Monday, March 31, 2014

Adele in Cuernavaca


It's Hermana Durham...or should I say Adele. This week, I had 2 different people tell me I look like Adele. I have NO clue what they are thinking. It's only because we have the same skin tone and light eyes. Half the time I look super gross because I'm sweating my face off. But maybe this can work to my advantage. If they think I'm famous, then maybe they'll want to listen to what I have to say. OR maybe I could go Gladys Knight status and hold a concert pretending I'm Adele. Oh the possibilities...

A lot of people comment on how pale I am. Mostly they tell me that I should wear a hat or sunscreen. But the best comment was from a member in our ward, Hermana Judith. She is hilarious. The other day we were leaving her house and she asked if I was wearing white socks! I couldn't tell if she was joking or not but she was laughing so I'm guessing she was. Then she told me my skin matched my shirt (which was off white). hahahaha Thanks, Hermana. I guess I don't realize how odd I must look here. BUT, although it is faint, I am getting a shoe tan line.

Also, the bugs had a feast on my legs this week. I felt like I was being eaten alive. I had bug bites all over my legs...and they looked like welts. We had a ward activity and one member tried giving me bug spray because she saw my legs. I told her I had some but it doesn't work very well. They've calmed down now, though.

We are really trying to work with the ward to get references of people to teach. Contacting on the street is great and all, but no one we meet wants to come to church on Sunday. I know there are people here that are prepared to hear the gospel, we just need to find them. I really think the members are key to that. 

We ate dinner with a member yesterday. She is a convert and less active and is coming back to church. She is super awesome! She was telling us about the family history sunday school class she is going to and how excited she is to do the family history and temple work for her parents. She has never been to the temple but plans on going when she gets all the information. It got me so excited about teaching people the plan of salvation and how we can be with our families forever. What a message of hope! We have the authority to seal families together for eternity. People who didn't have a chance to hear the message of the gospel on earth will have a chance in heaven. 

I watched the General Women's broadcast in Spanish. I understood less than half of what was said but what I understood, I liked. I really liked the video they showed (mostly because it has no words but also because it was super cute. When President Eyring got up I just started crying! I couldn't understand what he was saying but I know he is an apostle of the Lord. I can't wait to watch General Conference this week (I'm pretty sure Im going to watch it in English!) and to hear from the voices of living prophets and apostles! Everyone should watch it!

Although I still can't communicate as I would like, I love these people. Some days are super frustrating because nobody wants to listen. It's sad because I know this gospel will change lives. We have the secret to true happiness!!! Little by little we will get our message across. 

I know this gospel is true. I know that everyday I'm being supported in this work. I couldn't do this on my own. I know that God loves all His children. I know that Christ is the Savior of the world. This is His true and complete gospel! 

I love you all! Thanks for your support!


Hermana Durham

Monday, March 24, 2014


So guess what...I'm in Mexico. And missions are totally as hard as everyone said. The MTC should definitely be more of a boot camp to get you ready for all the hills you have to climb. Also, they tell you to look your best everyday. That's not happening in Mexico. Sorry..
But first, let's start from the beginning of the week. I arrived on Monday night after a full day of travel. I tried sleeping on the plane but yeah...that didn't happen. We were greeting by President and Hna. Kusch and their assistants at the airport. I gave Hna. Kusch a hug and almost started to cry. I was so happy to be there! FINALLY!

We took a bus to the mission offices where most of the Hermana's stayed. Guess who I met? Hermana Junca...the missionary I blog stalked faithfully before coming. She is friends with Brooklyn and we bonded over our mutual friend and the fact that I already knew all about her mission life. haha. She is super cool and told me that she knew who my trainer was and that it was a good thing. That definitely put my mind at ease. 

Tuesday, we hung around the offices for a while until it was time to go to the chapel for interviews and to find our where we were going. I met with President Kusch. I love him and Hna. Kusch so much. He was born not too far from where Pop was born and grew up in So Cal until he moved to No. Cal after they were married. I asked him if he was a Dodgers fan and he said 'You know....I am but when I moved to San Fran, it was easier to be a Giants fan.' That killed me a little inside. But he said that he still has Dodger blue in his vains and that the last thing they did before they moved to Idaho was go to a Dodgers game. We talked a little about the greatness of Vinn Scully and then he gave me my assignment. I was assigned to the Civac zone in the Cuauhnahuac B area (I think that is how you spell it) with Hermana Garcia. AND Hermana Martinec. Yes, I'm in a trio again. I almost laughed with President told me because I had prayed that I wouldn't be in a trio again and then took it back in my prayers because I knew that if I prayed for something not to happen, it would happen. And of course it did. I don't know if that makes sense but's a good thing. Both Hermanas are awesome and I have learned a lot from them already.

After we met, we headed back to our area, dropped my stuff off and headed to the chapel to meet with our mission leader. He didn't end up coming, but I got to meet some members who are awesome. Also, I started realizing that my spanish was super limited. I wanted to communicate with them and I couldn't say much. They were super nice and friendly, though. 

A little about my companions. Hermana Garcia is from Mapleton, UT and speaks fluent Spanish and English. I am so grateful for that. SERIOUSLY. She is awesome.  She is 22 so that is nice that she is a little older like me. She really knows how to be a missionary and I'm excited to learn more from her. Hermana Martinec is 19 and from LAS VEGAS just like me. I think there are 4 missionaries from Vegas here in the mission. She is cool and is finishing her training with Hna. Garcia. She has been here for 6 weeks. She is from the Sunrise area. 

The next day we hit the ground running. It's a little bit of a blur what happened in the last week. I honestly feel like the MTC was a year ago but it was only a week ago that left. I heard 'Guerita' many times that first day. I'm glad Amada told me what that meant before I got here! 

I'm sure mom is dying to know about my living conditions. haha.. I got lucky. I hear my house is probably one of the nicest in the whole mission. And it is very nice. I have yet to encounter a cockroach in the house. We have some ants but they are small so whatever. I have a toilet seat and a shower door. Yeah, I'm living the good life over here. I also haven't had diarrea yet! Just in case you were wondering. I haven't had anything weird and the first thing Hma Kusch gave us when we got on the bus on Monday night was a package of pepto-bismal that we were suppose to take every morning for the first week. I have been diligent in that effort so hopefully my insides will be happy. But I also know that it's only a matter of time...

Also, it is so hot. This is their 'summer' here and I sweat SO MUCH EVERYDAY. I wish I brought more shirts I can wear without undershirts. If anyone finds shirts like that, could you please send them to Mexico for me? Thanks. Just kidding...but seriously. It's hot and we walk everywhere. Don't worry, mom...I wear sunscreen everyday. I have started to see a slight different in shade of pale on my arms, though. That is exciting. Maybe I will be tan in 18 months. I'm highly doubting that but a girl can dream...

We are fed by the members. I am in a ward and we have another set of sisters in the ward, too. It{s a pretty big area so it's split. I've been in some pretty humble houses and I've also been in some pretty nice house. We have a good mix of both.

About our investigators. We have a few progressing but it's really hard to get them to church. The only investigator that came to church yesterday doesn't want to accept a baptismal date. We are working on it. I've helped in teaching some parts of the lessons and it's always very basic and simple. Man, learning a new language is frustrating. We found a two families on Saturday and are hoping they keep progressing because we know this gospel will bless their lives.

I think yesterday was the hardest day for me so far. At church, I really wanted to talk with the members, understand what they were saying, etc. but I felt incapable of doing that. My Spanish is so limited. I know I've only been here for a week, but I feel like I should be able to speak fluently (I understand that is crazy). During consejo del barrio, they asked that I introduce myself. I went after the other two new missionaries in the ward and they are both fluent spanish speakers. So I somehow choked out 'Hola, Soy Hermana Durham. Soy de Las Vegas. No hablo espaƱol muy bien pero estoy tratando' without crying (which I was close to doing all day). During our lesson with the family who fed us comida that day, I started crying when I was trying to expain that Dios es nuestro Padre Celestial (God is our Heavenly Father). I hope I played if off as though I was feeling the spirit but I'm not quite sure I did. I was feeling so bad about myself! I have explained that concept before but for some reason I was just feeling self-conscious.We were walking to our next appointment and my feet were hurting and so was my ego. I was crying walking behind my companions thinking, 'what am I doing here. I have no idea how to be a missionary...especially speaking spanish' We went to have a noche de hogar (family home evening) with a family in our ward and a menos activo. I was so worried about my Spanish but they were so helpful and loving. I gave a spiritual thought and again I started to cry. This time it was a little bit because of frustration but also gratitude for this family who was so accepting and helpful. The mom, Silvia, is amazing and told me that her house was my house and that she will be my 'mama' here and gave me this big hug that made me feel so much better. Her daughter is a RM and is super awesome. Her boyfriend just got baptized and one of the missionaries that taught him was Hna. Marx...Brad's cousin. I haven't met her yet and she probably doesn't know I exist but I feel like I have a connection with her. Haha. 

Anyway, I love Mexico. It is certainly different than what I'm used to in America, but the people are great. I'm trying really hard to not think so much about how bad my feet hurt (by the thighs better be huge and muscular after this because I'm literally climbing mountains...maybe more like big hills, every day.) and more about what the Lord wants for these people. He loves them and I can feel that. I already love them so much.

THis gospel is true. I most definitely would NOT be here doing what I'm doing every day if I didn't know that with all my heart. There is no way. But this is the work of the Lord. He wants all of His children to return to live Him. It's not easy, this is hard work. Not just being a missionary, but being a member of the church. But if we keep moving forward every day with faith and hope, we will see miracles.

I love you all!! Thanks for all the support. I can feel your prayers. I hope you can feel mine. 

Con amor,

Hermana Kylie:) 

The only picture I took this and my trainer, Hna. Garcia. Also, the last day I wore real make up. haha

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Letter from the President

March 19, 2014

Dear Durham Family,

We are happy to let you know that your daughter has arrived safe and sound in the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission. She has been assigned to serve in the Cuaunahuac Area in the Civac Zone in Cuernavaca.  Her trainer is Sister Garcia.We are grateful to be able to serve with her in the work of the Lord.
This will be a time of much service and work that will bring growth and learning for your daughter.  We hope that her experience here will strengthen her testimony and prepare her to be a good wife, mother and future leader in the church.  Her experiences in the mission field will contribute to her development as a faithful and righteous servant of the Lord.
Your love and support will do much to lift and bless your missionary.  We hope you will write her regularly, encouraging her to do her best.
Together with this letter you will find a picture that was taken the first day that Sister Durham was with Sister Kusch and me.    
We thank you for the love and support that you will give to your daughter throughout her mission.  This is the work of the Lord and each day we see evidence of that in the lives of our missionaries and those they teach.  We know your family will be greatly blessed because of your daughter’s righteous missionary service.

President Bruce C. Kusch
Mexico Cuernavaca Mission

Adios MTC!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOM!! I hope you have a special day! I wish I could be there with you but just know I'm thinking of you! AND I WILL CALL YOU TOMORROW!

Well, I'm in my last 24 hours here at the MTC. I can't really believe that I'll be in Mexico TOMORROW. WHAT?! How did this happen? I weighed me suitcases just barely...I'm at 50.2 lbs with both of them. Hopefully they don't gain weight overnight.

Not much has happened over the last few days since I last emailed, except that I've packed up all of my belongings. We have in-field orientation on Friday and it was a long day! It was super fun, though. All the missionaries that are leaving this week were there and we split into small groups and did a lot of activities and learned a lot of great things. Something that was talked about a lot is working with members. I can't tell you how excited I am to work with the members in my areas! At the end of the day, they show this video. Gwen told me about it before. It shows the growth of the church in the world since we were first organized. All the stakes and temples around the world light up. It was fun to see the growth of the church throughout the world and to imagine how much more growth is happening and will happen over my lifetime! How exciting!

We had our last classes with our teachers. I've said this before but I lucked out with teachers here. Both Hermana V and Hermano Z taught me SO much about being a missionary. Yesterday something Hno. Z said really hit me. He talked about having a vision for who we want to be as missionaries. What does the missionary who will be coming home in 18 months look like? More importantly, what does the Lord want me to become? Think about that for a minute. What kind of vision does the Lord have for you? As I sat and pondered, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to be a missionary. I am learning new things and gaining a stronger testimony every day. What a blessing it is to share the message of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ with others. I don't think I know the kind of joy I will feel from this experience. I will be helping people come unto Christ. I will be helping people have better lives through the atonement. I'm so excited!

After our district meeting today, our branch sang "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" in Spanish, of course. I really have come to love this missionaries...some I may never see again. It's crazy how much you can love someone after knowing them for just a few short months. 

PEOPLE: The gospel is so true! I know this and I hope to help others come to know this, too. The gospel changes lives! It has changed mine. Open your mouths. Share the gospel with everyone you can come into contact with. I'm so grateful that is my full-time job for the next 17 months. Christ truly is the Savior of the world. God lives and wants ALL of His children to receive the blessings of this gospel. 

I'm going to send a bunch of pictures home. Get ready. 

I love you all! Next time you hear from me I'll be in Mexico! WHAT?!

Con amor,

Hermana Durham

Picture overload...I'm going to send a few emails with pictures. 

My district at the big map! MEXICO!
Name tags!
Hna. Vawdrey y Yo.
Our district and Hno. Zenger

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I Made It On The Jumbotron!

Oh hi Family...

I just have to say, letters are getting less and less these days. I've been told there is a point in your mission where people start forgetting about you. I think it's happening. Luckily I'll be in Mexico in LESS THAN A WEEK and will probably be so busy I won't have much time to think about how empty my inbox is. So I guess it's ok. Haha...I'm so dramatic. I get enough mail. Just FYI...don't send any dearelders to the MTC after Friday, because I probably won't get them. You can send them to my mission, though!!! 

LARKIN this past MONDAY!

First off, the big news of the week is we got our travel plans on Friday! We are leaving the MTC at 4:30am on Monday morning! It was so exciting to get them! There are 19 missionaries traveling to Cuernavaca! I'm pretty sure there are other missionaries going to different Mexico missions on our the plane might be ALL missionaries. 

I don't think I ever told you this, but one of the first days here, my district was talking about who left boyfriends or girlfriends back at home. People were talking about it and I was like "Yeah...I left 5 boyfriends at home. They all wanted to marry me and I was like...SORRY! I'm going on a mission!" Obviously no one believed me, but we have this running joke about my 5 boyfriends. For example, when we were doing service Friday morning (cleaning toilets -- looking really cute with no makeup on) Elder Anderson was like "you are glowing this morning" (this is also a joke between us) and I said "I know...that's why I have 5 boyfriends! Duh!" 

Hermana Hoffman and I were asked to sing our duet again on Sunday at the Farewell Fireside for missionaries leaving. We were excited to sing again. We also sang in church and our district leader loved it so much he had us sing it for the closing song in District Meeting. Haha. ALSO, I joined choir this week and sang at the devotional. AND I WAS TOTALLY ON THE JUMBOTRON! So I'm basically famous at the MTC. I guess I was on it a few times because on Branch President said "the camera really focused on me" and of course I was like, "that's why i have 5 boyfriends!" haha...just kidding I didn't really say that to him, but I did in my mind. :)

I realized the other day that I am really happy being a missionary. I think I was playing volleyball with my zone and I was just smiling and laughing. It's pretty great. My companions and I taught our "investigators" for the last time this week and I was actually kind of sad. At the beginning on the MTC, I struggled with feeling like what I was teaching really mattered since they were my teachers acting like other people. I expressed that concern to my lovely teacher Hma. Vawdrey and she said that I will probably have investigators just like these "investigators" on my  mission. Once I started thinking that way, I really started enjoying teaching. I have been blessed to have some AMAZING teachers at the MTC. Since our zone is kind of small, we have these "resource teachers" who don't have districts at the moment who help us and everyone is awesome. They know how to be effective missionaries and I hope I can remember everything I've been taught!

Our devotional yesterday was from Don R. Clarke of the 70. He totally looked like Gordon B. Hinckley! Haha...his talk was great. He said he met with some new members and recently activated members in Eugene, OR a few weeks ago. He asked them what made them join or come back to the church. He shared two common phrases that he heard: 
"They stopped by" and "They checked in" 
Pretty simple, right? The missionaries stopped by and checked in consistently. The members or investigators felt their love for them and because of that, felt the love that their Heavenly Father has for them. I'm so grateful for my calling as a missionary. I'm a representative of Jesus Christ and my purpose is to invite others to come unto Him. That's just invite. And the stop by and check in, just like the Savior would. A goal I have on my mission is to really focus on the people I serve. To turn out when I want to turn in. Elder Clarke said "this (your mission) will change you for eternity. You can't buy the kind of happiness you will feel!" How exciting. 

Anyway, family and friends. I love you all! I'm grateful for this gospel. I know that my Savior lives. I know that He has suffered and descended below all things in order to lift us above our trials and challenges. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ know us. That's a crazy thought, the creator of the universe and the Savior of the world care about what we care about. They have created a plan for each of us to return to live with them again some day! I don't know about you but that just gives me hope. I am so imperfect and have a lot to change and because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, I can do that everyday. I hope each of us can remember who we truly are in God's eyes. If we can do that, life will be so much happier!

Hermana Durham


Our zone at the temple this morning

My district: E. Hester, Hna Chambers, Me, Hna. Hoffman, E. Lower (in the back-ish) E. Anderson and E. Montierth in the front. 

Me and Hna Edwards. She is literally Kortni Seegmiller with brown hair. She looks and acts just like her and I love her!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Happy 1 Month Anniversary to ME!


It's my one month anniversary with the MTC. I must say, we've had our set of differences and challenges but we are overcoming them and I'm beginning to appreciate my time here more. I can't believe it's only been a month, but I also can't believe that I only have a week and a half left until I'm in Mexico! WHAT?!

I've have a lot of fun things happen this past week. First, though, my district has discovered my deep love for A1 sauce and thinks I have a problem. But it's not my fault it's just so good (plus the meat doesn't always taste great so I want to add some flavor). They tried to stage an intervention last night but I explained that it wouldn't work. I'm too stubborn. Dina -- if you read these, I know you will understand. :)

Speaking of food...I just recently discovered that the main campus cafeteria is WAY BETTER than what we have on the West campus. Our cafeteria is in a portable kind of thing...and there are usually 1-2 options each meal of things to eat. I went up to Main Campus on Monday with some Hermanas in my district (one needed to go to the health clinic) and I saw the light. We ate there today after the temple! I think it's probably a good thing I'm not up there, though. I would eat way too much. Plus they have an ice cream bar (WITH HOT FUDGE!) my weakness. Ok, I'm realizing it's a good thing I live down here. But I don't know why people up on Main Campus complain about the food...they don't know how good they have it. Also, the food here isn't that bad. I mean, it could definitely be better but I'm grateful for what I have. 

So last Wednesday, Hma. Hoffman and I discovered that we both really like to sing and we sound really good together. She can harmonize like crazy so we decided to try out for a musical number...because, WHY NOT? So we picked "Come Thou Fount" and practiced it a few times. Try outs for musical numbers are Thursday mornings. We didn't have an accompanist so we figured we would try out a capella and then see if we could find one later. Well, we got to try outs and they said we HAD to have our accompanist with us. Luckily, there was an Elder trying out for a piano solo who could sight read so it all worked out. We ran it with him once and tried out! It went well. Sister Nally, the MTC president's wife, was the "judge" and apparently she has perfect pitch. Can you imagine? I think that would be maddening! haha. Anyway, we said we did good and gave us a few pointers on how to improve and then put us in the "YES" pile. Later that day we got a letter inviting us to sing at the new missionary fireside Wednesday (TODAY) at 4pm. So I am performing a little bit later today. Wish me luck. We haven't practiced with our accompanist since last Thursday (because who has time for stuff like that here) so hopefully all goes well! :)

The Provo Temple President and his wife spoke to us on Sunday. Man, I know I say this a lot, but I love the temple. They talked about the power of the temple and how it blesses us as missionaries. SO TRUE.

Yesterday, we had an awesome devotional with Elder Aidukaitis (I don't know if that is actually how you spell his name) of the 70 and his wife. He is Brazilian and hilarious. Seriously. He has us all cracking up. But I really enjoyed his message. The thing that stood out to me was that we have been reserved to come to the earth at this specific time for specific reasons. It isn't just by chance that we were born now. We didn't just pick a date out of a hat in heaven. We have a purpose here...every single one of us! I loved that. I KNOW that I have been prepared specifically to serve this mission and that the Lord needs me to be here at this time because there are people he is preparing to hear my voice. Pretty interesting to think about, no? You are here for a reason. I don't think I know my full purpose yet, but at this time of my life, I know it is to be a missionary. If you haven't figured out what your reason is, pray and ask God because He knows. If you don't believe in God or you don't believe God loves you or has a plan for you, I have some friends called missionaries who would be happy to teach you about Him and His plan for you. :) I'm so excited to teach people about this gospel. 

Another thing I have been thinking a lot about is how much this gospel blesses people. There are many people...including members of the church, who view it as another list of "DO's and DON'Ts", maybe added burdens. I've thought before, "How can I ask people, who are struggling with so much, to sacrifice even more. Pay tithing every month, go to church for 3 hours every week, serve in a calling, etc?" But then I think about how much serving in this church, keeping the commandments, and doing all of those things have blessed and continue to bless my life. This gospel doesn't add takes away burdens! HOW CAN I NOT SHARE THIS WITH PEOPLE?! How can I not invite others to repent and feel the love of their Savior more in their life? How can I not encourage others to live according to the commandments? They're only going to receive more blessings than they could ever big deal. 

I should be receiving my travel plans this Friday!!! Mom -- I will let you know next Wednesday when I can call and say hi. Not sure how that will work? Do I need a phone card or can I just borrow someone's cell phone at the airport? I guess I'll figure it out. I also got your package and everything in it was perfect. THANK YOU!

So funny story, we were teaching our TRC investigator yesterday and she asked about the picture of Lehi and his family in the front of the blue copy of theBook of Mormon. We were trying to explain it and didn't know the word for "boat" so Hna. Hoffman called it a "carro de agua" or "water car" and our investigator starting busting up laughing. Good times. Also, we were practicing the first lesson on Friday night. Let me just preface this with "everything is funnier at the MTC on Friday night." We are all a little loopy. So Elder Montierth and Elder Lower were teaching me (pretending to be an investigator) about Joseph Smith and Elder Lower was saying that he read James 1:5 in the bible and decided to pray to know what church to join. So then Elder Montierth joined in and was like "Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon" totally skipped a whole bunch of information there. We all started laughing and couldn't stop for 5 minutes. Even our teacher was cracking up. That probably isn't funny to anyone else, but it made me laugh. :) emails are always so long. Sorry...but not really. I just want to make sure you all know what I'm actually doing here at the good old MTC. I'm learning so much everyday. I am learning so much about our Savior and how he truly loves everyone. He is so merciful. I know this gospel is true! I know that this church is truly lead by Jesus Christ. I love having His name over my heart everyday. What a privilege. I know the Book of Mormon is a true book! Reading it will bring anyone closer to their Savior. 

Well, I hope everyone has a great week! Thanks for all the letters and love! You are all truly the best! 

Con amor,

Hermana Durham :)

My comps and me with the district that left this week! I LOVED ALL of these elders! They are the greatest!

Me and Elders Sparks. We were talking about the awkward space we have to have between us since he's an Elder and I'm a we made it even more awkward. I MISS HIM!