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 niƱo." 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 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.