Monday, August 25, 2014

"Hermana Sanchez. That's me."

Holy crap I'm in Mexico. When did that happen? I feel like I have been here forever, but alas, it's only been a week.

I'll start with this. I have gotten three emails asking if I have pooped my pants. It hasn't happened. Yet. When it does, all I'm saying in that email is, it happened. You'll know.

Saying goodbye to one of her favorites, Sister Peters

Hermana VOB and her traveling companions!

Anyway, the day I flew in the president and his wife picked us up and went back to their home and had dinner. It was bomb. The next day I got my companion. She doesn't speak English. Honestly in the beginning I was like "well crap how is this going to work?" I can tell you that I have learned more this one week I have been here than 6 in the MTC. It is such a blessing to have a native as my companion. She is so dang cute. She reminds me of the bird in Rio named Blue. She looks like him, her mannerisms are the same, she sings like him (in the kindest way...) haha man I just love her. I may not know like anything about her personal life but that doesn't matter.

Oh mi digas, our place of living. Probably the dirtiest place I have ever been. You want to know why? Elders lived there right before us. Dirty little punks. We spent the whole day cleaning. I'll attach pics. It's a super cute place, though. My favorite is the bathroom, right next to the toilet which doesnt have a toilet seat, the shower head is right there. All in one. Hahah I love it. Right behind our apartment is a soccer field and every night I get to fall asleep to the sound of my favorite game. It's the best. Oh we live like in the heart of the city, Tepotzatlan. Kinda of a touristy area. We live right behind this massive Catholic museum thing. It's gorgeous. 

Have I talked about the dogs? Well I don't think I have ever seen so many dogs in my entire life. They are flippin everywhere. Some want to eat me, but for the most part they're nice. I think. Our main transportation is walking obviously but also combis. They are like van taxis. Every time I get in one I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die, good thing I'm a protected missionary.

Crazy story. We were waiting for a combi when a woman broke out into hysterics. We went over to try and help and she literally collapsed in our arms. She came around and we found out her daughter was kidnapped and someone called her and told her and thats why she passed out. It was awful. She would come around and then just started bawling and then pass out again. We called her friends to come get her and that was it. Super sad. Two other sisters wanted to teach the plan of salvation and get her address to visit. Oh missionaries.
This week I was able to give English lessons. It was so awesome. Then we taught the first lesson to this family and they were super recpetive. We gonna get them for sure. I get to teach the little boy once a week and I just love it. The people here are so different. There is so much love. You can just see it in their faces when they look at each other and how they treat each other. Man I just love love! It's the best.

Oh man. So adults don't ever tell me if I'm saying things wrong in lessons. The children, whole different story. They just laugh at me and are straight up like you talk weird and incorrectly. It's awesome. Also I have been spelling te amo wrong in my emails so that's cool. No shame. Oh one of the member families asked me to pray in English cause they think it's cool so I did... except I couldn't even think how to pray in English. It was so wrong and awkward, good thing they couldn't understand a single thing.
Since I'm an American, I get free food. I will be looking at something wondering what the heck it is and they just give me some to try. I ate some sort of fried pig thing. I thought it was like a really large chip. No, no it wasn't. Fried pig something. Who knows. We eat with members every day. They feed us like we are going to die. Seriously so much food. Most of it has been good. I just can't look or think about it. Just eat. My stomach has only hated me once since I have been here so that's good.
Usually it rains in the evenings but one day it rained a little earlier and I didn't have my jacket. So by the time we got home I was completely soaked. It was so much fun though.

How cute is she?!?

Hahaha ok in Sacrament this Sunday the bishop was introducing me and tried saying my name and then just gave me a new name. Hermana Sanchez. So that's me now.
It's been a great week. I love this place and the people, even if I have no idea what they are saying. They are so kind and loving. This is going to be the best year and a half.
Until next week,
Hermana van Overbeek aka Sanchez

*Haley just asked me to remind everyone that she LOVES getting dear elders and would love to hear from everyone ;) All you have to do is go to the site, choose her mission (Mexico City North), click "write letter," add her name, and voila! Write away! Bonus, writing a letter to her mission is free when using dear elder!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

"Wow you're really ugly here..."

Hello everyone!
This is my last email before I become a "real live" missionary. Because I have been a dead fake one these past 6 weeks... So many people have said that this week. Thanks, it's not like I haven't been working my hiney off these 6 weeks. Yeah I'm not bitter or anything about that. Oh, I have lost weight since I have been here. It doesn't matter though, I'm not going down in size. All my muscles are just turning into mush cause I sit all day. So now I'm just really squishy. It's awesome. I love it. Can you feel that sarcasm?

Monday I got to take a field trip to Las Vegas to get my visa. And guess who I saw at 5:15 in the morning... Brian Wallace! What are the odds? Probably the best surprise ever and just what I needed... to see another dad (Brian is a good family friend of ours! The trip was fun ish. Super long. We got there and one of the old men had to waste time so he talked AT us, not with us, for 2 1/2 hours. I fell asleep but he loved to keep calling on me and asking if I heard him. Yeah I totally heard you while I was sleeping. Then later he was talking to the mission president of that area who stopped by and said yeah they're tired and I told them it's ok if they fall asleep. Where was that kindness when you were waking me up? I'll tell you, no where to be found. It's ok, I would always just go right back to sleep after he woke me up. I got to travel with 10 Elders and they were super funny. One of them was from my district and he was looking through his pictures and one came up of me doing that blow thing on the window. So naturally he shows everyone. One of the Elders then says, "Wow you're really ugly here." No joke. Seriously so funny. I love blunt people. My plane ride home was pretty amazing. I'm sitting there looking out the window and we are surrounded by these beautiful big billowy clouds with golden edges from the sun. Aka Heaven. Then I look down and there is this super thick dark fog and then earth. Then I thought, hey the fog is like worldly things and anything else keeping us from our Heavenly Father. What is my personal fog that is keeping me from coming closer to Christ and my Heavenly Father? Then from the Heavenly clouds we went into a huge storm where there was no light to be seen. Often times in trials it's dark and lonely and we struggle to find that light that is just around the darkest cloud. The pilot then says he is going to try and go around it so we don't have as much turbulence. I think everyone tries to avoid their personal storms as much as possible. Sometimes we forget that through our darkest storms Christ is right there with us every step of the way. We are given showers, thunder, lightening, floods, and hurricanes so we can learn to rely on Christ and strengthen our faith in Him. Christ will always illuminate the darkest storms if we let Him. The Atonement is such an active part of the Gospel.

Wednesday my companion and I got to go and do the example teaching for all the noobie missionaries that came in Wednesday. We would just start off the lessons and then they would take it from there. One tender little Elder was talking about the feelings of the Spirit and said, "It's like a fire inside you...(the investogator looked freaked out)... but not like a a real fire!" It was hilarious. I love missionaries.

Yesterday we did in field orientation and my companion and I so nicely were volunteered by our district to be in a little mini play they were going to show. Yay. I had some lines, they were funny. Then I had to put a sticker star on the acting bishop who was older and I'm going to do it and then I realize, "Holy crap, you're a male and I'm not aloud to touch you." So then I'm just like uhhhhh am I allowed to touch you? Everyone was busting up but it was a serious question for me. I've never put a golden star on so fast.

Ok this is awesome. We are sitting at breakfast and I have a muffin to eat. Sister Peters looks at me and says," What are the odds of you eating that in one bite?" Then we do the number thing and we say the same number so I have to do it. I did so gladly. I got it all in there so yeah I was impressed with myself. Literally 2 seconds later a cafeteria police man comes over and was like,"Now Sister, you are a represenative of Jesus Christ. Stuffing a whole muffin in your mouth isn't the best behavior. Also, what kind of example are you setting for everyone else? Any good District leader would not allow this to happen. Please remember to have quiet dignity." Struck down. Not only did I feel like dump, but the poor Elder next to me did too. Just imagine someone saying this and I'm just sitting there with a whole muffin in my mouth trying not to laugh. Wait! It gets better. He asked me,"Can you even whistle?" I dont' know why thats a relevant question, but he asked, so I delivered. I try to whistle, obviously I knew I couldn't but I tried for him, and at the same time I try, an Elder whistles so it looks like I did! So flippin funny. Worth the scolding.

Today I met an Elder that is from my mission and said that that's where everyone gets killed. Sorry Mom and Dad... I'm planning on getting robbed at least once. It'll be a good story.
It's a good thing I'm leaving Monday cause the food here is literally killing me from the inside out. I had stomach aches all week. I think that's why we are only here for 6 weeks, they know the food they make will kill us if we are here any longer. 
Well that's really all. Next time you hear from me I will be in MEXICO!!!
Love love love you all. Peace and blessings.
Hermana van Overbeek

Saturday, August 9, 2014

"I am so ready to meet my people of Mexico!"

Well, this has been the best week of the MTC so far. Today I got a surprise visit at the temple. This one wasn't planned though I promise! I'm sitting on a bench after the session and I see these two heads popp around a bush. I know the faces too. I just look at them thinking to myself, I know these people... It was Syd, Rachel, and Emma. I just kinda stared like what the heck... Then Sara Triplett runs out of no where and into my arms. This is my best friend in the world. Of course I just started crying. I didn't think I would see this pretty lady for a year and a half. Plus, I thought she was in California. It got even better, Momma Triplett was with them too! So I got a mommy hugu and started crying all over again. It was the best to see this second family of mine. They had no idea if I would be there at that time but alas, there I was. I love my people!
So my companion left to get her visa for like two days. That's not the reason this was the best week, just to clarify... Anyways, she left and we were supposed to teach like 5 lessons in that period time. Like I have said before, my comp is a champ and gives the lessons because late in life I turned out to be a mute. That's beside the point. I got out of 3/5 lessons because they were just our teachers but we had two lessons with Roberto who has been our progressing investogator. I was freaking out because I was told that I would have a teacher come in with me but that they weren't speaking. Craaaaaaap. I prepared my lesson and said probably a million prayers. I get there and I talk. In Spanish. Wait, what? I never said it was great Spanish, but none the less it was Spanish. I spoke with confidence because for the first time in the hundred lessons we have given, I felt the Spirit. It was the most amazing experience ever. I could understand his concerns and could give answers that he needed. I knew what I wanted to say and he felt it. Roberto was basically atheist btw. But from that lesson he said his heart and mind were opened and had the desire to pray to God. That was HUGE. The gift of tongues is real. In 2 Nephi 33:1 it talks abut how if you speak with the Spirit it will pierce the hearts of those who hear it. It didn't matter that my Spanish was awful. The spirit always testifies. So awesome!
One of my favorite things I heard at devotional this Sunday was about the different worlds us missionaries live in. We have our district, our emails back home with friends and family, our companion, and then our world with the Savior. That is the best one. This time is all about getting to know Him better and bringing that opportunity unto others. Pretty sweet.
We got our travel plans this week. HOLLA. I get to go to Vegas for my visa Monday. Party time. Then the following Monday I leave at 2:30 am for Mexico!!!!!! I can't even wait. My companion and a few others are not wanting to leave the MTC but I cannot wait to get out of this place. It's awesome, I have had the time of my life, but it's time to move on. I am so ready to meet my people of Mexico!
The past three weeks the sisters in my apartment and I have been sleeping in the living room. We made a pangea bed, it's the best decision since I have been here. Also we have all been sleeping better since. Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE to snuggle. There's 3 beds because I refused to move mine out because I didn't want my own bed. So I sleep in the middle. Best thing ever.
Welp that's all. Nothing funny this week.
Love you all
Hermana van Overbeek

"K love you, bye!"

Wow, what a week it has been. It's been a doosy. I have some really funny things so get ready.
Every Sunday we are suppose to prepare a talk on theme of the week in Spanish. Our second Sunday comes around and I have this feeling that I'm going to get called for it but alas, I chose not to write my talk. All the Elders in the older district said I wouldn't get chosen and I shouldn't worry. So I didn't. Sacrament rolls around and guess who got called on? Yes, it was me. I quickly stole my companions talk and walked up there. I gave the talk not even knowing what it said really. Then afterwards one of the Branch Presidence wives comes up to me and hugs me and then whispers in my ear, and I quote, "Scary as hell getting called up like that huh?" My hero. I looked at her super funny and was busting up. She then said,"It's a bible curse word, don't worry. Someone has to set the bad example anyways." This woman is a hoot! 
Ok this is awesome. Here at the MTC there isn't much to do, so I try and spice it up. One night we were walking back from dinner and there's a lot of bushes on one side. So what do I do? I say to my comp,"Hey watch out for that bush!" And I proceeded to bush her into the bush. It was SO funny. The bush was small don't worry. Everyone was dying laughing, including my comp. It's safe to say that I get pushed into bushes on a daily for that one. So worth it.
This last wednesday we got new missionaries and everytime they come in for their first dinner we all clap and cheer for them. Only our zone cause we are the tables by the door. Quickly after we were cheering, a cafeteria woman came and yelled,"QUIET DIGNITY." Only the best thing ever. Yeah we will probably do it next week too.
AH! One of my favorites. So to get into our little gym bubbles, we go through these revolving doors. Once again I found something fun to do. I went through and just starting running in it which meant the sisters had to keep up and jump out fast. So fun. Low and behold, two days after there is a sign outside and inside saying please walk through revolving doors in all caps. Mission accomplished.
This past week at a meeting I found out that it's unacceptable to hi-five Elders. Do they really think that will start romantic feelings? Why yes they do. So I did something. When Elders go to shake my hand, I go in like I'm gonna shake it, but then just hit their hand real quick. It's not a hi-five in any means. The look the Elders gave me the first few times I did it was hilarious. They were just like what the heck is she doing. They love it. They try and shake my hand fast enough before I hit it. Only one can get me everytime. It's spreading too. I see random people who I haven't done it to doing it. How awesome is that? It's fun.
Also, in our district, the Elders and Sisters don't say like we love you guys. Instead we say I appreciate you. It's said a lot here. Hahah but when we are walking out of the classroom we will yell,"K love you bye!'' and close the door and run. We just really "appreciate" them.
The language is coming along. Maybe not in ways you would think though. I have the Mexican accent down. In English. Like it's pretty dang good. Now in our district when anyone is like thinking in english, hey think it in a mexican accent cause that's all they hear from me and Sister Peters. Funny thing is, when I am in lessons or talking in Spanish that accent seems to be gone and I just sound like a gringo. Fail.
Now on to the good stuff.
Devotional this week we had John Groberg speak. Everyone go watch The Other Side of Heaven. He is amazing. He gave such a powerful talk on sharing our testimonies in what we say, do, sing, write, pray, and who we are.
 Monday was a long hard day. All us sisters got blessing from a few of the Elders. It would be an understatement to say it was just amazing. In my blessing there were things said that were so specific to what I needed to hear that I hadn't told anyone. The whole time all I could imagine was Christ's hand on this Elders shoulder whispering to him what I needed at that time. The Spirit was incredible strong. The other sisters blessing were the same way. It's just so neat to have all these worthy Elders to be vessels of the Lord. So awesome.
This Wednesday we got 4 new Sisters in our zone. They are all so wonderful. On Friday their whole district was having a really hard time with the adjustment and mainly the language and how they teach us. Basically no english. One of the teachers came in and asked myself and Hermana Peters to come and share our experience here and our testimony. He chose us because we were the only ones in our district knowing like nothing where everyone else remembered most of it from high school. She and I have the hardest time with the language and honestly continue to do so. It was so awesome to be able to share with them my experience. Here is what I said ish. Since being here, I have been humbled more than I can imagine. I came in not remembering much from high school and thinking I will never learn. Also it was hard cause my companion came in basically being able to teach a lesson off the top of her head. I told myself I couldn't compare myself to her and the progress of the rest of my class, but it's hard not to. A week in, I fell to my knee's and prayed to my Heavenly Father harder than I ever had before. After I finished, I felt this overwhelming amount of love, peace, and comfort. It was incredible. The MTC isn't suppose to be easy in any means. If we didn't struggle, there would be no room to progress. Having this happened, I realized I couldn't do this myself and Heavenly Father let me struggle so much so I would get on my knee's and rely on Him. I will have so many short comings, but He never does. We are here at the MTC to come closer to Christ and learn of His Gospel. That is our main goal. A scripture I shared was about first obtaining His word and then our tongues being loosed to proclaim it. The gift of tongues is real. It won't be this huge moment where you can speak the language, it's moments like I have in lessons where I can share my testimony and I find the words to do so. It requires so much work, but if you're willing to put that in, we are blessed with that promise. We are walking the path that Christ did. He is with us every step of the way and puts angels in our life to bear us up when it's hard. We are never alone in any situation. I don't believe my Savior lives. I know he lives.

Today at the temple I walked out to the best thing ever. I see my sister Kaitlynn and my sweet baby niece Emma waiting at the fountains.I know its not suppose to happen but what do you expect? Emma see's me and just starts smiling and lunging toward me for a hug. My heart leaped when I saw these pretty ladies. I got to hug and kiss that sweet baby all I wanted. Better yet I got to hug my sister who is my best friend. She has been constantly writing and sending me packages every week. Along with all my other Mommies out there and I am SO grateful for it! Mail of any sort is like crack and I love it. Not that I have had crack, you know what I mean.
Hermana van Overbeek