Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Longest Week...


Im here!  And i dont know how to do apostrophes on this keyboard.  So sorry about that.  But I could not agree more with your subject.  Definitely the longest week of my life.  Thats dumb they didn´t email you or anything when I got here.  But im here and safe and everything is just grand...

Well lets just start with the planeride.  i sat next to this old couple and tried to talk to them but then i realized i dont know spanish.  <i couldnnt understand anything they were saying.  Except i{m pretty sure the lady called me a sinner because <i had scripture other than the bible.  its fine.  But i met someone who spoke english who was a convert so he was really nice and helped me with my luggage and everything.  <i ended up not having to go through customs so that was good.  the first night i stayed at the nurses house and cried myself to sleep.  no big deal.  the next day we had a training thing all day and it was the worst thing of my life.  i was one of 3 gringos out of like 21 new missionaires, plus all latino trainers.  basically understood next to nothing.  it was great.  my mission president scares me to death.  i think he speaks english but hes only said like 5 words to me total so <i dont really know for sure.

my companion is hermana martinez and she is great.  she{s super patient with me and my inability to speak or understand so that{s good.  but she sings all the time and is super tone deaf so that{s fun.  and she likes to whine about her headaches all the time.  but <i love her to death!  She{s a sweetheart.

the people here are so so sweet!  they are super late and never follow through with anything but i love them.  the members here are all soooo sweet!  hahaha we had dinner at one of the members house and he told me i looked like taylor swift and brenden looks like one of the jonas brothers and that david looks like justin timberlake.  hahahaha not at all but whatever.

ummm so i{m definitely not in america.  this place is nuts.  the worst part is the creepers.  people try to hit on my all the time.  one guy came up to me and was talking to me in english and was like, i want to get to know you better because i know you have a good heart and i know your style and you know my style and you{re so beautiful and blah blah.  uhhhh peace out, dude.  and there was another guy who saw me walking toward him and puts on his glasses and looks me up and down.  and another guy who drove by us and was literally hanging out his window and yelled, hey babyyy!!!!!  it{s great. not.

Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who wrote me!!!!  it was so good to hear from the grandparents!!!  But unfortunately, i cant email anyone but family.  my mission president doesn{t let us for some reason.  so sorry about that!!!  i really really wanted to email everyone back but i can{t. hopefully with the change of mission presidents, it will be different.  also, i asked one of the american hermanas and they said i should talk to the new president about coming home a transfer early so i guess i{ll just do that.

sorry about the basement!!! that sounds like a mess!! Good luck cleaning all that up.

i dont have much time left but know that im alive!!  its definitley been the hardest and longest week of my whole life and i{ve never been so homesick but i know im where the Lord needs me to be. }

thank you so so so so much for all of your love and support and prayers for me!!!  LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!

Hermana Bytheway

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New Address

Katelyn will be leaving the MTC this week! Here is her new mission address:

Ecuador Guayaquil South Mission
Casilla 09-06-286
Guayaquil, Guayas

However, the best way to send her a letter is still through dearelder.com. It is free to her mission because it goes through the church pouch mail. They send letters out Monday morning that they have received by Sunday at midnight. Just make sure you have her correct mission listed.

Last Week in the MTC!


Well hey.

I GOT MY TRAVEL PLANS!!!! Okay. So here's the lowdown. I have to be at the travel office on the 22nd at 3:00 in the AM. Baah! American Airlines Flight 436 to Dallas. Flight 640 to Miami. Flight 927 to Guayaquil!

Also. Going completely by myself. So that will be fun. My companion is also leaving on the 22nd by herself to Chile and the rest of my district didn't get travel plans today so that probably means they'll be reassigned state-side tomorrow.

Ummmm let me just begin by saying SIX DAYS.  In 6 days I will be in ECUADORRRR!!!!!!!  I'm going to die I'm so scared but at the same time I'm going to die I'm so excited!!  Everything there is going to hit me like a huge wall but ya know what I say to that?  Bring it on.

Thank you Mommy for the package!  Everything was great!  Except the string cheese.  I didn't think you'd actually send that but thanks!  It was pretty warm and nast by the time I got it.  But I am still so grateful you sent me that package!  When you send the next one, will you also put in my blue scripture case?  I'm not sure where it is.  Either on or in my nightstand, under my bed, or in my closet.  Thanks so much!!

We're up to 141 empty toilet paper rolls.  It's pretty awesome.  I'll have to send you a picture.  We're still not entirely sure what we're going to do with all of them but it's gonna be big.  (Hercules)

So this week was really good overall!  We've had some pretty incredible speakers!  Last Tuesday, Gerald N. Lund came and spoke, and holy incredible.  He talked a lot about the Spirit and how we can be receptive to its promptings.  So good.  Then on Sunday in Relief Society, we had Sister Mary Edmunds, who used to be in the YW board I think?  I don't remember but she was hilarious.  At one point, she kept being like, "Sister.  DO NOT.  TOUCH.  THE ELDERS.  DON'T DO IT!!" Like 20 times.  And then she paused..... "But... Just keep track of the ones you would like to touch."  And she just kept a stone-cold face the whole time.  And she just kept saying random things that were sooo funny coming from a cute old lady!  Loved it.  I know it probably doesn't sound funny as it actually was because one, everything is funnier when you're a missionary, and two, I'm not doing a very good job telling about it.  Then Sunday night, Greg Droubay came, who is some guy who does a bunch of media stuff for the church.  Oh it was so cool.  He was talking about how the Lord is hastening His work like never before.  He showed us a bunch of pictures of a mormon.org campaign they did in times square around Christmas time which was huuuge.  So awesome.  And then a huge thing in London in all the tubes with mormon.org posters.  And he was talking about how we have ads in the paybill of the Book of Mormon musical that say things like, "You've seen the play, now read the book" or "The book is always better."  I just love it because Satan is trying so hard to stop God's work but in the end, it's just increasing even faster.  So awesome.  He also told us that 44% of the missionaries in the MTC right now are sisters, and that is going to be half way soon.  That's right.

I absolutely love my companion!  We are sooo much alike so we just make each other laugh so so hard.  And our studies together are so so good!  She has an incredible excitement for the scriptures and it just makes me excited too!  The other day we were doing some activity in preach my gospel, looking up a bunch of testimonies from a bunch of different prophets and we got to the one in D&C where they say, "He lives" and we just got so excited because those 2 words basically sum up the whole gospel.  I'm so excited to declare my witness to real people with real problems in Ecuador and share with them the only way to true happiness!  So awesome.  After that study, we were both just like, get us out of here, we need to run around screaming about this gospel!  But then we keep having moments like, uhh hello, in a week from now we are going to be in South America working like there is no tomorrow.  And then she always says, "oh I'm going to chuck."  It's great.

K I'll send the box home where you come and pick it up.  I was wondering though, what if I sent home the pages in my journal I've already written?  Our branch president was telling us how some missionary's journal was stolen on his mission so maybe I could send home pages every once and a while?  I don't know.  What do you think?

Oh guess how funny I am.  So one of the elders in our district got mono so I came up with the GENIUS idea of giving him one of the random stuffed monkeys we have from one of our thousands of packages.  Get it?  Because monkey in spanish is mono.  Get it?  Because he has mono.  And monkey in spanish is the word mono.  Get it?  Funny, huh.  I'm just really clever and funny.

Kirstie left today!!  Last night I got to talk to her for a while before bedtime so that was happy.  And this morning when we were going to the gym, I saw her in line for the bus so I got to give her one last hug!  It was so sad to say goodbye to her but she's going to be so so good in Oklahoma!!

Oh.  So cool.  So we were studying about the brother of Jared and I realized something way awesome.  I'm probably the last person on earth to realize this but oh well.  I'm going to say it anyway.  So when he prayed about the barges, he asked 2 questions- one about the light and the other about the air.  But then the Lord only gave him an answer about the air, not even mentioning the light.  So instead of being like, uhhh hello, what about the light too??  He immediately acts on the answer he received about the air and then returns to the Lord and says, okay I did what you asked and now I am wondering about the light.  His example of faith is sooo incredible!  I love it.  I love the Book of Mormon!  The church is true.

My spanish is making me crazy and it's really hard to spell english words and form sentences correctly sometimes.  So sorry if this email doesn't make sense.  I'm trying.

Daddy, how is your espanol going?

OHHH lanta.  Can I just tell you???  The number one inanimate object I miss more than anything:  my toilet in my bathroom.  Really though.  I'm not even kidding.  Oh it just makes me sad thinking about it.  The toilets here are just sketch so going to the bathroom is just not a pleasant experience.  And it's just going to get worse.  So the next time you are sitting on your own personal toilet, just take a moment and be grateful.

So happy yesterday!  An elder walked by my the other day and was like, "Oh are you related to--" and I thought he was going to say John Bytheway because every single person at this facility has asked me that, followed by, "oh I'm sure you get that all the time, huh."  But no!!  He said LELAND!!  And then I was just happy inside because I just love Leland!  I miss him!  Oh and the guy we taught in TRC yesterday went on his mission to Santa Cruz and totally knew Ty Cann!  THE Ty Cann Trading!  Small world.  Love it.

OH MY GOODNESSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK!!!!!  I met a sister who was on "words from us kids" on Arthur!!!!!!  Not even kidding.  I was so excited.  And so jealous.  I told her how much I love Arthur with all my heart and how I could quote all of them (not the new ones of course).

Mmkay, well I've run out of things to say.  I may or may not email you on Saturday, but for sure I'll call you on Monday at probably 4ish??  Somewhere around there.  But thank you so much for all your love and support!  Thanks to Dallin and Grandma and Grandpa Solum for the letters!  I wrote you all back today so you should get it pretty soon.

I love you all!

Hermana Bytheway

Thursday, April 11, 2013

OFF TO PERUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Well hey.

HA, definitely not going to Peru.  I talked to the travel office and they said that I'll most likely just stay here for the rest of the time, which is good.  I love my district and my teachers!  Oh but I got a new companion.  Her name is Hermana Peterson, from Mesa, going to Chile.  She was supposed to leave the MTC yesterday, but she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago so she's staying for 2 weeks with our district and leaving when we leave.  At first I was super nervous about leaving my companions since we're so comfortable with each other, but it is actually really really good!  At first it was awkward, but our lessons ended up being so incredible!!  We taught our investigator, Octavio, and then 2 people at the TRC.  They both went really well and I'm excited to teach with her more.  She's so good at just simply and sincerely saying what she knows and I feel like planning with her is really good.  And I still am in the same room with my other hermanas so it's perfect.

Oh, Kirstie's room is on my same floor so I see her a bunch!  It's so so so happy!!  She leaves next week though... Weird.

Ummm okay, conference was amazing.  I loved it!  I did see Brook and that made me so so happy!  Oh my lanta, the songs they sang were incredible!!!  Those were definitely my favorite of all the sessions.  We just watched them in the gym where we have devotionals.  Suuuper different than how I normally watch conference.  That made me sad to think of how you all were watching conference but it was still good!  But my favorite session was definitely the YW session.  Okay, if you didn't see it, please just go online and watch the opening prayer.  Just do it.  You won't be disappointed, I promise.  It was the most sincere prayer I've ever heard in my whole life.  But during the choir's song, I was just overwhemed with excitement for all of those girls.  I could just see so much potential for them to be amazing missionaries and mothers in just a few years and I just got so excited for all of them.  They also talked a lot about how they are preparing to make and keep sacred covenants in the temple and I wondered if they really understood what that meant.  I was thinking about when I was in YW and I don't know if I really realized how magnificent that was.  But I'm so grateful for all the young womens program because even though I may not have realized, it really did prepare me for the temple and my mission.  For the rest of conference, the main theme I noticed was about the family and centering your home on Christ and the priesthood.  I am just so grateful to have grown up in a home that really was centered on Christ and to have a father who was a worthy priesthood holder.  Thanks Daddy :)

Oh my goodness, so on Friday, I just had a really bad day.  I was just getting super overwhelmed with everything and I just felt like I wasn't good enough to teach or anything.  Haha but it was kinda funny because our whole room was feeling the same way so that night when we were all praying, you could just hear sniffing coming from everyone.  But it's all good because ever since then, I've had some of the best days here!  With conference and our lessons, it's just been so happy!  On Saturday after conference, we were in our classroom and all of the sudden, I just got really happy all of the sudden and clasped my hands together and inhaled super happily (is that a word?) like a 6 year old girl and everyone was just like uh why are you so happy?  And I was just like, I don't know, I just am!!!!!  Anyway.  I'm just a happy person.  Except on Friday.

It was the BEST!  On Sunday, there was a million people at temple walk and I was photo bombing like mad.  I seriously think I was in like 89 pictures.  It was amazing.

Okay, so my top retainer is cracking.  I think it should be fine?  I don't know.  But if it's not too much trouble, maybe you could get a new one made?  If you don't have time or whatever, it's fine.  But I just hope it lasts till I get home.  Maybe I'm grinding in my sleep?  Who knows.

I haven't found anyone else going to Ecuador.  Sorry.  Oh except Vocal Point came and one of them went to my mission so I talked to him about it!  Haha but everyone else going there is in Peru...

I didn't make the connection that Elder Sorenson was Dr. Sorenson's son.  I knew he was Kurt and Wendie'e nephew though.  But he's gone already.

We have 95 empty toilet paper rolls!!!!  Hahaha I don't even know how we started collecting them but it's seriously amazing.  We line them up across the tops of our closets and it's like the crenelations on a castle.  Basically we're really cool.  Ummm they don't have any germs, Mommy.  They're completely sterile!  That's like saying unused toilet paper has germs on it!

That's so funny Julie Carrillo is related to Hma Rawlinson!  I told her that and she was like, oh she's cut my hair before!  And I was like me too!  It was precious.

My shoes aren't splitting.  They're giving me callouses on the back of my heels and those are splitting.  Get it?  The shoes wouldn't split if you tried to saw through them.  But they don't hurt anymore so they're fine.  The back of my heels look pretty hideous but it's fine.  I've seen a lot of people with the same shoes as me and every time, I think, woof those are hideous.  And then I look down and see them on my feet.  It's pretty sad.  But I'm past caring.

They finally fixed our toilets after being clogged for a week!  So the bathroom doesn't smell like a farm anymore!  Happy.

My district doesn't have their visas and will most likely be reassigned.  I'm thinking we'll get our travel plans at the end of this week?  I'll let you know.

That's exciting for Dallin!  Tell him to write me.  Same with Cameron.

Spanish is coming along.  The main thing I'm trying to work on is cutting out the word "um" while looking at the ceiling.  It's pretty bad during lessons.  But i'm working on it!!

If you send me a box, do not put in any treats.  We seriously have a million boxes of cinnamon rolls, cadbury eggs, reeses, and everything else you can possibly imagine.  So send like celery or something.  I would say send string cheese or smoothies but that's not really possible.  But that's what I'm craving.  I'm just not positive if the chicken is real.  I hope so but sometimes you just wonder.  Oh we did have chicken cordon bleu though which was actually good.  We've had some good meals but very few.  And the "vegetables" they serve with the meals are just nast.  I don't think those are real either.  But you wanna know what's real that they serve???????  The chocolate chip cookies!!!!!!!!!  Ohhhh man.  You don't even know.

Anyway, I think that's about it.  Thanks so much to everyone for all your prayers, letters, love, and support!  I'm so grateful to be a part of this sacred work of the Lord!

Love, Hermana Bytheway

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Weekend


Well hullooo!

Easter sounded like it was fun! I was definitely sad I didn't have anything to hunt for though.  It's all good though.  My Easter was awesome!  We had the biggest sacrament meeting in history which was way awesome.  I think it was over 3000 people, but some of them were in overflow room.  Bishop Causse was there and spoke about the Atonement, which was way good.  He had a pretty sweet French accent.  Then we had a sisters meeting with just the sisters in our branch and the branch president and his wife and the wife of one of the counselors.  It was way awesome.  Definitely one of those self-esteem boosters, telling us we're awesome and better than the elders pretty much.  Haha but the wife of the counselor spoke to us about her mission and it was way awesome.  She was telling us how much we'll bless our future families because of our service and how that we'll learn things that we wouldn't have been able to anywhere else that will make us better mothers.  It was powerful.  And then we had testimony meeting with our branch (without the sacrament which was weird).  But I bore my testimony!  In Spanish!  It was scary but defintely a good experience.  So then we had our evening devotional with Sheri Dew.  Holy cow, she is one powerhouse of a woman.  She just speaks with so much passion and I love it!  So that was awesome.  And then for the Sunday night video, we watched the character of Christ by Elder Bednar, which was the talk he gave at the MTC on a Christmas morning, but I'm not sure when.  I don't know if you can look that up somehow but if you can, then do it.  It was incredible.  He is so deep and everything he says is just packed with so much meaning and implications.

I'm jealous of your Easter dinner though!  The food here is starting to all taste the same.  Ugh, the worst is the chicken that they use in the salads and the wraps.  Ohhhh lanta, it's gettting pretty gaggy.  Except since Easter was fast sunday and we have to fast for 24 hours, dinner tasted pretty good.  Still doesn't compare to a Bytheway ham and potato and orange roll Easter dinner though.  How was Brenden's birthday?  I'm sure it was pretty special.  Nothing but the best for Brenden!  Also, how is he doing?  I got his letter but he didn't tell me anything about that.  Mostly he talked about the good deals on groceries he was getting.  Hahaha I loved it.

Thanks Mommy for the Easter packages!  I gave them to all the elders in my district and then us 5 sisters shared the last 2.  We had lotsa fun with it, especially the little blowy things.  And Hermana Rawlinson has been sick the past few days, so she's enjoyed the Easter bunny tissues.  Also thanks to everyone who has written me letters!  Getting mail here is like Christmas morning, only better.  So muchas gracias!

Morgan is married nowwww!!!!!  Ahhhhh!!!!  Congrats!!!!!!  I want to hear all about it!!!!!!!!

So the Spanish is coming along.  Sometimes it's frustrating in lessons knowing what you want to say but not being able to express it the way you want to.  Hahaha but we've had some pretty good mess-ups as a district.  The other hermanas told our investigator Octavio that Christ suffered for our fishes.  And I told him that God loves himself.  So it's a work in progress for sure.  Hahaha we struggle but it's fun.  Except I feel like I'm an inbetween state where I can't speak English very well anymore, but I'm still not fluent in Spanish.  Soooo hopefully I can get out of that lil' limbo.

Oh my goodness, the other day, I came out of the bathroom stall and Hermana Thomson was like OHHH HERMANA!!!!  and grabs my skirt and pulls it down and I was just like what the heck.  Well turns out, the back of my skirt was tucked into my garments so I was flashing my behind for the other sisters in the bathroom to see.  Hahaha it was pretty embarrassing, but I'm just glad I didn't walk out of the bathroom like that.

So for fun here, we collect empty toilet paper rolls.  It sounds like the dumbest thing ever, because it is, but it's so entertaining!  It's a challeng every time we go into the bathroom to see how many we can find.  We're up to 41 right now, I believe.  Our goal is 100- we even wrote it down in our planners because a goal not written down is just a wish.  It's pretty exciting.

Okay, I hope Katie Smith is reading this right now, but I definitely told my class the story of the Cheerios book, Mono y Yo.  Hahahahaha it was amazing.  "Mono y yo, mono y yo, fuimos a ver...... PINGUINOS!!!!!!"  Probably not that funny either, but after being here for so long, you just find ways to laugh and have fun.

Oh.  I hate these blasted shoes!!!!!!  They're giving me calllouses on the back of my heels and they're splitting!  Stupid danskos.  They're supposed to be "the most comfortable shoes ever" but they're definitely not.  Plus, they're so chunky, I feel like they're weighing me down.  I notice I walk so much slower in them than my keds or running shoes.  Ugh.  They better be worth it once I get to Ecuador.

I still haven't heard anything about my visa, but I also haven't asked.  I think they've forgotten about me.  One of my friends here told me a sister went to the Peru MTC last week so pretty sure they're just going to leave me here.  Which I really hope they do.  I really wouldn't want to leave my district, and especially my companions.  None of my district have their visas yet.  Today we had to go to a 3 1/2 hour meeting so all of the missionaries going to Argentina could be re-fingerprinted.  It's lookin like they'll be reassinged but we'll see.

Yeah, I'm pretty much over my cold.  It only lasted a few days.  Haha but i'm pretty sure I went through like 200 tissues, not even kididng.  It was bad.  I don't know how I could produce so much mocos.

So the other day, Hermana Thompson had to go to the doctors down the road, so we got to go into the real world for a while.  It was so exciting!  And the weather was absolutely gorgeous so it was double happy!

Our room is crawling with ants.  Honestly it doesn't bother me because I know I'm going to be dealing with much much much worse.  But there's been a few times I'll put on my garments and an ant will be crawling on them.  Mostly I'm just confused as to how they got there.  Oh well.  Hopefully we can get some spray or something to get rid of them.  If not, it's good practice for Ecuador.

Well, I just hope you know that I love you all and I'm so grateful for all your support!  I know that this Gospel is true and it is the only way to live with our Heavenly Father again someday.  I know that God loves each and everyone of us individually and personally and He will always answer our prayers, even if it's not how or when we want it to be.  I know that Christ suffered for all of our sins, pains, heartaches, and sorrows, and He understands perfectly what we go through.  I know that the Atonement is real and we should be partaking of this incredible gift each and every day.  This gospel is incredible!

con mucho mucho amor,
Hermana Bytheway