Thursday, August 29, 2013

3 weeks ago, Hermana Lau was born. But there´s 19 years of backstory called: Sami

August 29, 2013

Hola mi familia y mis amigos! Como le va? I´m glad Omaha is as hot as ever! I´m been watching the weather (when we come use the computers for language study) and it´s hotter than Bakersfield! Out of this world! But I´m glad that it will be great for Labor Day weekend. Enjoy the pool--I miss it tons, and its so hard not to be able to go swim a set! To answer your questions: Mexico es super bien! Me encanta la comida. Yo como muchas tortillas y dulces. Yo pienso todos chocolate es hace con crack. It´s so good! Tell Bowker I said hello! He was one of my favorite teachers at West. To all other people: thanks for the letters, best of luck with college starting this week. Shout out to my BYU friends-- yo quiero to hear from you! Thanks Emily J. for writing me :)

So let me tell you about this week! What a week! It was... crazy. On Thursday, I was having the hardest time. I was getting really frustrated. I broke down in prayer on Thursday night. I didn´t know where else to go. And it was the best thing I have done in a while. Relying on the Lord with your problems is great. When I was praying, I realized that I´m not perfect, that I can´t fix it by myself, and that there needs to be a greater hand involved. I also realized that I need to practice patience, which is well... hard. But it´s been going well since then! Shout out to Steven--Thanks for the email. It´s really good to see the other side of the situation. I´m learning a ton from the whole experience too! The Lord knows what He is doing!

Espanol. Oy ve! It´s so hard. I´m at 3 weeks, more than half way, and I feel like I can´t speak very well. I´ve been analyzing how I study, and I´ve been changing a few things. First of all, I realized I need to speak Spanish cada dia, todo dia. Our zone leader (hes only a week ahead of me) has fantastic Spanish. That´s because he talks in it all the time. So I decided to do that too. Me and a few of the elders tried to make a bet to do it all day one day (20 pesos were on the line) and I only made it to lunch. We decided to just make it a daily habit. It´s going to be hard (the day I did it was so tough! I couldnt express myself like I wanted), but it´ll be good for me and my district. With the Lord, all things are possible, right? Oh! And I´m going to try to take to the Latinos more, ask them how to say things, and such. We sat with a group of them at dinner once, and they made fun of our Spanish. But we see them all the time, and were now friends! Theyre cool. Also, grammar is super hard. As we learn it, I swear I don´t speak English correctly, since I never knew what a gerund or past participle was. So grammar is my next target! The plan? Practice, practice, practice!

So studying and missionary work. I´ve had feelings of overwhelmness this week. We had many devotionals that talked about being a PMG missionary, which is a 200 page instruction guide on how to be one. We had lessons that didnt go well, and I turned to the Lord. One thing our teachers have been telling us daily is that we need to turn to the Lord and the scriptures when we have questions and concerns. I did just that, and let me testify-- it works! I felt so much peace as I´ve talked with God more sincerely than I ever have in my life, and feasted on the scriptures more deeply then ever. One thing I´m realizing is that when we study for our investigators, we are blessed to know what they need and we´re blessed too. That´s been really hard to learn things in Spanish that can help your investigators, but I have grown to love them even more as I try. It´s so cool what charity can do! I decided to be the "perfect" missionary everyday, or strive to. I´ve been a lot happier, relied on the Lord and Spirit more, and feel more successful.

My district is having similar experiences. We talked a lot about Holland´s "Lord, I Believe" talk. It´s such a great talk. I loved that Nicole Sweeney wrote me about that talk, since we´ve been studying it these past few days. It´s such a great talk. If you ever feel like your faith is growing thin, read it. If you have a heartbeat, you should read it too. Just saying.

We had another live devotional with Provo again! I´ve had 3 devotionals since I´ve been here, and 2 of them have been from apostles! Elder Andersen spoke this week. It was broadcasted live from Provo. Did you know Provo has over 4000 missionaries right now? I´m soooooo glad I´m here, where there´s 600 at most. Our campus is So much bigger too, which is awesome. I love the CCM! But it was cool to think about how Brody was at that broadcast too. The one devotional we would both have together at the MTC was with the apostle that we both got to meet in Carthage! It was a cool bonding moment. And I love Elder Andersen, especially after he spoke in Hong Kong. He spoke about "Love first, then sacrifice." You love the things you sacrifice for, and you sacrifice for the things you love. I decided I need to sacrifice more of my comforts and past life for the Lord in this great work. It was a great devotional!

We got to go the temple today. It was really cool. It was my second time in Mexico. I understood a lot of the Spanish in the session, but it still was hard. But it was great to sit in the walls of the House of the Lord and recieve revelation. Like "what should I focus on these last 3 weeks in the CCM? What would prepare me most for the field?"
Mexico is great. There was a super loud fiesta on Saturday night outside the CCM and the bass was shaking our beds. I´ll try to send a video of the music. The sound on my camera is bad, so you´ll have to listen carefully.

I love you so much! I´m so grateful for your prayers and support. I can feel angels helping me through the weeks because of your prayers! I love you all with my entire heart. I miss you a ton, but I´m doing the right thing. You´re always in my prayers. Keep praying and reading your scriptures. It brings such great comfort in your life. I can testify of that!

Love you with all my heart! God bless you.

Hermana Lau
                                     Earthquake Spots
                                     When we got Soaked!!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

¡Feliz Navidad!

August 22, 2013

¡Hola! ¿Como esta? I loved getting all of your letters. Not only from family, but friends too!  To explain my email title: Pday is like Christmas. Sunday´s are like Thanksgiving, and getting a letter during the week is like your birthday! I love Christmas and Thanksgiving, but I would like to have a few "birthdays" while I´m here. You can dear elder me or write me! It's on  I  love hearing from all of you! I swear, email time is the only time I´ve really cried at the CCM! But what can you do? All of your letters are just wonderful!

So let me tell you a little bit more about Mexico! IT´s great. Unlike NE, the weather here has been in the 60s and 70s. It´s been good, but I´m going to die when I get to Bakersfield! It´s been in the high 90s there (we have weather gadgets on the monitors. I always look at Mexico City, Bakersfield, and Omaha and compare. You guys have had BEAUTIFUL weather!).

But let me tell you more about the food. It´s great! They take American favorites sometimes and Mexicanize them.  It´s good. They are normal meats, but with sauces and served in dishes that I have no idea what they are called.  Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here (cultural thing) and they always have fresh corn tortillas, delicious rice, beans, and the best salsa ever (besides Dad´s, his is number one). So I´m always happy.

There´s a ton of people here now. They keep bringing them by the bus load! We don´t have any Latinos with us these next two weeks, so there´s only 8 girls for a house with 5 bathrooms--heaven! We have 3 washers and one dryer. We mostly hang our clothing outside to dry on the clothes lines they have. It´s pretty cool!

So my district. They´re super bien! We have 7 elders. 4 are going to Arcadia, CA, 2 to Santa Rosa, CA, and one to NY NY south. They´re a lot of fun. We´ve become good friends and they´re really sweet and helpful. We play basquetbol, volleyball and futbol with them. It´s a lot of fun, but I get too competitive for being a missionary.  Oh well! My district has 4 hermanas. One is from Alambama going to Provo, and the other is from Cedar City going to Chicago. They are tons of fun. Super cute too; we have problems with elders coming up and trying to flirt withthem! Oh dear. But what´s interesting is... I´m the oldest! I just turned 19 in May too! My companion is 2 days younger than me, so I´m not that much older. But me and her are the only ones (and 1 elder) that have ever lived away from home before. So sometimes it reminds me of freshmen year, but then at times they are really mature and handling things really well. They are good examples to me. I love them!

So let me tell you, prayers really work! Thank you SOOOO much for all the prayers. Things are going really well.  All the prayers have done miracles. I´m a million times grateful for them!

The Spanish is coming along. It´s still hard. I know a lot of vocab, but the grammar is killing me! I´m struggling with it, just like HS. Haha. Oh well! I´m practicing the new things I know, and me and Hna. Stott are trying to speak it more and more. We´re both understanding things more and speaking better. Maybe next week I can send a video of me speaking some Spanish! But I´m trying to have faith in the gift of tongues and trying to rely on the Lord to help me learn the language. I´m working hard, chugging away at it everyday! Getting better!

Funny moment. At church on Sunday, the building we go to is right by a street in the city, so you can hear music and traffic. This girl was giving a talk, and then "This girl is on fire" comes on the radio and is SO loud. We all start laughing and they close the windows (not many places here have air conditioning). It was great.

So on Friday we got a new teacher, Hno. Whittacker. His sister is in the Omaha, NE mission! So if you see her, let her know! But he was our first investigator, Pedro. Talk about confusing! He´s now one of our investigators, Esteban. Our other teacher is the other one. I´m having a hard time thinking of the investigators as real people  since it´s just my teachers acting. But I´m praying for that love for them and thinking the situation is real, so I can get the most out of the experience as I can and that I can really teach by the Spirit. We´ll see!

Sunday was fantastic! A feast. Thanksgiving! IN RS, I came to the realization that the BOM is symbolism for our lives. It contains 1/100th of all the records, and it symbolizes things that are going on in our lives. 1 Nephi 17 and 18. The building of the ship. It can symbolize our missions, marriages, callings, and other things in our lives. It was so cool!

Also, we watched an old MTC devotional from Oct. 2012 with Elder Bednar. Holy cow, was it awesome! He talked about how he studies conference talks. Needless to say, I got some really awesome inspiration from it! 

I´m running out of time, but I´m just so glad that I have the chance to be a part of this work. It is God´s work, and I´m so grateful that He trusted me to do a little bit of that work. I´m here for 1/2 the time Christ did His  ministry. That´s a pretty cool thought!

I love you all! I miss you terribly, but I know that I´m suppose to be here doing this work! Sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I just remember I need to work with the Lord, and I can accomplish everything through Him! I´m not perfect, but He is. Thank goodness!

Thanks for your prayers, your love, and your support. As they say in Spanish, "¡Les quiero!"

Love, Hermana Lau

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pictures of Mexico MTC & Temple

                                 Hermana Lau and her companion Hermana Stott

                                        Hermana Lau's Mission District

Thursday, August 15, 2013


August 15, 2013

The MTC!!!! It's so crazy here in Mexico. I understand why the Mexican people loved this campus as a high school. It's gorgeous and there is such an awesome spirit here! Let me describe it a bit for you. There are palm trees everywhere! The huge ones that look like fireworks! I love it. And we stay in casas! There are 4 people per room, and 5 rooms in the house. When I got here, I was the last week of the first round of Americans. I'm here for 6 weeks, and the first group of Americans just left on Monday. We got a TON of new missionaries on Wednesday. We have the largest MTC area wise, but right now there´s about 800 or 900 missionaries here. They sent a bunch of missionaries who were going to other MTCs here because the other MTCs are full. I saw a kid from my BYU ward, Eli Tucker! And I saw another kid from my mission prep class, Kyle Webster! It was cool to see familiar faces. Another thing about the MTC! It rains a lot here. One day me and Hna Stott (my companion) got caught in the middle of a HUGE downpour. We had umbrellas, but they weren´t helpful, so we ran to our class. We were soaked. I wrung out my skirt, poured water out of my flats, the works. If I get the picture from a girl in my district, I´ll send it to you. We´re split Americans and Latinos. We eat together, and we share casas together, but all of our classes are individual. The Latinos are so much fun and so nice! They help you with your Spanish, and we help them with English. The food here is good, but it´s different. I always know what I´m eating (chicken, pork, etc) but they put sauces on it and put it with veggies and then I guess it´s a typical Mexican dish! One day they had chicken wings. I didn´t get any, but I guess they weren´t cooked and still had feathers. Hooray for the never ending cereal!

So my district! There are 7 elders and 4 hermanas. The elders are all 18. One went to a year of school, but the rest are fresh out of high school. One of the elders is from North Platte (Elder Haws)! I was so excited! He knew of some of the kids at MW, cause he ran cross country. Adam Wendel sounded familiar to him. The 18 year old elders are spiritually ready for a mission, but they are obviously experiencing their first time away from home. It feels a lot like the first semester at college. Our teacher in fantastic! Her name is Hna. Olsen. She is so nice, and is so focused on the work. We are in a branch with 5 other districts, who differ in the weeks they´ve been here. They are awesome. The district who got here the week before we did is cool. I´ve played soccer with them. There´s a BYU football player in that district! Tanner Mangum? I don´t know if he´s a key player, but I thought it was cool! They´re nice people.

So to talk about the work! First off, it´s weird to have everyone call me Hermana Lau.

But the work. It´s so hard. Emotionally, I´m always so exhausted. The first day I was here was rough. I´ll tell you about my companion, but I wasn´t even sure if I was suppose to be here. I was studying about prayer that night, and came across D&C 6:22-23. It was an answer to my prayers! I felt so relieved and felt HF´s love so much! He really does love each of us and has a plan for our lives! The Spanish is going well. The gift of tongues is amazing! I´m remembering a lot from HS, and it´s coming back fast. I´m so glad I learned so much in Bowcott´s class--Preston, tell him I said thanks! It´s difficult, but I´m trying to use it as much as I can. We try to speak in Spanish all day sometimes, but after a few hours, it becomes frustrating to express ourselves, so we go to Spanglish. We´re learning a ton, and progressing well!

something I learned while teaching was how important the Spirit is when missionaries teach. We taught a teacher who pretended to be Pedro. The first lesson went really well. The Spirit was strong, and it was good. The 2nd lesson was a flop. I was really discouraged because the Spirit wasn´t there at all. On Sunday, someone talked about how enduring to the end needs to have an attitude of it´s good! So I wrote in Spanish on my wall, and it´s now my motto for the CCM! The 3rd lesson went well, and so did the 4th lesson. I´m still trying to figure out how to teach by the Spirit and how to have it instruct me on how I should work.

We got to hear a devotional from Elder Scott on Sunday. It was to all the MTCs in the world, and it was about prayer. I don{t have time to talk about it now, but it was amazing and you guys should watch it!

I love you all so much! I wish I could be home, but I know I´m doing the right thing and I´m loving every minute of it. You´re in my thoughts and prayers all the time! Keep doing the basics.

I love you!
Hermana Lau

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hasta luego, baby!

August 6, 2013

I got to Mexico safely. Let me tell you about my adventures thus far!!!

So goodbyes we´re hard. But I got onto my plane safely, and everything is going well! Just to let you know, I might have a lot of misspellings, this keyboard is set up for Spanish! We got some cool keys like ñ and accents and stuff.

My flight to Houston went well. I´m excited to be here . When I got to Houston, my connection was tight, so I was one of the last people on the plane. I didn´t know if there would be any other missionaries on the plane, but when I sat down, I saw a young man in a suit jacket. Elders are so easy to spot! So I ended up having 3 elders on my flight. And I got to sit next to 2 nuns from Mexico! I didn´t talk to them, cause they spoke Spanish, and well, I don´t. At least not yet!

When I got to Mexico, we made it through customs perfectly fine. I pressed the button and got green, so I was happy about that!  At first I thought I was the only sister. But then once a huge group from Dallas came, There were quite a few sisters. That was exciting! Except I don´t know why, but sisters scare me a little bit more than elders. I stuck with my elder friends from Houston, until we got to the bus.

When we were at the airport, I realized I packed really heavily. A lot of the sisters are going to Panama, so they don{t need winter clothing, which is what one of my suitcases is full of. So I guess I did pack pretty light! But it was SUCH a pain to get through the airport. I swore my arms were going to fall off. As we were walking, some guy randomly walked up to me and said ´Hasta luego, baby!´ Haha, I{m already experiencing the crazy people missionaries attract.

Mexico is INSANE. The roads are crazy, everything is a little run down, but it{s really cool! Driving was kind of like Hong Kong, but only on more filthy roads. It was like China! just not as many people. It started to pour as we got to the CCM (MTC in Spanish). So we sat on the bus for a while, until it lightened up. Then we went inside, and the sisters got their packets with name tags and house keys and info while the elders brought in the luggage. Let me tell you what I{ve found out!

My companion will be Hermana Stott. She wasn{t in my group from the airport, so we´ll see what she´s like! I´m senior companion these next few weeks because my name is closest to A in the alphabet (both first and last). I don´t think that entails a lot here at the CCM, but we´ll see! Oh! This is important. My P=days are Thursday. I{ll get to go to the Temple then! But the downside is I don´t have a P=day this week, so it´ll be over a week before you get my email.

The days are PACKED. There{s something planned every 15 minutes. They wrote the schedule in English, but you can tell I´m in Mexico, cause there are quite a few misspellings. I{m just looking at my packet. I got a cool little preaching card like Michelle and Matt had! Sweet. And it looks like I will be in casas (houses). We´ll see though, and I´ll let you know next Thursday! Oh, and on the card, it says my mission ends February 7th, 2015. We´ll see if that´s accurate with transfers, but it´s crazy that I already have an end date!

Tomorrow is my first offical day. I have my name tag, but that´s about it. I´ll get the rest of my information and supplies tomorrow. Well, I´m off! Thanks for all the support, and thanks for all the help in getting me ready. I love you!

Hermana Lau!