Saturday, November 23, 2013

Companions

So it's about time I talked a bit about my compa├▒era 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

Welcome

... 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 FOUND MY FRIEND”

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)!



Communication:
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
DEC16  MEX-TIJ
2023 N 900 E Unit 817
Provo UT 84602