by K Fletcher

Happy New Year‏

Christmas.  At the CCM.  I loved it. The best part is there there's nothing fake here, about Christmas. First thing in the morning we gathered in the Classroom where we had set up a stocking, a tiny tree, and drawn festivities on the board.. we had another district come in and invite us to listen to the telling of The Christmas Orange, the book one of them had received for Christmas.  It was lovely. We exchanged gifts.  I drew Elder Coombs a dragon and Hermana Conrad gave me an awesome Mexican notebook and a bueno bar :D

Our Christmas decorations 

Gift exchange
Then we went to the service activity where we tied cobijas (blankets) for an old folks home in need. We sang Christmas songs the entire time.  After that was the phone calls home!  For 1/2 hour we were able to call our loved ones back home.  (From her mom and dad: It was great to hear Kelene's voice.  She sounded in good spirits and we could tell she was enjoying her day.  We asked her questions and got to hear her testimony in Spanish at the end. The half hour call seemed like it was only about 10 minutes long.  It got a little teary at the end but was the highlight of our Christmas!)

The blanket activity
The rest of the day was filled with some incredible devotionals all day long, and we had the opportunity to watch Meet the Mormons.  Merry Christmas from the CCM! 

HOWEVER after Christmas, the problems started, haha.  As part of the Zone leadership, we had the opportunity to talk to each and every district in our Zone the day after Christmas, because our presidente de la Rama was out of town for Christmas.  So we got to step in.  It was a rough couple of days, and it seemed like every time a problem was resolved, a new one would crop up.  It was a great learning experience, even if I don't think I studied a speck for 2 days, having to deal with all of that. 

Today though, I am so excited.  It is a lovely day I am so going to buckle down and learn all that I can right now.  At TRC this week, we get to teach a new converted family.  They were baptized last week! We are teaching about receiving revelation through the scriptures.  Much excite.

However, it's also a bittersweet day because I have less that one week left here at the CCM.  This time next week I'll be 30,000 feet up.  I am so very very excited.  It wasn't until Christmas that I really got trunky to get into the field. While at the same time they keep showing us temple videos and pictures of all the temples in Utah and that kind of stuff, and then I get homesick for the temple.  It's only been 5 weeks, goodness gracious, it shouldn't be this hard to be away from the temple. When I get back I'm just going to live at the Temple for a month straight. 

I'm so excited to teach. We memorized the first vision as a district goal the other day and we challenged our teacher who has been off his mission for less than 4 months to memorize it in English (he's only been learning English since he returned).  And even though we speak haltingly and sometimes put the wrong emphasis, when I heard Hermano Borgel start to say "I saw a column of light..." I could just feel the spirit immediately.  And I know that the spirit doesn't care what language we are teaching in, the grammar of spiritual things is in each one of us.

My Spanish is doing well.  I feel confident in my ability to learn quickly once I get into the field, but I believe that if I have the spirit with me, for now, my spanish is sufficient to testify, which was my goal in the CCM.  I'm still going to study more intensely than ever, but I'm so excited to go to the place where I have been called.

With Love,
Hermana Fletcher

Where I ran 4 miles last p-day

A slightly blurry photo of my tag (lo siento)

Packing up to leave

Almost time to say goodbye to the CCM!

by K Fletcher

Christmas is coming!!!‏

Let's talk a little about Sundays at the CCM.  Every week I go to leadership meeting at 7am where we discuss concerns about the zone with our Presidente, then breakfast and a little study.  Off to Relief Society which is taught by Hermana Pratt (wife of the CCM president) in English. The girls have a 45 minute interlude while the boys are in Priesthood, and then we have a district meeting.   Immediately thereafter is Sacrament meeting which is conducted completely in Spanish.  Announcements, hymns, sacrament prayers, and talks are fully given in Spanish.  Each week we are given a topic that everyone must prepare a 5 minute talk on, and then the speakers are announced after the sacrament.  It's just the luck of the draw.  After that is lunch and then a meeting/devotional with the CCM presidency.  Study time thereafter (or choir practice in my case) and then another devotional.  Then dinner and then ANOTHER devotional.  And then we watch the good-bye video for everyone leaving that week, return to our classroom for another district discussion and then to bed! 

This last week I had the opportuntiy to sing "Yo se que vive mi Senor" (I know that my redeemer lives).  I sang the first three verses in Spanish, the last verse in english, with the final line in Spanish.  It was lovely, and quite small.  Our branch is only 3 districts (our zone) of whom we are now the senior missionaries.  Kind of insane. 

This past week has been lovely, actually.  We had a great companionship inventory and are much much more unified now. Our lessons have been going well, and while we struggle with the language, we are helping to  make the spirit known.  One of my favorite things that I studied this last week was in 2 Nephi chapter 33.  Verse 7 says, "I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgement seat" and then in verse 12, "And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day."  It struck me with such a force this week.  It is possible for us all to be saved.  Every single one of us has the potential and birthright to be saved in the Kingdom of our Father.  And through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, it is possible for our debts to be paid and for us to be made perfect.  We were watching the Joseph Smith video this week, and I just had the thought that here was a perfect man.  Yes he made mistakes, and he struggled, but through the sum of the Atonement, he was indeed perfect. Because no matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how low your sum is, added to infinity is still infinity. We can be perfect because Christ is perfect.

 Which is something I need to keep in mind while studying Spanish.  I am doing much much better, and I've found that I can understand some teachers perfectly, and others... not so much.  My comprehension is increasing, and I'm able to say most things that I desire to at this point, sometimes in a very roundabout way.  But it is going.  I look forward to seeing myself improve over the next several months.  If I have come this far in just one month, how much farther can Heavenly Father take me in 17?

Now, this is the best time to be in the CCM.  This Christmas as a center, we are doing a massive service project to provide blankets and meals to an old folks home (with only men) in the city of Mexico.  There are about 400 men there and many of them just sleep on the floor.  So we are cutting and tying blankets for every man there, as well as a sack lunch for Christmas. Everyone was asked to donate some of their weekly funds to purchase cookies to put in the lunches, and la Tienda has been packed since then. We all just want to serve so genuinely that we'll leap at any chance to do some real service.  So Christmas day we will be taking turns doing the service activity and making phone calls home.  There are a whole ton of devotionals too, and no class.  There's also some special meals being prepared for us on that day.  I'm very excited :) 

As a district though, we drew names for a secret santa, and I drew a Luck Dragon for our district leader.  There's only so much to get someone when you all have the same resources and funds at the same place, haha!  We also have a tiny Christmas tree, a stocking, and a hand-drawn fireplace that we have set up in the classroom, courtesy of us Hermanas

It will be lovely.  I look forward to it.  Christmas is such  a lovely time of year.  If you haven't yet, I would encourage you to watch the video put on by the church this Christmas: He is the Gift.
He is.  Discover the gift this Christmas.  When I was looking at the lit up Nativity they have in front of the Thomas S. Monson building with my district, Elder Stewart commented simply, "Isn't it incredible that he is the reason for all of this?"
Cristo es la razon
It's true. He is true.

Merry Christmas.
With Love,
Hermana Fletcher

My mind map for our leadership meeting (we discussed D&C 121) and our last with with our Presidente.  He is back in Arizona for the next 2 weeks for  vacation.

When we have a break during studying, and I finally learn how to tie a scarf properly.

This awesome kid is Elder Milky, also from Arizona, and we are Trench-coat buddies almost every day.

On P-day things can get a little crazy (in the casa, at least)

by K Fletcher

News For The Week

So, I rarely see the other hermanas going to my mission.  Occasionally at lunch, and I always wave to them, but we will have to wait until the mission field to really get to know one another.  Speaking of which, happy hump week!  3 more weeks until I leave the CCM.  I'm completely not prepared, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here to learn the language and the people and everything. The language is going well.  I can definitely get my point across now, and I can speak without looking up a ton of words.  The next few weeks are going to be the most important for my comprehension skills. Basically I can talk, but I can barely listen.  It is something I'm working on. 

Christmas at the CCM is going to be completely filled with service, devotionals, and talking to family!  I'll be calling sometime Christmas morning.  I'll let you know more as we get closer.

SO. This week: 
I won a bet.  It was awful.  I had a thing of nasty flan leftover and I turned it out on a corn tortilla I hadn't eaten, and this guy dared me to eat it.  I was totally full, and of course I said no.  Then Hermana Barrus said, "bet her a bueno bar!"  I still refused.  Then he bet me three..... I did it.  I've never been so ashamed, but now we know what I would do for a bueno bar.  They are amazing. 

I also learned how to split an apple in half with my head.  The skills I now have! jaja!

And, speaking of Christmas, we had the most lovely Christmas program!  It was a cultural celebration of the nativity, full of music and dancing and snazzy suits and flowy dresses, all native Mexicans.  I loved it so much.  It made me desire to serve in Mexico.  I would love to come back here after my mission and get to know the culture.

Now, the reason I was late e-mailing today was because I got to go to the temple!!!  The visitors center was amazing, and our district had an incredibly spiritual experience because one of my favorite elders found out this morning that his cousin had committed suicide.  Today we learned about the plan of salvation and at the end of the tour, he received a priesthood blessing.  It was absolutely incredible and very very touching. 

Temple trip! 

I also forgot to mention in my previous e-mail that my companionship was called as sister trainers in our Zone.  I love it so so much.  I always enjoy taking care of people. 

Oh, final thing:  So this last week Mexico celebrated the birth of the virgin of guadalupe, so that means cannons going off every other minute, every hour of the day AND night.  Enjoy that.  I also got to give a talk in spanish on Sunday.  And I'm singing a musical number in Sacrament next Sunday!

This plan is real.  The Plan of Salvation is what it is all about, and central to that plan is Jesus Christ. Come to him and he will show you the way.

Mi objetivo es invitar a las personas a venir a Cristo al ayudarlas a que reciban el evangelio restaurado mediante la fe en jesucristo y su Expiacion, el arreptentimiento, el bautismo, la recepcion del don del espiritu santo, y el perserverar hasta el fin.

With Love,
Hermana Fletcher

PS- Spanish word of the week: 
Desafortunadamente (Unfortunately)

Companionship (plus an Elder Rush photobomb) Beatles picture.

District Beatles picture.

 This is the magical head outside of the Joseph Smith building. Picture necessary.

This is the best friend group being our natural selves in front of a lovely sunset

These are our favorite Elders, aka our Zone leaders. They are ridiculous and awesome and have the most unified companionship in our district.

by K Fletcher

Q&A Time!

The other two hermanas in your trio are going to Houston right?  So are there any other hermanas with you in the CCM going to Chesapeake?  Weren't there supposed to be four of you going in at the same time?
      There are actually 5 of us going to Virginia Chesapeake on January 6th. There was supposed to be 6, but my companion didn't show up. We never found out what happened to her, we just joke that she got married.

When I was in the MTC my district was all going to the same mission.  Is that true with your district?
      Yes and no. We have 8 elderes and 3 hermanas in my district. You know where the girls are going, and two elders are going to Washington Vancouver, but all the rest are going to New York, New York North.

Tell us more of what you get to do on p-day. 
       P-Day is really up to the discretion of the companionship.  We are required to clean our house, do laundry, and study in the morning and the evenings, but the rest is up to you.  We personally like to take a little nap, play some sports, e-mail family and friends, take pictures (we can only take pictures on P-days) and visit La Tienda (the store) and maybe get a snack or two, but otherwise we just study. You can never study too much. 

Do you ever get to go out into the city or are you confined to the church compound?
      We are confined to the grounds. Once or twice during our stay we are bussed to the Temple and get to visit the visitors center and the shops right around it, but I won't get to go until next P-day I believe.   keep you updated (lots of pictures!).  The compound is huge though, I never feel claustrophobic.

Are you getting good sleep, and are you feeling healthy?
       I sleep really well actually. It's surprisingly cold at night, so I steal all the extra blankets, and even though the beds are way harder than I'm used to, I'm tired enough that anything is comfy.  As for health, the last few days have been a little iffy, but I don't have it too bad. One elder in my district suffered from the flu yesterday and was out of commission, another one received a terrible spider bite and couldn't even kneel.  But we overcome.

Tell us more of what your day is like.  What your schedule is.  Do you also get exercise time?
      Every day we wake up between 6 and 6:30am, depending on how much we are doing to get ready.  We are in the classroom by 7, gym time (EVERY DAY :D), study for half an hour, then breakfast. More study for another hour and a half and then class time.  This ranges from learning spanish, to Book of Mormon study, to teaching 'investigators'.  This Thursday we start TRC (The teaching resource center) where we teach actual members, less actives, and sometimes investigators.  The pressure is on!  I'm very excited though.  We break for lunch, then a little personal study, and then more class until about 6:00pm. Dinner, personal study, TALL (technology assisted language learning), district meeting, bed!  Its a solid day, I like it.  However, as the saying goes, every day is a week, every week is a day.

Are all your Sunday meetings in Spanish only?
      They are not.  The only Spanish meeting is Sacrament meeting.  Almost everything else is english.  Sometimes it is more important to learn the gospel and be edified than to practice the language.  However, every  Sunday you have to prepare a talk in spanish on a given topic. You don't know who is speaking until after the sacrament!  Last sunday was testimony meeting though, and I got up! I read about half of it, and spoke the other half.  Something I've really come to know the last week is:

La obedencia es el precio (Obedience is the price)
La fe es el poder (Faith is the power)
El Espiritu es la clave (the spirit is the key)
Y Cristo es la razon. (and Christ is the reason)

Now, some things I wanted to tell you:
We just finished teaching our first 'investigator' Ivan. He was so wonderful, and he is also a teacher on campus. He was supposed to be ours, but was assigned to another district.  After our last lesson, we chased him down and got a picture with him.  We will never forget him... Quien es Ivan!? He stopped by our classroom a few days ago and one of the elderes asked him, 'On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad was our spanish the first day?' his response? 'I loved you guys so so much.' hahaha.

Our first investigator, Ivan, with my whole district!

Another great story: So we are the only hermanas in our district, and we have three to five other elders NOT in our district we have a tendency to 'talk to' during meal time.  Well our elders started noticing, and threatened us.  Well, obviously we had to see what would happen.  So the very next elder to walk near our table, we stopped and started to get to know him. ...this poor soul. All of our elders stood up and started snapping, west-side story like, straight faced, and gathered around this guy and started pushing him away. It was hilarious. And then when the hermanas got up to leave, they surrounded us and every time we would say "Buenas Noches, Elderes!" to anyone they would just glare.  I was laughing so hard.

This is Elder Grisham, the elder that got west-side storied (and Hermana Barrus).  We're friends now. It's cool.

Ah! there is so much to tell!  I've been doing well with Spanish.  I let myself get kind of discouraged there for a while, but then I taught a wonderfully spiritual lesson with mis companeras, and I realized I can do this.  I might not be eloquent, but I can testify, and that's all that matters at this point in my mision

The biggest thing I've learned this week: You need a good balance of humor and the spirit.  Living without either one on the mission would drive you insane.

Have a wonderful week!

With Love,
Hermana Fletcher

So this is my district leader, Elder Coombs. He does handstands during gym time and can breakdance. Also, he's a red-head. My district leader is cooler than yours.

And this is 'code 33' boy, who loves to yell out "Code 33!" when someone looks like they are flirting. (the portion on flirting in the white handbook is on page 33, if you were wondering).

My Spanish Scripture case!

The coolest kid in the CCM, Elder Kummerman (he's leaving this week) We became black brother and sister when we preached to each other in a black accent.

And I found that kid from the temple! Elder Rush was another boy that got 'attacked by my elderes for talking to me, and in a patty-cake fight between him and my Zone Leader, Elder Rush won!

Having fun at lunch time (that was some weird pudding)

Learning by osmosis

by K Fletcher

First Week at the CCM (Centro de Capacitacion Misional Mexico)

Here I am at my first week at the CCM.  After leaving Phoenix at 8:15am I finally arrived at the CCM at 8:30pm. No resting here.  We immediately had orientation and I received my companion assignment when, lo and behold, she didn't turn up!  I am now in a trio with Hermana Barrus and Hermana Conrad, both heading to Texas Houston East mission.  They are both 19 and from Utah, it kind of cracks me up.  We all have very different personalities but work well together.  We taught our first investigator on Friday, then again Saturday and Monday.  The Spanish I already know has helped me exponentially.  I couldn't imagine coming here with no background in it.  It's strange though because all the missionaries in my district have the same 'investigator' and to hear the differences between each person is weird.  Our investigator “Ivan” asks a LOT of questions.  Do you know how hard it is to answer difficult doctrinal questions in another language that you can barely conjugate in?  Crazy stuff. 

It's actually really good though.  I'm understanding a decent amount of the language, and starting tomorrow mis companeras y yo (my companions and I) are doing a full English fast (meaning we abstain from English) for the rest of the CCM aside from planning, companionship study, and an hour before our lessons.  I am fluent in Spanglish.  I would appreciate any and all prayers for me to learn the language though.  It's the worst when “Ivan” gives a question and 
1: you aren't sure exactly what he said, 
2: you are not sure how to even answer in English 
3: you have no idea how to answer in Spanish.

I love it though.  The weather is lovely here, and the food is great.  It's a nice mix between American and Mexican.  And I have the best P-day possible, because we get devotionals. 

I'm not really sure what to write.  The people here are so friendly, and the senior missionaries are always willing to help, in English too! 

I'll end with a story.  So, after dinner one day, the hermanas and I decided we wanted to scare the boys in our district, so we waited in a dark classroom for them to finish eating and return to studying, and it was taking a while so we were whispering and giggling.  When all of the sudden we hear, "I thought so" in a man voice.  It scared us so bad!  Elder Scoville had heard us laughing through the open window and he called into the classroom.  We then explained what we were doing and managed to get a good scare out of the other elders.  Let that be a lesson to me, horseplay in the CCM backfires.

For a spiritual experience, it was actually a little bit of gift of tongues.  Our investigator was saying something and I could simply NOT understand.  He said it 4 or 5 times, when all of a sudden the word just came to me and we were able to continue onward.  It was a lovely experience.

I'll keep a great journal this week and have more to tell you next Tuesday.

With love,
Hermana Fletcher

Hermana Barrus, Hermana Conrad, Hermana Fletcher

The CCM Campus

My district

the classic 'in front of the sign' picture

 The hermanas

 Our gang sign (El Espiritu Santo)

Los Elderes

 Our casa!

 I always knew that sombreros grew on trees!

by K Fletcher

First Day (November 26, 2014)

So. The first leg of my flight (to Houston) I was actually alone. The elder I met at the Phoenix temple last Thursday was on a different plane. At Houston I met up with 21 other missionaries, 5 girls and the rest boys. We were delayed about 45 minutes and we finally touched down in Mexico city approximately 6:30pm. Long story short we didn't get to the CCM until 8:15pm. Crazy right? We all thought we were going to die on the drive there. I've been in Mexico before, but it may have been a rude awakening to some of those elders serving there. One of them was wondering if it was safe to be out after dark! haha. 

No activities tonight, but tomorrow (Thursday) is chock-full. So far as I know there is nothing specifically Thanksgiving themed. I teach my first lesson on Friday morning in full Spanish. One day, ready-set-go!

Anyway. I am simply here to let you know I am safe and sound in Mexico and I am so excited. My Preparation day is on Tuesday, so sometime between 9:30 and 5:30 my family can expect an e-mail from me. 

I love you all a lot and tomorrow I get to work!

With love, 
Hermana Fletcher
by K Fletcher

One Last Hoorah

"What did you do 2 hours before you were set apart?"
"Oh, you know, updated my mission blog."

That would be me.
In two hours I will consecrate the next 18 months of my life to the Lord.

I'm so excited.
I'm so excited.

The last few days have been incredibly difficult. It is as though Satan and Jesus Christ are physically battling inside of me. I can feel the spirit of each one so clearly right now. Luckily we all know who wins in this fight, if we allow Him to.

Trials have shaken, prayers have been answered, doubts have arisen, spiritual revelation has been received. And I know this is just the beginning.

For some reason this poem has really inspired my these past weeks.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Oh, the stories I shall tell.

With Love,
Hermana Fletcher