Thursday, June 27, 2013

MTC - Week 3

Emily and her friend Hermana Heather Higgs
Hermana Pearson and Hermana Howard just got their books!

My District

Going to Salta Argentina!

Our District will serve all over

Hermana Higgs and Hermana Pearson

Dear Fam,
What an amazing week it has been! On Sunday, the atmosphere here was incredible. Rumors buzzed around the whole morning. So to be honest, even though we all LOVED the broadcast, a lot of missionaries felt like it was anti-climatic since the announcement really wasn't ground breaking or anything. I hope the members take this seriously and put all the full-time missionaries straight to work! The Elders in my district were recommended to prepare and pass the sacrament in the new mission presidents meeting. Sadly two of them had to decline because they were sick. But Elder Hodson said one of the prayers and Elder Muñoz passed the sacrament to like 5 or 6 apostles. We had a combined sacrament meeting with everyone in the choir so it was at least 1300 plus some extra leaders and  such. There were 5 tables of bread and water and like 50 Elders passing. Definitely the largest sacrament I've ever attended!
After the meeting everyone quickly got lunch so they could get in line to leave the MTC. We passed Elder Christofferson and his wife on our way to the gate. When the gate opened, all the missionaries flooded out and literally started running. When we got to the Marriott, all the doors were locked but one and we were only allowed to enter one at a time (well two at a time because we had to have our companion with us). Hermana Howard and I ended up being near the front of the line so I sat on the edge of the third row and Hermana Howard was right in front of me. When all the mission presidents walked in, I scanned for the Swensens. I found them and kept staring at them, hoping they'd look over. When choir practice was over, I went to the very front and stood there for at least 15 minutes for one of them to look over. They finally saw me and it made me so happy to wave at them. They're so sweet. I'm glad they sent you the picture. Speaking of seeing me at the Marriott if you go to the Work of Salvation broadcast at 1:53:30-36 the camera is focusing on the organ but if you look past them to the choir, you can see me on the edge of the third row on the left side of the aisle, wearing light purple. You can barely tell it's me-but it is.
It was so cool sitting so close to the front. The apostles kept turning around to look at us and would give us a thumbs-up or wink. They seemed just as excited to see us missionaries as we were to see them. We could read the teleprompter the whole time so we saw all the announcements and everything before they said them. And the jokes too but we had to awkwardly wait to laugh with the rest of the congregation after they actually said the words. It was kind of entertaining when they would say something not exactly the way the teleprompter had it and then have to get themselves back on track. I was so close to 11 of the 12 apostles that I could see their wrinkles and their bald heads! The Spirit overwhelmingly testified to me that these men were called of God to be prophets, seers and revelators. How lucky we are to have living prophets whom God directs.
It really was such a neat, once in a lifetime type of opportunity. And as if the week couldn't get any better, guess who gave our Tuesday night devotional? Janice Kapp Perry and her husband. They did such a good job and they were both so funny. Sister Perry told the story of how they met. They were in some music classes together at BYU and as she was warming up on her clarinet to take a test he leaned over to her and the first words he ever spoke to her were "Those lips look like they could be used for a far better purpose than playing that clarinet." As she's telling the story her husband gets up (as quickly as an old man can), comes up to the pulpit, grabs her and gives here a huge kiss. Then he fist pumped in the air. The missionaries all started laughing and clapping and some of the Elders even gave a standing ovation. I guess it's already been a little too long for some of these missionaries to be without romance. Sister Perry led us in singing a couple medleys of her songs. Then at the end she and her husband put together an arrangement of The Army of Helaman with her new missionary version of As Sisters in Zion but it's called The Sisters of Zion. When it came to the Elder's part to sing, they instantly started to stand up. A wave of standing missionaries spread through the Marriott. It was amazing to see. As they stood it was so powerful to see how they are taking their calls and responsibilities as a serious and sacred blessing. As the sisters stood up too it was amazing to look up and see so many of us.
Another sister from another district, Hermana Pullen, broke her pinky 3 weeks ago playing kickball. She had to get surgery so now the rest of her district went into the field and she got put into our district while she is healing. So one of the companionships is a trio now.
Because of all the mission presidents and general authorities that have been here, we've been kicked out of the main building and have had to eat in the gym and so then we can't use the gym for sports and what not but they're gone now so things are back to normal.
I went to the doctor after 10 days but he said that even though some doctor's policy is 10 days, he prefers to wait a whole 2 weeks before prescribing antibiotics. Soooo after waiting the extra days, I FINALLY was able to go back and he called in a prescription for me. HALLELUJAH! And the best part is that Hermana Howard and I got to escape the MTC gates all by ourselves to walk over to the BYU Health Center for the meds. It actually was a great adventure even if it only was less than a block away. Even though I like the MTC, there's something about it that just makes you want to flee!
Yesterday, Hermana Howard's sister entered the MTC so we went and waited for them on the curb and she was able to see her whole family except for her little brother.
Even though I  sometimes miss the "real-world" a little bit, there's no place else I'd rather be. I'm already learning so much and growing so fast and I just can't wait to bring the gospel to people. Although I'm kind of dying, wanting to know where I'll be reassigned so I can know where those people will be, but I won't know for another 2 and 1/2 weeks still. I just want to get to Argentina already! I've got to be a typical missionary and get me a soccer jersey from my country!
Les quiero mucho,
Hermana Pearson
P.S. Sorry if my spelling is horrific, something about learning this Spanish is making it hard for me to remember how to spell in English. The other day I wrote prophet as profet and couldn't figure out for the longest time why it looked so funny!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MTC - Week 2

Dear Family,
There's not nearly as much to say this week. Everything is the same as it was last week. All we do is study, eat, sleep and laugh. I live on the top floor of my residence and my classroom is on the top floor too, so I get plenty of stairs to scale as I go from my room to class to breakfast to class to room to class etc. I have been sick this week though and so I haven't been sleeping well. Sinuses. I'm just waiting until tomorrow to go to the doctor so that it has been 10 days and they'll give me antibiotics.
Some Elders in our zone were supposed to leave to go to Argentina this week but alas, didn't get their visas (well the one from Canada did. I guess Argentina likes the Canadians better, eh?) Their temporary assignment is Salt Lake-and they're from Utah. One of their dad's even works in the mission boundaries. So don't count Utah as out of the running.
So Dad wanted to know more about the choir. It's about 1300 missionaries and 1100 members since the theme of the meeting is members working with missionaries. We practice on Sunday and then before devotional on Tuesday. They just started practicing the songs for the broadcast the week I got here so the missionaries that came in later than me are out of luck. At the last practice the director wanted us to get in a better mindset so that we would sing better so he had us stand up at a certain part of the song based on what continent we'd be serving. It was so cool to see and just made things more real for me. I'm really excited for the broadcast! It will be great. There are tons of rumors floating around here that they're going to make an announcement even bigger than the age change, but I'm doubtful of that. The Elders in our district are hoping they'll be able to pass the sacrament to the general authorities and mission presidents on Sunday before the broadcast.
Mom, I'm sure you'd be glad to know that all the sisters love Relief Society here. They invite a guess speaker from like the RS or YW general boards and they are always fantastic! We get to watch Music and the Spoken word before they speak too, so that's really nice! The devotional on Sunday was at the Wyview campus so they streamed it to the main campus.
Our teacher, Hermana Williams challanged us to pray to know how God had prepared us for serving a mission. I'm really grateful as I look and see just how many things got me ready for this experience. Moving to Canyon Rim was a big one especially because of the ward and Skyline. There are so many teachers and friends that helped me become ready to be a missionary!
My companion, Hermana Howard, got interviewed by the Salt Lake Tribune about the computer software we use to learn Spanish. So maybe keep an eye out for that article and if you see it send it to me.
We taught quite a few lessons this week. Each one seems to get a little better as we teach with more unity and follow the Spirit better. We practiced answering doubts in class and the Elder we were working with was supposed to be afraid of the water so didn't want to get baptized. He explained that once when he was in the ocean a pescado grande attacked him and pulled him under the water and he almost drown. But in Spanish there are two words for fish. A live animal-pez and one you would eat-pescado. So we all got a kick out of a huge dead fish attacking him. One man we taught, Franco whose wife is a member kicked us out at first. The way our teacher described it, we thought we had an appointment with him but when we got there he said he didn't know anything about an appointment and that we couldn't come in. We tried to get him to let us in but he wouldn't so all we could do was try to make another appointment. He shut the door in our face but he gave us a second chance and it actually turned into a great lesson. We followed the Spirit and were able to be BOLD which is something they've stressed in the devotionals and classes and such. When he mentioned how he didn't care about having a testimony of his "wife's church" we set him straight as we told him that it's not la Iglesia de su esposa o la Iglesia de las misioneras. Es la Igleslia de Jesucristo. That was enough to get him to start paying attention and actually listen to our message. We also have a progressing investigator, Luz that things are going well with. We did TRC too which is when you get to talk to a member volunteer and practice Spanish as you give a spiritual lesson. That was really great and uplifting as we talked about how we have to trust in God's plan even though it's not the plan we have for ourselves.
In some of our study we talked about prayer as a tool of conversion and we read in the Bible Dictionary what it says about prayer. I encourage you to look it up.
Well that's all the time I have.
Much Love,
Hermana Pearson

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursday is P-day

Dear Family,
Wow! Where to start? I'm really loving it already! The Wednesday that I came in, there were a record breaking 940 new missionaries entering. So many things are packed into such a short amount of time! We just study and eat and study and then eat and then study and then eat and then study and then sleep and start again the next day. We sit all day in the same classroom, so it's so nice when we switch things up and go on temple walks or go to devotional.
This week was the first ever devotional at the Marriott Center with all the missionaries from both campuses. There were so many people that we had police ushering us across the street because we were a traffic hazard. It was really neat to have that many people there, we truly are an army.
My district is great! The Elders are very funny so sometimes it's easy to get distracted but we mostly keep each other on track. My companion, Hermana Howard is wonderful! She's 21 and from King City California. We laugh a lot to relieve stress and we work really well together. We already feel like we've known each other forever! There are only 4 Eldéres and 6 Hermanas. The boys are all going to Chile and then me and 3 other hermanas are going to Salta.
I see a lot of friends around here. Especially Hermana Heather Higgs. We're on the same eating/study/gym session so we've had plenty of time to talk to each other. I did see Amber Ellefsen like you mentioned. As part of our class we were supposed to go outside and find 5 contacts to introduce ourselves to and then bear and apply our testimony in Spanish. So I saw her, gave her a hug and then my companion and I shared our testimony. We traded off speaking Spanish and translating for each other, so that's what she's basing her comments about us sounding like we'd already been here for the whole six weeks. Her trio then did the same in Japanese. It was really neat because we could still feel the Spirit even though we couldn't understand their words.
My high school Spanish has been flooding back to me. Being here made me realize how much I learned from Señora Hofer. I mean of course there's a lot for me to learn but we've already taught four lessons in Spanish and it didn't feel impossible at all. Our investigator's name was Erasmo. The lessons got progressively better and we were able to share time better. My companion hasn't had as many years of Spanish as me and it's been longer since she last took those classes. Also, she is majoring in early childhood special education and has taken classes on speech therapy so sometimes that messes her up because she has been so trained on how to pronounce things correctly in English and so it makes it difficult for her to pronounce the Spanish alphabet right. I sound less like a gringa than I did a week ago, so that's good! For the most part I can find adequate words to get my thoughts across. I'm just slow and simple in my speech. My teacher here is Hermana Williams and I really like her. I feel very blessed with how the Spanish is coming. I remember being so frustrated in school because I couldn't understand the teacher well and couldn't answer questions well either, but I'm not too frustrated here because I feel like I understand the majority. I mean of course she talks slow and all that but still.
We will have the opportunity to sing in the choir for the worldwide training broadcast so you might see my pretty face if you watch it. And it will be AMAZING! I'm really excited!
I've had a really smooth transition here. The only thing is that I already feel like I'm sick of wearing the clothes I have, so that's going to bit a bit rough. But I'm too busy to think about home much. Although there are two Hermanas in my district that were supposed to go to the Peru MTC but couldn't because of visa issues--lots of people here are in that boat--so that reminds me about Amanda, a lot. There are other hermanas in my zone that are going to Peru too. They just started their 6th week but have been assigned by the travel office to spend a 7th week here and then they'll be temporarily assigned to a United States mission, so that may happen to me too.
I know missionaries have always said they love mail but never understood how much until now! If you want you can use to send letters. It's just as easy as email but they print it off and put it in the mailbox so I get to read it the day it's sent instead of having to wait a whole week to have access to my email.
Hope all is going well at home!
Much Love,
Hermana Perason
P.S. I hope this letter is better and more detailed than the ones Ryan sent when he was on his mission!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week 1 - News coverage

One week in and we still haven't heard from Emily yet, but she entered the MTC with the largest group so far to date and will be there when the number of missionaries reaches the expected peak.  KSL and the Deseret News are covering this surge and I want to preserve this for her so she can see the media coverage when she returns!

For the KSL coverage, go to:
To see the Deseret News article, go to: