(Typed from handwritten original - along with the amazing self-portrait that was drawn on her original and HAD to be included as she sent it - kb)
July 5, 3013
To My Family,
As you've read in my email, I have had no time to write in my journal or to you guys since I've been here. The first day I got here, we met our teachers and branch presidency. There are really some cool people here. Later that day, or actually earlier (the days are long and blurry) we had an activity that was really intimidating. The newcomers, which were about 840 missionaries that came the same day as me, split off into groups. They brought an “investigator” into the room and had some missionaries “knock on their door” and teach them and try to get to know them. Then, the investigators would go up to the missionaries in the audience and ask them questions. They weren’t easy questions either. Everyone would try not to make eye contact with them because we were all so scared to get picked ;). Of course, there were a few that had to say something every time, but we were all silent. There was one ‘investigator’ named Jose and he was asking us why God loves us more because we grew up in America and are spoiled and don’t know how to work. He is from Guatemala and has been working all day ever since he was little. It was a really scary experience, but really eye-opening. The first night I was here, I couldn’t sleep for a little bit because I kept thinking about if I unplugged my hair straightener or not then I thought ‘what if the house burnt down’. But, I thought that if that happened, they would have told me or something. Yesterday was the 4th of July and I honestly didn’t realize it until I saw a sign in the cafeteria. We had class and then at 7 we went to a huge auditorium with all of the Elders and Sisters. We sang like 10 patriotic hymns and the organ was so loud. We had a speaker talk about ware stories involved with the Gospel and then we watched 17 Miracles. That is probably the last movie I will see for a year and a half. Then we had ice cream and watched fireworks. I took a picture but I don’t know how to send it. On my first night, walking back to my room I saw Sara and John! I got a picture w/them too. I saw them again at lunch yesterday. I’m kind of having a hard time keeping all of my stuff together, so packing will be a nightmare. Also, when we wrote in my scripture bag w/silver sharpie, it bled onto my scriptures so there is a huge blur of my name in silver on the front of my scriptures. One of my teachers told me white vinegar would get it off though. As for eating, I get my food from an allergy place but today they had eggs in there so I didn’t eat it – haha. I don’t know how Shae eats so much because I hardly eat anything! It might because I’m nervous for my classes or something. Today me and my companion, Sister Clontz who is from LA are teaching someone named Steven. He is in his early 20’s, lives with w/his mother, is a student he has been going to church with his girlfriend who is a member. He has a Christian background and is really smart. He knows about the restoration but doesn’t have a testimony. We are just going to try to help him feel the Spirit by talking about Heavenly Father’s love for him personally. Maybe I won’t send this until tomorrow so I can write about how it goes which might not be so good, but it will be okay even though we don’t know what we’re doing.
Emailing is really kind of stressful here because we only have a half hour to read and write everyone. The only people I wrote were you guys, Shae and one sentence to Jessica. Oh, and today, is my Preparation Day – Fridays.
Everyone is really nice here. You’ll hear missionaries come up and talk to you in weird languages – so I don’t really know what they are saying to me – but it seems nice!
I really wish that you guys could meet my District. They are amazing!! I honestly think we have the best Elders in the whole MTC. Most of them are straight out of high school and they say things that blow my mind. They are such good missionaries and it’s only our 2nd day here! They really are so different than the other Elders from the other Districts in our Branch, who act like teenage boys. I am with great people and am learning a lot! Also, I think one of my teachers was on one of those shows that are on after conference. Her name is Sister Barras. I think that is how it is spelled.
Well, I better go study and pray to teach Steven! Tell everyone to write me letters (or emails, but I don’t have much time to read them).
I also need addresses of grandparents and stuff.
P.S. Send me some snacks and tic tacs – not being able to chew gum is rough!