12.16.2013

Christmas in Summer

Hey fam! That is crazy that there was so much snow in St. George. Temuco is so hot today! The afternoons are pretty hot now and it feels so backwards to see Christmas trees in this weather but it is still a lot of fun. We had a ward party this week and the primaria and young men and women did a nativity. It was a crack up. I sent you guys some pics. We also brought our investigator Marianela. I sent a picture of me and her, also. Sorry my head looks like the biggest thing ever. 
Marianela! Man, she is so great and her story is pretty complicated but we love her a ton. I may have talked about her a little last week. Her husband, Alfredo, is super super sick and in bed. The doctors said there is nothing they can do about his condition so they are just waiting for him to die and it could be any day. Marianela is so sweet and is so excited to learn about the gospel. She tells us that it is hard to understand things but she also says she prays for understanding everyday and it has helped her understand and learn so much. We were teaching her the other day and Hna Hawkins used an example to explain the priesthood by talking about the authority the guy or priest or whatever had to have to marry her and Alfredo and she was like, "What? Oh we aren't married." Whaaaat?! She really dropped a bomb on us with that one. They have been together for like 40 years and have two kids, but during the next lesson when we taught the Law of Chastity, we found out that she has wanted to get married but can't because he is legally married to another woman and won't divorce her. Crazy stuff. It is all pretty confusing and I feel like it is a race against time because if they don't get married before he dies then she won't be able to get sealed to him. When we were talking to her about the whole deal she said she knew and wanted to know if she had to get married to him to be baptized. We told her yes and man, she is so great. She never loses faith. Her only question was whether or not she was still allowed to keep coming to church even if she can't get baptized. 
We know that Marianela´s situation is so complicated but also that the Lord has His own way of working things out. We are praying for her and that there will be some way that she can get married or get baptized. It made me think of how sometimes things seem so hard or difficult for us but that is because we don't see things the way the Lord sees them. I know that the Lord has a plan for Marianela and that everything will have its way or working out if we do all that we can. 
Also this week we made cookies with the Bishops family so I sent some pics of that. I think there is one of me with Elena, the bishops youngest daughter. 
It is interesting being away from home during the Christmas season, but I have learned a meaning of Christmas that I don't think I ever really appreciated before. Presidente Martinez has challenged our mission to use the month of Diciembre as a time to get to know Christ better and become more like him and know him really as our brother and Savior and what that means to us. It has been hard, but it has been great. I used to think following Christ`s example just meant trying to be perfect, which I guess is essentially that, but there is so much more we can do. We can read and learn about Him and try to handle situations in the way he would. We can repent and use the Atonement to become better and change.
Hope you guys are enjoying the Navidad! Love you all a ton!
Love always,
Hna Megan Chalmers (whenever people figure out my first name is Megan here they call me Megan Fox. HA HA HA. No.)

p.s We are in this teeny tiny cyber doing our emails and it is about a billion degrees today and I think Hna Hawkins and I might melt away from the heat. Its like I am back in STG! 

                                          Our ward's Nativity play
                                          Missionaries!
                                          Me & Marianela
                     Making cookies at the Bishop's house. Me & Elena, his youngest daughter
                                          The almuerzo that spilled all over me last week.

12.04.2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hey team. I am pretty short on time today because we are up in Conce for Return and Report but I will do my best to type rapido. I am not getting transferred as far as I know. Phew! Sounds like you guys had a great Thanksgiving even though our floor is ruined. Mine was great too! If I don't have time to send pics of it I will next week for sure. All the Hnas in our casa woke up a little earlier and did a "Turkey Trot Temuco Chile 2013" and then made pancakes. Then that night we had ourselves a ghetto Thanksgiving feast with whatever we could find. One of the Hermanas in our casas has a suegra that hooks her up with all kinds of stuff so we had stovetop stuffing (yeah yeah yeah!), mashed potatoes and then we had turkey sandwich meat, turkey jerky, cranberry juice and the closest thing we could find to a pie at the grocery store. It was pretty funny. We went around and talked about all the stuff we are grateful for and it was especially sentimental because Hermana Nelson goes home tomorrow. It was definitely a different experience being away from you guys for Thanksgiving. Hna Hawkins and I spent probably an hour talking about our moms' pies. But I also realized how blessed I am and all that I have to be grateful for here in Temuco. 
This week we also had a conferencia with a member of the Seventy, Elder Spannaus. The 6 Hnas from our casa sang a christmas musical number a cappella, what whaaaaat?! It could've sounded horrible for all we know. It really was great though. I learned a lot about what this mission means to me and the great responsibility we have. 
Yesterday in church Hna Hawkins and I taught a lesson in relief society on visiting teaching because no one here really understands it and thinks it's just for menos activos and such, so that was nice.
We also have another joven we are teaching, Javiera. Her mom is a menos activo that wants to come back to church and get her family active. She has 8 kids! We taught her the Restauracion last Saturday and it was really really great. We are hoping she can be baptized Dec 21. Our mission is working to have a blanco Navidad! 
I am learning a lot out here and feeling really humbled to be called to do this work. I know I have so much I still need to improve and change but I also know it is all possible. 
Alma 26:12-13 . I have great reason to rejoice! Especially for the fact that I have you guys! 
I am sorry if this email is so scattered!
Love always,
Hermana Meg Chalmers




 Thanksgiving dinner, Indian style with stuffing and mashed potatoes from a box.  Cranberry juice.  Deli turkey, turkey jerky and Blueberry Kuchen, which is about the closest thing we could find to pie.  It was a Thanksgiving to remember at the Llaima missionary house at 10:45 at night.  Still lots of fun.  It was a great day.

11.25.2013

Staying Classy in Temuco

It has been a great week here in Temuco. It is supposed to be summertime, and even though the weather today is nice it has been super rainy all week. Holy cow. I know what they mean about the umbrellas because they just aren't cut out for this Chileno rain/wind. Anyway, I learned a lot this week. We had a Noche de Hogar with a family in our ward that is preparing to go through the temple next month (the dad was baptized a little under a year ago) and it made me think of our family nights because everyone was really focused on eating and it took us a while to get everyone focused. It was so cool to teach a whole family though. It is really hard to get that here in Chile with our investigators. Our bishop (our bishop is a gringo and speaks English so that is cool) has been asking us to focus really hard on getting our members to study the scriptures individually and as a family. 
We also had a lesson this week with one of our menos activos that hasn't been to church since she was like 11, Maria Jose. She is 19 years old and super honest and outspoken and has a lot of questions but it is really cool because they are all so genuine and she really just wants to understand. She also likes to laugh at me when I speak Spanish or say the wrong word and at first it really bugged me because I was just trying to tell her things and she was treating me like I was so dumb, but she really is not trying to be mean. I have learned to just roll with it and laugh at myself. I showed her a picture of you guys too and she asked me where I came from and thought my hair was fake. She also calls Courtney the café one. Everytime I show people here a picture of my family they think I am the youngest and can't believe I am the shortest because here I am definitely not short in comparison. 
We had to go into the city earlier this week and I was breaking in my new shoes and they kept making my heels bleed so Hna Hawkins and I were going to have to go home and get moleskin which was going to take a lot of time and so we were kind of bummed about that. But anyway, we were in a bus driving back into our sector and some guys got onto the bus and just started handing out packs of bandaids. He just threw them into our lap and we both looked at each other so surpised. It was a miracle! I know its kind of funny and not a big deal, but we loved it and we were really grateful. Heavenly Father is mindful of all of us!
I also had my first intercambio with Hermana Peck in her sector in Llaima. Which is the area right next to ours. Our house is actually in Llaima and we walk to our sector every morning. We live with the 4 Hermanas that work in Llaima too. It was so much fun. I learned a lot and we had some really cool lessons. We had one with this cool hippy lady that has a HUGE cherry tree in her backyard. She showed us around and let us eat some. She also likes to look up anti-mormon websites so she is very confused, but has a really strong testimony of Jesus Christ. Today it is so easy to get confused and lose our way, but we talked to her about the Book of Mormon and how it can help us receive the answers to our questions. 
We have also been trying to get a lesson with the couple that has two little kids, Jorge y Karen. Their parents are members but they aren't married. We have had lessons scheduled but something always ended up getting in the way and they both work a ton so it was hard to get them both together. Anyway, yesterday as we were walking by on our way to another cita we saw Jorge outside sweeping and asked if we could come by later, and then our other cita at that time ended up falling through. The lesson we had with them was so awesome! Hna Hawkins and I are so excited about it. We have been praying and working hard for a family to teach and we know this is an answer to our prayers. They have a lot of work to do and need to get married most of all but their faith is really strong.
This email was probably really scattered so sorry about that.  This work is hard but it is so important. I am learning that more and more everyday. Time is flying pretty fast too. I am almost at the end of my first cambio. Whaaaat? I love you guys a ton!
Oh also I had a dream that I got transfered to an area that had no people and I just had to teach whatever I could find, which was usually dogs. Haha hopefully it doesnt come true.
Love always,
Hermana Meg Chalmers

 - At our classy Almuerzo this week. A classic Chileno meal except that there wasn't meat. That was rare. It was super good though. 
 - At the bus stop today with my favorite fanny pack
- view from the mall. On the far right you can kind of see the Llaima volcano

11.20.2013

Cautin, Temuco

11.11.13
Hey guys! What a week. First off, we had a baptism! Valentina, the 15 year old, was baptized on Friday. It was really special that we were able to because in our mission we usually aren't allowed to baptize anyone from age 8 to 16 unless their family is baptized too or is already active. This is so they will stay active in the church. But Valentina goes with her best friend's family who are super active and anyway, we got permission and taught her all the lessons and she got baptized! It was so awesome to be a part of it. The service was simple but so great. Everyone there was so happy. I lead the music and since we didn't have a piano I didn't really know what to do so I just started singing and leading the first song and they all just stared at me like I was crazy standing up there singing. I was supposed to count down from three apparently. Haha oh well I know now.
I got to talk to a bunch of kids in the calle this week too which was a lot of fun. They were all really proud because they knew who the President of the United States is. And they are always so curious where I am from. Everyone always thinks Germany because I guess lots of people come here from Germany or something. They always ask, "What country?" after I say Los Estados but they really mean state. But yeah, I definitely don't blend in here. Gringa 100%. We also had an investigator named Thomas who is 17 come to church with us yesterday. We were super excited about it but halfway through sacrament he said he needed to go and wanted us to walk out with him. So he told us he wasn't interested and said he had, "una consulta" for us. He told us, "You two are very beautiful, but why do you wear such long skirts?" PSH. Thanks a lot Thomas. We thought he was going to have a deeply thought out question.
This week I also had the biggest almuerzo of my life. It took all I had not to throw up. It was like a pile of beans and meat and potates and verduras and then after we had eaten it all she brought out this big bowl for each of us with some kind of eggy dessert with strawberry sauce. We were dying. Afterwards we just laughed because she talked to us while were standing at the door and we couldn't even stand up straight we were so full. The Chilenos definitely like to eat.
We had a capacitacion this week as well with Presidente Martinez and the assistants with our zone and the one below us. He had us do a bunch of practice lessons with him in front of everyone. Hna Hawkins and I got chosen by our district to do one of them. We were pretending like Pres Martinez was an investigator named Gloria who needed to pray or something like that. I was soo nervous because it was in front of two whole zones and with the presidente! It ended up going pretty well and my Spanish came out better than I had expected so that was a blessing.
We also had a cool lesson with Felipe about receiving answers to prayer and recognizing the spirit and I felt like I should share DyC 6:23 and the experiece I had with it and how that scripture helped me out a lot. I sometimes get nervous talking to Felipe because he is not that patient when I talk slow or hesitate with words but he listened and the spirit was there and helped me say what I wanted to say to him.
After our baptism with Valentina we didn't have hardly any investigators progressing so Saturday we had all these grand plans to meet with people and had our cita set up with Eliaser, the guy we had found in the park with a family. All in all, every single one of our plans fell through and even when we went to Eliaser's house his wife sent us away and then we ran into him walking back with his dog and he told us he actually wasn't even interested. I was pretty bummed for a second there because I had had such a great feeling about him. The day was long but we ended up being able to teach a couple lessons and run into a menos activo family that committed to come to church. I learned that sometimes things don't go as we think they will but that could be because the Lord has something greater planned and he can see the bigger picture. Regardless, the Lord was mindful of us and blessed us with little things even though it was a rough day.
I am learning more and more here how blessed I am. Everyday I see ways that the Lord is helping me. I know I would not be able to do this alone and I don't have to either. Thanks for your prayers- I can feel them! 
I love you guys a ton and miss you all!
Love always,
Hermana Chalmers
Mosiah 21:35 (I think that is the one)
                      Waiting in the chapel for hours while the font filled with hot water. The califone wasn't                                       working that well so we had to stay to make sure that the water stayed hot.
Hermana Hawkins, Valentina and me at her baptism
                                            another baptism pic with the elders
our huge fish lunch at the mapuche market

Cautin. Week 4.

11.18.13
It has been a great week here in Cautin. The people here are so great and humble and I love it. They teach me a lot. Also, I am a changed woman because guess who ate an entire banana, first try no warm ups? Yo! I eat bananas and tomates like its no thing. Being a missionary makes everything taste good because we are always hungry. haha, I get teased in the casa sometimes because I will combine anything and eat it. I sent a pic of my PB, apples and cereal on bread combo. Also, for a dessert for Almuerzo at a members house we had apples, bananas and raw eggs blended up and served with yogurt on top. I don't really know if that is dangerous...Haha we ate it all, though.
This week we had us help the Primary with their songs because the program is this Sunday. We have no idea why they have us do it because all the leaders come and just watch us teach the kids. They look at me like I am crazy sometimes and its' like, I dont even speak your language okay?! Mom, we are both music leaders now!
The weather here is finally warming up so I have a nice tan line on my feet neck and arms. It still gets cold at night but the days are nice with a great breeze. Especially with all the walking we do it is great.
We have a new investigator that we are really excited about. Her name is Ana and she is a student here at the university and is so curious to learn about the gospel because she has no experience with any religion really. We prayed with her for the first time she had ever said a prayer and it was a really cool experience. I had never thought about what it would be like to pray for the first time after never really understanding it before. She teased me for cracking my wrist the other day in our lesson and I am sure you guys know how bad I am at doing that all the time. They probably think I am crazy because I do it without ever noticing. 
Today for P Day we did an activity with the zone and watched Monsters University. What whaaaaat?! It was great. We also did yoga all together which was kind of weird but still fun. 
The Spanish is coming along. The members in my ward tell me that my accent is good and I speak like a Chilno so that must be good news. It really is true that their Spanish is so different. They have a ton of slang words like fome-lame and yapo or sepo for yes. H
I have learned a lot this week about being patient with myself and learning to express myself in other ways rather than with my words because that is hard for me when my vocab is still relatively small. It is great to know that if we work our hardest and give everything we have then the Lord will help with the rest. I am trying to do my best even if it isn't amazing because I know if I do that the Spirit will guide me with what to say and how to say it so people can understand. 
DyC 6:33-37 has been a scrip that Hna Hawkins and I have been sharing a lot lately and I love it. 
Everyday I learn more about missionary work and how much more I need to learn. But it is a process and I am excited to keep learning and getting better. It is crazy the things I am finding out about myself and about the gospel that I had never really considered before.
I love and miss you all and have you in my prayers!
Love always,
Hermana Chalmers
sorry the computer is being lame so I can't get the pictures to upload. Next week!

11.06.2013

Hola Family! My first full week in Chile was a success. Definitely a learning experience. I am super jealous of you guys for going to Hawaii without me. Swim in the ocean for me! Also, what part of Temuco was Scott in?
Well this week I have learned a lot. It is hard to understand missionary work until you are actually doing it but I am getting an idea now. First off, for meals here Almuerzo is HUGE. Like mountains of spaghetti with ketchup. They loooove ketchup. and mayo.And they love tomatoes and bananas. Haha just my luck right? Its okay I am learning to like them and I am finishing my food, which is a change. If I don't learn anything out here at least I will know how to eat all my lunch! For some service this week we helped an abuela in the ward weed her backyard. Grandpa C. would've been proud. It was a bunch of weeds and it was like 4 older ladies and Hna Hawkins and I. And we did it all in skirts. Yeah sister missionaries!
It was a holiday weekend too with Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos so that made it a little different. On Dia de Los Muertos we went to the cemetary and talked to people about the Plan de Salvation with our zone and then sang a couple hymns. It was pretty cool and the cemetary was so amazing. All of the graves were huge or little houses. I sent a picture so you can see.
Hermana Hawkins and I have been working on getting new investigators this week and working a lot more with the members, but we do have two progressing investigators with fechas. Valentina is a 13 year old girl who is so excited and interested in the church. She is suposed to be baptized this Thursday! Felipe is an older guy who has kidney problems and goes to dialysis for hours every other day and is always really down in the dumps. Earlier this week when we went to teach him, he and his wife pretty much just yelled at Hna Hawkins and I and I had no idea what was going on until afterwards. He was just feeling really pressured and his wife was frustrated with us, but we think mostly she was just overwhelmed and was taking it out on us. But it took me a while to understand that she was mad since she was talking at the speed of light. That has been pretty funny for me. When I don't know what is going on I just smile and nod when I think I should. Most of the time it works out but other times it is weird, but whatever. I can understand more and more everyday. It is mostly hard to understand the natives that talk super fast. MIssionaries are pretty easy for me to understand. 
Another cool experience I had this week was when we taught a new investigator the Restauracion. I have yet to say to first vision scripture memorized without forgetting part of it but when it came my turn to talk I felt like I should do it even though I was nervous. I did and I didn't mess up! and she didn't look at me like I was crazy for speaking bad spanish. I know it isn't that crazy but it was a blessing to me. I know that the Lord is watching over me and helping me all the time. It really is true that if you have faith and trust in the Lord he will help you right in the moment you need it. 
Hna Hawkins and I have been doing crossfit in the mornings and it's great but also hilarious because we have been really sore so when we go work in the calle we walk around like old men. Also, the dogs are everywhere! They are all pretty gross and some of them I am sure are possesed or something.
One more thing, this Sunday we were fasting for a family of at least 4 to teach because it is pretty uncommon here to teach whole families where the spouses are married. Later that day after Almuerzo we contacted a man in the park and when we asked him about his family he said there were four of them and they all lived together! Miracles happen guys! We are really excited to see what comes of teaching him because we have a cita this week. 
Sorry this email is so scattered. Emailing is stressful. Thanks so much for everything and I love you guys a ton. I can feel your prayers! DyC 84:88 has helped me a lot too. Angels are bearing me up!
Love always,
Hermana Chalmers
                                                    Hermana Hawkins and me.
                                             At the cemetary with my district on Dia de los Muertos.

10.28.2013

Last few days in Mexico and getting to Chile. Whew!

Oct. 28
Hey guys! I made it Conce alive and well. I only have 45 mins to email and we write our mission pres as well so I hope I can tell you all I want to! It was so great talking to you guys on the phone. I love you all!
So anyway, I am in an area in Temuco called Cautin. It is so cool and simple. The stars are amazing and it always smells like a really good campfire or s'more or something and I love it. The weather has been really nice actually. It only really rains a ton in the winter but usually the afternoons are nice and the mornings and nights are chilly enough for a coat and maybe tights. My comp is from Utah, South Jordan and went to BYU before this. She is a gringa, is 20 and her name is Hermana Hawkins. She is so nice and helpful and helps me a ton with my Spanish. She already knew Spanish pretty well before and only went to the MTC for 12 days so she's really good. She has been out for about 7 meses. The people in Chile are so friendly and listen to us even when they don't really want to. Everyone kisses on the cheek to say hello so I have gotten used to that which as I am sure you know, is pretty different for me. But it is cool. The culture here is so loving and friendly. They definitely talk fast and cut of their S`s (ma o meno instead of mas or menos). I am definitely learning patience with the language. I understand an okay amount but I get lost a lot especially when people talk quieter or are older. Sometimes it is frustrating because I want to participate or help out but I just don't know what is going on. I know that the Lord is helping me a lot and I can feel your prayers, so thank you! I am trying hard to not get discouraged no matter what because I know it would be easy since there are a lot of times here I feel like such a dope. This Sunday the obispo had me introduce myself in sacrament and bear my tesimony. I think it went well. Everyone was just looking up at me and smiling so that was good!
We also walk a ton! Our sector is about 15 or 20 minute walk from where we live with 4 other hermanas so we definitely walk a solid amount every day.
 We are focusing a lot in our area on reactivating because there are a ton of menos activos in Chile. We are working on getting more new people to work with now so we have been out in the streets a lot. One night we passed by a house of a family where they are menos activo. The two daughters were outside, 13 and 5, and we chatted with them for a while and said a prayer with them outside and set up an appt. It was so cute. The 13 yr old really wants to come to church but they are never able to because the mom works all the time to support the dad's hospital bills. I guess the dad is a lot older and is dying. The younger daughter, Connie, who is only 5 was taken out of school to watch her dad. It is a pretty sad story but the 13 year old has so much faith and still continues to read her scriptures and pray.
Yesterday we also visited another menos activo, Angelina, who also has two little boys. They were so crazy and the younger who is just learning to talk says "Hola! Hola!" all the time. It makes it slightly difficult to get a lesson going but it is hilarious. She has a pretty rough story as well and her boyfriend is addicted to drugs and she is just really discouraged. I shared 1 Nephi 7:11 with her as best I could with my broken Spanish and I didn't understand what she said afterwards but Hma Hawkins told me that she had just read that very chapter that morning and had been thinking about it. So cool! Being out here, even though it has only been a little while, makes me realize how lucky I am that I have you guys and that we all get along and have the gospel in our lives. I definitely have been taking a lot of things for granted! People sacrafice a lot for the Gospel out here. Also, the closest temple is in Santiago and the ward is saving up to go in December because they have a lot of people going through for the first time. Go to the temple in STG for me! We are lucky to have a temple so close!
This is one of the hardest things I have done but I am learning a lot and trying to work hard and stay positive. I am very blessed out here!
I love you all so much! Cam, good luck with football! Kill some guys! Courts, I am super excited for you with this medical assistant deal. Good luck! Ginny, what are going to be for Halloween? The Chilenos think Halloween in lame but it is still celebrated a little. Mom and Dad, you are the best parents in de whole wide world. en serio!
Love always,
Hermana Chalmers
Sorry I forgot my camera cord so I have no pictures! Next week!


Oct 24
Hey guys! I made it to Chile! They are giving us a minute or two to write and make sure you guys know we are alive. They gave us a bit of info at the mission home and then we went out to this town plaza/park and contacted people! Crazy! There are four other latina hermanas that are new as well so they put me in a trio with two other latinas to contact. They were so sweet and helpful and even though I didn´t really understand the people we talked to that well, I could pick up things and understood the Hermanas okay. It was hard to follow but I said a few things and introduced us once. A guy kissed me on the cheek, because I forgot they do that here, and he didn't give me time to react. My latina hermanas told him no no. Haha it was pretty funny. We will meet our mission president tomorrow and get our trainer. Tonight they are having us stay at a hotel. 
Love you all!!




Oct 22
Hey fam! So it sounds like Dad already got ahold of my flight info. I have a layover in Santiago for like six hours so I will try and call you then! Oh also, FIRST CLASS YOOOOO. I think it ended up that they assigned our seats alphabetical because me, Elder Baggs and Elder Christiansen are in first class.
 This week has been bittersweet. It has been sad saying goodbye to everyone. I have only known these people for six weeks, but I feel so close to them. There is a tradition at the CCM where all the missionaries leaving sing Para Siempre Dios esté Con Vos on Sunday night in the cafeteria so we did that and it was so much fun. We were all singing so loud and I have a video of it that I can try and send. Sunday night we went to our branch presidents apartment on campus and had hot fudge sundays so that was a dream come true.
We said goodbye to Hermana Rust and Fox last night and that was a little sad. Our district has grown so close and we were all sad to see it being broken up because most of us fly to Santiago together.
Earlier this week Hermana Cefalo and I taught Hermana Martinez´s 9 yr old nephew, Theorion, just for fun and to give us teaching experience and it was so much fun. He definitely didn't slow down his Spanish for us so that was nice practice. Some other Elders taught her 7 year old niece and as she was walking out she handed me a little blue marble as a gift. It was so sweet.
Tomorrow is Hermano Sanchez´s birthday so we had cake and a bunch of candy and did some fun stuff today with him. He is the coolest guy ever. We are his first American district so he is having a hard time with us all leaving. He said, "I will never love another district again. You guys leaving? Thats not pretty cool." He is still learning English and he says "pretty cool" all the time. It's hilarious. He also doesn't really understand when to use "Shut up" so he says that to us a lot and we just laugh. I attached some of the pictures we took with him. The posed one was all his idea because he wanted it to be his cover photo on Facebook. All day today he has been updating us on how many Likes it is getting.
I hope I get to call you guys from Santiago! Love you all!
Con amor,
Hermana Chalmers
                                          Hermana Martinez and I outside the CCM

                                                    Hermanas!

                                Our district with the Branch President and his wife, The Jewells
                                                    Selfie at our last Sunday movie

                          The Hermanas in our district in our classroom where we sat everday

                                          Saying goodbye to Hermanas Fox and Rust!

                                          Hermano Sanchez with his cake and treats





10.16.2013

My Last Week in Mexicooooo!

Hey team! How is it already my last P Day in the CCM? Whaaaat?! I am beyond jealous that you guys are hitting Lake Powell this weekend. Soak up the sun for me! Thanks for sending the pics too. I love seeing you guys. I printed off some of them and put them on my wall. We just got back from the temple. Last time going for the rest of my mission! But it was really great as usual and I understood a lot of the Spanish which made me happy.
So this week has been great, as usual. I am excited and nervous to be heading to Chile so soon. I feel like I just got the hang of the CCM. But that is how life works. Once you get used to something and get comfortable with it, it is usually time to move on to the next. If not we would never improve or grow. There are no Hermanas going to Concepcion Sur so it is going to be just me and the Elders heading out and we are all talking a bunch about what it will be like over there which is exciting.
We have been teaching a lot this week and I feel like Hermana Cefalo and I have improved a lot. On Saturday we were all sitting in class studying language, and one of our teachers, Hermano Sanchez, ran in and asked us who wanted to teach real investigators! We were all freaking out a little. He has friends that he has been trying to get to come to TRC (we practice teaching members, teachers, or volunteers but there are RARELY no members) and they agreed to come. Our TRC wasn't until Thursday but he wanted us to teach them since we were his students and he loves us. He said not all of us could come because there were only two or three of them so Hermana Cefalo and I, Hermana Fox and Rust and two other elders in our district went. I was so nervous and excited to teach a real investigator, but it turned out we didn't get to teach them because they ran out of time doing other TRCs with the latinos. But we still might be able to later this week! But since we didn't get to teach them they let us teach this member. Her name is Alma, shes 23 and she is preparing to go on a mission. She is the only member in her family and has such strong faith. It was so cool to talk to her and even though I couldn't express myself that well it was still great.
We taught both our investigators La Ley de Castidad, and they both cracked us up. When we were teaching Mia we asked her if she knew what chastity was and she just made the motions of putting on a metal chastity belt. We have gotten so close with all of our teachers and I swear they are secretly trying to make us laugh everytime. I am going to miss them all a lot but Hermana Martinez is going to BYU this winter to learn English and then stay to go to school so I can come home and show her (hopefully) my Spanish improvement.
On Sunday I spoke in sacrament about "Perseverando hasta el fin" and our district sang Conmigo Quédate Señor. We all coordinated and wore blue like a bunch of squares but it was funny anyways. That night we watched a devotional given a couple months ago at the Provo MTC by Elder Cristofferson. I really liked some things he said like, "Don´t worry, the joy of Christ will swallow up any tribulation"and ¨This is the work of Jesus Christ and we do not have to do it alone."
Also, there are a BILLION mosquitos here and I am getting eaten alive now the we teach outside at night. I feel like I am back in Alaska and I am NOT HAPPY BOB. We had french fries today at lunch so today has been really great, of course. Yesterday for our service activity we really didn't want to mop in the kitchen again so we folded sheets and blankets and it turned out that everyone that worked in the kitchen that day got to help fry tortillas and they had Coldplay playing so they listened to it all through service hour. I was preeettty disappointed because we almost always work in the kitchen. I guess it just wasn´t mean to be. Charlie Brown and I will reunite again in a matter of months.
Just some interesting things at the CCM-
1. the birds are SO LOUD and obnoxious always. and they are not afraid of humans at all.
2. there are always bombs going off which apparently are fireworks since Mexico City is one big party. but sounds like a huge bomb. You can always tell which missionaries are new because they jump when they go off.
3. The weather is 100% unpredicatable. Mornings will be perfect and then after dinner it is pouring rain.
4. They put fruit in everything. There is always a surprise pineapple or guava in my meals.
5. They also throw hotdogs in everything. Chopped up, in a salad. Whats up?
In the pics from today, some casa 21 Hermanas are wearing jeans for the first time since leaving and it felt so weird so we took a pic of course. And a picture of Mexico City on the way to the temple. I love just watching out the bus window on the way there. There are so many cool sights and people to watch and we dont see any of that in the walls of the CCM.
¡Les amo!
Love always,
Hermana Chalmers



10.12.2013

Hola from Mexico!

                                                                                                                     Oct. 9, 2013
Hola Mi Familia! Happy birthday yesterday Cam!! It sounds like you guys are really living the high life right now. I love hearing all about STG life. Congrats on doing so well in the marathon mom and dad! I am so proud of you guys and I hope all three of us can run it in a while. The cabin also sounds like it was a blast, conference plus brian head. What could be better?
Speaking of conference, I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as I did. Wow it was great. It was pretty fun watching it with an auditorium full of missionaries. Whenever a speaker mentioned the Mexico CCM everyone cheered and when they announced that Elder Uchtdorf was going to speak there was an audible, "yessss." I saw Michael David in the choir a couple times too! I hope you guys heard the MoTab sing O Divine Redeemer on Sunday. It reminded me of dad singing it which made me happy. The Saturday afternoon sessions really hit home for me. Especially Elder Holland´s talk. So powerful. 
This week has just been one to remember really with General Conference. Sunday night we watched The Testaments. If you guys haven´t seen it you should definitely watch it. Sunday morning before our sunday school with the MTC presidency we sang the EFY Medley in Español with our branch. I imagined Cam and Jonny singing with me too since they did for my farewell!
This week I feel like Hermana Cefalo and I have really learned a lot about how to teach and understand the spirit as we do. We had some personal coaching earlier this week with Hermana Martinez and she told us that I need to talk less and Hermana Cefalo needs to talk more. I felt bad because I know that I talk too much. Sometimes I think I just get the need to take over and other times I get nervous and start talking a lot of bad spanish. But anyways, we get some good advice on how to improve from our teachers and conference so prepared to teach La Palabra de Sabiduria to our investigator, Mia. We also found out earlier that week that Mia (Hermana Martinez) is in real life, Hma Martinez´s best friend and the problems that she talks about are real and current and things that she tells Hermana Martinez about all the time. Mia has a lot of problems with drinking and partying and with her family so teaching her has been a real learning experience even though we know it isnt the real Mia. So we taught her on Monday and it was so awesome. They spirit was so strong and Hermana Cefalo and I were teaching equally. At one point Hermana Cefalo shared a scripture with her (1 Nephi 7:12) and Mia started to cry and we both almost did too. It was a great learning experience for us on how preparation is so important. The Lord can´t help you remember scriptures or other things that you do not know or haven´t read. I also learned that Hermana Cefalo has an amazing way of inviting the spirit that I cannot do as well. Another time this week we were practicing teaching a Latino missionary and Hermana Cefalo brought her to tears with a story she told and a scripture. She is so awesome and I learn a lot from her about how to teach more sincerely. Tonight we are teaching Mia the Law of Chastity so wish us luck!
Today for P Day we played sand volleyball and soccer with our district and one other. Our distrcit is now the oldest district in our Zone so that is weird. I feel like we just got here. Anyways, at one point when we were playing Elder Kemp and we both went to bump the ball and smashed into each other. I am sure it broke all kinds of missionary rules but it was pretty funny afterwards. During soccer I was reminded how untalented I am at the sport, but that is just too bad because I will probably be playing a lot of soccer in Chile so I just go for it every time and probably look like a spaz, especially since Hermana Fox played soccer in college so she outshines all of us even the boys. It is still a bunch of fun though.  
Jonny, Hermana Rust and I translated this for you, "Osos, remolachas, batalla estrella galatíca."
I love you guys!
Yo se que el Evangelio es la verdad. Estoy agradecido por mi Salvador y hermano, Jesucristo. Yo se que Jesucristo sufrío por nuestros pecados por medio La Expiacion. Yo se que Thomas S. Monson es una profeta de Dios. Esto agradecido por la oportunidad a compartir este Evangelio con la gente de Chile. Amo mi familia mucho. Se podemos juntos para siempre mediante el perfecto plan de Cristo. Yo creo en Cristo con todo mi corazon.
 Amo siempre,
Hermana Chalmers
 
pics - Hermana Cefalo and I on the earthquake circles and then Hermana Cef and I and Hermana White and Eastman (Hermanas in our casa). They are all over the CCM. No earthquakes yet though!



10.07.2013

Letter from October 2, 2013

Mi familia!                                                                                                                                               Oct. 2, 2013
How has it already been another week? It sounds like you guys are doing great. You bought a four wheeler too?! I am sure that was all mom's idea. This week our district has been trying harder to focus on our Spanish and lessons because our teachers told us we need to step it up. Monday we spoke Spanish all day until dinner and it was so helpful. Our lessons with our investigators (teachers) are going well. Ïvan¨ has a girlfriend that he lives with and we knew that we had to teach the law of chastity at some point so Hmna Cefalo and I were planning on it this Monday for our lesson with him. We walked in and he started telling us about his struggles at work and my companion and I both felt really strongly that we shouldn't teach what we had planned and instead talk about the atonement which we had not planned on. It was such a cool experience. That lesson was not us, it was the spirit teaching, which is how it always should be. Even though our Spanish was all over the place we knew the spirit was present and helping us.
Also Elder Devon Anthony from Snow Canyon is in my branch now and oh my goodness. haha the first time he saw me hmna cefalo and I were walking back to our classroom and it was his first or second day and he must have forgot he was a missionary because he tried to hug me and just said, ¨hey whoa we can't hug!¨ It was pretty funny. He likes to tell my district that we dated in high school, which we didn't and probably isn't the best joke for missionaries. I never really know how to respond.
We also did our first TRC this week where we teach volunteers that are either members, less actives, investigators or teachers. We had members and the second one was a 13 year old boy named Aaron. We just chatted with him about our favorite scriptures and what he liked to do. Even though he was already a member it got me excited to teach real people!
One of the highlights of my days is when there is horchata at lunch. Hermana Rust, Hermana Fox and I go crazy for it!
This past Sunday was fast Sunday and we fasted from lunch saturday to lunch sunday. Sundays are really great. my favorite part was a nightly devotional we had  by the MTC director. Something he said that hit me was that how we act here in the CCM is a reflection/pattern of how we will act in the field. That made me want to work a lot harder. Sometimes it can be hard to focus here because the investigators arent real and days can get repetitive with all the studying. Especially since our disricit is so close now and we always just want to talk. But I know that we need every minute here to prepare. 
Also, Mom that peanut butter that came in that last package is the best. I bring it to the movie nights on Sunday and we eat apples and chokis with it. Our room has really been missing music since we are not allowed to listen in our casa since there are so many people to a casa so we just sing when we get ready in the morning and for bed. I would probably hate me, but we are desparate for some music so I am sinking to that level. Singing in the shower is one of my favorite hobbies now too.
Oh so for our language lesson our teacher, Hermano Rangel, goes around and has us make up questions with what we are learning. He called on Hermana Fox and for one of her example sentences she accidently said, esta durmiendo en mi cama.  Haha you are sleeping in my best. Hermano Rangel got a crack up out of that one.
I am excited for conference! Our branch is singing the EFY medleyin Spanish before we watch one of the sessions and I am really excited. Reminds me of my farewell talk!
So today we went to the temple for PDay and didn't use head sets. Only Spanish. It was awesome. I feel like I have so much more to say but I cant remember! Everyday blurs together. Oh! Dad, do you work with a Bonnie Allred. My companion said her family emailed and they know her and she said you guys work at the hospital. Hma Cefalos grandparents live in Santa Clara. Mitchell Dr. I think. Small world!
I love you all! Have fun watching conference at the cabin!
Love always,
Hermana Chalmers

                                          Adventure Time!

                                         Happy Birthday, Cameron!

                                                    Some of my district

                                          Some great hermanas at the temple

                                                       The view outside the CCM from the bus on the way to the temple

9.25.2013

Hey guys!
I got both the packages you sent on Thursday! It was the best thing ever. Mydearmissionary took one day! So things have been great in Mexico. Sometimes all of the time studying is tough but every now and again our district takes a break and talks about fun stuff. The other day a group of us got talking about Lake Powell and I told them all about the DWW and our illegal fireworks. The Spanish is coming along slowly but surely. Sometimes it is frustrating when we are teaching and we have so much we want to say but we just don't know how to say it. We have two investigators now. Mia and Ivan. Both are also are teachers too but they totally transform when we teach them. I am pretty sure they act as a past investigator they have had on their missions. This past week we also did some spanish coaching with the latinos here and we were all super nervous but it was really helpful and they were all so nice about our bad spanish. We practiced teaching them a quick lesson and then my companion and a latino practiced giving me a lesson. I could understand what she was saying even though I think she was talking a lot slower for me. I know that we are being blessed with the language because there is no other way we would be able to teach full 20 to 30 minute lessons in spanish without the Lords help.
This week it has been raining a ton! Apparently we are in the midst of a tropical storm/hurricane. It´s funny because one second it will be clear and sunny and the next it is POURING. It makes things exciting around here though. the downside is it brings tons of mosquitos. I feel like I am back in Alaska! The other day when we were walking to class to plan it started pouring harder than i have ever seen in our life. I tried to take a picture but you cant tell that well. It was like standing in a  shower. guess I am just getting prepped for Concepcion! Oh and I dont know if I told you guys but all of my district is going to concepcion south except my comp and hermana fox and rust and two other elders. It´s kind of cool that way because I know I will know at least some people when I get to Chile and have people I know flying with me.
So this week for gym time we have played tennis and soccer. It is so much fun! We played soccer  once with our district and another one. Hermana Fox played high school and college soccer so she is super good and shows us all up. I am not good at all but it is still fun. Earlier today for P day we tried to play around the world tennis with our district. It was hilarious and eventually just turned into some people playing soccer on the court and others playing tennis. Hermana Rust played tennis in high school too so we hit for a while and it was a blast. P days rock!
So at la tienda here they have these big packages for cookies, similar to chips ahoy, called Choki´s that everyone goes crazy for. Wake up, CHOKIS, study, CHOKIS, teach a lesson, CHOKIS, eat lunch, CHOKIS.
Everyone here has been getting sick and I am really hoping I avoid it! Hermana Rust has had a cold for a while and it would just be such a pain to get sick here becuase we have so much we need to do and learn!
So since she has been really sick, the Elders in our district gave her a blessing earlier this week and it was such a cool experience to see all those young boys holding the priesthood.
Every Tuesday we do a service project and this past one we filled cups with rice pudding (arroz con leche) from this huge pot for lunch. I worked with Elder Magnussen and Elder Baggs and I was trying to explain to Hermanas Rust and Fox what we did and I accidentally said, ¨me, elder baggs and elder magnussen were spooning in a big pot.¨ Hahaha we laughed about that one for a while.
Also the birds here are so weird. They are not afraid of humans at all. There are these two pigeons that hangout outside our casa all the time and we always almost step on them. I named them Desmond and Monty in honor of the Beatles and we all call them that now.
I am jealous of you guys watching general conference up at the cabin but I am also really excited for Gen Conf here. We listened to a talk by Elder Bednar yesterday about how to listen to conference and the three points we were told to focus on were 1. the doctrine 2. the invitation and 3, the promised blessings. I thought that was pretty cool because that way you are really listening to each talk and searching for things.

I loved reading all you guys emails (even though mom made you (JONNY)) and it sounds like things are great at home! I love you guys so much and think of you everyday! You are the best ever.
Con Amor,
Hermana Chalmers