Tuesday, 28 May 2013


"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: 
not as the world giveth, give I unto you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, 
neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

"My son, peace be unto thy soul; 
thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment."
D&C 121:7

"These things I have spoken unto you,
 that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation: 
but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

For some reason my brain feels fried today! So if you're looking for clever or entertaining, I hate to say it, but I got nothin'...

But today I want to talk about peace. Peace is something we all look for; many people spend their lives searching for it, and every Miss America mentions it in her list of goals and dreams.

I remember that this was a quality I searched for and prayed for every single day in every single prayer at the beginning of my mission. I wanted it desperately, and honestly I wasn't quite sure where to attain what I was looking for.

This morning in my personal study, I was reading a talk from this last conference about "personal peace" and it really struck me. It pointed out that even in this crazy world amidst tragedy and confusion we can have an inner peace through the gospel. We can find peace and hope that lasts. The Savior suffered and sacraficed His life so that we would be able to repent and grow and progress and one day return to live with our loving Heavenly Father once again. There is so much hope in this knowledge and so much joy. When we feel that we are following His perfect example (in our own imperfect way) to the best of our ability, we recieve the gift of His peace - not as the world gives it - but a more lasting, permanent peace.

What an important concept to understand - that in a world full of bombs and wars, there is a constant source of beauty and peace through it all.

I absolutely love the words of the hymn "Where Can I Turn for Peace."
It's such a beautiful song and I remember it coming into my head in the CCM one day and I immediately looked up the words, I had found my answer --

Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?

Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gently the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love, without end.

I'm grateful to have been blessed with the peace that comes from knowing I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am suppose to be doing. I'm grateful for the knowledge that this life is not the end, that the authority of God that the prophets of old had, is on the earth today. And, that through that power, I can be with my family forever. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Funny notes, and comments from hna laughlin, I wrote in my planner from this week:

1. Someone thought hna laughlin and I were from Puerto Rico!! Wooo

2. Yesterday the office elders were driving by and yelled "Happy Mothers Day" and waved at us, (it was mothers day here). Everyone was staring at us and we were cracking up, I guess it's not every day americans are yelling greetings at each other on the street.

3. Had three people in the last three days ask me if I was married, such a weird unnecessary question. Then I learned that they wear wedding bands on either ring finger, so it was my CTR ring that was throwing them off... slightly less random and creepy ... but only slightly.

4. Someone asked how old I was and then said, "oh I thought you were 17.

5. I am obsessed with the rocking chairs here, everyone has them and they are so comfy.

(Apparently I'm a weird mix of 17-yr-old and old woman, based on #4 & 5)

6. I learned I do a pretty terrible Nickelback impression, it comes out more like Ray Charles...

7. Today at the printing shop, the man said I looked like I was from Jerusalem because of my hair. I don't even know what that means?

8. We were trying to contact a woman that we had recieved as a reference. We were calling her, and we were both were frustrated that we could never understand what she was saying... turns out she only speaks French...

9. "Nicholas Cage is the Nickelback of movies"

10. Peepholes here, are sometimes just holes in the door.

11. Mangos are SO GOOD. I'm also developing an obsession with bananas that they sell for 5 pesos on every corner

Monday, 20 May 2013

Eggs, Cockroaches, and Hiccups

So I feel like not a lot of my stories on the blog aren't necessarily centered around all of the actual work that we do, and honestly, as many adventures and hilarious moments we have, what it's really about for me down here, is sharing this gospel and the joy that comes from it. 

A lot of the experiences I have are just so personal that they are more for my journal than a blog, but I promise to share as often as seems appropriate.

This week my companion and I had a really neat experience where we were able to be at the right place, at the right time. Each night, as missionaries when we come home, we pray and plan for the following day. We look through the appointments we have, plan what we will be teaching them, and make backups of people to visit in case something is to fall through. I've found that as we pray and really ponder on what we should be teaching and where we should go, the Lord truly guides us. 

A few nights ago, we planned to contact a certain building (knock doors, share messages, offer to help with housework, or give any type of service). When we got there, Hna Laughlin realized she'd already been there before we were companions, but we decided to continue with our plan, and on the second floor we met a woman who immediately let us in. They had tried to teach her a little while before but the cita (appt) had fallen through and they never got a chance to go back. As we were talking about her Heavenly Father's love for her, she started crying and saying that we had come at the right time and that she knew we were sent to her. She explained about some really difficult trials she was going through and we were able to share about principles of the gospel that give us the strength and the hope to keep going when we have trials. 

We didn't have a lot of time, but I really am grateful for these moments when I know I am where I am supposed to be. It doesn't take many to make up for the hard days, or the days I feel discouraged. I learn something new every single day and I really am working my hardest and I know that as long as I do my best, I have someone watching out for me and making up the rest,

with love,
Hna Coe

So here's rest of my week :-)

Cue the corny music, "Reunited and it feels so gooodd!"

Haha! This week has been a crazy one, tons of meetings and lessons and pretty much anything else that could happen has happened, but the highlight of my week was going to a meeting with all of the people in the mission who are in their second transfer. I got to see the girls from my district in the CCM who are serving in this mission, and it was seriously the best! It was so fun and natural being back with them again, the only difference was our crazy tans. We've definitely been through a lot together and itss neat that I've met some of my best friends out here on the mission!
And this one is Hna Christensen and I (my first companion when I arrived at the CCM)!  I have missed her so much!  We send little notes back and forth through the mission mail because she is in an area that's a few hours away, so we never seem to cross paths.

A few other highlights from this week:

1. Our electricity is officially shut off! Something went wrong when they were trying to pay our electricity bill so we're officially without!  "Se fue la luz"

2. We got egged, Okay well, it was one egg, and it didn't actually hit us, but some kid threw an egg at us when we were walking home one night out of a fifth floor window. I literally could not tell you how it did not hit us, it literally landed on the ground right in between hna laughlin and I, and we were walking pretty close together. All we got were some egg shells on our legs and a great story for our kids someday :-)  I know I've said it before, but Heavenly Father watches over His missionaries.

3. People have been contacting US on the street like crazy, I don't know what it is. When we meet someone who doesn't live in our area we normally ask if they want missionaries to come visit them in their homes and ask for their address (to give to the missionaries who are serving in their area). But recently people have been coming up to us and asking us to take down their directions! The first time we were totally thrown off, but it really is rad.

4. People here are so funny and blunt. The other day someone told me "All of the missionaries from the US that I meet have really pretty eyes like hers  Yours aren't. You just have dominican eyes." And another woman told me that I was "gordita" in a family picture.... haha, I'm learning to take it as a compliment, although I prefer the word "healthy."

5. Killed my first cockroach.... needless to say I was screaming like my 5-year-old-self the whole time, but it was HUGE and those things are gnarly.

6. Got stranded in the rain at our District meeting because I was to lazy to carry my umbrella, We were going to wait it out, but then gave up and made a crazy sprint yelling the whole way to catch our gua gua. Then it took 45 minutes just to get one... I'm pretty sure the elders that were still waiting under the shelter of the church for the rain to stop think we're crazy. (we are)

7. Last night decided again that we didnt think it was going to rain and didn't bring umbrellas... turned out it did. Seeing a trend?

8. Had crazy hiccups when I was trying to invite a couple to the church. Needless to say it was entertaining.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

3 Months - time's flying :-)


So today marks 3 months on the mish! I can hardly believe it. And yesterday I was able to skype with my family for Mother' Day! It really was the best. A lot of people had warned me that it would be awkward or dissapointing because it is so built up and you have so much to catch up on but I really just loved it. Not nearly enough time to say everything that I wanted though! 

This picture I attached is from transfers, the two girls to the right of me are the new hermanas in our house! Hna Prestwich in the purple was my trainer my first 6 weeks and is now training the 2 new girls. The Hermana next to hna Prestwich is her trainer (my "grandma" in mission lingo - haha) and the girl in the stripes is who she's training right now. Crazy how intertwined we all are!

The other is of Hermana Laughlin (my new trainer) , Hermana Avery (who used to be in my house) and Hermana Cofe (who took me out on intercambios my first time when I was still in the CCM).

So this post will definitely be a short one, but I've gotta make good on my promise to fill you in about our bunk beds!

The Bunk Bed Saga

So about a week ago, we had bunk beds put into our house so that we would have more room in our two tiny bedrooms. The men showed up and built them and they were HUGE. No joke, I was on the bottom bunk and I could sit up with a good foot of space still between my head and the bunk above me! Hermana Prestwich was up top and everything was totally fine; we just had to make sure not to turn the fan on, or else we might decapitate her.

I guess in some of the other houses though, the ceilings weren't as high as in our house and some of the girls on the top bunks were hitting their heads on the ceiling. Hna Mero from my CCM district sent me a letter saying that every morning she would forget and smack her head on the ceiling.

So ... they decided to switch out the bunk beds in everyone's houses. They showed up one morning and took apart one bunk bed, and moved everything around but then realized something was wrong with the bolts and they didn't match up and they couldn't get the right pieces until the next day. So two hours later, they had taken down and put back up the exact same bunk beds (I feel like this kind of describes how a lot of things work here.)

The next morning they came back and set up the new bunk beds. I went into the room to check it out when they were done and just absolutely started cracking up. (It was one of those I-can't-breathe-or-move-or-talk kind of laughs, with tears running down my face.)
The other girls came to see what I was cracking up about, and pretty soon they had all joined in.

Turns out the new bunk beds were a lot lower, but now the person on the bottom bunk had to army crawl into bed, in order to squeeze into the little cave of space under there. It was hilarious watching Hna Avery sneak into bed. (don't worry, I documented this with a video).

But it really was the best, I laughed so much that week, and it still makes me smile when I think about it getting into bed (except the night that I somehow kicked the top bunk because my leg was up too high when I jumped in, or the night hna Avery sat up in her bed and hit the ceiling so hard, Hna Laughlin felt it above her)

Life is crazy, but life is beautiful. So hard, but so worth it.

This week has been so full of neat tender mercies and special experiences for me and it really has shown me that -

"if the Lord brings me to it,  He'll bring me through it".

We've survived all of our lessons even when our Spanish was rough. It really just reminded me that that isn't what its all about. As long as we are studying our hardest for our lessons and have the Spirit with us, everything always turns out just the way it needs to. 

If I know anything it's that Heavenly Father loves His children.

Hermana Coe

Note from Sue:
  My Mother's Day this year was sweet! Grandpa came over; we had Kenzie on skype & Abbie on facetime, and we all got to chat for a quick 45 minutes!  (Our next skype date will be on Christmas - already looking forward to it!)

Kenzie sounded and looked fabulous! I loved to hear the strength in her voice, her amazing attitude, and see her beautiful face!  She is doing well, has learned tons, and is completely dedicated to serving God & the people of the Dominican Republic.  We miss her so much, but it is softened by the knowledge that the message she is sharing is worth the small sacrifice we are all making.

She spoke of the realization the no one was going to make appts for her that first day out of the CCM - that she and her companion were responsible to fill 6 hours a day searching for people who had a desire to hear the word of God.  She is working diligently to do that!

She spoke of how blessed she feels to have had the companions that she has had. She is particularly loving Hermana Laughlin, who has a sense of humor that is very similar to Kenzie's and they have a great time finding the humor in the crazy things that happen on a day to day basis :-)

She also spoke of the difference between the volunteer work (medical, educational & labor) that she did in India, and how it was so different because the people she served there wanted & needed her help, and were so immediately grateful for it.  Now she is serving people who either don't know her message can improve their life, or don't want to hear it.  It takes a lot of perseverance & faith to push forward thru the discouraging days, but it has certainly given her a chance to solidify her own testimony.  And truly appreciate the times when she finds someone she can share her message with.

It made me think of when the Savior was on the earth, teaching and sharing his message of hope.  He was also met with those who were not interested, or didn't realize that what He had to share would enhance their life, and the knowledge they could gain from allowing Him to teach them would comfort & strengthen them in times of trial, when no earthly source could help them.  

And here's the fun part ... she shared a little of her hard earned spanish with us :-)
Ugh...can't get my video to upload to blogger - abbie posted a video on facebook last week, so you can check there if you want :-) 

Monday, 6 May 2013

Sweat, Tears, or the Sea!

Sending love from the Dominican Republic :)

I can hardly believe that today is that last day of my first transfer!
Time is absolutely flying.

So, we found out Sunday night what would be going on in the upcoming transfer with all of the new girls coming in, and honestly I was really stressed about it. I knew that I wouldn't be training, but besides that, I had no idea.

All week Hermana Laughlin and I would just start coming up with the most ridiculous ideas we could.  aka, "They're going to send me to the islands alone with one of the stray dogs as my companion"  and, "You're going to be training all of the new sisters at once, and you will all have to live in this tiny house."

But I also kept joking that they were going to make Hermana Laughlin my companion and that she would have to finish my training, and that we would just be lost and confused and never understand what anyone was saying!  We would always crack up afterwards  and I would say, "Yeah, like they'd be dumb enough to put us crazies together, no one could handle that companionship..."  I think I even told her one time "Pshh, if you finished my training, I'd end up dumber than I was when I started!!"  (super sarcastic, don't worry anyone, she knew I was joking)

Haha!  But apparently this is one of those "be careful what you wish for moments!"  Because guess who my new companion is??.... yupp, Hermana Laughlin!! She is finishing my training, and Hermana Prestwich is getting 2 brand new companions to train!  So all 5 of us will be crammed into the house!

This transfer is going to be tough, but all joking aside, I also really feel like there is no one I would rather struggle through it with.  I already know that I am going to laugh more this transfer than any other.  We will both be stretched, and I really hope that my Spanish and mostly my understanding of spanish, will grow because I really won't have any other choice.

We'll still be here in Gazcue, but I'll be serving in her area of the city (new area for me), which is literally across the street from the ocean -- such a tender mercy for me.  It always reminds me of the quote:

"The cure for anything is saltwater -- sweat, tears, or the sea"

Well, looks like I'll be getting a little bit of everything!

But I really will miss the people I've been teaching!  I really should talk about them more! We are teaching two younger girls, age 10 and 15, who are getting baptized this month if all goes as planned. They are super awesome and excited, I'm lucky that I'll at least still be able to attend their baptism, cuz I will still be so close!

Also, this is a picture from last week with one of our investigators, Winifer, she is 14 and super smart.
I love them so much!   Not all our investigators are this young, but they were the ones that came to mind as I was typing.

Miriam, on the left, is a member of the church, and neighbor of Winifer, in the center -- she is the best!

(also sometimes when I'm walking around I forget that I'm white... 
then I look at pictures and remember...)

That's all for this week, I wish I had more time to post!  So much happens every week, and I feel like I never have time to share it all!  I hope that I'm keeping a balance between my obnoxious self and the spiritual.

My testimony grows every day as I teach and study.  
Everything I see in this world reminds me of my Heavenly Father. 
He really has given me all of these things for my own happiness.
There is no way that all of this life and personality and love just happened by coincidence.
He knows me and He loves me and if you don't feel like you have that knowledge, then I would encourage you to pray about it and then just watch.
Everything we have is from a Heavenly Father who knows and loves us and blesses us every single day. 
Each trial or struggle is to teach us something and, in the end, we are better for it.

much love
Hna Coe

P.S. Stay tuned for the bunk bed saga next week -- its a great great story!

Here's some pictures:

These pictures are of my district and zone from this transfer (smaller group is district and the larger group is my zone)

So for anybody who doesn't know missions are incredibly organized in a pyramidy way. You have your Companion, and then next is your District, and one elder is assigned to be the "district leader". Then based on where you are, a group of Districts makes up your Zone. Every night we call and tell our district leader about our day and he is the person we call if we have a question or need help, and if he can't answer, we just kind of move up the line from there. It really is incredibly efficient & smart!  I don't think the Mission President would survive if we directed every single question at him; it just wouldn't be possible.

I hope that kind of helps, I know I use a lot of mission terminology on here, so please let me know if you want me to explain anything!  Sometimes I just forget what people know or don't know who aren't members of the church, or even those who are, I know that I didn't totally get how it all worked before getting out here!
I'm learning as I go and happy to teach!
My Zone (for the past 3 weeks)

My District

This is our transportation!  
I know I described "Guaguas" before, but now I've tried capture it in a picture! The picture of Hna Laughlin is from my perspective, and the other is from hers. The door is always open and a man kind of hangs half way out of it yelling and looking for people that want to get on. It was moving when they took the picture and I was hanging on to the door for dear life, but really I do absolutely love it:)

Thanks for the package, Grandma Irene!
You are the best. 
We finally have POT HOLDERS in our house, which sounds dumb that I was so stoked, but really, I was getting sick of trying to use nasty rags to pick up our hot metal pans, and the best part is these ones are hand made, which makes them 10 times better. 
All four of us, crammed in our little house, thank you!

So, I hope you all aren't going to get sick of pictures of my nasty feet... 
I'm just so proud of these tan lines :-)
They're beauts, I tell you!
It's not every day you get honored with striped, stinky feet pictures, I'm sure.

Also pictures of my old nasty planner I never got a chance to decorate and my new pretty one! Hna Avery put it all together for me and specifically chose everything out with a sweet note explaining why she had chosen them for me! I absolutely love it, especially since I have to look at it every single day. And I was thinking if any of the cousins, or anyone for that matter, wants to make covers for me I would love to use them, or even write a note that I could use to cover the back? I don't know if I'm making any sense, but I measured them and each rectangle is 8cm wide by 14cm or 5&1/2 inches long.  Aubrye's cute papers with quotes made me think of it!

The quote from Sister Hinckley is one of my favorites! I've been trying hard to apply it in my life. 
"The trick is to enjoy life.  
Don't wish away your days waiting for better ones ahead." 

I was cracking up last week, though, because I wrote it on the back of an envelope of a letter I was sending to Katherine, and then in another spot I had written "almost at 3 months... but who's counting"  Haha, oops, kinda contradicting, but hey, I'm a work in progress, alright!?!!

Also, the flowers on the back were how I kept track of my contacts each day, ran out of space though, but it was neat to see them add up, more meaning than just some doodles.