Thursday, March 28, 2013

March 28, 2013 8:03 AM

Querido Familia,

I have some tragic and comical news :) The email I have just been typing for the past 45 minutes just got randomly deleted. Some quirk with this computer . . . :( It's highly unfortunate seeing as It was very, very long. I am so sorry that this second email will be far shorter than my first :(

All is well here at the MTC! Many thanks again for the incredible packages and letters you have sent me!!!! As I wrote in my journal this week:

"Letters from home are a slice of heaven. Today, I literally felt as such, because Mom sent me a package with a loaf of bread inside, sliced to perfection, and complete with Apricot Jam. I shared the whole loaf with my district tonight, and everyone began exclaiming praises and hallelujah at the taste of homemade bread! Elder Hill began scheming how my family could start a business called the 'Boren Bakery," sell loaves for a dollar, and make 75% profit (since it costs mom roughly 25 cents to make a loaf). They all agreed that 2 years from now, we're having a bread party at my house! The sisters began exclaiming "No, in 18 months we're having one!" I suppose there'll be lots of bread making upon my return. Thanks be to my incredible, loving mother for her weekly packages brimming with scents and sights of home.

"Corey enclosed some incredible drawings that made me giggle and giggle and giggle - one was of a march 14th pi-day food fight, and oh, golly, a food fight indeed! His cartoon characters are slamming each other in the face with pies and wounded soldiers lie, creamed, on the ground. My companions and district sisters got a kick out of them! Thanks CJ! Earlier this week I received lots of written letters from the other boys - basketball is going so well for them, I'm so proud and excited for them!!

"Later today I had the opportunity to view some of the new short clips of the Savior's life on They are recent productions the church has filmed, and are beautifully crafted. I was particularly touched by the account of the Savior's time in Gethsemane. As I watched the Savior kindly wake peter, James, and John - after asking them but to remain awake and abide with him - I had a humbling thought. Sometimes when I read that scripture, I wonder why peter & James & John were so weak as to sleep when the Savior was atoning for them in the same moment. And then I thought to myself - how many times have I fallen asleep saying my prayers? How many times have I brushed away a spiritual prompting? How many times have I read my scriptures blankly, failing to search for answers when he strives to speak to me? Who has he needed me to bless, or talk to, or serve? Watching this depiction of the Savior's life, this moment in Gethsemane - made me want to never spiritually fall asleep again. I will not be perfect, but I want so desperately to be there for my Savior. To Serve & Live as he would have me do."

There's a little glimpse of my week, family. I'm sorry it's so short . . .technical difficulties!! Shout out to Dan & Jena for your amazing Easter goods, thank you for sending those. And KELSEY JENSON!!! GAAAH!!! Thanks so very much for the bread and candy! LOVE YOU! Jessica Henrie, by golly I am just tickled pink that you are serving in El Salvador! We will be spanish speaking buddies! To all who have sent me letters, thank you with all my heart. I am speedily striving to reply! We only have a few short hours on p-day!

Mom, if you could possibly get me Noelle Crandall's mailing address I would love it! I want to send her a thank you note! And Danielle Mecate, do you happen to have Andrea's mailing info?

Today is my 2nd to last P-day in the MTC. Our expected departure date is April 8th. It's looking like we will be reassigned to a state-side spanish-speaking mission, the Consulate from Argentina needs to come to Salt Lake before we can get our Visas. Yep, more Visa complications :) But I am simply excited to serve wherever! I'm filled with a testimony I cannot wait to share!

Love you all. God is Good, and he loves us! He does, he does!!!!! :) Look for him in your life.
Weekly scripture: Enos 1:4. If you hunger when you pray, and diligently search, your prayers WILL be answered!
Weekly Hymn: Press Forward Saints

Yo se que Jesu Cristo es my Salvador y Redentor! Hallelujah a su nombre!
Con Amor,
Hermana Boren

Thank you for everything. All my love, as always!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 21st 2013 6:33 AM

Querida Familia (dear family),

BuenosMadraganas! It is early morning (wee hours of the night = madraganas) in the laundry. This is how we spend our P-day mornings so we can have the rest of the day to rest, and today there happens to be free computers :) Laundry here is like a race to the carnival. Lots of droopy eyes but wide smiles!
Thank you so much for your St.Patty's day package, family! Lots of green cheer spilling out that package. The sisters and I went early to our classroom on Sunday (while the Elders were at Priesthood) and hid the little gold candies you sent all over our classroom. We thought they would for sure be fooled and begin believing in Leprachauns again, but, alas . . . they found us out when there were no gold candies in the sisters desks or on our side of the classroom. I found some pretty creative places to hide those rolos and werthers originals--a power socket, on top of the light fixtures, inbetween books on the book cases, etc. All were found and deliciously enjoyed.

My district is envious that I seem to get just as many packages as I do letters. I am truly loved (and spoiled rotten!). Aunt Kristen sent me a delightful package chock full of Snack Packs Tapioca pudding. She must have read my first letter home :) Skittles from Danielle Mecate (who received her mission call to SEATTLE WASHINGTON!!!!!! :) I am so excited for your, my dear dear friend!), Cookies from the Vernons and from the Stotts, "The Stuff" from Grandma Reesa, cinnamon rolls from Noelle, A pluthera of delights from my immediate family, . . .there might be more, I apologize if I missed anyone. But thank you all, kindly. And to Mallory, Moises, Davey, Jessica, Sara, Rachelle, Danielle, Abbey, Family, and all others who have written to me--I am doing my best to speedily reply. Thank you so much for your love and support.

Mostly, I feel your prayers. Thank you MOST for those. This past week has been the toughest yet for me at the MTC. I had denied myself of missing anything at all for the past 2 weeks, but when this week hit, I started to remember things. I remembered Guitar and  basketball Saturdays and homemade bread and going on drives and Cafe Rio. I remembered studies at the Y (its hard to forget those looking at the Y on the mountain every day) and nights laughing til my sides hurt with my friends. I remembered laughter of kids and crayon drawings and my puppy dog's mischevious eyes and great big bear hugs from my brothers. I remembered full weekends with my dear cousins! I remembered talks with Dad and Walks with Mom and Sunday afternoons at Grandparents' houses. I remembered all these things--all these beautiful blessings I have taken comfort and joy in in my life--and I felt so apart from them for a moment, and my heart was filled with sorrow! I wondered a moment, who am I? Who is Hermana Boren? Is she Mikayla anymore? This past Tuesday night we had a devotional offered by a member of the Quorum of the Seventy, and he talked about this dilemma I was in. He explained how we left all of our comforts and familiarities behind us when we stepped onto the curbside of the MTC. Everything we might have turned to previously for comfort and solace--family, friends, food, fun--are no longer an option in the Mission Field. We are yanked from our natural sources of comfort, and instead must seek for our Father in Heaven to  be there for us. To Seek the power of the spirit to bring us light and connection to Heaven for confidence, strength, and perserverance. This is exactly what I have found to be true. There are moments my  heart is filled with anguish, a longing for the life I knew just three weeks ago, a pang for the people dearest to me. Moments where I look at the task ahead and feel overcome with doubts of what I deem to be the impossible! I have had these short moments overwhelmed by grief. And almost immediately I turn my thoughts to scripture or offer a prayer, and peace enters my heart. I remember that my life right now, these 18 months, are not meant for me. There will be the whole rest of my life to sleep in or horsebackride or go on family vacations. I will have the pleasure of being with my family forever through the great sealing power found in Holy Temples. So while I weep for human longing, I also weep with a joy so full it is beyond my capacity to hold. These 18 months are a privilege and a gift to turn my entire efforts--all that I am, and all that I do--over to the Lord. Gratitude and Joy fills my heart to know that I can bring others of God's children to a knowledge of this beautiful Gospel! The Good news of Jesus Christ, the master teacher, redeemer of my soul, mi Redentor y Salvador! I know he lives, that he loves us, and through him all sorrows can be made aright (Alma 7:11-13). Who is Hermana Boren? She is a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.Una Misionera de la Iglesia de Jesu Cristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. She loves the Lord. She is imperfect and needs a great deal of humbling! But God giveth unto man weakness that he may become strong (Ether 12:27).

I tell you the above NOT so that you'll miss me. I don't want you to miss me at all! I just wanted to tell you so that those of you preparing for a mission will know that there are hard days, and I don't want you to feel alone in that. Thought it is hard, the joys that come are indescribable. And I'm not even in Argentina yet :) I'm still in Provo.

My time is already up--I can't believe it! I'm sorry this has been such a brief email. There is truly so much to tell you in so little time. Spanish is still coming--little by little, day by day. My favorite thing is to teach, of course. One of our teachers, Hermano Ballard, has been acting as an 8-year old investigator, Ernesto, for us. It is my favorite to teach him because we have to prepare lessons as thought teaching an elementary school aged person. We make matching games and I even had an idea and lesson with a treasure hunt this week :) the eled teacher in me is certainly coming out. I'm always a little disappointed to see its a grown man instead of a child, but he does an incredible job of still being like an 8 year old, and it makes me smile to be able to teach again. It forces me to use Spanish in simple terms, the basics of the Gospel.

There is so much more I wish I could express. Know that I love you, my dear family, with all my heart. Boys, GREAT WORK IN BASKETBALL! I am so proud of you and am your #1 fan. So glad you ended the season with a winning streak, you deserved it.

I love you all, and think of you often. Know that I glory in my God and in this Gospel, and my heart is full with gratitude and the opportunity I have to serve him. Find ways to seek him in your life (remember my scripture from Jeremiah), find ways to share his word, and great light will come to you! The Lord is my light!

Con Amor,
Hermana Mikayla Boren

Friday, March 15, 2013

March 14, 2013 2:17 PM Semana Dos (week 2)

Hello, my beloved Boren Bunch!

I must begin by expressing my gratitude for your incredible BYU package. I giggled with giddiness from the moment I saw it wrapped up in BYU paper, labled with Mom's perfect handwriting. Thank you thank you thank you for your beautifully written notes, masterful pictures, yummy chewing gum and mints, tights, my horse blankie, and my mended shirt (you're the best, Mama!). I was overcome with happiness and love from home from all you have sent me. I'm doing my best to reply to your thoughtful notes!

Also, a shout out to so many friends who have so thoughtfully sent me letters and packages. Mail time is one of the happiest moments of the day! We aren't supposed to open our mail til we return to our residence halls, so it fills me with excitement and things to look forward to to have your penned notes sit inside my desk until it's time to retire from the classroom for the day. Thank you for your time, and thank all of you--family and friends--for your prayers. I feel them. I have never felt more bolstered and empowered by the people I love!

This week has been a fun one to say the least! We've continued to immerse ourself in Spanish in the classroom ( it literally is our home. The 9 of us in my district are there for 10+ hours a day, if not more). Verb conjugations are coming more easily, and I'm drowning in vocabulary (particularly church words), but I've never been happier to learn. The MTC is incredible because grades are out of the question. our studies are not about competition because we are all learning this language for one united purpose, to serve the Lord and bring the gospel to the people in Argentina. It is frustrating, to be sure. There is little break from our tasks of learning two languages: Spanish, and the language of the Spirit. But the warmth I feel in my heart as I study is indescribable.

 I wish I could explain to you the change I've seen in myself in these past two weeks. I can already see that I am not the same, and I am changed for the better! Austin, you'll be proud to know I have been on time to almost everything (including breakfast!). From one day to the next I suprise myself at the amount of Spanish I can not only understand, but Speak! It truly is amazing. I'm developing a tremendous love for Spanish, which my teacher, Hermano Magallanes, calls 'the celestial language.' The way Spanish is spoken is like a song--you know when you listen to the folks at Cafe Rio, and it feels like they're talking in a run-on sentence? It's because they don't pause between words. Each word flows into the next word in a phrase. You know "Adios, amigos?" I took it to mean 'see you later, pals.' In truth it means, 'A  Dios,' or 'to God,' meaning when you say goodbye to someone, you're wishing them to return to God/for God to watch over them. How incredible is that? Next week I'll have to include some fun colloquial phrases for you to practice. There's some pretty goofy ones I've written in my study notebook, but I left it in my classroom :(

Also, I already catch myself writing in Spanish in my journal at night. Truly, I'm falling in love with Espanol.

You'd have been proud of me this week, Dad. The prankster in me came out at an unexpected moment in class last week. We were discussing Stress Management for Missionaries, and how to handle the MTC. To give us an object lesson for this subject and a break from our desks, our teacher implemented a game. He had my district stand at the top of our 5 story stair case at the east side of the building (keep in mind that there is ALSO a west staircase down the LONG hallway). and split the Elders and Sisters into teams. Hermano Vargas instructed us that our teams were to hold hands in one long chain, race to the 3rd floor, and then race back up--never breaking our chain of elders or chain of sisters. I was at the front of the sister's line, the leader of our team. Once we began, it was clear that the Elders had the advantage with their long legs and competitive natures as we barreled down the staircase. I had to do something! We reached the 3rd floor around the same time, and just as the Elders turned around to race back up, I shouted after them "elders! Wait! We're supposed to race to the west staircase and then back up to the 5th floor!" They completely bought it, and booked it down the hallway. I led the sisters down the halls a small ways so the Elder's would keep with my bluff, and then immediately turned the sister's line around. We were in fits of giggles as we easily reached the 5th floor from the east staircase. It took a little under a minute for them to arrive, holding hands, diving down the hallway. When they saw us standing there, even breathed and smiling, the Elders all burst out at once "HERMANA BOREN!!! YOU TRICKED US!!!" And soon everyone was cracking up and holding on to the staircase rails to keep from falling to the floor. It was choice! Hermano Vargas had no clue what just happened, and we were so out of breath that we couldn't explain for a good couple minutes. It was grand.

Despite this experience, the Elders and Sisters still seem to love me, and have developed lots of nicknames for me. Elder Higginson likes to call me "Hermana Tigress," apparently I remind him of the Tiger in Kung Fu Panda because of my eyes. My roomates and companeras think I belong in Pride and Prejudice, Tangled, or an Elf from Lord Of The Rings (but raised by hobbits, because I'm happy). They are kind, generous, and loving people and I couldn't be blessed with a better group of fellow missionaries.

I have seen Hermana McKenna Miller a great deal since she arrived Wednesday :) She is doing well, and I love seeing a dear friend from home.

There are some hard things about the MTC--mostly for me, sleeping. i've had a bout of amsomnia lately :( But all will be okay! I've been able to stay awake and active in class!

My time is up. Know that I love you, my sweet family. Know that God lives, and that he is watching over not just me on my mission, but all of you. Boys, READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. I have never thirsted for the scriptures so much in my entire life. An hour and a half of study leaves me wanting more. I love you, Austin, Tyler, Jordan, Corey. Please, I want to challenge all of you to read this book while I'm away, like Grandma and Grandpa  challenge us to :) Please, start reading it now, and send me letters and share your insights to the incredible people in this book!!

Love you Mom and Dad.
Perseverar en la fe,
Love, love love,
Hermana Boren

P.s. Scripture of the week I have come to LOVE: Jeremiah 29:12-14. God is there, if we will but seek him. A celestial game of Hide and seek.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hola mi Querida familia!

One week and one day since I saw and hugged you last. One week and one day since I donned this beautiful, little black nametag. HERMANA BOREN, it says. Beneath it reads: La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias. Sister Boren, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is my new calling and my new life for the next 18 months. I cannot express how much of an adventure this last week has been, but I'll do my best to at least give you a glimpse! Where to begin . . .

After you dropped me off at the MTC and I walked away with my zebra and giraffe print suitcases, that kind Elder escorted me to building 1M, pretty much MTC headquarters. I gave a receptionist my name, and she directed me to another receptionist who gave me my name tag. I was then directed to another set of women who gave me a stack of papers for orientation, and all of the sudden I was outside again with a kind young woman who was my missionary 'host.' She is also going to Argentina--she helped me locate my luggage from the kind Elder, and helped me through a maze of identical buildings to my housing. My room was a classroom as of only a few months ago, and previous missionaries helped convert it to living quarters. Everything is very new and very well furnished. Without further adieu, she helped me pick up my new Spanish Missionary learning materials from the MTC Bookstore, and whisked me to another building and up 5 flights of stairs to my new home . . . ahem, I mean my classroom! It was here that I met Hermano Magallanes, one of my teachers, and my companion--Hermana Alicea! I recognized her from the Sister Missionary Facebook page before my mission. She is absolutely gorgeous, from Vegas, has the most incredible sense of humor, and loves music (we get along great). Later in the week a companionship split when one of the sisters moved to an advanced level spanish, and so we gained a triplet companion! her name is Hermana Telfer--she is from Highland, UT as well. We actually used to be stand partners in Mr. McKendrick's guitar class my Junior year of High School, and both rode Floyd's bus. She is beautiful, softspoken, kind, and has a humor all her own. I am coming to love both sisters and rely upon both sisters greatly!

The rest of that first day is such a blur. I met the rest of my district (a district is a group of Missionaries assigned to the same area. It's like your assigned family away from home). We consist of 4 Elders and 5 Sisters (how cool is that--more sisters than elders?). This is highly unusual, but all of us are going to the same mission--Rosario, Argentina. We are all full of energy and a unity because of this prospect of going to the very same piece of the world. We got started studying spanish after all the missionaries arrived in our classroom, and have been studying our tails off ever since. We set to work learning to pray in Spanish right away, and memorizing 'Mi Proposito' (missionary purpose) in it's entirety.  We are so fortunate--our classroom is one of the largest, we have the nicest chairs and desks, a beautiful view of Timpanogos mountain, and a bright RED colored wall. It's perfect. I love having one set class of the same 9 people all day. I haven't had that since Elementary School, and it's refreshing :)

Friday--keep in mind this is only 2 days after arrival--we were to teach our first lesson in Spanish to an investigator (someone who is not a member of the church, whom you are teaching about the church). MTC investigators are teachers acting as investigators, but let me teel you, the intimidation of sharing your testimony in Spanish is no less real nor intimidating. My Companera, Hermana Alicea, and I met "Kevin," our 22 year old investigator on the 4th floor of our building in a miniature classroom. The next 30 minutes I can hardly explain in words. As this man began to present his questions in Spanish, something triggered in my brain. Though the words he said were far from my secular knowledge, I began to understand. And in return, my lips parted and words of testimony came forth. It was imperfect Spanish sentences to put it gently, but never would i have expected to speak as such. I haven't studied Spanish for 5 years, and didn't know any Chruch vocab. Yet somehow I expressed my testimony of the prophet joseph smith, the reality of the influence of the Spirit in our lives, and the importane of Resurrection. There IS a life beyond this one, made possible by the atoning power of our Savior Jesus Christ. I expressed that to him. I have never experienced the gift of tongues before the MTC, but in this brief half hour, I felt it overcome me in full force. I wish I could explain it! The spirit filled me with such light in that moment.

The hardest part of that experience came after, when my sweet companion burst into tears as we walked back to class. She expressed how frustrated she was to not be able to understand or teach any part of that lesson. I felt bad for not having invited her to speak, and for the next while I did my best to give her a pep talk and help her know it would be okay! i gave her a small metaphor about TY and JP's b-ball games, and how though the season started off with a bummer game, they kept practicing and kept playing their hardest. Though you guys didn't end up winning a single game, look at how far you've come!!! I think it helped a little, and since then we've been able to improve our teaching methods and have a better balanced lessons. We teach together (and now with Hermana Telfer :) ) almost every day! I haven't had that experience again--that overcoming ability to speak Spanish--but Spanish is certainly coming more easily than I would have expected.

We study from sun-up til sun down, spanish, gospel, spanish, memorizing, spanish, gospel, spanish, prayer, prayer, prayer. It's incredible, uplifting, and exhausting! I love the gym time (i've run 2.5 miles + every day . . . I haven't had that much time since Summer to run. It's SO AWESOME), even though we sit so much the 5 flights of stairs and the gym time is making all of the sisters (myself included) lose weight. The food is pretty good (nothing compared to yours, mom) and I miss TAPIOCA PUDDING SO MUCH!

My PO Box is #14. Sorry I forgot that, familia . . . but thank you to my friends for your wonderful letters. i look forward to hearing from my family!!! don't worry about sending my pillow, I've gotten used to the fluffy one they gave me here. but My blanket would be nice, por favor :) thinking of you all and love you so very much.

Yo se que Jesu Cristo es el Salvador y el redentor por todo el Mundo. Yo se que soy un hijo de dios, mi padre celestial. La iglesia de JesuCristo es verdadero! (maybe Dad can finda  good translating site for you!)

Love you and wish I had more time. We only get 30 minutes :( I'll write more in letters.
God is Good!
Con Amor (with Love)
Hermana Mikayla Boren

P.s. mom I'm glad your Salt Palace training went well (and was an adventure!!) Thanks for sharing that story!!!