Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Carta # 2

Things are going great here at the CCM! Remember how I was saying that I was missing out on the hot weather? Well no longer. The sun has been out, hot and shining this passed week ,and it is SO nice!

This week the teachers have really started cracking down in class. Spanish is really all they use now. While I still only know a few phrases I am getting better at understanding what is being said. I have a notebook I fill with words that are used in class that I don't know and then at languages study I look them up. My goal is to learn about 30 words everyday so that when I leave I should have a vocab of just under 1000 words. Sometimes the hardest part is just figuring out how to use words correctly in a sentence. Every verb has conjugations depending on how or where it is used in a sentence. For now we just use a lot of 'Spanglish' or just replace any English words with Spanish ones that we have learned.
A few things that happened this week:

We got locked out of our Casa, the other night because the electronic keys all stopped working for some reason. We all sat on our grass for an hour just chatting. For that hour it seemed like all of Mexico City was quiet for once. We actually heard the crickets. I really felt like it was a blessing from Heavenly Father. Just to relax for an hour was glorious.

David Archeleta (I have no idea how to spell his name..) made a surprise appearance on campus with the boxing women from meet the Mormons. The Mexico premiere was this week and they wanted to tour the campus. While the girls and I were studying in our class room all of the boys went on a hunt to find them. The found them, got pictures and geeked out about it for the rest of the night. What goofballs. (But really the jokes on them because God blesses those who are diligent and study)

We got to go to the temple today which was crazy fun! It is closed for some construction work, but it was so nice to get out of the compound for a while. I loved driving through the city. We saw a fire juggler today which was cool. The traffic is LOCO in Mexico. Cars are inches apart and completely fearless in cutting into lanes. Oh and I guess jay-walking isn't a thing here because the people are just as gutsy about running in the middle of the road. 

While I am having a BLAST here, this week has been tough. On Monday, I was feeling discouraged. It felt like everyone around me was improving and I was still stuck on insignificant details of the language. I felt that my efforts were in vain and that the spirit was not speaking to me as it usually did. I had been praying to my Heavenly Father all weekend for a confirmation that I was meant to be here, that I was called to the right place and that I wasn't wasting my time. Monday night our teacher shared section 6 of D&C and I really felt that Heavenly Father had answered my prayers. In verses 23-24 Oliver Cowdery is reminded of a time that Heavenly Father had spoken to him through the Spirit and it brought me back to the night I was in my dorm room and was moved by the spirit to serve a mission. It was so great to feel that the Lord could answer my prayer through the people around me, it reminded me how I want to serve others the same way. I am so grateful to have been reminded that faith is the weapon to combat discouragement and doubts. 

While I know this is still an up hill climb- all thoughts of going home have left me. I am suppose to be here. Heavenly Father has been kind enough to give me that answer twice now. I was so prepared to except any call that came and now that it is here I am ready to take it. Even if that means learning some of the fastest Spanish in the world. If I do all I can do and leave no regrets then the Lords will lead the way. My faith and testimony are growing everyday. I am working hard. I am learning to work even harder everyday. I love you all and can't wait for Wednesdays to come, so I can here from you.
With Love, Always Hermana Brinlee Saunders

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Favorite pics from week #1

                   Bienvenidos a México
Hermana Graham, ME, Hermana Salazar, Hermana Wagstaff

My amazing companion

The beautiful CCM

Hermana Saunders Carta #1

15 Reasons Why the CCM is actually Hogwarts

1. It feels like the letter is never going to come but when it does- you are through the roof excited!
2. When you get to the train/airport you notice other kids are dressed funny just like you and it is obvious you are all heading to the same place.
3. When you arrive and the platform/mexico Airport you are all standing around looking at each other wondering what you should do when a big guy, that you cant quite understand yells "First years over here"/ "Missionaries!"
4. You ride the boats/bus with amazement as you see the surrounding splender of the area(Mexico City... Whooooaaaa)
5. When you arrived you can immediately tell who your friends will be and who your enemies are (My sweet Companion Hermana Graham (:) (And well Satan... du)
6. You are sorted into houses (Zones and districts) and all the 2nd-7th years (weeks) clammer to give you advice
7. Following your sorting you eat a grand feast of foods you have never even heard of before- but enjoy immensely
8. After the feast the wise headmaster(s) give you some great tips and rules on how to stay safe
9. One of the rules is to stay out of the forbidden forest..... (coincidence? I think not)
10.You end up being best friends with the chums you share a dormitory with (ours is actually a casa [or house] and it is super nice)
11. You have the wises and the crazies professors
12. You learn strange words, and new pronunciations 
13. The places is swarming with unusual birds.
14. You study hard and adventure hard
15. Lastly, here we have magic. (or faith. Which is basically the same thing)

Wow I am loving it here! The first few days were a little slow, but things have really started to fly by. The compound we live in feels like it is right in the heart of the city. We always hear things going on out there. One night we went to sleep hearing a mariachi band and when we woke up at 6 they were still going. This city never sleeps! Our compound is surrounded by big stone walls and barbed wire, we joke that it feels like we are in the Truman Show.

The food is really good! Some things are better than others, but we always have the options of salad or cereal if the options of the main course are less than appetizing (the only things that aren't are the tomallies- in my opinion) We eat a lot of both American and Mexican food.

Weather expectations for Mexico= Hot, humid and sunny - reality- cold, dry and cloudy (and a little rain)  It is not SO cold, but even the Latinos have said this winter has been usually chilly. Most days we bring a light jacket with us all day.

Nuestra casa esta bonita! ( I just love it) We have about 20 girls living in it and it is seriously nicer than my college dorm. I was expecting more bugs here, but everything is really clean. We have our own clean water supply separate from the city and we mostly drink bottled water (because they say it tastes better & probably just to be extra careful). I haven't heard about anyone getting sick.

My Companions name is Hermana Graham and I absolutely adore her. Seriously she is the coolest girl. She is from Gilbert Arizona and went to BYU Provo Fall semester. Her mother is from Guatemala and so she knows a lot of Spanish already, which is such a blessing. We are both going to Concepción. I really love the other two girls in my room/district too- Hermana Salazar and Hermana Wagstaff. Hermana Salazar is from California and she was the first member of her family to convert to the church. She was 14 at the time and her parents and most of her siblings aren't members. She is such a rock. She is going to Denver. It is really nice to have her perspective in class. Hermana Wagstaff is from Holiday Utah and has the most hilarious sense of humor. She is going to Houston. WOW I love them all. If we are this close now I cant wait to see us in 6 weeks. We are also really close to the elders in our district- Elders Love and Reyes who are also going to Concepción and Elders Dowda (heading to California) and Sandivald (heading Salt Lake North).

We are so trusted here. We study independently most of the day.  The first few days we were all a little chatty but, we have grown so tight that it is much easier to help each other get work down.

I  love my zone. Seriously cool people here. We attend church together as a zone. This week I had to give a talk.. IN SPANISH! AH! The deal is that everyone prepares a 5 min talk and 6 or 7 people are randomly chosen to speak. It was so scary! I am pretty sure I murdered every word, but I did learn a lot from it and hopefully it means I won't have to do it again here.

We have an 'investigator' right now. We started teaching him Friday and have had 3 lessons with him so far. His name is Jorge and he is a really good guy. We struggle to communicate with him each day but the spirit is always there, and that is what is the most important thing for now. We learn so much from him each day.

Everyone and their dog tells you 'just make it to Sunday' here, but I have never felt like I really wanted to leave. In my room we all laughed about how everyone made it sound like their first week was so horrible, but it was actually really awesome for us. Sure we all had some home sickness, we all reached in our bags looking for our phones at least once during the week, we all miss music and none of us are really accustom to the amount of work and sleep we get each day (Lots of work and little sleep) but we all have faith. We all know that we are in the right place and that we are on the Lord's errand. We all struggle with Spanish. The teachers basically have just throw us into the water. Some days it feels like I have been set up to fail. Satan still gets in your mind here. But I know that I will not fail. I know that if I will put my Trust in the Lord will bless me. I can already see the blessings. 

Before I came out I thought I was taking one big leap of faith, when in reality I am learning that a mission is made up of taking giant leaps of faith EVERYDAY. It's a hard lesson, but I am not discouraged. Who the Lord calls he qualifies. I know that!

The spirit is powerful here- it is awesome to be surrounded by such great men and women everyday.

With Love,
Hermana Saunders

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hola from the CCM

I have arrived! I am feeling wonderful. We have had orientation and dinner. My companions name is Hermana Grahm and she seems like a sweety. She is from Gilbert Arizona.
The flight went great, there were about 10 of us and for about an hour and a half after landing we were at the airport waiting for someone but the bus finally came. Brother Calls brother was the one to welcome us here. They are taking great care of us. All of the missionaries here seem eager to give advice and introduce themselves. I ran into Josh Smith, he is leaving next week. It is so beautiful here. 
The CCM (MTC) really is in the middle of the city. We literally saw a man being mugged as we were driving. Dont worry mama, around the whole campus is a huge brick wall with barbed wire. 
I am so happy to be here. Still hasn't really sunk in yet. I'm waiting for it to hit me. For now I am just staying positive and feeling glad to be where I am. It is clear that I am surrounded by an elect generation of people. My Pdays are Wednesdays, so you probably will not hear back from me until next Wednesday.

With Love Always,
Hermana Brinlee Saunders

Time Starts... Now!

Well here we are. I am currently traveling to Mexico City where I will begin training as a full time missionary. I am so blessed. I can't wait to fall in love with the people of Chile. Thank you to all who were willing to share their time and talents this last Sunday and thank you to all that have supported me in the years and months leading up to this day. Please keep in touch.
With Love, (officially!) Sister Saunders

Monday, February 2, 2015


        Here is where you can read all about my exciting travels and misadventures in Chile! I hope to help others come closer to Christ through these posts, and help you and I to keep in touch! I would love to hear from you, feel free to write me a letter, shoot me an email or just send love!
        Starting February 11, 2015 I will be in the Mexico MTC, after a short 6 weeks I will then travel to Chile where I will be teaching people all about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. To hear more about my message visit for answers to your questions and make an appointment with the missionaries in your area!
      The final time I will be speaking in Church will be on Sunday February 8, 2015. For details check out my Facebook page by hitting the social media link to your right. I would love a chance to say last goodbyes to everyone! Hope to see you there!
                                With Love, Hermana Brinlee Saunders