Friday, December 26, 2014

crazy P-day schedule

Haley's mom here-
I got a quick email from Haley requesting I post something today. Because of the Christmas/ New Year's holidays her p-days have been mixed up a bit. Since she Skyped yesterday, her next P-day is on New Year's Day, Thursday, Jan 1st. I think on Monday, Jan. 5th she will be back to her regular Monday P-day schedule. When we talked to her yesterday, she sounded like she is having the time of her life in Peru. This is what she wrote:
Hey, so I just wanted to read the crazy amount of emails I had, and I just talked to you guys yesterday. So I'll write more next week. (And I'll try to talk about my investigators for once.)

Could you maybe post something on my blog just to let people know it will be another week? Apparently my friends actually read it! Cool stuff!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sometimes Peruvian Men Propose to Me

So this week was eventful, and not. My companion got infected with el gripe (the cold) and we just stayed in our room for three days while she healed. Man, I have never studied so much in my life!
So basically everything in our cuarto broke. My drawer. The sink. And the lightbulb in the bathroom went out. It took my comp three lightbulbs to finally get one to work. (She broke the first two...) But we just use the shower as a sink as well. So, missionary life!
Tuesday morning, the 9th of December, I was proposed to for the first time in my life. But the real story: We were just walking to breakfast, and white girls are just considered really pretty here, and this one guy crossing the street pointed at me and said, I am going to marry you! (But in Spanish). Don't worry, I said no. Being a missionary is too fun. And I'm just not ready for that step in my life yet. :P Yeah, all the attention here is actually kinda annoying.
But I'm not any better than the Peruvians. Last night, we were walking back to our cuarto from dinner, and there was this guy up ahead of us, so I turn to Hermana Kingsford and ask, "Is he white?" In a normal tone of voice, because I'm used to English being a secret language here. She responds, "I can't tell, let's get closer." So we start walking faster, and she just stares at him as we pass him. He stopped at a garbage can, and was kinda chuckling, so I'm pretty sure he was white, and speaks english. My my comp is still unsure. Yeah...
So I also had a moment of glory this week. So near our pension, there's this corner. And this guy stopped us, (and turned out to be a pastor). He then proceeded to try to disprove our religion with wildly misinterpreted scriptures from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He used 2 Nephi 29:3-4 which talks about people in our days saying A Bible a Bible, we have no need for more Bible. Or something along those lines. And he tried to say that this couldn't be true because the word Bible didn't exist back then. Because, you know, God doesn't know everything, and revelation doesn't exist or something. He's a pastor! He believes in this stuff too! At least from the time of the Bible... Goodness. He also tried a scripture from the Bible that talks about false prophets and points at our nametags. Yeah... So anyways, my comp was trying to explain scriptures, and he was arguing back. So I finally just butted in and bore my testimony about how I know the Book of Mormon is true through prayer and a witness of the Holy Ghost, not through my own learning. And then I invited him to pray about it, and ask God. And then I said we had an appointment and had to go. It was awesome. My heart was beating though. It's scary to do that in Spanish! It was actually a really awesome moment, but afterwards, my comp and I laughed about it so much. It was such a cliche missionary moment. And she describes it as trumpets sounding, and how I was glowing.
So this week we had our Christmas Party with the pres. We got fed the oh so original meal of chicken and french fries (I eat that at least two times a week). Each zone did a skit. Hopefully videos will one day end up on facebook so I can watch them again, because they were funny! One zone did basically a skit of a new missionary, so I related very well. But it was basically hilarious, but probably more so because I'm a missionary.
They also had everyone from each country go up one country at a time and share about their culture and Christmas traditions. It was SO cool to see where everyone was from! Basically most of latin america is covered. And then a bajillion from the USA.We also got ornaments (yay! Continuing traditions!), and a christmas card from the first presidency. And I got to talk to the other sisters in my district. (I love them a lot. So it makes me super happy to see them!)
So transfers are this week, and we all thought Elder Wilson was getting transferred, but he's staying. Which means next transfer what will propbably happen is: Elder Wilson will get transferred, Elder Rojas will finish his mission, and my trainer will get transferred. Leaving me the only missionary in my ward, with three new to the area. Yikes! But I have six weeks to prepare. :)
That is all.
Hermana Brogan

Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm Peruana!!!

Okay, not really. So basically this week:
I have a really strong body. My comp has basically forced me to double my normal walking speed, and I have! And it doesn't wear me out as much anyore. It only took four weeks, and my body is adjusted to missionary work! I was sick last week (just a small bug-no biggy). But most north americans usually get really sick the first couple weeks in the field. So basically I'm blessed. :) And I'm all good an healthy and happy now!
We went to a bosque (forest) today with our district! Oh, I love talking to other people. It was really fun, but no stories. Except we took a combi- and I have now taken every form of peruvian transport: taxis, moto, collectivos, and combis. Yay! Motos are my favorite. Taxis are the nicest. Also, one of the elders in my district is really into deep doctrine. It's ridiculous. But it makes me laugh, so that's cool.
I sing too high for peruvians. They asked me to direct the music for the zone meeting this week, and I started the song too high, and ended up singing almost by myself... Awkward. 
Okay, I really am not Peruana, BUT: 1. We ran into a member on the street, and talked to him for a bit, and then he asked how long we have in Peru. So I said two months (mas o menos), and he asked if I was from Peru. I said no, but he was so surprised I knew Castellano (what they call spanish here). He then asked where I was from, I said California and he replied THAT's how I know it. I told him I'm actually still learning. I'm learning it on the mission.
2.Also, one of our investigators, Nancy is awesome! So we took her and her four year old daughter Janella to the Christmas devotional last night, and it ended up starting an hour later than they announced at church, so we went outside and she got us food (ah shoot it was Sunday! Shoulda said no... Awkard) But anyways, a lady out there that we contacted asked if Nancy's daughter ws mine. Um, I'm sorry, but do I look Peruana to you? Janella does not look like a white person's kid... But it made me laugh.
So in summary I'm Peruana.No, but the devotional was so good (and in Spanish! I only understood so much), but listening to motab was SO nice!!!
Also, Nancy is kinda like an older sister. She wouldn't let my comp and I out of her house until she fixed her socks and Nancy did her hair. SO funny. 
Also, if you guys haven't yet, watch the 'He is the gift' video on the lds websites! It's so good!
People down here are so humble, and tell us about miracles in their lives all the time. This one lady had her daughter come back to life after having a dream about seeing a light. I also heard a story of healing, and other things, but they're more personal- too much for this email I think. But it's just really cool to see what faith can do!
We have a rough baptismal date with a lady named Berta. She's very sweet, and really loves what we have to tell her about temple ordinances (especially work for the dead). Her husband passed away a short time ago.
So we eat with members on weekends, so our pensionista doesn't have to work, but who signed up for our lunch after fast sunday? None other than our amazing pensionista Violeta. It made me so happy. She cooks the best food down here! She's going to open a restaurant in winter time down here. :)
I finished reading the Spanish Book of Mormon! Yay! It's true. It all is true. I love the gospel and the hope therein.
I can make jokes in Spanish! In a lesson we were teaching about prayer. We were helping them prepare to have things to say in the prayer and my comp asked something they were thankful for. So me in my pride responded, 'you know, like how the sister missionaries come visit you.' I promise it was actually funny then...
So after next pday the 15th, we don't have pday until... CHRISTMAS the 25th. So don't worry when there is no email in two weeks. I'll try to give you a good estimate next week of when we will skype...
That's all. I love you all!
Hna Brogan

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sometimes People Bow to Us

But really. Sometimes people literally bow to us. I don't know why. It's really weird. It happened three times this week. I have a suspicion that it's because we're norteamericanas... Meaning white. Which is apparently really attractive down here... 
Also, this one guy stopped traffic on a busy street for me to cross the street... That was also extremely weird. Like, really, I can wait twenty seconds for the light to change. It isn't that big of a deal... But whatever. If you insist.

So one of our pension's friends came to talk to us. He's trilingual-Russian, Spanish, and English. So he's peruano, but lived in Russia for twenty five years for some reason (I forget). So basically a peruano man speaking English with a really thick Russian accent. That's was pretty cool. He lives in Texas now.

So we taught this one lady this week (I caved and will now write about cool investigators- so hopefully you all don't get bored :) ) But anyways, we always buy bodoques from her (she's like 85 years old and super super sweet). Bodoques are like fruit popsicle things. We always get Lucuma ones. I really like them. They kinda taste like bread dough. But anyways, we taught her a really good lesson, and then she gave us free bodoques afterwards! Yay! Also, I've taught the first vision like 20 times this week. Good thing I memorized that Joseph Smith History scripture in the CCM. My comp doesn't have it memorized anymore. But I say it so much, that I doubt I'll forget it... But yeah, we're really really improving our teaching a lot. She doesn't spend twenty minutes on the great apostasy anymore (she's very into proving the gospel to all the Catholics here...), but she shortened that, and I always teach about Joseph Smith, and it's pretty great. We have a few people who are considering baptism. So, yay!

We had a surprise training meeting on Tuesday (okay, not really that much of a surprise with a three day notice). But basically I got to see people from the CCM again (the other district). So that was neat. I also got to take a moto for the first time! I should take a picture of the motos here. They're like riding chariots! Especially when one passes us, or we pass another, it's almost like we're in a chariot race! :D

Our pension DID make us a thanksgiving dinner. Kinda. Not enough food to make ourselves super fat, but a normal amount of food. So we got turkey, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes with marshmallows. And inca cola- a soda down here in Peru. It tastes like bubble gum and cream soda... but tastes better than that description. Yay thanksgiving! I decided we were going to uh, go around the table, and tell what we were thankful for. I made my comp go first and she said like two things, and then I just kinda just went off on a long list when it was my turn... Awkward.
So um, seriously, Everett isn't allowed to grow up anymore. No more!
And I love you all.
Hermana Brogan

Monday, November 24, 2014

Loved to death by emails

Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh! I have never felt so overwhelmed with so many emails! People actually love me! :D But now I have no time to write...

SO weird things I've seen this week: A llama on a leash coming out of a moto. I really want to ride a moto one of these days. I haven't yet... Two people walking down the street in a cardboard box. (The top and bottom were open...) And a creepy mannequin with teeth. Sometimes I just wish I had my camera on me...
I did intercambios this week, and it was SO needed. I'm honestly having a hard time with my comp, but my sister leader is SO amazing. Her name is Hermana Larson, and she is just the missionary I want to be. She's on her last transfer right now. :) She's really funny too. She asks the most random questions. Like if my thighs are the same size as hers and then has me measure. (Almost is the answer). I told her how I really appreciate how I can see the light of the gospel in her countenance and how loving she is, and how I want to be a missionary like her one day, and she told me that I just fulfilled prophecy. She had a sister leader she totally admired at some point in her mission, and told her sister leader the same thing, and said someday someone would tell her that. And so I did, so she told me someday somebody would tell me the same thing. :) So sweet. And funny.
I got a letter from the ward this week. Random people, most of who I should know but don't... But it was super nice! I really appreciate it. I love hand written letters because then I can read them all week long. 
Culture fun fact: When you knock on a door, people will answer from a random window. So imagine answering from our upstairs window or the living room window to talk to someone who rang the doorbell. Weird, but it actually makes sense. Less work for the person in the house!
A ward member bought me a King Kong this week. it's like a delicious cookie thing filled with what's called manjar blanco (internet it, I don't know how to describe it). But it's SO good!
We found a menos activo this week who hasn't been in like 15 years or more, and doesn't really know anything about the church! But she's baptized! Crazy! She even went to Jehovah's Witness church for four years... But she's cool and listens very receptively. :)
I just want to talk more about Hermana Larson, and how she is always in pain for certain medical reasons. And how she's always so happy despite this. Or when she contacts and people just say no very rudely, she just keeps smiling and trying to the last second. Man, she's just cool! I told her I wish I could be sweet like that when contacting, but she misheard me and thought I said I wanted to be like the people who said no. Yes, I totally want to become totally rude and cold to the world. That's JUST what I meant. Ah, it was nice to be with someone who gets sarcasm. :)
Be of good cheer! Christ overcame the world!
Hermana Brogan

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mission President and wife when chocolate is involved!

So I was trying to come up with things to write about the culture, and it's such a city, there really isn't too much difference. Just the language. But what I did come up with:
People don't all avoid eye contact. People actually say hi to each other. But not everyone...
Little shops are the thing here. You buy everything at a little store on the road instead of a supermarket. It's cute. But it always makes me want food. One of my favorite things is Lucuma. It's a fruit made into a popsicle. And it kinda tastes like bread dough. And I think it's sooo delicious!
Everyone is Catholic. Like ever. Or Jehovah's witness, or MMM, which I'm still trying to figure out what it is...
The driving is insane. And traffic cops stand at intersections trying to make the traffic go FASTER sometimes. Yeah, that's new.
I'm so gringa here. Everyone just stares at us.
AND, there's this cart of grapes that these guys push around in the street. And they always say something along the lines of "Uvas. Que Ricas. Que deliciosos. Uvas. Uvas." It's pretty funny.
So little kids are the best. Sometimes we knock doors, and kids answer. We had this little girl who was so excited to see us, and she ran to get her mom saying They speak English they speak english!!!
Then this other day, a boy about 7 or 8, Ricardo, answered the door and said his parents weren't home and then proceeded to shower us with questions for like 15minutes, from why are you so tall? (to my comp), to why do you speak funny? to Is that a Bible? Can I see it? It was just funny. It brightened my day a ton!
We're also helping with the music for the primary program because nobody here sings or leads music (almost). So that's funny. Kids have such angelic voices. I love it!
There's this one girl in our ward who's about 20, named Jenny, who speaks a little bit of English. So she's a good friend for me to have. We took her along to a lesson, and I taught a principle or two, and afterwards she was so shocked I spoke so good, because we've met with her a few times, but I'm just shy about my Spanish. So then we had a whole conversation walking down the street. But she speaks SO fast when she speaks Spanish (like how I speak English), so we can't understand each other in our native tongues. So she spoke English and I spoke Spanish, and then it worked just fine. :) I'll get a picture with her one of these days.
I forgot my camera! So pictures next week. :)
Oh, and Jenny also fed us (members feed us on weekends),and it was SOOO good. My comp is trying to lose weight, so our pensionista doesn't feed us rice. Jenny gave us both a mountain of rice! Yum!!!
Oh yeah, so I gave that See's candies* to Hermana Williams when I first got here. (I think I forgot to write about this). And she was SO happy. She was amazed I made it six weeks without eating it all! She kept asking if I wanted any, but I said no,because I'd be back in California before she would be.So then she went and told President Williams, and they bickered about it. President was jealous and asked if she had to share. I said it was sent specifically to her, and it's hers so she can decide. So Hermana Williams told Presidente that she must have left a better first impression with me at the Provo MTC and told my mom so. :P They're cute. I love when older couples still interact that way.
So I was talking with my pensionista this week, and she said a Quechua phrase, and I didn't understand. So then she asked why I don't speak they're language. I told her it all made sense. That in fact, my Spanish is already perfect, but the language they speak is Quechua. I was just confused, and it's really not my fault they had me learn Spanish and not quechua.
And that was the conversation where my personality was finally born in Spanish. :D Hurray! I'm human!
We committed a girl of 13 years to baptism this week, but in the mission we can't baptize them without they're parents if they're younger than 18. So we just need to commit their mom. :) She's almost there.
We tried sugar cane this week! You chew it and then spit it out. It's really weird. Definitely a one time thing. But that was pretty fun!
Okay, that's about all this week. Uh, contacting is hard. Teaching is hard. Spanish is hard. But it's coming. And I've only been here two weeks. :)
Love you all!
Hermana Brogan

* Sister Williams mentions in her mission blog that she missed having chocolate, especially See's candy, in Peru so Haley took some down to her in her suitcase.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Pictures, finally!

My comp is great. She's 22 and SO tall, but yeah. Our personalities are a little different, and we approach missionary work differently, but I just go along with her for now since I don't really speak Spanish. But we find plenty of things to laugh about. Being on my own isn't too fun. I REALLY miss my MTC district a ton. I miss being around all the immature 18 year old boys because it was always hilarious. Now I have to provide my own humor. Dang. I miss my old comps too. We had 12 people come from the CCM in my group, 6 North Americans, five of whom are sisters.

I have no clue how far I am from the mission home. The taxi ride didn't seem too long... Let's see, so our area is just split off from a bigger area. It's just a city. The buildings aren't as nice as in the states, but I like it. There's always people out and about so finding and teaching is easy. I'm blessed to be in a South American mission. Oh, but walking all day is SO draining, especially because my TALL comp walks twice as fast as me and expects me to keep up with her. 
Danny is leaving soon! Hurray! I'm so excited for him!
Okay, stories:
So when I got out of the taxi at our room, elders from our district where there to help us with our luggage. One of them, Elder Wilson, looked at me and asked, Are you white? I responded, what? He said, Yes! Good! It was strange. He's a goof. He and his comp had our area as part of their area before, so they've been helping us a ton this week. 
We have hot water!
Sometimes I agree to things without realizing it. Dang language barrier. Usually it's just saying the prayer.
My comp and I ALWAYS are singing. She loves it as much as me. SO that's fun!
My district leader, Elder Rojas, is Latino, so I was talking to him (barely) in Spanish, and he told me he was going to get me over my fear of speaking Spanish. And so he forced me to share a spiritual thought in my first district meeting. Oh boy!
That's really about it. I'll see if I can send some pics now. And I want some time to email my old district. Talk to you next week!
 my district from the mtc
 My trainer and  first apartment (with HOT WATER)
 Silly Haley

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

She's in Chiclayo.

Hey! So I get to write. Yay! Halloween came and went without much notice, but two of the sisters in my group wore the EXACT same outfit. And it was awesome. Chiclayo is so warm and wonderful! And I get to be in a normal companionship! I already love my companion. She loves singing, and it´s going to be so fun! She's so happy and kind too. Ummm, I don't really know what to say. Leaving the ccm was pretty tragic. I cried when I had to say goodbye to all the elders last night. (But not until after I was upstairs!) But my transfer journal is now one of my favorite things, and my district is so sweet and so good to me. They make me sound like a saint (which I'm not...) But as for stories, I don't really have any this week from memory. I didn't have time to prepare bullet point of things that happened. But basically Sunday was AMAZING. We had a district testimony, and we each bore our testimonies. My faith has grown so much since being at the mtc, and it's crazy seeing how quickly all my prayers are answered, and feeling the joy of the gospel and the spirit in my life at all times. It's just absolutely amazing. I love being a missionary, and I'm so excited to get to work!
Okay, well I love you all.
I ate pizza today. That was weird. I haven't had american food in a long time. It really isn't that great... I'll stick with my peruvian food.
My mission president remembered me*, and he took us to the beach for a few minutes. We made paper boats and then burned them. Like Hernán Cortés. So yeah! Oh, my new comps name is Hermana Kingsford, and we're opening a new area in Chiclayo, Latina, José Balta. So that's going to be really cool starting my mission out in the field in a brand new, untouched, area.
I love the work! Hopefully I'll have more stories next week or remember some from this past week.
Have a great week!
Con Amor,
Hermana Brogan
* Note from Haley's mom:
Haley was able to meet her mission president at the MTC in Provo when the new mission presidents came for training, even before the rest of the mission met him. Pretty cool.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Headed out already?

Okay world (or whoever actually reads this), here's this week in review.
There's one hermana here, Hermana Christiansen who worked security at the MOA at BYU, so we serisouly spent the whole meal in which we first met each other, talking about work. It was strangely super fun! We both miss it a little. She's also one of my favorite people here. So that was a little bit of a blessing for me, meeting her. :)
So, there's been another mind game going around called, "Am I a witch?" It's dumb. So many games here. But it's finally died down a bit.
So one of our teachers told us we could switch up where we sit (because we used to, but the teachers took over because we talk to much.) Elder Rojoo denied the offer which surprised me. He said, "Aw, but I like sitting next to Hermana Brogan, she always answers all my questions!" It made me happy. I find I'm happiest in classes when I can help the other missionaries in my district with the language. Cause I get really bored... Nice to know I'm capable of making friends. It's weird, because every single person in my district, I never would have talked to or tried to be friends with in a different setting, but we all get along so well and it's so much fun being friends with them!
So on Saturday (I think), a bunch of primary kids came to the MTC to visit with the missionaries. They were all out playing on the soccer field, and when we went out there, they just all swarmed to us, running across the field to come meet us! It was so amazing. I have never felt that much love from strangers before! And they were all just little kids! So our job was to talk to them (in spanish obviously) about being a missionary and stuff. So I asked one of the girls if she wanted to serve a mission, and she said yeah, in the US, so I asked where, and she said California. So that made me happy! And it's so cute, because all the little girls would greet me with a kiss on the cheek. I still can't get over how cute they all are! About ten minutes after they left, a group of youth, just about our age, came (they went to the temple after meeting with us). So I talked to a bunch of the sisters, and aside from one of them getting married, they were all preparing to serve missions too. They were all so kind and funny and sweet! One of them asked me how I speak so fast, since Spanish isn't my first language, and the other missionaries don't speak as easily, so I just explained that I took three years in school, and one of my teachers forced us to do immersion in class.
So we prepare talks every week, and they just call us up to the pulpit right then and there, so that we all have to prepare. But only four people speak. But I prepared a really good talk on the Book of Mormon, so I was hoping they would call on me (and of course everyone thought I was kinda crazy for that). So the sister leaders caught word and told the Branch presidency before church I wanted to speak. Apparently they just laughed in reaction. But they ended up letting me speak. So that was fun! I love speaking in church. It's definitely one of my favorite things. The two elders after me fought over who had to speak next... (I promise I'm really not that fluent in Spanish). Later, the mission president's wife, Hna Gonzalez, came up and told me (in Spanish) that she couldn't believe how well I did. "¡No puedo creer!" She was so sweet. :)
So one day we ended up eating at a table just with our lone companionship, so the elders in our district made fun of us calling us outcasts. One of them, being a five year old, said it was because Hermana Marshall smelled. So she got really insulted, and so right after, they came back to the classroom with rolls as offerings (because she really really really really likes the rolls here- like 24 as her high for how many she's eaten in a day). It was Hilarious! I can't explain to you how much she loves those rolls.
Hermana Marshall straightened my hair two days ago and everyone was so shocked. Elder Monson saw me at breakfast, said "woah." then waited a second, said time out, and went and got juice before coming back to react. It was hilarious. Yeah, I really only straighten my hair to get reactions out of people. let's be real. The next day, one of the elders asked me if it just got curly again overnight. That was funny.
So my teacher hna Rivera, thinks Elder Monson looks like winnie the pooh, which he doesn't, and so she came up to him one day and asked, "¿Le gusta hunny?" That was hilarious. She always comments to me about how he loks like pooh bear. Too funny.
We went to immigrations again yesterday. I talked to a lady in line from Mexico for a bit, and she was super sweet, and patient with my language. But she's here for a month and a half with the catholic church, and we talked about how crazy the driving here is, and it was cool. I can have real conversations! (kinda). Also, one of the lady's who worked there got mad at me while I was waiting for my ID card to be printed. But while she was in the middle of lecturing me about how I don't understand, and other things I actually didn't undertand what she was saying, the card came, so I just grabbed it and left. Yeah, that was weird.
We had the MOST awkward lesson last night. Keep in mind that we really just teach the MTC teachers. But she opened the door, and told us how strange it was we decided to knock on her door, but she eventually let us in. Then she asked why were asking about her family and stuff and how it made her uncomfortable. Then it was just really awkward from there on out. So that was an experience. We taught the law of chastity the lesson after that, and that lesson was LESS awkward! How?
Also, my district loves hymn #146- sunshine in my soul (in spanish),and we sing it really loud and obnoxiously always. At least once a day. And the zone leaders are in my district so we sang it for sacrament meeting as well. It's weird, but hey, I have a spanish hymn memorized now!
I was so sad, this was my last week going to the temple, but it was an AMAZING session. I did it in english this time (first time since being here), and that was very nice to not worry about the language. I love the Lima temple. It's beautiful! I hope to come back one day. :)
Okay, that's about all this week. (mostly). Sorry again for the typos.
Love you all!
The church is true! I've never been happier than when I'm close to Heavenly Father and Christ!
Con Amor,
Hermana Brogan
*Note from Haley's mom- Pday was a day later this week, but the CCM at least sent an email letting us know it would be later. Also, Haley heads out next Tuesday to the mission field and she thinks their Pday is on Mondays, so probably won't get an email/post next week.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Humility

Okay, so this one will be a little more spiritually centered...
So Sunday here is a wonderful thing. This week on Sunday, we just watched movies. We all watched Meet the Mormons and then later that night, all the intermedios watched Ephraim's rescue. Meet the Mormons was actually so good! I was amazed at how much I was feeling the Spirit when we finished it. I wasn't expecting that. (I undervalue anything technological for no real reason). It was cool just seeing different people's lives. :) Pretty cool stories. Everyone should watch it at some point if you haven't yet. It was very kind of presidente to let us watch it here.
Ephraim's rescue was amazing! I hadn't seen it before, and sometimes I laugh at parts I shouldn't (with all church movies...), but it's amazing the willingness all the pioneers had to give up everything, and the perserverance they had. It's crazy that it's based off of true stories, and I know miracles happen with the faithful. I'm excited to go out and see mircales happen on my mission. I know I will. The entire time I was watching the movie, I just had the Spirit whispering to me that I truly am a pioneer here. I just hope I can have the faith that they did. I never realized how much I've truly come to love our pioneer heritage.
So I had a day probably on Monday, where I was feeling like I wasn't progressing much with my language or as a person, which is a bit frustrating here, so I prayed for an opportunity to serve. So lo and behold, my teachers decided to make new seating arrangements, and stuck me next to Elder Redd, who I previously didn't like very much, and who struggles with the language (just because he came in with very little Spanish). So that was an answer, and now I actually can have a conversation with him, and I'm actually not bored in class because I get to help others learn! So, Heavenly Father answers prays.
Our Latina roommates left. I'm so sad about that. They were all so hilarious pretending to sprinkle us with Holy Water and trying to be like superman. (They were hilarious!) The one that I couldn't understand, Hermana Colquehuanca (For Mom: Coal-kay-wanka), was SO sweet, and gave me the longest hug and kiss on the cheek, and told me that we'd see each other again, and if not in this life, then in the eternities. She is SO sweet. I cannot even explain. Before she converted she was Catholic and wanted so bad to be a nun. But then the missionaries found her, and she knew this was the true church, so when she found out about missions, she got SO excited to come on one! So here she is a sister missionary. She is just so pure, and so humble! I want to be more like her! I just wish I spoke more Spanish so I could have learned more about her than that!
Another missionary here, Elder Fuentes, wanted to pay for his own mission, and he has worked for years (he's right before the cut off age for elders to come), making only 20 soles a day (less than 10 dollars a DAY), to be able to come on a mission. I am amazed by  the humility of some of the missionaries here, and it just touches me so much. I hope I can get some of that humility from all the missionaries here.
So in one of our lessons the other day, we planned to teach about baptism and the Holy Ghost (it was our last lesson), but one of the Hermanas in my companionship has a hard time wanting to teach the restoration or the creation, and always just wants to stick to the Bible and common ground (which is good to an extent), so we hadn't taught about Joseph Smith yet. But in the middle of the lesson the Spirit prompted me to talk about the restoration, (that looks so weird in English) and at the same time, she couldn't think of anything to say (she takes control of every lesson, so that was weird), and I taught the restoration, and we soft committed him to baptism! We only needed one more lesson, but sadly that was our last one with him. Good thing he's really just our teacher! :P
It was so sad when the advanzados flew out to their missions this week! I had gotten very used to them being around! They were all so loving! (I'm an advanzado now! Weird!) There is so much love here at the MTC. People will seriosuly never let you be sad. It's great! But anyways, the night before their flight, we have a tradition of singing hymns, so we all sang. And we have a locked door in the middle of the hallway that separates the elders from the sisters, so right after we finished they started up, so we just got to listen to a few more hymns. It's weird that we're actually in the same hallway. Pretty scandalous. (jk)
The temple today was awesome! I basically understand everything there in Spansih now! I love that I get to go every week. This was the best spanish session I've been to yet! (I'll use the headset next week for English though since it's my last week going to the temple for a rather long time). But it's so nice to feel the peace in the temple, and be able to receive revelation so easily.
Okay, funny story time! So every night our zone leaders would come in and talk to us for about five minutes. So one night they walk in and I looked at one of them and said, "I would adivse you to leave right now if you didn't bring any candy." He responded "Who do you think you are?" Then I said I was just joking. Then he gave me a piece of candy. It was the best thing. I did not expect him to actually have candy!
We all decided that we were going to have spirit animals one day. (We get really bored here). Hermana Marshall is a pirhanna because she's snappy and has a HUGE mouth. I'm a turtle. (We didn't pick our own. Everyone decided for us). One for the elders is an angry bunny. One is a baby bird. One is a racoon, Etc.
Our teacher, Hermano Janampa, got in a little bit of a disagreement with one of the other teachers the other night. So that was weird. We were supposed to teach, but they spent the entire hour with their supervisor fighting and talking it out. But when they came back, they were smiling. So... I guess that's good? for them at least.
Also, another day there were about four teachers in our room, and I thought it was really weird. So I asked Janampa why they were there. And he fakes not being able to speak english, but he does. One of the teachers said ¿por qué no? I said I wanted to know why. Then they left. Yeah, they're definitely just friends. Janampa was kinda irritated with me, but couldn't really do anything about it. Woops. I was just curious. They weren't like teaching us or anything. They were just hanging out...
So I had this one day this week where our district was ALL over the place. So it started with the elders teasing me (because almost everyone got the cold I had). So they drew a bell curve on the board which was kinda a "gripe" timeline as they titled it. Then they drew stick figure me. There were two different representations from two elders. So it was funny then, but they kept going at it even as we were teaching. I still didn't really care that much, because it was kinda true that they all got it from me, and they were just joking around, but Hermana Marshall got really irritated with them for being immature. So then she wouldn't even talk to any of them. And they didn't let us get our food first (which is a rule here for the hermanas), so then she told them that we were all upset. (I was fine). So after dinner, Elder Carter was super ashamed and wouldn't even make eye contact with me, and gave me and then all three of us hermanas the most sincere apology like ever. So I forgave him readily... Then LATER that night, Hermana Escobar got a blessing, and the day just ended on a very spiritual note. So that was an adventure.
We were reading some of the rules we have in one of our packets and one of them is how we are to sit with good posture in investigator's houses, and how it's custom to talk about family and work before moving on to the purpose of the visit. So then we all sat up really straight with frozen smiles on our faces kinda talking in really annoying robotic voices, with our hands clasped together. (We=me, H Marshall, E Monson). It drove everyone else nuts. We even had one of the elders from another district come in and join us. It was funny. Yeah, our humor is a lot less refined the longer we're here. There are an extremely high amount of jokes about pedos (farts) here.
Also, every night we do district bonding, so we play games like black magic or color wheel or snaps. Elder Carter started doing one last night called Bang. I hate it. I hate it SO much. I will never figure out the rules to that one! But it's actually really fun!
Okay, I don't know how I actually manage to make it this long every week, because I feel like nothing ever really happens here.
Uh, I love the MTC, I love the people here, and out in Lima! The Spirit is so strong and I know without a doubt that what I will be teaching IS the gospel of Jesus Christ. He really is our Savior, and He really just wants us to return home to live with our families and our Heavenly Father and Him forever.
I love you all!
Hope life in the States is good!
Sorry for terrible typos! (*Haley's mom thinks she got them all, but who knows. She did have TONS)
Hermana Brogan

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halfway through!

It's already been three weeks here, and we only have three more to go! Our district is getting really close, and each day goes faster. But I love it so much! I already get a little sun burned being outside just one hour a day, so I don't know what I'll look like in Chiclayo... Just lot's of sunscreen! So... story time!
The new sisters in our room are some of my favorite people! Since they're Latinas, they always give me a hug and kiss on the cheek. I've never been kissed so much in such little time before! (But only sisters) The culture here is just so friendly and loving. One of them, Hna Cabaña is hilarious. She speaks English, but the other two don't. Last night she licked her nametag and stuck it on her forhead with the other magnet on the back of her head, and said that it works because she doesn't have a brain. One of the other ones, Hna. Ramirez was pretending to sprinkle us with holy water. Then we also kept stopping some of the sisters coming out of the showers in their towels and telling them that we have a message for them about the ley de castidad. It's almost out of hand. We have too much fun. Then the third sister, the really really beautiful one (I'll try to get a picture at some point), asked me to teach her ballet. But she doesn't speak a word of English, so I did my best to teach her plies and tondus. (sp?) So funny. Everyone calls that sister with the really long hard name Sacagawea or Pocahontas because she has such long hair, and she is SOOO pretty. Also, all the Latinos think all the gringa girls are so pretty. Probably just because we're white. I mean it kinda works in reverse like that in the states. We have one sister who is very blond (just her hair), who all the Latino elders always just stare at when she leads music for devos and other such things.
Also, Hna Ramirez always sings "never say never!" and then tells us how much she hates Justin Bieber. But in a really funny way. Also, sometimes Hna Cabaña swears and doesn't know it, so it's always fun to tell her, you really shouldn't say that. Though one word she did know... Yeah, she's funny. Hna Ramirez also always tells us we look like barbies, or me that I'm like a music box doll (because of ballet). It makes me happy inside.
Two days ago I did an English fast for the gift of tongues. I tried to convince my companions to do it with me for about two weeks, and they kept saying no, so I just did it on my own. It was rough, but now I'm speaking a lot better and my grammar improved a ton that day! Now my district is doing an English fast all day tomorrow. Go figure. I'm fine being the example! ;)
One night, Hna Cabaña was joking about coming in with a knife or something, so I decided I needed to plan an escape route. I sleep on the top bunk, so I planned on lifting up one of the ceiling tiles and just crawling over to the hallway and dropping back down. But when I lifted the ceiling tile up, the walls extended up as well! So I would still be trapped! I'm so upset about it! So I need a plan B.
The other night we had a lessons with someone we had never met before and had no prior info on, and it was the best lesson we had! I was having a not wonderful day, but after the lesson I was just so happy. It was such a joy to share the good news of the gospel with him. (He was in reality just one of teachers though.) But he gave us advice and said he loved how happy we were coming in. We just need to work on speaking as if we all have one voice. And I loved that phrasing so much. And if we're in tune with the Spirit, it should be that way. (Also, I've given up on correcting typos. I hope you don't mind)***note from Haley's mom-I am trying to catch them before I post.***

So one of the elders in our district, Elder Carter, decided we need to play these games where you don't know the rules and you have to figure it out. We've playing the camping game, black magic, and color wheel. They were so hard to figure out! I need a major hint for color wheel, and Hna Marshall finally told me Black Magic. I figured camping game out pretty easy though. It was really rough though!
Every once in a while I hear great things about Chiclayo! I hear the people are really humble, and it's really hot there, and the food is good (Lots of rice and chicken of course!) Then the rest of my district is going to Arequipa, and they keep getting told how proud the people there are... So yeah, I'll miss them, but I really got the better mission! ;)
We got a new teacher this week, so we have two in the morning now, but he gave our companionship some really good advice (because being in a trio is dang hard!), and since then, our trio has become a lot stronger, and I've accepted him as a new teacher. But Hna Rivera and Hno Janampa are still the best.
One day during personal study, we were being really good and really quiet for like the first time, and an Elder came bursting in with a story and was talking really loud. So I just looked at him and told him we were being quiet and studying (because there's two people in my district who hate how much our district talks, and I know they were appreciating this rare time), and this elders face just dropped when I told him that. I felt so bad!
One day after lunch or dinner, Hna Furness (Who I was with at immigration), told me how much my smile brightens her day. I was very happy at that, so hna Marshall told me it's just because I'm loveable. I was shocked. Hna Marshall never gives compliments. Never! (In her family, she and her sisters don't compliment each other so they don't get big heads). No, she's just really sarcastic. But it was such a rare moment that it had to go in the email. She is actually super nice though, so no worries!
We have this joke going on where we always say, "No tocan las hermanas!" to the elderes because they accidentally hit our foot or something. It a fun game. 
I don't know if I told this one last week- but one of the elders was playing around and totally threw a marker across the room which hit my eye. I'm a marker target or something because it's happened a few times since too. (They really aren't aiming at me, I promise!)
Last story, also may be a repeat, but I don't think it is! So one day Hermana Marshall and Elder Carter decided to act like I was dead (I seriosuly feel like I wrote this one already, so if I did, jsut ignore it.) and they pretended I was dead for about half an hour. They keep bringing it up every once ina while, and they talk about how great I was, and I how I used to do certain things. And Elder Carter actually got himself to cry at one point. 
Um, the gospel is true! I know it is with all my heart. I couldn't be this happy without it! I love being a missionary, and I can't wait to hit the field! The gift of tongues is real, and my Spanish is really coming along.
I love you all!
Hermana Brogan

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Having too much fun

(Note from Haley's mom..this is LOOOOONNGGG. enjoy, though!)
I thought I would start by describing an average day here at the CCM (although they're really all different...)
So pretty much I wake up at 6 am every morning to fight the hermanas for one of our three showers. They're also either lava temperature, or antarctica temperature, but it's okay, sometimes I find a happy middle! But luckily there aren't too many hermanas here! After we get ready we go to breakfast where we eat, every day without fail, eggs, yogurt (which is a little less thick here) with cereal, some kind of juice and rolls. After that we go study for an hour, which means we really goof off until breakfast time is over, and then keep goofing off because we never keep track of time. And then eventually realize what time it is and study. After that, we have our teacher Hermana Rivera for the morning, so we'll teach her (well, I suppose I should say Ary-her character for teaching), and then we have language or grammar class... After morning classes we eat lunch. Usually they have popcorn or ice cream or both with lunch, which is kinda fun. Then we go do an hour of study on a computer program called TALL, and go do physical activity. We basically just walk around the basketball court for the hour, since nobody uses it. Though one day some of the Latino elders came and wanted to actually played basketball with us, which I fail at miserably. I run a little, and my companion, hermana Escobar runs most of the time. After that we have more class and then dinner. After dinner we teach Hermano Janampa (aka Rodrigo) and then have class until planning time and then we go to bed.
So I don't remember what food I mentioned last week, but I still love granadillas, and they made churros again. They fed us tacos last night, so we got beans and rice and tacos, and it was so delicious! They also made pollo saltado too which was so delicious, and it made me think of Rachel because she made me lomo saltado. It's definitely one of my favorites!
Let's see what else... So teaching is fun, but it's really, really hard in a trio. Specifically because Hermana Marshall and I have both had plenty of Spanish and speak it pretty well, but Hermana Escobar doesn't really speak much (none on the first day). So our teachers are always telling us to let her teach more, but then she gets frustrated because she doesn't know where we are in the lesson. But it's okay, we're figuring some things out. It's just hard, because it's so easy for hermana Marshall and I to just start acting like a normal companionship and teaching by ourselves. But it's okay. The second lesson we had with "Rodrigo" was really good and we made some serious ground with him, so I went ahead and invited him to be baptized, and he said no of course. My companions thought I was crazy! After the lesson, they were all like, I can't believe you just did that! And then we went and told our whole district. It was fun. We invited him to be baptized again last night and he said he would like to but has to think about it because his family is Catholic. Our other investigator, Ary, is really tough, so we're still trying to figure that one out. No real progress there.
Hermano Janampa met us at the temple today (and we're only allowed to take pictures on pday which is why we asked), so that was really sweet of him. His friend was with him and he asked us to share something with him because he's a nonmember. We failed so hard. But it's okay because he really is a member and Janampa was just lying to us. The hermanas and I got a picture with him, so I'll send it home once I'm in the field. I buy way way too much stuff here, but that's okay because it's all dirt cheap. So I got Spanish scriptures and cases for them, and there's these really good cookies casinos (I probably mentioned them last week). That's really all I got today...
Okay, I totally lied to you guys, I thought I was getting better last week, but I totally broke down with a fever and ended up losing my voice completely. But it's back now, and I really am healthy now! The mission president's wife gave me medicine and everything, so I'm taken care of here. More about that in a minute. But Hermana Marshall wrote in her journal one day (jokingly), "Hermana Brogan deathly ill" Yeah... I promise it wasn't that bad!
We just got through two weeks here! I'm a third of the way done! We have a bunch of newbies here now, and they're all so sweet! Our old trio we shared a room with left last night, and they were soooooo funny, but now we have a Latina trio, and two of them don't speak any English, so we all sat down and talked a bunch last night about our families, and missions (I keep hearing Chiclayo is really hot!). It will be so nice to actually practice my Spanish!!!
One of the Elders in our district, Elder Monson, after I lost my voice told me he was wondering who in our district has the voice of an angel, and how he figured it out once I lost my voice. It was very sweet. I'm going to get really conceited here because I keep getting compliments on my singing voice from people, and all the Latina girls love my hair. So, I'll work on that whole humility thing.
I heard something about Obama declaring war on Syria? Is that true? What's that all about? 
Okay, so on Friday, we went to immigrations and that was basically just a whole day of doing nothing but standing in line. I went with one of the girls going to Chiclayo in the other companionship, Hermana Furness, and Elder Carter and Elder Monson. My companions went at a later time. Weird that they split our trio up, but whatever. I just do what they tell me to. That was also the day where I literally had NO voice. So that was exciting. I talked anyways... No wonder it took a while for it to get better. I just can't help it!!!
So that night, I finally broke down and decided that it had been a week of being sick and losing my voice and not being able to teach, so I asked our district leader for a blessing. It was so cool. I like having the boys my age give blessing because it's such a new thing to them and it just takes so much faith. But the Spirit was really strong in our district for like the whole next day! (one of the other companionships wanted to participate in the blessing as well, so I let them...) Anyways, my voice started getting better really fast after that, so just little miracles working in my life.
We also had a district testimony meeting after General Conference and heard everyone's stories. Every single person in my district has gone through some really hard stuff in their lives, which is personal so I won't share it, but we all basically told these stories because we were going off the question of why we're serving missions. Every. Single. One. of us is here for the right reason and has such a strong testimony because of things in their lives that pushed them to have faith. It's just really cool getting to know each other so well. It will be hard saying bye to them when they go to Arequipa, but compared to the other district, I know these are the people I need to be with here in the CCM. It really just makes sense to me.
There was an earthquake the other day, which was really fun! They have signs in all the buildings here marking safe spots in case of earthquakes. So they're really common here. California trained me well.
General conference was SO good! I don't really have any specific thoughts to share on the talks, but they were all so strong, and I love how this time it was very focused on following Christ and families. It was focused on the center of our gospel, and instead of having a lot of breadth, it had so much depth. I came to understand the sacrament even more, and it is just so cool! We also watched the women's meeting this weekend instead of last, and Uchtdorf's talk was sooooo good. It was such a good confidence builder, and gave me so much recognition of why God loves us, but also what He expects us to do because of that. I also like how they always emphasize that we're meeting together as covenant women. 
On Monday, we went to Interpol, and that was basically a lot of sitting around too. They fingerprinted us which was fun. We left at some random point in time to go take pictures for what we had to fill out. Weird.
Basically the driving here is SO chaotic. But everyone here has driven like this pretty much always, so nobody crashes. It's really freaky at first, but it gets a lot better. The buses are also still so crazy and fun!
Hermana Smith-one of the Sisters in my room, legit started spreading that rumor about me speaking Cantonese. (I assume I told that story last week. I'll check after I finish writing this). But about half of the advanced sisters here legitimately think I speak Cantonese. So maybe I'll go Cantonese speaking on a senior mission later on in life! ;) I miss her so much, she's such a goof!
Oh, another weird random thing, the elders and sisters have different tables for meals (they don't do that at the Provo MTC I think...), so it's kinda weird, but then you get to know all the hermanas really well! It's fun!
Another weird random story (I promise we feel the Spirit here too, but there just aren't good stories yet...) Hermana Marshall and Elder Carter one day decided to pretend to talk like I had died. They said I had died of the double headed dragons (Sorry to be gross, but that's what they call diarrhea and throwing up here). So then as I was sitting there in the room, they're going off about how they remembered when Hermana Brogan used to... or how she always said... And it was so funny. Elder Carter actually made himself cry. Weirdo. So they did that for about an hour. I thought it was funny for about ten minutes.
Also, Hermana Marshall is suuuuper sarcastic and sassy, and it's hilarious! (We taught Hermana Rivera the word sassy, because she is too.) Anyways, Hna Marshall has a bad habit of calling everyone by just their last names without hermana or elder. And so Elder Carter asked her to use Elder with his name. So then she started calling him Master Elder Carter. I love Hermana Marshall so much. She's kinda crazy. And it's great. We get along really well. She's also completely obsessed with bread.
Hermana Escobar is really sweet and quiet and introverted, so I don't know her to well despite being with her 24/7.
Okay, I think I hit everything!
Love you all! The CCM is wonderful!
Hermana Brogan

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You're in Peru, I hope

Hey everyone!
I made it safe and sound to the CCM and that flight was sooo long, and we got here super late, but the hermanas in our room woke up just to say hi to us (and sleep is so valuable here!) 
Okay, so first off, the food here is SOO good. It's chicken and rice with every meal except breakfast, but luckily that's more or less how I was raised, so it's all good. Granadías are the best fruit ever. They made us churros one night which were so good-better than America. I like food here better than in the US. Spanish keyboards are pretty cool, but sometimes I don't know where punctuation is... 
My district is awesome. My companionship are the only hermanas in our district, but it's great. All the elders are straight out of high school. Funny things are said almost daily. They were fighting over who's tie was better, and one elder used the argument that his tie brought in the Spirit. Every single person in my district, except me, is going to Arrequipa. All the Chiclayo people are in the other district. Not even fair.
Oh, also, we watched two old devotionals that were filmed at the MTC on Sunday. One was from mission president seminar. It´s so weird seeing the MTC and old coworkers. I miss it a bit. But being a missionary is better than working with missionaries.  Every. single. one. of the elders in my district laughed when I told them I worked security. I'm so insulted.
Um, I have the best teachers ever (so says every missionary ever), but they're sooo funny! Hermano Janampa always says ¿Que en el mundo? (what in the world), which is totally a Spanglish phrase that nobody uses outside the CCM. We also say Santa Vaca... Yeah, Spanglish here is bad.
Saturday night, my sister training leaders came in to ask me to say the prayer in relief society, and I asked which language. They said either, then one of the other hermanas in my room said, she could also say it in Cantanese, being totally serious. I started laughing, so she explained that (apparently), "I had a dream when I was 16 that I was supposed to go on a mission and the I got called to Hong Kong, so I started to learn Cantanese to the point where I was fluent". By that point I was red in the face and laughing so hard. She just said "I was really embarrassed about it". The sister leader totally believed her!
Pday is the best day. The Lima temple is beautiful. Pictures don't do it justice. Also, we got to shop around Lima today. We are definitely in a different coutnry, but we were all in one huge group. One creepy old guy commented ''Bonita hermanas'' as we walked by. Yeah, awkward. 
For activity time every day we've been playing volleyball, which I don't love, but I deal. Sometimes I just run around the court though. Everything is outside. We did ping pong yesterday though since I came down with a bit of a cold. I'm better now though, so it's okay. Sometimes I try to speak to the hermanas, and it's so hard. I always have to ask them to speak slower and repeat themselves. But it's okay, they're all so sweet and supportive! I speak Spanish really well with the gospel though, it's just the rest of the language that's hard.
We bought soccer jerseys today, so that's cool!
They don't really want us sending pictures here (plus the computers are so slow) so I'll send some once I'm in the field.
I teach my first lesson tonight!
Hno. Janampa told us that it usually takes norteamericanos about 6 months to learn Spanish, but it only takes the missionaries about 2-3 months, so the gift of tongues is real! (But you still gotta be patient).
We Hna Smith (the one who said I speak Cantanese) always says, ''that's filthy'' so my companion Hna Marshall and I always say ''está filthy'' It's probably funnier here than over email...
One elder in our district, Elder Monson (yeah, he gets a lot of questions, and they are related somehow...), had a birhtday this week. So our teachers brought all of us candy, and we sang happy birthday to him like eight thousand times.
So some food here that's really good is casinos- at type of cookie kinda like oreos and inca cola which tastes like bubble gum vanilla soda, but actually tastes good. It legit smells like bubble gum though.
I've started being able to speak sentences that are longer than like three words, which is pretty exciting! (In Spanish of course).
Hno. Janampa told us that he killed a cat using a plastic bag one time because they had to but it down, but the bag was cheaper. It horrified all of us, but was also kinda funny.
One of the elders brought jerkey from home- and it´s deer. My other teacher, Hna Rivera has never seen jerkey before so we were trying to say what it was, but we didn't know deer, so Hna Marshall said Bambi, and Hna Rivera was like, ''Oh, mi corazón!'' So funny.
Anyways, I´m in a trio, and both of my compañeras are awesome. Hna Marshall and I are more alike than Hna. Esobar, but I love both of them very much.
The CCM is tiny, so everyone knows each other and cares about each other which is great. So I'm very happy here! That's about all.
Con Amor, Hermana Brogan

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Farewell Talk- More Compassion

More Compassion
“It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.” Mahatma Gandhi
We are commanded to love our God and to love our neighbor. And Ghandi hits this pretty spot on. We aren’t commanded to simply love those we already love, but to love our neighbor. Each and every one of our spirit brothers and sisters. That includes everybody who has ever lived. I think we could all work on that. We should all have the same goal in mind- getting ourselves, our families, and our neighbor (meaning everyone) to the Celestial Kingdom. We know that Heavenly Father loves every one of us very much, and the Celestial Kingdom will be a much happier place with our entire family, in the Celestial Kingdom with us, all sealed together. The Lord teaches that the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. He wants each and every one of us to come back home to Him. And as we try to become more like the Savior, we, like Him, should have more compassion, and align our goals with His- to bring each of our brothers and sisters home to Him.
President Eyring states of the Lord, “He expects you to treat every person you meet as a child of God. That is the reason He commands us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and to forgive them.” If we have any negative thought, we should work to fix it. Every life here on Earth is precious, and we should come to truly understand what that means.
Richard G Scott said, “Consider changing from asking for the things you want to honestly seeking what He wants for you. Then as you learn His will, pray that you will be led to have the strength to fulfill it.” Heavenly Father wants you to have joy. He wants you to have a life full of love. But every blessing we have is a product of how we use our agency. We must choose to pray for charity and compassion and act accordingly. Heavenly Father will carefully guide you along that path, but you must first desire it. If you truly seek for compassion, pray for it. Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, and He will answer you.
We are never asked to do anything by ourselves. We have the Savior and His perfect example of compassion to guide us. During the last week of His life, the Savior walked into the Garden of Gethsemane and atoned for our sins. He suffered, and later died on the cross, that we may be forgiven and healed. He did this out of love. Trust me, He was not saying, I think I want to suffer every bad thing on this earth, and for every sin ever committed. No. He did this out of love.
John 16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
He suffered individually for each and every one of us so that we may ALL have the chance to return back home to our Heavenly Parents to dwell with our families for all eternity.

However, Christ set conditions of faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. He expects us to try. He simply allowed us to mess up as much as we need to come back to Him. We have His grace, but he expects our desire and our effort.
But, through His compassion and love, He provided a way back, much easier than living a perfect life. We just have to accept Him.

This last year, while at BYU, I had the amazing privilege to work as a security guard at the MTC. While I was in the interview process, I was told that they had a motto of “Sumus Bon Viri” which roughly translates to “we’re the good guys.” As I worked there for a year, I discovered a small part of what that means. And with that, I learned a little bit about compassion.
While working at the MTC, we were first responders to almost any emergency. This included clearing out buildings with really loud fire alarms, or taking charge of a medical situation and dealing not only with the missionary in need of help, but their curious district as well. I’ve gotten to offer understanding to the concerned mother trying to drop off a package to her missionary who I had to say no to. But more importantly, and to a greater degree, I’ve seen compassion from all the missionaries at the MTC. I’ve witnessed missionaries wake up at weird hours to welcome a new, late arrival or to give a blessing to someone in their district. They wave and smile at us when we look bored out in the security booth. The sisters always apologize a little too much for accidently staying up too late or any other mishap. I’ve had the MTC president and other leaders in the MTC care about me and my mission call despite not really knowing me. Outside of the temple, I’ve never been in a place where the Spirit dwells so strongly because of the love and compassion shown in small acts throughout each day.
One of my favorite medical calls was this elder, who was pretty much fine when we made it across MTC campus into their classroom. He was laying on the floor after momentarily having his vision go black and having his hands clench very tight, among other things. He apologized at least every three sentences he said as we made calls up to the front desk and to the on call doctor. I kept reassuring him that that’s why we have a job is to respond to these things, and he wasn’t taking us away from anything important. But he still felt that he was taking our time and kept apologizing. This selfless behavior is seen in so many of our missionaries, and it’s a quality I aim to have.
See, this is really where we can show our compassion-in the everyday moments in life. Whether that be being a little more polite to those waiters or drivers on the road, to having genuine interest in the lives of your family and friends. We can try a little harder to spread the Spirit in all of our interactions and rid ourselves of that feeling of entitlement many of us carry around.

However, there is one more aspect of compassion I would like to cover. We’re living in a world, and a place in the world where we are surrounded by many different and opposing viewpoints to those of our own. It is so easy to fall into just accepting everyone’s different perspectives and avoiding conflict. But is that really what compassion is?
Compassion takes root in having charity- which is the pure love of Christ. We are to love all of God’s children here on this Earth as He loves them.  In 2 Nephi 26:30, we read, “Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.”
Charity, and by extension, compassion, isn’t acceptance of evil. It’s concern for the ultimate welfare of the soul. We know that we’re given trials to come closer to God, and to become more like Him. He isn’t being vengeful, but rather looking towards our eternal welfare. We can learn a lot from this. Having compassion, is with the utmost love, empathy, and understanding, guiding those we love back to the path to our Heavenly home.
So, back to working as a security guard, whenever I reminded missionaries of the rules, it wasn’t for the sake of being mean. Rather it gave the missionaries an opportunity to learn and be recipients of more blessings.
In the Book of Mormon, there is a story about a person named Alma. Now, Alma rebelled against his father and his God. He admitted to committing the vilest of sins, and, along with his friends, outright attacked the church. One day, an angel appeared to Alma and commanded him to cease his evil works. Alma was struck dumb for two days and two nights. When he arose, he declared he had repented and was redeemed and born of the Spirit. Later on, Alma referenced this point in his life to his son, saying “Yea, and from that time even until now, I have labored without ceasing, that I might bring souls unto repentance; that I might bring them to taste of the exceeding joy of which I did taste; that they might also be born of God, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
From this story, we learn a bit about the nature of compassion. This angel that appeared to Alma acted with complete compassion. We wouldn’t initially think that would be the case in rebuking someone and striking them dumb. But it is. Now, I’m not saying to go knock people unconscious. But I am saying, that because of that action, Alma was able to repent and receive access to Christ’s atonement. He was able to taste of the sweet joy that comes from following Christ. What we should learn is that we should guide others to Christ. We should help everyone come to desire to taste of eternal life and the joy that we will have therein. However, I think we should consider ourselves more in the role of Alma, than of the angel, in this story. We need to humble ourselves before the Lord first, so that we are more capable of having the Spirit and being filled with compassion.
Christ’s atonement is all encompassing. It is not a punishment to make us repent, but rather a way to bring us to the fullest joy we can receive. But the Christ I know isn’t someone who lets everything slide. He’s the Christ who cleanses the temple. He’s the Christ who curses a fig tree. But He IS also my Savior who forgives so readily. He supports every good thing I do. And He wants me to have everything He has. He wants us to partake of every blessings. He wants us to have every good thing. That is the whole point of our being on Earth. Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation is full of compassion. But we have to choose to accept it. And we should encourage our Spirit siblings to do so as well with the guidance of the Spirit. Who are we to correct others, when we don’t first love them?
Okay, but day to day, we probably aren’t faced with those really hard choices of action. Typically, we get to show compassion in a simple, loving way. And we’re really surrounded by countless opportunities to practice this every day. Here’s a poem by William Blake

William Blake
"Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?"
Everyone you know has trials and burdens. If you but look, inviting the Spirit to help, you can find small everyday actions to show compassion to your fellow man.

I know that the Savior is filled with infinite charity, love, and compassion for each of us. He has provided the way for each of us to return to our Heavenly Father. I know this church is led by Christ. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers each of our prayers. He, too, loves us infinitely and individually. I know we should each have our sights set on the temple, and the sealing ordinances found therein so that we may be with our families for all eternity. I know if we study the scriptures, we will come to know of our Heavenly Father’s love for us. I know that if we invite the Spirit into our lives, He will be our constant companion and will help us on in our mortal journey. I know I have been called by a prophet of God, who can receive inspiration like prophets of old, to labor for Him in Peru. I love the gospel, and I love my Savior.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.