Write to Alyssa at:

Mission Address:
Sister Alyssa Nicole Escalante

California Carlsbad Mission

451 W Bobier Dr

Vista, CA 92083

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hi Everyone! 

Well, I don't know if I'll have tons to say in this letter because I talked to you last night. It was fun to see you and everyone :) and I'm glad Ariana and Morgan got to FaceTime in. Man, my sobrinos are so stinkin' cute! Thanks for the pictures! And that is sooo exciting that Wes and Ash are having a boy!  He will be darling! Have they thought of any names yet? I still like the name Fredrick. Kinda cute.

Pues, I really feel like I don't have anything to talk about. So, Jilli may be moving in? If so, when would that happen? Oh, and I didn't know that Ashley was selling doTerra. Cool stuff. Pues, Christmas was good. Did I tell you we had a fun Christmas breakfast and Christmas eve party in our matching shirts? After we hung up last night we went and saw Magali (one of our investigators) and set up an apt with her. After that we went to see Margarito (Potential Investigator) and we were supposed to have our first lesson but he wasn't there. Lame. Hopefully we'll see him tonight though. He lives with an Antiguo who is golden, so hopefully we can pick her back up as well. Since Margarito wasn't home we went to see a Menos Activo and she was happy to see us. Poor thing, her husband is out at sea with the Navy, but thankfully she got to talk to him on the phone for Christmas.

It is cold and rainy here (still). We couldn't run again this morning because of the rain (well I guess we could've, but we didn't). We just worked out in our living room but since we're on the top floor and there are four of us, we can't do too much or we'll wake up our downstairs neighbors. We were being pretty lazy and then realized that this is probably what most missionaries do (in other missions), just kind of work out, mostly just sitting around, talking. We're pretty gratefuly that we actually have to run and work out in the morning. It makes the day so much better.

I didn't sleep too well last night (not sure why) and I'm feeling a little sick today, but hopefully it goes away soon. I didn't bring my camera cord but Hma Ruiz did so hopefully I'll steal some of her pictures to send in this email. They will probably be from the conference or Christmas. I need to get better at taking pictures. I never really do. 

Sorry. I'll try to get better.
Pues, I love you. Sorry there isn't much more to this email. Hopefully the pictures make up for it.

Con amor,
Hermana Escalante

Christmas breakfast!
Ho ho ho!

Hermana Ruiz & Me

Hermanas y Sisters

The Mission Motto!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

In the Mission Field!

Wow, Ha-ha Hi Mama and Everyone!

What a great email! You didn't tell me that Chris got a job! WOO HOO!! Congrats to him!! :D
Last I heard he was still applying, so that's so great! When is he going to write me? Maybe I'll shoot him an email today since we have a little more time (but not much). I love hearing about the family and am sad I couldn't be a part of the wonderful family dinner the other night, but I guess not too sad, because I know I'm where I need to be. I miss my nieces and nephews! Pictures please?

So you didn't tell me your show is all the way up in Logan! Wow, what a drive! How did you get pulled into that? It sounds pretty great though. Will there be a video recording of it? I would love to watch it when I get home. You're such a star mama!

I didn't hear anything about the pants thing. I mean, we did have a few women wearing pants at church, but I think only some less actives and our investigator. It wasn't a political statement or anything.

How long will M, J, and D be in town? Will they be around to Skype? Speaking of, I'll be Skyping from a member's home. We don't have a set time yet, but I believe it will be in the evening, maybe around 6? So I think that's 7 your time. I'll probably call you on the phone to let you know I'm ready and then call on Skype, but we'll see. I told Padre to call you because he and Susan will be coming over. I think the only other person I invited over was Kimi but I think she'll be at her parent's house, so I don't think you should be expecting anyone else.

I hope you get all of your grading done soon so you can enjoy your break! I was wondering if I was ever going to get a plaque. I want to use one of the pictures in the red blouse, not the blue one that I sent in with my papers. My scripture is Mosiah 4:15. I did know about the boundaries. I rode in President Cook's car on the way back from the airport and he was telling us all about the boundary changes and things like that. Fun stuff.

Man, there's so much to tell, and yet, I feel like I don't have a lot to say. The field has been...different so far. Good, but different. My companion is Hermana Ruiz. She is from TX (parents from Mexico) and has been out a year. We live with the English sisters - Sister Workoff and Sister Halling. They are all pretty sweet, although I think Sister Workoff doesn't like me. I'm not really sure why, but I don't mind too much because we hardly see them. Our area is pretty big. I'm in the Temecula area and we cover half the stake and the Spanish Elders cover the other half. We drive a lot from place to place with takes time and I feel like we could maybe plan out and use our time a bit more productively, but at least we're working and I am learning every day. I still feel fairly uncomfortable approaching and talking to random strangers, but Hermana Ruiz is great at it and helping me out.

We contact in both English and Spanish and then just give any English referrals to the English missionaries - though we get a lot more Spanish contacts than English because white people are crabby and don't like to talk to us. Latinos are so great though! Even if they don't care and completely disagree with you, they'll still be kind and talk with you for a bit. The other day we found a woman named Maria (every other woman out here is named Maria) and she invited us in. She didn't agree with anything we had to say (hard-core Catholic) and was against things like the Book of Mormon and Prophets, but at the end she still said she would read and that we could come back and gave us hugs and kisses. Ha-ha, I love these people. You meet someone for the first time and they hug and kiss you, it's great! (Not the men though, don't worry. We follow the rules.) We are in a pretty ritzy area but there are some lower-class areas (those are the best for finding), but all of it is pretty great.

I wish we would do a little bit better job on some things like planning, goals, and shorter/more focused lessons, but seeing as I'm still learning and I don't really know how to fix the problem, I'm just trying to do my best with what we have. The rules are pretty strict here. I can't give out my apt address to ANYONE, I mean anyone (yes, even you mama). SUPER against the rules. We have really strict cleaning checks/guidelines, and we have to run every morning for 30 minutes (no exceptions period, even if you're sick, unless it's diarrhea and you can't be far from a toilet). I hated running a week ago, and now I really look forward to it in the morning. Crazy, I know. Our area is really pretty. I haven't really taken any pictures yet - I should probably start that.

Hmmm, what else? Studies are really long. Every morning we study for 4 hours (usually - Sunday and Tuesday are a little shorter). It will go down to 3 after my 12-week training, well actually 11-week because next transfer is a short transfer - only 5 weeks. Not sure why. I'll be going on exchanges soon (which makes me nervous) but it should be a good learning experience. I'll be going to Escondido, which is apparently the best area in the mission, so that should be cool. My Spanish is actually coming along fairly well, though I still have a hard time with those who speak very fast (most everyone it seems like) and I get frustrated with the grammar. I have faith that the Lord is helping though, and it seems to get a little easier every day.

The branch here is pretty great. It's small, but the members are really involved and really loving. We're taken care of pretty well and we're working with the Ward Council to get the members more involved in the work. They had an awesome Nativity activity last weekend (open to the public) and it was legit. This Friday we'll be having a branch dinner (plus friends of members - hopefully getting them interested) and program. We'll be running a table with LdMs (Libros de Mormón) and answering non-member's questions. Should be fun. Christmas eve I think we'll be at a member’s (not sure why - we should be proselyting) and Christmas day we'll be having a mission conference.

Well, I'm running low and on time, and I'm kind of running out of things to say, to be honest. Everything is so new to me, so hopefully next week's letter will be more interesting. I LOVE YOU MAMA! I'm so stoked to talk to you on Christmas! LOVE YOU!

Con amor,
Hermana Escalante

P.S. Oh yeah, we do have 2 investigators right now. Maria P. and Magali. I'm not sure how quickly they'll progress because they both have some concerns, but hopefully we can work those out soon. Appreciate all of your prayers! <3

P.P.S. I can't even tell I'm in Cali; it has been so rainy and cold. Super lame! L


Saturday, December 8, 2012

8 de Diciembre

3 dias mas. Wow! Can you people believe it? Me either. Sadly, I have very little time to email today, but I'll try to share some of the wonderful things from this week. 

Yesterday we had In-Field Orientation all day (which is why we have p-day on a Sat. this week) and it was awesome. Long, but awesome. All day we were in workshops and meetings. Singing, discussing, praying, more singing, learning, practicing, taking notes singing, and teaching all day. It was great! :D I think they should change the day to "Object Lesson Day" because we were learning about everything you need to know in the mission field through different object lessons - strange, but awesome. We learned about Finding People, Working with Members/Ward Council, Planning and Goal Setting, Faith and Miracles, and... I can't remember all of the classes, but they were pretty great. 

Other good news! Elder Gardner (in my district) hadn't heard anything about his Visa (for Argentina) so we were really worried he would be stuck here in the MTC Referral Center for a while, but yesterday he went up to SLC to meet with the consulate and he should be getting his visa in the next month or two. Also, he has a reassignment until then and will be leaving for Fresno, CA on Wednesday! Yay! We're all very excited and happy that he won't be stuck here for the next 6 months answering phones. 

It's amazing how much I've come to love my district. We are all so tight! We're planning a waffle party for April 2015, and are going to try to stay in contact during our missions with writing. They are some amazing missionaries. True servants of the Lord, and are great examples to me. This work is so great. I'm so excited to get out to CA and start preaching the gospel. 

Teaching was pretty good this week, but our teachers have been really challenging and trying to stretch us a lot more. We contacted a girl named "Sarah" this week who was very kind and very strong in her beliefs with a strong testimony of God and the Bible and of her pastor. We tried to share with her a little bit of our message and she completely shut us down, wanting nothing to do with any book other than the bible. It was challenging, but we finally got a return appointment to talk to her about it a little more. One of the hard things to learn (which I'm sure I won't actually learn until I get out in the field and start teaching real people) is to find the balance between preaching the gospel to all - finding people's doubts and filling them with the gospel, and respecting people's agency. It's a fine line, but I'm sure it will come.

Another thing I've been working on (and am continuing to work on) is developing Charity - by that I mean, seeing everyone I meet as God sees them, as a precious child of God. This surely isn't something that I will master quickly, but that will take time. Thankfully, the Lord is patient with us J

I'm almost out of time. The week has been good, nothing too exciting. Oh, the Devotional this week was Elder and Sister Evans from the 70 - pretty amazing. I just want to let everyone know that the Book of Mormon is one amazing book. I feel like I'm reading it clearly for the first time - with spiritual glasses on or something. I am finding and seeing so much more than I ever had before. Read it. Pray to understand it more and to see how it applies to you and your life personally, because I promise it does. It is a book that was written by revelation, translated by revelation, and as you read it you can receive revelation. It is a book of revelation

Welp, out of time. I leave for Carlsbad on Tuesday. I have to be at the Travel Office by 5:00am with H. Carlson - we're going to the airport together as she'll be flying to Texas, but H. Dudley will be taking a bus up to SLC at 8:00am which is sad.
L  I'll miss them mucho, but we're all so stoked for the field and ready to share the gospel! Hopefully my Spanish will come along a little better in CA, but I have seen how much my Spanish has improved and it's pretty amazing. This work is pretty amazing.
Hasta proxima semana! Les quiero much!
Con amor,
Hermana Alyssa Escalante

P.S. We have had NO time this week, so I apologize to the several people I have not written back yet (sorry grandma and grandpa! I still love you and appreciate your letters! I'll write soon).