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 :) 

You will never guess. 
So I will just tell you :)

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

Saturday, October 18, 2014


There is SO much to tell you all. So I guess I´ll just start from when I said goodbye to you at the airport :)

It was a blessing that we ran into President and Sister Ware right then, because it helped me get that one BIG "I´m a missionary and this is the best thing EVER" feeling :) So thankfully, I didn´t cry at all when I left, I was just so excited! So I got to SLC, met up with Steph (which was wonderful), and then got on a plane at 1am to Atlanta. I met one other sister missionary on that flight, so that was cool! Once in Atlanta, we met up with a few other missionaries on the flight to Mexico City. I think there were.... 7 of us? Maybe 8. I don´t remember jaja. One of the Elders I met up with was named Elder McDonald - we found out right away that we were going to the same mission (WHAA?!) So basically we were like BFFs the whole flight to Mexico. Which was long by the way. hahah but so fun because Elder McDonald and I just goofed around and got so stoked to be leaving the USA hahaha. 

Soo... when we got to Mexico City, all the missionaries on our flight huddled together and figured out how to get through customs and all that jazz. Thankfully, we all made it through without any casualties. We got to where we were supposed to go, and found our escort Hermano from the CCM. He spoke zero English................ so there began my use of Spanish ALL THE TIME. hahaah. En serio. He took us to this super sketchy looking bus, where we all threw our stuff in the back and got in. Holy cow- they aren´t joking when they say that NO driving rules apply in Mexico City. jajaja it was like a 45 minute ride, and I swear we almost got ran over like 34 times. jajaja. but it was an adventure. We got to the CCM, and there were tons of missionaries there to meet us. One of the misioneros who greeted us was Elder Josh Peterson! (friend from school), so that was super cool. Kinda nice to see a familiar face in such an unfamiliar country :) The CCM is....... SO BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, outside the walls of the CCM is this filthy, gross, overpopulated ciudad, but inside it is like heaven. I love it. Palm tress, green grass, happy people.... ahh. es la mejor. 

Okay. I can´t really remember all the details of what happened next, basically we had about a million orientation meetings, and that´s when I got to send you that tiny email! Then we took all of our stuff to our casas, and ate dinner and unpacked and stuff. Mi compañera didn´t get here until almost 3 horas after I did - oh man I´ve gotta tell you about her :) Okay - Mi compañera es Hermana Lindstrom. She is from Utah, and she is the BEST. We get along so well. I will send lots of pictures and definitely tell stories during this email hahaha. 

Okay..... BIGGEST BLESSING HERE AT THE CCM. Mi distrito. My district. I. love. Them. So. Much. In the CCM or MTC, you spend pretty much ALL of your time with your district. Class time... study time... absolutely everything except sleeping time basically. 
I´ve gotta just explain everyone individually..... hahaha so bear with me :)

Mi compañera - Hermana Lindstrom. We are the only Hermanas in our distrito!! Which is so fun. I get along better with boys anyway hahaha. She and I laugh far too much, and the Elders are always accusing us of smiling too much. No such thing.... ;)

Elder McDonald - Yeahhhhhh my buddy from the airplane!!! When we found out we were in the same district, we high fived, fist pumped, jumped up and down - we were SO excited. He is basically like my twin except he is a boy and he´s from North Carolina. We have so much in common, it´s a blast. 

Elder Roberts - Elder McDonald´s companion! Probably the funniest person I have ever met. hahaha. He is so witty, and such a goofball. He is from Utah, his dad is a theatre teacher so he is just SO animated and hilarious. Oh my gosh he makes me laugh so hard. 

Elder Lowe - he was actually on the plane with Elder McDonald and I to Mexico City! He is a giant teddy bear. He seems like a big tough guy, but he has the biggest and gentlest heart that I have ever seen. He struggles more than any of us with Spanish... but he works so hard. He´s from Florida!

Elder McLaws.... hahahaa. He is from South Dakota, and is the quirkiest person ever. hahaha Hermana Lindstrom makes fun of him all the time. His catch phrase is "Que bueno!", probably because that´s the only thing he knows how to say in Spanish, and he says it about every other sentence hahaha. We had to teach him what a selfie was - he used a rock as a pillow for 2 years - the stories just go on and on. Hence - Elder South Dakota ;)

Elder Davis - our District Leader! Also the most humble person ever. He´s from Utah, has red hair, plays soccer.. haha he is great :)

Elder Wrye - He is probably the quietest in our distrito, pero when he speaks he is so funny!!! He is Elder Davis´s compañero, and he is from South Carolina. Good worker, good friend... great Elder :)

Our distrito is so close. It has only been one week, but these 6 Elders and my companion are my FAMILY here in the CCM! We have the absolute best times. All of the Elders are going to Lima South with me (Yeahhh!!!), and Hermana Lindstrom is going to Lima West! I know I am going to be friends with these Elders and my companion for the rest of my life. They are such a blessing to me. I learn so much from them spiritually!! We basically cry every night together because the spirit is so strong and we love each other so much. I can't even imagine how it is going to be saying goodbye to them in 5 weeks. 

Our maestro (teacher) Hermana Gallegos is the best. He is 23 years old, lives here in Mexico City, and served his mission in Chihuahua! He speaks practically no English..................... hahahaha so from day 1, EVERYTHING EN ESPAÑOL!!!! I am so grateful that my comprehension skills are so good... because from the very beginning I had a HUGE advantage. Hermano Gallegos would say something, and then he would ask me to translate to the rest of the distrito! haha it still happens sometimes though... now everyone is kind of catching up on understanding though.

I feel so blessed that I already knew so much Spanish when I got here. I haven´t felt overwhelmed at all yet - which is practically unheard of!! It is a little frustrating at times, but I am so much more able to speak and understand that anyone else who has only been here una semana. I talk con las latinas y latinos all the time - which helps me a lot :) today, nuestro distrito tenemos una meta hablar SOLAMENTE español!!! sooooo..... today I am actually speaking ONLY spanish all day. hahaha. It´s kind of hard... but really exciting :) I have only been here a week, and I can go an entire day without speaking any english!! Dad you would be so proud :) I love speaking Spanish! Also, when I talk to the Latinos, they always assume that I have been here for like 5 weeks because of my spanish, and how well I speak and everything. They never believe me when I tell them I have only been here for una semana. hahaha :)

okay.... mom you asked what a typical day looked like!!

6:15 wake up. Shower. Get ready. 
7:00 personal study in our classroon with our distrito
8-8:30 breakfast
8:45-11:30 Hermano Gallegos teaches us, we learn language.. doctrine.. lots of stuff, solamente español!!
11:40-12:30 GYM time. Lemme tell ya, I have become a PRO at ping pong. I challenge Elders from all over our zone and WIN. It´s seriously my hidden talent ;)
1-1:45 lunch
1:45-2:30 comp study and planning, in the classroom with the distrito, we basically just plan for our lesson............. with our investigator!! (I´ll tell ya more about that)
2:30-3:30 TALL (technologically assisted language learning) it´s this computer program that we use to practice grammar and vocab and stuff
3:45 - 6:00 teach our investigator!!! slash comp study when we are not the ones teaching
6:30 dinner
7:15-8:15 language study with our distrito. No teacher, just us, SO FUN
8:15-9:15 additional study
9:15 zone meeting
9:30 home
10:30 bed!

That´s the schedule everrrrryyyyyydayyyyy!!!!!!! hahaha soooo yeah things get a little repetitive, but it´s okay because I seriously love everything about it :)

Soooo.... guess who one of my roommates is? :) Hermana King - aka Tommi :) We freaked out when we found out hahahaha :) So it´s Hna Lindtrom and I, and then Hna King and her comp. I love it.

Okay, sooo.... my second day here, we taught a lesson to our investigator Ana. 40 minutes long, ALL EN ESPAÑOL. My second day here!!!!! Whatttt?!?! It was crazy. hahaha I don´t even know how we did it. Hna Lindstrom reaaaalllyyy struggles with the language... so I did about 90% of the talking. We have taught 4 more times since then, and we are probably at about 70% and 30% as far as who talks. BUT, we committed her to baptism, she is keeping all the commitments, and every lesson just gets better and better :) I know she isn´t a real investigator.. but it feels real. And I love teaching :) Even though I have to speak in Spanish, and I spend a while trying to come up with the right word... the Spirit is there. And when I teach and bear testimony, my words and magnified and the Holy Ghost takes over. It is the coolest feeling ever. 

JUST REMEMBERED - An apostle is coming on Saturday!!!!!!!!! And he is giving a devotional, and is going to shake ALL OF OUR HANDS :) I bet that doesn´t happen in Provo ;) tehe. It is Neil L. Anderson!!! I am so excited :) This will be the 3rd apostle I have met! It will be great. So glad that I am here for this opportunity! 

Okay, I have to tell you about the food here. Sorry this email is SO scattered hahaha. 
Basically, I just put loads of hot sauce on EVERYTHING, and then I can eat it. jajaja. Enchiladas?...... hot sauce. 
Tacos?........ hot sauce. 
Strange, unidentifiable meat?............. HOT SAUCE. 
Then it´s edible ;)

I have had so many personal spiritual experiences since I have been here. Every day I am reminded of how GREAT my calling is, and how important it is that I am here doing the Lord´s work. I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I know that the Lord is preparing me for great things, and that as long as I TRUST in Him and am OBEDIENT, he will qualify me and help me become the servant that He needs in His vineyard. Without Him, I am nothing. Without Him, I wouldn´t be able to speak Spanish. Without Him I wouldn´t be able to work SO hard all day long. I know that it is BECAUSE of Him that I am so happy, and I love this work so much :)

Even though this email is RIDICULOUSLY long, there is so much more I could tell you :) Email me if you have any questions that I didn´t answer, and I will do my best to fill you in on everything!!!

I will continue to be on email for another hour or so, and then we are coming back later this afternoon to send tons of pictures :)

Pday is the best :)

The church is true!!!
Hermana Sintay :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

All packed and ready to serve the Lord for 18 months!

October 7, 2014

This is my life for the next 18 months... two suitcases and a carry on! :)

The largest suitcase weighed 50 pounds exactly... whew!

Mi Familia

I'm on my way...

but my family will have to obey the sign. 

I'M IN MEXICO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am here!!! Just went through orientation and everything, and I get to write a quick email to let you know I am safe and GREAT. The name tag is on, I am officially Hermana Sintay, and I AM SO HAPPY. Even though I have not slept in 36 hours.... life is good :)
My Pday is Thursdays! So I guess you will get another email tomorrow with lots more good stuff in it :)
I have already met some Elders in my District, we were on the plane together, they are awesome. We are all going to the same mission - YEAH LIMA SOUTH. I'll get my comp in an hour or two. I don't know if she'll be going to the same mish or not.

Just so you know.. they told me to tell you this again...

Your Missionary's mailing address is:
Hermana Aubrey Michelle Sintay
Nov 11th  10-B
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The estimated departure date for your missionary is November 11th. The use of the
above address on all correspondence will greatly faciliate delivery to your missionary
at the MTC. Please don't send packages. 

That was all copy and pasted haha. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy!!!!!!! I AM A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Talk to you lots more tomorrow!! :)

Hermana Sintay :)