Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Final week in the US!

Me and my companions the day we accidentally matched
 Me and my district in like our first week

p.s. Elders in my district (L->R)
Cooley, Pedro, Reid, Johnson, Olson, Doyle, McCloy, Welker. They're not as grumpy as they look.

 Hna Carpenter and I
 Me with my German sister, Hna Jeromin
Hnas in my zone: Carpenter, Despain, Hansen
Ball, Bayles, Jeromin
Hna Hansen the other is missing.

Como estan? Espero que todo esta bien y que ustedes estan muy feliz. Tambien, espero que estan en buen salud. :)

I'm definitely excited for Honduras. I can't let myself think about it too much, otherwise i'll get distracted. I'm just so excited. :) My companions are freaking out a little bit. They're both super nervous about getting into the field, but they're going to do great. I have had to be the level-headed one in the companionship though. Haha.  There's been so much snow and ice lately... it's going to be weird going from that to hot and humid. Sometimes I wonder if the people I meet will have ever even seen snow. I'll show them pictures if not.

Thanks for sharing that conference thought. It's so true and so lovely. President Eyring has always been one of my favorites (if one is allowed to have favorites when it comes to apostles). It's been on my mind a lot about how important it is to serve others and give your life over to helping others.
Thanks for all your love and support. I love you!

I've been lucky (let's face it: BLESSED) enough to dodge the sicknesses that have been circulating the MTC the whole time I've been here. A couple of times it hit epidemic level as far as the MTC is concerned, but I've been healthy the whole time. I'm just holding out for these last 6 days or so so I can fly out when I'm supposed to. Pray that I don't catch anything. haha
The MTC food has been fine. It's awesome not having to worry about shopping for/preparing meals. It's a lot more greasy than I'm used to, and I'm semi-psychotic for vegetables b/c they don't tend to plate up as many veggies as I like to have, but it's all good and it's been just fine. It's probably good preparation for not being able to eat many veggies in Honduras. I've also been stocking up on milk while I'm here, cause I'm gonna miss it. Haha.

I've been so blessed, and those blessings remind me that I'm being blessed because I'm doing the Lord's work. It's kind of a nice thought.
No word from my mission. I'll be surprised if they even pick me up from the airport! haha Es un chiste. But really. haha. I'm traveling with Hna Carpenter and two elders, so I'll be just fine. You wanna hear something funny? Well, first off, they're not releasing me as coordinating sister until I leave... apparently they like me or something, cause I've been in for 6 (?) weeks, and they normally only keep them for 2-3. haha. How funny of them. But the REALLY funny thing is that they made me flight leader for the 4 of us who are traveling together. It's not anything prestigious or exciting, it just cracks me up because I know NOTHING about airports, flying, going out of country, or keeping track of two very rambunctious (spellin???) elders hahaha. I guess they didn't know what they were getting into when they gave me that assignment. Haha. That reminds me: I got my flight plans last friday.

Essentially, I get to travel for a total of 16 hours. Who knew? But not too much of that time will be in the air, and I'm glad to have a layover to give me a little wiggle room. Once we get out of SLC we'll be golden, but we're a little worried about ice storms and taking off. Should be fine, though. We go on the wings of the Lord. (metaphorically speaking, of course. He doesn't quite have wings).

BTW, the hermana with the concussion left 3 weeks ago... hahaha. She's fine as far as I know.
All is well. :)

Everything else is good to go. Thanks for everything. I'll talk to you later! Love y'all.

Hna Bayles
p.s.Tell Greg thanks so much for the Dear Elders. I know I haven't been great about responding; I wish I had more time to write letters back to people, but I just run out of time every single pday. I really do appreciate them, though, and I'm glad to hear that he's doing well and loving Russia. It's weird to think that he's on a different continent, but I'm happy for him.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January 23, 2013 Miracles Never Cease

I did have quite the week last week, but it was a great one. No need to call myself Ma Bayles the younger... my companions were already calling me hermana mom. All of the sisters and completely well again. The ones who left last week (which is all but my companionship) were all well and excited to be off. We're now officially the "oldies" of the zone, which is weird, because I remember how I looked at the oldies of the zone when I arrived and it's a very different view from this perspective.

It has been such a blessing to hear from the general authorities here at the MTC. We heard from the primary general president (sister Wixom?) in RS on sunday, which was awesome. She gave such a great talk; I just don't have my notebook with specifics here right now. Last night we heard from Elder Evans of the 70. He gave a great talk on faith and miracles, and his wife spoke about exact obedience. Both were a pleasure, but I especially loved the bit about miracles. I think a lot of the time, people think that miracles only belong in the Bible, and that modern day miracles don't exist. As "Mormons," we clearly acknowledge modern day miracles, but I think even Latter-Day Saints can get caught up in excusing miracles as "luck" or "coincidence." I think the reason people of old times recorded so many more miracles than we modernly do is because 1) they had the eyes to see them and 2) they had the faith to stick to their experiences. The tragedy of the modern world is that people see a miracle and think, "oh, I'm having a lucky day," or, worse yet, they fail to see the miracle at all. However, I think it's important to look for and recognize miracles daily. Yes, daily. Even tiny moments can be enormous miracles. You're driving your car and you think, "I could use some gas. I'll just stop now instead of later." You pull into the station and an accident occurs at the light and you think, "boy I'm sure glad I pulled over," and go on your merry way. What we don't realize in that situation is that you've just experienced a miracle. Whether you see it or not, the Lord guided you to do something as simple as fill up the tank, and you didn't even realize it. What a blessing, and what a tragedy that we couldn't see it for what it really was. Miracles happen every moment of every day, and anyone who says otherwise simply isn't looking hard enough. I know this is true. I know because I've experienced it in my life. I've experienced miracles on a daily basis. Some of them go completely unnoticed. Some of them can't help but be noticed. But miracles are omnipresent in every day life. If we can open our eyes and see the blessings all around us, we'll find that we are chosen, favored, and loved by the Lord (and don't you think differently!).

In addition to recognizing miracles, I've found how important it is to record and remember those miracles. So often we'll experience a miracle, and maybe even recognize it, but in later years, or even days, we look back and doubt the divinity of the moment. I think that's one of the greatest failings of man, is that his memory is short when it comes to spiritual experiences. And who can blame him? It seems as though the very moment we recognize and acknowlege a miracle, some seed of doubt is planted in our mind: what that really a miracle, or was it just luck? Did that really happen, or am I just imagining it? Was that the hand of the Lord in my life, or was that just me? I testify, any time you even think you've witnessed a miracle, you've absolutely witnessed a miracle. The scriptures (Moroni 7 in the Book of Mormon) tell us that anything that is good comes from God. Wherefore can ye doubt? If something good happens to you, it's from God... it's that simple. A good idea, a good mood, a good moment, a good day... they all come from God. And, in my opinion, any time we see the workings of God in our lives, it's a miracle. I can't really keep ranting about this, because I have a very limited amount of time to write, but I would encourage anyone who doubts that they can witness miracles to take a day, even just a few moments, and see if you can't find something the Lord has done for you recently. I guarantee, you'll find something. It may be small; it may even feel miniscule, but you'll find it. I know that much is true.

On another note, Mumsita y Faja, I think your calling sounds glorious, and I bet you will both be excellent at it. Make me proud. hahaha. :)

On another another note, I believe Kirk's birthday is this week, which means: HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIRK! If I'm making that all up in my head, just ignore it. Otherwise, WOOHOO! (by the way, familia, I would still LOVE a birthday calendar for mis friendolas y familia.....).

Ummmm other than that, nothing much is new. The 6 new hermanas are doing well. They're still warming up to things around here, but they're going to be great. I get 4 more hermanas today, and I'm so stoked about it.

Anyway, I love you all and I hope that you have a great week. Thanks for being the best family a gal could hope for. :)


Hermana Dance-y pants (Bayles)                            Dancin' Elders

Jan 16 2013 Slippery Sisters!


This is going to be fast because 1) we only ever have 30 min total and 2) I'm in charge of 6 new hermanas as of today. I had to say bye to the other hermanas yesterday (which was really sad). I didn't realize how close we'd all gotten until it was time to say goodbye and we were all really sad. But someday we'll all meet again, if not in this life in the next.

This week has been ridiculous as far as being coordinating sister goes. Let me just give a vague breakdown of what happened in my life in the last 6 days:

-2 hermanas went to the ER. One was my companion hermana Hansen (for a stomach bug that caused some serious problems in her life), which meant that I got a total of 4 hours of sleep last friday night. You see, we went to the hospital around 8, she was on drugs and hooked to an iv by 9/9:30, and Hna Carpenter and I were awake and keeping an eye on her while she slept until the doctors figured out what was going on. We finally got home around 2:15 am, so we got to bed around 2:30. However, we still had to wake up at 6:30 (except Hna Hansen who was clearly not expected to do any such thing). While we were walking back to the residence at 2:15 am, I stepped on the most slippery ice of my life and totally went flat out on my back. It hurt and I bunged up my knee, but I'm completely fine. The only reason this is important is because the next day I was walking past the spot I slipped telling the other Hna hansen about how bad I had fallen right there the night before and she decided to walk right there, which led to the second hospital visit. She hit her head as she fell and got a concussion.

-1 hermana has lost both her mother and sister, and the anniversary for her mother's birthday and her sister's death were both this week. Also, this same hna was sick, so I needed to take care of her quite a bit.

-1 hermana went through some very big problems this week, meaning that I had to be there for her and help her out. I won't go into detail for her sake, but I missed a lot of class and sleep over it (but I was happy to do it). Sadly, she went home yesterday through no fault of her own, and I'm still trying to put out the fires on that one.

-4 hermanas left yesterday, meaning I had to supervise check out for them.

-My other companion also got sick, which meant that I was taking care of both of them at once. We ended up going to the urgent care to get them taken care of, but let's just say I did a lot of mothering this week. Hna Carpenter was mostly just sick from being up so late at the hospital, so she was only sick for a day and a half. However, Hna Hansen was sick for the whole week, which meant that Hna Carpenter and I nearly literally went mad because we weren't allowed to leave the residence and we couldn't do anything hardly at all. It was especially hard because all Hna Hansen was doing was sleeping, so we couldn't really talk or move around. We also had a hard time getting consistent meals because of it, but no worries, all is well and I'm healthy.

In a nutshell, it's been a crazy week. However, it was also quite a decent week. It's just been difficult trying to solve 6 other sisters' problems (which were significant this week) while solving my own and staying on top of work. The blessing of the Lord is that when you're serving others, you don't have time to worry about yourself, so your problems generally resolve themselves while your back is turned. :)

Last night we had the great privilege of hearing from Elder Holland. It was a surprise visit, but it was AMAZING. We also got a new MTC Presidency (can't remember any of their names jajajaja) and 3 buildings were rededicated. Elder Holland gave the dedicatory prayer for them, and it was so powerful. He spoke of our own rededication and becoming strong stalwart and never-moving like the buildings which were being rededicated. It reminded me of when Lehi tells Laman and Lemuel that he wanted them to be like the mountains and valleys, etc. It was really cool. He also blessed the entire MTC that, no matter the calamity of the world, no attack or act of violence would ever come upon the mtc, and indeed, the very doors, walls, windows, etc. would be guarded by the angels of heaven. I know it might seem funny, but that protection is real and evident. You can feel the Lord's protection when you step through the doors of the MTC. Indeed, the very angels of which he spoke were guarding us as we listened to his prayer. Such magnificent miracles occured in that room last night. I wish you all could have been there. I know that I am forever changed because of the words he spoke and the spirit he brought. However, I am more permanently changed by the events and happenings and personal revelations of the evening. Last night, it felt like the temple was exactly around us, and I know things occured in that devotional that rarely occur elsewhere in the world. I believeI've never had the eyes and ears of my spirit opened so fully as they were last night, perhaps not even in the hallowed and sacred walls of the temple itself. I wish I could tell you more, but I only have 3 minutes.
I love you all mucho! Gotta go shepherd in 6 new hermanas! Toodles!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Jan 9, 2013 - The Flu has subsided.

How's it going? The CCM is good, and the stomach flu epidemic has officially subsided, so cheers for health. One of my companions did end up getting it, and my other comp and I got a watered down version that had all the stomach pain and exhaustion with none of the relief of actually being sick. It was a tender mercy (in a way) because we got to go to classes and teach, etc, and we had one of our best lessons ever as a result. We were one hermana down, but it was awesome.
Missionaries leave the Christmas Morning Devotional at the Missionary Training Center in Provo on Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012.  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

I'm glad errbody got home safe and that y'all had a fun time together. Wish I could've been there, but this is where I'm supposed to be when I'm supposed to be. We got 4 new branches, bringing it to a total of 61 branches. They're going to be increasing the number of missionaries in branches from the current 30-40 to 60-80. Essentially, missionary work is exploding and it's so exciting. (side note: I ran into a family history missionary at the temple a few weeks ago... did you know they wear their nametags on the opposite side? She said that we wears our on the right for the living, she wears hers on the left b/c she's doing missionary work for the dead. Cool, huh?)

As far as Spanish, we will be done with learning new things by tomorrow, which means I am expected to be fluent by tomorrow.... let's just talk about how much that's not reality. haha. But my maestros and ZRTs (assistant teachers?) say my Spanish is muy bueno, so I'm satisfied. The Lord has helped me so much with Spanish, so I'll take whatever I've got and be glad of it. The French honestly hasn't helped at all. I'm sure it helps other people, but my brain only has two categories: English and Other. Spanish is filling up the other, so (very sadly) the little French I retained from High school is as sparse as the bristles on a pig's nose. But, I'm glad that Spanish has to be the language to kick French out, because I'm pretty sure I was meant to speak Spanish. It flows so much more smoothly than English, and it makes so much more sense. Like I said, it's my native tongue, but I'm only just now learning it. As far as the Honduran accent, it's very harsh and strong, but they dont' speak nearly as fast as Nicaraguans. Also, they say "va" at the end of everything. And they drop Ss like nobody's business.

Thanks for the scripture. I always love getting those. :)
As for the silent testimony meeting [Lakes Ward had a bit of a lag in the flow of testimony meeting in January 2013], some of my favorites are the ones where the spirit rather than the people do the talking. Although I must say, after attending BYU, it's always weird being in a sacrament meeting where there isn't a line of at least 20 people waiting to bear testimony. If the ward doesn't warm up to each other, my advice would be to make them. Nobody's going to be upset at someone for coming and saying hello. :) I bet as time goes on, things will get better and the ward will be even more excellent than before.
I liked [Eileen's] Portuguese. :) I always keep an ear out for Portuguese missionaries. I ran into some on the way up here to write this email. You're right about the Portuguese understanding the Spanish better than the Span understanding the Port. jaja I can testify of that first hand.
The Samuelsons are great people with lots of wisdome and beautiful life experiences. I bet it was cool hearing their talk.
I LOVE that talk by Pres. Monson. I think it's from the Priesthood session of October's conference. I've already used it so many times in context of the mission. In fact, I shared that talk with my district yesterday. So good. :)
Hope all's well with you and that Ellie is doing well. Oh, by the way, say hi to Sondra for me if you will. :)
 haha. My week's been good. We've got a new investigator and our whole schedule/teachers/life has been changed around because of the new changes with the new year. it's all good though.
The Jeremiah scripture was way cool. I'm rereading the Bible and I'm excited to get to him. he was one of Nephi's favorties too, if I recall. Can't be too bad of a guy with company like you [Greg Jr] and Nephi, eh? :D
I especially liked what you said about how you can't put half your heart in and expect to tget everything out.
 Anyway, my time is short today. I hope y'all are doing well and that you're happy as chimpanzees (but maybe a little bit better behaved hahah). I love y'all!
 Hna B

Jan 2 2013

How are y''all? I''m good, the only thing that could change that is that there''s been a bit of excitement over the stomach flu here at the MTC. None of my companions has gotten it yet, but there''s still a chance. haha. All is well, though.

Still a threesome. Being coordinating sister this week has been interesting to say the least. There were a couple of issues with a few of the sisters in the zone, which kept me busy, and kept my mind plenty occupied, but all of tat has been resolved and everyone is content. the only other problem has been the stomach flu business, which has hit 3 of the 4 other hermanas. haha. Needless to say, I''ve had duties to complete this week, but it''s a wonderful opportunity and a wonderful calling.

The MTC does a pretty good job of fattening people up. I''m pretty sure I''m just about the same, though. haha. Some of the other members of our zone aren''t so lucky. haaha

The Spanish is coming, day by day. I think I''m doing really well until I remember that I won''t be able to speak Spanglish if I get stuck. Its crazy to think that I''ll be giving up English entirely in just a month. On the other hand, what better language than my native tongue to give it up for? haha

Alright, I only have just a bit of time more, so I''ll only say a few more things. Today we got to go to the temple. Today was the first day it reopened. I forgot how much I missed it and how much I love it. The temple is truly a house of God, and I love when I get to visit my Father''s home. It brings such a feeling of peace and calm assurance, the same feeling I get when I go to my Vegas home, except magnified by millions.

On Dec. 26, yours truly was in the Deseret News. My picture is in the article about Russell M. Nelson visiting the missionaries on Christmas. You can find it on LDS. org and look at my face. Eileen, you''ll recognize the skirt I''m wearing. :)  [See Jan 9 2013 blog for link and picture].

 This week, I had my first ""holy cow, I''m really a missionary and I know what it means to be one"" moment. I wrote it out in a leter to Ari, and I meant to write it here, but I honestly don''t have time. Maybe you can get her to send you a copy once she receives it in the mail.

My time is disappearing, so I''ll end with this: I love you all, mucho mucho mucho! Have a great week, and keep the faith.

Love and love and love,