Sunday, March 27, 2016

Week 3: The Power of the Atonement (March 22, 2016)

Wednesday: I got to host! That means that our district got to welcome the new missionaries, like the girl that had helped take me to get all my things and books and who took me to my classroom. I was selected for a "special assignment" and it turns out I was helping to early host. It was really fun to sit out in the sun, waiting for the early arrivals come through. I ended up helping an elder because all of the other missionaries were already hosting but it was alright. Tambien, it turns out that ingles speaking missionaries don't get to host because they are solamente aqui for 3 weeks and they need to be in class. I guess we get cut some slack because 11 hours a day for six weeks we're being fed information. I remember this one quote that an elder said when he was asked what it felt like to be at the MTC. He said, "It's like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. You get a little bit of water, but mostly it just hurts your face." Yo tambien. I finally came to the realization that Spanish is a language all on it's own. I know that's kind of a "well, duh" statement, but really. I was teaching one of my teachers that was pretending to be an investigador (yes it is as fun as it sounds), and I suddenly understood every little bit of his sentence. It was super basico but I caught all of the nuances that occurred. "I understand this message" or something simple like that. But holy cow. Most of the time I catch the basic meaning of the sentence or I cobble it together in my mind in a way that is ingles but is also muy espanol. I don't really know how to describe it. But that day I understood the beautiful fluidity of the language they speak. Maybe it's because when I'm speaking, I'm doing my very best to be understand. And even as I say, "I know that the Book of Mormon es verdadero" or other sentences like that exactamente translated like so into ingles, your brain is so focused on trying to find those words that you don't even realize what you're saying sometimes. Poor explanation. But it's a thing. And I feel incredibly privileged to have those glimpses into those intimate complexities that exist in Spanish.

Thursday: I'll admit, Thursday was rough. I was un poquito tired and honestly un poco enferma. Not to mention, I've been really good about not being homesick or really even very stressed and I think that day kind of did me in. It was a good day, we taught a member the lesson on obedience with Nephi's family as an ejemplo and it went really well. I didn't want to interrupt class, or learning and so I kept holding myself together. But I learned some really important things that day.
#1 - my teachers really and truly love each one of us. They are all completely different personalities, outside of the MTC, I highly doubt they would really be seen with each other simply because of their different styles. But every one of them is the most caring, concerned, and compassionate person I have met and I think this about all of them. Our two main teachers, Hno Mecham and Hno Franco noticed my "tiredness" and took time in the middle of class to pull me aside and talk to me. They wanted to do absolutely anything in their power to help me and it was honestly incredibly humbling. Their sincerity is something I really can't explain.
#2 - It's okay to cry sometimes. We're all human, and letting things build up incapacitates you and takes you away from the Lord's work. And the beautiful thing is that the Lord is not going to let me fail. He has called me and He will qualify me so that I can have the strength to press forward.
#3 - The power of la Expiacion. Wow. Since a young age I have been taught of Christ's sacrifice, and I'm learning all about it all over again to teach those that don't know or don't understand. But I realized that maybe even I don't understand. Yes, He died so that we can overcome sin, He died so that we can overcome spiritual and temporal death. But He also died for every last one of us so that we would not be alone. There's a Mormon message by Elder Ballard called "None Were With Him." Please, if there is a spare moment in your day, watch it. He went through everything alone so that we would not have to. I could not tell my teachers what was wrong, because I didn't know. But the Savior knew, and because of His love and sacrifice for me, I was able to overcome my moment of weakness and become strong through His Atonement. I love the scripture Matthew 11:28-30. I've been trying to memorize a scripture a day in Spanish but this one I only have managed in ingles so far.
"Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye will find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
It may not be perfect word for word but oh how I love that scripture.

Friday: This whole week, the Atonement has been stressed to me in a way never before. We taught our TRC investigador. Oh my goodness how I love him. He is such an awesome person. Anyway, we've learned to prepare a lesson but to be very prepared not to actually teach it. And that's of course what happened yet again. We followed up on the commitment we had extended to him and he was asking so many awesome questions. Then we just kind of talked. We asked him questions about the Book of Mormon and other things, and he shared with us this experience that I cannot forget. He and a friend had gotten in a car crash and both were hospitalized. He prayed to God to save his friend and that same night his friend passed away. The feeling in the room was something I will always hold dear and honestly it cannot be explained. Somewhere in the BoM, there is a scripture about a love so intense it is enough to "consume the flesh". Not in a literal sense, but wow. I understand that scripture now. It made me realize that even though we are teaching "real" investigadores, we are all investigadors of Christ. I'm an investigador even as I teach as a missionary. It was quite humbling.

Saturday: I love our teachers so much. Besides Hno Mecham and Franco, we have a handful of floating maestros as well. I really really love them a whole lot. I do not, however, love Saturdays in general a whole whole lot. Basically, this day is here to throw off our circadium rhythms. But that's okay. Just not a fan.

Sunday: Entonces, Jueves, Hna Holmes, Elder Lunt, y yo auditioned with Savior, Redeemer. We were, yo no se, "accepted" and asked to play at the Sunday night devotional. Sunday morning was the temple dedication. Wow. So many wow's this week and it sounds tonto but honestamente, wow has more meaning in espanol than in ingles I feel. It expresses legitimate awe. At least in the contexts I have heard it said here. We had church and then Relief Society where we had a lesson about Faith in Christ and His Atonement (like I said, this was something I relearned all week long in ways I honestly can't describe) and then I taught district meeting sobre el Libro de Mormon. I was a little nervous but as soon as I began, the love I have for that book came rushing back. Holy cow, I love it so much. Read it again and again and again. I recently started it over, in Spanish and ingles, and there is so much. So much to learn from it. Especially if you go into it with a question in mind. Mine is "Que falta yo todavia?" It's amazing how much I have learned in just the first 8 chapters. And Spanish often illuminates something I didn't see before. Wow.  Anyway, that night at the devotional, we performed. I say performed but we really just bore our testimonies with our music. There are two violins at the MTC we can check out. Violin 1 is perfect for most everything but in this particular case, violin 2 was perfecto. Wow. Con permiso, lo siento, so much are things I cannot describe with words. I am so grateful for this. I love it here. Me encanta.

Monday: One thing that makes me really grateful about Spanish is that it isn't my language. I don't mean that in a derogatory way in the least, it helps me have courage because I have had to work hard to understand this language and use it to express myself. It's helped me to love learning because English is wonderful, and there is a whole other language I get to learn I can't even words. One of our jokes is, "We're not learning Spanish, we're losing English." Es verdad. Mucho verdad. Anyway, during one of our clases, we learned about the command form and Hno Mecham had us use it to pray. I think ingles causes us to take a lot of things for granted. When we pray we often say things like, "Give me peace, illuminate my life, strengthen me, bless them with health, heal us" etc. But in spanish it is so intimate. In every instance, we use the usted form aka the formal "you". But when we pray to God and every time Dios speaks to us in the scriptures, the informal "tu" is used. Isn't that interesante? And when we pray using the command form, with faith that it will happen, we are literally giving our voluntad to Him. Our will aligns with His when we pray and it's been eye opening for me.

Yo tengo un chiste en espanol that's also a super Mormon joke so I apologize in advance.

Planchas means plates or quite literally, irons.

Why were the camisas de los Lamanites siempre wrinkled?
Porque they didn't have any planchas.

I laughed at least, so there's that.

Love y'all (since I'm not allowed to say guys and y'all is very acceptable in both Spanish and Missouri.)
Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

Elder Simpson got a companion!

It was hailing on the way to the temple. . . 

but at least it's pretty.


Spots and stripes and matching skirts and basic camera mirror selfies yet.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Week 2: Be Still (March 15, 2016)

So this Wednesday, my district will hit our halfway mark at the MTC! It really feels like just yesterday I came here, but I am SO excited to get out in the field.

Tuesday: Yes, I did get to email that day but that night we had devotional and one of the area seventies, Elder Pino spoke to us. IN SPANISH. It was kind of the best thing ever because I understood his entire talk, and better yet, I knew when the translator wasn't translating it perfectly. There really are meanings in Spanish that don't entirely translate to English. Also, there is this very real thing called "Oh, now I can't speak in either language." It's kind of ridiculous.

Wednesday: We had our fourth lesson with Pablo, and it went really well. Hmo Mecham helped "coach" us during personal study, he wanted us to start the Book of Mormon over again with a question in mind. I decided to ask, "Que falta yo todavia?" What lack I yet? It was amazing to me to see how much in even the first 5 chapters of 1 Nephi had to do with exact obedience. There is a saying here that I've thought about a lot lately, "Obedience brings blessings, exact obediencia brings milagros." (exact obedience brings miracles)  For anyone looking on from the outside, it would be difficult to pinpoint anything I'm doing wrong. Because I am incredibly obedient. But there are little things, like lights out at 10:30. We're still working on that one. Little tiny things that fall through the cracks but I need those miracles exact obedience can bring.

Thursday: It was our last lesson with Pablo, and we went in prepared for the worst, he had changed his mind, he didn't want to meet with us anymore. Right before we went to teach him, I had a thought - we've never discussed the Word of Wisdom, but I guess it's too late now. Ah, but it's never too late. The second we sat down, I realized that eternal families would not be what we were talking about, but something we had not prepared. Much of this lesson, I didn't speak. Although last week, I had gotten a much better grasp on Spanish, this lesson I couldn't find a single palabra (word). Entonces (so), I focused on cobbling together basic frases (phrases), or preguntas (questions) that required him to think and essentially teach himself. That's the best way for them to learn, is for them to process it without us shoving doctrine at them. I was so frustrated that I couldn't just say what I wanted to say. Pero (but), the Spirit taught me an importante (important) lesson that day. Yes, my companera (companion) can speak Spanish, she always knows what to say. And no, I cannot. But it is okay to be still. That's when you learn the most. So whenever I find myself frustrated at my lack of words, I remember, it is okay to be still, because that is when the Spirit can teach us the most.

Friday: Pablo became our teacher! Hermano (Brother) Franco is his nombre (name). He is so invested, he is so sure, and he is such an incredible maestro (teacher) to us. I learned the importance of remaining positive. There are obviously going to be hard times and trials, that's why we're here. But the best way to survive is to find what you are learning from that hard thing. And it helps those around you tambien (also).

Saturday: Ah Saturday's. There are things we call companionship inventories where you sit down together con su companera y hable sobre las cosas y'all are doing good (with your campanion and you talk about things), and things we need to work on. It was an important breakthrough in our companionship. I got to know her so much better and I was able to look at myself and see what I need to change.

Sunday: The hermanas (sisters) in my district and I put together a musical number for Sacrament meeting. There are violins that I can check out and I have fallen in love with violin #1. It's tone is so beautifully mellow and sweet. I love it. Anyway, it was a really neat arrangement and I'll try to send the video we recorded today of that song. Hma Holmes y yo (I) taught Relief Society today, IN ENGLISH hallelujah. It helped remind me that I'm not incapable of teaching, (which I'm not, but sometimes that's how I feel) and we were able to see how each other taught in English which helped us pick up cues in future lecciones (lessons). We taught on obediencia (obedience) and used the first five chapters of Nephi to teach it. I drew a diagram of each person and type of obediencia which I'll attach. It was so uplifting for me. We've run into a slight problem with the only elder in our district. But what I learned from our solution will stay with me the rest of my life. He tends to get very stressed over little things, and isn't the most organized person. Pero, just like with mi companera, it isn't him that needs to change, it's us. We made a pact to always be positive, encourage him, and show our support rather than our annoyance. Throughout the day I came a little closer to loving this individual and despues (after) he taught district meeting, I was stunned. He has such an incredibly strong testimony and I am blessed to know him. He's an odd duck for certain but I could see, even briefly, how much his parents and how much Heavenly Father loves him, and how much he loves each of us. It was humbling for me, to think that every person in this world that we ever come in contact with is treasured by our Heavenly Father, and not only that but they are each another way we can change ourselves venir a Cristo (to become like Christ). It was life changing.

Monday: Although the language is coming much easier, I have found it difficult to teach from no real outline from the palabras (words) floating around my brain. We got two new investigadores (investigators) and one of them is in TRC or the teaching something center. We had a really good discussion about him and managed to clear up a handful of things that he didn't understand. I've found that the hardest thing is to find scriptures mid lesson in the spanish libros (spanish books). My english escrituras (scriptures) are all marked and color coded, also I can read them and know where things are quickly. So it's something I plan on working on, getting my spanish escrituras marked so that I can easily navigate and find versiculos (verses) that I need.

Tuesday: We recorded the musical number today and when I was putting the violin back we ran into the sister that is in charge of musica (music)! She told us we should try out on Thursday so that we could play at a devotional or something. I brought up Savior Redeemer and how mi and mi companera could play, but we needed a vocalist. She nonchalantly told us that she had tons of vocalists and proceeded to tell us how we could find Elder Lunt, the elder who sang the most beautiful song at mission conference EVER. So now Hma y yo (and I) are gonna practice our tails off so our accompaniment will be worthy of his voice. I am so grateful I get to play a violin so often!! It has such a pure and simple sound, I adore it.

A normal picture of our district. They are surprisingly rare..

Nephi and his family: the different types of obediencia

Everything on the floor is the norm. Please note all of the pens scattered everywhere. It is a constant struggle. Oh, and that's just my stuff.

​If there has ever been a better personality pic taken, please step forward, because I seriously doubt it. You may think it's staged, but sadly, it isn't.

Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week 1 Don de Lenguas ( First email from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah - March 8, 2016)

(mom you are welcome to edit this so it's all english. I'm typing fast and it just happens.)

I'm going to apologize now for some Spanglish that may occur, I spend 9 hours a day in a classroom speaking Spanish. So.

I can't believe it has barely even been a week!! When I first arrived at the MTC I got my badge and then a sister host missionary took me through some other booths before taking me t o17M which is the usual sisters dorm. Except it turns out that I'm actually in 3M, a much older dorm that is maybe 20% full. But I can't really complain because everyone in it is Spanish speaking and since there aren't many of us, the showers aren't ever full! Because we were a little bit mixed up, I didn't actually go to my dorm, I went straight to clase (class) where, guess what, Hermano Mecham speaks zero English to us. And apparently, they stuck me in the intermediate clase, which I'm now grateful for but those first couple of days were so hard! Amazing, I understood more than I thought I would after such a large gap between highschool Spanish and now. I was originally in a trio con Hermana Holmes and Hermana Briscoe, pero (but) that night Hermana Briscoe was put with Hma Rosenlund and she moved to our room. After clase, they had an orientation and one of the Brothers talked to us about the Nazarites, people in the Old Testament who set apart a period of time to serve God. Later, we had the oportunidad (opportunity) to sit in with tres investigadores (three investigators) and work with them. It was an amazing learning experience, because they were all so different and each person is a puzzle. You have to understand their very being, their nature, what they care about, what they want most and love them before you can say what they need to hear. You have to love them, or you're just another person telling them how they can change their life.

Day 2, Thursday: Hermana Holmes and I were feeling ambitious that first morning at the MTC and decided to do yoga at 6 am. We haven't actually gone back.. Then in clase, we met an investigator and prepared to teach him. At the beginning, it was almost imposible porque (impossible because) I know the gospel so well in ingles (english), I know what to say, what to do, how to flow and change according to his needs and we have to do it in Spanish! We basically spend our entire day in la clase and are speaking or learning Spanish mixed with the Gospel 9 HOURS a day. Part of which are three hours dedicated to personal, companion, and idioma (language) study. It's literally all we do. And though it's exhausting, it is so incredible to see how much I have improved in only two days.

Day 3, Friday: This was our first lesson con Pablo at 18:15. We spent all day preparing to teach him, planning our leccion (lesson) in english before translating it the best we could into Spanish. Although we had put all of this time into trying to understand him, his needs, and then Spanish, we forgot one key element. We were not Pablo. When we first began, we were a little bit shocked at the idea of a personality we hadn't been able to come up with. He was very polite but very indifferent to the idea that God existed. We stumbled a bit, but we managed to get most of our very scripted lesson taught and at the end he was more open than when we began. If you had told me last Tuesday that by Friday, I could more or less be teaching a lesson in Spanish, I would not have believed you. In fact, I probably would have laughed and then run away. But we did. It was honestly a miracle.

Day 4, Saturday: Saturday's are un poco diferente (a little bit different). Our gym time was pushed back to after breakfast but Hermana Holmes y yo (I) are so strong! And by that, I mean we're super weak and almost died. I am still so sore. We taught Pablo again, and another investigador (investigator) named Reymundo. I really do love Spanish but it was really really hard to say what I wanted to all the time. We planned and planned, but the lessons never really go the way we want them to. In english, it really wouldn't have been a problem. But again, Spanish is un poco diferente. But we learned something really valuable. After teaching Pablo, I was a little bit frustrated that I couldn't get everything across, because I've literally been relearning Spanish for two days. Imagine that. But when we went to teach Reymundo, we had a lesson planned and ended up talking about something completely different - and it went great. Somehow, we were able to teach him on a subject we had not prepared in a different language. It is so amazing to me how blessed we are to have el don de lenguas (the gift of tongues). It is such a huge blessing, because without help from the Spirit, I would be an incoherent mess. I did not make it successful. God did.

Sunday: I have never loved a Sunday so much. We had missionary conference, church, a walk to the templo (temple), devotional and then we watched an incredible talk called The Character of Christ. It completely made me take a look at who I am and how I can become better. It changed my entire perspective on life and being a missionary.

Monday: Everyone says that Monday tends to hit you like a bus. After Sunday, where you get to be taught in English all day, we were right back in the clase being blasted by Spanish. But it was the best day at the MTC so far. Usually we have class in the morning and study in the evening but it switched. We taught Pablo at 9:40 and decided to change our whole approach. We had been so focused on translating spanish and trying to get what we said across, we tended to interrupt each other and fumble when our plan got mixed up. So instead, we generally studied the Atonement in spanish, using scripture after scripture about why Christ is such a necessary part of our lives and I translated one analogy, rather than multiple. It was the best lesson we have had yet. He was so excited to hear about it, and because he really loves science, it was so helpful to have all of the scriptures as evidence of what we were teaching. It was amazing. I cannot believe that for the next 6 weeks mas o menos (give or take), my "job" is literally to learn about the gospel. How awesome is that?!!! Hermana Holmes y yo spent so much time sharing scriptures with each other, talking about how we can help Pablo and honestly learning so so much about the gospel by just talking to each other. I can't say it was the most productive day, but I was on a spiritual high. That night in class, spanish was easier, I was able to speak it and we found even more insight on how to teach Pablo on Wednesday. It was absolutely amazing, I am so blessed and so lucky to be here. The first week was so slow and a little bit hard, but even now, the days are flying by.

One of the things Hermana Holmes and I do is take a "We're missionaries!!" picture every dia (day). Sometimes I'll see elders walking down the hall and get all excited because hey look, missionaries!! before realizing, oh dude (oops I'm not supposed to use that word anymore) I AM A MISSIONARY. It's like, the best thing ever.

There is so so much to learn. I am so excited!!!
(I'm going to send some scriptures that I want added on the blogpost/mass email but I left my journal in my room and so need to get that..)

Love you guys!!!
Sister Jaycie Baird
Washington Yakima Mission

Our districto minus Elder Simpson, although he is just as fabulous as we are.
left to right: Hma Briscoe, Hma Rosenlund, Hma Holmes, y yo.​

​One of our daily "We're missionaries!!!" pictures. Hermana Holmes left all of her books on the bench just outside of the camera's view and when we got back to the room she froze before crying, "My scriptures!!!" Are we missionaries yet? I think we are.

The wind isn't our friend, but the templo sure is.

Art: unfocused pictures that focus on what's importante.

My eyebrows might be missing but by tag isn't and that's what's important.