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Friday, January 30, 2009

30 January 2009

RoseE writes:

"Dearest All,

Most pressing news First:  we have three sisters here from Korea 'cuz the Seoul MTC got shut down.  They're great . . . but the whole floor smells like KIMCHI!!  They smuggled it through CUSTOMS!!  Fortunately, somebody left a packet of hibiscus cherry tea in the giveaway box, so I'm breathing the steam as I write.

The tea's just for being delicious, because my cold is easing off, almost gone.  I'm still hacking a little, but not nearly so bad.  I am, however, humming in my sleep.  I can hear myself doing it.  I'll be mostly asleep and then I'll hear this "Mmmmmm" right next to my head and it wakes me up again.  Weird!  Did I ever do this before?

Korean is coming along swimmingly.  Swimmingly upriver, of course, but I'm having a much easier time of it than some of the others in my district.  Avatar* is helping a lot.  Really.  The word for 'Dad' is 'Appa' . . . and it's written in Hangul like this:  [sorry, I can't duplicate it, but it has six sticks that stick up throughout the word]  If you turn it upside down, it has six feet.  I don't know if this is an inside joke or what, but it's helping me remember.  Also, I think 'Haru' means 'day'.  I think.  Unfortunately, Koreans can't say z's, so the names of the entire Fire Nation are out.*

Bit [Bethe] and Bug [Teancum] have asked what the MTC is like.  Well, I'll tell you.  You get out of bed at EXACTLY 6:30 (a minute early is selfishness, a minute late is laziness) and have half an hour to get ready (stockings on) and get up to your classroom to quietly study your scriptures for 45 min.  Then down to the cafeteria for 30 min of breakfast.  Then (if it's Friday, which it is), you go change into pants and do 'service', which means 'chores'.  (stockings off!)  Service is great; you can let your brain disengage for awhile.  Then back to class (stockings on) for lessons with Sister Lebaron until lunch.  Korean practice all through lunch.  Then four more hours of class with Brother Thiel.  Then an hour of gym time (stockings off!) practicing Korean while doing two miles on the elipticals.  Then dinner (stockings on) and hours of study, on Korean, teaching, and teaching in Korean, until planning at 9.  From 9:30 to 10:30 is 'prep time', which today is a letter and a cup of tea (stockings off, set on fire, and thrown out the window).  10:30 is bed, on pain of eternal damnation if you stay up.  So I hum myself to sleep.  It's sooo crazy, but I'm starting to enjoy it.  At least there's a cup of tea and a cookie at the end of the day.

I'm faithfully taking my vitamins, though the new ones are a little bit sketch (the Market Square sticker made me laugh my head off).  And drinking lots of water and eating lots of salad.  Sister Lee, Sister Choi, and the other Sister Lee liked the chocolate chip cookies and were very excited that my mom had made them.  (This took some explaining; I'm still shaky on verbs like 'make' and I can't do past tense at all.  But we got there in the end.)

I'm reading Jesus the Christ before bed.  After 12 hours of reading Preach My Gospel, the complicated sentence patterns and fascinating, grandiose words are nourishment to my poor brain, which is swimming with Korean and has not been denied literature for more than twenty-four hours its entire life.  Thank goodness for [James E.] Talmage.  It's amazing how action-packed Jesus the Christ can seem.

And there's 10:30.  I love you all!  Have fun in Europe!"

*Avatar is an animated series about many things, but including a flying bison named Appa which has 6 legs. Involved in the plot are four nations:  the Air Nation, the Earth Nation, the Water Nation, and the Fire Nation.  Each nation can manipulate their own element.  Of course the Fire Nation are the bad guys, and all their names have z's in them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Letter dated 25 January 2009

RoseE writes:

"Chere Maman,

The Milanos went over well. My companion and coordinating sister are [?]ly devouring them as I write. I'm most excited about the Vitamin C--I've been chugging two orange juices a meal to dose myself, and it was becoming very old very fast. (I'm eating a lot of salad. I don't know why. I'll be so healthy I won't know what to do with myself if this keeps up.)

I'm glad that my blog is so successful, but unfortunately I can't read a word of it. The computers here will only access and, and missionaries are no longer allowed off campus except to go to the temple. Maybe I'll have a little more freedom in S. Korea, but I doubt it. Word on the street is that President Jennings is very strict--nylons-in-August strict.

If you want to send me my blog comments (and I'd love to read them), try It's a website where you can type out an e-mail to a missionary, and they'll print it and deliver it to the MTC free of charge. Save you all that wrist cramping.

I'm feeling better, though my head's still feeling a little pressurized, partly from the Korean and partly from the cold or whatever.

Sister Copeland's sinus infection is starting to recede due to the Super!antibiotics she got from the clinic here.

I'm reading History of the Church in my 4.5 minutes of pre-bed free time every day.

My district has taken to singing four-part acapella harmonies late at night when we're done studying. Elders Gygi and Lalatin started it--they're excellent singers.

Today we did our first stint in the phone center, following up on folks who have ordered free Books of Mormon or DVDs or such. I didn't achieve much or talk to anyone interesting, but Elder Conley got three referrals and Elder Gygi one. . . though he also got chewed out about polygamy by someone else.

. . .

You have no idea how hard it is to finish a letter in this place. It's now Sunday. I'm coughing constantly, like the tragic heroine of a Victorian novel, despite eating decongestants and Vitamin C like candy. But other than being on the verge of death, life's good.

I need to inform Bethe and Bug (and Nora) that the Korean word for gibberish, like "blah, blah, blah," is Momo. Let them make what they may of that.

Dad, write me again and tell me about your mission--your investigators, your companions, your adventures. I'd like to know. Maman, tell me about the missionaries who taught you. One was called Elder Garfield, right? I remember so little of that story.

When I get to Korea I'll get new tags, entirely in [Korean], so my current super-handy magnetized tag will no longer be useful. So if you would keep an eye out for those magnets . . .

Et Maman, il y a une petite boite que j'ai oubliee dans le WC des filles--creme de jarelle pour le visage. Puis-je l'avoir? Merci mille fois.

Pictures are included. I love you!


I was going to make digital images of the pictures RoseE sent along with this letter, but last night I dropped my (new) camera on the floor and broke it. So that will have to wait until I can get the warranty people to replace it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2nd P-Day: Email to Todd

We got up early this morning to do a session. We were late, so we did the NEXT session, and I had such a goshawful coughing fit in the middle of it that I almost had to leave. Some sweet sister gave me a cough drop, though, and I was only a mild annoyance after that.

But Sister Linford made me go to the health clinic anyway. Someday we will have a P-day that does not involve an hour in that clinic doing puzzles. (I'm fine. Just a cold. Don't have strep. Am hopping myself up on Ibuprofen to keep the swelling down in my throat so I can sing in choir tonight.)

Yes, we finally made it to choir. It's phenomenal. I love it. Do the MTC devotionals get broadcast anywhere? It's not like I can check my local listings anymore . . .

I will not buy the carryon. I will happily squander my allotted money on Reese's.

Did you write me another letter? Really? I'm so excited! (No, really. I think getting that first letter from you was the best moment of my mission so far.)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

RoseE writes:

"I have made it to my first P-day [Preparation Day, sort of a day off].  Yeah, Tuesday.  It was a long week.  I'm in okay shape, though.  My companions are having trouble with the ten-thirty-to-six-thirty sleeping schedule, but 6:30 is not far off where I was used to getting up, anyway, so that hasn't been too much of a problem for me.  Despite the insistence that "you will never sleep in once on your mission," it is 6:39 and my companions are still out.  Sister Copeland has the mother of all sinus infections, poor thing, and has barely been sleeping at all.  Sister Linford is also pretty drained.  I'm defying mission rules by letting them sleep late, but this is one defiance I don't feel belligerent about.  Unlike all my other minor rebellions, like bringing a shoulder bag to meetings where shoulder bags are forbidden but you're required to have PMG, your scriptures, a notebook, pens, and your planner--without a bag to carry them in.  However, I'm a little tired of being belligerent--it's not cheering me up or helping me feel the Spirit or learn Korean--so I'm trying to pipe down and do as I'm told.  My attitude issues are not helping the people in Korea who need the gospel.  Plus I'm sick of crying, either from the Spirit or from frustration, without Kleenex handy.  

I'm doing really well so far with Korean.  I was the first person in our district to pray in it--I'm sure I slaughtered it, but whatever.  Our teacher insisted we say all our prayers in Korean.  I was strickly obedient to this rule until I collapsed into tears on Saturday night and prayed in English (to blazes with Brother Thiel, I needed to talk to my Heavenly Father) and Sis. Steinmeyer (our coordinating sister) told me that, um, you can't take everything that Bro. Thiel says too literally.  She also fed me lots of twizzlers, which helped.  But I can now pray from memory, without notes, so some good came of it, I guess.

Our district is wonderful.  There are three companionships of elders, all of whom are good sports about landing in a district that's one-third girls.  They're endlessly popping up out of their chairs when we enter the classroom or sit down at their cafeteria table--I'm trying to coordinate things so we make them stand as little as possible.  They're mostly mature and focused for nineteen-year-olds . . . mostly . . . and some of them are remarkably good singers.  They're all going to either Busan or Teijun--Elder Draper has made up a Busan dance, complete with mission gang sign, that he busts out whenever he feels it's appropriate.

I think I'm getting a sore throat.  Dang it all."


"Okay, so I thought of some more stuff to say.

Please send Cat's address.  I don't have it.

Most of the other sisters here are sending home long lists of things they forgot to pack.  I am reasonably well-supplied, being an excellent packer due to the training of my excellent-packer parents, so I do not have a huge list.  But I do have some care package ideas, if you needed some.  The tag magnet I bought on Wednesday is sheer genius, so if you happened across another one for my other tag, or two more for my companions, or both, I would be pleased.  Not a crisis, though, just an idle thought.  Chapstick is never a bad idea.

My other concern is this:  carryon.  With all my Korean books, if my bag didn't clear 50 lb before, it most certainly does now.  Plus the sisters here inform me that when we go to Korea, we'll stay a couple of days with Pres. [and Sister] Jennings training and recovery from jetlag while our luggage is shipped out to our areas.  So a carryon-sized bag would be a good plan. . . .

In response to Mom's questions, I have two RM [returned missionary] teachers:  Bro Thiel (like Teal, the color) and Sis. LeBaron.  I like Sis. LeBaron best.  Bro. Thiel is scatterbrained in the extreme.  One or two of the cafeteria full-times [employees] remembers me, which is nice, and my knowledge of the cafeteria systems and layout has been helpful to my companions.

You'll have to print and send pictures to me--unless you post them on, I can't read them.  I'm making some prints today, and I will slip them in with my next letter.

Dad, I'm keeping your letter in my journal forever and ever.  Just so you know that.  

Our district leader, Elder Kerrigan, is wonderful--very considerate and responsible.  I'm doing my best to support him.  Rules are a lot easier to follow when it's just poor Elder Kerrigan squirming as he tries to hide from us when telling us 'no' about anything.  He's keeping an eye on sick Sister Copeland, too.

I have a sore throat and am chugging industrial quantities of orange juice.  Once again, that work schedule shot my immune system all to heck.

I'd love to keep writing, but P-day is very short and I have to go wash my clothes.

Love you


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It appears that every missionary gets 30 minutes of computer time per week. RoseE got hers just a few minutes ago, and here is what she wrote (you can tell it's RoseE writing because it's in quotation marks):

"Dear Mum,

I have finally reached my half-hour of weekly allotted e-mail time. This is my e-mail. Not catchy, I know, but it gets the job done.

I wrote you a big huge letter today so I won't retread old ground here. You'll see it in a couple of days, I guess.
. . .

Got Bug's[Teancum's] letter today. Tell him that if only one person has died so far in "And Then There Were None," he's just getting started.

My first day at the MTC was good (the third day was lousy, but the first was good). I think I've caught some stupid thing, 'cuz my head hurts.

I'd type you something in Korean but the computer does not appear to be set up to do that.

Love you!


That's all she wrote.

Care package (with Vitamin C) going out today.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

14 January 2009

"Dearest, Darlingest Momsy & Popsicle,

Well here I am in the MTC! I'm one of a threesome, with Sister Linford, from Alpine, and Sister Copeland, from Georgia. Sister Linford is sweet and polite, a European Studies major midway through BYU. Sister Copland is brash, sassy and funny, is also 23 and has also graduated. She's half-Korean, too, which is helpful. Sister Linford and I have been picking her brain all afternoon.

We three are sharing a long, skinny room with a Japanese companionship who left welcoming post-its on our cupboard doors. Whe we arrived, our beds were all neatly madeand covered in welcome gifts of candy and Korean hymnals, courtesy of the other yet-to-be-met Korean sisters. It was a good beginning. We also ran into our floor mom, Mama Shirley (she said she gets sick of everyone calling everyone else "Sister" all the time), who seems nice as well.

We got MONSTROUS stacks of books--scriptures and dictionaries and PMG [Preach My Gospel] all in Korean, and planners and class materials and who-knows-what-all. I had to find my room carrying all this stuff, and I ended up lost in the next building over, full of Spanish classrooms, before a nice teacher pointed my bewildered self in the right direction. Then I found Sister Linford, also overburdened and bewildered, and we were lost together.

Right now we're waiting for it to be closer to dinnertime, so we can go find the bookstore (maybe; it's so disorienting in this complex) and buy Sister Copeland a book bag before we eat. My companions are taking naps in the meanwhile, but I am still too jazzed to sleep. I'm gonna read my handbook and learn some more about the crazy life I will be leading for the next two and a half months.

[Here, RoseE adds something written in Korean characters with an exclamation point.]


Here is a virtual tour of the MTC, to get an idea of her surroundings.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

RoseE Reports for Duty

Cat and Sister Hadden
Provo, Utah MTC

At 1100 hours 1/14/09, RoseE reported for duty at the Provo, UT MTC.  She only brought one bag, packed with all the things she would need for the next 18 months.  We all went into the building and RoseE was issued her ID badge with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints printed on it in Korean, under SISTER HADDEN in English.  

We entered a huge hall packed with other missionaries and their families.  We were short film telling us what life at the MTC would be like.  The mission president's wife gave a little talk welcoming us all, followed by the mission president himself.  They both said they would love and take good care of our missionaries.  

One of our instructions were to write weekly, but not to tell the missionary in the first letter that her room, automobile, and iPod had been given away.  He recommended we use the band-aid method of parting:  pull it off quick and it won't hurt so long.  

Then the missionaries were asked to go out the door to the right, and the families were asked to leave through the left-hand door.  We all hugged her, and we all cried.  I make no exceptions to this.  Tissue boxes were strategically stationed throughout the hall, and were very popular.  It was extremely painful, but we turned our backs on each other and walked away through our separate doors.  We walked out of the building down a hallway studded with more tissue boxes and garbage cans.  

She is off on her big adventure!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Missionary Farewell

This is the Sunday before RoseE leaves for the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT, so this is the Sunday designated for her to speak in Sacrament Meeting (Sacrament Meeting is the meeting wherein we partake of the sacrament and remember the sacrifice of our Savior for us).

Lucky for us, she didn't think she would remember the talk if she just put down some notes, so she wrote the whole thing out. Thus we have it, word for word, to pass on to posterity (and/or friends and relations). She was scheduled to speak for 20 minutes, and managed to make it to 10 before ending. The Bishop got to fill in the extra time.

Here it is:

"I floundered in uncertainty for several days after the bishop gave me the topic for my talk this morning. As those of you who come to Sunday School with my family might have noticed, we Haddens have a hard time processing gospel concepts in the abstract. If it doesn't have a parallel in a superhero movie, we just don't get it. So I racked my brains to think of a good movie, book, TV show, or historical event to which I could relate my topic of 'adversity and hope', to give me some new and interesting insight to help me fill twenty minutes. Unfortunately, for the first time that I can remember, my entire movie collection failed me. This turn of events was so worrisome and distracting that I misplaced my scriptures . . . again . . . and didn't manage to catch up on my reading until midway through the week. And, of course, that's when I found the story I needed. So apparently reading your scriptures blesses your life--who knew? In his infinite mercy, the Lord showed me a phenomenal story, one filled with action and drama, fantastic characters and gut-wrenching tragedy. Awesome story. They should make a movie of it.

What I didn't understand when setting out to find the perfect story for my talk was that the relationship between hope and adversity is pretty action-packed. In our modern parlance, 'hope' is a boring word. It's passive. We hope that things will happen when we don't have any control over whether they happen or not. We hope the weather will be nice tomorrow, hope the traffic won't be bad, hope we won't get the 'flu. We don't do anything about our hopes. We can't. We live in an uncertain world, and we're used to having our hopes disappointed. Things just go wrong sometimes, and our passive hope accepts that. Everything lets us down in the end.

But back in the day, when language in general was more exciting, 'to hope in' something was to place complete confidence in it; to be sure. The scriptures still use this expression, even though today's literary circles consider it archaic. In the scriptures, when adversity pushes, hope pushes back. Hope is an active force, changing people for the better, overcoming trials and challenges. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, in our last General Conference, spoke of "the infinite power of hope . . . to fill our lives with happiness"1 and Nephi exhorts us to "Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men."2

The Prophet Ether explained it thus: "Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God."3 The promises of God are the only things in our uncertain existence sure enough for us to hope in . . . to hope 'with surety', as Ether says. He goes on to describe the changes that hope can bring to our lives: "which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God."4 When we have faith in God and learn to believe in him as the one true, sure thing, then we can hope with surety in his promises. And that hope makes us better people: we understand God's requirements for our lives, and happily comply with them while looking forward to the rewards he has assured us we can win. There are no outside variables, no unknown factors. Elder Joseph B Wirthlin assures us that "Not even death can take from us the eternal blessings promised by a loving Heavenly Father."5 There is no bad weather or scheduling mix-up or red tape that can keep our Father in Heaven from fulfilling his promises to us, just as there is no good reason why we cannot fulfill our promises to him. The only factor that decides if we will receive those blessings is our own behavior. All the adversity in the world would not be enough to stop us if we chose to hope in the promises of the Lord.

The story I found is the tale of a hero named Moroni, 6 who reads this very same verse from the Book of Ether. At that particular point in his life, Moroni is experiencing the kind of adversity that makes our very worst experiences look like a joke. His father, Mormon, the great general and master historian, is dead . . . along with everyone else that he has ever known his whole entire life. He has watched hundreds of thousands of his people be overrun on the battlefield. The few who have survived are being picked off, one by one. He has no home to return to, no family or friends to seek out, nowhere to go except 'away'. He is so unsure of his own immediate survival that every time he sits down to write something he ends it with a 'final farewell,' just in case. He is fleeing for his life, which would probably be a lot easier if he weren't lugging around solid gold books and a number of other heavy, awkward artifacts. And in his limited free time, he's summarizing the Book of Ether, the record of some other guy who outlived his civilization and was left to record the end of his entire world . . . not peppy reading at the best of times, and considerably worse in the circumstances. I don't think we can begin to imagine how truly alone he is--just him and a long-dead Jaredite pen-pal in the whole world.

Moroni could have despaired. He could have just given up and concentrated on being miserable. I think that would have been a perfectly reasonable response to all that he'd suffered. Even going crazy as a loon would have been understandable. I wouldn't have had a word to say against him. There's only so much any one human being can be expected to take.

But instead of surrendering to despair, Moroni chooses its opposite: he chooses to hope. In these bleak, horrific moments, he writes the magnificent piece of scripture that is Mormon chapter 9. He writes of a loving God, a god of miracles and life and forgiveness. He writes of repentance and faith. He writes with conviction of sure, unshakable promises.

"Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him, even unto the ends of the earth."7 He writes those words after watching the destruction of his people, though I don't doubt he'd pleaded with the Father for their lives. His hope in the promises of the Lord continues sure and strong. He has already witnessed their fulfillment: the Lord had prophesied that the Nephites would fall away and be destroyed, and so they have been. And in that tragedy, Moroni sees an assurance of God's faithfulness in keeping all his words. He looks ahead to other promises--the promise that the records of his people will be preserved, the promise that the faithful will be exalted.

Our adversity, too, is a witness of God's faithfulness. He has promised us that we will be tested and tried throughout our mortal lives. And though we may not like the challenges we are called to face, we can find comfort and strength in the assurance that since this has happened like the Lord promised, his other, more positive promises will be fulfilled as well.

Moroni has the opportunity to see, even in the midst of his suffering, the fulfillment of the Lord's promises to him and to his ancestors. In Mormon 8:35 he assures us, "Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing." "Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words."

These verses creep me out a little every time I read them--I keep expecting to turn around and find Moroni reading over my shoulder. But this week, I thought about what Moroni must have known, and what it must have meant to him. He was able to see the fulfillment of his sure hope: he saw the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. He saw how many hearts would be turned, how many lives would be changed, how many testimonies would be built upon the words that he wrote. Many centuries later, he had the privilege of bringing to light the record that he lugged all the way to New York. Moroni's hope in the Lord gave him the strength to overcome unimaginable adversity, and the Lord blessed him beyond measure both in his mortal life and in the eternities. And if the Lord will fulfill such great promises to Moroni, surely he will fulfill his promises to us as well, if we follow that great prophet's example and heed the words of our modern-day prophets, who exhort us to "Never give in. Never surrender. Never allow despair to overcome your spirit. Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel."8

May we, in our adversity, learn to place our hope in the promises of the Lord, that we may be counted among the faithful saints and receive the blessings that have been set aside for those who trust in Him. I add my testimony to that of Moroni, who added his to the record of Ether, that God's promises are steadfast and eternal and are the only things in which we may safely and surely hope. And these things I testify in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

1 A Perfect Brightness of Hope, Deiter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, November 2008.

2 Nephi: 2 Ne. 31: 20 A prophet of God who lived on this continent about 600 B.C.

3 Ether: Ether 12: 4 Ether was also a prophet of God who lived on this continent.

4 Ether 12: 4

5 Come What May and Love It, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensigh, November 2008.

6 Moroni: A prophet of God living on this continent about 300 B.C.

7 Morm. 9: 21

8 A Perfect Brightness of Hope, Deiter F. Uchtdorf, Ensign, November 2008.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Missionary Attitude

RoseE wrote this in her personal blog, and I stole it for this because it is a peek inside her head on how she feels about serving a mission. Eventually. Read to the end.

"So I quit my job last night.

Said goodbye to the theater. Not a permanent goodbye, because they just rehauled the payroll system and during the changeover all checks are paper and must be picked up (great timing there), but as far as working goes, as far as one-in-the-morning slogs, as far as getting covered in foul-smelling melted butter and being scorched by exploding cheese bags . . . yeah, done.

The cheese bag thing was in honor of my leaving. See, nacho cheese comes in bags, and dispenses by its own weight, not a pump or anything. So when there's very little cheese left in the bag, it doesn't come out. So we put a second bag of cheese on top to push the rest of the cheese out of the first bag. And as I'm trying to dispense some cheese . . . well, it was going slowly, so I pushed down on the top bag to force the cheese out of the bottom bag, and the cap popped off the top bag and shot one-hundred-and-fifty-degree pseudo-cheese substitute straight into the air and all over my arm and shirt. Eeew. Then OWWWW! And then sprint to the sink to rinse it off.

I got revenge on the universe by calling everyone else 'Exploding Cheesebag' for the rest of the night. I even answered the phone like that. And I chased Alex through the stand to make him give me the sanitzier back, which was neither mature nor professional nor safe, but it was my last night so I didn't care. So that was fun. And I will state for the record that before the cheese incident, my shirt was CLEAN and I was returning it CLEAN and it is not my fault the darn thing is covered in cheese now. Life goes on.

Really. It goes on, reckless and heady. Even with my afternoons free, I'm barely going to have the time to throw my luggage together before scrambling down to Provo and into the MTC. And that's the way I like it, really. Every momentous change in my life has been in the midst of frenzied busyness, with minimal ceremony and very little time to ponder or regret.

I once told my friend Avram that I was looking forward to serving a mission, because it would be an adventure. He looked at me with that stern disapproval RMs are so good at and informed me that if I was serving a mission just to have an adventure, I was going for the wrong reasons. I understand why he said that--a mission is for the love of the Lord, not to be a tourist. But I was never quite able to articulate what I meant by adventure. When I went to Lac du Bois for the first time, that was an adventure. I was scared, yes. Frustrated, yes. Homesick, yes. But it was an adventure. I was stepping out of my world to live by choice in a completely different place, a completely different life, that wouldn't last forever and had to be savored, every second.

When I went away to college, I was NOT in the mood for an adventure. I was scared, frustrated, and homesick, and just plain miserable. There was no openness to new experience, no willingness to learn this new way of life. Just the fear and the loneliness and the self-pity. Thankfully, this got better, but the first few months were rough.

So an adventure isn't really about the event . . . it's about how you approach it. Everything's an adventure. But it's only fun if you charge into it as the spunky, resourceful heroine. Open your eyes. Learn. Experience. Become more than you were when you began. I want my mission to be an adventure. No time to be scared. Never look back. Love every minute, particularly the awful ones. They make the best stories, after all.

I got cards last night from my twin-cousins, Crystal and Camille. Fairwell cards (sic). Serving the Lord aside, it's quite something to be a hero to one's younger cousins and little brother. I could get used to it."