Thursday, March 31, 2011


hola again!!
I cant believe that I am already here on the computer again writing another email home. The weeks really do just fly by. I have already been here for a month. which means I am about half way through. crazyness. I dont feel in any way ready to leave here. Yesterday my class fully immersed in spanish, meaning if we need to say or ask something it has to be in spanish. so pretty much i just dont talk. I am realizing that I really need to focus hard on my spanish because I have so much to learn. We taught our first lesson in spanish last saturday and man can I just say that it was a total bust. It is such a struggle when we are teaching an investigator and there is something i want to tell them so bad but I just can figure out how to say it in spanish. Pray for me because I need all the help I can get with this spanish.
                    My district was the new people in the zone for 3 weeks and finally last week we got a new district and then yesterday we got another one. So we are officially not the new missionarys anymore. It is awesome!!! I feel so much older than them. its kind of weird here because ages doesnt exist. like the fact that I am 21 and the elders are 19 doesnt even matter, its all about who has been at the mtc longer. All of the district that have been here longer than me just seem so much older. The two new districts we got are ALL elders meaning NO sisters. it is kind of sad. Although the elders are great I love having other sisters and once the district above us leaves the four of us sisters in my district will be the only sisters in the zone. We are now the 2nd oldest district in the zone. man its hard to believe.Have I talked about how every devotional we all sing called to serve together and it is incredible to hear 2000 missionaries sing it. The spirit it always so strong when we all sing it but last sunday at the fireside we stood up and sang it with all our might and it was amazing. Everyone was just so excited because that is what we are doing, we are called to serve. Every sunday night we have a fireside and every tuesday night we have a devotional and it is always exciting to see who is going to come. It is usually someone in the quorum of the seventy which is great!! Last sunday my companion and I were asked to give a lesson for our district meeting and we were asked to teach on charity. It was such a great opportunity to read more on charity and to realize what an important characteristic it is to have. Charity is something we all need to strive to have more of. but anyways our girlie/relief society came out of us and we decided to give a handout with our lesson and my companion just happened to have some little containers of play-doh and we named it "chari-doh" and wrote on it "sculpt yourself to be more like christ" i think our district was pretty excited its always fun to have a little handout.

                 Dad sent more brownies this week! haha when I got the package and saw that it was brownies i couldnt wait to show my district. They were all excited and I was able to share them with brother brown this time and we all quite enjoyed the brownies. I even shared some with Evan and Dylan. its such a treat to be able to see them everyday and practice our spanish with each other. Yesterday at lunch the mtc president President Brown randomly came and sat by us at lunch. He was quizing us at sciptures we knew and asking where scriptures were about the atonement. It was super intimidating and I realized how much a still need to learn. Today for study im planning on finding scriptures. He threatened to call me up during a devotional to test me. ahhh scaryy!!!!!
well the time is blinking and i have 2 minutes. my heart is racing. i love you all and miss you lots. have a wonderful day!!!
hermana vanwagenen
ps i still havent seen sister martin. i am looking for her everywhere. christa should try to figure out her schedule for me. like when are her meal times, where is her class. i have to see her!!!
pss keep the letters coming!!! i absolutely love reading your letters and hear what is going on in the outside world. we really are in our own little world here. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


"holla mi familia y amigos!!!
how are you all doing? this week has been just like every other week, lots of class, lots of studying, gym time, meal times and little sleep times. :) You know how I told you about hermana ponaveitongo? well we had a really neat experience because last thursday night our whole zone decided we were going to fast for her and her family. We all prayed together and fasted on friday. It was a really neat experience to come toegether as a zone for her I felt like it really unified our zone and you could tell that she truly felt our love. It was amazing. As I was thinking about her situation i have just thought, what better place for her to be at this time than on a mission with all of these people that love her and know that everything will be alright because of this gospel. How amazing! She seems to be doing a little better lately which is good!
Last saturday was officially the hardest day I have had since being at the mtc. It was just the longest day ever and I felt like nothing was going right that day. but it comforted me to know that everyone in our zone hates saturday. We are just going going going all day its the end of the week and we are all just so tired. but all is good and it just made me really grateful for all the other great days I have had here. Although there are hard days because I feel like I just cant learn anymore or my brain is fried from so much class all day I have great comfort in knowing that my heavenly father is by my side, he knows what I am doing and he is there helping me through this. This week I have truly found an appreciation for my teacher Brother Brown. I have just really realized that I think I have the best teachers at the mtc. We have all been stressing about spanish and how we just cant learn it and how it is hard so in class the other day as brother brown was teaching he told us how it really doesnt matter if we dont know anything but to use the words we do know and even if it isnt a lot if we say it with meaning the spirit will be there and touch those peoples lives. He gave an example of him saying three words.... Jesucristo, Jose Smith, and la iglesia (chruch). He was super passionate as he said each of these words and even though he was only saying these three words it was truly incredible how strong the spirit was while he was speaking. It just really gave me courage to just speak spanish as much as I can. These past couple of weeks as we teach lessons we have just had to teach them in english but this saturday for the first time we have to teach the first lesson in spanish to our teacher. Pray for me! I am scared out of my mind!!!!
My companion and I are still doing great! We get along great and each and everyday I just realized how blessed I am. Yesterday (wednesday) we recieved a solo sister. This sister is going to germany and is the only sister in the mtc at this time that is going to germany. ( can you say lonely?) So since all of the german missionaries have the exact same schedule as us we Hermana Hamman and I have been assigned to her, which means every morning at 7 we have to escort her to her class and she will go to gym and temple with us. Basically she stays with the elders in her district all day but if she cant be with them she has to be with us. I feel so bad for her because as we get ready for missions we are all expecting to have a companion but she got here to nothing. So it is really important that we welcome her and make her feel loved cause I sure it is hard. It will be interesting but she seems cool so Im sure it will be good. Her name is Sister Funk and she went to school at BYU-I and went to Jerusalem so we have some stuff in common. Im excited!! Mom was asking about our bedroom, well before our solo sister got here it was just 4 of us in our room (the four of us sisters in my district) but now we have 5. It is kind of weird to share a room with 5 people but it really isnt bad because honestly the only time we are in our bedroom is from 10 pm- 7 am (the times we are sleeping) the only hard thing sometimes is the snorring, but its not too bad. Well one thing i have learning about myself since being here is apparently I am really easy to tease... hmmm I thought I got out of that since Im not around dad anymore but noooo.... my elders are constantly teasing me! There have been a few times where I start laughing really really hard and they all tell me I laugh like a Brontosauras (some kind of dinosaur) and whenever they see me they make the noice I apparently make when I laugh.. great!! The teasing just continues on with many other things. I deal with a lot here at the mtc. I just think of the elders like little brothers and just do it right back at them. It makes things entertaining! :)
Basically I just want you to know that I am doing well! I am happy to be hear and I know that I am suppose to be here. It is truly incredible how much I am learning everyday i really do love it. I know a lot of people hate the mtc and yes is does feel like you are trapped in some other world but it is so amazing to be around so many other missionaries all the time with the spirit so strong. I am happy to be here and I am glad I still have more time here. It was weird for me to think that if I was speaking english I would have been leaving this week. One of my favorite parts of being here is every tuesday at devotional when we all sing Called to Serve. The spirit is so strong and we all know our purpose of being here. The church is true. Keep smiling. i love  and miss you all mucho!!!
muchas amor,
hermana van wagenen"

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hello out there!
It crazy to me that it is already p-day again! I swear it was just p-day but at the same time it feels like forever ago. Time doesnt exsist here. Most of the time I dont even know what day it is. I know understand exactly what people mean when they say that the days feel like weeks but the weeks feel like days. It is soooo true! I told you how I recieved the brownies you sent and how I wanted to share them with my teacher hermano brown that night because right when we met him he told us he loved brownies and that we will get brownie points if we bring him brownies. So I had opened them on wednesday night and shared some with my district and then saved the rest to eat the next night during class. I was so excited to share them and when I told him I had brownies you should have seen how excited his face was until I opened up the box and the brownies were covered in ants!! it was the saddest thing ever! no brownies for hermano brown.
This week has been an interesting week. We have now been here for 2 weeks which means we have gotten to know each other really well. I have really come to learn the importance of companion unity. My companion and I have great unity and we get along super bien! but there is another companionship in my district that doesnt and it is amazing to the impact it has not only on them but on our district and everyone around them. We have had many discussions about unity and we even watched "the district" to see how they got along as companionships. It is so important that even if you dont get along to do anything you can to have unity with each other. I saw Elder Grimes and Cucuk yesterday!!! I was so excited to see them, I was worried that I wouldnt see them because there are so many people here and everyone has different schedules because I hardly ever see Sisters Horsepool and Farley. but luckily both Elder Cucuk and Grimes homes (aka classrooms) are in the same building and floor as me so I think I will see them often which is awesome!! It was so funny because my companion and I were just contacting someone at their door and in the middle of the contact I here voices and I turn around and Elder Grimes was standing there. It totally caught me off guard I didnt even rocognize him because I wasnt expecting him to be there. One of my favorite things in the whole entire world of being at the MTC is the temple walks on sunday. They are seriously amazing! It is so funny to see the temple just filled with missionaries but the feeling of walking out of the mtc is a nice little feeling of freedom and I think everyone just loves it.
Yesterday one of my favorite sisters in my zone (Hermana Ponaveitonga aka Hermana Tonga thats what I call her because i cant ever pronounce her last name) found out that her grandpa passed away and along with that her mom called her and basically told her that she was disowning her because she wont fly home to go the funeral. She is a convert and no one else in her family are members so they already arent happy about her being on a mission. But my heart has just been breaking for her and the struggles she is going through in her life right now. It is so interesting how her joining the church has brought so much trials in her life but it also brings so much comfort at the same time. The church truly is a blessing and will help her get through these trials.
It is incredible the amount of information I have learned in this little amount of time. I have never felt so emotionally drained but it is in a good way. Spanish is coming along slowly but surely. I still have a long way to go but i have been trying my hardest to whenever I know words to say them in spanish. Even if most of the time how I am saying it is totally wrong. My companion and I currently have 4 progressing investigators (aka teachers at the mtc acting as investigators they had in their mission) It is so interesting to do this because even though we know that they are teachers there is something about it that makes it so real at the same time. When we start teaching everything becomes real and I think of these people (Carolina and Jackie) as real investigators. We pray for them and do all we can to know what they need to be taught. I know that this is helping me so much in preparing to be a better missionary. I know exactly what it is like to teach someone. I absolutely love it!
We went to the temple this morning and it was just great! It always just brings me so much peace and love when I go. I look forward to this opportunity every week. The plans for the rest of our p-day are to take a nice needed nap, do laundry, write letters :), and class later tonight. Happy day!!! I love you all so very much and think about you often. I have the cute picture of mckay that amy sent me by my bed and also the sweet pic ky sent me of her and dad at the daddy daughter dance. I love it. Send me more pictures!!!!! I want to see whats going on. Keep writing me letters really are what keep me going! I miss and love you all! Have an amazing day and remember the church is true and heavenly father loves you so much!!!
Hermana Van Wagenen
P.S. My friend jenn told me that people have been printing off blog post and sending them to her. That is pretty much that best idea ever! so you should do that because then I can see pictures and also know whats going on... just an idea! :)
also congrats to ali snarr!! I was so excited to hear that she is finally engaged!  yay!! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011


"holla family and friends!!
well it has officially been 8 days of me being in the mtc! i feel like so much has happened and i have so little time to tell you. but first off i was to start by saying gracias gracias gracias to everyone for your letters and packages!! I couldnt believe how many people sent stuff. i feel loved and appreciate all of it!!! Did you get my letter i sent on the first day? I didnt get any responses so i wasnt sure if you ever recieved it. well... i love the mtc!! it was kind of hard to get used to at first because of the strict schedule from 6:30 to 10:30 at night but it is great and althought i feel tired a lot I am getting used to it and it is great. well my district consists of 4 elders and 4 sisters. which i dont think is very common but it is awesome! if you had asked me a week ago how my district was i would have told you that we were all kind of quiet and reserved but 1 week letter and everything is different. my district is crazy!!! we have a lot of fun and get along really well.  we are all going to my mission but one elder is going to columbia bogota. 
          My companions name is hermana hamman and i absolutely love her!! she is from twin falls, idaho we get along so well and i honestly couldnt ask for a better companion. we have a lot in common and she is hilarious and we are always laughing. During gym time we have been run/walking around the track together and it has been so great to have someone that will work out with me. My teachers are hermano brown and hermana cannon and they are both AMazing!! i feel so lucky to have them as teachers! they both returned from their missions not too long ago and have so much to teach us and so many stories to tell us. it is awesome! one of the things they do a lot at the mtc is role play. and role play = my biggest fear!! but our teachers are always thinking of investigators they taught on their missions and they pretend to be them while we try to teach them. i have slowly gotten to feeling more comfortable with it but i really do know that it is the best way for us missionaries to learn and grow to be good missionaries when we get to the field. it is crazy to think how much i have already learned in the 8 days of being here. we are literally in the class all day and sometimes we get crazy after being their for too long but we call it home and our district is a little family. we went to the LRC on tuesday for the first time and i am not going to lie i was scared out of my mind. this is where they give you a fake investigator and you have to teach them. our task was to introduce ourselves and talk to them for a little bit in spanish and then teach the lesson in english. it ended up being not to bad, i know i have a lot to work on but i think that it is great practice to get used to what it is really going to be like. on sunday they asked all of us to try our best to get up in church and bare our testimonies in spanish. I was just sitting there thinking i have been here for 3 day.. how am i suppose to do that?!? so i tried my best to learn as much as i could to bare it and then because of time i didnt get to bare it but i now can attempt to bare my testimony and pray in spanish. 
                 Another thing that our branch does is every sunday they just randomly select an elder and a sister to speak that day. they tell us the topic the week before and we have to prepare our talk to possibly give the next sunday in spanish. this week is it on the holy ghost and i am attempting to write this talk in spanish but it is difficult because i dont know spanish but i just have to remember that we are all learning spanish and if anyone makes a mistake we all understand.  learning spanish gets super stressful at times because we hear all of the missionaries that have been here way longer than us speak all of this spanish and we dont understand a word they are saying but i just have to remember it has only been a week and continue to learn as much as i can. i have officially seen everyone i know at the mtc. i ran into sister horsepool on sunday, sister farley several times and two other friends from idaho sister cheney and sister gormely many times. it really makes my day when i see familiar faces!  when i see sister horsepool (going to russia) and sister cheney ( going to japan) i realize how grateful i am to be learning spanish and not those languages. 
                   Today is p-day and we got to go to the temple this morning. ahhh i cant tell you how amazing that was!! it was so nice to walk off campus and feel the peace of the temple. i thought of mom a lot while i was there because i was always going with her and i was missing that but going as a missionary was wonderful and i know that i am going to be looking forward to every thursday because of that. haha life is good!  i am happy to be here and i know i am suppose to be here right now! i am learning so much and i am excited to learn so much more!! i miss you all and you better keep writing because to a missionary a letter is just a ray of sunshine in the day! love you lots!!!
Hermana Van Wagenen
p.s. everyone has a difficult time pronouncing my name!! haha"

Monday, March 7, 2011


We got a letter from Kara today of her first day! She seems so happy and we are so excited to hear more from her.

"Hello Family!

My mission president told us that sometime today or tomorrow that we need to take a minute to write home. Today has been a really overwhelming but awesome day. Right when Grandma, Grandpa, and mom dropped me off some elders were standing there ready to help. They grabbed my suitcases and brought me to a building were they checked me in and gave me my room key. The first sister I met was going to Fresno Spanish speaking, crazy huh? Then a mentor sister came and helped me bring my bags to my room then we were off to get my books and head straight to my classroom. Which was were I met my companion, Sister Hamman. She is from Idaho Falls, ID and she is a little bit quiet so it should be interesting with both of us being a little more quiet but I’m sure it will be great! I then met my district, which consists of 4 elders and 4 sisters (I don’t think it is very common to have it even like that but its kind of cool.) Everyone in our district is going to Argentina Resistencia except one elder who is going to Columbia Bogata. Is that Emerson’s mission? Our teachers seem great; we got to meet with them for an hour. We got to know them and learned how to pray in Spanish. One of our teachers just got home from her mission two weeks ago so im sure she is going to be awesome! After that we walked to a big meeting to met our mission president and on the way there I ran into Sister Gormley (Kelsi Gormley). I met her freshman yeah in Idaho and it was so great to see a familiar face. After the meeting with the mission president was dinner. The cafeteria is pretty big and missionaries re everywhere but as I was about to leave dinner I glanced around the room and all the way across the room I saw Hermanan Farley. Oh I can’t tell you how happy I was to see her. We got to talk for probably 15 minutes. She seems like she is doing great! Then we met with a group of about 20 missionaries and watched missionaries teach an investigator and then we had the opportunity to talk to the investigator. It was cool to watch this. Then we came back to our classroom and met our zone and then by about nine we came back to our room and had the chance to unpack and now I’m writing you! :) There has been a lot to take in and everywhere I go I feel like a lost puppy. We have a bright orange sticker on our badge because it’s our first day so everyone is so friendly and were welcoming us to the mtc. It was really great! Everyone is so friendly and happy here and there really is the strongest spirit. It just makes me happy! All is well and I’m happy to be here. I love you so much and I hope everything is great!

Love Hermana Van Wagenen"