Sunday, January 18, 2015

ccsm: the mtc

In my first of the Colorado Colorado Springs Mission (CCSM) series, I will be sharing my Missionary Training Center (MTC) experience.

December 18, 2013 I entered the MTC. It was the scariest day of my life. I am surprised I didn't puke. But oh it was such a great learning experience. I was blessed with wonderful companions, a great district (the small scale group of missionaries we worked with) and a fabulous zone (the large scale group of missionaries that serve in a larger geographical area. Obviously in the MTC, this geographical area is only two classrooms, but I might as well define it now since we have 11 months to cover!)

 Sister Bentham is hilarious. She has a laugh that is contagious and is so much fun to be around.
Sister Fuchs is a sweetheart. She is kind to everyone and has a beautiful singing voice. Us three were quite different, but I could not have asked for better people to share these memories with.

 This is the classic missionary photo op. Point to where you're going on the map outside the cafeteria. If you don't do this, you must not be a missionary. haha

Things I learned about the MTC:

Everyone knows the Hunger Games Mockingjay whistle call thing. Everyone. Some of our Elders started it sometimes..
Don't drink the orange juice! (thank goodness I didn't learn that by personal experience.)
"pray always" means pray before you workout, before you go out the door, before you eat, before you  sleep, before you study, after you study, at the end of the day, with your companions, with your district, before a lesson, at the beginning of class, before you get dressed, after you use the restroom (I'm just kidding;)
Don't put your bags outside the cafeteria. They confiscate them.
Ask for blessings.
Haircuts are free!
Mail is the most important thing a missionary could receive.
Knock when you're going into a lesson with your teacher. They're not your teacher anymore. They're your investigator. Their classroom becomes their home. And barging in on them is not good.
12 days, 24/7 of non-stop missionary firehose is hard. But so good.

Our wonderful district. (L-R)
Elder Mathews: Never stops laughing. He and Sister Bentham were great friends.
Elder Jelte: Our district leader. He was always really nice.
Elder Barnhurst: A crazy kid from Vegas.
Elder Wells: He had a really strong testimony and a deep love for the Gospel.
Elder Scutt: Gave wonderful blessings and turned to the Lord often.
Elder Freeman: He was so excited and ready to be serving a mission. I wish I could be as humble as he was.

Our sweet Elders went to the Arkansas Little Rock Mission, and us three Sisters headed out to Colorado Springs.

A few of our teachers. Sister Fielding (now Henry) is a funny story for next time. 

I was at the MTC over Christmas, which was not easy, but it helped me realize how important sacrifice is. When we give all we can to God, even if it means time away from our family, we are blessed for it. I learned a lot about myself then. I have struggles, stress is hard on me, I still draw stick figures like spoons, I am OCD, but I also learned that we can rely on Jesus Christ. Sure I got to listen to Elder Bednar from the Quorum of the 12 Apostles speak. Sure I had it easy and didn't have to learn a language. But those experiences are nothing if I don't take something from it. And I learned that we are known individually by God. He is aware of us; watching over us; there to listen to us; and because of His Son's Atonement, you and me and all of us, can get through anything.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

definitely not summer school

School has officially begun and it is definitely not summer! Today it is a balmy 21 degrees. It started snowing on the way to class today! Thank goodness for warm coats and winter gloves!

I'm enrolled in lots of "fun" classes this semester. I have a sewing class, the Book of Mormon part one, American Heritage, Math, Genealogy, and in the second block, I will be in a Body Weight Management class. I'll be honest, I'm a nerd and math is my favorite class. Thanks to my lovely Mr. Q in high school, I will never be able to take a math class without enjoying it. There aren't many things I miss about high school, but he is definitely one of them.

My roommates are amazing. Carmen and Dunique are originally from Haiti, so they speak Creole (which is crazy sometimes when they start laughing at their own jokes!) but they have since moved to New Jersey where they joined the church. Taylor is from North Carolina, and we LOVE to laugh together. She is patiently waiting for the moment she gets me addicted to the show Friends. Kassie is from Illinois and was baptized this past October. She is a sweetheart with such a great desire to do what's right. The girl I share a room with is Kimberly. She is also from California, not far from where I'm from! She makes amazing Mexican food (probably because she is Mexican and she's just a great cook.) Each one of these girls is so sweet! I am definitely grateful to have them around<3

This past weekend I went down to Utah (again. 3rd time is the charm!) to visit a few cosmetology schools. I fell in love. There is one school in particular, the Davis Applied Technology College, in Kaysville that I felt really comfortable at. The students were all really friendly, the program seemed well organized and fun, and it was in a great location. Plus, tuition is AMAZING for a cosmetology program. I don't want to make this decision without my Father in Heaven though, so I will be taking it to the temple, praying about it, and doing all I can to go on the path the Lord would have me go.

While in Utah, I hung out with Braden and Ashley of course! We had quite the adventurous movie marathon. Most people have probably seen the Batman movies already, but this was my first time. First one, pretty good. I liked the casting, story line, costuming, etc. Second one.. SCARIEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN!! (Granted when I  have watched Insidious with Jasmine, but I watched it behind a blanket. So I didn't actually "see" it.) The Joker is so scary! He freaked me out, so of course I got laughed at with. ;) I liked the twist with Bane in the third movie. I think I'm going to stick to my beloved Marvel super heroes though!

Monday Braden and I went to see the new Annie, which was really cute, then we made banana bread! I was so proud of his domesticated-ness. They turned out really good! Of course the whole weekend "we" (he) watched football while I did homework. But we enjoyed hanging out with each other, and I am grateful for the wonderful friends I have in the Dunford family.

I learned though. No photos during games. doesn't work out very well;)

Although cold on the outside, I'm warm in my heart. I am truly blessed.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

new beginnings

the last 51 days have been some of the craziest, most stressful days of my life. I got home from the greatest experience of my life, a mission in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I absolutely loved all that I learned, how I grew, who I have become, and how much closer I came to my Heavenly Father.

In August/September, I started experience an achiness in my joints that eventually spread to my legs and arms. It really became a hindrance to the work of the Lord, so I came home to recoup and heal. Tests show that I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I switched up some medications, added a few in, and now I am on the road to recovery. It's not been quick, but it is getting better!

With it being a new year, I have often paused to ask myself, "what is going to bring me closer to the Savior this year?" As many of you know, I struggle with depression, and I really feel that as a roadblock, it can be overcome as I come closer to the Savior. So I have decided to set a few goals to really help me overcome my struggles with depression, and come closer to the Savior.

1. Begin the day with exercise.
2. Learn to make my prayers very personal. I want Heavenly Father to be more than just "the man upstairs." I want Him to be my friend.
3. Electronics get turned off at 11 and sleep begins no later than 12.
4. Go to the temple once a week.
5. Answer a question with the help of the Book of Mormon.
6. I really enjoyed emailing everyone a big update once a week, so I have decided to update my blog once a week and post it on Facebook.
7. Sundays are a no homework, come closer to the Lord day.
8. Find a reason to smile every day.
9. Laugh more.
10. Love harder.

Specifically for the next few months, I have these plans:
January-Enjoy my classes! Relax, have fun, work hard, play hard.
February-Determine next semesters plans, whether it be going to cosmetology school or finishing up a year at BYU-I.
March-"Ace all my classes, pass the final, and become the greatest scarer ever!" -Michael Wazowski

Happy 2015 everyone!