Thursday, March 22, 2018

WEEK 93 part 2 - EMOTIONS - It's coming to an end

This was a crazy one!!  For all you Mom's that want to know when you receive the return flight information, it's around 70 days left in the mission.

So two weeks ago on a pday we received an email with Bryce's return date, flight information, and all those great things.  We were ecstatic! I called the girls into my bedroom and Dad was there and we had this big celebration of knowing the exact return details.  The email was carbon copied to Bryce, Dad, Mom, Bishop, and Stake President.  We were so excited and full of joyful emotion!  Our loved one had a return date.

THEN.....later that day we received the pday email.  Apparently Bryce had received a phone call the Friday prior and was told his return date and told he would have an itinerary emailed to him.  He was waiting to surprise us with the news except we received the email before he did.  So that didn't work out so well.  He opened his email to see his flight information, his tickets, his date to leave the mission......and.....he was devastated.  We soon realized our joy was not his joy.  We don't talk about home or return with him so I never really knew how he felt about it but it became very clear on this day.  He does not want to come home.  He is lost in the service of the mission, loves his companion, loves the work, loves the people of  Mexico, and the last thing he wants is for any of it to end.  Although he is so sad, this was the most joyful news a mother could hear. He is truly in love with what he is doing and has truly converted to being a missionary.

He speaks English but in Spanish format.  He said, "This is all so shocking to me, it's real and the tickets are purchased.  This is really happening, Holy Cow.  I really have to come home. This has all hit me a bit in the sadness.  that last sentence, oh my goodness the phrasing was so fun. 

So after all that was established it got kind of odd. Every six weeks missionaries transfer into Mexico and missionaries transfer back to their homes. This is the cycle that continues on and on during the two year mission.  Bryce transferred in during a cycle and now he will transfer out at the end of a cycle.  Since Bryce was the first cycle in for his Mission President, this means he is the first missionary to have completed 2 years with President Montoya.  That's where the weird part comes in.  Whenever a group of missionaries are transferring out they bus to Chihuahua the Monday before they leave and have a "last supper" with the Mission President and his wife.  They then sleep in the mission offices and fly home Tuesday or Wednesday.  Bryce was the only North American to enter the field during the cycle back in 2016.  There are other missionaries that entered with him but they are from other countries.  Apparently all the elders that came with Bryce are leaving the mission early.  Their visa's expire before the 2 year mark and the mission doesn't want to pay for new visa's for them to stay just a few weeks early.  So those elders will be having a "last supper" one week early and then flying home.  This means Bryce will the the only missionary left from his generation. He claims he is attending the last supper with his generation (a generation encompasses all the missionaries that arrived on the same day) but that doesn't make too much sense to me. He will still have his companion he's training, he'd have to travel to chihuahua for the dinner and then back to Delicias the next day.  Then stay another week and train.  So I'm honestly not sure what will happen.  What we do know.....A day was subtracted from his mission. Instead of having a last supper for one elder, they decided to just have him fly home the Monday his supper would be on.  His original return date was to be the next day (a Tuesday).  Although I'm thrilled to have him home a day early, I pray that his last evening there will be special and he will feel he gets to take part in the rituals that is standard for the Mexico, Chihuahua Mission.

His arrival was under different circumstances and his departure is following suit.  Sort of feels like a trend of his mission. He is the only missionary I know of that was the only North American of his generation. That changed many things for him.  For example, he didn't bond with fellow North Americans in the CCM, he didn't arrive into Chihuahua with a support base of people he was familiar with, etc. He doesn't have that group that so many are blessed with throughout their mission.  Despite that, he's been an amazing trooper and fought hard when times were tough and has made amazing, amazing, life long friends. I'm sure it was all for a reason and he had to learn to depend on many and when to stand on his own. 

His final words:  I've really changed so much.   In a lot of ways. I feel more mature and I'm able to handle stress better. I have a lot to do and time is moving to fast. I need to work fast and hard.  I'm not ready for it to end so I'm just not going to think about it.

WEEK 92 - Part 1 EMOTIONS

So I think this blog has turned into a "Mother's summary" instead of a Bryce's words blog.  As time moves on, he gives much less detail so I just end up summarizing his emails.

Bryce really likes his new companion.  He is funny and they get along great.  He jumps right in to teach and apparently loves photography.  (maybe I'll get some good pics).  When Bryce arrived in the mission he was the first batch for his mission president so there weren't set programs in place.  They now have a set training program for missionaries just entering the field.  Bryce(the trainer) and Elder Jiminez(the trainee) attend weekly training meetings.  These meetings help the new elder adjust and learn and they teach the trainers how to be effective teachers.  I think it's a wonderful change.  Bryce joked that he was the guinea pig when he arrived.  Just the same as he was the guinea pig in our family because he is the first born :) (HAPPINESS TO BE TRAINING AND MEETING A LIFELONG FRIEND)

Right after Bryce picked up his new companion they had some extra time to make visits.  They were right next to a previous area Bryce served in so he went and visited his kids.  He calls them "My Kids".  He said they were so happy to see me and it was so great! It had been a long time that I hadn't seen them and they haven't been to church in a long time.  It was so good to see them. They were laughing and telling jokes and just being funny.

I remember many photos of Bryce playing chess with them, etc.  He visited them often while he served in that area of Chihuahua. (PURE JOY)
"THE KIDS" :)
 I honestly dont' know what the connection is between Bryce and cats but this is his third encounter in the past few months. First he arrived home one night to find a stray cat sleeping on his bed, next he had to clean up an ugly scene of deceased cats at the sisters' house, then this particular week he and his comp were in Delicias and found a tall box with abandoned kittens in it.  So what would Bryce do?  Well Bryce takes the box of kittens to his dinner appointment and gives them as gifts.  Really Bryce?  Yes he did!  However, the recipients were grandparents and were happy.  They have three families with grandchildren, so they gifted each family a kitten.  Hopefully they will be well loved.
Bryce and Elder Jiminez had a baptism in Delicias.  This was the first baptism for Jiminez so it was an exciting day! From Bryce: Yeah so his name is Oscar and he was going to get baptized in 2 weeks, but He was ready then and didn't have any reason to wait so we asked him for that Saturday and he was fine with it! He is really happy right now.  He has no family and lives alone so that's sad. My comp was super excited but he was stressing out all day about the baptism so I had to tell him to relax all day.  (MORE JOY)

Some of the guys in the zone and district
 Bryce gets to work closely with Elder Thomas from Utah.  I love that connection.  Bryce said 
Thomas is the only other gringo so he appreciates that and that he is from Utah and that everyone is from Utah.  That made me laugh.

TENDER LOVE FOR ROMANCITA (SADNESS- HOW TO SAY GOOD-BYE)
Romancita was the one woman I hoped to go back and meet someday.  She took Bryce in and loved him like no other.  She was his grandma in the mission.  She actually kept a framed picture of him in her house.  Bryce lived in the apartment above her house in Parral (a year ago).  That's when he was so sick and had to stay in bed many days. Often he would sleep at Romancita's house and she would care for him.  She cooked him breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  They became so close and I have always felt a special love for her.  She could never know how much I loved her for loving my son.  The day Bryce transferred from Parral back to Chihuahua Romancita was so sad.  She just couldn't bare to see him go.  She thought his comp would go but not him.  He was scheduled to taxi to the bus and head out.  Romancita wouldn't hear of it.  She woke up early, cooked him breakfast and made 2 quesadilla's and wrapped them in foil for his "journey". She then drove him to the bus station (crying all the way there).  They said their goodbyes and Bryce got on the bus.  Bryce said as the bus was pulling away he could see her standing there still crying next to the bus.  I just couldn't stand it!  I know that pain of sending him off to a new place.  I will love her forever.  A few weeks ago Romancita suddenly passed away.  I cried and cried when Bryce told me.  I thought I'd meet her one day but now we'll be meeting in a different place.  Bryce said he had a "feeling" he needed to call her.  He called her and the person that answered the phone said she was in the hospital and couldn't talk.  He kept having a nagging feeling to call again.  He tried again a few days later and she had just been released and was able to talk to him.  He had no idea how sick she really was but I think Juvenal gave him a heads up (not sure).  She told Bryce he was the only one who hadn't called her yet and she had been waiting for him to call.  Two days later, she passed.  Bryce was very sad but said he is happy for her because all she wanted to do was preach 24/7 and share the gospel and now she's in a place where she can do that.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

WEEK 90 - changes, son #2, sealing, fire

 I have seen and learned in this past week, that first, God is perfect and that his plan is perfect. I saw and learned this by returning to Delicias, my least favorite place of the mission, with elder Alarcon, the only companion that I really felt we didn't get along. Well now my perspective has completely changed. Delicas is wonderful. This last week was really good with my companion actually!  We were able to fix things and actually be friends.  It was an amazing change that we saw in ourselves and I know God is happy that we were able to fix it. That was a miracle for me. I am happy that we had the opportunity to fix things and that now I can say that I have not had a companion that I have not loved or served.


New Companion Elder Jimenez
Bryce went to Chihuahua today and  picked up his new companion Elder Jimenez. Bryce gets to train Elder Jimenez for the next 12 weeks.  Bryce will continue to be District Leader for this cycle, as well as train Elder Jimenez.  
Bryce's impression:  He's really cool  at least from what I've seen and talked to him. So far he seems like an awesome guy!
This photo is of many of the friends Bryce has made during his mission.  Also pictured are new Elders that arrived in Chihuahua today from The Missionary Training Center.
This was Bryce's favorite family in Chihuahua.  The Gonzales Family.  They snapped photos the night before he was transferred back to Delicias
He had  photos waiting in his inbox today.  What a special day, they were sealed in the Temple as a forever family.


Bryce's words regarding the family:  They are just a super cool family that always treated us super well in my last area and they love me and miss me so they send me fotos.  :)

We were teaching a family outside their house and the field that was behind the houses caught on fire.  We wet the wooden parts around the houses so they wouldn't catch fire and the wind took the fire the other way.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Week 89 - More Cats, Mid-Cycle Transfer, Final area for mission

Bryce was called by President several weeks ago and was informed he was being transferred in the middle of the cycle.  He was transferred from Chihuahua back to Delicias.  He's been trying and working hard but this transfer was unexpected.  Bryce has rarely ever reported anything negative but this was a hard transfer for him.  Delicias is his least favorite city from the entire mission and he was lucky enough to get a repeat companion.  (One of his most difficult companions).  Perhaps he didn't get things right the first time he was there and he gets a second chance to rewrite his experience in this area and with this companion.

President told him this would be his final area of the mission.  He asked Bryce to study and learn the area well because he will be receiving a brand new missionary on Monday.  Bryce will be training this new Elder for the next 12 weeks as he finishes out his service in Mexico.  There will not be any new Americans arriving in Chihuahua with this cycle of newbie elders so they should all have the language down.  We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new companion and the changes coming up.

Bryce hasn't sent pictures the past two weeks but I have pics the week before he left Chihuahua.  I've learned that no pics means he's not his happy, usual self. 

PRIOR TO THE TRANSFER, LAST WEEK IN CHIHUAHUA

Elder Parry, Elder Mendez, Elder Mucino, Bryce  Not sure what they are doing here to Mucino but I believe this was his last transfer and he returns home this upcoming week.  I will always love Mucino since he was the one that collected Bryce as a greenie and trained him for 12 weeks.  Mucino is an amazing guy!  These are all the elders he's been companions with or has trained.  Fun reunion to all be in the same zone for a short time.

This week two sister missionaries in Bryce's Zone had some type of evil spirits in their house. The elders were called in to bless the house.  Bryce said the house had the most unexplainable, horrible feeling inside.  They blessed the house and returned the next day and took pictures and he said the evil feeling was gone.   I was lucky enough to be sent a video that said, "Viewer discretion advised".  Yes, it was wonderful.  It was a video of dead cats on the side of this house and all things that go with no longer living creatures.  Bryce was the lucky one that got to clean it all up and dispose of the mess and wash the yuck away with a hose after the clean up.  I'm so happy he was kind enough to take a video of the clean up and share it with me (Insert sarcasm here)  
Fun in Chihuahua, got pics of Bryce and his comp riding a duck?  No explanation given.

R2D2 - The universal language

Looking forward to a better update this upcoming week and praying for Bryce to be a good teacher and leader to this brand new missionary he will be receiving.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

WEEK 85 Service, A cat, Humility

Bryce stayed in Chihuahua with transfers.  He got to keep his companion Elder Sanchez and they work together well.  Transfers brought some new and prior friends.  Elder Parry (from Utah) arrived to the mission and is in the same zone as Bryce.  Elder Mucino also was transferred into the zone. Mucino was Bryce's first companion and trainer and Bryce is happy to spend time with him.  Mucino will be ending his mission in 11 weeks.  Elder Perry is lucky to have him.

Bryce and Elder Sanchez
Last week Bryce and Elder Sanchez found a family that was beside themselves. They lost their business and had zero resources to get their belongings out of the business to a place of storage. They found a neighbor that had a truck and together they spent a day clearing out the business and helping the family.  Randomly that same Sunday the entire family showed up to church. Bryce was so surprised because it usually takes much effort to bring a family to church. They showed up all on their own and that was such a happy day for Elder Sanchez and Bryce.

A second thing Bryce was grateful for last week was hot water!!  Their hot water heater gets frozen every night and since he is the tall companion, he gets the honor of climbing on the roof every freezing morning.  He pours water down a pipe while Elder Sanchez turns on the boiler.  A neighbor taught them a trick to cover the pipe a certain way and now they get hot water without climbing the roof each morning.  :)

 The guys came home one night last week and this cat was asleep on Bryce's bed.  He doesn't know how it got in but he said the cat was friendly and not afraid of him but either way, he still had to put him back out in the cold weather :(
Bryce is starting to feel the wind up of his mission and is focused on working as hard as he can and leading the zone with full focus.  He's familiar with missionary life at this point and nervous about returning to normal life.  I told him to let us worry about that part and he could just worry about the mission.  He said, "Deal".

Friday, January 5, 2018

Week 82 Christmas, and emergency changes



WEEK 82 - LOTS OF SWITCH UPS


This is a photo intensive post!  The Elders were in mid cycle week 81 and Bryce emailed home saying there were changes in his District.  Shaw went home so there was need for an Elder in Parral.  That meant Templeton was taken from the Delicias district and moved to Parral.  This meant Templeton's comp was now solo so they took the comp from another Elder that returned home and paired him with Templeton's comp in Delicias. (Still with me?)  Bryce was kinda bummed Temps was changed to a new area.  He liked having him in the district.  

Week 82 rolls around and 5 days after Temps leaves, Bryce had emergency changes also.  Bryce was moved from Delicias to Chihuahua and is serving in the Chuviscar Zone.  The Zone Leader in Chuviscar was ill and they needed a replacement.  (Thanks to Juve for the quick text to me telling me my son had moved).  So I have no idea who will move in to be comps with Elder Lopez.  The end of the cycle and real changes are in two weeks.  I'm sure it will all be sorted out then.

This makes comp 14 for Bryce.  That's a lot of moving around!  Also on a sweet note.  We mailed Christmas gifts to Bryce and to his comp Elder Lopez (He is from the Dominican Republic).  Bryce also purchased a few things for him in Mexico.  It was heartbreaking and endearing at the same time to hear this was the first time ever Elder Lopez had received a gift on Christmas! I'm so glad we had the inspiration to postpone mailing the package until we knew which comp Bryce had.  We were able to send items of the correct size.  Bryce said Elder Lopez had tears in his eyes and wore his new jacket all Christmas day.  In the photo below I see he's even wearing it out while they are having ice cream.  We meant it for a pday/casual jacket but we are just happy he loves it so much!

Delicias Zone

Final week with Elder Lopez and the Delicias Zone

 WEEK 81 - Christmas/Reunion dinner Delicias Elders traveled to Parral

Grandma from Parral that Bryce loved!  So happy he got to see her again during his mission.  
Bryce, Elder Templeton, Elder Shaw

Bryce, Elder Martinez(prior comp), Elder Marx
Bryce and Juvenal

Elder Requena(Prior Comp) and Bryce
 

Bryce, Elder Lopez (current comp), JUVENAL :)


THEY WENT TO THE MOVIES!!!!  

It was approved for the missionaries in Mexico to go to a theatre and watch Coco.  Bryce was super excited and you can tell by the photos he took he thought a real movie theatre was a novelty. 




ZONE BBQ



Friday, December 15, 2017

WEEK 78 Elder Oaks, Transfers, Baptisms....

So first off, it snowed on Thursday!!! It was so cold and it snowed alllll daaaay. We had planning so we were in the church, but working after was crazy. So we walked in the snow and played a little bit until it got too cold. I had temps and his comp sleep over Thurs night so we could leave to get to the bus stop early and on time at 8. When we get there they tell us we can't leave until the police have checked the roads and cleared them for ice. Then we wait 2 hours to leave, and the buses were full so some of us stood. It's usually a little more than an hour trip, but the roads were backed up for the ice, so it took 2 1/2 hours to get to Chihuahua.  So we stood in the bus for the ride then when we got there, we ate, went to clean a church building and practiced the choir. The worst part was that I've had a cold because they gave us flu shots, so I've been waking up really stuffed and feeling it in the throat, and everyone was the same so we were really worried about the choir. but we practiced it and Sunday it turned out really stinkin good! It was the best it ever sounded, but we couldn't record it... but we were all posed for the pic with Elder Oaks waiting, and we could all literally feel when he arrived and was outside. it was nuts. It was a force that could not be denied. Then his message he gave was intense too. He's so clear in his teachings and he says it with such power I was blown away. Then Sunday we got to the conference center where they held the second meeting, and it was soooo full of people. I saw lots of members and missionaries, but after wards I saw all of my converts and their families and the cool families from my mission and I was on cloud 9. it was a superb weekend.  

Pics of snow, new comp and reunion with friends at the conference with Elder Oaks.

Bryce and new comp Elder Lopez
Snow Day:)


Elder Martinez
Elder Shaw
Elder Requena
Elder Garcia

Juvenal told me he wanted to come to transfers last week but I didn't think he was actually going to do it! He came to say goodbye to another missionary that leaves tomorrow. It was funny because i was getting to the assistants house and then he pulls up and gets out. I was shocked. jaja.  It was so cool!!!!  This was Bryce's Ward Mission Leader in Parral but most importantly one of his best friends.  I found out the Elders in Delicias will be traveling down to Parral for Christmas Day.  I'm so excited! Christmas with family.  He'll also get to reunite with Elder Shaw and Requena.  What a fun Christmas Day and a great reunion.


Bryce found a giraffe tie!  We are very happy about this :)



Ok so I'm in Delicias, to the east side of Chihuahua, but not so far as to pass Parral.  So it's flat here and I've only been here for 30 minutes. (I think this is the first city Bryce has been in where there aren't mountains to climb).  
So anyways on Saturday we were in the church all day for baptisms. We had the baptisms of the sisters at 10am, so we were down there early making the baptismal programs and getting the font ready and all of that jazz. I baptized the oldest, and the zone leaders baptized the other two. We then left after the service and all of the small talk and congratulating and went to eat, then came back for our baptisms at 4. There was a problem with the clothes, because the jumpsuit we had didn't fit the kid, so we had to put his white shirt on and put it over the legs of the suit. It was pretty funny and it was such a powerful service! The testimony of the Mom that got baptized and her brother, who baptized her were so strong and everyone was crying. and in the talks before hand, the daughter that is already a member shared a talk and her testimony and everyone was crying then too. I didn't cry but the spirit was so strong that it was crazy. Made me think a lot of Doctrine and Covenants18:  
15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16 And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
I didn't get to go to the confirmations because they took me to Chihuahua before my ward even went to church  So they got them all confirmed, but I was in a bus.  We did get to go practice for the choir at Presidents house! and we watched the Christmas devotional there too!  That was super powerful.  We then spent the night at the Assistants house so we could get up early Monday morning and practice all day and prepare more for Elder Oaks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

WEEK 74 - Baptism, Choir, Migraine, Working Hard

Bryce has been super busy and is continuing to serve in Cuauhtemoc, Mexico.  The weather has finally turned cold and I see many more pictures with full suits.

Some of his experiences in the past 9 weeks.  Bryce and his companion had dinner with a family that are in his branch. A few days later there was a fatal car accident in front of his apartment.  He witnessed all the emergency teams, crashed vehicles, etc.  That night at 3 a.m. his phone rang.  He was asleep and it was an unknown number so he ignored it.  A little while later, his phone rang again but this time he answered.  It was the father of the family he had eaten dinner with a few days earlier.  The man on the other end told Bryce that his daughter was in a horrible car accident and had passed away earlier that night. He asked if  Bryce and his companion could please come over to the house and give his wife and the family blessings of comfort.  Of course, they got up, got dressed and walked in the middle of the night to offer these blessings.  Bryce said it was really hard to watch how quickly a life can be taken and to see the effect on the family.  He has since been able to continue contact with this family and do his best to help them through the grieving process.

More recently (this week) he had the opportunity to baptize a sister that has been trying to get the courage to be baptized for an entire year.  She is deathly afraid of water so she couldn't imagine going under the water to be baptized.  Bryce was able to comfort her and walk her through it and prove he was tall enough to save this short, sweet woman should she get lost in the water. 

Sunday the AP's (Assistants to the Mission President) called Bryce and told him he would need to take a bus to Chihuahua the next morning (1.5 hour bus ride).  Turns out about 14 missionaries were selected to sing a hymn for Elder Oaks that is coming to visit the Mission on December 9th.  They put together a special choir and Bryce will be traveling to Chihuahua every Monday until December 9th.  He said the practice for severl hours each Monday and then ride the bus back to Cuauhtemoc.  He is excited for Elder Oaks to be coming to Mexico and honored to get to sing for the occasion.  Bryce was also happy to meet up with many of his past companions and said he didn't realize how much he had missed some of them until he saw them again (at the choir practice).  He got to spend time with Elder Mucino!  Mucino was Bryce's very first companion when he arrived in Mexico so they have a special bond.  He also mentioned seeing Elder Lito Martinez who was also one of  his very favorite comps oh and he said he was super excited to see Elder Epperson also.  Not a comp but a connection in some area at some time :)  I'm starting to have a hard time keeping them all the connections figured out.

Last note we got this week was Bryce had his first migraine of his Mission.  It happened last Thursday.  They were in Chihuahua having a training meeting with the Mission President and Bryce could tell his eyes were not okay.  He has struggled with migraines as a teen and we were concerned about them on his mission but he was able to go 17 months before he had his first one!  That's a blessing.  He carries the  meds with him in his bag but said it's been so long since he had a migraine that he was afraid to take it. That's when these elders need a Mom to tell them what to do.  So he took nothing so of course he lost his vision, his arms and legs went entirely numb and his speech got all crazy. (His migraines mimic a stroke)  Not sure if  the other elders knew what was going on but he's lucky they didn't carry him off to the hospital).  He said he felt pretty lucky to be able to go a year and a half without any.  

That's all this mom can think of for now.  Just that he loves the area of Cuauhtemoc.  It's his favorite area of his mission and he loves the people.  

Bryce and Elder Shaw

Zone?



Elder Shaw and Bryce

Wall in Back in English "MY CRAZY LIFE"

Pday Pool

Elder Mucino and Bryce (still as close as ever)

Member baptized last Saturday




Paintball  Bryce sore his giraffe pajamas so he could be his "spirit animal"  First time I've seen them on him (apparently I made them for two of him to fit into the pajama pants)