Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

¡Hola familia mia! This email may be tiny because I´ll be talking to you on the phone this week. Hooray!

Daddy-O wanted to know about Honduranian Christmas traditions. I´m sure I´ll see what it´s really like on Thursday (they do most of their celebrating on the 24th) and be able to tell you on the phone on Friday, but here´s what I know for now.
They have fireworks, they eat tamales, and they paint their houses. It´s funny to walk past a house that once was blue and see that now it´s bright green. It´s funny too because to take down someone´s address we write in our planner ¨Neighborhood San Jose, past the school a little ways, in the blue house.¨ And then they paint their house bright green. =)
We have un montón (quite a few) dinner appointments for the 24th. I´m sure I´ll be gordita quite soon! It´s a miracle I´ve maintained my weight thus far.
A quick spiritual experience and then I´m signing off... we haven´t had much success as far as baptisms, and we´ve been feeling bad because we´re working hard all day every day and with little results (as far as numbers that is). On Saturday during personal study I felt prompted to study fasting, and decided that I could still do more to find and bring souls unto Christ. We fasted, and during the time when we usually have lunch we had three great contacts, including a family that seems very receptive. I have great hope for the Family Castillo. I know the Lord answers our prayers of faith, especially when we seek to combine our will with His.

Even my short emails are super long winded!. I love you all and am thrilled to talk to you por telefono soon!

XOxoxoxo Hermana Francis

PS Dad also asked about my companion... Her name is Regina Verónica Rosales Arias and she´s from Granada, Nicaragua, close to the largest lake in the world. She´s amazing, and my best friend here.

PPS The members here don´t believe me when I tell them that there´s snow and snowmen in Utah. Could you email me a pìcture? Thanks. =)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ay No!

I just wrote you all a beautiful email, and the computer crashed. So... this may be short. Sorry. ¿Disculpeme?

On Saturday night we had a special Christmas activity that Hermana Rosales and I organized at the church. It was to start at 6 but we went at 5 to set up chairs and then go bring the Eugenia and her family. When we got to the church we saw the youth playing futbol (soccer) in the court and the church was completely flooded! Every room.. the offices, the bathrooms, everything. So we spent the hour sweeping and mopping water out of the church and turned on all the fans to help dry the tile floor. The youth and young men´s leader helped and it was actually super fun. We finished just in time to start a half hour late ( as is very normal here) and were blessed for our efforts by how many showed up! We both shared small talks and then showed the video ¨Joy to the World¨. Oh, how I love Motab. Hello, Brother Hendricksen.

One of the attendees was Marcos, age 11 who we invited the day before. We were surprised to see him... we gave him an invitation but he can´t read, but evidently he remembered. Also we had given him a pamphlet of the gospel of Jesus Christ which he brought with him, worn and battered as if it had been looked through quite a bit. He has something in his eyes, a longing and I just want to fix it. I know that the gospel can save his life spiritually. He was at church as well and we´ll be contacting him tonight in his home.

There have been times this week when I felt prompted to share something and as I opened my mouth I knew that it was what the Lord wanted that person to hear. What a blessing! All I want is to be an instrument in the hands of God and it is thrilling when I really feel like one.

I love Hermana Rosales so much, and the best part is, she loves me too! We sing primary songs in Spanglish in the streets and we really support each other. She´s teaching me loads and I just hope I can learn all I need to and quickly because she thinks she´ll be transferred in January. It´s kind of scary to think of myself here with a new companion who perhaps isn´t as patient and kind, but I know all things happen for a reason and that I will learn and progress in every experience in this beautiful mission. I truly love being here.

I love you all! I hope you realize how grateful I am for such strength in my home and among my friends as well. I receive a LOT of letters through pouch (including a beautiful poem from Aunt Julia.. please tell her it hit the spot).

XoXOXOXOX Hermana Francis

PS, 1 Corinthians 2.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Mission is Sort of Like a Roller Coaster

Ups and downs, and sometimes I feel like I want to throw up, but over all it´s really fun and I´m super happy to be here.

That ¨throw up¨reference doesn´t mean I´m sick. No worries!

But I can see why people say that the mission is the hardest thing they ever did. I have a lot more respect for all those who have served missions. And especially for those who did so cheerfully and full of the Spirit, like Nephi or Ammon or Joseph Smith, or Christ. I want to be like them.

We have a lot of investigators, and a lot of families (yay!!), but this week a lot of appointments fell through (boo). However, that meant we had a lot of service opportunities! One was with a man named Manuel who was all red from effort of repairing the road (moving dirt from the side to the road with a shovel). I asked if he wanted a rest and took his shovel and began to move the dirt from the road to the side, not understanding exactly what I was doing, just knowing I wanted to help. We laughed as I realized I was un-doing his work, and quickly I began to move the dirt from the side to the road. Hermana Rosales gave him a quick description of our message, and I helped maybe .0003%. But that´s okay! We got a good laugh out of it, made a new friend, and hopefully he´ll be there when we pass by again (we just left a note in the first attempt). Sometimes I feel very weak, but I know that who the Lord calls, He qualifies. As long as I´m trying my best and repenting daily, I know the Lord can make something amazing out of me. But to have the patience and to keep trying all the time! Let´s just say, I´m grateful for your prayers and support. I need them.

I didn´t really know I was a little homesick until last night, when we had the opportunity to watch the 1st presidency Christmas fireside (did you see it?) with all the members of the branch and an investigating family (yay!), Eugenia, Odilma, Eugenia (jr), and their little brother whose name I can´t pronounce. The program was translated of course into Spanish, but all the hymns from MoTab were in English. When I heard the Orchestra start ¨For Unto Us a Child is Born¨ I just felt so...healed. That is part of what Christmas means to me. And snow and the lights on temple square!

Anyway, don´t worry. I know this tiny bout of homesickness will pass and may return again but each time I rely on the Lord and remember that I´m here to do His will, I´m happy and able to carry on. This work really is incredible.

This week we had a lesson with that family I mentioned (Eugenia) and we asked them to follow the Savior and be baptized. Odilma (12) and Eugenia (10) had the desire, but their parents refused, saying they were too young for such a decision. Throughout the whole lesson I had the Spirit with me strong, although I was a little afraid to open my mouth. Their father, Pablo was going on and on in almost a battle of words with Hermana Rosales, and I just sat there listening, trying to understand everything, trying to listen to the spirit and be prepared to interject if He prompted. Finally I just felt almost like a voice in my mind (¨It´s okay, you can do it, I am with you!¨) and I read Moroni 10, vs. 4 and 5 and told Pablo that we could talk all night, but the only way that he could really know is to pray with real intent. We all knelt and prayed together. This family has so much potential! They are so poor, they rarely have clean water and the children are always dirty. But they are so humble. The girls are reading the Book of Mormon and the mother, Eugenia came to church and the fireside. Anyhow, keep them in your prayers. We know that the Lord wants them to have the blessing of the gospel in their lives as a family, and we´re just praying to know how to best proceed.

I love you all! Thank you for your emails of encouragement. Thank you for your prayers. It´s been a tough week, but also a wonderful one. And a fast one! I know my time is limited and I need to enjoy every minute, the good and the bad, the easy and the hard.

I love you! Alma 53, vs. 10. Ammon was amazing missionary, but he always gave the credit where it belongs.

Hermana Francis

Monday, November 30, 2009

NOW I've missed Thanksgiving...ha ha

Hi familia! ¿Cómo están? Things are great for Hermanita Francis!

This week we had a baptism! Can you believe it? I´ve been here less than 2 weeks and already a baptism.

Her name is Delmis, she is 10 years old, doesn´t know her father, birthday or place, and her mom had to sign the baptisimal form with a thumbprint. But she knows the gospel is true and is changing her heart. The baptisimal dress was too big, she hadn´t even met Alfondo who baptised her, and everyone wore casual clothes except for Hermana Rosales and me. It was different, and yet the spirit was there. Hermana Rosales and I sang Joseph Smith´s 1st prayer to the tune of Come thou Fount.

An Elder Durfee in our District told me that I shouldn´t expect to get any snail mail here, that he´s been here for 4 months and hasn´t gotten a thing. And then on Saturday I received a letter from mom dated Nov. 8th. Yay for pouch! Thank you!!

This week we went to the house of the Branch President for a mission call opening. It was crazy... you know how mission call openings are super exciting in Utah? They are super sad here. I´ve never heard ¨Called To Serve¨ sung so much like a death march. He was called to the Guatemala South mission and doesn´t go til March.

This week I heard my first Gekko and tried my first sugar cane! Also I took less time washing my clothes in the Pila, but still it´s pretty hard. I´m so happy for this experience!!

Every time we go to the houses of the members I think of 1 Ne 2 verse 20, along with many other verses in the BOM which say that the righteous will prosper in the land. In general it´s easy to see who is faithful and who isn´t just by their standard of living. Very interesting.

We brought 8 investigators to church on Sunday, and 2 more were there with members. Out of those 8, 7 were children. It was fun and exciting to accompany them to church, and also a little crazy keeping track of everyone. We´re going to work more with their parents and hopefully convert families who can all come to church together.

We stayed in the apartment Sunday afternoon (from 1pm until Monday) because of council from President Cruz. I don´t really know what is going on with Politics, but we had time to write letters, and study lots.

I love you all so much! I´m learning lots and the language is coming slowly but surely I hope. I just want to help the work along, not be an obstacle for my companion. She is ever patient though, and we´re having fun! She´s a great friend.

I love you all (again)... (emphasis!). Take care and have a great weeK!

Hermana Francis

Friday, November 27, 2009

No Snow in Honduras!

Hello family!! How are you all? Things are so great here!
"Here" is La Entrada, Copan, Honduras. Copan is one of the two most coveted areas in the mission because it´s beautiful, in the mountains, and "cold". But "cold" is code for hot. Ha ha... Can´t wait to see what "hot" means.

On my first day here, we were hiking around to all the different little houses (the people are super poor) and there was a lot of trash all over on the ground. I had a few negative thoughts about it, just the mud and the trash and the smells. But then I raised my head and saw the beautiful mountains and green and sky and wow. It is SO beautiful. It reminded me that the things we pass through are for our good and we always need to have an eternal perspective.

So ya´ll had Thanksgiving I´m guessing if it still falls on the third Thursday of November. How was it? I actually didn´t realize it was Thanksgiving til the day after.

My companion is Hermana Rosales from Nicaragua. She knows a few words in English but definitely not enough to communicate, which means I have been praying a lot for the gift of tongues! And it is definitely real. These couple of days, though, I have understood a little more how important it is to put forth a huge effort to obtain it. When I concentrate on understanding and speaking Spanish with all my heart, might, mind and strength, I´m blessed and it truly makes a huge difference.

But more about my companion. She is amazing! She´s so excited to have me... I´m her first "hija" or the first missionary she has ever trained. Plus I´m a "gringita"... which makes me endearing I suppose. She works very hard, always takes opportunities to serve and teach, and is extremely patient with me as I am learning how to do everything over again... like shower and clean the apartment and wash my clothes. I am so grateful for such a trainer.

But speaking of showering, I totally shower with a bucket! Yep. And I want you to all try it. But you can use warm water, because we always boil water on our little stove first and then mix it with the cold water. Anyhow, it´s super exciting. Sometimes I take a step back and realize, I´m really here, in Honduras, showering with a bucket. Wow.

Hermana Rosales and her last companion were teaching some children, and so I met them my first day here. They´re super cute and love us a lot... they always run after us and hug as and say they don´t want us to leave. One is Maira (8) and her brother Armando (10) and another is Delmis (10). The thing that makes me kind of sad is that their parents aren´t opposed to us coming but they don´t have interest to hear the message. I know it will be difficult for them to come to church without the support from their parents, especially being so young. We´re working with the members to try to get people to help welcome them into the fold as they very well may be baptized this Saturday. THIS SATURDAY! Yep. I´m excited.

And another exciting thing. We met a man on Friday named José and talked to him for a little while while he rested from chopping wood. He seems about 30 (I´m still not sure his age) and has a girlfriend and children, sister and parents. He accepted our pamphlet with my memorized ("will you read this pamphlet before we come visit you again?") phrase. The next day he was waiting for us with chairs all ready to go and was very receptive. The spirit was strong and I was able to say what I wanted to with the gift of tongues.

We had invited him to a special District conference we had on Sunday, where all the members of the branch would take a bus to Santa Rosa (where Hermana Kochevar-my friend from both MTCs- and her latina trainer are working). Everyone was supposed to meet at the church at 7 30 am to go. Which means on the day of, everyone actually met at 8 and we left at about 820. José wasn´t there.

When we visited him last night, he told us that he had gone and was there at 730 but no one was there and he thought he had missed us so he went home. It was a shame that he missed it because he was punctual. But he said he would be at church this next sunday and also accepted our invitation to be baptized (not with a date yet but we´re thinking Dec. 12) and the Book of Mormon and said he´ll start reading it. He is incredibly ready for this gospel. Wow.

Talking to his mother that night, she said that Mormon missionaries had come by the house before, but they were worried about going to church because they´re very poor and don´t have anything fancy to wear. We assured her that God knows our hearts and that this gospel is for those who are willing to accept and live it. I have great hopes for them!

Anyhow, I need to wrap this up. I love you all a lot, and hope you never think I´ve forgotten you or anything.. but it´s going to be really hard to send snail mail. At least at first as I get used to everything. Don´t worry, mom, I´ve already written your snail mail, that you´ll get in a month or two. Oh also for mom, our secret... Christmas would be great. You know what I mean.

Love you! The work is amazing! I feel so blessed and happy to be here!!

Xoxoxoxox Hermana Francis

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oh Hermanos Adios, Pues Adios

Hello all! Thank you for your love and support! I received letters from mom, Aunt Janet, and the Judds today. I´ve always pleasantly surprised to see how many people still remember me back home. (smiley face)

This is my last week at the MTC, and then here comes the field! I was going to say, ´here comes the real thing´, but it has been pretty real so far. It is amazing to feel the spirit so strong and to have my testimony so strengthened.

Today we had an incredible devotional with Elder Costa from the 70. I was in a group of 6 (including Hermana Crossland who knows the Brough family) and we sang ¨This is the Christ¨in Spanish. The whole meeting was in Spanish, but because the Spirit was there I was able to understand all but a few words. He converted to the church after many years of having a hard heart, but being touched deeply by the Joseph Smith story decided to study and pray about it. He read in JSH for 14 hours, the next day was sitting on the Hermana´s porch, and took the first 3 lessons that day, the next 4 the next day, and had his baptisimal interview that night. He is an amazing man. The spirit was very strong! He opened his talk with a question and answer session, and when no one asked anything I rose my hand and
asked in Spanish what he had studied from the Book of Mormon this morning. He said they´ve been studying out of the New Testament lately but he reads 2 Ne. 31 20 every day. He is a powerful man.

He also cross referenced D&C 84 88 with 1 Ne 3 7. Look them up!

Tomorrow we have divisions again! I´ve been hoping I will be more brave and prepared this time. Pray for me that I will be able to bring some Guatemalans unto Christ before I fly out to Honduras next week.

Funny story... Hermana Romero and I have been having much better companionship studies these days. This week though, we were sharing some personal experiences, when suddenly a crash came from the ceiling a little ways down the hall and we saw a foot. I guess there were men working in the attic. You never know what will happen here... and it isn´t even crazy yet!

In class this week, Family Home Evening came up, and Hermana Leonardo (or teacher who served her mission in Temple Square) asked how many had FHE growing up. Only 3 of us. Out of 10. Wow. I am so grateful for you, and how I was raised in this gospel with so much righteous consistency. I think of Elder Bednar´s words from this last conference often and want to be a consistent, progressing, servant of the Lord.

I studied Temperance this morning... just felt it was something I needed to have more of, because most days are great, but if I have anything wrong happen, I´m not great at continuing to give my all, which is so important in this work!

Still loving the Book of Mormon, which I´m reading every day. I´m in Alma 8 right now, and it is making so much more sense as I´m really focusing on the stories and the chapters in context with each other.

This email doesn´t even express ´a hundredth part´of how I feel this week, but I need to go now. I love you all! I know the Lord is looking after me and I will be protected as I go to the field. This has been an incredible experience to be here! President and Sister Christensen are the best (she is my mom away from home) and I think my spanish has improved (sure hope so!!) I love the gospel, I love the Lord, I love being a missionary. I´ve been able to see some changes in me, and I hope and pray to continue to change as I come to be what the Lord wants for me to be.

I love you! Take care!!

Hermana Francis

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hello again!

What a week. I can´t believe how much I learn in a day, in an hour, let alone a week. There is too much to say.

I got letters today!! 7!!!!!!!!! Thank you all so much. It takes a long time for letters to come, but I know you all love me, so I don´t worry when I don´t hear anything. Thank you for your support.

When reading your letters I smiled and laughed out loud at a lot of things, big and small. I realized that my love for my family and friends is so big, that it almost doesn´t matter what you say, I just love to hear how you are. So thank you.

The new Latino missionaries are here, and they are wonderful! My roommates always serve me with every opportunity, asking if they can help do my hair or teach me words. They all like to get up early, and one of them, Hermana Pineda reads Spanish with me to practice my pronunciation every day. I am so blessed to be in this place! I love it.

This week has been a week of personal revelation. I´ve had a lot of questions of the soul, and several have been answered! One came from my patriarchal blessing, and I´ve been wondering about it since I received it 7 years ago, and this week I gained more understanding about it because of the Book of Mormon. I felt so happy that Heavenly Father loves me and listens to my prayers.

I was very impressed by a sister that I´ve known since day one, Hermana Fuka (from Tonga). She got an allergic reaction on her face which swelled up her cheek and her lip, and really drew attention. Her companion and other sisters were telling her she should just study and maybe not go to class, etc. She later told me that she did feel embarrassed and bad about it, but no one was able to tell at the time! She said ¨my voice still works, my body works, I can still work, I can still serve the Lord.¨ Also on Fast Sunday, she was the only non Latino to share her testimony. What a brave Sister and friend.

President Christensen always asks us ¨what did you learn today?¨ when we meet together as a big group. Recently the question was ¨what have you learned in the last 7 weeks?¨ I immediately thought of the principle of every day repentance. I used to think of repentance as an event. Now it is a lifestyle. I constantly feel the need to improve and I love the feeling of the Holy Ghost helping me know what specifically to work on next, and then peace when I am improving... even though my progress is hard to see.

I´ve also gained a lot of strength from D &C 6 this week. And The stories of Zeniff, King Noah, and Abinadi and now Alma the Elder in the BOM. I love the scriptures! There is so much to learn!!!!

Well, time is short. But I want you to know that I have a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel and of the restoration of the church of Jesus Christ.. think about that... the actual church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on the earth. What a blessing it is to have this knowledge and to feel the Holy Ghost confirm truth. Please be missionaries and share your testimonies too!

I´m praying for all of you, and for Grandpa and his upcoming surgery. Let me know if my emails aren´t entertaining enough, or if they´re alright. I need to write for my audience here... and believe me, plenty of funny things happen too.

I love you! Stay true! Have faith, hope(patient perserverance), and charity.

Hermana Francis

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From Nuevos to Viejos

Hello all! Happy almost Halloween!

What an incredible week! A LOT a lot happened. Hopefully I'll be able to type quickly and get it all in. Sort of like a lesson here at the CRE (kind of like the TRC... an opportunity to teach teachers who pretend to be investigators), when we only have 20 minutes to get to know them and share these beautiful truths of the gospel in the best possible way. Except I already know ya'll, and this isn't really a conversation, and I get a half hour... so... here we go. :)

The week started with Divisions (on Wednesday... which I can't believe I forgot to mention to you last week!). This was where all the North American Missionaries went out into the field for a day! I was put with Hermana Campo, a Latina from Guatemala, and I served in the Guatemala Central mission. I was blessed to get a Latina companion... most of the Nuevos (or new missionaries... so those who got here on the same day as I did) got North American companions, and getting a Latino is a special treat. She was very sweet, and my only frustration of the day (as it usually is in every day) was not being able to understand as much as I wanted to from her. It is hard working with a companion when you don't speak the same language.

2 experiences I want to share from Divisions: The first lesson we taught was at a tiny home, dirt floors, smoke from a fire in the kitchen billowing into the house, and 2 big beds for 10 people to share. There were a lot of small children, and the father was sick and barefoot. It was very humbling to see. I got to sit in the nicest chair they had, which was a plastic one with a big hole in it, so I sat on the edge.
The father (David) was really excited about the Book of Mormon. When he read what he liked, his son had to help him with the words... I think the son had more education than he did.We also talked about prayer and I told them how having family prayers with my family has strenghtened and unified us. So humble, so poor, but the Spirit was strong. It was a wake up call that people actually live that way.

The other experience was when we went door to door, contacting. The first house we went to was a man who talked to us for quite a while. He used to be a member of the church but now was very anti. We didn't want to waste our time, but he kept talking and talking. He tried to discourage us, letting us know how dangerous it is for any girls to be walking on these streets, and saying that there is no way our God will really protect us. I bore my testimony that this is where I need to be, and I know that I am protected. My spanish had been not great until that moment, and he seemed surprised with the change in my ability to speak. I know it was only through the help of the Holy Ghost.

So, divisions were really fun! It was nice to go out into the world and practice for real what we've been learning. We get a chance to do it again in 3 weeks, (or I guess just 2 weeks from tomorrow) just before we leave for the field.

We saw our first cockroach this week! My companion was pretty scared, but I was just so excited to be seeing one! A Latina sister stomped on it 4 times before it died, and it was just a little one.

On church this last Sunday, we had a musical number of two Latino Elders singing "A child's prayer", accompanied by another Elder who played evey other chord with the left hand and the melody line with the right. It's amazing how music doesn't have to be beautifully arranged or perfectly in tune for the Spirit to be there. Also, one of the talks given was by an Elder Valdizon, who I've never heard speak and never had eye contact with. From his first day here, he has walked with his head down, in his own little world. I've never known what was wrong, and President Christensen told us to just treat him like everyone else but not take it personally when he doesn't respond. Anyway, he spoke in church about enduring to the end and perserverance. It was great to hear his testimony, although ironically, I was on the front row and the podium was so high that I couldn't see his mouth moving. Kind of eerie to see his eyes but still not know what he looks like talking. Pres. Christensen shed some tears. I think it was a miracle for this Elder to have the courage to speak in church.

On Monday we went to Las Colinas or "The Hills", a beautiful place! We had the day to play and spend time with the Latinos and Viejos before they were leaving. I went on a hike with about a third of the group through real jungle. It was really really great. :) Wish you could see what it's like here.

Last night was very touching. We said goodbye to all the Viejos (the Northamerican districts who have been here for 3 weeks more than us) and all the Latinos. I have made such great friends with them in just 3 weeks! Elder Illescas, who took rubix cube lessons from me sometimes during gym, Elder Mejia who is incredible at soccer and has the sweetest testimony, Hermana Noj who really confided in me and became such a close friend. It was hard saying goodbye, thinking I may never see them again in this life. Just the first of a lot of times when I'll have to say goodbye, I suppose. But I'm also very excited for them to go out to their respective missions, and for us to have 3 more weeks to prepare our best before ours.

Are my Emails too long? Let me know! Sorry... we have an hour for email this week because there are only 20 of us here today. That'll all change tomorrow when we get 70 Latinos and no more North Americans!!! I'm very excited!!

I love you all and am having a wonderful time! and want you to know that I have a testimony of this Gospel. Please share your spiritual experiences with me when you write back!

Love, Hermana Francis

PS: Just got my first snail mail today... one from Mom sent through pouch written on Oct. 11th. I guess it takes a while! Thanks for the emails... it's really great to hear how you all are!!!

PPS: I leave this MTC on Nov. 16th, just to let you know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hello from Paradise!

Hello all! What a wonderful and super rapido week! I can´t believe it´s already preparation day again.

I still LOVE being here. I feel so honored and blessed to have the opportunity to serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind and strength. I´ve realized that this is just a preparation for me to learn how to do this for the rest of my life. And what joy is in store when we seek to do God´s will! I am so very happy.

I now realize that in my last email I said nothing about food, which was silly of me. The food is really really good. Sometimes it does funny things to our Norteamericano stomaches, but in general, but nothing worth complaining about or worrying about. We have eggs and beans a lot, nearly every day for breakfast. One day this week, along with our eggs and beans, we also had nachos and chocolate cake! Crazy. I thought maybe John E. would enjoy it. Ñ) (... that´s what happens when I try to do a smiley face... I guess you´ll just have to imagine my grin. )

We also have amazing ice cream here, offered at every meal except for breakfast, every day! At Provo we only had it Wednesday and Sunday nights! Yep, we´re lucky. One of my teachers, Hermana Leonardo figured that if we had it for every meal it would be 80 something ice creams... so I cut down to the odd days like Marcie does, and only at lunch times. I don´t want to be too gordita.

Often I wake up before the alarm, and when I do I smile because it means I have extra time to read the Book of Mormon. I´m reading it sequentially and am in 2 Ne. 21 now. In the past I´ve always skimmed or skipped over the Isaiah chapters, thinking they were only for deep thinkers like Dad, but as I have sought the Holy Ghost to accompany me in studying, I´ve been able to apply and understand a lot more than the past. Specifically, one morning I went over and sat on our little window sill slash seat and read with a beautiful view of the Guatemala City temple, and the early morning sun. I read in 2 Ne 12 verse 2 which talks about nations flowing unto the temple. I thought about the people we´ve met going to the temple here, from Honduras, Guatemala, and other countries in Central America, and what a sacrifice they make to come. At least 2 faithful members I´ve talked to (at different times) have said they´ve gotten up around 1 am, taken a bus for several hours, and attended several sessions. I am so touched by the sacifice of the people here.

Speaking of sacrifice, we had an amazing experience on Sunday where we sat at small tables with mixed groups... 4 missionaries from different districts, and had a chance to ask questions and learn about some questions of the soul and special experiences that these missionaries have had before and so far on the mission. I had one Norteamericano Elder who has been here 3 more weeks than me, and 2 Latino Elders. I was so touched by all the stories told, and by the end we were all in tears, thinking about the sacrifices these wonderful Latino Elders have made to be here, and what an important cause this is. I absolutely love speaking and listening to Spanish, and my only frustration is not being able to understand as much as I want to. Usually I can express what I want to say by talking around a word or by the help of who ever I´m talking to, but I just want to know every word from these amazing people.

I gain so much strength when I think of my family, and ancestors, and their slash your faithfulness to the gospel. Thank you for your good example. I know that Grandma Ellsworth is here as my companion, and for her presence and help, I´m grateful.

Speaking of companions, I know I raved about her last week, but I love working with Hermana Romero. She´s very fun to be around, works hard, teaches very well, and she is so sincere. I want to be able to express my love to people with words the way she does.

I had a question brewing in me this week, wondering if everyone back home was doing alright, and if yáll (ha ha.. that´s a new way to write it!) know how much I love you. I know this is my time to focus and learn how to love the people of Guatemala and soon Honduras, but I want to be sure you all know how much I love you, that I´m praying with faith for you specifically, and that I appreciate you and all you´ve done to help prepare me for this, the Lord´s mission, and for your support now. So, just never forget it. ¿Está bien?

I love you!

Hermana Francis

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Estoy en Guatemala!

Hola todos! Como estan? I'm in Guatemala!! It is incredible to be here. I love everything about it. There's no way that I could possibly describe everything to you all, but just know that I'm safe, happy, and having the time of my life.

My favorite thing about being here is just talking with everyone, especially the Latinos. I try to talk with them every opportunity I get. My district is just North Americans, and we have a different schedule than the Latinos, so when we get to be in a meeting or have meals with them, it's a special treat. I have become great friends with so many of them. Every time I tell them I'm going to San Pedro Sula, they make a face and tell me how hot it's going to be. I guess I have no idea what I'm getting into. :)

It's not super hot here, quite humid, but I like it. When it rains, it really rains, and it just comes down hard and suddenly. It was funny watching the viejos, or the missionaries who have been here already for 3 weeks taking a nice group picture outside... it kept raining, so they'd wait for it to stop, then go out and try to take the picture, running back and forth while the camera man tried to protect his camera. I love love love the rain.

My companion is Hermana Romero from Hooper Utah. She's as gringa as I am, although her last name comes from Mexico a long ways back. She is very smart, has a lot of Spanish experience, and is outgoing and great! We do well together contacting and teaching. We're already fast friends. It's interesting to see what people think of you or what labels they give you... my last companion thought of me as very strict and organized, and Hna. Romero thinks of me as happy and excited about everything. Which I suppose is true, I mean, I'm in GUATEMALA!!! Anyhow, she's wonderful.

Every Sunday, everyone has to prepare a talk to give in church (in Spanish, of course). This week, the topic given to my district was virtue, and I kept teasing all the Latino Elders that they would be called to speak. Guess who was called? Yep, me. I wasn't really nervous, and it went pretty well. It was fun to see a whole two rows of Latino Elders grinning at me with smiles of "I told you so" and "You're doing great". I feel so loved and supported here. In my talk, I struggled a little bit in reading and pronouncing things, but as soon as I shared my testimony at the end, I noticed a great change in my confidence and ability to speak.

Elder Falabella from the quorum of the 70 (He gave a prayer in our latest General Conference) came! He spoke in Spanish to all of us, and I got to sit in the front row, center. There weren't enough headphones for all of us Norteamericanos, so my companion and I tried to understand as much as we could without, and we got most of it! I was able to take a lot of notes, and in Spanish. It was amazing.. the spirit was strong, and I felt honored to be able to hear a general authority share his testimony and love.

Earlier in the week we went contacting at the temple grounds! There was a man selling ice cream that my comp and I talked to. We testified of the gospel, of God's love for him, and gave him a panflet (can't spell in English any more) about the restoration. Later we saw him reading it! The best part is, a few Elders tried contacting him before us, and he wouldn't hear any of it. Oh the power of being a white girl. :)

Today we get to go to the temple! I'm very excited!! Email is probably the best way to communicate with me here... I get 45 minutes to read and respond, where snail mail is going to take probably at least a week maybe more. But you can snail mail if you want too. Pouch mail will get to me in my mission, sometime in mid November, or here is the address of our CCM (MTC):

Hermana Francis
Boulevard Vista Hermosa
23-15 Zona 15
Guatemala City, Guatemala

I sent some letters today, so you probably won't get them for another week, but know they're coming. My home address is the return address so that if they get lost, they'll be sent to home in Orem and not get lost coming back here.

I love you all! I have a testimony of this amazing work. Be missionaries now! Seize every opportunity! You don't know what good you can do.

Love, Hermana Francis
Jacob 3:1-2

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hast Luego

Hello all! This is my last day at the Provo MTC! Crazy, eh? The time has flown. I leave for Guatemala first thing in the morning. I'll have a 5 hour layover in Texas (we should be there from Noon to 5pm), and I'll have time to call you! I'll try soon after we arrive in Texas, but if no one answers I'll keep trying in between my passalong cards and Books of Mormon that I'm planning to give out. There isn't really a time limit on the phone call (that I know about) and I'm really excited to talk to all y'all!
Speaking of the Books of Mormon, here at the MTC we get $8 a week to spend at the bookstore or vending machines. I bought myself a yogurt one night and thought it took a dollar off of the card. Later I went to the bookstore with the intent of getting passalong cards and 1 English and 1 Spanish copy of the Book of Mormon to mark up, write my testimony in, and give away at the airport in Texas. I didn't really pay attention to how much it would cost me, and wasn't using my math skills (we get a discount anyway), so was surprised to find out it would cost me $7.60. I gave them my card and it had $7.61 on it. Wow. I would call that a tender mercy. :D

It's been an amazing week. Things are a lot better with my companion: not perfect, but better. It's wonderful to look back and see how far we've come together. Heavenly Father has certainly answered our fervent prayers. Our last lesson this week for our "progressing investigator" (a teacher here at the MTC) went really well and we taught in unity.

To help my Spanish improve, I've been memorizing a scripture a day. I've noticed that if I'm diligent and start from the minute I wake up (putting a 3X5 card in the shower in a dry spot so I can start trying to memorize it then, and then trying every spare moment I get throughout the day) that I am able to remember the verses! I guess I'm still a sleep talker... and one night this week I woke up all my roommates saying "Y cuando recibeis estas cosas, quisiera exhortaros..." ("and when you shall recieve these things I would exhort you..."). They tease me that I'm even a missionary in my sleep. :) But that's the way it should be, right? 24-7 for the rest of my life.

I know that having the Holy Ghost with me is vital in my ability to learn and remember. One day this week, my companion and I were doing our service assignment which was vaccumming. I was trying to memorize Alma 32:21 (in Spanish, por supuesto) while I vaccuumed. After a while, I could no longer see my companion (she had gone around the corner at the end of the hall) and I realized I couldn't remember the verse anymore. I know that the MTC is pretty much the safest place in the whole world, but it still is so important to obey with exactness (in this case to stay within sight and sound of my companion at all times: no exceptions). I'm grateful for the ability to realize when the Spirit is with me and when He isn't, so I can strive to always keep Him with me. I find joy in obeying with exactness, and I figure that this is the best time to get in the habit of doing so, as it may be more difficult in the field.

How about la conferencia general??!?!?! Wow. That was incredible. Someone (I'm thinking it was one of my teachers) suggested a way of note taking given by Elder Bednar, to make a margin about a third of the way across the page and to just write what strikes you in what the speaker actually says in that much space, leaving the rest for personal inspiration. I did that, and I thought of it as an act of faith, hoping and praying that I would have enough personal inspiration to fill in all the blank space I left. (Does that seem silly? I don't know if that made sense...) I was given so much!!! It was amazing. Every hymn sung had at least a line that really stuck out to me, and I made a lot of written resolutions and promises to the Lord that I will always be faithful to Him and that I will do my very best on my mission and for the rest of my life.

On Sunday night we had a fireside (my last here). I was overjoyed when it was announced that the topic was music, and that we were going to sing a lot! Elders and Sisters lined up at microphones and shared their favorite hymns and why, and then we sung a verse from them. We ended up singing 19 hymns!!! I love singing loud and strong in praise of God and Jesus Christ. The Spirit of missionary work was so strong and I have loved singing with so many people with the same purpose: To invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentence, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Please do this for all those around you! Every member a missionary! I love you all so much and think of you often. I found this yesterday in my personal study and thought of all those who love me back home:

Romans 1:9

Take care, all. Always be faithful. Things are great with me.

Hermana Francis
PS: don't worry about my knee, mom. It's feeling great. :D

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Work is Pressing Forward, and I am a Part of it!!!

Hello family! How are you all? I am so so so great!

Things are amazing in the MTC. I've learned loads and had many wonderful experiences here. I'll try to give a good overview of the week.

We got our travel plans! We fly out on Tuesday, Oct. 6 (leaving the MTC at 5am), have a 5 hour layover in Texas (I'm sure we'll have missionary opportunities!!) and then we'll be in Guatemala! I'm very excited, although it's a little strange to be already leaving the Provo MTC. People who have been here a while are jealous that we're leaving already. I hope we get paired with native companions so we can really be forced to excel in the language, but if we keep our current companions, I'm sure it will be wonderful still. I've heard rumors from the Dominican Republic MTC that the time we would use here in Provo to meet with volunteers pretending to be investigators and teaching them is used to actually contact real people in parks or nearby the MTC! I wonder if it'll be the same in Guatemala. I haven't heard anything for sure, I guess I'll find out soon enough. Also, there's a temple in Guatemala City. Wooo!

Que mas... I had a great experience during personal study this week. I read Mosiah chapters 22 through 24, about the people of Limhi vs. the people of Alma, both having similar experiences but one group relying no their own brains and brawn and the others relying on the Lord. It applies to all of us, but forgive me as I apply it to me here at the MTC. We're all here going to the same classes, having the same schedules, hearing the same things in devotionals, etc. We can rely on our own knowledge of the gospel and handle our burdens on our own (tried that... it was hard and miserable) or we can be faithful and trust in the Lord, and He will make our burdens lighter so we can cheerfully serve Him, and even enjoy His miracles! I feel like everyone here at the MTC has challenges, but I want to be like many I've seen here: one to lift others and cheerfully, humbly learn from the things that are hard here.

There are are so many resources available to us here! I feel like my companion and I are spending our time pretty well. During MDT (Missionary Directed Time) we often go to the TE (Barney told me to do this, remember? :) ) and get help with teaching styles or language learning planning, etc. I've been amazed that I'm not tired and I'm able to do so much in a day. I hope that after my mission I can be dedicated to using my time wisely, and I think I'll do better in school when I get home if I can keep this as a good habit.

The language.... I'm not being super stretched still. I'm trying to learn extra during language study time, but in class I'm still a little bored. It's a good review, but definitely not challenging for me. On Sunday I shared my testimony in Spanish with my branch. I was surprised how easy it was to really speak from my heart. I wasn't nervous (like I am when I share my testimony in front of that many people in English) and I wasn't worried, I just got up there and felt like I had the gift of tongues. I'm grateful for the Spanish I've already had, and know I still have far to go. But what a beautiful language! I love it!!!

Top 15 of the MTC
Samuel Smith statue: I love thinking of our first missionary ever and his bravery to be the first to share this gospel with the world.

Ice cream on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Singing with all the missionaries in devotionals (especially Called to Serve!). It's amazing how powerful the Spirit comes when singing in unity (or harmony, you know my bass tendencies) with so many who share my purpose and love for the gospel and the Lord.

Hearing my classmates pray in Spanish, especially when I can tell they aren't reading off of the paper anymore.

My tag!!!!!!!!!

The temple walks.

Preparation days: it's nice to communicate with ya'll and do something a little out of routine.

Seeing the Elders get hair cuts.. they are so funny looking! :D

Volleyball at Gym time -- especially with uncompetitive, fun people.

The teachers here: they love us so much and I have already learned so much about how to really be a good missionary from them.

Meeting new sisters while brushing my teeth in the bathroom. I've already had a lot of small world stories.

The Referal Center. I had a chance to talk to a Born again Christian over the phone from the Bronx and I sent her the Book of Mormon and shared my testimony of it's truthfulness. It went well. My companion talked with a woman over the phone there for about an hour and we were both REALLY excited afterwards!

OK.. so I only shared 12 things I love. But as you know, "Top 15" doesn't necessarily mean 15. I love the MTC and even more I love being a missionary. I feel so honored to have this chance. I'm doing my best yet I know I can still improve. The Spirit is guiding me to obey with exactness and be more effective all the time. How amazing this gospel is! I know we can be missionaries wherever we are! Seize the opportunity to share the gospel with all those around you, please!!

Always remember that Hermana Francis loves you.


Hermana Francis

(Sorry for the redundancy at the end there. :) )

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009

Hello!!! It's me, your favorite Hermana Francis! I have 26 minutes and 5 seconds to write you, since I don't have any emails to read yet. So this may be the best/longest email you'll get from me.

Can you believe I'm finally a full-time missionary? I am so happy and feel so honored to wear my name tag and have such a wonderful purpose: Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the end.

In fact, I was so excited about this great experience so serve the Lord 24-7 for the next 18 months, that I slept my first night with my nametag on. :)

Wednesday was amazing. The Spirit was with me all day, and I felt happy and amazed that I could feel His influence so much. I met my companion, Hermana Story, from Liberty Utah (near Ogden). She is 22, really really athletic, loves snowmobiling, hiking, soccer, and has been sky diving 3 times!!! Wow. There are 2 other sisters in our district, Hermana Kochevar (rhymes with achiever) from Vegas, and Hermana Fuka from Salt Lake (but with Tongan ties). We're in the same room together and we have a lot of fun together. I'm in the beginning Spanish track. This worried me on Thursday and Friday, because I felt like I slipped between the cracks or something, as I was never tested to know how much Spanish I knew. People were surprised to hear me speak, and a lot of people (teachers, my Branch President, etc.) asked me why I didn't take the test. I felt out of placed, and not challenged at all, since the Spanish we were learning was very simple and slow. But don't worry, I've had other challenges. :)

Anyway, I talked to my teacher, Hermano Jimenez (from Mexico!) about it privately, and he told me since us Hermanas will only be in this MTC for 3 weeks (It's true... we're going to the Guatemala MTC on Oct. 6), that it wouldn't make sense for me to change districts and companions and everything. He said that the best way to learn is to teach, and challenged me to help Hermana Story be at my same level when we leave here. She hadn't had any Spanish before coming here, and she really has been improving a lot! It's been amazing to see what the Spirit can do.

I wish I could say that I was worried about the lack of learning in the language and being out of place for only a day or only half a day. But it consumed me, along with feeling all the differences between my companion and I, and I wasn't happy and couldn't feel the Spirit all day Thursday and Friday, and some of Saturday. That may not seem that long, but the days here (at least at first) are loooooong. I was so frustrated. I prayed a lot, but just felt hopeless. I was feeling pressured about the great responsibility I had here, and wishing I could change districts or something just so it would be easier on me. Tears happened, and the other sisters saw Hermana Grumpy Frumpy Francis.

On Saturday I got a letter from my friend Paul, and he shared 1 Ne 7:16(?) with me. It's when Nephi's brothers bind him and he prays that he can burst the bonds. He doesn't complain, he doesn't ask for the bonds to be taken away. He asks to have the strength to burst them. Paul testified of the power of the Atonement to help us through our struggles.

I knew that if I wanted to be an effective missionary (and I do!!) that I would need to have a good relationship with my companion and have the Spirit with both of us. I prayed so long and so hard on Saturday night! It was past 10:30 and the room was dark, but I knelt and prayed and prayed, grateful for the reminder that I needed to rely on the Atonement, and begging to know what to do to be happier and to obtain the Spirit again in my life. At the end of my prayer, I said, "I'll wait and listen if there is anything you would like to tell me, Heavenly Father." and closed it. Soon I thought the words "Go to bed". This made me laugh, as it surprised me. But then I remembered I need to obey with exactness, and I was out of bed after 10:30.

The next day, the power of His answer was more clear. He was telling me to trust Him, to go forward with faith, to not worry so much, and that things really would work out if I would start doing things His way. Sunday was much better, and today has been really really good. Our companionship study went well, and I know that we are friends.

Every minute is important here, and I'm tempted to feel bad for wasting so much time being unhappy and lost for the days that I felt that way. But maybe here at the Provo MTC I don't need to learn Spanish as much as learning to connect with a lot of different kinds of people, not just people similar to myself. The Spanish though, is coming too. I'm still learning a lot. We have a computer program here that helps us learn the lessons and vocab etc. in Spanish, and Hermana Kochevar showed me a way to go to the more advanced things so I wouldn't be bored. She knows quite a bit of Spanish too - she did a study abroad in Ecuador - so we help the other Hermanas along.

I'm so happy now. I have learned this week, that without the Spirit, I really am nothing. I've been able to see a lot of my weaknesses, including pride. Maybe I was spoiled by the love of all of you dear family and friends. I was just over confident, thinking I know the language (at least better than my district) and I know how to be a good missionary. Wow. These experiences really put me in my place. I have confidence that the Lord can make me a wonderful instrument, but I am never going to try without His help.

I'm learning to love my companion, I'm learning to love this work, and I already love Honduras. And I love all of you, very very much. Thank you for your support, and help. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is enabling. I am so happy to be here!

Take Care!!

Love, Hermana Francis

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Dianey's Journey Has Begun!

We received this email from the MTC Presidency, and I thought I would post it for all of you who want to write Hermana Francis with the correct mailbox number, or who are planning visits to the temple on a certain days in order to run into her.

I'll continue posting her letters and updates on this blog--for all who didn't get this message before.

-Diane's sister, Mary

We are pleased to inform you that your missionary has been safely checked in at the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. We thank you for supporting your missionary and know that your family will be blessed as a result.

Your missionary's mailing address while at the MTC is:
Diane Francis
MTC Mailbox # 267
HON-SPS 1116
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Please note the following items:

1. Missionary service began upon arrival. Please do not arrange or request visits with your missionary, particularly "unanticipated" meetings at the temple or in proximity to the MTC.

2. All missionary mail must come through the US Mail or commercial delivery services. Hand delivered items will NOT be accepted. Do not send pizzas, fast foods, ice-cream, or any items that will spoil if they are not refrigerated within 24 hours. Missionaries are not called out of class to receive packages, nor do they have access to a refrigerator.

3. Communicate with your missionary weekly through letters sent to the above address or through the email account that the missionary will set up within the first two weeks. Only immediate family can send to this email account. Telephone calls for missionaries cannot be accepted.

4. Families and friends should not plan to visit departing missionaries at the airport or MTC. Farewells should have been said at home before the missionary arrived at the MTC.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Can you believe I'm finally going??!?!?

Interrobang(s). The day is here. Tomorrow.

Yep. Tomorrow, so in less than 20 hours, I will be in the MTC. I'm excited, slightly nervous, and hoping I won't be this emotional during my whole mission... I've been crying over everything! But good tears, mostly. Don't worry.

I hope to receive letters from all of you. Keep me posted on life! You absolutely must send me at least one, alright? This is the easiest homework assignment! I'm giving you a span of 18 whole months to send a letter to your favorite Dianey.

My first 3 weeks (Sept. 16-Oct. 7 I think) I'll be at the Provo MTC.

Sister Diane Francis
Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission
Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo UT, 84604

*Not sure about the mailbox # until I arrive at the MTC... but my sister will post it on this blog.

After that, I go to the MTC in Guatemala for... however long. Don't have the address yet. And then...

Option 1: Pouch mail
"The Church provides pouch mail service to countries where other mail service may not be reliable. Each country regulates this service differently. To prevent possible fines or discontinuation of pouch service, only postcards and letters that are single sheet, folded into three-panels, and taped at the top only (no envelopes), may be sent through the pouch."

As this may be difficult to grasp, I will show you the steps. I'm not trying to patronize... I seriously did this wrong the first time. And after seeing these instructions and how easy and rewarding it is, you'll have no excuse... you'll have to write! :)
Write a nice, newsy, uplifting letter.Fold it in thirds.
Apply one piece of scotch tape.Flip it over...(Other side. :D )Place a stamp in the corner. Liberty stamps are good... they don't require additional pennies when the prices go up. Remember, as this is pouch, no international stamp needed. See how cheap it is??! Easy.Write my address and yours, because I will write you back!
Sister Diane Francis
Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150
[Don't mess up like I did. ;)]And then the long journey to the mail box...And look how happy I will be when I get your letters!!!

Option 2:Packages[hint, hint, nudge nudge, ;) ;)]

Sister Diane Francis
Honduras San Pedro Sula Mission
12 Calle, Avenida Circunvalacion, S. O.
Edif. Yude Canahuati, 3 Nivel, Oficina 4
San Pedro Sula, Cortes

Option 3: There is no other option. Write to me!!!

Also, read my emails if you want! I'll be sending them to family, and my sister will be updating this blog with them.

I love you all.

Docterine and Covenants 128:22
Brethren [and Sisteren], shall we not go on in so great a cause?

Paul Epperson Appreciation Post

You knew it was coming. It's called karma, my friend.

I could tell that we were gonna be friends...
For a long time we were just tagalongs.
But then you finally asked me out.
It still took me a long time after that to realize that you were who I should be with. I'm so happy I finally came around.

Dear Paul, Thank you...
for your example, your goodness, your friendship
for the temple trips
for the laughs
for the gospel insights and discussionsfor letting me into your life
for letting me learn how to love you.
Nos vemos.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Don't hide your light under a bushel...?

and don't hide your needles inside a pin cushion.

This morning my mom ran out of needles and needed more. Being the smart and resourceful woman that she is, instead of buying some, she decided to just cut open an old pin cushion to see how many needles had wormed their way down into the middle. She asked me how many I thought she found.

I said 6, assuming I was exaggerating like a crazy person.

How many were really in there? 43. 43!!! In a small pin cushion, the size (and style) of a tomato. If there had been one less, I think we would find that pin cushions are significant when pondering life, the universe and everything.

There were also a few pins, including one with a huge ball at its head. How did that get in there?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's raining cats and dogs and chickens and pigs...

I don't know if they'll really come out of the sky, but those animals commonly roam the streets that I will be walking on by December. And if it's the rainy season, it'll be raining rain. Hard. Yay Honduras! Can't wait to meet you!!!

Speaking of rain, I went to a baby shower recently, and I've been to many a bridal shower. And let me tell you, it's awesome to have a party where people come bring you gifts and money and pay you a lot of attention! So... I was thinking of throwing a missionary shower. You know... presents, money, mission advice, attention, the works.

I'm registered at the Distribution Center and Sis. Missionary Mall. ;)

Jokes. I'm not crazy enough to throw that kind of party. In reality, I leave my home in Orem in less than a week for a little jaunt down the street to live in the Provo MTC for a few weeks. Which leaves me just 6 more days to do crazy-fun things that missionaries can't do. And then I'll have 18 months to do crazy-fun things that missionaries can do. :) But... any mission advice or ideas of how to live it up these last couple of days?

I will miss you, dear readers, tremendously. Don't forget me. Write to me at least once. I'll post my address here before I go.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Have you ever been on a blind date?

I have. Usually (for me) they're interesting and not super fun or memorable. All I remember from one of them is how obsessed he was with Charlie Brown/Peanuts... that's cool I guess. But if you're gonna be obsessed with a comic, couldn't you choose a funny one, at least? "Oh man! Lucy pulled away the football again?! No WAY! I can't believe she did that! The irony! The hilarious-ness! Ha ha ha..." And from another blind date, I can't remember what we did or even the guy's name for the life of me. Good thing my life doesn't depend on it. I'd be dead. But then, I know so many Matts... if someone was torturing me for his name I'd probably say "Matt" and I'd probably be let off the hook. Or the rack or hot iron or whatever they were torturing me with.

My point is, blind dates aren't that fun. As aren't, I would guess, dates with blind people. So vote for Sarah Hall to get Lasik, so her dates can be fun for the rest of her life!


PS: I don't mean to be offensive to all you blind people out there. Wait a second... unless you have braile computers these days, pretty sure you can't read this. So... I guess I shouldn't worry about offending anybody. But if your better-seeing friend is reading my blog to you right now, just know that I have really bad eyes without my contacts/glasses. We have a lot in common! So you should keep feeling/listening to my blog. Thanks.
PPS: I also don't mean to offend Charles Shultz or his family and friends.
PPPS: You can vote for Sarah every day until Sept. 8th. And you should. And tell all your friends! Ok. I'm done.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Conclusion to the previous two posts

After thorough analyzing of the preceding data, it has become evident that the female species, especially those between the ages of 19 and 22 years, converse mostly about males, relations with males, and their own [believed] beauty/attraction. At the very least, it is clear from this, our case study, that these specific females residing in Apartment 15 turned out to be and perhaps still are the silliest girls in all of England. We suspect that most females in the same age range follow similar patterns in conversation, and behavior which inevitably leads to such speech.

More psychosocial documentation will be available in May 2011! Check the future best seller, "Findings of Francis and Brough-- a *Dating Approach".

*data may be potentially skewed, due to the status of the authors and their potential biases. As recently returned missionaries, they may be awkward, and have forgotten how to woo the menfolk.

Dianey Proverbs BYU- Winter '08

Boys can't solve problems! ...They cause them! - Shay

He didn't even kiss your hand? - Robyn
He didn't even kiss your face?? - Diane

Here comes my face...I WARN YOU!!! - Nae

We were cuddling while I was playing old-school Nintendo. And I was like 'this is what heaven is actually like.' - Benji

Yeah. Nothing like making out with an unconscious person. - Steve

I can't wait until my life fits a love song... :) - Shay

You can lick my legs if you want to...they're not muscley. - Josh

You look like a monkey. - Guy 1
I was going to abercrombie model. - Guy 2
What's the difference? - Shay

Hitler would approve. - Diane

I want tuna fish. - Janae
I want my headache to go away. - Kelli
I want a banjo. - Shay
I want a man. - Diane
Diane asks for the impossible. - Kelli

Hide the vases! She's reading J. Swift!!! - Suzie

Janae, I make your mother stand in front of the mirror every morning and swear, so that she doesn't get translated. - Bro. Card

There's times to be honest, and there's times to just freaking lie. - Benji

Different kinds of...exude-tion. - Suzie


I almost didn't recognize you with your clothes on! ...I mean...GASP! - ?

That's awesome! Suzie eats me every time I open my phone! - Robyn

What does 'Ay carumba' mean? - Suz
I don't know, but hispanic people say 'Ayayay' when they're freaked out. - Di
Ayayayayayayay...I could say that all the time. - Suz

I can't, because then you'll know I'm not a boy! - Dianey

I think I'm an unintentional drama queen... - Kelli

I want one of those too. - Suz
The typewriter or the lamp? - Nae
The Man. - Suz

The stove is constantly rotating. - Brian

I pride myself in sounding obnoxious! - Nae

I know this is really awkward because I'm not wearing much, but I was really hot... ... - ?

THAT'S where the snot comes from. The De Jong! - Barney

I learned something new! - Kelli

Wow! I'm up there with Winston Churchill! You should make a book...or a t-shirt!!! - Diane

'Aa-doo' - Jared
I thought he was saying 'adios,' but a weird, feminine version! - Paul

Do you think I look freaky? - Robyn
Freakiness is in the eye of the beholder. - Suz
So, you're saying I have a freaky eye? - Robyn

I killed your bare hands with a bear! - Doug

I belong to everyone. - Diane

If you behave, I'll give you a kiss tomorrow. - Kelli to Brian

I wish I could put that on the quote board but no one would understand that we're talking about perming our leg hair. - Janae

It's an 'r!!!' It's a sign! - Kelli

It's like a time vortex here! - Jared

I got an 'F' on your test cause you have no soul! - Brian

It's been a pleasure flirting with you. - Diane

I almost pretended to kiss him. ...Kick! I meant kick! - Janae

Shaylee, darling. You have the cutest squishy I have ever seen. - Janae

Ooo, here's a dollar! - Allison

I don't play 'hard to get.' I play 'come get! come get!' - Diane


Are you going to treat him like a princess? - Dave

Kill me. I'm sure I'll smell better dead. - Robyn

Gotta collect 'em all! - ?
Who do you want to collect first? - Robyn

We played smear the queer. - Robyn
Were you the queer? - Paul
I don't know what that means...but it hurt. - Robyn

Ah "Force" make-out. - Ben
That is what we call a federal crime. - Richard

It's TIMED, you imbecile!!! - Suz

Has nature ever given us anything more perfect? - a commercial
Me! - Shay and Suz, simultaneously

Don't give in to Satan. He wants you to be mad at me, but I'm really cool so you shouldn't be. - Dianey

The curse of my body...boy does it look good! - Nate

One more boy, one more weekend, one more Nazi. - Brian, Shay, Nae, and Suz

How hard can it be? You know where everything goes... - Kelli

7 cups!!! - Janae

I'm going to look back on this and say, 'Honey, I'm so glad we were sealed for time and all eternity before you saw this...' - Nae

2 boyfriends to go and an apple turnover! - Brian

I love how I brag about my roommates like they're my kids. - Suzie

Okay, I'll look for a semi-colon. - Robyn

I kneed you, I kneed you, I toed you I kneed you back in the arm-y! - Diane
STRIKE ZONE!!! - Steve

Lifting a child, twisting a child, bending a child... - Brian

Everything can be explained by the fact that I'm way inexperienced... - Suzie
Let's end that tonight! - Nate

Los secretos de dos, no son Dios. - Benji/common Spanish saying

I hope that _______ doesn't come between us. - Diane
I don't think he can, Diane. Unless you try to date him, in which case, I will destroy you. - Janae

I'm glad I don't have a boyfriend 'cuz I can do this! - Diane

I luff joo. - Ashwea

I love him as a person. - Diane
You love him as a person as opposed to...? - Suzie

Sca-a-a-a-ter suuuunshiiine... - Janae

The eyes, the voice--I could date that alone! - Suzie

I was really getting into it... - Diane

I need a man to harness all my energy! - Suzie

Why are they so sad? Tickle-me-Elmo, Tickle-me-Emo... - Diane

Lisp Support Society and Association


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dianey Proverbs

A little blackmail never hurt anyone... right? :) I typed this all up because I'm going through things to get rid of and clean up my room. I'm throwing away the wonderful quote board (one of two) from Fall '07/Winter '08, with my wonderful roommates of Apartment 15. I figured since it was displayed proudly in our apartment for all to see, what's the harm of displaying it on my blog? Funny, funny times.

I feel like a bus hit my voice box. -Nae

They're like, "she's female, I guess." -Jonathan

We were passionate 7 and 8 year olds... -Nathan

Be anxiously engaged in a good cause, but don't be overly anxious about being engaged. -Pres. Hall

Kissing with candy is fun! -Kristen

I only have one quandary, where is he?! -Janae

-You have such a nice blend together -Gma Card
-And if you ask me, y'aint that bad to look at either! -Gpa Card

Mom, you're supposed to care about the superbowl. It's super. -Shay

You must live, Dear Sandwich you're going to live! It's too soon, too soon to say goodbye! -Suzie

PTLOR - Prolong the lack of relationship -Dianey Face

-Something's wrong with me today -Janae
-That's okay -- I have a mosquito bite. - Diane

Monica Lewinski's Ex-boyfriend's wife for president! -Nate

Diane, your group of friends is the best kept secret at BYU! -Matthias

-Why aren't the engaged people under the mistletoe? -Robyn
-To keep them under control! - Suzie

I've decided to become illiterate in love, because every time I read into something, I'm so wrong! -Janae

Kind of like me and you. I'm the horse. You're the pretty blind girl... with the boy. Dang it!! -Robyn

When you finally get your first kiss, we'll talk logistics. -Robyn

Stress = DEATH! -Shay

I know why I don't like him. He's a presumptuous little twit who thinks he can take our
roommate on a date. - Anonymous

It's like a handshake with your lips. -Mike S.

There was this one time... Oh... I almost started a story I didn't have. -Chris

You'll have to genotype the man you're going to marry to see if they'll be fat or go bald. -Bro. Peterson

No drug references on Sunday! -Shay

-There's only 3 ingredients -Kelli
-Truffle, chocolate and... -Keith J.
-Angels! -Benji
-We were eating angels?! -Keith
-Darn good tasting angels! -Benji

I think we have chemistry, but he's consisting of the wrong elements. -Diane

-Hmmm. what vegetable is rectangular? -Robyn
-CHEESE! -Kelli

121...313...Bob, dad, mom, ... wow! -Robyn

You make the baby--I'll make the blanket. -Janae

You have just lost your headlamp privileges! -Suzie

They're going to suck my blood today. The only one I want to suck my blood is Edward Cullan... but first I want him to suck my face. -Robyn

-Diane, I freakin' love you!-Suzie
-...But not in that Ensign way... -Janae

Robyn laughs and gently says, "shut up" -Diane

I'll flex and hold you guys. -Chris

-I'm going to bed -Suzie
-Can I go to bed with... er, too... um, I'm going to bed! -Robyn

Dating someone in your ward is like peeing in the pool. It feels good at first but then you have to swim around in it. -Katie V.

It's like a one year stand! -Janae

They're like stray cats. If you feed them they keep coming back. -Janae

I look like a hippopotamus. ... a sexy hippopotamus... -Anonymous
(...months later...)
I look like a cavewoman... a sexy cave woman... -?

What if people kissed so much that over time their lips started to evolve? -Robyn, Biology class

You could break into the city center and have good lips, all at the same time. -Tami

Just look at the bright side. Once you're married, there's no competition. -Janae

What?! I sleep with her. -Kelli

Manicure: It's called that because when a man gets one, he's cured from being a man. -Jeff Parks

You guys know what's awkward? I have a book that belongs to a married man. -Diane

Thanks for the sea cum-cuper! -Suz

Someone can be nice without a but(t)... -Robyn

Charm is a plasma. He is the solid form. -Nae

Did I tell you about that herd of deer outside my house the night that I couldn't sleep? -Shaylee

When I dance Salsa it's definitely not mild. -Kelli

Liscenced to FREAK! -Nae

I would totally marry Diane, but not her brother. What?! I like her better! -Robyn

It's the tall people! Against Mexicans! -Diane

It's TIMED, you imbecile!!! -Suzie

I support mistletoe toe in most of its forms, and all of its purposes! -Brian

Something about Idaho makes us hot. -Diane

Everyone dies but me. I don't die, I hold dying men on my lap! -Nae

Don't give up on men. Not yet. -Suzie

I need to get married -- just for all the free stuff. -Kelli

Who's up for non-kissing tag? -Barney

Why aren't you ladies on dates? Guys are slugs. -Bro. Brough

Actually, I'm Belle. I'll marry a hairy beast. -Janae

Ben has a really nice... butt. -Maren

That's what it's for, you know. A clean sink is a clean heart! I have no idea where that came from. -Janae

Talking to Diane is an important part of making your life happy. -Benji

My brain is angry with me because I'm not keeping my end of the deal. -Suzie

Don't tell anyone but chick flicks are kinda funny sometimes. -Anonymous boy

Suzie's as busy as a little deseret. -Diane

Your love is like the wind. IT blows me over. -Robyn

The classic movie of Apartment 15: Finding NCMO. -Steve

But if I do die, we'll see how popular I was! -Nae

I could SO stalk him... but I won't. -Suz

I married so many people when I was young. -Janae

Why is it the pre-mies in this ward hook up faster than RMs? -Robyn

*giggle* I'm seductive! -Robyn

-Give them sugar! They'll have more fun! -Sis. Card
-That has two connotations. -Barney

I think that's why God created roommmates. -Janae

I just had the whim to cut my sandwich into butterflies! Did you ever do that? -Suzie

It's simple, to the point, green... it's got everything. -Suzie

Gossip flies when you're having fun! -Janae/Brian

Last time he didn't even try anything... and I still wanted to deck him! -Robyn

Guitar Hero is virtual tobacco. So addicting. -John Packer

I must be nice to kiss. -Robyn

And he informs me it's 'gay frog.' -a spoonerized Suzie

Humphrey 'Sexy' Bogart. He'd have to lose his middle name if he stopped somking. -Barney

I've got to stop being so hot! -Kelli

I'll cough into their faces. ... with romance. -Nae

Make sure you put it in horizontally... oops! They're round! -Suzie

It's a SIGN! -Robyn

I dropped her and she tore my shirt off. -?

-So... how about them Dogers? -Steve
-I don't know... I don't really follow football. -Kelli

You have the fattest fingers in all of England... no offense. -Dianey

So today I was thinking about _____ and I realizd that he's probably not thinking about me. At
least I'm not bored. -Janae

Um... I was kissed by a drunk man once. -Benji

I wonder if black people are ticklish... -?

I woke up and it took me like ten minutes to say, "'Sup?" -Christian

We're all naked under our clothes! -Shay

I have to marry a really ugly man so that my kids won't be persecuted for being so hot! -Diane

I nose that I toed you I liver.... intestine! -Robyn, Dianey, Steve P., Paul

Why pay rent if you don't get dates? -Mom Francis

Pudding? Is it figgy? Because if it is, I won't go until I get some! -Benji

I propose a toast: To apartment 15: may the grades come easy and the boys come fast! -Suzie

Friday, August 21, 2009


there's something so poetic
about the candle
never moved, never opened
fire never playfully teasing the wick
the smell of apple cinnamon
never fills the room
never performing the expected task

only touched three times a day
so as to hold a tube in place
as liquid drains
in a slow steady pace
leftovers of some
unsatisfying nourishment
for one who cannot taste or smell

other tools may think it useless
but its consistence is vital
it, being there, near the sink
helps the helpless

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Parable of the cold can o' chili

Once upon a time, I was over at my friend's apartment, just chillin'. We'll call this friend Ben D. to protect his identity. Or... how about B. Downard. I like that better. No, how about just Ben. Ben is pretty chill.


Ben had been eating some chips and chili, as he chilled on his chillin' couch in his chillin' pad. After a while, he mentioned how the chili had gone cold.

"How about you warm it up again?" -Diane
"Nah." -Ben
"It's not that hard: just bring it over to the microwave and heat it up real quick." -Diane
"Nah. I'll just eat it cold." -Ben
"Do you like it cold?" -Diane
"No. But it's like this, ya see? Someday, at the end of the world, when all the microwaves fail to work and all we're left with is cans of cold chili, everyone will despair, except for me. I've been having cold chili all along, just to get ready. They'll all be crying for warm chili, and I'll just pop open a can, and spoon it in like I always do. I'll be prepared." -Ben

I've never met anybody who willingly endures unpleasant things just because they'd rather be prepared for the future.

Maybe there's nothing to analyze, and he really just didn't want to get off of the couch.

But I've thought a lot about this in my mission prep. I've still got a month and a half left, and I know I'll have quite a different lifestyle in the MTC and on the mission field then I do right now. So the question is, do I take the "Can of cold chili" approach? or the "Fill the canteen with all the warm chili you can, and just drink it down, enjoying every last warm bean, baby" approach?

I'm kind of doing a little bit of both.

  • Missionary schedule (rise at 6:30 am, bed at 10:30 pm): Canteen. I tried this for a while, but let's face it. I'm totally a night person, and this is totally unreasonable until I'm in a place where everyone else is on the same schedule. It'll be probably a bit hard to get used to, but I'm not really doing anything to get ready for it now.
  • Wearing missionary style clothes: cold chili (just about every Sunday, or chance to wear Sunday clothes. Not every day yet... don't worry)
Hana went to the MTC today, P.S. !!!

  • but Nylons? : Canteen. I'm not putting those guys on, until forced. And after enduring it at the MTC, I hear I won't have to wear them out in the field because Honduras is so very hot! Yeah, man!
  • Preach My Gospel/ Spanish Book of Mormon: cold chili. I try to do an hour a day, so that adjustment won't be as hard. I decided that the 2-verse-per-night-just-before-hopping-in-bed thing needed to be upgraded. How will I be able to teach if I haven't studied these things?
  • Don't date: enjoy the nunnery life: canteen. I can't help it. I just really like doing things with my friend Paul... a lot. If you knew him, you'd understand. You'd be wanting to get into his schedule too. But I only have a month and a half, so just wait a bit before chasing him, all right? Thanks. :)

  • Eat a lot of hispanic/Honduran food, and don't refuse: cold chili. I'm suffering and enduring this as best as I can, let me tell you! I tried tongue taco, freshly squeezed lime juice, friend bananas, and a Honduran dish called "Baleadas": tortilla+beans+eggs+cheese+sour cream= Amazing! The nice Honduran family which fed this to me said it was very typical down there. That's fine with me!
  • Only church music and enertainment: canteen. Although, I've increased my Spanish music library considerably over the past couple of months. But... it'll have to be left behind. I imagine they wouldn't let me blast Juanes or Reik in the halls of the MTC.
  • Speaking Spanish: cold chili. I've been so happy and blessed to be able to speak a lot lately. Pretty sure getting an Insta-friend from Bolivia just a few months before going on a Spanish speaking mission was no mistake. I love speaking in Spanish! Arianna is a great teacher! Also, I'd like to be on the fast track at the MTC if I could, so I'm trying to get ready for that dreaded phone call I hear I'll be getting one of these days. Oh! And the Spanish Branch on Sundays! What fun! I love it.
  • Temple: Canteen. There isn't a temple yet in Honduras, so I'm trying to go as much as I can now, with the blessing of having 13 temples in Utah. Besides, with such a lofty goal, I have lots to do!
I think it's interesting to see what I'm choosing... the things I'm already willing to sacrifice, and the things I'm holding on to until the very last second. When it's the end of the world and everyone is weeping for sleeping in, boys, movies, and days before nylons, hopefully I'll take my can of cold chili with a smile on my face and dig right in. Besides, I'll have some nice Horchata to wash it down with.