Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Feliz Navidad

And a Happy New Year!!!

So here in Mexico the big day for holiday festivities is Cristmas Eve.  Thats when everyone eats and the fiestas happen.  To put it plainly, Christmas day is more of a hangover  day.  How quaint.  Anyways, X-Mas Eve we had meal after meal after meal.  But the highlight of the day for me...besides skyping with my family, was eating with Presidente Carreon y su familia.  It had a very homey feel, was deliectable, other Elders that spoke english were there!!!  

Im afraid I cant write anymore so I will try to make up for it in photos.  

This work is awesome!!!  And just think, if I like it this much when I cant even speak the language, imagine what it will be like when I can!!!!
Loving the work.
Eden and her missionary roommates.
Christmas Eve with Presidente Carreon and Zone Missionaries

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

So this is Mexico

So it turns out  the inhabitants of Mexico arent as short as I thought they were.  Still, Ive gotten many looks that imply Im a very strange, white, tall, American woman.  I will apologize now for the strange punctuation.  The keyboards down here are slightly different and I have yet to figure out where all the apostrophies and quotations marks are.  Also, we are only given an hour for emails on P Day so I wont be able to write much.  It drives me mad becasue there is so much I want to say to so many people but I dont have the time to write them all.  One of the many sacrifices of mission work I suppose.

So for those who are curious to know a little bit about Mexico, here are a few things Ive noticed.
*EVERYONE owns dogs.  Mean little things that never stop barking.  Anytime you walk by the front of a house brace yourself for a chorus of annoying yelps.
*Watch where you step.  Because of the grand amount of perros, there is doggie doodoo  everywhere.  Walking on a sidewalk is like my own strange Labyrinth, made from perro unmentionables.
*When inquiring where someone lives, don't bother asking for street names.  Just ask them what color the house is.

Next week I hope to write more but this will have to be it for today.  I literally have no time left.  Keep me in your prayers!

President Armando Carreon  and Sister Carreon

Monday, December 16, 2013

Adios CCM

This is it!  The safety blanket is coming off!  No more pretend investigators, no more gym time, no more pre-cooked meals, and no more English!!!  In two days I walk onto a flight to San Diego, sit in a bus for two hours as we cross the border  (fingers crossed there's a cow munchin' on hay in the back), shake hands with my mission president, meet my most-likely native and only spanish speaking companion, and begin serving the people of Mexico.  "Hermana Lance, this is quite the adventure you are stepping into.  How do you feel about it?"  ...Response:  I have no idea.  A strange mixture of excitement and worry.  The two sort of cancel each other out so really I'm a blank slate. 

My main apprehension is meeting my new companion.  I'm about 100% certain that she will be native and not speak very much english.  Even though my spanish is far from fluent, I can do the basics and feel like I will be comfortable-ish in a teaching setting.  But when it comes to having to get to know, plan lessons, and become best friends with my trainer...all in spanish.  Wish me luck.  I'm excited because it will be great in helping me learn the language faster, but communication might be tough for a little while.

In the meantime, I'm still surrounded by amazing people that I will hate to leave.  For those who know me, I'm sure you're familiar with the fact that I'm not a great hugger.  I don't do it often because I've been told far too often that I am an awkward hugger....gee thanks.  It's something that I'm working on.  Anyways, due to this I thought the whole no hugging rule between guys and gals wouldn't phase me too much.  WRONG!!  I've come to love all the Elders in our zone so much, there all like my little brothers.  A bunch of crazy 18-yearolds that make me laugh so much!  It's going to be killer to have to say goodbye with just a handshake.  I wish they all were serving in the same mission as me.  Fingers crossed we can get a MTC reunion together when we all get back.

A horrible thing about having to wait until P-day before you can write anybody is that you forget everything you thought about saying during the week.  But I blame a lot of that on being in the MTC and having a rather uneventful, repetitive schedule each week.  I love the MTC, but it doesn't exactly make for the most entertaining stories.  I'll make up for it in pictures.  In the mean time, keep me in your prayers because I'm off to Tijuana!!!!
Gym pods.

Goodbye freezing weather.

MTC friends for life.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

MTC Week 5

This week has flown by.  It's hard to believe that I have just 9 days left in the MTC.  Well, that might not be true.  My visa hasn't come in yet so there's a chance I'll either stay here or be shipped somewhere state side.  But don't fret!  I talked with the travel office and apparently it is very common to get visas right before you have to leave.  They have yet to have a Mexico missionary not receive their visa on time.  I'm not too worried.

It finally snowed in Provo!  Like a lot.  Which is making all of us missionaries excited to get to the warm weather in Mexico. However, I'm grateful to experience at least some snow this Christmas.  I haven't been able to stop singing Christmas songs since December hit.  I've got Bing Crosby's voice bouncing around in my head and I just know my mom has the Muppet's Christmas CD playing all day, every day now.  

Spanish is slowly progressing.  Grammar is my least favorite thing.  I know a decent amount of vocabulary now so that when I go into a lesson I can make up sentences on the spot.  However, the grammar is horrible.  I just put the Spanish words where they would go in an English sentence and say, "it's good enough!  The Spirit will do the rest."  Reflexives are a pain, not to mention Imperfect and preterit.  But with practice I know I'll get it.

I've got to share this one story though.  Hermana Washburn and I were sitting in a lesson with one of our teacher investigators, Pedro.  We were committing him to be baptized (a question that I had memorized in Spanish by my third week.  Not to brag....) and he said yes!  But then asked how we baptized people in our church.  Wasn't planning for that question, not that it was bad.... I just didn't know the vocabulary.  So time to start playing charades!   "En otras iglesias toma agua y..." and I began to sprinkle imaginary water in the air.  "...pero, no en nuestra iglesia.  Agua..." and I gestured as though there were a large body of water in front of me.  And putting my arm under the imaginary water added, "..todo en agua." And repeated the motion and words multiple times... like a moron.  But Pedro got it... and decided to through another curve ball at me, asking if we baptized in a river or lake.  Well after I explained that it certainly was possible to do so, we also had another place.  Once again, with large exaggerated hand motions, out came my butchered Spanish.  "Tenemos un grande.....uh...grande...."  I could only think of one word to relate a baptismal font to, and I really didn't want to say it.  So I kept miming and saying grande over over again, hoping my teacher would be kind and give me the right word.  No such luck.  It had to come out.  "Es similar con un grande....baño."  I don't know how Pedro managed to keep a straight face.  It was the most pathetic I ever felt in a lesson.  But the message got across.  I have a feeling by the time I'm done with my mission, I could have a professional career as a mime. 

Something that I've been asked most often about my MTC experience is the difference between WC and MC.  Since WC is fairly new, no one knows much about it.  Especially since it's now all Spanish speaking.  So to make it easier on myself to respond to the repetitive question, I have complied a list, with the help of others, about things you will only find at WC.  The majority of the are either inside jokes or about Spanish.  Lo siento.

You know you're on West Campus when:

-"Hola Hermanas" sounds like a cat call.
-People insult each other with, "Como se dice _____" (ex: pride, stupid, etc.)
-You hear "Esta bein" every 5 seconds.
-The most ordinary Spanish words are used as slang.  ex: Cucio! Dulce, and enfermo.
-You play four square in giant bubbles.
-You're greeted with, "Que pasa calabaza!"
-You look forward to getting a tapeworm to lose weight.
-You wonder why someone wont laugh at your joke... then awkwardly realize they are praying.
-Every time you hear, "Vamanos!" someone starts singing Dora the Explorer songs.
-You don't rush to the bathroom after eating cafeteria food.
-You receive napkin roses from apples.
-Everyone wears red on Fridays.

And you know you're not on West Campus when people say "Hello" and you don't understand what they're saying.

So there is a little glimpse into my WC life.  It's rather great. People are great. Life is great.  The gospel is great.  And whoever's reading this, you are great.  

Oh, I almost forgot a very important addition to the list.  You know you're a missionary when you fall asleep in nearly any position. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A MTC Thanksgiving

We got to sleep in till 7.  Hallelujah!  An extra 30 min.  Already the day was starting off great.  All of West Campus (hereafter referred to as WC) was bused over to Main Campus (MC) where we would spend all of the day.

At 9:30 am the festivities began and we were treated to a devotional by Elder Nelson of the Twelve.  What did he speak on?  You guessed it; a clever combination of gratitude and missionary work.  We then had some free time to roam about.  A group from our zone decided to enjoy the absolutely phenomenal weather and take a walk to the Temple.  at this point I would like to once again say how much I love our zone.  Everyone has awesome personalities, are goofballs like me, and are happy all the time (go figure, we're missionaries).  We have fun whenever we are together and sing all the time.

Anyways, once we got back from the temple it was lunch time, a.k.a. our Thanksgiving feast.  And when I say feast I mean a slightly more upscale version of cafeteria turkey and mashed potatoes served on plastic trays in a room overflowing with missionaries causing you to scoot up uncomfortably close to la mesa in order to make room for the never ending flow of people making their way through the maze of tables.  It was wonderful.  actually, I enjoyed quite a bit since our table was swapping awkward dating stories.  A form of currency I happen to be rich in.

After lunch we had some free time to write in our journals before heading off to some more meetings.  One of which being the Thanksgiving program.  Probably the cheesiest performance I have ever seen in my life.  a handful of missionaries were pulled from the crowed and reenacted the first Thanksgiving with a script I'm quite certain was taken out of a 1st grad teacher's lesson plan.  It was fun nonetheless and we just laughed at how ridiculous it was before settling down for the more serious portion of the program.

Now time for a shout out to my mom (who also spent Thanksgiving in the MTC during her mission) because before we went to participate in the service project we went back to our designated room to eat the sack dinners we had made.  20-something years have passed and the MTC still does Thanksgiving the same way.

Our service project was working with "Feed the Children" making meals for children in need to take home from school.  Wearing a bright read hair-net I don't think I've ever felt more attractive in my life.  For over and hour we filled bag after bag with lintel soup mix and I couldn't help but think of my own siblings who despise lintel soup.  They better be grateful they don't have to eat it for every meal.

To end the day we all gathered into the devotional room and watched Ephraim's Rescue.  A muy bueno film.  If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend doing so.  Especially if you liked 17 Miracles.   The best part is that when two of the main characters leaned in for a kiss, all the missionaries went crazy.  The elder next to me cried out that he was going to have nightmares that night from watching it. #missionprobs

So even though the movie ended at 9:45pm, we were supposed to be in our residents at 9:30, and the walk from MC to WC was 20-25min.  Us poor little spanish speaking missionaries weren't offered a bus ride home.  Fine.  We'll just burn off all that cafeteria food from all our walking.  Guess who's going to gain weight in the MTC.... not WC!

All in all, Thanksgiving was great.  Definitely better then two years ago when half my family was sick and we ate more microwaveable dinners then shown in Better of Dead (a must see 80's film).  Not too shabby in comparison.

I'd like to send a shout out to all those who have been so good as to email me.  I love reading anything and everything you have to say, but I'm never given enough time to respond to everybody.  So if you've sent me an email and haven't received a response back, lo siento!  I still love you and will do my best to respond the next week.  The Lord doesn't offer much time for emails... it's understandable.  Anyways, here's a random picture of us on P-Day!
Hermana Lance with her District Hermanas.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


So it's about time I talked a bit about my compañera Hermana Washburn.  

Fun facts:

  • -19 years old (birthday was in October)
  • -just graduated from high school
  • -blonde
  • -played tennis and soccer
  • -from Idaho
  • -is an identical twin
  • -unconsciously makes the best facial expressions when she's confused.

So let's expound on this list.  She's and identical twin and it just so happened that her twin entered the MTC the same day as her!  She's also going to Mexico for her mission so she stays at the West Campus MTC too.  Several times a day we pass her and the two sisters run into a giant hug.  It's pretty cool.  Best part is that Elders from her sister's district/zone will pass us and say "Hi" thinking they know her... but we've never met them before.  It's the simple awkward moments in life that make me smile.

I've realized that I play the mother role in not only our companionship but as well with the other hermanas in our district.  They are all 19 and never lived away from home before so they can get pretty homesick from time to time.  Since I'm a heartless girl and don't get homesick, I have taken the responsibility to make them all laugh and enjoy their time here.  Basically I do what I have always done through life and make myself look/sound like an idiot in order to make others smile.  Viva la Tack remember?  I don't mind though, it seems to work anyways.  Not only do these girls occasionally get homesick, but I've had to teach them how to wash their own laundry and other such odds and ends.  Yesterday, after one girl spent quite sometime in the bathroom, she finally poked her head out and said, "Um, just in case you guys were wondering, the toilette is overflowing... like, a lot."  I walked in the bathroom to help and discovered the floor had magically transformed into a small pond.  Standing one foot in the pond and the other braced on the bathtub I had to put all my body weight into the plunger.  Over and over again.  It put up quite a fight.  Each time the plunger came out, more water spilled out, but I won in the end.  Mother Lance to the rescue!  I just hope I can teach these girls enough before we separate and I have to send them out to Mexico on their own.  I'll forever have them in my prayers and hope that they never come across any clogged toilets. 

I love Hermana Washburn.  She's very sweet and we understand each other.  There have been a few occasions when we've said the same thing at the same time or finished each other's sentences.  Super cute right?  We work well together when planing lessons for teacher investigators although we often get sidetracked talking to the Elders...something we're working on.  I've managed to pick up the Spanish language a bit easier than she has so I've been able to help understand it better one on one.  Even though I am senior companion, we always check with each other to make sure we don't step on any toes and are happy with our plans.  We've never had any problems and are perfectly comfortable with walking in silence.  Something I always consider as a sign of good friendship. 

I lucked out with companions.  Hopefully this streak will last.

P.S.  Sorry there are no pictures this week.  The computers have been possessed by Satan and won't let me upload any.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

MTC Week 2

I've been in the MTC for 10 days now.  Weird.  Actually, it feels like I've been here longer.  I'm so used to the MTC life now, I can't remember the beginning and can't imagine the end.

Spanish is.... coming along.  We taught our first lesson completely in Spanish without any notes.  A MILESTONE for us.  It can still get discouraging but we just remind ourselves of how much more we know then when we first entered the MTC.

Today we were able to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead.  "But I thought missionaries weren't supposed to do baptisms."  You have a good point, but our district got special permission by the MTC president.  Why?  One of the elders in our district is a convert of 18 months.  Quite the spiritual stud.  And since we've been here in the MTC, folks from his home ward sent him a TON of names from his family history that need temple work done.  It was such an incredible experience to be able to help and participate in him doing so much of his ancestors work.  I could feel how proud and grateful they were of him.  If I could, I would have given him a hug in behalf of them.

After the temple we took a stroll to Brigham's Landing for lunch as a zone.  I love everyone in our zone.  So friendly and funny!  Each week it's so hard to see our friends leave and go off to their missions... but it's good too.

I am truly loving the MTC.  Sure the schedule can be weird sometimes, but the work is great and I can't help but be happy each day.  I'd love to write more but unfortunately I'm all out of time.  Hopefully the pictures will make up for lack of words.

*caution:  I can no longer be held responsible for the poor spelling of my letters.  Learning Spanish has completely thrown off my English spelling ability.  So if you're a spelling nazi, consider yourself forewarned. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

MTC Week 1

I made it!  

The mission has begun and I am officially in the MTC... and yet I´m not.  Not in the main campus that is.  As many people have guessed, the Raintree apartments and WYview housing for BYU has been transformed into an extended MTC in order to compensate for crazy influx of missionaries since last years announcement.  It´s called the West Campus and as of last week it is all Spanish speaking.  We sleep and have gym time at WYview but all of our classes are in Raintree, so lots of walking back and forth.  They don't call it the Mission Training Center for nothing.

There are two things that I hear the most often here as a newbie.  How are you feeling? and, Just make it till Sunday.

Drop off at the MTC with my Sister Mckenzie.
How am I feeling?  I honestly couldn't tell you.  I haven't known how I felt since I've been set apart to tell the truth.  Flying out to Utah, I was a blank slate.  Saying goodbye to Provo friends, a blank slate with enthusiasm spreading.  Hours before reporting, blank slate again.  Actually going inside, no time to even register or think about emotion.  There is no way to anticipate what is going to happen, therefore, no way to know how to feel about it.  After being here four days I still don´t know how I feel just because there has been so much work to do emotions can´t even register.  I take that back, there have been many times when I've felt excited, tired, and frustrated, but I love it.  I love the work.  

After my attempt to learn Spanish in high school, I was somewhat worried as to how well I would be able to pick it up for the mission.  But I've come to realize that just like when I was learning Hebrew, a desire and purpose for learning it helps tremendously.  I still know very little, but it´s coming along.  We've already learned how to bare our testimonies and say prayers in Spanish.  The trick is to now memorize it.

I´m so excited to learn Spanish and I can´t wait for the day when I can speak it fluently.  That´s probably what makes me the most frustrated.  Yesterday my companion Hermana Washburn and I taught our first teacher investigator and the lesson was so simple but we had to do it all in Spanish.  So even though I knew exactly what we needed to say to Lorenzo we couldn't because we didn't know all the words.  Whenever he asked us about something we hadn't prepared to talk about Hermana Washburn and I could only look at each other and be like, ".....uh....no se...."  ARG!!!  SO FRUSTRATING!!!  But I guess that's why Padre Celestial ...blessed?... me with a life full of awkward moments.  He knew I'd have to be able to handle awkward silences on my mission.

Why do they tell us just make it till Sunday?  While I haven't experienced it yet, many missionaries get discouraged the first few days because there is no adjustment period.  They throw you into a ocean of work and just assume you can swim (little did the MTC know I was on a swim team when I was nine).  The work can seem hard and overwhelming and like there is now way we will be able to understand anything.  But once Sunday comes around it feels like how everyone imagines the MTC experience should feel like and it gets better.  The work is still hard, but everything is okay.  Sunday is tomorrow so we will have to see if they are right!

Email time is up for me so I must end here.  This is exciting stuff people!!!!  I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, November 2, 2013


... to my mission blog!

In just a few days I will be entering the MTC (Mission Training Center), a thought that I can barely comprehend.  I have waited so long and grown accustom to my routine at home that a day without picking up lingerie at work or watching re-runs of Boy Meets World sounds utterly foreign to me.  

But different is good.  I'm about to step into a different life.  A life that will last 18 months.  How strange is that?  I can think of no other event, trip, or diet that causes a person to completely change their lifestyle like mission work does.  New schedule, new place, new people, new language, new priorities, new rules, the list goes on.  For 18 months I'll become a new person... almost like my life doesn't belong to me.  A coincidence?  I think not!  Then as fast as it began, it will be over.  Everything will be gone and I will be back home speaking plain ol' english and sleeping in till 10 a.m.

No wonder RM's have such a hard time transitioning back into normal social interaction.  After witnessing first hand the awkward side effects of RM-hood I have made what I believe to be the necessary precautions in order to make my own return more smooth.  Each of my siblings (lucky for me I have five) are in charge of keeping track of some cultural phenomenon so that when I return, they can update me on what's become new, cool, and a "must have" in my absence.

Mckenzie: fashion and music
Garrett:  movies
David:  "must have" phone apps and games
Mason: the plot of "Once Upon A Time"
Corinne: hugs 

After a year and a half of very little PDA I'm going to need some practice.  Therefore, Corinne's sole purpose will be to hug me non-stop until I not only become used to receiving, but also excellent at giving hugs again.  But enough of that.  You're probably wondering, and most likely have been since clicking the link to this blog, why I've named it The Badge.  Why not some cute use of alliteration like From Michigan to Mexico, or Eden in Ensenada?  Because every other missionary with a blog stole them.  That and Ensenada sounded to much like enchiladas.  So I thought up The Badge instead.

Reason #1:  What makes you recognize missionaries as missionaries? ...besides their near annoying persistence of sharing the gospel (I can say that because I'm one of them).  Their name badge.  Without it they are just a pair of smartly dressed young whippersnappers that are far too happy all the time.  That name tag is what sets us apart.  No wonder it's a permanent accessory in our wardrobe.

Reason #2:  Have you ever noticed that the missionaries name is not what takes up the most space on the badge?  It's the name of the church.  While I don't think it was purposely designed that way, I appreciate the outcome.  The two years or 18 months a missionary serves is not to spotlight them.  Their name is not important.  The gospel is what is important.  We are simply the tools used to spread it to all that will listen.  Food for thought.

Before I leave and designate all blogging duties to my mom, I'd like to share a story that I told in my farewell.

The following event took place in a Salt Lake City ward in 1974 It occurred during Sacrament Meeting, and was told by a Regional Representative of the Twelve, who was in the meeting. 
A young man,just before leaving on his mission stood in Sacrament Meeting and bore the following testimony: 
Brothers and Sisters, as you know during the past few weeks I have been awaiting my Mission call. During the time I was waiting , I had a dream. I knew it was not an ordinary dream . I dreamed I was in the pre-existence and was waiting my call to come to Earth.

I was filled with the same excitement and anticipation that I had before I received my Mission call. In my dream, I was talking to a friend, he was a dear friend, and I felt a special closeness to him,even though I’ve never met him in this life…
As we talked, a messenger came and gave me a letter, I knew it was my call to go to Earth, in great excitement my friend and I opened the letter. I gave it to him and asked him to read aloud. The letter said;
“You have been called to Earth in a special time and a special land. You will be born into the true church and you will have the priesthood of God in your home. You will be raised with many advantages and nay blessings. You will be born in a land of plenty-A land of freedom. You will go to Earth in the United States of America.”
My friend and I rejoiced as we read my call and while we rejoiced, the messenger returned. This time he had a letter for my friend. We knew it was his call to Earth. My friend gave me the letter to read a loud. His letter said;
“ You have been called to Earth in circumstances of poverty and strife. You will not be raised in the true church. Many hardships will attend your life. Your land will be raught with political and social difficulties which will hinder the work of the Lord. You will be born in Costa Rica.”
We wept, my friend and I, as we read his call. And my friend looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “ When we are down on Earth , you in your choice land and me in Costa Rica, my friend, please come and find me.”
Then this young missionary, with tears in his own eyes said, “Brothers and Sisters, I have received my Mission call , I am going to Costa Rica.” 
There is a sequel to this story. Abut a year after the Sacrament Meeting, the Bishop of this Ward received a letter from the missionary in Costa Rica. The letter had one sheet of paper in it. And on that sheet, written in inch-high letters where four words……


I haven't had a dream.  Besides missionaries gone before me, I know no one in Mexico.  All I have is a testimony and a call.  I love this gospel with all my being.  The knowledge it gives me is what makes me smile each day.  I don't know what I did to deserve being born into the church, but being so blessed I cannot keep it to myself.  I want my brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than me to be able to taste the sweet fruit of the Tree of Life.  And while I haven't met them yet, I know I have friends in Baja California.  I can't wait to meet and serve them.  Wish me luck and see ya in 2 years (-6 months)!

As I said before, my mom will be taking over The Badge while I'm away.  She'll post weekly pictures, stories, and updates from my emails.  I don't know how strong the internet connection will be in each area I'm in so I apologize in advance for any post-less weeks.  Other forms of contact are always available.  I'd love to receive letters by either email or snail mail.  Both addresses are posted on the sidebar for your convenience.  For the six weeks that I will be in the MTC my address will be:

Sister Eden Lance
2023 N 900 E Unit 817
Provo UT 84602