Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Here we go!

Hello family and friends! Another week has gone by already and I just can't believe it! and It has been an AWESOME week! First off, my companion is just too amazing, I'm so grateful for her love and her patience every day. So last week I went on my first exchange ever! It was with Sister Ure from Colorado and it was tons of fun--we we're serving in an area called Castro Valley and it was weird because it was all English, but so neat and exciting to be able to fully communicate with people. It is so hard for me to stick to Spanish and really dedicate myself to it because half the day we're in the Visitors' Center speaking English and often I don't get language study time at all because sometimes we are scheduled at the Visitor's center at 9 am and I'm a little frustrated with myself because I find myself forgetting to speak Spanish all the time--even if I  know how to say it in Spanish! urrrgh! BUT two days every week we have full-proselyting and my Spanish starts to come back, it's just something that I'll have to really work extra hard at to get it.

We had Family Home Evening this week with 2 different families and the Cruz Family fed us amazing Peruvian food, and the Ramos Family served us incredible food from Nicaragua! There are so many different latin american cultures in my Branch, it's really just amazing. My clothes are already getting a little tight ;) us missionaries just call them celestial pounds :) We're working with a 16 year old boy right now named Josef and he's just awesome, he's so close to being ready for making that big step and promise with Heavenly Father through Baptism, SO CLOSE. We are having Family Home Evening again tonight with their family and It's going to be great! We also have a couple more people we're working with and praying for and hopefully they will start realizing the changes that can come in their lives as they show their faith in Christ.

So Guess what?! turns out the Visitors' Center sisters ALWAYS put on a Christmas Concert and we had our first rehearsal this week I am so stinking excited! (they're already putting up the lights!) I get to accompany for 4 different songs and I'm also going to be part of a 6-hand piano arrangement of "We Three Kings" AND I'm singing "Oh Holy Night" as a SOLO! It's going to be so much fun (the only question is when I'll have the chance to practice....). It just helps me know so surely that Heavenly Father knows me so personally and loves me enough to send me to a mission where I can improve my talents by giving me great opportunities to help them grow by sharing them with others!

Another "priveledge" (I have to keep telling myself that it is one) we have as Visitors' Center sisters is phone time in the Referral Center! YAAAY! it's so so so HARD and SCARY for me! People come into the Center and give us referrals and we GET to call them and see if they're open to any free DVDs about Jesus Christ, or a free copy of the Book of Mormon, or if they are even interested in meeting with the missionaries! Now this is even more proof that this mission is right for me because it's perfectly addressing my fears. My mineature panic attacks are getting smaller and smaller as I prayerfully ask for help from God to give me strength in doing His work. The field really is just so hard and so good because I can already see how life-changing it will be for me. WOW!

Well so that's all I really have time to say, but I'm just pushing on, with faith that the Lord will guide me in His work. I would LOVE to hear from all of you and what's going on in your lives! Don't forget how much Heavenly Father Loves you and knows each and every one of you so well, and trust in the Lord--If you keep his commandments he WILL help and lead and strengthen you!

Les Quiero! <3
Hermana Mitchell

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


My companion, the Mission President, and his wife.

Am I really here?

View from the Mission Home.

We're here! I look awesome (not)!

Oh the privileges we get :)

My VC District at THE MAP.

I found Josh every Thursday morning for service! :D


California Girl!

Guess Who's in the Field!!! NO PUEDO CREERLO! The Field is so hard but so awesome. The Morning we left the MTC was a CRAZY one, my alarm failed to work and I woke up right at 4:45 when I was supposed to be ready at the Travel Office with all my luggage! But the sisters in my room helped me a ton and I booked it down there and I wasn't even the last one on the bus (I just had to do my hair and makeup on the plane, but 'sall good).
I am serving in the prettiest place ever! First thing off the plane, my Mission President, Presdident Merideth and his wife greeted us and took us out to lunch at a yummy buffet with all you can eat SUSHI!!! I promise, I ate all I could. Honestly, anything would have been great after two and a half months of MTC food, but was a treat to have Sushi :) After that we went up to the Mission Home and the Temple, they both have the most AMAZING view of the Bay, WOW. There is a look-out point on top of the temple that anyone can go up and the view is just breath-taking. We went up there and I felt like I was home. Like this voice saying "this is your place, so love it with all you've got!" And I already do.

We returned back to the Mission Home (which is GORGEOUS, by the way) and went through some rules and training and papers and such, then after a small dinner, we met our new companions!!! Two Elders held up a big map of the mission and one by one he called up the trainer who proceeded to talk about how awesome the area was, then President Merideth called out the new missionary and then there was a big hug-fest and it was great! My companion's name is Hermana Garcia, she is just so amazing. She's a convert from Guatemala and wow, she is such a great leader and teacher and over-all example to me. And she is helping me a lot with my Spanish :) When they said we'd be companions she held out her arms and said "Come to mommy!" and she is just so stinkin fun and awesome. So my first area in the mission is San Leandro! It is such a great area. The members are so strong and super loving! I've only met a few of the families, but church yesterday was so awesome (they only asked me to pray, which was nice) and I'm beginning to become more acquainted with them.

My apartment is in a nice area in San Leandro, but wow there are some interesting thing about it, particularly the TRAINS! first off there is a spead-rail-fast-train-thing that is white and looks like a bullet and they call it BART (I don't know what it stands for yet) and that passes by all the time and it's low rumble/screetch is NOTHING compared to the train-conversations that go on at 5 am every morning! Either a conversation or choir practice or something, because there are train whistles going off both near and far, all at the same time for a good 15 minutes! haha, it's great though, It actually is kind of a nice reminder that I'm actually here :) OH and we have a dish-washer in our apartment. that's right. how lucky are we?!

I'm loving all of the study time we have here, but it's stressful because I realized that I'm not very good and leading my own study sessions! that's what teachers are for! but I'm learning more and more how to use my time wisely so I can study those aspects of the gospel in the Bible and Book of Mormon that we're going to be teaching.

I feel SO BLESSED to have the Visistors' Center as part of my mission. We are assigned a 6 hour block in the Visitors' Center 5 days a week and the rest of the time we are Full-proselyting in our assigned areas. The VC is amazing because people come to us. They often come with family and friends that don't have a strong belief in Christ or how we can become clean and better through his doctrine, and it's so amazing to have the opportunity to invite the spirit and help them learn through our testimony through the incredible media we have there right at our finger-tips!

The last 5 days have been so hard but so good, so humbling. I'm learning a ton through my mistakes, and I'm sure that will be the case through-out this whole mission, but wow, thank goodness the gospel is true and perfect or else this work wouldn't happening like it is, I can attest to that by all of my mistakes and imperfections, I am just trying to invite the spirit and let Him teach as I testify of Christ.

P.S. My address is the one of the Mission Home! They bring our mail to the Visitors' center every night, so It's a great blessing!  so here's my address so there's not confusion:

Sister Kristin Joy Mitchell
California Oakland/San Francisco Mission
4945 Lincoln Way
Oakland, CA 94602

The spanish is coming, poco a poco. Les amo MUCHISIMO!
Have a wonderful week, please keep the missionaries in your prayers <3

Hermana Mitchell

p.s. MOM and DAD and JENA: I got your packages and I LOVED them :) It was such a sweet thing to have some familiar handwriting on the packages when I came in. I really truly feel of you love every day and it is keeping me going. I'm perfectly warm and night, my clothes are holding up well still, I'm going strong, so don't worry. Thanks again for everything!

Friday, October 12, 2012

a P-day at last!!!

Oh my goodness gracious! I have SO MUCH to talk about and SO LITTLE TIME! there's no way I can cover it all, but let's start with General Conference! wasn't it AMAZING!?! If you weren't able to hear it all, make sure you make it a goal to read the rest in next month's Ensign because every talk was so powerful, I know with all my heart that the speakers were inspired. I felt like so much of was intended directly for me--that's what's amazing about conference, it's the way our Heavenly Father leads and guides ALL of his children if we are open to listen and willing to let His words change us. so can you BELIEVE the age change for missionaries?!? 18 for elders wasn't too much of a surprise, butt sisters can serve at 19!?! it's just INCREDIBLE! this will do SO MUCH for the future service and Christ-centered families and homes! Every missionary in the MTC was in shock, followed by gasping and cheering and crying! haha, the excitement was SO strong! I loved the recurring theme in conference about service, the importance of being willing and able to serve when the Lord puts those opportunities in our path! Pray for those opportunites to be more Christ-like and the Lord will help you see the necessities of others!

So Tuesday was full of sadness and lack of sleep! We said goodbye to Hermana B'ecar at 3 AM, Hermana Decker a 4AM, Hermana Flandro at 5 AM, and Hermana Williams at 6 AM! It was fun taking lots of trips to the Travel office :) but sad to see them all go! then I got to wear a "SOLO" sticker on my name plate and hang out with the Zone leaders for the day, it was fun and new. Then, we were in choir practice and they were working out the video monitors and stuff to prepare for Devotional, and they accidently showed who would be speaking to us that night and the excitement flushed through  the entire MTC choir as David A. Bednar's face flashed up on the screen!!! It was suprising becuase just days before we heard him in conference, but I felt so blessed to have been able to be here this extra time :) He gave an amazing talk that will forever change the way I study the words of the prophets (look for the Doctrine, the Invitations, and the Promised blessings--I would go into more detail if I had time)! oh and fun fact: Elder Bednar was born in Oakland, CA! YAY :) He also testified that the Lord is hastening his work and these changes happening now are just the start of it!

Wednesday was AWESOME! I met my new district of Visitor's Center sisters and my new companion for the week, Sister Chipana, is so AMAZING! She is from Lima Peru and has an amazing conversion story (She always wanted to be a missionary, even before she new about the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). and Wow, she is an incredible example to me and is also helping me with my Spanish a TON! She's going to Oakland too :) We spent the Morning on Temple Square! It was so great, we received a tour from the sisters there and it was so neat to be in the shoes of the visitors. I learned a lot by their example.

The last couple days have been FILLED with new experiences! We've been blessed to use a new program here (we're actually the ginuea pigs for it) called the Teachign Center where we get to chat live with people all over the world coming to Mormon.org to ask questions about the church and it has been just AMAZING! I have talked to people from South America, Europe, Canada, and  the US in just a couple hours of TC. I'm a little nervous about doing actual phone calls tomorrow, chatting is way easier for me, but I'm just going to do my best and try to let the Lord direct me in what to say with his Spirit. Deep Breaths.

Tomorrow we get another Temple Square experience and this time we will be splitting with the sister missionaries there and work with them! I'm really excited! and nervous! but mostly excited! I have learned so much from doing things that are really hard for me this week, and I have come to know that that's how the Lord refines all of us. Look up Ether 12:27 :)

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! have a wonderful week! Just 5 more days 'till I enter the Field!!!!

Hermana Mitchell

P.S. mom, I'll send a quick email later today about my flight plans and other little things, We're on our way to the temple this morning :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Camera Malfunctions, Tone-Deaf Elders, and Last Lessons

Hola Familia y Amigos!!!
Nothing really new has transpired here in the last week--Just working harder and harder every day to learn and study and teach to the best of my ability! Well, last wednesday (just a couple hours after sending out my email) my companion Hermana Williams and I went to sing "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul" for the new-coming missionaries! (which was extra fun because we had a new district coming into our zone that day :) and it went well for the most part... except our accompanist didn't have his Suitcoat because it was being dry-cleaned so he had to wear some-one else's which was like, 3 or 4 sizes to big... and Hermana Williams had a slight wardrobe malfunction and forgot her name plaque, but besides that it went really well... except the camera man decided to do some weird shots of us singing, I just remember seeing my face REALLY close up out of the corner of my eye on the monitor, like.... really close, you couldn't even see all of my face it was so close... but besides that, we had a great time welcoming in those new servants of the Lord and we hoped they could feel strength through our words and music :)

So this last Sunday was the final Sunday in our branch, because this weekend is General Conference, so we followed the tradition and sang a goodbye song during Sacrament Meeting as a discrict. We sang "Onward, Christian Soldiers" and it was so fun, I got to start it out with a little a capella solo and then Hermana Williams joined in the 3rd line with the Alto and then all the Hermanas finished the verse off  together (this is in Spanish by the way). and then we gave the elders the entire second verse, and I don't quite know how it happened, but all the tone-deaf elders in our Branch ended up in our district, but it was so great that they were willing to sing out anyways (it only took a little arm twisting) :) they did so well, then we sang the 3rd verse all together and the 4th verse in English. It was a really neet experience, I'm really glad we got to do it as a district, I'm going to miss them a lot.

The rest of my district got their travel plans this week, all to different places (Alaska, Uruguay, Reno, San Diego, Dominican Republic, Salt Lake) and I still don't know the plans for me, I expect that sometime this week they will let me know who my new tour-training companion will be and what I need to do once my companions leave next Tuesday!

Yesterday we taught our progressive Investigator, Camila, for the last time, and even though she's just our teacher putting on the persona of one of her converts from Chile, I am honestly going to miss her so much, I wanted the best for her and her future and sincerely prayed for her mom to let her get baptized! It really taught me a lot about  why I'm on a mission and how much love and going to have for the people. We have our last lesson with our other Progressive Investigator, Pedro, and I know he's going to "get baptized" ...figuratively... I have learned so much from teaching him, he's had a really hard life--losing his son to drive-by shooting and is wife to alcoholism, we taught him about our Heavenly Father's plan for all of his children and it brought so much comfort to him to know that his son is alright at the he can be with him again if he presses on with faith! I have loved the teaching experiences here and I am just so excited for the field!

We didn't get to watch the Relief Society session on Saturday, but don't worry, we'll watch it this saturday night while the Elders are watching Priesthood Session. I'm so excited and blessed to be able to watch General Conference here at the MTC! Please Remember that we get to hear from inspired leaders of the church and the true and living Prophet this weekend. He knows what the world needs today and will give us direction from God. Listen to his words with a prayer in your heart! your prayers will be heard and answered! I love you all and wish you the best best best in your week!!!

Con todo me amor,
Hermana Mitchell

P.S. here's one of my new favorite quotes from President Deiter F. Uchtdorf:
"When our wagon gets stuch in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer, no matter how eloquent the oration."

P.P.S. Mom this is for you: I love my shoulder bag, but I'm going to need a bigger side-bag with a accross the body strap... so if you want to find one for me and send it, or maybe make sure I have enough in my account, that would be great!!! OH and I didn't know this before, but I get to call you and dad from the airport before I fly out to California, so I'll be buying a calling card soon, let me know when you'll be available for me to call you, it'll probably be pretty early here in utah, so yeah, we'll work it out :) I'm excited! I love you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

New pictures!

We love CHOIR practice!!!

This was on our Temple walk a couple weeks ago--I love my Hermanas!