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.