Monday, December 30, 2013

My Heavenly Father really does know who I am, where I am, what I am experiencing, and what I need most!

     This week I tried keeping track on a sticky note the things I wanted to share... looking down the list, apparently the food stuck out to me this week...

     I don't know if I told you this, but here (and I think in Latino culture in general) everyone makes and eats tamales for Christmas. Just about everyone makes a bunch of their own and then they all give some to neighbors. It's the food to share and so of course we were given some too. The ones here are much better than the couple of times we had them in the CCM. However, just about every other one had more parts of a chicken than I would have preferred. Usually the first was bién rico, but then the second from the same source would have bones and such to pick out. Number 4 even had some lung in it. Mmm. Anat. & Phys. served me well. ...That makes it sound really gross. I promise they tasted good! You just had to be paying attention...

     On Christmas Day we didn't get out much because my companion took an allergy pill. The Hermana who gave it to her warned her to only take it at night because it causes drowsiness, but my companion didn't really believe it. She ended up sleeping most of Christmas. In the end it worked out that I had lots of study time. It turns out that that is what I needed. I had more than one prayer answered. I know that Heavenly Father has a specific plan for all of His children, but some times I forget that this includes me. I forget that He truly knows me and knows what I need. Christmas Day I was reminded that He really does know who I am, where I am, what I am experiencing, and what I need most! I am so very grateful for such a loving and merciful Heavenly Father!

     By Christmas evening my companion was finally feeling better, and so we went and made brownies at the Bishop's house. They were from a box which goes against everything I believe in, but they were Ghiradelli and they were brownies. I have missed brownies more than I imagined. A couple of months ago when I heard that they don't use their ovens here, it never fully set in that that would mean no brownies... When we served them, just about everyone asked if they were really cooked all of the way through. Truth be told, I don't think so, but they tasted good and were a delicious gooey. I forgot that I would need to convert the oven temp.. and I couldn't figure out how to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius fast enough before the bishop's wife had them in the oven... moral is--they still turned out and they ''tasted like America.''

     Last food story for the week... When I was assured that even though I will be serving mostly on the coast they don't eat that much sea food, I assumed that meant every once in a while. (Actually I think I was in denial, or being overly hopeful that this would mean never.) So far it averages out to once a week. This week I had more Sopa de Mariscos. I was ever so grateful that the hermana who made it had her back to us long enough for me to spoon the chunks of sea creature into my companion's bowl. The first time I was able to easily eat the broth and even got down some of the marisco part, but this time it was a challenge to get the broth down and see the pieces of octopus tentacle. (I think that is what it was. I tried not to look too closely) I cringe a little inside every time our hostess anounces that she made seafood for us. I know that it is really expensive and I feel bad that it is being wasted on me...

     This reminds me of a talk I heard this week. It was about the enabling power of the Atonement. Fantastic BYU devotional by Elder Bednar called "In the Strength of the Lord". I highly recommend it. In it he tells the story of handcart pioneers who only had leather to eat. He reads part of a journal entry and in it the man talks about praying for the Lord to bless their bodies to adapt to the leather jelly stuff that they had to eat. Now my situation is not nearly anywhere close to that extreme. In general we are fed very delicious food. But I thought of that story the whole time eating the soup and decided to try a few prayers of that kind of my own. I am hoping that by the end of my mission, preferably before I leave here, my prayers will be answered. In all seriousness though, it really was an amazing talk that reminded me that grace is divine power that we need in order to become who Heavenly Father wants us to become. It gives us the strength to do all that we are asked. It truly was exactly what I needed to hear this week.

Hasta luego!
Hna. Thacker

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

It's hard to believe that we are already to Christmas. Honestly it feels like we are trying to have Christmas in August...

All week I think of things I want to tell you, but by the time I sit down to the computer I can't remember what exactly it was...

This week we had a Cena Navideña (the ward Christmas party), That was an adventure! At the beginning they were blasting, as best as I could tell, Latino Christmas music and everyone was dancing. My companion was having a hard time sitting still. She kept saying in 4 months I can dance :) The rest of the time was a talent show. My companion signed us and the Elders in the ward up to sing. When she started talking fast to the Relief Society President I knew we made it on the list... We sang a poor rendition of Silent Night, but that's OK. Seeing the Elder's faces when they realized that they couldn't back out was priceless... The rest of the ward did various acts. The Primary sang and had a little play that was very cute. They have just enough Primary kids to hold up the letters to spell Feliz Navidad. The Young Women danced, and so did another family. They had color coordinated outfits even. 

The ward here is small. Our greatest challenge is getting the members excited about missionary work, but they are great people. We have a lot of investigators that love to have us come sing a hymn and pray for them. They'll listen to our message and ask questions, and a good portion will read the pamphlets and Book of Mormon, but they won't come to church. And they have to come to church to progress. We will keep inviting and praying. 

Where we are, there are actually a number of people who speak a decent amount of English. If they are Latino chances are good they only speak Spanish, but they are usually quick to tell me that they have a relative who speaks really good English. If they are of any other race, chances are really good that they speak English. They would totally understand if I spoke to them in English, but it's not as likely that I would understand them... Often they speak a very fast pigeon English with Spanish words or words from other tribal languages mixed in. One man we are teaching tells us that he is from India. He is African and does speak English more like you would if you learned it in India. I think my companion doubts his story, but I think I am missing too many pieces to make a fair judgement. He tells us all the time about how he is learning Spanish and that it is a crazy language. He always corrects my companion's Spanish too. He is ''super pilas'' or really smart, and he seems pretty interested. He couldn't make it to church this week, but I sure hope he comes next week. 

Another guy we are teaching is from the United States. He's only been here for  about 5 or so years and he owns a salsa making business. In the US he was an ice skating instructor. He is an interesting character and our visits totally consisted of him saying something in Spanish and then translating it into English and vice versa. We are going to try to get him an English copy of the Book of Mormon. 

Whenever we go anywhere there are always people who want to practice their English. They are not afraid to try, and I love that. That's something I need to learn. I have been reading a lot in my personal study in the New Testament when the Savior is asking his disciples (and us) to follow him. I've really been thinking about the ''he who saves his life shall loose it. and whoso shall lose his life for my sake shall find it'' (that's roughly what it says, I don't have my English scriptures on me...) Hna. Pratt told us before we left the CCM that this included leaving behind our old life before we came on our mission. I am beginning to realize how important it is to leave behind everything that would stand in the way of me becoming the missionary Heavenly Father wants and needs me to be. This means leaving behind my fears and shyness and step out of my comfort zone. It is hard. But my goal for this week is to just try. It is important to have faith and trust in the promised blessings that come from exercising your faith. 

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and all! 
Hna. Thacker

This is the view from our street looking up toward the mountain.
Most of our area, as far as I can tell, actually lies in the opposite direction.

This is in the house of the Hermana who cooks us lunch every day.  On the left is me and my companion.
On the right, the American is the District Leader, and his companion is from Guatemala--same as my companion.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I learned why the Spanish word for address is dirección...

... Usually that's about all they can give you to help you find their house...

I've learned that we are in a poorer part of the city that has a bunch of little neighborhoods that are within blocks from the sea. We live no more than 5 blocks from the ocean. Hna. Klein said that our mission is 80 percent rural and 20 percent city. I'm in the 20 percent city part and so we have a nice apartment with running water and a working shower. 

I wish I had some pictures to show you, but I haven't taken all that many yet. It is plenty warm and humid, but we are currently in a cold spell... My companion keeps telling me how in April is when it starts to get really hot. 

 Here, in order to not offend your hostess you eat everything she puts on your plate, and if she offers more you should probably take it too. That is actually kind of hard. Like yesterday's lunch. We had sopa de marisco. Crab, fish, caracol... caracol is conch. Like the animal that lives in the conch shell. They eat that here and don't worry I tried it so you don't have to. Honestly it was pretty gross. It was a tough texture that was hard and chewy.  My companion and the elders that were with us helped me finish the chunks of meat in my soup.

Here you also greet everyone with a kiss. The elders are lucky because they get out of it, but for the hermanas, we always greet other women with a kiss on the cheek. My companion was surprised to find out that we do not do that in the US, or even make much physical contact. 

Here I have been reminded the power of Hymns. Whenever we go anywhere we ask if we could sing them a hymn. Even those who at first don't seem really receptive to listening to us will agree to a Christmas hymn, and afterword they will give us time. The hymns bring a spirit that touches their hearts and allows us to share a message with them. It is lovely!

It is different and difficult, but I am so grateful to be here. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve! 

Love You! 
Hermana Thacker

I like where we live because it seems pretty nice compared to the houses that we've seen, but my companion wants to move. We only have two windows. One in the front room and one small one in the bathroom. My companion doesn't like the fact that we don't get much natural light in the morning. 

My companion is 22 and in her 14th month in the mission. She is a convert and until recently her parents weren't members. They both got baptized while she's been on her mission, and in May after she gets back they will be able to go to the temple.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Honduras is so beautiful!


I finally made it to my area. This afternoon we had a long bus ride from the transfer meeting to here. This means we drove a good portion across the populated part of our mission I think. Honduras is so beautiful!

My companion is from Guatemala and her name is Hna. Tajiboy. President Klein talks highly of her. She doesn't speak much English and I don't speak all that much Spanish, so it will be an adventure! She said tonight we have dinner and I will get to try Honduran food. 

Quite honestly its a bit overwhelming, but esta bien I am excited to be here! Hna. Pratt (the wife of the MTC president) taught a lesson in relief society one of my first weeks in the MTC. She talked about looking for patterns in the scriptures/gospel. Her major example was the Pattern of the Garden of Eden. We start out somewhere safe and we progress there as much as we can. Then we are thrust out into the lone and dreary world where we can grow. She said that coming to the MTC was like leaving the garden. New circumstances and challenging experiences to learn from, but once they become familiar and easily handled the MTC becomes our new Garden of Eden. Once again we are cast out into our mission. Here's where I am. It's overwhelming, but it is part of the process and so much growth is waiting in this new, challenging experience. 

Love you! 

Con amor, 
Hna. Thacker

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"They are here!" (Letter from the mission president's wife)

They are here!  All 30 of our newly arrived missionaries are spending the day with us here in San Pedro Sula.  We have them learning many new things about the mission, eating yummy food, playing Preach My Gospel games and getting to know one another.

Thank you for sharing your missionary with us.  We love them very much already and we are so grateful for their service.  We know they will each be wonderful missionaries and bless the lives of many people here in Honduras as well as their families at home.

Best wishes always,

Hna. Klein

Ellos están aquí! Los 30 dnuestros misioneros recién llegados están pasando el día con nosotros aquí en San Pedro Sula. Hemos aprender muchas cosas nuevas acerca de la misión, comer deliciosa comida, el jugar juegos Predicad Mi Evangelio y conocer a los otros.

Gracias por compartir su misión con nosotros. Los amamos mucho ya y estamos muy agradecidos por su servicio. Sabemos que cada uno será misioneros maravillosos y bendecir la vida de muchas personas aquí en Honduras, así como sus familias en casa.

Mis mejores deseos siempre,

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Next Stop - Honduras!

They finally posted our flight stuff. We fly out at 10:30 Tuesday morning. We leave the CCM at 6. I think it will be a direct flight to San Pedro Sula, but they haven't shared this information yet. Either way, in just a few days I will be in Honduras!

Real quick I want to share something cool from John 1:35-51... Here is where some of the disciples of the Savior are called to the work. Two of the disciples of John heard Jesus speak and then followed Him. He asked them what they wanted and they told Him that they wanted to know ''Where dwellest thou?'' At a fireside last year I learned that this really means they wanted to know how dwellest the master. Jesus replies saying ''Come and see.'' As the story continues they spend the day with Jesus seeing how he lives, how he acts, and learning from him. The very next day these disciples go and bring their friends and family to Christ saying ''We have found the Mesias...We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth...Come and see.''

I love this! I totally identify with these disciples. I have found Him and have had amazing opportunities to see how He lives. Now it is my turn to invite others to ''come and see''! I am so grateful for the chance to serve a mission!

Love you! 
Next time you hear from me I will be in Honduras!

Mucho amor, 
Hermana Thacker 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I love how ''beautifully simple and simply beautiful'' this gospel is.

Wow! It's crazy to think that I am already halfway through my last full week of the CCM! I still don't have my flight plans from here to Honduras, so I don't know exactly when I am leaving. The day before I leave I think I get to email again. Hopefully they'll let us know soon what is going to happen. 

Thanksgiving dinner turned out so much better than I was expecting! They went all out! Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, rolls, pie and ice cream, and table cloths to dress it up a little! We all cried a little when we saw it all laid out.

As we finished up our Thanksgiving dinner they started putting out the Christmas decorations :)

Today we got to go to the temple for the last time. It didn't hit me until we were leaving that today was the last time I'll get to go to the temple for the next 17 months. I will miss it! I love having the chance to take time to ''be still'' and feel the peace the presides there.

Right after I got my mission call I began reading the Book of Mormon over again. This time I got a cheep blue copy and wrote the date and my testimony in the beginning blank pages. This week I finally finished it and I wrote the date and my testimony now in the last couple of pages. It was so neat to be able to visably see how my testimony has grown and deepened in the last couple of months. Flipping through the pages I read some of the insights that I had had while reading. One of my favorites though was in Moroni 10:32-33. These verses talk about the Atonement, and I highlighted every unto, in, through, and by I could find. Looking at those little words made a difference in how I viewed the Atonement. It clarified what is my part and what is the Savior's part. I learned that my job is to come unto Him, leave behind all ungodliness and to love God with all of my might, mind, and strength. When I do this His grace is sufficient to make me ''perfected in him,'' ''sanctified in Christ,'' and ''become holy, without spot.'' As I keep His commandments because I love Him, I can be changed by His grace and become who He wants me to be. 

I also learned some neat things about grace. I was reminded that grace is ''divine means of help or strength.'' The part that was new was that it also is the ''strength and assistance to do good works that [you] otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to [your] own means.'' Most often I forget that grace or divine help is something that I need every day. I tend to trust in the arm of flesh and my perceived means of perfecting and saving myself all by myself. I think that if I just can get to this point then I can ask the savior to help me out and finish the rest. However, I need His help every step of the way and He is willing and wanting to give it to me. I need to turn to Him every single day and repent every single day, and His grace is sufficient to help me do the things He's asked me to do. It is hard, but so worth it! 

I love my Savior so very much! I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve Him and to learn how to become like Him. I love how ''beautifully simple and simply beautiful'' this gospel is. I know that it is true, and it totally worth sharing! I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and that only through His Atonement can we progress at all! I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven who orchestrated this entire plan because He loves us. Being here I've come to understand how central that is to our entire message! It is the reason any of this matters. 

I love you all!
Thank you for your love and support and emails!! 

Con cariño, 
Hna. Thacker

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

''For My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts" Isaiah 55:8-9


     We've had some of the best lessons yet this week. In the one with our 'investigator' Benjamín we talked about following the example of Jesus Christ. In one of the pamphlets (the gospel of Jesus Christ one I think) there is the Sermon on the Mount painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch. Hna. Porter asked him to look at two of the listeners and decide which one he felt most like and which one he would most like to be. One that is to the left of the Savior is down on his knees gazing at Jesus hanging on to every word. The other is to the right of the Savior, and though he is sitting closer to Him, his back is toward the Savior and he's almost turning. Going into the lesson we thought for sure that Benjamín would say that he wanted to be the one on the left, but he said he would prefer to be the one on the right once he has turned back to the Savior. He explained that the man on the right would be stronger because he had to struggle to gain his testimony and the greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph. This struck me and reminded me that there is a purpose to my struggles and trials. They are opportunities to overcome, to turn to Christ, and to grow in faith. We knew that we were teaching by the Spirit when we as well as our investigator were being taught and edified. 

      We got to role play and pretend to be investigators just like in TRC! I really forgot how that feels, and I love it! I love it because it helps me understand more fully what my friends feel like. It's nice to have a change of perspective to refresh your own. 

       So, something I have come to realize over the past couple of weeks is that there is a difference between the way Sarah Thacker thought the lessons should be taught and the way that they have been divinely ordered and prepared. It has given new meaning to the scripture in Isaiah, ''For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts'' (55:8-9). I used to think that it didn't make any sense to use Book of Mormon scriptures to prove the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, or to teach the Plan of Salvation second when it really would just answer most of their concerns if we taught it up front. Well, Hermana Thacker has learned that the point is not to convince or use logic to talk people into believing. Our job is to invite. We use the Book of Mormon because of the Spirit it brings into lessons, and we let the Lord touch the hearts of the people instead of focusing on proving logically to their mind how true it has to be. The first lesson comes first because it's central message is receiving revelation. It demonstrates God's love for us and how we can come to know of that for ourselves. It sets the foundation, because without personal revelation that testifies that our message has what they need, there is no point to continue teaching. We tried teaching the Plan of Salvation first with our investigator Reinaldo. Yes it met his needs and brought him comfort, but we are struggling a bit with helping him understand why he needs the whole picture and can't just isolate the Plan of Salvation buffet style. I really am beginning to understand how Heavenly Father's ways are higher than my ways. 

      Also, I have a greater appreciation for hymns sung at the right tempo. We sing hymns a bunch... and our district likes to sing slowly. I Know That My Redeemer Lives sung at a funeral march tempo is not terribly fun. However, we are doing better now that we are singing Christmas hymns. :)

     It´s crazy to think that tomorrow is Thanksgiving! We are all anxiously waiting to see what we will be fed for dinner tomorrow. My best guess is a turkey gravy with potato chunks and pineapple. :) Pineapple goes in most things. Especially in American dishes that they prepare...

Happy Thanksgiving!! Love you lots! Don't forget to count your many blessings! 

con cariño, 
Hermana Thacker

For all 7 girls in our district we have three washers and one working dryer. This happens to be the best way to get our clothes dry. I'm starting to wonder if they believe in dryers here. The elders told us that they have to check the dryers they use for laundry soap because the Latinos put their clothes in them thinking they are washing machines...

Lunch today. It was called ''goulash.'' It was more like roast beef with red sauce. It was good though.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I Love Being a Missionary!

Buenas tardes!

     Life here at the CCM is still pretty great! We got to go to the temple again and got to drive through Mexico City on a holiday. I was expecting a bit more excitement, but turns out they celebrated this past weekend when they had Monday off. It is neat to be able to see a bit of what Mexico is like every other week. Today we drove past the Basilica de La Virgen Guadalupe. Our branch president told us that for Catholics the Basilica is the most sacred place in all of Central and South America. He said that on December 12th, the day they celebrate Guadalupe, people from all over will come and crawl on their hands and knees for the last half mile or so of their pilgrimage. Also on the way home from the temple he bought us bananas from a street vendor. Probably one of the best bananas I´ve had up to this point in my life. :)

     This last week we´ve been busy teaching 2 ´´investigators.´´ With one we´ve extended invitations left and right and he´s done what we´ve asked, but it hasn´t helped him the way we hoped it would. The other we keep forgetting to invite him to do anything, but the lessons with him have seemed to reach his needs better. Each has been challenging in different ways and we have really learned so much from them!

     We´ve gotten to the point that just about every day has about the same schedule. Breakfast at 7...or 7:15 if your companions have a hard time finishing getting ready in time...My companions are great, but they require a lot more time to get dressed and do their hair and make-up. Study for an hour, teach our first investigator (who happens to be our morning teacher), and then class. Class could be anything from language study to a section of Preach My Gospel, or even something out of our missionary MTC manuals. Our morning teacher is Hno. Muñoz and he went to high school here before his mission. After our morning class we have more study time, lunch, language study, gym, TALL (technology assisted language learning a.k.a. Rosetta Stone missionary style), study/planning, dinner, teach our second investigator (who happens to also be our night teacher), and then class. Our night teacher, Hno. Galicia just got married a month ago and he served his mission in Sonora Mexico. This will be our basic schedule for the next three weeks. I don´t know when exactly we leave Mexico, but my estimated departure date is 9 Dec. 

     Last night we had a really neat devotional from Elder and Sister Valenzuela (he spoke at the last general conference). They talked about how much the Lord is hastening his work. He shared a really neat scripture about this hastening. ´´And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten...and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect.´´(Moses 7:62) We talked about how this wave that is flooding the earth is us (missionaries) and happening now. The members, the missionaries, and everyone who will be taught are being prepared. My companion mentioned how interesting the parallelism is. In Noah´s day God used a flood to kill all the wicked, but now in our day He is rescuing the righteous with a flood! It is so exciting to be part of all of this! Elder Valenzuela talked about how the work is moving forward and if we want to move with it we have to take an active part. It reminded me of the Noyana/Come Come Ye Saints arrangement that VocalPoint did. The lyrics roughly translate to ´´We are going. Are you coming?´´ So, God is marching on, and we are going. Are you coming? Will you join us?

I Love being a missionary! I have learned so much already, and there is so much in store! I love this gospel and I am so grateful for this chance to serve!

Con amor, 
Hermana Thacker
They are already decorating for Christmas here. I guess I would too if I wasn´t celebrating Thanksgiving in the middle :)

This is Hna. Granado, Hna. Miller, Hna. Porter, me, and Hna. Baird. Hna. Granado and Hna. Baird are so much fun! Hna. Granado is from Arizona, goes to Utah state, and has only been a member for 2 years. Hna. Baird is from Massachusetts and goes to BYU-I

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week Two in the MTC

13 November 2013
I can totally imagine the robot voice.. I laughed out loud :)
Quick question, what exactly happened in the Phillipines? We watched a live devotional from the MTC in Provo yesterday. The Elder that prayed in the beginning prayed for the people there, and then Elder L. Tom Perry mentioned a tsunami. He said that yesterday morning the Quorum of the 12 spent most of their meeting thanking Heavenly Father that all of the missionaries were safe. He told us that there was a stake president that found all of the missionaries on his little island and provided trasport to get them to the airport. Once at the airport the missionaries, who all had tickets, couldn't get on the plane because everyone else was trying to leave too. A millitary cargo plane had arrived at about the same time as the missionaries and the commander came to see what was the matter. He looked at the missionaries, looked back at his plane, and said 'I've got a plane, lets go.' In three trips he transported all 24 missionaries safely back to Manilla. Elder Perry said, ''Coincidence? ABSOLUTELY NOT!'' It is amazing how the Lord protects and provides for His missionaries!

Me and My companions in front of the Mexico City Temple
This week has flown a lot faster! This week we have two investigators to teach but we have only taught one. It has been an exciting challenge bringing three wills to one in a lesson. Even though we all have the same purpose and end goal we each have our own way of getting there. We've learned the importance of planning. When we have a plan for how we are going to achieve our purpose and know what roles we each have the lessons go much smoother and are much more coherent. My companion,  Hna. Miller said that she's learned much more about how amazing it is that the Godhead is united in will and purpose. It is nearly impossible to get anything accomplished no matter how united you are in purpose unless you are united in will.
The Peanut Butter and Nutella Station
            Real quick, I'll tell you about the food. Every meal they have two options, a Latino option and an American option. So this morning I had ham and cheese rolled in a tortilla for breakfast. Lunch is the biggest meal and is usually the best. Here they are totally not afraid of reusing\using up what they have. For example, Monday night for dinner we had hot dogs. Tuesday morning for breakfast we had papas con salchicha (potatoes with cut up hot dogs). Tuesday for lunch la ensalada had cut up hot dogs in it. Tuesday for dinner, as a side to huge slices of pizza, we had a pasta dish with... cut up hot dogs in it... I really do love that they don't let anything go to waste. Also, at breakfast and dinner they have a peanut butter and Nutella station. Last week when we served in the Comedor(cafeteria), we were in charge of preparing that station. We got out 8 brand new jars of peanut butter and 10 new jars of Nutella. I wish I had a picture of the pantry shelves where they keep the Nutella and peanut butter.
            Oh, to answer your question about the temple. We had the option of having the head set to hear it in English, but I just listened in Spanish. My companions had 3-4 years of Spanish, but it was still rough in the beginning.  
            Lastly, before I try to send some pictures, this week for service we worked in the laundry folding bedding. I learned how to fold fitted sheets! Once you know it is actually pretty easy. It was actually pretty cool.

Con cariño, Hermana Thacker
PS. Funny story... my companion was teaching our investigator about how he needed to take steps of faith, but she kept saying pesos de fe. Finally he looked at her with a really puzzled look and said ''¿pasos?  She was so embarrassed. That’s OK though, an elder in our district  always said pasas which are raisins.
My MTC District
Advertisements in Mexico City

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Every Minute Has Been Worth It

Hola Familia! 
            We just had a devotional about how important understanding who God is in gaining a testimony. Elder Johnson (from one of the quorums of the Seventy) talked about how the sons of Mosiah always began teaching by making sure who they were teaching understood who God was. After Lamoni and the King of the Lamanites understood the basic doctrine of who God was, they were willing to believe everything else they were taught. What an important place to start in teaching Jayden! ... It's been a crazy week! I am in a trio with Hermana Porter and Hermana Miller.  (I will send a picture of us next week.) Hermana Porter is from Alpine, UT and just graduated from high school like Bekah.  Hermana Miller is from Boise, ID, and has done a year of school at Boise State. Both of my companions are really great, and I am so grateful for what they have already taught me!
            I've always heard that at the MTC (or CCM, el Centro de Capacitacion Misional) you just have to make it until Sunday. After that it is easier and a lot less overwhelming. It is totally true. The first few days were truly hard. The first day of classes my companeras and I were not prepared at all.  We didn't have any of the books and materials we needed because we didn't know what we needed to have when. And we were late to nearly everything. We finally figured it out though, and we haven't been late or unprepared for anything since.  
            On Friday we began teaching an 'investigator”.  It has been a wonderful experience to learn how to teach, but it is a bit frustrating when you cannot fully communicate the ideas you want to share. Our Spanish is improving fast though. Even just comparing our first lesson on Friday to the last lesson we taught on Monday!
            Sunday was amazing because it was a chance to focus on learning spiritually and not have to worry about our Spanish so much. The MTC President's wife taught a lesson in Relief Society about becoming who God wants you to become through the Atonement. In the evening we watched a devotional about prayer given by Elder Scott that helped me to evaluate my prayers. It was a nice gentle reminder of where I can improve and do better.
            Starting this week we have been less overwhelmed and less worried that our Spanish isn't improving as fast as we think it should. Yesterday we had a chance to serve by cleaning in the Comedor, and today we got to go to the temple. The Mexico City Temple is beautiful! It felt so great to be there and have a chance to be still. It is about 45 minutes away from the CCM and so we get to see a bit of Mexico City.  All of the especially important buildings--schools, hospitals, churches, colleges, etc--have a tall fence and guarded gates. If someone wants to advertise their business they just paint a big sign on the side of the building--the bigger and more colorful the better. People weave in and out of traffic if they have the right of way or not, and we even saw a troupe of jugglers as we waited a one stoplight. It was neat to see all of these little tiendas and street vendors lining the streets. However, I am grateful the CCM has a fence and guards and we get to be in the city but not of it.
            Truly, being here at the CCM has been a wonderful experience. Wonderfully hard, but I have learned so much that every minute of it has been worth it.

I love you all mucho!
Hasta luego!
Hna. Thacker

Thursday, October 31, 2013

     We have had a busy but fun weekend with the family.  Grandma and Grandpa Thacker and Grandma Smart all came to spend a few days with us.  We tried to keep them caught up with our hectic schedule and even managed a trip to Winter Quarters Temple.
     It is amazing how you think you have everything and suddenly need just a "few" more things and have just a "little" left to put away. Even with all the distractions and wanting to spend time with everyone, Sarah was able to prepare a talk for sacrament meeting, a lesson and treat for her Primary class, a talk for the youth discussion Sunday night, and she still managed to get everything packed and ready to go.
     Tuesday morning we all went to the airport at 5am to say goodbye. Mom and Dad were a little emotional, and Sarah got hugs from Ashley and Tate-we even got pictures as proof. 
     It was very hard to say goodbye, but we know that this is good. It makes it easier when you know that you are serving the Lord.  Sarah has always wanted to serve a mission. She recently told me that she remembered a time when she was in Primary and some friends said they would go on a mission if they were not married yet. It was the first time she realized that there was another option. She always expected to go on a mission. She has prepared for a long time.  There will be challenges but she will grow in so many ways. We are so proud of her and her decision to share the gospel and serve others. We will miss her, but would not want her to miss out on the blessings she will receive through this experience.

Day 1:  30 October 2013

I made it to the CCM(MTC) safe! I was worried when my first plane was delayed at the gate for about an hour, but I barely made it to the connecting one in detroit. I ended up being the only missionary on both flights. When I got to Mexico City it took me what felt like FOREVER to find anyone from the CCM. Finally I found the MTC greeter and we waited for two more sisters coming from Atlanta before getting on a bus with a bunch more missionaries. Most of them are headed to my mission!

I have two companions Hnas. Porter and Miller. I haven't met Hna. Miller yet, but Hna. Porter is from Utah.