Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hermana LaPray is better!


Well, I got over that little pneumonia phase and I'm back to normal life! You know, like going to class all day and eating sometimes and running around a tiny track for a little bit (by the way, did I mention that it takes TEN laps on the MTC track to finish a mile?
Yeah, fun....). But I am feeling better. Thanks for the prayers. I actually only really started going to class again yesterday (on Monday). Pretty much all of last week was sleepy time... so this e-mail is going to be boring. Oops, sorry! Hermana Seegmiller got a lot of personal study time while I was sleeping and probably went a little crazier. Also, that Get-Well card proved to me that Shawn and Josh are still alive... I guess I'm not too sure about Aubrey. So they better write to me or I might start searching for new brothers...
Better brothers. So anyone who wants to be my brother send in your application on The perks are great. You get to... tell people you're my brother and then see how jealous they look and you get to come to all our crazy family gatherings and we have a pretty cool TV at my house to like... watch sports on and stuff. So I'm expecting a lot of applications!
Um... anyway...
I got a great package this week from Uncle David's family! I guess he really does want me to gain weight because he sent me a bunch of delicious cookies... but I one-upped him by getting pneumonia. I actually lost 7 pounds on the pneumonia diet! (If anyone is wondering, the pneumonia diet is being too sick to eat for a week. I really don't suggest it.) But really, it was great! I also shared a lot of the cookies with the Elders in my district. I now have the favorite extended family because of all the goodies you send! Thank you all and I'm sending you a letter today so you should get that in a couple of days.
I also got a letter from Amy Watanuki... I do know who you are, Amy, and I'm writing back to your family today, too!
Also, the package from my mom was not as well-liked. I mean, the Easter candy was good, but the Elders didn't seem thrilled to share the tights. Weird...
So hasn't this e-mail been fun? Oh wait I forgot to talk about the devotionals. Ok well last week some guy came and talked about some stuff... and the same thing happened on Sunday! I was kind of sick so I didn't really take notes or pay attention... But stay tuned next week for some really spiritual stuff! (That's what missionaries do,
right?) I might also have my travel plans by next week! WOW! Time has flown by so fast. I don't leave for another 2.5 or 3 weeks, but it kind of feels like I'm leaving tomorrow!
Have a good week everyone. Keep those letters comin'! I love you all.
The Church is true, the Book is blue, Go... WEST VIRGINIA! (Can I say

Hermana LaPray

Friday, March 26, 2010

I have pheumonia!


I have pneumonia! I was trying to think of funny ways to tell you, but they all were funny in my head and didn't make sense when I said them out loud. So I thought I'd just come out and tell you. Fun, right???
It's been a blast! So pretty much all day yesterday I slept and today... I've been sleeping! I'm on some anti-biotics and this intense cough medicine that knocks me out for hours. I should be better by the end of the week.

Other than that, life has continued as normal. Except NOT because last week Elder Cook came to devotional! Yes, as in Quentin L. He gave a great talk and blessing. Sister Cook talked about the power of music and one thing she said that I really liked was "The only thing stronger than truth is truth in a musical setting." Elder Cook focused his talk around D&C 112 and he addressed 3 main points (from section
112 and Preach My Gospel).
1. Teach with the power of the Holy Ghost. Investigators will not remember the THINGS you teach them, but they WILL remember their feelings while you were teaching.
2. Get the investigator to make commitments and then follow through with them. An investigator who is not making and keeping commitments will not progress. As they keep their commitments, they will get personal answers from heaven.
3. Live so the Holy Ghost can inspire your teaching and bear witness of the truth.
It was a really great talk and very exciting to have an apostle come and talk to us!

Thank you so much to Grandma and Grandpa for the cookies and candy! I now have the most favorite grandparents in the district! Also, I read some of mom's letter to my district and they all think she is very funny. Especially that part about Methodists eating their kids...
(Have fun explaining that one, mama!)

Life continues on like normal... We have three districts leaving this week and we're getting three new districts tomorrow... and three new sisters! We're excited to meet the new sisters. I don't know when I'm singing yet, but I'll let everyone know when I get the notice in the mail!

Sorry that this email is shorter than usual. I'm feeling a little (or a lot) out of it so I need to go back to bed!

Have a great week everyone! Stay tuned for next week's installment of Sister LaPray's MTC Madness!

Speaking of Madness, too bad for BYU :( But life goes on and there's always next year!

Hermana LaPray

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The district being silly by the temple (is that allowed)? This was before the addition of Elder Matagi.

The classic map picture! Elder Matagi is actually going to Eduador, even though he's pointing into the middle of nowhere.
Top (left to right): Elder Shawhan, Elder Miller, Elder Keeling, Hermana Crosby, Elder Bartholomew
Bottom (l to r): Elder Matagi, Elder Spencer, ME!, Hermana Tingy, Hermana Seegmiller

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Halfway there! (Livin' on a prayer?)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Halfway there! (Livin' on a prayer?)

So I've made it one month in the MTC! I know Dad was doubting me...and Shawn... but nobody else, right? RIGHT? But really, it's been great and I don't know where the time has gone! When I think that I only have a month left, I start to get a little nervous because I still have SO much to learn!
This has been another interesting week, and you all are so lucky because you get to hear about it! So fasten your seatbelts, because this is going to be crazy! Ok no it's not.
The other day at lunch, one of the Elders in my district asked, "How is that taco salad?" The other Elder responded, "It's alright, nothing to write home about." He was correct. It was alright. But I thought I'd write home about it anyway, because I'm soooo funny.
I saw my old roommate, Jillbo Baggins (A.K.A. Jill Cassinat Urie). She teaches on the floor right above me! I've only seen her once, but hopefully I'll get to see her more.
I get to play basketball at gym time a LOT now. The Elders have all decided that they don't feel less manly when they lose, because apparently I'm an NBA All-Star in disguise. Bet you never knew that!
I've got a crazy accurate outside shot, in case anyone was wondering.
Last Wednesday, we had our first "ayuno de ingles" (English Fast). We spoke Spanish ALL DAY and it was great! This week, we've upped it to two days. We're going to speak only Spanish on Wednesday AND Friday. It helps me realize how much Spanish I've learned... and how much I really still need to! And, Dad, just to let you know, the MTC still hasn't "caught up" to the Spanish I learned in High School. I've gotten a lot more practice, and I've learned to speak better through that, but I haven't learned any new verb tenses or anything. The only things that are new are the gospel vocabulary and the massive amounts of practice we get.
This Sunday, the fireside speaker was Richard Heaton (he works here at the MTC). He gave a talk on focusing on your investigators in EVERYTHING you do and he called up some missionaries who have only been members of the church for a year. It was an incredibly powerful talk and I really loved it. Also (I know all you returned missionaries have heard this and are going to think about how lame I am now) we sang the Primary song "To Bring the World His Truth" and where the lyrics usually say, "and we will be the Lord's missionaries," they changed it to, "and we are now the Lord's missionaries." And I thought, "Wow, it's true! I am! Weird... How did I ever trick anyone into letting me be a missionary??? Do they know what they are trusting me with???" But really, I thought that was powerful, too. I'm a missionary! Wahoo!
Yesterday we went to the RC again, and I didn't have an experience exactly like last week, but I still loved it. I've decided to call only in Spanish from now on and it's so great! First of all, the people I talk to are all so nice--Latinos never say no! Haha. "Want a Book of Mormon? I'll send the missionaries with one!" "...ok sounds good." And when I forget a word or say something wrong and I tell them I'm learning Spanish, they're so nice and they tell me what a good job I'm doing and they speak more slowly. I just love the practice and sharing the gospel! I think I bore my testimony about 20 times yesterday and it's just so much fun every time! And they're real people! Ok that's enough about the RC for now... I'll exclaim about how much I love it again next week.
I tried out for a musical number on Thursday. They're going to have me sing in a devotional sometime around Easter. My companion is going to record it (on her tape recorder... we're so high-class) so I can send it home for you to hear. It's a beautiful song and it really does have a great Easter message. It's called "Gethsemane" and it's by Sally DeFord if anyone wants to look it up. And no, I'm not nervous.
Everyone in my district was freaked out that I wasn't nervous at all.
I guess the nerves wear off when you do stuff like that so much.
We had some sisters (including Hnas Barillas and Clark) leave this week, and we miss them, but we're glad they FINALLY get to go to Chile! They've been temporarily reassigned to the Chile Santiago Norte mission, but they'll get to Concepcion Sur soon enough! When they learned that we have horses, they got really excited and decided we're going to have an MTC reunion at our house, so consider this your warning, Mom!
So I'll say AGAIN: the MTC is great! I love it here and I love learning, but I'm also excited to be headed to Argentina in a month! I just want to go there and teach them all!
The Church is true, the Book is blue, GO COUGARS!
Hermana LaPray

P.S. Tell David I still haven't gained any weight. They better send me some of those coconut cookies or something :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 3!

First of all, I have something to say. If you are reading this on the blog and you have not written me a letter/sent me cookies/cake/candy then STOP! (hammer time) and get on that. Si ustedes quieren escribir en espaƱol, pueden. Puedo leer! Es un milagre!
Are you finished?
Good. Read on.

Hello everyone! I am now an experienced veteran of the MTC. I've been here for three weeks and I'm 1/3 of the way finished! (For everyone who is not as good at math as I am, that means I have 9 weeks total and 6 weeks left.)
I guess I had better start off this e-mail with the goofy stuff. We have a ridiculous, goofy zone and crazy things happen every day. I think the hilight of the week, though, was yesterday when some other Elders in the zone came in to "teach" our district. They chose me and another Elder as their investigators so we had to invent lives for ourself (remember, this is all funnier because it's going on in Spanish). So, Elder Keeling and I are brother and sister. We work in the local spoon factory. As spoon testers. No, not what you're thinking. We actually just bang them on tables. Yeah, it's a family thing. Our family has worked there for generations. Neat, huh?

Everyone should be very proud to hear that I taught a lot of Elders a lesson in humility during gym time this week. Elders and Sisters aren't allowed to play in basketball games against each other, but we can play knock out. And by "we can play knock out" I meant that they can stand in line and be knocked out systematically as I move down the line. I was unstoppable. I'm thinking about going pro. Ok not really, I'd need to grow six inches, but it's been fun out-shooting the

Mom, thank you for the pazelles. If you're not in my family and you're wondering, "What are pazelles?" you need to e-mail my mom right now and tell her to make you some. But don't really. That would be hard for her. Just imagine the most delicious cookie you've ever eaten in your life... and multiply that by 50 billion. Yum. An even bigger hit than the cookies, though, was the BUBBLE WRAP. Our room was a noisy place for a little while, but it was soooo fun. (I guess that goes to show how boring the MTC is...)

Now I'll move on to the more spiritual side... So go put on your church clothes or something.

Here at the MTC we have something called the "Referral Center" (RC).
Here, we make outbound calls to make sure people have gotten DVD's/books/other random stuff from the Church that they have requested. The last three times at the RC I didn't really enjoy it or talk to anyone cool or anything, so on Sunday night I decided I wanted to change my attitude about it. I prayed to have a good attitude about the RC on Monday (yesterday) and... IT WORKED! I went in with a better attitude and I had a really great experience. I only talked to two people in that hour and a half, but it was worth it. One woman had been cancer free for 15 years, but just last July her Oncologist (sorry if I butchered that spelling, Mom, Spanish is doing strange things to my English) found another tumor growing on her kidney. She had to go through treatments again and she's been really depressed.
When I told her what I was calling about, she told me about a friend she had once who was Mormon and she just seemed like she had such a great life. She was very eager to read the Book of Mormon and talk to the missionaries!

Then I decided to move on to calls in Spanish...
Yeah. Me. Calling real people. Speaking a different language. Our teacher said "Ok, last call before dinner!" My Spanish really is growing. Sometimes I do calls in Spanish and it's easy to understand their accent. Sometimes... it's not. It just depends on where they're from and how slow they're willing to talk, haha. Well, I talked to Miguel and he, also, had questions about the Church. He had watched the Lamb of God video and he really liked it and he was eager to learn more! We sent missionaries and a Book of Mormon to him, as well.

So there you have it! Attitute really is everything! And prayers really are answered. I know that Heavenly Father heard my prayer and that He helped me to have those incredible experiences. Sometimes prayers aren't answered as directly or as quickly as that one was, but He knows what is best for us and gives us what we need.

Thank you for the letters I have gotten so far. And if you're one of those slackers out there, now is the time to repent! I will forgive you, I promise :) I love you all. Have a wonderful week.
Hermana LaPray

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Hola Familia!
Sorry if the e-mails don't have paragraph breaks, apparently those aren't allowed here. Mom requested an example of my daily schedule. Well, here goes... you asked for it. 5:45 am, wake up and go to early-morning Sister exercise classes. Get back at 6:30. Shower and get dressed. Class at 7. Breakfast at 7:45. After breakfast, gym (I just LOVE to run on a nice, full stomach!). Then back to class until 12:30. Lunch. Class until 5:30. Dinner. Class until 9. Plan. Go home. Sleep. Repeat. Unless it's P-Day or Sunday. Those are a little different, and I really appreciate the change.
I'll take this time to answer some questions. Mom, Sister Clark is a regular missionary here. She's going to Chile and she would have left this week if not for the earthquake. Every Zone has a Sister missionary set apart as the "coordinating sister." I haven't auditioned for a musical number yet. I still need to find an accompianist. We're getting two new districts in our zone tomorrow, so hopefully one of them plays the piano.
Also, Mom, you forgot to send my hymnal! So get on that :)
Last week's Devotional was Elder Jay Jensen (of the presidency of the seventy). It was a really great talk. One thing he said that really stood out to me was "Proof does not convert others, the Spirit does." Very powerful, because I feel like sometimes I like to have (and give) proof. It must be that crazy engineer inside of me. But it is important to remember that the Spirit is everything, and we need to have the Spirit to teach. Also, I lied about the names of the speakers at the Fireside last Sunday. They were Elder and Sister BEECHER, not Beeson. So make sure I haven't given any false information to Melissa's parents.
The Fireside speaker this week was Stephen Allen, who is in charge of the missionary department. It was a good talk. He taught about the importance of acting like a representative of Christ at all times. The main message was "DON'T BE STUPID!" Wise words... Also, Ann Dibb came to Relief Society (President Monson's daughter). She taught a great lesson about standing up for what you believe in. She brought in two girls from her ward and had us give them advice about how to survive high school.
And of COURSE I have a funny story for you this week. With the Elders in our zone, we don't have a single day without something ridiculous and hilarious happening. This particular story is about our investigator, "Frank". First you must know that Frank is not real. Hermana Seegmiller and I wanted to practice teaching a lesson, so we went to an empty room and taught Frank. We were getting to the end of the lesson and Hermana Seegmiller was bearing her testimony to him and two Elders walked into the room. They said, "Uh... hey... what are you doing?" Hermana Seegmiller replied, "Testifying to Frank, of course! We were teaching him a lesson, but he wouldn't read any scriptures or ask any questions or ANYTHING." Elders: "Oh, of course. Well, Frank, sorry to interrupt!" It was awkward and funny. Probably funnier if you were there... I guess most of my stories end up being like that. Now whenever we see those Elders, the ask us how Frank is doing. They were delighted to hear that he was baptized this week and his wife (Francis) is getting baptized this week! Yeah... so that's Frank... Great investigator.
I have survived two weeks in the MTC. I'm pretty much a pro at this now. Only 30 more years to go! Or 6 weeks, but sometimes it seems like 30 years. But that's okay, I know it will fly by and I will miss it. Tell Uncle David I still haven't gained any weight. Tell everyone to send me letters and cookies and cards and... pancakes. Ok don't tell anyone to send me pancakes. But I always love to get letters and I am greedy so I want more!
Every day I run into more people I know. This week I saw a Sister from my freshman ward (Sister Mallory Hales) and an Elder who played on my frisbee team this past fall at BYU (Elder Nick Farrer). But anyway, send more letters and thanks to everyone who has sent letters so far! I love you all! In the words of Hermano Dallon: The Book is blue, the Church is true, Go Cougars!
Hermana LaPray