Friday, August 31, 2012


Hola todos!
Como estan? Este semana fue muy bueno. Recibimos nuestros planes de viaje ayer! Ay que ver! (that's what our Spaniard teacher used to always say!-Jamie, maybe you can back me up on that expression) Anyways, I can't believe next week is our last full week here! This month flew by!
A few people have asked me about what the MTC is like now, so I thought I'd talk a little about that today. There are really 3 time blocks here- breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner, and dinner to bed, each about 4 hours long (casi). Generally we have 2 three hour class periods each day during 2 of those blocks, with either additional study or language study. The other time block we spend at gym, studying, etc. Each class period is lead by a teacher (we have 2, so each teaches one block a day). During the class times, about an hour of that is spent teaching progressing investigators. Not everyone teaches each class period, but generally every one teaches one of the investigators every day (3 companionships teach in the morning/ afternoon and 3 teach at night- something like that). Then they spend the other part of class going over grammar principles or talking about gospel fundamentals for missionary work, and doing coaching, as a class or they pull individuals or companionships out to do coaching, where you  can get more personalized help or get answers to questions you about teaching. We have 2 progressing investigators- Mario and Ricardo (though we are not teaching Ricardo anymore, so we have a new one now) that we teach regularly, a few times each week. We also have started teaching each other as investigators while other missionaries are teaching- we teach each other. While other missionaries are teaching during class periods, or while the teacher is doing individual coaching, we have companionship study, where we can plan lessons, study language/ gospel study, etc. In the monings, at 10:30, we always have personal study (right before lunch) for an hour. Everything else changes a little depending on the day. On Tuesdays, we only have one 3 hour class period because we have devotionals that night, and on Fridays because it's our pday. Anyways, I have a feeling I probably just confused the heck out of some of you, so if that didn't make sense, then forget what I just said :) The MTC is great- very long days, but generally, the weeks go by pretty fast.
This week we taught at the TRC again yesterday. Our new teacher, Hno. Stoddard (he lived in boston a couple years ago! before his mission), told us to essentially not use our planned lesson and just walk in and teach without any plan or clue what we'd teach. We had a pretty good lesson planned, so it was a little sad. Anyways, we got in there and just started talking to her and getting to know her. Eventually we got on the topic of enduring to the end, so I shared 2 Ne 31:20 (one of my favs now). It was a good lesson, hopefully what she needed to hear. On her eval she said she wasn't really sure where we were going with the lesson some times, which I thought was kind of funny, because, neither did we! It's been very helpful to learn here, how to rely more heavily on the Spirit to teach lessons. I've loved learning a little bit more about how to do that.
I wanted to bear my testimony today before I say goodbye. I really do know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. If there is anything I have learned deeper and know more, it is that. The Book of Mormon IS the word of God. Joseph really did translate it by the power of God. I know the Restoration was necessary for us to become disciples of Christ. I know it. I know Heavenly Father loves His children more than we will ever understand. He loves us so much that he restored this Gospel back onto the earth so that we can choose to make the covenants that will lead us back to Him. I know He lives. I know he speaks to His children today. I love this Gospel more each day. It is real, It is powerful, and it changes lives everyday. I know because it changes mine everyday.
I love you all so much.
Hermana Laree LaPierre
PS- Tanner: I met a girl a couple days ago from Tri-Cities, WA. She knows some of your family! There's another hna in our zone from there too- hna. Braggs.
mom- no i never got the CD of the talks- want me to send you my ipod so you can put them on there? either way

Friday, August 24, 2012

Stolen from Renee -Laree's Drop-Off July 11, 2012

and she's off!!!

Betsy and I got to drop Laree off at the MTC on Wednesday the 11th of July!
Her last request was to get ice cream at the BYU Creamery down the road from the MTC.
The girls got to join in the festivities! (Lucky too, because they got their ice cream before lunch!! That NEVER happens at Betsy's house!!)

clearly, she is more than ready for her mission...

Sofia took this one for us!

and then a gentleman offered to get one of us all!

she's vamoosing!

she got 2 escorts! special girl!!!

her last look at civilian life....

look very carefully! this was our last glimpse of her!!!

Remember me?

Aloha Familia!
Yep, I'm still alive and in the MTC. With less than 3 weeks left!!!! The weeks are going by a little bit faster now.
Happy Birthday Jaxon! I know it was a couple days ago, but didn't forget! I was thinking about you all day!
This week has been great and full of so many great experiences.
First of all- we got to host for the first time this week! it was fun. We just welcome the new sisters coming in and help them get their stuff, find their bedroom and classroom and send them off once they're at class. It's fun. I got to host 2 girls- one Samoan girl going to CA (different mission) and another UT girl going to Honduras. Both were cute girls, doing pretty well for their first day.
Also, as all the hosting sisters were sitting around talking I was talking to one sister that lives in our hall. We see each other all the time obviously, since we live right next to each other. Well, anyways, we were talking and I mentioned where I was from. She said she had lived in Swampscott! I was a little confused seeing as that's in our ward! She is the Crawford's daughter!! (mom and dad- I'm sure you're the only ones that know who I'm talking about) We both looked at each others' name tags and just laughed!! She's awesome! We had a fun time chatting about each other's families. I couldn't believe I've seen her and talked to her every day since being here and just barely realized who she is!
Probably one of the best things about the MTC, for me at least, are the devotionals. We have a fireside on Sunday, and then after the fireside, they play films and past devotionals in different rooms around campus. Then on Tues. we have another devotional. These are so so great. Each week we've been hoping for an apostle to come, but hadn't had one yet. This week however we got to hear from Elder Neil Andersen!! It was amazing! He pulled up a picture of President Monson and we all sand Happy Birthday to him, since it was his birthday! I half expected Pres. Monson to come out while we were singing, but he didn't. The devo was really inspiring and uplifting. He mentioned 9 things that Pres. Monson would say if he were here. These were the focus of his talk. 1- follow the prophet, 2-do your duty, 3-trust in the Lord, 4-Let the Lord shape your back, 5-smile and enjoy yourself, 6-Love the people you serve, 7-never ignore a prompting, 8-testify of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 9-witness of the Power of the Savior. He has a really gentle way of speaking that I loved, but also speaks as an apostle. There was definately power in what he said and in his calling. There are so many things I could say about this talk, but I think one of the things I felt most was how much I want to let the Spirit guide me as a missionary.
We also listened to a past devotional from Elder Bednar, which I loooooved. it's called becoming a missionary and was all about how when you leave your mission area, you do not stop being a missionary. It was very powerful to me and made me see what I can do, not only now as a missionary but in the future, with my future family, etc. Very inspirational and thoughtful, to me at least.
My time is up, so I'll just say I love you all and hope all is going well for you. I think of you all very often.
Miss and Love You,
Laree/ Hermana LaPierre

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pictures From Laree's Pre-Mission Prep

Laree called us all via Skype through MANY computers. 
"I'm going to Arcadia, CA!"

Study, study, study.


 Gotta give that talk.

 Farewell Open House
It was overseen by these former and current bishops who all were in the Arlington Ward together at one time!
Pinata Cookies
Bruschetta Bites
and, of course, te old stand-bys

Autograph quilt by Jo Maitland

Some of the well wishers

Dad and Norma Chandler
with Brian Sweeney
and his cuties, Megan and Conor
The Batistas

Cris is over 6'!      Ian's TALL!

Can she hear him? He's so much taller!

with Ian Patton

The Balmforths
with ep

Michelle and Benjamin
with Tyson

We just can't celebrate without our Romano girls!
with Mom and Dad
On to departure!

It all fit!
She's so LITTLE!
Well, here goes!
Heading to the Gate.
BYU Creamery a must stop before entering the MTC

Interviewed at My Farewell

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mission Life Week 6

Ok, well...I think it's week 6, pretty sure at least. How are you all doing?! Mom and dad, how was your trip to UT? Hope you're all doing well and sounds like you are all having fun.
There's not a whole lot to report this week other than that it seems like the weeks are going by alot faster now. That is both a great thing, but also a scary thing. I am so excited to be out in the field, but then also feel very not ready to be out there all at the same time. It'll come faster than I'm ready for, for sure. I just hope I've learned everything I could before I leave.
The MTC has been fun. We have really really great teachers that make it so much more fun. The way it works is that we generally have 2 3 hour classes during the day. and each teacher teaches one of those class periods. Generally, for one hour of each class time, 2 of the companionships teach our investigators and whoever isn't teaching has companionship study.The other day, we were in class doing comp study while one of the companionships were teaching and other teacher, Hermano Cuadra, who was not teaching that class period came in to talk to me. He said he noticed that my feet did not touch the ground when I sit all the way back on my chair, so he gave me a footstool to rest my feet on!! Ha!!! I started laughing so hard. I think he thought he was pretty funny but also was kind of serious. It's true, sadly though, when I sit all the way back, only the balls of my feet touch the ground. I would defend myself by saying that I still do not need a footstool, but use it anyways just because it makes it more fun to put my feet up on something. My whole district got a good laugh about that one.
Also, we were told by one of the elders in our district that it was his birthday the other day so one of the sisters in our district spent some time this week making signs for him to decorate the classroom with. ended up not being his birthday and he was just kidding, but we celebrated anyways. Hermano Cuadra was teaching that morning and so had us sing to him, thinking it was his birthday too. When he found out that it was not his birthday, he was so crushed! He's been teasing him about it since. It made the day a little more fun anyways.
We taught Ricardo and Mario this week. Both are doing well. Our big exciting news for the week was that when we last taught Ricardo, he said that he had read the introduction to the Book of Mormon!!!!!! In case you did not pick up on this in my other letters- this is a miracle! This means that he actually touched the book, opened it, and read it!! His pastor came though and got mad at him for reading it, so he stopped. So we still have some work to do on figuring out what it is that he's afraid of, but he read!!!!!! It was so exciting. One of the things I've appreciated about teaching Ricardo is how realistic it is to real investigaors in the field. I have learned so much as I teach him because I have been pushed to work harder. I have never tried so hard to be led by the Spirit before as I feel like I do here. I honestly don't think I've prayed or searched the scriptures so hard either. It is hard work, and sometimes it's frustrating, but it's nice when you see it pay off, even in some small way like seeing an investigator who refused to read the LDM/ BoM for so long finally decide to read, even just the introduction.
Thanks for your love and support. Love you all. Hope you have a great week.
Hasta luego,
Hermana LaPierre

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mission Life - Week 5

Hola Querida Familia!!
So the title of this e-mail is a little decieving since I've only actually been here for 4 weeks (tomorrow...but who's counting?!). But they count the first week here as Wed- Sunday when you first get here, so if you go by that then I'm on week 5. Which means I only have 4 more weeks until we go to California!!
This week was good. Not as many funny stories to tell as last week unfortunately, but it was still good. I was running the other day back to our room after our gym time at the field with my companion and the 2 other hermanas in our district and heard someone scream "Laree!!!!". It's been a while since I've heard someone call me by my first name, so that was kind of funny. I turned around and it was Yina Fernandez!! Mom and Dad,  you're probably the only ones that know her, but she says hi! It was so fun to see her. '
This week, we've also been continuing to teach our 2 investigators, Mario and Ricardo. These have both been good experiences. Ricardo is an Evangelist and has some trouble accepting the Book of Mormon. When we taught him on Tuesday, we tried so hard to prepare what he needed to hear, we were going to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ (PMG lesson 3), but after talking to him for a couple minutes, it became pretty clear that that was not going to happen. We tried to talk to him about why the Book of Mormon is important, and kind of stumbled our way through teaching him that. The lesson that we prepared was apparently not what he needed to hear, but now we know what we need to teach him tomorrow!! One of the blessings of teaching him has been that it has forced me to think and study more about why we need the Book of Mormon. That's been what I've been studying ever since the lesson and it's been really great. Our Tues. Devo this week was all about the Book of Mormon too, and our lessons in class have been on the Book of Mormon too, so it's been a very enlightening week! It's been so fun to study more about why we have/ need the Book of Mormon. Hopefully our lesson with him tomorrow will be helpful to him. After we taught him, our teacher helped us see some things we can improve in with our teaching. that was really really helpful.
Probably the best experience this week was teaching Mario again on Monday. Most of our lessons with him so far had just been good lessons, but not anything super powerful, or didn't really seem like it was what he needed then. I really really really wanted to teach him something that he needed to hear. I had been thinking about and praying about it all day and was studying the lessons to know what we should teach. Sister Southworth and I would sit down to prepare our lesson and just stared at the lessons, but didn't feel anything. We finally made a lesson plan, prayed about it, but still didn't feel much about it. During our additional study just before our lesson, we finally put something together and felt pretty good about it, but had very very little time to practice it. I was so nervous to teach it, especially because we had wanted it to be so spiritual and powerful for him. We said a quick prayer and then went in to teach him. It was exactly what he needed. We talked about our Life on earth and the Atonement, and asked him if he had ever felt bad or guilty for something he had done, and wanted to be clean. He told us about some things that he had done while in Mexico that he still felt really guilty about. We spent the rest of the lesson teaching him about the Atonement and testifying to him. We had him read the scripture in Mosiah 14 that says, talking about Christ, "by His stripes, ye are healed.". The Spirit was so so strong, by the end of the lesson, I didn't even want to talk- we just sat there for a few minutes, pondering the lesson and feeling the Spirit. We testified to him that he can be clean again, and we also invited him to church, he said he'd come! After he said the closing prayer, we all just sat there for a couple minutes. I did not want to leave!! I am so so grateful it took that long to prepare  the lesson- it was worth every minute!
Even though I know these lessons are roleplay and that in reality our teachers playing these roles are members, RMs, and endowed, it still feels so real there is still so much power. It's been a really great experience. I'm glad that it's like this so I can learn before I'm in CA.
 Hope you're having fun in UT Mom and dad.
Love you all!!!
Hermana LaPierre

Saturday, August 4, 2012

mission life- week 4

Hola Familia!!!
How are you all doing?! Thank-you for you letters, packages, pictures and support. I miss you all.
This week, I think I've honestly felt every emotion there is. It was great- so many exciting things, sad, frustrating, funny, weird, awkward, fullfilling, and everything in between. I think I talked about this last week, but one of the districts in our zone left on Monday, and our 3 Elders left on Tuesday. It was soooo sad. They're the closest things to family here and having them leave was hard. On Sunday night, we sang God Be with you til we meet again as a zone, and all the leaving missionaries gave their testimony. It was so great- just sad to see them all go. They're great.
We got a new teacher this week, since Hna. Scott is leaveing for an internship, and thus, a new investigator too. HIs name is Hno. Cuadra. He's from Barcelona. I loooooove his accent! He's hilarious, and very expressive. He does a great job of making hte 3 hour classes much more entertaining. Our investigator, Ricardo, is also fun. He's Evangelist and doesn't really get why we need the BOM, so we've been tryign to help him understand that. He's helped me to learn what it really means to not teach lessons, but teach the people. It seems so much more easy to just teach, REstoration, then plan of salvation, etc. But with him, we can't. It wouldn't work. It's been a fun learning experience to teach him according to what he needs. its forced me to think about how I teach a little differently.
We taught at the TRC again this week. I love going there because usually the volunteers speak at a normal speed, so it forces me to think about what they're saying a little more. I love not quite understanding what's going on because it forces me to think more and to see where the holes in my Spanish are. I love it. I remember why I love spanish so much. It's a great, beautiful language. but after a while, i swear my tongue rebels and refuses to move like it should. that's always entertaining.
The MTC has been humbling in so many ways. One of my firends before I left told me that he thought he really understood hte gospel before he left on his mission, but then realized how much he didn't actually know. I totally get it now. I feel the exact same way. I've always know the answers and know what to say to people, but I'm starting to understand the gospel a little bit deeper now, or realizing what I want to know more than just surface level. On Monday, Hna Southworth and I were studying the Restoration. It finally clicked why that was so important and what Heavenly Father was doing. He loves us all so much that He wants us all to return. Each dispensation is him trying to give His children another chance. I've said those words a million times, but I understand it more now. We watched a talk from Elder Holland this week. It was great- and made me want to be more committed to these 18 months.
Another things that's been humbling here is that somehow, everytime I forget to do something that would seem like I'm breaking the rules, someone calls me out on it :). The other day, I couldn't sleep and just wanted to get out of bed, so I went to the bathroom. Teh lights were off,and I thought they were motion sensored, so I tried to move my arms to turn them on. they didn't and I wan't going to the bathroom with the lights off., so I went into another bathroom, and tried movign my arms around it that one. Nothing again. I went back to bed. 2 mins. later, Hna Packer, on of the sisters in my district got up to go to the bathroom. I went with her to see if she could turn the lights on. we walked in and all of the suddedn teh lights turned on. i was shocked! i turned aroudn and realized she had just flipped the switch! I laughed so so so so hard- I'm sure if someone was watching, they would have been so entertained to see my flailing my arms around trying to get the lights on!!! that image was entertaining to me at least! we were talking for a couple minutes and a security guard came in to tell us to go to bed. I think she thoguht we'd been there for a while. we went back to the room. Hopefully she didnt' think we were breaking the rules, I think she did. Oh well... I'll let someone think I'm a rebel for the first time in my life ;).
I have to go, but I thought you would all be entertained by this story too. while Hna Southworth abnd I  were teachign Ricardo, I testified that Jesu Smith was a prophet. She looked at me and just started laughing. I didnt' realized it untitl then and then Ricardo and I started lauging too. Woops! I mess up on that all the time!!
Love you all and miss you so much.
Hermana Laree LaPierre