Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Christmas in Argentina with roommates. L-R Hermana Alvey, Hermana Sperry, Hermana Bray, and my companion Hermana Reed posing in our apartment.

First, here are some pictures of the open house. Our apartment on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning. The blond one is Hermana Sperry, and the one with short brown hair is Hermana Bray. We definitely have fun in our apartment.
One of the American families in the ward invited us over for dinner Christmas Eve. It was so much fun and the food was delicious. We had roast beef, salad, potatoes and gravey, and cake for dessert. The children of the family put on a Nativity play. It was so funny. They tried really hard, but the parents were not helping. The presents from the 3 kings was a history game so the dad that was narrating said ¨gold, frankinsense, and a game box. Nobody knows what myrrh is anyway¨ It was hilarious. That is an example of how most of the night went. We enjoyed every bit of it. One of the children had a zuu zuu pet (don´t know if you know what that is) and it entertained all the adults present including the four missionaries. We definitely had fun.
Today, we are doing a secret santa with our whole district. I have Elder......Guichenau I believe is how you spell it. He is from Chile and very nice. All of our elders are amazing. Hermana Reed and Hermana Bray were together last p-day and told us the funniest story. I guess they had made fudge and had put it in the fridge to set up. They came down the hallway and find Elder Leon (our district leader) and Elder Halls eating the fudge before it has set up. Their faces were like in the movies when a child is caught with their hand in the cookie jar. I wish I could have shown you their faces. Elder Halls dropped the spoon and ran into the corner as if he wasn´t involved. I wish I could have seen it.
We had a party for the entire mission thanks to President and Sister Gulbrandsen. We had a white elephant and I got a bon o bon. It´s very similar to Grandma Alvey´s peanut butter balls. I was sooo happy. We also received a poster with the picture of every missionary in the mission right now. We also got a temple recommend holder with a picture of the Buenos Aires Temple saying ¨Buenos Aires Norte Misión¨. It´s really pretty; and on the back is a scripture and ¨From President and Sister Gulbrandsen¨. It´s been a fun Christmas. Also, after our chat, Hermana Reed and I went and spoke with Daniel (the security guard). He has so many questions about the gospel and loves to learn. He was just introduced to Joseph Smith´s story and watched a clip from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I wish that General Conference was soon. I know that he would love it. I´m so excited for him. I feel bad for Carlos (Testigo Jehovah). His old church is hasselling him for leaving them and meeting with us. He called us last night to ask if we could meet where they couldn´t see us. He is so amazing to want to still meet with us even though he is already receiving hard times. I´m very excited for the investigators we have right now.
Well, I should probably go. I love you all so much. I´ll talk to you soon!!!
Hermana Jessica Alvey

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feliz Navidad!!

Well, it´s that time of year. I´m so excited for Christmas. First off,
I keep forgetting to tell you about this. The buses here are like the
buses from Harry Potter. The driving is crazy and half the streets are
cobblestone. Anyway, things here have been moving along. We have three
more baptismal dates. Two of them for January and 1 for December. It´s
exciting. We also have another for..... March I believe. He is going
home to Peru for 3 months and wants to wait until he gets back. He met
with the sister missionaries once two months ago, but they did not
give us the reference until recently. So, no one has seen him for two
months. When we met him, he told us that he had been reading the Book
of Mormon the entire time and loves it. He reminds us every time to
mark a section for him to read. I´m surprised that he has not read the
entire book by now. He works as a security guard from 8am to 8pm every
day, so attending church will most likely be hard. His name is Daniel.
Carlos is doing pretty good as well. He is the Jehovah´s Witness. He
came to church for a little bit this last sunday and is reading and
praying every day. I´m excited for him. He even told his other church
that he would not be coming back to them. We have some amazing
We have not moved into the new apartment yet. Someone got there before
us, but we still have a possibility if they fall through, so we are
still waiting to see. I´m excited. I don´t know why, but I love the
fact that the kitchen is pink. I think it is hilarious.
Spanish is always a trial, but I am trying to speak up more. It´s
really hard to go tracting. It´s still my least favorite thing to do
and we did it all during the capilla abierta. We are the first to have
an open house for our chapel in this mission. They saw great success
in Mexico and wanted to start the program here. After that hard time,
my companion and I thought up some goals to help me be more
comfortable with talking to other people. Right now, it´s my job to
say ¨hola¨ to everyone we walk by, give the baptismal invitation, and
ring the door bell. Those are easier baby steps. I do like listening
to them talk though. I don´t understand everything, but they are so
patient and kind. They are impressed that I have only been in
Argentina for 3 weeks, I guess that I´m doing better than I thought
with the language. I know that that is an immense blessing from the
I am not liking the insects here. I´m not sure what I am being bit by,
but all the bites swell up pretty big so my leaders think that I am
allergic to something. I have one on my leg right now that is about
the size of two quarters next to each other. All in all, about two
inches long and about an inch to an inch and a half wide. My index
finger is swollen too, but I can still use it. It just itches and
hurts at the same time. I just thought I would tell you how much I
love insects.
The ward is awesome. They are all so kind, and most of them know
english to an extent and are helping me with my vocabulary. A lot of
them are from the states. I met an older sister missionary here who
says that she is a sister to a Sister Seistrand from Las Vegas. It was
nice talking to someone about Las Vegas.
I want to write people, but I am not exactly sure how to go about
doing it. It costs 9 pesos (about 2 dollars) to mail a single letter
to the states. That is a lot of money every week for all the people I
want to write. What suggestions do  you have?
We set up with a member for me to skype at 4pm our time which is 11am
your time. We did not really set up to do calls, so I really hope the
skype works. We will see what happens though.
It´s so good to hear from you every week. I hope things go better for
you. I know that the Lord will bless you. Keep the faith. I know that
you are all amazing. I love you so much. Please don´t forget that.
I´ll talk to you soon.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hola Everyone!!
It´s so good to hear from you. So first off, before I forget, we can get DearElders here. I don´t know how, but I know it´s possible. On average we get all of our DearElders, packages and letters about every 6wks. It´s whenever we are at President Gulbransen´s house. We see him every transfer and sometimes in between.
So anyway, things here have been moving along. I´m being eaten alive by mosquitos. The bites swell up a little bit and yesterday I got bit on the eyelid. (don´t ask me how, because I have no idea) Now my eyelid is puffy and it looks pretty odd. Yes, I do use bug repellent. We´ll see what happens. I´m still having fun though. It´s a lot of hard work and yes I still have a hard time going up and talking to people, but I can feel the Lord in everything and I have a wonderful trainer. Hermana Reed is 23 and from Colorado. She has been out for 7 months and loves the work as well.
The elder in charge of helping us with the apartment gave us a good reference the first day and we love it. I will have to send pictures next monday. The kitchen has pink tile. I know that doesn´t sound appealing, but it was tastefully done. Also, the bathroom was just redone, so it very clean and neat. There is actually enough room in the kitchen for us to eat.  We drop off our laundry to an outside sourse and wash our garments by hand in the laundry sink. I did not know this until today, but because of expenses, we only send out our clothes every other week. Other then that, we wash them by hand. It´s interesting. We move into our new apartment in about two more weeks.
The weather has been nice. There is almost always some wind; which is nice during the summer. It rained last p-day on the way back to the apartment, and when it rains, it pours. We got drenched. It lasted for about 20 minutes, but we got more rain in 20 minutes here, than an entire average year in  Vegas. In reality it really rains like that every time, so we never have time or are close enough to our apartment to get our rain gear. The rain is kind of spastic so it could be sunny and clear one hour and raining the next hour.
We get as much time as we give ourselves to write emails. On average, it´s about an hour. Helps me a lot, now that a lot is going on.
The food is pretty good. I have not really seen any staples. Argentina is definitely not your average Latin culture. Europe has played a huge part in its culture. I think I have seen rice once in a meal and beans once as well. Pasta is a usual staple as well as cheese. They love cheese. Unfortunately, for me,  since a lot of cheese makes me naucious. Oh, chicken, potates, and beef is huge too. They have this kind of potato salad with peas, potatoes, and carrots. It´s pretty good. Some things that they don´t have here: mapeline, ketchup, and pickles. There is more, but I can´t think of them right now. The chocolate here doesn´t really have any taste. It has the texture, but I don´t taste anything. So, that is one thing that I miss. Instead of syrup, we use jelly and just eat that. It´s not bad. It´s actually growing on me.
None of the people from my MTC district are in the same zone as me. I´m kind of sad about that, but I know that we will all probably learn better this way. I don´t know how many blocks are in my area. Since we split it, it´s smaller, but still very large. Like I said, the original area is about the size of north las vegas. I wish you could see the people´s faces here when I tell them that I am from Vegas. It´s pretty funny, but a good conversation starter.
It is hard asking people to be baptized in the first discussion. I still don´t understand it fully and am still uncomfortable with it, but Preach My Gospel, my mission president, and MTC teachers told me that asking in the first lesson is something we need to do. The fact that it is a commandment is good for me but I still agree that it doesn´t make all that much sense. One way that it  was explained to me was that, we need to let them know our purpose right off the bat. I know that sounds bad, but the thing that the church can offer is the saving ordinance of baptism and everyone needs that, therefore, membership and baptism is our goal. President Packer (I believe) said that we can have both quantity and quality. It´s hard work, but we are trying to find the people that the Lord has prepared. I know that I am not doing a good job of explaining it now, but hopefully I can do better in the future.
We had 4 investigators come to church yesterday. I was so happy. They all enjoyed it and thursday, we have an open house in the chapel. It´s a tour to show people (member, nonmember, investigator, etc) our beliefs. Right after, we have the christmas dinner. That is going to be very fun. I don´t really know what is going on with that.
Well, we are playing fútbol again with the elders today. Last week was pretty fun. They were surprised at how good I was. I was surprised how good I was. Although, to be fair, half the ¨good¨ passes were me tripping over my own feet. I was a good goalie though. Yes, I have lost weight. Yes, I am eating enough, but the walking and the healthy diet do wonders. At least, that is how it is in my area. One of my room mates lost 40lbs while she was here. (don´t worry, it was healthy weight loss. She is no longer overweight) Any way, I should probably go.
I love you all very much and I am working hard. Hopefully I will learn how to be effective as well. Good luck. I know things are hard right now, but the Lord is with you and has his angels helping you every step of the way. ¨In the end everything will be ok, and if it´s not ok it´s not the end.¨ Have a wonderful Christmas season! Tell everyone hi for me.
I´ll talk to you soon!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

My first companion, Hermana Reed

Well, to start off: It was a very long flight. I hardly slept because I was uncomfortable, but I did sleep. I just woke up ever hour. It was fun for the most part though. Flying at night doesn´t let you see many things, but the plane had a live map that you could follow. When we got there, it was a big difference. We were sweating like pigs. The humidity plus the new heat was hard, but we all made it ok. President and Hermana Gulbransen are awesome. They met us there with hugs and told us that we would have lunch and a nap. We were their guinea pigs, because they had never given the missionaries naps before. It was wonderful. I also told you that I did not know what the humidity would do to my hair and I did not have access to a mirror. On top of the fact that I was half asleep the entire time too. Oh well, I think you are right about the leaving picture, though. I hope so anyway.
Well, my companion´s name is Hermana Reed. She is from Colorado and is 23. She is an absolutely amazing trainer. She helps me apply things to my investigators at all times and gently encourages me to speak more. She tells me that she is happy I am here and with her. When you´re in a strange area, these things are nice to hear. I´m excited and she says that I am doing really good. The members of our ward are so nice. I don´t understand a lot, but they are so patient and our ward is filled with americans and people wanting to learn english, so it´s easier for me to communicate. We even had a Relief Society lunch on thursday. They are so kind. My area is called Vicinte Lopez I. There are two areas now as of wednesday, because it is sooooo huge. I am not exagerating when I say that is is probably the size of north las vegas. We have four hermanas total for the entire area. Muchas oportunidades, sí? LOL anyway, since we just split the area this week, we are looking for a new place to live so that we are actually in our area. I am not going to give the address because they asked us not to give too much personal information out, but the chapel is Hipolito and Yrigochen 1340 con Maipu. Our first day with our companions was training at the president´s house, buying groceries, and learning about the area. Our main focus in this mission is to contact the menos activos and recent converts. I guess this area also did not have a good relationship with the members for a while so we are working on that too. Our first day out in the field, we had two people come up to us and talk to us. One of them, Carlos, is a Jehovah´s witness and has been for 35 years. He feels as if those sunday meetings are very impersonal and doesn´t feel very much love. He knows that if a church does not have love it is not of God, because God is love. We are very excited for him. Saturday, we went looking for a reference from the CCM here. By the way, the CCM (MTC) here does activities every week and sends out missionaries in training to do street contacting and door to door knocking, then they give the missionaries in the areas the references. We went to go find one of these references at his work. He is a security guard and there work is at every other corner in the city in a small little booth. It´s pretty cool. This contact was sick so someone was substituting for him. We talked with the gentleman and even made a baptismal date on his first contact. I was so excited, I still am, but he lives outside of our area. I´m sad that I won´t get to work with him. Oh, well.
All in all, it´s been an interesting first week.
I´m not going to lie, the news that you gave me about everyone was hard, but I´m glad that you told me. I don´t want to wait for a year and a half to find these things out.
I am going to send two emails, one with the pictures and one without just incase it does not go through. We are actually about to go and play fútbol with the elders of our district. It will be interesting.
I love you all so much and please send my best wishes to the family. I will be praying for them. Also, you did not tell me about Thanksgiving. Talk to you soon. Oh, and we can do skype for mother´s day and christmas. It doesnt always work though.
Love you lots!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've arrived !!!!

Dear Alvey Family,

  We are so thankful to have Sister Alvey with us. She arrived safely this morning and is doing wonderful. We are so excited for this great opportunity we have together to serve the Lord. We all ate lunch together here in the mission home and she will be staying in a hotel here in San Fernando tonight. Tomorrow she will be meeting her trainer and arriving in her area to work.  Your daughter will be communicating with you on her preparation day.

We love you,

President and Sister Gulbrandsen

Saturday, November 26, 2011

last p-day

Yes it's my last p-day in the MTC. I am very excited but having p-day on Thanksgiving is not that fun. There is no schedule for the meals or laundry. Its terrible trying to get anything done, but I'm working it out. They have not taught us how to pack, but I think I can work it out.
Thank you for sending the package. I can't wait to get it.
I am so excited for tomorrow. We have In Field Training all day. I really don't know what it is, but I do know that there are people from "The District 2" It's pretty interesting to see them in person. We've seen them a couple times since we got here but not on a regular basis.
I am so excited for monday. I know that it will be interesting. As you can see, I have a very long flight and day ahead of me. I really did not think that I would be "ready to leave", but I am. I love the MTC but it's time for me to leave. It's amazing how the Lord changes your heart over time. This is just one of the many examples I have. I truly wish that you could be here with me to experience these things as well. I haven't even told you a quarter of the things I have seen, heard, and learned here. Some things I can't even put into words. The MTC is an amazing experience. I know that Sarah will love it. I have not heard from them, though. I have not heard from a lot of people but that is ok. Please tell everyone "hi" for me at Thanksgiving/ Family Reunion.
I can't tell you how hard it is to write in English. We got to teach our second counselor in our branch presidency for three minutes as a going away interview. It was so hard. Not because we did not know the gospel, but that we had learned how to teach in spanish. It's getting harder and harder to form sentences in english. I know that's a good thing, but that also means that my letters will either not make sence in english, be spelled completely wrong, or be written in spanish. My spelling has gotten so much worse. ^_^
Well, Sunday in Relief Society was Sister Espin: second counselor in the general primary presidency. I really liked her talk because she spoke on when her husband was called as a mission president. She was so worried about her children and how their lives would change. She wanted to do the Lord's will, but was worried all the same. She and her husband met with President Monson (who was a counselor at the time) and he told her: "You are going to be alright. If you take care of the Lord's, He will take care of yours." Then he shared with her D&C 84:87-88. It was really nice, and she promised that we would feel God's love for all those we come in contact with.
The sunday fireside was one of our Branch Presidents and his wife. I loved their talks. By the way, look up the song called His Hands, it's absolutely gorgeous. Sister Harris said that our area is reserved for us and that there are people waiting. I love hearing that. President Harris was amazing. He spoke on our Divine Nature. There is no limitation on who we are, but we first must know the Savior. What an amazing promise. We are called of God. Also, look up Bruce R. McKonkie's las talk about "Stay the Course".
Later that night, instead of a movie, we watched Elder Holland's Gift of Teaching. I took 2 whole pages front and back of notes. I really will have to tell you about it when I call on monday.
Well, tuesday's speaker was D Todd Christofferson and his wife. I could not believe it. Sister Christofferson spoke on learning the language of the Holy Spirit. He is always speaking to us, we just don't understand. Kind of reminds me when God was speaking to the Nephites in 3Nephi and they did not know what he was saying until the third time. Elder Christofferson thanked us for being missionaries and for accepting the call. He said that we were "companions" to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles." What a wonderful idea. It was funny, but about half way through, his sentences were pretty much almost word for word what I told the therapist earlier that day. I know that the Lord is mindful of us.
I don't have much time and I really need to switch my laundry. Hermano Jimenez brought us a small christmas tree and a nativity for our room. It was so cute. Also, yesterday was our last day with Hermana Brown. We had some fun yesterday. I can't wait to talk to all of you and don't worry if you all can't talk. I will just call you seperately if I need to.
I love you all very much. I know you are praying for me; I feel it every day. I will talk to you later. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Time to go!!!!

Here's the letter we received from Jessica yesterday.


     So remember when I said that my next letter would be about my travel plans?  I GOT THEM!!!  I did not know that it would be the same day, but it is.  I am SO excited.  Not only did I get them, but I am also the travel leader for a group of 11.  I'm just . . . WOW.  It's still so surreal right now.  I mean.  I am familiar with Utah and still close to home.  The food is the same and so is the language.  I know that in just over a week, though, it's all going to change. Wow!  I really don't know what to think right now.
     I'll tell you a funny story I was told yesterday that reminded me I need to get my mind focused.  So we talk to this older gentleman named Elder Nelson because we teach him every Wednesday.  Well, when he was 19 (probably in the 70's) he went to Buenos Aires North Mission as well.  It's alot of fun to talk to him.  Well, there was a brand new sister missionary that had just gotten into the field and the Bishop asked her to bear her testimony in sacrament meeting.  When she got up there she tried to say, "I'm embarrassed and it's the Bishops fault."  In front of the entire congregation in her first week in the field she ended up saying, "I'm pregnant and it's the Bishop's fault."  I felt so bad and embarrassed for her.  A lot of people make this mistake when they are learning spanish.  They say "embarasada" but that's wrong.  The whole situation including what she said about the Bishop made it all the more funny and embarrassing.
      I'm so excited about my travel plans.  This has been and will continue to be an amazing experience.  I only hope that I can live so that I can get the most out of it and give everything I have.  Thank you for raising me in such a way that I am here and part of an eternal covenant family.  I love you all and all of your examples.  Your testimonies and your lives are so strong.
     Here is my flight plan:
Delta Airlines flight 1912   LV: SLC, Ut          11:25am    28 Nov 2011
                                       AR: Atlanta, GA       5:06pm    28 Nov 2011
Delta Airlines flight 101     LV: Atlanta, GA       7:50pm    28 Nov 2011
                                       AR: Buenos Aires     7:55am    29 Nov 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall in Provo

MTC time is amazing but coming to an end

First off, I'm sorry about Todd. He's having a rebellious streak and it's probably because he's upset and wants to tell you. He would do that to me a couple times. He should be over it in about another 2-3 weeks. I know you probably don't want to wait that long though. Just don't kill him please. ^_^
Well, you are right; this week has gone by very fast. We should be receving our plans sometime between tomorrow and tuesday. I hope we get them soon, but they won't give them to us if we have not received our visas. It's getting harder and harder to use english. Our new roommates wanted to say evening prayers with us and so we said them in english since its only their first day. Whiel my companion was praying I found it difficult to follow along. She even said afterward that it was hard to even say the prayer in english. I was waiting for "Querido Padre Celestial....En El Nombre de Jesucristo, Amen". It was very odd.  I did not write the dates on the back of the pictures because I could not remember them but it was exactly two weeks ago so that would have been Nov 3rd.
As far as the gloves are concerned, I brought my snow gloves from when we went to Colorado and they are water proff so we shall see how those treat me. Thank you, though.
The speaker last tuesday was Brother and Sister Gavarret of the Seventy. Sister Gavarret is a convert and is learning english so it was really nice to hear her speak. She reminded us to serve with all our hearts and to not be afraid because the Lord would be with us. Brother Gavarret spoke on many good things. First, he reminded us that our families would be taken care of and not to worry. We are the elite in the Lord's army and are about to go out into the frontlines. It was wonderful and he gave us many promises as missionaries.
Sister Linda Burton spoke to us during Relief Society. She reminded us of President Uchtdorf's talk during the General Relief Society meeting about Forget-Me-Not's. I loved that talk. She also told us to think of scriptures and hymns we can rely on in times of trouble. Rely on Christ and follow His example in times of adversity. She quoted a few times from the new book "Daughters in My Kingdom". Did you ever receive a copy of that? I wish I did. Everything I hear out of it sounds amazing.
 Brother Heaton was our speaker at the sunday fireside. He is the Administrative Director of the Provo MTC. I really like to listen to him speak and he pretty much did a sequel of his last talk last month about tithing. He reminded us that we need to help our investigators understand why tithing is important and what it really is. Tithing is not money, it's faith. I was reminded of what Joseph Smith said about how a religion that does not require anything of its people cannot ask for the faith necessary to accomplish miracles (or something like that).
This last tuesday we heard from Brother Tad R Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy. I really like listening to him as well. His wife gave some great advice about always having a smile and involving the members as much as we can in missionary work. Brother Callister helped us understand how important it was that our investigators understand the need and the importance of the Apostacy for the Restoration. He quoted so many different people throughout history including Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, and Martin Luther. I love history. I really wish that I could tell you all that he spoke on but time is short and I could spend over an hour talking about what he talked about. It is definitely an amazing experience to listen to these speakers.
So many people have left from our zone and its sad, but I know that that is really the point of the MTC. It will be us soon as well. We taught a real investigator yesterday. In our workshop they asked us to teach some people who were applying as actors for the MTC for investigators. Some of them are not members, but are just actors applying for a job and we are pretty sure that our investigator was in that group. It was a big adrenaline rush. We had all of five minutes to really put a lesson together and we didn't even have our spanish scriptures with us. It was hard and we couldn't understand everything she said. I know I won't be ready for the field but I'm not as afraid anymore after that experience.
I also realized the truth of my teacher's statement even better. "Just because we know the Gospel in English doesn't mean we know it in Spanish." I am very familiar with my english scriptures. I know what is marked, what all the marks mean, all my bookmarks are familiar and I just know my scriptures like close friends. I have not made that relationship with my spanish scriputres yet, but I am working on it.
Well, my time is almost up. I hope all is going well. The house sounds like it's beautiful. I know that you are doing a wonderful job. Please send me pictures some time; not just of the house but of yourselves as well. I would love to see pictures of Thanksgiving and Christmas as well.
It's so good to hear from all of you. I love you so much. Talk to you soon. Don't forget that I get to call you when I'm at the airport. Next letter should tell you when and what time. *giant hug for all*

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not easy, but worth it!

Well, another week has gone by and I'm one week closer to Argentina.  We actually had half a district leave this morning and we have another district leaving this coming monday. Next monday there is another district leaving and then, hopefully, we are leaving. I can't believe how close it is. I don't really know what to say about this week.
It's been a pretty quiet week, which I know is probably hard to believe. This last saturday we held a sacrament meeting (minus the sacrament) for one of our "investigators". Her name is Paqui. she is 53; has 2 sons and one daughter; is catholic; and her husband is athiest. It's definitely an intersting set up especially when the sister in front of you is probably only 26. She really liked it and the three sisters in our district did a special musical number. The Spirit was so strong there. Not this saturday, but next saturday we are going to hold a baptismal service for her. Pretty much all of the companionships asked her to be baptized Nov 18th. I'm so excited for it. Our other "teacher investigator" is Jairo. He is a little more difficult, but I feel like we are finally learning more about him and how he feels. We have not yet asked him to be baptized yet, but I really hope we are bringing the Spirit with us, so that he is becoming more familiar with the promptings. This last lesson was really hard especially since he stopped us at the end before we were done and started speaking to us as a teacher. It is so hard when you have done everything you could and tried to apply everything you have been taught and basically be told it's not enough. He did not say that or mean it, he was helping us even more, but that was how I felt. Of course, you can guess that I broke down crying, but my companions are amazing. We all felt the same way but we were able to support each other. There is still so much to learn before we go out into the field and I know that I am not ready and I don't know if I will be. Your letters have come at the perfect times and I know that you are all being influenced by the Spirit because you said exactly what I needed to hear. I'm trying really hard not to get down on myself and am trying to give Satan a hard time. I know he doesn't want me here. He really doesn't want me here because he has been trying to stop me since I even started thinking about filling out my papers for my mission. I also know that fear and faith cannot exist in the heart at the same time, and courage is not the absence of fear, but the over coming of it.
Well, just to let you know, we have seven investigators total and are probably going to get more. One of the greatest comforting things that my teacher said to us when I was crying was that the investigators in the MTC would never be easy. He knows what we can handle and is always challenging us to do better. He is hard on us because we can do it. That is an amazing thing for me. We have already had some difficult questions about the trinity, Heavenly Father asking Nephi to kill Laban, Christ organizing His church, and so many more. I think the hardest part is asking inspired questions. We hardly know anything about our investigators and then we don't seem to ask the right questions.
I'm sorry that this seems like a depressing email. I really do have a lot of hope and I am very happy right now. The MTC is not always easy, but it is definitely worth it and is a wonderful place to learn. My teachers are inspired and amazing. I really wish that you could meet them. They are hilarious. Hermano Jimenez likes to come in and when one of us Hermana's says something ridiculus he says "Oh, Hermana" with a big sigh. He's always smiling though. I know I probably spelled ridiculus wrong, but it is very hard to spell when half of my mind is in Spanish and the other in English. Spanish a little harder now. My brain feels a little over loaded, but what is most difficult is that everyone speaks English around here so I can't help but speak in English. Oh well, it all works out if I do my part.  Well, my time is short. I'm sorry that I did not get to hear from you, but I know that you are busy especially with the reunion and Thanks giving. I love you all very much and I hope that life is going good.
Please go to the temple together every week. I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to me right now. It's a place where you can feel together and feel God's love for you. I know that my days would not be the same if I missed one week of going to the temple. Benjamin, please to baptisms. Mom and Dad please go do a session together. I know that it will bring you great joy and comfort and peace. I know you know this already, but I wanted to add my testimony. Yo se que Jesucristo nos ama. El quiere que nosotros somos juntos por eternidad. Escuchan su espiritu y el os guia en la manera que necesitan ir. Os amo.
Hermana Jessica Lynn Alvey

Thursday, November 3, 2011

funny devotional experience

Hola Mi Familia,
This week has been a fun one. We had another district leave and it was so sad.  They were our zone leaders and our coordinating sister. I definitely cried. Then next day, it rained, then stormed, then snowed, then rained again. It was a fun day. One of our teachers was riding his bike to the MTC and was hit by a car. He flew over the car, but luckily had his helmet on. Ironically, the driver was another teacher. He just walks into the classroom wanting to tell us this story right after it happened. Luckily we convinced him to finally promise to take some medicine when he got home. I love my teachers.
The Devotional on tuesday was great. The other person who was saying the opening prayer was so nervous. He even fasted the day of. I was so excited. The speaker was Elder and Sister Zwick of the Seventy. She spoke on the Holy Ghost and it's influence in our lives. She also spoke on how to recognize its promptings. I don't remember who said it, but how can we follow the shepherd when we do not know his voice. That is why we constantly strive to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and constantly read the scriptures.  The executive secretary came up to us before hand and talked to us about his mission to england. He baptized a couple after a lot of hard work. They had 10 children, 51 grandchildren and even more great-grandchildren. Just by his small act of baptizing one couple has blessed hundreds and eventually thousands. Nothing we do is small or insignificant and the Lord remembers us always.  Elder Zwick spoke on Testimony and prayer. Prayer is respectful and so we use respectful words. A testimony is not a prayer so we do not end it "in the name of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, Amen." I was so happy that he said that. I like that he said that our opening with "Our Dear Heavenly Father" reminds us who He is, who we are, and our relationship to him. It kind of reminded me of the Young Women's Theme. I actually can't believe how many things remind me of the Young Women's Theme and about what I did and learned in Young Women's in general. The speaker this sunday during Relief Society was even the Young Women's General President.  Before I get into that, I wanted to tell you what happened during the devotional on tuesday. When the second counselor got up to announce the closing song and my name the audience started laughing. I had kind of zoned out that part so I didn't hear what he said, but my fellow missionaries turn to me and told me what he said. He had said "and Sister Jessica Alba..uh.. Alvey will give the closing prayer." I was so red. He and his wife turned to me when he sat back down and asked who Jessica Alba was. We just said she was an actress. Then after the meeting, the mission president turns to me and asks who she was as well. I gave the same answer; then he asked: "Oh, what kinds of movies is she in?" I just said: "Action and romance." What would you say if you had to explain to the mission president who Jessica Alba was?! It was a funny evening.
Any way, I only have four minutes left in the email so I won't be able to tell you about the sunday speakers right now. I'm glad to hear that things are being worked on and repaired at home. I know you always wanted to have that done. I know it's not easy, but you're right, it's worth it. I have really learned that. Oh, yes we have all gotten better and yes it is freezing here. I cannot thank you enough again for sending me the jacket. I really wish there was a way to keep warmer on my legs, but I can't so I will deal with it. I will talk to you all soon. I love you all veeeeeeeeeery much.
Hermana Jessica Alvey

Thursday, October 27, 2011

MTC district - BEST DISTRICT EVER !!!!!

Back L-R:  Elder Hemmert, Elder Wright, Elder Simmons, Elder Arrington (district leader), Elder Sullivan & Elder Otterstein
Front L-R:  Hermana Renteria, Hermana Gutierrez, Hermana Erickson, & Hermana Alvey (me)

MTC roommates

Left-Hermana Captain, Right-Hermana Davis - They will be serving in the Chiclaya, Chile mission

MTC companions

L-R  Jessica, Hermana Renteria, Hermana Ericksen, & Hermana Gutierrez

Hola Mi Familia

Hola Mi Familia!! (I said it right this time)
Well this week has been very fast but there were some interesting points. This tuesday and wednesday we met with the Argentine consulate for our visas. It's really getting closer. I think that part of the reason I was sent out of country was so that I would be able to become an independent person. I love you all very much but I need to focus my heart on the work and become the fourth missionary. I've been praying all this month that my heart would change and, slowly but surely, I have seen those changes. I do not worry too much about you, because I know the Lord will take care of you. I have already seen that in the messages you have sent me. As for the Argentine consulate, she was very nice and her accent really was beautiful. Its a very soft and gentle spanish and I am very grateful to the Lord for sending me to Argentina. I am really excited to learn spanish.
She told us a little bit about Argentina. One warning she gave us was to never say "soccer" always call it futbol or else the locals might threaten your life.  About my mission, she said that the city was beautiful and the tip has some of the most gorgeous natural beauty in the country. I'm excited. My companions and I were talking and my packet seemed to say several different things than theirs and we think I might be called to go to the tip of the country at some point. Wouldn't that be fun?
Yes, my companions are unique. I am starting to struggle a little bit with Hermana Erickson, but I work through it and she is an amazing person. We just have very different opinions on some things, like how to teach, what specifically we should talk about and how we approach situations, but we try and work through it. I still respect her very much. Its kind of funny; we all have one handicap or another and we all seem to balance each other out. I am not comfortable socially and am used to doing things on my own. Hermana Renteria has always been verbally abused by her family and struggles with the emotional effects sometimes, especially with her boyfriend so far away. Hermana Erickson was abused verbally and physically by her last boyfriend and is struggling through that right now in her life. It creates some tension, especially since we don't really know how to talk to each other or rely on other people like that. We are working through things slowly, but, again, I know the Lord put us together as a companionship for His own purposes.
The spanish is coming. It's hard for me to talk and think in English now. My letters may start to be in only spanish soon. We will see, but I will try my best to write them in English so that you can all read them.
We have not missed a single week of going to the temple. I'm kind of sad that my companions don't want to do a sealing session until they get married, but I understand. I've needed to do an endowment session anyway. The temple here is beautiful, and I am happy that the temple will be in my mission. Thank you for being worthy to go to the temple with me.
We wrote a song for our leaving district this last saturday. It's to the movie version of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight". I wish we could sing it for you, but the written text will have to do.
1: This rocks!
2: Oh, me?
1: Not you! The MTC... teaching, learning...together!
2: What else can we do?
1: I can see the changes.
2: Which?
1: The ones I can't deny.
2: Huh?
1: These changes that the Gospel brings... the ones that make me cry!
2: Oh.
1: I feel my heart is changing, the Spirit's everywhere...and with all the missionaries here, Conversion's in the air.
Can you hear the languages?
The change they make us feel
We'll go along...teaching lessons
With all our righteous zeal
3: So many things to plan. Sometimes I can't decide... The future or the past -Tenses! they always seem to collide.
4: We love to preach the doctrine.. And help people to see... Where we came from and where we're going... and what we all can be...
Can you feel the Spirit teach?
Throughout the whole day long?
It's enough to convert every soul
With every word we preach
3: We're broken down, we're humble.. And on our knees we pray... With the gift of tounges -We speak! We need it every day.
4: So many investigators.. How can we teach them all? With the power from the holy scriptures... We can fulfill this call!
Can you see the miracles
With small and simple things
Are great things come to pass for all
Happiness it brings!
1: And when they leave the MTC....
2: It can only be assumed
1: The happy days are just beginning...
1&2: In short... We'll see you soooooon!
Inspired by Elder Arrington and Branch 4
Written by Hermana's Alvey, Renteria, Erickson (With special help from Hermana Hansen)
*We do not own Disney*
Now we know it's not perfect and doesn't perfectly match the song, but we sure had fun making and singing it for our zone. It only took us an hour, too.  I love our district. The elders love to play Snap catch, where they toss around snaps (the ones you do with your finger). It's pretty funny to watch. They also like to do voices in spanish such as " Yo soy un real niño." I love it. This week they drew lego missionaries. They are also, very kind, to us Hermana's and often race to see who can take our trays first. It gets really funny when one of the elders comes in and sneaks the tray out before anyone else. We are losing another district this week and we are going to miss them very much. They have made our stay here one of the most amazing.
Well, my time is almost all spent. I love you all. Benjamin, please write me. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for writing me, and to everyone else who has.
100% Obedience- the first law under Heaven.
Hermana Jessica Alvey

Thursday, October 20, 2011

3rd week

Hello Mi Familia,
It's another P-day coming and going and I have now started my fourth week here. I did receive the first care package from DearElder.com and we are still enjoying the cinnamon rolls. The candy bars in that package were not full size but we enjoyed them none the less. Thank you so much for sending it; it really made my week. I, also, want to thank you soooo much for the most recent package. I wore the jacket to the temple this morning and it helped a lot. Thank so much for the undershirts, the dictionary, and the goodies.  I have already used both dictionaries a lot and, don't worry, I will send the larger one home before I leave. Now, about the temple, we go to the 7:20 am session so we have to be out the door by 6:50am. Yes I do wake up before 6:30am every day and sometimes just before 6am. You didn't think I could do it, huh? Lol. I know I am blessed for exact obedience, because I have the strength to make it through the day.
Well, now to answer some questions. I found the letter that had the question I forgot to answer. In the blue bag that we received the first day, I got a set of spanish scriptures; a grammar book, a vocab book, a phrases book, a couple planners, one filtered water bottle, and a spanish to english dictionary.  Oh, and another practice book for spanish similar, but smaller than the one you received in your mission, Mom. I did not receive a picture book or a culture book in the bag. They would be nice, but I'm learning as I go. We actually don't really have a culture class. We are pretty much taught by the experiences of people who went to spanish speaking missions. I told you that one of my teachers is from Mexico, so that helps a little, but a lot is going to be a surprise when we get down there. Before I forget, will you please take the mints out of my temple dress pocket. I don't want them becoming sticky in the pocket since they aren't in wrappers.
I am thinking of auditioning for the devotionals. I'm not sure if I am going to or not since I am out of practice and still trying to clear my throat.  I have a lot more things to do than practice music, even though I want to. We got new missionaries again this week, and Bishop and Sister Nordfelt were among them. I was so happy to see them and introduce them to my companions. That also reminds me. This tuesday devotional we had a most amazing speaker. Elder Richard G Scott came and spoke to us. I could not believe how tangible his love, the Spirit, and the authority in the room was. He looked a lot better here than he did at conference.  He spoke on strengthening your testimony through the scriptures; not just "hanging out" when you get home, but looking for an eternal companion; and that they elders need to watch the example of the sisters. I liked that last part ^_^  I wish I could send all my notes home to you, but I need them right now.
As for my back and how all of our illnesses are doing, my back is doing much better and I am learning how to stretch it out. We are all on the last leg of our illnesses and hopefully we will be 100%soon. Hermana Renteria has been writing her family and now they are finally starting to write her back. She had to call them this week to get them to do it.  All of us are in the beginning class of spanish. Hermana Erickson is going to be 25 in November and Hermana Renteria is 22. They don't always act their age though. You should have seen Hermana Erickson's face when I told her we received gushers. It was wonderful.
It sounds like all of you have been very busy this week. I be the house is looking much nicer, and so is my car. For the record, I have washed my car (or had it washed) several times since my accident in 2006. I think 6 times since then. Anyway, I am learning more spanish, but I am still struggling to learn everything I want to. It's then that I have to tell myself that I will learn what I need with the Lord's help.  I can only do my best and He will make up the rest.  I bought a small 8 piece set of colored pencils because I felt that my Spanish scriptures looked so naked. I have started to mark scriptures that are special to me and I finally finished marking the scripture masteries. I also have learned Our Purpose in Spanish and the First Article of Faith. It's funny though, my spelling has gotten worse because I keep wanting to spell words in spanish. Maybe that's a good thing.
Well I'm running out of time and I just wanted to tell you all that I love you very much and I think about you often. I know the Lord is blesssing you and I know you have seen that witness.  I, too am being blessed and have seen many miracles in my time here.  You have all been an amazing support: Thank you.
Your Daughter and Missionary,
Hermana Jessica Lynn Alvey

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2nd p-day

Well, I can't believe that it's already been two weeks, and that it's only been two weeks.  So much has changed in just the short time I have been here.  It's like I told the new missionaries that came in yesterday: "No matter how much we know, whether a lot or a little, we are all the same once we get to the MTC; we know nothing."  I know that may sound harsh and untrue, but everything we think we know isn't complete and if you clamp onto the knowledge you do have, you may not let yourself be humble enough to learn the inspired teachings of our teachers, presidents, and General Authorities.  The Spanish is coming along great. I know I have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but I have great hope and faith in the Lord.  He has given me the strength to wake up everyday on time and last 16 hrs while trying to cram into my mind another language in 9wks, learning how to be an effective missionary, and relearning almost everything about the church. Now I'm not saying that we are completely wrong in our knowledge or that knowledge is not good, but there is a time and place for everything. Starting over has really helped me understand more about my investigators. By the way we now have two to teach, and next week three and so on.  I am learning when I am ready to remember a certain topic among the knowledge I have gained. The scriptures mean so much more to me now.  I can feel what Moses said: " I am slow of speach", and God answered: "Who made the lame, and the dumb, and the blind. Who made they mouth". (I know that is not exact, but you get the idea)  And Moroni, when he said: "I am able to teach with the Spirit, but I cannot when writing, so please forgive my imperfections." How often I have felt Ammon saying the words of my heart to preach the good news to all, and not to boast of my own strength but of the Lord's.
I know you are probably wondering, but yes my section of the room is still clean, and , yes, I am starting to gradually wear makeup and do my hair. I'm still trying to work it all out, but it is definitely a changing experience.  We were taught this week about the 4th missionary. The 1st missionary goes on a mission, is disobedient and comes home early. The 2nd missionary goes on a mission, doesn't obey fully, but ends up staying the whole time.  The 3rd missionary is one who keeps complete obedience and does very well and comes home successful.  The 4th missionary is very similar to the 3rd, but there is one key thing that is different. The 4th missionary turns their whole heart over to the Lord and their mission and experiences a change of heart.  I want to be a 4th missionary.
Well, on not so fun a note, Hermana Renteria got a chest virus, Hermana Erickson got a cough, and I got a sinus infection.  I know you are all probably laughing right now and saying that you expected it. I guess I did too, but it's still not fun.  Then again, it is another experience in being humble and teachable.  We have each been able to express our fears, concerns, and frustrations, which has led us to be a stronger companionship.
That reminds me, I am getting my shot today at 1:45 and it is $97. I want to use my debit card, so that it can be recorded.  The doctor wanted me to tell you that I talked to him about my back. It has been giving me nothing but problems since I got here. I promise I'm not being wimpy, I'm usually fine with my back, but it has been constantly seising up every other day.  I got some excersize routines and hopefully everything will go back to normal; or at least as normal as before.
The temple is beautiful here and I love going to the 7:20 am session. The workers are so kind.  Although, I'm still thinking about the live session in Manti.  Well, it's time to go. I will send the letter with the pictures so you can see how nice it's been.
I love you all very much. I would like to challenge you, Mom and Dad, to visit the temple together, just the two of you, in a sealing session or endowment session. You were so happy being the couple at the temple and I know that we have been promised strength as a couple if we attend the temple together.  All is well in Zion.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

First week !

Well, I have officially been here for a week and a day, and it has been an amazing experience.  My companion is Hermana Erickson, she is from Chicago Illinois, but was only there for a short while. The other Hermana companionship in our district was Hermana Gutierrez and Hermana Renteria. Hermana Gutierrez ended up going to the Intermediate class after the third day so we became a threesome. Hermana Renteria is a lot of fun and is from Ventura California.  For the life of me I can't remember the names of the other threesome in our dorm. Yes, as I said before, we have six in our dorm. There are nine people in our district and three of us are Hermanas. The other elders are Elder Wright and Elder Hemmert, Elder Simmons and Elder Errington (the district leader), and Elder Otterstein and Elder Sulliven. They are definitely a lot of fun and I would not trade them for any other elders.
The schedule is a little different each day, but we basically have breakfast, personal study, class, lunch, companion study, language study, teach our investigator, dinner then gym, then class again.  As, I said, it's a little different each time, but basically the same.  We did not name our district and I'm surprised the Elders haven't tried. We are District A Branch/zone 4. We have definitely had a culture shock with just the MTC. Everything is so different here, but absolutely amazing. We just got new missionaries yesterday, so we aren't the newest people anymore. The language is coming, but it is definitely taught differently then before. They changed the program about 8 years ago. Its kind of like when a baby is learning to talk. You can't really explain it to them; you show them pictures and say the name of the object so that the word is tied to the actual thing.
Well, I better get to the other emails. I love you.