Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Best Week Ever at the MTC!!! Or Week Four.

Dear Fam,

This week has been so incredible!!  Where to even start?

First funny stories:

On Sunday Janice Kapp Perry was our speaker and when she told about how when she was in college she was sucking on the reed of her clarinet getting ready to play for a test when the guy next to her said, "I was just thinking, those lips look like they are made for something better than playing the clarinet."  All the missionaries started laughing but then Brother Perry jumped out of his chair and quickly hobbled over to her and have her a big, I mean BIG, kiss on the mouth.  Everyone went wild, probably a little too wild,  because they were stomping their feet, shouting, and clapping, but it was pretty funny.  Sister Perry said that a general authority once told her that if you write  a family song it will help you stay close as a family.  Sounds like you are right on track mom with that song the boys recorded :)  She played us her family song, and it's so funny/cute.  You should look it up online and see if it's there!

Also on Sunday we were made the new Sister Training Leaders!  Woot!  Although my district is the only one here right now, so they had no one else to choose from.  Haha.  We are getting two new districts of 8 elders and 8 sisters tonight though.  I'm so excited!

All the new mission presidents have been here this week, so the apostles have been walking around on main campus.  Security has been pretty tight!  On Monday we had the chance to meet Hermana Cook's uncle and aunt who are serving in Urugauy as the new mission president and wife. They also happen to be over Elder Matt Leavitt's mission!  So that was pretty cool that we made that connection.

Tuesday (Yesterday) was definitely the best day of the week.  We had devotional at 4:30 instead of our regular 7 pm time.  All the mission presidents were there as well as 6 of the 12 apostles!!!!  (Ballard, Oaks, Nielsen, Bednar, Anderson, and Christofferson).  Elder Christofferson was the speaker and he gave a great talk about the worth of souls and realizing our potential.  He said "Through your calling you'll come to feel that Christ knows you personally, and even LIKES you."  That was a cool thought.  Because I love a lot of people, but that doesn't mean that I always like them.

After devotional our branch president, President Shallenberger (Not Slingerland, sorry wrote that wrong last week) did a Special class with us because devotional got out early.  President Shallenberger is so amazing!!!  2 weeks ago his mom was dying, but he was in sacrament meeting with us.  He lost his vision in one eye so he had to have a surgery for the other one to make sure that doesn't happen again, but he's only regained 40% vision in it.  He's also the president/in charge of the freedom festival (Stadium of Fire) and was on a board of directors with President Monson for 3 years!

He teaches how to make and achieve goals professionally, so that was what our lesson was about last night.  It was so amazing and encouraging!  I have a completely new vision for my mission.  He also had a lot of cool stories about President Monson he told us about.  One of which is super funny, but he told us not to write our families about it because it's probably one President Monson wouldn't want us to share :(  However he told another one about how once President Monson was in Europe when he got the feeling he needed to get home as fast as possible.  He was able to book passage on a Concord Jet that was leaving withing 30 minutes and then get a flight  within 45 minutes once he landed in NY.  When he got home he opened the door to see a trail of blood leading up to the bedroom.  His wife, Francine, was on the bed in a pool of blood.  He called 911 and got her to the hospital, luckily saving her life.

What happened was Sister Monson had been taking out the garbage and slit her forehead on the aluminium trash can lid.  She recovered, but because of her accident she wasn't able to smell anything, and as a result couldn't taste food!  Whenever people asked her how her food was she'd just smile and say "Oh it's great."  And that though it had it's downs, at least now when she took the garbage out she couldn't smell it!

I'm sorry all the family at home has been sick!!! I hope you all get better soon.  Don't worry about sending me those shirts until you feel completely better mom!  Also I asked you to send me my purple and green cardigan, but I realized I actually have them here, so I just need the pink one :)  The glasses you got me work great and are very cute, thanks mom!

I got a huge package from Ange and Dave this week.  The elders in my district loved their cookies.  They were gone so fast.  I also got a letter from Judy Gann :)  Thank you for your letters and emails every week, they make my day!  I saw Grandma in the temple again today for the last time! Love you Grandma!

I got a dearelder about Hunter's mission call!   That is so exciting!  We are only allowed to write on Wednesdays so I couldn't reply yet, but I will!

We leave in a week and a half!!!! It's so crazy.  I should get my travel plans on Friday, so hopefully I can let you know next week what time about I'll call home.

Lo Quiero! (I love you, though a direct translation is I want you, which is kinda weird!)
- Hermana Bratt

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Week Three!

Dear Everyone,

Thank you for the emails, packages and letters I've received this week!  I got delicious cookies from the Warners, and have already worn the skirts you sent me mom :) Thank you Tal for the Awesome letter.  I can't wait to see pictures of the puppies!  I'd better get a lot. This week had a couple downs, but mostly ups!  

I saw Ellie on Thursday!  She was doing yard work and I got to give her a huge hug and talk to her for a bit.

On Saturday my companions and I left the MTC to go to an eye appointment.  The driver dropped us off at the wrong place so we had to walk a couple blocks to get to the eye office, but it was fun because people honked and waved at us, so it felt like we were real missionaries!

Sunday was father's day (I love you dad!) and so it was a little sad that I wasn't with you all, but we had Sheri Dew as our speaker for SundayDevotional, and she was great!  She talked a lot about Grace.

Monday two districts in our zone left on their missions.  It was kind of sad having them leave because we just got to know them, and both districts had some really great and fun people in them.  (Hermana Tidwell, was one of them that left.)  Now that they're gone it feels really empty in our zone because there's only my district and one other.  The other district is leaving on Monday and then it will only be my district for a couple days until we get newbies on Wednesday!

Tuesday Elder Ballard spoke at devotional!  It was super great.  He said that we need to treasure up the doctrine of Christ and "Learn it. Understand it. Live it. Love it. and Teach it."  as well as to always keep our eyes on the apostles and First Presidency because they "will not, and CANNOT lead you astray".  We also taught four lessons yesterday and in every single one we felt the spirit so strong.  It was a really great day.  We also were doing language study on the computers when two investigators that were trying to find their missionaries came in.  My companionship as well as the Elders in my district ended up giving them a lesson and we are going to start teaching them next week as a district...6 missionaries teaching 2 people.  We'll see how that goes.

Today at the Temple I saw Grandma because she was one of the greeters, but she also was in the Endowment session with me!  It was awesome! My companions think she is really cute, I do too of course!

I was sad to hear that you hit a pole mom, but glad you are okay!!  It sounds like you had a blast in Mexico!  To answer one of your questions mom, the only specific treat you could send me is more of that 70% Dark Chocolate.  mmmm, delicious.  Also I don't have a case for my scriptures, you could send me one if you want, or I could buy one here.  Did you ever take care of my byu library music book?  Thank you for all you do for me!  My Spanish is still improving daily.  I have really great Spanish teachers.  My Branch President, Brother Slingerland's, son is in our ward and evidently took piano with Ammon and Liz from Dr. Hatch.  I ran three miles yesterday during gym time, that's probably more than I've ever ran, so I'm pretty proud of myself :)

When do I get to hear about Ammon's adventure in New Zealand?  Does Tal still like his job?  My companion, Sister Cook, worked at Subway for 2 years.  She said she liked it which is good! Has dad found trees for the Temple yet?  I heard Liz and Brock are moving to San Diego, lucky!  

Today is day 22 in the MTC.  CRAZY.  I miss you all, but feel so much love here, and am having great experiences.  

Can't wait to hear from you!
-Hermana Bratt

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Second Week in the MTC

Dear Mom, (and everyone else :) )

Thank you for the package!  I don't really know where to start so sorry if this jumps around a lot!

Yesterday was devotional and Quentin L. Cook was the speaker! He was really good and left us with a blessing at the end that our family, friends, loved ones, etc would be blessed for our service, so that's you guys!

We now have three investigators to teach, though two are just my teachers that  pretend to be investigators.  Karina, our first investigator became our thrid teachers which was cool.  She's a native speaker so it's really helpful listening and being taught by here.  Not a lot of teachers here our natives :).  When we taught a lesson to one of our teachers "Alejandro" we invited him to read the Book of Mormon and he said he would, then when we went to give him it we realized we forgot ours!  That was awkward/super funny.  Hopefully that doesn't happen in Costa Rica, though it probably will.

We've started playing volley ball every other gym period with the rest of our zone, and guess what I discovered.  My eye's go wacky every time it comes towards me and it's really hard to hit it!!!  My eye's actually turn in a little morelately. I think it's because the days are so taxing! (Don't worry though mom, they might be taxing but they are also fulfilling.)

My companions and I are still getting along great.  Sometimes it's hard to concentrate because we enjoy each others company so much.  They are both super funny.  The language is really coming a long as well!  We have certain hours where we can only speak Spanish, and it's amazing how much we can actually say.

Has Hunter gotten his mission call yet?  An Elder in my district, Elder Rodriguez, had to lose 70 pounds before he could come.  That's cool that Br Collin's is tal's personal trainer.  Is he improving a lot?  I bet when I get back he will be a pro!

Any time you want to send a dearelder or a hand written letter do it!  It's much easier to write letters back than email.

Every week I see so many people I know!  There was a lady I met yesterday that's a branch presidents wife and  she met you at the home and garden show the day before mom!  I think here name was Sister Simmons, but not sure.  I tried to find grandma in the temple today, but couldn't :(  most of the sisters I talked to didn't know her.  What is liz larsen's finace's name?  I've been looking around for him but haven't seen him.

I'm sorry dad has been having such a hard time finding trees.  I pray for him every day!

To answer all moms questions: My outfits are one the most part really good.  There are a couple skirts that are a little short and I'm getting them altered, and some shirts that  are going to need to have undershirts with them.  I can buy some here at the book store, but wondered if you could send me a half tee ( or 2) the short sleeve white kind that we saw at missionary mall.  Sorry, I feel like in every letter I'm asking you to do something for me! I probably get like five letters/packages throughout the week so I'm feeling loved. My MTC teachers are GREAT.  They teach us so much and are so helpful in learning the language.  I haven't had to iron anything yet, which is nice.  As for my, yeah the SAS ones and the plastic black ones from Forever one are great, I wore the dance cos and tripped a couple times, then I got used to them, but they aren't the most comfortable.  Which is irritating, but I probably need to wear them more and mess around with the half soles and see if they work.  

I hope I see some pictures of Ammon's tour one of these days! ( and of course of all of you :) )

I can't believe Jackson is almost 5. He's getting so old.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! I hope dad has something special planned for the best mother in the whole world!

Time is flying here, I can't believe it's already been 14 days since I last saw you.  Love you guys so much and thank you for all the letters, emails , and packages.  Grandma sent me one that was SOOOOOO CUTE.  Thank you grandma! (A picture of it is attached, or hopefully will be.  My computer is having a hard time and won't let me attache it, so we'll see.)

Te Amo!
Hermana Bratt

Here's the one of the package Grandma sent me.  It's so adorable!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

First Real P-Day in the MTC

Alright so here goes my first email from my mission!

Hi everyone! Thank you so much for all the packages and all the
letters/emails I've gotten! They've been so fun to read!

My first week here has been so great. Really and truly.  People say that
the first week is the hardest, and if that's true for me then my MTC stay
is going to be soooo awesome.  The first day was a little rough, but after
that it's been smooth sailing.  I feel the Spirit here so often and am
surrounded by love, so mom DON'T WORRY :)

They kind of threw us in the deep end here, the first day we taught our
first lesson, but it was in English luckily.  Friday though my companions
and I had to teach an investagator named Karina, in Spanish.  For the most
part we just wrote down things in Spanish from Preach my Gospel and then
tried to sound it out.  The second time we taught her we tried to say more
things in Spanish on our own.  Then on Monday we taught her again and we
only brought an outline, everything we said we had to think up ourselves in
Spanish!  It was a struggle, but we got through it and I can already tell
the gift of tongues is working a ton on me.  Spanish class is one of my
favorite parts of the days, I have two teachers, Hermano Bliler and Hermano
Meeks.  Both are really great teachers.  We have to learn Spanish fast here
because the teachers never talk to us in English.  If we don't know a word
we have to either look it up or sometimes they will write the English
translation on the board.

My companions, Hermana Kugath and Hermana Cook are so amazing.  They are
both serving in Costa Rica, which is nice because a lot of the missionaries
here don't have companions going to their same missions.  Hermana Kugath is
from Idaho and Hermana Cook from Sandy.  We all get along really well.

Sunday was simply AMAZING. I felt the Spirit the whole day and it's the
best Fast Sunday I've ever experienced.  We had a great devotional and then
watched a film called "Character of Christ" by Elder Bednar, I don't know
if it's online, but if it is I highly highly highly encourage you to try
and find it and watch it because it was just so great.

Yesterday during our language stufy time we were on the computers finishing
up a lesson when a young woman walked in and started asking us questions in
Spanish and after a little while she asked us if we wanted practice with
our Spanish.  We said "Si" and she led us to a little investagator room
where we all just talked to each other in Spanish for a bit. Eventually she
asked us what our favorite words in Spanish were. When it came to my turn I
told her I didn't have a favorite word, but I did have a least favorite
one because I couldn't say it, which was "la Expiacion", which means the
Atonement, and now that I think about it I probably shouldn't have said the
Atonement was my least favorite word ;) but it worked to our favor!  She
asked what that word meant and we proceeded to tell her about the Atonement!
We also talked about Catholics, as she is one, and how they have
Cathedrals and we have temples.  Then she invited us to come back and
teach her about temples another time! We don't know whether she's a real
investagator or a fake one (some are real some are actors, and they don't
tell us which is which) but we are excited to teach her again!  It felt
like we were doing real missionary work!  Her name's Mercedes.

To answer all of your comments/questions YES I'm immensely grateful that
this time i'm eating the food rather than preparing it/cleaning it up!
Can't complain too much about that ordeal :)

Okay now this next section is to answer the many questions from mom :)

Yes I got the ring you sent me and the chocolate! It was DELICIOUS. I also
recieved the package yesterday of  kneaders goodies and my journal and
immunizations. Thank you!! The ring actually was a tad small, and I guess
when I sent it back I didn't think about putting on an extra stamp. Whoops.
So that's what's waiting for you at the post office :)  The stuff I left
for Emily was in the Kitchen when I left i think, maybe in the car.  I hope
it hasn't disappeared!  Oh mom will you please get my mexico blanket from
the guestroom closet and put it with my boxes, maybe in a bag so no one
uses it?  Otherwise when I come home I'm sure it will be covered in Joeys
hair!  Thank you!  I'm not sure about how I can get sound recordings or if
I'm allowed to watch video files, I'll check on that and let you know, You
might be able to email me attachments? Also I would love a little address
book, that would be great!  And one last (well probably not last) favor,
could you send me a binder or folder that I could keep all the letters I
get in?  So maybe an accordian file or something that doesn't have three
rings in it?  Thank you!

I got the letters from Brock and Liz from DearElder, which is definitely a
great way to send letters if you want them to get to me soon.  We aren't
allowed to write letters during the week or read our emails until P-day.
(So technically you weren't supposed to get those letters I sent.  Whoops!
But my companions and I didn't know that yet.)  We are allowed to read
letters and packages though so I've loved everything I've received!

It's weird being at the Provo MTC because I see people I know everyday.
For example from the ward I've seen the Whites, Brother Loveless, Laura
Dunn, and at the temple today I saw Sister Lee, Sister Mcvea, and
GRANDMA!!! I loved seeing Grandma it was so much fun!  Right now we get to
go to the temple at 7am so we have to catch a bus there and then speed to
get to the 7:30 session, so I on'y got to talk to her for a little bit.
When more missionaries arrive later in the summer that time will probably
be changed.  Oh, also Amy's and Jeff's niece Hermana Tidwell, is in my
district (she's also a good friend of Megan Cook) so it's been fun to get
to know her!

We only get an hour to email so what we do is print off all our emails at
the main campus right after the tample, around 10:00 am and then read
through them so that the reading part doesn't cut into our emailing time.
So if you want something to get to me try to email it before 10:00 am but
definitely before 12:00 pm,  because that's when my companions and I are
going to try and write each week.  If things don't make sense in this email
it's because i'm trying to type like a madwoman!!!

I love you all!   Thank you for all the support!  I know this is where the
Lord wants me to be!

The pictures are of my companions, my district, my companions and I enjoying
mom's goodies, and the shirt Emily made for me that I got yesterday in the

Love you,
Hermana Bratt