July 31, 2014

First 10 Days in Monterrey! (Weeks 6 & 7)



**we went to the temple today so PDay was today! Usually it is on mondays**

FIRST I´d like to begin by saying that the end of my last post....RIP ENGLISH.... could not be more accurate hahaha.  Writing this email is the most time I've spent writing/Reading/thinking in english!  oh man....so much to say about these 2 weeks!  I really am doing great, but yeah I thought the MTC was difficult and tiring...I definitely lied.  I don't think I've ever felt this confused, lost, lonely, or worn out in my entire life!  Not to mention I've been soaked in sweat every since stepping off that airplane....soooo humid and hot here!



MISSION FACTS:  in this misión there are about 230 missionaries and only about 35 sisters!!  This first american sister came to this misión about 7 months ago.  about 60% of the missionaries here are natives of central/south america. On monday 4 of us came from the Provo MTC and 20 from the Mexico MTC.  haha we were all sitting in a room the first day awaiting instruction, and I was playing hymns on the piano and all the new hispanic elders were singing soo loud in spanish.  It was awesome.  They are all really funny elders.  We have about 60 baptisms each week in the misión.  My misión president is awesome!  Really funny guy.  Him and His wife are from california.



my first companion here in the misión is my "trainer" and she will be my companion these next 12 weeks.  Her name is Hermana Batalla, from Southern Mexico.  She is sooo great!  She's been in the misión for 10 months, and this is her 2nd time training.  She knows her stuff!  I definitely got my wish of having a native trainer, but her knowing barelyyyy any english is so difficult!  Learning everything from her in straight spanish is exhausting and stressful at times, but I really am picking up the language fast this way.  All the native missionaries are expected to learn english so it's been fun teaching her english.


The Area I'm in is SADA VIDRIO.  Some streets in my área {Dad so you can look on google maps!} is INDUSTRIAS DEL VIDRIO in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon;DUCLO SAOLINAS in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon *this is the Street I live on!* FRANCISCO G. SADA in San Nicolas, Nuevo LeonPLAN DE AYUTLA in Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon *where my church building is!*  Nuevo Leon is the state I'm in, and the 3 cities in my área are Guadalupe, Monterrey, and San Nicolas.  Monterrey has East and West missions.  The West is much more upperclass and wealthy.  The área I'm in is very humble.  The people are so warm and lovely.  It's really sad seeing how some of these people live, and yet they are all so happy.  Always surrounded by family just sitting outside their homes.  On the streets everyone says hello to everyone!  You aren't a stranger here.  You're friends with everyone!

we live in a tiny 2 person apartment with this super narrow staircase....haha getting my suitcases up here was such a challenge
Haha no one knocks on doors here!  You simply yell their names outside their home to get their attention.  You rarely find a home that doesn't have huge posters of Jesús and Mary, and you'll casually see Jesus' face on chain link fences near construction hahaha.  They loveeee the bible here.  Most of the people here love talking to us!  Hermana Batalla and I have about 20 progressing investigators, 20 kind of interested investigators, and we meet with less actives as well.  sooooo many people to keep track of!  We teach about 6 lessons a day.  The people here lovee to talk for hours haha.  It's cool teaching them outisde on their porches.  We have about 8 baptisms set for this month which is great! and hopefully more to come!

The drivers here are crazyyyyy! The rules are so relaxed.  Seat belts are optional to these people.  Everyday is an adventure haha don't worry mom I'm safe ;) I actually do feel very safe!  I have yet to see another american here so people often stare and are probably thinking...what is she doing here? or I will get creepy commentary but really I feel safe! We take taxis for far away places but typically we walk everywhereeee.  Good thing I have my black clunky nacho libre shoes for comfort haha!

The food is sooo delicious!  Lunch is the main meal here so we eat at a member's home everyday around 2 pm. Homemade tamales, tacos, tortillas, spicy salsas...Dad you would loveee the food here!  so spicy.  Because we eat at 2 we don't have a "real" dinner so we usuallyl get tacos from a taco truck around 9 pmhaha!  "campachanas" soooo good!

 first taco truck taco....success
everyone is always playing music in the streets.  On weekend nights this loud obnoxious brass band plays righttt outside our aparment around 11 pm haha!  everyday we do lots of Street contacts and it's sooo hard understanding people!  They talk so fast here!  Learning their names is a challenge. 

my typical day:

6:30 wake up/ exercise/ get ready
8am personal study
9am companionship study
10am language study
11 to 2pm teach people
2pm lunch
3 to 9pm teach people
9 pm plan for the next day
10:30 bed


a few cool experiences from this week (that i could understand... hahaha) we are teaching this older man who is partially blind, Ramón, and He had a dream where he saw an angel in his room and he thinks it is some sort of sign from God, so he is really interested in talking with us!  we also stopped to talk to this 80 year old woman in the road and she just started to cry saying that we were an answer to her prayers.  Moments like these are really cool!  We are teaching a Jehova's witness and she studies the bible for hours everyday...so that will be interesting teaching her.  So many cool experiences here in the mish!  The hardest part is going to have people stay committed. They love talking to us about God and Jesús but they have a hard time committing to come to church!

***meanwhile I have lots of bug bites, bright red sunburn on my neck, a constant sweaty back, more freckles, and a super cute baby farmer's tan***

It's a good thing I couldn't write home after the first few days because I would be a WHOLE lot more negative and stressed writing this post haha!  This adjustment is sooo hard...and I have felt really lonely and unable to connect well with the culture and people here.  During a lesson I just so badly want to know what they are talking about so I can help them!  But each day gets better...My trainer says I'm learning everything so fast and really moving fast in the language (although I don't feel that way... haha)  I just gotta remember I've only been here 2 weeks!!


a scripture about missionaries in Alma I've been refferring to lots goes like this:

"now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said:  Go amongst thy brethren, the lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success"


yo sé que Dios está allí por nosotros siempre, si pedimos por ayuda.  ¡amo ser misionera! hasta lunes....

*it's also the hottest day of the year today so that's cool... hahah gahhhh!*
happy happy happy

c o n  a m o r
hermana riches

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July 18, 2014

¡ Hasta Luego PROVO ! [last week in the MTC] (Week 5)

Guadalajara & Monterrey here we come!!
Well everyone- it is safe to say that I am SOOO excited to finally head out to Mexico on Monday!!!!  5 short days and I will be saying goodbye to Provo until I go back to BYU in January 2016!  Thank you to all of you who sent me mail/ packages this week:  (Mattinglys- thank you for the cupcakes!!!, Mom, Grammy B, Lincoln Wilcox, John, Becca, Katie Barrus, Kyle, Kelli Grannum (and Makenzie and Chloe :))  grammy/grandpa, and Chloe Bray!)  I am going to miss this easy USA mail system haha!

I can't believe I am finishing up my 6 weeks of missionary training.  I feel like I've been here forever, but at the same time it has gone by so so fast!  I am so grateful for all of the 4,000 + volunteers they have here at the MTC, the inspired speakers that I've had the honor to listen to, the incredible teachers here, and my 2 companions and district members I've come to form special bonds with.  When you are tightly glued to the same 9 people 14 hours a day (24/7 with my companions haha) it's safe to say you experience all of your super high and super low moments together.  We are all so different but collectively we all contribute to each other's strengths and make up for each other's weaknesses.  Having to teach/plan in a trio is not an easy thing!!  But I know that the positive energy and optimism from Hermana Wood and Hermana Grenfell really made my MTC experience so wonderful, and I know that Heavenly Father had me be in a trio so I could work on and improve my own weaknesses and to learn from their strengths.  Haha us 3 girls definitely brought energy and spunk to the classroom- our district makes fun of us because we are always singing some song from a musical (typically Les Mis or Hairspray) or some other "babalonion/worldly" pop song hahaha- but hey, they need our energetic personalities to get through those long class hours!
the girls in my district with one of our wonderful teachers Hermana Rasmussen
My mind is just overflowing with so many things to say right now!  When you're at the end of your MTC experience, you're like one of those water bottle rockets that is just waiting to explode due to the high pressure inside, and you just wanna TAKE OFF and blast into the air haha!  I am so spiritually charged and just ready to meet those wonderful people of Monterrey!  I think about them 24/7, and I am so excited to experience the power of Jesus Christ change their lives.  Here are some final thoughts:

Be Genuine & Responsive- Not a Cold Instruction Manual:  They emphasize so much here that MEMORIZATION is not the goal.  We aren't going around sharing with people a memorized lesson out of "Preach my Gospel" (A guide to missionary service)- we are to "teach with discernment and discern the uniqueness of the person's needs"- Holland.  It's like 2 teams playing in the SuperBowl- if the opposing team makes a play that doesn't line up with your game plan, you've got to react and change your strategy.  If we plan a memorized lesson word for word, we won't be ale to really respond/aid any needs of the investigator, and we will simply be "vomiting facts and info that has no importance to them" (according to my teachers hahaha).  We need to relate every doctrinal aspect to their own lives.  And having to do it in another language is so hard!  haha me and my compañeras have learned from our mistakes- we will prep for a lesson, finalize what we are teaching, study vocab for that topic and mentally prep in our minds the spanish we are going to use.  We will go to meet with our investigator, and they'll ask us a question that is totally unrelated to the topic we prepared for and we just gotta switch gears!  It's hard but our number 1 priority is the needs of our investigator.
so weird being back at the BYU basketball stadium for devotionals!  Gunna miss these wonderful elders!
think the most important quality- actually, I KNOW the most important quality- I'm going to need is to always have charity.  My job is to have my investigators "feel a divine sense of love" from God and their savior Jesus Christ.  An investigator can tell if a missionary is just trying to get a goal number of baptisms---and that's not our purpose.  Charity is a gift that must be asked for and prayed for and it "always requires sacrifice".  One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 13:1 "though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am becoming as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal"- if we aren't teaching with charity, our message will be as "jarring as a brass instrument and will give them a headache"--according to the speaker we had last night hahaha.  But it's true- it is so important that I love every single person who not only accepts this gospel but also those who slam their doors in my face or refuse to listen, because "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" D&C 18:10.
BYU homie Sister Elizabeth Kelly going to serve in Washington DC!  I'm really going to miss seeing my BYU friends all the time here.
Lastly, I just wanna say that my goal as a missionary is not to convince people that this church is true.  I want to "cultivate in their hearts a Living, Vital, Vibrant testimony and knowledge of the Son of God" and to bring a "life changing power that penetrates the heart"- Hinckley.  Last night, a speaker here told us a story of a man he taught on his Mission in Brazil.  This speaker talked about this investigator and how it was the first baptism he had on his mission.  He went on to say that he "proved to this investigator that the church as true" and "convinced him to get baptized".  This man got baptized, then stopped going to church after a week.  This young missionary went back to the man's house and asked--"Why weren't you at church?"  The man replied--"Well, I know this is the true church, you convinced me, and I got baptized.  So why do I have to still go to church?"--This speaker said this was one of the biggest regrets he has from his mission.

The most important part of getting baptized in the name of Jesus Christ is "Perserverar Hasta el Fin" (enduring to the end).  I need to instill a strong faith in Jesus Christ into the hearts of my investigators so that they are converted unto the Lord and not just converted to me or the church.  Christ is the central focus in our missionary work, and it's only through Him that we can obtain grace and mercy in this life.  Baptism is only the gateway to obtaining all the blessings Heavenly Father has in store for us--It's not the end mark.

I know these next 17 months are going to be filled with joyful times, sad times, hard times, and miraculous times.  But nonetheless, I've got Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ by my side every step of the way.  "God does not expect immediate PERFECTION, but he does expect immediate PROGRESSION".  I am so excited for all the ways I am going to learn and grow through out this adventure!  I love being a missionary and am so grateful for this opportunity.

One of my favorite hymns:  "Be Still My Soul" goes like this:

verse 1:

Be still my Soul:  the Lord is on thy side
With patience bear they cross of grief or pain
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
in every change, he faithful will remain.
be still my soul:  they best, they Heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

I'm so excited to incorporate my passion for music into the messages I leave with people-- for music has a way of testifying the truth when words lack the ability.

My "prep" days in the mission field will be on MONDAYS.  I fly to Mexico this Monday the 21st and then I'll be able to write home the 28th!  I look forward to sharing with you all my stories about all the wonderful people I meet, and the exciting adventures I have in store.

¡¡Gracias por su amor y apoyo!! Te extraño todos mucho.  ¡Hasta el 28th de Julio! 

R. I. P. English <3 -- GOODBYE AMERICA

c o n  a m o r
Hermana Riches

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July 09, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Amurrica! (Week 4)

Having Carrie Underwood perform right next to us at the BYU football stadiumswas a bit painful.....but at least we got to enjoy some "fuegos artificiales”
Hola familia y amigos!!  Week 4 is done here at the MTC, and I only have 12 days until Mexico!! yayyyy!  Thank you to Katie Barrus, Señora Schmitz, mom, gabrielle, chloe, kyle, and emily crowder for writing me! and for all the emails i recieved!  Last friday we had a mini 4th of July celebration-there was no pool or BBQ involved, but we did get to watch fireworks and have ice cream which was a good enough celebration for me!  Every year they have a concert here for the 4th of July at the BYU football stadium, and Carrie Underwood performed this year. Unfortunately we could not teach and convert here- nor attend her concert hahaha but we still had a great night.  Staying up an hour past our "9:30 curfew" was very liberating to say the least...
                        
Freedom is Never Free:  
people think that Disneyland is the "happiest place on earth" but really the MTC is.... hahahaha
We had a devotional that Friday night about Freedom- the freedom that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemani and died on the cross to pay the price for not only our own sins, but for our burdens, trials, and sicknesses we experience here on earth.  As missionaries, we are inviting people to recognize and enjoy this freedom- this freedom from sin and pain and affliction, freedom to live with God again, and this freedom to be with our families forever.  "Real freedom comes from Jesus Christ and HE is the reason we have freedom".  In 1830 Joseph Smith restored this freedom for the world, and I am so excited to share this restored gospel with others so they can experience the liberating feelings that come through exercising faith in Jesus Christ.  A lot of times people think us Mormons have so many "rules" and "restrictions" but really these principles that we live by are so liberating.  As members of the church, we strive to live a life that leads us back to our Heavenly Father- and he has provided a way for us to do that.  I can't wait to share with people the truths and knowledge that I have, and to bring light to their lives through this "freedom" they can access through Jesus Christ.

Well this week FLEW by.  The first week here was pretty rough just getting used to this new lifestyle, but I can honestly say I am so so happy!  The language is coming along so well, and yes of course you have hard times here but it is so fun being with so many missionaries.  They are moving all our devotionals to the Marriot Center (BYU basketball stadium) because there are so many of us!  Everyday I think to myself:  "How am I so happy and sane?!"  haha in my journal a few days ago this is what I wrote:  "It amazes me how happy I am and how not stressed I am about worldly matters.  I would not be able to do this without the Spirit or Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ.  There is no way!  I would not be sane haha!!  NO one would."  If it weren't for the spirit here, none of us could have the ability to do this work.  You can't describe it to someone- you just have to be in the MTC to experience it!  (for those of you non-Mormons, what I mean by the "Spirit" is the holy ghost who is the third member of the godhead with God and Jesus Christ that acts as a comforter in our lives and confirms religious truths and provides direction in our lives).  When we teach people, it is through the spirit that people really gain confirmation for themselves that the things we are teaching are true.  Missionaries are simply "instruments in the hand of the Lord" and your message has no impact on people if the spirit isn't present.  As we've been teaching our investigator Gabriella, we teach her basic concepts like "God loves you.  You are his daughter.  Christ died for your personal pains and sorrows and understands how you feel"- and there is a tangible spirit in that room and her face just lights up and she explains how warm her heart feels- and that is purely the spirit conveying that message (regarding our investigator- we are lucky to get to actually teach a real investigator because normally they don't let MTC missionaries teach real investigators- normally church members "pretend" to be investigators but a few within the mix are real, interested people and Gabriella is one of those!)  
everyday is so exhausting that you just have to fall on the floor to take a breather hahahah
Last night an apostle, Elder Andersen, gave a devotional all about the Holy Ghost and it was so great.  So many apostles have been giving devotionals here at the MTC lately, and some missionaries never get the chance to hear from any- so i have been so incredibly lucky!  He talked about the miracles we are going to witness on our missions and how we need to wait patiently for the "magic"- it's pretty remarkable already witnessing some miracles here with learning the language.  I have BYU friends here learning italian, french, romanian, korean, mandarin, figian, portuegese, russian, martial islander hahaha literally every language!  And all of us can teach lessons about Jesus Christ and bear witness of what we know to be true.  It's insane how fast we learn these languages- and it's all through the spirit that we can do this.  D&C 84:85 "neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given to you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man"- you have returned missionaries say all the time... "all of a sudden I was just speaking the language so perfectly and it just came out and I had no idea what I had just taught".  it's such a true thing!!!  If you diligently study and prepare for your investigators, Heavenly Father will tell you in your hearts through the spirit what this investigator needs to hear.  D&C 84:88 "and whose recieveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face.  I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my spirit shall be in your hearts and mine angels round about you to bear you up".  I don't have the ability to be a missionary all on my own- Heavenly Father is blessing me every minute and giving me strength to do this.

They tell us here of the importance to pray specifically for things we need and questions and struggles we have.  In our church, all of our prayers are "personal conversations with God" and we don't have written out prayers that are recited.  We can pray anytime and anywhere.  It's amazing how Heavenly Father really does answer my prayers- hahaha one day I was just feeling really pessimistic and I just said a prayer in my heart that I would have a better attitude and feel love for those around me- and it seriously worked!  It wasn't the minute after I finished my prayer, but throughout the day I really did feel my heart change.  That's just one small example of the many tender mercies I have recieved through prayer.

I know that God wants us to pray and come unto him and when we do, He is more than willing to answer our prayers and help us. D&C 112:10 "be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers"

Today my zone (about 30 missionaries) had the awesome opportunity to clean the Provo temple.  We got to clean by hand the beautiful chandeliers inside- a total of about 150 crystal chandeliers and we only cleaned a few and it took almost 4 hours!!  They deep clean the temple once a year, and it's really neat that I was apart of the missionary group that gets to do that.  The temple is so beautiful, clean, and white inside, with beautiful golden crystal chandeliers.  I can't wait to share with my investigators the beautiful blessings you can recieve in the House of the Lord.

Well- I really am doing so great!  It's pretty hot here in Utah- high 90s all day.  Wednesdays are the best seeing new missionaries come in. I'm a true veteran here.  It gets pretty monotonous here but before I know it, I will be a lost blonde girl wandering the streets of Mexico hahaha 

One last thing I'll leave with y'all is the power of faith.  The world is so focused on needing "facts" to prove everything, and rarely do we just follow the impressions of our hearts.  Have I seen Jesus Christ and God personally?  no.  Did I watch Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon and see his vision of God and Jesus Christ?  no.  Have I prayed and recieved confirmation that this church is true?  yes- and anyone who asks in prayer will recieve this same confirmation!  Moroni 10:4-5 "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father in the name of Christ if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask, with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things".  all of us 85,000 missionaries in the world at this second wouldn't be out here preaching to the world if it wasn't true.  Having Faith brings us power:

Alma 32: 21:  "and now as I said concerning faith- faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true"
DOCE DÍAS DOCE DÍAS 
MISS AND LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
c o n  a m o r
hermana riches  

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July 05, 2014

What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas (Week 3)

well i have officially hit my halfway point here at the MTC!  2 1/2 weeks left, and then I will be on my way to Monterrey.  The MTC has been great, and the days really do go by so fast--buttttt i'm so ready to leave!  This week I recieved so many great letters and packages- big thanks yous to Tiffany, nancy sutter, chloe bray and her wonderful fam, angie, kyle, mom, katie barrus, the wainwrights, both sets of grandparents, the wisemans, and all the emails i recieved.  It means so much feeling your love and support! ALSO BIG MUCHAS GRACIAS TO KYLE RICHES for sending me this personalized scripture cover he had made for me in Chile!!!! the details are incredible and words can't describe how much i love it!  even with the monterrey temple on the back- amazing!
INCREÍBLE-so so cool Kyle. Thank you so much for this special gift!
yesterday i got to go on a little adventure to LAS VEGAS to pick up my visa for mexico!  It was a long day waking up at 4 am and not getting back to provo until 10 pm.  When we were waiting for our flight, a missionary by our gate was on his way back home to orange county, ca.  it was really interesting talking to this missionary at the end of his mission, and here we are just beginning.  You could tell by the look on his face that he was really sad to be going home! He served in the salt lake city spanish speaking mission, and he just went on and on about how much he loved it.  He expressed how jealous he was of us for having this whole adventure ahead of us.  Some "advice" he gave us was:  "Don't spend your mission being stressed- be happy"  "write down every tender mercy and blessing you recieve each day"  "work hard every single day until that flight home"--these three things can apply to life, not just a mission.

it felt kinda strange being in the "real world" with my plaque haha!  It's safe to say us 10 missionaries stood out in the Vegas airport among the slot machines and glitter decor.  I had to refrain from breaking into "oops I did it again" when passing by big billboards of Britney Spears.  A senior missionary picked us up, and we went to a church building near the airport and talked about mexico and important info to know.  It was also sweltering temperature of 115 degrees outside-- good prep for mexico.  The following is some tidbits of info that I have been informed of:

-don't bring/wear jewelry...for it will be stolen off your body in a matter of seconds
-the majority of people will not own fridges/stoves
-they cook their food outside on hot plates- the only thing people really do in their homes is sleep
- they do not refrigerate things such as mayo, eggs, and milk--and it's totally fine to eat them haha
- the only food that is safe to eat off the streets is corn on the cob because they boil them in water
- if i drink/brush my teeth with unfiltered water I will have paresites the rest of my life..... 
- "waldos"- the only store that sells peanut butter #veryimportant
- "bubalubas"- the only really good chocolate candy they have #alsoveryimportant
- they have walmarts and a variety of american brands...yay haha!
- you can't eat berries because you can't effectively clean them
- i'm not sure what my hot water situation is going to be like....so i shall prepare for a variety of types of showers hahaha
-beware of cockroaches
-mail system is not reliable
-and.  they have diet coke.

I'm in for an adventure!  also what's really cool is this is the first time they are sending american sister missionaries to mexico in the last 25 years, so we are the "pioneer generation" and could be going into areas that have never had sister missionaries before!  I really hope my first companion is native so i can be immersed in the language.
¡ IRÉ A MÉXICO !
this week we started to teach a real investigator which has been so fun.  My 2 comps and I have had 2 lessons with Gabrielle, a byu student originally from Mexico.  She has so much happy energy and just ratlles of spanish so quickly- AND I CAN UNDERSTAND!  She is very impressed that we can converse with her--- teaching lessons just gets easier and easier.  El Don de Lenguas es verdadero people.  The gift of tongues is real.  She really wants to develop a closer relationship with Heavenly Father and learn more about the purpose of this life.  When we talk with her, she has the biggest smile on her face and just has so many great, well thought out questions for us.  We will be teaching her these next 2 weeks.

Because it is our 4th week here, we are expected to speak spanish SIEMPRE.  always.  Since the first day, in hermana cabello's words... !INGLÉS ESTÁ MUERTO!  english is dead.  but yes, it is frustrating being told you have to speak in spanish all the time, but you really do learn the language so much faster.  

I met a sister missionary the other day from Armenia and she is going to the San Francisco mission!  I informed her that it was the best place/ mission.... ;)  she is on her 8th week out of 9 weeks here and her english is really good!  She has learned it for the first time here at the MTC.  It's amazing meeting people from all over the world going to all different places.

Last sunday my 2 comps and I sang "Beautiful Savior" in church and it was so beautiful!  It's great being in a companionship where both girls have good ears for music!  We quickly put together 3 part harmony, and everyone loved it!
when all of the girls in your district are cool enough to wear the same shirt in different colors...
Everyday on the mission they emphasize how much this work isn't about you.  They really ingrain in you that you are here to serve Heavenly Father and your investigators.  It's a period in your life where you can solely focus on others' needs besides your own and learn to love others and adopt christ-like attributes.  You really learn so many lessons about having humility.  You go your whole life making decisions for yourself, you're told in college that it's the most selfish time of your life, and then you have to suddenly switch your mindset into only thinking about other people's problems but your own.

Key quotes from this week's lessons and devotionals:

"everyday we choose if today is going to be a good day or a bad day"
"we think of tomorrow too much- enjoy today"
"people don't know what's in your heart- so tell them"
"how people feel about themselves is often dictated by how you treat them"
"deflect the light from yourself"
"christ turns INWARDS when we would turn OUTWARDS"
"if you are converted unto the Lord, you will never go astray"
"be converted to the Lord, not the church"

We watched a video here of a famous MTC talk by Elder Bednar called "character of christ"- not sure if you can find it online but it is the best talk i've ever heard!  I wish I could write every single note from that video but I don't have time- Moral of today's post:
- Turn OUT to others with love, service, and compassion
- "get over yourself"
- study characteristics of christ and adopt his attributes

John 15:13 "greater love hath no man than this, that a man may lay down his life for his friends"

Christ loves us.  God loves us.
seeing BYU friends everyday is the best! shout out to SISTER LIZZIE BLACK for arriving this week learning Romanian :)
!HASTA MIÉRCOLES!
c o n  a m o r
hermana riches

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