Letter 6: "A real missionary!"

Missionary Training Center (MTC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
January 26, 2011

12 days until I'm a real missionary!!!!!!! Just so you know :)

So this week has been hectic and awesome with its ups and downs :) as always! mostly ups though and that's what i love!

Random things
  • So last week I wrote about our crazy day in the world, this week its back to normal. We got a new bunch of Latinos and North-Americans... I really like this group. we are a whole lot more focused, last group was really goofy and fun, which was nice because you could joke around with everyone, and I loved that, but it's also really nice that everyone this time is focused and here to work. And they really help us with our Spanish.
  • A few days ago a couple elders passed Hna Otto and I and asked "Why are there so many churches in the world today?" And pretty much we ended up teaching them the first lesson and were 15 minutes late for class!
  • The other day during MDT,Missionary Directed Time, ( TAD in Español) an elder came up to us and asked 'Would you like to practicing teaching me?' Crazy!
  • Before all we did was joke around, and now all we do is teach. Everyone corrects our Spanish too, which is really nice, cause it means we know how to fix what we are doing wrong.
  • What else...what else...oh! They came to us last Wednesday morning and informed us that because we had a lot more hermanas coming a few of us had to change rooms...pretty much we had 15 minutes to pack all our stuff and move all the way across the CCM... Was it enjoyable? No... however, I like our room better now because it is a lot quieter and easier to get ready in the morning and go to bed at night... although we do get less interaction with everyone else...oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Not-stop laughing
Yesterday was great! pretty much from 6:30am until 10:30pm Hna Otto and I did not-stop laughing...

I don't really know what started it, all i know is that we laughed at everything! It was probably the best day I've had in the MTC :)

Hna. Cassandra
So on Sunday...heh heh....we were sitting in sacrament meeting and usually one person from every district gives a talk...so when they announced the speakers and I heard that the third speaker was Elder Pierce I relaxed...

When the time came for the first person to get up and speak nobody went up...we were all sitting there for a few minutes and then the announcer guy got this surprised look on his face and gets up and says...'oops... I meant Hermana Pappas' ...

When he announced who was speaking he said "Hna. Cassandra" but because he said it with a heavy accent I didn't know that he was talking about me... I had even thought, that persons last name kind of sounds like my first name!...

P. S. It was my first name!

Anyway, I was shocked and didn't really have time to be nervous...so I just went up and spoke Spanish....

People understood me and that is the best I can hope for at this point :)

That makes it so that I've been in the CCM for a total of 7 weeks and I have spoken in church 4 times... I feel ready for the field! No, but yeah! I am so excited for the field.

Oh Spanish
I still am not great at Spanish, but we teach lessons everyday and I can express most of my feelings with the spirit... and that's the point right?

I can't really express to you all everything I'm learning and how much I'm growing, my letters probably don't show it either...this gospel is the greatest thing ever!

I am so happy that I have the opportunity to share it with people! I really just hope I can share what's in my heart to all of them!

We go contacting again in the park this next week and I'm even more excited!...

Oh! One last thing!

Elder Ballard is coming in two days!!!!!!!! (haha... I can't believe I almost forgot that one!) Yeah! he's coming here! isn't that awesome?!

I'll tell you more about how it went next week :)

Spiritual thought
We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day


Please, this week study Lesson 1 in Preach My Gospel... come up with simple object lessons that I can use!

...and send them to me!

Letter 5: "P-Day"

Missionary Training Center (MTC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
January 11, 2011

This is the coolest mission ever...

P.S. I love being a missionary...and I only have three more weeks left until I really am one!!!!!!

So much has happened this week so I guess I will go through the stories...

Today is P-Day (Preparation Day) but it was a little...[okay--- A lot] different than most [of my] pdays. there is only one district at the MTC right now...us...because everyone left to go to their missions yesterday sooooo we got to experience a bit of culture today! we went to a place called the relief map...you really need to look it up online right now, cause its really cool!

Go read about it cause I'm not going to waste time talking to you about it.

then we went to the "mercado"...it is a lot like pikes marked, but WAY cooler cause its all things Guatemala! so i got a couple things there as far as jewelry goes and an awesome bag! its legit!

not too much cause i{m going to have to carry it all around for the next year and a half, so only things i{ll use ;) anyway, pretty much awesome.

then we went to a museum...it was pretty grand! it was in a place where they found pretty much an entire city underground and a burial hill outside where you could take really cool pictures, and then part of the museum went under the hill and you could see a skeleton...

you'll understand more when you get pictures...although you probably won't get pictures for awhile...anyway.... today was pretty much awesome

I don{t know exactly what i told you last week, but i love teaching and i am getting a lot more comfortable teaching in spanish...there were a couple people in back of the CCM, they were mormon, but we asked if we could practice contacting, they agreed and we actually ended up teaching the entire first lesson!

we were way proud of ourselves, especially because we didn{t know we could! they will be back here this week and we are going to go teach them the second lesson :) there is a new group of missionaries coming today and tomorrow. it was sad to see all of the other ones go but i guess thats how it will be the entire mission...

spiritual thought
This may not seem really spiritual, but it helped me relate to people a lot... this week we all took the color test...i don't know if you have taken it, or even heard of it, but its a test to look at your personality in the form of a color and each color has strengths and weaknesses...

it helps you take a look at yourself and see what you need to work on and what your inate (sp) gifts are...its fun, but at the same time it gives you a clear idea about how you may contribute your gifts to the Lords kingdom and society as a whole...

I read Moroni 10 right before we took the test (not on purpose) and five out of the eight exhortations talk about the gifts of God and how we need to utilize them...

I{m going to read the entire book when i get home, but for now, read Moroni 10 and D&C...49? (the one about gifts) and see if you can find the color test...when you take the test email me your answer, cause i guessed pretty much everybody who will read this and I want to know if I was right!

I love you all, time is running out! I am working hard and love to hear from you!

Letter 4 "Prospero año nuevo!!"

Missionary Training Center (MTC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
January 6th 2011

Hello my lovely lovely lovely people I called my family!

I MISS YOU!!! but can I just tell you how much I love being a missionary...I do :) and here is why this week

New Year!
the New year fireworks are even bigger than the Christmas fireworks! this time I did not get to sleep before they started and they were so loud that it set car alarms off in the parking lot...twice!

but it was all good because we got to take part is some of the festivities...the next morning we did another service project...cleaning the streets of the debris! it was fabulous...I know that sounds slightly sarcastic, but I'm actually not.

it was way fun, even more so this time cause we went with our Latin companions...mine is Hermana Zamora, she is so sweet, doesn't speak a word of English, but we have fun together anyway ;) while cleaning one portion I actually found at the base of a tree about 150 caterpillars...they were black with red bulbs on their noses...i was informed that they were poisonous...so i didn't keep one even though i wanted to...AND we aren't allowed to bring cameras, so i wasn't even able to get a picture :( but at least i got to see my first exotic bug!!! muah ha ha!

here at the Guatemala CCM we actually get a whole lot more teaching opportunities...Hna Otto and I have four progressing 'investigators' and it is way fun because it gives us a taste of what it will be like to teach more than one person during a time period...i don{t like planning for lessons, but I LOVE giving them! i love teaching the Gospel!

its so awesome and simple and powerful! two of our 'investigators' already have a 'baptismal' date and we are hoping to get another one this week. one of our 'investigators', Gabriel needs some work, he refuses to read the book of Mormon and has actually burned one in the past...but hes listening to us, so he has to be somewhat ready to hear...right? hahah....best part!!!

yesterday we actually left the CCM and made our way down to the city central park area, i was paired with a Latina companion, Hna. Ordoñez, and we contacted...FOR REAL!!! couldn't experience that in the Provo MTC! because i only understand a third of what comes out of peoples mouths here I would start the contact, introduce us and our names and then start with a message about how God loves us, or we have prophets, or something like that, and then when they would answer a question I asked, if I understood them great, which didn't happen most of the time, but when I didn't understand them I would look at Hna Ordoñez with wide eyes and she would take over until the end when I would bear testimony again before we went our separate ways...it was fun!

i can't wait until i actually understand what they say! it will be awesome!...i was followed by this drunk man...at one point he interrupted us talking to a man and started giving his testimony of God...i think...he interrupted a few times, but later when we were on the other side of the park, he found me, tapped me on the shoulder and gave me his testimony again, i said i agreed with him and gave him a brief testimony, but i don{t think he understood me...then another guy,,,i didn't understand him at all, but we ended up praying with him at one point...it was so awesome! it actually felt like i was a real missionary, and not just playing at one! :)

this week...we had fun in our district...at one point we were deciding what animal everyone looked like...mine was the best...and Danita, i thought of you and i will have you know that I had nothing to do with this answer...they decided at first that my face looked like a dinosaur! and then it got better, i look specifically like a Triceritops! what do you think? everyone in the district agreed too! i look like Sara from the Land before Time... hmm...

Other fun! I LOVE THE HERMANAS HERE!!!!! that{s pretty much all i have time to write about that...but I{ll send a real letter this week....

Spiritual Thought-scripture study
Matt 11:28-30
Preach My Gospel Ch. 3 Lesson 3
D&C 45:3-5

Read these in succession...at the end think about it. Christ invites us to relieve ourselves of our burden, and to take 'his yoke' upon us, but what is his yoke?

PMG 3,3 this is his yoke...but why, why take his yoke upon us...D&C 45:3-5...imagine yourself at judgment. when we stand before god to be judged, having a perfect knowledge of how much we don{t deserve everything and then Christ steps in. All we have to do is live this life his way, or as close as we can...that's why this Gospel is so important right here...right now!

this is why the atonement means so much, yeah we can be happy here on Earth, but why we are here we could also get distracted with a lot of things that only bring instant happiness, the moment its really for is that moment in front of God...that's why. its so amazing!

I've always had a hard time really appreciating the atonement, but when i think of it this way, i am so grateful! i love it! its so beautiful! I am so glad I{m out here.. i love you all and have again run out of time...but i do have time to really write...so real letter it is...you'll get them in a couple weeks ;)

Letter 3: "Guatemala!"

Missionary Training Center (MTC)
Guatemala City, Guatemala
January 2th 2011

"The power of letters"
You have no idea how grateful I am to be writing you.

Yesterday was our day to e-mail and I was SOOOOOO excited, however my e-mail [account] would not let me in! I cannot explain to you how horrible was to experience sitting here while everyone else was writing their families... and I could not.

The pain was excruciating.

However, after a little more difficulty, obviously, I got on![Today my hero is the man in charge of this computer lab who helped me to get 'in'. or 'On'...whatever]

Thank you so much for your e-mails, they mean SO much! I don't think I ever thought missionary work was so hard, and if you thought I underestimated the power of letters from friends and family before... I can't even express how much appreciation I have for them now.
[As a side thing,
letters from
to the Guatemala MTC
are still free,
it's pouchmail,
and they get here
A LOT faster
than real mail]

"Life in Guatemala"

It's crazy, I hate it. I love it. I want nothing more than to sleep in the warmest fluffiest bed for the rest of all eternity, and yet... I wouldn't give this up for the world...

It's the refiners fire...if I thought Provo was anything but Heaven I would have being wrong.

It is rare to find someone completely fluent in English, which is partly a curse, but more so a blessing.

I am a complete contradiction because I feel as if I am living in both, Heaven and Hell, at the same time...

But perhaps I should stop talking about how I feel and give you more of my experiences

"The CCM (MTC in Spanish!)"
I am so happy I got to call you in the airport, [Don't ask me to describe] my last days in Provo, cause I can't remember them!

Arriving here was an adventure.

(Front entry of the Guatemala CCM -MTC in Spanish-)

There was a man from the CCM (MTC in Spanish) and his brother to pick us up, they didn't speak much English but we understood alright and we made it [to the MTC (or CCM) safely.

Our welcoming committee was SMALL. Just a district was here because in the CCM here missionaries report every three weeks and it just recycles every three weeks so they only people here were the North-Americans who still have three more weeks... (I hope I explained that clearly)

(CCM classrooms)

...Anyway, on Wednesday the rest of the Latinos came . There are, total, about 30 hermanas in this CCM and maybe 50-ish Elders.

It really is like a big family here. I already recognize most of everyone's faces in the CCM.

(CCM classrooms)

About the second day I got here, this group of Elders told me that every-time they see my name it reminds them of their parents and makes them homesick. So now every-time they see me they exclaim 'Pappas!' and start pretending to cry, it's quite amusing!

"Christmas in Guatemala"
I loved it!
It was so great! blue skies, white fluffy clouds, 70 degrees!

On Christmas [eve] everyone shoots off fireworks, it's bigger than the fourth of July! From about midnight to five in the morning it's pretty much straight fireworks.

We still had to go to bed at 10:30... and we were blessed with sleep through the rockets .

At 6:30 am we were up and spent the next 2 1/2 hours cleaning up [all the exploded] fireworks in the streets...there was one pile that took us almost an hour to clean up because there were so many little pieces of paper! And it was all mixed with rocks and dirt! Insane! Really fun!

Then we watched about a million and one movies...including a Christmas Carol...the one with Jim Carrey...Yeah! they decided that because Thomas S. Monson said he watches that movie every Christmas it was OK to have us watch it too...haha. It was awesome!

They had it in English, but I went and watched it in Spanish... I am going to be AMAZED the next time I watch that movie and [finally] understand what they're saying!

The food here is SO good! All of it! ...yup...oh, and they feed you so much... and you have to eat EVERYTHING on you plate!

(When we go through the line we have to say "no mas..." "Es bien..." "Un poco..."' It's funny)

"New Companion(s)"
I have a new companion! Her name is Hermana Otto, she is from Moses Lake, Washington, and she's pretty awesome!
I love teaching with her because we teach a lot alike and she talks just as much as I do in a lesson.

She is definitely into being here and giving her all. She is also a nurse too, so sometimes I have to pair up with another companionship so she can go to her nurse duties.

Also I have a Latina companion that I eat lunch with... We don't really understand each other, but we laugh about random stuff, which is fun!

Yesterday, we gave our first lesson in Spanish! It wasn't perfect but the spirit was there and they understood everything we were talking about...
Then, the other day, we had the opportunity to go to the temple grounds and find people to get referrals from...I felt like a temple square missionary... But in spanish! It was AMAZING!

Again, my Spanish is nowhere perfect... Hardly mediocre, but we carried on conversations with everyone we talked to!

(People from Nicaragua I talked to traveled eight hours by bus to get here!)

We started talking to these two girls, but then two more of their friends joined us, then two more, and then two more... It was so great to talk to them, and almost all of them gave us a name of someone that the missionaries could contact!

That is probably the coolest experience of being here...

(Guatemala Temple Grounds)

Alright, my time is up...it's hard... it will be worth it.

I love you all! ...Write me. (I won't get it for about a week but I'll appreciate it!)

This guy keeps coming into our room with piles of mail and it isn't for anyone in our room! So depressing! :)