October 22, 2013

Hey family!

Sounds like you had a great week! Thanks for sending me some of the pictures from your phone Dad! Its fun to look back on stuff, and that was a pick me up that I needed! Mom! Way to go! If Sister Janney is asking you for shooting tips then that Vegas trip must have really paid off haha. I love it! Glad you had tons of fun with her and Sister Davis! Tell them both hi for me! 
Sounds like the ward harvest party was a ton of fun, and that your talk went well! Dad's right, he definitely got a keeper! Thank you for your prayers, I feel them and they're helping me so much, the language is COMING...today at the distribution center the lady that rung me up asked me how long I had been learning, and she thought that I had been learning for a few years on top of the CCM, so that was a great confidence boost!

I love you all and I am SO excited to tell you all about my week. This has definitely been the most eventful week since I've been at the CCM.

Okay, starting with an embarrasing story from last p-day. We were on the bus, the packed full body-to-body style bus.... and the moneychanger wanted all of our pay before we got off...this bus driver was terrible, starting and stopping in a way that practically bull-dozed everyone over in an instant. Anyway, so I was helping someone pass up their money when this driver just takes off without warning again, in an effort to catch my balance I had two options- steady myself on the wall of the bus, or ram into one of the elders in my district---so duh I'm going to try to steady myself. Well I forgot that I had a grocery bag in my hand, and when I flew to the side of the bus....the bag smacked some lady in the head. It was terrible. And all I could think to say in Spanish was "lo siento, lo siento" over and over again. Struggle bus. I got off and my whole district was laughing, yup they still haven't let that one go. Oh and I've been dubbed District Mom. How do I ALWAYS get the mom title?! haha 
So, I'm not going to lie to you, last week was tough for me. I wasn't really homesick, I wasn't really struggling with anything...just a little off, struggling to feel the Spirit. But thank goodness for Hermano Lazo. I don't know if I said it already, but if I did...I'll say it again.... HERMANO LAZO IS THE BEST TEACHER I HAVE EVER HAD. EVER. We were supposed to have a language lesson earlier this week, but he said that he felt prompted to share some experiences with us about other missionaries in our circumstances, very recent and very spiritual stories. I feel like they're the types of stories that I shouldn't share over email- but I just want to tell you that they brought me back. Zoned in, ready to go. I was bawling like a baby, it was embarrassing, but the Spirit was so strong, and I knew the ending of the stories before they were told. It was a really great experience for me and it reminded me that the Lord knows each of His children and that we need to trust in His timing.

A few nights later...I was having one of those really boring, typical dreams all about my "exciting" life in the CCM haha. I was just dreaming about my district eating lunch in the cafeteria when suddenly an earthquake hit in my dream. I was so scared that I woke up super fast...but everything was still shaking. I thought I was just groggy and still trying to wake up but then one of my Latina roommates flew up and yelled "HERMANAS!" Yep. I survived my first Peruvian earthquake, and it was awesome haha. Apparently there were three tremors in the night, I only felt the one, and a lot of people slept right through it. CRAZY. I guess that little tremors like that happen a lot around here.

Now, I'm super excited to tell you about the end of this week. The CCM is so cool. The Provo MTC is pretty isolated, but here we are able to go out every P-day and the church organizes REAL proselytizing activities for us. So on Saturday, I was able to go to the Lima Norte mission and teach less active members, and one investigator about the church. I was paired with a Latina companion named H. Aceituno. Dad, you know how we both have that thing where people tell us everything going on in her life? She told me everything. She has a pretty rough story...and she told me a lot of it on the bus ride there...but I think her telling me brought us a lot closer and helped us to be unified during teaching. As we rode the bus further away from La Molina, I realized why everyone looks at us in awe when we tell them that La Molina is where the CCM is. We live in the ritzy part of Peru. I can't even describe how humbled I was as we headed towards the outskirts of town. Nothing on the internet, no story I've been told could prepare me for what was laid out before me. A lot of my district taught closer in the city- but I was assigned to a branch in very humble circumstances. You know how we talked about the higher up the hill, the poorer people are around here? Yeah...I went to the top of that hill. Me, my companion, and a really nice- but hard to understand Sister from the branch began to make our rounds. I was so nervous. We knocked on the first door and the woman we talked to was really nice, but I didn't understand anything that was going on. They were talking SO FAST. I couldn't keep up and when my companion would look at me to have me say something, I didn't really know what to say, or what they were talking about. I just kind of bore my testimony and hoped for the best. The next house we went up and it was a woman and her baby. We were teaching a good lesson and I was starting to understand more and was able to contribute. Then three of her little boys came home from school. It was my opportunity to bear testimony about going to church and I felt like I needed to make some promises to this family....as I talked- all these little boys were staring at me, this little gringa in their apartment... I just felt like everything I was saying was a jumbled mess...it sounded slow and awkward. After we finished our lesson though, Hermana A. and the other lady both turned around and told me that my Spanish had been absolutely perfect in that moment. I couldn't believe it. The gift of tongues is an amazing thing. Another cool story, we went to talk to a store keeper that hasn't been to church in a few years. She was really hesitant to talk to us, but we convinced her to let us teach. I was able to offer the opening prayer and I just felt overwhelmed by the Spirit in that moment. It was AWESOME! I understood every word, and every concern she had. I was able to bear testimony and share an experience with her. By the end of the lesson she was amiable and open, and she even gave us all some inca cola as a thank you! It was humbling and amazing.

What a cool experience. Really, it was a genuine taste of what my mission will be like. It made me realize how much I need to learn, and it humbled me more than I have ever been humbled in my life. Think about everything our family has. Thank God for what He has given us. Hermana Aceituno asked me if we had areas like what I saw on Saturday in the United States. H. Stirling's companion asked her what her house was like. We would be some of the wealthiest people in the country by the standards here. I didn't even know hwo to respond to H. Aceituno's question. We have been so blessed, and so sheltered from the struggles of the world.

This work is real. God's work and glory IS to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. I believe that. I believe that His children are the most important work he has. That's why I need to take my calling so seriously. I goof off so much with my District, but I LOVE when we all talk about our purpose, when I get to see the spiritual side of these young men. A lot of them remind me of Brett- super hilarious, obviously popular back home, but people with CONVICTION. You can tell who is here because they have a testimony. It's really amazing.

I love you tons. I hope that things are going well. I miss you but this is EXACTLY where the Lord needs me! 
OH YEAH! I got called as the CCM Music Director. Cool! There are only 3 leadership positions for Sisters, and I was really worried that my comp and I were going to be called as the Sister Trainers, just because of the girl drama that has happened around here. But nope, I get to do music instead! I am SO excited, I can't even tell you! I've become a lot more confident in my singing and in piano here, I love it.


Hermana Carr

October 15, 2013

Oct. 14, 2013

Hola familia:

Mom- sounds like you had a fantastic time in Las Vegas! I am so glad you got to go shooting and spend some time with your brothers and your cousin. Glad you're more confident in your shooting skills and that you had a blast! The thai food sounds like it was quite an adventure, I'm glad you both survived haha. How was NYNY? Despite all the nasty-ness of the strip, it sounds like you had a ton of fun. That was kind of how NYC was, just a lot of filth in the middle of the cool stuff.
Yep! That picture is one of my favorite. My companion is adorable and my district is amazing. I think it's funny, because the other districts in our group have 4 and 6 sisters...so I don't really know how we ended up only having two sisters in our group---let me just say I AM SO GLAD. No drama, and Elders that include us in everything equals MUCHO FUN. I am working hard and it is a blast. I can't believe I'm already half way through the CCM! It kind of makes me sad, though I'm TOTALLY stoked for Lima Oeste---apparently it is BEAUTIFUL and most of it is mountainous.... but I am kind of freaking out about the amount of Spanish I know, and super sad that I won't be seeing the Elders in my district again- they're all going to Trujillo which is the mission just north of us. Mom, Good luck on your talk. Dad says that you are inviting a ton of people. Keep working hard and pray/fast for the Spirit. It makes a world of difference. I don't really have anything off the top of my head about teaching in the home, but it sounds to me like that is a topic that would answer the questions all of your friends have.
You have a great week too! Don't miss me, just focus on what you're doing at home. I'm doing great :)

So it's only been five days and I don't have too much to tell you. Things at the CCM are pretty routine. My companion and I have been a little frustrated with one of our "investigators"' lately, but we had a really good talk by Elder Bednar about the importance of turning outward and not focusing on ourselves. I realized my attitude here has kind of been about ME learning Spanish for ME and ME being here for MY progression and MY experience. Really though...this isn't about me at all. I am learning Spanish to speak to people in THEIR language, so that the Lord can teach them the gospel in their own tongue. I'm here to prepare to preach the Gospel to people that need it. That really shook me up.

Another cool thing. I went to the temple today and I finally felt confidant enough to chat with a few of the ladies quietly. There was a woman standing behind me in line for dresses and I think it was her first time going through...she had come all the way from Arequipa. She was super sweet. And then there is this cute TINY peruvian lady that comes to the same session I do every week, she finally struck up a conversation with me and told me she was from Trujillo...the northernmost part of this country, and she comes EVERY TUESDAY to the temple! I was amazed by that. These people are SO faithful. They come from all over Peru because THIS is where the temple is. They sacrifice so much time and effort to come to a place that I take such advantage of... I mean really, I have been to the temple twice in five days. It was just eye opening to me, and reminded me that the people of South America really have been given the gift of believing blood. These people are SO faithful and such examples to me of what I SHOULD be, especially as a missionary.

Okay- not right away, obviously because I'm still at the CCM, but could you send me some printed photos of our family, and me and some of my friends or something? I realized that I didn't bring any... I just have what is on my camera and I would love some tangible photos. ALSO, just an FYI it IS okay for you to send me pictures of what you are doing :) So send me some football, basketball, dance, goofy pictures every once in a while. Mom use your gmail-photo skills, I KNOW you can remember haha. I just would love to see pictures too.

Fun fact: Peru has legit butcher shops in the middle of the calle. Like right next to the shoe shop there's just a bunch of meat hanging there...sick.

I love you all. Thank you for your continued support while I'm here. I couldn't imagine what it's like to be on a mission without family support back home.

This church is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ IS on the earth again. Jose Smith fue un profeta de Dios. Yo se que nosotros somos Sus hijos. Dios ama nosotros MUCHO!

Love you tons <3

Stevie....Hermana Carr
Oct. 2, 2013

Hola Familia!

Conference was abosolutely amazing. We were able to watch the sessions in English, so I watched the Four General Sessions and the RS Broadcast. It was so nice to shake things up at the CCM and we joked that it was like Christmas for Missionaries. Elder Holland gave such a PERFECT talk, he is always spot on. I really loved what he said. I also particularly loved President Monsons talk. Shall I falter or Shall I finish? When the going gets tough, we need to CLING to the Gospel and to the Atonement. This Gospel is what will pull us through, to meet struggles head on and be victorious. I think that is one of the most important messages that I can bring to people. With Christ, we can weather the storms of life and LEARN from them. Also, while we are talking about it, I wanted to challenge EACH OF YOU to follow the invitation Elder Ballard gave. It was amazing to think that if every member shared the Gospel by Christmas, MILLIONS would know more about the church. So EACH OF YOU share the message of the Atonement. I´m serious. It doesn´t have to be a huge conversation or anything, but just don´t give up on the chance to share what you believe. Brett, especially you. You have such a huge impact on so many people at your school, and you are preparing for a mission. The more you share the easier it gets, and if you care about the people you spend time with every day, you will lead them by example, and if they ask, you will tell them why you are the way you are.

Congrats to Jake on his Tenderfoot, and to Brett on his Court of Honor! I´m excited for both of you, and Brett I'm glad you finally get to have it!

Mom have fun at frontsight and be safe. you will have so much fun!

The Spanish is coming slowly but surely. There are days where I remember everything I need to say and then there are days where I just completely draw a blank and dont even know how to ask someone's name. But I'm working on it and I know it will come along. The temple is in Spanish but they have translation boxes and things for us to read so we know what is going on! I have taken some pictures and I am going to try to send them to you. I tried last week and they wouldnt load but i am on a different computer and will try again.

Thanks for sending everything on one email, the internet is a little slow sometimes so it is so much faster for me to read when you send everything together! I I think the sister that left just realized that she wasn´t up for this. this isnt something you just come and do for the fun of it, that's for sure! My district is absolutely fantastic though. Seriously I can't even tell you how blessed I've been with both my district and my companion. The other groups of people that flew in with me have been having a lot of different struggles, and just havent gotten along at all. The hermanas have had a lot of drama but somehow the two of us have escaped all of it. Needless to say, I'm glad that we are the only girls in our group and that the Elders are so much fun. They are hard workers and also know how to make things fun and hilarious all the time. I love it. Hermana Stirling has been perfect for me too. She and I are both the oldest in our families. We both kind of just go with the flow and everything is going well. We are finally learning how to teach TOGETHER and are on the same page, being with someone 24/7 is definitely an adjustment, but I was lucky enough to get the best hermana around!

Way to go Lani! I can't believe she is training already, that would scare me TO DEATH to train that quickly, especially since my Spanish is so bad haha.

This week finally felt like I was in a routine. My teacher Hermano Lazo is AMAZING, he is probably the best teacher I have ever had in my life. But can you please keep him in your prayers? He's struggling with some health issues and he needs our prayers for sure. Also Hermana Lopez left this week for her mission in Bolivia. I am SO sad she is gone. She is one of those people that I connected with so quickly, and even though we had a language barrier I understand the power of the gift of tongues. We had a conversation about how we were able to talk so well with each other because of it. I realized that this gift is given with love and must be used with love. When I really have a desire to get to know somebody and talk to them about important things, I am able to talk to them in Spanish. That is how this gift works. I LOVE Hermana Lopez, and so she and I grew close and became fast friends despite our barriers. She wrote me the sweetest letter and woke me to say goodbye. I have learned so much from her and truly hope that I can see her again! I love her!

Today was fantastic in the temple, I love it there so much. My testimony of it has grown a ton being in Peru. Also being able to travel on the streets and the bus is an adventure I wouldnt trade for anything. I have so much fun exploring the stores and goofing off with my companion and the elders. They are so much fun.

This work is true. The Lord is in this and there are important things I have learned to help my testimony, my Spanish, and the friendships I am making here. I love you all so much and I hope you know that I miss you but that this is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be.

Have a great week and know that you are in my Prayers.

Hey family! I got your first email! It's fantastic and I was in tears laughing at all the nicknames....I guess the delirious missionary phase has commenced :P

October 5, 2013

Wow! Family email overload haha. Thanks for all the emails. Im sorry for all of the mistakes in this, the keyboard is really different even though we use the same letters and its going to take some getting used to haha

So this place is beautiful. We are seriously so lucky to be at the CCM! It’s not at all like the Provo MTC. There are probably just a little over 100 people here at a time. Ive had dinner with the president and his wife twice already, they are so involved with the missionaries and its just fantastic. The Latinos are here for two weeks and the gringos are here for six. I have three latina roommates and they are muy hermosa. i love them so much. Hermana Choque, Morales y Lopez. Hermana Lopez is from Peru and we have become fast friends. she speaks a little bit of English and between our languages we have been able to communicate really well, and we were both able to share testimony on Sunday in relief society. I had a translator so that was super cool. I have to tell you, the gift of tongues is real. It isnt always what you think it is going to be, but it is definitely there. I am so grateful for it! I’m sorry this email is so scattered, there is just so much I want to tell you and don’t feel like I have time to say it ha ha. So the first few days were really crazy and Saturday was a little frustrating. Everything is in Spanish. My morning teacher, Hermano Lazo speaks perfect English and that is so helpful. Seriously.  He’s hilarious and he is the perfect teacher. I have learned so much from him. In the evenings I have Hermano Flores, who is a Chinese Peruvian.  He speaks Chinese and Spanish, but maybe ten words of English.  Hermano Aguila is from Lima and knows a bit of English because he’s worked here for a while but the evenings are definitely full immersion, Im surprised by how much I’ve learned already.
after that frustrating day on Saturday of headaches and no understanding, Sunday happened. Sunday was perfect. I think it’s going to be my favorite day. It’s a day that is all focused on the gospel and it’s just perfect. it was fast Sunday, and yes here at the CCM it is a 24hr fast. My roommates were complaining about how hungry they were but i felt totally fine and energized. i had important things to fast for and it was nice to have such focus, i was definitely blessed in that regard. We had a great testimony meeting in our branch and then we had relief society with the Latina sisters. That was so cool. Like I mentioned before...Hermana Lopez got up to bear testimony. I. UNDERSTOOD. EVERY. WORD. Todos. Everything. I couldn’t believe it. I think i know the reason too....God gives the gift of tongues particularly when we LOVE the person that is speaking. I LOVE Hermana Lopez. Just like I told you, the feelings I felt for JiWon or for Rosie...that instant pure just need to be friends with them and want to help them know the truth....that’s what I felt the minute i met her. I was bawling by the time she finished her testimony and i felt strongly that i needed to go up too. it was just perfect. And, last night she and I had a conversation for probably half an hour and she told me that she’s been struggling with some things but that I make her happy and bring her confidence. I didn’t know the reason for coming here exactly this week, but now I do. That is definitely one of them. I have learned so much in just a few days.

So I’ll give you some info on Lima, at least my observations. This is the coolest place ever. I know in the Provo MTC you don’t really get to leave but every P-day we get to go outside of the CCM limits! So freaking cool! We rode a "bus" to the Lima temple today. “bus” is an overstatement. It’s like a tiny little van that packs people like sardines from place to place, and the drivers are crazy ha ha. but it was such a fun experience. Central Lima is pretty dirty and there are a ton of people, but you get to the temple and everything is white and beautiful. There are all sorts of weird, Dr. Suess trees here just like Hawaii. There are stray dogs everywhere on the streets and tons of the homes are painted in different colors. There are a lot of traditional, not...so...first world country type places and then you turn around and there’s a 5 star style Mcdonalds  haha. It’s so crazy! The temple is tiny, but it’s beautiful. The experience there was the best I’ve had yet. I’m so grateful we get to go every week. After the temple today I was able to shop! It was so coo! They have this missionary specific tourist trap with all sorts of trinkets...get excited haha. The grocery store has all of the things that I’m used to and need.

Hermana Stirling and I are the ONLY ones going to Lima Oeste that I’ve met so far. Apparently a group of Latinos from our mission just left last week, but there aren’t very many Norte Americanos. I’m actually excited about that...because learning the language would come so much faster with a Latina companion. The first counselor in our branch, his wife doesn’t speak any Spanish...and she actually goes to the same ward as my mission president!  She said she sat by Hermana Archibald last week in relief society haha, i guess my mission home is probably really close to here. i think my mission is the smallest in Peru.....don’t quote me on that, but that’s what it sounds like. When people hear which mission I’m going to all they say is that it is beautiful and humid. Hermana Wickline is going to Lima South and they keep telling her she’s gonna eat cat.....I’m glad I’m going where I am haha.

The language is coming. It’s cool to see the improvements that I’ve made in less than a week. Obviously I am not anywhere near fluent...I try to talk to my roommates, and if it isn’t  Hermana Lopez then it’s usually a very simple conversation....but those Hermanas have muchas paciencia. It’s fun to practice Spanish with people.

My district is hilarious.The elders are all going to the Trujillo mission. They are the funniest boys. Only two of them are 19...the rest are fresh out of high school. some of them are really mature and seem older...others...not so much haha. It’s so amazing how much trust the church has put in the hands of such young men and women with such little life experience. We are doing the most important work there is, The salvation of souls. I think our inexperience is a part of the humility factor that is necessary for the spirit. The spirit is the teacher, we are not. We don’t know the experiences these people are facing, in most cases i dont think i am going to directly relate to them. That’s why I am focusing so much on learning how to use the spirit. we taught our first "investigator", Hermano Flores, last night right after Hermana Wickline left us and she knew the most Spanish...so we thought we were in trouble....but we weren’t.  We prayed for the spirit and we opened our discussion with a prayer and it was such an amazing experience. We were able to teach a somewhat coherent lesson! "Gustavo" wanted to know the purpose of life, he just didn’t really feel like there was a reason for him to be here. We were able to teach very basic portions of the plan of salvation, and we taught him how to pray...even though we didn’t know the language to teach that. i was able to bear testimony and though I didn’t know all the words I needed....somehow i was able to relay an experience and testify through the spirit. I know that wasn’t me talking, i know the gift of tongues is real.

the food is delicious. I haven’t had any problems with it. there are some weird fruits here....and I discovered that i absolutely despise papaya haha, but there’s one called...granida...or something...it sounded like granade...it looks like an orange but it has all these super sweet pulpy seeds in it. its interesting. There are some different foods here but it’s so good. the bread is fantastic and the ice cream is the best i have ever had, but don’t worry mom, I’m being extremely careful. lots of veggies and MENOS rice for this girl haha. they were right about rice at every meal. i love the food.  it is all made from scratch by the chef at the CCM which I thought was really cool.

Next week Tuesday is a national holiday, so the temple will be packed. Because of this I will have P-day on Thursday, just so you know. also please no packages in the CCM. I think I forgot to tell you. If I forgot something muy importante, you can send it to my mission home address!

oh! there is an Hermana Gonzalez here that went to high school with Lauren Carr! So cool! and tell Hermana Rogers that everyone loves my necklace. I constantly get comments about it!

Brett way to go at the game last week! sounds like you are having a fantastic season! I’m glad homecoming went well, send me a picture! TJ congrats on the quest program! I knew you were a little smarty! Jake and Kace, tell me more about your lives! I hope Jake is doing well in school, and i think he starts basketball pretty soon...good luck with that hermano! Kacey, you can totally make it through AP Euro! I believe in you!

Mis padres, thanks for being such strong examples in the gospel... I can’t even tell you how lucky i feel to have both of you in my life, supporting me, and completely understanding the reasons I’m out here. Not many people have that.

Yo se que la iglesia es verdadera. Yo se que Jesucristo es mi Salvador y es El Hijo de Dios. Yo se que Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial. Oracion es real. El don de lenguas es real. I am supposed to be a missionary at this time. Though I don’t know this language very well, I know that the words I am TRYING to speak are correct and true, and at this point that is enough. The Lord knows each of us and he knows our needs. He knows that I need to learn from certain people and that they need me. I am so excited to see where things go.

This is a huge learning curve. And I thought Summer Sales was hard....HA! So worth it though. My testimony has grown ten-fold and it has only been a few days.

I love you all so much. Thanks for your support and for everything you have done for me! I hope you have a fantastic week and that everything goes well for you. If you can, try to send me one family email per a week, I only have an hour on the computer...and though that sounds like a lot of time the internet is kind of slow and my typing skills are terrible on this thing. of course if you want to send  me individual emails, please do that too. It is just easier to send a weekly email with all of your questions and updates together.


Hermana Carr