Friday, August 29, 2014

Week #4

Hey everyone,

So this email is going to be a little shorter because I am trying to send home pictures which take forever.  Sorry I don't have more pictures we are not allowed to take pictures on any day but P-day, so I don't take as many as I would like to.  This week was really good. I have learned and grown a lot. My Spanish is getting better, but it still not great.  I got to talk to some missionaries and teachers about Spanish in Chile and they told me it is really different, so I will probably feel like I am learning a whole new language there anyway. And they talk extra fast there. 

Please send me some pictures I would love to see some pictures of what you all are doing at home.  I love hearing about what is going on back home.  I am glad that you guys go to speak with the missionaries we have been talking a lot about working with the members and it is really important because members can add a great spirit and an extra testimony to every lesson.  We also really need the help of members as missionaries. The way our work is changing, everything revolves a lot on the help of members with bringing us investigators and participating in lessons.  We really cannot do nearly as well teaching as we can when members are involved. 

This past weekend we had a huge rain/hail storm.  It rained harder than I have ever seen and it all came so fast.  I was in the comedor and we forgot our umbrellas, so we got soaked. But to be honest, we played out in the rain for a little bit longer than necessary and we had so much fun splashing in the puddles on the way to class.  Everyone was soaked for night classes because of the huge puddles outside, but it made for a memorable night.

We always have the best devotionals here but this Sunday we watched the most amazing devotional by Elder Bednar. He talked about how we can become missionaries and how because we have been called we will be qualified, but we first must act in faith.  We have to open our months before they will  be filled.  He also talked about how once a missionary, we are always missionaries.  It was just really good, probably the best devotional I have ever heard.  

This week we got new latinas in our casa which has been so fun. They are really friendly and I got to talk to one from Peru for about a half hour.  It was so fun seeing how different her Spanish is.  I was actually able to carry on a conversation with her which was really exciting.  I have just gotten really comfortable teaching  in Spanish and feel pretty confident during my lessons, but when it comes to outside my lessons without the strong presence of the Holy Ghost, my Spanish doesn't flow nearly as well. Most of my vocabulary is vocabulary that I need for a lesson. I can’t wait until I am finally fluent and be able to express all my thoughts in Spanish.  Spanish is such a beautiful language and I am really learning to love it.  I absolutely love the Spanish hymns, although I don't always completely understand them because the translations are not direct. They are really different. It is fun looking at the way the are reworded. We got to do a musical number of, I Need Thee Every Hour, in Spanish on Sunday with my district. That was so cool.  We always have musical numbers at everything we go to and it is what invites the spirit for the rest of the meeting.  They are able to express some things in a way that you just can’t do with English, but no matter if I can understand them or not they always invite a very strong spirit with them every time we sing them.  I should be able to speak it pretty fluently by the time I call home for Christmas, based on what I have heard.  I get my travel info on Monday and I can’t wait to find out when I leave and to get to go to Chile, although I will miss the CCM and my district. I have really grown to love all the people in my district and the CCM has become like a second home, so it is going to be a little hard saying goodbye, but I know that Chile is waiting for me and is going to become even more of a second home and I just can’t wait to get out there and to love the people there!

This week I had to say goodbye to Elder Johnson which was sad but I am so excited for him and for the people of Peru who get to have him because he is an amazing missionary.  I got some pictures with him and the rest of the Elders back home again since our pictures were blurry I will send them to you next week with more of my pictures. Sorry I didn't get to send very many because my companion needed her camera thing back. I also said goodbye to one of the districts in our zone that we have gotten really close too.  It has all just made me so much more excited to head to Chile.  I cant wait to get there and get to teach the people there.  I am a little nervous because I know the language is going to be really hard, but I know it will come with time.  I know how to give lessons in spanish and that is all that is really important as long as I can testify and invite the spirit that is all that really matters because the spirit is the true teacher.

Please send me pictures from home and any questions you had I loved your questions from last week because it made it easier to know what to tell you about and what you were interested in hearing.  There is just so much that goes on in one week that is hard sometimes to know what to share with the short amount of time I have.  Sorry for the scattered thoughts this week and for my grammar and probably spelling.  I feel  the better my Spanish gets, the worse my English gets.  I am actually starting to intermix the two languages sometimes or forget what certain words in English are. It is so weird, but it is exciting because it means my Spanish is getting better. I also can’t wait to call and talk with the family in one week at the airport. I am going to take my paper pesos in and have them traded for all coins so I can use the pay phones in the airport.

I want you all to know that I love you and miss you.  You are all in  my prayers.  I absolutely love being a missionary with all my heart and I know that I am where I am supposed to be at this time!  I know with all my heart that this Church is true.  I feel it stronger and stronger everyday and I just cant wait until I can share that message with the people of Chile and I cant wait to see there eyes light up with the same knowledge and happiness because this gospel is truly a message of happiness.

Love you,
Hermana Stringham

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Hermana Stringham and Hermana Ralph
The sisters with their very small teacher!

The fence surrounds the Mexico MTC.
Is the fence to keep them safe, or keep them in???

The MTC is beautiful!
Very Green!  Heavy Rain almost every day!

The buildings are really colorful!

Beatles Moment in Mexico ! ! !

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hermana Stringham and BHS Friends

Hermana Stringham
is not with just strangers in Mexico!
Ten Bingham High School friends
have been reunited
as they learn
Spanish in Mexico.
In a couple weeks they will go
to different parts of the world
to serve the Lord!

Week #3

Hey everyone,

This week has been absolutely amazing.  I grow to love the CCM more everyday and all the people here. The struggling Sister did end up going home this week the day after I talked to you. It was so sad to see her leave, but I am so happy that she is back home getting the help she needs and She is working towards coming back into the field in a few months.  Please continue to pray for because I know she is really struggling still and its really hard to have to go back home after only a few weeks and have to explain what happened to everyone.  

So about two weeks ago me and my companion were called to be sister district training leaders.  We basically just work with all the Hermanas in are zone and we love doing it because we get to have the amazing opportunity to get to know them.  This week this calling has been an especially great blessing in our lives.  A lot of our Hermanas are really struggling with different things and there is a lot of fighting between companionships.  I have had the amazing opportunity to talk to some of this Hermanas and through my calling I can truly feel Gods love for them and it is just the most amazing feeling.  I am really starting to see how much struggling goes on with missionaries with anxiety, depression, homesickness, etc.  I am so grateful and feel so blessed that I have not had to deal with any of this issues.  Please pray for the missionaries here, especially for the Hermanas in our district and just all of the missionaries.  I have seen so many missionaries going home for these reasons and for other medical reasons.  It is so important that missionaries prepare for and learn how to handle these  problems before they come out, because all of these issues are amplified while you are a missionary.  I have learned that as long as I am not focused on myself but instead am working hard and focusing on my work here I don't have any problem. When missionaries stop working and mess around they start to struggle with homesickness and other issues, because they are focused on themselves.  I love my new calling although it does keep me very busy especially on P-days it has been an amazing blessing in my life.

So to answer your question our investigators are just our teachers.  They take the role of past investigators that they taught on there missions.  This week however I had the greatest opportunity.  Me and my companions got to do TRC for the first time.  We will get to do it every week until we leave.  In TRC we get to teach real investigators and non-actives who are struggling with different problems in their lives.  Their friends direct them here.  We got to teach the sweetest girl yesterday.  She is not a member of the church but is a great friend of one of my teachers:  She is struggling with a lot of things in her life and feels as if God doesn't love her because, in her mind, He only loves and communicates with those that are good and she feels like she ins't good enough.  It was so hard to hear her say that. But, it was amazing because we were able to teach her about Gods love for her and how so can build a better relationship with Him through prayer.  The spirit was so stronge in that room.  It felt stronger than I have ever felt it here.  As we taught her, she was brought to tears and me and my companions were struggling not to cry for how strong the spirit was.  I can tell you that we did not teach her yesterday.  The spirit taught her and it taught us. Please pray for her her name is Reigna she is really struggling with somethings in her life.  She especially has a hard time feeling Gods love for her. We were able to get her to pray with us and she told us that she wants to start praying more, from now on, because she liked the feeling and I think she is starting to feel Gods love for her and understand her role as a daughter of God. I was able to speak from the hearts and get a glimpse at what the gift of tongues is like.  The gift of tongues is real and as missionaries speaking another language we are able to have the amazing opportunity to see it work in our lives.  Through this opportunity I was able to see first hand that missionaries are not the teachers.  The spirit is the real teacher, he teaches through us.  Our only job when teaching as missionaries is to invite the spirit and the spirit will enter into there hearts and teach them. 

Oh I met your cousins son I think it is.  Uncle Joe’s grandson.  I cant remember his name for some reason.  I actually see him a lot.  He is so nice and it was fun getting to talk to him.  

So my daily routine everyday
6:30 get up and get ready
7:15 breakfast
about 7:45 to 10:30 ish we usually have class learning how to teach better, learning more spanish, and we will teach one of our investigators about every other day at this time. 
Then until lunch we have study time and language study time.  After lunch we are on the computers doing TALL, which is a computer based language study program.  After that we have more language study time for a couple of hours.  Then is gym at like 4, which is a really weird time.  We have daily palnning at 6:15 and then go to dinner at 6:45. Afterwards we have class with our other teacher which is the same type of stuff as our morning class, but just different because of different teaching styles.  At that point we also teach our other investigator about every other day.  After that its basically just companionship study, personal study then bed.  Mostly it is just a whole lot of study time.  I love it.  Tuesday nights we have devotionals instead of night classes and Wednesday nights from now on are TRC and then a little bit of night class.  Other than Sundays, our schedule stays mostly the same except for a few changes here an there.  Our Pday starts at like 9 after personal study and ends at 6:15, so we still have night class on thursday nights.  Sundays are the best though because we have Relief Society in English which is always amazing and so nice because I can understand it.  Sacrament meeting is really cool in Spanish and I love it and especially love hearing from my branch president because he is one of the most powerful speakers I have ever heard, and he is just really cool.  We have study time, 2 devotionals which are always amazing and then we end the night with a movie and then just have some time to talk with our districts.  The time with our district is one of the best times because everyone just opens up and its like a mini testimony meeting. I learn so much from the other Elders and Hermans.  So thats basically what my life is like here I hope it makes sense.  

We learn spanish here in class, through a computer program, and we have like 4 books that are solely meant for teaching us spanish that we study from.  The biggest thing though is that we are just immersed in the language.  I learn the most from just speaking spanish, because we are supposed be trying to speak only in spanish as much as we can and everything we do here other than like devotionals is in Spanish, so you are really forced to learn it fast.  My Spanish is coming along.  When I look back, I have improved a ton.  I can give a lesson pretty easily in Spanish and I can talk to people in Spanish.  My grammar is just bad because I am still learning so I say a lot of things incorrectly, but I am able to get my point across. My English grammar is actually getting bad as well, because I am starting to get more used to the Spanish grammar and sometimes even the Spanish words. So forgive me if I ever have bad spelling or grammar in my emails, because I don't use English as much anymore.  I am definitely not great at it though and it is really hard to understand.  I have been told that I really won't know very much, once I am out in the field and see how fast they speak, but because we use it so much most people become pretty fluent by their third month in the field.

So weeks are set up differently here and although have been here exactly 3 weeks we are finishing up our fourth week here because, they count the first three days here as one week and the last few days as week six, so we are really only here for just 5 weeks.  So I just have 2 weeks left here!  I am so excited to get to Chile and actually start to teach real investigators everyday especially after yesterday in TRC. I love teaching real investigators about the gospel and cant wait.  I am a little nervous because I know it is going to be really hard in Spanish.  My time here has gone by so fast, yet I feel like I have been here forever.  The CCM has really become a second home for me and it is going to be hard to say goodbye, but I cant wait. I don’t know the exact day I leaving, I should find out soon.  It will most likely be about 2 weeks from Monday, really early in the morning because that is what it usually is.  I will be leaving on a Monday Tuesday or Wednesday that week.  And I will most likely get to call home at the airport because they have pay phones and as long as I bring some pesos and have time I will get to call so that is really exciting I will let you know the  details as soon as I learn them.  Well my time is up and I have to go I just want you to know that I love you and I am praying for everyone back home. I love being a missionary, I know this is where I am supposed to be at this time in my life, and I this is were I want to be! Talk to you all next week.

Love ya,
Hermana Stringham

Week #2

Hey everyone,

This week has been so crazy and I have so much to tell you. I hope I can remember to get it all in. So first off I am sorry I didn't get to email you when I said I would my district got the amazing opportunity to go to the Mexico City Temple Visitors center which was amazing!

Stomach Flu- So over the weekend a huge portion of the CCM got some sort of virus. Almost my whole district got it and we were all pretty sick for about 46 hours. Me and my companion basically spent the whole weekend in the Bathroom or in bed. It was definitely a moment that we will never forget and we now joke about it because we always pray to come closer together as a companionship and being sick together for that long gave us a lot of time to talk and we definitely became a lot closer. We were sick all Sunday so we didn't get to go to church but some of the other Hermanans told us that sacrament was basically empty in our zone because everyone got sick. We are all better now and looking back I am grateful for the experience because it definitely brought our whole district a lot closer together as we had to rely on each other.

We did however get to go to the devotional Sunday night which was really good. It was an old recording of a devotional the Elder Bednar gave in the prove MTC a few years ago it was really good. We have amazing devotionals here every Sunday and Tuesday night. Devotionals are the best because the whole CCM is together and we get to sing with the whole CCM which is especially powerful in Spanish.

My Spanish is coming a long I still struggle a lot with it, but looking back i have come a long way. I have given a lot of lessons in Spanish and that has really helped. It is amazing to see how when I teach by the spirit although I still struggle with the spanish it comes a lot easier and I am able to say so much more than I would have thought I could have said. The people who have been here for 5 or 6 weeks can speak really well so that gives me a lot of hope, but everyone tells me that they speak the fastest in Chile and it is very different, but there spanish is really beautiful there. I am growing to love the Spanish language and cant wait to speak it better. We just had some Latinas move into our casa and they are so sweet to us. I love being able to practice my spanish with them a little and it has been a huge help having them in our casa.

This week has been so great we have a new teacher who is our first investigator we taught. He is amazing even though he cant speak like any english I learn so much for him. He just cant help but smile all the time. He said that we did really good and he loved our lessons so that was exciting to hear. He is so fun to have as a teacher as he is always so excited about everything he teaches and he gets so excited when we get our spanish right. I am loving it here everything about being here is amazing. There is just such a strong spirit that is constantly here and it is so amazing that it is hard to explain. I am learning so much, but I am also having a ton of fun. My district is amazing and we are constantly laughing and having so much fun together in between study times and sometimes during they are good at making even the hard things fun.

One of our Hermanas is really struggling and may be going home. She is such a strong missionary and we are all praying for her and hope that she can stay. We all would really appreciate it if everyone would prayer for her.

So today I got to go to the Mexico City Temple Visitors Center. The temple is closed due to renovations so we did not get to go in, but the visitor center was so cool and the Mexico City temple is so beautiful. It was so nice to get out of the CCM for a while and to get to see a little bit of Mexico City. Mexico City is a very busy city but it is so beautiful because all the buildings are so colorful. The streets are crazy because everyone drives so close and is really aggressive. One of the couples that went with us were telling us that they have very few accidents and it is crazy because cars don't wait for enough room to go in front of each other. They just poke the front of their car right in front of you so you have to let them go it is crazy. It is really cool though at stop lights there are just people that walk around seeing all sorts of things from newspapers to tamales. They all just run out in front of you when they light turns red and some will come was your car window for you are they do cool tricks like crazy juggling hoping to get a tip. It is really cool. The visitors center is really cool they have a lot of beautiful artwork. They also had a lot of technology stuff you could use to learn about the church. We got to go on a tour and I can definitely see that it is an amazing recourse for the missionaries. They have a Christus there similar to the one at Temple square and it was really cool to just go sit and feel the spirit there and watch as missionaries brought investigators and the investigators eyes would just light up as they were in that room. It was really cool.

This week has been amazing I feel like I have grown so much already. It is crazy I fell like I have been here for years yet it has all flown by so fast. I cant wait to see what next week will bring.

I love you all and you are all in my prayers

Love ya,
Hermana Stringham

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week #1

It was exciting to get our 1st weekly
e-mail from Danielle.
She is doing so well and having
a great experience at the MTC.
We hope you will join us in praying for Danielle,
and all the Missionaries who are serving.

Just a little bit more about the day she left!
We watched Danielle go through security, all alone. However, after going through airport security, she and all the other missionaries headed for Mexico were met by Brother and Sister Kirkham.
(I think at the gate.)
The Kirkham's were sending off their son, and had tickets to travel, so were able to gather the missionaries who were leaving that morning.
They fed the missionaries "Pop Tarts"
and took lots of photos.
By that afternoon, those 257 photos
were sent to all the families of the Missionaries.
It was fun to open our e-mail and see
Our Missionary! 

Thank-you, Kirkham's, for giving us a
glimpse of our missionary leaving for Mexico City!

From Danielle

Mexico city is beautiful! The streets are crazy.  They are so narrow and the drivers are crazy cutting in and out of each other.  The CCM is very nice it is surrounded by a huge wall with a barbed wire fence on top of it, so we have our own little safe town.  So don't worry about my safety we are protected by that wall. My teacher actually said that the area we are in is actually a really safe area, even for gringos.

My companions name is Hermana Ralph, from Hawaii. She is very nice and actually
knows quite a bit of Spanish,
 so she helps me with my Spanish a lot.

My teacher and everyone else here do not speak much english at all, so I really have to work hard and learn the language fast.  My teacher is this tiny little guy who walks faster than anyone I have met.  Seriously some of our tallest elders in our district can't even keep up with him.  He is really nice although his English is very little.  We have been very lucky to get some other teachers to come in and help us with our Spanish.

The food here is definitely  different then I expected although it usually isn't terrible.  I have learned to eat a lot of cereal and nutella and peanut butter sandwiches are definitely my favorite food, as you can get them at breakfast and lunch, if you don't like the food.  Tuesdays are the best though because they get the pizza that is just like the pizza from Costco.  They do randomly serve some American foods though like last night they had KFC.

 Weather here is amazing.  It is cooler in the morning then it warms up in the afternoon, but it doesnt get too hot so it feels amazing.  At night you can almost always plan on a rainstorm, which is kind of fun so I am getting a lot of use out of my coat, umbrella and my crocs (my favorite shoes to wear here because they do good in the water and they are super comfy).  The first night we got here it rained so hard that all the streets flooded and it was like walking through a river just to get to your house.
We had a lot of fun in the rain.

My Spanish is really not very good, but I have already taught 4 lessons in Spanish! Crazy right?
My companion, however has a lot of experience with Spanish, so she is able to help me
a lot during the lessons.

Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays are the best  days here.  On Tuesdays we don't have to teach investigators because we have devotionals which are amazing!  Thursdays of course because there Pdays.  Sundays are nice because they are kind of laid back, although they are a little scary because you can be randomly be selected to pray or give a talk in Spanish at any moment.
We are asked to prepare a talk in Spanish every week and our Branch President has asked us to give it from the heart without much written down so that is a little difficult and scary when you have to do it in Spanish.  I have grown to love
singing hymns in Spanish.

Sacrament meeting was amazing in Spanish the spirit was so strong.  Luckily it was fast Sunday, so no one had to give a talk (my friend Matt Johnson said that he was called to give one his first week!) but we were asked to share our testimonies and I was very excited that I was able to bear my testimony in Spanish WITHOUT any help from notes.  It was an amazing experience and i was so happy because it was a goal of mine to be able to do it in Spanish without reading it.

I love it here and I am having a lot of fun and have felt like I have grown so much.  I can't believe it has already been a week.  It all goes by so fast,
yet I feel like I have been here forever.

Love you,
Hermana Stringham