Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Yoga instructor and appliance repairman

wow....i dont even know where to begin. the CCM (mtc) is such a....unique place. the spirit is so strong here all the time. its kind of weird how its a safe haven amongst so much craziness here in mexico city. we can hear fire works, gunshots, dogs, music and all sorts of comotion around us but within these walls on the 90 acres of the campus it is so peaceful. not all the utah kids are so bad, but they can't believe how my life was before in chapel hill and wilmington. the idea that there are only a handful of active members in all of uncw is crazy to them. but i like it. 
Who did she say liked being crazy?

so yeah we started teaching an investigator right from the start and now we stopped with her and we have two, different and new investigtors. (they are still our teachers, but they are really good at acting) the investigators are modeled after some of their past investigators. Hermano robinson served in argentina and hermana rivera served in texas houston east. now that we have two investagors and a better idea of what it means to study my days are going by alot quicker.
the mtc president and his wife sat in on our branches sacrament meeting this week, and i had to give a talk on repentance. we had just got a new district and i did it all in spanish and the new kids looked absolutely terrrifed when they heard me speak. but once i told them i took it for so long before they werent as nervous. we also started playing volleyball every night with the hispanics. we have about 25 people on each side of the court and its a free for all. one of the mexican elders came up and said "can i play?" we all said yes and then he said "....but i am brown?" i dont know why but it was so funny. they all are super giggly and love talking to the americans. 
so as part of being a sister trainer i took it upon my self to lead a daily yoga class. i follow some of the sequences i printed out before and then have them lay down and i just make up some hippie-sounding meditation stuff. its pretty funny, becuase im totally making it all up on the spot, and none of it makes sense, but then all the sisters come up after and are like "i felt the spirit so strong.." im like uhhh really? its weird but funny. anyways so last night a few of the hispanic sisters joined in too and i did a bilingual meditation with them. my best hispanic friend would help me out if i didnt know a few of the words but i think i did pretty well. 

the one with the big smile in the floral top is my mexican twin, hermana azauras

after meditating i had an idea that everyone should turn to their neighbor and talk about how we all feel about the gospel, why we were serving a mission, why we had a testimony, etc. well it turned out that there were exactly the right number of sisters so that every american and latina could be paired up. so were all sitting in a circle. talking to a person from the other culture trying to talk about out lives. not only was it really good language practice but it was such a relationship builder and testimony builder between both cultures.

its funny because right before we went to gym time i was reading my patriachal blessing and it says something about being a good leader of women. everyone always tell me how i have all these great ideas but i always tell them they arent my ideas. they just come through me. its always the spirit. my blessing also talks about the great work of the latter days about 10 times and i dont know how i didnt realize that meant missionary work before, but i guess hindsight is 20/20. 
the only downside of this week is ive been a little sick. everyone has, but i think its kind of like elementary school where everyone has to get sick the first week just to get it out of the way. it started out as a cold and i dont think ive ever sneezed so much in  my life. that was like friday-sunday and then i thought i was going to get better then i got the stomach bug. it was kind of a bummer but it wasnt too bad. as soon as i said i was sick all the elders in my district asked (anxiously) to give me a blessing. i think they are all a little preisthood power hungry. i didnt end up getting one but maybe in the future. hmmm what else....the temple is closed for the next few weeks so we might not go for a while.
its crazy to think im already starting my 3rd week. it doesnt even seem like real life. i guess the mtc isnt really real life but i can see my self changing. i cant wait to get to ecuador and get in the real world. we watched legacy on sunday about eliza williams, and everyone got all weird when they kiss in the movie....it was pretty funny. i actually dont mind all the rules. waking up is hard at first but since i have roomates its alot easier. im still the same person, and i still say crazy (and usually innapropriate things) but i dont really mind not watching tv or getting on facebook or anything like that. i know ive said it before but im seriously so glad im here in mexico. we can go outside during study time and just sit under the palm trees in the sun and read in spanish with some natives or we will have class outside and its just so perfect. and since its so laid back here we can go to the store whenever and buy snacks (i.e. chocolate) and we are totally in charge of ourselves. its a really good balance. i guess thats all for now
P.S: the address is wrong in my call. its to the old mtc at the temple. the letters will still get here, it will just take a while. and with only 3 weeks left i wouldnt take any chances. the new address is (get ready its a long one)
Hermana Kendra Lynn Harlos
Carr. Tenayuca-Chalmita no. 828
Col. Zona Escolar, Deleg. G.A. Madero,
C.P. 07230, Mexico, D.F.

OH one more quick story! so our dryer wasnt really working all that well, and so we put in a couple reports to get it fixed. it was like turning but there wasnt any hot air blowing. So anywyas one of my really good friend that works at the reception desk (her name is mitzuko) called one of the maintence guys to come fix it. well on the way out the door to go to breakfast today i realized that there was a line connecting the  hot water heater and the dryer and that one of the valves was closed...so i was like oh ill try and open it up. and it totally started working after that. well about two or three hours later the maintenece guy shows up and and im like oh i opened the line up and told him the whole story and hes looks at me like well why the heck am i here then? (even though we put in the report a week ago) i was just super proud of myself for figuring out what was wrong with it, fixing it, and then explaining it to a mexican maitence worker...in spanish. all the sisters are like......who are you?...how do you know so much about life....? its just funny to me (not to mention a  huge ego-boost). my brain is working so much more effeciently now (although mostly in spanish)....the spirit does some crazy things.

PPS: here are some pictures of my comp and i in our cooridnating (on accident) outfits. 

2 weeks down, 76 weeks to go (dont trust my math)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

First week in the Mexico City MTC

Hey yall! wow...what a week. i dont even know where to start. i have absolutely loved my experience at the CCM (mtc) thus far! the first few days were really long, but now they are going by much faster!
I´ll start with some background on the mtc. So it used to be a school, called benemérito de las americas. it was a church run school, and boy is it BEAUTIFUL.
All the girls in my district (and class). theyre all pretty funny and we get along well.  
The giant "B" on the hill is for benemérito (the school).

The land was bought by the church in the 50s and they graduated the last class in may. when the general authorites came down to announce that it would be turned into an mtc the people were kind of sad but very supportive. they said it the school was going to graduate from a school to an mtc now. my mtc president is so cool. he kinda looks like the old guy from UP (the pixar movie) but he served under elder Holland in chile. he used to be one of the 70 but got too old so they kicked him out. his great great grandfather is Parley P. Pratt and apparently that Call relative we have used to be his counselor. so hes pretty cool. my branch president was in the second class to graduate from the school back in the day, which is also pretty cool. hes definitely stoked to be working with us now. we are the third group of americans to come down to this mtc, and were only at like 400 people in the whole mtc. they are going to keep adding until its up to 1200 i think. the food is alright, but pretty typical cafeteria food. it rains here EVERY DAY at around 4-6 oclock. and it rains hard. (theres a picture of me in ankle deep water outside our house, pretty par for the course).

Now onto my life. well, its quite the place. we are learning so much i feel like my brain is melting. both spanish and the gospel. i am SO glad i was already able to speak *some* spanish. which, by the way everyone tells me my spanish sounds like im from the dominican republic, as well as portugal. like where did that come from? even some of the native dominicans asked if i was half dominican or something. we learned to pray and bear our testimony within the first two days and now i pray better in spanish than i do in english! sometimes i cant remember english words and my syntax sounds spanish. 

Thursday night we had our first meeting as a branch. its two districts now, but it will be 5 by the time we leave.
And guess who got called as the sister trainer...ME. i know right. although there was only 3 sets of sisters in our branch, and one of the sets doesnt speak any spanish so im not all that special. 
my zone/branch...too bad im talking-awkwardly squating because im way taller than all the other sisters...
and elders..

I had to go to leadership meeting on sunday with the branch president, zone leader, district leaders and executive secretarys. were getting a new group of americans in today so i might acutally start using my calling more. all of the sisters here are really close since there arent that many of us right now. theres only 3 sets in my branch and 2 in the other one. maybe 10 sets tops in my whole generation. My companions name is sister Giles. shes from Provo and shes super nice, but were definitely very different people.
We get along really well (with the exception of me talking too much sometimes) and have had really good success in teaching our investigator. they have the teachers role play as investigators and you have to teach them for 30-45 minutes every day. so far we got her to pray in front of us and daily, read some chapters out of the book of mormon and a *soft* baptismal commitment. i know its only role play, and shes a pretty easy investigator, but it makes you think more about lesson planning, doctrine and language skills. my teacher is from texas and served in argentina, but hes pretty cookie cutter BYU student. in my district theres 4 girls and 9 boys.
my district
Almost all of the boys are going to mcallin (spelling?) texas, and the other two are going to new mexico and chile. 2 of the sisters are going to chile as well, and ones going to iowa. one of my roomates is going to my same mission, but i think were the only ones in our generation. generation is people who came in the same week as you by the way. 
Today we went to the temple which was really cool. we did it all in spanish and the room was about a billion degrees, but it was still a good experience. the temple is really pretty but there isnt really a good spot  to get a picture, hence all the half-pictures.
So far everything has been really good. im definitely more tired than ive been in my whole life, and it has been a lot of work but im still having a great time. even waking up at 6 am every day! i also write in my journal every day, which ive never done before. and we pray ALL THE TIME. i love it here, but im also super stoked to get to ecuador. like i said before, everything here is super chill, and we dont really have anyone watching over us. its all just kinda whatever you wanna do or honor system. on sunday we had a devotional we watched by elder holland. i think it was from april 2012. or maybe march..whatever. anyways it was the most intense devotional ive ever seen. he was so passionate both in being stern about working hard and in his love for us. i think its called your first convert has to be yourself....or something like that. now that we have more of a schedule things are alot easier. i look forward to gym time and bed time more than i ever have in my life. its just nice to do something else other than just sit around. its kind of like a long car trip, your tired of sitting but your also exhausted at the same time. thats pretty much all for now.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Eagle has landed

Kendra was really excited as she left this morning for the new Mexico City MTC (missionary training center).  It was recently converted from a church owned boarding school to accommodate the huge influx of new missionaries.  Here's her first email.  - Linda

i made it to mexico safe and sound! my flights went great! i sat next to a girl and her family that i knew from middle school on the way to atlanta...of course. got a little motion sickness as we were ariving in mexico city, but i felt better after we landed. once i got off the airplane and through customs i was greeted by nice mexican brother with an mtc sign. more and more of the brothers showed up and eventually it was me and like 10 old mexican guys having a blast. they all complimented me on my spanish. they all kind of reminded me of daddy. apparently i was supposed to meet up with a bunch of other missionaries but there was a flight with like 30 of them that didnt make it so they sent me alone in a 15 passenger van. we got to the temple grounds (i didnt take an pictures of it but we go every p-day) and they had two school busses waiting. as i got out of the van i looked to the left and there was a bus full of elders, and on the right there was an empty bus. the main brother asked me which bus i wanted to be on. i said you know which bus i want to be on, what do you think?? he started laughing and sent me on the bus. like 20 elders and i was the only sister. (it turns out the other bus was just for our stuff) all the elders heard me talking in spanish with the brothers and i already had my name tag so as soon as I got on the bus they were like....so how long have you worked at the mtc for.....i was like i just flew in today...they were amazed at my spanish too. i thought i was in heaven at first and then they started talking and i realized they were a bunch of dopes. then when we checked in i met up with one other sister who had arrived earlier and we went to our house. they have the elders in dorms but were in these adorable little pastel colored houses with a living room, kitchen, laundry room, 5 bedrooms with a bathroom each and individual closets. its kind of a cross between a hostel, a house and a dorm. but i love it! we're the first sisters to move in so we got new blankets!!! they're really soft so i'm pretty excited about that. theres one hang up though.... we dont have any hangers. (haha get it?) i think we might get some tomorrow (i hope) anyways this first sister who lives in my house is super nice and shes going to washington state. shes from pittsburg and reminds me of luna lovegood from harry potter. anyways im having a blast so far and cant wait to see what the rest of the week has in store for me! im glad i got sent here because they seem to be more chill (since were only the third group of missionaries). also theyre hispanic. way better than utah. were going to dinner pretty soon.  I LOVE YOU GUYS HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!!!!