Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More than halfway!!

Krom Kruasaa,

So, as the subject says, I hit the halfway mark here on Saturday. I am more than halfway done at the MTC... what?!?! It has gone by so fast!! I swear I just got here last week. And yet, I don't even remember my life before the MTC... what did I do? I'll be honest! I don't want to leave! I want to go to Cambodia, but I LOVE it here! I LOVE my district (luckily, almost all of them are going to Cambodia too), and I love my teachers. I love the devotionals. I LOVE MY COMPANION. I had a realization this week that she won't be my companion forever. I about bawled. I seriously can't explain how much I love her. We are so different, and I really don't think we ever would have been friends, but I about pee my pants (skirt) every day because she makes me laugh so hard. This last week, Kitty Cat Jessa came to play. Okay, that sounded weird, haha! but you all know what i'm talking about. :) My companion LOVES LOVES her cat named Fizz. So one night I was particularly hyper, and I pretended to be a cat. She didn't know how to react. it was SO funny!!! And then just like 2 nights ago, literally the funniest thing happened. I laughed so hard I cried! I was just in our classroom with her and I realized I hadn't really heard about any of her best friends besides her kinda boyfriend. So I asked, "Sister, tell me about your best friends. Or do you only play with your cat?" Well, you see, our relationship involves a lot of joking/sarcasm (which we both love) and so she went along with it and acted like SO offended that I implied I didn't think she had any friends. She threw a "fit". It was SOOOOOO funny. Literally I was crying. K, that didn't sound very funny, but it was like the highlight of my week.

Me and two of the Thais
Sister Barrow and Sister ZigZag
There were a few other funny moments this week. The first, was kinda embarrassing and happened just after I emailed you last week. We were at lunch and my companion said something funny just after I had taken a drink of water. It took like a whole minute for me to register what she said, and at that time the water was still in my mouth. I intended to just like make a little laughing noise, but somehow, I really really apparently thought it was funny because I laughed so hard that ALL the water sprayed out of my mouth, across the table, onto sister Horton and McGonagall. It literally was like what you see in a movie. It was HILARIOUS. And I was so embarrassed. Fortunately, everything thought it was just the FUNNIEST thing ever, so they weren't upset. I can't even explain how like the movies it was. It was so funny. Something else embarrassing: I was in class, and my teacher mentioned that he didn't think studying Jesus the Christ for all our study time was an effective use of our time. (Like, it's really awesome to read, but not for all our study time.) Well I've been studying it just on sundays, but the elder sitting next to me turns and looks at me when my teacher said that and gave me this look like, "you fool." It's the look he gives me 20 times a day, so i'm used to it - it's basically what our relationship consists of. BUT my teacher saw him give me that look, and all the sudden he thought that maybe like I would feel bad that I read it and that like he needed to clarify that it was okay to read it... blah blah blah. And I don't know what happened but I started turning SO red. I think I was embarrassed that my teacher thought I was embarrassed. Also that it was like taking time out of class. So then another elder was like "she's so red!" and of course, when they say that, you get even more red. And then a sister was like "her neck is even red!!" So yeah... I was like a garden tomato. I was just embarrassed that like my teacher thought I was embarrassed and that all the focus was on me!! It was SO funny and obviously embarrassing...

So besides all the fun things that I tell you about, I actually am serious here and I learn about the gospel and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. Guess who came to our devotional on Tuesday night. ELDER SCOTT. Stop it. It was incredible!! It was so powerful. He talked about prayer and how much Heavenly Father loves us and wants to hear from us. It was so incredible. Also, he left with an apostolic blessing for all of us. It was so neat. And the neatest thing was this. He closed his talk, sat down, we sang the closing hymn, and then he RAN up to the pulpit again ahead of the sister giving the closing prayer, and said he felt like he needed to say a few more things. Okay, for Him to like get up again and add more to his talk, you KNOW the Lord was really prompting Him to get up. I thought it was so neat! I also saw Jim and Maxine Madsen at that devotional!! I didn't get a chance to say hi, but I saw them! That was fun!

The devotional on Sunday was also so incredible! The BYU Men's Chorus came and sang for us! They are incredible! And my teacher Lookruu MickeyMouse was in it!!! It was so perfect because my district was chosen to be ushers for that devotional, so we got to have good seats. I got to sit on the 2nd row!! And we got to make our teacher proud! (actually I don't know, but we thought we made him proud.) And he made us so proud! It's so funny because we all think of him as like our dad. He is such an INCREDIBLE teacher and we all want to make him so proud. It's really neat.

On Wednesday I was a Host Sister! That means I helped sisters as they arrived to the MTC find their room and their classroom, and helped them get all settled. It was so fun! I helped three sisters! They were so sweet! It reminded me of my first day. Oh good times! It's so weird that I have been here for 5 weeks! I've been here longer than like most of the people here... how is that possible?!

Sister Barrow and I matching
(with Elder Anton photo-bombing.)
I don't think I've mentioned the Thai sisters before. Basically there are three sisters learning thai right now, they are going to thailand, and they are our good friends! We eat and play in gym with them a lot. And they are so fun. AND one day, I walked into the cafeteria for breakfast and Sister Barrow (one of the thais) and I were wearing like the exact same outfit. I'll send you a pic.

Also, i'm joining a foursquare league when I get back.

This week I memorized the first vision in Khmae!!!! Wow! It is so cool! I really love love this language! I'm starting to be able to read verses in the scripture in under 15 minutes! The 1st vision is the only scripture I have memorized right now. KHMAE IS SO FUN!! But guess what... i'm forgetting spanish. :( I sat awake in bed the other night trying to remember the spanish word for "to forget". Ironic. I finally got it and so I could finally fall asleep. And then last night it happened again with the word "to learn." Luckily i found a spanish-english dictionary in a free bin, and i'm keeping it.

Mom, you asked what TRC stands for. It is Training Resource Center... I think... We went again on Saturday, and it went really well! It went a lot better than the first time. My companion felt so much more confident, which made all the difference. And the two RM's we taught were complimentary, so that was nice!

Mom, the food here is good... It tastes good at least. Though it really isn't that healthy. But I try hard to be healthy. I eat cereal for breakfast, a salad wrap for lunch, and then whatever for dinner. I would say I enjoy it, but health was I just tolerate it. At least I'm not picky!

Okay I love you all! I also love the gospel! I LOVE Heavenly Father and the atonement. I love how much I am learning and growing, and how much I love the scriptures! I could just eat them I love them so much! (am I allowed to say that...?) Talk to you next week!


Sister Homer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hi Family!!!!

Dear Family,

THE MTC IS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD!!!!! I swear, I am never coming back. You can send me my belongings. :) I am going to be a missionary forever!!

This week was such a good week! We had some incredible speakers! The first was Gerald Lund. He came on Tuesday night and gave a devotional about recognizing the spirit. This is something I have been praying and studying so so so much since I got here. So it was like a talk directly to me! Wow! So cool! He had some really neat stories to share. Another speaker we had for Relief Society on Sunday was Sister Mary Edmunds, and OH MY GOSH. She was the best thing since fruit snacks!!!! I'm not kidding. I laughed SO hard and cried multiple times in that meeting. Basically she is the coolest lady ever. She has served like 4 missions. I don't think she has every married. Mom, you need to have her come speak to the stake for a relief society night. She was incredible!! Basically it was just a peptalk for our missions. It was so perfect.

My district
Mom, you asked about sundays. They are the best day ever! They are really chill, and we have a lot of extra study time, which is so nice! My district made a goal to not study the language on Sundays so we just study the gospel the whole day! The sisters in the whole MTC go to music and the spoken word together, and then we all have sacrament meeting together. They basically just bring in a special guest every time. It is always fantastic! And then we do sacrament meetings as a zone. I am in the southeast asia zone. Then sunday nights we have a devotional with a cool guest speaker. And then after that we get to watch a church movie or a talk! I have watched legacy since being here, and the testaments, and the joseph smith movie. All fantastic! We also get to take a walk to the temple for an hour on Sundays. It is basically the best day ever. This past sunday I also got to play the piano in sacrament! That was fun! When I got here there were probably like 50 people in our zone, so I didn't play. Now there are like 27, ish. And I think I honestly am the only one who plays. So I am so lucky and I think i'll get to play the piano regularly! What a blessing!

All the Cambodians
So I forgot to tell you this ever, my bad. There is another district of cambodians here right now. They actually leave today. For the first time ever two districts overlapped! They came in January, and they have been here for 12 weeks. So we got here and overlapped, and they are just leaving. And so we are the first ones to do Khmae as a 9 week language. So we love them all and we will miss them so much. Fortunately we will see them all in cambodia in a MONTH!!! That is so soon!!! They are basically awesome! I will send a picture with all of us.

On my p-day last week I went with my companion and found an empty room and just played a bunch of hymn arrangements! It was so nice and relaxing! (I hope you knew I took our books of hymn arrangements...I figure i'm the only one who plays them anyway.) so yeah, that was so nice! I will send those back before I head out. Also I'm excited to audition for a musical number with my flute! They have a music library here, so I think I am going to audition with Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief. I found a random girl to accompany me, so hopefully it works out! I'll let you know. they have musical numbers in the devotionals and relief society and for the new missionaries. I thought it would just be fun.

It is so cool to hear about Nick's flyboard!! I don't think I can watch videos, but if there are pictures I want to see them!!! Nick, you are going to be a millionaire by the time I get back! That means you and I can travel the world together! You can pay... :)

My companion and I had our first TRC experience! IT WAS AWESOME! and scary. but great! That is when people who speak khmae come in from off the streets and we practice teaching them. So people other than our teachers! Okay, I just made them sound homeless, they aren't literally from off the streets... you get the picture. ANYWAY. We taught two people and I think it went really well! It is just so fun to practice what we are learning every day, and to make mistakes! Mistakes are the best and hilarious and I love them!!!! We planned to teach about how heavenly father loves us, but then one guy asked to learn about the plan of salvations... Yes! It was so great! We probably looked like dear in headlights. So awesome.

My companion and I
Okay, I'm sure there is so much more I could tell you about, but I can't think of it right now! Ask me questions, that will help.

I LOVE my companion. She is the coolest ever. While we walk around she just starts singing like really intense theme music/soundtrack type stuff. It is the best thing in the world. So I join in and it's too much fun. Also sometimes we just sing our words to eachother when we are planning and stuff. Essentially we are so funny. Mostly she is just funny. I LOVE HER GUTS!

I love you all!

Sister Homer

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

This week from the MTC

Cumriabsua Krom Kruasaa!!

This week has been FABULOUS as usual!! The most exciting thing happened this week. I read my first verse in script out of the Book of Mormon!! The whole thing! In script!! I read 1 Nephi 3:7, and I understood most of it. It only took my like...45 minutes! Haha. And then I read ANOTHER verse!! I think it was Alma 32:12. It is so much fun to read script! It's super hard! And as it turns out, all the letters aren't the exact same, despite how it looks! But seriously, it is so much fun! And I still feel pretty good about the language. I feel like I remember a lot of words really well and in our lessons I can communicate a general idea. I probably sound like a 3 year old, but hey it's working.

My investigator is getting baptized!!!!!! On April 25th! His name is Lookpuu Thuu (Lookpuu means like, older uncle... I think). They address everyone in familial terms, and so a name like that always goes before their real name. I think... Haha. But yeah, it was really neat. My companion and I were teaching/playing charades, and we had decided not to ask him to be baptized. But during the lesson I just had this strong feeling that we should and so we kinda called a quick audible, and the rest is history!!!

My companion and Sister McGonagall
- matchy matchy
So, my companion LOVES pokemon. I hear the pokemon theme song a lot. It's HILARIOUS! Remember how Shawn and I used to be obsessed with Pokemon?? Yeah. My companion is seriously the best!! We have a quote book in which we fill it with quotes just from her - Words of Wisdom from Sister Hearts. She seriously is so funny and so chill. We get along great!

So a new nickname has surfaced this week... Crazy Homer... shoot. There was a day this past week when I was just a bit hyper and so I was just kinda being my crazy little self. I don't think my district was prepared for it. Remember the "tantrum" I threw over Christmas that was like half a real tantrum, half me thinking it was funny to throw a tantrum? Well it was kinda a situation like that. I wasn't really frustrated or upset or anything, but I was tired and like mental overloaded, and hyper, and so I guess I got a little sassy. I may or may not have started to act like the district dictator. I thought it was hilarious. But yeah... people are confused by me now, haha! and they keep telling me they want Crazy Homer to come back because she's entertaining... It's funny because they all think I'm like the sweetest thing in the world, little do they know the truth.

On Friday night one of the elders in my district was singing a hymn, so I just started singing with him. And then a few of the other sisters joined in, and then a few elders. And so for the next 30 minutes we all just flipped through the hymnbook and sang hymns together! It was the best!!!! The spirit was so sweet and the music just cleansed our souls!

My district!!
So, there is this thing called "narnia holes" here in the mtc. Basically missionaries hide things in the vents for the next missionaries to find. We found our narnia hole. It was SO lame!! Basically it was a cup of dirt with some used glowsticks and 4 pennies, and a nasty andes mint. Thanks for that. We are going to leave awesome things in our narnia hole! I'll keep you updated.

Okay, let's talk about what's really important. Was General Conference amazing or what?!?!?!!??!?!?!!!! I loved it! We watched it all in the big auditorium/overflow rooms. I was actually in the overflow the whole time, which I preferred. My favorite talks were, like all of them, but I loved Elder Cardon and all he said about the Atonement and Christ willing to forgive us. I'm glad that he emphasized Improvement over time and not needing immediate perfection. I think that is something I struggle with. I feel like I need to be the perfect missionary that Heavenly Father wants me to be NOW, and that kinda is overwhelming. So it was good to hear his talk. I also really loved something Elder Ellis said. He talked about how a lot of families would call and ask which ward was the best ward in the stake. And then once he had a family call and ask which ward needs a good family. I don't know what, but that just really impressed me so much! I also LOVED president Uchtdorf's talk. He is just so good!! And of course Elder Holland's talk. During the priesthood session all the sisters got together and watched the YW broadcast. I thought that was so good as well! Sister Dalton was released??? :( Also, can I just mention the opening prayer of the YW broadcast?! Adorable. President Uchtdorf's talk in the YW broadcast was so good as well! Ugh, i'm so uplifted!!!

The people I stare at everyday.
(Elder Johnson, Sister Hartley, Elder Clawson)
Also, my teacher Lookruu MickeyMouse was in the choir that sang in the Saturday Afternoon session! He got some screen time! We all freaked out when he came on the screen, it was pretty funny! If you are really bored and interested in what he looks like, he was wearing an orange tie and I think kinda like a brown-ish suit? And he is a really happy looking guy! Haha, that's helpful... Anyway, so yeah, that was fun to see him.

On Sunday night, Vocal Point came and did a devotional for the MTC!! They sang and gave spiritual thoughts! It was so good!!!!!!

Okay, I think that's all. I love you all! I love the MTC! I seriously would stay forever. Well maybe. But it is such a wonderful place! The spirit it always so strong and I love how much I learn. I still LOVE LOVE my district and the sisters I live with. I probably love them too much. We all could talk all the time and never get bored!

I love you I love you I love you!!

Sister Homer

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hello from the MTC

Cumriapsua Krom Kruasaa!

That means Hello Family! (As far as I know, anyway). Okay the MTC is the BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD! I seriously am never leaving. Except for when I go to Cambodia. But then I'm coming back here and staying forever. It also feels like a different planet... Time here is so bizarre. Everyone says that, and now I understand. Every day goes by so fast, and yet it seems like years between morning and night. I can't explain it. But I love it!

I made a list throughout the week of things I wanted to tell you, so hopefully that makes for a more interesting email!

Okay first things first. The COOLEST word in Khmae is the word for missionary. Are you ready? This is in the romanized again: neakphsoppsaaysaasnaa. That word means missionary. That one word. Let me try to tell you how to say it. Knee-yeah-p-sop-sigh-sass(really nasally)-naa(also really nasally). So the phrase I am a missionary from Heavenly Father is: Khnom kuu cia neakphsoppsaaysaasnaa nei preah voobeidaa. More or less. The romanized isn't actually like a real language. It is just the worlds attempt to make Cambodian easier to learn. So there is no real agreement on how things are spelled. It makes learning it somewhat interesting, but it's fun. Soon though, that won't even be an issue because I've started reading script!!! WOO HOO!! I memorized the consonants this past week and last night I started reading the verse 1 Nephi 3:7 in Khmae. It is crazy! And so much fun! It truly is the longest phoenetic (spelling?) alphabet in the world. There are 33 consonants. 33 subconsonants. and like... a lot of vowels. I think there end up being 102 or something "letters" overall. IT IS SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!! Also they roll their R's and they use the spanish n-yay. (I don't have it on this computer). But it's like spanish! Except for not at all... :) Also, there really aren't spaces in Khmae!! Hahaha! So yeah, all those long words in the Book of Mormon we have are just a bunch of words squished together. But, the spaces that are there are like... commas I think? I'll have to clear that up.

So I still LOVE all the sisters and all the people in my district. Seriously, I love them all! I spend like 12 hours at least every day with them and I LOVE THEM! Wow, what a blessing! I didn't tell you this last time, but I am the only 21 year old sister, which makes me the only 21 year old, of course. :) All the elders and 18, except the one 19 year old. There are two 19 year old sisters, and two 20 year old sisters. I have been given the nickname "Sister Grandma." I think it's a term of endearment. :)

I love gym time! We have 50 minutes at gym everyday and then like 30-40 minutes to get ready. It is so nice! At gym I occasionally ride the bike or elliptical. But mostly I play 4-square and basketball! Haha four-square is the best. But I actually mostly play basketball all the time! And I have somehow managed to convince people that I am good at Basketball! Haha, fooled them! But seriously, basketball is awesome, and I love it, and it's so refreshing! I am going to be really good by the time I leave! The only unfortunate thing is that I have to have another sister play if I want to play a real game, because I can only guard sisters. So I play real games maybe like once a day, otherwise I play a lot of lightening (or speed, or thunder.) Everyone calls it something different.

Guess what. My companion and I LEFT the MTC the other day. She has had this rotten cough, and so we got a prescription, LEFT THE MTC, and walked our little missionary selves over to the BYU student health center. It was weird being outside of our little planet. And nobody even asked a single question! We just walked right out... It was quite the adventure! I'm glad to be back. It was weird being to close to BYU Campus.

So, you know how I told you I had been teaching an investigator in Khmae? Well, we taught him a few more lessons, and now it turns out he is our teacher! He was our teacher the whole time, but we just didn't know it! So now we have two teachers a day, for 3 hours each. IT IS MY FAVORITE THING!! I learn so much from them! They are both so awesome!

Easter Sunday was so incredible here! Bishop Causse from the presiding Bishopric came and spoke in the morning. It was so incredible! And then at night Sister Sheri Dew came and spoke to us as well! Then at night I watched a devotional Elder Bednar gave here a while ago, and it was INCREDIBLE!! It is called the Character of Christ. I don't know if you can access MTC devotional talks, but if you can, you all should definitely watch this one. It is so awesome! The day was just so wonderful because it was all focused on the atonement, which is my favorite thing! A really neat thing also happened on Sunday. For the first time ever, the sacrament was served to approximately 3,000 missionaries here at the MTC in one meeting! That is history-making material!!

I cannot WAIT for General Conference this weekend!! WOOHOO!!!!!

On Saturday I had the best personal study. We are given an hour each day for personal study in which we can study the scriptures, preach my gospel, etc. I basically just decided to have a conversation with Heavenly Father about who I want to be and who he wants me to be as a missionary. I asked him to guide me to ask him the right questions so I could become who he would have me be. I then proceeded to really study my patriarchal blessing. This was the most incredible thing ever! I came away with like 10 questions that I will ponder and study and find answers to, that I think will really help me become who the Lord would have me be, especially as I apply them in my life. I learned so much and I'm so grateful for the direction I could really feel the Lord offering me in the questions I came away with. I just want so badly to be the missionary He wants me to be. I want to be an instrument in His hands. I am going to do all I can to become that.

I heard something neat the other day. The MTC obviously stands for Missionary Training Center. But MTC could also stand for Make The Change. I really liked that when I heard it.

Thank you for the easter treats! I have so much candy!!!!! If I don't get fat from the MTC food, I will from all the junk I have received. But please, keep it coming. :) The package Stockton sent me was full of cinnamon rolls, and I received a big package from Sheila my old roommate that had lots of candy!!! MMMM!! Yummy!

I love you all! I miss you, but I love it here! I love the gospel and I love how much I learn! I love Heavenly Father SO MUCH!!!


Sister Homer