Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Being in the MTC was just fine. We didn't have anyone in the district crying or moping so it was an enjoyable day. Of course, everyone would have rather been home but it was also a fun and spiritual experience being at the MTC. Last Tuesday night, we had a devotional given by Elder Neil L. Andersen. That was really good and I was excited to hear from him since he is the newest apostle and I don't know much about him. We have had so many great speakers this last week. Elder L. Tom Perry came on Christmas day and that night we had the LDS painter Greg Olsen speak to us who has a ton of famous paintings. On Sunday in Relief Society we had Barbara Thompson from the General Relief Society President. It was definitely a great week for speakers. On Christmas during the day, they had a huge MTC talent show and we were all surprised that it actually had talent! Some acts were really funny and some acts were probably not so appropriate for a missionary.

This week has gone by a little slow though too because I got a cold and on Christmas Eve morning I felt terrible. But then I felt a lot better after that and since then I have just been congested. At least I didn't get the flu and have to quarantined for Christmas. That would have been the worst.

Thank you so much for everyone who sent me things for Christmas. The Reichmans gave me lots of candy and a plastic bowling set. It was fun and I let the Elders in my district play it on Christmas. But after a while they got carried away and so I had to take away their bowling privileges. If they are good Elders I might let them play with my bowling set again:) Thanks also to Grandma and Grandpa. It was so much fun to get a package and and to eat all the goodies that we don't get to enjoy at the MTC. I am so grateful for everyone who was thinking of me.

Thanks family for everything you sent me. I felt so spoiled because I had a huge box while everyone got little boxes and with one thing inside. Hermana Layton was so happy that you sent her a little something too and the Elders loved their little stockings. The altoid boxes say, "Curiously strong mints" and so whenever they eat one they say that was a curiously strong mint.

Well, I have had a great Christmas. One of our roommates had a hard time being away from home and we have had long nights trying to cheer her up and remind her why she is here. I am so grateful for the gospel and the knowledge of the plan of salvation. I know that God lives and loves each one of us and if I didn't know that God loved me, I wouldn't be here right now. I am so excited to share the message of the restored gospel to the people in El Salvador. I have only 2 weeks and 6 days left in the MTC! I am so excited although I haven't heard anything about if I got my visa. The church is having a hard time getting visas for Brasil and so there are 200 missionaries waiting here in the MTC. One missionary had been here for 15 weeks and then finally they sent him to wait while proselyting in Salt Lake. Then I got a letter from Heather in DC and she said that there is a missionary there waiting for his visa to go to El Salvador! Ahhh. I don't think that will happen to me because some missionaries I met already went to El Salvador from the MTC. I will be crossing my fingers till I hear about my visa. Well, my district is now the second oldest in the branch and it is sad to see people leave but so exciting at the same time. I love you all!

Have a happy new year!

Hermana Bush

Thursday, December 24, 2009

MTC at Christmas Time

Crystal sent some pictures home from the MTC. I hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas this week to everyone! It has been yet another great week. First off I want to say Happy Birthday to Mom! I love you. And I want to say thanks to the Kaisers, Sister Shepherd and Carlee for sending me things. This week has gone by so fast and now we are more than half way through with our time at the MTC. Only 4 more weeks to go. I sent home some pictures yesterday and I had a little problem with the copy thing so there is an explanation of that with the letters I sent home. But part of the photos on my memory card is a video of my district singing a Christmas song. It is funny because we usually sound so terrible but this time, the Elders tried to sing in tune so it sounds a lot better.

This last Sunday was the best Sunday ever. They play Music and The Spoken word every Sunday and we decided to go this week. It was really fun to listen to Christmas music because sometimes I feel like we are void of any Christmas decorations and music. Then for Relief Society, we had Sister Uchtdorf talk to us and I didn't even have any idea what she looked like! But she was very cute with her German accent and she had a great message. On Sunday I was assigned to be the music person in our branch. Pretty much I just have to ask people to play the piano and conduct and then I have to give a mini lesson to every new district on how to lead music. It will be pretty easy. But, I think that after the last two districts left, I am the only person in the branch who can sight read hymns so I may have to pressure some people into practicing.

Yesterday, Hermana Layton and I signed up to teach a lot at the teacher evaluation center. We talk lesson 1 four times in Spanish! The teachers always assume that the people they will be taught by are beginners, so they always say that they are impressed with our Spanish even if we do mess up a lot. But I really feel like I have really improved with my Spanish. When we were teaching, sometimes I would say like 3 sentences in a row without thinking about the language. I was really impressed with myself. We are just happy to be seeing the progress we have been making.

So we have 5 devotionals this week alone and rumors have been spreading about which apostle(s) will be speaking to us. My district got really sick of all the rumors and so we decided to make one of our own. So here it is: on Christmas Eve, Donny and Marie Osmond are going to come sing and dance for us. Pretty much, they are bringing their Vegas show to the MTC. I think that that is pretty believable. We wanted to spread it but I feel bad telling people to their face because that would be lying but I don't feel like it is lying if you are walking in a big crowd and talking about it with your companion in a really loud voice:) Well, that is probably like the most evil thing that I have done at the MTC and so I don't feel too bad.

I am so happy it is Christmas time and even though I am not home, I think that we will have a great Christmas in the MTC! Hermana Layton and I have been trying to sing as many Christmas songs as we can so we got up this morning and sang Christmas songs as we showered at the same time. It was really fun, but kind of awkward because there are a lot of sisters in the bathroom. Since it is Christmas this week, the temple is closed the whole week and next week which is too bad but we get a lot more time on pdays. I am supposed to remind you that I cannot call home on Friday but you already knew that. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and I love you all!

Hermana Bush

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Week 4 finished

This week has been another great week! I have some more funny stories about this week. Last week, I had to get my final two shots (that were $115) and while I was getting my shots, Hermana Layton had to stay in a room full of companions that had to wait. It took a long time to wait for my shots, but after I got them I went to find my companion in that room. I couldn't find her anywhere so I looked in the bathroom and she still wasn't there. There was an elder from my district there and he said he hadn't seen her. I decided to wait for her in that room until she got back. I sat there for at least 10 minutes and then the elder said, I found your companion. He pointed to the corner of the room and there was Hermana Layton napping. She was hunched over passed out! I had such a good laugh.

On Friday night we went to bed at 10:30 and then at 12, the fire alarm went off. It was so weird. I was not ready to be interrupted in the middle of the night by the fire alarm. This was my thought process: 1) I woke up thinking what is that. 2) I realized that it was the fire alarm so I should probably get out of bed. 3) Then I thought, I should probably turn off my alarm clock incase I am not back at 6 when it goes off. I am glad to know that in an emergency, I would turn off my alarm clock. That night we also learned that I am really bossy when in emergencies and Hermana Layton is really slow.

On Sundays, we have Relief Society with all the sisters in the MTC. This week we had Sister Elaine S. Dalton (the Young Womens General President) come talk to us. It was such a good talk. She talked about that doing a mission is like running up a hill. It is really hard but when you get to the top, it is so rewarding and you see such a great view.

So I wanted to share a little about my life at the MTC to answer some questions from mom. We have gym every day except P-days and Sundays. I usually run a mile with my companion and then play volleyball with the remaining time. Last week we actually played a district basketball game which was really fun. Hermana Layton and I had to guard each other which was fun because she doesn't know how to play very well and she was easy to push around:)

We also go to choir twice a week on Sundays and Tuesdays. We sing for Tuesday night devotionals. Tonight we are singing Away in a Manger. It doesn't feel like Christmas at all but I am really happy that we at least get to here Christmas songs when we sing them.

P-days are my least favorite day because they are so busy! We get to go to the temple every pday but we also have to do 3 hours of studying and doing our laundry and writing. Then, we have to end our pday at 5 instead of the normal 6 in order to go to choir. Last Sunday we were practicing and the choir director stopped us and said "have any of you had the opportunity to sneak into a young child's room at night?" It was so strange that he said that. We couldn't stop laughing and I don't know what his point was.

Finally the food. They have cafeteria style food every day three times a day. We always laugh because every meal we guess that there will be some sort of fried potato and some sort of fried chicken. And we are always right! It is fine though because they have salad too.

Well, I am happy to be here and we have had so many spiritual experiences! I love this work. I love the Lord and I know that this is where I am supposed to be. Have a great week!


Hermana Crystal Bush

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Week 3 in the MTC

I am now 1/3 of the way done at the MTC.  It has been so much fun and I really love my district.  So, now that we have been together for so long, I am starting to get some nicknames.  It is really funny.  At the beginning I was called Hermana Boosh and now it has transformed to Hermana Babushka.  I don't know how that happened but it makes me laugh all the time.

Sometimes they call missionaries names over the intercom throughout the entire MTC and already I have been called 3 times! All for silly things that aren't important.  But whenever they call my name over the loud speaker, they say Elder Crystal Bush.  So, now some of the Elders like to tease me by calling me Elder as well. It's all just fun and games at the MTC.

This week we went to the Referral Center where we get to call people or chat with people on Mormon.org.  Last week my companion got a chat that said:  I was sitting at lunch and some other kids were talking and pretending to be Mormon for "street cred".  When did it become hip to be Mormon?  My companion and I laughed so hard.  We tried to tell him about the gospel but he wasn't really interested.

Another funny story.  We have three companionships in our room.  So there are six girls and we all get along really well.  But last week when we were going to the gym, my companion and I decided we wanted to race two of the other sisters.  And so we were running and we ran past this Elder who looked at us and said "I would expect that from Elders, but Sisters?"  I guess that sisters aren't suppose to have fun.

A couple days ago, I met an Elder in the zone whose last name was Brady.   So I told him that my mom's maiden name is Brady and guess what we both come from Mirven Elias Brady.  It was a good thing that we got the family history done the morning before I entered into the MTC.  Then he told me another Elder in the Zone was also related.  I talked to this other Elder who said that he has family from Fairview, Utah too but not through his Brady side.  I think he said that the last name was Jacobs or Jackson or something that comes from Fairview.

At the MTC, our classroom is on the main floor of one building and the floor above us has all the strange Europian languages.  Sometimes, when we are studying we'll use a classroom upstairs because people are usually not up there.  So two days ago we went upstairs and we studied in the Lithuanian room.  The Elders that are going to Lithuania came in after a while and I had to tell them that I was a quarter Lithuanian.
My companion and I get along great.  We decided that we have almost identical personalies and so I decided that I really like myself:)

Here is the Spanish lesson for this week because mom wants to know more.  A teacher from Mexico said that if you say "no me da el avion" or don't give me the plane, you are saying don't blow me off or ignore me.  Unfortunately that is if you are going to Mexico and not El Salvador.

I had a great week and I am happy to be here.  We are learning so much about the Spirit and the Gospel and I can't wait till I can actually go to preach to real people instead of fake investigators!  We are teaching lesson 2 from Preach My Gospel this week and I love it because I love the plan of Salvation.  I hope that everyone had a good week!

love you lots!
Hermana Crystal Bush (Babushka)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week 2

This week has been great! Last week after I emailed, we had devotional and Elder Oakes came and talked to us.  I feel spoiled because being at BYU I am used to apostles coming.  We got a new Elder in our district who is fluent in Portuguese but needs help with Spanish.  I feel bad for him because he doesn't really fit into the district with his personality.  Hermana Layton and I feel bad for him because no one laughs at his jokes so we have been trying to be nice to him.  It really hasn't worked and I am pretty sure he wants to go home.  But I hope he knows why he is here and sticks it out.

I had a great Thanksgiving even though I would have rather been home, but Elder Holland came to talk to us Thanksgiving morning so that was exciting.  He gave a long talk on how we should be homesick at the holiday time but that that builds character.  One of the sisters we know is having a really hard time being away from home and has had huge bawling fits so I think that that talk was for her.   Of course I miss being home too but I think I can cope better than other people.  My companion and I were talking about some people wanting to go home.  Despite the fact that we are spreading the gospel, I don't think that anyone could do a greater disservice to themself than to go home early because they don't want to do the work.

So, the elders in my district one day just started saying the word "guacala" and they wouldn't tell us why.  We found out that it means disgusting but they wouldn't tell us why they were saying it.  We were really annoyed at them for a long time and kept to ourselves but then finally one told us that they felt like they were getting distracted too easily and they would say "guacala" if they were getting distracted by the me and my companion.  I don't want you to think that we are working hard because we are.  Our whole district was getting distracted way to easily by being with each other all the time but we are definitely improving our focusing skills.
So the two Sundays I have been here I have had to play the piano.  I knew that I would have to play in El Salvador but I didn't know that I would always have to play in the MTC.  Well, I don't mind playing but I do hope some one else can play too.

Today we were sitting in our class room and my companion was called on the intercom to go somewhere.  So we went and they were giving out Swine Flu shots and for some reason they called her name.  So while we were there we both got shots.  It was pretty exciting.  And it was for free!   There is nothing better than getting something for free even if it does cause pain.

So I am coming to realize that being at the MTC feels like being in the Twilight Zone or in some strange time warp.  Today I have already thought it was every day of the week besides Tuesday.  It is so hard to keep track of days here.

Tomorrow new missionaries arrive at the MTC and me and my companion are really excited.  There haven't been new missionaries since we came in two weeks ago.  So we don't want to feel like we are freshman anymore.  We briefly discussed whether to haze them or not by throwing them in trashcans but then as good missionaries, we decided against it.  But really, it will feel good not to be the new missionaries on the block.
We have had so much fun today and so much stress.  We are really tired all the time and then we got to bed and we are wide awake.  But we have definitely felt the spirit and we are learning every day how to improve ourselves and help the people we go to.

I love you so much.
Hermana Bush

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week 1

Hello Family! I am almost done with my first week at the MTC! It is so strange to be here but I am starting to really enjoy it. I just sent you mail yesterday so when you get it, this email will probably be exactly the same. When I first walked into the MTC someone asked me my name and I said "Crystal". And then I remembered that I am not suppose to say that any more! I am Hermana Bush. It might take me my whole mission to get use to that. My district had 12 missionaries four being sisters. All the sisters were going to El Salvador (3 of us to the west mission and 1 to the east mission). I really liked them and we all got along. On the second day I was in the MTC I heard my name over the loud speaker in the cafeteria to go to the main office. When I went I had to go into a little room and take the US census. It was so strange! This census worker just asked me questions. They took a random small sample of the MTC to take the census and I was one of them. I guess it is about that time in the decade. So on the third day being in the MTC we had just started talking about what sounds the letters make in the Spanish alphabet. I told my teacher that I had taken 5 years of Spanish. So, I had to take a little test and so I was moved up into an intermediate class along with another elder from my district. It was sad because we had to change companions, rooms, classes, and everything! I was sad to leave the people that I was with but it was all for the better. In the MTC they have three levels of Spanish: beginning, intermediate and advanced. The advanced classes are already fluent and those are the people that only stay for 3 weeks. Well, I love my new district now too. My companion is named Hermana Layton. She went to BYU Idaho and is going to the Chicago North mission. She actually said that she has met Eli through her friend Adam. Her first name is Meredith just so Eli knows.

I also know one of my teachers from my student ward last year. I really liked her then so I know that she will be a great teacher. The first day in the intermediate class, she talked completely in Spanish so I know that this will be a better fit for me than the beginning class. Oh, and since I changed districts, my mailbox has changed to #372. I got your little package yesterday and it made me happy to get some mail. It was very nice of everyone to think of me.

There are 21 sisters in my branch now. In my first branch there were only 7 so there is a huge difference. In my branch now, I am the only sister who is going out of the country and they are all jealous. That makes me happy:) On Sunday we went to choir which was really fun and after the fireside on Sunday, we watched the movie Legacy. That is not an appropriate movie at the MTC because there was some kissing in the movie and all the Elders were hooting and hollering. It was kind of funny though.

On p-days we get to go to the temple but we are not allowed to purposefully meet up with people. When my companion and I were leaving the temple, I saw Brother Anderson and Marissa. It was fun to see people from Colorado but yet so strange at the same time. My companion didn't believe me that I didn't see them on purpose.

I'll tell you a little bit about my new district with the time I have left. There are now 8 of us. They had to add another intermediate class just for the 8 of us and we are all around the same level which is good. 3 of the elders just graduated from high school, one elder went to a year of college at BYU and is from Fort Collins, one is 21 years old and just decided he wanted to serve and the last elder is 24. He converted to the church when he was 18. Since he is the oldest, I like to call him el viejo. I really like my new district and we get way too distracted all the time. We are teaching our first lesson on Friday and Hermana Layton and I are so scared! We have been trying to practice but it is hard to practice when you are trying to teach to Elders who keep going off topic. Well, I am really enjoying myself. Elder Holland is coming to talk to the MTC on Thanksgiving which is exciting. Right now I am taking comfort in the fact that I am 1/9th of the way done at the MTC. Everyone keeps telling me and my companion that our time will fly by and then we look at eachother thinking that we hope so. No, it really isn't bad at all and we are having a lot of fun!

I love you,


P.S. I am really glad Nicole won top model:) I am singing the theme song right now in my head.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weeping and Wailing Wednesday

We're going to miss Crystal. We're thrilled that she's entering the MTC, but 18 months is a long time to wait till we can see her again. On Tuesday night we toasted her goodbye at Grandma and Ed's house. They had a VERYwell aged Cranberry cider that had been several years for an occassion so monumental.

Every meal last week was like the last one we would share with her. On the way to the MTC we couldn't resist stopping at JDawgs for one last bite to eat. Crystal was afraid they wouldn't feed her at the MTC, and Ed and I were anxious to try the justifiably highly-touted hot dogs sold just south of the BYU campus. I'm wishing they had a stand here in Broomfield, they were so good. They made our Costco dogs pale in comparison!

We took some final pictures at the Provo, temple, which was just accross the street from the MTC. Ed Melzer got us started crying when we said our goodbyes from them. We then picked up where we left off at the MTC. Fortunately, they had missionaries there to greet us and take Crystal's luggage. We had to hug and cry quickly, and then she was whisked away. Crystal predicted it would be like pulling off a bandaid quickly, and it was. We're so happy and excited for her, but we'll really miss her, too. We're anxiously awaiting her first email!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Crystal's Farewell

Here are some of Crystal's friends and family that came over on Sunday to wish her well on her mission.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Be Prepared

Yesterday we took Crystal to the Manti temple. We checked to make sure what time the sessions started, but forgot to check and see if it was open, which, coincidentally, it wasn't. Grandma and I were excited for her to see the temple of her ancestors, where generations of the Brady and Jones family had been sealed for time and all eternity. Unfortunately, it was closed for maintenance. Moral: always check to see if the temple is having it's yearly shut-down!

Nevertheless, we enjoyed the 1 1/4 hour ride to Manti. It was a beautiful fall day. The Manti temple is so beautiful. Then, we had time to drive through Fairview and do the cemetery tour, paying respects to those who came before us. We're grateful for their sacrifices in our behalf. Despite the disappointment of not getting to go to the temple, it turned out to be a lovely day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crystal went to the Denver temple in preparation for going on her mission to El Salvador. It was a perfect fall day. There is currently a temple under construction in El Salvador. Hopefully, she will be able to attend it as a missionary after it is completed next year.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crystal's mission call arrived on Thursday, July 9, 2009. She was very excited to open it, but had to wait till 4:00, when we Skyped her sister, Brittany, and Grandma and Grandpa. We also called her sister, Amanda, in Germany, so she could be a part of the special event. It's a big world out there, but she was called to a small country--El Salvador. We're happy her cousin Eli served in the same mission a few years ago. He's been able to answer a lot of our questions, which has helped Crystal in picking out her wardrobe. We hear it's hot all the time!