Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Ah I love getting your emails! And I got my first letter from Mom!! It´s so wonderful to hear from you all. I´m excited for your package and the rice krispy treats.
Entonces, after I emailed last week, the next day my health just tanked. I had gotten Hermana S... sick and I felt like I just wasn´t getting better, I guess Heavenly Father still had some stuff for me to learn - namely, that missionaries actually get sick and there isn´t anything wrong with that. We were trying to be exactly obedient and just pretend we weren´t sick and then finally we went to the doctor and he essentially said, "No. That´s dumb. Go home and take care of yourselves and get more sleep." So we slept in for 2 days and now we are doing great. I´ve learned that with being a missionary, there is a lesson and purpose to everything. I learn so much everyday, it´s insane. Also, being sick as a missionary is the worst, and I hope they sell DayQuil in Ecuador.
Stockton! Time to answer your question. So, we learn about a year´s worth of Spanish every week or so. Last week we started past subjunctive which is like 3 or 4th year Spanish. I literally do not remember anything from high school. I´m sure we learned present tense conjugations and a bunch of vocab but that´s all I remember. Everyday we do maybe 30 min of Spanish lesson in my morning class, and then after lunch for an hour my district will do our own language study where we try to teach each other how to understand all the new grammatical concepts and do our homework together. I have learned many a thing from "Subjunctive Head" and I now know how to say "If Harry Potter died, then I would cry" in Spanish (Si Harry Potter muriera, lloraría). Then we have an hour of TALL lab which is a computer program that we practice grammar on, and then we practice more language study in my evening class. So that´s all there is for structured stuff. We try to speak Spanish as much as possible, which isn´t too hard in Mexico because nobody speaks English, so if you want your hot water fixed you need to know how to ask for that in Spanish. The impossible thing to believe is how fast I´m learning. Concepts that I never understood in school or that took me a month to learn I´ll understand within a day, usually. Except for subjunctive, which is like the boss level of Spanish. But I'll just learn a grammar concept, or tense (basically whoever invented Spanish decided that every verb needed 50 different conjugations, but somehow I can remember all of them, usually), I´ll try to use it as much as possible. My district is very encouraging, we all try to help each other understand, like one elder used subjunctive 5 times in his talk on Sunday so when he finished we all started cheering for him until we remembered we were in Sacrament meeting. Anyways, that´s a day in the life of the Mexico CCM. Not just saying this, but our district really has progressed faster than anyone else. I don´t know how I landed myself in the intermediate class but every day I thank God that I did cuz I would not speak this well without them.
So, something funny: My companion sleep talks like crazy. But the best part is, she sleep talks in PERFECT Spanish. I can´t get her to speak like that in lessons. When she is asleep, she has a perfect accent, she conjugates perfectly, sometimes she´ll be giving a lesson or talking about our teachers but she is fast asleep and it is perfect Spanish. It blows my mind.
So, Sundays here are the best. We had 3 devo´s, one was an old devo by elder Holland from Provo MTC, and he gave a dedicatory prayer for the 3 newly renovated buildings, this was back in January, but I seriously cried through the whole prayer. It was so weird. It was so cool to hear all the blessings he put on the MTC, like he specifically said that the angels of heaven would stand guard at it´s gates and that no bombs, guns, etc. would ever be able to enter. But another thing I was thinking about was how the last time I heard him give a dedicatory prayer it was at the City Center temple groundbreaking, and how if someone had told me that the next time I hear him give a dedicatory prayer it would be when I was on my mission at the Mexico City CCM, I probably would have said something like "neither of those things exist." So crazy. I´m so glad to be here. Being a missionary is something I wish everyone could experience. It´s unlike anything else.
Okay, embarrassing experience of the week. There is a teacher here who is Joseph Smith in the flesh. I don´t even know his name, in my mind he is just The Prophet Joseph Smith. Even his personality is just like how I imagine the Prophet´s was. So one day he stopped by our class and immediately one of our elders pointed at me and started telling this teacher all about how I think he´s the Prophet and how I don´t even know his name, I just call him Joseph Smith, how I think he should play Joseph Smith in the movies, all of which are true, all of these things I´ve definitely said before but I was so embarrassed I just wanted to drop dead. The poor teacher was like "well...thanks?" and then laughed just like how the prophet would have. Ahem.
Okay okay just a few more things: So it´s really funny here how American products are like a commodity. I definitely did not spell that right. They got Milky Ways and M&M´s in the tienda and I literally yelled out loud when I found out. One Elder here had Reeses from home and he convinced everyone that the Tienda had started selling them, it was the most evil thing I have ever witnessed. The Tienda also sells Arizonas, which are a soda thing from America, and all of the elders in our District are obsessed with them. My companion made them a deal with 2 of them that if we watched Legacy on Sunday night, she would buy them Arizonas, and once Legacy came on the screen they both stood up and started yelling and everyone turned around like what in the world is going on. The food here is just so weird. We calculated today that I eat about 4 tacos a day, and I´ve been here for 28 days, so I´ve eated about 112 tacos. That is just way too much.
Also before I forget, the Cates say hi. Their kids are so cute.
I know I say this all the time, but I love my district so much. I feel like all of them are my very best friends and I´m going to cry my heart out when we leave the CCM because only 3 of us are going to Ecuador, the rest are going back to the States or to Chile. 2 are going to Aubrey´s mission though, so that´s pretty cool. We work so hard every day, but we also have so much fun too. The other day we had an organized debate about whether Wizards or Jedi´s would win in a battle, and we got a bunch of other districts involved, it was great. Obviously, I was on the side of the Wizards. We are always laughing and joking around, but we get so much done. We have the perfect balance, it is so great. And we have the best teachers. I´ve learned so much from our morning teacher, Hermano C..., who is also obsessed with my hand sanitizer. It´s Caramel Apple, and now our whole district loves it. Little things like that, but every day. Our evening teacher is Hermano R... and Hmo. F..., aka Armando, and they are both great too. We get pretty burned out in the evening so Hmo. R... will try to come up with ways to keep us entertained but still learning Spanish. It´s all so much fun.
Finally, I decided on Sunday to try to read the Book of Mormon all the way through before I leave, which gives me about 2 weeks. I also decided to read it backwards, and to count how many times the Savior´s name is mentioned. 3 very random things, but it is really cool, and I've never read the Book of Mormon this fast. I´m halfway through 3rd Nephi right now, at this rate I´ll get through all of Alma in 2 days. I love the book of Mormon. In Relief Society we learned how the Book was literally only written for our day because the Nephites never ever saw it. By the time it was finished, they were all dead. It´s like, we know that, but I never thought of it that way, really. So, READ IT!!!!!!!!! Read it every single day, and, this is a missionary promise, I promise you that your life will be filled with more joy, and you´ll be able to recognize the blessings, and you will come to have a greater testimony of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon really is another testament of Jesus Christ.
Well, that´s all for today, as always, I love you all so much!!!!!!! Please keep writing me, I love letters and emails, and keep me updated on Camille, please? Also can I get her email?? I´m fasting for her today, I didn´t last week cuz I was sick but I really hope she will be on the road to recovery soon.
Have a fantastic week!!!! I love you all!!!!!
Love, Hermana Carter
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
I don´t even know where to begin. This week has felt about a thousand years long, but it flew by, and just so much crazy stuff happened. Dad, I read my district your obedience email and we´ve started a district challenge. I think it is going pretty well but we´ve only been at it for a few days. All the elders had a really hard time with the fast though. It was actually really funny. Basically every day with my district is really funny though, for the most part.
The biggest thing this week is that I´ve been sick since last Wednesday. I think I have a cold or something, and it has taught me a lot. Usually whenever I get sick I just take some medicine and I´m fine but for whatever reason nothing I took helped me to feel any better, and I was getting worse and worse and it was awful. Eventually I was reading my mission scripture, Ether 12:4 and I looked at the footnotes for ´g´ and I don´t remember the scriptures off the top of my head, John 11:4 maybe, but it was like they were speaking right to me and I felt impressed that my sickness was for God´s glory, and I wasn´t going to get better unless I got a priesthood blessing. Definitely unusual, I´ve never been the type of person to ask just anyone for a healing blessing, I don´t know why but usually medicine works. So it took me like 3 days to swallow my pride and build up the courage to ask one of the elders in my district, but eventually I did and seriously, the second I asked him and his comp for a blessing I immediately started to feel better. And then it took us all day to find the time for them to give me the blessing, and I don´t really know why I was like this but I just had to swallow all my pride up until the very minute they did the anointing thing. Anyways, the elder I asked, Elder Santillan, actually gave me a great blessing. It was the first priesthood blessing he had ever given, if I remember right, and he did a good job. It was really comforting, and talked about how if I worked hard then I would be healed, and how the Lord knows this is a difficult time for me, being away from my family and having all these new experiences. I don´t remember much but it really was so comforting and I felt better the next day. I´m still a little sick though, which is a bummer, but it isn´t affecting my work like it was before. And now my comp is sick so I feel really bad. I think I got sick from one of the Latina girls who was living with us, because they were both sick at one point, and an elder in my district was sick too...it doesn´t matter though, I just hope I get better soon. But please pray for me. And Camille, I really hope she is okay. Please keep me updated on her, okay?
So I´ve been printing out your emails in the morning and then responding in the afternoon so you can write me as much as you want. I´m not sure what it´ll be like in the field but at least for now don´t worry about taking up too much of my time, alright? Friends and family who read this, heed my words. Also letters take 2 weeks to get here so I can´t wait to hear from you all!!! Packages can´t come here, but they can go to Ecuador so send them there. The first things I can think of that I want are probably more tide to go, since I´m sure it will all be gone by the time I leave here, thanks to my wonderful district, also more of those bath and body works hand sanitizers, I probably have like 50 in that orange basket in my room, but not the blue kind or fresh market apple. And American food. I still have my nutella but anything American, seriously I will love it. Also dry shampoo. Ask somebody who knows what that is and send me a bunch because I never have time to wash my hair. I didn´t shower today cuz our water was brown, ew and ew. Asi pasa a veces. Probs didn´t spell that right. Also I forgot my white v-neck undershirt, so if you could send that, that would be lovely. And pictures, whatever else you think I will enjoy. I will love anything and everything.
So we are teaching our teachers as investigators now, right? I like it because I can ask them for advice after, but other than that it is a little weird. However, we have committed both of them to baptism, one on our second lesson and the other on our third. I don´t know if they are going easy on us, because our elders have been talking about how they won´t keep any commitments, but yeah, it´s interesting. I am not so sure this is how it will be in the field though, but we just love them and they respond well.
What else, what else...I was in a trio for 2 days and it was pretty fun. The other two sisters in our district took off for the field this morning and Monday so now we are the only girls in our district. But I get along with everyone pretty well, so it´s okay.
Okay I remembered 1 more thing. Last night we had a devotional that was a rebroadcast of Elder Russel M Nelson at the Provo MTC and his wife spoke and all she said was that we need to pray to be led to the people whose ancestors are praying for us, and it for the rest of the devotional I hardly heard anything else because that just gave me a whole new perspective on genealogy and family history and temple work and missionary work and the spirit world...I thought a lot about Grandma and I can honestly say I have never felt more that she is watching out for me than I have the last 3 weeks of being a missionary. It is so cool, humbling, I don´t know what else to say.
Last miracle. I was teaching Carlos with Hermana S... and we were teaching about Joseph Smith and he asked why Satan attacked him before the first vision and I had no idea how to answer that in Spanish, but I knew which scripture I wanted to use, but I didn´t know exactly which verse, and I only had my Spanish scriptures, so I said a quick prayer and opened up to 2 Nephi 2 and I told him to read verse 11, praying that it was the opposition in all things one, and later I looked it up and it WAS!!! Ah, so cool. Miracles like that every day.
Well, I love you and miss you all more than you even know. I love being a missionary, and the only thing that would make it better is if you were all here to see and experience everything I have seen and experienced. Keep praying, all the time, and Love the Lord. That´s all I can say. I love you all so much, have a great week!!!
Love Hermana Kaela Carter
Thursday, July 18, 2013
July 17, 2013
Oh my goodness, life is so great. Just to start, I have to say just how wonderfully fun my district is. I´m convinced that we have more fun than anyone else in the MTC. During gym time we´ve started playing volleyball together on one of the sand courts, so we like to say that we´re playing beach volleyball in Mexico to make it sound cooler than it really is. But after my first few days of playing I developed a gigantic bruise on my hand that basically turned my thumb purple and it was like my battle wound, but it´s gone down now so don´t worry, haha. But, I have so much fun and I don´t know if it´s MTC magic or something but I sucked at volleyball all my life until I got here. I also sucked at Spanish all my life until I got here. I still suck at soccer/fútbol, as I found out today when we played soccer with our district. But I mended some of their shirts with my newfound sewing skills so I sent some pictures of that. I felt a little cool, but I would be lying if I didn´t pray a little bit that I wouldn´t ruin their clothes. They are obsessed with my tide to go, so you may have to send me some more of that. And Dad, I actually did reply to your email with all the questions on it. But only half of my emails go through here so I´m praying that this one will send. I´ll send it a billion times so maybe it´ll go through once. For anyone who hasn´t received a reply from me, I have been replying, and everyone else has been having problems too, so that is really lame.
Anyways, my Spanish is improving substantially every day. Last night I was able to say my entire personal prayer in Spanish. It is blowing my mind how much I am learning down here, the MTC really is magic. And it isn´t called magic, it´s called the Holy Ghost. Hahahahahaha. But Dad, I sort of did that obedience challenge thing, and I just prayed that the more obedient I was, the better my Spanish has improved, and it is really working. The biggest thing Hermana S... and I were struggling with here was being on time. We were literally late to everything, we never got to bed on time, we only have been able to get up on time, somehow. See, I told you, you didn´t have to worry about that. It´s fácil. Anyways, I was inspired by 1 Nephi 3:7 and I knew the Lord would provide a way for us to be exactly obedient that so far this week we´ve been on time to everything, and I have noticed my Spanish abilities just taking off. It´s incredible. But thank you for the obedience email Dad. I prayed and prayed and prayed that it would come and so I´m going to give the challenge to my district this week hopefully. Oh I forgot to mention last time, I´m the Sister Training Coordinator for my district, whatever that means. I think it´s like the Sister equivalent of a Zone Leader but I´m not entirely sure. I don´t do anything except go to Leadership meetings and my poor companion doesn´t seem to enjoy them very much.
Anyways, I have some really embarrassing Spanish experiences. We were teaching our investigator, Armando, and I was trying to tell him he needed to get married before he got baptized. But I said that he needed to ´secarse´ and not ´casarse´ so I basically told him that he needed to get dry before he got baptized, and that was the day I was very grateful that my dear comp knows her vocabulary. Then the next day, my teacher asked what the theme of our Book of Mormon reading should be, and I said "nuestra cama?" meaning to say something like "our theme?" but apparently I said "our bed?" and he looked at me in a very shocked and confused way and I wanted to sink into the floor and die. But everyone thinks it´s really funny and hopefully he forgot.
So, Hermana S... and I were finally able to commit Armando to a baptismal date. I think he said yes to everyone, but I can´t even describe the joy I felt when he said he would be baptized this month. He told us how he always feels the Spirit and God´s love for him when we are there, I wanted to cry and hug him but that would have been not okay, I think. Also he is our teacher now, his real name is Hermano Flores, and he is the nicest guy. He bought us candy from outside the compound, I mean the MTC. All my teachers are great. But now my morning and evening teachers are our investigators and I´m not sure how I feel about it because I feel like I´m not actually teaching a progressing investigator, I´m just practicing teaching on my teachers. With Armando, it was like he was my purpose, and I could focus on my purpose. But I don´t know, it´s all good. I love missionary work and I can´t wait to get to Ecuador. One of the elders in my district is like Alma in the flesh. He wasn´t supposed to be in the intermediate class, and doesn´t know a word of Spanish, and hardly knows a thing about the gospel, but he has a ton of faith and he´s learned Spanish faster than all of us combined. It makes me want to have more faith and work harder, but my obedience challenge has helped me with that a lot.
Okay so here is the deal with letters. One elder in our district got one package letter type thing, and it took about two weeks. Maybe his parents expedited it or something. ´Just send letters, and try to send them the fastest way since I´m only here for 4 more weeks. This is the address:
Carr. Tenayuca-Chalmita No. 828
Col. Zona Escolar, Deleg. G.A. Madero,
C.P. 07230, Mexico, D.F.ñ Mexico
If I don´t answer any of your questions, you have every right to call me out on it. I know how annoying that is.
Okay one last thing. Sundays here are the absolute best. We have like 50 devotionals, there was one on Specific Prayer and it blew my mind. Then we had another one that was a video of Elder Scott and I saw Chase Weight in the choir and it made my day. We also watched the Testaments and watching that with 100 missionaries is the greatest experience. At all the romantic parts we were going crazy laughing because romance is like this foreign thing to us, and then at the end when Christ came every single one of us were bawling our eyes out. That movie takes on such a different meaning when you truly have a testimony that Christ is your Savior and the Book of Mormon is true.
Anyways, being a missionary is the greatest thing ever. I always have so many things to tell you but never enough time. I can´t wait until I get 2 hours in Ecuador.
Also, it turns out my branch president, Presidente Jewell, may be like our 4th cousin or something. He said he knew some Cluff´s, and wants to know who Beth´s parents are or how further back stuff. He said Moses Cluff would be our common ancestor. Also President Cates says hi. I told him to tell you I say hi too. Hahaha
Well I love you all a million million times. Monday I got so homesick when I looked in the word of wisdom pamphlet and saw the family eating grilled chicken with salad and squash. That´s what we have like every day. I´m sending you what I eat every day. I miss America so much. I used to always think about the first thing I would do when I got home, and now I know without a shadow of a doubt that when that plane touches down in Salt Lake I am going to kiss the sweet American soil and drink crisp, clean water from the nearest drinking fountain. And hug my beautiful family.
So glad I emailed you guys first this time. Enjoy my novel!!! I pray for you all!!!
Love, Hermana Kaela Carter
Saturday, July 13, 2013
A friend of mine knows the person who shot this photo in Mexico and sent it to me. Kaela is the fourth from the left front row. This will be one of those historical photos that one hundered years from now people will be looking at and saying, "They dressed so funny back then."
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Finally, after a long week of no contact we finally received an email from Kaela, giving just a few details of her first week. It sounds like she is off to a great start and enjoying it.
Here it is:
Ah okay so next time I will write this first and reply to everyone second, I hope this gets to you because whenever I reply to your emails I keep getting a weird message back.
Today is pday and we went to the temple. The temple in Spanish was hard but way cool, I´ll try to send some pictures
Sundays here are literally the best. It was fast and testimony meeting so imagine 20 missionaries getting up to bear their testimonies. The Spirit was overwhelming
We live in little casitas with about 10 other missionaries. I room with my companion Hermana S..., and all the other Quito girls are in our house too but separate rooms. The first few days we didn´t have hot showers and it was probably the worst thing ever. Hermana S... and I spent all our free time (the 2.5 seconds of free time we have) to go look for someone to fix the shower and eventually it worked and it was like the best thing that´s happened here so far. Hermana S... is like my kindred spirit. I hit the jackpot with my companion, we get along so great and she is so much fun. We goof off maybe a little too much but we´re working on it. I´ll send a picture of us at the temple today
Mexico is so weird. There are tons of cool birds here, Hermana S... and I call them avionitas and it is surprisingly hard to not chase them. We were told to be dignified, whatever that means. JK. I´m definitely slowly but surely getting more serious as a person, but I still quote Nacho maybe a little bit too much. My district here is awesome. We all are basically laughing all the time because everyone is so funny. But we are the intermediate program, so we decided as a district that we are going to try "immersion" which basically means that we speak "solomente espanol" which actually happens sometimes and sometimes doesn´t. But we had a great district meeting yesterday and we are a lot more determined to work harder now. Ah, I wish I had more time. I have like 14 minutes and there is so much I want to tell you.
For the 4th of July I have never missed America more in my life. Not true. I missed America when I got really sick on Monday because the food here is just crazy. I emailed Stockton more details about the food, though. But the 4th of July was so cool. all the North Americans dressed up in red white and blue, and we didn´t even plan it. Well, all the girls did, for the most part. I got a picture of it, it made my day when Hermana Pratt dressed up too.
Spanish is kicking my butt. Not really. On the days when I do the immersion really well, I feel like I´m doing way better. I´ve been trying to pray in Spanish but I haven´t learned prayer vocab yet, so my prayers are a jumbled mess and I´m glad that Heavenly Father speaks Ugly Spanglish.
I love being a missionary. The scriptures are like, as clear as day for me now. I love learning from them with the intent to help our progressing investigator, Armando. Our first lesson with him we committed him to baptism and he said yes, but he wasn´t ready. So every lesson since we´ve been trying to get him to commit to a date, and right now he hasn´t felt the Spirit yet but we´re hoping tonight will go better.
Okay, That isn´t it, this will never be it, but I have not much time left. I love you all so much. I miss you every day but I love being here. I hope these pictures will work you can see how great it is here.
Also the garlic pills are working. Hallelujiah.
Much love, Hermana Kaela Carter
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
This is Kaela's dad, posting her first letter. I hope I am doing this right. I guess I'll find out. We're ecstatic Kaela has made it there safely and she sounds so happy. I may elaborate at times after I get the hang of this, but for now here it is:
I have safely arrived to the Mexico MTC!!! Both flights were long and treacherous, but I survived. Mom, on the flight to Atlanta I sat next to a man who teaches English 1010 and 2010 at UVU. He is adjunct, so he didn´t know you, but I told him your name, so try to find him once school starts. There are no coincidences, so find him and tell him about the church. I talked to him a little bit about it but he seemed skeptical about religion. Anyways, I think his name is ***, but I´m not totally sure.
I am so happy now. I thought I would be crying all day but I feel really great. I finally got my tag so I´m feeling pretty official. I met up with a few other girls going to Ecuador, and we´re all going to Quito, which is way cool. We all get along super well, so I really hope we´re all in the same district. We´re in the same house, so that will be super fun.
When we got to the Mexico airport, we were informed that we´re the first Americans to ever use this MTC, which I guess is a pretty big deal because there were people from the Liahona taking pictures and stuff. So if you get your hands on a Liahona, look for pictures of a big group of missionaries, and I´m totally in it, which I guess makes me famous or something. NBD.
The MTC here is super cool. I live in a house with 6 other sisters, and we´re all going to Quito, except for one sister going to Phoenix. I´m in a room with one other girl, and there is another bunkbed so I think that we´re going to get some more roommates soon, but for now it´s just me and her. Her name is Hermana *** and she´s the one I knew from Facebook, so we have a lot in common and I hope we are companions because she is super cool. Our room is really nice though. There is a lot of room, we each get our own closet, and each room has an individual bathroom, so that is a tender mercy. I was fearing having to battle 50 other girls for a shower like in Provo.
Honestly, Mexico is way cool. The bus ride from the airport to the MTC was just crazy because Mexico city is gigantic and a little bit scary in that it sort of has a ghetto feel. Imagine Portland, but with lots of colorful, sort of ghetto looking buildings. Ghetto not in a bad way. I don´t know how to describe it, but we´ve been to Mexico, you know what I mean. Anyways, the MTC is like the exact opposite. It is so well taken care of, everything is so nice looking, lots of big gates, it´s great. It feels way safe and comfortable, and seeing all the Church stuff here is really comforting too.
I´m not sure if my email was supposed to be this long, so I´ll wrap it up. I hope I get to email you guys again soon, I miss you so much but I am really looking forward to the next 6 weeks.
Lots and lots of love,
Home is behind you, Sister Carter. The world is ahead.
This airplane is playing How I Met Your Mother. #mustresist #missionaryprobs