Krislee didn't get to send an email today, because she was talking to us, her familia. She went caroling with people from her ward, and their bishop went as Santa Claus. When they're out in the field they don't knock on people's doors, they yell in saying, "Hola!" She's passing out share the gift cards, and she's teaching quite a few people. She says they feed her A LOT of rice. She's doing great and enjoying life in the DR. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzjFEMmM0Xs
Wow, it´s been a CRAZY 6 weeks! I´m just freaking out because overall it went by really quickly... Including this transfer I have 11 more before I´m home... If you think about it like that, that´s not much time at all!
We have a new hermana in our house who just got out of the MTC and we have another elder in the ward who´s a greenie as well... You could say that I´m old now haha. We are a baby zone because we have 4 in training and 1 who just ended training.
Investigators.... tiny bit frustrating. The problem is is that my area is very poor and many people don´t know how to read and don´t understand even the simplest things. We are taking bible and mormon message videos to help teach them. I was feeling down the other day because I felt like we were doing the same thing over and over again... teaching to someone who wouldn´t listen or understand. Then yesterday we came across a lady named Joanna who is really interested in learning more... she´s been searching through all religions and she seems to like our values.
We now have a christmas tree, lights and other decorations in the house... I am pretty happy because it´s feeling a little more like Christmas... minus the 80 to 90 degree weather and the swarms of housflies.
Spanish is... Spanish. Haha. It´s coming slowly but surely. I can at least somewhat communicate with people. The biggest issue is understanding now... Sometimes I swear my mission call should have said for me to preach the gospel in Dominican.
Ok so I have learned a lot in the past few weeks... Just so you know... The DR is a whole new world!
1) We don't say siesta for nap... we say "voy a tener una pavita," which literally means, 'I''m going to have a little turkey."
2) Dominicans are obsessed with playing dominos... I don't know why.
3) Dominicans have NO safety rules... they'll take newborn babies in one hand and a tv in the other and then drive a motorcycle. I'm not even exaggerating.
4) The moths are on steroids... I think they are man-eating.
5) To save time and money, they let their little kids run naked... the only problem is, is that I've already gotten peed on.
6) Dominicans love Americans... I've been told that I'm "precioso"at least 10 times a day in the past 3 weeks.
7) Roosters don't know when the sun comes up... I get woken up at 4:30 every morning. I think I might have a chicken dinner sometime this week...
8) The bishop asked me if I had Mitt Romney and Thomas S. Monson's phone number.
9) The adults are children here... Our missionary activity on Sunday consisted of the bishop makingus wait outside and come into the chapel one by one to play this game called Rey Jabba Jabba... we had to beat the ground with a broom and say YO SOY EL REY JABBA JABBA and then sit down in a chair.... they put water in the chair so everyone but the bishop looked like they wet themselves.
10) The DR is beautiful... It may not seem like it in some places, but whenyou realize that this is simply another part of God's beautiful earth that is inhabited by His children, it really is paradise.
I just want to thank everyone for your prayers in my behalf. For those who didn´t know I was having a REALLY hard time last week... like, almost giving up hard. I was hit with a sudden anxiety and depression that caught me off guard so I didn´t know how to handle it.
Don´t worry... I´m over it now and it´s completely normal for missionaries in a forgein country learning a foreign language to have a little depression to start out with.
I was about to give up hope... i had been praying for relief and reading my scriptures for days and days and I couldn´t feel anything... I was panicking and sinking lower and lower into a depression.
On Thursday I literally couldn´t get out of bed. I had even lost the will to pray. All I could manage was say a quick ¨help me¨to heavenly father. later that day we went to a lady´s house to teach her English when I got a call from the doctor, checking up on how this allergic reaction i had been having was doing. I also mentioned my anxiety, and she said that she would tell Elder Plaskett about it. (I am good friends with the plasketts... Thanks, Plasketts btw if you are reading this!)
Anyways Elder Plaskett called me and I talked with them for a few minutes. Then The mission president´s wife Sister Douglas called me, inviting me to stay with them at the mission home for a week.
I literally went from feeling so alone and hopless to knowing that I was cared for and loved in a matter of minutes! God really does answer prayers!
Anyways, we went down to Santiago on Friday to the mission office to wait for the douglas´s. (THey were in a conference in Santo Domingo) We talked with some of the senior missionaries there and I met the Carrolls, who live in NAUVOO! (my favorite place to visit)
The douglass were running late, so the nurse and her husband (the granges) took us to their apartment for dinner. It was halloween, so chili was good!
the douglass were getting back super late, so the granges arranged for us to sleep in an empty apartment above them that the church has for a senior couple thats coming next month. SUPER NICE! it had hot water, which is 100X better than the cold buckets showers we have to take!
then the granges took us out for ice cream... needless to say we were happy!
the next day i went to the mission home. I met with both of pres and sister douglas... they are amazing! sis douglas has a multi million dollar charity for the leprosy colonies in india called rising star. she also served a mission at 19 forty years ago... she bothered the mission committee enought that they finally let her go! Only she could pull that off!
I was the only child of the douglass for 2 days... my companion returned to mao with a mini companion. I cooked and cooked with hna douglas... we chopped 96 cups of turkey and chicken on monday!
I wish I could tell you all how amazing they are... they are simply marvalous!
Anyways, hna douglas cracks me up because she caught me studying with only my lamp on in my room and she said ¨Girly, get some light on... dark doesn´t help your depression!¨
Anyways... I don´t want to go through what i did ever again, but I am so grateful i did because of what I learned from myself and because I am now so much stronger than I was at this time last week. I still feel a little anxious, but I feel so much more prepared this time.
I got back in Mao yesterday... I had to squash a rumor that I had gone home... anyways... I met my first ¨mean dominican...¨ We approached her house and I introduced us a missionaries in SPANISH and she replies ¨I don´t understand English¨ and she gave me a mean look. she was also mean to hna gonzalez because we were mormons. anyways, we left her house and headed to the church for a meeting and it started pouring... the elders were sick so we decided to leave because the streets flood really badly here. we get to this intersection not far from our house and these guys were behind us whistling at me and calling me a pretty blonde (they don´t know that I understand spanish)
Anyways this intersection was literally a pond and sister gonzalez went first. she slipped and I grabbed her to catch her... she lost her shoe! She starts screaming it in english, which i thought was funny because it isnt her first language!
Anyways one of the guys behind me grabs my hand and tries to get me to go in the water with him... Hna gonzalez is in themiddle of the street dancing on one foot still laughing and screaming. I´m freaking out because this guy won´t let go of my hand... then he TRIES TO PICK ME UP TO CARRY ME ACROSS!!!!!!! I start shouting ¨NO! ESTA BIEN! GRACIAS; PERO ESTA BIEN!¨ Hna gonzalez was freaking out as well because she was stuck in the water. We somehow make it across, soaking wet and laugh all the way back because H. Gonzalez had only one shoe.
We also helped a family on a motorcycle (Yes, and entire family on a motorcycle... 2 women and 2 children) get out of a puddle... we held the baby while they pulled it out and she begins screaming for her mom. Anyways it was an adventurous night.
I love you all and hope you are doing well!
El Evangelio es verdadero y Jesucristo les ama muchisimo!
Well on Friday we went on Splits with some "seasoned" Hermanas... talk about culture shock!!!! I think we're in "mini america" with the CCM and University and the Dominican Walmart (It's called Sirena)... But the rest is WAY different!
The people are so poor here, yet so happy! I also had some guys whistling at me from across the street... The way they "flirt" with us is by making a "TSSSSS!" hissing noise at us. Well it will take a little while to get used to it... I am 100% gringa here!
Well we went knocking on doors and the usual missionary stuff... I mostly listened and was amazed that I understood most of it! I also got to bear my testimony to a less active member and he began crying a little... I just hope he felt the spirit and wasn't crying because of my terrible Spanish!
So transportation here is crazy... They are in these 15 passenger vans with about 30 people and no seatbelts... The door is left open and there is really loud music inside... Dominicans like their music! So we have to literally shout at eachother.
Sorry I have to go... The MTC is over capacity with 63 or so. I probably won't be on next week because I'm being transferred to Santiago. Love you all and I pray for you always!
It's already Thursday again?! CRAZY!!! I have less than 2 weeks left in the MTC before heading out to Santiago! We are SWAMPED right now in the MTC... a whopping 60 something! (I know, Provo people you guys have like thousands at a time, but this MTC has only 10 classrooms overall and 3 dorms for sisters.) So next week will be hectic because I have to compete even more for a computer. (There are only about 20 computers and everyone likes to stay on forever!)
Friday we had class with Hermano Nuñez and he is (like myself) a HUGE fan of Harry Potter and the musical WICKED. Well, one of the elders in my district said something rude to him and Hno. Nunez replied by saying Harry Potter spells at him... the elder was confused because he thought that he was speaking new Spanish words. Haha!
Then we went to the University (This university is the oldest university ever! And Santo domingo is the oldest city in the Western world, just so you know!) Well, we handed out pamphlets and talked to people, and then we ran into this girl named Scarlet. I introduced myself as a missionary of the church, and her face LIT UP! She pulled out an old Book of Mormon and showed us how she had marked it and read it over and over... She just didn't know how to get in touch with the missionaries again. She practically threw her number into our hands and started dancing with excitement when I showed her the numbers on the back for the missionaries! It's amazing how the Lord works to bring His Gospel forth!
Then Hermana Diaz (She just got back from her mission to England) helped us teach a man part of the first lesson. It was awesome and I can't wait to go out into the field full time!
SATURDAY was awesome! It was Conference weekend so we didn't have any classes all weekend! We had gym in the morning... We usually have it at 3:30 to 4:45 in the afternoon so it was nice to catch some of the coolness before it gets to the usual 90 degrees plus 100% humidity. Then Sister Freestone and Sister Whitaker made us DELICIOUS cinnamon rolls then we watched the first session. President Freestone made us listen to the Spanish speaker in -of course- Spanish. I actually understood most of what he said!
We actually watched the women's conference on Saturday because we wanted to do it at the same time as Priesthood. It was an awesome day!
SUNDAY was about the same, only we had our usual Sunday dinner of pizza. Then we studied a little and had ice cream then took pictures at the temple! (I didn't take many because I don't change that much in a week... haha... I did take some with the Haitian Soeurs though!)
MONDAY was the Haitians's last day :( The Soeurs wrote us notes... They were so sweet! Soeur Jean-Baptiste wrote her letter in English, which is really special because she went through all that trouble... It was really good, except she picked a word that isn't very good... I had to try SO hard not to laugh!!!! I kept it in my journal.
We had the most intense game of Ultimate ever... like people were jumping off of walls and weaving in and out of columns and stuff. Just imagine the sword fight scene in The Princess Bride, only replace the swords with a frisbee and you've got the right idea!
I was in a singing mood on Monday Night, so I practically sang the entire musical of Les Miserables to my companion... It felt good to REALLY sing again... And in English too!
TUESDAY was amazing! We went to the store in the afternoon, and Hna. Diaz came with us and we practically skipped the entire way there! It's Christmas time in the DR... They LOVE it here! Christmas lights are already up in the park and they had all the stuff up in the store. (I took a picture of course) I realized that 1/3 of my mission will be Christmas time, which is AWESOME!
When we got back Hna. Diaz came to our room and told us about her mission to England. We have offically decided that Summer 2017 we are going to London! Seriously, I've always wanted to go, so even if it doesn't work out to go with her, I'm going anyways! (I have a passport, so I'm free to travel the world, right? haha)
WEDNESDAY morning Elder Skinner told us a funny story... So because we now have so many missionaries in the MTC our district's elders had to move to the 3rd floor where they have some extra rooms. E. Skinner found a little girl's shirt in his room that had a cat that said "text me" on its phone. He decided to see if he could fit in it... He did, if you count a shirt looking like a sports bra fitting! He went into the other rooms to show the other elders and when he and his companion Elder Martinez got back, they realized that they had forgotten the key inside! So they had to hide in the other room while the others got President Freestone to come unlock the door... They didn't want to explain to him why they were in their underwear and a girl's shirt!
For breakfast we had Brownies, which is a usual occurrence here!
In the afternoon we had a much needed nap... Spanish is exhausting!!!!
Last night after family prayer we stopped by the other sister's room to talk and Hna. Monks told me that I look like one of the girls in the Renaissance paintings... haha! I guess it's a good thing... At least I don't look like a Picasso painting!
Yesterday also marked 4 weeks of me being in the MTC! Tomorrow is 1 month! Plus, I get to go 8 hours of tracting with a senior missionary tomorrow! SO EXCITED!
I hope to hear from all of you! I miss you all and pray for you constantly! The church is true!!!!!
Ok so I haven't had any of those "amazing" missionary miracles happen like you hear stories about, but I have seen so many amazing things!
So Friday we had our first contacting at the University. We went off with our companions and handed out pamphlets about the Restoration and got to know people. Yeah, I got my introduction and explaining our basic beliefs down, but I'm still working on actually understanding what they are saying back to me! I can understand most Spanish, but Dominican Spanish is so much more rapid than others!!!! My jaw literally dropped when I first heard them speak! They don't even move their lips!
Well, it started down pouring so we ran under a pavilion where lots of other people were and this guy found us who knew English. We told him we were missionaries and gave him a pamphlet, but he only wanted to practice his English with us. He said that he was happy being Catholic, but that we could still be friends :)
Well, we talked with him for about 30 minutes and eventually Hermana Brimley mentioned that I sing... and of course he wanted me to sing for him! So I sang "Come thou Found of Every Blessing" in Spanish. He started crying and then started asking more questions like if we had a church service in Spanish or where it was. He said that he would call the numbers on the back!
Ok so I don't really go in order because the days seem to really run together here...
Sundays are always my favorite because we can take a break from Spanish and just enjoy the peace church brings. This Sunday was awesome because we had the Haitians bless the sacrament in French. Then for our movie time we watched "Legacy." If any of you don't know what that is, it was the church's main history movie before the Joseph Smith movie... I liked it, but the acting was slightly cheesy ;)
Throughout the week we watch several MTC devotionals by a member of the quorum of the 12... This week we watched a M. Russell Ballard one from 2012 and guess who did a special musical number????? None other than Elder David Archuleta!! It was amazing to hear his testimony through the song he sang, "The Spirit of God." He sang the 2nd verse in Spanish, and it was cool because I understood what he was singing! At the end he began crying a little, so of course I did! Then Elder Ballard gets up and says, "Well, Elder Archuleta, you are a tough act to follow!"
So I have to admit... I slacked a bit on my study last week. So my companion and I have decided to speak SOLO Español... well, it kinda works... We speak about 75% Spanish :) Then our teachers challenged us all to speak only Spanish... and read scriptures and write in our journals in Spanish for the next week! Es MUY defícil!
Oh, and I've decided to avoid meat while here... Most of it makes my stomach church anyway, but our district leader has gotten a parasite, so I would like to avoid that!
Hermano Nuñez has a violin and so he has let me keep it in my room this week! It's black and doesn't sound nearly as good as even my training violin, but it's a violin!! I taught my companion a little bit of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Lots of people want me to do musical numbers with them with either violin or singing.
I was able to go to the temple this morning, which was one of the most amazing experiences I've had so far. I felt so much peace after this last week of constant turmoil and frustration. I know that God lives, and that through Him ANYTHING is possible. Never doubt that because He never doubts you!
Dios nos ama!
Hermana Krislee Nicole Twiner
This is what happens when missionaries are stuck in classes for 12+ hours.
Wow, it's already 2 weeks in!me really does fly by on missions!!!
So... What did I do this week?
We taught our "investigator" Victor on Saturday... all in Spanish but it went well. We teamed up with elders Martinez and Skinner and they were teaching at the time, and couldn't remember how to say something so they were looking through their notes and Victor says in a strong Dominican Accent.... "You look more lost than Adam on Mother's Day!" We nearly died laughing... All of us were seriously crying and laughing for 5 minutes straight... Not sure exactly why it was so funny, but I think our brains were fried from speaking a language we don't even know!
On Saturday Hermana Brimley and I went running around the temple grounds for our exercise... we met some other Hermanas nearly done witht their missions... one was american and the other was latina. We were able to talk with them in Spanish and they were surprised that we knew so much after only 1 week of speaking it!
Right before Saturday dinner we were talking about how we really wanted hamburgers and pizza... something "American." well, we get to dinner and what do we have? HAMBURGERS! and then we realized that the next day was Sunday, which means PIZZA for dinner!!!! haha it was a great night!
The old missionaries left on Tuesday morning :( I really miss them! They will do amazingly on their missions! Well, after they left there were only 16 missionaries in the entire MTC! AND Hermana Brimley and I were the only 2 Hermanas! It was a little weird but nice because we didn't have to wait in line for food.
Hermana Twiner and Hermana Brimley trying to develop accents.
Apparently sticking a pen in your mouth helps to develop an accent.
Oreos in the Dominican Republic taste better according to Hermana Twiner. :)
SO, I've been here for over a week now! Crazy! The first two days were really long and tiring, but everyday seems to go faster now! Spanish is going well... I bore my testimony in church on Sunday... IN SPANISH!!!!!
You can see the ocean from the MTC... The temple is right in front, so it's absolutly GORGEOUS!
My companion is Hermana Brimley, who I knew over Facebook before I came! She's really nice, and we get along super well, but it's still hard to get accustomed to being by someone's side 24/7. But it's all good!!!
My brain feels completely fried from having so much spanish crammed in... I've already begun thinking in SpanGLISH... I even had a dream in Spanish once.
Funny story-- Two elders in my district have been having a hard time with learning the language, but the other day Elder Skinner told us that he was woken up in the middle of the night becuase the two elders were speaking spanish to each other. One said "Me gusta Español!" and the other replied "Oh! Yo tambien!" They didn't remember it in the morning, so they were sleeptalking in Spanish to each other!
It's been physically and emotionally exhausting... but I love it! I'm leaving for Santiago on Oct. 21 (My sister's 16th birthday!)
Tomorrow we are going to the University tomorrow to contact people.
Elder Martínez, Elder Skinner, Elder Tippets, Elder Holbrooke, Elder Nielson, and Elder Borries... And then Hermana Brimley and Hermana Twiner
Hermana Twiner and the Mission President and his wife
Hermana Twiner in Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic
In 1 WEEK I will be getting set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! I had my farewell talk at church on Sunday and my farewell open house Sunday night.
For my church farewell my mom, sisters, and I performed Rob Gardner's arrangement of "Savior Redeemer of My Soul." My youngest sister Kara and I played our violins at the beginning and then we all had a singing solo. :) My mom also did a wonderful job at playing the piano for us! I began choking up at the end because I felt the Spirit so strongly and was again given that feeling of peace at my decision to serve a mission.
At 6pm on the dot a HUGE wave of people came to our house at the same time... Usually only one or two people arrive on time and then the rest trickle in, but by 6:03 we had at least 10 people there! We counted over 70 people in all who came throughout the night! We had to let people out onto our back porch to make enough room!
Here are some pictures!
My mom came up with this cute idea to have everyone write notes of encouragement for hard days on my mission. She's also awesome at making everything look fabulous!!
We also had everyone sign one side of my pillowcase... The other side I will have my mission companions sign it!
It was wonderful to see that so many people respect and support my decision to serve... Both member and non-member! I had several non-LDS friends attend both my sacrament meeting talk and my open house! I had such a good time talking with everyone!
And of course, how could we pass up an opportunity to take silly pictures?
Overall, I had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family. I had no idea the support and love everyone had for me! I'm so grateful for them and the courage and strength I have already gained from their fellowship.
I have heard countless accounts of other people's experiences of trials in their faith and feelings of anxiety right before their missions. I, myself had felt little doubts in my mind over the past four months since getting my call. However, I guess I let pride get the better of me, because I told myself, "I'll be ready for Satan when the time comes. I won't let him get me down!" Easier said than done. Last Wednesday I was getting excited about leaving. I had only about 28 days left, so I started packing a few things in my room up so it would be easier for my little sister to move in once I left. Needless to say, my room was a mess and in no state to be slept in so I decided to sleep on the couch upstairs. I usually don't sleep as soundly on the couch, and at around 4:30 on Thursday morning I woke up feeling down. Not just down, I felt like I was drowning in despair. My heart literally pained me at every beat. I felt tormented like I had never been before. My mind was wallowing in grief at past sins that I had committed and had THOUGHT that I had been forgiven for.
"Who are you to teach these people? You aren't worthy! What will your parents, your friends and fellow church members think of you when they find out that you failed as a missionary?" These terrible thoughts swirled around in my mind, pulling me to new depths in my despair. I felt like Alma the Younger from the Book of Mormon... "I was in the darkest abyss... My soul was racked with eternal torment" (Mosiah 27:29). Finally I posted on a Facebook page for sister missionaries about my troubles. I was literally bawling as I wrote the post. It was about 5:30 a.m. at this point, so I doubted that I would get any responses until hours later. Miraculously, I got several responses almost immediately. Several sisters told of how Satan uses our past and already forgiven sins as a weapon against us. I had been called of the Lord. Everything would be fine. These posts gave me temporary hope, but soon I was again swallowed by the same despair. I kept trying to force myself to think happy thoughts, but it felt like I had a pile of bricks on top of my faith. I prayed harder than I have ever done before. This experience reminds me of Joseph Smith's experience with the Adversary when he prayed in the Sacred Grove... "I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such astonishing influence over me... Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction." After calling upon God for some time, I decided to sit back and listen to my thoughts. Were they positive thoughts, or were they negative thoughts. This might seem easy in hindsight, but at the time my mind was foggy and I couldn't focus on much other than the present feeling. As I let the thoughts come in, I realized a pattern. All my experiences in the temple, all my testimony-building opportunities, and my love for the gospel seemed distorted and faint. The night before I had felt good about all of this. I also noticed that my future seemed dark and negative... I had thoughts such as "I can't go on a mission... But if I don't go on a mission, what will I do? Everyone will judge me and hate me! I could never face them after this... I can't go to church... I'll just be alone." Sounds silly, right? These were seriously the thoughts that were swirling my mind. Luckily I had the sense to ask myself, "Are these thoughts and feelings from God?" I remembered learning in church that nothing evil or bad comes from God. Even when Heavenly Father is prompting us to repent, He does so lovingly. We will have a hope to become better so that we can become more like him and live with him again. I immediately decided that these feelings were of the Devil. Heavenly Father wouldn't want me to suffer a life of torment, even if I wasn't worthy to serve a mission. By now it was about 6:30 and I heard my siblings getting ready for school. After they left, I paced the house, waiting for my dad to get ready for work. I finally worked up the courage to ask for a Father's Blessing. I broke down crying again, saying that I was scared of serving a mission. In my father's blessing I was told that Heavenly Father is pleased with my decision to serve a mission. He also counseled me to do as Bryant S. Hinckley told his son Gordon B. Hinckley as he was having a hard time on his mission, to "Forget yourself and go to work!" I felt better afterwards, but at this point I was exhausted, having about 5 hours of sleep and having much of my energy drained from my experience. The rest of the day I spent reading my scriptures and Preach My Gospel. I had a restored sense of peace, but something was still nagging at me. I decided to talk to my bishop on Sunday. I broke down crying when I recounted my tale. My bishop was very understanding and loving, assuring me that Satan is unhappy that I am doing good. The Devil is trying to prevent me from spreading Christ's Gospel. My bishop also told me that he truly believes that I am worthy to serve, which gave me so much peace. The Devil is a COWARD. That's all there is to it. My lowest point was at 4:30 a.m. My mind wasn't functioning as it would have in the middle of the day. As soon as I had my father's blessing, my thoughts were restored and I realized how lame Satan really is. I am now ready to serve, even though Satan is still trying to tug on my heart with doubt. I want to prove Satan wrong. I am a daughter of God. I am a daughter of a King. I am a daughter of the One who will defeat the Devil, and I will live up to that title. We are all entitled to this. DON'T LET SATAN GET YOU DOWN! EVERY MOMENT SPENT AWAY FROM THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS A WASTED MOMENT!!!!! Be valiant warriors against evil. Be as the Army of Helaman! We WILL bring the world His truth!!
I have been stressing about how many outfits to bring on my mission. The call packet says 8-10 outfits, but I am worried that I will get really bored with what I'm wearing and that the clothes will wear out too quickly. I've decided that I will get a few skirts that will go with (at least) two shirts to add variety.
I've gotten mostly white and beige colors because light colors will help me keep cool. White goes with almost anything, so I could wear it with any of my skirts.
I also got a tan linen skirt that will go with almost any of my shirts.
Here are a few of the combinations I came up with!
I know... it's a lot of white! I got different styles of white shirts to add variety.
Neutral colored skirts are the best!
Navy Blue will go with most colors as well. :)
I'm also planning on adding a few scarfs and belts to the mix, plus a few cardigans. Hopefully I'll be set for a few weeks at least before I have to reuse an outfit!
As soon as I received my call, I immediately began planning and preparing, even though I had 4 months until I left. The first thing I did was research the area I would be serving in.
The Dominican Republic is really close to the equator, so it doesn't have much of a season change. Yep, that means that I'm going to be in 80-90 degree weather for 18 months!
So I began researching clothes that I would need to survive in the heat and humidity. (I have lived in Mississippi and Tennessee all my life so I am used to heat and humidity, but not all year round!)
I was most worried about shoes. I won't have a bike or car during my mission, so I would need comfortable walking shoes that would last. (I also wanted cute shoes!)
I still have some shopping to do, but this is what I have come up with so far...
Luckily my mission president doesn't require us to wear nylons. Basically we need comfortable, attractive, closed-toed shoes for tracting and Sunday wear. I chose Bear Trap brand leather sandals for tracting because they would provide some breathing and would work well in rainy weather (It rains a LOT in the DR!).
The black shoes are probably going to be my dressy/Sunday shoes. They are comfortable, but I'm not sure if they will hold up being used for 8 miles a day!
The leather buckle shoes I have had for a while and they are really comfortable to walk in. I don't know what brand they are (the logo has rubbed off). They are really sturdy so I think they should last at least a few months.
Dresses and Skirts are another big one. May I say just two words? ELASTIC WAIST.
Chances are that your weight will fluctuate, especially during your first months. My friends have told me stories of either their companions or themselves have gained/lost 15 pounds depending on the food and the amount of exercise they got in.
While it's good to try to save money, make sure you have good material and styles depending on the amount of time you spend walking or riding a bike. I will be walking, so I tried to find light colored, light weight skirts that breathed easily. Here are some of the skirts I have found so far...
The first skirt is from Belk. I found it on theclearance rack and liked the different designs and colors on it. It is really light and breathes easily, especially when there is a little breeze. The second skirt I got at the Habitat ReStore consignment shop for $1. It's light weight and has a tropical flare. The third I got at another consignment shop, also for $1. It's a light color and flares out so that it breathes easily. The fourth is also from Belk on the clearance rack. It is linen, which is WONDERFUL in hot/humid weather. Not to mention that it's a light color and is long enough!
As for shirts, I am trying to keep it simple. White or cream colors go with almost anything. I'm trying to buy shirts with higher necks so I don't have to worry about layering too much.
I've only gotten one dress, simply because dresses are harder to add variety and they take up a little more space. I got this dress at a consignment shop for $2. It's one of my favorites because it is modest and very feminine... not to mention cheap! It's very breathable and light colored also.
I'm still shopping for more things, so I will update as I get them! So much to do... So little time!
It was a long road for me to decide to go on a mission. When I heard President Thomas S. Monson announce the age change for recommendation for missionary service, my first thought was "I am so going on a mission when I turn 19!"
All my friends were ecstatic, and several left on their missions over the next year, leaving me with hardly any friends in my ward. This made me even more desperate to get on a mission so I wouldn't be missing out.
Around September of 2013 I decided that I should at least put off my mission and focus on my schooling. Well, after one of my closest friends left on her mission to Utah, I went through a really hard time with school and work. I won't go into too much detail, but I was taking 16 credits at my community college and working at a daycare program. My boss tended to bully me, which caused great anxiety in me throughout the day. It didn't take long for me to feel torn down in everything. I was attending the young single adult branch in my stake, which was fun, but I longed for something familiar. I felt thrown into everything, drowning in my numerous responsibilities.
Throughout the fall semester of 2013 I had been preparing to audition for the Young Performing Missionaries in Nauvoo, Illinois. Ever since I was a child, I had watched the YPMs perform fiddling, dancing, and acting on stage in a form of missionary work. When I was 9, I began taking violin/fiddle lessons because I wanted to play "Orange Blossom Special" like the YPMs.
Well, now was the time for me to audition! I prepared amidst my crazy schedule and sent in my audition video. I began making plans to take exams early for when I reported to Nauvoo on May 2, 2014. (Remember that date!)
Two weeks later was finals at school. I felt confident in most of them, but my biology lab seemed really hard and I felt that I didn't do well. After the final, I couldn't find my keys. I was already in a bad mood from work and my final, so I was in a pretty foul mood. I get home and check my email to find an email that says "YPM auditions." Excited, I open it.
I didn't make it in.
That was the last straw. I cried. I cried hard. The next few weeks were really rocky in terms of my testimony. There were a couple of weeks where I literally had to drag myself to church. One week I actually went for a drive in the mountains instead of going to church.
The next Sunday, January 5, 2014, I was thinking about skipping again. My church didn't start until 1pm so I was just sitting around the house while my family went to the homeward. I was listening to my iPod when the song "O Give Me Back My Prophet Dear" by Rob Gardner came on. I had listened to that song several times before, but for some reason it reawakened the Spirit inside of me that I thought I had lost. I went to church, and during sacrament meeting I was praying to Heavenly Father, asking him what I could do to become a strong Daughter of God. Three words entered my mind almost instantly.
Serve a mission. I was surprised, but I felt a peace about it. I didn't say anything to my friends or family, but that night I went on to YouTube and watched a video of Sisters and Elders opening their mission calls to various places in the world. It got me excited! Before I knew what I was doing I was on my online missionary recommendation, which luckily my bishop had set up a few months before when I was still wanting to serve. I filled out most of my information that I could do by myself, running up to my mom's room to ask (very nonchalantly) where my grandfather served. She gave me a strange look but answered.
The next day I couldn't keep it in any longer! I texted my mom this: (And yes, I use my mom's first name in my phone.)
So we went through with everything, with very minor difficulties with medical information. My stake president sent my application to Salt Lake around the middle of April. I was so anxious over the next couple of weeks, waiting to know where I would be spending 18 months of my life.
The last week of April my dad told me that he talked to the stake president and that my call had been assigned. It would be here within the next week!
Monday came. Nothing. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday... Nothing. On Friday I came home from school and had the feeling that it was going to come that day. I told myself that it was probably just my wishful thinking, but the words, "No! It's coming today!" came into my mind immediately.
I told my mom, but she only said, "It might!"
So I sat by the window, reading Jacob 5 (The chapter about the olive tree). About 30 minutes before I had to leave for work, the mailman came up the road... S O S L O W L Y!
I saw a large envelope go into our mailbox, and I screamed "MOM! IT'S HERE!" And I ran outside. Mom was freaking out almost as much I me, and waited on the porch while I pulled it out.
Surely enough, the envelope said, "Sister Krislee Nicole Twiner." I literally danced back to the house and immediately texted, called and facebooked everyone I could think of. We decided to open it that night.
Work had NEVER gone so slowly before, even though I only worked for 2 hours that day. The longest part was waiting the remaining 2 hours for everyone to come. Mom had hidden the envelope so I wouldn't peek. (I was kind of worried that she would have a peek herself!)
Over 20 people came and I had my aunt and grandparents on the phone. We had a fun time guessing where I was going... Most people either guessed the United Kingdom or Utah: somewhere where I would "fit in" with my blonde hair a fair skin.
We went into the back yard and I opened it...
Dear Sister Twiner, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC SANTIAGO MISSION.
Everyone, including myself, was completely shocked! Me... Serving a mission in the Caribbean... Is there a misprint? I'm supposed to be going to England or Salt Lake! The mission that I had really wanted to go to was the Scotland-Ireland mission, and I was preparing myself to be disappointed, but as soon I read the Dominican Republic, I KNEW that that was where I needed to be. I was going to learn Spanish. I was going to be in the hot sun year round, constantly layering sunscreen on myself.
But I knew that there was no other place for me to serve the Lord.
I'm not going to be serving a place, I'm going to be serving children of our Heavenly Father. It doesn't matter if I'm serving in Iowa, Utah, England, Japan, or the Dominican Republic. We are called to proclaim the restored gospel to ALL his children, no matter their race or background.
Remember that date that I asked you to remember? (May 2, 2014) That was the day that the YPMs were meeting in Nauvoo. Well, that door was closed and another one opened. I got my mission call on May 2, 2014. I simply wasn't meant to serve in Nauvoo that summer. I was called to something different.
Now it is August 10, 2014 and I leave for my mission in exactly 1 month! I am beyond excited, scared, nervous, blessed... the list goes on! I have never had so many emotions whirling inside me at one time! But I still know that this is what Heavenly Father wants me to do, even though Satan has definitely upped his game. I know that it will be hard, but I am also so excited to discover what there is to be learned in serving the Lord in this capacity.