Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 28th "HAPPY TWO MONTHS TO ME!"

Spreading the Gospel in Puerto Vallarta
First can you believe it's been 2 months?! I think that is totally crazy and WOW it has flown but also I feel like my first day in the CCM was forever ago... I think feeling this way is a missionary thing ha. It was so good to talk to you guys. It was so weird but awesome to see the house and I cannot believe how much snow there was! It really didn't feel like Christmas to me mainly because I am use to it being cold! But I loved seeing you guys and I hope by Mother's Day i am fluent... That's the goal! I am so glad you had a good Christmas and grandpa was able to spend it with you and of course Cason and Alexx. 

To answer dads question I was able to get to say hola to Hermana Muros family too! All her family speaks some English but only a little so it was a short conversation but she is the oldest and has two younger siblings, a sister who is 16 and a brother who is 12. But she had a lot of family over at her house and they did 3 way call with one of her uncles, so lots of people! But I'm with dad. I have gotten really lucky with my companions. They all have been hard working and willing to teach me and super patient and cute. I hope I didn't use all my luck at the beginning of the mission! I'll continue to pray for my future companions, ha.
Christmas Dinner with wonderful members

So the investigator that was supposed to be baptized Saturday didn't get baptized... We found him smoking Saturday morning and he told us he didn't want to go to church anymore. It was really sad and super confusing. He had such a strong testimony at one point but then he did a total 180. So most of that morning we had to make a bunch of calls to tell everyone there wasn't a baptism anymore and since we had planned for a baptism we didn't have a lot to do on Saturday so we did a lot of walking around and did some random visits. I it was still a good day. We did our best to stay positive! I'm really starting to get worried about the ward here not having a bishop. The mission president knows and told me in this weekly email that if there isn't one soon and if we keep having problems with members helping us teach he will be moving us to a different ward. I really like the people here so I hope they figure it out soon. The mission president said it is almost impossible to have progressing investigators if the ward isn't stable and I really am starting to wonder if that might be part of our problem. This Sunday no one was assigned to give talks so it was a pretty scattered sacrament... and it was raining and nobody leaves their house when it rains so almost nobody was there...| It really makes me miss home and how everything felt so organized and put together. I hope we can help figure it out, who knows, maybe that's why I'm here. The disorganization drives me crazy!

 This past week I have really started to feel like I'm getting the hang of this mission thing! And not to mention after we have wrapped our beds in plastic we have less bits! Hermana Muro hasn't gotten anymore because we switched her mattresses. I told her she could have the new one because she has so many scars and what not from the bugs. I have the one I did before so I've gotten like 2 more since but so much better! The schedule makes more sense to me. I understand more Spanish, it all just feels so much better! In one of our lessons yesterday with a women named Raquel I was teaching and you can obviously tell that Spanish is not my first language. She stopped me while I was talking and asked "you've only been here 3 weeks," and I was like ya. She then went on to tell me how impressed she was and then she said it's amazing how the spirit helps people. Again, its sooooo nice to hear people say these kinda things cause some days I feel the same and that I'm not progressing. But then I see just a little light of how much I've learned and it really is the coolest thing. I'm starting to understand people when we pass them on the street and answer people's questions when they ask them to me and even grocery shop! It is coming slowly but it is coming! I can't think of anything else out of the ordinary that happened with week mostly because I told you a bunch on Christmas! I love you guys and I hope you have a great week! 

-- con amor
Hermana Acor 

December 25th FELIZ NAVIDAD!

Calling Home Christmas Day

Introducing my family to Hermana Muro

The gang's all there, most avoiding the camera

District Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Cutest Christmas Tree Ever!

December 22nd "Surviving Bedbugs, Sacrament Talks and Mission Rules"

Ok, I only have a few minutes so this might be short and I will try to answer all the questions! First Yes I have worked out Skype.  They don’t know their user name but I can email you back and forth on the 25th to figure everything out and it will be around 5- 5:30 MY time! It’s the bishop’s house and their family is amazing!
Where we study
I haven’t gotten your packages yet but don’t worry Hermana Clayton had a little present for my comp and I to open on Christmas and I will get all of your’s soon! Who knows maybe they will come to me on a day that is really rough and they will make everything better! So here in Vallarta there are a lot of mosquitoes and they eat us alive. But here’s the thing, I think there are bed bugs!  I told Hermana Clayton this and she told us all this stuff to do. They are actually in Vallarta these next few days with their daughter.Earlier today she took Hermana and I all around Costco and bought us so much stuff and drove us home so we didn’t have to take the bus. She us drinks and food and clothes and gifts for Christmas and WOW she is totally amazing! They actually all came to our house. Thank goodness Hermana and I are clean people. They were impressed with how organized we were and what not and then she took pics so maybe you’ll see those on the blog! But really we got so spoiled today! I think we are her favorites (;

President Clayton and Hermana Mura 
So here’s a funny story so here in the mission there was a rule that everyone told me about... we are not allowed to teach without members like at all and this rule no joke was ruining my life. It would bring me to tears every day and make me really question everything I was doing and I felt like a total failure as a missionary because we would have days where we had several appointments and we just wouldn’t go to any of them because we couldn’t find a member to go with us. Like I said I was struggling with this rule bad. So I was talking with Hermana Clayton and she told me “oh no that’s not right.” Then president told me that after we have done all we could to get a member to got with we should still go and stick to our plans. Cause again this was a huge problem for me, we would have appointments and just not show up and I knew there was no way it was ok for us to just not show up! So ya, President Clayton telling me that was a huge answer to prayer! Basically the whole mission misunderstand this rule! ..... I hope to feel more successful soon!
I love President and Sister Clayton!
Surprise apartment visits are always fun

Our investigator Ignacio dropped his baptism date the day before it was supposed to happen. It was all so strange. He was super faithful and determined to get baptized. Then the next day he was all ”Jesus didn’t get baptized twice why do I need to?” And he was saying so many weird things, this was not like him! I was praying so hard during that lesson to know what to say and the only answer I got was to testify that I know the church is true. Then last night we had noche de hogar with the bishop and his family and we invited Ignacio. We aren’t giving up on him. By this point we learned that a friend had told him to go back to his other church.  The bishop invited him on Sunday to church and he came.  We had FHE and we watched the restoration and had treats. and It was a perfect noche de hogar. We all bore testimony after the movie and Ignacio said he knows he needs to get baptized. We will see what happens with him this week. I hope and pray he will get baptized in the next 2 weeks.

Yes, it is true I had to give a talk on Sunday! I spent the week preparing it with Hna Muro’s help. It was on missionary work and how we can all be missionaries. And yes, all in Spanish wahooo. I was nervous but not too bad. For some reason this week was the week for every Mormon tourist in Vallarta to come to church! 
Text to my mom from an awesome member visiting Puerto Vallarta
Usually there are 50 people who come to sacrament and we had 105 this last Sunday! I was more nervous that there was so many Americans there than Mexicans. ha But my talk went really well. My comp said I sounded really good. After all the Americans were like we didn’t understand anything you said but you did so good!  One boy served a Spanish speaking mission and said he could tell I was working really hard especially since I’ve only been here 2 weeks. It was nice to have so many compliments! The lady who sent you the picture was soooooo nice! I talked with her before sacrament and then after she told me she wanted to send my mom a pic and I told her you would love that mom! I’m so glad she offered and it got to you. I was hoping it did!

To answer some random questions Hermana Muro has had a lot of success with packages being sent to the bishop’s house. She has received a lot that way. I’m sure her parents sent her a package for Christmas but it’s not here yet either. The people who sent you the pic were from Highland, Utah but I can’t remember their names! We are the only hermanas in our zone. All the elders are so nice.  There are 2 English speaking elders but the others always talk to me and I feel really close to them even though we have very little communication.. The Two Americans are elder Todd and Elder Price. Todd is from Pennsylvania and the other is from Wyoming. We have a district class every week and we actually had a ward party a few days ago so we have been practicing a musical number with them. We see them a lot. The food here is so good and I am gonna get so fat. I can already feel it.  Dang, I have to go now but I will talk to you all on Friday! Love you all soooo much!

-- con amor
Hermana Acor

Our humble little kitchen

airing out mattresses, TRYING to kill the bedbugs

Where we wash our clothes

Saturday, December 19, 2015

December 15th "Praying for Unplanned Opportunities to Teach the Gospel."

Ok these last few days have been so crazy I just hope I can try and remember everything! First off I am so sorry for not emailing yesterday! We had a Christmas party with 2 other zones and so we had to travel to Tepic which is about 3 hours away. So the night before Hermana Muro and I had to sleep at another Hermana’s house so we were closer to where everyone else would meet up in the morning. We actually had to sleep on the floor and we had no blankets or pillows. ha Hermana Muro and I both did not sleep that night. Then we got up really early and left for Tepic. When we got there they split us all up and we did contacting. So it was kinda like a normal day!
Missionary Christmas gift exchange $50 peso's limit
(about $3.00 US)
It’s fun to see different areas. I have now been to Guadalajara and Tepic and I can honestly say Vallarta is one of the prettiest areas! Again, I am so lucky! But after contacting we went to the church and had a big gift exchange. We all had to buy a gift that was under 50 pesos. It was fun! Then we all sang songs. My zone did a rendition of the 12 days of Christmas but of course in Spanish. We did it like it like it was for a missionary!  Then we had a catered meal and it was so yummy! I know I’ve only been in the field for a week but it was nice to have something besides tacos haha. It was fun to see everyone and meet so many new people! Even if I couldn’t understand everything that was going on.... Then we headed back home kinda late. On the bus everyone started singing Christmas songs and then it turned into  a battle between the Americans and the Latinos... I of course was with the Latinos haha and some other Americans were too but no joke this music battle went on for like an hour! It was pretty entertaining. But then I totally fell asleep. I’ve already had a good handful of sleepless nights here. My comp and I were so tired once we got back. It was 12 a.m. When we got back to the house there was a HUGE birthday party going on in the little field in the middle of all the little houses where we live..full on drunk and loud music. We were both were like seriously! And all of them kept being like “Hermanas come party with us.” 
My apartment In Puerto Vallarta
hahah Man I am on some crazy adventure! But then my comp was looking for our cell phone once we got to the house and she realized she left it in the Taxi!  This was really bad because our District leaders wouldn’t go to sleep until we told them we were home safely.  We decided to say a prayer and hope that the taxi we had taken home for some reason would just be sitting down the street. As Hermana was saying the prayer I had the strongest feeling that it was all going to be ok and we would find the phone! And guess what? The driver was parked down the street waiting for us to realize we forgot our phone! That never happens here, people just don’t think like that. It really was such a blessing! And we don’t have to pay for a lost phone wahooooo!
My Missionary President and Mission Mom
Pres. and Sister Clayton in front of
Guadalajara Temple
            I love my areas here in the mission! We have a baptism this Saturday for someone my comp and her previous comp found by contacting. His name is Ignacio and he is an amazing investigator! We taught him about that Word of Wisdom.  After we taught him we asked him why he thought it was important to obey this law. He said because our bodies are a temple. IS HE NOT A PERFECT INVESTIGATOR? I’m so excited to watch him be baptized.
            One of my favorite towns in my mission is Mismaloya. It literally is a town on the side of the mountain in the Jungle. I love it and there are some amazing members that live there! Oh mom and dad where you spent your honey moon is in my mission and my comp has actually been there because a member owns a room there or something and had lunch for them there. Another area we visited was Playa Larga. We did not have any investigators in this area so before we left we prayed that we would find people to teach there. Earlier in the day I had studied in "Preach My Gospel" the chapter on how to find people. One thing it said was to pray for unplanned opportunities to preach the gospel.  I told my comp about this and so we prayed that morning for unplanned opportunities. And guess what! We ended up teaching a family through their bedroom window on our way to a referral. Can you say unplanned or what?! I am so excited to teach them. I have a good feeling! But after praying for investigators in this area we now have 6! Prayer is an amazing thing!
Going out to teach as soon as we got off the plane
in Guadalajara
To answer the question probably many have.... the language is coming. Ha kinda. There have been times when everything about the mission is very overwhelming. Trying to not only learn Spanish but only having instructions oh how to do things in Spanish is also very hard. There is a lot to memorize but I am already starting to get the hang of things! Just keep the prayers coming and I know everything will be fine! I have a little cold because it has been raining and we have been walking all day in it.  But Hermana Clayton has helped me.  But pray I get better fast because I don’t need to be sick on top of everything. 
This is how excited I get when I get mail! Thanks Elder Elmont.

Let’s see I am trying to answer all your questions. I’m sorry time goes by so quickly when I email. My comp is very smart and loves to play the piano and sing...all the time. haha She is the one everyone turns to when they need someone to play the piano. Oh this Sunday was actually the dedication of the Tijuana Temple so we didn’t have church. The dedication was nice and some apostles spoke and they had translators for them so I was able to understand some talks! But it was really good I loved it. The work is hastening in Mexico!

My little desk in my apartment in Puerto Vallarta
I have met a lot of the ward members because we have lunch at a members house everyday so far. My comp family lives in the LDS colonies and went to the LDS school out there. Hmm.. There’s a lot of tiendas around us and there is someone who will wash our clothes. For our garments we have a wash room where we do them by hand.
            I love you all and will try to answer mas pregutas next week!! I love and miss you guys!  
-- Con Amor

Hermana Acor 

Saying good-bye to Sister Archuleta

I love these guys!

Ready to go and serve! My District.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 10th " Coming to you live from... PUERTO VALLARTA... I Love it Here."

OK so these past few days have been crazy! Today’s actually not my Pday but they told me I could write my family!
My new companion and trainer, Sister Muro,
from Chihuahua, Mexico
I will start at the beginning. I left early Monday morning 3 am actually. I got to the airport and had a 2 hour wait for our flight that left at 7 a.m. I didn’t sleep the night before cause I had to pack and also Hermana Lyman’s alarm clock wasn’t working so we had to force each other to stay awake haha. Once I was on the plane I was asleep before it even took off. The flight from Mexico City is only an hour to Guadalajara. Hermana Lyman and I were the only Americans traveling with this group. There was 8 Hermanas and 2 Elders. The second we got to the church they sent all of us missionaries out with Hermanas in that area and we spent the day with them! We did contacts and 2 lessons. The companionship I was with were awesome! One was from California and spoke amazing Spanish and the other was from Paraguay and spoke really good English. They both taught me what to say for a contact and helped me do a few on my own! Not gonna lie I was scared but man there really is no better feeling! Then we taught two lessons and I prayed and read scriptures in both! Everyone is so encouraging here! For the second lesson it started to go a little long and I really didn’t understand anything that was going on and I was sooooo tired so I started to drift off and it was so bad! I was so tired, I honestly had no control over my body anymore. It took EVERYTHING I had to not fall asleep! One Hermana kept rubbing my back to keep me awake. Ya it was bad. So after that lesson we had FHE with 2 girls from the ward. Here in Mexico they don’t have dinner. Just a really big lunch and like a granola bar for dinner. And I didn’t know that yet but, anyway, for FHE they gave us doughnuts and fruit. I’m not sure if they do this in other places but here they put lime, salt and chili sauce on all their fruit.... that’s something I’ll have to get used to. But once the night was over we all met back up at the mission home. There was a room there that has like 15 bunk beds and that’s were we all slept! I slept like a baby. The next morning we went to Prez and Hermana Clayton’s house for breakfast and some orientation. Then back to the church for more orientation! They had all the new missionaries sit in the front and all the trainers sit behind us. Then at lunch time they announced who our new companions were!

In front of the Guadalajara Temple
My new companera is Hermana Muro! She is from Chihuahua, Mexico and my area is call "5 de diciembre 1." And yes, I know, that looks like a date but that’s our area’s name! It’s Puerto Vallarta! It’s humid and hot but not too bad. My comp has only been in the field for 4 months and when I told her I was kinda hot she laughed and told me to wait until the summer time. ha Oh, also she speaks perfect English! No joke I feel so spoiled! Everyone before I came asked me what I would want my companion to be and what kind of area I would want. I would say “I would love to serve in Puerto Vallarta and have a native companion who can speak some English.”  NO joke, I got exactly what I wanted!! I am so spoiled! It is very rare that someone can have a native companion and have them speak English so I am soooo lucky! Hermana Clayton actually doesn’t speak any Spanish! Like not even a little. Which actually made me feel a lot better about my Spanish. After I got my new comp she came up to me and told me there is no way President Clayton could have known I didn’t know Spanish very well. (Well she didn’t exactly say that, but it’s what she meant) haha She said it was truly inspired and I am so grateful! I cannot say that enough! After lunch and taking some pictures, Hermana Muro and I got in a taxi to take us to the bus station for our 6 hour drive to our area! Wahhooo. Nah, it really wasn’t bad. It was a crazy nice bus which totally took me off guard. It was like a “Le Bus” but better. It had tvs.... not that we would use those and they gave us a sandwich and a drink and it had a bathroom. Ya, it was nice! And I was able to sleep. It was perfect. We got to our area at 11:30p.m. and then had another 30 min. taxi ride to our casa. So we got home at 12a.m. Our casa is so cute and tiny and so Mexican.

Brand new missionaries w/ their companions
We woke up today and had a zone Meeting so I was able to meet everyone! It was a little long but still good! After that we went and had dinner with a member who lives in the middle of the jungle. We had chicken, rice and tortillas! It was so good because I was starving! After eating we walked up the side of the jungle/mountain to meet with 2 less active members. It is crazy to me how everything is just so open! We just walked into people’s houses and taught them lessons.  Everything is totally casual!

I still need to go shopping and buy some food and what not but I love it here! I want you all to know how happy I am! I love this area, my new companera, the people, the weather, really everything! I can’t wait till I can speak the language better but for now I feel really good, calm and relaxed and I know that’s only because of all of your prayers! I am so grateful for them! I love you all and my real Pdays will be Monday so I’ll talk to you then! Love you!

-- Con Mucho Amor
Hermana Acor 

Mom the best address to use for letters and packages is the bishop!
Here it is. 

Alvaro Lorenzo 
c/o Hermana Payton Acor
Lazaro Carden #600 
Colonia Emiliano Zapata
48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco 

(322) 1079168 

December 7th Arrived in Guadalajara: A Quick Message from President and Sister Clayton

Brother and Sister Acor,
Here are a few pictures of Hermana Acor.  She has arrived safe and sound!
More to come, but I wanted to get these off.
much love,
Hermana Clayton

Arrival at the Guadalajara Airport

8 Hermanas, 2 Elders all traveled from the CCM together

Jumping right in: training at the church
More Training at President and Sisters Clayton's Home

Learning the 4-Finger B of  M hold! 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 3rd "I am so grateful for my trials... It has allowed me to come closer to Christ"

Oh my goodness I cannot believe it is my last week in the CCM!
Here are some of the lights they have up, it is so pretty.
Feliz Navidad!
I leave Monday morning, we meet up at reception at 2:30 a.m. and then our flight leaves at 7 a.m. It will be interesting because my comp and I are the only Americans and we are traveling within Mexico. It’s going to be straight Spanish once I get outta here!! I’m excited and terrified! But mostly excited of course! I’ve just now, this week, started to get really worn out from our schedule and tired of the food here. So thank goodness I leave Monday! Since it’s my P day I had to pack all my stuff and it makes me so sad to see our little casa empty and all are bags in our room is kind of depressing! I’m going to miss my roommates so much! Hermana Lyman has been feeling SO much better. I would actually say she is totally fine now.

But here’s a funny story for you all. Last Friday, my district was all walking back from having dinner in the comedor. And for some odd reason we started talking about gag reflexes. I really don’t know why? Conversations get pretty weird after basically spending 24-7 with the same 8 people. But anyway, we were walking back to class and Hermana Lyman was telling us a story. One time at a restaurant a little boy was throwing up and walked past her family having dinner.  She was saying how her dad has a super bad gag reflex and that made him throw up also. After she finished telling her story I started to say how throw up doesn’t bother me too bad then I started to say “but if you were to throw up right now”..... 
All my favs!
Not 1 second later Hermana Lyman hurls! NO JOKE! Side note she had been feeling really sick and had thrown up other times that day. My District and I just died! That moment was by far one of the funniest of my whole life. And don’t worry Hermana was laughing too. It was just too good. Sorry for the gross story but it is too funny not to share!

Cason and Alexx I met someone here that served with you guys in Puerto Rico! I think she said her name was Hermana Sierra. I’m sure that’s not how it is spelled but that’s what it sounded like! It was funny because I was practicing my Spanish with an elder and she walked by and smiled at me but then once she saw my name tag she got the biggest smile on her face and then told me she served with you guys! I haven’t seen her since but we both wanted to get a picture together! Mom you know the secretary at the high school for the counselling office. Sorry the question mark on this computer doesn’t work, ha. But the one with blonde curly hair. Her son is in my ZONE! His name is Elder Skinner he’s pretty cool! The church really is such a small world!
This is Hermana Brian & she is the greatest ever!
Her District left this week. It is so sad. I miss them already
We already have plans to meet up back in Utah in 1.5!

On the spiritual side of things we always have a devotional on Tuesday nights and it’s also Pizza night! We watched a pre-recorded broadcast by David A. Bednar. It’s something like 3 or 4 years old but it was so good! It was given at the Provo MTC on Christmas. He talked about overcoming the natural man. It was so amazing! He is so bold when he’s not talking in general conference! He said a hand full of things that got all us missionaries like “ohhhhhhhh.”  There was one point where he told us to stop being stupid. He was telling us about how members feel so much pride in their ancestors who have crossed the planes and he said whenever he hears that he always thinks.... “That’s great but what have you done.”  I loved that. Sometime we get caught up in what parents do or siblings do, ancestors did, whatever, but what really matters is what we do! So what have we done to overcome the natural man and put God first. I think I said this in my last email but I am so grateful for my trials and even the challenge of having to learn a new language. It has allowed me to come closer to Christ and I know without my trials I wouldn't be as happy as I am now. I know that sounds pretty backwards but it’s the truth! I know going into the real world of Mexico will be hard and challenging but I know even more, that because of this experience, I will be closer to Christ and that makes me so excited!
 The other day after our lesson on the BOM our teacher made us all close our eyes and he started to lay out a scenario for us. He told us to imagine it was our last day in the mission field and we were looking over our journals and notes from baptized investigators. He went on to say that some of these notes say things like, “Thank you for bringing me unto Christ,” another one was “thank you for showing me how my family can be together forever”, then another, “thank you for showing me my purpose in life.” His words were way more powerful than mine but as I sat there closing my eyes and imagining myself in this situation, I started to feel the spirit so strongly. And I know without a doubt that the Spirit was telling me that I’m going to have these amazing experiences in my mission and I’m going to help people in the same way my teacher was describing. That moment was by far one of the strongest times I have felt the spirit here. Although the language is hard and what not I know through my Savior I can do this! I hope everyone has an amazing week! I can wait to write next P day! ILL BE IN GUADALAJARA!!!!!! Love you all!  
-- con amor 
Hermana Acor 

Hermana Archuleta and I match! 

This is Hermana Wardrop. I love her!

Pictures of us being "dorks" are by far my favorite pictures!