Monday, August 26, 2013

Kendra to make Ecuadorian landfall tomorrow

WELL. this is my last email from the MTC forever! im heading out tomorrow morning bright and early at 5 am to go to ecuador.

IM SO EXCITED but i can't even begin to describe how much i am going to miss it here. Although at times its a little bit of a struggle here, i have had the best time. So far this week we have had 2 earthquakes (they are pretty frequent here), and one widespread account of "stomach problems" due to a mystery food on tuesday night. about halft the mtc was up at 2am to take multiple visits to the restroom. It was just funny how it hit everyone at the same time. 
On friday we had all day "in-field orientation" which seemed to last FOREVER. we had classes like key indicators, finding, and stuff like that. Saturday we had our final day of real class. our teachers had a slideshow about their lives and missions and then we had a q&a session with them about various things in the field.
our teachers, hermano robinson and hermana rivera. we are trying to set them up for eternal love

Our district

Then in the afternoon hermana rivera had us all teach her together as a district about enduring to the end. We kind of did something like this our first day here and it was a TRAINWRECK. but after 6 weeks here to bond and learn it was such a great lesson. we were all able to build off of each other, use correct spanish grammar, find the scriptures we needed to and follow the spirit. 
We had a testimony meeting right after that with our two districts leaving this week and it was insane. tears for days. Alot of the kids here actually come from divorced families or tough situations. It makes me so thankful to have the family that we do. I don't really feel like i have too much to worry about and i know it could be so much harder. Then our teachers bore their testimonies and i think they are going to be some of the hardest people to leave here. then On sunda i taught sunday school. The theme was the commandments and i was thinking for so long about how i could make this last lesson memorable. So i decided to take a twist on the sandwhich instruction activity. I had everyone in the class write down instructions of how to put on make up. then on one side of my face i followed the boys instructions and then on the other side i followed the girls instructions. The pictures will show you exactly how it went. Apparently it was a pretty good lesson. 

Then after sacrament our branch president gave all of us who were leaving these way cool hand painted bookmarks made out of tree bark. Hes the little mexican man in the group pictures (obviously) 
he's such a cool guy
the two leaving districts and presidents machado and avila

and its cool to know that we started branch 12 in the mexico mtc. brand spankin new. and we were the first sister trainers too. pretty crazy. then it was a pretty normal afternoon until we watched the testament (i think theres only one main one) anyways after we watched it everyone was tearing up a little bit and then i just lost it in the middle of the auditorium. A large portion of our district left this morning way early so this was the last time we were all going to be together. i was sobbing like a baby. that happens alot here, but it was especially bad last night. Its crazy how close you can get to people even though you ve only known them for such a short time. 

a good bunch of the sisters that are leaving, after singing god be with you till we meet again last night

Im really worried for what its going to be like when i have to leave the mission if this is what its like leaving the mtc. its about2pm right now and my companion is leaving for chile in 2 hours. and in 15 hours ill be on my way to the airport! so crazy to think about. im ready to go, but its still tough to leave. especially when you have seen a place like this grow from the very beginning. the comparisons are unreal. hopefully they wont find any more cockroaches in the beans.

the hermanas one week younger than us

Now onto real life topics:  There are actually two guys from west point. there names are mike duff and joseph miller. i fly out tomorrow at 8 and get to bogota around 12. then i have an hour or two layover and leave for ecuador around 2. luckly both colombia and ecuador are in the same time zone as yall so just be ready between 12 and 3. The other thing though is there is some debate as to whether we are allowed to call or not. 
 thats really cool that they are larenzos family, but that doesnt surpise me too much. theres so many degraffenreids in chapel hill. there were probably 10 each year in my grade at school.  im mentally preparing myself for the struggles that are coming my way. 
Also, if you ever wanna send pictures of various neighborhood or church people ill gladly accept them. i have a few pictures, but new ones are always fun. im glad you were able to deposit my check and glad that our family continues to forge signatures on a regular basis. its always good to know that those are the values we are based on. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


In one week i will be on my way to ecuador. its crazy how time flies when your always studying...(i guess mtc jokes arent that funny when your not sleep and/or real life deprived). WELL this week has been pretty fun so far. our teaching is going alot better as we learn more about following the spirit, planning, and studying better. Im super stoked to be out in the field soon, but im definitely going to miss this place. Today we went to the temple and just got back after 6 hours....they haven't really got the whole bus driving/session schedule figured out yet. 

Yesterday was one of our elders birthdays in our district, but found out his grandma died yesterday morning so he was super bummed. thankfully i had already arranged to get a cake from the comedor (for only 150 pesos!) to surprise him. Sometimes life can be a real bummer, but he's doing alot better and is sticking with it. 

Our birthday party for elder gilmore (hes the one with half a face above the girl on the bottom right and hes cutting the cake) as you can see  i have a pretty weird district, but i wouldnt trade them for the world

The second generation left, as well as another group of hispanics. (pictures below). im prettty sure i like them more than most of the americans. 

OH i met a girl from cary who went to athens drive high school and guess whos her guessed it, Dr. Bass! i almost screamed in the middle of the comedor when someone introduced us.
hnmmm...what else. i dont remember the elder from west points name, but ill try and figure it out. he left yesterday.i cant imagine that there are that many people from west point on their mission right now in the mexico mtc.  there was also a girl who apparently lived like an hour away from girdwood and knew of alaska pete, but she didnt know drew or jennifer. im glad kyle is establishing good credit i guess? i cant really say i was worried about the one thats most likely to end up with bad credit. 

we dont have our travel plans yet, so ill just call both cell phones and the home phones until someone picks up. also there is some debate on whether we are allowed to call or not. if i have a good layover i definitely will, but if theres no time or we arent allowed to dont be super worried if i dont call. i hate to be a debbie downer but i really dont have too much to say. so basically im no help at all on planning whether to hear from me or not. 

my favorite mexican girls this week. they taught me the mexican version of the efy dance
and various ways to describe the attractiveness of a man (pretty boy, masculine, etc)

The shine of being on a mission is starting to wear off, so i think about home a little bit more, but nothing too close to homesickness. its usually just when mexico is on the struggle bus. 
in the morning there are no spoons for the cereal. 
in the afternoon-evening there are never any knives for the meat. 
they use slotted spoons for the salad dressing.
there is always fruit in the salad, and usually a mystery fruit.
they really like to mix peaches and hot dogs. maybe sam would like it. 

there also is usually a lack of water, and alot of confusion about where we are supposed to be.  im pretty sure im going to eat guinea pig when i get down to ecuador but im pretty excited to try it. 

my two girls from the domincan republic. 
they taught me the domincan version of swag (tigaraje) we say it alot now
THIS ONES FOR SYDNEY (reinwald)- so today i ran into some real missionaries (outside of the temple who are in the real world) and HE WENT TO MOUNTAIN VIEW! he was brown and his name was gargas or something of the sort. he graduated in 2011 and he said he knew of you and he knew that mormon girl that got married (ashley?) i told him about the wawa on 610 and pancho villa and he got way pumped. i was just really surprised when he said he was from stafford. i can{t imagine that there are too many mexican mormons at mountain view.
bye yall

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One Month Mark

Today is officialy my four week mark, and it will be a month on friday!!! time is absolutely flying by, and im just trying to hold on for the ride. we've all been hitting our equivalent of senior slump here since weve only got two weeks left. we now have 4 investigators (2 of our teachers and two of the elders from the other district). Its pretty crazy trying to keep track of them and what we have already taught them /need to teach them. lets see what else.....there isn't really any exciting news.... i got a card from jeanette (holla!) and everyone loved it (its a unicorn throwing up a rainbow). the first generation left which was a little sad, but i probably wont ever see them again or remember them in 2 months. 

a few girls and elders....some of the volley ball crew from first generation, 
the guy right next to me is my spirit animal

this place had grown so much in the last month, its pretty crazy. i was talking to one of the administrators here and i think within the next 10  years there will be a temple on this campus. 

OH i forgot! they made a video of the mtc, and its on the newsroom site! AND IM IN IT. well, kind of.  my companion and i are in it, but you can only see the back of my head. we were just sitting there planning a lesson and these guys came up to us and asked to film us. i think its around the 3:15 mark in the video. theres also a bunch of pictures below the video and a few of the guys are in my district/branch. i guess they didnt like my squinty eyes enough......always a problem. but you can see my companion (sister giles) face and my hair/shoulder! maybe i should have worn make up that day. 

oh well... uhhhhhh spanish is going well, we finished the subjunctive the other day and now were just reviewing everything.... i would say that following the spirit has been my biggest roadblock so far as well. sometimes we will be in a lesson, and all i know is that its not going well. not really bad, but just not well. so i know at least thats what im NOT supposed to be teaching. now i just need to figure out what i should teach. everyone here is seriously so funny, and i love everyone in my branch. every day is hillarious with them. theres a guy here from westpoint that knew bobby, and a teacher that is Maren Mckay's sister (from burlington). theres also a girl whos roomate used to date davis blount. but i guess thats what they mean by a small world in the church. theres also one other person from nc here. i think hes from charlotte, i havent really gotten the chance to talk to him all that much. Anyways im still having a wonderful time, learning alot (usually taking 2 steps forward and one step back), and taking in as much as i can. 
At the gym with Hermanas Egget and Bokovoy (her dad is the institute teacher that Street knows)

i already know its going to be tough to leave here, its such a little bubble, but im so pumped to get down to ecuador. Ive decided i will definitely be cold down there pretty much every day in the morning, but ill see what i can do on my own before i ask for my jacket to be sent down. hmmmm.....i cant really think of anything else to talk about. i just hope im not using up all my good karma first only to have the first week in ecuador be miserable. i doubt it will be, but im still a little aprehensive that everything has been going so smoothly. my scriptures already are so marked up, i cant imagine what they are going to look like at the end of my mission. i started over reading the book of mormon and i have been taking notes and making a map of how everyone is related, where they go, what year it is and what they do. it has been helping so much with my scripture study, but the book of mormon can get a little confusing sometimes. OH another thing, so you know that lady on the mormon messages that got in the plane crash and got all burned? ( her names stephanie nielson) and you know how shes like super famous and was on oprah and stuff? well her niece lives in my house and said if i ever come out to provo she will introduce me to her since shes her personal assistant/ is over there all the time. HOW FREAKIN COOL IS THAT. now if only elder holland would come down to give us a devotional. well...i guess thats it for now. BYEEEE

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Halfway at the CCM

Hey yall,
oh man, what a week. IM HALFWAY DONE AT THE CCM!!!!!! i finally got over being sick (thank heavens) and have way more energy now. So yeah, theres a girl in my district (Hermana Bokovoy) and her dad is the guy that used to be Sarah Street's institute teacher. she said some one that her dad knew knows me and told him how totally crazy i was, and i had no idea who it could have been, but Sarah Street definitely makes sense. We will be able to call in the airport on the way to ecuador, and i know it will be sometime on the 27th, but i don't know exactly what time. ill let you know once we get our travel plans. everything else is great here in mexico. we finally got our hot water heater fixed, and every week they make more and more improvements to make this a real mtc. the first generation is leaving next monday, so by the end of october i think they said we will be at full capacity and the second largest mtc in the world.

we magnet our nametags to the bedframe

So onto my crazy week. Fast sunday in the real world is spiritual. Fast sunday in the MTC will change your life. So we started out fasting on saturday after lunch. I thought it was going to be the longest 24 hours of my life. We started out in our afternoon class and we watched a movie about the atonement. (its weird to say atonement and not la expiacion) it was like a super intense one, with all these special effects of the crucifixion. I dont think ive really understood what it was like to really suffer for everyones sins. I still dont think i do, but it started to put it more in perspective. After the movie our teacher took my companion and I out of class to talk to us. Lately our lessons just havent been nearly as effective or spiritual. We tried to figure out why things were going the way they were. This teacher (Hermana Rivera) brings the spirit so strong all the time, so my companion and I both ended up bawling while we were talking to her....which is weird since i don't usually cry. But the MTC makes you cry....alot. although its never a sad crying. just like an overwhelming ball of emotions just coming out through your tear ducts. Anyways so we went back into class (still crying) and she had us read out loud this quote about how every missionary needs to have their "own morning in gethsemane". And how missionary work is hard because the atonement is hard. its only a minimally small fraction of it, but its still hard. But thats what makes us stronger. then we played volleyball with my district on saturday night instead of dinner. oh man, my district is SOO funny. ill probably take some pictures today and send them next week. we all get along so well and theres ALOT of giggling and volleyball here. then we just kinda went to sleep. Sunday morning we woke up, and usually we have to go to leadership meeting at 7 am since we are the sister trainers, but this week it was during relief society at 9 so we didnt have to go. which means i slept in till 7:30!!!! (i know im such a rebel) it was magical. relief society was really good, and the presidents wife taught about personal revelation. they used to work under elder holland as an area presidency in chile, so she had a bunch of cool stories about that. then we had study time and district meeting, which were pretty normal and then we had sacrament meeting. holy tolito, what a packed hour.  for our sacrament hymn we sang there is green hill far away, which got me thinking about mom-mom. So i bore my testimony about her and how i feel like shes my gaurdian angel or whatever you want to call it, and how she had us sing that song before she passed away. And how i never really understood why she liked it so much, but now that im starting to understand the atonement better, i get why its important. How we really do take the name of christ upon us during the sacrament and need to remember him always. it even made some of the elders cry, although i managed to hold it together. AND I DID IT ALL IN SPANISH. i thought it was pretty good, and my branch president seemed to understand so i don't think im doing to bad. i seriously am so grateful every day i already knew some before i got here. anywyas back to my story. So after sacrament meeting it was time for lunch again. now heres where things really get weird...are you ready? I WASNT EVEN HUNGRY. i know right. ive NEVER fasted before and not feel ravenous after. i felt like i could have fasted forever! its amazing how much the spirit can teach us, comfort us, and pretty much do everything else we need it to do. They always tell us how the gospel and the doctrine of christ can truly help EVERY person in EVERY situation. mind=blown.
okay done with all the churchy stuff.....then after lunch all of the latinos were taking pictures and saying goodbye cause they left yesterday. i hopped in a few of the pictures...

all the mexican elders that we played volleyball with, the one in the middle 
named elder avila is the who said "but i am brown"

Im kinda bummed because i got really close with alot of these sisters. hopefully i can come back in a few years and visit all of them.....but it probably wont ever happen. 

a few of the sisters came by before bed to say goodbye....hence the half pajamas

then yesterday we taught one of our investiagtors again and it went alot better. we planned better, studied harder and listened to the spirit more. after the lesson the same teacher held me back alone to have "the talk" that i get every year from every teacher about how i have so much potential and i need to harness all of my energy/ADD etc. i let her know this was not new information to me, but that i have been trying alot harder. i feel like i have improved alot, but well wait till i can get down to ecuador and get some sketchy OTC ridilin and see how that goes....i mean.....when in ecuador....
Funny im friends with all the people that work in the tienda cause im a candy addict. I was talking to this one guy last week that im friends with and he told us that there was a few random tres leches cakes in the back of the comedor for whatever reason (which by the way i got the recipe for it from the comedor) and if we went around the back and asked for the boss man we could get a piece. so we walk up and knock on this sketchy back door and hes looks at us first like what the heck? but then  i explained that sergio (from the tienda) told us to come try the the guy just gave us the huge piece of tres leches cake and now were best friends. Yay for following sketchy advice to get some cake!!! what is my life?
Not much has happened here for p-day. just played some soccer and worked out, but its only noon so who knows what else will happen. Theres been some rumors floating around that Elder Holland might be coming tongiht for the devotional but i doubt it. Im having blast here and im kind of sad to know it will all be over in three weeks, but at the same time im stoked to get down to ecuador. its also crazy to think the next week ill be a full month into my mission.....mind=blown...again (that happens alot here). Other than that everything is hunky-dory and i couldnt imagine a better mtc experience. thanks to everyone for all the love and support!. also an extra shout out to kaylee to be the only person who i have recieved mail from! (finally) it only took about 2.5 weeks. i tried to send some pouch mail, but the dont have american stamps here, so i used mexican ones. well see how that ends up.  I also finally met Hermana Berrett (the one that used to work at the courtyard at jamestwon) so now theres 3 of us here going to quito north that i know of! woo!

3 more funny things
Number 1..we told them we wanted syrup for our they gave us chocolate syrup
Number 2...every day i have to break into the computer lab with my credit card because no one knows where the key is (yay for being sketchy)
number 3...last night i accidentaly nailed some elder in his family jewels and i wrote a scripture inspried apology note abot the fruit of his loins.