Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Feliz Navidad!


Did Christmas really come and go?! 

Christmas Eve was pretty fun because all of West campus were bused to main campus for the Christmas Eve devotional.  Elder Evans (of the 70) spoke to us and we (the choir) got to sing 'Far Far Away on Judea's Plains'.   A lot of new people joined the choir knowing that we would be singing to an apostle so we had about 300 people singing.  We all knew that one of the 12 apostles would be speaking to us the next day but none of us knew who...it was a complete secret.  During Elder Evans' talk he kept saying things like, "You're going to love hearing form Elder---" and "Tomorrow, when you get to hear from El----".  Every time he was about to say the name, he would stop himself and continue on another subject.  I don't know if he was having a hard time not spilling the beans or if he just loved seeing 2000 missionaries with excited wide eyes.  

I've gotten so used to speaking Spanish all the time at West campus that, when I go to main campus, I forget that not everyone speaks Spanish too.  It's actually pretty hilarious!  I'll walk up to someone and start speaking spanish and it isn't until they get a really confused face that I realize that they don't know Spanish or that I'm even speaking spanish in the first place.  Praying and singing hymns in English is really weird!  Like English is becoming the foreign language or something!  I can't even imagine what it will be like when I get home from Mexico. 

At the end of the devotional, we remained seated and missionaries came in with candy to pass out to us and we watched Mr. Kreuger's Christmas.  Movie night at the MTC!  

We bused home and, knowing we wouldn't have time to open presents on Christmas day, sat in the living room with the other Hermanas with all of our presents laid out in the middle of the room.  To be a little more festive, we grabbed a piece of paper, drew a big Christmas tree on it and hung it on the wall.  Christmas just isn't the same if your presents aren't underneath a Christmas tree right??  I have never been so grateful for even the smallest things in my whole life.  In my stocking I got a Spanish verb conjugation dictionary and studied it all night.  Hermana Call walked into my room as I was studying and said, "Wow, I don't think I've ever seen any one so excited and appreciative for a dictionary in my whole life!"
Opening Presents
Christmas PJ's
Christmas day:
Unfortunately, Santa didn't come this year....;)  But we all were so excited to see what the day had in store for us.  It was the first time I had had frosted flakes for Christmas breakfast..but there's a first for everything!  Oh what I would've given for some of my mom's famous Christmas morning cinnamon rolls!

We bused to main campus and were seated in the auditorium for a 'Christmas Celebration' which was basically one big missionary talent show.  People did all kinds of things: magic shows, guitar solos, piano solos, bottle on head dancing (like on Fiddler on the Roof), etc.  You name it, it probably happened at the Talent Show.  

It was finally time for the devotional we had all been waiting for.  As we sat down, in walked Elder Bednar.  We were all so excited.  The choir sang and he stood up and said, "I'm about to do something that has never been done before."  And what he did was crazy!  The missionaries in every MTC in the entire world received cell phones and a phone number to an iPad he had at the pulpit with him.  He told us that we could text a question to that number and that he would be able to answer it from the pulpit.  SO CRAZY!  Do you know how tempting it was to call my family right then and there?!  It was so crazy holding a phone in my hands while out on a mission.  It seemed like a foreign object or something! 

 BYU's Synthesis Jazz Band came and performed Christmas songs for us and the members were whipping out all kinds of instruments.  It was a lot of fun. 

Later, we all gathered on last time in the auditorium and watched 2012's Christmas MoTab concert.  As it was starting, about 50 elders walked through the front door carrying huge sacks of BYU kettle corn popcorn.  Let me repeat: BYU KETTLE CORN POPCORN!!!  The only thing missing was sitting on the sideline of a BYU football game enjoying every bite of that delicious popcorn;) 

This was the first Christmas I have ever had away from home and at first I was pretty discouraged 
about it.  There wasn't a lit up tree in the living room and stockings above the fire place.  There wasn't Christmas music blasting while we ate a delicious Christmas breakfast. For Christmas dinner, instead of a big turkey and some mashed potatoes, we had a sack lunch.  We were promised that this would be a Christmas we would never forget and at first I was unsure that that would be true.  Despite the things that were missing from the Christmas that I have grown so accustomed to, I learned a very valuable lesson.  I learned that Christmas isn't about all of those things.  It's about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and for all the many things that he has done for us.  So, was this a Christmas that I will remember for the rest of my life?  Absolutely.  The lesson I have learned here will be one that I will have forever and I am so thankful for that.  


-Hermana Ingram

 P.S. Thank you everyone for the Christmas wishes!  It meant the world to me and made my Christmas that much better!  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Semana Numero Uno en el MTC

You can officially call me Hermana Ingram! 

After many tears and hugs, I walked away from my family about to embark on the greatest adventure yet.  It was amazing how I felt right at home almost immediately.  They gave my my name tags, 18 pounds of books, and bused me down to West Campus.  I saw so many people I know: Amy Jacobson, Austin McCarthy, Jordan Hanson, Dakota Kennedy, and Kallee Wilson's mom.  When I first saw them I accidentally called them by their first names and got some dirty looks but I'm pretty used to the whole Hermana, and Elder thing.   The spirit here is amazing.  Upon walking in, you can immediately feel it.  

So, I'm living at Wyview in the exact same building I lived in while I was going to BYU!  I feel right at home!  My companion's name is Hermana Benson and my two other roommates are Hermana Call and Hermana Amis.  We share a bathroom, and since we have to be out the door at 6:30 we have to wake up pretty early if we all want to shower and stuff.  Waking up at 5:00 or 5:30 has become pretty normal now though.  It's amazing how none of us are too homesick.  Probably because we have no time to think.  We are constantly learning Spanish and studying the scriptures.  Work work work and no breaks but days still seem to fly.  I'm already growing to love the other sisters and my zone.  They have become my family away from home.  West campus is a lot of fun because everyone is learning Spanish here so we are always speaking Spanish.  Sacrament meeting is in Spanish and we have to write our talks in Spanish too.  It's weird going outside of west campus because people give us all weird looks when we start speaking Spanish to them (like what is this white girl doing speaking Spanish to me?)...I have to remind myself that not everyone speaks Spanish!  

Hermana Call, Amis, Ingram, and Benson
We met our branch president a few days ago and it was hilarious because his wife was sick so she didn't want to hug us. But she didn't tell us so when we went to hug her she would stick her elbow out and give us an elbow bump.  We figured it out but the elders had a really hard time figuring out why she constantly had her elbow out and not her hand for a hand shake.  The other Hermanas and I couldn't stop laughing.  

We are learning so much so fast.  We pray in Spanish, bare our testimonies in Spanish, and even teach investigators (actors) lessons.  It's so crazy how real it seems when you're teaching them.  My Spanish is already coming along so well.  We teach our investigator out of preach my gospel every day and since my companion doesn't know any Spanish at all, I am usually the one who teaches most of the lesson.  Our investigator, Noemi, doesn't speak any English whatsoever so that makes it pretty tough but it's amazing how much we can teach her.  Spanish class is pretty easy for me right now and the teacher has noticed so I get to teach the class sometimes.  I love teaching my district Spanish!  It's so much fun!  So after about a week of teaching Noemi the first few lessons, the craziest thing happened.  We knew it was our last day to teach her so my companion and I decided to teach her about baptism and to invite her to be baptized.  We did and she agreed.  We went back to class and continued to study while the rest of the companionships taught her.  Elder Young and Kingsford went last and when they came back, behind them came Noemi.  She came to the front of the class and informed us that she is our second teacher.  What?!  I was so surprised!  And at the same time I was embarrassed because I had practically bawled my eyes out to her the day before when I was bearing my testimony in Spanish in our lesson.  But I'm super excited! 

Gym is the greatest!  We get about an hour everyday and can choose between basketball, volleyball, or soccer.  I usually go and play basketball and I'm usually the only girl in there with like 30 other elders.  The only problem is that Elders aren't allowed to guard the Hermanas so if I want to play I have to find another sister to play with me and guard me which is near impossible because either they are kind of bad, not one bit competitive, or just straight up refuse to guard me.  So as of now, I'm on the lookout for a sister who plays basketball!  For now, I'll continue to kick the elders butts at lightning.  I was at lunch the other day and as I was getting salad at the salad bar, from behind me I kept hearing, "Hermana Splash, Hermana Splash, Hermana Splash."  I ignored it at first but turned around to see about 15 elders looking at me while saying that.  They were the Elders I had played basketball with.  I guess you could say that I've got a little fan club going here;) haha  (splash means that you can't miss a shot by the way)  Nicknames are kind of discouraged here...but I'm not opposed;)

Hermana Splash
Mom, remember how you sarcastically wished me luck on laundry?  Well guess what?  We did laundry today and I practically taught my whole district how to use a washing machine. Thanks to me, the Elders were able to take their Sunday shirts out of the wash perfectly white and not pink.  Just know that if you see any Elders wearing a pink shirt, it's because I wasn't there to teach them.  Seriously, mom you should be proud;)

Laundry Instruction??

I joined the MTC choir and it is the funnest thing ever!  We get to practice every Sunday and it sounds amazing!  Singing alto is my favorite.  We performed our song at Tuesday devotional and it sounded super amazing!  Imagine 300 missionaries singing amazing songs in parts...it is the best and it is so powerful.  I can't wait for the Christmas devotional because we are learning two songs and get to sing for 2 apostles...it's a surprise as to who they are but I know it will be amazing.  

Every missionary I've ever talked to always tells me that a mission is one of the hardest things they have ever done.  They're right.  It's hard.  But worth it.  It's a "million dollar experience you wouldn't pay 10 cents to relive."  As of now, I know that this is a million dollar experience.  We'll see about the second half of that quote;)  I know that through hard work, I'll be able to accomplish what I came here to do: to make a difference in the lives of others.  

I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas season!  Don't forget to remember what Christmas is really about!  Feliz Navidad!  

Hermana Ingram (aka Hermana Splash)

P.S. Thanks for all the letters, packages and Christmas cards!  Ya'll are the best friends, family, and neighbors anyone could ask for!  Love you all forever!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

La Aventura Comienza

Hailey was set apart on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 and officially became a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She will be serving in the Mexico City Southeast mission for 18 months. We dropped her off at the missionary training center (MTC) yesterday (12-11-13) where she will stay for about 6 weeks learning the Spanish language. She will be greatly missed but will be an amazing missionary. We are looking forward to hearing about all of her adventures.
Bummer! Can't squeeze mom into my luggage.

Last family photo for 18 months.

Hailey and Dad with photo bombers

My girl. Saying goodbye was so hard.

Goodbye Dad

Hermanas. What will we do without her?

Goodbye boys :(

Adios Amiga!