April 30, 2014

Week Five

Hola hola everyone!

The countdown has begun! I leave for Buenos Aires this Monday (cinco de mayo)! Ah!!! I'm a little nervous since I'm the only one going to my mission that day, so hopefully someone from the mission will be waiting for me at the airport. Otherwise I have no idea how to get from Buenos Aires to Posadas...maybe a bus? Haha  (We leave the MTC at 8:30 am, and go to the airport. Our first flight is from SLC to Dallas and then Dallas to Buenos Aires.  We leave SLC at 2:20 and arrive in TX at 5:55. Then we leave TX at 7:30 and arrive in Buenos Aires at 7:50 am on May 6.)

Apparently all the fire alarms in our apartment decided to get low batteries at the exact same time. We were all getting ready for bed the other night when one alarm started to chirp. And then another. And then another. So at 10:30 at night some of the sisters threw their tags on over their pajamas and ran down to the front desk to pick up some batteries. When they got back, we tried to put them into the alarms. It took us a good five minutes trying to get the stinking alarms open, take out the old batteries, and then put the new ones in the right way. I'm fairly certain it probably should not have been that hard, but what can I say. Our brains are a little fried after studying and working and learning for basically sixteen hours straight haha. Anyways, we put the batteries in, but Hna Hammond accidentally knocked one of the alarms and it started going off at 11pm. Luckily by this time we had figured out what we were doing and were able to turn it off right away.

This week has been hard. We are all leaving for our different missions in a few days, so we have to say goodbye to each other, the other missionaries here, our teachers, our church leaders, etc... I'm going to miss everyone! The teachers here are all so fantastic, and I have absolutely loved learning from them and listening to their testimonies. Hearing about their experiences on their missions makes me so excited and anxious to just get to Paraguay/Argentina and start talking to everyone I know! It is amazing to me how much affect one good teacher, or even just one good example, can have on a person's life. It makes me wish I had been a better example, or more outgoing, or more willing to share my testimony of Jesus Christ while still in high school. But now I guess I have these next seventeen months (and the rest of my life) to redeem myself! The Lord is so wonderful, and I love how He gives us so many chances to do our best!

And yes, this past Tuesday night we got to hear from another General Authority :) Elder Christofferson came, and he talked about how we want to be trustworthy missionaries. We have to be willing to do what God asks of us, and to serve Him with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. I want to be a missionary that God trusts. I want to do everything He asks of me, and I want to do it well.

This week I loved reading from Hebrews chapter 11. Obviously I am not going to quote it all here, but the basic summary of the chapter is that history is full of people who accomplished amazing things because of their faith. I hope you all know that I am here serving a mission because of faith. I could definitely not be doing this alone- I know that God is strengthening and supporting me so much. I am going to work so that in seventeen months, when I arrive home, I can write in my journal another verse to Hebrews 11. It would say something along the lines of: "By faith Elise Simmons was able to leave Meridian, Idaho and serve the people of Posadas. Through her faith on the Lord she persevered through trials, and through her faith she taught many of their Savior, Jesus Christ." I am so grateful for the strength I can receive from God, and I know that without it I would be nothing. Elise Simmons on her own could NEVER. do something as amazing as serving a mission. But with faith in my God, I know that I can do all things. He has blessed me so much.

I love you all!
Hermana Simmons

P.S.  We just study everything in Preach My Gospel (PMG). If we have a specific question regarding our investigators, or if we need to improve teaching, or if we have doctrinal problems we'll look through PMG or ask our teacher for a suggested reading in it and then we'll read it. It's a great book. I really would recommend reading it before coming out here haha, so it's too bad i didn't just listen to Alden's and Jaron's advice.

Easter! :)

One of the sisters in the picture, Hna Briggs (tall, thin, brown hair), knows the man who manages the cafeteria (he's the husband of her former boss). So he offered to take this picture of our district and sent it out to our parents.

April 24, 2014

Week Four

Easter morning was absolutely amazing! President Uchtdorf came and spoke to us in a devotional (which, by the way, is super super rare to have a General Authority come visit), and then he walked around the room and shook hands. I was sitting in the Choir, so I got to shake his hand! And then later that day we were eating lunch and he just randomly walked in with the MTC president. So President Uchtdorf walked around the cafeteria as well and shook hands with a bunch of missionaries again. It was awesome! His talk at devotional was so inspired as well. He spoke of how a testimony of the Resurrection and the Atonement can change us from timid young adults to powerful missionaries speaking with the authority of God and the guidance of the Spirit. He used the example of how Peter went from someone who would deny Christ three times to someone who was willing to truly testify at all times and in all places.

THEN, on Tuesday night devotional we had Elder and Sister Oaks come speak! I loved both their talks, and they spoke on how we as missionaries are building the foundations for the rest of our lives right now. The habits and characteristics we develop now can carry on through our life if we work on maintaining them.
I can hardly believe that I only have one and a half weeks left here! On the one hand I still feel like I just barely arrived, but on the other I know that I have learned so much and grown so much that I wonder how have I only been here for a few weeks. (haha sorry about that major run on sentence).

To answer a few questions, MTC choir is going great! Our conductor is absolutely hilarious (his name is Ryan Agget, and I'm pretty sure I just butchered the spelling on his last name), and yes we sang for Easter. But we only ever have an hour each practice, so we only get one hour to learn the songs before we perform them. That's always a little stressful, but it's totally worth it.

Also, the investigators we teach can be anyone: MTC teachers, local church members, real investigators, or less active members. But everyone takes on a different "character," so it's not like we go into an appointment and they say "Hi, I'm Sally, and I'm a returned missionary volunteering here." Mostly everyone acts like they've never heard of the Church before, or at least they don't know much about it. But I honestly love teaching so much. I love talking with investigator's and praying with and for them. I love how when I am teaching to them I can feel how much love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for this person. And even though the investigator is acting, we can still find scriptures and feel the Spirit and share things that will help the real person.

For example, we taught a lady, 'Violeta', the other day. During the lesson, we felt impressed to share some scriptures with her. They weren't totally on topic with what we were talking about, but we wanted to do what God wanted us to do, so we challenged her to read these specific verses. As she was reading aloud, I just felt the Spirit testifying so strongly that Heavenly Father truly loves all of His children, and Christ died not just for everyone, but for every ONE. For me, for my companion, for Violeta. After the lesson, my teacher came back into the room (she had been playing Violeta), and she started crying and told us that even though we are teaching 'Violeta,' Heavenly Father still loves her as a person, and the scriptures we shared with her were an answer to her prayers. I am totally awed by God's love and power, and I am so grateful that He gives me this opportunity to serve Him and become better through His grace.

It's so weird how much I just love everybody here haha. I've never really been one to love talking to people I don't know or to be the first to initiate conversation. But the longer I am here, the more and more I just want to give hugs to everyone- God loves all His children! And as I try to serve Him more and as I try to serve the other missionaries/investigators, I can feel how God is changing my heart to be more caring and compassionate, more considerate and loving. Which on the one hand is amazing and fantastic, and on the other hand is a totally weird experience- but I love it.

This week's scripture is nice and short! Jeremiah 32:27 "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?" I will be able to learn Spanish, I will be able to talk to complete strangers, I will be able to not only just survive but actually enjoy these next seventeen months. Not because of sheer grit or determination on my part, but because I have faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him, I can do all things (bonus scripture! Philippians 4:13). He can change and strengthen and improve me to be a better missionary and a better daughter of God. I love Him so much!

I hope you are all doing well!
Hermana Simmons

Missionary choir at the Provo MTC provides music for a meeting at which President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke on Easter, April 20. The meeting was broadcast to other MTCs throughout the world.
If you go to deseretnews.com it has an article about Pres. Uchtdorf coming to speak to the MTC on Easter morning.  I am in one of the pictures, singing in the choir haha. Just thought I'd let you know.

 I ran into Allie Law while doing laundry today! That was funny, and it was way cool because she was leaving to head home for the next four months in just a few hours, so it was cool to see her again and get to talk to her a little bit.

(Easter goodies!)

April 16, 2014

Week Three

Hey hey hey!

I finally made it to the MTC halfway point! Hallelujah.

So, I know you've all been dying, waiting at the edge of your seat, for me to let you all know whether or not I got transferred up to the Intermediate Spanish class. *drumrolls* I did! Although it took me a while to really be happy about the transfer. I had to switch companions, districts, and apartments, not just the class I went to. Luckily I'm still in the same zone, and it was just the neighboring apartment, but still. It took some adjustment, but I can see now that I definitely am supposed to be in this class.

It's finally been warming up lately (thank heavens) which means I don't actually have to wear layers of tights and sweaters and coats every time I step outside. When it's really nice out, Hna Johnson and I will study out on the benches by a little stream. We probably shouldn't though because there are a few super friendly ducks who live out there and they are incredibly distracting because they are just so dang cute. It's fun to watch them waddle around the grass and then swim around the little stream.

Teaching has gotten a lot better in the past week. It was so stressful before, but this week I have really tried to rely more upon the Lord and the lessons have gone so much better. And yes, I have teared up in a few lessons-- no shame :) Some of the investigators I'm teaching right now have just gone through so much heartache and trial, and I really want them to know the peace and joy that the Gospel of Christ can bring to everyone.

It cracks me up every time we get on the bus to ride over to the Provo Temple because the driver will be blasting Justin Timberlake or Katy Perry or whomever and it just seems so odd to me. It's funny how excited we all get to hear "secular music" instead of just the Hymns.

Another weird reminder of my pre-mission life is that everywhere I go I see things that remind me of being at BYU and living in Provo. We ride past my old apartments all the time, and I'm living in housing down in Wyview, so I have a few friends who live literally minutes away from me (don't worry, I won't go trying to meet up with them).

This past Sunday devotional we had the BYU Men's Chorus come perform. They were AMAZING. Seriously. I have no idea why I love music so much, but I do. The power that accompanies uplifting, inspiring songs will always amaze me. And then Tuesday night devotional we had Elder Neil L. Andersen and his wife come and speak to us. He spoke on Christ and the Atonement, and we looked for the best scriptures in the Book of Mormon that discuss that. (Alma 7:11-13, Mosiah 15:5,7 etc...)

I've been singing in the MTC choir with my district, so that has been pretty fun. If I'm totally honest though, sometimes I'll just mouth the words because I don't always know the notes, but it's still a blast! Especially since all the teachers and leaders here have been telling us that Easter Sunday we are having someone really wonderful come to speak to us, and the choir will be singing for him. (Everyone's betting it will be Elder Holland, but who knows.)

Speaking of Easter, I'm seriously so excited for it this year! It's really strange to me that I've never really thought about it that much before. It's kind of a big deal. I just always remember Christmas as the holiday where we celebrate Christ, but Easter is kind of spectacular. It's the day when Christ accomplished all. He had taken upon all the sins and pains of the world, He had suffered the crucifixion, and He had been laid to rest in the tomb. But then He triumphantly broke the bands of death and was resurrected, reuniting His spirit with a perfect body. How crazy is that?! It makes me embarrassed now that I used to just associate Easter with those pink and yellow marshmallow Peeps (which ARE incredibly delicious, to be fair). It's one of the most exciting holidays, but people don't seem to care about it as much. I absolutely love the new Mormon Message titled "Because of Him." It's all about Christ and the Easter story. Everyone should just stop reading this letter and go watch the video. It's powerful.

Well, I've rambled on enough. Alma 22:14 seems a pretty fitting scripture to close with: "And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory;" I am so grateful for the sacrifice Christ made as He took upon Himself all the pains and sickness and sins of the world. Because of Him, I can someday return to live with Him and my Heavenly Father for eternity after this life. Jesus Christ was more than just some carpenter's son from Bethlehem, He truly is the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of all. But even better than that, He is MY Redeemer, He is MY Savior, and I love Him so much for that.

Happy Easter everyone!
Hermana Simmons

My old companion, Hermana Martindale has the very curly blonde hair (She and two of the other Hnas are all going to the San Diego Mormon Battalion Mission). They are all in my old District.

Hna Hafer and Hna Brown are also going to San Diego. I used to share an apartment with them :( But I had to move after my transfer

Even while waiting for laundry we have to be productive (even though I really would just rather take a nap). I study, write talks, or prepare lessons while we wait for our laundry.

This is our old zone. The Elders all already left, and we have two districts of sisters here (the beginner spanish class and the intermediate spanish class)

My new companion, Hna Johnson. She is going to Buenos Aires South. We both got moved up into the intermediate spanish class

April 09, 2014

Week Two

This is so weird. It feels like I just arrived at the MTC yesterday. Everyone here says "the days are like weeks, and the weeks are like days" and it is SO TRUE. By the time I get home I'm so exhausted and it feels like 6:30 am was WAY more than just 15 hrs before. But then again, somehow I'm surprised that I've been here for two weeks.

I feel like I have so many thoughts and feelings and I don't have much time to sift through and figure out what's important and what's not. So I end up just writing everything and I don't really have time to edit. So I'll just let you all pick out whatever you want to read. Here goes!

It's funny, because when Alden and Jaron would write home from the MTC or from NJ or Argentina, I always thought that they would be all spiritual in their letters just because they felt like they had to. They always said little spiritual thoughts or things like "keep praying! Stay strong in the Gospel" and I just thought 'They're only saying that because they feel like we're expecting it because they are on missions.' But seriously, that's all I want to write about. I just want to tell people "Seriously! Go to church! Listen to what the missionaries have to say! Trust in God! Pray to Him sincerely and He will answer you! Have charity and be forgiving!" Anyways, so now I feel badly that I ever thought Alden and Jaron were just saying things for the heck of saying them because now I am the cliche missionary haha.

So this past week has been interesting. They tested me and another Hermana, and we were both approved to move up to the Intermediate Spanish Class. EXCEPT, this other Hermana didn't want to move up because it would mean switching companionships and harder lessons etc... But they moved her up anyways, and now she is trying to switch back to the Beginner class. Anyways, it's a super long story, but the point is that I have absolutely no idea whether I'm still supposed to be companions with Hermana Martindale, or if I will stay in the intermediate class and just be companions with this other Hermana, or if they will move me back to beginner... I used to be really frustrated since I had no idea what was going to happen, bu then I realized that the next eighteen months are just going to be one big "I have no idea what is going on or what is happening. But I'll trust that God will let me know what to do and where to go when the time comes." And that thought has really helped me become less anxious and stressed.

General Conference was fantastic! There were so many good talks, and I seriously felt so touched during so many of them. Elder Holland's talk about defending the faith with courage and courtesy was enlightening, Elder Bednar's talk about how our burdens can sometimes give us "spiritual traction" to move forward, President Uchtdorf's talk about having an attitude of gratitude... The list goes on a lot longer than this, but I left my notebook at home so you don't have to worry about me listing all of the talks I liked :)

The Elders in our zone left the MTC this Monday morning, and that was pretty sad. All of them are heading to Argentina (different missions, though). They really were super helpful to us new Hermanas, and we absolutely loved having so many worthy young men close by who could help by giving us Priesthood blessings of comfort or health or guidance. While here in the MTC I have just grown even more appreciative of the blessings of the Priesthood, and I am so grateful and glad that Dad and Alden and Jaron all live worthily to hold it.

Again, Tuesday devotional was fantastic. The acapella singing group Vocal Point came and performed. It is so amazing to see people use their talents for such uplifting purposes.

We have been practicing teaching a lot more recently, and that has been kind of hard. I have never really enjoyed talking to people that I don't know very well, and I always get nervous before public speaking or performing or anything like that. But this past week I have really just learned to stop focusing on myself and start focusing more and more on our investigators. The more I remember to love him/her and how much I want him/her to come unto Christ and increase their faith, the easier it is for me to feel calm and feel the Spirit clearing my mind and helping me remember and know the things to say.

Today after we came out of the temple (we did Initiatories as a district), an older woman walked up to us and she said "I just want to say thank you so much for everything you do. You all look lovely. You have it in your faces." etc etc. And then she gave us all hugs. It was seriously one of the sweetest things ever. It's funny because normally experiences like that would be awkward and weird in "normal" life, but something about wearing a nametag with the name "Jesus Christ" on it makes us more approachable and makes me more accepting of others. And yes! Everyone loved President Uchtdorf's talk. I loved how he talked about being grateful period. Not "grateful for..." but just having an attitude of gratitude. I also loved Elder Bednar's talk about spiritual traction, and how sometimes our loads are what allow us to move forward.

So we had a fun experience today. If you don't already know, I don't live on the Main MTC Campus. I live on West Campus (down by Wyview Apartments), where all the Spanish speaking missionaries live. So we don't go over to main campus that often. But we were there today to print off some of our emails. Anyway, as we were walking around Campus, we passed a pair of Elders and they saw that our name tags said "Hermana" instead of "Sister." They immediately asked if we spoke Spanish, and we said that we spoke a little bit. Apparently, they had just passed a missionary who had lost his companion, and he couldn't speak any English. So we followed the Elders and they brought us to this lost, spanish-speaking Elder. The other Hermanas I was with don't really speak much Spanish at all, so I stepped forward and asked the Elder what had happened. It was amazing to be able to carry on this conversation and figure out what had happened (His companion had to stay in the hospital overnight because something was wrong with his throat, but when the Elder had gone back the next morning his companion wasn't there). It made me realize a few things:
1) I am actually making progress with my Spanish, and I will eventually be able to speak it (The Elder was actually surprised when I told him that no, I am not a native speaker. He is from Puerto Rico and he said that he saw my Argentina pin on my bag and heard me speak Spanish and just assumed that I was from Argentina)
2) If I can feel so happy to be able to help an Elder find the Information Desk, helping others find Christ and come unto Him must be an incomparable joy, and it makes me so much more excited to get out into Argentina and Paraguay.
3) The MTC is one of the coolest places on earth. Seriously. Where else are there so many young people giving up 18-24 months of their lives, devoting them to God, learning some crazy foreign language, and at the same time are still concerned enough with each other to notice an Elder who was lost and then remember him when they found Spanish-speaking Hermanas.

Again, sorry this was so long. But I thought that too long is better because you don't have to read the whole thing. Too short always leaves you guessing as to what is actually going on.

 I'm going to be cliche and start ending my letters with a quotation or scripture I liked this week. This week is Ezekiel 36:26 "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." I love this because I know that I have never been a 'people person,' and it has always been hard for me to open up to others or to be patient and have charity. But I keep working and praying and having faith in the Lord that He will help me remove my "stony heart" and give me a new heart that is more tender, more patient, more charitable, more forgiving, and more willing to follow Him.

I love you all so much!
Hermana Simmons

PS: We can get letters everyday, but only our Sister District Training Leader (long title, I know) can pick them up. And she hasn't picked them up for the day yet, but I'm sure I'll get it tonight. I've been getting all of the other letters :) So I'll just answer your questions for now.
1) No, I do not think that I need anything from home. I'm pretty good with everything I have for now.
2) I have cut back my "beauty routine" a ton. Mostly I just have to actually shower in the shower and I can't just stand there and soak in the heat haha. I also hardly ever curl my hair (although I do waves every once in a while). Makeup is probably about the same. And the other Hnas do about the same as I do. Although lots of my roommates like to shower at night, or they only wash their hair every other day because it never gets greasy.
3) I can get hard copy mail every day, but like I said, I'm not supposed to pick it up. So whenever the SDTL picks up mail she will pass it out, and she usually does this every day, or every other day
4) I have no idea who is actually allowed to email. The guidelines just say family, but honestly, I don't have the time to handwrite letters. And I'm like 90% sure that it all just depends on the Mission President. So I like receiving hard copy letters, and then replying online, which I think is fine. I think the guideline is mostly because they don't want us to spend more than 60 minutes on our emails on P-Day
5) We spend most of our time studying the Gospel and practicing teaching. We do some language learning, but all of our focus is mostly on the gospel. However, all of our teachers speak Spanish, all the time. So they try to have us learn Spanish by listening to the teachers and speaking what we know, while we are focusing on Gospel things. We don't really do any culture learning at all.

Thank you so much for the pictures! I absolutely love seeing them, Tinley is totally precious, Bronx is adorable, and I love seeing the family!

April 06, 2014

Week One


                      Hermana Simmons MTC drop off March 26, 2014 

Hey everyone!

Wow, it's crazy to think that a whole week has passed since you dropped me off here. I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing though haha. It's kind of fantastic that I have a companion all the time and other Hermanas that have the same schedule because we all just get lost together :)
To begin, I'll answer Mom's questions:

- I love my classes, they are just LONG.

- My companion's name is Hermana Martindale. She's going to the San Diego Mormon Batallion Visitor's Center and Temple Grounds Mission. It's kind of a mouthful. She is very nice, and she loves to talk. a lot. it's a good thing I prefer to listen than chat because I'm not sure I could get a word in otherwise :) But she is super sweet and very nice and we actually get along very well.

- The food is alright. They have plenty of different options and portion sizes aren't a problem.

-We have a gym time everyday (except for Sundays and Preparation Day). There are lots of different options of things to do, but our district likes to play volleyball. And we have it with Elders and Sisters.

- And my P-Day is Wednesday, which is why it has taken me so long to email y'all.

Anyways, that first afternoon and night was crazy. (Actually it's all been crazy, but I've just gotten more used to the craziness). They just kept us going and going and going until finally we took a bus down to West Campus (all people learning Spanish stay down by the Wyview Apartments, so I'm actually hardly ever over on Main Campus across from the Provo Temple). We got home late, unpacked, and crashed. Then woke up early the next morning for the first full day of classes.

Classes are so amazing! All of our teachers are supposed to only speak in Spanish, so I feel sorry for the Hermanas who have never had Spanish before. It took me a while, but I am really remembering all of the Spanish words and grammar that I took in school. I know it's not just me remembering these words; I can tell that being in such a spiritual place truly amplifies my ability to learn and remember. In fact, they placed me in the Beginner's class because when I took their placement test before coming to the MTC I hadn't spoken Spanish in so long. But now that I'm here and remembering everything, one of my teachers asked me to get evaluated for the Intermediate class-- I did, and I passed. So maybe in a few days I'll move up.
Things move so quickly here. The first few days felt like eternity, but somehow a whole week has gone by. I can honestly say that being here in the MTC has been one of the most stressful experiences of my life-- but at the same time I have never felt the Spirit so strongly or felt so close to Christ and my Heavenly Father. It's so wonderful to just feel His love and concern as we all work to try to do our best.

We taught our first discussion on Friday night (don't worry, it was just one of the Spanish teachers). And as most of you know, I cry a lot. Mostly when I am anxious/stressed or when I feel the Spirit really strongly. You can probably guess that there were a lot of waterworks during that first lesson! It's nerve wracking enough for me to be speaking in front of someone, let alone trying to teach them (about the Gospel, no less), AND to be speaking in a completely different language. But my companion (Hermana Martindale) and I are working on getting better. We are trying to rely less upon ourselves and more upon the Lord, and to listen to what the Spirit would have us teach and say. And luckily I have not cried in my lessons since (we are teaching an "investigator" named Rodrigo right now).

Just a quick overview of our schedule: We wake up around 6 or 6:30 (depending on how many hermanas want to shower in the morning), go to breakfast at 7:30 for half an hour, then class for 3.5 hours, gym for 1 hr, lunch for 1 hr, and then back to class for 3.5 hours, dinner, then class again until 9:30. So we are completely busy all day long. The teachers here are amazing. They are all returned missionaries, and they have such great advice and are just so in tune with Christ that they know exactly how to help us best.

The Elders in our district leave next Tuesday which is really sad. They have all been so respectful and helpful as we 6 new sisters adjust to life here. Most of them are heading down to Argentina, which is cool. It's fun to be in an environment where everyone is trying their hardest and working so much to grow closer to the Lord, learn their language, and show charity and love to all.
Sundays and Tuesday nights we have a devotional where all the missionaries from Main and West Campus gather in the Main Campus auditorium and listen to guest speakers. So, on Sunday I went to the devo just being grateful to get out of the classroom and somewhere else for a change. Want to know who our speakers were? Richard Elliott (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir organist), and DAVID ARCHULETA (he returned from his Chilean mission just last week). hahaha. It was comical and slightly pathetic to see a group of mature, responsible young missionaries start freaking out when they saw David walk into the room and onto the front stand (nobody had known he was coming except for the highest ups). And don't worry, I was not one of the missionaries who ran up afterwards to try to shake his hand (there were plenty of other Elders and Sisters who did, though).

They both spoke so powerfully, and then they performed a few musical numbers for us. And let me tell you, those two are the most talented people I have heard. They sounded absolutely brilliant, and it was so cool to be there live, in the fourth row. And what was even better? I could admire their talents and musical abilities, but I admired their testimonies and examples even more. And that's saying something.

Well, I feel like I've probably lost most of you by this point :) We don't get much time to write emails here (we're only supposed to be on the computer for an hour), so I'll wrap it up. I love you all, and I hope you all have a fantastic week! Happy Almost Birthday to Taylia, Happy One Week-Day to Tinley, and a happy almost General Conference to the rest of you! This Gospel is true, Heavenly Father really does love each and every one of us, and Philippians 4:13!!!

Hermana Simmons