Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mission Flicks You Won't Want to Miss!

I thought I would post this cute letter that Melissa wrote to her Logandale cousins after they sent her a package. Greg and Carolyn wrote a cute little letter for Christmas that had movie titles that told about the comings and goings of their family this year. This is Melissa's response.

"Sleepless in the CCM" When preparing for a mission, one hermana finds it near impossible to sleep in her room, as a combination of stress, excitement, anticipation, and snoring from her roommates keeps her from sleeping for 6 weeks. Insomniacs everywhere will surely associate with the realistic side affects that plague this hermana, and after watching it, you´ll want to give it "5 stars" and take a nap on a mattress of the same caliber.

"Mission (near) Impossible" Journey to Perú and follow the day to day life of a sister missionary, as she struggles to overcome cultural and language walls between her and everyone else in the country. You´ll need to have tissues nearby to make it through this emotional rollercoaster of a flick, which documents the first 3 months of an 18 month mission. With it´s on and off Spanish subtitles, intense companionship inventories, and long, heartfelt prayers, the whole family will enjoy this heart tugging drama.

"The Pursuit of Happyness" Watch two hermanas become companions in Perú, overcome the initial awkwardness, and then become the best of friends as they work in their area, and in the mission office. Audiences everywhere will be surprised at just how much two Gringas with a purpose can accomplish, and how much fun they can have while doing it. There is a warning for those who do not enjoy cheesy humor, that they might not find this flick just as charming as the two actresses do.

"You´ve Got Mail" A heartwarming story of a missionary, who, days before Christmas is telling her Pensionista the story of "The Christmas Orange" and how much she loves these Chocolate oranges that they have in the United States, and suddenly is filled with more homesickness that she´s had in months. Audiences everywhere will tear up as they listen to her plead with her Father in Heaven to help her not feel so sad about not being home for Christmas. The touching twist of the movie comes the next day, and she is surprised by a package from her cousins in Logandale, filled with candy, a hilarious family letter, and a Christmas orange. Watch as this missionary feels so much love for her family at home, and how the Lord will always send us tender mercies when we ask for them, and how the prayers of a missionary were answered through thoughtful relatives, and a Christmas Orange.

Well, not as good as your letter, but I didn´t have too much time to brainstorm. Thank you so much for your love and support, and I hope that you have a great Christmas!!!

Love, Hna Leavitt

Merry Christmas!

The new year is almost upon us! I can´t believe that 2013 is almost closing it´s pages. Lots of things happened this year. I got my mission call last Feb. I went on a mission in June. But anyways-

How is everyone this week? I hope you´re excited for Christmas, because I sure am! I have just been dying to open up all my presents, but I´ve been a good girl and followed the day to day program. I´ll have to take a picture of the tree you sent when I´m all done. It looks pretty cool right now. And, I suppose I may just be the teensy tiniest excited to talk to you all on Skype on the 25th. Okay.... WAY more excited than that, but I can´t talk too much  more about it or I won´t be able to sleep tonight.

This week we had our mission Christmas devotionals. Pres y Hna Zobrist decided to divide them up into three groups, with about 80 people at each to make it all more manageable. They did a great job, and we got some awesome presents. The first was a Photoshopped picture of each zone with President Nelson. I can´t even describe it to you. I´m sending it home in my next letter, and you´ll see what I mean. Then we also got some chocolate, and some dirt from the temple site. I made some videos that they showed, and it all went great.

Our zone did a little nativity skit that went pretty great, I was Mary. And then afterwards I tied the little baby to my back like all the Peruvians do. Everyone got a kick out of it, and I´ve decided that I´m buying some of those to use when I have my own kids.




Well, we´re going to go to some mission stuff right now with Hna Zobrist, so maybe I´ll finish my letter to you all on Monday, sound good? If not.... I´ll talk to you all on Wednesday!!! I love you all so much!


Hna Leavitt

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Office Work

Buenas tardes todos-

I'm sitting here in the mission office, waiting for this Christmas DVD presentation that I made for the devotionals next week to render, thinking about how lucky I am that I get to use my knowledge and training for things like this in the mission! President had everyone send in pictures of baptisms and rescatados, so that means about 500 pictures to go through in about 3 days, but it was fun. I'm super lucky to be able to do things like that here.

Hmmm, hmmm, hmm, what to say, what to say....

I am having a blast opening all of those Christmas packages every day Mom! You're the best! Usually I don't look forward to waking up at 6:30 too much, but this ongoing activity has actually made me really excited to get up. I guess that's how you solve problems, like not being a morning person- you give someone presents every day. I don't know what I'm going to do on the 26th though. Maybe I'll just save the wrapping paper, and then wrap something up every night, like a pamphlet, and then open it in the morning, just so I'll have something to look forward to.

This week, other than working on helping our Pres and Hna with Christmas things (we're getting an awesome Christmas present this year!) , we also had the chance to really sit down and talk with Junior, and..... it looks like A C will be having a baptism on the 22nd of December! What a great  Christmas present! I love it. :) He's making such good strides in his life, and trying so hard, and I can't wait to see how it all turns out for him. He's too good.

I loved the pictures you sent of the snow! The only snow that we get here, we get at the top of Misti, and then it melts halfway through the day. Jealous.

I'm sending you a picture of me looking surprised that the couches at the hotel we stayed at in Ilo had rocks all over them. They were sooo cool, and I'm making them and selling them for a million dollars when I get home.



Sorry, kind of a boring week to report on, just life in the BEST mission in the world as usual, just a little bit more office work than usual to get all prepared for next week.

One of my best friends in the office has to go home for medical reasons, we got the news from the doctor yesterday, and it was just a sad day. He would always come into where we were working and say "Hermana Leavitt, this letter is for you." and then it wouldn't be, and he would laugh at how excited I would get. But we really did have fun together, and I hope that he can get it all taken care of and come back to the mission. He's from Chile, so it's not too far, but still, never fun to deal with things like that.


Hey, since I work in the office- I get to see that other side of how we actually get packages from parents to the missionaries, and it is seriously a huge process sometimes. The paperwork that is involved sometimes requires that we send the passports to Lima, which is why it is a million times better to send them in the big bubble mailers like you do, because the boxes cause problems, especially when people send a lot of food. So it's not like the mission office gets them and holds onto them, it's really more of a process than you think.

As for Skype calls go- send me all your usernames and whatnot, and times that I can call, and we'll finalize plans next week, ya?

I love you all so much, and am so blessed to be in this family. I see that more and more every single day that I have been out here. I lead a blessed life.

Keep safe, keep the faith,

Hna Leavitt


Christmas Office Picture

With Hna Zobrist and Sis Pug in Tacna last week!

Me & Andy

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Road Trip

Hey- today is Pearl Harbor! Im not sure what year... 1941? Anyways-

This week (yet again) was AWESOME. But more awesome than usual- because on Wed and Thurs, we took a road trip with President and Hna Zobrist to Moquegua, Ilo, and Tacna! We have new insurance, and to put the hospitals and clinics in the system, we had to go visit them, and since Presi had a pregunta 4 to do anyways- we went!

It was amazing! First we went to moquegua and visited the clinic with the ZL there, and then went out to eat at "Mr. Porky´s" which was surprisingly delicious. We also FINALLY finished all the carpetas (binders) and took them to all the missionaries down there and gave them a little run down of what they were. Then we continued on to Ilo. Ilo is beautiful. Ilo is right by the ocean. Ilo is where I´m buying my lot and when  I go on vacation, that´s where I´m going. We stayed on this hotel on the beach, and Pres lets us go out on the beach right as the sun was setting and it was amazing. I´ve got some awesome pictures I´ll have to send in my next letter. Along with the Christmas pictures we took as an office. They´re so funny- But then, we ate in the restaurant at the hotel, and Pres watched "She´s going on a mission" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9R-187i50Q) because my comp brought up the fact that I was a YouTube star (more or less :)) and then that next day, we studied outside on the porch listening to the waves, and then we went on down to Tacna, which is right above Chile. Everything is cheaper there apparently, and they were all getting ready for Christmas, and we did a quick training on the binders for three zones, and then we went and visited the plaza, got some delicious milkshakes, and then got in the car to head back to Arequipa. It was so much fun! Not only the trip, because, once again, I got the chance to learn so much from my Mission President. I love that man so much! And Hermana Zobrist just as well. I am so blessed, to have the unique opportunity to be around them for a majority of the week. It´s so unique and I know that it´s because I´ve got a lot to learn from them.

As for the office- We finished these binders for everyone and have handed out all the insurance cards, my next project is to put together a mission video for the Christmas devotionals, and then after that, President has a vision of a cool family history project, where I´ll be taking pictures and printing them out for people. I´m his " tech guru" and every time he has an idea for a project, or a newsletter, he always says " Well, we better bring Leavitt in here."

Out of the office- We´ve been teaching Junior for about a month now, hes a friend of a member, and He´s got his baptism scheduled for the 22nd of December, and I know he can be ready. He just has some problems with the word of wisdom, but pray for this 20 year old kid to have the courage to put his past life behind him, will you? I know he can do it, with our prayers and yours.

I love my companion so much- and Mom- you seriously HIT IT OUT OF THE PARK- as far as coolest Christmas packages ever received in the mission goes. I so much look forward to opening my presents every morning. I laughed my head off at the Threat Level Midnight one. Good call. :) I opened my gratitude journal today... and I can´t help but be so grateful for all the support that I have.

Hey. I asked Dad this.... but maybe talk about it as a family too, about if you want to Skype this Christmas, or just a phone call. I know Skype is fun, but sometimes it makes things harder too. Let me know what you want to do and we´ll set it up! :)

I love you all!! The Church is true. I know it is. :)

Hna Leavitt
Ilo, Peru

Tacna, Peru

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cows

First of all- and explanation of the picture I think I have more "orgullo" (pride) of in all of my mission-

 A few weeks ago when Hna Pug and I went on that road trip with the coolest mission president in the world, we were driving by a field of cows. In a green field. Eating green alfalfa. Now, I´m not going to say that I should become the next editor for Forage Grower or anything, but I thought to myself  " Self, haven´t you heard something about cows and green alfalfa before?" And although I couldn´t remember specifics, I knew it was weird. So then, President pulls the van over, and then tells me that I need to take a picture of this and send it home- because Ive told him what my Dad does for a living. So anyways, the farmers here put the cows in the fields of green hay, and then they set up electric wires, so that the cows can only eat to a certain point, and then no more, so they don´t explode, and then the  next  day they move it a little farther so they can eat more. I´m sure you've all heard or seen about that, but I don´t know, there was something so LEAVITT about the moment, combined with the picture, thinking about all the picture like this I´ve gotten from Grandpa Leavitt, and I´ve been meaning to send it for these past few weeks, and just finally got it uploaded. SO yeah, anyways-




Thanksgiving was really cool, we had a combined ward mission night with the other ward in our building and we invited a ton of people to come and bring something to share. Hna Pug and I made Monkey Bread! And for the first time, I didn´t have a terrible result from following an American recipe in Perú- and people liked it. But, since (1) not everyone brought something and (2) this is Perù, where its cultural to take as much as you get get, we quickly realized we had to do some forecul portion control., and when it was finally our turn... I think I got some tapioca. But it felt good to serve, and to share an American tradition to bring people together. Kind of Ironic though, Ive never eaten less on my mission than on Thanksgiving. Oh! Also- thanks so much Carolyn for those little leaves you sent! We write what we were grateful for and put them on our door and it was great.

We have been working like busy little bees to get these binders done with. Everyone in the mission is getting one, which meant personalized covers for all 250+missionaries- and since I´m the " master designer" as president says, a lot of this (well, all of it computer wise) has fallen to me. But it was so much fun, to work with InDesign and design covers and make it all look cool. I´ll send you a PDF of it all one day, so you can see what I´ve done. And- my next project- is addressing the Christmas letters! By hand! I basically know all the names of everyone in the mission,since I have now organized insurance cards for everyone, made binder covers for everyone, triples checked the list to make sure everyone has one, and now the cards. But I love it so much. I love being around Pres y Hna Zobrist. They´re so great, and I love my work.

My comp´s mom sent her a pre Christmas package, and she put in a stocking for me, and I appreciated it so much!!! :)

I hope  that you´re all doing well, send me more pictures, and if it makes it, you may or may not all be getting a little something for Christmas. Lets both pray really hard that it gets there, okay?

Spiritually... I mean, I know that I hinted at this at the end of my email last week.... but I can feel things changing. The more I study and read about my Savior, and the plan for all of us... I can almost literally feel that my understanding is being enlightened. I love it so much. So much. I love the Book of Mormon. And surprisingly, I´m starting to love it in Spanish! I don´t know if I can really explain it, but I´m just so grateful to be here right now. I know that I´m here for a purpose. Maybe many purposes that I don´t even know yet. But I am so grateful for my family, and for the niñez that I had, for the opportunity to grow in the Gospel. It´s all apart of something bigger than us all, and I´m so lucky to be a participant right now.

I can´t wait to talk to you on the 25th! Don´t worry, we´ll work out the details over the next few weeks so we don´t miss each other. :)

Keep it up!


Hna Leavitt

Friday, November 29, 2013

Visit from Elder Russell M Nelson

This week was one for the books! I´m (again) time limited, but I´ll try to give you a brief overview of how AWESOME things are aqui en la MPA-

-Last P day, we went go karting with the office elders, and it was by far, the coolest thing that I´ve ever done in a skirt. Which now that I think about it probably wasn´t the smartest thing to do, but it was FUN. And then we played volleyball, and one of the elders can hit it really hard- but I can hit it harder, which made me feel better about my absolutely dismal soccer skills.

-This week, we lost an investigator, Hna D, who we thought was just so prime, seeing as how her husband is a member, and her family needs help and it all just seemed like a recipe for a conversion, but in the end, it fell through. But Hna Pug and I are getting better about not stressin so much about things that we can´t control.

Elder Russell M. Nelson came to our mission! And, because Hna Pug and I crazy North American sisters, we got to the capilla yesterday like wayyy early. Like, we were there with the ladies who came to clean. And then we went, and although I hate it when other people do this, we saved seats for our zone. And then it was just... incredible. Some Hna Leavitt notes:

-Our Area 70 .... i have no idea how to spell his  name, talked about how the scriptures say that " we should not trifle with sacred things" and how the open communication between heavenly father and his children is one of those things, and that we need to honestly examine our prayers to see what we pray like. And I know, personally, when I´m so tried from walking all day, I sometimes maybe don´t give prayer the reverence it really deserves. Things to work on I suppose.

Woah, we just had a little earthquake. Anyways-

-Sister Nelson talked about how she saw a shirt that said "born to play soccer" and about how we were NOT born for that (much to the latinos chagrin, I´m sure) but how really, we are born to grow, we are born to put away childish things, and in time, become men and women of God. She also talked about our premortal life, and how if we could just see how we lived as spirits with God before, we could handle anything that happened in this life, because we would know the potential that we all have.She gave an example of a caterpillar and a butterfly, and how, yes, there are times to be childish, or to be a caterpillar, but we are here, going through this huge and difficult "practice test" of a mission, to prepare for everything later on in our lives. She also said that Heaven is closer than we think, and that if we need help, we can pray, by name or attribute, for one of our deceased relatives to help us in this time, and that they are ready and willing to do so.

-Elder Nelson began by showing the importance of learning English, or of really learning any language, and then continuing to study it throughout your life, and that he doesn´t want us NA to struggle for words at our homecomings, because that will mean that we didn´t teach our Latin companions as much as we should have. Then he talked about how our identities are premortal, mortal, and post mortal, and how we have divine and immense potential. I have more notes I´ll send in a letter, but it was just amazing.

All in all, I honestly feel that every day, my perception of this Gospel changes. That it becomes something different, something better, and I realize I can´t go back to who I was before.

I love you all!

Hna Leavitt

This is a pic of me in Pedregal. The sun is bright, that´s why my face is weird.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Heebigeebies

Hello Everyone.

Another week down in Perú, and I can barely believe it! This week was really awesome. Hmm.... let me think of what I should share.... I suppose I´ll start with last P Day-

Well, the office elders "forgot" to invite us to their off-roading adventure in Chivay (Hey, hermanas are new in the office, I guess I can see how that would happen...) so we ended up going with President and Hna Zobrist to Pedregal! And we went in the mission van- a good ol´Toyota, which was just so comforting- and we bought snacks and everything, and took a road trip! It was about an hour and a half, and when we got there, we ate pizza with the elders and hermanas there, and then we went and looked at the local clinic there. It was....... not fit for medical care. I still get the heebigeebies just thinking about it. There was dirt everywhere, and they had all this old medical stuff that made it look like it was the scary hospital on Lost when they find it from the people who started the Dharma Intiative. I almost passed out when we walked into a room and there was a lady laying there on the bed. There wasn´t anything wrong with her, it just weirded me out. So I sat down for just a second, and then I was fine. I don´t know how I´m going to do this without Hna Pug. But anyways- I´ve got some cool pictures that I´ll try and send, but the internet is being kind of slow. So maybe another day.

This week, we worked a ton in the office, trying to finish all these binders that are going out to all the missionaries. It´s been interesting, trying to remember how to use all of my Adobe inDesign skills, but I´m actually working pretty fast. The book is looking legit, and I´m making an awesome cover with a picture of misti on it, personalized with every missionaries name. That´s only 278 covers to make! What a piece of cake. But i LOVE working with the computers, because, in all honesty, I get this twinge of nostalgia, like I´m drafting up an ad for the Progressive Dairyman or something, and I like thinking about Jerome and my home, and my work, and my school, and my family. That´s Zion. So I´m doing great. It´s funny, sometimes President will want a document that looks like it´s from the church, so the members take it more seriously, so I look at a church document and try and replicate it. It´s kind fun.

It´s actually awesome to be in the office, and to be able to do things from Prs and Hna Zobrist! They´re so fantastic, and I´m learning so much from them.

Well, that´s really all I´ve got to say. We worked in the office, we worked in our area, and we´re getting along great! Hna Pug is sucha  huge blessing in my life. I love her! I got letters this week- two from you all and one from Chase. So a GREAT week for letters!

I love you all. I´m sending you a picture of a skirt I got today for 10 soles. That´s like 4 dollars. Barrato y fantastico!

well, until next week!

Hna Leavitt

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Veterans Day!

Today we have the awesome opportunity to go to Pedragal with Persidente and Hermana Zobrist and some of the office elders, so my time to email will be a little shorter than normal, but I´m so excited to go there! Especially because I´ve never been outside of Arequipa on my mission, and if I end up being the mission nurse, I won´t ever get to go to Tagna (southern) or Ilo (coastal) I´ll only ever be in the city- which is kind of a bummer, but at the same time, we get to do so many cool things and have so many opportunities that other people don´t have, that it´s a small price to pay for being able to do things I wouldn´t be able to do otherwise.

This week was pretty rad (phrase borrowed from the mission journal of Alan Leavitt), we got to work in the office all three days we planned, and while hna P did mission nurse things and took out appointments in the computer, I worked on retyping our mission health book and our little mission book. And as I was working with Adobe InDesign, with my many pages and layers and outlines and plans, I couldn't help but get a whim of Progressive Dairyman nostalgia. I love working in the office and doing things like this! I made some awesome covers for the books and I don´t know how I´m remembering to do all these things, but I am. And I´ll have to send you some pictures of what I´ve been doing, but I love it! I also helped a few converts this week get started on their family history. That was fun. The Church websites really are so streamlined and beautiful, I love how they look and how easy there are to work with.

We´ve been working really hard. Like, really, really hard. I thought that I was walking a lot before, but I was wrong! We´re walking so much more. And my feet are feeling it- but I´m also feeling better than ever. That´s the great secret about missionary work I guess- the harder you work, the better you feel!

I´d like to take just a moment to hold with tradition and send a big THANK YOU to my Grandpa Palmer for his service for America! Veterans Day is this next week, and since I won´t be able to write before then- I thought that, even though you´re in Africa and I'm in Peru, I would let you know that I love you and appreciate you, and am so grateful that men like you exist in the world, to defend liberty and the standard of truth that we have received from our Heavenly Father. Thank you so much for your example Grandpa!

I was the most envied Hermana in the world, when to my surprise, I received 6 HUGE packages from home. I´ve got the best family ever!!  Thank you so much.

I love you all, and I´m doing so great. Hey! I get to talk to you in almost a month! Can you believe it? I´m so excited!!

Keep up the good work Leavitts and Palmers and Williams and Wrights.

Love-

Hermana Leavitt



Here is a picture of the road that leads down to our apartment.  A little snapshot of Hunter for ya´ll!

Our Apartment

Hermana P and I are dressed up for Halloween!

Me at the Plaza De Armas

Happy Halloween!

What a week! Well, actually, it´s only been a few days since I´ve emailed last- and that´s because our Pdays are now on Saturdays! Yep that´s right, we´re movin and shakin things up here in the PAM. This week-

-We were lucky enough to attend the leadership training in the mission home this past Tuesday, because my companion is awesome, and also she´s the nurse and she had to give a presentation on what exactly is an emergency, and when we should go to the emergency room, because, believe it or not- alot of the latins in our mission just want to go to the emergency room for really little little things. So we made something up real fun, and we had this dart competition to see who could hit these pieces of paper, and we thre out candy, and I pretended to call hna P and ask if I could go to the emergency room because I had a bloody nose and it was just great. We have to make them really interactive or the missionaries just zone out, because it´s a whole day of training.

-On Wednesday, we worked half a day in the office, because we had some more zone training in the morning, but I´m glad that we did go in, because there is so much to be done. It´s because there have never been hermanas in the office before, which means that things could have the appearance of being organized, but as soon as you opened up the closet doors, it all came pouring out. So, while Hermana P was doing all of her nursing duties, Hermana Zobrist and I started to clean house. We threw away so much stuff! We found a typewriter! It was just nuts. But I loved it. And I was totally okay with it too, because I equate Hna P and I to Batman and Robin, and sometimes Batman needs to go fight crime while Robin cleans the bat cave.

- Halloween!! Believe it or not- they celebrate that here! Yeah, not to the extent as us crazy north Americans, but celebrate it they do. And.... it turns out that if you´re companions with a gringa... then you can both kind of celebrate it as missionaries too! We didn´t do too much, but the things that we did do were awesome. We decided to be fictional characters, if they decided to go on missions. So she dressed up as Elfeba, from " Wicked" and I dressed up as Jesse from "Toy Story 2". And then we bought all these little caramel candies and gave then out to kids, and talked to their parents about the Gospel- which was just awesome! I love Halloween.

-Friday, we had our first full day at the office, and while my comp did her thing, I organized like crazy. And we really got a lot done. The office looks so much better, and we have a much better system for everything. Plus, I found the elders a coast rack that they didn´t know they had. We´re working on getting the computer all set up to make these notebooks we´re doing for all the missionaries, and then get a newsletter going. I also learned that I might be in charge of our mission facebook page (so go and like it mom) and put up fun pictures of the new missionaries, and missionaries leaving and service projects and etc etc. I´m also going to eventually be in charge of taking out appointments at the hospital, so I´m designing a more efficient whiteboard system to use than the one we have.... and since right now we don´t have one that shouldn´t be too hard. We just kept finding all this old stuff that the office elders, or president didn´t know that we had. It was pretty fun.

-Today! We tried emailing in the morning, but myldsmail was down for maintenance, so we just went right ahead and adventured on down to Plaza de Armas! It was great, we got to see the old architecture and we went inside this old catholic cathedral and it was pretty neat.


Then we did a little shopping, and I decided that maybe I should just wait for you all to come here to buy the stuff I really want for you, because it´s crazy expensive to send it home in a package and maybe for this Christmas I´ll just send you small things in an envelope. Is that okay? Also, the picture  I´m sending here is of a family in the plaza that wanted to take a picture with us. I guess it´s not everyday that you see white people.



I love my area, I love my companion, and I love you all. I´m doing great, I´m almost done with Jesus the Christ, and I´m reading the Book of Mormon for my 3rd time  but this time only in Spanish! Keep up the good work my favorite family!

(Also, I got the sweetest letter from Emily Olsen- tell her thanks for me will ya? I wish I had time to write her back, but as you know, I don´t!)

Also, also, I got to eat some Nutella this week, and it rocked.

Loves,

Hermana Leavitt

Monday, October 28, 2013

Office Sisters

My apologies- this is going to be a short one-

This week was awesome! I am just loving my time with Hna P, She´s just great and we get along swell. We worked really hard this week too. Like harder than I´ve worked in a long time. I´m pretty sure I´m going to wear through my shoes a lot faster than I expected. I don´t know how many miles it is every day- but we´re racking them up! My companion studied nursing at BYU-I for 4 years, so I guess you can say she has more experience than me. :) She is so awesome and we get along great and we´re working hard. She´s from Arizona- one of 11 kids

Some news- We are going to be working in the Office! We´re Office sisters! (I´ve always wanted to be in The Office- like the TV show- and now my dream is basically coming true!) Hermana P is going to not only be in charge of taking calls and telling people what to do, but she will be in charge of making the appointments at the hospital as well. Kind of cutting out the middle man, so to speak. Which means, when she´s not training me, I will be in the office too. And I´m also going to be helping people out in the Family History Center we´re having there. Kelsi- you would be so proud of me! :) We start Wednesday- and our P-Day will be changed to Saturday, so when you don´t get emails on Monday, don´t worry.

I´m not going to lie, I´m a little overwhelmed at times, when I think "In 4 months, when Hna P leaves, I might be the mission nurse." But I know that with Heavenly Father- I can do everything. :) Pray for me though- prayers never hurt.

I´m so sorry to hear about Kelsi- she´s going on my prayer list. Let´s get this girl some answers! Abby- I´m so proud of you for finishing Harry Potter 4!!! Way to go! Hannah! Way to turn 17- send me some of your clothes! Rachey!! Way to make it to STATE! Superstar! Allie- way to keep on being CUTE! ZACH! I HOPE YOU´RE ALIVE! Grandparents- I love you! Dad! Good luck with your eye surgery- think of me and my eye patch when you get it done! Mom! Keep being the best mom ever! Did you get my birthday letter? I wrote you a poem! Chase! Happy 21st birthday!!

I love you all!

Hermana Leavitt



Monday, October 21, 2013

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy! If you can´t tell- I´m so happy! For lots of reasons-

-I got to have an interview with Presidente Zorbrist this Tuesday, and it felt so good to just lay it all out there on the line. I told him everything. Everything that I´ve been thinking and feeling and doing and why I never called and lots of other things, and I felt so good afterwards. It was such a good time. I´ve come to gain a testimony about leaders that have priesthood keys and who can receive revelation for you. Before, I think I thought I could only talk to him if I needed to confess something that I did, but honestly, I can talk to him just to get counsel about things as well. :) It was great, and much needed. He also asked me if I had any medical experience, to which I replied "Does Girl´s Camp Certification count?" and then I proceeded to tell him that I have passed out not once, but TWICE while getting an X Ray. Which is why I am surprised to be...

-The new companion of the mission nurse! Hermana P! She is so great! I came to love Hermana Z, but it was time for us to part ways. I learned a lot from my time with her though. Lots of kind of hard lessons to learn when you can´t communicate all that well- but I know my time with her will help me for the rest of my mission. It will also help me, should I have the opportunity to train. But right now- I´m with Hna P! A gringa! She´s awesome. The first thing we did when she moved all of her stuff in our room was use these dart guns that she bought. We have kind of the same sense of humor, and we kind of like different things, but we´re getting along great so far. I know, it´s only day two- but I am loving my time with her. I feel so much better, and the effects of being stressed out for weeks are starting to fade just a bit. :) We have a lot more responsibilities, because she´s the enfermeda, and people call her all the time, but I´m looking forward to it. I´m probably going to be her last companion, and I guess I´m supposed to learn as much as I can from her, so I can help Hermana Zobrist out when she finishes her mission in 4 months.

I´m so happy! I´m doing so much better, and I´m so optimistic about this time I have with my new companion. :)

A birthday shout out to my girl BANANERS! Happy 17th this 25th girlie!!! What do you want from Perú? That goes for all of you, start sending me ideas for what you´d like, cause I´m sending something home this Christmas. :) I already got something for mom.

I love you all, and thank you so much for all that you do. For all the prayers, all the letters, all the support. I really am so blessed to have you. Thank you for the many emails from both of my Grandparents. What a legacy! :)

More from your favorite Hermana in Perú next week!

Loves,

Hermana Leavitt

After further clarification from Melissa, this is what Alan thinks Melissa meant."What she means is that her new companion is like a (my own words here), kind of like an assistant to the president (AP)'s wife (Hermana Zobrist). Hermana P is the mission nurse, and it sounds like they want Melissa to learn all she can from her and if it works for her, to possibly be doing that when Hermana P leaves in 4 months. And she thinks she'll be with Hermana P for 4 months, until she leaves. So this could be a very enjoyable stretch of her mission I'm thinking. How funny and ironic it could be if she became "the mission nurse!!""



Thursday, October 17, 2013

No longer a tourist

Mom! Hope that you weren´t too concerned to not recieve an email yesterday- because I had to leave Arequipa for Lima- to finally get my Visa! That´s right folks- your Hermana Leavitt is finally all legalized in Perú. I´m happy to no longer be a tourist, but an actual foreigner here. It´s exciting stuff.
Going to Lima was absolutely awesome, because I got to hang out with my hermanas from the CCM! I missed them all so much. And, I realized that I needed people to talk to more than I realized. Did I tell you that there are no other hermanas in  our Zone? None. And I´ve been through some hard things. And I have had some hard times. So, you can imagine, after 12 weeks of not being able to talk and JOKE- it was just awesome. I miss being able to joke around! I can´t joke aorund in Spanish! I went a little crazy, every sentence out of my mouth was either slightly sarcastic or a movie reference, or a song lyric or a LotR joke. I miss being able to make people laugh so much. I think that´s why I loved Duo with Hanna so much- I love making people laugh! 

It was such a great blessing, to be able to talk to Hermana V. again. She´s so great, and I love her. I can´t even express how happy I was with all of them yesterday! I felt like myself for the first time since the CCM- I didn´t feel like someone trying to be a perfect missionary and always falling short of expectations that someone else has set up for me. I felt like Hermana Leavitt. And I needed that so bad.
I finish my training this week- and we have cambios this Sunday. So- this next Sunday- I´ll either be somewhere new, or I might have a new companion.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Tale of Fathers

October 7, 2013

-I was surprised beyond belief that I recieved a Cannon Chronicle in the mail this past Thursday! Surprised because I didn´t know they still did this, and also surprised because I´m in Perú, but the biggest suprise came when I saw that you sent in part of my emails for our family contribution! YOU CHEATERS! Hahaha, no, it´s smart, to get out of writing something, to send what you´ve already got. I´ve decided to not use as many exclamation points in my emails, should this happen again. Also, my Zone teased me mercilessly that my extended family apparently does ¨The most typically Mormon thing since the crossing of the Plains.¨(In the words of my LD) They couldn´t get over the interviews and the crossword puzzle. But I have to admit, it´s impressive. And I loved reading about my Aunts Laura (I thought you´d appreciate that grammar Dad). I also couldn´t help but feel a surge of pride when good ol´George Q. was quoted in this conference. What a legacy we´ve got.
-I learned a lot about heartbreak this week. It started with a new convert, who lives in the same building as us. We came home from emailing last week, to hear someone sobbing in her room. Tentatively, we knocked, and found her just devastated, on the floor of her room. Long story short, after promising her all sorts of things about taking her to the temple, and about adopting a child because they couldn´t have any, her husband left for a "business trip" but in reality, he cleaned out all their bank accounts and took all his valuable stuff, and he left her to live with another woman. We sat there and cried with her, and then we read scriptures and prayed, but I had no idea what to say to help this woman wth this broken heart. Wé´ve been checking up on her, and she seems to be doing okay, but talk about heartbreak. The only thing we can say, over and over again, is that her Savior knows her, and her pain, and her situation, better than anyone else in the world, and she can rely on Him, and the healing power of the Atonement, to help her cope.
-I also had the chance to learn about Fathers this week, we´ve been teaching a man for about a month now. Long story short, we thought he was ready for Baptism, we went for a visit, found his 13 year old son, began teaching him, and then his dad came home, and grabbed him by his ear, and threw him into their room, and then took a piecve of wood that was used to prop open the door, and began to beat him. He shut the door, so we couldn´t see, but we could hear. We left as soon as we could, and I just wanted to sit down and cry. But apparently this form of discipline is the most common form in Perú, and Hna Z couldn´t understand why I was so worked up about it. I think it´s because I´m from a home where my father hardly ever raises his voice, and never ever raises his hand. It was really sad, but it helped me appreciate what I´ve got.
I love you all, I´m happy, and healthy, and I´m going to try and send another letter this week. Be patient with me! :)
Hna Leavitt

Monday, September 30, 2013

A typical Sunday

Some highlights from your favorite Hermana in Perú (atleast I hope so)-
-We had an earthquake this week! Don´t worry, everything is good, the volcanoe didn´t explode, and everyone´s happy. It was kind of cool and kind of scary. We sure don´t have those in Idaho though. Afterwards Hna Z and I also read our Emergency packets for the first time- to figure out what to do if there ever was a worse one. So now we´re informed and we added more stuff to our Emergency backpacks that made us feel better.
-We have been asked to teach Seminary three nights a week because our ward can´t hold down a decent or consistant seminary teacher to save their lives. So yeah- laugh it up Brother P! Speaking of Brother P- please make a formal apology on my part for every time I used my cell phone in Seminary or colored Disney pages- because when the kids here don´t want to pay attention- I can´t help but think -KARMA! It´s karma. Also, Hannah and Rachel- if you want a laugh, one time during seminary, ask him about the time his friend got stabbed in the neck and died. It´s not what it sounds like- He´ll explain. But anyways- I don´t know what´s happening with our ward, but when we got here, they were just falling apart! Slowly we´ve been rebuilding, but it´s taken a lot of hard work and long nights on our part. Por ejemplo- I choose the Hymns and play the prelude, hymns, and postlude music during sacrament meetings (feel free to let Julie know this- we´ve got the same calling!), my companion leads, our ward mish leader is a bit of a skipper outer, so we teach Gospel Principles too, the Primary Presidency won´t ever meet together- and the President asked us to help her with the primary program, and by "help" I mean that we are in charge of choosing the songs, writing the kids parts, helping them practice during church and once during the week, we also don´t have a ward choir, and no one else can play the piano, so miercoles y sabados, we have ward choir practice in the chapel for an hour, and sometimes one person comes, and sometime 15 come, and we´re also continuing our English Classes and Family History Classes, which surprisingly has consistant attendance, and none of the YW do Personal Progress, so on Saturdays in the afternoon we have (cough, cough, mandatory, couch, cough) PP workshops, and there´s also this group in R.S. who say that they don´t understand the scriptures, so we have a scripture study class on Jueves, along with our Noches Misional, where poeple bring their nonmember friends to the chapel for a short message and to play games. And in all this mess, we get to find time for our investigators! We´re crazy, crazy busy- But I think all the service we´re giving is helping! We´ve gotten our sacrament meeting numbers up to a consistant 30. So that´s improvement from 15. :) But, although it´s crazy and we´ve got a million things to do- I am loving it!
  
I love you all- Keep you chins up!


Hna Leavitt

Monday, September 23, 2013

Enos

I just wrote mom a letter, but I have to say it again- Happy Birthday this week Mom!! Celebrate extra hard for me, okay?! Everyone eat twice the cake and ice cream that you normally would, to compensate for me not being there. Also watch like 11 hours of Netflix, and then you´ll really know what it´s like to be me. Anyways-

We had divisiones again this week- and like the first time- I absolutely loved it!! Like I´ve said, Hna C is officially the coolest missionary that I´ve ever met, and I want to be exactly like her. She calls people to repentance in the street and in their houses and in buses- it´s incredible! And, once again, this division came at a perfect, much needed time, when I was a little "menos animada" because of lots of things. I know that I needed it more than any other time on my mission, and I´m so grateful to have capacitadoras who listen to the spirit to know when they need to switch things up. They´re awesome.

This week was pretty normal, we have one investigator, who keeps on disappointing us- but hey, if we do all that we can do, we can only be disappointed in the situation, not in ourselves.

I ate a chicken foot this week. In my soup. And a chicken heart. And these really really pink salty potatoes that I could barely scarf down. But I´m trying (almost) everything that I can- to really get the Peruvian experience. :)

I picked out an awesome scripture case that this lady in our stake makes for all the missionaries that want it. It´s going to be awesome, and I chose the image of Enos for my LBM, and afterwards I decided I better study up a little but on what exactly is in Enos to justify me having it. And Enos is awesome. I have a letter to send with more of my thoughts.

Hey- if someone asked you right now what the Pearl of Great Price is- could you answer them?  I don't know where I was for the seminary lesson when we learned how to explain what the P of GP is- but I found out this week that I have something I need to study.

I love you all, and I hope the letter I sent you finds you in good, happy health-

Keep up the good work Leavitt´s!

Hna Leavitt

Monday, September 16, 2013

It is all worth it


Family! How are you all?! I´m so excited to write to you this week for multiple reasons-
1) "Bautismo, baustismo, vamos a bautismo!" This was the song that I song from the hours of 6:28 am to 11:23 am this past Saturday- much to the chagrin of my companera- but I was sop excited that I couldnt hold it in! This 14th of setiembre, D.menetered the waters of baptism and made a lasting covenant with God and it was just awesome! This was the first baptism that I felt like I had an actual "hand" in- so to speak, and the joy and happiness that I felt this day was just amazing. This is joy- to help others come unto Christ through faithful actions of repentance. We went to the capilla the night before to set it all up, and we cleaned, and cut out letters (without a Cricket- can you believe it?!), and blew up balloons, and moved the piano and everything was all ready to go, and we went to bed that night with our fingers and toes crossed that it wouldn't fall through, and everything would be beautiful manaña. And it basically was! We told all the members we could that we had a baptismal service this Saturday, at 10 in the morning, and we had lots of people say that they´d be there. But this is Perú and no one is ever on time- so finally, at 10:47, when people started showing up, we started. It really was beautiful. And, once again, I had the chance to play Peruivian hymns I've never heard, but it all turned out okay! And afterwards, Daniel bore his testimony- and when he looked at us with tears in his eyes and said thank you, and how much all the support of the misioneras meant to him, because he doesn't have his family here or a lot of friends, and how he was just amazed that we would do all this for him and that he could feel the love of God every time that he read the Book of Mormon (this is all coming from a 22 year old, mind you) that´s when I had a "Alright- I´ll take all the bad, all the frustration, all the aching feet, all the slammed doors, all the homesickness, I´ll take all of it- twice over if I have to- if I can have another moment like this." I took lots of pictures, and I´ll send them when I get my cord, but it was just special and I loved every minute of my time in our chapel this Saturday.
2) I had my first "opportunity to grow" as far as my health is concerned! Mom, calm your jets- I´m totally fine now, but I have learned the valuable lesson of not eating alpaca meat. :) Good to know! I´m taking my vitamins and all sorts of witchcraft voodoo things Mom, don´t worry. But it was a great opportunity to reflect on why I was really here. :)
3) We had a country wide broadcast this Sunday, for stake conference, and Elder Bednar and Elder Scott talked to the people of Perú and it was broadcast from Lima. And it was really special- Elder Bednar talked bout how we cant schedule repentance, and Elder Scott talked about the divinity of women- how´re they´re the crowing glory of the Father. It was so neat to see how much respect the people here have for Prophets, they paid so much attention to the Apostles and talked about it for hours afterwards.

I´m doing good, still reading Jesus the Christ like it´s hot off the shelves- and I love it.

I was super duper jealous to see you all at USU. Utah State- Hey, Aggies all the way!

I love you, all of you, even my little sock mummy. :)

Keep it up Leavitts!

Loves-

Hermana Leavitt

Monday, September 9, 2013

Missionary work is different here than in the states...

¡Holá! 

This week was straight up awesome! I´m so glad that everyone in the world wasnt lying to me when they said that things would get easier with time. This week was the tiniest bit easier than the last, and I´m going to take this small gap of happiness and run with it. We worked really hard this week to try and gain the confidence of the members. Which means talking more about my family and my life in the gospel than ever before! We also gave lots of service trying to let the people ¨know us by our love.¨ 

Missionary work is so different here than in the states. I read Kelsi´s and Christina´s emails (friends of Melissa's from our ward. One is in California and the other is in New York) sometimes and think ¨Wait, is this the same thing?!¨ But it´s good to be different sometimes. I can't really rely too much on the traditions and things I learned about how the Church functions because circumstances here are so different. But I´m growing leaps and bounds every week because I have to learn so much so fast. And I think that´s why I´m here. Perú is my place to learn and grow and help others learn and grow too.

We have our fingers and toes crossed that Hno. D will be baptized this 14th of Setiembre. He has a GF in our ward, and actually lives right next door to us. He has about 22 years (hahaha, that´s Spanish sentence construction for ya!). And he´s like the only investigator that actually completes his compromisos! It´s incredible! We´ll ask if he read 3 ne 27 like we told him to, and he´ll say ÿes and then tell us his thoughts on the chapter,  and I can barely believe it! An investigator that keeps his compromisos! Increíble! 

My companion and I are still learning that we grew up in different countires and therefore operate in way different ways. She´s a huggy, mother smothering type pf person, and I´m more of a ´I like to write in my journal on my bed by myself and not with you right next to me¨ type of person. She also shows love by telling me to do simple things, like put my jacket on. I seriously have to mentally process everything she says to me in her shoes, and realize that she´s not telling me to do every little thing because she thinks I´m a child, but more because this is how she ¨shows love¨. Haha, Kelsi- you´d just die of the irony of how much my companion wants to hug me! 

I sent ya´ll a fat letter with some pictures in it to prove that I still have all my arms and legs, much to the chagrin of these peruvian dogs.

Last P day we got permish to the plaza de almas, and it was awesome. Hopèfully pictures soon, when I get my cord. I saw so many white people, I was freaking out. And Hna Guararrdo kept saying ¨look! your cousin!¨or "look! Your grandpa!" I think I understand now why people react the way they do when they see me. 

I´ve been reading Jesus The Chirst and it is seriously awesome! I´m about  a third of the way through, and I´ve learned so much. I love all the big words, and the way that Talmage follows a specific pattern to set up and validate his arguments. I´ve come to understand more "deep doctrine" through this book than anything else! I love it, and cant wait to have time to study it more.

I love you all, and think of you oftten. Stay strong, stay safe, stay happy!

(Melissa got the package from the Leavitt reunion. Thanks Laura for heading this up and this is what she said when I asked her if she had received it "Yes, I did! And it was an awesome day, to receive two packages from home, one from Laura and one from my family, with the adaptors, that totally work." I also asked her if she had to pay fees for her packages and she replied "Nope, no fees. I only have to endure the jealous stares of everyone else in my Zone as I receive mountains of mail from my AWESOME family!")

Hna Leavitt

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Change of Pace

September 2, 2013

Familia! How are you all? Things here are pretty good. Another week gone down. The computer here stopped working for a bit, so this email will be rushed an full of typos, but I trust that dad will go through and fix them all. :)

First of all- I had the awesome opportunity to go on divisiones with our capacitadoras this week! They´re like sister zone leaders, but not really. I don't really know how to define them, but they are awesome. I got to leave Avelino for 24 hours and go to the area with Hna C, and she is straight up legit. Like, the coolest, most awesome missionary I've had the opportunity to learn from. I now have a personal hero in the mission. She´s from Lima, and is 21 and studied communications before. She loves American music, and we sang a Hanna Montana song before bed, and it was awesome. I grew so much, and she helped me understand so much that I had no idea about before. I can now challenge people to be baptized. And I can kind of be a little more direct than I was before. Bediciones. She was so nice and said some of the nicest things to me that I needed to hear. Instead of always focusing on the areas that I continually fall short in, she made me realize that I do have some strengths that I can use to make up for my shortcomings. I don't ever hear things like that in Avelino, so it really was a blessing at this time, when I was a little menos animada. I rekindled that fire that I had in the CCM, and our numbers showed that we both learned something from our trainers. 29 new investigators this week! We have to do divisiones this week with our ward members to make all of our appointments. And I´m terrible with directions here, so that will be interesting.

We've been trying to brainstorm ways to work with the members of the ward and get them animated- and one idea that everyone loves is- ENGLISH CLASSES. Yep. Two times a week for one hour, I will be a teacher. Which would be great if I knew how to speak Spanish, but I don't, so we will see how this goes. The members are excited, and they´re also going to bring their friends. refercias de oro!!! Yayay!! We´re also doing singing classes and family history classes. (and by we, I mean me, because my comp doesn't know how to do any of these things.) So it´s like service, but with the intention of finding referencias de los miembros.

I have not received my package with the adapters yet, so I have hope for this Wednesday!!

My Spanish is coming along slooooowwwwlllyyy. But at least is coming? We´re going to print photos today FINALLY. So I´ll send those home. I would send pictures from my camera, but on the bus back to our flat last week, someone stole my camera cord. Sneaky sneaky. Think you could send another one? With an end for my camera and a USB end for the computer and charger.

How is school?!?!? Hahaha. School! I loved the pictures of VB and XC. My sisters are so cool!! And the Bear Lake pics made me super jealous.

I´m sorry about your back mom. I trust you to make the best decision. I´m praying for you!!

Okay, I gotta jet. Read Helaman 10 and think about missionary work, will ya? You are all wonderful, and I love you so so much. Til next week-

Monday, August 26, 2013

L-O-N-G Ward Council Meetings

Hello Everyone! How goes it?

Things here are pretty normal. Well, as normal as things can get in AREQUIPA PERU. Ahh! I still cant believe that I´m here. I´m in Peru- And things here are so different.

My comp and I made some strides in our relationship this week. Strides forward and Strides backwards. But I think we've maybe gained some more common ground. I´m going to try something this week. I´m going to try and talk in the mornings. Because up til now, I mostly just make noises like "Mhmm." "Si" Because I´m so tired and I hate mornings. But my companion just talks my ear off. So, I´ll let you know how this goes. It is an experiment that will take lots of effort.



This week was a little rough, investigator wise. We really have been working to try and make the family of C see that she needs baptism, because she has the mentality of someone older than 8. It´s just her body that isn't like everyone elses. But her mom says that she doesn't need it, and so yeah... how do you change someone´s mentality that´s so stubborn? With love, I suppose. So we´re trying to show lots of love.


Ward Councils are very interesting. And by interesting I mean LONG. But it´s good, because if we don't talk about every person that needs help then we don't know who to help or how to help them. My ward has problems, oh, sorry, I mean, opportunities to grow, with weekly sacrament attendance. So many less active members!! But we´re trying to help excite the ward and make them realize that after baptism, they need to preserverar hasta el fin, and how important it is to renew baptismal covenants.

I made brownies in one members house. And they were alright. All the ingredients are a smidge different here, so they weren't exactly the same, but I enjoyed them thoroughly.

Well... as for other things... We´re working hard. We don't have language study nearly as much as we should, but it´s because we have so many people to visit, that this time is the is sacrificed first. Which is a bit frustrating, but maybe I´ll learn Spanish faster through sacrificing this. No se.

I have a letter to send to you all on Wednesday that has way more details about the work. I´m happy, healthy, and safe. And I´ve only had a scary run in with a dog once. So, all in all, pretty successful.

School is starting for you all!! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, suckers!! Keep me updated.

Dad, again, reading in your mission journal after your first transfer after your first comp has given me lots of inspiration and HOPE. Seriously, reading your wise words of wisdom help me so much. And I cant help but giggle when I read that mom sent you some "choice" pictures. Ha, ha, your slang is so groovy dog.

I love you all, and pray for you nightly. Gramps and Grandma too, thank you for you letter, I love you so much. Tell Jaime a late happy birthday!

Lots of love,

Hermana Leavitt

Monday, August 19, 2013

1,2,3,4 I declare a thumb war!

August 19, 2013

Hey- Two months! Today! That´s crazy.

Familia! I´m doing much better this week. I think it´s because I am starting to learn to be patient with myself and my companion is learning to be patient with my limited abilities tambien. So that's helped a lot.

We had an awesome Zone Conference this week, with Pres Zobrist, and he is seriously so awesome. I heard exactly what I needed to hear to have my spirits lifted. He talked a lot about opposition, and my life is nothing but filled with lots of opposition right now. The language mostly, but there are other things as well. Like tradition. Catholicism runs deep, deep, deep here, and sometimes, because their parents and their parents parents were a certain religion, people don't want to look for something else. We´re not trying to tear down their religion, we´re simply inviting others to study something else, pray about it, and receive an answer for themselves. So we´re trying to think of different ways to make people want to listen, which is a bit difficult when all I know how to say is "somos misioneras, somos representantes de JesuCristo" but I´m working on it.

Random experiences this week:

-I taught my comp how to play 1,2,3,4, I declare a thumb war, and she went nuts and wants to play it every night.
-I gave a talk in sacrament meeting about member missionary work and I think it went okay. I think it was like on the other side of heaven when people just smile and nod to be nice when they don't understand, or when I say something terribly wrong.
- My companion almost died of jealousy at those scripture stickers you sent me mom. She asked me to ask you for some. Seriously, she is envious to an extreme. I can't put them in my scriptures in front of her, cause she just stares at me.
-My zone is straight up jealous of all the stuff I get from  home. But I share whatever I can with them. :)
-The Daughter of a King book is seriously my favorite, and I´m working on translating it as we speak. Well, not right now, Right now I´m writing you all.
-I was on a bus for small people (aka every one else in this country) and we went over a speed bump going way too fast and I hit my head on the ceiling so hard. It literally rocked my world. I thought I was going to die. Well, not really, but I do have a nice bump on my head now.
-We walk so much. My feet are going to be as strong as Frodos by the time I get home.
-There´s a young woman, 18, who wants to be baptized so much, but she´s handicapped, in a wheelchair, limited movement of arms, but she has such a special spirit and we´re going to work really hard this week to have her baptized soon,

I love it here. It´s hard, but I´m in the service of my God and there´s no where else I´d rather be.

Well, I´ll talk to you next week!

You are all amazing. Read the scriptures, pray as a family. We´re in good hands, huh?

Hermana Leavitt



Monday, August 12, 2013

"No Entiendo"

¡Holà famila!

Wow, so much to say! We had a baptism this week, Hermano A y Hermana L, and it was awesome. Things here sure are different Clark. There´s less... reverence? I don't know, maybe I'm just used to how things are in the states, but during the baptism there were kids and adults just chatting like it was brunch. But other than that, and being asked to play impromptu Spanish hymns that I have never heard before, it was good. Leidy is 10 years old, and when she got in the water she suddenly got scared and it took about 5 minutes of the hno baptizing her to talk her into it. I had a very fervent prayer in my heart and my companion was grabbing my arm so hard. But, all in all - bonita!

My mission president says that there are no problems in the mission, only opportunities to grow. I have had lots of those these past week. My companion tries to be as patient as she can with me, but when I say " no entiendo" for the 13th time about something, it gets a little interesting. Pray for me! I need a lot of prayers right now. This is hard. Haha, I don't know what I was expecting before, but geez louise, this is hard. But I´m trying my best, and I know that has to be good enough for now. But still, pray for me, will ya?

We work hard here, and I´m thankful for good shoes. We walk... about 4 solid hours everyday. I think I could do that 50 20 thing. But when we get back to the apartment, I'm about ready to drop. But I cant imagine my life without good shoes. Also, I guard my sleep like a Peruvian dog guards it´s trash. At 10:30 I am out. No exceptions. Sleep is basically like Wheat in Settlers of America. Valuable.

Okay, thank you for all your letters and emails. I love them all! I would suggest, if you want specific questions answered, pick one or two and put them at the top of your emails. I want to answer them all, but I don't have time to pick them out.

I´m in a pretty urbanized area, it´s part of the main city Arequipa, so I can buy mostly everything I need, no worries mother.

Okay, I have some random thoughts that might help you get an idea of how my days go:

-I like carrying my Spanish English dictionary because it´s basically the same size, weight, and type as The Return of The King. I find great comfort in this.
-On the same Lord of the Rings note, I´m in a valley of volcanoes. I´m living in Mordor, at the base of Mount Doom. I also have crazy daydreams of what would happen if they all exploded at once. I don´t find great comfort in this.
-I saw a Peruvian man that dressed exactly like you Dad! I found your Peruvian twin! Seriously though, I think he was creeped out because I was staring at him and almost crying. There´s something comforting about a plaid short sleeve button up shirt, blue jeans, and tennis shoes.
-If I was hired at a place where I had to write what I heard in Spanish correctly, I would be fired from that job.
-I ate popcorn the other day that reminded me so much of basketball games in the JHS gym.
-I don't know how to say a lot in Spanish, so me and my comp don't talk too much when we walk. So I've resorted to reciting songs in my head. The full Fresh Prince of Bel Air song is my most played.
-People here don't know about Netflix. Netflix. N e t f l i x.
-Sometimes when I walk behind my companion I pretend we´re in a real life Mario Kart and I send invisible shells at her to slow her down. She walks fast.

I am so sorry to hear about Kelsi!! Geez, what a tough time for her. I´m praying for her lots and lots.

Well..... not too much more to report. We work hard. And I´m being pushed a lot to use what little Spanish I know, and above all, I´m having to trust in the Lord more than ever before in my life.

I´ve been studying about Abinadai a lot. He´s so awesome. What a great missionary! He had the chance to recall his words and his testimony to save his life, but he wouldn´t. That´s strength.

I love you all, thank you for all that you do! Tell Zach hi for me!!! :)

Hermana Leavitt





Monday, August 5, 2013

I want to be a Peruvian Dog

Is that even the right date? I don't know. Time is weird here.

I don't have much time, so forgive my errors and tangents.

I´m in Arequipa! Can you believe it. I have a Latina companion named Hna Zapata and she´s great. She doesn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish, so as you can imagine, we have some quiet days. But the Spanish will come with time. RIGHT?!

I want to be a Peruvian dog. Why? Lots of reasons. You get to run around all day with your friends, get into random fights, no one tells you what to do, and you can just go through people´s garbage for leftovers. So you never have to cook. How nice is that?

Thank you all for your emails and letters!! i wish I had more time to read and respond, but I don't. And I don't want to try and explain to my companion in Spanish why I am taking pictures of the computer screen. I got your greenie package (and my comp went wild over the candy. She´s officially addicted to Ice Breakers. Also the conversation of me trying to explain what Ice Breakers were in English is one for the books) (Also, Chase, I got some awesome letters from Whitney!)

I´m in an area called Hunter or Avenida. I think Avenida. I don´t know really. I just follow my comp around like a Peruvian Dog. So I guess I got my wish.I like in this weird apartment thing. I cant really describe it. Like a million people live in one building, and like up and behind the building too. But anyways, we have to walk to our pensionistas house for food, and I love that family so much! They don't understand me and I don't understand them, but I can feel of their love for me and me for them, and that´s what counts.

We had a great few days. The people here are so receptive and man alive, I can tell there will be a lot of success to be had if I work hard. I got here on Wednesday, and by Saturday night, we had 15 new investigators. I try my best to open my mouth and speak as much as I can, but sometimes, when people laugh at me, I´m not gonna lie, my face gets all red and I just kind of stop mid sentence. That has only happened about 4 times though, usually people are nicer.

I´m sorry you missed my phone call! I tried every number I knew. But you have those lovely voicemails of me sounding slightly frustrated with you to keep you company! :)

My mission president is awesome. He´s funny, but a hard worker. I can tell he expects success and I like that.

The food here just keeps getting better. I think I´ve actually lost about 5 lbs here though, because of all the walking. I brought my `pictures to the families house that feeds us, and they just about went nuts over you all. You´re all gorgeous apparently. Also, they just about teased me to death about having pictures of Chase. I thought you were bad Dad!

Okay, I gotta jet, but I love you all! More details next week!

Hermana Leavitt

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Welcome letter from President Zobrist


July 31, 2013
Dear Brother and Sister Leavitt,
We are pleased to inform you that your daughter, Sister Leavitt, has arrived safely here in the mission. The enclosed picture was taken at the mission home the day she arrived.
Please accept our appreciation for raising such a fine daughter with good qualities and talents that will bless the people of Peru. My wife and I feel she will be a dedicated and hard working missionary. We are committed to her health and well-being, and consider it an honor and privilege to serve with her here in Peru.
As president of the mission, I am happy to answer your question at any time. To send regular mail and packages please use the following address:
o   Hermana Leavitt, Melissa
o   Peru Arequipa, Mission
o   Casilla 1884
o   Arequipa, Perú
We hope that you will write to your daughter as often as possible, only the positive things of the family so she does not lose sight of the purpose of her mission. She should write home once a week and we hope you will reply to her letters.
We appreciate your dedication in preparing your daughter for her mission. We pray that you will continue to enjoy the Lords choicest blessings.

Sincerely,


Richard Zobrist
President,
Peru Arequipa Mission




Saturday, July 27, 2013

Last Post from the CCM

Ahh! My last email from the CCM! And I'm on a weird computer, so forgive me if the formatting of this email is a little weird. I'm just glad that things have improved from the double letter email. Yikes!

I got a letter from you all this week, just yesterday actually!! You are all so cute! And mom, that was perfect of you to say that its like the New Testament Gospels, all about the same thing from different
perspectives, I know now to never go to Montana Steakhouse! Thank you all so much! Good call on sending everything after that to the Mission home, because it's my last week here! The timing was perfect.  

Things have been pretty normal here. Once again, I can't tell you how much I love the CCM. It's the best place ever. I don't see how things could get much better out in the field than here in the CCM, because IT IS SO GREAT HERE!!! I know I say that every week, but I mean it. I love it. But I bet Arequipa will be even better!  I don't know about my travel to Arequipa yet, but Ive heard it will be on a plane. My Mission President might let me call you next Tuesday to let you know I'm alive. If you dont hear from me though, don't worry, just wait till next Monday, and I'll email you.  

 I finally was able to mail a letter to you all through the pouch mail system. I had to send it in two parts, but I think it will make it. Sorry it took so long, first I had to wait for stamps and then I had to find the time to write! They keep us so busy here, but I finally sent it off. Hope you like it!!  

Tell Hanna Hiller Happy Birthday on the 27th for me will you?  

It has been a study, study, study, week, and Hna V and we finally finished teaching our "investigators" which were really our teachers, this week. We have the funniest teachers. Hno P he told me that I remind him of his mom, that when I say things I'm direct, but in a laid
back, almost sarcastic way. At first I didn't know how to take that, but I figured it was a compliment since he said it was his mom.  

I think I've got my Visa pretty much locked down, so no worries there.

I´ve been learning so much here, and I know that I've been so blessed to come to the CCM at this time. It´s the first time that they´ve had this many hermanas at once. Honestly, every day here has been a blessing, and I haven't been homesick really at all. In the first few weeks, yeah I shed a few tears because of frusturation of not being able to say what I wanted to in the language, but other than that, no other tears have been shed! Except for last night when I read that your back is doing better mom. I bawled like a baby. I´ve prayed for that every single day, I fasted for you, I put your name in the temple, and when I got the confirmation that my prayers were being heard and answered.... I cried lots and lots of tears of joy. I´m so happy that you're not getting surgery! I hope that things are still on
the mend.   I love you all!

You're the best, you beat the rest, you've got a lotta zest, you use the toothpaste of Crest.

Love forever and always- Hermana Leavitt

Sunday, July 21, 2013

1st Try at Proselyting....

Hola mi familia!! How is everyone doing? Guess what- my computer started typing double letters and I fixed it! So, you're welcome for saving you from another headache. I have lots to say, so I´ll jump right in-

-Nothing too new, just livin' it up in the CCM! Still lovin' it!!

-I got letters this week! Finally!! And I got a million all at once. All of those Dear Elders, and the two from home, and then one from home from Chase, and then one from Kelsi, and one from Chelsea! I was basically the envy of the CCM that night. No legitimately, I got some evil looking stares. People were straight up jealous. I hid the letters in my bag because it was getting hostile.

-Mom, will you update my FB (it stands for Facebook mom) to say not to send things to the CCM?

-We had an earthquake here, but it was while I was playing volleyball, so I didnt even know it had happened. I love playing sand volleyball here! It means I have to shower in the middle of the day every day, but Im okay with that. Physical Activity is one of the best hours of the day!!

-We went proselyting (not sure how to spell it Dad) last Saturday and it was an experience. Haha, that's the best way that I can describe it. Usually, they pair up one of the Latinas with a Norte American, but there are too many hermanas for that, so it was just me and Hermana V. And I guess our teacher was supposed to help us out, but he just left us in the middle of this subdivision thing, and we just had to wing it. And neither of us had any idea what anyone was saying! So we would knock, say we had a message, invite ourselves in, and then hope they said yes. We were let into 2 houses, which was awesome. And we talked to probably.... 12 people in their doorways. I think though, they weren't necessarily interested in what I had to say, they were more interested to know why in the world there were two blonde Americans at their door. People here are so nice though, even though it was such broken Spanish, they would listen and say things to make us feel good. Also, I'm having to come to terms with being whistled at and yelled at and smooched at a lot. Haha, its not that bad, but it happens whenever we go anywhere, and I always just feel so awkward that I don't know what to do with myself. Its just the way things are with American girls here. Everyone in my District always laughs at me when it happens to me, because I just say "Uhhh.... " and move into the middle of the group. But anyways, it was a real test of faith, to got out and place Books of Mormon and pamphlets and other church materials, when we had no idea what anyone was saying. SO we prayed and testified a lot.

-Whenever we go to the temple, the little ladies are always frantically trying to find a dress that fits me. They just run around saying "muy alta!" and then after 3 or 4 tries, next thing I know I'm in a 3XL dress that could fit about 10 people in it. But its not a fashion show, its just so cute how they try to figure it out. There are some seriously small people here. And my hands are ginormous to them.

-I went to this migration thing a few days ago, so I think things for my Visa are set. I'm not entirely sure though. The church has got it all under control, I'm sure.

-We were gifted this fake Christmas Tree that's about 2 feet tall by the District that left last week. I guess its tradition to pass it down to the district you like. But then it was stolen from us. But its cool, because we´re celebrating Christmas next week anyways. We have to do weird things like that to keep from going crazy.

- I have a letter for ya´ll that is on it´s way, but I think it will take forever to get to you. Sorry!

-This week was awesome, because--- I finished the Book of Mormon!! Yep, from 1 Nephi to Moroni, all in the CCM. (Mom, here is where you put a gold star on my forehead.) And it was so awesome. I'm starting again, and I am just loving it. Seriously, I cant put that book down. It´s true. I know that its true. How is family reading going? Where are you all at, and maybe Ill read where you are as well.

I love you all, and I'm praying for you all to be happy and healthy! Keep up the good work Leavitt´s!!

-Hermana Leavitt