Friday, March 15, 2013

March 7, 2013 Last email from the CCM!

Hello Everyone!  This is my last P-day in the CCM!  I can’t believe it!  I’m heading to Puerto Rico soon (leaving at 5am on Tuesday morning)!  Here’s how this week went!  Love you all! (P.S. Didn't have enough time to attach any photos, so no pictures).
Tues. Feb 26:  I think I’ve made over 300 flashcards now that consist of phrases, words, and scripture references in Espanol. Whew!  During Gym, the hermanas (sister missionaries) were tired, so I wrote in my journal and braided 2 bracelets for my friend and personal tutor Rosa Laureano (a gift for her before I go).  The colorful one is made with all her favorite colors!  The blue one consists of 2 shades that are similar to the blue speckled necklace gem she gave me in early February.  The gem is “larimar” made from the ocean here in the DR.  It symbolizes strength, and Rosa’s love and friendship.  (She told me that when she gave it to me.)  So in response to her gift, I thought it’d be cool if I, too, gave her the same symbol-meaning-colors, to mean how much I care for her and our friendship. The day ended with the fastest shower I’ve ever taken: 4.5 minutes!  Mom, you would have been shocked!  I am proud of myself, and I’m becoming a better missionary.
Wed. Feb 27:  My companions and I are improving our investigator lessons!  Our
“investigator” Kamila is responding very well to how we’re teaching!  We’re finding a better balance!  And I made a MILLION flashcards today!  They’re ready to use!  During my time with Hna. Laureano, we got through about 50 flashcards (mostly verbs and things I like to do).  Fully memorized.  And I’m reading better.  Hna. Larueano and
Hno. Rubio say my rrrs are very latino!   Gym time, I ran .72 miles. I got too tired to do a full mile on the treadmill.  Dinner, we had PIZZA! And the rest of the day was of course, full of study in the classroom!

Thurs. Feb 28:  Goodbye February!  It’s been a great, crazy month!  We went to the temple for our P-day and did initiatories plus an endowment session in English.  My dear friend Hna. Laureano did part of the initiatories, so that was extra special to me.  I felt a little sick afterwards, so I took a quick power nap before lunch.  Email time was lovely!  Gracias Mom, Elder David (my twin bro!), and Elder Pena!  During free-time, the hermanas and I thoroughly cleaned the room and bathroom. I wrote more in my journal, while listening to flowing classical piano music, wrote a couple postcards to Mom and Jonathan, and put in some Crest strips for 30 minutes. Haha.  The rest of the day was regular, vigorous study.  We practiced lessons again with “Jose” (role played by Hno. Rubio), and afterwards, he challenged me that next time we teach him, I don’t read or bring ANY notes. Ughhhhhhhh!  Challenge accepted.

Fri. Mar 1:  Well, hello March!  It’s been a month that I’ve been here!  Really!!  Gosh, it feels like 6 months, yet 2 weeks. Today was a BIG day. Before breakfast, we got “Dear” letters.  Thanks Mom and Marissa Erickson!!!  I was asked to be the Senior companion for 5 days.  And at 1:30pm, we hermanas got into a van with two Elders, and we drove a good distance away from the CCM, to experience what it’s like in the mission field for 7.5 hours today!  At one point we drove right next to the ocean!  It was gorgeous and the waves crashing on the banks were magnificent!  The van squeezed between houses and drove through roads that scribble all over the place!  We met up with four Dominican Republic sister missionaries, and I went with the most experienced: a tall, brunette named Hermana Ball.  She has just 25 days left till she goes home!  We got along instantly, and she helped me so much!!  Theses are the things we did: 1) we visited a Mom and her little boy who live in a beautiful apt.  She doesn’t come to church, but has received all the lessons.  We asked her to recommit to living the Word of Wisdom.  I shared my testimony.  2) We met with Bonnie and her daughter Camilla (who just got baptized). There was A LOT of talking; Camilla showed me her coloring book and said she likes my “Barbie Belt” (my peach-colored belt).  I said the closing prayer.  Hna. Ball and I got some ice cream, and we went contacting to a couple of houses-apartments. 3) We talked with a teenager named Anderson (baptized Sat the 2nd!).  I shared 1 Nephi 3: 7 (I had him read it) and then he asked me to say the closing prayer.  4)  At 6pm we walked our way to the church bldg for a meeting. Then at 8pm the van picked us up.  I enjoyed the relaxing, air conditioned ride back to the CCM.  When we got back I found I had gotten a package from my mom!!! And there was a letter from my Aunt and Uncle, too!  The day was wonderful!!!  Hna. Ball was so humble, balanced, and sweet.  She eased me into what missionary work is like.  The day was full of numerous blessings and new experiences!  And I actually went into people’s houses!  That’s what missionaries do, and I’ve been sent to teach.

Sat. Mar 2:  Elder Hall had an extra pocketsize Himnos (hymn book) and offered it to me.  YEAH!  Around 3pm my district asked me to end class with a song called “Stand.”  (Megan Sackett sings it!  And Brad Robins and Bradley are in the music video!)  So, I sang it a cappella.  Gym, we did some serious volleyball!  My team had me serve the majority of the time because I send the ball the highest.  The entire day was pretty normal, nothing too random. 
Sun. Mar 3:   Fast Sunday.  I bore my testimony in Spanish, but for some reason I was extremely nervous and wrote it down ahead of time. So, I was the only who read it.  It was embarrassing, but hey, I was scared.  The Devotional film was with Elder Scott.  Great pointers for the field!  He also stressed the need for us to prayerfully seek out an eternal companion after our mission and not to just hang out, or in his words, “Do idleness in flocks.”  SO FUNNY!   8:30pm we all walked around the temple quietly humming hymns.  It was very calm and spiritual.  9pm planning:  Pres. Freestone took an updated picture of our District!  So we can see a Before and AFTER!  J  
Mon. Mar 4:  I felt like sharing my goodies from Mom’s package with my district, so everyone got a Lifesaver mint and a handful of Skittles.  The Elders were so grateful, they gave us Oreos!  SCORE!  During a 10 min. break, Elders Nadauld and Van Deventer and I played a bottle-throwing tape game.  Haha.  After lunch, I met with President Freestone, and we had a very nice farewell interview!  I showed Hna. Laureano Mom´s package and she tried Skittles for the first time.  She loves them! And she said, “Yoh Mama is making ahn effort with Spanish!” (probably because of the Spanish translations Mom had written in the back of one of the notebooks so I can ask for paper, index cards and other supplies I’ll need in the future).  6:00pm TRC practice. The Shavers were gone, so our substitute “investigator”couple was Pres. and Sis. Freestone!!!!!  SO nerve-racking.  We taught in their apartment room.  A rare experience.  The rest of the day was good.
Tues. Mar 5:  A member of the Seventy came for Devotional.  Elder Zivic.  He spoke in Spanish, and all the Americans wore headsets to listen to Hna. Laureano translate in English. CRAZY!  I felt like a foreigner, which I am - DER!  The 4 hermanas and I
sang “Senor, Te Necesito” a cappella for the musical number.  It was wonderful.  Elder Zivic’s talk was helpful and specific.  He reminded me of Mr. Allred (my HS orchestra teacher).  So...Mr. Allred!  You have a Spanish-speaking twin!  My time with Rosa Laureano was special.  We talked and cried about the mission field and our friendship.  Gym, I played more volleyball, got more bruises... I’m the only hermana brave
enough to hit the ball to the Elders!!  Haha. The day ended with Hno. Nunez substituting for Hno. Rubio.  We focused on the book of Omni (in The Book of Mormon) - in depth!  It was very interesting!!!!  
Wed. Mar 6: I felt very frustrated all morning, but through quiet, continuous study,
I eventually got over it.  Whew!  Ahhhhh... 6 days left.  I’m not even close to ready.  What’s weird is that I want to get out in the field, and I want to stay in the CCM (at the same time).  Bleh!  Well, 1:30pm finally came and I was with my close friend Hna. Laureano.  We talked, and I made a “Happy Birthday” banner for our District’s last P-day. We’re all going to celebrate each other’s b-days together!  Haha.  Around 4:30pm, Hna Laureano and I walked around the temple and sat on the lawn.  We’re always laughing and chatting so comfortably.  We’re like sisters!  5:15pm dinner, I had a nice, Spanglish conversation with Elder Salazar.  HA!  At 9:30pm at family prayer I found out I got two surprise packages during the day!!  My cousin Michael came to the CCM today (he’s here on business w/ his engineering company).  He brought 2 packages for me from home, which included more study supplies, family pics, letters, a tiny wrapped package (to open on Easter), a blouse my mom repaired, and treats—all in a Target bag.  YES!  I am soooo grateful for this huge blessing!  It was nice to know a member of the family had been VERY close by!  Everyone in my district says “Thanks for the Milk Duds!”  Ha ha!  I love you, Mom!  And Family! 
Thurs. Mar 7: Last Temple experience. I focused on every little detail and enjoyed the work.  The name I did for the Endowment session was Maria Cruz Marquez Laureano, from Puerto Rico, 1897.  That was amazing to me.  Laureano!  Puerto Rico!  Of course, I thought of my dear friend and teacher here in the CCM.  Later, I opened mail that had come.  Thanks Mom, Christy, Michael, Jonathan, Elder David, Elder Pena, and Katie Armantrout!!!!  I love receiving letters and emails! It calms my homesickness and makes me sooo happy!  Gracias!  Next time I write, I’ll be in Puerto Rico!
What a journey this has been.  I love you all and am grateful for this life-changing experience.  I hope all is well at home!  I am grateful I could sleep right next
to the Santo Domingo temple each night.  It has been my own strengthening night light.  I will miss the DR, the Temple, and the guidance and care of President Freestone and Rosa Laureano. 

I love you all!  Till next time, Hermana Bean

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