Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Baptism Photos

These photos were taken by a member of the church in Peru and shown to my by another Sister Missionary's Mom from Texas.  I am not even sure Meg knows I have them!  Oh well, at least she will see them when she gets home :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Another P-Day! 68 More to Go!

May 27, 2013

Well Familia, I have made it to another P-Day. According to my count, I have about 68 more to go, which really doesn´t seem like a ton when I think about how fast they come.

This week was a little bit crazy. Just a couple weeks into the mission and I faced my biggest fear: Peruvian Doctors. I think I told you about my companion being sick. We found out on Tuesday that she has Dengue Fever. Yikes! I went to accompany her to a follow up appointment, and that morning I woke up with a hideous red rash all over my body. I freaked out. When we walked into the Doctor for her follow up, he took one look at me and said: "Dengue." He was immediately on the phone trying to get permission from my mission president to test me for Dengue. I´ll be honest, I panicked a little bit. A Dengue test meant a needle in my arm, something I was really trying to avoid. And, if I tested positive, I would most likely be sent to serve in Lima, or possible in the States.

Well, I survived the test and came up negative. What a relief! I just was having some sort of reaction and was given some pills, a shot in my butt, and told I shouldn´t eat things that I didn´t eat before my mission since I probably have some sort of Allergy. Honestly, that was music to ears. A Doctor´s note not to eat weird Peruvian food!

We didn´t get to work a whole lot this week because of my sick companion we had to do a couple hours of work followed by a couple hours of rest, and then repeat. I guess this was a good opportunity for me to study my Spanish.

This week I think I received a little bit of revelation about why I was called to speak another language. I realized that my whole life I have been able to do a whole lot with my words: write, persuade others, and smooth just about anything over. Now that I just can´t do that, I have to work, lead, and teach, by example and by love more than ever, and I think that is going to be good for me. I also need the help with learning patience and humility. I´ve had to learn to not get upselt when people laugh at me, when children correct my grammar, or when I´m conducting Branch Council and the President makes a Gringo joke and the whole Branch laughs at me for about 5 minutes straight.

But, despite my less than perfect Spanish, I decided this week that I was going to make a conscious effort to be more than just Hermana Vasquez's silent, white companion. Even though it´s hard for me to speak, I have been practicing the promise given to me in my blessing: Open my mouth, and the words will come. It´s been so true. The words don´t always come out perfect, but they come. This week during the few times that we were actually able to teach, I learned that I really can be an Instrument in God´s hands as long as I am willing to try, and sometimes fail, then try again. I really am seeing the fruits of my labors.

Since we didn´t teach a whole lot this week, I don´t have a whole lot to report from the investigator side of things.

We met a reference named Melani and she already accepted a Baptismal Date. Saturday, we went to teach her and she wasn´t home, instead we found her 16 year old daughter that was stoked to listen to us. We are going to do a Family Home Evening with them tomorrow night with their cousins who are members, so I hope that goes well. We went to set a Baptismal Date for the daughter as well!

Deysi, the woman with the daughters, is coming along well. We invited her to pray about Joseph Smith. I really surprised myself in the lesson with her when I was able to clearly recite the whole first vision with clarity. We teach her tonight and, depending on how her prayers went, we plan to invite her and her two oldest daughters to prepare for Baptism. My Companion is certain that I can issue the invitation, and I am actually way excited about it!

Bridget just is not progressing and doesn´t want to be baptized, but she wants to keep meeting with us. We´re praying to know what we need to do with her.

We met a couple named Sylvia and Rupert and honestly, they could teach us the lessons! As we sat down with them, they told us they think only one church is true. That church needs Prophets and Apostles to be the same church that Jesus Christ established. They lit up as I bore testimony of the fact that we do have them in the church. We weren´t able to meet with them last week, but we´re going to try for tomorrow. The only problem is that Rupert travels for work and is never here on Sundays, so he can´t be Baptized until we figure out a solution. We´re certainly praying hard!

Medaly went to church for the first time and loved it, and even invited a friend the next time. Her Baptism date is for June 8, and I hope all goes well so that we can continue with that!

I´m learning a lot, and definitely having a great time. This is the hardest thing I´ve ever done, but by far the best thing that I´ve ever done. I hope that I have a lot more to report from my investigators next week! I love you so much!!!!

Love Always,

Hermana Meghan Simonson

Letters from Hermana Gee and her Mother

Buenas Noches!!
It's very late I apologize, but I promised your brilliant couragous daughter that I would write a quick note to you! But more than anything I feel very priveledged to be writing you! In the mission here we are soo overly excited when we hear a new sister will be joining us! Your daughter is definitely a blessing to the mission. Tonight when I saw her I recognized that look on her face. You could see that she is just trying to take it all in, and all with a "i'm trying to smile, but I think even smiling might be done in a different language!" look. She looks great! It's this kind of humble and couragous spirits that works miracles in the mission field.
Thank you so much for the sacrifice of you family to send her to be with us here! She was so kind to us, and so welcoming. She is the newest one here, yet we felt welcomed by her.
I just want you to know your daughter is in great hands.. I was able to serve with her trainer Hna Vasquez for quite some time and I say will full confidence that there isn't a better blessing as a new missionary than to serve alongside Hna Vasquez. She is kind, respectful and always thinking of others. We could have caught up on a million things and her first question was "I want the gringa advice on the best way I can help my companion!" She will be a wonderful example to your daughter, and your daughter will be to her.. I know the companionship of the two of them will be great stepping stones in guiding the two of them to reach the potential as missionaries and daughters of God, that our loving Heavenly Father awaits. More than anything, tonight I felt the reassuring evidence as I spoke with your valient daughter that we are in the Lord's hands. I vividly recall the feelings she is experiencing and I testify that She is and will be in the Lord's hands. I hope you and your family feel a special peace tonight knowing of the gratitude that your Heavenly Father feels towards your daughter and your family. You are examples to all of us and I personally truly appreciate your service!
My time here will be coming to an end and my cherished certificate says, "there is no greater work than in the salvation of souls" I testify of this! Thank you for the service of your family, and the companionship we have worldwide as children of our Heavenly Father to participate in the work of souls together. I love our Heavenly Father's plan, He truly is so loving!
I hope you have a wonderful evening, and know you are in my families prayers tonight! Thank you for your sacrifice and service!
If I can ever be of any help, i would feel honored to offer any kind of service!
Mosiah 4:15
With love and care,
Hermana Gee
Mision Peru Lima North
Tarapoto forever;)
Hello Missionary Mama aka Lori...
You don´t know me, but I attended a very special baptism this evening in the Tarapoto Branch where your brand new--first ever 19-year old sister missionary, Hermana Simonson is called to serve.  My name is Mel Gee Henderson, and I´m the Missionary Mama to Hermana Gabrielle Gee who will be officially released on May 16th from her Peru Lima North Mission.  Tarapoto was also her first assignment.  She spent a solid 8 months in Tarapoto and truly loved the people...and asked me to come to Peru so we could attend Mother´s Day together in her former branch where she served diligently.  She spoke at great length to Hermana Simonson and I think it was very reassuring to her to hear another sister missionary speak of the same kinds of  feelings all new missionaries experience when arriving in such a new and foreign place.
We took a bunch of pictures together, including some of the Tarapoto members who are already showing so much love to Hermana Simonson.  We will e-mail them to you once we are able to upload them.  In the meantime, I just wanted to reassure you that your daugher is off to a great start and she can´t wait to call you tomorrow for Mother´s Day and tell you all about Tarapoto.  It truly is a tremendous place to launch her missionary service.
I´m so proud of her...as I´m sure you are too.  Before you know it, you will be in my shoes and coming to pick up your missionary too! 
With love...from one missionary Mama to another,
Mel Gee Henderson

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hola! Monkeys in the Jungle :)

May 20, 2013

Hola Familia!!!

Wow, so much to say and, as always, so little time!!

 I have waited all week to tell you guys about the best thing in the whole world. Wednesday, during one of my lessons, I looked out the doorway (most houses here don´t actually have doors, just doorways) and saw a little girl sitting on the back of a parked MotoCar, eating an apple. Totally normal. Then, no joke, a monkey came out of a tree, grabbed the apple, and took a bite. She pulled it back and took a bite, and then the two both grabbed the apple and started yanking it back and forth. Then, the monkey started pulling at her clothes. Her mom looked up, then back down as if it was totally normal. I stinking love the Jungle.

 Also, I have a new favorite sport: Jungle Boarding. Okay, it´s not actually called that, but I miss wakeboarding, so I´m pretending. For our P-Day hike, we ended up at this one spot where there is this swing type thing that goes out over a little cliff. So, if you stand up on it, you´re basically boarding over a bunch of trees and it is so ridiculously fun. Don´t worry, it´s not as dangerous as it sounds, but the zone was still impressed that the one and only "Gringa" was the first to go. Yup, you can sure bet that I shouted "Fur Ammmerrica!" as I jumped on. At least I think I´m funny.

 We didn´t teach a whole lot of lessons this week because my companion has been sick, but it was still great. Our investigators are progressing, we set a new Baptism date, and are teaching 5 families and a whole bunch of Single women all over the place.

So, I accidentally lied to you. I don´t actually live in Tarapoto, it´s just one of my proselyting areas. I live in Shilclayo, but because we´re in charge of all the single women in our zone and the adjacent zone, we do a lot of travelling to Tarapoto, Morales, and Aeropuerto. I love it! We had zone conference this week and it was really cool. But guess what? I had to conduct. I was definitely nervous to get up in front of all of those Latinos with my pathetic Spanish, but it went well. My Companion said I need to get used to that anyway because she heard that I´m going to become a trainer at the end of this transfer. Yikes! I really better learn Spanish, especially because I found out that all of my companions will be Latinas--it´s a safety thing and I think it makes a ton of sense!

Remember Bessy, the girl that had a Baptism date for this last week? Well, can I just say I hate Satan? I was so stoked for her Baptism because I had only taught Jade one lesson, but Bessy had only had one lesson before I arrived, and we´ve taught her everyday since I got here. The night before her Baptism, we went to teach her the last commandment she needed to follow, and before we started the lesson we handed her the invitations we had for her Baptism. She held them and stared for a minute, then started talking really fast with a quivering voice and I couldn´t understand anything she was saying. I kept feeling inspired to ask her certain questions, but I suppressed it because I didn´t even know what was happening and if they were relevant.

Then, I had a strong thought: The Spirit understands all languages. Listen to it. So, I did. I don´t even remember what all I asked, but I think it came down to if she knew the church was true, if she wanted to live the commandments, and things like that. She thoughtfully answered "SÍ" to each question. I just bore my testimony about how if she understood all that, nothing else matters. She then turned to her mom and handed her an invitation and said "Mom, you´re invited to my Baptism tomorrow night at 7 oclock sharp."

After, Hna Vasquez explained to me everything that had happened. Bessy was saying that she talked to her boyfriend (who is in prison) that morning and he said she shouldn´t be baptized and she was starting to change her mind, but after my questions she decided to stick with her plan and be Baptized. I was ecstatic and had more confidence in my ability to follow the Spirit than every before. Because we spent that night talking about Baptism, we didn´t teach her her last principle, so we made plans to meet with her the next morning-the morning of her Baptism. We got there and I instantly knew something was wrong. She told us that she talked with her boyfriend again that morning, and he said he wouldn´t marry her after he was released if she got Baptized (his family is active in the church, but he despises it).

She said she wasn´t going to be Baptized. Hna Vasquez went dead silent and I thought "Great, it´s up to me today." I just went with my nature and told her it´s okay, it´s her decision, we love her no matter what, etc. etc. Then, I remembered two PMG principles. 1. Be bold and loving...and bold. 2. "The first thing you are going to do if someone isn´t keep their committments is be devestated! Salvation is at stake!" -Elder Holland

Even though it was completely out of my comfort zone, I decided to be bold. I changed my tone a little bit and asked her to read a scripture about Baptism and how we are clean afterward. I told her that I remembered her telling us she wanted to be clean and explained that without Baptism, that just wasn´t possible. I talked about how I knew she loved her boyfriend, but I asked her what he had done for her. She really couldn´t come up with anything. I told her that her Savior died for her, isn´t he more important? I told her that I wasn´t being honest early when I told her we were okay because we weren´t. It wasn´t because we wanted the numbers to report to our President, it was because we loved her more than she knew and we were devestated for her loss.

 She took everything very well and hugged me very tight at the end. With all the child-like hope of a new missionary, I told her we would be waiting in the chapel for her that night and we really hoped to see her there. We arrived at the Chapel that night and found our Elders standing outside. They too had an investigator that was supposed to be baptized that night, but had a change of mind an hour or so before and they just couldn´t make it happen. Still, the four of us sat in the church and waited.

Finally, Elder Gondara got sick of watching Hermana Vasquez stare at the ready, empty font, and closed the doors. The Branch President showed up and we had to explain to him everything that happened. He was so shocked--this had never happened before, especially with two investigators in one night.

 Hermana Vasquez had been really sick and looked like she was about to pass out. She asked the Elders for a blessing. After, I was in the Bathroom waiting for her, and I noticed that the entrance to the font was still unlocked. I couldn´t help but walk up the stairs and stand above the font. Even though it was almost 12 years ago now (I hope that makes you feel old) I had a perfect recollection of my own Baptism and the joy I felt. Also of the joy I felt every Thursday when I stepped into the font in the Temple to do work for the dead. My heart broke as I realized that someone I had genuinely come to love wasn´t going to feel that joy.

 When we went back to the room where the Elders were, they informed us that they had felt impressed to call the Zone Leaders, who were on their way to take Hermana Vasquez to the Hospital. She went and laid on a bench, and I plopped down next to Elder Turley who said, "Wow, when it rains, it pours." Elder Gondara heard us (I think we´ve underestimated his English abilities) and came over and said, in his very best English. "Yes, we are sad for the Salvation of our friends, but when we´re sad, we can´t have the Spirit. Let´s be happy so we can have the Spirit and realize we did all that we could and have faith that they will change their minds one day."

Elder Turley then started to hum "There is sunshine in my soul today" and we all joined in. As Hermana Vasquez and I headed to the hospital, we found a whole bunch of members standing outside the chapel, whispering about what had happened. Elder Gondara stepped out and told them all that since we had food and everyone was all together, they should play games and make a Branch Activity out of it. They all did.

While I sat in the Hospital with my companion, Elder Gondara called me and, bless his heart, told me that he had called and invited Bessy to the "Branch Activity" and she showed up and was laughing with her friends. This gave me so much hope that one day she really might just change her mind.

We were stuck up in our room for a few days so Hermana Vasquez could heal, which actually turned out to be a blessing for me because I really needed that study time! Despite everything, I really did have a great week and I still just love being a missionary!!!

 Love you all very much!

 Hermana Simonson

Hermana Simonson and her new District

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hola! Happy Mother's Day!

May 13, 2013

Hola Familia!!!

So great to talk to all of you last night! But, I still have tons to say. I was really scatter brained last week, so I want to tell you about my trip down here.

When we started to descend below the clouds into Atlanta, my heart sunk a little bit as I saw bits and pieces of it and I realized it was nothing like home, this was the furthest I´d ever been from home, and I was only one third of the way to Peru. I prayed for comfort and right then, no joke, a little area of the clouds parted and I saw a track. I know it sounds so stupid and such a small thing, but it was such a great tender mercy. It was the Lord´s way of telling me that he hears my prayers.

 The Elders I travelled with were also a huge comfort to me! I had been told I would meet my mission president at the airport and they told us again and again at the MTC to look our best and make a great impression on him. I went into the bathroom during the flight to touch up my hair and make up. I had on my best outfit and smile. Well, I didn´t meet him until the next morning. The morning where I couldn´t figure out the shower and couldn´t iron my clothes and didn´t have a mirror.

I was scared to death by that point, so my smile was totally forced and, completely against my character, I broke down in tears in our interview. Total opposite of what I wanted, but he seemed to still genuinely care about me. I had to get rid of a bunch of stuff before I could fly to Tarapoto (I was THRILLED to be assigned to the Iquitos Mission, yay for the Jungle!) and I was sad to leave behind my beloved cardigans, my hair straightener, and several outfits. But, I guess it means I´ll have clothes to come back to in 18 months! I love the Jungle. I feel like I was made for this place. I don´t even mind that my face is always shiny and my hair is always curly. I can even handle the cold showers (thanks to 2 years of cold post-morning-practice locker room showers).

 I LOVE THIS PLACE. I love that me and my companion are the only Sisters. I love that my District is small. I love MotoCars. I love my mission already. Investigators: Jadde: Age 10, was actually baptized Yesterday! She is so sweet. I only taught her two lessons this week, but I love her so much. Bessy: Age 17, is living with a member family, is being Baptized on Saturday. I have taught her four lessons already and she laughs at my accent, but likes the lessons. She passed her interview yesterday. LuisMiguel: We had contacted his brother in the Plaza and given him a Restoration Pamphlet. When we went to visit him, he wasn´t very interested, but Luis Miguel had read the whole thing and had tons of questions. It was awesome. He and his mom thought our message was beautiful and invited us back. We have taught them both two lessons now.

Bridget: I think she is mostly just meeting with us out of curiosity, she doesn´t seems to have desires to change a whole lot, but Hermana Vasquez says that people in the Jungle are just slow learners. We taught a lesson to her and her friend and both liked it and invited us back. LuzClarita:16, has a baby and lives in a plywood hut with her boyfriend. Hna V has been teaching her for a very long time, she is learning slowly but surely. She has a Baptism date, but needs to get married first and we are having problems contacting her mom to get the things that we need.

Deysi and Family: Deysi´s 10 year old Daughter walked into the place where we were having lunch and said she wanted to introduce us to her mom. We met the family and they firmly believe in the Bible and Jesus Christ, but are looking for the true church. There are 4 daughters and 1 son and our first lesson was great! We are meeting with them again tonight.

Other Lessons: It was getting late and we had two choices, walk to Luz Clarita´s house the long way in the Dark, or go for a hike straight up to it. My adventure side, of course, was up for a climb in the jungle. We got to the top and I stopped to take a picture. A lady in the house and the top of the cliff came out and we started talking about who we were. She lit up and invited us in. I taught most of the lesson and it was amazing and I thought wow, I knew I was inspired to climb up this way. She loved it. We set up an appointment for another time and she went to go check with her husband on the time, and then came back and said her husband wouldn´t allow her to meet with Mormons and he had asked us to leave. She was embarrassed and I was heartbroken. Hna V says it happens all the time.

We met a girl named Estepani that wanted to meet with us. We came back the next day to teach her and her mom and it was frustrating becuse both were very preoccupied the whole time with phones and questions about America and other things. The mom loved the lesson and said she believed it was correct, but said she didn´t want to change her life right now, but if she did she would call us and invite us back. We asked why she´d want to put the blessings off, and she kindly asked us to leave. So frustrating!

Oh, by the way, HAPPY MOTHER´S DAY! I forgot the whole reason that I was calling yesterday. We invited the Elders from our District, Elder Gondara and Turley, over for cookies and Inca Cola to celebrate Mother´s Day. I guess they´re my family for now, but it´s a whole lot better than nothing!!!

 I love you all so much!!!!! I miss you tons, but am having the time of my life right now. I have been homesick, but I know that just means I need to get lost in the work more this week.

I LOVE YOU. See you soon, write you sooner (next week).

Love Always, Meghan

Saturday, May 11, 2013

P-Day in Peru!

Two movie quotes have been running through my head all day.

 1.) Toto, I don´t think we´re in Kansas anymore.

2.) Elder, what language are they speaking? That's not the language they taught me in the MTC.

Sunday night was crazy as I prepared for my departure. I was starting to become nervous. But, the Elders in my District were SO helpful. On of them, Elder Adams, assisted by all of the rest of them, gave me a blessing that brought me so much comfort. Saying goodbye to my District was SO hard because they really became my support and my family here.

All of the Sisters woke up at 4 am to walk me to the Travel Office and say goodbye. Elder Adams and Elder McPherson were reassigned until their visas come and were leaving the same day as me, so I got to ride the bus with them and it was so comforting. They kept telling me how great I would be, how good I looked, how much my Mission President would love me, etc. I said goodbye to them at the airport and I thought my heart would break, but I remembered three key words: Hurrah for Israel! If we all stayed together in the MTC, nothing would get done. It was time to split up.

I know that my visa was not supposed to come until the exact day that it did. Heavenly Father DID need me in Peru at the exact time I was called to be there, but he knew my training needed to be done at the Provo MTC. He knew that I needed my teachers and my District. I will be so much better because of all of them. I arrived in Peru around 11pm last night and made it through customs without a problem.

When I got out of the Airport, things got crazy. Me and Elder Medina found ourselves in the middle of a large crowd of people who were yelling in Spanish and waving to us. I didn't understand a word. Then, someone spoke Spanish to us clearly and slowly ¨Missionaries, I am a member. Can I help you?¨¨ He looked trustworthy, so we headed his direction. Then, I heard someone yell ¨Hermana Seemohnsohn!" Two Elders, one of them American, came running toward me. They light in their faces was so refreshing and much needed. They helped me with my things, the white one speaking in English. He told me a member was going to drive me to a house with some Sisters, where I would stay for the night.

I got in the car with this complete stranger who didn't speak a word of English and started to see Lima for the first time. It was very humbling. It is a big city, but it is not at all like a city we know. I tried to converse with him, but I didn't do a very good job. He was nice though. We arrived in an alley and he got out of the car and started yelling "Hermanas, Hermanas wake up! The new missionary is here. She's only studied Spanish for 6 weeks, but she's your companion!" Two Sisters, one from either Uraguay (or Paraguay, I´m not sure which one) and one from Chile, came down and led me up the stairs to their bedroom. I had a hard time talking to them, but again, I did my best. I slept under a llama blanket, that was cool. But honestly, as I laid there I couldn't help but wonder what on earth I had gotten myself into. Suddenly, a stateside mission didn't sound so bad.

 Then, I got the firmest conviction that I am EXACTLY where I need to be. We woke up early this morning and I really had to take things in stride. I didn't shower because I didn't know how and didn't understand their directions. We went to breakfast at a members house. When we walked in, she was chasing chickens out with a pole. I'm not sure what all I ate for breakfast, but there was bread, I mostly just ate that. We started walking through Lima to come to the Internet Cafe I'm at right now, and I tried to take everything in.

It is SO different here. We met up with some Elders and I was pleased to see that one of them was American. He explained to me what was going on (I was pretty unsure) and asked me how I was feeling. He promised me I'd love it here, but said "I'm not going to lie, it will take a lot of getting used to." It was comforting though.

 In a few hours, I am going to meet with the mission president, and then he will send me to my new companion (a native Peruvian) in my new area.WOW, I am SOO excited!!! It's easy to be scared, but I know I have SO much divine help. I am THRILLED to be here right now and I know I have lives to change. The language will be hard and the culture will take some getting used to, but it will be SO worth it!!! I love it here so much and I can already tell it is my new home for the next little while. I know I belong here.

I love being a missionary, even if I'm in this strange country where I tower over everyone, am one of two white people that I have seen, and barely speak the language. I can picture myself a few months from now. I will have everything down soon, I know it. I know the language will come, I will understand the culture,I will figure out how to use this keyboard, and all will be well.

Honestly, all is well right now, too! I love it so much here and can't wait to serve. I am excited to meet with my Mission President today and meet my new companion. It will be so great!!!! I get to Skype on Sunday! I'm not sure when because I will be in a different area so things could be different, but the group I am with now is doing it at 5 Peru time (I don{t know what that is oñ your time) so maybe plan on that? but watch for an email or something if it changes.

Hopefully I can let you know. I really do love it here so much and am thrilled to be here! I miss you SO much but I know without a doubt that this is where I belong right now and despite how it may sound, I do have confidence in my God, myself, my Religion, my Spanish, and everything that I need to thrive here. I will thrive! I love it here so much.

Love Always,
Hermana Simonson

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

P-Day #. . .I Lost Count!

May 1, 2013


WOW. What a roller coaster ride these last few days have been!!! It's crazy.

Last Thursday, I was informed that there was little hope for my visa to arrive any time soon and that my name had been submitted for reassignment. It was one of those *maybe/hopefully* we'll be able to send you somewhere Spanish speaking. I was scared to death to get reassigned English Speaking and lose all the hard work I've put in over the last 5 weeks.

That night, I received an extra DearElder Letter and I knew Brady had gotten his mission call. One problem: the District Leader had gotten the mail at 5:30, and we aren't allowed to read it until 9:30. I had to sit through class and try to focus. He lifted the DearElder Letter up and was able to read the call. He told his companion what it was and I tried to demand that he tell me, too, but he was having way too much fun laughing at me to tell me the big secret. After we said the closing prayer, I practically tackled the mail pile and read the letter out loud to my District. OH MAN! I think it fits Brady so perfectly. I'm so proud of my brother.

Friday, I was called into the Doctor for even MORE blood tests and they didn't have a blood sugar maching tester thing so the lady just took a needle in her hand and stabbed me with it--it was no fun!!! Saturday, I was asked to play the piano in Sacrament Meeting, be in a Musical Number, conduct the zone leadership meeting (I don't know if I wrote about this last week but I'm the ward Portal Coordinater) and possibly give a talk. At first I was nervous, but then I was stoked for the opportunities to serve and to practice my Spanish a little bit more with my talk. I realized how much I love serving and was just so excited. I was really on a service high.

Well, Sunday morning as I was preparing to do all these things, I felt prompted to go check on Hermana Watkins, a sick sister in our zone. As I walked into her hallway, I saw her companion standing in the hallway crying and staring at the Front-Desk Emergency Phone. She told me that Hermana Watkins was in a lot of pain and she felt like she needed to call for help. I encouraged her to follow her prompting and the Front Desk told her that they needed to be taken to the hospital. Both girls were scared to death and wanted an "Older" (it's ironic because I'm two weeks older on MTC time, but almost two years younger in real life) Hermana to come along.

Our Sister Training Leader gave me permission to go on splits (joining another companionship and sending my Companion to join a different companionship) and escort the Hermanas to the Hospital. I sat in the Hospital for several hours and watched the time go by. I realized I wouldn't be able to make it back on time for Sacrament Meeting and I was so bummed! I really just wanted to serve today. Just as I was thinking that, Hermana Watkins, from the hospital bed, started to cry and grunt from pain and both of the Hermanas looked at me and asked what to do. The nurse had already given her a second dose of Morphine and it hadn't kicked in yet. I didn't know how I could help and there were no nurses in sight that we could get a hold of, so I just shut the door to the room and we all held hands while I said a prayer. In the middle of the prayer, I felt Hermana Watkins relax and her heartbeat calmed down. It was amazing. It then hit me that I was doing exactly what I had planned on that day--I was serving. I thought my service was going to be in music and words in church, but it was instead to be there as a comfort to these sisters. It was indeed the better service.

After a few hours and a whole lot of needles, Hermana Watkins was given a prescription and the shuttle took us to Walgreens. It was SO weird to be out in the world, especially in a store on a Sunday! I hadn't left the MTC for 5 weeks. By the way, when did spray on lotion come out? That was the first I had seen of it! After that rollercoaster of a day, I found out that our schedule would be changed and I wasn't going to have P-Day the next day. Okay, it sounds like a dumb little thing but it kind of threw me for a loop because we are SO specific about our schedules, and I was on my last clean outfit. That night, my companion and another Hermana in my District asked the Elders for blessings because they'd been extremely homesick all week. I got to listen to both blessings and it totally touched my heart. I have such a soft spot for the Priesthood, especially in the hands of such young boys.

 I made it through Monday, and woke up sick on Tuesday. I was bummed because I knew I needed to stay in bed, but I really wanted to teach our lesson that day (it was to a "real" person!). After a couple hours, I felt better and I just had the strongest feeling that I needed to make it to the lesson. I quickly got up and got ready, and my companion and I headed to the lesson. We were a few minutes late, but so was our appointment. It was perfect. The Spirit was SO strong in our lesson, and I was able to say so many things that I didn't even remember that I knew how to say in Spanish! The lady told us after about how we said exactly what she needed to here and how much love she already had for us.

Later that afternoon, I was in teaching another lesson that went a little over time. When I returned to the classroom, my entire district had their cameras pointed at me. Then, they said our classic you-just-got-called-to-the-travel-office line. "Hermana Simonson, I hope you like diarrhea." We ran to the Travel Office, but I didn't have as much faith as my District did. I didn't think diarrhea was an issue because there was no way this was my Visa--I was sure it was a reassignment. Well...it wasn't! I was so excited to be going to the Peru MTC!

Then, I looked closer at the papers I'd been given and read these words:

 "This missionary is fluent in Spanish and will be going straight to the field."

Oh boy! It was insane. I was so excited, but there was definitely a fear factor in there. As I prayed last night, it was almost as if I could hear the Spirit talking and quoting Exodus. "Go ye therefore, and I WILL BE your mouth."

It was followed by the most distinct prompting--"What makes you think you've been doing any of the talking thus far, anyway?" What a call to humility! I know that I can do this but not because of me--because of the Grace of my Lord and Savior. I wish words could describe how excited I am to enter the field. This is it. This is the thing I've waited so long for.

I read my Patriarchal Blessing right now and I realized that I AM prepared to do this. God has always known that He would make that age change. He has always known that I would serve. He has always known that I would go to Peru. He has been preparing me for this my whole life. I know this whole thing has been in His hands all along--He knew my visa would come. He also knew that I needed to be at the Provo MTC for all of my training. He knew I needed to learn patience and faith as I waited for my Visa. He knew I needed to meet the people I've met here.

I can't believe that my next Email to you will come from Peru. I am so excited to be with my people. I love them already. The field is white, and it is waiting for Hermana Simonson.

I love you all so much. I hope that you will send prayers my way as I prepare to "officially" begin my work and my travels.

Love Always,

Hermana Meghan D. Simonson

Pretty MTC Flowers!
Photobomb: Elder Frehner
More flowers...because I love them!
Candid shot of me writing letters!
My District makes fun of me for only ever kissing one boy...so I kissed this one.
Me just after I passed out at the Doctor's and returned to my room
My "Sister Teacher" Hermana Sherwood!
I love going to the Doctor for the sole purpose of doing puzzles in the waiting room!!! I've missed that.
6 weeks at the MTC....and I haven't changed a bit! :)
This is my roommate Hermana Weller. She is SO inspiring and has the best stories to tell.  We get along SO well!
Me and my companion with our "Portal Coordinator" binder. Yay for callings!