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