Sunday, December 18, 2011

Winter in Utah

Winter in the Utah, Salt Lake City Mission

It has been awhile since I have updated Linnea's blog.  The main reason for this is that I was waiting for her to send me her memory card so that I could add some new photos.  It is always way more fun to look at a blog with pictures.

So here we go.  I will add photos and excerpts from her last few letters.  Enjoy!

Linnea with one of the families taking the lessons visiting the Visitor's Center on Temple Square.

Linnea experiencing on of her first real snow days!

NOVEMBER 28, 2011

This week was a bit crazy.  Our Thanksgiving did not turn our quite as we had hoped but it was good nonetheless.  Julia and Marvin ended up going to California at the last minute so we did not get to have dinner with them.  I'm glad that they had the opportunity to go...they really wanted to but Marvin did not think he was going to get off work. Anyway, the lady we live with invited us to have Thanksgiving with her and we had a couple other offers but we did not really feel like going anywhere. We ended up eating a little with the lady we live with and then did some stuff around our apartment.  We did a deep clean of our apartment and wrote tons of letters...something we don't get to do on our P-days because they are so crazy. After 6 we did a mad dash to get referrals.  We did this competition between zones to see which zone could get the most referrals.  You could only visit less actives, recent converts, or investigators and you could only stay 10 minutes.  For every person you visited you got 1 point and for every completed referral you got 3 points.  My companion and I got 65 points by ourselves.  The winning zone got to have breakfast with President and Sister Winn.  Our zone won!  

This coming week we have 5 baptisms scheduled so we will be busy, busy busy.  We only have 4 weeks to reach our goal (mission goal is 3,000 baptisms for the year) . we have found many solid investigators so we are hoping to take out a big chunk of our goal.  I can't wait until our Christmas devotional with Elder Oaks.

DECEMBER 5, 2011

Temple Square at Christmas time is crazy. We took an investigating family and it was really crowded and crazy, like a zoo, but they loved it.

This week was busy, busy like usual.  We had 4 baptisms this weekend so we had to make sure everything was set and that we had new investigators to teach.  The mission still needs 500 baptisms to meet their goal.

Linnea's companion is having some medical issues.
Christmas is around the corner which is crazy to me...and let me tell you it feels like what Christmas should feel wise at least. It has been SO cold. Wow. At night sometimes its like in the high 20s. It's snowed a little bit...but hardly at all. The annoying thing about the snow on the biikes is that now matter which way you are riding the snow is somehow always blowing right in your face haha. Luckily we've been getting a few more rides from members so that cuts down on the riding and the freezing. Last night sis.Picuasi's bike got a mysterious flat tire so we havent been biking today and who knows if it will get fixed by tonight. One of the Elder's bikes got stolen so they've been bumming rides off people too haha. Lots of people have their Christmas lights up so it's seeming a little more like Christmas. It's hard though because in this area LOTS of people are really struggling financially and lots of these people cant give their kids the Christmas they want. They can't get a Christmas tree or gifts because they dont have jobs...they are selling their stuff just to pay the rent. Its crazy because we see so many families that live in these tiny apartments with kids sleeping on the floor and they are offereing us food and drinks etc. We are always trying to say no but they won't back down until we accept. These members of the church are so humble and so grateful for the service we are doing and will give their last crumb of bread to us just so that we can continue to teach. It has really made me grateful for all that I've had and still do have. And especially now that the members know us so well they are always giving us stuff or telling us that their house is our house and if we need anything just let them know. They are the best. I'm so lucky to be serving here and to have the chance to get to know people like this...who's testimonies are so strong.

Our sister missionary biking in the snow...can you even tell it is Linnea?

Returning to the apartment soaking wet and sooo cold!

DECEMBER 12, 2011

  Here are some highlights from the week: We found out last Wednesday that we would be getting 2 visa-waiters joining us. We get a lot of visa-waiters here in this mission and tomorrow we will be picking up our 2. I guess there is a bunch and a lot of companionships are getting 2 which is pretty rare. I'm not sure where 2 more girls are going to fit in our little apartment but we will make it work. With 2 more sisters we will able to do split pretty much all day...I guess the Lord knows I need to learn Spanish quicker because I will be going out with one of the visa-waiters who is fresh out of the MTC and probably doesn't know too much Spanish. Also they might not speak Spanish...some of the visa-waiters are going to Brazil. That will be interesting. I'll let you know how it goes next week .

    This week was a rebuilding week here in Rose Park. We pretty much baptized our entire teaching pool so we were left with ZERO investigators. We were pretty down a couple days because we weren't finding ANYONE and we know that we need to find many people to reach the 3000 baptisms. After many days of hard work we found a couple pretty solid people and received a few referrals...we even put some of these people on date for baptism. This just goes to show that through hardwork and obedience the Lord will provide.

    Also this Sunday the YW had a Personal Progress night. There is a girl in the ward who is physically and mentally handicapped. She doesn't walk or speak and is in a wheelchair. A couple girls were assigned  a different value from the Personal Progress program to complete. Each had to do their own project but instead of doing it for themselves they did it for this girl who is unable to do it herself. It was so neat...each girl got up and told what her project was and how it helped build her testimony then presented this girl with the cooresponding ribbon and finally the medallion. These YW in North Star are so awesome and have such strong testimonies. I love them.

One of the dinners Linnea was not too sure about eating.

Temple Square at Christmas
Linnea and her companion, Hermana Picuasi.

My cute little missionary

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall in Utah

A pretty fall day in Salt Lake City...before the snow started to fall!

Linnea has now experienced her first snowfall and discovered that what we consider warm clothing does not quite cut it in the snow while biking.  She asked me to find her some warm clothes.  She also purchased some thermal long johns that are helping her keep toasty warm.

She went to see the doctor about her ankle which has been bothering her since she took a tumble on her bike.  He told her she had some soft tissue damage and should try to stay off her feet and not bike.  The doctor was going to call the mission president to see if Linnea and her companion could have a car.  Linnea is worried that instead of getting a car she will be transferred to a new area and she doesn't want that!

Here are a few snippets from her letter this week.

A Wild Dinner Appointment

This week we ate with an English ward and let me tell you...there are some stories! some good and some...TERRIBLE! Lets start with the terrible. On Wednesday night we ate with a lady who speaks spanish and english but attends an english ward. We pull up to the house and my companion says "For some reason I feel like Im not going to like the food" Boy  was she right. We go into the house and my companion goes to use the bathroom and I'm sitting at the table and I see COCKROACHES all over the walls. Like not just 1 but MULTIPLE. I'm just start thinking okay...whatever its fine. My companion comes out of the bathroom and says..."You are not eating the food....there are cockroaches everywhere and I just saw a rat!" The lady brings us our food and its spaghetti and chicken wings. She gives us our food and says she wont be able to eat with us because she has a bunch of stuff to do and walks to the back room. I TRIED eating the food.....and a cockroach comes crawling off my plate. I kid you not I almost threw up right then and there. Sis Picuasi got some napkins and was like "Start putting the food in these napkins and I'll stick it in my purse" I ate a few bites just so I didn't have to stash so much. We thanked her and we left and headed straight to Julias....our angel who always feeds us. I felt like I was on a hidden camera show thats how crazy this experience at any moment someone was going to come out and say Just Kidding! I felt terrible knowing that someone lives like that...especially here in the United States. It was insanity and made me so grateful for everything I have. It was definitely an eye opener.

La Tongana

 Oh funny Julia story...this happened to us Friday where a member gave us money to get food but we just went to Julias for dinner. She made like fried-chicken and rice and tortillas. I was using my fork to get the chicken off the bone which is very rare for hispanic people. Their tortillas are like their utensils/hot pads. They use the tortillas to pick up rice and beans or pull the meat off bones. So I was using my fork and Julia says "SIN EL TENEDOR TONGANA COMO ASI!"(Without the this!) and continues to show me how to eat. Needless to say I didn't use the fork anymore and I'm becoming a real hispana. Oh and Julia calls me "la tongana"(the Tongan) She likes that better than Hermana Harris hahaha. Harris is difficult for lots of hispanics to say. We also ate with these members from Pakistan. He was one of the first members in Pakistan and used to hold underground church meetings in Pakistan. It was rad to hear his stories.

Missionary Work

We had an awesome week with our investigators. We took a few families to Temple Square and all of them are now on date. We took Mikaela Amaya(Mother of Mirella Sanchez,recent convert) on Saturday. She knows she should be baptized but has a fear she will fall but Temple Square really helped her. Her husband has been wanting to get baptized but didn't want to do it without her. Her granddaughter, Jocelyn, invited her to be baptized after the movie "God's Plan" and she accepted!! So rad. She and her husband(Elias) should be baptized Nov 18. He is in MX right now and should be back by then. Then on Sunday we took Julia's sister, Rosario and her boyfriend Alejo, and showed them the same presentation. Rosario and Alejo are getting married this Saturday(my second wedding!) and have been attending church. They are legit. Laura(Julia's daughter) invited them to be baptized and they accepted! their baptism date is Nov 19! Then we also took the Perez family yesterday too. We took them to reinforce the ideas of forever families and showed them the temple replica(so legit) and recommitted them(Father Rigoberto and sons Emmanuel and Omar)  for baptism for this Sunday!  We have 7 solid baptisms for this cool. We will just keep praying and working with them so they can stay solid. We might actually do the Perez baptism this Friday because this Sunday is a conference type thing for only Hispanics(well I guess if you weren't Hispanic you could come but its only in Spanish) at the conference center and we want them to attend. We have a couple other solidly progressing investigators and hope to find plenty more. Work is booming in SLC and we are pretty close to our mission goal of 3000 baptisms by the end of the year. YAY!

Thank you to all who have written to her...she always mentions who has written her letters and tells me how much she LOVES getting them.  Please keep writing to her.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31, 2011

I have not been so great about keeping this as current as I had hoped.  Linnea is doing very well and adjusting to life on a bicycle.  She is using an old bike which is good in that it was free but bad in that it sometimes decides to just stop working.  That happened to her a couple of weeks ago and she took a bad fall and twisted her ankle.  Her ankle is still bothering her so she will go see a doctor this week to get it checked out.

Linnea's backpack was found!  Apparently, one of the sets of sister missionaries had it in their apartment.  That pair of missionaries had an additional sister missionary who was with them while she was waiting for her visa to come.  When her visa arrived and she left the other two sisters noticed that the backpack they thought was hers did not go with her.  They opened it and saw it belonged to Linnea and called the mission home and it was taken to her.

In today's letter Linnea shared this:
 First before I forget to write this I want to thank everyone for the letters I got this past week. From Claire, Jess McMaster, Vista 6th Ward, UPG!, Sister Jenn Knutson and the awesome package I got from Karen. I loved everything so much. It seriously makes my week when I get letters. I am in the process of writing you all back but I can only write back Mondays and since we don't have a car we have to depend on members for rides and kind of have to work around their schedules or run errands with them to get a ride somewhere. Entonces, no hay mucho tiempo para escribir cartas. But I'm trying! 


     This week we ate with an English ward and let me tell you I was missing my hispanic food. We had some pretty sketchy meals. We ate in a couple like 5th wheels too which was kind of different. There is like a "campground" type of place but some people like legitimately live there. And we ate with two of these couples. Its like the trailer Juli and Shane take camping but smaller. Kind of humbling especially since some of these people were living om trailers because they lost businesses and homes.

One of the senior missionaries, Linnea's companion, Marvin, Julia and Linnea.    This was Marvin
 and Julia's baptism day.

I can't get over the fact that Linnea is wearing a dress!  Who is this girl?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

News from Linnea's First Area
Linnea is now in Salt Lake City and officially on her mission.  All mail sent to her goes to the mission home address that is posted to the right on this blog.  She gets her mail once a week on Fridays.

Here are some excerpts from her first two letters since she left the MTC.

Mi Companera:
     My companions name is Hermana Picausi. She is from Ecuador. So far we are getting a long pretty well. She is kind of intense but its okay. She is a super hard worker and a really good missionary. She has been on her mission 6 months and this is only her 2nd area. She served in Sugar House before this (I think) for 6 months. She really connects with the investigators and can relate really well because she is a convert and used to be Catholic(which most of our investigators are) She helps me a lot with Spanish and hardly ever lets me speak English. She always tells me "No entiendo ingles" She speaks English fairly well but wants me to practice Spanish which is good.

Mi Area:
    The name of my area is called Riverside B. I'm in the North Zone of the mission. My area is called Riverside but the neighborhood I serve in is called RosePark. RosePark is very North Santa Fe-esque for all the Vista natives who will read this. There's not much here in my area of RosePark except a coin laundromat which has at least 12 people in it at all times, a Discoteca, a sketchy bounce-house rental place, and tons of Latin America "travel" services places. Hay MUCHA gente hispana aqui. Every person walking down the street is hispanic which is good for us ha.
     My companion and I cover one half of one stake, which is tiny compared to my companions last area. She covered the area of FIFTEEN STAKES. Crazy. The stake is called the Salt Lake Riverside Stake. Our area consists of 3 English speaking wards and half of the area of the spanish speaking ward. Elders Homer and Jeffries cover the other half of this stake (2 English wards and the other half of the Spanish ward) We don't ever teach in English and the only communication we have with the English wards is for dinners really. There is a pair of Elders who cover all the English teaching in this stake.  If we get an English referral we have to pass it to them and vice versa. The Spanish ward boundaries is the entire stake so my companion and I teach on one side of the middle boundary and Elders Homer and Jeffries teach the other half. Elder Homer is my district leader. He is pretty cool. I like him. And Elder Jeffries got here the same day as me so we are greenies together.
     Like I told Nigel....I am biking. Who would have guessed it? We didn't get our bikes until Monday so before then we were walking. Our first full day of the mission(last Thursday) it was 38 degrees outside. WELCOME TO UTAH! So far it hasn't snowed down here but there is snow on the mountains. The last couple of days it has been warmer though...sweater weather as opposed to coat weather.  We were walking about n average of 10 miles a day, sometimes 15 so I'm glad we have the bikes now, cuts the in between time down a ton.

Mi apartamento:
     We live in the basement of a members house. It's just her and her 15 year old granddaughter Louisa. Her granddaughter is mentally disabled. She is hilarious. She thinks that all missionaries are Elders so she'll come downstairs sometimes and say "GOOD MORNING ELDERS!" haha. Its funny. The basement is pretty small but there is only 2 of us so thats good. There is a study room, a common room(which basically has all her stuff in it and was like a play room for her grandkids) and our bedroom. The doorways and ceilings are only like a couple inches taller than me. We don't really have a kitchen which is a bummer. There is a mini-fridge, a microwave and a toaster oven in our study room. This kind of limits the things we can make but so far so good. The member who owns the house is so nice to us. She lets us use her washer/dryer whenever we want and supplies us with the basic things we need like toilet paper and such so we dont have to buy it. She has also given us rides which is really nice of her. One morning she came downstairs while we were studying and said "Would you sisters like some home-made apple pie and hot cocoa for breakfast?"  It was delicious. She also made us dinner the first night.

Mi Mision:
     The Utah Salt Lake City Mission is the highest baptizing mission in The USA and Canada! As a mission we have a goal to have every companionshiop baptize every week and to have 5 people on date for baptism every week. President Winn promised us if we have 5 people on date every week we WILL have a baptism every week. By the end of the year the mission goal is have 3000 baptisms which would beat the previous record in 2009 of 2000. So far we have already passed 2000 and if every companionship baptizes every week for the next 12 weeks we will surpass 3000. Pretty cool huh?
     President and Sister Winn are AWESOME! So cool. They are super nice and understand how to be great mission presidents while still having fun. There are also a lot of senior couples and they are seriously the best. They love us and are so willing to help us with anyting we need.
      Along with the goal of 3000 baptisms the mission has a goal of 300 marriages through the state of Utah. A lot of people are living together and not married and in order to get baptized they have to be married. There is a senior couple (the Deyhles) that handle most of this. Elder Dehyle or Elder Guapo is his nickname is the marriage guy. He takes our investigators to the marriage office to get a license and can marry people through the state of Utah also. Most of the people who he marries are hispanic but not all. So far we have about 250 marriages this year. The Deyhles are such a generous couple. They LOVE working with the hispanic community and they are in charge of this program that helps investigators or anyone that is interested in learning english. Its called daily dose and senior couples go to these peoples houses to give them english lessons. Its pretty cool. The Deyhles also pay out of pocket for all the marriage licenses. They love the people and want them to have the blessings God has in store for them and they don't want them to feel restricted or second guess their decision because of money. Also if you help a couple get married Elder Deyhle buys the Elders a nice tie and signs the back of it with the couples name and date of marriage. For the sisters they get a gift card to Deseret Book. They are awesome people and sister Deyhle is one of the nicest people Ive ever met.

Mis Investigadores:
     Julia y Marvin: I can't even tell you how rad thes people are. Julia is from El Savador and has 2 daughters and Marvin is from Honduras. Hna Picuasi met Julia in her last area because Julia's brother and sister in law got sealed n the Salt Lake Temple and she attended the reception. Hna Picuasi taught her once or twice at her brothers house but when she got tranferred to this area she found out Julia and Marvin live in our area. She called her and we have taught them like 4 times int he last 6 days. They are not married but on Monday we went with them and Elder Deyhle to get their marriage license. They are getting married the baptized on October 22 as well as Julia's oldest daughter. They are so awesome. She has also fed us 4 times since we've been here because we havent gotten our meal schedule worked out. BEST FOOD EVER. Best frijoles Ive ever eaten in my life. hands down. I told her I was goint to get fat if I ate at her house every day. They are so solid and Julia even invites her sisters over ot hear the lessons when we comver over.
      Nayeli: She is golden. She wants to be baptized soooo bad but needs to be married to her husband first. Only problem is he works in Park City and doesn't have transportation right now. We are working on that and she will be baptized ASAP. She has a crazy stong testimony of the BOM and wants so bad to be a member.
       Teresa: She was a sister referral from out of our area. She had been attending churhc for like 3 months straight. She is super nice. She had a baptism date but has recently had family problems and it has caused a ton of stress in her life. She also has had some negative experiences with members which is sad. But we will keep working with her and hopefully we can help her overcome her difficulties.
      Luz: Hna Picuasi was also teaching her in her last area because her and her boyfriend owned a mexican restaurant in that area. She is really solid and should be baptized in the next couple weeks along with her son. She is super nice and loves us.
      There is a ton of work in this area. It seems like every one we meet is ready or interested in hearing more. It is hard to balance out everyone but with the bikes it makes it a lot easier to get around.

Mi Horario
     We wake up at 6:25. Excercise til 7. Get ready til 8. Study/eat until 1. Teaching/contacting til 5. Dinner til 6. Then teaching/contacting til 9.

     Biking is okay...its good excerise if nothing else and it beats walking. Its hard though because the weather changes so randomly here. Its hot when you leave so you are only wearing a sweater and by night you are freezing. But there's no where to put a jacket on a bike so you're kinda out of luck. I love the people in my ward. They all love us and are so welcoming. I love it too because there are so many people from different countries. I enjoy hearing all the different accents. We have people from Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic the list goes on and on. Its pretty rad. My Spanish is getting better...every one tells me I speak well and that they are impressed that I know so much and have only been here less than 2 weeks. We didnt have a baptism last Saturday :( but we have 3 this weekend (Julia, Marvin, Laura) and their wedding right before. Its going to be awesome. The Elders who also serve in our ward have a baptism of a family of 7 that same day. They are baptizing la familia Sanchez. Such a solid family and way cool. We have 10 baptisms in one day in one ward...thats gotta be a record! :) It's getting colder but I will get some clothes here once I get my debit card...When should that be coming anyway? Hopefully soon.
    Yes we really do study from 8-1. Its broken up between language study, personal study and companionship study. companionship study is 2 hours because we plan the lessons for that day and we also have a training program we have to do. In the mornings I usually just do like strengthening excercises with the resistance band, crunches, push-ups etc. We only have 30 minutes and its too cold to go outside . So far we've done more tracting than I thought but we've been getting a ton of referrals so I think that will start taking up more of our time. The pictures of when I was little were NOT in my backpack thank goodness. (Linnea had her backpack stolen and lost her camera, license, glasses, scriptures, journals, all the letters people had written her and her ATM card.)
      Oh every transfer we take a trip to some church historical site or event. This transfer we are going to an organ recital by Clay Chritiansen(Morman Tabernacle Choir organist) and then taking the Beehive house tour. That should be fun. Also this was interesting to find out...for General Conference the whole mission goes down to Temple Square all day for both days. We basically attend at least one if not all sessions. Super stoked for that. And if you come at conference time I can see you. :)
     Sister Winn bought me new scriptures/hymn books for the ones that got stolen. Oh and a new journal. She is so awesome. She wrote a note in the journal that was so sweet. She is the best and the senior missionaries too. There is a couple that does housing inspections every month for our zone and if you pass the wife will bake you whatever treat you want. Their name is Bro and Sis Reynolds. Of course we passed our inspection so a batch of oatmeal choco chip cookies will be delivered to us tomorrow. YES!
 Amy and Quincy emailed me their first letters from Romania...I havent been able to read them all the way through but they sound like they are doing awesome which is good to hear.
     Talk to you next week! I think and pray about you guys all the time!
Con mucho amor siempre jamas,
Hermana Harris
PS Thats so cool you saw Krystal. I haven't seen her in ages. If you see her again tell her I said HI!
PPS. Breena wrote me a letter and she said I hadn't written her yet. Tell her I sent her one from the MTC. Hopefully she got it. I will write her again today! :)



Sunday, October 9, 2011

Final Photos from the MTC

Final Photos from the MTC
Linnea with Amy Remsberg and Quincy Zimmerman: her best friends in the MTC>

Una amiga de Venezuela...Hermana Dezzeo...esta sirviendo in Washington, D.C.

A note the Branch President left for them one day.

Linnea's nasty bug bite...not even at it's worst!

Linnea with Jake Keung...a friend of Tess who was in the MTC at the same time.

Add caption

Linnea and Elder a "hand hug"  approved of by the branch president.

Her whole district...Linnea's favorite photo!

Linnea with all the elders in her district.

Linnea and her roommate, hermana Baker, who is in Ventura, CA.

Linnea with Amy and Quincy wearing their Old Navy matching skirts.

Linnea and Celestine Yeung.

Linnea and her branch president, Pres. Tyler.  She says "Seriously, one of the best guys ever.  One of the most caring men I have ever met.  We all LOVED him."

Linnea with Jenn Knutson.  SHe is serving in Thailand.  They met in the hall.  She taught Linnea a few words in Thai.  They talked every night in the hall.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Finals Weeks in the MTC

Linnea is finishing up her final couple of weeks at the MTC.  She has commented in her last 3 letters that days follow a routine and so there is not always much new and different to write.  Because of that, I am compiling the last couple of weeks into one post.

Linnea will leave the MTC at 6:00am  on Wednesday, October 5th and take a short bus ride (45 minutes) to Salt Lake City.  The bus will drop off missionaries flying out to various parts of the world at the Salt Lake City Airport and then drop off those missionaries who are serving in the Temple Square Mission, Salt Lake City South, Salt Lake City and Ogden missions.

Linnea and other sisters expressing their joy at embarking on the next part of their mission journey!

Linnea's thoughts about leaving:
 How is life in the outside world? I'm in my last week here at the MTC and having mixed emotions about it. I am way stoked to get out into the real world and be a missionary but on the other hand I'm getting pretty sad to be leaving the people in my district and the friends that I've made that are going to different missions. At the beginning of the week, my favorite district (besides my own) left. They were the classroom right next door to us and they were in our zone. I seriously loved every single one of the elders and sisters in that district. They are awesome. One of the elders is from Newbury Park and knows Aunt Mabel and Uncle George. His name is Elder Jones and is going to Buenos Aires South. And one of the elders is going to the Domincan Republic-Santo Domingo West mission which I think is Austin Foster's mission. If it is tell him to look out for an Elder Wadman. He's legit.

Utah Weather:
 The weather here in Provo has been pretty nice actually. Not super hot or super cold. Just perfect but I know soon enough its gonna get reaaaaal chilly! While the weather has been great, the activity of insects has been terrible. I''m covered in gnarly bug bites. I think I''m allergic to the insects here cuz seriously these bites are sick. They are rock hard and huge and they leave scars. Perfect.  But what can you do, right?!  Yesterday I hosted the new missionaries again it was sweet. One girl was going to Helsinki Finland and another one to the Phillipines. A friend from high school (Shelbi Johnson) also got here yesterday. I was stoked to see her. She is going to the Ukraine, Russian speaking. Awesome right?! Oh and while I was hosting I met another host who found out I was from Vista and asked if I knew Keri Miller. I don''t remember her name but small world.

Visa issues:
My friend Hna Petherbridge got temp reassigned yesterday also...TEMPLE SQUARE! So stoked for her. I hope my first area is right around there so I can run into her. She leaves tomorrow so she will be there for conference. Jealous! A girl I''ve been playing basketball with is waiting for her visa to Spain and she said Spain is really strict on visas. Her brother is serving in Barcelona right now....which is also where she is supposed to serve. She said her brother told her that sometimes you will get your visa but then they won't renew it after the first year so you have to come back and serve the rest of your mission stateside...Crazy right?! And how cool that her and her brother will be serving in the same mission at the same time.

Shout outs:
I got the notes from the V10 Ward. Those notes were so awesome! There was at least 20 in was sweet.
Thanks for all your letters and support. It means a lot to me. I'm having an awesome time and cant wait to leave the MTC behind and get to SLC. Oh, and birthday shout-outs to all my Sept Bdays: Walker, Ian, Kenna, Janet, Pania and anyone else I missed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Another week down!

This week Linnea was a little sad because the Dear Elder mail room at the MTC moved locations.  With that move she did not receive anyone's Dear Elder letters.
She commented that each day is so similar while at the MTC that there is not a whole lot to write about that is new and different.  She was so excited to see CelestineYeung, who is from Vista, enter the MTC on Wednesday last week.  Celestine lives in Linnea's building so they will see each other frequently.
Here is a picture, from the many she sent, that made me smile.
The people in Linnea's district were writing "Symptoms you are ...."  and for Linnea they listed

  • resembles Pocohontas
  • have gnarly double jointed fingers
  • if you love cookies
  • if things are "sick", "gnarly", etc
I think that her fellow elders and sisters have learned quite a few things about her over the last few weeks.

Here is the highlight of the week:

 Another big event this week was that M.RUSSELL BALLARD spoke at our Tuesday devotional! Ya that's right...TWO apostles in THREE weeks. Rad right?! He spoke about keeping your teaching simple and basic. Don't over-complicate things and just bear sincere testimony when you teach... that will be the biggest help when teaching. It was interesting to compare Ballard with Holland. Holland is so powerful and stern while Ballard is so soft-spoken yet their messages are still the same. You feel the Spirit just the same. Its really cool. Who knows maybe in my last 3 weeks we will hear from the Prophet....we can only hope!

Here is the low of the week:
 Okay so here's a funny Harris luck story. Every non-fast Sunday every missionary in our district has to prepare a 3-5 minute talk on an assigned topic and then on Sunday the Branch president will announce which 2 missionaries will be giving their talks. You find out like 2 minutes before who is going to be speaking so you have to prepare a talk no matter what. This weeks topic was enduring to the end. I finished up my talk on Saturday and it was pretty solid...oh it has to be in spanish by the way. So Sunday before Sacrament meeting I rip my talk out of my notebook and put it in my Santa Biblia. I go to grab my Book of Mormon and my notebook for Relief Society and realize I have a lot of stuff. I think...oh my talk doesnt use any scriptures form the Bible so I dont need to take it so I put it back on my desk. We get to Sacrament and Pres Tyler announces who is going to be speaking....Guess who one of those people is?! Ya thats right...ME...the girl who left her talk in her Bible which is in the classroom....GREAT! Luckily, Hna Kerr let me use hers cuz she didnt have to speak...but it was a little crazy because I hadn't read her talk before that point so I literally just had to read it. It turned out alright, everyone said I did well so that's good.
Linnea with her companeras

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 5 & 6 with PHOTOS!

Her name tag which was placed on the classroom door the first day.
I did not post last week because when Linnea wrote she told me she was mailing me her memory card and so I thought I would wait to add some photos.  It was so fun for me to see the pictures.  I hope you enjoy them too.
So here are some highlights from the last two weeks.

Perks of going stateside:
The Hnas and Elders Stuller y Haymore were talking at breakfast this morning about how its crazy to think that people that got here way after us are leaving in the next week. It makes us feel like veterans but at the same time we have gotten so close with our district we want more time with them and we feel like the remaining 4/5 weeks is not enough. Its interesting...a lot of people have had some trouble with visas. Elder Andersen in my district is still waiting on his to go to the Peru MTC as is my friend Hna Petherbridge. One of the advanced Hnas in a different branch is waiting for hers to Argentina and is temporarily being assigned to Texas while she waits. Oh and 2 other Hnas in my branch are also getting reassigned temporarily...they are waiting for their visas to Argentina. Im glad I dont have to worry about of the many perks of going stateside.

These are the elders and sisters in her front of the Provo Temple.

Favorite Devotional to Date:
Okay so remember how I wrote a couple weeks ago that the MTC President, President Brown, sat with us at lunch and told us to make sure to get to devotionals early because there could be a special speaker.....well at this Tuesday's devotional, guess who was our speaker.....JEFFREY R.HOLLAND!!! It was soooo awesome. Probably one of the best experiences of my life. The Spirit was so strong in there it was unbelievable. When he walked in every stood up and was silent. The feeling we got when he walked in was so intense and it didnt leave the rest of the night. Even after he had left and we went back to our classroom you could tell how that experienced changed everyone's life. Everyone was so reverent but pumped up at the same time. I wish you could have been there. Did I tell you that every night before we leave to go back to our residence halls our district does our altos and bajos of the day...highs and lows. Everyone goes around and says the alto and bajo of their day. Tuesday night we didn't do altos and bajos for the first time because everyone's alto was the devotional and nothing could compare to low was low enough to even mention. Elder Holland talked about how sacred the image of a missionary is and how we have no right to take away that image from people. He said we need to have the mission change the rest of our lives not just the 18 months of two years. His talk was so awesome.

A Midnight Fire Drill:
So the other night I'm just hanging out with Hna Petherbridge eating brownies and the fire alarm goes off. ITs like 945PM and we are like is this for real orr what? So we open the door of her room and everyone is running out so we walk out too. One of my companions was in the shower so she had to like hurry up and put on her clothes soaking wet and come out. That was funny. We sat outside for 30 MINUTES listening to the super loud alarm waiting for someone to come turn it off. Turns out someone tried to microwave a hashbrown in a paper bowl?! WEird but it was kinda funny. Minus the fact that it smelt like burnt plastic the rest of the night. Some Hnas who were leaving like the same week we arrived said the alarm went off Twice in the middle of the night while they were here. Like 2AM middle of the night. Im glad that wasn't the case for us.

Linnea and her pre-earth best friend...Heather Petherbridge

Seeing people from home:
 Okay so now for some people I've seen/ met at the MTC. I met an elder named Cody Myers(weird because that is my friend Cody's last name too) who knows Jenni Snyder and was roommates with the Hellbushs grandson at BYU-I. Small world. Also Sister Crews got here on Tuesday. I've seen here around quite a bit so thats cool. One of the teachers in my hall served her mission in VEntura and served in Simi english speaking...she served in the Santa Susanna 1st ward. Her name is Hermana Deleon. I wonder if that is Juli and Shane's ward.
I seriously CANT WAIT til Celestine gets here. I love seeing people from home. I seriously talk to Amy everyday....multiple times a day. We've gotten really close and I've gotten close with her companion too (Sora Zimmerman) Sora is Sister in Romanian. 

Speaking more Spanish:
 On Saturdays we go to the TRC(Teaching Resource Center). That is where volunteers come in and let us teach them. They used to pretned to be investigators but now they are just themselves...members. Its fun to teach lessons to members. It helps us with the lessons and with our spanish. We feel more comfortable around them. There is this one volunteer we have gotten really close with. She is our age and goes to BYU. She also works in the cafeteria at the MTC. We love her. She makes sure to come and volunteer when we are teaching just so we can teach her. She is planning on going on a mission herself and seriously we have the best discussions with her. She is so cool. This week our distrcit set a goal to speak more spanish. As a district we can only speak 600 words of English. This breaks down to 10 words/day/person. We can speak English in the cafeteria, in the residence halls and at gym, but other than that its all Spanish. Everytime you say an English word you get a tally and if the district goes over 600 words, the companionship with the most English words has to teach another district a grammar principle in Spanish as a "punishment" So far so good on my end.

Two more Devotionals:
Richard Heaton(Admin director for MTC) spoke at the fireside. We've heard him speak before...he's awesome. HE talked about not overlooking the bigger picture of missionary work which is inviting others to come unto Christ...its not about the superficial yes or no's to committments but about bettering peoples lives by helping them feel closer to the Savior. It was a good talk. Then for Tues Devotion Jay  E Jensen of the 70 spoke. He talked about submisiveness and harmony. We need to submit our will(home life and other worldly things) to missionary work and be in harmony with our companions as well as with the Lord. Also very good talk.

It is always so fun for me to read Linnea's letter.  She is now having a tough time with the cafeteria.  She is very OCD about somethings like smells, people touching her things and I think now it is starting to get to her but she is leaving the MTC soon so I think she will survive.

She always is so grateful to those who write her.  Please keep writing.  I know that hearing from home really lifts her spirits.  She loves to get photos.  

I will leave you with a few more photos.

The classroom...many hours spent here.

Flowers on the Provo Temple grounds

Hermana Harris by the Provo Temple fountain

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week Three in the MTC

Three whole weeks have passed since we dropped Linnea off at the MTC.  She sounds like she is doing well and learning lots.  Thursdays are the days she has off and she gets to email on that day.  Her emails usually arrive around 1:00pm which is such a lovely treat for me.  I am usually just coming inside from my 2 hours of lunch duty and enjoy eating my lunch while reading her latest email.

Here is what she had to say about her week...
The word for this week is CHANGE! So on Sunday our Branch President, Pres. Craig was released. It was pretty surprising. We didnt really see it coming but him and his wife had been serving for like 4 and a half years. They put in mission papers and are waiting to hear back on where they are going. The counselors, Pres. Jurgens and Pres Claybaugh, are still in the presidency which is cool because they are both awesome. We will definitely miss Pres Craig but our new Branch Pres, Pres Tyler seems super cool. He's an ex army drill sergeant so there will be no messing around ha! He's also very very knowledgeable...its way cool. Another big change this week is that we seem to be the old-veterans of our Branch and we've only been here 3 weeks. Our Branch is only advanced and intermediate spanish and the advanced missionaries leave after 3 weeks. So we've already had one advanced district leave, and 2 intermediate districts leave which just leaves like my district, and a couple other districts, but some of those are advanced so they got here after us and will leave before us. That probably didnt make sense but whatever. We just completed our three weeks here but it feels like 50 ha. Lets see, another big change was that 2 elders (Nilsen and Wheeler) and 1 hermana (Westman) left yesterday for the Peru MTC. Elder Andersen from my district was supposed to go too but his visa didnt come in. :( We all felt so bad for him...he was so bummed. He had his flight plans, packed up all of his stuff and then the travel office called him down to tell him his visa didnt come. He found out he wasnt going like 12 hours before his plane was supposed to leave. Such a bummer! So since Hermana Westman left, I am now in a trio that consists of Hna Kerr, Hna Miller and myself. I think it will work out well. We all get along so that is good. Another thing that will be changing is that one of my teachers, Hna Hunter wont be my teacher anymore starting next week. Im super bummed! I really liked her and just hope we get someone else as good as her. 

Oh Ive been playing basketball these last couple days...its so fun. I met this girl name Hna Riggs who is suuuper good. So we guard each other when we play a game with the boys since we are not allowed to guard elders and vice versa. We also play Lightning or Knockout. Hna Riggs is from Mission Viejo and we figured out that we must have played against eachother when I played travel ball. She played for a team based out of San Clemente and was always playing in tourneys in SD. Small world right? It has been really fun to play with her. She kills it from the 3 point line...she has like a 80% field goal percentage. Its awesome. 

New Friends
So I have to tell you about this girl I met. We met in the bathroom while brushing our teeth and just started talking. We would always see each other around campus or in the residence hall and just chat. We got to know eachother pretty well and we were talking one night and were just saying how its weird that we got so close so quickly. We just had this like instant friendship...we came to the conclusion we must have been friends in the pre-existence because we just instantly clicked and it felt like we had been friends forever. Her name is Heather Petherbridge...awesome name right? ha. She is originally from Canada but most recently from Maryland. She is going to Peru on her mission. She was also supposed to leave on Wednesday but her visa didnt come in either. 13 people that were supposed to go to the MTC in Peru didnt get their visas. At least I dont have to worry about that

Letters are GOLD on the mission keep them coming,

Thank you to everyone who has written to Linnea.  I know that she loves hearing from everyone.  Hopefully, there will be some photos for the next time.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

More News from the MTC or CCM en espanol

Linnea sent another email on Thursday but I am a little late posting it due to my own life and schedule getting in the way.  Next time I post I hope to have some photos from her to share.  She said she is taking lots of pictures and I am anxious to see them.  She needs to send me the memory card from her camera and then we will be good to go.  Thanks, Shane for making sure she had 2 memory cards!

Some highlights from her latest letter....

Rosemary Wixom the General Primary President was our Relief Society teacher on Sunday. That was really cool. Richard I Heaton the Admin Director of the MTC spoke at the Sunday fireside on the success of a missionary. It was really good. And Elder Evans of the first quorum of the 70 spoke at the Tuesday devotional spoke about God the Father. His wife told this reallllly cool/inspirational story about a missionary who served under them in Japan. I dont have time to write it down right now but ill send it to you in a letter.   (I will share this when I get the letter.)

Singing in the MTC choir:
At the Tuesday devotional I sang in the choir because one of the girls in my district Hermana Westman wanted to be in the choir but her comp didnt so we did a little switch. The choir performs every Tuesday night at devotional but they practice on Sunday and Tuesday. Oh for our choir song on Tuesday we sang Lead Kindly Light. There is nothing like the MTC sounds soooo good. 

A Surprise Table Mate at Lunch:
 So yesterday at lunch I see someone pull out the empty chair next to me to sit down and who is it? President Brown....just the President of the entire MTC. All of us look at each other like," Oh my". It was nerve wracking at first but then he jsut started talking to us and he was of course very nice and funny. He has an amazing memory for a man of his age. He asked what district we were in and we said 48-C. He said," Oh, with President Craig."..there are like a billion branches so that he got it on the first try was very impressive. He also asked how our spanish was coming along and we said mas o menos...he said you cant fool me, I know that if you are in President Craigs branch you are either in the intermediate or advanced spanish! Again very impressive ha!

A nightly ritual:
At 9 every night we meet as a district and plan for the next day. After, each person tells teh whole district their highlight and low light of the day. Its funny to hear what some peoples highs and lows are. Then we do a "cinnamon roll" Its a pretty rad handshake.. We stand in a circle and everyone sticks their hand out like they are going to give someone a handshake. The tips of fingers are all touching then we curl our hands to the right and it makes like a cinnamon roll. Its super cool...I have a video of it.

Seeing friends from home:
I see David Riddle like every day. And I saw Jimmy Marshall and Stanton Kennington today! Woo! I love seeing people I knew from before. 

Please write: everyone that has written me letters, I LOVE YOU! I wrote you all back last week but didnt have time to address my envelopes so Im doing that while my laundry is going so expect a reply sometime early next week! Thanks again and keep the letter coming...its the best part of any missionarys day.

Friday, August 12, 2011

One Week in the MTC!

Linnea completed her first week in the MTC and wrote to us on Thursday to tell us how it went.  One comment she made was...It feels like I've been here for a month, but nope...just a week HA! Everyone says the days at the MTC go by really fast, but the weeks go by slow. I think they are right! 

One of the benefits of being so close to the headquarters of the church is the opportunity the missionaries have to hear from the General Authorities of the church.  Linnea shared...Tuesday we had an MTC devotional. These are when General Authoritys come to speak. This week we had Cecil O Samuelson of the 70 who is also the Pres of BYU and his wife speak. They both talked about missions and how we are always supposed to be on our best missionary behavior at all times because you never know who is watching us. Their talks were really good too. Then after the devotional our district met together with our Branch President to go over the devotional. We all shared our favorite part of the talk and elaborated. It was awesome and so spiritual. My district is so rad. For those who don't know what a district is...its basically the group of missionaries I have class with everyday. There are now 13 of us. 9 elders and 4 hermanas.   This link tells a little about Elder Samuelson.

She is feeling better about her Spanish. My spanish has really least my understanding of spanish. I am now catching all the words my teacher speaks. Mi maestro, Hermano Anderson, is so awesome. We all love him and he really fits in with our district. He served in Guatemala and is finishing his Pre-Med studies at BYU. He is so animated when he talks and appreciates our senses of humor. Our district made some goals to work on together, one of them being having an espanol solamente day. That day is tomorrow. So for a whole day we will speak nothing but spanish. We will see how it goes. The Hermanas and I have been really trying to only speak spanish together because Hermano Anderson said if we did so he promised our spanish would be in tip-top shape in 3 WEEKS! We try our best but it gets so frustrating because it takes us forever to complete our thoughts, but we've been getting better. The first day we got here they gave us all this spanish study material so that has been helping. And they gave us scriptures in spanish which is super cool. Ive been reading them along with my english ones. Another one of our district goals is to sing at least one hymn in spanish a day. I really like this. Its so fun to sing in spanish, i dont know why. Hermana Miller does not like singing...its so funny! She always tries to pick the shortest songs to sing haha. 

I asked her about the food and about the hour of physical exercise. The food here is decent. Nothing like yours mom, but it will do. They have a really good wrap making station. The line is kind of long but its really worth it. Its probably the best thing they have.   Gym is good and bad. Good because it feels great to just get out of my missionary clothes and run around. You can either do stuff in the huge gym, like play bball, v-ball, four square, weight machines, or they have a track that goes around the entire 3rd floor. 10 times around is a mile. The other option for gym is outside across the street by the temple. You can play sand volleyball, soccer, and various other weird outdoor sports, like croquet. Ha. Elders and Sisters are only allowed to play vball and four square together since its a non contact sport. The bad thing about gym is that my gym time always follows a meal. We either go right after breakfast or lunch or dinner. This makes for a lot of like mid-day showering which is kind of annoying, but also good because there arent too many people trying to take showers all at once. The last couple of days we have been playing sand volleyball as a district. Its sooo fun. We are all terrible but its just fun messing around and being out in the sun.

A girl from Linnea's ward entered the MTC on Wednesday, the week after Linnea.  She tells of seeing her.  Yesterday Amy Remsberg got here...she is going to Romania. I saw her as she was leaving dinner and I was coming to dinner. We saw eachother and she yelled "LINNEA!...I mean Hermana Harris" HAHA its so hard to get used to calling everyone by Elder or Hermana especially when you know their first name. The girls in my district ate lunch with Amy and her district today. She lives on the same floor and building as me so Im sure Ill be seeing her around.

Linnea loves hearing from you.  The letters she gets provide her with encouragement and support.  Keep on writing.  She sent her thanks...Thank you to Mom, Dad, Nigel, Aunt Pat, Ashley, Shane, Juli, Alisha, Allison, Celestine, Brandon, Karen, Liz and everyone else who wrote me. I hope I didnt forget anyone. You guys are all the best. I'll be writing letters while I wait for my laundry so hopefully you'll be hearing back from me pretty soon. And BIG BIG thanks to my canoe crew buddy K-Rohn for the package. So rad! I loved everything...thanks for getting me the stuff I needed. And the mints were a BIG hit with my district. One Hermana brough like 20 packs of gum but cant chew any because gum is not allowed.