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. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Linnea's First Letters Arrive!

I opened my email on Saturday, August 6th, not expecting anything from Linnea and was happily surprised to receive an email.   While I was reading it aloud to Percy, Rhiannon went down to get the mail and there was also an actual letter from her.

We were super excited to hear from her two times in one day!  She sounds like she is doing well.  We are so proud of her and can't wait to hear more from her on Thursday, her official P-Day (this is the day the missionaries have to themselves.  They do their preparations for the week on this day and letter writing is a big part of the day.)

Below is the first email letter we received...

Hola Mi Familia y mis amigos!
    I have 30 minutes to write emails today, but my pday is actually Thursdays and I'll still only get to email for 30 minutes. So far the MTC is pretty good. It was hard to adjust at first but Im getting in the swing of things. Everyday is planned out to the minute basically which is good. Spanish is hard! Well, gospel Spanish at least. I didn't know any of those words to begin with. The MTC got a new teaching curriculum and we are the first class to use it. Mi maestro, Hermano Anderson ONLY speaks to us in spanish! He will explain thing every once in awhile but other than's all spanish. Right now I'm getting about every 3rd word but its only the 3rd day so I'm not too worried. So my schedule pretty much goes like this....we wake up at 6:30AM and get ready. We have to be in our classroom by 7 for personal study, then off to breakfast at 7:40. We then have personal study again or companionship study for about an hour. We then have classroom intstruction. So far we've learned to pray in spanish and bear our testimonies in spanish. It's pretty crazy. Classroom time lasts for 3 hours. Its pretty hard to stay focused especially since I only catch every third word. But I'm doing by best and feel like Im getting better everyday. AFter classroom instruction we have lunch. Then gym time for an hour. You can play basketball, volleyball, four square, and they have excericise machines and weight machines you can use. They also have an indoor track that runs along the top floor. 10 times around is a mile. Then we have time to get ready for our next activity. We come to the computer lab and do language excerices in a program kind of like rosetta stone, but more for gospel stuff. It also teaches grammar and phrases. It seems pretty helpful as long as you take it seriously which is probably why rosetta stone didn't work because I didnt take it seriously haha! Then we have more language study in our classroom, then off to dinner. After dinner we either have more classroom instruction or meetings with our branch. At 9PM we have a planning session with our companion for the next day and we go back to our residence halls at 930 to get ready for bed. 10:15 is quiet time then lights out at 10:30. The schedule is a little different everyday like gym could be after breakfast instead of lunch or we could have language study in the morning instead of the afternoon but its basically the same. My companions name is Hermana Kerr. She is from Portland and is going to Tempe Arizona. She is pretty cool. We get along pretty well. There are 6 girls in my room. We all got here Wednesday and we are all going spanish speaking. Hna Miller is going to San Fernando, CA and is from Utah. Hna Westmond is going to Peru and is from Utah. Hna Baker is going to Ventura,CA and is from Dallas. Hna Christensen to Riverside and from Utah(I think). Those 5 girls plus me are in one room. All my roomates are super cool. Hnas Miller, Westmond, Kerr and I are in the same district along with 8 elders. Our district is really fun. All the elders are cool. We all get along and have been having fun getting to know one another. 2 elders and Hna Westmond leave after 2 more weeks to go to the MTC in Peru. Im not sure if we will get new elders and sisters to replace them. We all tested into intermediate spanish, but it seems more like advanced ha. We had to teach an "investigator" a lesson SPANISH! Soo hard. Today we are meeting with her again. She's actually one of our teachers but she plays the role of the investigator VERY well. She doesn't break character ever. Oh Mom you asked what it meant that Lindzi was my host. It was so cool because I was the first Hermana to arrive on Wed so all the host sister were waiting for us...Lindzi saw me and ran up to me give me a hug. It was soooo good to see her. I was hoping so bad I would just even see her, but to have her be my host was sweet. She helped me take my luggage to my room and showed me around th MTC. We then got my name tag,room key and MTC card which you use to do laundry, get food in the cafeteria, etc. WE get $8 a week on the card to get stuff from the bookstore or vending machines or whatever. WE dont pay for meals or to use the laundry machines. The MTC card also allows us to get into our residence hall. You have to swipe it to get in to each level of the building. I've seen Bobby Shuster, Paul Sliffe and David Riddle around which is cool. ANd i see Lindzi a lot which I love. She leaves Tues morning for Washington. Mom, thats cool about the teacher you interviewed and Im impressed you  and Dad made it home in one day. NICE! I know DAd was happy to sleep in your bed. You guys should def write me on while I'm here because I only get to check my email once a week and I get the letters like 2 times a day if I have mail. BIGGGG shoutout to Liz and Nigel for writing me the FIRST day. I looked pretty popular getting mail the first day and it was so awesome to hear from them. I really needed it that first day. Karen also wrote me which was way sweet. I will be writing them all letters today since today is my mock Pday. I can really only write letters on my Pday which is THursdays starting next week. Things I could use would be those like littel nylon socks, flesh colored and black because Im already getting blisters! Lame ha. Also I NEED my temple recommend I left in your purse by this Thursday so I can go to the temple. That is it so far. THANKS SO MUCH FOR ALL THE LETTER SO FAR! They really mean a lot and I LOVE hearing from everyone!!! My time is almost up! Hope everyone is doing well. I love you all!
Hasta luego,,
Hermana Harris <3

I know Linnea would love to hear from all of you and is the quickest way for her to get your correspondence.  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Drop Off

 Please notice that there were smiles on our faces at this moment!
I told Linnea that when she walked away she was not allowed to look back.  That would undue me...and she didn't.

On Wednesday, August 3rd at about 12:25pm (30 minutes before our assigned drop off time) we pulled into the MTC (Missionary Training Center) and were surprised at the quickness with which everything took place.
We were directed to a parking number (24) and two elders came to the car and introduced themselves, took out Linnea's luggage, waited while we said goodbye and hugged her and then led her away.
We got into our car and drove away.  About 3 minutes or so later I got a text on my phone.  I checked it and it said, "I work at the MTC.  Lindzi Miller is your daughter's host.  She is happy."  Lindzi is a friend of Linnea who is in the MTC.  The night before Linnea had said to me..."I hope I see Lindzi while I am in the MTC".
It made me happy to know that she was with someone she knew.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My first post/how to write me!

Hey readers of my blog!

This will be the only post that comes from me that isn't an email. I set up this blog so that you all can follow my journey more easily. My mom will be posting my emails on the blog and then posting the link on my Facebook.  Also, everyone has been asking how they can write me so I figured this would be the best way to let everyone know at the same time. I will be in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo,UT from Aug 3 to about Oct 5. Since my computer time in the MTC is so limited, the best correspondence option while I'm there is to write me letters as opposed to emails. is a website that makes writing me letters in the MTC quick and painless...PLUS its free. Just go to the website and set up an account and once you're done choose the option to write a letter. In the drop down menu choose the Provo MTC and click write a missionary. If you created an account your return address info will already be plugged in and all you have to do is fill in my address which you can find located on the right side of my blog. Then just write your letter and click send. The really cool thing about writing me through dearelder is that these letters get printed out and put in my mailbox the same day you write them. So instead of getting a bunch of emails on one day and trying to write back to you all in 30 minutes, I have the chance of getting your letters on whatever you day you send them and writing you back whenever I have a spare moment. Once I actually get to Salt Lake, my email time might increase and then you can start emailing me, but until then, handwritten letters sent through the mail or letters sent through are the best options.

I just want to thank all of you for all your support and kind words. It really makes the thought of being away from you all for 18 months a lot easier. I hope to hear from you all and I promise if you write me a letter I will write you back!

See you all in February 2013!