Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Hi Family and Friends!
Well, as you can probably guess from the subject, I got my travel plans to head to Phoenix. I'm pretty excited. I'm writing a little earlier than usual so that I can head back to my room and start getting things packed. I leave for Phoenix next Tuesday morning. So, that means two things. First, Mom and Dad, you can expect a call some time your Tuesday night. I should be at the airport quite early in the morning, so I'll be able to call, and hopefully I'll get to talk to everyone. Second, there will probably be no letter from me next week. My p-day is Tuesday and since I'll be traveling early in the morning I won't have a chance to send out an e-mail before I leave the MTC, and I'm not sure when p-day is in Phoenix, so if you don't get a letter next week, that's why.

I am SOOOOOO excited to leave. Getting travel plans really makes everything seem real, and now I'm really antsy to get out of here. I'm pretty ready to go, and I feel like I've gotten what I needed fromt the MTC. I had quite a breakthrough in Spanish this week. There is a verb tense that has plagued me since High School. It doesn't really exist in English, and it is a pretty subjective verb tense as far as I can tell. This past week though, I met with the language tutor, and I think I finally get it! Woo hoo! This is the verb tense that stressed me out to no end in high school, and was the cause of quite a lot of nerves here when I figured out it's the tense you are supposed to use when you pray and quite often when you teach. That was my miracle of the week. I still feel like I am floundering using it, but at least now I'm starting to have a vauge understanding of when, and I just stick to using it in the situations where I know it will work.

This week, was a really really cool week. I've written a little bit home about being in a trio companionship, but I thought I'd share a little more so that you can all see the kind of miracles that happen here at the MTC. Hermana Vasquez showed up three weeks ago tomorrow, and yesterday morning Hermana Cannon and I helped her get her bags to the shuttle to head to Chile. The Hermana Vasquez who we got as a companion 3 weeks ago, is not the same Hna Vasquez who we dropped off at the shuttle. To give some background, Hna Vasquez is the only active member in her family, and she's had a pretty hard life. About 6 months ago she felt like she needed to get her life in order, and not long after that the missionaries brought her back to church for the first time since she was a little girl. When she came to the MTC she was full of desire to serve, but not completely prepared and not quite sure what she was getting herself into (but is anyone really sure what they are getting themselves into, I know I wasn't and still am not...) One of the things we had to work with Hna Vasquez on was on getting her to look like a missionary. The boys really have it easy, cut your hair, buy some suits bring only white shirts and leave your really crazy ties at home. As a Sister we have a lot more leeway and Hna Vasquez came and it quickly became obvious that the wardrobe she brought was not a good one to take to Chile. Here is where the miracle came in. Hna Cannon and I had the chance to work with her on clothing, and one of the wives of the branch presidency also helped out. Sister Jurgens (the wife of one of the counselors in the Branch Presidency) was able to go to Hna Cannon's parents house (in Cedar Hills, about an hour from the MTC) and pick up the clothes that Hna Cannon had bought last minute for her mission but didn't have enough room for in the end. The clothes Sister Jurgens brought fit perfectly. Not only that, there was the exact number of shirts and skirts that Hna Vasquez was missing. Coincidence, I think not. Working with Hna Vasquez over the past 3 weeks has really taught me about what missions are all about. When Hna Vasquez came she was coming out of a rough time, but as we worked with her and really worked to show her how much we love her, I saw an incredible change. I don't know that I could even begin to describe it. This last week was a really really hard week, and it was stressful trying to get everything done before she had to leave, but I wouldn't trade that experience for anything in the world. There are some pretty lucky people down in Chile.

So, this makes a good (albeit quick) segue into keeping up with Trent's mission goal to study the Christlike attributes. I actually just finished studying that chapter in Preach My Gospel, and so it will be fun to go back through it again. When I think about faith, I really think about this last week. Hna Cannon and I were so stressed trying to get everything to work and to pull things together, we spent a whole lot of time praying that things would work out, and a whole lot of time working to make them work out. I think that is what faith is. Faith is telling the Lord that you are in need of help, and then doing everything you can to show him that you are going to live up to all that you can so He can step in and help you. When we do that the results are incredible.
Dad - I think you are right, I think it was 129 that I wasn't sure what to do with the left hand. Who knows, maybe I'll have access to an organ in Phoenix and be able to fill in the notes as they should be. We'll see. I've played a lot more piano thus far than I ever expected, maybe that trend will continue. Also, I got your letter about the trip to Japan. Everything sounded awesome and I loved the pictures.
Mom - I'm glad you are hanging in there for Chinese. I can understand really struggling with a language, but eventually things start making sense. I'm very glad thought that I've had 9 wees here to really be more comfortable with the language and to get used to speaking and teaching in Spanish. I really don't think 3 would have been enough.
Todd - congrats on Basketball. I can understand why you wanted to play on the other team, sounds like you are way busy! Are you missing Volleyball?
Tanner - You are way cheeky. Just in case you were wondering. Have an awesome week.
Morgan - I LOVED your music joke. It made my day, and I told it to all the Elders and they just rolled their eyes at me... talk about feeling like I was right back at home. *grin* It was like having brothers around to be disgusted with all the nerdy music jokes I love.

Love you all!!!
Hermana Okeson

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