Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Love you huh!"

I apologize in advance for the shortness of this email.  Sometimes a girl's just gotta talk to her mom, and sometimes as a result, you only have a few minutes to type out a quick email to everyone!  
So this week was a blur.  This was one of the fastest weeks we've had.  Probably also because our p-day was on Thursday, so it mixed everything up quite a bit! 
Thursday:  We ran errands like madness.  We were just doing a bunch of things we've been putting off, and things I've been meaning to do for months now haha.  The end of transfers will do that to you because you never really know what is going to happen.  Also I am officially a real Filipina, because we bought all our food for the week at the mercado!  I haggled over the price of green beans and mangos.  I'm officially a Filipina.  
Friday:  We were able to go on splits with the STL's.  It was really good.  I worked with Sister Nonato, who I absolutely adore.  We've gotten really close this last transfer.  She actually reminds me a lot of a Filipina version of my best friend Sarah.  She taught me some Filipina tribal dances that we do together, and we're always singing together.  We had some really good lessons.  We had interviews with the STL's, which I always love.  And then I made us all my specialty, you guessed it, tuna curry.  It's delicious I promise!
Saturday:  We went out to Guadalupe as usual.  We taught our wonderful investigator Juanito, who is a complete stud.  Except, while we were teaching him, I was sitting on his bench and it snapped in half!  Yes my friends, I broke a bench.  They all laughed for days and told me that I was a big american, and that I should go on a diet.  For real though, I gotta lay off the rice!  We had one of our recent converts work with us and help us out.  His name is Benitez, he is 27 and he's so sweet.  He has a little bit of a learning disability, and he's the sweetest man ever.  We had to cross a river to get to Juanitos house, and  Benitez placed rocks in the river so we could walk across, and then he got in the river and held our hands to help us across.  He's the best. 
Sunday:  We had five investigators at church!  Which is one of the most of my entire mission!  Plus, my dear Charlyn and new friend Carl came to church.  They looked great.  And  my boy Carl is just as gwapo as can be.  There was a talk in church that was so good.  It was about grattitude and love.  The Filipino culture is so shy, and often, it's really awkward for them to say I love you.  Even to their family or anything like that.  They are some of the most loving people I know, they ove the heck out of me, but they just are too shy to say it.  Well, over  the pulpit this amazing returned missionary, Annalee, taught about how we have to say it to others.  She read a cute story that had the whole audience crying, and then she said over the pulpit "I love you mom and dad" and then covered her bright red face.  The whole congregation alomst died of shock and embarassment as well.  But the coolest thing happened, the whole sacrament hall  got really loud, really noisy, because everyone was looking at each other and saying "I love you".  It was so cool to sit back and watch as everyone so shyly and with bright red faces, smiling from ear to ear said I love you.  I think it's one of those things I"ll remembe rfor the rest of my life.  
Monday:   We had a birthday in our district, we bought cake with buttercream frosting.  I took a bite, and found out that it was literally just whipped margerine, and then I gagged a little bit because I had so much margerine in my mouth!  We had a service project, and ended up cleaning up garbage on a beach, and then a little girl had a bike, so I borrowed it and was cruising up and down the beach on a bike.  IT was basically dreams.  And then I found out that Sister Villacorte didn't know how to ride a bike!  So I ran behind her and held her bike up as she pedadled as fast as she could down the beach, she never quite got it, there was a lot of screaming in fear, and falling in the sand, but it was so much fun.
Tuesday:  Such an amazing day.  I'm almost out of time, so I"ll talk about my favorite part.  Sister Anderson told us that she wanted to help Charlyn out, and if she could use anything.  So I made a list of some things that she could use and I gave it to Sister Anderson.  She picked us up yesterday to visit Charlyn, and as I got out she started unloading all of the stuff.  She went above and beyond.  As she handed it to me I just started crying, and I thanked her for doing what I wanted to do, but what I'm not alowed to do.  Charlyn means so much to me, and I was just so overwhelmed with how generous Sister Anderson was.  We walked for about fifteen minutes to the Pacaldos and Charlyn came over.  We talked for a little while, and then we told her we had a surprise for her.  We told her to close her eyes, and then we brought it all out.  She opened her eyes, and immediately just started sobbing.  She's only 18 years old, and she doesn't have much.  She just sobbed and said Thank you, over and over again in English.  She opened up everything and just cried.  It was amazing, we threw her a little baby shower.  We taught her, and I was able to translate for Sister ANderson.  My favorite part was at the end when Sister Anderson was bearing her testimony, she would say a sentance or two and then pause and I would translate it.  It was such a powerful lesson.  We left and it was pouring, and so the three of us ran through the rain soaking wet for ten minutes to Sister Andersons truck.  It was one of my most cherished nights of my mission. 
So.  Quickly, I want to explain "love you huh!".  So in the MTC, SIster Ormsby always added huh to the end of things.  Especially as she was leaving or saying goodbye.  Sister Anderson and I picked up on it really quick in the MTC.  Once I got here, I didn't know how to say much.  But I would always say "amping huh" (which means, take care) and then love you huh!  (Huh is just an emphasizer, it just adds extra umph to it, extra meaning).  It was all I really knew how to say, and I meant it!  I love these people.  I didn't really realize how big of a deal it was to always say I love you.  I didn't realize that wasn't the norm here.  But it was just about all I could say to these people.  And it stuck.  I still say it all the time.  THe cool part about being in an area for three transfers, is that you just get to know people so well.  And everyone has noticed that it's my catchphrase, so the last couple of weeks, people have started saying it back to me.  It's been so fun to watch, as these shy little filipinos will always say it back to me.  Or even just text us out of the blue to say "love you huh!".  I read a talk by President Monson called "Love, the essence  of the gospel".  It's really what it's all about.  We just need to love everyone.  And love everything.  Don't let a day go without telling someone you love them.  Or without loving something.  I'm so grateful for all of you, and I hope you have a wonderful thanksgiving. 
Love you huh!
Love,
Sister Carlee Beyer

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Come What May.




AND LOVE IT.  
My family, I love you.  I'm half way done, I'm on the downhill slope, and that's a crazy feeling.  
Wednesday:  We celebrated the 9 month mark of Sister Beyer so right.  I got to wear jeans and vans.  I was feelin a little like Carlee, which is always a good feeling.  After email, we bought rambutans (my favorite fruit) by the kilo and all piled into the truck.  We cruised through the mountains and sugar cane fields bumpin some fabulous Christmas mucis and then we got to the monkey sanctuary. We had to get out of the car, and walk through the jungle and call the monkeys.  We had to do this crazy monkey call thing.  AND THEN THEY STARTED RUNNING FROM THE TREES.  I will not lie, it was scary.  I may have screamed in terror.  I may have had to run from a few monkeys hahaha.  We had some peanuts for them.  I liked the little ones, they were cute and would climb up you like a tree and take your peanuts and run.  But the big ones were SCARY.  One of them chased me for my peanuts hahaha.  It was really fun.  We laughed and had some good times hanging out with the monkeys.  At one point, I was trying to coax a small one to come closer to me, I was holding the whole bag of peanuts, when this huge monkey came running out of nowhere and climbed UP MY BODY AND STOLE MY PEANUTS.  I screamed in pure and utter terror.  Let's just say, it was a day I'll probably never forget.  Brayden, I'm not going to bring you home a monkey, because truthfully, I'm way to scared of the monkeys hahaha.  We went home and for traditions sake, I burned a shirt.  It was stained and I couldn't use it anymore haha.  The Filipinas all thought Americans were weird for having that tradition.  
Thursday:  We taught Charlyn her very last lesson.  We moved her baptism to Tuesday afternoon, which was the earliest we could have it to race against the clock before she had her baby.  She's so ready.  :)  She's changed so much and I love her endlessly.  Also, I made the executive decision that the most beautiful sunsets come from the Philippines.
Friday:  We were able to go out a little early to help out a less active man we found named Larry.  His son is four months old and has a really bad cleft palet, so we are going to try to help him get in with a member who is from the states who comes and does cleft surgeries for free.  The Andersons are helping us out.  Sometimes, its so cool to get to help people, especially in ways I never thought I would be able to.  Also, I spent a good solid hour on Friday sewing my clothes.  Do you people realize how big of a deal this is?  I do not sew.  Send help.  I now sew.  
Saturday:  We got a text that Charlyn had the baby!  So we'll have to move her baptism back, but that's okay.  This must have been the plan for her all along.  :)  We went and visited them and they are doing great.  Charlyn told me that she has named the baby "Carl Blake" after me.  She told me that I've changed her life, and as a result, his.  Sometimes, its amazing to be a missionary. 
Sunday:  We had some really solid people come to church for the first time.  And, everyone is now officially wishing each other Merry Christmas and Happy New Year hahaha.  
Monday:  We had District Meeting.  Elder Lawrence is my District Leader.  He's from New Zealand.  He gives amazing workshops.  I've been so lucky with amazing District Leaders.  I've learned so dang much.  We went out to work and we got punted all day long.  I mean, we just walked miles, and it was hot as heck.  At one point, we were walking down a long dusty road, and we just started laughing.  I guess that's just part of missionary work, everyone has a story like that.  But tender mercies came, and the Elders texted us and invited us to an FHE that night in their area!
Tuesday:  We went out to Guadalupe, and we saw some incredible tender mercies.  Everyone out there knows who Edgardo is, and we met some new people, who asked us if we were the ones who helped Edgardo.  And then they listened to us.  That man is doin some work in Guadalupe.  I miss him.  We went home, and had one potato and one can of tuna to our name, we weren't sure what we were going to make, and then the heavens opened and we remembered that we had mac and cheese from Mama Beyer!  We made a feast of mac and cheese, and my little filipina's loved it.  
Yesterday:  Instead of pday, we had zone conference.  It was so great to see President and Sister McCurdy.  Everyone was laughing at me, because I'm the only Sister in two whole zones who isn't Filipina.  We took millions of pictures and had a good old time.  Then we were able to go and visit Charlyn and my dear sweet Carl, in the hospital again.  And that was the week.  It was a good week all in all.  
I studied this week the talk "Come What May and Love It" from Elder Wirthlin.  It is such a good read.  It just talked about how we are all going to have trials, we are all going to go through some really hard things, but that there are those people who face these trials with a good attitude and who choose to learn and grow from their trials.  It made me think of the lesson that Sister Passey taught me oh so long ago in my first transfer of the mission when she just looked at me and said "Sister Beyer, are you going to make this a fear building, or a faith building experience?"  and oh how I've thought back to that time and time again.  It says that "The Lord in his wisdom does not shield anyone from grief or sadness"  We need these trials in order to become converted.  If you look up conversion in the bible dictionary it says "complete conversion comes after much trials and testing.  We must expect these trials and be grateful for them.  They refine us.  They make us strong, we need these trials to push us to grow and change into what He sees in us and to become what He needs us to be.  It talked about the principle of compensation and how every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and grattitude.  And lastly, he said "The simple secret is this:  Put your trust in the Lord, do your best, then leave the rest up to him".  Oh how I know how true that is.  I thought to some of the missionaries who I look up to most on my mission, and when they talk about the trials they've had on their missions.  Hard trials!  Challenging as heck.  And they do it with a smile on their face, because they know how it shaped them and changed them.  I wanna live like that too.  Come what may and love it!
I love you all.  Stay strong huh?  
Love,
Sister Carlee Beyer

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Livin on a Prayer






The.  Madness.  My beloved's.  Today is my official nine month mark as a missionary.  Which means that I'm halfway.  I've been trying to wrap my mind around it all week long.  It feels impossible that I'm actually here, that I'm actually a missionary.  Growing up, missionaries were always those superheros.  They were those "big kids" who had it all figured out and were so smart and they just went out and saved the world.  Even though I've been on a mission for a good amount of time now, I still wake up sometimes completely in awe that I'm on a mission.  That I'm a real life missionary.  And I'm serving here in the Philippines.  It's a completely bitter sweet feeling to hit 9 months.  It's a very accomplishing feeling, but it's also scary.  It's crazy to think that I'm half way done.  Have I done what I needed to do?  What I was supposed to do?  Could I have done it better?  If I could go back, I would do it all so differently.  I would start over from day one and do it all so differently.  But I think we all would.  That's the beauty of hindsight haha.  But, even though we can't go back, we can change and be better now.  So that's what I plan to do with the next half of my mission.  :)
So last wednesday was Pintaflores.  It was madness.  After we emailed, the whole city was shut down to watch the parade.  The roads were all closed and everyone in the city came out to watch the parade.  We needed to walk to the other side of the city to meet up with the Andersons.  It was the craziest thing in the world to walk down the street, with hundreds of Filipinos on both side and just hear them say to each other in hushed tones "Americana"  or "Taas Ilong" which means, tall nose.  Sister Villacorte just laughed and laughed.  I am the only American in all of San Carlos other than the Andersons haha.  And I stand out like no other!  The parade was really cool.  It was all native dancers.  They were dressed up to the nines and had some awesome native dances.  It was really fun to just relax and watch.  After the parade we went down to the farmers market/fair thingy.  It was oddly like home, but with a Filipina twist.  We bought lunch at the fair.  We had a mango shake, and a piece of fried chicken I bought from a man off the street for ten pesos, and a scoop of rice.  They served it to me on a banana leaf and I had to eat it with my hands.  And it was completely delicious.  Somehow, rice just tastes better when you eat it with your hands.  We wandered around the fair, and found some really awesome things to buy.  And we took some pictures in a photo booth, it was really fun.  And it was nice to just see normal life, and be a part of it.  
Thursday:  Not a lot happened.  A big thing to do here in the Philippines is to match.  If you can match in any way shape or form, you do it.  It's adorable haha.  So Sister Villacorte went through my clothes to see what she had that was similar to hers, and then we went to our Zone Training Meeting in matching clothes.  Zone Training Meeting was really great.  We learned about the doctrine of foreordination.  Also, I don't think I've ever talked about how here in the Philippines, everyone just calls us "Sis".  It's the cutest thing in the world, if a member is close with us, or an investigator, they will just lovingly call us "sis".  It isn't casual or disrespectful, it is just so loving and probably one of my favorite things.  It also makes me think of Tina, which I of course love.  
Friday:  Everyone here always wants to guess where I'm from.  Everyone always asks where I'm from and I tell them America.  Then they ask me if I'm a "pure American".  It's kind of hard to explain that there isn't a real thing, because everyone came to America as immigrants at one point or another haha.  But the new thing here is that everyone has been guessing of the bat that I'm from Germany because apparently I don't look American.  I look very German.  I think it's just because I have brown hair and brown eyes.  If i was blonde haired and blue eyed they would think that.  But I always laugh, and tell them my Grandpa was born in Germany and that they are exactly right.  That night we had dinner with the Andersons to celebrate Sister Villacorte and Sister Minguez's birthday.  It was great to have some good home cooked American food and to catch up with the Andersons.  I kind of feel like they are just my adopted parents here.  If I have a question, I ask them.  If I am unsure about something, I ask them.  It's the best.  And, they give the best hugs ever.
Saturday:  I was cooking lunch, because somehow I have become the chef in the house!  And I realized how badly I long for a turkey sandwich and a dr pepper.  Alas, one day haha.  Sister Villacorte was looking through my pictures, and saw that there was snow, but it was sunny.  We had a really long conversation where I tried to explain to her that even though there was sun, it wasn't hot, it was cold.  She couldn't fathom the fact of sun not being hot.  And I don't blame her for that!  We always learn so much from each other haha.  
Sunday:  It was my one year mark since I was able to go through the temple for the first time.  The time just flies.  We had a brown out all day on Sunday, and our bathroom is in the back corner of the house with no windows, so it was pitch black.  So I decided to light some candles so I could see!  I had a lovely candle lit shower and the crack of dawn.  All the sisters made fun of me, they just showered in the dark!  We had a really cool investigator come to church named Renante.  He met me and Sister Bateman.  He called out to us and asked us if we were missionaries.  He told us that he was a Bible Baptist Missionary before, and I thought he was going to try to bible bash with us, but he was actually really nice.  Then when we were teaching one of his neighbors, he saw us walk by and joined in the lesson and then he came to church.  He is full of questions.  He threw all the hard questions at me, but he is willing to learn and he liked church a lot.  
Monday:  I woke up from a dream, that was in straight Visaya! We had some sisters staying at our house, so we had six of us that needed to shower in one shower before 8 in the morning.  Well, one of the sisters started to take a little too long, and we were going to run out of time.  So we took matters into our own hands and set up a little shower out back on our patio.  It was totally covered and blocked off, but I ended up having to shower outside. So that was exciting. It was kind of like a Japanese onsen all over again! We had a really good district meeting, and then we had a CSP where we just cleared a huge lot of land for a member in our ward.  
Tuesday:  Not a ton happened.  We taught Charlyn and she is doing well.  Oh!  We were driving down the highway, and I was sitting in the back of a trike when heavens only knows how, I look up to see the phone fall out of my bag and bounce down the highway. I just yelled "BROTHER! Turn around!"  I was so scared to see our poor little phone after it had bounced down the highway.  I ran out into the road to grab it, and our little nokia brick, you know, from like 1999 didn't have a single scratch.  That thing is indestructable!  
So now my friends, I would like to quote my dear long lost friend Bon Jovi...
"Whoa, we're half way there, whoa, livin on a prayer, take my hand and we'll make it I swear it.  Whoa, living on a prayer".
We are indeed halfway there.  Which is utter madness.  And as I've been thinking about it, and humming that song a little bit, I've realized how much I truly have been living on a prayer.  
I studied a great talk by Richard G Scott called "Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer".  Some thoughts that I really loved from it go as follows.  He is God.  And he has not only asked us, or invited  us, but commanded us to pray.  To Him.  Us, mere mortals, simple imperfect humans, can pray to Him and any time and He will listen. And He will answer.  And what's more, He asks us to call him Father.  Do we really realize how tender that truly is?  
There was a quote that says "Don't worry about your clumsily expressed feelings.  Just talk to your compassionate understanding father.  You are His precious child whom he loves perfectly and wants to help. As you pray, recognize that He is near and He is listening".  That's one thing I learned so much on my mission.  I can clumsily pray in visaya, especially at first, I just pieced words together, but I was able to feel peace and comfort as I imperfectly pieced sentences together.  
There was another quote that talked about how we need to be grateful that sometimes God lets us struggle for a long time before the answer comes.  Because our character will grow, and our faith will increase.  There is a realtionship between those two.  The greater our faith, the stronger our character.  The stronger our character, and increased character enhances our ability to exercise even greater faith.
I love D&C 45:3-5.  It's such a sweet reminder about our prayers.  Never lose sight of our advocate and reedemer as you walk after Him.  One imperfect step after another.  
I remembe rthinking that I was burdening God with my prayers.  Surely there wer people who needed Him more than I needed him.  And then I got on my mission.  I remember that first night in the MTC hitting me like a ton of bricks.  I was ALONE.  Where was my family?  Where were my friends?   I was alone with a bunch of strangers with no one to talk to, and I would be alone for a very long time.  I just cried and cried that first night.  And then I realized I did have someone I could talk to.  I realized that the only person I could talk to was my Heavenly Father.  My goodness, how I have learned to pray on my mission.  He's all I've got on my mission right now.  I've had many times where I've had to hit my knees, hard.  I've had some tear soaked prayers.  I've recieved some completely miraculous answers.  I've felt comforted.  I've felt peace.  I've felt forgiveness.  I've felt His love.  The only way I can do this, is through prayer.  I'm halfway there, and I am indeed, living on a prayer.  
I read a quote this week that I really liked, "Don't count the miles, count the 'I love you's' ".  I love you so much.  And I'm so grateful for the support and love you show me.  I miss you more than I can ever express.  But I love it here so much.  I'll talk to you soon.
Love, 
Sister Carlee Beyer

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

happy.


Dear Friends, we are now in November.  October is gone.  This is primarily concerning because in my head, I legitimately still think it is June.  Time is the most confusing concept in the entire world.  And it doesn't help that the weather is the exact same every single day.  I cannot wrap my mind  around the fact that it is November.  Missions are madness, it feels like eternities, yet at the same time, the days just blur into one.  Nobody gets it haha.  
This week was complete madness.  And as I looked through my last couple of weeklies, I realize that I've been slacking on good quality weekly emails.  So I solemnly swear to send a quality weekly right now.  
So in good old San Carlos, it is almost Pintaflores.  Which is a huge festival.  HUGE.  It means painted flowers.  They've been getting ready for it for weeks.  It's actually been this last week, and today is the last day of it.  After we finish emailing we are going with the Andersons to watch the big street parade they are doing for it.  The city has gone all out for this. It's been kind of cool to see.  Today, since it's pday we are going to explore and see what treasures we can find.  Last week we went over to the place where they are having a huge farmers market/state fair.  It was so much fun.  We're going to go again today because it will actually all be set up.  
Last Wednesday we were able to teach our investigator/IBD Charlyn. She is so great.  She actually  found us.  She walked up to Sister Bateman and I one day and asked us if we would teach her.  She reminds me so much of Janine, my recent convert from Carcar.  Charlyn is  18, she is  due any day now with a baby.  And if it's  a girl, she said she wants to name her Carlee haha.  (She  saw my name on my scriptures)  She is  so elect.  She learns so much and she loves the gospel.  She came to general conference and  loved it.  Her baptism is set for November 22nd.  She's so great.  We teach her three times a week, and we teach her at a members house.  The Pacaldos.  They are the ones who are constantly uploading millions of pictures of me to facebook (apparently haha).  Charlyn is really great.  She has such amazing faith.  She has a lot of trials, but she's strong.  That girl is tough as nails, and when she talks about this gospel, she just cries.  I love her so much.  
Thursday:  Sister Villacorte kicked my butt in language study again.  I love that dang companion of mine. I realized that I didn't say much about her last week.  She is 22, she is from a place called Kidapawan.  It's in Mindanao, which is south of here, and they speak Visaya there.  She is the youngest of nine kids, and she is the only  member of her family.  When she got transfer calls, she had no idea who I was.  But when she got here, this  is what she had gathered from talking to people, 1.  I was trained by Sister Passey.  2.  I'm really funny.  3. I  want a Filipina companion endlessly.  4. I cook.  So, apparently, that is what I'm known for in the mission hahaha. The last couple of weeks I've gotten endless emails congratulating me for getting a Filipina companion.  I love it.  I feel like Heavenly Father is  so incredibly aware of me this transfer.  I feel like he took all of my weaknesses, my anxieties, my fears, my insecurities, and then he just gave me the perfect companion for all of them. Sister Villacorte just came in and loved the heck out of me.  There is  this adorable Filipina culture habit (I'm  losing English, I have no idea how to explain that) where when you're walking down the road, you hold hands or link arms.  I realize that in American culture, that sounds strange, but it is so common here, and I love it.  When you cross the street you hold hands.  She is always putting her head on my  shoulder or holding onto my arm.  This girl just came in  and loved the heckout of me, and it has been  so good.  She serves the heck out of me too.  I can't keep  up with her.  She wakes up early to wash my shoes.  She's amazing.  Heavenly Father is so good to me.  Thursday we went out to Guadalupe.  We have found some amazing new people to teach.  The Benemeritos gave us a new referral, and we had Detche work with us that day.  Detche is a  branch missionary, and she should be getting her mission call  any week now.  She's so great.  
Friday: Not a lot happened.  It was Halloween, but they don't celebrate Halloween ehre on the 31st.  I missed the  Beyer Family Parties and SOUP.  And I remembered when Brayden didn't know how to say "spooky" and could only say "pookski" and then that made me happy all  day long haha.  
Saturday:  It's November!  It was Kalagkalag, which means All Souls Day, it's their version of Halloween.  There's lots of feasts, and they all go to the cemetaries and put out food and such.  It was madness.  We ate lunch at the Pacaldos, and then we started our fast.  It reminded me so much of my first fast sunday here, because my first fast sunday was easter.  Hot as heck, and punted all day long because of the holiday.  We walked miles!  And by 2:00 we had gone through all of our plans for the day, we had even made double plans just in case.  All of them were exhausted.  So we tracted until 8:00 haha.  THE LIFE.
Sunday was Sister Villacortes birthday.  We broke our fast and the Pacaldos invited us over to eat left overs for lunch. We had a really awesome area broadcast that night that we got to watch.  Elder Oaks spoke at it, it was amazing and so relatable.  
Monday: Not a lot happened.  Other than a fabulous story of a man brought out a  stool for me to sit on.  There was a lizard on it, I went to sweep the lizard off of the stool and it apparently did not like that.  It jumped off the stool andbooked it...directly up my skirt.  That dang lizard ran up my leg and I started screaming and jumping around trying to get the lizard OUT OF MY  SKIRT.  This my friends, this is the life of Sister Beyer.  
Tuesday: Not a lot happend, we got punted a ton this whole week because of the holiday and pintaflores.  But last night as Sister Villacorte and I were talking, she was asking me what foods we eat in America.  We had a hilarious conversation where I tried to explain  for 15 minutes what a casserole was.  We're learning so much from each other haha.  
I've been slacking off for many moons on a good study.  So here it goes. 
President and Sister McCurdy have been talking a lot lately about happiness.  So Idecided to study it out a little bit.  At our last conference Sister McCurdy gave a really good  workshop on happiness, and it made me think of my sweet family.  Firstly it made me think of my main man, Grandpa Gib.  I was reminicing on family dinners every Sunday.  Having him come over, and from the time I can remember, me running over and giving him a big hug.  Him hugging me back extra tight and greeting me with a "hi hun" and then me asking him how he was doing.  And his response has always been the exact same, every week.  "Good!  I'm always good".  Now that's a smart man.  He's never said anything contrary.  This 83 year old man has plenty he could  complain about I'm sure, but he chooses to be happy.  Which made me think of my sweet mom who has taught me my whole life the importance of  our attitude and our choices.  I can still hear her catch phrase, "It's the choices we make Carlee" and one of the biggest choices we make isour attitude.  I  wonder where she might have learned that from?  
Sister McCurdy talked about how we are on the path of happiness, the pursiut of happiness, Because we just keep moving forward and pursuing after it.  I've  recently been reading the book of mormon, and studying Nephi.  Man, I  love Nephi, he is such a study.  I came across the well known verse "men are that they might have joy" (2 nephi 2:25)  That they MIGHT have joy.  That might is in there because it is up to us!  And then in 2 Nephi 5:27,  "and it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness"  Now thiswasn't easy, they had to choose to live after it.  We are all aware of this story, but really think about it.  They left their home  and everything they had to journey through the wilderness for years.  They had many hardships.  They built a ship and crossed the great waters and were many times tossed along the waves of the sea.  Nephi's life is  multiple times threatened by his brothers, and in the chapter just before this, nephi's father dies and Nephi has to take his  family and flee from his brothers.  
Poor Laman and Lemuel, I hate to make the same comparrison that has been made countless times, but look at the striking difference here.  They went through the same trials, crossed the same plains andwaters andlook at the differences.  All because they chose to live after the manner of happiness.  Trials of course willcome, we won't becompletely happy 100% of the time.  But we go through hard things to better learn true happiness.  Remember the admonition of the Lord to "be of good cheer".  I love in 2 Nephi 5:11, it says "and the lord was with us"  The Lord is with us!  So be of good cheer!  Happiness is  in our hands, not in our circumstacnes,so choose to be happy. I thought of one of my very favorite talks, "An High Priest of Good Things to Come" and my favorite quote that has often got me through some very hard days on  my mission.  "Don't you give  up.  Don't you quit.  You keep walking.  You keep trying.  There is help and happiness ahead, a lot ofit.  You keep your chin up.  It will all be all right in the end.  Trust in God and believe in good things to come."
So let's choose to be happy.  I've learned a lot from these people, and I assure you that happiness is not in things.  It doesn't come from things.  Choose to be happy, and believe in good things to come. I love y ou all so much.  
Love, Sister Carlee Beyer