Week 3: I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY

Hola!
       Wasn’t that broadcast Sunday AWESOME? If you watch the recording you can see me on the screen like three times in the first song because my companion and I got to be in the choir for the broadcast! I am in a khaki blazer (I had to borrow it from one of the sisters in my district because the standards were really strict—no patterns and no sweaters and stuff) with a black top underneath and I have my glasses on and my companion is next to me in a pink blazer with a white top. [Hint: She’s in the section close to the Elders.] It was so cool! Everyone left there so excited to be a missionary! I wish I had heard those things before I came on a mission, I could have been a much more effective member missionary! I never made my friends feel like I loved and wanted to help them. Probably because I don’t know if I understood the importance of love being my primary motivation. I loved Sister Neill Foote Marriott’s conversion story too! I am so grateful for what she said about loving meetings not because they take her away from her family but because they help her be a better mom.
       So, this is hilarious. Our devotional on Tuesday was given by JANICE KAPP PERRY!!!!!  All I can say is that I want to be just like her one day. She told us this story about how she was warming up the reed for her clarinet and her husband (first time they had ever met) came over to her and said, “Those lips look like they were intended for something better than playing the clarinet.” And then right there in the middle of the devotional her husband (this 80 year old man who can barely walk) marches up to the pulpit and grabs her face and kisses her and shoots his fist into the air. EVERYONE WAS SHOCKED! and then she was blushing and she said, “I know that man like a book but tonight I don’t know what page he’s on! Definitely a keeper though!” and then he stood up again and walked over and did it again!!! All of the elders gave him a standing ovation. We sang primary songs together and the Spirit was so strong and she sang us her testimony and she played us a recording of this song that she wrote for her family and it was so corny!!  I kept thinking as she spoke that “this is the reason I am sharing the gospel. Who wouldn’t want that?” She was such a confident, quick-witted, faithful, humble, loving woman. I am an even bigger fan after listening to her speak! I wish I had brought mine and Kayla’s favorite CD by her– “Hug your Bishop, 16 is a Magical Age, and other Classics”
       In other news my Spanish is coming along great!! One thing that is really helping me is praying in Spanish. Sometimes when I am talking to other missionaries I feel rushed, but when I am talking to my Father in Heaven everything is at my own pace and deliberately, I want to say everything as best I can, but I feel no rush to spit my verbs out before they are conjugated or skip my direct object pronouns or anything. It’s helping my grammar and my vocabulary—slowly my world is getting less and less Spanglishy!
       My companion is such a blessing in my life! She is extremely patient with me and very generous. We are very different, but slowly I am figuring out how I can best help her leave the MTC ready to take on the world! She makes me laugh every day.
       Also, on an embarrassing note, I got bronchitis. I only tell you this just so you know how well missionaries are taken care of here at the MTC. I’m not quarantined (luckily no one in my zone has gotten it from me either) but I have a cocktail of prescription drugs that I take (and I got to go to the off-campus pharmacy to get!) and I have some dietary restrictions which means special food! And I have a slightly different schedule which just means I sleep more than the other missionaries. It was kind of a bummer because my first “nap time” I just stared at the ceiling and thought about what the missionaries were doing that I was missing out on. Then I fell asleep and had a dream that all of our last names were conjugated into their Spanish past participle form! So I was going through the MTC un-conjugating peoples names in my head and figuring out what their real last names were! It was an excellent grammar lesson.
       I have to go, but thanks for the emails this week! DearElder.com me if you get the chance!
       Love,
         Hermana Cardonido (which is my name in past participle form)

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Week 2: La Hechisera

Dear Family and Friends,
       Thank you for your prayers and support! I am so grateful for them! Thanks for the emails and DearElders too!
       I have a lot to tell you guys but I guess I’ll start with the funny stuff: My district calls me “hechisera” because we were working on our vocabulary one day and someone asked me what some other word meant and I guessed “sorcerer”… and so now I am “la hechisera” which, being interpreted, means “the sorceress.” (I actually prefer it to my old name which was “Hermana Nazi”—which, in Spanish, means “Sister Nazi.” I still don’t know why they think I’m the Nazi, I know they all want to be exactly obedient too!) It’s been really fun working together though, we all get along really well and laugh a lot. My companion and I laugh too much I think, actually.  I became aware of this when one of the missionaries in my district introduced my companion and I to some of the new missionaries in our zone and he said, “This is Hermana Cardon and Hermana T., and they are the funniest missionaries in the MTC.” I would much rather have been introduced as “the most diligent” or “the best Spanish-speakers,” but I guess it gives us something to work towards!
       My companion and I were introducing ourselves to some missionaries the other day and when they asked her where she was from she said, “The MTC.” I laughed so hard, but I feel that way too! It’s not that I don’t remember life before the MTC, but Hermana Cardon was definitely born and raised here. Not to mention I am constantly learning and relearning things I thought I knew here. I am constantly being humbled too… which makes me feel like a child. Not to mention that the past two weeks really have felt like a lifetime somehow. Anyway, it’s been fun to laugh about how she and I were born and bred in the MTC.
       I’m running out of time but I would like to close with a short story and my testimony! Before I came to the MTC I understood what it meant when people said, “Come unto Christ.” We come unto Christ by excercising our faith, repenting, making/renewing our covenants, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. (Boom, gold star for answering the Sunday School teacher’s question right.) I think I am coming to really understand these principles since being here and sensing my need for them, however. These are not arbitrary steps that, if taken, will take us to a place spiritually that happens to be near Jesus. I think I actually used to see the Gospel that way, to some extent. But here and now, as I have been confronted with my own weaknesses every day here (because I am actually not as patient or diligent or smart or as good at teaching as I led myself to believe or as I ought to be), I have come to recognize the two choices I have in response to life’s challenges: I can despair, worry, get frustrated, leave, etc. or I can come unto Him. And this is where my understanding has been enhanced. For the first time in my life I am excercising faith, repenting, thinking on and renewing my covenants, seeking the gift of the Holy Ghost, and doing my best to be true and faithful because of the great need I feel for Him. It’s a literal hunger, and for the first time I recognize how satisfying  His light and His help is, the light and help I gain access to by coming unto Him. I’ve always wanted to be good, and for the most part I have, but now I want to be better and do better not because I want more blessings or because I want my parents to be prouder or because I want people to see what a good girl I am  but because I want to be near Him. I need His light, I need His presence in my life, and I want to do everything I can to avoid what takes me away from Him and to do what draws me close to Him.
       I am totally out of time now but know I love you and yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador!!
       Adios,
       Hermana Cardon

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