Monday, October 1, 2012

MTC drop off and Sister Palmer's first email.

We took Ashley a.k.a. Sister Palmer to the M.T.C. on September 26, 2012.That was a hard day for me as a mom. I was and am so excited for her, but I was also sad because I knew how much I would miss her. Here are a few photos of the day.
 The ride over. Not too many tears yet.
 It is hard to let go.
 These two said goodbye for 3 years!!
 Last family pictures for awhile

And off she goes!!! Goodbyes and change are hard. Yet, she's only been gone a few days and has already experienced many miracles. I am so grateful she has the opportunity and desire to be a missionary.
Today we received her first email. She has such a positive attitude. I love HER!!

I am so excited to write you!!!! I feel like it has been forever since I have seen your handsome, beautiful and perfectly tailored faces. So much has happened & time is just ticking away so let me just dive in here.
On Wednesday when you dropped me off, I was (on a scale of 1-sad) the saddest I have ever been. But the Elders took me to the world's nicest Sister missionary who was my host (she's going to Spain) and she showed me the ropes & helped me pick up my books, nametag (HOLLA) and find my way around. She took me to my classroom, where I met my district. Let's not forget that my district is 3 people including me. (My companion, Sister Larsen from Texas, & our Solo Elder going to Austraila Cantonese-speaking from Vancouver, his name is Elder Shaffer) Ha. Our teacher is just at the front saying Cantonese as fast as water drips from Niagara Falls. I was just smiling & looking at him with eyes that I'm sure were full of wonder but mostly just confused. We met the district that is older than us. They are both solo missionaries as well. (Sister Ainge from Springville, and Elder (serious) Staheli from... I don't remember where. I have short term memory loss. I'll ask him & tell you next week.) We are the ONLY missionaries in the whole MTC learning Cantonese. So it's awesome. The older district got here Middle of August & they speak so well. I am so envious.
First miracle when I arrived: happened in my room. Actually pause the miracle story, let me tell you something. I might be struck down for being rude but I get to my room & it smells awful. Like the worst feet you've ever smelled times 100 plus the heat of a thousand suns. Apparently one of mine & Sister Larsen's roommates has some sort of foot problem (dare I say obviously?) so that has taken some getting used to. But we will be moving next door this week because 2 of Sister Ainge's roommates are leaving on their missions & we ARE SO EXCITED. Anyway I'm rude. I'll change. It's mostly just funny to me. I just don't understand how that smell is possible. ANYWAYS, back to the miracle at hand. So remember in my Patriarchal Blessing how it says that "I may be called to use my skill in signing so I should keep practicing that blessing?" Well for the longest time I thought that meant that I would go on a stateside mission doing Sign. Well we all know that didn't happen, but I get into my room & there are three sisters in there besides Sister Larsen and myself. I can't remember their names right now, but there is the one with the foot problem, her companion, and then there is another sister with them. This third sister is hard of hearing so she uses sign a lot, but is learning Spanish, cool right? Anyways, the 1st 2 sisters I mentioned have a tendency to be a little disobedient, not going to bed on time, not getting up on time...etc. So this 3rd sister has a lot on her shoulders to try and get them up. That first night I was talking to her (she mostly reads lips) & then it hit me. It wasn't because I would go on a sign mission, it was so I could talk to this Sister better. I got chills as soon as my brain made this connection. Heavenly Father knows us so perfectly! I am so grateful for this gospel.
Alright so there is no way around it. Cantonese is SO HARD. Elder Shaffer is really good at it. He just picks it up & retains it so well. I can pick it up but retention is definitely my weakness. I prayed and fasted so hard that I would be able to retain what I am learning. I can finally pray without looking at my notes & I am starting to work on testifying statement for my testimony. (My goal is to have 5 memorized this week) The tones & remembering the words are so hard! I know Dad always told me to not get caught up in the language but I have a really have a hard time not comparing myself to the other missionaries. I get frustarated really easily and I am quickly learning patience & being served a huge slice of coconut pie humility. I am going to continue working hard, but it is so easy to get discouraged. The only other thing that is hard for me is that my district is super serious. Elder Staheli mostly.. My goal is to get him to have a hearty laugh at one of my jokes! ha. I'll talk more about this later, but I feel like I am most similar to Sister Ainge, & Sister Larson is super sweet so it's all good. Also, long story short to say hello in Cantonese is Laih-ho (lay ho) Yes it used to be nay-ho but has since evolved... I'm embarrassed. I need to change the header on my blog.
 I love the MTC though. Yesterday was awesome!!! Such a full Sunday. I think it's easier to fast here. OH MY. Do we have a new bishop? Dear Elder that answer as soon as possible. We had sacrament meeting, then mission conference, then Sunday School, then personal study, then dinner (we'll talk more about the food here later, I have quite a lot to say on the subject so remind me!) then we had a fireside, then me & the sisters watched an MTC talk that Elder Bednar gave a few years back.
Im running out of time so a few last minute things:
1. THANK YOU FOR THE MAIL & PACKAGES!!!!!!! Mom you are honestly the nicest woman alive. I talk about you all the time. Sister Ainge loves that you do a work out class with your friends in the back yard.
2. SPENCER HAPPY 16TH Birthday! Sister Larson's brother's birthday is that day too so we are going to eat a treat together to celebrate. I hope you have the best day ever. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!!!
3. I already lost some things, you're not surprised. I lost my Shampoo & conditioner the other night. I was quite distraught. But I was able to find them in another shower so I was so grateful.
Wade, thank you so much for your note & instagram update. I LOVE YOU, Write me. Rachel, I loved your little note as well. It tugged right at my heartstrings.
Dad, Mckay, Spencer, i LOVE YOU 3. I want to hear from you so hopefully I will this week?
Mom thanks for being my best friend and all your notes. I hope I get more mail from you today!
I am so glad 548 memories is working out... I was honestly so nervous. FYI some of them will probably post late at night, it all depends on when they were made.
Ok this has been the fastest 30 minutes later, I have so much to say... I will try & put another letter to you all in the mail today.
miss you already, XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Sister Palmer
(paak jtisma) (pa-tsima)

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