Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rachel – MTC #4 December 29th, 2012

I love you too!! We have been enjoying our last prep day. It is a weird feeling knowing that it is my last... But yes!, I am still headed straight to the field!! weird!!!! :) :) Oh well!

So, I can't really remember what you all said last letter, and I know that I said that I would reply to it, but I can't remember.. oops! But, I do have a few things to say. :)

First – There are 3 people here that remind me of 3 people back home. Cody's cousin, Chase, has a look-alike/act alike here. He and I are actually pretty good friends. The only thing different is that Elder Martinez is Hispanic looking, other than that, he reminds me a lot of him. The second person, also named Elder Martinez, looks, talks, and acts like cousin WILLIE! I know, it's freaky, and funny. Once again, he is Hispanic. Willie is definitely not :) The last person is my companion–Sister Cooper. She is like our neighbor ISABELLE!!!! Yes, she looks like her, and somewhat acts like her. The other day, she made a joke about how she loves to eat butter, and I was like, WHAT?! So yeah, it made me miss Isabelle...I never thought I would say that. I do love Isabelle. Hahaha

The next thing – The package that you sent before Christmas was a huge success! I shared the huge Reese's with my district, and they all loved it. Sister Rupp ate a lot of the peanut brittle. She loved it. Well done... Speaking of Sister Rupp, she gave her mom your Email address, because she sent pictures home, and her mom is going to forward them to you. So check your Email. Speaking of pictures, I cannot send any! I do not have a cord. I think I mentioned that before, but I don't have a cord. If possible, can you send me one? Because yeah, no cord=no pictures. I have the red camera-the same one as Riss, so she knows what it looks like. I have my charger, but not the connector. :) Thanks!!

Oh! On Sunday, we had Sister Brown (old backdoor neighbor) come and speak to us for Relief Society. It was nice to see a familiar face. It is hard to apply things from other people's lives to your own. Oh well. She is the MTC president's daughter-in-law.

Like I said on Christmas, we heard from Elder Nelson. He talked about how our goal is to make life better for others. I totally agree. I can't wait to help people realize the gospel!! He also talked a lot about how we are going to enemy territory, and in order to be safe, we must be obedient. That part got me a little freaked out to go to the DR. Also, a sister in my district keeps telling me that I will get robbed because I am white, which is logical, but I am going to pray really hard to not get – 1. robbed, 2. raped, 3. kidnapped, 4. killed, 5. organs stolen, 6. everything else :) I don't want it.

One thing that I miss (besides the fam-bam) is the piano! I want to just play the piano, with no one singing along, or no one listening. I miss that, a lot. Oh well, such is life. I will get over it.

Well, I think that is all I really have to tell you. Oops, nope. I will probably send a package on Wednesday, since I leave on Thursday. I will put my coat inside, and a few other things that I will probably not use. :) So, look for that.

Another thing. THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE!! it made me so happy that I got one yesterday! I am glad you sent the umbrella. I will need that. I realized that my shoes probably won't last the whole mission and that I wish I had some white shoes–even though I know they will get dirty. Just so you know, I have yet to stain anything :) What a big deal!

If you end up sending a package before I leave, I just want Wite-out. I was going to buy some, and then I didn't. I think I have everything else. I don't need anymore candy. I feel fat. But I know I am not. The scale says that I have lost a few pounds, but who knows. It could be 10 pounds off, and in reality I have gained 15. Whatever, as long as I can move and fit in my clothes, right? haha

Also, I didn't hear you honk past the MTC - darn. I wish that I did. I was probably in class. :)

Hmmm... tell Riss that I am working on her letter today. I have been doing laundry and I have 7 letters to write to people! I guess I only have about 3 more, but still. They are going to be long. Did she ever get my letter that I sent to SUU? She never mentioned anything, so I am wondering if she did. Also, by the time I send her letter, it probably won't be picked up until Monday, and she'll get it on Wednesday? maybe.

I still have 12 minutes left, so I will ramble. Yesterday, we had in-field orientation that lasted 13 hours. Luckily, they gave us small breaks for lunch and stuff, or we all would've gone berserk! 13 hours is a pretty long time. We just talked about how important it is to contact people and get referrals and all that jazz. I am glad it's over, but I think I learned a few valuable things, :) hopefully.

I am going to miss my companions–mainly Sister Rupp. She is so great, and I don’t get annoyed with her. I like Sister Cooper as well, but sometimes she is too much to handle. Oh well. She'll be a great missionary, I have no doubt. I will also miss my Elders. They are so fun to be with, and I like talking to them. They will change people's lives for sure!!

Tell Jakey that I am glad he wrote me that letter, the letter R. So thoughtful of him! What a stud!

I would love to hear from everyone about their Christmas. That would be a fun thing. Right? Right.

Another side note that just comes to me as I write. I would love to get Kelton's Emails. Do you know my gmail information? I wonder if his mom is still sending them to me. I would love to hear from him... :) yep.

Umm.... I think that is all I can think about. Really, my mind is empty! We will have time after this to write letters, so that is what is on the agenda.

I love you all!!!!!! Thank you for everything. I know the gospel is true!!!!!!!!!

-Love forever, Hermana Erickson


ps, I will call you on Thursday morning. My flight is at 8 I think–so around 6-7. :) I hope the kids don't go back to school until after that, I wanna talk! Also, I hope Marissa's job interview went well!!!

Peace and love, Herm. Erickson

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rachel MTC #3 December 25th, 2012

I will reply to your email later - but I am able to email you this Christmas - since we don't get to call! So here I am!! :) I hope you all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I love you all, and have been thinking about you a lot today.

They asked us to write a special message on Christmas, so I am doing that.

It's been an interesting Christmas here at the MTC. We don't get the gifts, we don't hear the Christmas music, but we do get to feel God's love for us everyday. It's pretty great. We get to understand the true meaning of Christmas, and I really love it. There is a special spirit here, and it makes me want to be the best I can be. I love it. But I am so glad that I could spend a Christmas in the MTC. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I don't think I would trade it for anything else. The Christmas Spirit is definitely around. Everyone is cheerful, happy, and they all love everyone. I know that is what God wants for everyone, but we are the few that are lucky enough to be around people that are ALWAYS happy (here at the MTC.) I am grateful for the opportunity to be here. I am grateful for the things that I have learned, and I can't wait to get out there and teach!!!!! :) Only like, 8 more days? Yep – eight, which is really bizarre.

I want you all to know that I love this gospel. I know that the church is true, and that Jesus cares so much about me. I know that He is my Savior. He saved me, and without Him and His sacrifice, I would have no hope. I am forever grateful for Him. I know that He is the only way back to live with our Heavenly Father, and that He wants us to return. I know that Heavenly Father loves me and knows me and my weaknesses. He knows me personally. I have known that for a long time, and it becomes more prevalent the longer that I am in his service. I know He loves everyone. Even if they do not have the Gospel. I know He wants everyone to receive the Gospel, and return to Him. Ah. I love this Church!! - it brings me so much happiness. I know that He loves us because He restored the gospel, and He called Prophets to guide us. I know that Joseph Smith restored the gospel, and that President Thomas S. Monson is the prophet today. I know that He is called of God, and that he speaks for God. I trust him and know that what he tells us is true. I am grateful for his sacrifice to the church. I know that families are forever. I am so glad that I can live with my family forever. I love you all, and I can't imagine my life without you. I am super grateful for the doctrine of eternal families.

I know that I was called to the DR for a reason. I know that the people there are wanting to hear the gospel, and I know that I will be able to talk to them and help them realize the importance of the gospel. I can’t wait to make them happy.

I know this church is true. I know that it blesses families, and that we can blessed for following the prophet. I am grateful for all that you all do for me, for being raised in the church. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him. I love Him so much, and for that reason, I celebrate this Christmas. :)

Well, it was good hearing from you. I would love to hear about how Christmas went back home. I bet it was great. We just had a devotional. Elder Nelson came. He's great. I always feel like I know him, even though I have never met him.. I don't think. But he did really good. I think I will talk about what he talked about on Saturday (that is our P-Day because we have a 13 hour "in-field training" on Friday.) So just so you know, I will email you again on Saturday. Then I will call you on Wednesday :) yay!

Marissa, I can't believe you got your ears pierced. I bet you look even more gorgeous. Thanks for not even giving me a chance... haha!

Also, thank you very much for the package. I have been sharing the candy - since I have been trying really hard to be healthy here - and it's been working!!!!!! :) But then I got candy, and... yep, so I have been sharing. Thanks for the shower thing and the picture book. Everyone in my
district wanted to look at the pictures. We sure look good!!! :)

Anyways, I don't have much time left. I will probably send you a package home (with the stuff I don't need, and such) on Tuesday?  I'll let you know for sure on Saturday :)

Also, thank you for the little wrapped presents - I opened 2 of them this morning, and then I will open the other 2 later. I opened the bows and the mints :) yum yum. But thank you for thinking of me. I love you all. I will reply to Riss's letter on Saturday, when it is my P-Day :) so look forward to that haha.

Once again, I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!

Love forever,
Hermana Erickson :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rachel MTC #2 - December 21, 2012

Letter 2 MTCRachel – MTC #2    December 21, 2012

Glad to hear that Marissa is alright (wisdom teeth extracted.) I would love to see pictures! But Yeah, glad that she is alright :)

That’s cool that Jacob’s teacher went to the DR west mission. I’ve heard many good things about it.

Jacob- Hi :) I am doing well. I am glad to hear that you are doing well too. The mission is going great. You are going to love being a missionary!! :) I hope you have a merry Christmas as well :) and a happy new year!!

But this week was good! I felt that my Spanish was improving, and I feel like it still is :) so that is good news. Ya know how I had 2 native companions? Well, On Monday, another gringa sister came in, so I was her companion. My Spanish has gotten A LOT better since we’ve been companions. I think it is because I am not as nervous to speak around her, even though she is a lot better than I am. Then, the next day, we got yet another gringa - so, I am once again in a three-some! I have had 5 companions! in 9 days.. it’s crazy. 

Thanks for the “dearelders.” I am happy to hear that the Christmas tree is finally put up.. I wish I could have seen it, but oh well. I will get over it, right? right. Congratulations on the Stephen’s hot chocolate. I let my district leader read one of my letters - because I got three in one night - so he read the one where you (dad) won the hot chocolate, and was like, “haha that’s funny-he actually won something off the radio.” I continued to tell him that it was your hobby, and you do it all the time.. haha I didn’t tell him what you have won though. Didn’t want to depress him.

Is Jeff’s room ok, then? I am sorry to hear that it was flooding. That’s not good. And no, we did not get to go to the temple - we got to walk around it, but not do any ordinances. And I doubt that I will get to go to the DR one.

HAHA Riss and DAVE sang on the radio??! how precious. You should tell Riss to write me. Because I want an update on her life.. and everyone else. Tell Grant CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! I am so excited for him to serve there! That's neat.

Mom - don’t worry about the 12 days of Christmas. The world is ending today anyways.. there is no point :) haha kidding. I wanna know the news about that. Are there people freaking out? Please update me on that. I am interested in hearing about it.

One of the elders in my zone told me that I had a cute skirt - it was the black plaid one. I told him that grandma made it, and he said that she had some serious talent. I have gotten A LOT of compliments on the skirts that she made. So let her know that I really appreciate them :)

Oh my. One of the MOST annoying things ever is when people sit next to me and start shaking their leg up and down (like Josh..) but it seems to happen all of the time, and it drives me nuts! It makes me nauseous. Some of the elders do it, and ugh.. so annoying!

Oh! I hope you had a happy anniversary the other day. I wished you a happy anniversary right when I woke up, but you didn’t hear it, so I am telling you that it happened. :) I hope it was good! 25 years.. crazy. Thanks for your example. I love you both and couldn’t have better parents.

Oh! another thing that I would love to get.. I don’'t have any way to upload my pictures onto the computer because it appears that I need my USB cord thing that hooks up to it. The only problem is that I have no idea where that would be.. so you may never receive pictures from me.. sorry. There is no other way to upload them- no place for my memory card or anything.

That last thing.. I got my travel plans!!!!!!! I was shaking with excitement!!! I am leaving January 3rd. I check out at 5:00am and my flight 1492 leaves from SLC at 8:15. I plan on calling, so I will probably call around 6? maybe 7?...we’ll see. But I leave on American Airlines, and fly to Ft. Worth Texas, and from there, I go to Miami, and then it says I go to Santo Domingo. So that seems to be the plan. Except after I get to Santo Domingo, it says that I have another flight from SD to Georgia....... so, I don’t know what that means. It also says that that flight will take place on Feb. 3rd. I definitely need to talk to them. I plan on serving a mission longer than a month. hahaha. I will get that all figured out, and let you know. But yeah!! I am leaving the MTC on the 3rd, Yay.

Well, I don’t have much more to say. Thank you all for your love and letters. I have received a letter everyday from at least one person - whether it be a friend, a grandma, or someone that I know, I appreciate them taking the time to write me. It makes me feel loved. I get hassled a lot from my district because I almost always get letters - and letters are delivered 2 times a day - at lunch, and after classes - and I usually get one or more each time. I know I am loved, and my district knows that as well. So thank everyone :) haha anyways, I am almost out of time. Be proud - this letter is so long!! :) or at least I feel like it is :)

Love you so much!! Thank you for supporting me-financially and in every other possible way :) haha I guess I won’t be writing you until after Christmas - therefore, MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I hope you all have a great time!!! Pretend I am there. :)

Much love,

Hermana Erickson :)

ps, I love you :)     

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rachel MTC #1 Letter/E-mail - December 13, 2012

Rachel left the MTC on January 3rd.  She tried to call from Texas, but for some reason we didn't get to the phone on time, so it went to voice mail.  We haven't heard from her since she landed in the Dominican Republic.  We hope she made it....

Here are her MTC letters....

Letter #1 MTC (by snail mail)
December 13, 2012
Querida familia,
Hola! estoy aqui en el CCM.  Es muy interesante.  Es como EFY. entonces no es mey dificil para "get used to."
Anyways! Hi! I hope you are all well.  Hopefully Riss got home safe and Jeff passed his finals.  My first day here was good! a bunch of people are overwhelmed, but I have yet to feel so.  So that's good!  I almost am overwhelmed that I don't feel overwhelmed.. haha.  I'll get over it.  Like I said, it's so similar to EFY!  I seriously feel like I'm a counselor still. Maybe that's why I feel so comfortable here.  Who knows?

So you should get this letter before Wednesday, which is my P-day.  So... yep!

My Companions - yes, we are a 3some - are pretty cool.  Hermana Brockman is from AZ and Hermana Lecheminant (Le-sh-eh-min-aunt (fancy aunt)) is from CA.  They're easy to get along with.  Thank goodness! Except I won't be their companion for much longer.  I am indeed being transferred into Intermediate or Advanced Spanish.  Probably Intermediate, since I can't speak all too well.  But this Basic Spanish is killer! We only talk in English.  Like, on Kelton's first day, he only heard Hmong.  I RARELY hear Spanish.  So, I usually translate the English into Spanish and read the Spanish PMG (Preach My Gospel). I should be reassigned by Monday. Hopefully!

Anyways, all of us hermanas in the district (only us 3) are going to the DR-SDOMW mission.  Except Hermana Lecheminant, she is going to the East Mission. (Thank goodness, too, because I can NEVER remember her name, haha.)

Sorry about the handwriting.  It gets slanted with speed, like this graph  |/_ (hand written letter had a graph/chart).  Positively correlated.

Oh! These pens drive me nuts. I like the BIC ones so much more.  I might send these back with the coat.  Also, Riss left her lip gloss in the pocket of the coat.  I will send that back, too.

Heather, Thank you for the sweet note. I love you!  I don't know what you want me to write back about.. but I guess this is me writing you back :)

I better go.. It's almost lunch time. Being a missionary ROCKS! So far kids, the mission is a BLAST!!! (Shoutout to Jeff & Riss!! :)

I'll write you email style on Wednesday.

Love Hermana Erickson.

PS I get out of here Jan 3, 2013
PPS I forgot the shower bag.. I realized that last night while unpacking.  And also I forgot my toothbrush holder, but mainly the shower bag.  Also, I have no stamps/envelopes or I can't find them.

And if Riss wants to get on Facebook and ask people if they want my emails, I'm cool with that.

I haven't cried myself to sleep yet!!

Love Again,  Sister Erickson
Favorite scripture (for the missionary plaque at the church)  D&C 78:18

Letter #1 (by e-mail):
Rachel – MTC #1 (8:28 AM)    December 15th, 2012

How is everyone!? I am doing so well. I sure do love it here. Just so you know, you should be getting a letter today. I wrote you on Thursday, but the things that I told you then do not really apply. Therefore, if you get that letter you can disregard most of the information! Deal? ok, great :)

So the first couple of days have been pretty neat. Like I said in the letter, it reminds me A LOT of EFY. We get up at the same time, we have name tags, have a dress code, have a companion, have about the same food, and have activities planned that draw us closer to Christ. I think that is the reason that I haven't felt too overwhelmed yet.

Like you thought, I was put into the beginner Spanish first. And all we did was speak English! It was annoying! I wasn't learning, and I couldn't improve my Spanish at all. So on Thursday, I asked my teacher if there was another class that I could transfer into, and she said that I could be tested. So I went and talked to a guy who asked me all sorts of questions, and I responded accordingly in Spanish. I guess I did alright–because that same day, a guy came over to me and was like, "so normally, you would be here for nine weeks, right? How would you feel if we put you in the advanced Spanish group, and you left to the mission field in 3 weeks?" that was a shock.. because I am not all that good at speaking Spanish, but I can understand real well. So I thought about it for a little bit, and decided that I had enough faith that I could learn to speak Spanish more fluently, so now I am not going to the DR MTC! Crazy right, I went from 9 weeks, to 3 weeks, and from beginner Spanish to advanced!! THAT was overwhelming. So the guy changed my mailbox number (it used to be 246, now it is 222 - please notify my Facebook friends :) gracias.) but yeah! The main coordinator took me to my new classroom, and I met my new companions - have 2 more again. I am the only white girl in the class, which is intimidating!! Everyone else has grown up speaking Spanish, and they are all fluent... but I know that I can learn it, if I rely on God's help - which I have been doing a lot of lately, haha.

Umm.. I am starting to think in Spanish, which is good. Oh!! yesterday, we taught an investigator-my companions mostly taught him. And I had so many things to say, but when I opened my mouth, nothing would come out. That is how this whole experience has been so far. Frustrating - because I can write well, and I can think on my own, but when it is time to actually speak, I have a complete brain fart, and I sound like a gringo. SUPER ANNOYING. I just have to keep practicing :)

I apologize for all of my spelling errors. I am not really looking at the computer, and I know that I am not skilled at typing to begin with.. but yeah, I hope you can understand.

I really love my district. They are so kind to me, and they are helping me learn and speak better. We click really well.

Thank you for the “dearelder” letter. I also received a couple from my friends - which was a nice surprise. I received 2/3 of the letters that came for our district. Yeah, I guess I am SUPER popular. Haha what's new though. I've always had so many friends ;) kidding. :)

I did not get any tweezers. I still have my green ones, but they hurt! Oh well, I guess I will grow out my unibrow.. hahaha!!! No, I will probably buy some.

Like I said in my letter - I forgot the shower bag.. which would be nice to have. Therefore, I have yet to take a shower, since it's too difficult. (not really)

Let's see.. it's snowing now. That's fun. except not really.

I am enjoying my mission so far. It's crazy to think that I will be out in the FIELD in less than 3 weeks. Kelton.. er.. Elder Abbott was right when he told me that time passes so slow, but so fast at the same time. The days are forever long, and we do so much in the time we are awake, that it feels like I've been here forever! It's wonderful!

Oh! one of Marissa's friends is here.. Adam McCurdie? I think? I didn't want to say anything to him, because I don't know him all too well, but he's here. Good times. Also, I met some sisters going to Puerto Rico. They are cool. One wears look for her, K Riss?

Haha I was kidding about the shower. Just so you know, I have showered every day. :)
So my MTC departure date is either right after Christmas, or right after New Years. Because prices are cheaper at that time, but most likely around January 3rd? Yeah. I am excited. My new companions are Sister Pena (with a squigly on top, ), so Peña, and Sister Botero. They are cool.

Anything else you want to know? Oh! yeah. I said my preparation day was Wednesday, correct? Well, now it is on Friday. We were busy doing new missionary things yesterday, so that is why we are writing now :) but from now on-for the next 2 Fridays that I am here, I will write you on Friday. :)

I hope Jeff's finals went well, as well as Riss's finals. I hope you have a happy anniversary-it's coming up!! only 4 more days!! yay marriage!! :) Well, I only have about 5 minutes left, and I don't know what else to tell you. I hope this letter is long enough.. I feel like it's almost a novel. But I am thankful for you all, for your love and support, and I hope your week goes well! I think of you a lot, and am looking forward to hearing from you :) feel free to “dearelder” me, and you can tell everyone to “dearelder” me, it makes me feel loved. :) Haha gotta love being loved.

Anyhow, I know this is the true church, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity to serve my Heavenly Father. I know He will bless me with the ability to learn the language and to be able to speak it. I can't wait to be able to get out and use my broken Spanish to teach the people of the Dominican Republic! Speaking of the DR, Hrma Botero is going to the DR as well. But SD East mission. Which is cool. We'll be traveling together!

Love you all to pieces. Once again, thank you for your support.

Con amor,

Hermana Erickson :) ox ox ox!