Friday, December 18, 2015

December 14, 2015 Dos Meses

It has been another great week here in San Luis Potosí! It has been a difficult one because tons of people aren't in their homes, or are in their homes but are busy so we didn't have a ton of success teaching people this work, but we are working super hard to find more investigators!

-I hope you all had the chance to watch the First Presidency Christmas devotional last Sunday (Dec. 6th) because it was awesome! We watched it in Spanish of course so there was a lot I didn't understand, but one part really stuck out to me. I'm not sure if this is exactly what was said because...Spanish...but I think one of the speakers said something along these lines. When you see Christmas lights on trees or houses, use them as a reminder that Jesus Christ, the LIGHT and life of the world, is the reason for the season!

-Wednesday: My comp and I were riding a bus back from lunch and we always try to contact the people we're sitting by to see if we can teach them and their families a lesson on a later date, so there was an open seat next to me...but then like 8 Jehovah's witnesses missionaries boarded the bus and one of them sat by me so that contact didn't happen haha. It was really bizarre because they felt like our rivals or something haha.

-Thursday: Micaela, the woman I wrote about last week, dropped us because her husband doesn't believe. It's really sad because the gospel makes her so happy and she has believed it all, but they are SUCH a unified couple that she is sacrificing a little bit of her happiness for his sake. She said she will continue reading the Book of Mormon though! And she really is a woman of her word so I'm hopeful. It was really really sad but we left there feeling the spirit so strong and feeling such peace because there is not a doubt in my mind that one day, when her husband is ready, the will both accept the gospel. I could just picture her in white. It was awesome.

-Friday: The elders we eat with every day traveled to Aguascalientes on Thursday for a meeting and so they brought us back these ginormous lollipops so please enjoy my comp and I during planning Thursday night. Haha oh and also this day we taught a recent convert, Ricarda, and it was cold in her house and I didn't say anything about being cold but she said "Oh mi guerita, estas tan fría!" which means "Oh my little American, you look so cold!" then forced a sweater on I got a new sweater this week!

-Saturday: We had Little Caesar's pizza for lunch with a member and it tasted just like it does in the states! Also we got a good lecture from our neighbor who hates us...but it's okay because she is a wonderful daughter of God whom we love dearly.

-Sunday: We didn't have any water in our aparetment this morning so that was interesting haha...but we got to watch all three sessions of the dedication of the Tijuana Mexico temple and it was awesome! We are so blessed to have so many temples around the world and generally authorities directing the affairs of the Church here on the earth, I challenge you all to try to make it to the temple this week!

-Today marks two full months as a missionary! I am so grateful for this time I've had and look forward to a wonderful 16 more months to come! It has definitely been full of ups and downs but I really could not be happier to be in the service of the Lord!

-My companion and I really want a Christmas tree in our apartment, so anytime we're out walking the streets and see a tree we like, we talk about how we're going to steal it "a las dos de la mañana" so now that's our little joke. Anything we want to do, but can't, we say we'll do at two in the morning.

I hope you all have a wonderful week with finals and whatever other craziness is going on! Take a little time to reflect on the reason for the season! I love you all and pray for you all the time! 

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Bird​

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 7, 2015 Christmastime is Here

Adventures at the mall today with a classic Kendall face. Christmastime is here!! (As is winter)

Hello friends and family! 

This week has been SO much better than last week! I still don't understand everything and we still don't have a ton of investigators, but we're working really hard and I'm really growing to love it! 

Some highlights of the week:
-There are these two older ladies (mother and daughter) who live across the street from us and can't come to church because they have some health problems, but their testimonies are so strong. We visit them every night to help them around the house and share a lesson and it is always such a great way to end the night! One of these days I will send a picture/video of them. They're hysterical and always sing and dance for us.
-We have two investigators, Ramon and Micaela, who are an older married couple that are seriously progressing. I LOVE visiting them because Micaela always gets so excited about everything we have to say! They have tons of challenges but are such a cute and happy couple. We're hoping they get baptized in January! Also Micaela loves me because I remind her of a little girl she used to babysit when she was younger so that rocks!
-Earlier last week my comp accidentally locked our keys in our apartment...and we didn't have any spare we had Hermano Ruben in our ward break into our house for us so we were saved! It was quite an adventure.
-Apparently every sister missionary in our mission (but on more occasions, American sister missionaries) gets kissed by a random man while they're in the more news to come on that I suppose. Pray that that won't happen to me haha.
-One day I was seriously SO FULL and could not for my life finish my lunch (which is really rude here) so the Hermana who was feeding us left the room for like 5 minutes and Elder Martinez saved my life and finished my food for me! Man I am so grateful that we eat with elders every day.
-On Friday we had a zone meeting and I found out that for Christmas we're having an activity with our whole state next Tuesday which means I GET TO SEE THE PEOPLE FROM MY DISTRICT IN THE MTC!!!! We also get to watch a Disney movie on Christmas and call our families and man I just love Christmas!

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are getting in the Christmas spirit. Christmas is really such a special time of year. Don't forget why we celebrate it! Please take a minute to watch "A Savior is Born" (I Spanish it's called Ha Nacido Un Salvador) on or to remember why we celebrate this wonderful time and share the video with friends and family!

I love you all! I think about and pray for you often! Thank you for being in my life!!

Hermana Bird
Our zone leaders (the elders who share our ward and that we eat with every day) brought us a Christmas surprise on Saturday!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

November 30, 2015 A Week in the Life of a Blonde American Girl in Mexico

Hola friends and fam! 

This week has been quite the roller coaster of emotions and unfortunately I am running very very short on time so I will give you gist of everything.

-I was winked at and "hey baby"'d
-the member who was supposed to feed us lunch forgot about us...which my trainer says never happens..and so far no one else has forgotten us so that's good!
-I got seriously blisters from my shoes but my feet were fine the rest of the week

-Everyone here really says "Mi casa es su casa"
-A recent convert in our ward named Ruben brought us sandwiches (tortas) for breakfast because apparently sandwiches are a breakfast food in Mexico
-We take buses everywhere and for some reason no one wanted to stop for us this day..seriously on multiple occasions there would be 4 buses that passed us before we could catch one..and on one of them the bus driver didn't give me my change because I'm American so that's cool...
-My trainer said we live in one of the nicest apartments in the mission...which surprised me..but I'm thankful for what I have!
-We had our first meal with a member (we eat lunch with members and our zone leaders every day because we share a ward) and they made red spaghetti and green spaghetti which was interesting
-No one drinks water here. Always Coke or fruit water or horchata or Fresca
-We had interviews with the mission president and I cried a little more because it had been a rough few days..but the rest of the day was great!

-We had a few lessons today and about an hour after our lesson with Ruben, he came by our apartment and dropped off enchiladas and Coke so that was cool!
-The members that fed us today made us a "Thanksgiving feast" (because one of the zone leaders is also American) of storebought rotisserie (no idea how to spell that) chicken and homemade potato salad. It was super thoughtful!
-We always have lessons in weird places. I think we've had two lessons in people's homes and the rest are in random stores or on people's doorsteps and things like that.

-I wrote down D&C 
-"Guera" means "light" in Spanish..not like a light bulb, but lie light-skinned, light hair, etc, so everyone here calls me "guerita." Seriously, members, people on the street, I can't tell you how many times in a day I hear that word...but I stick out like a sore thumb here so that's different haha.
-Everyone here also says "Lo que pasa es que.." which basically means "So what had happened was..." haha I love it.
-This night we had a SUPER poweful lesson with an older couple named Ramon and Micaela (oh yeah, all of our investigators are 50+ too so that's not what I expected haha) and it was AWESOME. Ramon knows the Bible super well and likes to test us on it haha but they're super great people and we're meeting with them again this week!
-Also some lady rejected us because I'm American..sad day. 
-Today I couldn't finish my lunch at the members house and apparently that is really really bad but I seriously thought I was going to die. And they were mole enchiladas which apparently make a lot of Americans trainer even got sick but luckily I didn't. She says I have a super tough stomach if I can handle mole so I should be fine! One of our zone leaders is from Nicaragua and he's such a baby when it comes to chile haha but I've been able to handle that too so things are looking good!

-Ruben brought us more sandwiches..
-I'm still not unpacked
-I was whistled at again
-I saw a sign that said one American dollar is equivalent to 16.55 pesos and when I was in the MTC it was equivalent to 15.4 pesos so that's nuts

Okay I'm out of time to finish writing the finer details of this week..but the most important thing to know is it has been good but hard. I have written down that I wanted to share D&C 78:17-19. Not sure why, but read it!

Love you all and have a great week!

Love, Hermana Bird

my trainer

at the mall today, yay

November 24, 2015 I Made It!

Hello friends and fam!

I'm officially here in my first area of the mission! It has been an emotional last few days to say the least..but a great few days as well.

My last few days at the CCM were so bittersweet. My district seriously became a family and we were all in denial about leaving so we didn't really prepare for that smacked us in the face pretty hard. My companion, Hermana Caldwell, became my best friend and the elders became my brothers. And my teachers were angels! I was seriously blessed with the best. The majority of us had to leave Monday morning, so on Sunday night the elders gave us blessings and we talked and said goodbye until way late, went home and packed, then left our casa at 1:45am to leave for the airport. My companion and two elders from my district are here in my mission as well, but the rest of them left later than us. We arrived at the airport around 3 in the morning, checked our bags, and went through security then they literally changed our gate four that kept us moving. But we got there early and our flight was delayed (but no one was open to buy calling cards so I'm sorry I couldn't call you Mom, Dad, & Austin! :() so we just did a lot of sitting around.

Once we boarded the plane at about 6:15, we had to wait forever to take off because the fog was so thick. But it was nice because I got more time to nap! I slept for about an hour (because our flight was only like 45 minutes plus waiting time) and then we landed in Aguascalientes! It was SO COLD where we landed and it was literally the smallest airport I've ever been to. It had two gates...But we were greeted by the mission president, his wife, and the AP's. There were 8 hermanas (4 Americans, 4 Latinas) and 4 elders (3 Americans, 1 Latino). We boarded a bus like thing and drove 45 minutes to the mission home. Here we had a breakfast with all the trainers, new missionaries, and missionaries that were going home the next day. After that we had a few hours of welcome and instruction time. Then, we met our trainers! My trainer is Hermana Muñoz and she is the sweetest! She has been in the mission for 7 months and pretty much speaks no English so there has been a lot of pointing and flipping through the dictionary to try to understand each other..haha but it's going well. She's so sweet!

After that the mission president gave us blessings, we had a devotional, then left for our areas! Me, Hermana Caldwell, Elder Loertscher, and Elder Peterson (all from 4C..the best district ever..) were all assigned to areas in San Luis Potosí, so we were all together with our trainers on the 3 hour bus ride to our area! After being awake for just about 36 hours, that nap was GREATLY appreciated. It was a really good day but very emotional for me! Hna. Caldwell cried when I got a new companion, I cried when she got a new companion, I cried when I had to say goodbye to her and the other elders from my MTC district, and I cried when I got home that night...haha but I have mostly recovered from the emotional trauma now.

Our apartment is very very very small. It's all one open space that I really can't even describe so I'll send pictures next week. We live next door to a lady who apparently gets mad all the that will be interesting. But all in all I'm excited to be here! My companion and I share a ward with the zone leaders, so we get to eat lunch with them and members every day (except the member forgot about us today..but my comp swears that never happens) so that will be way fun! My trainer is the sweetest and a great example of service. I have no doubt that this is where I'm supposed to be. I'm so happy to be a missionary and am excited to learn and grow more every day! I love you all lots and have felt strength from your prayers! Have a great Thanksgiving and eat lots of pie! 

Hermana Bird

November 19, 2015 Goodbye CCM

Hey everyone! 

I hope you are all having the best week! I don't have a ton of exciting news this week. It's mostly been more of the same. It's been kind of a sad week because we said goodbye to 4B, another district in our zone, and we're all preparing to leave on Monday, but we're having a blast and trying to make the best of it!

So I mentioned my district loves Nacho night after class, Hermana Caldwell and I were tidying up and getting ready for bed when we heard a knock on the door and went to answer it. We opened to door to find four pieces of burnt toast with the following note from our elders. They're hilarious.

We had an incredible lesson with one of our teachers playing an investigator this week and it was so cool! We followed a prompting to ask her a question that answered a question she had for herself in real life. (That makes sense in my head but might not make sense on paper without context haha but I'm out of time.) 

The gospel is true and I am SO incredibly blessed to have it in my life. Being a missionary brings me indescribable joy and I can't wait to get into the field this week! Not sure when my next p-day will be, but I'll write soon! I feel lame that I don't have more, but that's about all for this week. I love you all and hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving! 

Hermana Bird
us holding toast & note
toast and note

November 12, 2015 Tamales Por Los Niños


It's been another incredible week here at the CCM. So much learning and growing and laughing and teaching!

Subject line: Two weeks ago we moved classrooms (because they were going to start renovating the building our old one was in) and at first we were all pretty bummed because we loved that classroom and our new one is smaller and further away, BUT we have come to loooove the new classroom. It's right next to a big open field of grass, so now we study outside and for our language study each morning and night we get to play games and run around in the grass and it rocks. This new classroom is also right next to the border of the CCM and really close to a busy street. There isn't any AC in most of the buildings here so we always just open up the windows, and for about a week we would hear this street vendor day and night saying what we thought was "Tamales! Por los niños!" and we all wondered why the heck he was selling tamales just to kids, so one night we finally asked our teacher about it and she told us he was saying "Tamales! Calientitos!" (aka hot tamales). So we felt a little dumb..but now we always laugh when we hear him outside..which is often in the middle of district prayer..

Other funny things quickly since I'm running out of time:
-I asked Hna. Caldwell to braid my hair the other day, and my hair is super thick and fairly slick, which is way different than her hair, so she started braiding it and yells, "You're hair is slippery like a fish!" So now we always joke about my hair being fishy.
-Each week in the CCM, the branch presidency gives us three topics to choose from to write a talk on, and they just pick 3 or 4 people at the beginning of sacrament meeting to speak that day so this is actually old news, but on the second Sunday here, I spoke on charity and it was scary, but definitely a good experience!
-I have been studying and marking up my patriarchal blessing recently (like with "if, then" blessings and places where it says joy/love and things like that) and it is AWESOME. I encourage all of you who have your patriarchal blessings to read them, study them, and mark them up!
-My teacher told me earlier this week that I speak like a native, and a latina sister told me I didn't have a gringo accent so I'm feeling good about my Spanish this week! We'll see how good I feel about it once I get to the field though...haha.
-Our district has gotten really into playing assassin, so after meals we always try to shoot each other (it's mostly Hna. Caldwell and I with three of our elders) and it gets CRAZY. Because we made rules so you can only shoot someone and have it count if you sneak up on them or hide and shoot them, so the elders have been getting crazy and jumping out of bathroom windows and things to get us, and we've gotten our teachers to play with us and this is a really poor explanation, but it's just really fun.
-So one of my roommates sleep talks. It's pretty hilarious. A few times I've woken up from her talking this week and my favorite lines of hers have been "We'll teach better if we listen to the Spirit, I promise!" and her reciting Santiago 1:5. She's hilarious.
-My district is OBSESSED with ping pong. Like, obsessed. We play it every day after lunch, during all of gym time, and any other free moment we have (like last night when there were no new missionaries, so they told us we had an extra hour and a half for gym time). There are only 8 paddles and 10 people in our district, so we take turns playing Around the World and it's a blast. I will be a ping pong champion by the time I leave the CCM, guaranteed.
-We got two new investigators this week (missionaries in our district acting as an investigator using the life circumstances of someone they know) and it's been crazy to juggle 4 in a week, but apparently we should be looking at about 10 lessons a day in the field...we're getting there. But it's great and so cool to be able to have the Spirit guide us to know and address the needs of each different person.
-Last night we were doing a role play about an investigator who had committed to baptism but she was getting nervous about it. She didn't have any specific doubts, but didn't feel like she could say with a surety that the church was true. I was taught as the investigator by an elder in my district who shared Alma 5:45-46 with me. It was so powerful! The Holy Ghost witnesses of truth to us. Once we receive that witness, we need not second guess our answer. The Spirit is so essential in missionary work and is the best companion! I encourage you all to see what improvements you can make in your life to have the Spirit with you more constantly.

I love you all very much and am grateful for you! 

Hermana Bird

mi casa!

from earlier today when Hna. Caldwell & I tried to be artsy with our nametags

November 5, 2015 ¡Paz Afuera!

Subject line: this week my district has been struggling because for some reason the elders feel the need to say "peace out" when we go places, but none of our teachers or the natives know how to translate it, so we've resorted to saying "paz afuera" which literally translates to "peace outside" haha so if any of you know how to say peace out in Spanish...let me know.

Today we went to immigration (or migration? who knows) to get everything in order for our temporary resident cards here. It's always fun to go out into the city and experience the crazy driving and the people here. Also one of our elders got a package with a HUGE bag of Jelly Belly's so we played "guess the flavor" on the way there so of course it was a blast.

Each week we do a service project here at the CCM, and my zone is suuuuuuuper blessed and we get to host the new missionaries each week! So every Wednesday we welcome them here, direct them through a couple different orientation things, and get to take them to dinner and talk with them. This week we got a new district in our zone so we're super pumped to get to know them! It's always one of the highlights of my week to meet the new missionaries. Missionary work is the bomb!

Two of the elders in my district love to speak to each other in Double Dutch, one of the greatest languages in the world (after Spanish and Chinese Pig Latin of course), and it's HILARIOUS so you should all try it. All you have to do is put "ib" in front of the vowel sounds in a word. Their favorite words this week are nibo (no) and slibob (slob). It's difficult to learn but hilarious if you can do it.

Halloween isn't really a big deal here so nothing terribly excited happened, but all of the elders in our district wore orange ties and Hermana Caldwell and I dressed up as bumble bees! (so like I wore a yellow top with a black and white striped skirt). It was fun but we couldn't get a picture since we're only allowed to take pictures on our P-day here. 

Fun fact: daylight savings in Mexico was a week before it was in the states so I was really confused when all the new missionaries talked about getting an extra hour of sleep on their last Sunday home a few days ago haha.

Esta semana tenemos que hablar solamente en español y es muy difícil pero muy divertido. Mi compañera y yo siempre olvidamos, pero trataremos a ser mejor. Me encanta español y la oportunidad por aprender este idoma! Estoy muy agradecida por este evangelio y las bendiciones que recibimos. Yo sé que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador y Redentor. Todos de nosotros somos hijos de un Padre Celestial que nos ama mas que podemos comprender. Yo sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero y podemos encontrar fortaleza (strength?) en leyendo y siguiendo las palabras que contiene. 

Speaking of 3 Nephi 18! It's a super good chapter!

I don't have any pictures this week, but hopefully I will next week!

I love you all and hope you have the most wonderful week!!

Hermana Bird

Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 29, 2015 Sorpresa!

Hola everyone!

First of all, I just want to send a birthday shoutout to my favorite little sister, Audrey! Happy 9th birthday on Sunday and I hope it's your best birthday yet!

I had another great week here at the CCM!! To explain the subject..if any of you have seen Nacho Libre you're probably familiar with the scene where Stephen brings Nacho that corn on the cob stuff and says "surprise!" in his funny voice then Nacho says "get that corn outta my face!" Yes? Well anyway my district is obsessed with Nacho Libre and all of the beginning of this week we would hide and pop out at each other and say "surprise!" in the funny Stephen voice. THEN Hna. C and I saw this treat in the tienda called "Sorpresas" so we bought a bunch for the elders and they LOVED them because they came with these little toys called El Chavo that you dress up with stickers and I'll have to send pictures another time..but now whenever we have extra time after lunch or anything, the elders run to the tienda to buy more Sorpresas to make new Chavos. What have we done? Hilarious.

So our investigator from last week, Ana, is now our teacher! We knew she was a teacher here at the CCM but didn't know she would end up being ours! So we finished our lessons with her last Friday and she started teaching us on Saturday. She is the and we love her so much!

We had a little stress management workshop this week and at the beginning they had us do sing and do Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes but it was funny because in Spanish it's Head, Face, Shoulders, Feet (cabeza, cara, hombros, pies). You should all try it.

We have been doing more of the same this week..learning, teaching, praying, eating so it's pretty monotonous as far as the schedule goes, but every day brings new insight or a new funny story with the district or a new challenge and I LOVE IT. Also, Hermana C and I have started to swap clothes so that keeps things interesting too.

Today we went to the Mexico City Temple (which is why I'm emailing so late) and it is BEAUTIFUL. And huge. There were escalators inside haha. But it was really awesome to be able to do a session and be on the grounds! I'll try to attach pictures.

This week in Relief Society we talked about Christlike attributes and the scripture in 3 Nephi 27:27 where Jesus Christ says "Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am." My district is working on developing charity while we're here so I challenge all of you to think about a Christlike attribute that you would like to develop yourself and make a plan to get there! All things are possible through Jesus Christ.

Also, my scriptures are in my casa (oops) so I can't remember what the scripture is about but I have Alma 26:2-3 written down to share with you so please read it and see what you can get out of it!

Everything is really scatterbrained this week, but I just wanted to thank you all for being who you are and for being a part of my life! Love you all lots and hope you have a fabulous week!!

Con amor,
Hermana Bird
Hermana S (one of my casa-mates who is going to the FL, Ft. Lauderdale mission) & me on our way from the airport to the CCM

Hermana C & me (featuring our loca compañera de cuarto Hermana H) after a lesson that went so well we just HAD to document our happiness

Last p-day I found my mission on the map!

It rained during gym time and honestly you can't really tell but we got SOAKED

Hna. C & I outside the Mexico City Temple

My district in the visitor´s center today!

Friday, October 23, 2015

October 22, 2015 Uno Dos Tres Cuatro Ce!

Twinning, of course...
Hola from Mexico!

So first to explain the subject line...I'm in district 4C (aka cuatro ce) and every night before we head off to our houses we put our hands together and count off "uno dos tres cuatro ce!" It's a blast.

Ah what a week, what a week. I'll try to share the highlights.

So I flew from Dallas to Houston, then Houston to Mexico City. My flight into Houston was supposed to land about half an hour before my flight to Mexico took off, but by the time we landed and got our luggage back (they had to gate check almost everyone's carry-on luggage because the plane was teeny tiny) it was 10 minutes past time to board my next flight. So I pretty much sprinted a marathon to the other side of the airport then had to take the skyway train thing to get to my terminal and I was one of the last ones to board...but I made it!! And when I walked on, the first person I saw was another girl who I thought must have definitely been a missionary and she turned out to be my companion! There were over 20 of us missionaries on the flight, so once we landed in Mexico we all worked together to make it through customs and figure out where we were supposed to be picked up. The drivers in Mexico City are CRAAAAAAAAZY but we made it to the CCM safe and sound!

When we got to the CCM, they said hello then sent us straight to dinner. After dinner we had a few quick orientation meetings then got to go to our casas to unpack and get ready for the next day. I live in Casa 12 with Hermanas R & H (who are going to the Oaxaca mission) and my companion Hermana C, who is also going to my mission! There are three other rooms of 4 sisters living in our house as well.

Mexico City is a very loud place. There are fireworks, sirens, and karaoke at all hours of the day, but it keeps things exciting.

This week we've mostly just had a lot of meetings to help us become accustomed to how things work at the CCM and sat in our classroom a bunch, but we have also gotten to teach a lesson almost every night (starting last Friday) to our first investigator! Her name is Ana and she ROCKS. She's had some family troubles and has struggled to feel God's love, but she's super open to and interested in hearing about the gospel. We have to teach all of our lessons in Spanish so it's been interesting not only trying to figure out how the heck to communicate with her, but also trying to understand her. But the lessons have been pretty good. Hna. C and I felt terrible about our second lesson because it just didn't go as planned, but the lesson after that we just focused on having the Spirit with us and it was INCREDIBLE. We both almost shed a tear. Almost. But seriously this work just makes me so happy and I am so grateful that I get to be a missionary!!

My district has me, Hna. C, Elder P, and Elder L (all going to Aguascalientes), Elders F, J, A, and S (all going to Culiacan), Elder M (going to St. George), and Elder A (going to Chicago). We're a little bit rowdy but we just have a ton of fun together and learn a lot from each other! My teacher, Hna. N, asked me to pretend to be an investigator our second day so we could see how to teach and we spoke only in Spanish and all of the elders freaked out and now they all think I'm fluent and tell everyone else in our zone that I am when I'm really random people come up to me allllll the time and ask me how to say things haha but it's fun and we're all learning a ton!

You would all be very surprised to hear that one of my favorite times here is.....GYM TIME! Hna. C and I can get a little cranky sometimes, but then gym time comes around and fixes everything. We generally use the indoor gym at the beginning then go outside for sand volleyball with the other missionaries and it's a BLAST. Although I accidentally hit Elder F in the face with the ball the other day and made his lip was funny though.

When you think Mexico, you probably think hot and sunny, right? Wrong. It has been FREEZING this week. (Which means it's probably been in like the 60s haha) but Hna. C and I are always so cold! So we've been bundling up and doing all we can to stay warm. If you saw the locals here thought, you would think we were in the middle of a blizzard the way they're dressed haha.

Hna. C and I were called to be the Sister Training Leaders for our zone this week so we're super excited to get to know them better (there are currently only two other hermanas, but we should get more next week) and learn to love serving here! Hna. C is like my favorite person ever. I could not have asked for a better companion! We are so similar in so many ways and just get along really well and laugh a TON. Also, we found out that we had a matching skirt so naturally we had to match today to take some pictures.

One of the first things we received when we got here was a paper with a quote from Elder Richard G. Scott that says, "Remember, the Lord has called you to succeed, not to fail. Sometimes it may seem terribly hard, but He wants you to grow. He will not abandon you. He inspired your call. He knows who you are. He knows what you need. He knows what He wants you to become, and this mission experience is an opportunity He has given you to discover things about yourself you never knew; capacities you never knew you had, strength beyond what you felt you had, and the capacity to love and serve which will sustain you throughout the rest of your life. Remember, you have been called and He will fit the task to your capabilities." I LOVE THIS QUOTE. It is so applicable to the life of a missionary, but also everyday life! The Lord has seen fit to place us on the earth at this time and KNOWS AND LOVES US. When we rely on Him, there's nothing we can't do.

I love you all and am so very grateful to know you! Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Love, Hermana Bird

P.S. I don't have a cord for my once I find someone who has a cord that's compatible with my camera I'll send pictures!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Timeline of My Mission Journey

Mission Papers Opened: March 11, 2015

Application Submitted: April 2, 2015

Call Assigned: May 5, 2015

Call Opened: May 13, 2015

MTC Report Date: October 14, 2015

Mission Release Date: April 2017

The Call

It's May 13, 2015. My mission call came in the mail yesterday and I am SO READY to open it. It's getting to the point where I have already gone online and perused the long list of every single mission in the world and I've moved on to analyzing the thickness of the packet to determine whether I'm going foreign or stateside. I anxiously pace as I try to get all of my family from Texas connected on Google Hangout to watch me open it. Is it time yet?

Finally everyone is settled and it's go time. My cousin opens the envelope for me since my hands are shaking and weak. I attempt to read the call letter but it's upside down. Oops. I adjust the paper and begin to read. 

"Dear Sister Bird:" I'm already crying at this point. I would like to thank my grandpa for my emotional genes. And my parents. And the rest of my family. We're all a bunch of bawlers. Okay, deep breath. I can do this. 

"You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the México Aguascalientes mission." Cheers, screaming, and clapping fill the room. I have to repeat the mission name because nobody on Google Hangout heard past "Mexico." Oh my gosh! I was called SPANISH-SPEAKING!!! I didn't break the trend! (All of my cousins on my dad's side, my brother, my dad, my aunt, three uncles--you get the point--all served Spanish-speaking, so I didn't want to be the one to break the streak.) No way. Spanish! And Mexico? Who would've thought Mexico? My brother just got back from his mission in Mexico five months ago! No way they're sending another Bird there! Wait didn't the guys' RA serve in this mission? I'll have to ask him about it.

"It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 18 months. You should report to the Mexico Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, October 14, 2015. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Spanish language." October? Wait, that can't be right. That's like 5 months away! But right now, who cares. I am just THRILLED! Unlike many people, I didn't get the instant feeling that I had been called to exactly where the Lord needed me. My most overwhelming feelings were that of relief and excitement. Relief that I would be speaking Spanish instead of some more frightening foreign language that used weird symbols I couldn't draw and sounds I'd never heard. Relief that I was actually going on a mission! Excitement that my call was exciting for other people too (mostly my brother Austin who just ADORES the people in Mexico). Excitement to serve in a new place and learn a new culture. Excitement to be a missionary!

As I began to learn more about the culture and heard stories from missionaries who served in other areas of Mexico, I began to feel such love for the people I will be serving. Small and simple things happened that confirmed to me that Heavenly Father sees fit to use me as an instrument in His hands at THIS place at THIS time and I can't wait! Mexico, here I come!

featuring my girl Hermana Moline who is currently serving in the Alabama Birmingham mission

My Decision to Serve

I have wanted to serve a mission since I was 15 years old.

It always just seemed like something I needed to do to reach the level of conversion I was seeking. If I served a mission, I would learn skills and develop habits that would ultimately help me become the Church member, daughter, sister, friend, roommate, and eventually wife and mother I hoped to be. I have seen the examples of countless women who are outstanding in these roles without having served a mission. But for me, it felt like the stepping stone I needed to reach my goal and become who I wanted to be.

When I first decided I wanted to serve a mission, sister missionaries had to be at least 21 years old to serve, and that just felt so far away! Having a mom who got married at 20 made me worry that I wouldn't reach 21 without getting married (very silly, I know), and would therefore be unable to serve a mission.

In the welcome address of the October 2012 General Conference weekend, President Thomas S. Monson announced that, "able, worthy young women who have the desire to serve may be recommended for missionary service beginning at age 19, instead of 21." [read the full address at]

With the announcement, the possibility of serving a mission felt so much more real! No way would I be married by 19; I was going on a mission!

After graduating high school and moving up to Utah to begin my freshman year at BYU, all I could think about was serving a mission. I prayed and prayed, asking God whether or not I should serve a mission. I went for months without receiving an answer and began to get discouraged. My roommate Ashley always joked with me saying that my lack of an answer was just a stupor of thought that meant I would be getting married instead. (Needless to say, she was wrong.) 

Near the close of fall semester, Ashley and I decided to go for a 2AM temple stroll just to talk about life and get some fresh air. It was on this walk that I received my answer. I remembered the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 4:3 which says, "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work" and it all became so clear. Heavenly Father hadn't given me an answer because He wanted me to realize that it was my choice! Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 says, "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right." I hadn't prayed to Heavenly Father and told Him that I decided to serve then waited for the burning in my bosom; I had come to Him asking whether or not I should go. 

I realized that because I have a desire to serve God, I have been called to the work. After this realization, I told God my plan and asked if it aligned with His will. The burning in the bosom came because Heavenly Father does hear and answer every prayer.