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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Breaking out the DayQuil

Hola everyone!!!! 

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. Hermana Baker and I were talking about it the other day, and we really wouldn't rather be anywhere else or be doing anything else in the world. The days are hard, yes, but I hardly notice the hard times anymore because the Lord is so good to me! Missionary work is the most rewarding work ever!

This week was a great one. I really haven't had any bad since since the first two weeks. :) Bad moments, yes, but the Lord has been great in getting me out of them pretty fast. I love my district SO much. Seriously. They are HILARIOUS. The most HILARIOUS people you will ever meet (besides Bradon. His emails CRACK ME UP.) And I love them so much. They have taught me a million things about being a good missionary, and it makes me so happy to think of the kind of missionaries our elders will become at the end of these two years. Yes, they have a long way to go, but leadership does good things to you. They are fabulous. 

So as you can tell by the headline, I got a cold this week. It's been going around our zone for a week or so now, and I caught it. But it only lasted a couple days thank goodness. We had a FREEZING COLD day this last week out of nowhere. We were dying because every other day has been a nice 70 or 80 degrees out. BRR. We didn't know what to do. Oh. And for some reasons mosquitos LOVE my left foot. I have four bites on that foot alone. Nowhere else! What the heck!

I just have to say, my companion is the BEST person in the world! It's amazing how well we get along! We are just the best of friends, and she even got me to like gym time! It's a miracle! (We were laughing at how ironic it is that SHE sprained her ankle and not me. She has to sit out in gym time now while I play. I would totally switch places with her if I could. Lol.) But we work SO well together. I am seriously going to take her as my carry on and not bring anything else home. I can't WAIT to see this chica after the mish! We will have so much fun! 

But anywho, we have had a ton of teaching appts this last week. One of our investigators, Luis, is "getting baptized" this week! Yay! He's just soaking the information up! And we taught one of our other investigators, Armando, yesterday. It was our second lesson with him (he's our afternoon teacher, Hermano Castellanos) and after the lesson was done, he came into the classroom and told us in front of the entire district "Hermana Baker y Hermana Porter, PERFECT lesson. I have nothing to say. It was PERFECT. You both are ready to go into the field. Excellent job." We were SO happy. Hermana Baker and I are always so concerned about our investigators, and we are coming to know that as long as you just LOVE others, the Spirit will testify to them of the truth. They will feel your love through your Christlike example! I have no doubt about that! Even though I can't speak the language all that great, they can still get what I'm saying and feel that I love them.

I seriously LOVE LOVE LOVE people. Seriously. I love everyone to death. I am SO happy that we are Sister Training Leaders because we have really gotten to know our girls this week. Hermanas Fisi'iasi and Olsen are JUST like we were the first week or two. Hermano Castellanos (our afternoon teacher) is their morning teacher, and he is always having us talk to them because they have our same needs. We love them so much!! 

I have to tell you a story. So, our teacher Hermano Castellanos is SUPER gifted when it comes to personal revelation. All the elders think he is a Jedi Master. But he told us he has had this thing since he was young that he could feel other peoples emotions, and it was debilitating for a long time, but he learned how to use it on his mission. He was talking about it when he turned to Baker and I and said, "Someone's nervous. Is it you Hermana Porter?" It wasn't, but Hermana Baker was nervous about something, so they talked about it. Then a bit later we were asking him what our needs were since he said he knew, and he turned to me and said, "You are concerned with not being good enough." HOLY COW. He got it SPOT ON. That has always been an issue for me, and it's in the back of my mind now as I am learning and TEACHING in Spanish. But the Lord is making up the difference. Somehow I remember the words and know what to say when I need it. 

One amazing experience we had this week involved two of our Elders who are now the Zone Leaders. Many people are having issues with Fastle because he makes Hermanas and Elders read the white handbook section about opposite gender rules. He's been really prideful and blunt, and finally I got so upset with everyone hating him instead of dealing with it, that I took Hermana Baker outside and talked to her about what we could do for Elder Fastle. I felt strongly that we should sit them down and teach them as missionaries. That's what we did. We taught them as missionaries, and we focused on our needs as leaders and how important it is for us to focus on others and THEIR needs and how WE can help THEM. The Spirit was the strongest I've ever felt during that half hour lesson. You know when you feel the Spirit and your voice automatically gets softer? That's how it was. Since that lesson, they have really grown in their leadership positions. It's been awesome. Those two are going to learn SO much about helping others and not themselves. They each have their own needs, and I hope they grow into even greater leaders in the field.

Thursday was insane. Hermana Baker got TWO packages of Krispy Kreme donuts from her mom in the mail, so we had a mini-party. Then Whipple and Hopkins kept giving us Chokis and Runts and candy, and then Hermano Hernandez brought us a million churros.... Talk about a sugar overload. I haven't been able to eat Chokis since then. Woof. But it was fun! :) 

Oh dang. I passed my one month mark on Saturday. :O Time is flying! I don't want the mission to end!! Except, Hermanas Baker and Abernathy freaked me out the other day because they both feel like I'll be assigned as a trainer the first time I get into the field.... :S UHHH. 

Scriptures that have helped me this week: Proverbs 3: 5-6 (Elder Seager pulled that one out for me the other day out of nowhere. I just started crying. Poor Seager was wondering what the heck was happening. lol) and Alma 26 (verse 22 specifically, but read the whole chapter and apply it to missionary work!). 

Funny quotes from this week: 

Hermana Baker: "They run a corn village??"
Elder Whipple: "An ORPHANAGE!" (She mishears things ALL the time!)

Elder Evans: "I was a triste little manzana." (he was relating his day to an apple.)

Me: "Did you shed any tears?" (Hermana Baker and I wrote elder evans a pick me up note to make him feel better)
Evans: "Give or take 27... but maybe 9."

Hermana Baker: "Whipple, would you ever call someone a sweet spirit?"
Whipple: "That could only mean one of two things: you're either butt ugly or just MEAN."
Baker: "whipple, someone called ME a sweet spirit."
whipple: "allow me to retract what I JUST said..."

ahhhhh I love the mission :) There are million more stories I could tell you all, but I will just leave it at that. I have never participated in a more rewarding work. Sometimes I get impatient with myself (Okay, often...), but I have noticed that the Lord watches out for his missionaries. He can't have us feeling down because he has people for us to teach. We need to be working all the time and learning all the time and improving all the time. I love it! I love being a missionary! I can't wait to get to Kentucky less than a week now! It will be hard, but I am ready to learn! I am so grateful I have Hermana Baker. We are SO blessed. I have just been great friends with her, and I love having her as a comp and a teammate. She has set the example for the rest of the mission. 

The Church is true everyone! I am learning that every day! I can't express even a tenth of what is in my heart. It's like what Ammon says in Alma 26. I cannot glory enough in my Savior, and even if I praised him day and night, I still would not be able to say a part of the things in my soul about the Savior. He is my Redeemer, the one who died for us because he LOVES us -- he absolutely LOVES -- so much so that he would die for us and suffer for us even though he did nothing wrong. I am humbled each day for the things Christ does for me, and I love seeing the joy on someone's face when they begin to feel the Spirit testify to them of this. Our Savior is good, and He loves us. 

I hope everyone comes to know their Savior as best as they can. The mission has really brought me closer to Christ in a way that I did not know was possible. We can't do this work without Him. It is His work. I can't wait to stand before Him someday and tell Him I gave it my all in serving Him. I love this Gospel and this work. Any problem we have can be fixed through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My four-year baptism anniversary is this Thursday, and as I ponder on my feelings about that day, I get so excited about bringing others to baptism so they can have those same feelings as well. 

I love being a missionary!


Hermana Porter

¡Llamados a Servir!

Hola mi familia!!! 

I just want to hug everyone I ever meet. For reals. Maybe if I just hug random people they will feel Christ's light and want to join the Church...because I can't speak Spanish worth peanut butter. 

Okay, I can speak Spanish. Pero, no muy bien. Obvs. I am getting better though. The thing is, I came out on the mission totally expecting that the language is something easy to learn, and as a missionary, it comes without effortt. But oh boy, I was duping myself big time. Learning a language is WORK, and the only way to learn it is by practice, practice, practice. I'm not kidding. There's a reason we have the SYL (HCI.... Speak Your Language/Hablar Su Idioma) program here en el CCM. It's hard work, but it pays off. I notice that days I speak for 3 or 4 hours straight, it just starts flowing. Hermana Baker and I had to speak with a couple natives from northern Mexico for half an hour, and by then we were speaking pretty fluently. They started talking to us about one of their investigators who has a drug problem, and something happened that really surprised me. In the most fluent Spanish I've spoken thus yet (which isn't saying much.... I probably made a lot of mistakes still) I told them about my dad and how God loves people struggling with addiction. It surprised me more because I didn't realize I knew that. That's something I've struggled with for a long time, with Dad. Is just realizing that God does love them too, even more so. Addiction is hard. I've never had to deal with it the way some people have, but God just testified to me right then and there -- in SPANISH, nonetheless -- that He does love them very much. 

I was talking to Hermano Enciso (He got a new district this week, so he's not our teacher anymore!! Hermana Baker and I wanted to cry when we found that out. Enciso seriously is the best. He has helped Baker and I out SOOO much) yesterday, because he was chillin in our classroom, and he said that learning English for him was easy because English is very specific. It's like a math problem. This plus this plus this equals a sentence. But Spanish...ask aunt Sharon. You have to formulate sentences in a million different ways, and it's all phrased weird. I get the grammar, but it's different from English. And for a girl who is a journalism major with a knack for English grammar.... you can guess how Spanish is going in my head. It's wreaking havoc on me. 

But you know what? The Lord knows that, and He is answering my prayers. He is so good to me.

First off, Hermano Cates, the director of the CCM, gave a great devotional this Sunday. My favorite quote from that devotional was this: "We don't have miracles because we never go where miracles occur. Man's extremity is God's opportunity." That really stuck out to me this week, and I realized that the Lord is pushing me for a reason, and He's not going to stop until I am the person He is trying to make me into. I think I fully realized this yesterday, and last night I just gave it all to Him. I'm not here to worry about anything else but preaching his gospel in the language He wants to me to learn. And I'm not going to learn how to do that unless I focus on Him and let Him use me the way He needs to. I'm still working on applying this, but each day something new happens that just forces me to focus on Him and learning the gospel. It's been nice! 

I want to preach the gospel because it's the most important message EVER, and I can't bear to think that no one knows about it. I want so bad to share everything about it with everyone, but I get discouraged sometimes because I can't do it in Spanish. I only know simple things. But that's okay. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. And I will get better eventually, but you know me and my patience problems. Every week when I evaluate how I am doing in developing Christlike attributes, patience is always the #1 thing I have to focus on. Pray for me!

A lot of things have happened this week that really humbled me. The first was yesterday when Hermano Castellanos, my afternoon maestro, randomly put me in a group with Elders Feuz, Hopkins, and Stewart -- all very sweet guys -- and had them help me with my language study plan. It was just what I needed. They gave me some pointers on how to learn the language. They said my spanish is already better than I realize. YAY. But anyway, it really touched my heart that my teacher would help me like that. 

And the second thing about Hermano Castellanos: He is so humble and open to revelation. (He told Hermana Baker and I the other day that we are the most powerful missionaries in the district, and it worried him because no one else teaches with the Spirit or the power like we do.) He came in on Saturday during the afternoon class, threw out his plan, and told us to get in a circle for a demonstration. He then proceeded for the next half hour to focus on Elder Whipple and his needs. He told Whipple about his life, then had Elder Whipple open up about his needs as an individual. Elder Whipple went on about how he doesn't feel like he helps people out enough or doesn't love and accept people enough, and what his worries are as a missionary. I can't explain everything that happened, but the Spirit was so strong during that lesson as we all just sat around and observed. We didn't think too much of it until Sunday night.

We were all sitting around after we watched the movie "Only a Stonecutter", having a district devotional review, and Elder Whipple began talking. He told us all how he had planned to go to our branch president, Pres. Machado, about going home on Sunday. He was determined. But when Hermano Castellanos wiped out his afternoon lesson to focus on him, something changed. Hermana Baker and I just started bawling because if you knew Elder Whipple.... you would be too. He is THE sweetest, most kind-hearted, funniest and loving Elder we're ever met. There is not a mean bone in his body. He is always making us laugh, and he always stays late after meals to take our trays for us. He is always saying he is an idiot, and Spanish is hard for him to learn. But after that review.... we were just stunned. I can't imagine him leaving, and it just breaks my heart that I did not pay attention to his needs instead of my own. I wish I had asked him how he was because that's what he does with everyone else. He is always taking care of us and shaking each of our hands before we leave for the night. I just am so grateful he is in our district and that he shared that with us. 

Ah. Anyway. Miracles happen everyday whether we realize it or not. Heck, I'm learning Spanish! 

I have a few funny things to share with you about this week, because even though we are spiritual 99% of the time, we need the comic relief sometimes.

(Oh, I forgot to mention I sang in a choir last week at devotional! It was awesome!)

1. We forgot how to draw the United States. Hermano Tapia was drawing Mexico City for us on the white board, and hermana abernathy drew the US above it all crazy, like a square. Poor hermano tapia was like, "Uhhhh... is that really the US?" 
2. I eat too many Chokis. I was pulling out my planner from my purse the other day, and I noticed a thick layer of chocolate dust on the bottom. Turns out my Chokis got crushed and now there is a thin layer lining the bottom of my purse. -.- 
3. I figured out why Hermano Enciso told us to tell people we were from Xochimilco. It's a VERY traditionally mexican place by the lake where people sell food out of boats. If we told people "Soy de Xochimilco" they would be baffled. Cause we're white. 
4. I met a girl here who knows the Jurcas! She is actually next door neighbors with them! Her name is Hermana Astle.
5. I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting this Sunday about baptism, and as I got up and introduced myself in Spanish, I look up and Elder Whipple winks at me. My face was just all taken aback, like "what the heck did he just do?? what do I do??" and I just kept going. It was so embarrassing.
6. Elder Whipple´s words of advice: "Don't squat with your spurs on."

Oh, and this one is a story: So, Hermana Baker and I are obsessed with playing fútbol now. We LOVE it. We seriously look forward to gym time every day cause we get to play soccer with everyone. I suck, but the elders are all so nice about it. Anyway, we set up a game for p-day today, and we had a bunch of people playing, and it was so fun. I was walking back downfield as Elder Whipple, the goalie, was getting the ball, and all of the sudden, BAM, the ball hits me right in the side of my head. Keep in mind we were playing with a volleyball, and Elder Whipple kicked it from 15 feet away as hard as he could. He felt SO bad. I was totally fine, but he ended up buying me a pack of Chokis cause he felt so bad. Then a few minutes later... Hermana Baker sprained her ankle. We had to take her to the clinic to get it wrapped. So...we're not playing soccer anymore while we're here. Bummer!! 

So yeah! that's basically my life here! Learning Spanish, eating a lot (they put hotdogs in the salad here.... I don't know why they think Americans like hotdogs so much...), playing soccer....told ya! Miracles occur all the time! I can't believe I will be in Kentucky in less than two weeks now. I am excited but nervous. I see all my friends here leaving every week, and it makes me nervous, but excited at the same time. I won't know everything by the time I leave, but I want to take advantage of the time I do have here in the CCM to learn Spanish and the gospel. I leave on Monday the 25th. I leave the CCM at 2am, and my flight leaves at 7 am. I am flying to Georgia with two of my elders, Seager and Fastle, but then we part ways (they are going to SC). I am going to KY with one other Hermana though! Hermana Wadley :) 

Happy things that happened this week: One of our investigators committed to baptism! He is our third one to do so! And we also taught a few more people. I think we have 8 investigators right now. Woo! 

Anywho... I will send you pictures right now! I hope life at home is good!! I love getting your emails familia! I miss Duffy and Steve. Also, Presidente Pratt updates us about BYU games all the time. LOL.  I will be on for about another 45 minutes, so.... until next week! Next week is my final Pday, and I'm going to the temple one last time! I hope I can email you the Sunday before I get to KY, but we'll see!! Love you all!

Hermana Porter

"Tenemos muchos pescados en esta vida."

Hola mi familia!!!!
I could sing it from the mountain tops!!! I LOVE THE MISSION!!! I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!!! I LOVE THIS CHURCH!!!
First off, that quote in the headline is a direct quote from Elder Stewart in our district. He was teaching one of our investigators, Luis, and he said that, which translates into, "We have many fish in this life." He meant to say "pecados", which is sins. LOL. Gave us a good laugh.
Second off, will you post this on my Facebook: DO NOT send me letters here please!! I don't know if anyone has, but seriously, the mail takes 4 weeks to get here. Don't write me any from here on out until I get to Kentucky please!! Its not that I don't want letters. Cause I do. Just not here. I will never get it. :(
Third off... send me pics of yall!! And send me pics of my paintings! Enciso, my teacher, is a painter and he wants to see my temple paintings. Also, tell me how much moolah is in my bank account. Some guy sells jerseys in la tienda here on campus, and I want to be one of the cool kids who has one of those jerseys for gym time. They cost $35. (I bought Mexican scripture cases and a metal picture of the SLC templo today at the tienda by the templo!!! It only cost $30 for both total!)
Fourth off.... LIFE IS GRAND!! Where do I even begin!
Last Tuesday when I emailed you, I was feelin ROUGH. I mean seriously. I apologize that my email was so depressing and all over the place. I was just not feeling the Spirit. I was missing you guys too much, and I was not learning the language. Satanás was getting me down fo sho. We had a devotional that night by Elder Holland (it was a recorded one), and I don't think ANYTHING has ever hit me as hard as his talk did. EVER. It was a devotional from a couple years ago, but he gave a talk in GC about it a while ago titled, "Peter, Do You Love Me?" I SO WISH you could have heard him speak the way he spoke to us missionaries. He never could have done that in GC, but it went right to my core. I kept thinking all night, "Lord, do I REALLY love thee?" And he told us about how after Christ died, Peter and the other Apostles just went back to fishing because that was what they knew how to do. Then Christ appeared, asked Peter 3x if he loved him, and when he said he did, he said, "THEN FEED. MY. SHEEP. FOREVER!" You are not called to be an Apostle just for a little while. You are not just called to be a missionary for just 18 months or 2 years. When you receive a call from the Lord, you are called to be that FOREVER. FOREVER. You are to be a missionary FOREVER. You are to FEED HIS SHEEP FOREVER. This isn't temporary! The things you learn on the mission are to convert YOU, and YOU are to FEED HIS SHEEP. It just hit me so hard. SO hard.
Wednesday was ROUGHER. Hermana Baker and I both woke up just NOT feeling the Spirit. It was the worst feeling ever. I can't even explain it. I was just moody, not getting any revelation in morning study, and anytime one of my language teachers asked me a question, I was on the verge of tears. I was a hot mess. But not really. Anyway, later that afternoon, things kind of got better. I still was not feeling so great about myself that day.
Then came Thursday.
Thursday was just the turning point for me. And every day since has been a fantastic learning experience.
First off, before I explain, I just need to talk to you about Hermana Baker. I can't say ENOUGH good things about what an amazing person Hermana Baker is. She and I are on the same level about everything, and she and I just GET EACH OTHER. I can't even explain it. She is just AWESOME in every single way. She is so patient and diligent, and when she's feeling down, I help her, and when I'm feeling down, she helps me perfectly. She is so in tune with the Spirit, and she has made my life here in the CCM so much easier. Not just easy, but FANTASTIC. I can't even explain it! She is a specter from the Gods! (That is a quote from the Testament movies...) So with that being said...
We were sitting outside on Thursday and I just had to have a talk with her about how I was just so frustrated yesterday, and then that morning I just had the revelation that the Lord is going to help me through what He needs me to do. He hasn't called me to fail. He has called me to succeed GLORIOUSLY. Although every day has it's rough parts, we just need to look at it like, "Lord, what do you need me to learn from this? What are you trying to make me into?" I can't exactly remember everything we talked about or what I said, but I remember it being a turning point.

Friday was rough too. I got shut down again because our teachers gave us 12 new investigators. TWELVE. Hermana Baker is so intuitive. She notices that I just shut down when I get stressed and think I can't do something. She took me outside and we had a nice talk, and my attitude turned around. I was still thinking about Elder Holland's message and how I am not devoting everything I have to the Lord. I kept asking myself, "What can I do better to devote EVERYTHING to the Lord?"
Basically, I've decided to keep Hermana Baker for the next 17 months. Because she and I work together nothing you can even imagine!
Anyway, so Thursday proved to be the turning point. And you know what happened Sunday? We began our fast on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning, we were both receiving crazy awesome revelation for our investigator Carlos (Hermano Enciso--I will tell you about him in a sec.), and then our District Leader, Elder Feuz, comes in and says, "Hermana Baker and Porter, President Machado wants to interview you two right now."
And guess what happened? He assigned us to be the new Sister Training Leaders!!!! We were so thrilled!! Pres. Machado and Pres. Avila interviewed us and extended the assignment to us, and then they both said, "Thursday, your names just came into our heads, and we've been emailing back and forth since then. We have known since Thursday that you were to be the new training leaders." WOWZA. The Lord is so good!!
We have seen blessings beyond measure since then! One of our investigators, Carlos, committed to baptism yesterday! We had a lesson about chastity with him, and he read D&C18: 2-3 and just started crying. He is a fake investigator, but the Spirit was SO strong in that room. We read Alma 7: 14-16 together, and just like that he committed to baptism. We were so struck by the Spirit. I can't even describe it. If you don't have the Spirit in your lessons, you cannot teach. Because the Spirit is the teacher, not you. You are just a mouthpiece for the Spirit.
Yesterday was rough for me before the lesson. I was actually feeling really well, because I had finally figured out an answer to my fast. I have been pondering how I can more fully devote myself to the Lord, and then in Relief Society on Sunday, Hermana Pratt said, "Clean up your comfort zone." That hit me, and as I've been thinking about it, it came to me yesterday. ENGLISH is my comfort zone. I had a talk with Hermana Baker about how I feel like I am failing to learn the language, and I explained to her how I feel like English is my comfort zone. I avoid talking in Spanish because I get too scared of messing up. I just resort to English because I can express myself. But I am not learning Spanish, and my purpose here is to Preach the Gospel in Spanish. Anyway, she helped me reevaluate my language study plan, and I feel like I am finally organized. (You know me. I need to be organized, and when it came to learning to Spanish here, I was NOT organized. I did NOT know where to start, and I was all over the place, but noting was sticking.) Again, Hermana Baker is amazing! She's so diligent.
Hermano Enciso. I MUST tell you about him. He is one of our afternoon teachers, along with Hermano Castellano. They are both hilarious and awesome. Both of them are investigators for us. Enciso is actually a convert. He learned English on his mission in Ecuador, and he just got home a few months ago. He is engaged and moving to Provo and then Texas next May. He got baptized the DAY AFTER ME! He got baptized Nov. 22, 2009! How crazy! He is the most helpful teacher ever! He told Hermana Baker and I the other day (it was a secret!) that we are the best missionaries in the zone. Lol. He is always saying, "Eso!!!" Enciso is the best. Yesterday Enciso and Castellano were having a meeting with all of us about language study plans, and Castellano goes, "Hermano Enciso will be leaving us Wednesday because he just found out he has a child in Bolivia he needs to take care of." He doesn't really, but they made it pretty believable. LOL. He will be leaving us Wednesday though. He will be teaching a new district. :( Encisoooooo! (He told Hermana Baker and I to tell people we are from Xochimilco.
So, guess who likes sports now? I told you miracles were occuring every day here!! Hermana Baker and I play soccer and kickball with 3 other districts every day for gym time. I love it because it's not competitive! No pressure! Plus Elder Fastle yells "GO PORTER!!!!" every time I get the ball. haha.
hahahaha soooo....our district. We are SO TIGHT NOW. I love my district. Yes, the Elders are really immature sometimes, but Sunday morning Elder Fastle and Elder Seager were called to be the new Zone Leaders. We have 8 Elders and 4 Hermanas in our district, and we have both the ZLs and the STLs now! All this leadership is blessing us so much! Hermana Baker and I were so grateful Sunday morning for everything. Especially for calling Fastle and Seager to be ZLs. Let me tell you about them.
Fastle knows Spanish. He took 6 years of it. And he is LOUD. He is the unnamed leader of the classroom because he demands his attention. We have a hard time being patient with him sometimes, but he knows he needs to work on his pride. Then his comp, Seager, is more mellow. (I WILL TELL YOU ABOUT SEAGER IN ANOTHER EMAIL.) He is an awesome guy. But he knows nothing about Spanish. And Fastle takes over in lessons because it's frustrating not to get his message out. Anyway, so Seager taught me as an investigator the other night, and the Spirit was just not there. He was too worried about the language. Hermana Baker took Fastle to the side afterward while I had a talk with Seager. I gave him feedback and told him to just not worry about the language. I gave him some ideas about how Hermana Baker and I learn vocab for the lesson we will be teaching that day, and then we go in with an idea about what we are going to teach and let the Spirit use the vocab we learned. And I'm tellin ya, when we teach PEOPLE, not LESSONS, everything goes 10x smoother from there. It's amazing. So I had a nice little talk with Seager and helped him relax, and then BAM. ZL. He is going to grow so much these next few weeks from this calling. Hermana Baker and I were crying with joy in sacrament meeting when we heard they were the new Zls, because the night before we got a glimpse of what great leaders these two Elders will become. I can't express my thanks appropriately for the blessings the Lord has given us here in the CCM as a companionship and as a district. The men in my district are amazing guys. Sure, they still are kind of immature (Fastle stuck a note in my purse the other day while I was gone that confessed Whipple's "undying love" for me, but I just laughed it off and never brought it up), but they are great men. They will be great Elders. I can't wait to see what the Lord turns them into in 2 years.
haha. On Thursday, Dia de la Muerta (Halloween), Elder Fastle got a package of Krispy Kremes and A&W and candy and chips and salsa in the mail from his mom (from some website. I think its called MyDear Missionary or something like that). All that sugar is EXACTLY what a group of teenage boys with nothing to do in the afternoon need....NOT. They were having chugging contests, and I don't think they focused AT ALL that day. It was insane. Oh also, the elders love telling racist jokes. The hermanas hate it, but some of them are actually kinda funny... Seager, Fastle, Whipple and Hopkins love me because I laugh on accident.
AAAANYWAY. On the second day of Dia de la Muerte, Hermano Hernandez brought us Pan de Muerte (Death Bread) from Walmart. SO GOOD. It's basically just a huge sugar donut. YUM.
Let's see what else...
There is a guy in my district named TANNER NELSON. No way. I could NOT believe it. I almost died. haha. BTW. I still know everyone here. I keep finding a million connections with people. I love it. My roommates hate it. haha. It's so fun getting to know people though! I walk into the TALL lab every night and everyone is like, "YO PORTER" and they talk to me about people they know or places we've been or mutualy friends, etc. It's the beessstttt.
Life is good. It's turning around. I am learning how to be especially sensitive to the Spirit and how to crack down on Spanish. The Lord hasn't called us to fail. He has called us to succeed gloriously. We are in the FINAL dispensation. The dispensation of the fulness of times. And this is the dispensation that WILL NOT FAIL. I love this Church! I know it's true! We are so lucky to have continuing revelation on Earth today, both personal and through the prophet, Thomas S. Monson. We are so privileged to live in these times! Although living the gospel is harder than dying for it, it is definitely more rewarding. No matter how hard life gets, we must remember that the Lord is going to exalt us on high is we but endure to the end faithfully. NOTHING is worth giving that up. Nothing! I love being a missionary, and although there are hard days, the Lord brings us low just for the purpose of bringing us higher. He loves each and every one of us so much, and I wish we all knew the potential He sees in us. Because I see that potential in every one of my investigators and friends and family members. I love everyone so much!! God be with you!
Hermana Porter

A General Authority Told Me I Look Japanese

Hola mama!!
I am so happy to hear from you! And I hope you got my pics last week!
To answer your question, yes the session in the temple was done in Spanish (and they played the old endowment video!), but luckily they had the translator headphones, and I got to do the veilwork in English. I got into the Celestial room and could not find my companion anywhere. Elder Whipple told me she already left, so I didnt get to stay in the Celestial Room for long. I get to go two more times these next few weeks. :)
SOOOO MY LIFE..... Life here in the CCM is hard. Seriously, there are some days where Hermana Baker and I sit outside and just wonder what the heck we are doing here. She and I are SO alike in that we are so impatient with ourselves, and we have a hard time with the language. But I am always reminded that we are not here at the CCM to learn Spanish. We are here to learn how to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to His children with love and with the Spirit. I have been amazed over and over how much of a difference it makes to have the Spirit in your lesson. Our first lesson was a train wreck, but the next few lessons were awesome because we prayed to have the Spirit with us. I still dont know much Spanish, but as my teacher likes to remind me, I know more than when I came here.
My teachers. Our morning teacher is Hermano Hernandez. He is pretty cool! Our new afternoon teachers are our previous investigators "Ulises" and "Alex". They are really Hermanos Castalleno y Encico. Encico is my favorite. He is getting married in May to his girlfriend in Texas. He is the best teacher ever. He learned English while serving in Ecuador, and he is so patient and knows when I am getting overwhelmed, and he knows just what to say.
Last Tuesday we had a devotional with Elder L. Johnson. He was amazing! (we have devos every Tuesday night here.) And on Sunday we had a general authority speak to us. I guess he wasnt technically a GA, but he was the Managing Director of the Missionary Dept. of the Church. Funny story. Earlier on Sunday, Hermana Baker and I were leaving the lunchroom (el comedor), and we started talking to these two older gentlemen who turned out to be Kelly Mills (Director of all foreign MTCs) and Steven B. Allen, the Managing Director of the Missionary Dept. We had no clue he was the one speaking at the devo. They asked for our suggestions on how to improve the CCM. And then Brother Mills said to me, "You look like you have some Japanese in you. Where is your family from?" I was all weirded out. Now my roommates all tell me I look part Japanese. What the heck?! I have never heard that one before!! I told him where our ancestors are from, and he just asked where I got my dark eyes from then. haha. Made my day.
My district. We are slowly getting better. The boys are all immature still, but we get together every few nights and share stories and testimonies. We are always laughing together and quoting Nacho Libre. Seriously. I QUOTE NACHO LIBRE ALL THE TIME. It is so applicable to my life. You have no idea. "Dont you know these are the Lords chips?"
K, so I seriously know EVERYONE here. I am friends with EVERYONE. I walk through el comedor, and all the elders and hermanas are like, "HOLA HERMANA PORTER." For realsies. Its awesome. I find like 10 connections a day with people. We bond. Its awesome. It drives my roommates nuts, but I am loving it. I love the people here!!
My compañera, hermana Baker, is seriously the best comp ever. I am so blessed!! We are always talking about what we can do better, what we do in study time, and trying to help each other out. She is so awesome. Shes older than me by a year or so, but we are on the same level and wavelength. I love her to death! She is always reading my mind. When I feel we are having issues with the district, she is thinking the same thing. We pray about it and discuss it, and its wonderful. I wish I could keep her when I go to Kentucky!! She and I also bought the same London Fog coat. COINCIDENCE? I think not!
We had a service project in el comedor last week where we were taking the stickers off the fruit (I eat plums here every single day). This worker was telling us how he used to work at Fazzolis in the US and how he had left a birthday message for his boss before he went home one night, and the next day he was asking her how she liked her "massage" (he meant message). everyone was laughing and she got all flustered. He was just pronouncing it wrong. Too funny!!
BTW. Dont send me letters here please!! The mail takes 4 weeks to get here. I just got a letter last week from my mission president that was sent Sept. 27. UGH. So I would suggest emailing me while I am here in Mexico and just sending letters to me in KY. Please! Not that I dont want letters! If youve already sent me one, thanks! I hope to get it these next couple weeks! But dont send me anymore! Just email por favor!!
haha so the guys in my district think its awesome to sing to our investigators before a companionship teaches him, so they are always getting together, singing Battle Hymn of the Republic to the investigator, and then leaving. They are so dumb haha. Not really. Its just funny. elder Fastle from New Mexico, he is always singing in the mornings, terribly, and Hermano hernandez one day was like, "Can you shut the door...when you leave please?" So funny. Chuuurrrroooo. I also taught the district what the word "trunky" means. Hno. Hernandez brought it up.
Theres a girl here who quotes movies with me in the gym every morning. I love her. Were always quoting Robin Hood Men in Tights, every Adam Sandler movie, etc. LOVE IT.
funny story. So sunday morning, Hna. Baker and I were out the door at 7:00 am for personal study time in the classroom, and no one was there. Then in comes Elder Feuz, our District leader, and his comp, and theyre like, "Well, apparently its daylight savings time." Soooo we could have slept in an extra hour. Ugh. Sunday was a long day.
Oh!! Tell Dad Happy bday for me!! :) I did not forget!
hahaha another funny story: Hno. Hernandez took half of us outside the classroom so he could give us a role to play as investigators. I was standing there listening to him in the hall when I looked out the glass doors when I saw a bird drop out of the sky and start having a seizure. I watched in horror the entire time as the bird flopped around batting its wings. I was freaking out inside. I dont remember listening to Hno .Hernandez. AHHH.
The weather here is crazy! One day its freezing and raining, then the next its sunny and a million degrees outside. What the heck Mexico!
Um um um what else can I tell you.... I got my haircut today. The ladies in the salon only speak Spanish, so I didnt talk to them much. My stylist had me take off my glasses, so I just let her do whatever. Thankfully she just trimmed my layers and thinned my hair. PHEW. I know very little Spanish!
Life here is good. There are somedays where I think of what I am going to email you, and it is not always positive stuff. I get so frustrated with the language, and sometimes I just hit a wall and stress turns to distress, and all I want to do is cry. Luckily the other day when that happened, we had a stress management class. It helped me a lot. I am good at managing my stress, but man, that was a bad day. I think it was Saturday. I wish I knew the language, but I am learning that the Spirit will say what it needs to say, and I just need to study so it can have some words to work with. Hno. Castalleno was helping Hna. Baker and I read El Libro de Mormon yesterday, and asked how we were feeling. He reminded us that we need to be grateful for what we DO have rather than what we dont because thats when missionaries get caught up in it all and cant feel the Spirit. I just have to remind myself I know more than when I first came here. Its just hard because Hna. Baker and I feel like, we already know what we want to say in English, but we cant express it in Spanish. I do wish I was preaching the gospel in English, but if the Lord needs me here, then I need to stick with it. Im just grateful I will be serving in the US so there will be some English speakin goin on. I miss America!! I miss you guys!!
I am learning so much about myself here. I am learning that patience, charity and love are some Christlike attributes I really need to develop. I have to tell you about that. This morning I took a Christlike attribute test in Preach My Gospel, and I decided I needed to be more loving and patient with others. Well, one of my roommates started talking about how much she hated Mitt Romney at lunch and how she loved Obama, etc..... I had to zip my mouth shut and look down the entire time during lunch because I AM TRYING TO MAKE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO BE LOVING AND PATIENT WITH EVERYONE. Woof. Its hard!!
I am doing better than I thought I would here. I dont have time to miss home, but I do. I miss being home with you guys and seeing everyone. I was looking at my photo album this morning and just thought, "I dont even remember that life!" I feel so different now, but I am still the same person. I just do a different work. I wouldnt want to be anywhere else. Somedays are so hard that I feel like I cant do this, I need to go home, but I am never serious about it, and I just think, "I would never regret finishing my mission." The mission is the best. I know the Lord is taking care of you guys even though life is hard there, but I am trying to be as obedient as possible so the Lord can bless you all with everything you need.
I JUST GOT BIT BY MY FIRST MOSQUITO. The door in the TALL lab is open, and I just got bit. DANG IT!! I was doing so well!! UGH!
Anyway. Im having a good time overall. Despite the hard times, I ALWAYS go home at the end of the day happy and ready to start the next day.
SEND ME PICS PLEASE! I dont want to forget what you guys look like! I miss you all! I hope everyone is doing well! I emailed Sarah back. TELL BRADON TO FREAKING EMAIL ME PLEASE. Or else I will use my lucky machete on him. Tell him: "When the fantasy has ended, and all the childrens are gone, something deep inside me helps me to carry oooon! I ate some bugs, I ate some grass, I used my hand, to wipe my tears.... Ill break my vows, NO NO NO NO NO NO WAY JOSE! Unless you want to, we'll break our vows togetherrr, ENCARNACIOOOOON!!! Deedle lee da leedle leeee!"
Oh, and "IF WE WIN WE GET 200 PESOS"
I miss Bradon. Hes so funny!!!! UGH.
Okay, but really. I love the CCM. Even though I am quite the gringo here, I am learning new things every day. It will be a while before I am fluent, but I will get there! One day at a time. My testimony is growing stronger everyday because I am witnessing the Lord's hand in my life every day. He has blessed me with a great companion, a MILLION FRIENDS HERE, and tender mercies. I cant focus all the time, but the Lord knows when I need to reboot in order to focus, so all is well.
I miss singing in English. You never know what you have until its gone! The elders in my district LOVE singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic in Spanish, and we are always singing Called to Serve in Spanish. I almost have both memorized. LOL. But really. There are some things I can only express in my native language, and I am so grateful that I can speak English. I hope Spanish has a significant meaning to me someday soon, but for now...I love English. lol.
Dont get me wrong. I love Spanish. I just need more work with it. I am still in the memorizing phase, but someday itll mean something. Pray for me!!
I am so glad to hear from you. Email me as many times as you want during the week. I am always writing down stuff to tell you guys. I have so many funny quotes and stories written down to tell you guys and Ashley Mendoza. LOL.
I love you guys so much. The Church is so true. I was telling Sarah that I cant imagine what life would be like if I didnt know who I was, where I came from, who my Father in Heaven is, what my savior did for me, what my purpose is here on Earth, and where I can go after this life. I want to be fluent enough in Spanish to be able to teach those things to other people in their own tongue. I pray every day that I can be diligent in learning Spanish and that the Spirit will help me. I will have the gift of tongues someday soon I hope. The Church is true! The Book of Mormon is true! I bear testimony that I know our Heavenly Father loves us and is SO SO aware of each and every one of us. Even though life may seem hard at times, we just need to obey his commandments and all will be well. I KNOW THAT. Have hope! And have faith!!
I love you all! I will attach pictures to this email! I LOVE YOU ALL!!
Hermana Porter
P.S. I NEED A NEW CAMERA. The one I got from Sarah is kind of sucky. I cant look at the pictures after I take them because it freezes. I MISS MY CAMERA DESPERATELY :( :( :( It breaks my heart!!


I love you all and miss you all!! But the CCM is AWESOME. Let me tell you allllll about it.
First of, mi compañera is AWESOME. Hermana Baker is from Vegas, and we get along perfectly. We have so much fun with our roommates. (Hermana Abernathy from Tennessee, who knows my RS president at BYU, A. Hymas!! And Hermana Hill from North Carolina). We laugh all the time. Hna. Abernathy and I are ALWAYS quoting Nacho Libre. Anyway, Hna. Baker looks like Kelly McLean and Whitney Versey, and she has the personality of Shelby Marsden and Madi Mitchell. She is the BEST.
The CCM is a great place. We have been pretty good about being obedient, which seems to be the center of everything here. Obedience is key!! Obey and you WILL receive blessings. Our district is full of 12 Elders and 4 Hermanas. All the guys are straight out of high school. Elder Whipple in my district is from Snowflake, AZ and he knows Chris Binnie! Ah! :) Anyway, we are going going going nonstop from 6 am (we get up earlier because its 4 of us sharing a bathroom) to 10:30 pm. Its been hard some days, especially when Hna. Baker and I get burnt out from learning the language. On our second day of class we had to teach our first investigator, Ulises, who only speaks Spanish, so that was stressful. We didnt feel the Spirit very strong, so it was a train wreck. We were just brain dead. We sat outside for a while thinking, said a prayer and refreshed for the rest of the day. All of my days seem to be hard at one point, but whats nice is that we always end it wonderfully. I am ALWAYS happy at the end of the day. Maybe its because I finally get to go to bed. JK. But really...
Yesterday (Monday) we taught Ulises again. We had planned to teach him about the Plan of Salvation, but we never got to it. We were nervous, so we said a prayer before, and BOOM, there was the Spirit! The Spirit TOTALLY took over the lesson, and what a difference it makes. I now know first hand what everyone is saying when they say the Spirit needs to teach the lesson, not us. We are so imperfect. Really, we cant do anything without the Lords help. It still baffles me how wonderful our Heavenly Father is. We told him God loves him, and even though people arent perfect, the Gospel is. He wants us to see him again tomorrow!
Okay, the language..... SPANISH IS HARD. Seriously. Like, I am SO grateful for the English language. I cannot tell you how many times I (and even Hna. Baker) and I have said this week that we wish we were speaking English on our missions. That comes and goes, and although it would be much easier to get our message out in English, the Lord speaks to everyone, no matter what language they speak, and He needs people to get His message out. I need to remind myself of that every day. It hasnt been easy. I havent cried yet (hallelujah! Oh wait, I did when I bore my testimony to my district the other day), but there have been times where I have wanted to. Learning a language is tough stuff, especially when you want to share the most important message there ever was in the history of EVER. Its frustrating because you know what you want to say, but you just cant. Thats when the Spirit takes over. Oh it is wonderful!
Church was good on Sunday! We have to prepare talks each week, and speakers are randomly selected on Sunday. YIKES. I got lucky the first Sunday. Sundays here are awesome. We got to listen to a recorded devotional from Elder Holland that got me pumped up again. Then we watched Legacy later that night.
Let me tell you a little about my life here. This past week, the people in Mexico City have been having a celebration where they set off fireworks every night. But they arent fireworks like we know them. They sound like bombs, and there are no pretty colors or smoke or anything. Just loud explosions. And they GO OFF ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. Seriously. ALL NIGHT. And dogs bark allllll nighhhhtttt. Woof.
The food is good! Not spicy like I thought itd be. They have Frosted Flakes and fruit, so Im happy. :) We were given this filtered water bottles the first day. Theyre really weird. Um, in our casa (house) there are...16 girls? 4 in each room, 1 bathroom in each room. So thats fun. A lot of the girls are native speakers here for 2 weeks, and they are super sweet and patient with our horrid Spanish skills. LOL. YOu should hear me. I feel so white.
There is like ZERO time to write in my journal. It bums me out so hard. But I try! I get like 10 minutes every night. You know me. You know how crazy I must be going over this.
What else... my teacher is a native speaker as well. He is SO funny. He thinks its hilarious how us Americans pronounce the word churro. He lays it out all American-y. SO SO funny. Were constantly saying churrrroooo. haha. The elders get mad every day when he doesnt bring us back Churros.
One of the elders in my district tells this stupid joke about this guy in a bar who has a huge orange head, and a guy asks him about it. so he explains that he met a genie who gave him three wishes. 1. that he had all the money and cars and nice things he could ever want. 2. that the most beautiful woman would marry him. and 3, he says "I bet youre wondering what my third wish was. It was for a big orange head." SO DUMB. You should've seen him (Elder F.) tell it to Hno. Hernandez, our teacher, in Spanish. His face was SO Funny. Oh man.
My branch president, Pres. Machado, is so nice! He is taking care of us so well!
Shout out to Mr. Mitchell for teaching me Spanish. I dont remember a lot of it, but I am recalling some of it!!
Things I forgot: my hairbrush, my hair supplies (ties and bobby pins). Of course. Luckily we have a store here on campus. I got a brush at least.
Some elder told me I had a dope shirt the other day. It was that green one with the pearls on the collar. Oi.
Anyway, life is good! The days are long and hard, but at the end of the day, its perfect. I wouldnt want to be anywhere else. My companion and roommates and I laugh and talk ALL the time. They are fabulous hermanas. I love them to death already. Hna. Abernthy and Baker both go to BYU. :)
I MISS YOU GUYS! I miss Duffy too! I was showing my roommates pictures of all of you and my animals. I hope Sarah is still enjoying her new job! And Bradon, you better shoot me a deer or else. I miss Bradon. :( How is Dad? And gma? LOL. Just tell me everything!! I want to know about everything! Im glad the primary kids are doing well!! I love them and miss them!
You can tell the primary kids an the primary presidency that the mission is the best thing anyone can do. It is hard, but you never feel closer to your heavenly father than you do on the mission. He loves you and wants you all to be missionaries someday, whether you serve a mission or not. THe gospel is for everyone! Read the Book of Mormon and develop your testimony and you will be great!
I will attach a couple pictures to this email. We went to the Mexico City temple today. It was fabulous!! Beautiful place! I love the Lord!
I love you guys too! I hope everything and everyone is okay! I know the Lord is watching out for yall. He loves you!! And he wants you to be happy. Share the Gospel and dont be afraid! The Spirit does the talking! :) Be the Lords mouthpiece!
Okay, I have to go now! But I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU ALL! Send me emails!! And tell Bradon to email me already!!!!! Nobody gets my Zoolander quotes here. Except Elder Whipple. He loves Hotrod too. He has the perfect name. All the native speakers pronounce it "Elder Hwheeeeple". Lol. I love the accent!
Alrighty! Until next Tuesday!! LOTS OF LOVE!!
Hermana Porter