Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!

... And I have the PERFECT gift for y'all! Sarah's first email from the MTC is up and posted for you to read!!! She is doing really well and having MUCH success - especially with the language. Everyone is very impressed with her! However, I know she is struggling to feel use to Portugal and the culture... She brushes it off as though it is nothing, because she is awesome like that, but I know it is tough for her right now. THEREFORE, the job I have for YOU is to WRITE HER! Write her right NOW! Haha....

Enjoy the Christmas post and as she said, think of the reason we really celebrate Christmas and rejoice in that! Remember to SHARE the good message of Christmas with those around you, just as she is doing... Merry Christmas!!! - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

"From Sister Sarah Ray
December 22, 2008

Family and Friends!

I feel very overwhelmed at the moment here in Braga, but I know it will get better. The ward is fantastic...we have already been fed 3 times. Our ward also has 5 missionaries out and serving right now. Rock on Braga! We have the strongest ward in the mission so i´m really going to be spoiled after this. Right now I am in a tripla for one more week. Irmã Souza goes home a week from today to Brazil. I´m actually kinda bummed because we are doing a good job of teaching each other the language. She only talks to me in English and I only talk to her in Portuguese. It is grand fun trying to describe things to each other to get the right words.

So, we have 6 investigators right now that are progressing and 1 marked for Baptism. Unfortunately she has now left the country for Christmas so we might end up pushing the date back...she has to come to church first. I don´t know a whole lot about them right now because I can only understand about 60 percent of what anyone says. Everyone keeps telling me my language is a miracle but I still can´t understand. Everyone keeps asking me where I am transfered from and when I say the US they get really confused. No one believes me that I am fresh out of the MTC.

So, speaking of speaking, yesterday I made my first solo contact in a street meeting. It was SCARY! Also wans´t very successful because I probably answered the wrong question knowing my skills with Portuguese. It is also way hard because Braga is SUPER Catholic. the city has two names.... the city of many churches- which are all Catholic or better yet the Rome of Portugal. Needless to say we talk to a lot of really Catholic people, but it is fun.

Portugal is interesting, the entire city is paved in cobblestones, and there is no such thing as insulation or heat. It is pretty cold here, and even colder in the houses. The only heating that we have is our one little space heater that we have in our bedroom. We keep the door shut and wear lots of layers- Dad you would be proud. We need to be dressed in our Prosyliting clothes before we do study so we faithfully get ready every morning. Then we put our PJ pants back on under our skirts, hoodies, slippers, blankets and anything else we can find while we are in our study room. Mom, you would die. We also don´t really have hot water. We have a tiny little gas heater that we have to turn on before we take showers, but it only gets kinda warm. it is very similar to the water flow out of a broken sink faucet. However, we get by, plus it makes great stories. Especially since out bathroom door is broken- so it is quite the adventure to get it open.

Let see, other fun facts about Portugal...I can not eat enough to satisfy the member here...I keep trying, but I keep failing...I think it would take both Bryan and Andrew to satisfy them. We also eat at about 9 at night. In the Europe west area our time is different so we don´t get up till 7 and we are out until 9:30 or 10 if necessary. Last night our lesson didn´t end until 10 becasue one of our new members was really struggling so we were working with here. Well, we are supposed to be in our appartment by then at the latest so we sprinted home. Irmã de Macedo was already at home with a member (she is on bed rest with her foot- we aren´t quite sure what she did, but she can´t really walk so thank heavens we can do splits and irmã souza and >I can still go out) so there was the two of us running as fast as we could to get home in time. I kinda wish I had a picture.

I´ll have to start keeping a list of things that are funny or strange so that I can keep you aware of how things go in Portugal. Can´t wait to talk to you this week. Pray that it all works out okay! I know that we are all being blessed for this, even though it is really hard at times. LOVE YOU ALL and remember the reason we celebrate Christmas! ~~

Irmã Ray"

Her Portugal Address:

Portugal Porto Mission
Rua de Amalia Luazes N 23 Sala 1
4200-052 Porto


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Watch Out Portugal - Here She Comes!!!

Here is Sarah's very last MTC email! She seems to be doing well and I hope that all of you are writing her, especially around Christmas!!! Here it is:

"December 12, 2008

Well, the time has come that my entire district has started to freak out. I guess that happens when you are down to 4 days before departure. Half of our time has turned to packing, making sure we know where everything actually is, and trying to figure out what to cut out of our suitcases so we don't go over weight.
We had our last pretend teaching appointment, and I actually feel as if I may be able to do this....maybe. I know I need a lot of help, but luckily the Lord looks out for us, and I know I will get the help I need. I figure if we can get to the point, in two months, that we can communicate decently in a different language, we can do anything.
Anyway, as for the funny moments in life, the good times just keep on rolling. Mom, I got the jump rope in the mail- who knew that they sent jump ropes with instructions. First, it teaches you how to jump up and down without the rope. Good thing, because jumping in place could be hard for some people. Needless to say there are 7 pages of progressively more advanced steps that eventually carry the reader to the wonderful world of jumping rope. If anyone is confused about how this works let me know and I'll send you the instructions :)

Top ways to know you have been in the MTC too long:
10. You have started to forget your own 1st name
9. You vaguely know what cell phones and cars are, but you don't really remember how they work.
8. You completely plan your schedule based around when you can wear jeans.
7. You can predict the opening song of every devotional- okay that one isn't hard. Every week it is Called to Serve.
6. The clothes your brought have mysteriously shrunk in your closet.
5. You know the menu and can predict what you will be attempting to eat.
4. You have a favorite shower based on different times of the day.
3. You know where all the secret computer labs are- so you don't have to wait
2. You have figured out exactly which washers are the fastest during laundry time.
1. You pick the Sunday night movie based on which Joseph Smith is cuter

Yes unfortunately, all of these have been contributed from actual experiences of those around me. I know, we are sad. However, we are also very happy people, and I have loved the MTC experience. I also can't wait to get to Portugal in 4 days, even if I can't speak the Language quite yet. I know that will come.
Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope that you have an amazing holiday season. One thing I have learned is that the best way to enjoy the season is to serve other people! Hopefully everyone will find an opportunity to do that. Love you all and it is great to hear from you.

Irma Ray

PS. so we had a devotional last nigt that was really quite inspiring. Apparently there was a prophecy about Portugal by someone in the 12 that is will become the lighthouse of Europe in relation to the Gospel. I don't have the direct quote, but our devotional was on that last night, and it was very motivational. I feel blessed to be able to be part of this work! We went to the temple today for the last time before we leave, and I really have realized yet again how blessed we are to have the gospel in every aspect of our lives!

So funny story... I have been assigned as the travel leader for our group. Besides making sure that no one does anything stupid or gets lost/misses the plane, I am in charge of assigning companionships for the journey. My packet stipulates in large letters that one Elder and one Sister are never to be assigned as companions. Well, my travel group consists of Elder Roberts and I....and that is it. This leaves me with a small dilemma in assigning companions, but I am happy to note that I have solved the problem. For the trip we will both have split personalities! After I suggested this, it was brought to my attention that we did have split personalities....our missionary selves and our real I guess it will work! Anyway, love you lots, and I thought I would share that little snippet with you! Hope you get a laugh from it!

Irma Ray"

Note from Ridiculouslygoodlooking:

Sarah leaves for Portugal on Tuesday!!! So, if you didn't already send a letter, it is too late for you to send an MTC one. However, she still needs mail in Portugal - probably more so!!! As her dad stated, stay tuned, I will include her new address to write her in Portugal when I receive it. Let's keep supporting Sarah past her MTC experience!!! :)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The ten day coutndown to Porto!!!!!!!

This is the second to last email I will post from Sarah's MTC experience! I also received a letter from her and she is doing well. She had Elder Holland come and speak to them at the MTC and said it was a neat experience, but he looked exhausted and said the world is really becoming a tough place out there... Keep strong, y'all!!!

AND, PLEASE write her this week while she can still get it at the MTC! Otherwise, send her some Christmas love in Portugal!!! :) - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

December 6, 2008

So, the big news of the week is that I get my travel plans!!! Crazy isn't it? The problem is I still can't speak Portuguese! Oh well, I guess I will have to learn over there right? I have 10 days left here in the MTC and then it is back to the real world.
Hmm, lets see if anything interesting happened this week....
The Brazil group got their visas on Tuesday, and Wednesday they were gone. 22 people left and now our zone racks in a whole 20 people. We are little. Of course that also means that once again I am companion-less. I swear I'm a nice person, but apparently I scare away my companions....oops
Funny story of the week. I was in helping the newest district with their Portuguese one morning and there were telling me how they were working on memorizing the first vision. I though, " hey, thats great- good for you." A couple minutes later I was sitting there and I looked at the wall where they had a poster with the first vision written out. After a couple seconds I figured I should ask a question. " Why do you have the first vision up in Italian?" Needless to say, they didn't realize that what they were attempting to learn was not Portuguese. I thought it was funny.
Well, this week has been pretty mellow- I think we are just all a bit nervous that we are leaving soon. The travel plans are the exciting thing of the week. Of course that also means that all of you who have those letters you haven't sent yet have one more week before you have to send them to Portugal! Anyway, hope that everyone is doing well and good luck with Finals that are coming soon--at least I think.
So- Portuguese word of the week is atacadores. It means shoelaces, and always gives me this random mental image of some guy being attacked by the old school high top tennis shoes with really long laces. Thought I would share that- maybe it will give you a laugh.

We have put up the lights and little tree in my room, so we are in the Christmas spirit as well. We are even in the process of re-writing the song "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" to "I'm gonna be in Portugal for Christmas." Quite interesting actually. Keep up the good work, I miss being there, but I'm excited to be here!
I am so thankful for the ability that the gospel has to bless lives. We have a mock investigator that we have been teaching for a couple weeks now, and it is amazing how, even though it is fake. I am so excited when he finally received a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true and when he said that he could see the effects in his life. I know I'm a nerd, but it really made my whole day! The church is true and the gospel is worth it- no matter what it happens to be! Love you all!

Irma Ray"

The following is Sarah's contact information while in the MTC. She is scheduled to leave for Portugal on the 16th of December. Write her now while it is still free.

The best way to write Sarah, which is free and probably the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.

Again, this is free and is valid during her time at the MTC.

Her contact information for US mail (letters and all packages) is:

Sister Sarah Ray
MTC Mailvox #157
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

Monday, December 1, 2008

Merry Christmas Season!!!

Hey there freinds and family of Irma Sarah Ray! I recieved the weekly email today as well as a letter from here on Saturday - so, needlesstosay, I was a happy camper this weekend! Haha... She is doing really well and would, as always ask, love to hear from you - especially during this Christmas season. I know she will be missing home right around now, so any contact will bring her a lot of Christmas JOY! She's only got about three weeks left and then she will be off to Porto, Portugal to teach the people there. I am very excited for her!

Anyway, here is her weekly email - posted and ready for you to read right here, right now. :) In the words of Sister Ray, Merry Christmas season!!! - Ridiculouslygoodlooking

"November 28, 2008

Hi Family and Friends!!!! Merry Christmas Season!The lights here at the MTC are officially turned on and the nativity scenes are all over now. I know more than to hope it is that way at home since I'm not there to do it! I hope that your thanksgiving was grand and that everyone had some awesome opportunitites. Thanksgiving at the MTC was definitely a unique experience. It was my first thanksgiving that involved no football or pie. BUT, we did have the opportunity to do service. We worked with the Humanitarian projects from the church and put together 10,000 first aid kits to send to Cuba and Haiti. It was very similar to the kitchen kits we did. (Was that last year?- our stake actually made it into the humanitarian presentation for the Katrina stuff. The movie also talked about the wheelchair program which of course made me cry remembering my wonderful people from Ecuador.) It was pretty much the best Thanksgiving ever as far as not thinking about myself went. We also had a whole bunch of devotional speakers and spent most of our time doing that.

As for the top 5 of the week
1. Funny Portuguese moments courtesy of district 54-B: Elder Terry in recounting the first vision dropped an E out of a word so that along with a little bit of mispronunciation told the investigator that God the Father said to Joseph Smith " This is my Beloved Son, Egg" oops. We all had a pretty good laugh over that one. Of course- since i'm perfect, I don't make mistakes....okay so thats a lie, I just get to control what goes out from my I don't share my embarrasing moments. I'm sure that I will have many more coming since I leave the MTC in 17 days.
2. My roommates gave me a Swedish name this week. Unfortunatly I can't type it because it has cool sweedish letters in it, and I don't know how to get them on the computer. Triste
3. Um, my companions all left me. I'm not sure that is a happy thing, but it took up a big part of the week. They are all in Portugal now...and there wasn't room in the suitcase for me. It was a cool site to send them off though to see the bus loads of missionaries headed off (at 4:30 am) to different places all over the world.
4. I got a new companion. Her name is Sister (yes, she is a sister- going to Brazil) Hunter from New Mexico. She is great, but watch I bet she gets her visa and leaves before I do!
5. Thanksgiving was great...I already mentioned that we had a great time, but I have been constantly reminded this week of how important it is to count your many blessings. Not only will it make you realize how wonderful life really is, it makes you more willing to help others. I would include a list of things i'm thankful for, but I don't get 10 hours on the computer- SO, to sum them all up. I am super thankful for my family and for the gospel in my life! And all of you great friends!
Have a fantasic week everyone and I Love all of you!!!!
By the way...I get travel plans this week- SCARY!

Irma Ray

P.S. I have gained so much more of a testimony this week that our Father in Heaven knows each and every one of us and what we need. I know that prayers are answered and that all we have to do to receive help is to ask. We are so blessed to have that opportunity. Don't take it for granted!"

The following is Sarah's contact information while in the MTC. She is scheduled to leave for Portugal on the 16th of December.

The best way to write Sarah, which is free and probably the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.
Again, this is free and is valid during her time at the MTC.

Her contact information for US mail (letters and all packages) is:
Sister Sarah Ray

MTC Mailvox
12162005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

Monday, November 24, 2008

Classic Moments and Classic Mess-ups!

Hey y'all! Here is the latest - Please, please, PLEASE write her a letter of love! :) It means the world to her...

"November 21, 2008

From the crossroads of the west....however that goes, Hello from the MTC again! Yet another week has managed to pass us by, and hopefully we are all still alive and kicking at the end of it! Life at the MTC is grand as always, the schedule of sit, eat, sit carries on strong. Not even switching to solo Portuguese could switch that up! Speaking of solo Portuguese, here are the funniest comments from teaching the first lesson in Portuguese:
3. Elder Tolman asked an investigator to read a scripture. When he finished reading Elder Gooding asked what that scripture meant to him. This prompted a question from our "investigator." Well, since neither of the elders can really understand Portuguese they both sat there and nodded their heads saying, very good, very good.- I was cracking up.
2. When talking about the ministry of Jesus Christ, One elder mixed up a couple of words and instead of saying that the church was established or created by Jesus Christ, he explained that Jesus Christ had childrened the church. Now that isn't even a word, but somehow it became one....
1. While relating the first vision Elder Bennet had a bit of a mishap, Instead of using the for whose (cujo) he used to word quexo(i may have spelled that wrong,i don't have my dictionary). As a result he told the investigator that Joseph Smith saw two beings, with the brightness and glory of cheese....
I was slightly frustrated with this weeks lesson because I managed to catch the cold that is flying around the MTC and woke up yesterday(the day of our teaching appointment) with no voice. SO, the elders had to do it all on their own...(for results... see above). The best part was that I could still understand everything, so I mostly just thought it was funny.

Lets see, as for the rest of the top 5 list (yes I know, it's not 10- I don't have that much time)
5. (funny teaching experiences...see above)
4. This week was stellar for seeing people I know... It was great to see everyone (Jon, Steve, Matt, Elise, Rebekah, Burke, Pam)
3. This was my last week with Irma Earley...I know sad day. She leaves on Tuesday for Portugal. Luckily I am only three weeks behind her. We also lost our Jim Carrey look alike/impersonator to Brazil this week. Our class is mourning the loss of Elder Taylor- he could do a perfect imitation- quite entertaining actually.
2. We had 30...yes 30 new Portuguese missionaries this week! 22 of them happen to be waiting for Visas to Brazil, but WOW!
1. Elder Holland was our speaker this Tuesday. Not only did he give an amazing and funny talk (which included him pretending to fly with a cape behind the pulpit) we had a pretty cool experience afterward. Irma Earley and I had just left the gym and were standing with a couple of other sisters on the curb when Elder Holland drove by. He rolled down his window, pointed at us and told us I love you, and you have the best times ahead of you!It was a pretty cool experience and one that we really needed. Every one has been getting pretty nervous about the fact that half our zone is leaving this week- and that makes my District the farthest along now. We are supposed to actually know what we are talking about- and that is scary. Luckily we are not doing this alone, I am so thankful for the help and companionship of the spirit. One of the lessons I learned this week is how vitally important having the Spirit is with everything that we do- and that isn't just in missionary mode. That is for life!
Well, so much for this weeks edition of the MTC no-news letter! Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to everyone!


Irmã Ray

ps I appreciate all of your are awesome!~"

The following is Sarah's contact information while in the MTC. She is scheduled to leave for Portugal on the 16th of December. Her contact information for
US mail (letters and all packages) is:

Sister Sarah Ray
MTC Mailbox #157
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

An alternative way, which is free and probably the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.

Again, this is free and is valid during her time at the MTC.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Great Prayer???

Hey y'all! I am going to send out Sarah's Christmas Package in two weeks, so that it will be in Portugal when she gets there for Christmas. If you would like to put a letter to her inside there is plenty of room for many of those - I am also sending her a tape for her to listen to and you are more than welcome to do the same and send it with my package... It really is fairly relaiable mail-wise over there.... Just let me know!!! Enjoy the latest update posted below from our amazing missionary!!!

"November 15, 2008

Well, I have officially made it half way through the MTC. We are considering throwing a party. The sad part is that as of today we no longer speak all. From yesterday on all of our classes, appointments, and pretty much every thing else is in Portuguese. It will make life a little interesting. I am actually excited about it because I understand pretty well, but it is going to be quite frustrating for the rest of my district. It is kinda strange to think that in a month I'll be in Portugal. Sister Earley got her flight plans this week, and she leaves in 10 days. I don't know what that is going to mean for me as far as a companion goes, but we will find out.
So the question of the week is this: why do people congratulate you on your prayers when you pray in a group meeting? I had the opportunity to say the prayer for the fireside this past week and ever since then I have had people coming up to me and saying "good job on your prayer." That is a little strange to me...I guess it would be possible to have bad prayers, but it doesn't seem like Prayer is something that is or should be judged like that. Maybe that is just me, but I think it is a little strange. That and people kept asking me if I was nervous. Hmm....also strange. Anyway, needless to say I was capable of praying in front of a large group without passing out- since apparently it is a scary experience. The funny thing is that I have found out that I know more people at the MTC then I though I did, because they all recognized me on Sunday and have hunted me down.
Well, i know that the top 10 list has been anxiously awaited, but due to the lack of pretty much ANYTHING exciting happening this week, we are limited to 5. They are as follows:
5. Half of our entire zone is leaving for Brazil this week. It is a little sad because some of them have been in our district for 4 weeks now and we kinda forgot they were waiting on visas. That means that when Sister Earley's group leaves for Portugal we will only have 12 people in our whole zone. Muito Triste!
4. Sister Earley and I have discovered the wonderfulness that is the free box, and in order to increase our daily exercise we have started to race down the hall to check it every night. Quite the entertaining site I am sure.
3. For our service assignment ever week we clean the bottom two floors of the building we live in. For some reason our district always seems to be assigned the bathrooms- which then reminds me of you mom. I always remember cleaning the church growing up and you volunteering to clean the boys bathroom because it was the only time you could legally go in there. Just so you know, there are about twice as many boys bathrooms here than girls....twilight zone- I know.
2. I have once again been suckered into doing the musical number for church this past week. You would think with so many Mormons in one very small area someone else would have musical talent- but apparently they are stuck with me. It has become a zone wide project to get me to try out for a MTC wide musical number, but I am still in denial. We will see how that works out....
1. Our chats once again make the top list. This week has been really interesting with all of the Prop 8 stuff going on. I'm not even sure what is going on in the real world, but we have gotten some pretty nasty conversations about it. This week I did get to talk to a woman who was seing the missionaries, but worried that because of a divorce she wouldn't be accepted in the church. We talked for a while and she is now excited to be baptized. It was probably the highlight of my week. Being here day after day it gets a little hard to remember that there is a world out there and that things are happening. It was great to be able to see how what we are doing really affects people and that there is a purpose behind the hard times here as well.
Thank you to everyone for all the support you give me. It is great to hear from you, and I really appreciate the encouragement! Have a fantastic week!

Irmã Ray"

The following is Sarah's contact information while in the MTC. She is scheduled to leave for Portugal on the 16th of December. Her contact information for
US mail (letters and all packages) is:

Sister Sarah Ray
MTC Mailvox #157
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

An alternative way, which is free and probably the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.

Again, this is free and is valid during her time at the MTC.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Top Ten List!

Here is the new update on Irma Ray's life in the MTC! She sent me some pictures with my birthday package - So if anyone know how to scan those into here, let me know and I will post them. Hope that everything is going great with ya'll!!!

"November 7, 2008
Okay first order of business...HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRYAN ANDREW AND LINZE!!!!! For some reason I thought the 6th was today until yesterday and then I realized that I wouldn't get an email out before it came and went! muito triste. So, moral of the story is I'm a slacker of a friend/sister and I'm totally bummed out about it.
Item of business #2... life at the MTC is much the same as usual. This week was fun because we have 3 more sister joining the Portuguese Team...pretty much we are going to destroy the Italians, with whom we have a bit of a war going on. The four square courts will never be the same. The wonderful thing about having gym at 6:30 in the morning two days a week is that everyone is too tired to do much more. Now, I know you are all thinking...4 square?!?! I haven't played 4 square since I was about 8. Well, the MTC has taken it to a new level- We have some pretty intense four-square games. The rivalry includes special shoes and everything.
Anyway, the new sisters seem really nice, but since they have only been here for two days we don't really know them yet. It seems hard to believe that it is already time for the new districts to come in. That means the next district to leave is Irma Earley's which puts me without a companion. I guess we will see how that goes. They get their flight plans next week- which is very strange.
The other exciting thing that happened this week is we had our first real snow. That doesn't really affect us since every where we are walking is covered, but it was fun to watch out of our window. Our district won the lottery apparently because we have a great view out of our window of Timp and the temple. YAY! We will probably need it soon considering that we are down to less than a week before everything we do is in Portuguese. SCARY!!! I guess that is what I get for being half way to Portugal. We have been doing our best to prepare- so we play a bunch of games to review vocab and conjugations. Of course, then the Elders decided that I had to play left handed to race in writing on the board...totally picking on the girl. Not nice.
Item of business #3... This week's Top 10 list of moments that made me happy :)
10. Receiving a letter addressed to "the lone woman in the wilderness of the MTC"...Thank you Peachtree Corners Ward Relief Society!
9. The letter from Brother Drake's class with one being signed " I don't know you, but good luck on your mission"
8. Sister Couch recommended a fly swatter to keep the district in line....I'm seriously considering it!
7. Sister Beck was our speaker this week, and it was a really good talk
6. Instead of doing phone calls at the referral center, my district does chats every Wednesday morning. If you get on the site you can ask questions on live chat...well those chats come to the missionaries here at the MTC. I had a very interesting experience talking to a woman who's boyfriend has been convicted of murder. She thinks that prayers aren't being answered or he isn't sincere because he is praying to be let out of jail. That was fun.
5. Elder Zabriskie and I wrote a song for a mission wide musical number. He wrote the music, I wrote the words. I'll let you know how it turns out.
4. PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED!!!! I have so many experiences I could share, but they are all summed up in that sentence. I am so thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who knows each of us individually and takes the time to give us exactly what we need. I was fasting for something in particular this week, and I hadn't even made it back to my residence after the Sunday fireside before exactly what I needed came my way.
3. I was chastized for attempting to take my own tray in the cafeteria...go figure. I was told that I had to learn how to use the Elders to their full capacity.
2. TEMPLE VISITS!!! I love going to the temple every week. There is such a fantasitic feeling associated with being there. I also see someone I know every time so that is kinda fun!
1. So, this isn't exactly inspiring, but I totally locked myself in the bathroom stall. Since I am a solo sister the Elders were waiting for me outside and I could not for the life of me get the door unlocked!!!! I was about to lay down and squeeze under the door in my nylons and skirt, but luckily after a about a minute and a half I was able to force it open. The good thing is since the MTC is the opposite of reality, I got out before the elders did!
Portuguese phrase of the week: pelo amor : for the has become a favorite in our district!
Anyway, I love you and I really appreciate your support!! Tell Bev Jones thank you for her continued letters, and I always love to hear from you. Also thank you to Rachel and Grandma for their letters, I am going to respond as soon as I can!!!

Love always,
Irma Ray"


Sister Sarah Ray
MTC Mailvox #157
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

An alternative way, which is free and the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Little Trip to the Hospital!

It's ridiculouslygoodlooking here again! She has been in the MTC for just over three weeks now, and I can hardly believe it - it is incredible! Pasted below is Sarah's most recent mission adventures email - she would LOVE to hear from each of you, so PLEASE drop her a line!

Her email from October 31, 2008

"Hey Hey!!

Do you miss me yet??? I can hardly believe that I am already in week 3 of the MTC. I feel like I have been here forever and no time at all. Kinda weird. We actually get two new Portuguese districts on Wednesday, so that will be exciting. I will no longer be the bottom of the Language totem pole. Life here in the MTC is pretty much the same week after week. We do a lot of sitting and eating. Very exciting. The highlight of the week was actually Tuesday. Irma Vega and I broke out of the MTC! Well, broke out is the wrong term considering the fact that we had a shuttle pass. Irma Vega has been having some bad back problems so we have all taken turns staying with her so none of us have to miss when we have teachers. Apparently I had the lucky straw because I got to be her companion on a super fun field trip to Utah Valley Hospital. She had to go see a specialist so we were able to leave the fence...I know, scandalous! It was really weird to be driving the normal routes I used to drive, and not really being part of the real world. We did take pictures to prove it though! My favorite involves Irma Vega wearing her tag with her hospital gown--definitely a new fashion statement. I thin k it may become all the rage with the Sister missionaries. Of course then we would have to wear regular hose instead of knee highs and that could be depressing. Luckily, she is going to be fine, and hopefully will not have to have surgery. We found out that she had a small fracture on her 5th Lumbar. We are all hoping and praying that it doesn't continue to effect her work and learning.

The other highlight of Tuesday was that Elder L.Tom Perry was our devotional speaker. We had our sneaking suspicions that it was an apostle when Irma Earley and I were at choir practice. They were using a mirror to check under every single seat in the entire place. Seemed like a pretty boring job, and it didn't seem to be part of the usual security check. He gave a great devotional on missionary work and on relying on the Lord. Trusting in His plan is definitely something that I am working on right now.

Portuguese: It is actually going decently well. I am trying my utmost best to forget every bit of Spanish that I have ever learned. I am realizing it is an imperfect form of Portuguese and isn't worth knowing (sorry Dad!) In all seriousness, I really am trying to forget the Spanish because it makes it harder to learn the vocab (easer on grammar though!). It is kinda funny because when I am in class and such I am just fine with Portuguese. However, the second that I get into a teaching appointment or praying or something I revert to Spanish. That results in me being called out by my teacher. Oh well, it will come eventually. I actually can understand pretty well already and I can make myself understood just fine- I just have to remember not to use Spanish words.

As for today...we survived the temple with no mishaps. That is probably because Irma Vega is no longer on narcotics. Kinda a bummer because we have no more entertainment, but we are all really happy for her- and no one put the family file card down the laundry shoot this week!!! I did run into Adam Ruri in the temple this morning and that was fun. It is weird being so close to my prior life and not knowing what is going on. All of us sisters wave at grandma's house every time that we are up at the temple.

Anyway, Sister Earley is also doing well. In order to answer questions about her- it was inspiration that made us companions. We are pretty close to being the same person. We are very silly together at times, but we make sure that we have fun even while we are working hard. Actually, we are dressed up for Halloween today- I am her and she is me! We were super creative with the costume thing. We are going to start coming up with an MTC top 5 list for every week- so stay tuned. She is from Preston, Idaho and went to BYU-ID before the mission. She is going to Lisbon so not quite perfect, but hey, we can't all be :)

Well, my time is almost up and I can't think of any really funny stories to add. We just keep on working hard and hopefully we are improving. I know that I am improving in pretty much every way, and that is a great blessing. It is amazing how much you can learn here if you really try. I know that I am closer to my Heavenly Father because of what we are doing here. I am amazed at how strong the spirit can be even when we are just practicing teaching the lessons. It is a testimony to the fact that it is true, you can feel it even when we are just working on how to improve.

Love you all!!!


Portuguese word of the week: ótimo ... it means awesome and that is what life is! Love y'all"


Sister Sarah Ray
MTC Mailvox #157
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, Utah 84604-1793

An alternative way, which is free and the easiest (letters only) is:
1) On the internet go to
2) There is a drop down box on the right hand side down just a couple inches. Enter her mission which is Provo-MTC and then click "write a letter" just below where you select the mission.
3) On the next screen enter your return address and Sister Sarah Ray in the address line, add your email in the email box below the envelope.
4) Write your letter in the text box and then hit the "send letter" box under the text box to send it on.

She loves and misses everyone, but can't wait to get out there and serve!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Finally, news from the MTC!

Well, this is actually "ridiculouslygoodlooking" updating her blog for little miss Sarah Louise Ray as she is currently inside of MTC walls in Provo, Utah. I will be posting her weekly emails on here and other little tidbits she writes to me in my letters - that she wouldn't mind me sharing of course. Haha! Below is her first MTC email and address so all her friends and family can write her! Enjoy!

Sarah's Email:

"So I finally have the email set up and I am on the grid again so to speak. I will try to give you a good update in the time that I have left. So, I promised more information on the solo sister thing. What being a solo sister means is that I am the only girl in my district. There were no other Portuguese girls who came in last week. We also won't have any more for another two weeks. My companion is one of the sister in the trio that is 3 weeks ahead of me. Her name is Sister Earley and she is going to Lisbon. I am actually the only girl in the entire MTC that is going to Porto. We also have people in our Zone going to Mozambique and to Cape Verde. Basically being a solo sister means that I can go wherever I want as long as I am with two elders, hopefully in my district. OF course, on P-day, during gym, and on Sundays I am always with Irma Earley. I have to admit it is a little strange. I do my teaching with a companionship of elders as well as my companionship study. I get to do all the fun stuff with Irma Earley and usually we are with the other two sisters as well. We actually had a zone wide kick ball game during gym period and we had a lot of fun. It was a Portuguese only game so we all learned a wide range of vocab that included cheater, liar, and sinner. We are really uplifting people. They are actually usually the common four square words, but they worked well for Kick ball as well.

The other two sisters and Irma Vega and Irma Hokafunu. We actually all get along really well already. At fist they were in a different room from me even in the residence. Luckily, two days ago we played fruit basket turn over which resulted in all 4 of us being in the same residence room now. Before I was in a
room with two Taiwanese sisters, two Swedish sisters and me. We called ourselves the misfits, and they were great. However, I think we were all happy when the Taiwanese sisters moved in with the rest of their district and the three Portuguese sisters moved in with me. Now we can all do better at practicing our languages. I have to admit we had some really fun conversations before the move when all of us were speaking different languages to each other.

The classes are going pretty well. I am definitely more confident in my teaching abilities. The Portuguese is a different story. Everyone told me Spanish was going to help. That is true in that I know how to conjugate verbs and the difference in the tenses as well as ser and estar. In every other aspect the Spa
nish is making the Portuguese a bit tough! I got called out completely for speaking Spanish in my first Portuguese teaching appointment. It was interesting because when I don't know the word in Portuguese I just automatically say it in Spanish and move right along. Well, that is a bad thing, but I'm sure that eventually I will get the hang of it. I was able to help the other sisters out with how to conjugate and when to use what tense.
So funny story of the day...We had the opportunity to go to the temple this morning and it was really a great experience. We have people who send our zone names so we do those and then give them all back to Elder Schenefelt to mail back. Well, Sister Vega has been having some really bad back problems so she is on Hydrocodone right now- which made her a little loopy throughout the entire session. Be
sides just being funny, it caused her to put the family file card down the laundry shoot at the end of the session. As a result they had the opportunity of taking a tour of the laundry facility. The really funny thing is when Irma Earley and I went to put our clothes down the shoot you could hear them attempting to explain to the temple workers what had happened. It was echoing through the dressing room!

So I had a nice little list of things to make sure and include in my email, but I left it in my room. BLAST! Well, I will just have to tell you all the random stories next week. I did have the opportunity(?) of giving the musical number in sacrament meeting last week. I had been in the MTC less than 4 hours when I was asked to take part in the musical number- In Portuguese! It made me learn the Portuguese pronunciation pretty quick. Irma Earley and I sang with two Elders and it went
pretty well considering we hardly practiced. I also get to write a talk for this Sunday in Portuguese. I guess it is a bit of trial by fire. It is the best way to learn right??
I really am having a great learning experience. You have quite the roller coaster of emotions every day, but overall you know that you are doing what the Lord wants you to and it makes it all worth it. It seems like the minute that I start to get really down there will be an almost immediate answer to prayer and I will know that I can do this. Well, I have to send this soon because I only have a couple minutes left. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Irma Ray"

US mail (letters and all packages):
Sister Sarah Ray

MTC Mailbox #157
2005 N. 900 E.

Provo, Utah

This is Sarah and "ridiculouslygoodlooking" the night before she went into the MTC! She loves and misses ya'll, but is loving serving her Heavenly Father!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


So, today I go into the MTC! Hope that all you are having a great time and I hope that I get to hear from you soon! Thank you to everyone who helped to get me to this point and has been so supportive of my decision. Love all of you and please stay in touch!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Every new Beginning comes from some other Beginning's end"

I really like that quote! It takes the bittersweet feeling of an era ending and new possibilities and ties it up in one thought. Everyone knows the feeling of being on the brink of something unknown- there is an excitement for the future mixed with a nervousness of not knowing what to expect and the sadness that a page in your life has turned. That is where I am right now. Sometimes I wish that life would just stay the same, but then it would be boring and we would never grow. I had my missionary farewell this past weekend and I still don't think that I have fully realized that this part of my life is actually happening. I never thought I would be here, but now that I am at the brink of going into the MTC I know that there is nothing else in the world I would rather be doing with my life. Of course, that doesn't mean that this decision has been, or is easy for me. I am a bit sad that an era of my life is ending. I will miss everyone quite a lot, but I know that this is right in my life. Nothing will be the same after this experience- and I would not want it to be, but it is strange to have no idea of exactly what to expect. I'm so excited and nervous and sad and happy all at the same time. I guess it is only fitting that most of the pictures of possible areas that I will serve in have cliffs! (Yes, these are pictures from areas in my mission!)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vote for Someone GREAT!

You know those people who you see and think "I could never handle a trial that well"? I know people like that personally. Some of the people in my family are fantabulously amazing at life, and I hope that one day I will have their faith and optimism.

So this is a bit of a solicitation. My cousin Cindy Lynn is one of the most amazing people that I know! She has Cystic Fibrosis and is attending BYU Idaho. She was also recently married to a great guy. Unfortunately, this means that her insurance is no longer covering all of her VERY expensive treatments. She has qualified for a scholarship that will donate some of her medications. In order for her to win the award her page must receive the most votes. Each computer can vote once a day until October 15th. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take the time to do this for her if you get a chance. In her words "American Idol has gone Pharmaceutical." This only takes a second and you can vote from on this page.
Thank you so much! You guys are awesome!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


There is something about thunderstorms that just makes my fingers and toes tingle with excitement. You have that very distinctive smell that always accompanies an impending storm and there is a tangible electricity in the air. Now I have a confession, most people don't like the rain but thunderstorms are right up there with stars and waterfalls at the top of my nature list! When I was little I used to stand in my driveway watching the rain and I guess not much has changed. I still have an overwhelming urge to go out in a thunderstorm. Usually, emphasis on the usually, I do something slightly more grown up such as going running in the rain instead of just dancing-but not always. I heard thunder today in good old Utah, and I don't think I have stopped smiling yet. Thunderstorms bring me back to my childhood and I feel like I could step into that magical land that we once knew where all our dreams come true. Thunderstorms make me feel like anything could happen and that life will always turn out okay, we really don't have to worry and stress out about everything. Reality is we can't change most of it, so why worry. Well, that is enough of the philosophy of Sarah for the day. I love this picture, it shows my inner kid feelings!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"Weddings, I love weddings, Drinks all around!"

Okay, once again I am a slacker about the blog. SO- this is my special edition blog to cover the many weddings that I have attended over the past week. It has been quite the busy week. My brother had his mission farewell on Sunday following which my family flew to Utah. Here they met me, fresh off of EFY and still VERY sleep deprived. The day was spent saying our goodbyes in Bountiful and in Provo with the weekly tradition of Eat with Pete! Tuesday was full of family once again as I was able to go through the temple for the first time. I feel so blessed that I have such wonderful family and was able to have most of them there with me (including Andrew..yay). We managed to then cram all of us into a room at Brick Oven where the teasing continued on the fact that my little cousin was getting married tomorrow, and I was going on a mission. No offense to Vince, but I think I am getting the better end of the deal! Tuesday night was an emergency fitting of the bridesmaid dress and although I was thinking " I may not be able to breath tomorrow", the dress did fit-mostly, well close enough. Wednesday was a very busy day. We were at the temple for the wedding in the morning. I was able to be there which was really cool and so was Andrew. Afterwards we walked across the street and put my little brother in the MTC. Of course the missionary meeting us though that I was the one going in- way to rub it in dude! Oh well, 6 more weeks and we get to do this all over again for me. I have to rant for a moment when I say that the whole mtc entry process is probably the most miserable thing I have ever participated in! Whoever designed the whole fiasco must have been taking bets on seeing how many families they could make cry. You sit there in a really big room with everyone else who is going in at the same time and they keep playing the family commercials over and over again. I think it is purely to point out that you are losing part of your family for a couple of years. BLEH! Anyway, they then show this missionary work video that, besides being about 50 years old, serves to emphasize the difficult experiences that your loved one is about to face. Sitting there I was hugely tempted to turn to Andrew and say "lets make a run for it!" Afterwards we get to listed to a 20 minute dealy about how it is easier to just say good bye quickly like a band-aid ( the long talk being completely against what he seems to be saying) accompanied by a rousing version of Called to Serve- which most people just cry through. Now, I am not much of a crier and was actually strangely composed right until I turned to look at my brother. Now i know that guys say they hate seeing girls cry, but to me it has to be worse to see boys cry. I had never seen my brother cry before that day but seeing him try to hide it from my Mom was the catalyst for the flood gates to open. Looking back one day I'm sure it will be funny to see all four of us sitting there, all crying, and all trying to hide it from everyone else so that it is not harder. Of course then the lights go on and it is the infamous missionaries through this door and families through this door part. Needless to say Andrew was out of there before we hardly had time to say bye. As we left Mom was about a centimeter away from cussing out the entire MTC staff if anyone looked at her the wrong way. Okay, rant over. There was one redeeming quality to the entry process. Before we actually put Andrew in Katie and him took some great pictures in front of the MTC sign. I think that they have become my favorite wedding pictures of all time- so I am sharing them with all of you! Well, we all left to grab a bite to eat and I had to rush to get on the bridesmaid dress and it was off to Sundance for the reception. No rest for the weary... which in this case was probably a good thing. The reception and ring ceremony went off with a huge bang. Of course my favorite part was the flower girls getting bored during the ring ceremony and deciding to start conking the bridesmaids with their flowers. Gotta love little kids!
Anyway, Thursday we drove to Idaho and Friday was another wedding, this time in Rexburg. Now I know that we always joke about there being nothing in Idaho and sometimes I feel bad about that, but once again it was shown to be true! The entire town takes about 10 minutes to drive across and our survey of favorite restaurants turned up Applebee's every time. It probably helps that Applebee's is one of two restaurants in the entire area. Cindy-Lynn made a beautiful bride and after the reception it was back down to Utah for yet another missionary farewell. Jenny Badham has joined the Ray family missionary force! As we sat there with almost the entire extended family I realized just how blessed we really are to have family like this. I have to say that I am so thankful that all of my family chose to be married in the temple so that we can all be together for the rest of eternity! It was so great to be able to be around all the people I loved!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Promised Pictures- well, at least some!

So EFY is always an are some of the pictures to prove it! That is, if we really needed pictures. I think the craziness of efy is pretty much assumed by everyone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Catching Up

So I know I haven't posted on here in quite some time. I had finished Ecuador, but thanks to the "encouragement" of my extended family I am at it again. For those of you who don't know, I have been working as the EFY health counselor for the past 2 months. This mostly includes handing out the band-aids and Advil, but the kids often will hit you with something out of the blue. It makes my job quite interesting. The greatest part about it is that I also get to have the spiritual aspect of the efy program and I have teaching opportunities all the time. This year was crazy in many different ways. I was able to work in California for half of the summer. It was great, but at one point the entire city of Goleta was on fire, and yes, that is where we were with 400 youth. We had the wonderful opportunity to have our meetings outside while it was raining ash on us. I have to admit, lights out was very easy that week due to the fact that we had no power. It was probably one of the most depressing things to tell all the efy kids that they would not be having Pizza night because the entire city had no power. Instead we bought out K-mart in the makings for PB&J sandwiches and granola bars!
I also had the amazing opportunity to work a week in Nauvoo! We only had 187 participants and it was an awesome week! We took everyone through the temple to do baptisms and in two days those awesome youth did 13oo names! You really can't compare the experience of having your daily scripture study on the lawn in front of the temple. We were also able to take everyone through Carthage jail. The group that I was with decided to take the time we had in the jail to sing "Praise to the Man." They were a stellar bunch of kids and it was an emotional experience for all of us! I'll put up some pictures as soon as I can, and I promise to try and do better with keeping up.
Unfortunately my Mom is going to have to take over the site because I am leaving on a mission in October! I have the wonderful opportunity to go to Portugal for a year and half and I can not wait!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Well, I am once again in the USA! I never understood those stories of people kissing the ground when they returned home until I walked back onto American soil. While I still have never actually kissed the ground, I understand a little bit better the feeling behind the action. There are some things that I am so thankful to have again! Of course that is not to say that our last couple days in Ecuador were without their quota of adventure. We were able to experience the stereotypical money issues that tend to happen in South America. Our liaison disappeared with a family emergency the day before we were supposed to leave. Later that night we were informed that our drivers had not been paid and would not take us to the airport until they received their money- of course we had been told by our liaison that it was already taken care of. To this day I don't know if the drivers were just attempting to take advantage of us and get paid twice or if our liaison had run off with all of the money. Luckily we only had to make one phone call to the Junta organization and all of a sudden everything was taken care of. I must admit I felt a bit like I was working for the mob. I have to appreciate how easy everything was with our Junta connections. In the end all we had to do was pay $40 to get out of the country. Three of us also had the pleasure of an all expenses paid trip around the less desirable portions of the airport. We were called from the gate and escorted across the tarmac (in the rain no less) to where the security guards were happily pulling everything out of our carefully packed bags. As we were standing there, they proceeded to give a slightly awkward preview of all of our luggage by spreading it out along the tarmac for all of the other guards and some passengers. We were also searched by the drug dogs; all the while being assured that this was strictly routine. It was quite the experience. So, as a wrap up I have included my own David Letterman style top 10 lists. I hope they make everyone laugh as much as I enjoy the memories. If you want more specifics on the stories-you will have to ask!

Top 10 things I'll miss from Ecuador

  1. Being told I’m beautiful multiple times walking down the street
  2. Cheap prices!
  3. bargaining for everything
  4. chifles/ Mango suckers
  5. pineapple / any fresh fruit every day
  6. having a maid/ chauffeur
  7. being able to work with the community
  8. all drugs being OTC
  9. kissing is an acceptable greeting
  10. salsa dancing/Latin music

Top 10 things I won’t miss from Ecuador

  1. Giant rats/bugs
  2. Little kids begging
  3. GI issues
  4. no air conditioning
  5. clinicals every day!
  6. drinking Coke
  7. only bottled water
  8. CPR classes!!!
  9. no fresh veggies
  10. have to go places in groups of 3
Top 10 funny moments from Ecuador

1. Paige accidentally hitting on our waiter
2. Negrito?... Dos Negritos???
3. hearing "We didn't start the fire" (Billy Joel) on Ecuadorian radio
4. seeing our teachers Latin dancing
5. "A ver todos..." with the Gias
6. 12 people in the back of the Ambulance
7. David "teaching" Spanish to the gringas
8. Giving each other shots when we were sick
9. "You have beautiful eyes- because that's all that is visible"
10. The worm

All in all this was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life and I am so grateful for the chance that I had to participate. I learned so much from the people there! The intent was for us to serve them, but I was served so much more by the people there than I could ever give back. I think I will always love the Ecuadorian people and I know that I am a better person because of this experience. I hope that one day everyone has the opportunity to have an experience that means as much to them as this has meant to me. Thank you so much to all of you who have been keeping me going with your emails and I can't wait to get back in touch with all of you!

Monday, May 26, 2008

The most memorable Memorial Day ever!

Today was probably my favorite day of the whole trip as far as fun is concerned. It is a holiday, so we decided to take one too! The day started off way to early for most of us with a kindly meant wake up call at 5:30 by our Ecuadorian contact. It was highly ineffective in our apartment since none of us got up till 6:10. No fear, we were on the bus in plenty of time, we were not even last! So we drove about 3 hours outside of Quito to the Cloud Forest, which is a beautiful rain forest up here in the middle of the Andes mountains. It was quite cold this morning, so we were all huddled on the bus attempting to sleep. I'm sure someone got pictures of it, but it wasn't me, probably a good thing! After taking our bus across rivers, very iffy bridges and crazy roads we were taken in the back of trucks to a cable car of sorts that took us across a large ravine so that we could hike. We sang the Indiana Jones theme song and decided that we didn't have to see the movie because we were living the story. I promise we make the Disney ride look like a kid on a tricycle! I've posted the video, and I know we are all in different keys-please ignore that! It was a lot of fun and then we got to hike to several waterfalls! Waterfalls are my absolute favorite thing that you can find in nature, followed closely by stars, but waterfalls are first. I was in heaven today-except for the part that we were hiking through some very steep, very muddy trails. Add that to the high altitude, the lack of sleep, lack of food for the day and the fact that we are already all sore- it was quite the challenge for the day. Luckily we got back out before it started the daily afternoon thunderstorm! Of course the best part of the day is that we took a tour of the canopy level of the forest. In order to do this we had to travel by a series of 13 zip lines all around the forest! It was so much fun, and was totally worth the 15 dollars. We even got to do some of them upsidown and such. It was the coolest thing to be soaring above the trees all around the rain forest for about an hour and a half. We then had to get back to Quito which included fording more rivers, more hiking and a long bus ride, but it was a great day! We were in the forest for almost 12 hours and I definitely think that it was the best day of our whole trip as far as things related to us. I am very glad to have all the experiences and clinicals have been amazing, but today was so much fun that we all needed desperately after the past 3 weeks of lots of hard work!

Friday, May 23, 2008

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying good-bye so hard.”

Despite the fact that I can hardly believe it, our time here in Guayaquil has come to a close. I am actually very sad to be leaving the people here. I have had such amazing experiences getting to know all of them and having the opportunity to serve. I also feel like I am just getting to the point where I can understand what most of them are saying! I guess life is like that. As soon as you start to adjust to things, Heavenly Father decides that you are not allowed to get comfortable. That is how we grow in all aspects, but it is still sad sometimes. I definitely miss many things when they change, but I am thankful for the lessons that I learn with each new experience. I think the people here are actually going to miss us just a little bit as well. This morning I taught CPR at the Psych hospital, and it was definitely an experience. First of all we had some technical difficulties with the video- so we got to do it all on our own. On top of that there was a guy who was following me around with a video camera to get everything that I said. I was slightly ashamed because my spanish is horrible, and i'm sure that if the American Heart Association saw our teaching sessions all of our certifications would be revoked! It was fun to work with all the little nuns, they all wanted to take pictures too. I guess I am slightly disappointed because they all wear white, not black. Oh well. Later we had lunch with the head honchos from the Junta and it was really fun. They seemed to be genuinely sad that we were leaving even though I'm sure we were probably more trouble than help. Our entire afternoon was spent going part to party to say goodbye to everyone. David's Mom threw us a huge pool party and closed the restaurant in order to feed us. It was really nice of her, but we had all eaten so much already that we were forcing ourselves to eat so that we would not offend her. That night the church had a YSA dance, which was also very fun. Dances are quite different here, they are all reggaton and salsa dancing...needless to say we all had a great time and are quite sad to be leaving!

"The more fun you have, the greater your value to yourself and to your society."

So we have been having more fun! This was our last week of clinicals and has been crazy busy, but we still find time to enjoy ourselves! This past Saturday we went to the rain forest Cerro Blanco and hiked for a couple of hours. Then we went canoing down the river in Porto Hondo and had a grand time. The water was kinda dirty, okay really dirty, so we didn't go in but it was still fun. We then ended up the day by going to a Music Festival. It was really fun, and I am even starting to really understand the majority of what is said to me. Mostly I know everyone likes the pictures so here are some more from when we climbed the lighthouse and other such stuff:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

“I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not.”

Guess what! We are working in the hospitals that are sponsored by El Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil. This is a massive organization that runs 4 hospitals throughout the city as well as schools and many other things. Only about 35% of the costs of the hospitals and their 65,000 employees are covered through payments by the patients. The other money comes from the national lottery. That is right, the lottery pays for the countries health care. No one is turned away from care and all fees are prorated based on the financial capabilities of the patient. What a cool organization!!! We had a big meeting with all the head or the organization and he told us everything that they are working on. It was really cool and we even met in the council room. We had the little microphones and everything at our chairs. I almost felt like I should be in the UN or something!
Well, the hospital is quite different from anything that you see in the states. For starters, it is absolutely huge! I've heard two different numbers, but the general consensus is that there are 1,000 beds in the general hospital. It is crazy and the medical staff are the most creative people I have ever met. I never knew there were so many uses of a latex glove. We were joking that the main text of med school must be 1001 ways to use your gloves. Unfortunately on your hands seems to have been left out on this publication. We have come up with a couple ways of own own!
Another great opportunity we have had is to teach about 100 BLS classes. I have demonstrated CPR so many times that everyone should feel very safe around me knowing that I could save your life! We taught a bunch of the civil leaders the other day and it was really fun. We even made into the paper again. Everywhere we go everyone wants to take pictures with us. I think it must have something to do with the fact that they don't see blonde hair or blue eyes very often. Of course I also never thought I would say that I feel very tall, but it is the case down here. It also helps that we have somewhat become the PR campaign for the church. I can hardly believe that we are in our last week in Guayaquil! Time has flown by so quickly. I will be glad to get back to you all, but it is sad to be done. I am very happy to be able to talk to everyone again soon. I miss keeping up with all of your lives!

Friday, May 16, 2008

"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance."

I am now at the Pediatric hospital- which is worlds different from any other hospital in the city. Apparently they get quite a few more donations than any one else. The Cardiologist I made friends with yesterday took me into the Cath lab which was state of the art. He was very proud to tell us that the ENTIRE lab was donated by Mel Gibson, and the doctor had made Mrs. Gibson laugh at the presentation. He was very nice, and was showing me all the new equipment in the ICU. I think everyone though we were med students because we had stethoscopes. Only the doctors use those here, so we were treated as way above the nurses. It was sad to see all of the kids in such bad condition! The highlight of the day was being able to take a bunch of toy kits put together by kids in the states and hand them out to the kids in the hospital. It was amazing to see the happiness that a box of crayons would bring to one of those kids! They were so thankful to get them and some of the kids became completely different people once someone showed then a little care. Sadly we couldn't take pictures in this hospital, so we only have the ones in front. I wish you could see those kid's faces- it makes everything seem to be a better place!!!!

We also have been teaching several heath fairs. Everyone seems to be very excited to come hear the Americans talk. We have done two this week and I think we have 4 more over the next week! I have to admit, we are getting a little tired of the same lessons over and over again. I think this is compounded by the fact that I am teaching injections, and Corey likes to use me as the demonstration...not exactly the most fun part of my job! I also have the distinct feeling that people keep looking at my bum considering we have to show them all the acceptable sites and once again I am the dummy-literally! Luckily we have them practice on oranges...not quite as painful!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

No room at the Inn

So in the maternity hospital down here there are an average of 90ish babies born every day. That is a very very large number compared to the 20-50ish that are born in the hospitals back in Utah. As a result we have quite the overcrowding in the nursery. It seemed like we were playing musical babies today. Every time I would pick up a baby there would be another one moved into the bed. Then I would have to go searching for a place to put the one I had in my hands. Eventually we ran out of room and then we got to double up. It was very different. The trick was making sure that when the Moms came, we could find the right baby. Just a bit different than in the states! I do have to admit it was kinda sad to see the Moms going down the lines of babies and looking at the name tags on their feet to try and find out which one belonged to them. It doesn't seem like they have the opportunity to see their baby really at all for the first day at least. How sad for them! The babies that had been to see their mothers usually came back with different clothes, so they were a bit easier to tell apart. One of the little boys in the picture was wearing a shirt that said Future Quarterback. I'm pretty sure the family had no idea what it said-but we thought it was pretty funny!
Of course probably the funniest thing to happen to us is when we all changed into our surgical scrubs. We kinda forgot that everyone in this country is short and round. I don't think anyone's scrubs came all the way down their legs, and I had to wrap the tie all the way around my waist to keep them up!

On another note, we had an awesome party last night that consisted of quite a lot of food, a mariachi band and lots of dancing. David's mom threw him a birthday party at her restaurant and it was quite the experience. I think we all had a great time, and I don't even know what everything I ate was. That seems to be happening a lot down here.....

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?"

Actually on top of our work we do make time to have a little bit of fun! Here are the pictures to prove it! Yes, we squished all 21 of us in the 14 passenger van and drove across the city to a restaurant for Aubreigh's birthday. Good thing we are all very close friends- literally and figuratively.
Paige was attempting to scare the shrimp before she ate it. I think the shrimp scared her more!

This picture is a where's- Waldo type. There are about 20 Iguana's in this tree. There is a park down the street where they just run wild all over and there are probably over 100 all over the place!

Disclaimer: I do love nursing and I know what we are doing down here is worthwhile. I really am loving the experience, I don't know if I will ever be able to do anything that rivals the service we have been priviledges to participate in and learn from!