Friday, December 16, 2011

December 12th - Final letter from the Provo, MTC!!!

Yay! I cannot wait to call you from the airport and spend a few minutes talking about everything that has been going on at home. I really just want to call you just to TALK to you about you and the family. Normally, it is a supervised call that concerns medical problems or travel plans. ]-p This will be great. Not just that, but I get to call on Christmas, too. This moment in time is so opportune to leave the MTC because no missionary in the MTC gets to call their families on Christmas. There is just too many missionaries to accommodate calls home for all. To tell you the truth, because of the massive amount of missionaries, we are restricted a lot by rules. For example, we cannot play music in the residence halls or sing in the showers. Imagine how much noise that would make if all the women on my floor sang in the shower. Even worse, what would happen if a really HORRIBLE singer sang in our showers. I would cover my ears or shriek in pain. Just kidding. Maybe it is a blessing in disguise because it spares me from hearing a really fat opera singer singing "Figaro, Figaro, figuero!" and making my face cringe at the sound of it. Actually, there are a lot of really good, talented people here at the MTC. Every devotional or fireside, we have someone new doing a musical number. Yesterday, I heard a female singer sing, "For Me, Alone." It is the most beautiful song I have ever heard. You HAVE to buy it and train Megan how to sing it. Maybe you can record her singing it and send me an attachment.
Today is my second to last day before leaving the MTC. Hna. Read and I took our fifty minute gym time, planned everything that needed to be done, and was able to do everything that I needed to do or buy. Then, I even had time to pack one suitcase. My companion has really been stressing effective planning, and it really worked. She was grateful that we got so much done in such little time. Sometimes I am a space cadet and don't use our time effectively, so I feel it gets on her nerves. However, I have gotten much better and she is very proud of me. Thank you, Mom, so much for teaching me the value of making lists before the mission.
I am very excited to be leaving tomorrow, especially because it won't be at 4:00 A.M., but rather at 4:30 P.M. But that means I fly all night until I arrive in Guayaquil at noon on Wednesday. My mission president stressed that I cannot arrive at night time in Guayaquil. It is not safe. That is why he is picking me up from the airport. His name is President Montalti. From what President Wilkins told me, President Montalti does not speak any English. That means I will be having all of my personal interviews with him in Spanish, and every phone call will have to be in Spanish as well. I will be fluent in no time! I also bought a tape recorder at the Bookstore so I can tape native speakers speak while there. I will use things like this when I teach teenagers the Spanish alphabet and dialect of Ecuador. I am so excited. Don't be surprised if I send home a bunch of Ecuadorian memorabilia or flags. I will use that stuff to decorate my classrooms. I want to be the best teacher ever! I am SO grateful to go to a Spanish-speaking country. Plus, I got a little experience teaching this intermediate class the last two or more weeks. It has been a real blessing to use my knowledge to teach the people here. The Spirit has quickened my understanding and loosened my tongue. I feel much more confident in my Spanish-speaking ability thanks to the gift of tongues.
Not much has taken place here since I last wrote you last Thursday. Last night for the devotional, the BYU Men's Chorus sang all their choral repertoire for us, including a few additional songs that they reserve to sing only at the MTC. I saw Kap Sanders and Andrew Moore! However, I couldn't catch them afterward to say hi. Unexpectedly, I saw my old friend Josh Pluim. He was in my ward freshman year at Wyview and my senior year at Roman Gardens. What is even funnier is that my roommate, Hermana Raines knew him too!
Additionally, I got shot two more times last Thursday with immunizations, more specifically the last Hep A and Hep B shots. I am all up to code now! For my Hep A shot, I was two days shy of never having to take another Hep A shot again. The two different Hep A shots in the series have to be taken six months apart. I highly doubt a doctor would require me to get another booster just because I was two days shy, but I had to get it at that time because I couldn't receive the immunizations any other day.
Please know that I pray for our family at every prayer, especially for Nathan, Stephanie, and the nephews. How is Landon progressing in school? Do you think he will be able to get baptized when he turns eight next March? I wish I could be there if he chooses to do that.
Give my best to everyone in the family and at EFC International! Take care.
Love you,
Hna. Forbush, your M&M

The Final Arrangements!!!

Hi Parents!
I will be receiving my travel plans tomorrow, 12/9, at 11:45 A.M. from the district president. We will be calling you soon thereafter to confirm everything is alright to go. Please stand by your cell phones for that call.
Thank you and love you both,

Dec. 8th - A Turning Point...........

Bueno, I promised you the good stuff and so here it is. My companion Hma. Read and I went to the TRC (Training Resource Center) on Saturday morning during class and taught a BYU student named Rinna Adorable. This girl was the most beautiful Spanish looking girl that I ever met, but she spoke Spanish like me--a gringa. We went in not knowing what we were going to say, but somehow got on the topic of serving other people. I had shared with her one of my favorite scripture mastery's that I had learned in Seminary, Mosiah 2:17 about "when you are in the service of your fellow being, ye are only in the service of your God." She started telling us about where she was in her life. She had completed three years at BYU as a Psychology major and a Spanish minor, but she had not dated any men exclusively for a couple years. (Sounds like a kindred spirit for me, huh, Mom?) Lately, in the back of her mind she had the question about whether she should serve a mission or not. Both Hma. Read and I told her about our experiences at BYU, because we are both BYU students, and how we came to choose to serve a mission. About halfway sharing my story in Spanish, Rinna started to cry the most sincere tears I ever saw. Apparently, the Spirit must have hit her to the very soul because she suddenly said in mid-sentence, "I can't do this anymore. I mean I cannot speak in Spanish." For the remainder of the lesson, we spoke in English. (I guess it doesn't matter what language we speak in to teach a lesson, because the Lord's Gospel is universal). She told us that she had finally received an answer to her prayer that she should serve a mission, and when she said it, the Holy Ghost overcame me so profoundly and bore witness to me that my companion and I were there for a reason. That reason was to share our stories with her and give her the final encouragement or final witness that she should serve a mission. That just made me think that my knee injury was not just for my benefit, but for this beautiful young women, this child of God, who was searching for an answer. I know that we were supposed to be there because it is usually through people that the Lord blesses our lives. By the end of the meeting, all three of us were crying. As we exited, I can bet we were a strange sight to behold--three women exiting the room with full, streaming tears because the Spirit was so overwhelming. I do not know what Rinna Adorable will end up choosing because she still has her agency, but I do know that this work that I am anxiously engaged in is true and it blesses lives.
The rest will have to be left for letters. I love you both very much. Hopefully, you have felt the Spirit of my message because this was a turning point during my stay here at the MTC. This meeting with Rinna reaffirmed to me how important my work is as a sister missionary. Please pray for our family. I know they need our prayers. :-)
Hma. Forbush

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dec. 3rd, 2011 - Yay!! I'm Leaving For Ecuador!!

Hello Parents!
I am writing a quick letter to you both because I need you to send a few things to me or my mission home in Ecuador to prepare for my departure date on 12/14.
First, Mom can you please send me that camera I requested that takes videos with sound? I do not have a model number for you, but you can get some that are fairly inexpensive that take really good pictures. If you can't get that make and model, please try to get something else that works just as well. I am leaving in less than a week and a half. Please get it bought as soon as possible and sent to me. Thank you.
Second, can you please buy two or three sets of sheets and pillowcases and send them to my mission office in Ecuador. I need to have them sent as soon as possible because it takes a few weeks to get down there. They should be a flat sheet, fitted sheet, two pillow cases for each set of sheets, and if you can include two comforters, that would be great. Please get that sent this week if you can. Thank you.
Third, Dad, can you please send that MP3 player this week with the speakers. Remember, we cannot listen to music with headphones, so the MP3 has to fit into something with speakers. I am sorry to sound pushy, but I have confirmed with my District Presidency that I am leaving the week of December 14. So I would like to take care of these things as soon as possible. Thank you.
Lastly, Mom, Dad, can one of you arrange to log into my gmail account and forward all my open emails that were sent before or after I left for my mission to my MyLDS Mail account? Please can you do this by my next P-day next Thursday? I want to answer anyone who emailed me after I left. I am not allowed access onto my gmail account. Only my MyLDS account. Things are a little strict here. Thank you.
Those are the most pertinent things that I can think of to get sent to me right away. I just wanted to confirm to let you know I am at this point planning on leaving for the field on 14 December. My doctor here at the MTC told my District Presidency to go ahead and buy the plane tickets. Yay! Isn't it exciting?
Love you,
Hma. Forbush
P.S. I haven't heard from you guys for a week-and-a-half, besides Mom. Is everything alright? I am getting worried. Love you! Please fast tomorrow for my knee

December 1st, 2011 - Getting Anxious To Move On!!

Mom! Dad!
Happy Belated Thanksgiving! I know I wrote you on Thanksgiving, but I don't know if I had wished you this greeting. It was a very hectic day, but it was worth it to hear from Elder Russell M. Nelson. Just think? If I had not stayed in the MTC to recuperate, I would not have been able to hear from two great apostles and receive that apostolic blessing.
How is everything at home? Mom, I did receive that letter from Nathan, Megan, Dad, Stephanie, and you. (There is a delay in me receiving DearElder mail because my mailbox has changed. It is now #276). It was one of the best DearElders I have ever received. I can really see a change in them, especially Nathan. He has definitely changed his life around. The Lord is really preparing his heart to come back to the Church. I wrote him a letter last Thursday. Did he receive it? I wrote you a letter, Mom, on Saturday. I am trying to write everyone at least once in the MTC while still sending letters to all the new elders and sisters that I meet here in the MTC. I am really making wonderful and lasting friendships. It makes me remember the promise in my patriarchal blessing which says there will always be people there by my side when I need help. What a promise from God! It definitely came true when I needed the help of my friends to recover from the my ACL and now my meniscus surgery. With each new district, I am gaining loving brothers and sisters in the gospel. We are truly family here.
The knee is doing great. I have been in physical therapy for two weeks, three times a week. The therapist already has me doing resistance training exercises. Hallelujah! I was getting really bored with basic ice and electric stimulation with the occasional hamstring curl. Now I am doing more rigorous exercises like leg presses and resistance bands. I talked with President Wilkins last Sunday and expressed my profound desire to go straight to Ecuador after my four week recuperation period. Originally, the plan was to spend one transfer here in a local Utah mission. I thought, heck no! Get me to Ecuador. So I talked with him and he compromised. He said if I can walk six miles a day for three or four consecutive days, and get the okay from my orthopedic surgeon and my physican here at the MTC, he would let me go straight to Ecuador. Well, the Brethren have to pray about it and approve it too. However, it is looking pretty optimistic. However, I have started walking on the treadmill at physical therapy. Yesterday, I got to two miles and my knee swelled up like a pumpkin. I have tried to take it easy today during P-day. Anyway, if I get the go ahead from everyone, I can leave the MTC by 12/14, exactly one month after I was supposed to originally go to the mission. Who says exact obedience doesn't bring miracles! Please fast and pray for me! This Sunday is fast Sunday and my whole district is doing a group fast, as well as the first counselor in our Branch Presidency, President Hopkin's, wife, Sister Hopkins. I have seen fasting work miracles, and I need a miracle to go. I am so ready to leave the MTC, mentally and spiritually anyway.
What can I tell you about this week? I have truly enjoyed teaching this Intermediate group of elders and sister. I am learning as much as they. Yesterday, as we taught our teacher who was pretending to be a progressive investigator, Kevin, another teacher sat in on the lesson as a "member." Afterwards, he gave my companion, Hermana Read, and I feedback. He suggested to me that I stop trying to speak so fast like a native and work on my pronunciation. I speak very well and can formulate good sentences. The only thing I didn't do well was enunciate my vowels. That is good feedback. I am starting to work more on my own grammar and the tiny details of the langage that I didn't know before. That will help me a lot.
I am sorry that I don't have much time to write this week. Mom, you should receive a letter in the mail this week. Dad, I will try to write this week. The weeks are going by so fast while the days seem to go by slow. Before you know it, I will be home from my mission in the blink of an eye. I don't want this mission to end.
I will close with bearing my testimony because I feel impressed to do so. I know this Gospel is true. I know that it is the same Church that existed during Christ's ministry on Earth. When the apostles were killed by the Jews and various governments that rejected Christianity, the authority to establish Christ's church was lost. However, this authority to establish Christ's Church back on the Earth was restored or brought back to the Earth through Joseph Smith the Prophet. Because he restored the truth once more on the Gospel, we have a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and twelve living apostles who lead and guide this Church in the latter-days. Joseph Smith also translated a set of scriptures written by prophets who lived on the ancient American continent. Today we call it the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. I know this book is true. I have read it all the way through, cover to cover, and have prayed about it for myself. Through modern revelation, the Holy Ghost told me this Book is true. I challenge each and every one of you to share this testimony with everyone you know. More specifically, pray about someone that you can share this Gospel with and give that name to the missionaries as a referral. You can trust them that they will help this person find more happiness and joy in their lives than ever before.
I love you all. Please take care of the family for me. And write me this week with updates about the family. When I attended the temple this morning, as I sat in the celestial room, I asked God to give me some news about the family. I got an uncomfortable feeling. Did Stephanie's surgery go okay? She had some complications with her toe and ovaries. I pray they did. How did your trip to Chicago go, Mom and Nate? And the plan with Doc Brown?
Love you,
P.S. Got any new teaching advice that you learned from a TEAM or LIFE CD that I can apply to my teaching of the lessons?