Wednesday, October 29, 2008

She Survived 2nd Week in the MTC!

(copied and pasted by her mom... no, she's not breaking any rules...ha ha)


Welp, here I am nearing the end of my second week in the MTC... It feels like I've been here much longer than 2 weeks! I just wanted to say first of all, that this week has been SO MUCH BETTER! The first week at the MTC kind of kicked my butt. I was confused about what I was doing, who I am (because before, I thought I knew), It was painful, and things are still hard at times, of course. However, I don't know how to explain the change from then till now, but I'm much happier. I LOVE the spirit I've felt, and I know that I need to be here. For a while, I was thinking that maybe I didn't need to be here, and that it was just going to be a waste of time and money. But I DO need to be here! It wasn't my Heavenly Father who was making me feel like that. I have felt his love and comfort so much this week. He knew I needed it. If I can make a difference for even one person, it will be so worth it. It's worth it now. I love being here, and I hear it will only get better. One of the hardest parts for me is just trusting that the spirit will guide me. But as I've let myself go freely to the Lord (which I realize is super hard for me), I feel the spirit guiding me. I know everything will work out. Another thing that is hard is motivating myself. After about hour 8 in the classroom, it can get hard to keep going. I kind of wish I wasn't such a lazy bum before my coming, because I was pretty used to doing not much... I take it back, I had a good time doing nothing before. It was nice. But it feels good to be productive. And being diligent definitely pays off.

I didn't say much about the mechanics of my mission last email, so here are some details:

My district is pretty cool. Right now we have 5 sisters, and 5 elders. Most of us are going to Chile, and a few are going other places. We had an elder last week that had to go home and that was a very hard thing for everyone. There are a couple of elders in our district that are hilarious, but can be a bit distracting too...

I work out.

Yeah, you heard me. I do. In the gym on the 3rd floor there are some eliptical machines that I like to use and a couple of them face a floor to ceiling corner window. From that window I can see right down 9th east,where my old apartment used to be, and I can see clear to Spanish Fork. It's kind of weird being so close, and yet so far...My companion and I calculated that we climb about 20 flights (or floors) of stairs each day going to and from class, gym, or bedrooms. Of all those times climbing stairs, I've only fallen up them 2wice!

So, I know a little bit of spanish. Mostly just how to testify and pray. The hard thing is, our district and a handful of others are a part of what they call a "pilot group" or, "guinea pigs" when it comes to learning spanish. They are trying out a new method of teaching spanish where we don't learn ANY grammar AT ALL until the 4th week. It's hard, but they say from here on out, our spanish is going to take off flying... I really hope so, because right now I don't understand much. But they promise good results.I 'll hold them to that promise.

I get to be coordinating sister for our district. This calling basically reminds me of being in the compassionate service committee. It's great. And so my companion and I get to sit in on all the district and zone meetings...great...too... I love this gospel, and I love testifying about it to other people, it feels good.

I still see Nanette all over the place and it is super fun. I am waiting on some pictures to be developed that I'll send next week. I sent personal letters to the Fam, that should be coming soon. Just FYI.

Oh man, my times about up. I LOVE YOU SO Much, and Miss miss mis missssss you. But I'm not homesick, don't worry. I just miss you, that's all.

Okay, bye now.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MTC Address

MTC Mailbox # 252
CHI-RAN 1215
2005 N 900 E
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

Alison's estimated departure date for Chile will be December 15th.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Hermana Jones"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

okay, bye now

My lovely mother volunteered herself to update my blog while I'm gone. She will be copy and pasting my letters. THANKS MOM!!! Audios!

Monday, October 13, 2008

here's some incentive to write me

The day before the day before I leave on my mission has been filled with last minute shopping, friends, family, and PACKING. I've managed to fit way more stuff in two suitcases than I ever thought possible. Though I'm not so sure I'm meeting the weight limit... However, during my packing I realized I am going to want some kind of stationary, you know something to jazz up my letters a bit. As I rummaged through a drawer in the big kitchen cabinet thingy I fell across one of the most priceless items ever. My Lisa Frank sticker and stationary collection. Feelings of nostalgia welled up in my heart as I remembered my pre-teen years being somewhat infatuated with pen-pals and all the stationary that went with it. One of my most constant pen-pals would have to be my dear friend Kylee. No matter the stickers, glitter, or colored paper I sent her way, I always received something back that would amount be to greater than or equal to my letter's coolness. I think I can even remember receiving a letter on Trix the Rabbit stationary that had scratch and sniff fruit all over it. Conclusion: Scratch and sniff paper trumps all. This journey I am about to embark on, what is the mission, will most definitely not be without the Lisa Frank stationary and sticker collection. What would a letter be without dogs and giant strawberries, hugging penguins, and unicorns? No really, you tell me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Find Joy in The Journey

Okay, I've started this blog like 4 different times, and nothing I begin with is coming out how I want it. So, instead of some kind of introduction, I'm just going to jump right in to it.
I'm really going to miss working at The Journey. Alright, organizing papers and meticulously auditing files will not be longed for when I'm done (though my office buddies will be missed), but the part of my job where I get to work with the kids will definitely hold a tender spot in my heart. These guys are incredible and are doing something much more than learning how to live and maintain a sober life. They are turning their whole world around. For some, all that was known in their lives up until now was drugs, gangs, and sex. A happy life is something of a foreign state. Others grew up in a fairly secure home, but within a short time had nearly destroyed all trust from their loved ones. Though some kids make it obvious that they have no interest of sincerely changing, there are those who understand that they have potential to regain what they lost (love, trust, futures) if they work hard and make a change. I love the kids and I am so grateful that I was able to work just a little bit with them before I leave. I have learned a lot about myself by working here, and more than anything I've learned a lot from the kids.

It is fitting that in our office we have a sign hung up that says "Find Joy in the Journey," since, as mentioned above the company is called "They Journey." And what a beautiful reminder for us to trek forward with a positive perspective. It makes me think of a talk given at a fireside by Brad Wilcox a few years ago. He said "If you can laugh with it, you can live with it." Which reminds me (even though this isn't really relevant) that my family during dinner tonight started talking about one of our former pet birds. Little bird was a finch, who, through a slightly comical and a very unfortunate series of events, found death. As my dad was telling the story of what happened he started laughing, a lot. Soon my whole family (though Cali thought were all heartless), was nearly rolling in laughter. Okay, so maybe we are heartless, I guess you just had to be there... Anyway, back to what I was saying... President Monson's talk this October's session of Conference Finding Joy in the Journey was a bright message of hope and perspective. To live each day to it's fullest. He pleads with us to "not let the most important things in life pass you by...but to instead, find joy in the journey-now." Life is ever changing, and some change, like with the Journey kids is needed, and some is inevitable. Whatever change finds us in whichever state, let us try to find joy in it.

And when I left, a couple of the kids made me some bomb art work that I wanted to share with the world.

Check out this beautiful piece. Can you find the hidden word?? It took me a minute.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

one small step for women, one big step for me

After much deliberation and careful assessment, I have made the laborious decision that Mr. Blowdryer/Diffuser will not make the long anticipated trek to Chile with me... gasp!! No, no, I know what you're all thinking, I in fact do not intend on being nappy Sister Ugs throughout my mission. Instead I have found an alternative way of doing my hair. Blowdryer/diffuser are just much too bulky to make the cut.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Snots (the title was supposed to be "shots", but I liked the typo better)

I've had my call for over 3 months, and I put off getting my mission immunizations till now. 2 weeks before leaving. After paying 200 dollars at the health department to get shot up because they don't take our insurance, I was called into a lovely little torture chamber. What? No foldable bed with the noisy butcher paper to lay on? All there was for me to place my bottom on was a little black chair that had wheels on it. I could picture it now - the foretaste of my doom too much handle and I face plant on the floor. Or maybe ( if I have enough self control to not pass out), the nurse will lean in to poke my mushy skin...but can't find my flesh because I'd rolled away and out the door in my rolly chair...

Neither of these happened, instead as I sat there the nurse asked if I was okay, and commented on my skin color (no, she wasn't racist, I was just losing all color). My feeble response was "I just dislike shots." I wasn't surprised when my voice cracked from the strain of holding back what probably would have been a sob if my pride didn't get the better of me. The nurses reaction was simple. She stood up and grabbed a juice box from the fridge. She handed me the juice and a smile. Whether it was for comfort, or to better my chances of not passing out, I don't know. But I liked it. However, my comfort was shattered by three consecutive stabs to my arm. And heart. I felt betrayed, like a kid who is decoyed into doing something they didn't want to do. But what's done is done, and at least I wont get terribly ill while in a foreign country, right?