Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Day!

Julia couldn't call on Christmas day because the cyber cafe where she uses the computer from was going to be closed.  So she called Christmas Eve.  It was, of course, a little dramatic.  She told us she would be calling between 8-9am but she couldn't get through until after 11am.  The internet was really shotty and would go in and out.  We had to call her back a couple of times because we got dropped.  All in all, it was great to see her and talk(cry) to her.  She is doing wonderfully and we are all really proud of her. 

Mommy!!

I'm so sorry I got cut off with the phone call and didn't get to say goodbye!! I honestly almost cried, I was so frustrated. The internet cut out and we couldn't get it to work to call you back. For the next hour all I could think about was how you guys were probably all around the computer trying to call me back or waiting for me to call, and how I wouldn't get to see your faces again for 5 months without saying goodbye to you. After that hour, however, I realized that there was nothing I could do. Focusing on these negative thoughts was really keeping me from feeling the spirit, and I just needed to let go and go to work. And you know what? That's exactly what I did. I started thinking about how great it was that I got to see all of your faces and at the very least share a small part of my testimony in Spanish. I finally got to see little baby Johnathan and talk (or cry) with (almost) everyone of my siblings. I got to see the faces of my mommy and daddy, and that was such a great comfort to me I really can't even begin to describe it. I know that I'll get to talk to you again in a few short months. For now, though, my focus is here in the work, and I am determined to give the people here the undivided attention that they deserve.

On a different note, Christmas is way different here! It's like 4th of July with even more fireworks. Everyone stays up late and they start eating dinner from 11pm to 12am, and then right at midnight everyone goes outside and sets of a TON of fireworks.  The were all so loud that it woke me up. It sound like Paraguay was exploding! Apparently the New Year is going to be the same exact thing.

The day after Christmas we had a huge mission activity. We ate food, played soccer, volleyball, a game with water balloons and towels, had an obstacle course, and then hiked up a big hill to a big monument (I honestly have no idea what the monument was for, we couldn't find a sign or anything). We even had a white elephant! I got a cute Santa Claus doll with the symbol that we use for baptisms sewn on the front. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it...

Also, I got your package!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE SOCKS!! ...I never thought I would say that about Christmas gifts.... Honestly, it made me so insanely happy just to have my Christmas pjs that I probably won't wear until winter and to have my cute little stocking. I gave the other stocking to Hna Lino, since Hna Gonzalez got transferred. She absolutely loves it, expecially the little tinted lipbalm.

Anyway, that's how Christmas went. I love you guys, and I miss you so much. Thank you for being such a wonderful support to me and always motivating me to do better and try harder. My spanish is getting better and better and I'm getting more and more confident and fluid with teaching the lessons. I'm actually starting to feel like a competent missionary! I was starting to think that it would never happen! But I know I have my Heavenly Father to help me and strengthen my weaknesses. He really is helping me be stronger every day, and I'm finally starting to really see the evidence of it.

Love you guys with all my heart.

Hermana Jeppesen

P.S. Since I didn't get to talk to Hayden, will you please nicely kick him in the butt and have him write me an email? I really miss him....
Top of Cerro Lambaré with Hna Lino

CHRISTMAS PACKAGE!!!

From left to right: My "abuela" Hna Lossa, my "mamá" Hna Gonzalez, me, and my current companion and my "tia," Hna Lino

Monday, December 16, 2013

Birthday Week!

It was Ashton's birthday this week.  We shared with her pictures and she had a similar experience out in the field.  Such fun!

Would you make fun of me a lot if I started using the word "fetching?" I'm realizing that it's kind of unavoidable as an LDS missionary....

This week was pretty chill. Probably the highlight was with la familia Gomez. Remember Luzana and Monica? No, we still don't have permission for them to get baptized, but we had a really good time with them this week. Saturday was their mom's birthday, and Luzana asked us if we could come to their casa while she was at work and help them bake a cake for her. We made our way over, and as we walked in we realized just what a big deal this birthday was for these girls. They had completely cleaned and organized the small room where all of them sleep and straightened up the outside area where they spend most of the day. They bought a bunch of little balloons which we spent the next half hour or so blowing up, and even made a sign that read "feliz cumpleaños, mama!" As Hna Gonzalez helped them with the cake, they literally ran back and forth from the dispensa to buy ingredients, yelling and laughing and smiling as they went. Honestly, the love that was radiating from these chicas for their mom was almost tangible. Unfortunately we had to leave before Dominga, their mom, got back from work and I didn't have my camera to take pictures, but I really hope that she enjoyed the surprise.

On a spiritual note, if you have time, please read Joshua 1. I was having a rough day when I turned to this scripture and it really helped me a lot this week. God has promised us inheritances of our own, and if we push forward with strength and courage, we will obtain those blessings waiting for us. Honestly, I really enjoyed this chapter.

We found out transfers tomorrow morning. It's pretty much guaranteed that Hna Gonzalez will be leaving me. I'm really sad to me leaving my "mom," but at the same time I'm excited for the adventure ahead now that my training is OFFICIALLY OVER. Please shoot some extra prayers my way, because I'm just a tiny bit nervous for that... But IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME. Right? RIGHT. Also, I have not personally received the package, but if it's been signed for I'll probably get it tomorrow morning.

 Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers. It is ridiculously appreciated.

With lots of love,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, December 9, 2013

She got it!!!!

We were a little worried that we wouldn't get an email because it was so late in the day.  She is 4 hours ahead of us and we usually receive her letters around 730am our time.  Today we got it around 200pm which is 6pm.  So glad it came and glad that she is safe and sound.


Aaaahahh, Christmaaaasss!!!!! Totally not at all trunky for Christmas right now....


Oh, and by the way... I GOT MY FIRST PACKAGE!! YAAAY IT DIDN'T GET LOST AFTER ALL! You have no idea just how happy that package has made me this week. Hna Gonzalez and I have been chowing down on the candy. She had never eaten candy corn before and just about ate 3/4's of the bag, she liked it so much. Also, the shirts are a HUGE relief and a lot more comfortable in the heat than the shirts that I had originally brought. I absolutely love them, so THANK YOU.

This week, I'll be completely honest, was a little rough. Hermana Gonzalez was sick two days in a row, so we couldn't leave our apartment on Thursday or Friday. On top of that, we had interviews on Tuesday with President Agazzani, which left us with very little time to make visits that day. Also, this weekend was a big annual celebration of the national virgin, Ca'acupe, and a lot of our investigators were out of town to attend the festival... Honestly, I don't really know a lot of details about the holiday, so you'll have to Google a bit more about that...

The good news is that the other elders in our ward had a miraculous baptism! The story follows thus:

Marco, 15 years old, stole some money from his aunt and uncle who he was living with, but when he realized that it was wrong and tried to repent by confessing and returning the money, they kicked him out of the house. That day, he contacted my companion and the sister trainer (on the day that we were doing splits) in the street and asked if he could go with them to the church. The Bishop took him in, and he's been taking the lessons from the Elders. During this time, he became friends with Mario, another teenager who lives with Bishop Hugo who has been taking the lessons and coming to church for a year and a half but never had the desire to get baptized. Sharing his new found testimony and his incredibly strong spirit, Marco convinced Mario to get baptised with him! What a miracle! Unfortunately, when the Elders went to get permission from Marco's aunt and uncle, they vehemently said no. Marco, however, has recieved a strong witness of the truth of the Gospel. Yesterday he told me his plans to hold out and stay strong until he's 18, get baptised, and serve his "2nd mission," the first one being the conversion of his friend Mario. The Lord really does prepare people and puts them in the right place at the right time to hear the message of the Gospel. I have full faith that in the Lord's own time, everything will work out for the good of this amazing kid.

Funny story! Halfway through writing the previous paragraph the power went out in the cyber that we were using, so I had to wait until we got home to borrow the computer of the lady that we live with! Hence my email being later than normal.

On another note, my training is almost over, and we have transfers in one week and two days. It's pretty much garaunteed that I'll be getting a new companion and my "mom" will be leaving me! Please keep on praying for us!

I love you guys, and I hope your holiday season is going fantastically. Yes, I do get to Skype you guys on Christmas Day, and I'll send you more details when I find out all of the rules and regulations and whatnot. Can't wait to see you guys!

With LOTS of love,
Hermana Jeppesen



Hmmm... where did these AWESOME glow in the dark glasses come from?

Our 6-year-old neighbor, Liz, loves to come over and visit us every single day.




Monday, December 2, 2013

Fun in the.....Rain?!

Julia's e-mail came late today. I was hoping that all is well and then Dean reminded me that they are in Paraguay.  I am glad that the Spirit calms my heart so I don't go to ballistic.


Hola, Mamá!

I love you, Mom, and I miss you too.


So this is what happened this week:

On Tuesday our zone traveled to Asunción for a special zone conference with Presidente Agazzani and a member of the 70 whose name I can't remember. He's from Argentina, and since the accent is so different I had a hard time understanding. I got a lot from when Pres. Agazzani spoke, though. I learned in a completely new way how the Atonement applies to me in my mission, and that just as it was painful and extremely difficult for Christ to accomplish this act, so will my mission be difficult and painful at times. The blessings, however, are innumerable.

Wednesday was awesome as far as the work. TRABAJAMOS A FUL.

 For Thanksgiving I made mashed potatoes from scratch and ate some beef jerkey that you sent me in my last package. I gave some to Hna Gonzalez, Blanca (our landlady), and Liz (Blanca's granddaughter) and they said it was really yummy but super spicy. As for the day itself, it started out great, but after only an hour or two of trying to visit investigators we had to turn back home because of a super fun storm. I'm sure it would be a different story if we had a car or all of the streets were paved, but since we are 100% on foot and the streets had completely turned to mud, there wasn't really much we could do.

The next day started out the same with the ominous signs of a storm, so we decided to run out and make at least one visit to the girls we were wanting to baptize this week to see if their parents had finally given them permission. Halfway to their casa the full storm hit, so we trudged through it the best we could. The good news is that neither of us got hit by lightning! But we did get soaked through. Unfortunately, when we reached their home we found out that the father doesn't want Luzana and Monica to get baptized until he gets to know the church better. We are sincerely praying that he and their mom will be able to come to church soon and see how awesome it is.

It's really funny that you mentioned that you got sick and threw up Friday night, because so did I! I think it was a combination of the weather, an empanada that I shouldn't have eaten, and the fact that I ate WAY too much that day. Whatever it was, I ended up staying in the casa with a sick stomach all day Saturday. Luckily, Blanca, Liz, and Eli (Blanca's daughter) were super awesome nurses and took care of me all day.

On Sunday we went to church, had a long lunch with Hermana Lugo, and went back to the casa to do our daily studies. Once again, the storms came back and we found that we had no power or water in our casa when we got home. As it got later in the evening, we found out from a call from our zone leader that our entire area (we share our area with the ZL's) was blacked out! We couldn't do anything! Liz ended up coming in and spending time with us for the rest of the evening. The power didn't come back on until the middle of the night, and we didn't get water until about 10 am this morning.

So, yup. It's been an interesting week! Hopefully next week won't be quite so hectic.

I love you I love you I love you. Please keep sending me pictures! I absolutely love them! And please tell Hayden and Mia to email me this week!!! I really want to hear from them.

Please keep my companion and me in your prayers.

With LOVE,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Jerkey Thanksgiving

This will be the first Thanksgiving Julia will be in Paraguay.  So of course I asked how she was going to celebrate.  She even sent some pictures this time! I am so very thankful to her and her wonderful example of service. 

No, Mom. Paraguayans do not celebrated Thanksgiving. It's kind of a strictly American thing. I have an unopened package of beef jerky though... I'll probably just eat that. Maybe I'll make some mashed potatoes or something to go with it!

That's so cool that Cody got to learn whatever Mayan language he had to speak! I kind of feel like that with Guarani. Once I feel a little bit more comfortable with my Spanish I really want to at least learn the basics. After all, I'm in the only place in the world where I would have this opportunity!

As for new investigators, we don't really have a bunch right now, but some of the people we've been working really hard with are finally ready to be baptized! Luzana and Monica Gomez, 12 and 9 years old, respectively, have been taking the lessons for I'm not sure how long. In our mission, an investigator has to come to church on Sunday at least 3 times in order to get baptized, and as of yesterday they finally have enough attendances to do so! I'm so excited for them! The only thing that we are worried about is having the definite permission from they're mom, Dominga. She really wants them to get baptized, but she wants to be baptized with them and she isn't married to their dad yet. I haven't even met their dad because he is constantly working. It's great that she wants to be baptized with her daughters, but we are praying that she will give permission, they will be baptized this Saturday, and they will bring the Spirit into their home as an example and motivation to their parents to get married and baptized as well.

Mom, I love you so much, and I am definitely praying for you while you take your tests and finish up the semester.



I love all you guys so much, and hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Con amor,
Hermana Jeppesen

I can send photos! (It's just SUPER slow on this computer...)
This is what happens when you forget mosquito repellent in Paraguay... Words cannot express just how itchy my ankles were.

We moved into a new apartment this week! Woohoo! Our awesome district helped us with the move. These are their "cool faces".

Manuel was baptized three weeks ago and due to unseen circumstances was just confirmed yesterday. He is super amazing!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Christmas List!

I found a company called Global Mission Shipping that will send packages over seas especially to South America.  They send in bulk and it helps with customs, etc... If you want to send anything, give me a call or message me(Jodie Jeppesen, mom) and we can work something out.  Thanks again for all the prayers and notes on her behalf.  

THAT AWESOME that you found a company that sends packages! I still haven't received the other one yet. I'm praying that it will eventually get to me. As for requests:

NEED:
A watch (preferably water-proof and small. I lost mine in the MTC.... oops...)
Shoe liners, aka those tiny little socks at Target or Payless. Any color is fine. These pretty much don't exist here
My backpack. I don't want to buy one here because they tend to wear out super fast and fall apart.
WANT:
Cinnamon Altoids. A WHOLE BUNCH. It's so fun to give one or two out to Paraguayans because they aren't used to something so strong, and they love it!
Bratzlis! Is that how you spell it? This is a far off wish. The chances of you guys actually making them anytime soon and then finding a way to send them to me are beyond super slim. Maybe you could send me the recipe and I can find a way to make my own?
Chocolate
Lots of love.
I made a list but I left it at home, and these are all the things I can remember. Just send me whatever and I will be the happiest missionary in Paraguay!

In this letter (at Dani's request), I want to tell you all about my amazing companion, Hermana Gonzalez! She is from Panama, is 20 years old, and the oldest of 3 siblings, one of which is also serving a mission in Columbia. Before the mission, she studied international business and almost has a degree. She is making plans to attend BYU after the mission to finish up, and is learning English while I learn Spanish. She's actually getting pretty good!

As for personality, we are pretty much at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. In school, Hna Gonzalez was a super popular cheerleader, played sports (mainly volleyball), wore only designer brands, had her own car, etc. She is incredibly extroverted and is fantastic at talking with people and making them feel comfortable. Most of all, if something is the matter, she is not at all afraid of telling it to you straight. She really tries to do things in the best way that she knows how to, and always for other people. For example, these last few weeks she's been baking cakes NON-STOP for investigators, members, our district, EVERYONE. She says that she's done baking for a little while, but I honestly doubt it. We'll probably have 3 more cakes in our fridge by the end of the day.

Sometimes we get frustrated with each other, especially in the beginning, because of our very different personalities and ways of doing things. The best part about this, however, is that we've figured out how to work together and understand each other, and I can honestly say that she has become an amazing friend of mine. I really have learned so much from her, and I'm learning more and more from her every day. I'm so insanely happy to be companions with Hermana Gonzalez!

So now you know about my companion! As for mosquitoes, YES, I am using repellant. There's this thing called Dengue... and I really don't want to catch it. OH! On that note, could you also send me more super duper strong mosquito repellant?

Anywho, I love you guys and can't wait to hear from you next week!

LOVE,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's getting hotter!

As for the weather.... oh boy. Not one person was joking when they told me, "Get ready to sweat!"  Hope you enjoy your nice cool weather in AZ, because it's a whole different story over here!

I still haven't received the package, but I have been getting letters, and even got one from the Beehives of Elmwood Ward! It was so sweet! To be honest, I stopped and said a prayer this morning that your package would somehow make it to me in one piece. I know shipping is expensive, but hopefully it will get to me soon!

In other news, I'VE SURVIVED MY FIRST TRANSFER! YAY! I'm still in the same place with the same companion, but it's just wierd how the time is painfully slow and insanely fast at the same time. BTW, if you look on the LDS website and search for the Ytororo ward in the Ñemby stake, that's the area I'm serving in. We're maybe an hour or so south of Asunción.

The day before transfers was P-day, and my very first district activity! We all got together (3 sets of Elders and my companion and I) in one of the church buildings and made tacos... Mexican food cooked by a Panamanian with Paraguayan ingrediants... but they were super yummy! Then we went out and played a game of fútbol. This time I actually tried playing and had a super fun time, plus I only fell down once! Woohoo! I feel very blessed to have a district that doesn't make fun of me for being terrible at sports.

Tuesday night we got together for our English class in the chapel, but since no one showed up (which, honestly, is normal) we all hung out for a while. Elder Segovia, who is home now, happened to show a REALLY bad cluster of bug bites to Catalino and Ulises, two members who help us out a TON in our ward and come to everything. As it turns out, these "bug bites" were actually just one bug bite, and it was the venom that was spreading in that area of his skin. So what did they do? Ran to the dispensa (kind of like a convenience store) to by some supplies, then spent the next hour or so dripping hot wax onto his skin, scraping it off, poking the infected area with a needle and "drawing out the poison," then rubbing crushed garlic over everything. I REALLY hope I never ever get bitten by whatever this bug is.... I think I'm going to email him and ask how his foot is....

WE HAD ANOTHER BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND!!! Have I told you about Manuel? He's actually the boyfriend of Laura, the girl who was just baptized a couple weeks ago. We have to wait until next weekend for the confirmation since this weekend was Stake Conference, though. Manuel is a super fantastic guy, and is studying to be in the police force right now. The best part about him is that his testimony and desire to learn about the Gospel all stems from his desire for a strong, happy family. He has such a great love already for his future children, and he doesn't even have this family yet! He also has an incredible love for all of the people around him now, and always has a sweet smile on his face. I feel so blessed to be able to help him have the knowledge of eternal families and grow his relationship with Heavenly Father. Wow, I am so happy for him.

OH MY GOODNESS I JUST REMEMBERED GUESS WHAT?! Elder Christofferson is coming to the mission tomorrow!!! My companion and I are going to leave our casa super early in the morning to take a bus to Asunción to hear the words of an apostle of God. I absolutely cannot wait, and I'll make sure to tell you all about it!

I love you guys so much, and of course I'm praying for you every single day. Please keep praying for me and for Hermana Gonzalez! I'll make sure to send my list of things I want in my next email, as well as any service ideas I think of this week.

Love from your missionary,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, November 4, 2013

Baptisms!

This past week, our younger girls and their dad hiked 22.2 miles from the Gilbert temple to the Mesa temple.  It was a great accomplishment and we told the story to Julia.  I'm glad to hear about her baptisms and the great experiences she is having.


Hey Momma!

Oh my goodness, I am SO proud those girls, and Dad too! That must have been SO HARD! I'm glad that everyone was safe and sound though. Were they able to walk the next day? The story of the stonecutter who worked on the temple is actually one that I learned in the MTC, and is now one of my favorites. How cool that they got to experience something like that and end up in front of the house of the Lord!

Sorry I didn't tell you more about the two baptisms we had! The first was in the morning for an investigator named Carolina. Honestly, she is the hardest person for me to understand language wise because she has a very raspy voice and a sarcastic sense of humor that I just can't translate. My companion has been teaching her for several months now and she has made so many changes in her life, including leaving her boyfriend in order to follow the law of chastity. She is awesome and I'm very happy she finally made the decision to be baptized!

In the afternoon was the baptism of Laura. This girl is just so darn full of the Spirit, and you can see it even more now that she has that wonderful gift of the Holy Ghost! Her brother, Cesar, did the baptizing, but since it was his first time she didn't go all the way under the water at first. He had to do it THREE times before they got it completely right, but she was crying by the end and gave her brother the biggest, sweetest hug right there in the font.

This week we baptized 8-year-old Angie. Her parents aren't members but she comes to church every single Sunday with her Aunt and her cousins. That morning we had to go to the chapel early to clean out the MASSIVE amount of bugs in the font so it would be nice and clean just for her. I know that this gospel and the guidance of the spirit will be such a blessing for her, and I pray that she'll be an example for her mother to join the church as well.

I have more stories, but I'm gonna cut this email short to see if I can actually send some picture.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!

-Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, October 28, 2013

No bones about it!

I WANT TO SEND YOU PICTURES, I REALLY DO! The USB port on this computer is broken. The internet gods hate me.

This week we ate fish twice. By fish, I mean WHOLE fish, bones and all. It's possible that I ate an eyeball. I'm very proud of myself for finishing it, because it was worse than the liver.

You should send me some awesome 30-minute workouts. A member told me that I'm gaining a little bit of weight. You can see it my face because my cheeks are filling out a bit. I wish I had a scale! Luckily I haven't really had any stomach problems. It's impossible to eat healthy when my diet is determined by the members. The main food groups are bread, pasta, meat, mandioca, and soda. I told my companion two days ago, "¡Voy a morir por la comida de Paraguay!"

On that note, I'm understanding so much more Spanish! Yaaay! Of course I'm still very lacking in my speaking abilities, but it's to the point where I can start focusing more on other aspects of my missionary work.

How fun that you got to go to the Días de los Muertos activity at the MAC! Halloween here really isn't that big of a thing. Not many people really celebrate it, from what I understand. The most I've seen as far as holidays are different days for the saints, since so many people here are Catholic. Even then all I've seen are just decorations and balloons set out. Not much else.

There are fireflies here! I have a really cool story to go along with it, but I'm probably going to send it in a letter.

I have no idea how much we walk in a day, honestly. Lots? I'll try to pay attention and let you know in my next email!


I love you so much, Mom! Thank you for being so wonderful, and I really wish I had more time to write and tell you all the stories that I have! I am definitely going to figure out the picture situation.

Lurve,
Hna Jeppesen

P.S. We had TWO baptisms this week!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

So I asked her this week a little more about her adventures last week and more what the weather was like where she is at.  It sounds like an adventure of a lifetime. 

I found out that it was horse halfway through. It was still on the bone (which we threw to the dog) in a stew, and I just thought it was a tough beef at first. The liver was worse. We've had some really delicious foods too! Sopa is kind of like a really savory corn bread with onions, cheese, egg, etc. in it. Mandioca is kind of like this weird potato-like root vegetable that the people here eat with EVERYTHING. It's... ok. Not my favorite, but I'll eat it. Yesterday we sat for a while with Hna Lugo, a member in the ward who is inactive, and she made us tortillas that were so yummy, and a desert that is similar to flan but WAY better.

As for the weather, their summer is just now starting. Just as expected, it is incredibly humid, and I have a feeling the next few months are going to be very interesting. No one here has air conditioning, just fans. All the people sit out in front of their houses drinking... I forget what it's called. The same exact thing as mate, just with cold ice water instead of hot. We as missionaries are not allowed to drink it, though. :(  It does rain pretty often (at least more often than Arizona) and my shoes are completely caked in mud. Only the two main roads here are paved, and the rest are dirt. Our street is dirt and rocks. I have stumbled quite a bit, and Hna. Gonzalez told me the other night that out of all of her companions I'm the one who trips the most!

How are things at home? Is the weather finally cooling down? Are you doing more outside? Is there anything else you want to know about Paraguay? I'm trying to get my camera to load pictures on here.

I love you, Mom. Please tell everyone how much I love them, too. I think about you guys the most whenever we teach someone the Plan of Salvation.

With love from your missionary,
Hna Jeppesen

Monday, October 14, 2013

Horse Meat and Baptisms!

This week has been so much better. I am becoming a bit more comfortable with the culture and the food (did I tell you I got to eat horse meat the other day? Two days later we had liver as well. Hurray for comida paraguaya.....). My Spanish has been improving every day as well! There is a lot of truth to the scripture, "line upon line, precept upon precept."

WE HAD A BAPTISM THIS WEEKEND! This has been the first baptism in our area for 10 months! Alex Sanchez is 11 years old, and his mother is an inactive member. He has been super enthusiastic as we've been teaching him, and when he found out that he can recieve the priesthood after his next birthday he got so excited! During the baptismal interview, our district leader Elder Dahl asked why he wanted to be baptized and become a member. His answer was that he wants to be a missionary when he's older, just like us! Honestly, I just love this kid with all my heart! I pray that he will strive to be a good example to his family, especially his mother.

Hermana Gonzalez and I have been working hard this week and have had many blessings because of it. We are teaching 2 whole families now, and yesterday four of our investigators that we've really been working on FINALLY came to church and really enjoyed it! One of these investigators, Laura, brought her boyfriend and her sister along with her. I have dubbed Laura as my first real investigatore since she is the first person that I was present when we contacted here, gave the first lesson, and has a baptismal date in two weeks. This morning she called us with the news that her boyfriend wants to start taking the lessons and be baptized also. HOLY COW! I can't even begin to count our blessing this week.

I am absolutely exhausted at the end of each day, but I'm happy to know that it's because we've been working hard to share the Gospel. Some days are harder than others, but it's becoming easier and easier to keep walking, teaching, and growing. I love you guys so much, and please keep praying for me! It has been a huge help!

Love,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, October 7, 2013

Am I eating well? Ha! Believe me, Mom, I am eating JUST fine. From what I hear, most missionaries gain at LEAST 10 pounds in the first few months, if not more. I'm trying to really use my workout time well in the mornings.

My trainer is wonderful. Hermana Gonzalez is incredibly patient, encouraging, and isn't afraid to push or correct me. Sometimes the correcting part is a little frustrating, but that's just because I can be stubborn and impatient.

As for the language, my compañera says I'm getting a little better every day, but to be completely honest, I don't always feel like it is. The hardest part is just understanding what people are saying. The dialect here is VERY mumbly and fast and Guarani is mixed into a lot of it. I am forced to speak in very slow, simple sentences and am constantly asking people to repeat what they have said. Conference, however, was a great comfort to me this weekend. It especially helped to be reminded that through small and simple things, great things shall come to pass. Right now that's literally all I can speak, is small and simple things. I know, however, that there is a great spirit and love behind those simple sentences, or I at least have faith that they do. It's really rough right now, but this week my goal with my companion is to talk and ask inspired question with the faith that if I open my mouth, Heavenly Father will help me understand and give me the words I need to say.

Speaking of General Conference, holy cow! It really is the Super Bowl for missionaries! I cannot tell you how much the Spirit has been poured out on me and how much revelation I received. Eld. Holland's talk definitely touched my heart as well. Honestly, it was like an arrow to my heart. Also, PLEASE go back and listen to Eld. Ballard's talk on missionary work! You have no idea just how much it helps when we have the support of the members!!!! Get to know the missionaries in the ward, have them over for dinner, give them references, pray for them! Just like you are praying for me every day, their parents are doing the same. Also, please take up the challenge to reach out to someone before Christmas! We also are taking up his challenge to talk to everyone that we can............Ok. My rant is done. I just REALLY like that talk

I love you I love you I love you. Thank you for the prayers. They are a huge support to myself and my companion. Also, thank you for keeping me updated on everything at home. I love hearing what you guys are doing, and it gives me motivation and strength for the week ahead. Gracias!!!

Con amor,
Hermana Jeppesen

Monday, September 30, 2013

Paraguay!


Holy cow, Mom. As much as I loved the MTC and all the advice everyone has given me over the last couple of months, NOTHING could have prepared me for life in Paraguay! I don't even know where to begin!

Ok, let's start with my trainer. Hna. Gonzalez is from Panama and is 20 years old. That's right, I am being trained by a native Spanish-speaker who knows about as much English as I know Spanish! A times there is quite a language barrier, but she is very patient with me and I know will help me learn Spanish even faster. She herself has only been in the mission for 3 months and just finished her own training. I'm her second companion! Apparently that's becoming more and more typical in every mission field. In short, I have a fantastic companion and I know that I will learn a lot from her.

Our area I THINK is kind of a suburb of Asunciòn called Ytororo. A lot of the names of places here are guarani. "Y" is more of a "uh" sound with your teeth closed..... I'm getting off track. The area is.... very humble. There are some nicer houses, but a lot of the homes are very tiny and pieced together. Most are maybe the size of our family room. Also, as it turns out, we only clap doors here! Standing outside the gate, we clap a couple of times and wait for someone to tell us to come in. It helps that everyone is always outside their houses.

The people are incredibly friendly. I wish I could understand what they are saying and talk to them more. I'm pretty sure that the whole country is conspiring to make me fat, though, including my companion. During our lunch appointments they keep giving me more and more food and I have to somehow find room in my stomach! While Hna Gonzalez says it's rude to decline food, I kind of wonder if she made it up to make me eat more. She always saying I need to get fatter.

At the same time, I need the food. I've never walked so much before in my life. If I don't have the most killer legs in the world after this year and a half I will be SHOCKED. It's exhausting! But I know it will be easier with time and I will get stronger. Right now I'm just focusing on keeping up with my speedy companion.

Paraguay is wonderful. I'm meeting amazing people and I feel so blessed. I wish I had time to write you more. Maybe I'll find time to write a more detailed letter and send it to you.

I love you so much, Mom. Thanks for all of your support. Please tell everyone how much I love them. AAAAaaaahh, I just can't contain the love!!!

Your misioñara,
Hna Jeppesen



The mission home!






Sunday, September 22, 2013

Paraguay, Here I Come!

Julia is on her way! We asked her about if she could call before she left. We got her letter today.

Yup, I just checked with some other missionaries who spoke directly with Presedente Pratt. He said specifically that we are NOT to make any phone calls to our families at any time. I promise that I will be safe in the Lord's hands and in the hands of my leaders!
 
My travel plans (in military time) are as follows:
 
03:30  09/23 Leave the MTC
07:08  Flight from Mexico City to Bogota, BOG (I'm not exactly sure where this is, but I want to say it's Columbia)
21:17  Flight from Bogota to Buenos Aires, Argentina (THAT´S A 10 HOUR LAY-OVER IN COLUMBIA)
08:15  09/ 24 Flight from Buenos Aires to Asunción
 
Over 24 hours of travel. The rest of my district told my companion and I that we better have at least 3 converts each by the time we actually get to the mission home. Challenge accepted. We're headed to the materials office after this to pick up extra copies of the Book of Mormon to place ;)
 
Since this is my chance to email you I'm going to take advantage. This last week has been pretty fantastic. Classes for the most part were the same as normal, but on Friday we got to have "In-field Orientation," a FULL day of workshops on how to find investigators, working with members, building our faith and how it affects our teaching, planning and goal-setting.... all the fun stuff! The day went by so fast! Probably the funnest part was when the instructors put on a play about working with the members of the Church. Since they know that we're not quite fluent in Spanish yet and they were more worried about us understanding the message than the language, anyone who wanted to could get a headset to listen to a translator. I was one of these poor souls. It was incredibly helpful, but the teacher who was translating has quite the sense of humor. He would inject hilarious comments throughout the performance, using funny voices, translating any English back into Spanish, talking to the missionaries telling them the answers during discussions and trying to get us to raise our hands, etc. Half of the missionaries (the ones with headphones) were BUSTING up with laughter while the other half were looking around wondering what was so darn funny! Most importantly, I recieved lots of revelation and took lots of notes on how I can be a successful missionary, and I am so thrilled.
 
....ok, well mostly nervous.
 
...........and maybe a little bit terrified.
 
 
Yesterday was just as wonderful. During our first 3 hour block of classes, we went over our language lesson and then had a Q&A session with our teacher, Hermano Molinaro. For the last 4 weeks he has been playing the roll of Henry Ciau, an investigator that we had to teach the lessons to. As it turns out, Henry was an investigator that Hno. Molinaro taught on his own mission to Los Angeles. He showed us pictures of Henry, his wedding as a commitment to keep the law of chastity, his family, and their baptisms. Even though I didn't get meet this man personally, I feel like I really got to know and love him through our lessons with our teacher, and I was SO happy to see the pictures of him and his family be baptised and recieve those blessings.
 
We got to spend a bunch of time with both of our instructors, Hno. Molinaro and Hna. Balderas, that night and take a bunch of pictures with them. Did I tell you enough about Hna. Balderas? She was our first "investigator". She is a native of Mexico and converted to the church when she was 15. She eventually served a mission in southern Mexico, near Guatemala, I think. She teaches at the MTC, is the Young Adult Representative in her ward, and teaches institute at night. Basically, she is the ultimate Latter-Day Saint and is the sweetest woman I've ever met in my life. One day in the Celestial Kingdom I really hope to introduce you to her.
 
The cherry on top of my experience in the MTC is most definitely my district, and I am going to miss them all with my whole heart. For the last six weeks we have spent 12 hours a day together and have become a family. They are FANTASTIC missionaries and are going to do wonders out in the field. Today as we were having our Sunday district meeting, we wrote down a date for all of us to remember. 200 years from now, after we are long dead and have a perfect knowledge, we are going to get together on 22 Sept, 2213 for a district meeting and talk about our lives, our questions, our experiences. This date is now written on a sticky note in the cover of my scriptures. The point of this is so that when any of us are struggling or going through trials and difficulties, we can look at this date and remember what our end goal is. I look forward to meeting with this group in Paradise and seeing what we all have become.
 
I love you guys with all my heart and soul. I am so excited to be on my way over South America in about 16 hours and specifically Paraguay after that. There is someone waiting for me there that I promised to bring the Gospel to in the pre-mortal realm. I feel this with every fiber of my being. Now I am actually on my way to fulfill this promise to them and bring them back to their Heavenly Father. I am so proud and so honored to be a part of this work, even with all the things that I'm terrified with right now. My God is my rock and my salvation, and he will help me. I am so so thrilled to share this with God's children in Paraguay.
 
With all my love,
Hermana Jeppesen
District 5A  

It has been a long six weeks!

Hno Molinaro y Hna Balderas, the best teachers a missionary could ask for



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week 5! Almost Done!

 ¡Hola Familia!

I'm so glad Dani and the baby are doing well! People keep asking me how they are doing and I just have to tell them that I have no idea, but I'll find out. And yes, I can totally imagine Dani being a worry-wort new mama, and it makes me smile!

As for the package, at least I'll have some new shirts in Paraguay?

They posted our departure dates in the reception office yesterday. Everyone leaving for the Paraguay, Asunción mission fly out at 8:08 am this next Monday morning. I believe we'll be leaving el CCM around 2 am, but I'm not sure. As for the language, I know for a fact that I'm not going to understand anyone for a while unless I ask them to talk REALLY slow. In case you didn't know, that's kind of impossible in the Spanish language! Also, there is also the chance that I'll have a native companion, so we'll just have to see how it goes!

So this last week was so much better! Thank you so much for the prayers. I have without a doubt felt the extra strength and my Heavenly Father helping me. THANK YOU!

This weekend on the 15th, as it turns out, was Mexico's Independence Day. The night before, we had Noche de Méxicano, with dancers and music, a civic ceremony that involved marching the flag around the auditorium and singing Mexico's national anthem, the whole shebang. I'll make sure to send you pictures and a video or two! It was a fiesta!

The next night we all met back at the auditorium at 10:30 (which is SUPER LATE for us missionaries) to participate in what is called the Grito. In short, at 11 pm the president of Mexico comes out on a balcony and rings a bell before reciting the words of rebellion spoken way back in 1810. As he lists off each name of the heroes of the rebellion, everyone across the entire country yells, "¡Viva!"  The president yells, "¡Viva México!" three times, with the people yelling back, "¡VIVA!" each time. It was so neat to be a part of this national cry of patriotism! These people are so PROUD of who they are as Mexicans, and I greatly admire it. Why doesn't the US do anything like that?! Now I'm even more curious to find out the traditions and holidays of Paraguay.

Other than that, most everything else has been the same here. I'm absolutely loving learning the language and more about the Gospel. I still struggle and have hard days here and there, but such is life and I doubt that will ever stop. I am very nervous and VERY excited to leave for Paraguay in less than 6 days. Please keep praying for me! I have a feeling I'll really need it!

I love you guys with all my heart, and I'm always thinking of you in the back of my mind. (Don't worry, Mom, I promise I'm not getting distracted!) Give each other a GIANT hug from me!

Lots and lots and lots of love,
Hermana Jeppesen

All the missionaries singing Called to Serve in Spanish.
Classic Elder Behning

The Élderes from México were VERY excited for the cultural night... to say the very least.

Hermana McIntyre, Elder Behing, and myself at Noche de Mexicano the day before Elder Behning left for Texas.

CUTEST little boy ever!... Besides Johnathan, of course...

Beautiful Dancers!

It was QUITE the show.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 4 and Baby week too!

LOOK AT THE BABY!!!!  YYAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!
 
Oh my goodness, Mother. I wish you could have seen me crying in front of my computer when I checked my email earlier today. I don't know if I have ever been so happy! Johnathan looks absolutely perfect in every way. I've been calling him little baby Joe-Joe for the last month, btw, and I couldn't be happier to finally see what he looks like. As for being worried about me being homesick, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. I was much more distracted wondering how Dani was doing and when she was going to have the baby and if everything would go alright and if the baby would be healthy and yadayadayada. It is such a relief to know that everything went perfectly fine. How is Dani doing? How much does the baby weigh? Why don't I have any pictures of YOU as a new grandma?!?! Please tell me everything! I want to know!!
 
As for me, I've had my ups and downs this week. My district is realizing just how bad I am at sports. Hermana Colvin taught us a game called Volleytensocpongball. Without going too much into detail, it's like playing soccer on a tennis court with volleyball rules. I will definitely have to show you guys when I get home! Anyway, it involves using soccer moves and trying to kick the ball over the net to the other team, and I am TERRIBLE at it. Can you picture me kicking around a soccer ball? Yeah, me neither, and I'm pretty sure my district can no longer imagine it either. Maybe after my time in South America I'll at least be a little bit better?
 
I have had a lot of spiritual experiences this week as well. On Wednesday I had taken my wallet with me to buy some supplies at the tienda (store) and just kept my wallet with me throughout the rest of the day. The next morning I realized that my wallet wasn't with me, and I became extremely worried. I had very important things in this wallet, including my passport. I wasn't sure if I had left it in our casa, our classroom, if I had dropped it, or something else. After looking around as much as I could, I finally asked my companion if we could say a prayer together. I asked Heavenly Father that I could be guided by the spirit to find my wallet, and that if it had been taken or found by someone that they would have their heart softened to do the righteous thing and return it or take it to the lost and found. We concluded and immediately went to Reception to see if anyone had turned it in. Lo and behold, there it was waiting for me! I know this story is a little silly and maybe not that much of a surprise, but it really helped me to know that my Heavenly Father was listening in that moment. We'll just say that I offered a VERY sincere prayer of gratitude.
 
Later that very same day I got a note that I had a package! When I went up to the post office, however, I learned that I first had to give the worker there my ID and she would pick it up from the post office in the city the next day. Somewhat disgruntled, I waited. The next day, the post office was CLOSED until 3 pm, and it closes each day at 4 pm. In that one hour window my companion and I got permission to run over there during class. As I asked for my package, the worker told me that she couldn't give it to me yet because she hadn't done the paperwork for it and she was leaving for the day. I wouldn't be able to pick up my package until the post office opened again on MONDAY. At this point I was just upset and grumpy. I didn't have my package, I wasn't understanding the grammar we were being taught, I could teach our investigator for the LIFE of me, and everything seemed to be going wrong. It seemed the rest of the district wasn't all put together that day either, because after our grammar lesson, Hermana Balderas asked us to take out our Preach My Gospel's and turn to the chapter entitle ''Christ-like Attributes''. She guided us to the sections for patience and humility, and then proceeded with what was for me a call to repentance. In that moment I felt extremely chastened for the atrocious attitude that I had been displaying. In Mosiah 24 (?) the people of Alma had been put under such extreme labor by the Lamanites who had captured them, and never once did they complain. Instead, they looked to God and praised him for making them strong enough to bear their burdens. In the book of Alma as the sons of Mosiah went about teaching the Lamanites they were subject to EXTREME persecution, but God always delivered them and they were blessed with the baptisms of many as they exercised patience. And here I was, grumpy because I had to go a few days without a package I didn't even know I was getting. Grumpy because after 4 weeks I don't speak Spanish like a native yet. I was very humbled in that short section in PMG and with those few scriptures. I very much suggest that you take the time to read it.
 
On that note, THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE! (I did apologize to the worker for my attitude when I went to pick it up.) The candy and letters are so wonderful, and I made sure to share one of the packets of beef jerky with the rest of my district.
 
I do ask for one favor. I have been struggling with confidence as far as speaking the language and practicing teaching the doctrine. I know I need more faith, but sometimes it's difficult when I don't feel confident in my knowledge. Would please pray for me to overcome this current trial of mine?
 
I love you guys so much. I pray for you every morning and night. Thank you for all the emails and the love.
 
With SO MUCH LOVE,
Hermana Jeppesen



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Week Three-All work and no play is not how Julia rolls!

This week went super well! Our district is having a bit of fun pranking, so my companion and I went in to the computer lab one day and changed the desktop of Elder Fogg's computer to a picture I had taken of him fast asleep on the bus. It was a riot when he logged on and saw it!  In return, I was looking through my camera a few days later and noticed that he and some other elders in the district had taken some goofy pictures when I wasn't looking. 
 
Yesterday Hermana McIntyre and I had to take our passports up to the reception office because our mission was asking for scanned copies of them.  It took a little bit, so we were late to meet up with the rest of the district for our service activity.  By the time we got to the meeting spot, everyone was gone and we had no idea where they went!  We literally walked the ENTIRE complex looking for them, but to no avail.  The good news from this is that I stopped and talked with several workers around the CCM who only knew spanish to ask them if they had seen our group.  I'M GETTING BETTER!  Not much, but at least enough to have a very broken conversation!  We never did find them, but we later found out that they had been taken out to a building way on the other side of the complex where we had NEVER gone before and never would have found if someone didn't show us.  We'll just have to be earlier next time.
 
Gracias por su testimonio, Mamá.  Yo se que diezmo es muy importante y Dios nos da bendiciones al nosotros seguimos Sus mandamientos.  Yo tengo un testimonio que la Evangelio benidice nuestras vidas. La Expiación es verdadera, y estoy agradacidas por mí Salvador.  Yo se que el Libro de Mormón es las palabras de Dios y un otra testimonio de Jesucristo.  Yo se que yo soy una misionara de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santo de los Últimos Días. Yo amo ustedes!  En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén.
 
 
...sorry if that was really terrible español.  I'm still learning.
 
Lots and lots and lots of love from far away,
Hermana Jeppesen
They do free haircuts at el CCM!

Not only is it P-day, it's ALSO pizza day!!!
Elder Fogg, fast asleep coming home from the temple.

The elders who retaliated.

don't know how well you can see the bruise on the palm of my hand below the thumb, but that's what happens during district volleyball games!  I got and even BIGGER one 3 days later on my wrist.  Apparentley I popped a blood vessel while serving.  Unfortunately I don't have a picture, but it was a nasty bruise!!!!

We got a lecture about obedience and using our time wisely after Elder Tucker drew this during our study time.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Week 2!

We have been better at waiting for Julia's emails this week.  Anthony came over and we are sending her a package.  We sent her lots of goodies and little notes. Hopefully she gets it soon because she may be leaving a week early on the 17th of September.

To best understand her letter, I am going to post what we wrote to her:

I know I wrote once already but I thought I would fill you in on the week. Emily cut her hair REALLY short. I will try to attach a pic. She looks so cute and its easy for her to maintain. Kids are doing well in school and that includes Celeste. She is loving her classes.  My classes start on Thursday. So excited to get things started. Noelle got to bring home a cello, but she doesn't have a bow. :( She says they were out but he will give her one shortly. Mia made 4th chair and she is excited. She also loves her journalism class. (Of course).  Love you tons. Take care and know that we pray for you everyday, many times, and know you will learn the language. That or you will soon be getting a package of tongues very soon (Kids pray you will have a gift of tongues; makes me giggle).
Tons of love,
Mom
Smile! 


And this is her letter back:


I SURE HOPE I DON'T GET A BOX OF TONGUES!! That would be gross! Also, apparently mail takes about 3 weeks to reach the MTC because of the mail system in Mexico, so they might take a while to get here.
I'm so glad everyone is doing so well, and I TOTALLY want to see a picture of Emily's hair! (Ok, Mom, let's be honest... did she get a piece of gum stuck in her hair?)  Also, I feel like that's just a mean joke to taunt Noelle with a Cello and then NOT give her a bow to play it. ALSO, yay for Mia! I think we all knew that she would just LOVE that class.
How are you doing, Mom? Are you excited to start your last year of classes? (This is your last year, right?) Are the kids driving you crazy? Are they easier to put up with now that I'M not there to drive you crazy? Thanks for the other email you sent, too. I think it's no coincedence that the scripture you sent me was where I was reading just this morning. Thank you so much for the love, support and prayers.
This week has been a little better, but the other sisters in my district have pointed out that not a single day has gone by since we've gotten here that one of us hasn't cried. But don't worry! Not all of it has been bad crying! The spirit is so strong that sometimes in just takes over one's tear ducts!
Mom, I am so glad that I made this decision to come on a mission. I've only been here two weeks but I am learning so much about myself, the gospel, my relationship with the Lord, how to love people and help them strengthen their own relationships, and how to listen to them. Most of all I've been learning a lot about FAITH. The spanish phrase is "la fe''. It take MUCHO FE to receive the gift of tongues and be confident in what we are teaching. We started teaching another mock investigator who is our teacher Hermano Molinero playing the roll of a man named Henry. Hermana McIntyre and I were really nervous because we didn't feel like we could speak the spanish without all of our notes in front of us. Before we taught we knelt and had a prayer that we woud have the gift of tongues and the gift of the INTERPRETATION of tongues so that we might understand and be able to teach. As we were walking over I turned to my companion and reminded her that we are promised that as we open our mouths, they will be filled. The lesson was a little rough and kinda choppy at times, but we were able to effectively communicate in spanish throughout the entire lesson, answering all of his questions and actually having a conversation without any notes! Just our scriptures! My testimony in prayer has been truly strengthened. After we were done my companion and I immediately went and offered a prayer of gratitude.
On a seperate, not quite as spiritual note, I was a little homesick yesterday. The food here is not the most fantastic, and I've been telling mi compañera, "Yo quiero un 'bowl of chili' con queso y 'sour cream'." The waffles/pancakes they have at breakfast are dry, and they don't even have syrup. Just honey, maybe some jam if we're lucky. All of the fruit they serve here is stuff that I'm allergic to, except for the papya which is really bland and I got tired of pretty quickly. It was a HUGE blessing when they served curly fries at lunch on Sunday, out of nowhere! All of the misioneros were SO excited!
The weather has been fantastic, too. It's sunny during most of the day, but it usually ends up raining in the afternoon and evening. Apparently it's Mexico's rainy season during the summer.
I love you, I love you, I love you. I pray for you guys (in spanish) every night.
I don't have time to explain all of the pictures I'm about to attach, but I hope you like them!
OH! Btws, to answer Q's about my companion: She is incredibly sweet! Hermana McIntyre is from Caldwell, ID, and is 19 yrs old. (I'm the oldest person in my district. All the elders are 18 and 19.  I think ONE is 20) The other sisters in my district are Hermana Colvin from Las Vegas, and Hermana Raddatz from somewhere in Cali. You'll see them in some of the pictures.
With so much love I can barely contain it,
Hermana Jeppesen

She then sent a ton of pictures. 
Now it's Offical!                


 
Me and my Compeñera, Hermana McIntyre

                                                            Home Sweet Home!

Crazy Traffic!


                                           Bus Ride to the Temple




View outside the bus
Streets on the way to the temple
                 
Man in front of store. After the pic, he waved.               
                                                                                                


We made it! My district.  We have grown so close and I love them all.







In front of the CCM(MTC)! It is so beautiful.



Mexican Lays Potato Chips!

Study study study!



Not Studying....hmmmm
Everything that I need to learn the language. Ugh.



Panoramic View!

In case of earthquake, run to the circle!

Crazy Hermanas earthquake faces.
My earthquake face.




 She is looking like she is doing great and having lots of great experiences.  Remember if you want to email her, the address is julia.jeppesen@myldsmail.net.  She answers her letters on Tuesday.

 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Week ~ Check!

My daughter, Julia left on her mission August 13th.  She has been gone a week and we finally got her first email!
Although we miss her running around here, we are so excited for her and this journey she is on. Here is how her first week went.

Well, I've survived thus far. Let me tell you though, this has been the LONGEST week of my life! I don't even know where to start!
 
The flight to Mexico was actually pretty packed with missionaries, but no one else was actually from Arizona. They were all people who were transfering from other places. Luckily I didn't even have to wait long before I saw Elder Behning since we were on the same flight together. Probably one of the strangest things was having to shake his hand and call him "Elder" instead of giving him the desired giant hug. On the plane, one of the hermanas (sisters) switched seats to let a grandmother sit next to her family, so she ended up sitting next to me. Her name is Hermana McIntyre, and I found out when we reached the "CCM" (MTC) that she es mi compañera (companion)!
 
Mexico City itself it incrdibly crowded. All of these houses are stacked on top of each other and going up the hillside. I love that they are all painted these brilliant colors. However, I do NOT love the traffic. They have very very different traffic laws here, and I've never been so scared while in a bus before! The craziest part of all though is that everyone is zooming in and out of each other and cutting each other off but I haven't seen a single crash and almost no one honks.
 
The first night at the CCM we were assigned our comañeros and our casas then had the rest of the evening to ourselves. I didn't realize what a mercy that was, because we've been going NON STOP ever since. The first day signified the beginning of a flood of español. We had our very first language class, and the instructors never speak english unless they know that the class is completely lost. Even then it almost never happens. We then had a big welcome meeting with Presedente Pratt, our MTC president, and then a welcome from Hermana Pratt explaning the rules for the hermanas. On that note, she is going to let me borrow her sewing machine because several of my skirts are much too long. Afterward, we had a teaching workshop where we found out that were to start teaching a mock investigator on FRIDAY COMPLETELY IN ESPAÑOL. I about had a heart attack!!!
 
Our typical schedule now goes as follows:
 
6:30 Wake up and prepare
7:00 Study time
7:30 Breakfast
8-9:00 Personal study time
9-12:00 Language study
12-12:30 additional study time
12:30 LUNCH!
1:35-2:30 Gym time
2:30-3 Transition time (meaning hit the showers)
3-6:00 Our district takes turns teaching Lenina, our "investigator"
6:00 DINNER!
6:45 T.A.L.L. (a computer program to help us learn grammer and more español)
7:45 More language study
9-9:30 Plan the next day with compañera
10:15 Quiet time
10:30 LIGHTS OUT
 
EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY IS PLANNED.
 
I've never been so tired and overwhelmed. I'll be completely honest, I've had a lot of ups and downs this week. Friday morning started out fine, but I was crying from frustration by the end of the day. It's incredibly difficult and discouraging when 95% of what people are saying is flying completely over your head. On that note, however, there have been some incredible moments as well; As Hermana McIntyre and I were teaching Lenina on Friday, nothing seemed to be getting accross to her. That's when she told us that she didn't believe in Joseph Smith. Completely at a loss, all I could do was just start bearing a very simple testimony in VERY broken spanish of "José Smith", that I knew he was a true prophet of God.  My exact words were, "Yo sé que José Smith es verdadero, y yo sé que José Smith es un profeta de Dios, en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amén."  With just those two sentences the spirit filled the room. It was an amazing feeling, and I knew that I was on the right track in that moment.
 
My hour of computer time is almost up. I love you all, and I'll write you next Tuesday!
 
With Love,
Hermana Jeppesen