Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Halfway through the MTC!

Hermanas Beckstead and Bettridge at the Provo Temple

I am almost halfway done at the MTC! That is exciting because I am excited to get into the field and do missionary work, but it's also terrifying because I don't know Spanish!

So I know a lot of you are wondering what I do as a missionary. Also some of you are probably wondering what "hermana" means. Hermana is Spanish for "sister." Female missionaries go by "sister" and their last name. We go by that title because we are all brothers and sisters in the gospel. As a missionary, my purpose is to invite others to come unto Christ. I will accomplish that by letting people know they have a Father in heaven that loves them! I will be doing community service- volunteering at nursing homes, teaching English classes etc. I will also teach people lessons to those who want to learn about the gospel. I will help them get closer to their Savior and develop stronger faith in Him.

So this week was a little crazy because all of the new mission presidents had training. All of the First Presidency was here, except for President Monson. He sent in a video. I guess he isn't doing super great health wise right now. I did not actually see any of them, but some people did! It was fun seeing all of the new mission presidents. The Oklahoma City mission got a new president, and he is a girl in my district's bishop from college! I met him and his wife, they are super cool- Oklahoma is lucky! They sent my mom a picture of me and made her happy! He served a mission in Tulsa when he was younger. He said when he found out he had to go to the MTC again he was annoyed at first, then he was excited because "this time he gets to sleep with a girl!" :) He reminded Sister Beckstead and I to have fun on our missions and to keep our personalities! (Don't worry, I will!)

This week was busy- the new mission president and his wife of the Mexico Aguacaliente Mission (they are Mexican from Mexico) came and taught my class for two days. They were super fun! And I could mostly understand what they were saying! :) They taught us about adjusting to the changes that come from being a missionary and about the importance of repentance. We also taught 9 lessons in Spanish to "investigators" this week, so that was busy!

Carolyn's district at the temple
A really great quote from Sheri Bird!

My district has memorized the first vision in Spanish really well. I can recite it in 23 seconds. We stand in a circle and each take turns saying one word. We can do that in 37 seconds. Another class can do it in 34 seconds, so we still have some work to do!

The temple is closed for cleaning for the next two weeks. (Usually we get to go every P day.) But, today we got to help clean it! I love temples! Every single surface of the temple is cleaned. One of the things I got to do was dry mop the walls of the bride's room, which was so beautiful!!!

This week I was feeling really overwhelmed and then I watched this video. It really helped me keep perspective. I know trials are hard, but with the Savior's help we can make it through everything! So, watch this amazing video!

I love you all! Keep writing me!


Hermana Bettridge

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Carolyn's Second Week in the MTC


I hope everyone had a happy Father's Day (a few days late, I know!) I was working out (not by choice) this weekend. In the gym they play conference talks, church movies, and Mormon messages on the TVs. They like to trick you, though, and if you aren't peddling fast enough the sound won't play through your headphones. Anyway, one of the Mormon messages was about fathers. It featured a dad that got up and went to work to provide for his children. The kids were little and didn't realize that their food, house, and toys were all there because they had a dad that provided for them. From their perspective, it just magically appeared. It made me ask myself if I really take the time to appreciate everything my Heavenly Father has provided for me. Do I really take the time to think about everything he has given me? Or, do I take it for granted?

This week we had a new district come into our zone, so we aren't the new ones anymore! This week we have two new districts coming in. The new districts are all elders and have no sisters in them! That should be interesting! On Thursday nights I get to teach the new districts how to use technology at the MTC.

This week we got three new "investigators" to teach. We have teaching appointments everyday, sometimes twice a day now. They are still hard, but my Spanish is improving enough that I am not as scared. Spanish has been hard for me, but I have to keep reminding myself that I have only studied it for a week and a half. Also, I know that the Lord will help me. I have been set apart to teach the gospel. I am not learning Spanish for myself, I am learning it for Him. So, He will help me learn at a pace that He is okay with.

There are a lot of mission presidents here learning in English in preparation for new mission president training next week. So, there are a lot of Spanish speakers learning English. We try to stop and talk when we have time so we can help each other out. This week there was a mission president's wife sitting on a bench outside of our dorm. We said hello and talked for awhile (in Spanglish.) She told us that God would bless us with really attractive husbands one day if we work hard on our missions. She also told us that obviously her husband had worked really hard on his mission because he got her. :)

Since the new mission president training will be in a few weeks, a lot of important general authorities will be here. So they decided to turn half of the cafeteria into a meeting area for that. So, we lost our good salad and wrap bar and one of the food lines. So, the food isn't great anymore and there is nowhere to sit! Oh well. 

Conversation of the week
Someone: Elder Mcconnell, do you know any of our first names since you pick up our mail?
Elder McConnell: I only know Hermana Taylor's name, Sarah.
Us: Why did you remember that?
Him: Because that's the lady that sewed the American flag
Someone: That wasn't Sarah Taylor, that was Betty White

and we all died laughing

I hope everyone has a great week! I love all of the dearelder.com messages. They are super encouraging!


Hermana Bettridge

Featured Pics: Selfie of me and Hna Taylor, our door we made cheetahlicious, and our district at the temple

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Farewell Fiesta

The weekend before Carolyn left for her mission, the family hosted an Fiesta themed open house for friends and family.  Here are some of the pictures in no order.  

Thanks to Mark Bush for some great photos!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Carolyn's first week in the MTC

Carolyn left the Tulsa airport bound for the Missionary Training Center on June 8, 2016!


Today we got her first letter and it was very exciting!  "Hermana" is the Spanish word for "Sister".  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, all female missionaries are referred to as "Sister" in the language of their mission.  Men are referred to as Elders.  Here are the adventures of Hermana Bettridge!

Hello, family and friends!

My first week at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) has been good! The food here is generally very good (unlike SUU) and I'm trying not to get fat!

My district is great! In our district we have three sets of sisters and one set of elders; it is unusual to have that many sisters and that few elders, but, sisters try to generally leave this time to get back in December before the semester starts and elders are gone for two years so it doesn't matter when in the summer they leave. Everyone in my district is speaking Spanish in the United States. My companion is Hermana Taylor. She is awesome! She is from Gilbert, Arizona and is going to the same mission as me! We are in a room with another set of sisters in our district: Hermana Beach from California going to Iowa and Hermana Andreason from Utah going to Houston as well. The other set of sisters live in the room next to us: Hermana Whitaker from Colorado going to Idaho and Hermana Beckstead FROM HOUSTON going to Iowa. The set of elders is Elder Hernandez from Alaska going to Indiana and Elder McConnell from California going to Iowa.

Carolyn and her companion, Hermana Taylor in their classroom.

I'm really glad I am companions with Hermana Taylor! We are different in a lot of ways, she is very organized and wants to be an accountant (she did a year at ASU before coming,) but we are both really knowledgeable about things, we are funny, we walk fast, and eat fast. :) We work really well together planning lessons. OUR SECOND FULL DAY HERE WE HAD TO TEACH A FULL 30 MINUTE LESSON TO AN "INVESTIGATOR" IN SPANISH. I thought I was going to die. We teach a Spanish lesson every day except Sunday and P Day and we get a new investigator every week. I am the only person in my district that has never studied Spanish before. I am lucky to have Hermana Taylor because she is probably the best in our district at Spanish. We can plan a lesson, but we can't predict what he is going to ask us about or how to respond to it. Basically, every lesson we end up teaching about something other than what we planned.

Every day we get up at 6:30 (but we get up at 5:45 three days a week to go to a workout class.) We have gym time for an hour, get ready, eat breakfast, eat lunch, eat dinner, and are in class about ten hours a day! We usually have an hour of personal study (to study the scriptures,) an hour of companion study (Hermana Taylor and I plan our lesson in English and study scriptures together,) an hour of language study with our companion, a half hour teaching appointment, an hour and a half of additional study to study what we need to, an hour of class (taught in Spanish) about how to be a missionary (how to teach, how to fill out our planners, how to memorize scriptures etc,) and four hours of Spanish language instruction from our teacher. Studying that long was really hard, but I am starting to get used to it.

Hermanas Taylor and Bettridge

Church is interesting here. We go to church as a zone (there are around four districts in our zone.) On Sunday morning we all write a talk (in Spanish) about what we are learning about in sacrament meeting that day, and the bishop gets up after the sacrament and announces who is speaking. Kind of scary! (It wasn't me, thank goodness!) So that will happen for five more Sundays :) I was called to be the Zone Technology Coordinator (because I know so much about technology... not!) so I will train all incoming missionaries to our zone how to email, write a weekly report, access online assessments etc. I am also the senior companion in my companionship. The branch president and his wife (President and Sister Price) are the best! They are so sweet and really care about us and I love them! Pres Price looks just like Mitt Romney and Sis Price looks like Sarah Palin, so that is funny. They dress up like them every Halloween. They are super cute! They both went on Spanish speaking missions. Church is in Spanish, but if someone from the branch presidency talks it is in English.

I am glad I came well prepared to the MTC. A lot of other missionaries are not. I am glad I had a knowledge of French, even though I am not speaking it, because the grammar is similar. I know I use the conditional tense of a verb to be more polite, even though we haven't talked about that etc. I also know where scriptures are, which can be really helpful in lessons! I wish I had come with some things memorized, like the first vision, but I was generally very prepared.

Emotionally I have been fine. I miss everyone and I miss home, but I know this is what I am supposed to do and I am not overly sad. On Sunday Hermana Taylor and I were having a hard time with all the stress of the language, study, having to be around people all day etc. But, we had a good cry in a classroom together and were fine :) That's what companions are for!

On Sunday a girl in our district said something really hurtful to Hermana Taylor and I and we were upset and kind of mad at her (in hindsight I realize she is just dealing with the stress in a different way and hopefully wasn't trying to be mean.) But, I was really hurt. Then at choir practice that night (we have choir practice twice a week for two hours) our director was talking about William W Phelps. He was a really strong member of the Church and ran the printing press and printed the copies of the first Books of Mormon. He also wrote a lot of the hymns and was good friends with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Then something happened and he decided to leave the Church and tell the authorities lies about Joseph Smith plotting to take over the country. As a result, Joseph was arrested and spent over a year in Liberty Jail until it was cleared up. Joseph was in jail when the Church really needed him and when his family really needed him. He even had to miss the birth of his child. Later, William W Phelps repented and wanted to come back to the Church. He wrote a letter to Joseph Smith and apologized. Joseph accepted his apology without question. If Joseph could forgive him after all of that, I can forgive that girl.

On Sunday we watched Elder Bednar's address called the Character of Christ and it changed my life and completely changed how I think about things. Go look it up on lds.org and watch it! I really want to make certain changes in my life to become more like Christ so I can come closer to Him.

Please write me letters at dearelder.com (my mom can help you if you have any questions about that!) We get those letters the day you send them (at the end of the day, so letters won't distract me!) and I get to read something encouraging at night. Emails I can only read on Tuesdays. I love getting dearelder.com letters so much!!

I love you guys and hope you have a great week!

Hermana Bettridge