Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Transfers.... and I am leading the area. !!!!!!!!!!

President and Sister Douglas
Hola family and friends!
Well... I know that I said I wasn't going to email until tomorrow, but................................................... Cambios. Transfers. AHH!!! Things were crazy this transfer, yiiiiiiiikers. lots to fill you in on. 

My companion was transferred, which means I am leading the area. I am  pretty nervous... but I know that I can do it with LOTS AND LOTS of help from Heavenly Father. I just need to have confidence in myself, and trust in the Lord that this is for a reason!!
  
My new companion's name is Hermana Chavez. She is from Chile, and is 29 years old. And once again..... no English. hahaha.  She seems really great though, and it seems like  we are going to get along well.    I am excited for all of the changes that are  going to happen this cambio!

Right now I am actually in Cañete. I am here with 2 Hermanas until tomorrow -  because Hermana Chavez had to go to Lima to receive training on how to be MY trainer. hahaha. So I am here in Cañete (about an hour from Chincha), until tomorrow. 

I am really sorry, I seriously have like ZERO time to email right now.  I will have to fill you in next  week with all the good things about my companion and how the work is going.

Please please pray for me. Pray that I will be able to be confident but humble, and that I will be able to accomplish all that the Lord needs me to do. I know He is preparing me for great things.  I trust in Him 100%. 

THANK YOU for all your love and support. 
This church is true !!!!!
Hermana Sintay :)
A family  of investigators we are teaching! This picture was taken when they came to church yesterday :)

 La familia Guillen !!!! Ellos son lo máximo.   Our neighbors  :)

a  bunch of really wonderful ward members :)

the Hermanas in the ward that always accompany us to lessons :)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS :)

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!

This week has been INCREDIBLE!!!! Wow!!!! Seriously I am so happy :) So many happy things :)

We had our MultiZona de Navidad on Thursday - fue LO MÁXIMO. En serio. Wow!! President Douglas y Hermana Douglas came down for the whole day. Our Zone leaders BEGGED us to come and help them decorate the entire stake center... They are WONDERFUL zone leaders, but they needed some real help with the decorations. haha so who do they ask? The only Hermanas in the zone, of course ;) We decorated for 3 hours! And it turned out INCREDIBLE. Everything was decorated from top to bottom!! The other zones and President were super impressed :) For the Multizona, we watched a movie, had a White Elephant gift exchange (hahahah this was the funniest thing with a million latinos who have never participated in a white elephant), and ate lunch together! I was just bubbly and bouncing around the whole day, because HELLO IT IS CHRISTMAS TIME!!!! At home, I celebrate Christmas all-out for about 3 weeks leading up to the actual day. But here... I can't do that, because I am focused on the work of the Lord. (which is way happier anyway) :) So when I have a moment to remember that it is Christmas - I bring out the jingle bells and express all my JOY for the season :)
The sign that Hermana Lara and I made for the MultiZona!! Holy cow... we made this the night before, and it took 2 hours. Pero..... vale la pena :) It turned out AWESOME :)
This week we saw miracles in our area. I know that it is because of our obedience and consecrated diligence. We are working SO hard, and this week we were able to see the fruits of those efforts. We found 5 new investigators, and placed 2 more dates for baptism :) We had 11 less actives at church yesterday, as well as 3 investigators! Wow we were so happy. :) 

When we are contacting and finding people, we focus on finding the "escogidos". In English it is like "the chosen ones". hahahahahahahaha but that makes it sound like I am converting Harry Potter's out here in Perú. Mmmmmmm not so much. hehe :) Bascially, an escogido is someone who is truly prepared for the gospel in their lives right now. It is someone who is ready to make commitments and keep them - someone who has been prepared by the Lord for us to teach! Those kind of people really are out there. We just have to find them :)

This week is going to be the BEST. Today we are having lunch together as a zone, and watching a movie. The movies we watch are all approved by the mission, but they are AWESOME! They aren't church movies, just ones that are approved. Thursday we watched "Gifted Hands" (I think that's what it is called), and today we are watching "The Ultimate Gift" :) Then on Christmas Eve, we are also celebrating as a zone!! Hermana Lara and I are cooking a full-blown Peruvian dinner for all the Elders in our zone!! Thank heavens Hermana Lara is Peruvian and knows what she is doing. hahaha it is going to be so fun, cooking Peruvian food is awesome - I have done it once and it was a blast! I hope to learn a lot of fun dishes during my mission :) Also, on Christmas Eve, we are going to watch............. drumroll............ FROZEN!!!!!!! :) Oh happy day :)

I can't wait to Skype with you, family!!!!!! I hope you all have the most amazing Christmas week :)

I love you all!
The church is true!!
Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

#happiestdayEVER

Hola everyone! :)

Okay family, I will be skyping on the 25th, probably around 4 or 5 my time - I have no idea what the time difference is, haha. BUT, I will hopefully get some more solid plans soon so I can give you a more specific time next week :)

I'm sorry, I don't have a lot of time this week!!! So this might be a little short. 
First thing - WE GOT A CHRISTMAS TREE. OhmygoodnessIwassoexcitedIcouldhardlyhandlemyself. #literallyhappiestdayEVER  Our neighbors bought it for us, and we got to decorate it and everything!!!  I decorated the whole thing by myself, because my companion was not that into it. hahaha..... she probably thought I was crazy. I was running around with tinsel and ornaments, spinning and singing along to the 4 Christmas songs I have on my iPod... on repeat over and over and over. tehe :) What a tender mercy. 

Things here have been great, I cannot BELIEVE we are in week 5 of the transfer!! Only 2 more weeks until transfers! I will stay here in Chincha because I am in training, but I don't know if I will get a new comp or not. I guess we will find out in 2 weeks!

So Hermana Leiva is still really sick, and has to stay in Lima. This week we took all of her luggage up to Lima for her. So now it is officially just Hermana Lara and I here in this area! We are also the only Hermanas in all of our zone. But Hermana Lara and I get along well, so it is just fine :)

We worked really hard this week, and maybe that is why the time flew by so fast! We work BASTANTE con los menos activos. So many less actives. But we also have some investigators that we get to teach, so that is great :) My goal this week was to not have any fear, expecially when it came to speaking to people en la calle. I did well, with the help of the Lord, and lots of specific prayers :)

Yikers, I really don't have any time left! I am so sorry! But I get to see you in 10 DAYS :) I am so excited!! If you want, you can write some questions that you want me to answer so we make sure that whole 40 minutes is used well :)

I love you all dearly!! Have a great week! :)

Love, 
Hermana Sintay :)
Remember the real reason for the season :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

With Him, you can do ALL things.

Hello family and friends!

The struggle is real trying to remember everything to tell from this week. WOW. Every day is just packed with things that I want to share with all of you. I will try my hardest to cover everything :)

First off... CHRISTMAS. I can Skype with you! What a miracle! I will be doing it in the house of a member, and I have 40 minutes, nada más. I can Skype the 22nd, 24th, or 25th. And if we need to do a quick call to make sure it works, I have 3 minutes on the 22nd! But ONLY 3 minutes that day. Whatever day works best for you guys we can Skype! I am assuming it will probably be Christmas Day... but just let me know :)

Alrighty - on to news from this week :) 
We had a Multi Zona activity this week, and it was LO MÁXIMO. Our zone and 2 others got together with President Douglas and his wife for a day of training. The other 2 zones traveled here to Chincha for the training :) Wow, I learned so much. There are so many things that I can improve to become a sanctified missionary. It gave me such a boost, honestly best thing ever :)

Yikers.... every day is SO hot and long...  we are entering into summer right now! I forgot sunscreen one day and got the WORST sunburn. hahahaha.... in December, who would have thought? 

We didn't have church on Sunday because there were regional elections for something here in Perú.... I'm not sure why that is a reason to cancel church, but every ward did! hahaha that made Sunday pretty much the longest day ever, because we don't have Language Study or Training on Sundays, meaning we were proselyting for an extra 3 hours almost! And the sun was bien fuerte that day. But it was a good day :)

I did get to watch the Christmas Devotional! But... it was in Spanish. haha. So the songs were probably the most spiritual and uplifting part for me :) Holy gorgeous, MoTab!


Things are wonderful in Perú, but I would be lying if I didn't say this is the hardest thing I have ever done. Every day has it's own challenges, struggles, and fears to be overcome. I am growing and learning every second of every day, but it does not come without a price. It is hard. REALLY hard. But I know that with the help of my Savior, I truly can do all things. 

Today marks exactly 2 months since I entered the CCM. In these two months, I have done things I never thought I could do. I have BECOME something greater as I continue learning what it really means to be a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. 

Is it a sacrifice being on a mission? Yes. Is it hard? YES.  But there is one thing that gets me through every challenge here on the mission.... and that is my Savior. Right now, I have Christ's name carved on my chest... right next to my own. On my name tag. But He had MY name carved on His back. He had nails put through His hand's for my weaknesses and every single one of my sins. He suffered for ME. He died for ME. ... and He did it because He loves me. If He can do that, I sure can give EVERYTHING I have to His work the next 16 months.

I love you all. I hope you remember that WHATEVER trial or pain you are going through - He knows. Let Him help you and heal you.

Also - smile :) I promise, it helps.

All my love, 
Hermana Sintay :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Give me your heart, and I will give you my Spirit."

Hello my dear family and friends!


Wow. What a week. I totally forgot that it was Thanksgiving until my district leader told us as we were reporting our numbers Thursday night. And IT'S DECEMBER NOW?! How did that happen. Yeesh. Sure does not feel like it with this 85 degree weather, and me over here getting sunburned everyday. jajaja but really, I am getting the best tan of my life!

First thing first - Hermana Leiva's stomach has not improved... and so she had to be emergency transferred to Lima where she can be closer to the doctors and all. Right now it is just for a week, and then if she gets better she can come back to Chincha. Soooooo this week it is just Hermana Lara and I. Ahh! It will be quite an adjustment. But it is going to be a big learning experience for me. I know it will help make me a stronger missionary. Hermana Lara speaks zero English, and we haven't really gotten as many chances to become close the last 2 weeks. Now, Heavenly Father is giving us that chance! We just got done with 6 hours of traveling in bus (to Lima and back). I have been to Lima way too many times the last couple weeks. jajaja. 

Okay about the rest of the week...!! As you can see from the pictures, we went to the playa for Pday last Monday :) That was super fun!! We played this game called "Mata Gente", which literally means "Kill The People"...... jajaja it is a Latino version of dodgeball, SO MUCH FUN; we are totally playing it at Sintay get-togethers when I get home :)



OH I ALMOST FORGOT. I got your Christmas package!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!! Thank you SO much!!! Seriously family - you are the greatest ever. I love you so much!! Also.... ehem.... sorry, but I didn't see the note about the goodies being for Christmas day, and when I saw the Subway mints I kind of lost control. hehehe. Um..... So I opened that. hahaha lo siento!!! Everything else I am saving like I should :) And Mom I LOVE the advent calendar! I started it this morning :)

So this Sunday was fast and testimony meeting - and I bore my testimony in Sacrament meeting :) I wasn't even nervous, which was incredible, considering I was speaking in front of nearly 200 people who don't know a lick of English! But the Spirit was definitely there. 

Something that I have definitely learned out here in the field is that the SPIRIT is everything. Without the Spirit, you cannot teach, you cannot find people - you can't do anything! As a missionary, you have to constantly do everything you can to live worthy of the Spirit so you can do the Lord's work. Life is just better with the Spirit as your guide :) I testify of that.

I had a really tender experience this week. We were on our way to an appointment, and had some extra time. When we have extra time we go visit less actives and try and teach a lesson to them. We prayed to know where we should go, and arrived at the house of a woman named Fa**. She has been inactive for about 3 years. She let us inside (thankfully!), and we sat down to begin a short lesson. We heard some noises from the back room (it sounded like a baby or something), and then she excused herself and went back to tend to the problem. When she returned, she was holding in her arms her son, who was probably 15 years old, and who has cerebral palsy. She was apoogizing over and over, and we assured her that everything was fine. Most people here are terrified of people with disabilities, because they just don't understand. My heart opened up so big, and I began to simply interact with him. His face lit up like the sun. All I had to do was smile. hold his hand, look into his eyes, and he was happy. His mom was completely in tears. She said that NEVER had someone acted that way towards her son. We taught a simple lesson, and invited her to come to church this week. She came :) She said that she felt more love from us as missionaries than she has ever felt from anyone. 

You know how they always say that there are people prepared for YOU in your mission? Well, I don't know if this was one of them, but I know that Heavenly Father helped me help one of his children. I know that He helps me everyday. He uses our strengths... our weaknesses... everything we have - to HELP others. His promise - "Give me your heart, and I will give you my Spirit. And together, we will change the world.. heart by heart."

I am giving Him my heart. He is giving me His Spirit. Time to change some hearts :)

I love you all. Seek for the Spirit this week, and watch the miracles.
Love, 
Hermana Sintay :)
I love this flag!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Let the Spirit guide! Week 2 in Chincha :)

Hola!! 
Sooooooo many things to tell you, and so little time. I will try and write as fast as I can, also so I can answer all of Mom's questions!!
First: for the questions!
Yes, we have a real toilet. jaja but there is only water at night and in the mornings, so if you have to go during the afternoon... it just sits there before we have water again. So that's cool :)
The bright colors are super common for the houses and stuff! On the outsides. Our casa is about 10000x nicer than anyone else's here... I have yet to enter anyone's house that has a floor. It is just dirt. Crazy and humbling. These people are amazing, and I love them!
We have a ward here, and there were 165 people at church on Sunday! So pretty big. There is one set of Elders who also serve in the ward with us. I have no idea what kind of cities are next to us..... haha so I can't help you with the google earth thing! We are about 3 hours south of Lima... and that's about all I know!
Bucket showers... yeah... I am getting used to it. hahahaha. It's actually not that bad! Someone does our laundry for us, and we just take it to them and pay for it. So I am good there. We have pensionistas that cook lunch for us everyday, and we fend for ourselves for breakfast and dinner. The food is AMAZING when our pensionistas cook for us. I basically just eat oatmeal and banana sandwiches otherwise. haha. 
I don't know if I will be able to skype on Christmas yet. I will probably find out when we get a little closer! Pdays we write emails in this little internet cafe type of place. It's smaller than our living room and has like 20 computers in it. I am CRAMMED with people on both sides right now. Good thing they can't read English.... cuz you all know how paranoid I am about people reading over my shoulder. hahahah ;)

Ooooookayyyyy now onto some things from my week :)
On Friday, we had to make an emergency trip to Lima. Hermana Leiva has been having some problems with her stomach, so we had to go into Lima for a doctor's appointment. We stayed in a hotel Friday night, and then came back to Chincha Saturday afternoon. 3 hour bus rides both ways! I am so grateful to be in Chincha - Lima is just SO huge, and so loud, and has so many people. I like my little Chincha a lot better :)
The Spanish is coming along well! My understanding is usually spot on, and the speaking gets better everytime I open my mouth. But when it gets late, and I have been speaking/hearing Spanish aaalllll dayyyy.... my understanding goes down the tank. I know when I am tired, because all of a sudden, it sounds like everyone is speaking Japanese, and I am SO lost. hahahaha. But, I know that the Lord is helping me!
I take all the initiative in street contacts and lessons now as part of my training, and feel completely comfortable with that. I love teaching people :)
A HUGE portion of our efforts are focused on menos activos (less actives). Pres Douglas told us when we first got here that 80% of Perú is menos activo. It is so true. We have 7 investigators right now and probably 20 menos activos that we are focusing on. And then a handful of recent converts. So we sure are busy!! There are always people to teach and things to do. 

This week I had an awesome experience as we were walking in the street :) We passed this woman who was sitting on a bench, and I had the strongest feeling that I needed to talk to her. I followed the Spirit and walked over to introduce myself and the other Hermanas. I gave her a pamphlet about The Family a Proclamation, and began to testify of how the gospel of Jesus Christ can bless our families. She was WAY interested, and we had a good conversation for about 10 minutes. Hermana Leiva and Lara just let me do all the talking :) We set an appointment, and I left just feeling on top of the world. The Spirit definitely did guide my words and actions. Made me think of 1 Nephi 4:6-7.... "I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. NEVERTHELESS, I went forth..." Just go forth. Let the Spirit guide. The Lord will help you :)

ALSO, later that same night, I invited one of our investigators to be baptized, and she said YES!!!! We set her date for the 27th of Dec. Her name is J*****, and she is wonderful! She is 15 years old. Pray for her :)

All in all, everything is wonderful here in Chincha, Perú :) I love being a servant of the Lord. I love coming home and realizing our power is out, and having to do weekly planning by candlelight (twice this week). :) I love sitting in these tiny homes and testifying of the truth. I love smiling at people and seeing the light of Christ in their eyes. I love hearing Peruvian children sing "Llamados a Servir" (Called to Serve) in Primary. I love hearing investigators pray. But most of all... I love knowing that I am where the Lord needs me to be. I love being a representative of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you for your love and prayers :) I feel them everyday.
Remember to read your scriptures EVERY DAY as a family and personally. Don't forget family prayers. Know that I love you!

The church is true!
Hermana Sintay :)

PS: Lo siento, no pictures this week! We are going to the beach as a zone right now. Yeah!! The beach!! Like the ocean!! In Perú!! So expect a bunch of beautiful pictures next week :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Showers in a bucket, no paved roads... the LIFE of a Chincha misionera :)

HOLA!!!! 

I am in Perú!!! Finally!!! There are so many things to tell you all. The flight from México to Perú was just fine - all went well! I am so sorry that I could't call you from the airport... none of the payphones were working! It was a sad time for all of the missionaries there. haha. There were 17 missionaries in my group from the CCM all going to Lima South. 4 Hermanas and the rest Elders!

I could tell you all about the flight... and the hotel we stayed in... and the training meetings... but I really want to focus on telling you about my area! Because I do not have much time at all!!! Pdays are MUCH different in the field than in the CCM. haha :)

Presidente Douglas is an AMAZING and INSPIRED man. We all had interviews with him so that he could pray and decide who our companions should be and what area we should serve in. They were only 5 min interviews, but the Spirit was so strong. 

After about 6 hours of uplifting and educating orientation meetings, we were all assigned our companions and areas. I actually have 2 companions, and therefore 2 trainers!! We are in a trio. It's funny, because in the CCM, Hermana Lindstrom and I would always say that we never wanted to be in a trio.. but it is SUCH a blessing as my first companionship. Both of my comps are Latina! Hermana Leiva is 21 years old, and from Argentina. She only has one month left on her mission, and then she is going home. She is an amazing teacher and example. She strives for exact obedience all the time - which I LOVE. Hermana Lara is 26 years old, and is from Perú. She has been serving for 9 months. She doesn't speak English at all - Hermana Leiva speaks only a tiny tiny bit. So.... my Spanish is going to improve VERY quickly. haha because that is absolutely all that I speak! They are so impressed with my Spanish, but I still feel completely lost.

Hermana Lara, Hermana Leiva, y yo outside of our casa!!

We are serving in CHINCHA. It is a 3 hour bus ride from Lima. Yesterday we took the bus and arrived around 9pm. This is a very very very very poor area... hardly any of the roads are paved at all. The houses are falling apart, and there are as many dogs in the street as people. I can't even explain what it is like... so so humbling. I will send some pictures so you can get an idea of what I am talking about. Everything here is SO different from the United States - it is even worlds different than México!!
the inside of our house




I have not seen another white person since we arrived in our area. Every single person that passes me just stares, and a couple people have tried to reach out and touch my hair. hahahaha it is hilarious! Also, there are these tiny little cars that we ride often.... they are called moto-taxis? I think? Google that and see if you can find a picture! Anyway, there are tons of those zooming around the street, and they ALL honk at me whenever they see me. They honk and then the driver will just stare at me with his mouth wide open as they drive by. hahahaha. Oh man, this is just so awesome! I love everything about Perú! And I love everything about being a missionary!!!

The main focuses in our mission are OBEDIENCE and the DOCTRINE: During my training, I literally have to memorize 2 Nephi 31. The entire chapter. In Spanish. HOW COOL, right?!?! Oh man, the emphasis on the doctrine of Christ is incredible. Also - obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles. SO BE EXACTLY OBEDIENT :) Selective obedience brings selective blessings. Be obedient, see the miracles :)

I love everything about the mission. I love my area. It is really hard. I shower in a bucket. I won't see a paved street for another 3 months at LEAST. It is so hot. BUT, I am a missionary :) And I get to help people change their lives and come unto Christ :) And that is the best blessing that I could ever ask for. 

The church is true!!!!!!!
I LOVE this work. 
Les quiero mucho :)
 our kitchen
Hermana Sintay :)
To get to our bathroom you have to walk through this little alleyway thing!
and........ the shower :) A bucket :) Whoo hoo! En serio - this is all there is. haha welcome to Perú!
This dog's name is Cholita, and she lives in the little alleyway by our house! She comes in whenever we open the door, and she loves to play. We wish we could keep her!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

On the way to Peru


A kind stranger texted this photo taken from the Mexico City airport last night.
Still no word from Aubrey, but I'm sure she has landed in Peru and is happy. 

PERÚ BOUND :) November 13, 2014

Family and friends! :)

GUESS WHAT. 

4 more days until I fly to Perú!! I got my flight plans this week! I leave the CCM Monday morning at 10:00 am, and my flight to Lima is at 1:45. Just one 6 hour flight, and I WILL BE IN PERÚ!! Holy cow! You know that kind of "excited" when you just want to lay in bed and kick your feet up and down, and giggle and cover your face, and dance around like a crazy person? Yup. That's me. My district saw a whole new side of me when I got those flight plans :) Yiiippppeeeee!!!!!

This week was great - it FLEW by! It is strange that we are officially the oldest ones in the CCM. But soon enough we will be back at square one being the greenies in the field. Did I mention that is in 4 days?! Yeah. :)

I worked so hard this week. SO much study and teaching. I love it :) We taught both of our investigators for the last time this week. Both of them are our teachers, but we have been teaching them as investigators for the last 3 weeks. We have been progressing really well with both of them (Fryda and Pedro). Pedro was a lot harder... when we first started teaching him, he didn't believe in God at all. We came so far, and he now has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the BoM. But he was really stubborn about setting a baptism date... he didn't want to make any commitment like that. Finally, the last time we taught him, he committed to a baptism date :) That was such a happy day! Hermana Lindstrom and I were so proud of him :)

Alrighty, so I just have a bunch of funny stories from this week. I have shared a ton of spiritual experiences, but you need to understand how FUN the CCM is, too :)

So.. we got a new district in our zone this week. 8 Elders and no Hermanas! On Friday we went and introduced ourselves to them. Following a long standing tradition, our introductions were pretty goofy and weird. Everyone had something strange they were doing. We all had planned together what we would do, so that no one would break character during the real introductions. The only one who hadn't told us what he was doing was Elder McLaws. The rest of the Elders in our district knew, but Hermana Lindstrom and I were clueless. They insisted that it needed to be a surprise. Okay... just to remind ya'll... Elder McLaws is the funniest/weirdest/quirkiest kid ever. He is from South Dakota and everything about him is just....  it's just so Elder McLaws. I cannot even explain. We love Elder McLaws :) So... the rest of the Elders start making bets with me, that I won't be able to NOT laugh during McLaws's introduction. Now - I have known this kid for 5 weeks. I know he is strange. I have seen him do crazy things before - and his intro was only going to last like 3 minutes. I was pretty confident that I could NOT laugh for that long. Sounds reasonable, right? ........ wrong. Oh no. I was so wrong. Just when you think this kid can't surprise you anymore, he does. Right off the bat, he brings out these finger puppets. Yes - finger puppets. Little ghost finger puppets. With smiley faces.  He proceeded to tell the most involved story I have ever witnessed - about 5 little ghosties that live in the fridge. The Mama Ghost told them only to eat cottage cheese and ice cream (naturally, because they are white), so they could blend in and scare people. Confused yet? That's Elder McLaws for ya. For about 10 minutes, he leaped around the room like a monkey in a suit, telling a story about the ghosts.... and how they disobeyed... and turned different colors because they ate different foods... and then they had to repent... and then they could scare people in the fridge again. Needless to say - I lost the bet. I was WEEPING in the corner of the room because I was laughing so hard. So I had to spend 100 pesos on Chokis for the Elders in payment. This kid.... he never ceases to surprise me. Who brings finger puppets on a mission? Elder McLaws. Naturally. 

Alrighty - another story about the Elders. So our Elders play cage soccer liiiiiiterrralllyyyyy everyday. It's basically their life here at the CCM. Most of them are pretty good and know what they are doing. And then, there's McLaws. He has the most self-esteem and confidence of anyone in our district, which makes these stories even better :) He is seriously great. He is the most aggressive one out there when they play cage soccer, which would probably be really good if he knew how to control his body. As it is, he is just like a little tornado spinning around in that cage. Heaven forbid ANYONE get between him and the ball - or they'll probably get their head taken off. I am scared when McLaws plays, and I am outside of the cage! He looks like a monkey because he doesn't quite know how to control himself! He also wears hiking boots every time they play. His nickname on the court is "The Claws."...... SO fitting. I can just imagine some of these poor new Elders in our zone, playing cage for the first time with our Elders. "So Mom, my first day at the CCM.... these guys asked me if I wanted to play 'cage'. I didn't know what it was, but I thought I'd give it a shot. They literally put me in a CAGE, with a monkey in hiking boots named THE CLAWS. Welcome to México City."

All of our Elders do such funny things. They keep me laughing all day long! And Hermana Lindstrom. Oh dear heaven. She is SO funny. This week she had to give a closing prayer at a devotional, in front of the entire CCM. She was so scared..... obviously it is in Spanish, and in front of 500 people it is terrifying!! She was joking about how she wanted to go up there and say the whole thing in English... but President Pratt would probably have a heart attack and die right there on the stand. She did awesome, though. 

I love everything about the CCM, and I am going to miss this place a LOT. But I know that the Lord has much greater things in store in Perú :) I cannot wait to get there and get to work. This work truly is a labor of love, and it requires all of you. Heart, might, mind, strength, desires, weaknesses, strengths... absolutely everything. And it is worth it :) 

The church is so true!!
Love you all :)
Hermana Sintay :)

I know He lives. November 6, 2014

Hola familia y amigos :) 

Wow... it is really hard to write everything that has happened this week. At the end of every day, I could sit down and write for hours about what has happened. So after 7 days... you can only imagine how difficult it is! But I am so grateful for the opportunity to include you all in this missionary adventure of mine :)

Only 12 more days until I leave for Perú... does that seem crazy to anyone else?! I know it does to me!! I am so excited!! The CCM is AMAZING, but I know that the field will be, too :) Just one more email from México! Wowzers!!

This week we got a new district in our zone. There are 6 Hermanas and 2 Elders in their district - which is the opposite of ours! I am soooooo grateful that we have more Elders than Hermanas in our district. I think I would go crazy with a million Hermanas spending 24/7 together... haha. I think Heavenly Father knew that though ;) But they are pretty great. And yesterday we got another new district - 8 Elders and no Hermanas! We haven't met them yet, though. So that makes 3 districts in our zone. 

I have had lots of positive, faith-building experiences this week, but the day that changed me the most was Tuesday. And probably not in the way that you would think.

Tuesday was the hardest day that I have had here at the CCM. I woke up and felt this spirit of depression and sadness come over me. I prayed and tried to make it go away, but things were just bad. We were 20 minutes late to personal study because I was dragging my feet while I was getting ready in the morning. Morning classes were rough... I wasn't feeling the Spirit, and I just couldn't enjoy anything. I was fighting back tears all morning, and I didn't even know why. My district and my teacher could tell something was definitely wrong, but I didn't want to talk to anyone (because I knew I would start crying). I wasn't even sure why I was so sad... and that was frustrating to me, too. After morning classes, it was time for Hermana Lindstrom and I to teach our progressing investigator. His name is Pedro, and actually he is just our morning teacher pretending to be an investigator. We alternate teaching Pedro and our other investigator Frida. Our lesson was absolutely terrible. I couldn't teach with the Spirit at all. He asked questions that we couldn't answer, and whenever I tried to speak, I just kept digging myself into a hole. It was so frustrating. When we finished the lesson, I was bordering a break down. We went back into the classroom, and I sat at a table facing the back wall, away from everyone. I knew I was going to cry, and I didn't want anyone to see. I just sat there staring at my open Book of Mormon, reading the same verse over and over, because my eyes were too clouded with tears to actually read anything. 

Finally, I just fell on my knees and starting pleading with my Heavenly Father. I didn't even know what to say... but I knew He could understand my heart. I knelt there in the corner of my little classroom, and just cried. My mind didn't even form thoughts or sentences. But as I was praying, I knew He was listening. 

Before I was done praying, it was time to close our class with a district prayer. I kept my head down as I walked over to kneel in the circle. When we finished the prayer, I quickly gathered my things, hoping to duck out of the classroom before anyone could tell what a mess I was. Hermana Lindstrom and I had almost made it out... when Hermano Gallegos called us back into the classroom. When everyone else had left, he closed the door and asked me how I was. I just started crying. He told me that he knew all morning that something wasn't right... he told me tenderly (and all in Spanish, because he doesn't speak English) that he truly loved me and cared about me. He promised he would do anything to help me that I needed. He then asked me to read a scripture out loud... Alma 26:27. It took me a good 3 or 4 minutes to read the short verse in between sobs. 

"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."

This verse was just what I needed to hear. Right after we left Hermano Gallegos, I went and asked Elder McDonald and Elder Davis in my district to give me a blessing. Elder McDonald said the blessing... but I knew they were Heavenly Father's words. I know the power of the Priesthood is real. After the blessing I felt spiritually and emotionally renewed. 

Things have completely turned around since then. I am back to my noramal, way-too-smiley, happy sunshiney, I-love-being-a-missionary Hermana Sintay :)

In my personal study this week, I have been studying the Savior. What I have learned is incredible... I feel prompted to share a portion of it with you :)

In Matthew 21:10, as the Savior rides triumphantly into Jerusalem... the multitude parts and asks, ... "Who is this?" This question intrigued me as I was studying. Prophets in all ages and dispensations have answered this question - Who is Jesus Christ? 
In Mosiah, the prophet Abinidi testifies that, "He is the light and the life of the world... a light that cannot be darkened." 
Amulek claims that, "He is the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth.... the beginning and end... the first and the last."
Jospeh Smith and Sidney Rigdon know He lives, because "... [they] saw Him sitting on the very right hand of God, and heard His own voice bear record that He is the Only Begotten of The Father."
When Christ introduced himself to the Nephites, in a voice from the darkness He declared, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world."
God himself said to a young boy in a grove of trees... "This is my Beloved Son... Hear Him."

So who is Jesus Christ? All of these answers are glorious. As I studied, I quickly discovered that the scriptures are full of accounts bearing witness of Jesus Christ. I have studied for hours and hours these testimonies of prophets. But - regardless of what these prophets say and know - there is an answer that is even more important. 

The most important answer is YOURS. 
Who is Jesus Christ to YOU?

I may not know as much as a prophet... but I know JUST as well as any prophet that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He is my personal Savior. I know that He is my friend and brother. I know that this is His church. I know that this is His work. I love being His servant :) His name is right here on my name tag - and I strive to walk right beside Him every single day. 

Thank you to everyone for your love and support :) I feel your prayers. I truly do. 
Until next week :)

Hermana Sintay :)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tender Mercies and Happy Answers to Prayers :)

Hola familia!!


So sorry that it is a little bit later than I normally email - but there is a GOOD reason. WE WENT TO THE TEMPLE THIS MORNING! :) :) Since it is closed for renovation, we didn't get to do a session (sad), but we went through the Visitors Center and got to see the outside :) Oh my goodness, I love the temple. And even more - I loved getting outisde the walls of the CCM! I love this place so much, but sometimes I forget that there are real people outside of this little oasis :) 

And GUESS WHO I SAW AT THE VISITOR'S CENTER. 
You will never guess. 
So I will just tell you :)
HERMANA MARISSA RHOTEN!!!!! :)

Holy cow, I pretty much started crying when I saw her. I will send a picture - you can see how HAPPY it was to see a familiar face in such an unfamiliar country :) Her companion is actually from Lima - so she was stoked when I told her that I was headed there in just 3 weeks.

UM. 3 weeks. That means I am halfway through the CCM!! What the heck! I just got here! But I am SO excited to get to Perú :)

This week has been full of tender mercies and happy answers to prayers :)

I have decided to devote this email to share with you all of the tender mercies that I saw this week. 
I promise... there are SO many tender mercies in YOUR life. Open your spiritual eyes, and let Heavenly Father show you how much He loves you :)

Here goes my list for this week :) Just the ones off the top of my head!

1 - toilet seats. Sounds a little strange, eh? jaja :) The first 2 weeks here in the CCM, we didn't have any toilet seats in the bathroom by our classroom. Then... this week... Hermana Lindstrom and I went to go to the bathroom annnnddd.... YES. TOILET SEATS. I had never been so happy for something so little. We literally said an out-loud thank you prayer in the stalls. hahaha :)

2 - Buenos and Chokis. Mmmmmmm yum :) Goodies that we buy from the tienda literally everyday. My whole district is kind of addicted :) The Buenos are these little crunchy chocolately cookie things filled with a heavenly Nutella-ish substance. And Chokis are kinda like Chips Ahoy :) We are a little obsessed. :)

3 - hot sauce. I think I mentioned this before.. but I literally put hot sauce on everything that I eat here. There has been ONE meal in 3 weeks that I haven't enhanced with hot sauce. And that was french toast. hahaha I just couldn't bring myself to do that one :) All the Latinos think it is so funny - whenever they see me carrying the hot sauce around, they tell me I am more Mexicana than they are ;) hehehe. 

4 - my zone. There is only one other distrito in my zone - and we have gotten SO close to them! We laugh, we joke, we cry... They are all leaving for the field on Monday, and I am sad to see them go. Can't believe that will be me so soon!

5 - cage fútbol. Everyday during gym time, the Elders in our district play cage soccer. Sadly, Hermanas are not allowed to play with Elders... but Hermana Lindstrom and I love to watch them play. We kick around a soccer ball in the grass by the cage and just enjoy the sun. The weather here is SO perfect. Ahhh such a blessing :)

6 - roommates. Hermana King and Hermana Bailey... they are incredible roommates. They love and serve Hna. Lindstrom and I so much. The other day, I forgot to change my sheets in the morning (we change our sheets every Monday), and when I got home after a long day, Hermana King had changed my sheets and made my bed for me!! It was the sweetest thing ever. 

7 - hymns. Okay so... this might sound a little silly. But every single night before we go to bed, my roommates have me sing them to sleep. One night I sang a hymn as requested... and the spirit was so strong in our little room, with the lights off, after a long hard day... they all begged me to sing again. And again. And again. haha :) So now, every night around 10:10, we turn off the lights and I start to sing hymns. I borrowed an English hymn book from Elder McDonald in my district, and I sing right up until 10:30 every night. Everyone is always asleep before I am done singing. It helps me calm down so much... singing is a natural stress reliever for me. And the Hermanas LOVE me for it. They ask me to sing ALL THE TIME. And of course - I always say yes :)

8 - my teachers. I love my teachers!! I don't think I even mentioned this before... but my first investigator, Ana, became one of my teachers after we were done teaching her! Her real name is Hermana Silva. She speaks Spanish SO fast. But I can understand everything she says now! And she actually speaks pretty good English. She loves coming over and giggling and talking with Hermana Lindstrom and I. She is our teacher every afternoon. And Hermano Gallegos is still our morning teacher :) I love him so much. I will really miss both of them after our time here!


9 - the Elders. In my district. I cannot even explain how much I love them, and how close we are! Thank HEAVENS we are all going to the same mission - because at least I will have chances to keep seeing them :) They really are like the Army of Helaman! I learn so much from them everyday. 


10 - Hermana Lindstrom :) probably my biggest #TMOTL. (hashtag tender mercy of the Lord. We say that all the time ;)) jajajaa, think we can make it catch on?) :) She is so wonderful!! We are seriously like best friends, we laugh ALL the time, she always keeps me smiling - seriously, I could not be more blessed!! And I love teaching with her. We have really just hit our stride in teaching, and keep improving everyday!

I probably could write for a whole extra hour about all the tender mercies I see every day. The Lord is SO good to me! Being a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing of all. 

Just a quick spiritual note here before I'm done :)
I just want you all to know that I TRULY believe this message that I teach. And I love it :)  I am not just telling people that Christ lived, died, and was resurrected. I am testifying to EVERYONE that He is coming again. That through Him, you can be clean again. That there is hope. That no one is ever lost and alone. This message and truth has changed my life. It changes everything that I do. And it is SO IMPORTANT to share this message!! PLEASE, my dear friends and family at home :) - share what you know. Show your love to the Lord by loving His children. By helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ :) I promise you - it's true. If you don't know that it is true - lean on my testimony. And then get on your knees and ask. Your Heavenly Father will answer you. He always does. 

I love you all :)
Hermana Sintay :)


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hurrah for Israel!

Aubrey's Letter October 23, 2014

Hola familia y amigos!!
What a happy day to be alive :) And an even happier day to be a missionary! Honestly, I still wake up every morning... put this name tag on... and can hardly stop my face from BEAMING because it makes me so happy :)

So many wonderful WONDERFUL things to tell you about this week! Hopefully I can keep my thoughts a little more collected than last week :) It´s hard when so many things happen!!

**Okay side note. If you only read one part of my email, read about Tuesday. It´ll be towards the end. **

FIRST major exciting thing - I think I mentioned last week that Neil L. Anderson was coming here to the CCM :) That happened on Saturday. And it was an incredible devotional!! There were two other General Authorities that accompanied him and spoke as well. His talk was all about the Atonement, la Expiación - and it was beautiful. There are only about 400 missionaries in the CCM right now, and Elder Anderson specifically asked if we could set apart time for everyone to shake his hand. That is the second time I have shaken hands with an apostle! (The first time being Elder Bednar at a BYU basketball game during half time. tehe.) :) What an awesome experience. Being able to literally sit at the feet of the prophets... the best. This is only the second time that an apostle has come to the México CCM, and the first was in February! So I really was blessed to be here at the right time :)

The Spanish is coming along so wonderfully. I have been working hard, speaking well, and praying every moment of every day!!! I counted how many kneeling prayers I said just yesterday alone - 37! 37 times getting on my knees and thanking the Lord for ALL His blessings and help. 37 times getting to have a conversation with my loving Heavenly Father! Not to mention a constant prayer in my mind and in my heart. I love prayer :) I wish that I would have relied more on constant prayer before the mission, too. ANYTHING you do can be done better through prayer. I testify of that.

One thing I have been diligently working on is my memorization in Spanish! I have the First Vision, D&C 4, James 1:5, My Missionary Purpose, Alma 32:21, and a handful of other scriptures in Spanish already memorized. It is so fun to recite them in my head and practice! I love it :) My goal is to memorize 3 scriptures a week, and continue to maintain the ones I already have down!

Okay funny story... so the Elders in my distrito love to play this little game. It´s called "What Are The Odds." jajaja let me explain.... so one person thinks of a dare they want the other to do. Then they phrase the question like this - "What are the odds that you will.... *insert dare here*" So like..... "What are the odds that you will talk in a Batman voice until the end of zone meeting tonight?" Then, the person accepting the dare says what they think the odds are... 1 in 10, 1 in 5, 1 in 20 - whatever they decide. Someone counts them off, and they each say a number in between 1 and whatever number was chosen. If they both say the SAME number... let's say they both say 6... then the person challenges with the dare has to do it. If they say numbers that ADD up to the TOTAL (10, 5, 20, whatever number was chosen) - the OTHER person has to do the dare. Let´s just say that this game has lead to some prrrrretty funny happenings in our distrito. jajajaja. These boys are crazy. I sure love them.

Hermana Lindstrom and I just keep getting closer and closer. We laugh SO much, and have so many inside jokes. Every day we become better and better friends. I am so grateful for her :) 

Alrighty.... Tuesday. Let me tell you what happened. 
On Sunday night, I decided that I would fast all day on Tuesday. I prayed all day Sunday and Monday to know what I should fast for.. but Tuesday morning I still wasn´t sure exactly what my specific fast should be for. I left my casa in the morning and began my fast, keeping a prayer in my heart that the Lord would bless me with the things He thought I needed. 
As soon as Hna. Lindstrom and I walked into our classroom for personal study, something was noticeably different. Usually, we chat with the Elders for a few minutes, say good morning, and then start our personal study. But as we walked into the classroom Tuesday morning, there was a strangely somber Spirit. Elder McDonald was standing at the front of the room talking to all the Elders, and Hna. and I just slipped into our chairs, not quite sure what to do. As he spoke, with a loving but serious tone, we understood that he was talking about an Elder who wanted to go home. I thought he was talking about someone in our district.... and I almost started crying. I couldn´t bear to lose any of these boys. As I listened more though, I gathered that it was an Elder in another district. I had met this Elder before - he is going to Lima South and is roommates with two of the Elders in my distrito. Elder McDonald explained that this Elder (Elder Leavitt), was going to call his family at 11:00 and tell them he was going home. Elder Leavitt hadn´t been feeling the love and support from his own district, and was struggling with the language so much that he didn´t believe he even belonged here.

His companion (Elder Rogers) specifically asked if our district could help Elder Leavitt out. There needed to be some kind of quick intervention to keep him from getting on a plane and getting home. Our district is kind of known as a power house.. just full of love and faith. We were so humbled that Elder Rogers would ask us to do such a thing. We got down on our knees in a circle as a district (something we probably do 15 times a day), and prayed together with all our hearts for this Elder. The Spirit was overwhelming. Elder Davis, our district leader, offered the prayer. I was tempted to open my eyes while, because I was SURE I would see God sitting right there. His prayer was so genuine and I KNEW he was talking to God. More importantly, I knew God was listening. 

About 10 minutes later, Elder Rogers and Elder Leavitt came into our classroom. Elder Leavitt didn´t know exactly why they were there... but once they came in, he understood. We all sat in a circle, and a feeling of unmistakable LOVE was pulsing in between all of us. A few of the Elders had planned to share some scriptures and their testimonies with Elder Leavitt. I swear... for those 45 minutes, I was sitting in the presence of future apostles. These 18 year old boys... so far away from home, struggling with their own hardships and shortcomings, came together to TESTIFY of what they knew. And what they KNEW, unmistakably, was that this is the work of the Lord, and it is worth it. They testified of the reality of the Atonement, and the healing power that it offers to each of us. There was not a single dry eye in the circle, as we all came together to help this struggling Elder, who had convinced himself that he was not enough. I cannot even explain to you what I felt as I listened to the testimonies of the Elders in my district - these Elders that I have grown to love with the eyes of the Savior. 

Obviously... after this experience.. I knew what I was fasting for. For ANYONE but myself. I have been SO blessed with an unshakable desire to serve the Lord and to build up His kingdom. I have a testimony that will not be changed by hardships... struggles... or anything. That is the biggest blessing I could ever ask for. I knew that I needed to stop asking for blessings for myself... and start asking Heavenly Father different questions - Who can I serve? Who can I love? Who can I lift? ... what can I do for someone else. 

It was an game-changer. The last two days, when I get on my knees almost 40 times a day..... I have hardly asked for any blessings for myself. I want to SHARE this desire and light that I have with other people. When I first got to the CCM, I thought that I had to wait until I got to Perú to be able to start blessing people´s lives and making a difference. But my perspective has changed 110%. NOW is the time to start serving others. NOW is the time to start living like the Savior. Now is the time to give my all to Him. 

..... And that is what I am doing. 
This is not my mission, it is His.
This is not my work, it is HIS. 
This is not my doctrine.. it is the doctrine of the TRUE and living God. 

I love this work. I hope you all know that. As a happy ending to this story - Elder Leavitt decided to stay :) He did not go home. He told our district that it was because of us that he made that choice. 
But... I believe it was because of Heavenly Father. Sometimes we, as His servants, just get lucky enough to be that answer to someone´s prayers. 

I love you all :) This church is true. This work is real. God lives. 

Hurrah for Israel :)
Hermana Sintay :)

Me in front of my casa :)
An awesome view from my casa