanish keyboards and are really hard to type on so sorry for all the mistakes. I´m trying to be fast since we only have a few minutes. But just know I am doing well! Everything is so pretty here and it´s not as hot or humid as I was expecting...but still hot and humid :) Everyone speaks Spanish here so none of us really know what anyone is saying but I guess that will help us learn a lot faster so we just have to get through the first few weeks of being clueless. :) I love you all so much!!! My P-day is on Wednesday.


Hermana Cox