Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Made it to the MTC!

Hello everyone--I made it to the MTC! I arrived on Wednesday, July 20th, and quickly met my companion (the girl I will be working with). Her name is Hermana Crowder and she is from Maryland. I think she is wonderful! On Friday, we taught our first lesson....TOTALLY in Spanish!!! We taught in Spanish again on Saturday, and again today (Monday)! Although my Spanish is not really good enough to teach a whole lesson in Spanish, my language skills have improved so much since I have been here. It is amazing!! The Lord is certainly blessing us.

I am having a wonderful time at the MTC. Although the language study can get a bit frustrating at times---I a trying to remember why I am here: to serve the Lord and to help others. I know that I will be able to learn Spanish!! I have felt the spirit so strongly since I have been here at the MTC. I know that the work that I am doing is the work of the Lord---what a great feeling!!

I am not able to send photos just yet, but I will do my best to get some to post! I am so busy--I am up at 6am everyday and to bed at 10:30pm---and I am literally busy the entire day. I find that I am so excited to learn Spanish!! Learning a language here at the MTC is so different from learning a language at school. I love learning!!!!

With Love,

Hermana Valerie Letendre

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Entering the MTC in Provo, Utah!

Valerie left Connecticut on Tuesday and entered the MTC on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 1:15pm. We spoke to her on the phone before she left and she was very excited! Our cousin Rachel and her friend dropped Valerie off at MTC. Thanks, Rachel! :)

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term MTC. The MTC stands for the Missionary Training Center. The MTC is a school where missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints go to learn more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in some cases (like Valerie) begin learning another language (Spanish) before they serve in their area of assignment. Valerie will be in the MTC in Provo, Utah for about 3 weeks and then in another MTC in Spain for about another 6 weeks.

We haven't heard from Valerie yet, but look forward to her first letter or e-mail hopefully sometime this week. We are so excited for Valerie and this opportunity she has to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the wonderful people of Spain!! We know that Valerie--Hermana Letendre--will be an amazing missionary!!

You can write her a letter at:
Sister Valerie Letendre
MTC Mailbox #282
SPA-MAL 0921
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT 84604-1793
She would love to hear from you!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Called to Serve

Hello and welcome to my first blog post ever! Although most of you who are reading this blog know me, I will take a moment to catch you all up on my life and what I have been doing for the past few years.  In May 2008, I graduated from Boston University with a B.A. in International Relations, and moved back home to Connecticut to figure out what the next phase in my life would look like. After spending a year working in retail, traveling, and spending time with my family, I entered my first year of law school at the University of Connecticut School of Law in Fall 2009.  Although it is difficult for me to confidently announce that I love law school (because of the torturous experience of being a lowly 1L), I am certainly happy that I made the decision to attend law school and greatly enjoy studying the law.  I recently finished my second year of law school, and am on to a new adventure!
 Boston Massachusetts Temple

From July 20, 2011 to January 2013 I will be serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka LDS or Mormon Church) in the Spain Málaga Mission!  The Málaga Mission covers an area of Southern Spain called Andalucia (See the yellow region in the map below).  I will be moving around in that region throughout my mission.

 Map of Spain

I am sure that some of you have many questions running through your minds: What does it mean to serve a "full-time mission"? What will I be doing? What will my life be like in Spain? Why on earth did I decide to put my law school career on hold for 18 months to do this? (Are you crazy?!). I will address each of these questions in turn.

What does it mean to serve a "full-time mission"? What will I be going? What will my life be like in Spain?

When an individual serves a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church), he/she leaves home to serve our Heavenly Father, and His children who are here on earth.  Individuals who decide to serve missions are assigned by church leaders to serve in a specific area of the world for either 18 months or two years.  Most missionaries proselyte, which involves talking with people, getting to know them, providing service to them, and teaching them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  To some individuals reading this, proselyting may seem pushy-- like missionaries are trying to force their viewpoints on others. However, this is a sore misconception.  LDS missionaries teach out of love and concern for others with a pure desire for those they teach to experience the happiness that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into their lives.  LDS missionaries teach individuals to pray about the things that they are learning so that they may know for themselves that those things are true. I personally bear testimony that as missionaries teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are willing to listen, that through the Spirit they may know with a surety that the gospel is true.

In Spain, I will be proselyting, performing acts of service for members of the community, and whatever else I am assigned to do! I am so excited to get to know the people of southern Spain and to serve them!

Have more questions about what LDS missionaries do or why missionary work is so important to the LDS church? Click here for more info.

Why did I choose to serve a mission? 
There are so many reasons why I chose to serve a mission; I will try to articulate a few of them.  Over the past few years I have increasingly realized how important my faith is to me-- it has shaped me into the person that I am.  The gospel of Jesus Christ has brought so much meaning and happiness to my life and I want to share that with others. I want others to know the things that I know; to feel that way that I feel.

Sometimes it still feels so surreal to me that I am taking a leave of absence to serve a mission, but I feel so strongly that this is what I am supposed to do right now in my life.  I have never felt so strongly about anything I have done in my life. I know that serving a mission is part of my Heavenly Father's plan for me-- and I am so excited to begin!

Contacting me in Spain 

While I am in Spain, the best way to contact me will be though postal mail.  I will not have access to my personal e-mail accounts or Facebook. My family members will be posting my current mailing address to this blog, and also to Facebook. I will be moving around quite a bit while I am in Spain, so it is best to check the my current mailing address right before sending any postal mail! I would LOVE to hear from you all while I am in Spain!

I can't believe I am leaving in just about a week! My sister Crystal will be updating this blog for me as I send her letters and photos. I hope this blog will allow you all to share in the excitement of my journey!