Monday, September 21, 2015

I'm off to Ecuador


September 17, 2015

Well well well.... 

I am pumped but nervous to leave for the field! Probably because we had a devotional the other day about not flirting and I thought they were talking about cocaine.. The word for flirt in spanish is coquetear. Sometimes when I am reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish I think Ohh ya I know some of these words:) I figured out how to do a smiley face on the computer here, it only took me 6 weeks!
Everyone makes fun of me because I can’t roll my r´s. I will have a speech impediment my entire mission. I honestly love the CCM? I never thought I would like prison but I do, they feed you, they wash your clothes, and for an hour a day you get to play outside within the fence of course. I know the field is going to be so hard but this week I have been thinking so much about the people I am going to teach. I probably won’t understand them for the first couple months but my purpose isn’t to be fluent in Spanish, or roll my r´s. We use language to express ourselves but the spirit tells us how we feel when we express it.
Sometimes I get scared because I have no idea what I am getting into and I know it’s going to be hard. But then the thought came to me the more trials you go through the more people you can reach out to and relate to. During every trial think about all the people you will be able to help because of it.
Remember that you are never ALONE!
Love, 
Hermana ISRAELSEN

I have so much love for this work!

September 8, 2015

Joke of the week by Elder Oaks, I don´t remember it perfectly so sorry: There was a guy who had a mini Book of Mormon in his shirt pocket, he was stopped at gun point and when they pulled the trigger the bullet hit the Book of Mormon but it stopped at the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi. haha get it? I’m like 90 percent sure I told that wrong you should google the joke... because it’s funny.
Alright guys what is up?? Am I the favorite child now since I am away? We went proselyting this week. I could actually understand people ish.. I was teaching this one guy about Moroni´s promise and he started serenading us with “You are beautiful women, two beautiful women!” So I said and this is a beautiful book and you need to read it. So he agreed to read it if we gave him our numbers. We gave him the local missionaries number.. But hey you gotta start somewhere??
I think you guys think I am a lot better of a missionary then I actually am, or maybe I just think that. This week I have been thinking a lot about pride. Satan doesn’t need to make you fall he just needs to distract you. Pride is so weird? I used to think it just meant that you were cocky. But being here I have realized dang I am prideful! Sometimes after we prepare a bomb lesson the next time I think oh we do so good last time we don’t need to prepare that much. There is a quote that says “If you think you can do it alone you will.”  Trying to balance focus and fun here at the CCM is hard. Because I want to focus and learn the language and work really freaking hard! But at the same time I need to stay at least a little sane?? During Relief Society on Sunday all the hermanas were sharing stories one by one then out of nowhere everyone started crying. I was trying so hard to listen but Spanish is hard enough alone but then add crying and I am like wait I don’t know what you are saying?? My companion and I were trying so hard to listen but they kept crying and they were looking at us as if we were supposed to be crying and now I wanted to cry not because of what they were saying but because I was thinking I DONT UNDERSTAND YOU!! 
The CCM has 3 food groups. Rice, hot dogs, and ketchup. I think the cooks play a game of what food can we mix hot dogs with so far we have eggs, soup, rice, and my favorite a bowl of guess what meat you are eating!! Ha but seriously I really love it here! I can’t believe I leave in two weeks? I feel like I am at boarding school with all my distant relatives because I can’t date any of the elders.  The CCM is a bunch of What is happening moments combined. For example yesterday morning I was in the bathroom and the Latina hermana next to me was brushing her teeth but I guess she was brushing too hard because she started choking on her tooth brush and I didn’t know what to do so I was trying to help her but the whole time I was thinking this is weird? BUT I LOVE IT HERE! Every day there is something to laugh about and cry about and just trying to figure out what is happening. Thank you for all the LOVE! seriously I have so much love in my heart for this work. The church is TRUE! 
Remember you are NEVER alone!
Love,
Hermana Israelsen

God Loves His Children

September 3, 2015

A joke by my teacher. There are two balloons in a desert and one says to other balloon hey man watch out for that cactus and the other one says what cactussssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.
Ha wow I think I have another problem.. I LOVE THE CCM(MTC) so freaking much now!! Sometimes I am afraid I am having too much fun here! Every Wednesday we do service in the CCM. I think they run out of jobs for us to do because they gave me and my companion a broom to sweep the fence question mark. Sorry there is no question mark on this computer so I literally have to write it out. It isn’t like a solid fence it has holes and is spikey and they told us to sweep it. I looked around the CCM and saw some elder sweeping the grass with a broom. I also saw some teachers making elders wash their cars hahaha. While we were sweeping the fence a few of us started singing high school musical and translating it into Spanish so yeah we are basically really productive over here! Haha but really I love it now. I guess a missionary perk is being really good at ping pong question mark. Or everyone here is really bad I can’t decide. I invented elbow ping pong the other day. You put the paddle in your elbow pit or whatever it’s called and play. We play the piano after dinner everyday and just sing! There are about 12 of us missionaries and it is so fun! The Latinos think I am really good at piano but I tell them it’s only because you don’t know the song. It’s a good thing I am an English major because I officially do not know how to spell in either language question mark. We teach the Latino missionaries here English and so this one elder comes up to me and says YOU GOT BEEF or ARE YOU A NORMAL CHILD question mark. I don’t know what it means either.. question mark. 
Alright now for the preachy part .( I tried to do a smiley face just barely but it is super hard!! Okay so these last two weeks have been so good! I am learning so much and Spanish is coming a lot faster now. But I had no idea how hard Satan tries to get to you on your mission. People always talk about right before and right after but he is like going crazy over here in the CCM trying to bring us down! There is a quote one of my teachers told me Satan doesn’t need to bring you down he just needs to distract you. I have been thinking so much lately about how little I know about the doctrine compared to some of the missionaries here. I have been thinking so much lately about how the heck am I going to memorize all these lessons and the language and sometimes I just want to yell in English I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE SAYING EVEN IF YOU SAY IT LOUDER. But this morning we went to the temple and as I was staring at the chandelier I saw these little red speckles reflecting from the lights. And it got me thinking about the Atonement. I started counting these little red speckles and how each one represented one drop of Christ’s blood. Each drop Christ shed was for one person and how every single one of those drops matter. And then it hit me… Yeah I don’t know a lot about deep doctrine. I don’t have a lot of scriptures memorized still. Sometimes I just throw out Spanish verbs because there are too many freaking tenses to memorize. But the feeling came that I KNEW ENOUGH. I know without a doubt God loves me. I know without a doubt God loves every single one of us. My mission isn’t about me question mark. It’s about his children in Ecuador. I was called to serve him not to feel good about conjugation Spanish verbs. I was called to LOVE with all my heart his children. Even when I don’t understand what they are saying. I guess what I am trying to say is that I was so worried about being the BEST missionary and speaking beautiful Spanish but that’s not the point. I know enough, and what I know is that God loves his children. So do I accidently say tengo Hombre sure I do, but I have since learned its hambre not hombre. I love the CCM, to the point where I am kind of scared to leave for the field in 2 weeks. I actually love the fence now! Ok that was a lie, I could live without the fence. My teacher is telling us to say goodbye to your mommies now. 
Remember you are NEVER alone.
Much love,
Hermana Israelsen
P.S I showed my district I can sing with my mouth closed and now random missionaries come up to me during meals and ask me to sing for them. Moral of the story don’t share your talents unless you want to show 90 other missionaries..

This is hard...but it's a good kind of hard

August 28, 2015

If I would have known how many people would say so many kind things to me for being on a mission I would have gone forever ago! Thanks for all the love and support! HAHA guys the CCM(MTC) is a party! Ok I lied it is not a party at all but I like to make it one.. in my head. In my head it is a party. So let´s see I LOVE proselyting and you will probably have to spell check this entire thing because this keyboard is really confusing and I forgot how to spell in English.

The CCM(MTC) is one of the more strict CCMs. When we are tired in class our teacher has us run 2 laps around the CCM in a skirt. Yes mom of course I beat the elders. Haha but I am finally picking up the language. We prepare talks every Sunday and the President randomly chooses missionaries to speak but you don’t know until you hear your name announced in Sacrament. 

I am learning so MUCH about the gospel!! Like so much! I am embarrassed of how little I knew because I literally knew nothing haha. I am starting to adjust! There are 23 latinas coming in tomorrow only 5 North American girls here and 3 leave in 2 weeks so it will be 80 elders, and me and my companion and i don't know how many Latina sisters by then. 

Everyone cried after emailing last week but I prayed that emailing would only give me strength and since then I haven’t been home sick. We do temple sessions in TOTAL Spanish. I speak more Spanish than English but it is finally coming along!!! CHURCH IS TRUE GUYS! I ¨talked to the kids¨ dad and I know more Spanish than them... and that is saying something. When they let us leave the prison gates last week we went tracting and there was the cutest little girl with a unicorn and I talked to her and her sister. I accidently told an elder I was pregnant instead of embarrassed rookie mistake I know .

We are the first hermanas to play soccer at gym and we actually beat the elders team. Now my teacher is recruiting me to the maestro team to be there keeper. I bet dad is pumped that I am playing goalie again haha. I use IOL in my lessons and now my teacher does it by having us draw out the Plan of Salvation! Hermana Ching Chong is having a really hard time she can’t sign in Spanish so keep her in your thoughts they caught her trying to hop the fence last night but its freaking tall and pointy... Poor thing. I can’t wait to get to Ecuador but I am learning so much in the CCM!!! I love you guys so much but I am freaking KILLING IT HERE!!!! The sense of humor is at its peak thank goodness for that. Also my mission president in Ecuador knew I was sick and told an elder that I know from home that I was sick and they were worried. HOW NICE!? People are so great. I love you guys gotta go! PEACE.

Remember YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

Love,
Hermana Israelsen

Learn to Laugh

August 20, 2015

HAHAH NICE TRY SATAN!!!! Wow, what a start to my mission eh?! My fortune cookie story was dead on. If I would have read a fortune that said ¨You will throw up 49 times on your first day.¨I would have been like heck no I am staying home! Some people refer to the MTC here in Columbia as the CCM others call it prison. It depends on the day for me. There are only 5 North American girls here. Six Latina sisters and 50 elders half North American half Latin. Sorry I am typing so fast because we only get an hour. Also our P-DAYS switch off one week Thursday the next Tuesday so I will write again on Tuesday. Idk why it is so weird?
 
Anyway it is super duper small here so it is like we are one big FAMILY! The CCM president and his wife basically saved my life the first day. The paramedics came my first night and gave me a shot. I also got a blessing that I would stop puking. Woke up the next day and taught a 20 minute lesson in Spanish! The Spanish immersion program here is intense but at the same time I love it! I just laugh all the time. My Spanish consists of me throwing out random words and adding o on the ends of words. This keyboard is Spanish and it is very confusing. Really though I love being Hermana Israelsen. There is no time to get home sick or think about anything really because we are so busy. I cannot wait for the day when someone talks to me here and I understand them! Seriously there is no where else I would rather be than here.
 
Christ knows exactly what each of needs to grow but he also knows exactly what we need to be comforted. I am so grateful God blessed me with the ability to LAUGH MY HEAD OFF! Because I feel like that is all I do here is laugh. Mostly because I don’t understand anyone but hey I am having a blast even if I am the only one who gets why I am laughing. We get Latin companions in 2 weeks! Also there are no new North American girls coming in so in 2 weeks me and my companion will be the only English speaking girls. I really do love this though. I mean there are days where my head is going to pop off my head because I hate Spanish? Yes of course. But there are also days where I think about how much God has blessed me. Where I think about how much I love this work. I love you guys and miss you guys but I love Jesus Christ more. I love Jesus Christ so much that I threw up 49 times and still wanted to stay.
 
Please, never forget how much God loves you. He loves you all soo much and He weeps when you weep and cries when you cry. He suffers when you suffer. The most important thing I learned this week was when you are feeling sorry for yourself or you are sick and all you want is your mom, go do something for someone else. Tell someone you love them. Write a note to someone. Do something anything for someone else and you will see the hand of God in your life. AHHH I SOUND like one of those preachy missionaries forgive me. The CCM is hard for sure, but my life was so much harder when I didn’t know that God loved me.
 
Remember, you are never alone!
 

Love, Hermana Israelsen