Tuesday, April 23, 2013

P-Day #4. Wow!

Hola Familia!!!
Wow, I have almost been here for an entire month. Crazy, huh? It's been hard to be away from home, but honestly, it's been so amazing at the same time.  Friday night, I was literally in tears as I was saying my prayers and realized how amazing this work is.  I really couldn't even sleep.  I just kept thinking "Why me?" "What did I do to deserve this?" Seriously, I am so incredibly lucky to be here right now.  I am so grateful to have pretty much been born into the true church.  What are the odds?  People search their whole lives just wondering if there is a God and a Savior and I, at only 19 years old, have a personal relationship with both of them.  And me just happening to be 19 when the age change was announced?  How perfect is that?  I get to take the truth to the people of Peru--I get to be a part of this amazing "Wave" of Missionary Work.  I am truly humbled by this privilege, and I want to thank everyone who helped me get here.
Well, I haven't even left the MTC yet and I've already been mugged! Okay, calm down.  It was fake.  So you know how we've been teaching our new investigator "Fabian"?  Well, let me explain how that works.  Our teachers act like a real investigator that they had on their missions.  They put TONS of effort into really acting like that person would act and it starts to feel real, we really do get revelation as if we were teaching an actual investigator.  Well, this week our teacher, Hermano Wells, decided that me and my companion weren't being challenged enough by Fabian, so he decided to become someone else.  He told us he was going to be "Nicolas" then he looked at us seriously and said "But I am really going to become him, and I can't be nice."
The rest of our District is still just teaching Fabian, so we couldn't ask anyone else for advice. We started to prepare the first lesson, but I kept having this impression: "You're not going to get to the Restoration, just be prepared to sing."  You know how I feel about singing in front of others, so I hated this prompting--so I just ignored it.  Before our lesson, my companion was in the bathroom and I stood outside leaning against the wall, holding my scriptures against my chest, with my head bowed in prayer.  When I opened my eyes, Hermano Wells (Nicolas) was right in front of my face, holding a marker (apparently knives are looked down upon at the MTC...who knew?) against my stomach, and yelling at me in Spanish asking for silver and money.  Technically when I'm in Peru I'm supposed to carry a little money with me so I always have something to give when this happens, but I didn't have it on me so I just kept saying "Lo Siento, no tengo Dinero ahora." He finally just ripped my scriptures and books out of my hands and walked off.

I walked into the bathroom and told my companion what had happened.  She said, "I had a feeling we weren't going to get to the Restoration."  Then I told her about my prompting, but there was one problem--"Nicolas" stole my Hymn book.  The only Spanish hymn I have memorized so far is "Mas Cerca Dios, De Ti" (Nearer My God to Thee), so I wrote down the lyrics for my companion and we practiced it once or twice.  We prayed there in the bathroom, and walked out.
"Nicolas" was standing there, holding my scriptures, and smiling.  He asked if we were the Mormons, told us he read our books that we stole and that he wanted us to teach him.  I was so excited!  (Ya, I know, how Naive of me?)  As we walked down a little ways, he backed me into a corner, shoved my scriptures in my chest, and said (in Spanish of course) "I don't care about your books, just give me your money.  I know your clothes are expensive, you have to have money."  He ended up just taking our jackets and walking off.  As he walked away, I looked at my companion and we both drew a deep breath, and then started to sing as heartily as we could as we walked away.
After a few minutes, "Nicolas" turned back into Hermano Wells and came and talked to us.  He said that's exactly how his first lesson with Nicolas was.  We talked about it for a few minutes and we told him how we were confused because we had always been taught that you don't turn around and teach people like that.  He said we were exactly right and that it would all make sense later...so I guess we'll see?  He wrote down how he felt as "Nicolas" and gave it to us as if it were an entry from Nicolas's Diary.  He talked about how his natural reaction would have been to hurt us when we didn't have money, but for some reason he was unable to touch us. Then, he talked about the strange feeling he had as he heard our song.  Hermano Wells said that, on their real encounter with Nicolas, Nicolas mentioned that same thing--that he was unable to touch the Mormons.  That brings me SO much comfort!  I know I'll be protected in the field.
Tuesday Night was AMAZING!  Elder Richard G. Scott came and spoke to us about prayer.  It hit me that a literal Apostle of the Lord was here at the MTC, and his message was about prayer.  This made me realize that I am really living below my privilege when it comes to prayer, and I made a goal to really do my best to pray better--that tearful prayer of gratitude Friday Night was an example of how I've felt a change since then.  It's amazing.  Before he closed, he left us with an Apostolic Blessing.  WOW!  I really felt his power, especially as he blessed each one of us with the gift of tongues and promised us we'd all become fluent in our languages--I really needed that boost!
My biggest blessing as a missionary has been receiving Revelation through the scriptures.  I've really been able to liken them to myself and have them bring me SO much comfort.  We had two more members from our District (We're down to 8 now) get their Visas this week and I was feeling pretty down about it.  Well, guess what I read in the Scriptures the next night?
D&C 9:3-4, 6, and 14.
"Be Patient, Hermana Simonson, my daughter.  For it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should obtain your visa at this present time.
Behold, the work which you are called to now is to learn in the Provo MTC.
Do not murmur, Hermana Simonson, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you in this manner.
Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you, and na hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day."
Funny that I never noticed that in there before! ;) I know that the Lord will send me when it's time for me to go.  And honestly, I'm happy to be here right now!
Thank you guys so much for the package--it came on a day I really needed a boost!  I love you guys so much.  I really hope you are being blessed abundantly--I was promised that you would if I served.  I miss you more than you might think, and I pray for you every single day.  I know this is where I need to be right now.
Tell my brothers that I love and miss them and I hope to hear from them--so far Brady's been the only one who loves me I guess!  Tell my friends I love them, too.
 Love you forever.
Hermana Meghan D. Simonson
 Well, I get to (actually I was told I have to) Email you today because I was told I needed to fill you in on what happened in the last few hours since I emailed you either because the Nurses called and it might have worried you, or because the nurses didn't call you and you needed to be informed.  Personally, I just think it's all hilarious--though slightly embarrassing.  Oh well, you have my permission to post this if you want anyway just cuz it's funny.
So anyway I've been getting the shakes and headaches like nobody's business and I've just kind of felt off the last week or two--plus I gained ten pounds, hence the lack of pictures this week.  So, I decided I needed to see the Doctor because I've not been functioning normally.  I told him about everything from before and about the weight gain and the shakes.  He guessed that, on top of my Hypoglycemic stuff (apparently I have two types of it...who knew?), I have some Insulin Resistance problems. 
The worry is that me gaining weight is going to lead to Diabetes and he was trying to figure out why I've put on so much (I've been wondering the same thing) so he started asking about my lifestyle before I came.  He said that he wasn't surprised I gained so much weight since I was so active before I came in and now my only activity is about half an hour of volleyball each day.
He said the problem is that I can't lose weight by eating less because my Hypoglycemia won't work that way, that's why I've been so shaky lately because that's what I've been trying to do.  Anyway, long story short he wants to test a few more things this week but until then guess what he prescribed me? RUNNING.  No joke.  I was SO happy!  He said I need to be getting at least 3 or 4 miles in per day.
But, the main event of the whole day was that he wanted to do the first test today and so the nurse came in, stuck the needle in my arm, couldn't find the vein, and so, me being a whimp, I fainted.  Awesome. 
So, they had a different nurse come in (I was ordered to stay laying down) and try my other arm.  She got the vile and all was well.  So anyway, everything's okay!  I don't know if  they called you or not, but I just didn't want it to sound like a huge deal if they did--I'm back to my normal, fat self now.
Hopefully this running thing will work and I can get the weight back off and eat normal and everything will go well.  I'll keep you updated!  LOVE YOU!
~Hermana Meghan Simonson

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

P-Day #3! Can you believe it?

Hola Familia!
Wow, what a crazy weekend I've had!  I was lucky to be able to Email you the other day, that was awesome!  
The last few days have been super sentimental for me!  The building repairs were completed and we moved back to the classroom we were in for the first three days of my MTC experience.  Our goals and lessons were still written on the board and it blew my mind to realize that, just three weeks ago, I was learning how to introduce myself.  Now I can give talks, bear my Testimony, Pray, and teach lesssons in Spanish.  WOW!  It's amazing what we can do with God's help!  
Another thing that got me going was saying goodbye to my first companion, Hermana Price.  It was weird to realized we haven't even known each other for three weeks, because we just got SO close.  Then, as I packed up to move into my new companion's room, it freaked me out to realize that the last time I packed all my mission stuff up was three weeks ago.  Honestly, that seems like it is in a different life.  SO much has changed for me.  But I love it.  
Everyday is kind of like a constant battle.  It's Meghan vs. Hermana Simonson.  Meghan wants to sit around and chat with the District, get overly competetive in volleyball, daydream, crack jokes, etc.  But Hermana Simonson knows that I'm on the Lord's time and that I shouldn't be chatting, i'm not allowed to keep score in games, daydreaming is a waste, jokes aren't always appropriate, etc.  I'll have my whole life to be Meghan, but right now I need to step up and be Hermana Simonson.  This is the only time in my life where I'll be able to live this way and have this amount of Gospel focus, and I know I need to take advantage of every minute.
With so much to accomplish here, I am super grateful for some of the things I used to hate.  Running (not that I ever hated that, but it was bittersweet at times), working in the Deli, taking College classes in High School, and just everything that taught me to endure to the end.  My work ethic is my greatest advantage!
I guess you guys did an excellent job of naming me.  My District has gotten super close, but the other day we realized that we don't know anyone's first names.  So, we went around and announced our names and everyone kept commenting "oh ya, that fits you." or "Really? I wouldn't have guessed that!"  I was the last to go and all the Elders clapped and were either like "I told you so!" or "I knew it!" or "That TOTALLY fits you."  No one else got the reaction, so I must have been matched well to my name!  Hopefully Meghan is a good thing?
It's been hard to watch everyone get their Visas and head out to Peru.  I'm SUPER jealous.  Reassignment-permanent or temporary- is becoming more and more likely. Logically, it seems like it would just have to happen when you look at how long my stuff has been submitted for and how it hasn't come.  But, I don't know...for some reason I really feel like there's a place for me in Peru and I have a lot of faith that I'll get there eventually.
Well, I need to get to my laundry now!  Watch for some letters.  Love you!
Hermana Meghan Simonson

Friday, April 12, 2013

Unexpected Friday Letter. No Visa :(

Hola Familia!

Well, I'm kind of lucky (if you can call it that) to be emailing you today!  My companion, Sister Price, got her visa about an hour ago and is shipping out on Monday, so we had to take this afternoon off to get her going.  So, I was allowed to use the computer while she does laundry.  It was honestly very hard for me to see her get her Visa.  A whole flood of Peruvians got them today, all of which turned their paperwork in more than two months after me.  It's easy to play the victim role and think that out of all the missionaries with Visas I know Spanish the best, I had my call first, and I turned my paperwork into Church travel first.  But, I think that if Heavenly Father wanted me to have a Visa, he could get it for me.  There must be something I'm supposed to learn from being here right now.

In my blessing, President Topham blessed me to preach the gospel wherever in the world I find myself--I guess that includes the Provo MTC.  I won't know anything about my travel plans until my Visa magically shows up.  If it's not here by May 1, I will be reassigned.  That is very hard to swallow, but I know the Lord will send me where I need to be.  The hardest part of the whole experience since Sister Price received her Visa a few moments ago was listening to her call her parents. I heard her Mom cry when she heard her daughter's voice and I just wanted that experience SO bad.  But, as we learned in Conference this week (maybe it wasn't conference, maybe it was a devotional...it's hard to keep track of all the Spiritual feeding I get here) "Not my will, but THINE be done.  Not my TIME but THINE be done."  I'm 100 percent on the Lord's time right now, and I have to be where he wants me to be.

This week has been great!  We started teaching our new "investigator," Eliana.  She's an Elderly Catholic Widow.  In our second lesson, we had the idea to invite the Spirit by singing her a Spanish Hymn.  You know that I hate singing in front of people, but I prefaced the song by telling her I had an awful singing voice, but that the most important voice to listen to is the Spirit...which she could do with her ears covered.  She laughed and listened to our song (she was unable to sing along because of a mouth issue) and told us we both have the voices of angels.  Our song brought tears to her lonely eyes and it really invited the Spirit to be there.  Which was great because our lesson was about receiving the Holy Ghost through the Restored Priesthood!

We also had TRC Training this week!  It was our first time.  TRC training is when we teach lessons to people from the community.  Sometimes they act out different scenarios, but ours were just themselves.  They were all members, which definitely took the pressure off!  They just wanted to hear our testimonies, our favorite scriptures, and just feel the Spirit.  It was awesome!!

We also had a cool experience this week where we watched a video about the life of a man named Patrick.  Then, we were asked to pretend that Patrick was our best friend, but that he didn't have the Gospel.  We were supposed to write a letter to him to tell him how the Plan of Salvation could help his life.  I tried hard to picture my very best friends and imagine what it would be like if they didn't have the gospel in their lives.  I wrote the best letter that I could.  Then, our teacher asked for a few of us to share our letters.  I wanted to share mine, but as I listened to everyone else I knew that mine just couldn't compare.  They just got right into deep, beautifully worded Doctrine.  So, I kept my mouth shut.  Well, next thing I knew, my teacher was reading my letter out loud to the class and writing on the board.  He showed how my humble little letter covered all the important Doctrines while following exactly the pattern we're supposed to teach by.  I, of course, was completely oblivious to all of that when I wrote it--I just wrote what I felt.  I don't have some great, grand gospel knowledge, but I do have the Spirit to help me.  That experience was SUCH a confidence booster!!!

It's funny, I've been surprised at how I can feel the extra weight of my badge all the time.  Well, today I realized how symbolic that really is!  When I put that tag on everyday, I carry more responsibility than I ever have in my life.  It doesn't seem like such a big deal here because EVERYONE has one on, but I just picture what it will be like out in the field when I am literally wearing the name of Jesus Christ.  I don't yet feel ready for that responsibility.  It's HUGE!  I am so grateful to know that I'm not alone in this work--it would be impossible alone.  I don't know what I'd do without the guidance of the Spirit.

Our roommates moved out on Tuesday--they were going English speaking so their time here was up.  We got four new sisters on Wednesday and they all seem super nice!  Well...I guess that doesn't really matter because, with my companion leaving, I'm most likely going to be switching rooms.  I think the Lord planned this whole thing.  I know who my new companion will most likely be because her companion got a visa as well, and that Sister that will probably be my next companion is the only Sister in my District that I don't really click with.  It's going to be good for me, though.  I know that in the field I won't always have companions like Sister Price where we just automatically become best friends!  Man, I'm sure going to miss that girl when she heads out Monday morning.

Well, familia, it's time to go back to the Residence and help Sister Price pack for her adventure.  I should still have the opportunity to write on Monday, so I'll finish my stories then.  Love and miss you all!  Hopefully I'll be calling you sometime soon, just like Sister Price did today, to tell you my Visa has arrived.

Love Always,
Hermana Meghan Simonson

Monday, April 8, 2013

P-Day #2!

Hola Familia!
Well, it's officially P-Day #2!  I have SO much to say to you...but first things first.
THERE'S GOING TO BE A CEDAR CITY TEMPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I TOLD YOU SO! YOU THOUGHT I WAS CRAZY. BUT I'M NOT!!!!!!! I'M SO INSANELY HAPPY.  As I've been here, I've still felt sure that SUU is where I belong after my mission.  I know that a lot could still change, but for now I'm so incredibly happy to say that Cedar will be getting a Temple at some point.
The announcement was awesome! All week, I had been telling my District how badly I wanted a Cedar City Temple to be announced.  On a side note, I'm the only Sister in the District that hasn't had a complete emotional breakdown during class, so the Elders have been waiting to see tears come from my eyes.  We were sitting in a huge Auditorium watching conference with all the missionaries.  When President Monson started talking about Temples, I was literally on the edge of my seat.  As soon as he announced the Cedar City Temple, I threw my fist high in the air and cheered.  Then, I froze.  I put my head in my hands and sobbed like a baby.  Excited for me and thrilled to see me crying for the first time, the Elders and Sisters in my District stared at me in shock.  A few took pictures.  It was insane.  Someone asked me if I was going to be married there if it got done on time and I threw my hands up and yelled "HECK YES I AM!!!!!"  Then, I paused and said, "WAIT!!! No, no I'm not! I'm getting married in the St. George Temple!!!!!  I just got carried away for a second! I'm getting married in the St. George Temple!!!!!"  They all thought it was hilarious.
Conference was amazing! It was such a neat experience to sit in a room filled with missionaries.  I always use on side of my journal for promptings I receive, and one for typical note taking.  I used the majority of the Sessions writing down promptings.  I had some AMAZING answers to my questions.  It seemed like the focus was on two things: Missionary Work and Families.  I LOVED that!  Those two things are my biggest focus.  We had a fireside this week and it was ALL about starting your own family.  He talked about how having a family is the greatest work we'll ever do.  He then said, "So, why on earth are you all here?  Why aren't you out starting families?"  He then went on and pointed out the Nephi and his brothers went to get the Plates BEFORE they went to get wives--they couldn't start a solid family without that solid foundation.  He talked about how much our missions will bless our future families. That has been one of my biggest motivations to learn all that I can while I'm here.
Well, I've continued to earn my title of the "Baby Sister."  I keep digging myself a bigger hole and earning the nickname. 

For future reference, if you're trying to prove yourself as mature and capable, don't tell people that the scrapes on your hands are from a rollerblading accident, don't put a Batman sticker on your "zippy," don't wear superhero T-shirts to gym time, don't let yourself forget that your playing Indoor Volleyball, not Wallyball, and try to pass a ball after it hits the wall, and, for the love of all the good in this world, DO NOT TELL THEM THAT YOU THINK THE REASON THE UCHTDORFS ARE SUCH A CUTE COUPLE IS BECAUSE THEY'RE SUPER AWKWARD AND YOU THINK AWKWARDNESS IS ADORABLE AND PLAN TO MARRY SOMEONE AWKWARD. Trust me, you'll NEVER hear the end of that one.  It's funny that I get teased so much for being the youngest Sister, because several of the Elders are even younger than me.  Oh well!  At least it's funny.
We've continued to teach our "Investigator" Fabian.  We had a really special experience with him this week!  My Spanish is good, but not amazing.  Needless to say, my lesson on Temple work did not go very well...he "thinks" we take dead bodies into the Temple and Baptize them.  Oops.  We decided that, from that point forward, we would avoid any Temple talk and open-ended questions that could lead him to Temple talk.  Well, two lessons later, I felt prompted to ignore that plan.  As we "prepared Fabian for Baptism," I asked if he had any questions at all about the Church.  Sister Price looked at me with a horrified look.  Of course, he asked about the Temple.  He said that he heard some people say that the Mormon Temples were good, but most said that they were of "El Diablo."  I still couldn't find the right Spanish words to describe Temple work, so I let the Spirit do the talking.  I asked him if we could take a short walk.  We walked to the Temple and I asked him how he felt when he looked at it.  He described "light" and "peace."  I read him a scripture that popped into my head, and then explained that those feelings could not come from the Devil. He told us he wanted to do whatever he could do to prepare to enter.  It was awesome!
The next day, I was sitting in class and Hermano Wells, the man who acts as Fabian, came into the room and asked if he could talk to me--in English.  He took me outside of the room to the "Interview Seats" and said, "I just want you to know that I have been 'Fabian' for three years now, and my lessons with you and your companion have been the highlight of the experience.  I've never seen anyone be so in tune with the Spirit and the language so early on.  I really do feel the love you have for 'Fabian'.   No one has EVER had the idea to walk me to the Temple--that was special.  Your Spirit is amazing and you're going to be an awesome missionary."  That meant A TON to me.  But, as I reflected on it as I wrote a letter about it that night, I realized something amazing.  Yes, I was the first person that had ever connected so deeply with Fabian--I'm also the first and only 19 year old girl that he had ever worked with. WOW.  That was an awesome realization. Yes, I am the "Baby Sister."  I get my head patted, I get jokes about "Oh, did you learn that in high school...last year?", I do love Batman, and I do have rollerblading scabs.  But, Hermano Wells helped me realize that I am EVERY bit is prepared, worthy, and able to be here as anyone else.  That's the most beautiful part of the age change.  Heavenly Father isn't just calling some dumb little 18-19 year old boys and girls to do His work.  He has called people that he has been preparing for years.  He has blessed us to be as capable as the older Missionaries.  It's amazing.  By myself, I am just a nerdy little 19 year old, but I know that, with God, I can become a great missionary.  That is the biggest desire of my heart right now.
Well, an awesome 'family-creating' experience and an awesome 'missionary' experience.  Like I said, those are the two things I think about the most.  But, I worried that if I think too much about my future family, it will take away from the work.  That's one thing I really needed to get from Conference--and I did.  I had the most incredible impression that right now, my number one focus is to learn all that I can and prepare to find some Fabians out there, but that there would be a period of time after my mission where I could practice applying these things to my daily life before I start my family.  WOW!
So, my take-home message from this week was this.  YES, my family WILL be blessed for my service one day and I will be a better wife and mother because of it.  But, my focus for being here isn't my family--it's Christ and the people seeking to know Him.  After I come home, I'll be able to start using the experiences from my mission to apply to daily life and THEN my family will be my focus...and it will be better because of my mission.  That's SO awesome to know!!!!!!
I love this Gospel so much and am so excited to take it to the people of Peru.  I love you all and I miss you like crazy!!!
Hermana Simonson

Monday, April 1, 2013

First P-Day!

Hola Familia!

Well, I have officially made it to my first P-Day.  Everyone says that if you make it this far, the rest of the MTC time will be easy.  Things here are CRAZY!  But I love it.  I already told you about my first day here in the letter (assuming you got it).  Well, not much has changed since then! By the way, thank you so much for the package and the DearElder letters.  DearElder is the best way to get hold of me for sure!  Try to get the boys to do it as well.

My companion and I loved the package! It was nice to have a little something for Easter, and now I have a cute little orange monkey hanging above my bed.

I have already grown so much since I got here.  I absolutely love it!  Saying goodbye to you guys was so incredibly hard, but now that I'm here, there's no where else I would rather be because I know there's nowhere else the Lord would have me be.  There's so much I want to say and I don't know how to fit it all in! I have an annoying little timer on the top of my screen that's trying to control my life!

So. . .

Elder Matthew Cutler (Layton)
Elder Blake Wayment (Layton)
Elder Braeden Adams (DHHS)
Elder Mike Needham (DHHS) (Also my new zone leader!)
Elder Jaron Gerber (SUU)
Sister Madsen (SUU)
Sister Kat Jack (ALL THE TIME!)
Elder Eric Cassidy (Layton)
Sister Jenna Miller (DHHS)
I think there's even more than that! Don't I have some amazing friends???

People keep telling me that I just need to expect to have several breakdowns. . .but I haven't come anywhere close to breaking down since right before dad dropped me off!  Everyone says that work is too hard and exhausting, which is true, but there are so many amazing things that make me strong.


The Lord has sent me dozens of sweet tender mercies.
I have amazing friends that have sent me letters.
My awesome parents wrote me and sent me an Easter package.
The Spirit is incredible here.
My companion is amazing!
Every temple is constantly filled with people who pray for the missionaries.
Just about every LDS family prays for the missionaries each night.
And so much more!

So, call me crazy, but I want to testify to you guys that I know the gift of tongues is real.  Like seriously, it's amazing.  Guess what I did in fast and testimony meeting with my branch yesterday? Stood up and bore my testimony. . in SPANISH!!!  It was such an amazing feeling. 

We've been teaching our first "investigator" and it is SO cool!  I'm actually able to have conversations with him and it just warms my heart.  He is fun to talk to and asks us lots of Gosepl questions and questions about our personal lives.  At the end of our last lesson, he turned to my companion and said (in Spanish), "Well, Hermana Simonson speaks Spanish, but you have a boyfriend.  Don't worry, Hermana Price, you're much better off!"  I laughed so hard.  Sister Price laughed too, after i translated it for her.  She's had a really hard time with the language and it breaks my heart.  She had a complete breakdown the other night and all I could do is hug her and tell her that it will come. 

Sister Price is one of my biggest blessings I have here in the MTC! WE are super similar.  We both love to run, so my morning workouts have been awesome!  We got talking and found out that we've been to some of the same concerts.  We have a lot of fun together and we make each other strong.

Ahhh! The clock is ticking insanely fast and I don't know where to go next! Let's see. . .Easter Sunday!  Wow, yesterday was amazing! Bishop Causse of the Presiding Bishopric came and spoke to us and it was awesome.  It was also an extremely historical event.  For the first time, they passed the sacrament to 3,000 missionaries all at once, in the same room.  The Spirit was insanely powerful! Later, we had Fast and Testimony meetings with just our branches.  My branch is small, but I love it.

Whenever I get dressed in the morning, I feel like I am putting on the Armor of God.  It's awesome!  I have my CTR ring, my YW medallion, my Honor Bee, my garments, and finally, my missionary name tag.  It's so cool!  All of these things represent the different steps I've taken in my life as I've prepared for this ay.  I really have been being prepared for this since Primary.  Wearing the nameplate makes me so happy!  it feels great to look in the mirror and see my name right next to JESUCRISTO.  I'll send you some pictures soon.  The best is at night when I'm wearing my nameplate with my Batman pajamas! It makes me feel like a DOUBLE superhero.

I've been nicknamed the "baby" of my room. . .and my district. . .and my zone.  I am the only 19 year old girl in the whole zone!  My district is almost all future Peruvian Missionaries, but me and Sister Price are the only girls in the whole MTC that are headed to the Lima North Mission.  People weren't kidding when they told me that they rarely send American sisters there. .yay for the jungle!

We have a very specific schedule. . .with meals and everything!  I thought I'd get by just eating 3 meals a day like a normal person, but by the second day I was shaking horribly and I got sent to the dietician.   I got a special pass to allow me to take food out of the cafeteria, eat in class, and eat on Fast Sunday (like yesterday).  It didn't seem like a big deal to me at all, but people make it huge!

The dietician had to inform the doctors, my teacher, my branch president, and everyone in my district.  Awesome.  People treat me like I am dying and I just wanna be like, "Dude!  I have a disease where I get to eat all the time and have special permission to get extra food.  If anything, be jealous of me!"

AHHHH!  I have to go! I wish I could write more. . .I'll send you a letter!  I love you guys so very, very much.  Being here has made me realize that even more.  Thank you for everything you do for me! I miss you like crazy and please continue to write.

Hermana Simonson