Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I cant believe I"m in Florida

 Hermana Baugh and her Mission President and his wife

Hey everyone! So just wanted to say that I made it to Florida safely and already have 7 baptisms lined up since being here so things are going pretty good. Just kidding.

But the work here is really good I've been really busy. At first it was really weird leaving the CCM, my time there felt like two weeks but also like I had been born and raised within those walls. It was weird switching our brains back into English going through the Atlanta and Tampa airports. We went through customs and couldn't help saying things like oh lo siento or como esta and the workers were like what are you white girls in America wearing church clothes doing speaking to me in Spanish?

President Cusick and his wife met all of us in the airport. And by all of us I mean the 20 or so missionaries that met up going to Tampa in the Atlanta airport. There were only three Hermanas. Being an Hermana in an English speaking mission is kind of like being a different species of missionary. Or at least that's what it feels like here. But anyways we all went over to presidents house and I had my first meal of not rice and beans and Nutella and frosted flakes and mangos and salad with berries and ranch in 6 weeks and it was probably the most glorious thing of my life. The next day was full of different training meetings. Best part of he day was when we all got iPads. It's kind of weird having technology again but at the same time it's not because it's pretty much just like having electronic scriptures. Whe we are around wifi though it's nice though because I get to read emails that come through during the week.

Thursday was the day that we were assigned our companion and area. I felt like I was being set up in an arranged marriage as president called us and our companion up one by one and told us where we were going. My companion is Hermana Newbill and she's been out for 14 months and we are serving in the Cortez area which is in the city of Bradenton which is about an hour south of Tampa I think.

I like Bradenton! It's not the prettiest or the nicest haha but there's palm trees and people who speak Spanish so I'm happy. I was a little overwhelmed when I got here because there are so many people we are teaching. We've taught over 20 lessons since I got here Thursday afternoon so yeah we've been busy! Teaching is pretty much all we do. We don't have many member dinners because we have a rule where we can't have a dinner with them unless they invite a nonmember. It's a good rule though because it encourages the members to do more missionary work and discourages missionaries like me from getting fat haha. We did have one with this Columbian family who invited their 7th day Adventist friends to dinner and we had this Columbian dish I don't remember the name of and taught about the restoration. It was really hard though because the dad if the family was so caught up about how the sabbath should be on Saturday and yeah this was all in Spanish so I didn't really know what was going on so my companion talked to him while I just sat and smiled and pretended like I understood what was going on which I'm getting pretty good at doing. Ahh Spanish is hard I'm kind of having a hard time with it. It's hard trying to remember to have patience and to not get frustrated at myself sometimes. I'm glad that there are a lot of Spanish speaking people here though because it's helping me to practice. We teach a few people in English though so it's nice having a break every now and then.

Sunday was great! We went to two wards because one of our English investigators went to the English ward. But 6 were at the Spanish branch with us it was great! The branch president is really nice... The first thing he asked me when I walked in though is if I played the piano haha so looks like I'm going to have to be doing at a lot. I have a "try out" on Thursday and I'm debating if I want to fail it or not.

Florida is soo humid. I've discovered that I have a talent for being able to sit and do absolutely nothing and still be able to sweat. It's pretty impressive actually.  We have a car though but I'm scared because I think we are going to run out of miles soon and when that happens that means bikes. The air con in our apartment has been broken the last few days though so that's been death sleeping at night. It doesn't help that I don't have a pillow and have been using my sweatshirt as one haha. I keep saying that there is a reason I was called stateside...and the ability to have air con was one of them so hopefully that gets fixed soon!

Well I'm running out of time. I always feel like I have so many things I want to say during the week but then when the time for emailing comes I forget them all and end up saying a bunch of random stuff. Mission life is hard. It's really hard and I'm already tired all the time haha but but I just keep telling myself that that's good because it means that we are doing our job. I know that if we keep working hard like we've been doing there will always be people to teach here in Bradenton. Love you all and hope everyone has a good week!

Love Hermana Baugh

Monday, August 18, 2014

Final week in the CCM

The Temeculan's in the Mexico CCM
Annalisa Eddy, Ellen Logan, Brennan Eissenhut, Hannah Harris, Maddi Baugh

 So this week further confirmed my hypothesis about the CCM being like the hunger games. A terrible virus broke out on Sunday and people have been dropping like flies. After the first day already like 50% of the missionaries were home sick. so yeah shaking hands has been banned until further notice which is hard because shaking someones hand has pretty much become instinctual now. I feel like they need to start showing pictures of the faces of the sick in the sky at night while playing  "called to serve" to let people know who to pray for. Hermana P and I spent all Sunday making jokes about how everyone was dying which probably wasn't smart because the next day we both had it and it was horrible and I'm still not completely better.

Because a lot of our zone was sick on Sunday, there were even less victims to choose from to speak. So naturally it was my lucky day and I was chosen as tribute. I was so close to making it out alive without having to give a talk haha but there was no way I was escaping this week. The topic was on service and I thought it went pretty well. One of the scriptures I shared that I really liked was in John 12:26 and it was " if any man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am, there shall also be my servant". I said that I liked to think of this scripture backwards... if any man follow me, let him serve me, and where my servant is, there also will I be. It just kind of reminded me that when we truly forget ourselves in the service of others, that is when Christ will be most with us.

We also listened to a really amazing talk by David A Bednar this week about taking on the character of Christ. He said the Character of Christ is being able to turn outwards in service when the tendency for the natural man is to turn in.  He said that the best convert on our missions better be us, but that wont happen if that is what we are trying to do. True conversion to the Lord comes through thinking and serving others and not thinking about ourselves. It just sort of reminded me that this mission isnt about me, or what I want or what i think I deserve, its about helping others come unto Christ and how I can be an tool in the Lords hand in doing this.

Being Sister Trainer actually hasn't been that bad. We had to go with the Zone leaders to welcome the two new districts we got and wed made these cool little welcome gifts for the hermanas on these huge seeds all over campus that said "WELCOME TO MEXICO SEEDY" and yeah they were brilliant but we got there and found out that the two new districts were completely elders. So now Ive got like 15 seeds sitting in my room with no hermanas to go to so that's pretty cool. But we found out that all the hermanas in our zone love futbol so weve been playing soccer every day during gym for the past week and its the highlight of my day. I'm going to be sad when I wont be able to play soccer everyday.

Every 2 weeks new natives come in because they only stay at the CCM for 2 weeks but the other day we sat by a group of elders from Columbia at lunch and we started teaching each other tongue twisters. They loved how much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood hahah it was hilarious hearing them try to say it. But now whenever we see them around campus they chant it to us.

The weeks here are so weird because they go from wednesday to wednesday instead of sunday to sunday. Tuesday is kind of like Friday night though because we have service for an hour and then devotional. Its kind of sad that this is the highlight of my week but it really is. Service was fun this week because we got assigned to setting up the chairs for devotional and the elders decided to have a competition to see who could carry the most chairs and one elder carried 21 it was crazy.

Ah I cant believe that I only have less than an week here left. Its gone by so fast. Next tuesday Ill be in Florida! I thought Id be nervous but the closer I get the more animada I am. Have a good week everyone, by the next email Ill be in the mission field! Tenga un buen dia everyone!

Hermana Baugh

One month down

Hermana Baugh and her entire CCM Zone

So I don't really know what happened or where the times gone but word on the street is that I guess
we've been here for a month? Not sure how that happened.

   I'd just like to make a formal apology for my malo grammar...just try to imagine writing in English with the voice of a little Mexican man shouting Spanish words in your head and thats how I feel. More and more often I find myself writing some strange word caught between  Spanish and English that doesn't make sense in either language. Oh also just remembered, this week I asked what the longest spanish word was and here it is:
Supposedly its the fear of weirdness, irony and words having the same gender so yeah if youre ever feeling down this week just think of this word and be grateful that you don't suffer from it.

So big news of the week... my comp and I were called to be the zone sister trainers...yayyyyyy. Haha I had a feeling that was going to happen because after our first day here, we mutally agreed that we would hate to have that responsibility- making sure all the girls rooms are clean , interviewing each of the hermanas and listening to all the problems they might be having and give them comfort... sorry Im sounding really negative about all this but it just isnt me haha or my companion. But anyways so the sister trainers that we had had previously left this week so all the girls have just been waiting to see who the next ones would be and we made it to sacrament meeting this Sunday without being called and were so relieved. We thought that since there was only like 5 minutes till the meeting started we were for sure safe buuuut we spoke too soon because literally right after I said that   Presidente Gomez  pulled us aside and asked if we would be the new ones haha. Its going to be good for us though.. and I know that thinking about others besides myself is exactly what I need to do because Ive just been so focused on how I could better myself here. I need to look past myself more so hopefully this service will help with that.

Fast Sunday was really good though. It was also the longest Ive ever fasted I think too. And to be honest i was actually never really hungry (which kind of concerned me a little because I kept thinking ok why am I even eating). But anyway Ive been thinking a lot about how I can become a better teacher and everytime I ask that I think- "you just need to teach how Christ did". So Sunday morning I read the chapter in Preach my Gospel about developing Christlike attributes and the section on charity and love really stood out to me. The more I studied the scriptures about ti the more it came to me- THIS is the way Christ taught, and This is the way that I need to teach and live me life in general. Everything that Christ did ws out of pure love for us and if I could ffeel even a fraction of the love that Christ has for all of us- nothing else would matter. Every fiber of my being would want to serve others every second I could and this is the kind of attitude I need when I go out into the real world in 2 weeks. Of course then I got called as sister trainer in sacrament meeting shortly after Id been studying this, bore my testimony about how we need to teach with Christlike love, then the presidente announced the topic for next weeks talk would be on service so yeah I got a big slap in the face that day!

The other thing I learned this week is the importance of using our time wisely and exact obedience. Here at the CCM weve gotten used to really living on the edge... we get in trouble for studying outside because were not at desks so we take our desks outside to study. When we have a little extra time we take walks to go "touch the butt" (the wall). Well leave class early for gym to make sure we get the good volleyball courts. And sometimes if im feeling a little extra adventurous.....I stay up late writing in my journal (yes my life has come to this). Yeah I know things like this arent bad at all but my teacher shared something that really struck me one day. She shared the scripture "I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say but when ye do not what I say ye have no promise". She said that if we were doing EVERYTHING the Lord had asked us to do, we would have the ability to ask God anything- that we would be able to learn this language. It struck me then that I dind tthink Id be able to that-- to demand that God help me because Id done everything I could do. Dont get me wrong I try really hard and Im good... Theres just always some way I can do better. So these last 2 weeks that Im here my comp and I decided that we are going to be devoted  to using every second of it and to follow the schedule more exactly. Hopefully if we do this God will feel more compelled to help us a little more.

I still cant believe that 4 weeks have passed by in this little bubble of mine. Hope the world has been good to you guys out there! Love you all and hope you have a good week!

Hermana Baugh

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Week Tres

 Hermana Baugh and her district at the Mexico City Temple

Today we got to leave the Great Wall and go into the real world! well kind of. We were stuck inside big yellow buses and driving to go see the temple which is inside another wall but at least we got to be in the world in the time between the walls haha. Mexico is crazy i love it. i wish I could see it for real though. I took lots of pictures though but it was hard to capture what its really like through a dirty bus window. We had this big master plan of how to get the bus to stop, conveniently by a taco stand so that we could all sprint out and have real Mexican tacos but it didn't end up working out so that was kind of disappointing.  Even though we didn't get to go inside the temple, we still got to go on a tour of the visitors center. There were sister missionaries there who gave us a tour and it was really neat because they had to practice their English and we had to answer their questions in Spanish but still we were all able to communicate and feel the spirit, even though none of us knew very many words. It helped build my confidence because I felt like they didn't need to say very much for me to understand and feel what they were trying to say. We watched a cool video about families and it really reminded me of how that is the real reason I am here. I want to help families be able to go to the temple so that they can be with each other for eternity.

Other than those things... and yes the parakeets definitely deserve to be first on this list (she saw 5 green parakeets in the trees at the CCM)... nothing much happened this week except for some more studying, teaching and studying and teaching with some devotionals and fake Mexican CCM food sprinkled in between. I love and miss all of you and hope you have a bueno week!

Hermana Baugh