****************************************************************Welcome to 'mormon missionary jargon 101'. This is the editor, (sue :-) I'm not exactly an expert on this, but will attempt to explain; to aid in understanding Kenzie's letter.
*Transfer - every 6 weeks, many of the missionaries are reassigned to a different geographic area within their mission, and/or assigned a different companion to serve with.
*CCM (called the MTC in english) - stands for 'Missionary Training Center' - missionaries typically spend 6 weeks there if they are learning a new language, 3 if not.
*Intercambios (spanish for exchanges) - when a pair of missionaries each spends the day or evening with a different companion; sometimes that companion is a missionary who is still in the CCM, or a member of the local congregation -- I'm guessing it would be pretty challenging to do so early in your mission, because it puts you in a 'lead' role, without a senior companion to lean on.
(Editors Note: I'm not totally sure why Kenzie sent
this lovely pic with her letter this week --
maybe because she says it's been a crazy week,
and this is her 'crazy face'??
Hola my loves!
I hope all is well with you! This past week started out crazy, and it never slowed down. There are a lot of changes going on in the mission field, and things are a little crazy (organizational & structure-wise). The number of sister missionaries is more than doubling this next transfer and it's projected to do the same again in June or July. It's wonderful ... but also one of the hardest, most stressful things going on at the moment. I never realized how this huge growth (in the # of missionaries) would affect training, and so many aspects of the mission.
So, I have kind of a funny story to share with you all this week. I'm sure that everyone who knows me, knows that ...
I am handling all of these challenges and changes with grace and maturity!
But I am nothing, if not a little bit bluntly honest, and I couldn't help but laugh at myself when I wrote this story down in my journal, so just promise not to judge me toooo much as you read :)
So here goes...from my journal:
Friday morning Hna. Valenzuela (who didn't end up being able to leave for Guatemala yet... long story) ate a piece of pizza with pineapple on it. She is super allergic so we all ended up having to be rushed to the pharmazy by the 3 APs to get medicine. On the way back to our house, Hna. Prestwich overheard them saying something about intercambios (exchanges) with the sisters in the CCM (girls who are about 4 weeks into their training there). She asked the Elders what they were talking about. So long story short, we found out that our trio was supposed to do intercambios with 4 girls from the CCM one hour from whatever time it was then. Hna Prestwich would have two girls and Hna Valenzuela and I would both take one. I was absolutely freaking out & I thought they were joking, for a good ten minutes. One of the girls in my house, who is almost done with her mission, was telling us she didn't do intercambios with the CCM until she was 7 months into her mission, so ... at 2.5 weeks into my mission, I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed. I kept saying I was going to get lost, or not be able to understand whoever I was teaching, or freak out the girl I was put with. One of the elders started making me practice my spanish with him, by asking ridiculous questions like, "How many siblings do you have?" I just kept saying I only had two weeks in the field and I didn't know how I was going to do this, and that I needed chocolate (I know, I know, I'm a girl, its like, in our genes.) The best part was that right after that, Elder Watkins started digging through his bag ("I have oreo's; how about beef jerky? do you like applesauce?") At one point I even remember telling them to all "stop staring at me, I need to think." At which point they all immediately turned around. (I'm sure that they were all sufficiently freaked out, and thinking that girls were weird). We got back to the house, at which point, I ran inside and proceeded to bawl like a baby. I didn't know what to think or how to react. And after recieving advice in both Spanish and English, (gotta love Hna. Valenzuela - I don't think she had any idea what was totally going on, but she tried) I prayed, and I prayed hard. I know you're probably waiting for the inspirational part . . . where I went out and magically spoke spanish, and it was the best . . . but, actually, it turned out that Hna. Avery was going to take 2 of the girls, and I only had to stay with Hna. Laughlin, who was stuck inside, sick...
...but here is the moral to this story.
Missions are hard.
I am going to have hard things required of me.
We recently learned that we will be doing these intercambios every friday for basically forever, and this friday I will need to be out there. I have been working so much harder to learn and prepare myself. If nothing else, this past friday made me realize that, and UP my effort.
I have to be stronger. President told us that we are the foundation for all the girls to come. We will have more expected and required of us, SO much faster than any time in the past.
I don't know why I am here in the Dominican Republic in April of 2013.
I don't know why I am in a position where I will most likely be training newer missionaries most of my mission -- something that most missionaries never experience until the very end of their mission.
I don't know why, but the one thing I do know is that my Heavenly Father does.
He trusts me to be here right now, and I don't need to know why.
That's what I'm realizing.
The Lord "calls us in our weakness and qualifies us for the work".
I am just a normal person, I freak out, I cry, and sometimes I need chocolate (don't worry, I prepared for this week when we went to the store today). But I have also been called by a prophet of God to be here and to wear the name of my Savior and to teach about His church. Nowhere in my call did it say I was required to be perfect, or know everything, or to be the best - it just required me to do MY best. All I can do is to learn and grow and progress and take each day one at a time, and sometimes an hour at a time, and keep going. I loved in Katherine's letter to me this week when she said "the Lord takes care of His own." I'm doing His work. I am feeding His sheep. I have a long way to go, but what better place to start than at the beginning right?
Our cute house - a tender mercy from the Lord -- It's the same color as my room at home :-)
The laundry :-)
"God hath not promised skies always blue,
flower-strewn pathways all our lives through.
God hath not promised sun without rain,
joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
rest for the laborer, light on the way,
Grace for the trial, help from above,
unfailing sympathy, undying love."