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, PerĂº
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.


Richard Zobrist
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

Sunday, July 14, 2013

I love it here in the CCM

Hola mi Familia!!!
Another week down!! This time I wrote down some points to chat about beforehand, so my email isnt as scattered in my limited amount of time!
-Teaching with Hna V is getting sooooo much better! We´re finally getting some comp unity, and it has come through being super diligent in our comp studies, and sharing our thoughts and testimonies with each other way more than we used to. So that's exciting. Our Spanish is still more broken than Taylor Swiftt´s heart after a breakup, but we´re getting better. I'm getting better at listening to the investigator, because I thought I would be good at that but PSYCH! Turns out I'm not the best. Or near the best. But its cool, because this is a TRAINING center, where fools like me can get it straight! :)
-The weather here sits on a throne of lies. You look outside and think "Oh, what a lovely day, I´ll walk around without a sweater!" And then you go outside and its freezing! I don't understand humidity. And I don't know if I ever want to.
-The 4th of July celebration we had was fun. Also, my comp got a little package that had bubblewrap in it, so we would go around to people and I would do my weird "wind whistling through the canyon" whistle that I can do, and then she would pop the bubblewrap. So basically, we made fireworks.
-I participated in my first ever legitimate 24 hour fast. And I didn't even die! Haha, I thought it was going to be so hard, but it wasn't that difficult. I fasted for a few specific things, and it actually really strengthened my testimony of fasting.
-So, don't send anything else to the CCM, because I probably wont get it in time. But its cool, I'm good without letters for a bit. I have that awesome album that you all gave me before I left and that will get me by. I also have dads mission journal, which is always good for a laugh. Also mom, the 2nd floor of the hermanas dormitory has now seen a picture of you in ´89 that says "Merry Christmas Baby!" next to it. Hahaha.
- I am loving it here in the CCM! I think im gonna have difficulty leaving it, not because I don't want to serve, but because its just such a great place to be!!! I love the other hermanas in my district. We all get along so well, its almost like one of those kindred spirit things. But, I'm already halfway done here (yikes!) so I better resign myself to the fact that I cant be here forever. Seriously though, I love every minute here. (Even when I have to wake up at 5:45 for the temple and don't get any naps.)
-I learned something new in personal study, about praying in the name of Christ. I was just wondering, should an investigator want to know why we pray in Christs name- what would I say. I did some research and thinking, and Ive kind of decided that because He is always such an advocate for us, when we pray in His name, He in turn prays to the Father for us. There's actually a scripture in John about it if you wanna try and find it. Also, in the BD for ¨prayer¨ it says that praying in the name of Christ is more than just using His name, but is actually praying for things that He would pray for.
-I'm in Helaman now for my BOM study, and I hope I can finish the whole things before I leave. Alma was so awesome though, I loved reading it!! I found a chapter that really speaks to me right now- Alma 29. Alma wants to be an Angel so he can more effectively bring people into the Gospel, but then he says that he should have this desire, because then hes wanting for more than what God has given him to fulfill his calling. And thats basically me with Spanish. I wan the gift of tongues and I want it now, but I know that Heavenly Father will give me what I need when I need it. Read over it together and think of me- will you?
Alright mom, Ill close with the testimony that you want for your girls camp thing-
I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. He is my Brother. He is my Friend. Without Him and His help, I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything. Being on my mission, and teaching lessons on the Plan of Salvation has made this even more apparent to me. We literally would be lost without Him, because as natural men, we all fall into sin, and since God cannot dwell in unholy  temples, we would be forever lost, but our Savior, our Brother, paid the price for our freedom. We have been given a gift, the Atonement, and I know that through it, and because of it, we are able to have Eternal Life, if we so choose. Think about what a gift is, will you? It is something that has been bought and paid for. Our Savior has literally paid the ultimate price for all of us, and we need to remember that, and use that gift as often as we are able. I know He lives. I know he loves every single one of you. And if you ever for a moment think that you're the only one who is going through what you have to go through or the only one that has to feel the things you feel, please realize that there is someone else who knows you better than you know yourself. And He is Jesus Christ. I love you all! In teh name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I love you all so much! Please keep me updated!!
Hermana Leavitt

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy Fouth of July!

Happy fourth of July! Its funny- I'm way more patriotic now that I'm in another country. Its also interesting to me how much little things are so much more exciting when you're a missionary and you have to go without them. Like ice cream. Now, before I came here, yeah, I liked ice cream, but it was nothing to cry over, but now, after being in a class for 6 hours, and  you get out to see that there's ice cream for dessert.... I have to admit I have shed some happy tears.And Ive never been able to not fall asleep on July 3rd before, because I was so excited for Independence Day, but I couldn't fall asleep last night.

Anyways, I'm not sure why I started out my letter like that-

Mi familia!

How the heck are you all? I hope you're doing wonderful! I would love to sit down and be able to read all of your emails and what not, but since the computers are so slow, I really don't have the time. I am going to take pictures of them though, with my camera, so I can read them throughout the week.

First off- my apologies for the email last week. Was it hard to read without laughing? Its funny now, but at the time I couldn't even believe what was happening. Ha ha, it was a necessary trial I suppose. I need to remember that this isn't the USA, and we don't all have 100 ft internet towers in our backyard like Grandpa Leavitt does. I'm attempting to attach some pictures onto this email, and if it works, Ill send more. I'm scared to do more than 2 though, because of the internet weakness.

Hmm, what to say.... Well- I love it here! Its really an amazing place. My days are all filled, with every minute planned out, and I know that I am here doing the Lords work and His will, because there's no other way that I would be able to deal with this schedule. I didn't even like EFY that much because it was all scheduled out. So, there's miracle number one for ya. A basic day in the CCM involves waking up at 6:30, making my bed, getting ready, eating breakfast (which consists of runny eggs, toast, and a mystery yogurt surprise that keeps you guessing. Sometimes I put these flake things in them and if I close my eyes and forget what I'm eating, then its almost like I'm eating Frosted Flakes. Almost.) an hour of personal study, and hour of language study, teaching coaching, more language, language class, comp study, lunch, personal study, physical activity ( I play sand volleyball every single day and LOVE it) more language study, and then we teach our "progressing investigator" (which is really one of our teachers pretending to be an investigator) and then dinner, more study, and then bed. I don't think I realized that this really is a TRAINING center until my second day here. But its not hard, I mean, some moments, yeah, its rough, but its nothing that I cant do. Along that same line...

Spanish is hard. And the way they teach it here is interesting. Its all context, so we dont get to really learn the basics, we just learn how to say a prayer and the vocab words associated with that, and then we learn how to testify. So I can do all those things, but I don't really know the basics of Spanish. And I think its because this is a time for me, more than ever before in my life, to rely on my Heavenly Father. I know I cant do this without Him, and I don't think Ive ever prayed for so much help before in my life. But, even though there's no don de lenguas (gift of tongues) yet, I have been blessed with the gift of understanding, and I'm able to understand what our teachers are saying for the most part, which is good, because they ONLY SPEAK SPANISH. Talk about baptism by fire. I'm really humbled though, like, more humbled than Ive been in my life. It doesn't matter that I did all these things before I got here, and I don't know what I was thinking that I could do this all on my own, but I'm completely at His mercy now, and Ive come to see that more and more each day,

Also- so you all know how I used to read Harry Potter in a day, but when it came to the Book of Mormon, I would never just sit down and read it for 6 hours? Well, I'm not sure exactly when it happened, maybe after I taught a lesson in broken Spanish and realized that I don't know how to listen to an investigator and even more than that, I don't know nearly enough about PMG (Preach My Gospel) or the BOM (Book of Mormon), but I suddenly was filled with this desire to read everything I could get my hands on. And I wanted to finish the BOM once before I left here, and after getting this desire to read, I covered 1 Nephi to halfway through Alma in about a week! Ive never really understood what "thirsting for knowledge" meant until now, until I knew that I couldn't teach the word until I obtained the word, but I have it now.

Alright, Ive gotta go- email me some more simple questions, and Ill try to answer them next week. I love you all, and pray for you everyday. I went through the temple today and you were all on my mind so much. Mom, hows your back feeling?

Hasta luego!

Hermana Leavitt
Melissa in front of the Lima, Peru temple

Stuttering Computer

Thats fine! but I did just spend about half of my email time trying to
get onto my emai!! This computers are archaic. And the internet is
slower than Abby in the morniinngg  wwhheenn  sshhee  ddooeessnntt
wwaanntt  ttoo  ggoo  ttoo  sscchhooooll.  wwhhaatt  tthhee  hheecckk??
ookkaayy  mmyy  ccoommppuutteerr  iiss  ttyyppiinngg  iinn  ddoouubbllee
lleetttteerrss.  tthhiiss  iiss  kkiinndd  ooff  ffuunnnnyy.  bbuutt
iimm  nnoott  llaauugghhiinngg  rriigghhtt  nnooww.  WWeellll,,
jjuusstt  ttrryy  ttoo  ttaakkee  tthhiiss  sseerriioouussllyy,,
ookkaayy?? OOhh  nnoo,,  yyoouurree  pprroobbaabbllyy  rreeaaddiinngg
tthhiiss  lliikkee  ii  hhaavvee  aa  ssttuutttteer,,  aarreenntt
yyoouu??!! (Alan here: I retyped the rest of the letter below so you can
read it without going crazy).

H-m-m-m  so  much to say.. Just know that I am doing good, and I'm super
happy. The Spanish is hard, we haven't had an introduction class or
anything like that, apparently we are learning in context, whatever that
means. It's hard, but I can do it.

Mom, stop laughing, it's not funny.

My companion is Hermana V from Washington. She's nice and
everything's okay there.

The food here is seriously so delicious. It's unreal. There's a new
thing every meal, and usually it's just incredible. There's rice with
every meal. And it's way better than minute rice.

I've made some really good friends, Hermana M is super cool. We get
along really well.

I haven't gotten any mail, but I think our DL might get them tonight,
I'm not so sure. But I'm okay, it's weird, I thought I would be super
homesick, but I've been fine since I've gotten here. Really, I've been
fine. It's super busy, all the time. So I don't have time to be homesick.

It's colder than I thought it would be. It is their winter, but I for
sure thought that Idaho winters had toughened me up enough to handle
this ‹ but I forgot to remember that I am in a skirt all day long. So
it's colder than I expected. Plus they leave doors open here like you
would not believe. Everything is just open.

I think Chase is praying that I won't fall in love with any of the
elders in my district, because they all drive me crazy. There's this Elder
here and he already knows Spanish, so when Hermana V
and I were preparing our lesson word for word, he told us that was the
wrong way to do it. That's what I would say if I knew Spanish too. But
it's not too bad. They're not even going to my mission! Just me and four
other hermanas are going go Arequipa.

It's so humid here. And it's cold during the daytime, and at night it's
hotter than hot. I don't understand.

The showers are either really hot or really cold, so you just kind of
dance in and out of them as best you can.

I was really frustrated with the email, so I just clicked on the first
one and it loaded, so I won't respond to everyone specifically ‹ but how
are yo all doing? Abby, you're eleven! That's so awesome. I love you so
much! Yes Dad I actually forgot about that check and that bill. Sorry.
I'm glad you liked the necklace Mama. How's swim team, Abby? Ya still
running and running and running, Rachel? Hannah Banae ‹ how are all your
boyfriends? Did you see Monsters University yet? I don't need to,
remember how I read the plot line in those books?

So my P-day will be on Thursday every week I believe, but the time I
email will change. And hopefully the computer I email on next week won't
do this. I need more patience I suppose.

Today was really interesting. We got on a bus at around 6:45 this
morning, and it was just crammed with people, I mean I was basically
sitting on this Peruvian guy's lap. And then we got off on the wrong
stop, my entire district, and so we were lost in the heart of Lima for
about two hours. And then Pres. Cardon found us. Whoops. Super

The Latin elders are so respectful here, I'm really starting to love
these people.

Alright ‹ I love you! Write me!

Hermana Leavitt

I made it to Peru!

Familia! I hope I am sending this to the right email addresses, because I didn't bring my book, with me. Also, we only have 30 min to type, and i type best if i look at my keyboard, so I'm not going to correct any mistakes that i make,

Happy birthday Abby I hope that you have a great great, great 11th birthday.

I got in to the MTC around 1 am, and they let us sleep until 9, which was nice and much needed. I'm surprised at how little direction we have been given. We just kinda wander around until we see other people who look confused as well. It took awhile to get registered here, me and my comp were last in line. Her name is Hermana V, and she is from Washington State. Shes super nice, and I like her a lot because she doesn't feel the need to fill the silence with lots of chatter. Shes great. Im not going to lie, the breakfast here was so weird. It was like cinnamon yogurt with this bread, my stomach has felt kind of queasy ever since I ate this awful pasta thing on the plane ride here. But it will get better. We haven't even unpacked yet, because other hermanas were already sleeping in our room, so I fumbled around in the dark trying to get my contact solution and facewash. But you know, everything is going to work out, so I'm not too worried.

Not too much to report here, Ive only been here a day, but its great so far!! The computers are super super slow, it took like 5 minutes to log on, so i'm wondering how they will be throughout Arequipa. I have a letter than Ill send off soonish. I don't know any of the rules yet, and I would love some more direction. I feel like I'm just floating around without anyone telling me what to do. But maybe that's Heavenly fathers way of telling me to trust him. I need to just trust that everything is going to be okay!

Did you send off that letter to Chase yet? If you haven't please get on that, will ya? I think I just broke the computer desk. Also, mom, so so so sorry about the mess that I left when I left home, I feel really bad about it. I love you!

Dad, reading your mission journal on the flight here has been such a source of comfort. I{m so glad that I took it. You have lots of great advice and quotes, and even though it does have a lot of mushy stuff about mom, its been such a blessing to have.

Thank you so much for that album that you all wrote your testimonies in! That was great to read as well. I'm sorry if this email seems jumbled, I'm not used to the limited time. Anyways, its hot and humid here, and I'm going to buy more pajamas that are shorts. Also, I was that one girl with the most stuff, which I hate being. Soo.... I'm not sure how I'm getting to Arequipa, but Ill let you know if I need more money on my card! Alright, I don't know how long this comp will take to send this email, so Ill do it now before it cuts me off.

I love you all, I'm doing just fine. I can already see that I'm going to need to learn Spanish well and fast. Send out my love to everyone!

Ofa lahi atu (thats for you daddy)

Hermana Leavitt