I’m Coming Home!

“Well still don´t feel like I am coming home, these days have just blurred, and life has been going by so quickly. It´s strange to think I have written 77 emails, and here´s 78, the last one. I´m coming home, tell the world that I´m coming home! So strange. Everyone has been asking me how I feel and I say, ¨Contenta y triste.¨ Content and sad. The mixed feelings I have had this week were weird. Random tears while walking in the streets especially. Just trying to soak in everything. Sights, sounds, people, culture. I will miss this. I want to come back to Ayutuxtepeque one day. I love my El Salvadoreneans. 

So for the randoms of the week.

I picked mangos off off a tree this week with a stick, harder then it looks. 

Forgot what the rain was like, we got hit hard last night when we were coming home… and the power went out! We ran like crazies in the dark!

We got matching jerseys in the zone, we are playing futbol today with Layco. My first and last p-day, same activities, crazy.

I haven´t packed yet. I don´t like packing.

Pres Hintze and Sister Hintze came to my ward Sunday, to hear me speak and also to give me my final interview. The last one, how weird. Love them!
Oh and my comp cut a lot of my hair off. Yep.

Now for the finale.

Well this week has been a week of reflecting. My mind is all over the place. Reflecting on my mission and all that has happened in these past 18 months. 18 months is such a long time! I have been far far away for a year and a half. I´m so grateful for all the goodness that has happened in my mission. So much good. The adventure, the friends, the miracles, the culture, my conversion. All good things. 

I love reading Alma chapter 26 in the Book of Mormon. In this chapter Alma is reflecting on his mission and he gives thanks to the Lord for His mercy on him and to the people he taught and was with during his mission. He explains at times it was hard, but when their hearts were depressed, and they were at the point of turning back, the Lord gave them comfort and told them to bear their afflictions, and He would give them success. I have had so many times like that on my mission, where it just got really hard, when I didn´t feel like I was helping or working well enough, but the Lord, without waiting instantly gave me an overwhelming comfort and peace and let me feel in my heart, that it was all going to be okay and that I was doing more then my part, trying my best. My best is what I gave. And I saw the success in waiting patiently. I am so grateful I now have a firmer confidence in relying on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That through my mission I have been strengthened spiritually. A strength that cannot be bought. A strength that will help me for more than just this life. I am grateful I have had this time to be a full time representative of Jesus Christ, and that I was able to be an instrument in Gods hands. It´s been one of the biggest blessings for me in my life. I´m so grateful for the lives I have seen change, especially my own. Alma goes on to say that if he had never left Zarahemla (where he was from) the things he did on his mission would’ve never happened. Now seeing all the people I was able to help, makes me feel that same way. People were prepared for me to find, and if I hadn’t gone, I would never have had them in my life.  I love this gospel, I love these people, and I love my God– my Father in Heaven who heard my prayers, heard my cries, and has always been by my side. I have seen miracles. Angels have protected me. And I have seen the mercies of the Lord. And now like Alma, I can boast in my God and sing praises to Him forever.

I love the New Testament and I want to finish with a verse in 2 Timothy 4: 7

¨I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course. I have kept the faith.¨

Well, this is it… HURRAH HURRAH FOR ISRAEL! See you Thursday.

Sister Patterson”


Ohana Means Family

“Well, I don’t think I have gotten this many emails since my first week in the CCM! Haha, thank you so much for the love, you all put me in tears! So crazy to read all the changes that have happened since I have been gone. Engagements, babies, growing up, college, etc. I am dying to see you all in Vegas or after where ever you may be. There are sooooooooo many faces I miss dearly.

Well, this week was as a fast one as this change has been, and a stressful one. We pulled off an insane Luau that was the biggest success. My goodness, better then we planned. The decorations we made did us in so we didn’t sleep for a whole week, but it was worth it.

la foto
We had talents, dinner (tamales, not very Hawaiian, but we’re in El Salvs), spiritual thought, limbo, and hula hoops. The ward told us it’s the best activity they have ever had. What what! We had so much fun. President and Sister Hintze came too! I love them so much.

I guess this week I have just been thinking about the family I have.

I have my amazing family with my beautiful mom, incredible dad, and the best brothers I could ever ask for who I just love. And can’t forget my puppy.

I have my friends in my life, especially those special few who have been like sisters or brothers to me, who I am more than grateful for. 

I have my amazing dance family, who I love.

I have my ward familes, Rainbow and Palmyra.

I have my highschool family, teachers and friends.  Some of the best years of my life, especially my senior year.

I have my mission family. Which consists of amazing sisters and elders who have been on this journey with me of learning, growing, and basically anything and everything spiritual. And my awesome mission president and his wife who have treated me like their own daughter.

I have my cousins, aunts, great aunts, uncles, great uncles, grandparents, etc. Who I treasure so deeply in my heart.

I have incredible people who I have met and helped convert on my mission who I know I knew in heaven before this life. They have been some of the biggest reasons I have grown spiritually– seeing their conversion.

I could go on, but my point is we are a family. All of us. We are literal children of God, and He loves us. I love you all too. And I am so grateful that God loves me that he has put you all in my life. And that through you I can feel His love for me. I just want to say how grateful I am for you all and the things you have done for ME. Little me, who sometimes thinks it’s incredible how much people care for me. Ahh, can’t wait for all the hugs, all the love, and catching up.

I am so grateful for my mission, and the broader perspective I have on life now. I know who I am, I know God’s plan, and I know that He lives and is literally here with each us to guide and protect us in this world which can sometimes be difficult. Trusting in him is one of the biggest things I have learned on my mission. And I know He hasn’t abandoned us. 

I’m just so happy.

Well, one more email next week, then I’m home the next Thursday…

Love you all,


I Believe.

“Well, last week I said that it was the fastest week of my mish, NO, THIS was the fastest week of my mish, last week was second fastest. Oh my goodness. Everything is becoming a blur.

Here´s the run through. Well our ZL´s are so much fun and we have had awesome p-days this whole change thank goodness. Today we are going to do a water balloon/game event. And last Monday we went to a softball stadium and played kickball, I fell horribly and it was super cute… lies. Well the creepy men on the wall thought it was a hoot and a holla. Yikes, I flipped over my head and rolled in the dirt and knocked down an elder… But I got to third base on time, so it was worth it. Haha! Oh and we went to Wendys after and I had my first Wendy frosty shake since leaving El Salvs in 2013, oh my heavenly. Going back to Rexburg won´t be a problem… WENDYS all day everyday. Hastag 3309 girls.
Well I buried the snake that I found. Had a ceremony and it is now buried in the back. 
Someone told me the trick to get married after the mish is to not show anyone my mission photos, I was like why? Because just look at you! Hahahaha, I have so many friends! What the?
We talked to girls who walked past us. One had a shirt with Las Vegas on it and the other Hawaii! Is that not freaky!!?
We had a sister´s meeting Wednesday, I was a bawling mess, either the spirit was really strong, or my eyes were sweating. Man, it was good. I love Sister Hintze so so so so so so much. Spiritual uplift for the rest of the mish!
The Hintze´s told me they are extending my mission and they don´t want me to leave! I love them. They also want to buy me new shoes. Haha!
Did interchanges and worked in Mejicanos with Sister Jepson (also from Vegas) for the day! 
Speaking of Vegas, got my flight plans! Ahhhh! Can´t wait to see you all!
Well, long story short Kava and I owed our ZL´s five pizzas, for helping us out big time last week with movie night, it´s a complicated story. But anyways, they ending up going to Santa Ana just to get us the dvd we needed… And so we took them to pizza… ya. We ended up buying 32 pieces of pizza… and there were only four of us… I ate nine slices. Man, we were dying. Never again! Haha, but it was fun!
Our baptism was Friday and it was beautiful. One of those memorable ones. Just beautiful, the spirit was so strong and peaceful. Valeria is such a sweet girl, she is like our little sister. She is humble, willing, and beautiful inside and out. So proud of her. We started teaching her, at the beginning of January. She was so happy! A lot of support and love.
We also helped out with a baptism of the elders. The girl getting baptized had a bit of a freak out before, she is scared of water. So we talked her through it, helped her, just there is so much more to the miracles that happened that night, but I´ll need two hours more to write it all out. 
I definitely believe in prayers of faith, and I love the verse, Matthew 21:22. It´s so true. I believe in miracles, I believe in Faith, and I believe in God. 
17 days….
Hermana Patt”
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Blessings Beyond Blessings

“Okay, might have to claim this the fastest week of my mission, it FLEW. I think it´s beause we were packed with a million things!! Well. What a good week.

To start I hit 17 months Tuesday… I only have like twenty four days till I am back and everyone is here to remind me of that. Seriously that seems to be the only topic that people can talk with me. Like not a ¨hey sista patt how´s it going?¨ More of a ¨hey old lady I heard you´re ¨dying¨ soon.¨ (Mission term for ending the mish, don´t freak.) Ya, I have lots friends. Haha, it´s been crazy. Just so I´d focus more these next few days, I moved my pictures away from my desk, into my room, I have so many pics, but I put a few that I could fit.
Then I redecorated my desk area. I did put Las Vegas there, as you can see. But ya.
During Sunday School our teacher somehow turned the lesson into me and my life and how I will get married fast. Wait, what? no! Haha! Kava and I were dying!
We were at a church meeting and we left the gate open and a man came in, a member, and said, ¨Missionaries, you forgot to shut the door, the gangs will get in and we´ll have problems.¨ Somehow that is so normal to me now. But I feel completely a peace with it. Hashtag just happen to live in the most dangerous country in Central America. Hahaha! Hashtag el salv probs.
We went to dinner at one of my favorite sister´s house, and she said, ¨Thank you for coming I love when you do, because then there are angels in my home. You bring such a special spirit.¨ So sweet.
Kava has a new obsession with El Salvadoreño tortillas. I love it, it´s hilarious. She can get ten for 60 cents. Holla.
I ate a powered donut the other day, reminded me of Jess Koegler.



Tori meeting her cousin Jess on Christmas Day 2014 in San Salvador.

That crazy guy that wants to hug me came out of the bar when we passed it and yelled, ¨I LOVE THAT GIRL WITH GREEN EYES EVERYBODY! HELLO BEAUTIFUL!¨ Hahahaha, we were dying. What is wrong with you?
Speaking of snakes. Found one yesterday in our backyard. I was cleaning up back there… in the dark… with just flip flops and I saw something dark, so I grabbed my flashlight. If I had stepped ONE stepped closer… bleh. The ants were eating it, it was so gross! What the nut! In this backyard I have seen everything. Rats, taratulas, snakes, giant lizards, ants, bess, etc. It´s the best! 
So get this… we had a baptism this past weekend! We baptized cute Elena Velasquez. Her husband is a member, recently. They have a baby of almost three months. And so we completed the family! And William baptized her! It was beautiful!!! Such a cute little family entering into such a great future in the gospel. Love them. SO proud of her and him.
We had a movie night, we watched Meet The Mormons, the ward loved it. As always, Kava and I were bawling. If you haven´t seen it, I highly recommend it!
Kava and I were asked that night if we could give talks the next morning, and so we did. We nailed it. It was insanely spiritually and there were tears shed. Everywhere. It was awesome! I am so grateful for my misison and the experieces I now have to share of faith and just well just about everything. I shared the story of the Che Family, love them.
Well, I think that´s the majority, I am sending pics this week! Por fin! Now you can see some updates, some are old. 

Filling the font with Kava


Her zone at the volcano.


Tori mentioned in her last private email to me that she is getting really tired of her current clothes. I would suggest that this outfit testifies to the fact that her wardrobe is seriously below her pre-mission standards…. Pic is of Tori, Sister Hirshci and an Elder that entered the MTC the same time as her.


Looking down into the volcano

Love you all, keep staying strong, can´t believe there are three more emails left basically.
Love you.
Patt. “

I Love This Thing Called A Mission

“Feliz dia de San Valentin! How are you all doing? So happy to be writing again. Lots of fun stories to share this week…

Well, to start I got a two ¨snakes¨ this week. That term in the mish means if a guy likes you and is flirty or what not, they are ¨snakes¨. Oh my. Where to begin?
Well one day we were on the bus, a bunch of elders and us. And there was a guy that got on the bus and was selling these candies. What they do is they get on the bus and yell what it is how much it is, then walk down the aisle if you want it. So he´s passing by and comes up to me, puts it in my face, and I said, ¨no gracias¨ (no thank you). Then he got close and whispered, ¨Para ti.¨ (For you) BAHAHAHA! And handed me a handful of free candies. All the elders started hissing like snakes and moving their ties like snakes, so embarrassing, I was dying. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Why.
Another one of my snakes is someone who is always around the hood. So one day this week we passed by him walking, his back was to us, we walked past and I heard, ¨Quiero visitar Las Vegas un dia…¨ (I want to visit Las Vegas one day….) I turned around, homeboy say what. We have never talked to him before, nor told him where I was from. Haha! My luck. We talked to him, it was creepy. But hilarious. Making friends mom.
Those will be the two snake stories I´ll share, I think if I shared anymore, you´d all be concerned. Haha!
Now for an embarrassing story. Well to start, last Monday we went to Walmart. Kav´s and I always buy like four or six rolls of toilet paper right, but then it´s like this annoying thing to keep restocking. So I saw on sale for five bucks I could get 32 rolls. What a steal right? So I was all about that. So I put it in my tiny basket. So scared for any of the elders to see me and my pile of tp bigger then me. Had success, till we were assigned to the check out line and there were our zone leaders. Oh hey guys. Oh my gosh. I ended up buying 32 rolls of toilet paper and a night gown. Who am I? Then they asked why we were buying so much… and I got awkward and didn´t know what to say… ¨Ummm, we go to the bathroom a lot?¨ ¨Oh… nice.¨ Hashtag Kava was dying laughing in the background. And then the night gown, another story. Hastag they are just so comfy.
Now for a few randoms. Dogs here eat tortillas, it´s the norm. People put chile on their icecream and snowcones. Got my boots shined by a less active in the ward! He shined them red, super sweet. My poor boots, the are the only pair of shoes I have. They needed a shoe shine.
Best news ever: Jose Calderon is going to seminary, can´t even begin to tell you how many times we prayed about that. SO HAPPY!  And I found out Slater is in my old area in Orange Walk and Hunter is in Belmopan in my old area. SO HAPPY! 
Hey, I met an RM that knows Jake McDonald! His name is Elder Fortinez! So weird, what a small world. I don´t know if you remember a year ago his mom showed my a little mission year book thing with pictures, and I saw Jake there, well now that elder is back! 
So this a cute story. There is a little girl in our ward who has a stuffed animal that´s a bug and she named it, ¨Ohmygoodness¨. Hahaha! So cute, she heard someone on youtube say, ¨oh my goodness¨ and so her bug is named that. Well for valentine´s day her mom bought Kava and I mini valentine ¨ohmygoodnesses¨! So sweet!
Now last night, my goodness. We were at this activity and I was getting attacked. Haha! Just cause I am heading back home in a month. So in a matter of three minutes someone said, ¨You got fat in your mission, you´re going to get off the plane and your mom will say, ¨That´s not my daughter!¨.¨ Hahaha, what the? Then someone said, ¨Yikes sister Patterson you are really red.¨ (Hashtag got sunburnt). Then I turned to Kav´s and said, ¨I´m just trying to be pretty.¨ Hahaha, I don´t know if that story is funny to you but Kava and I were dying. What the? It´s a culture thing here, people always tell you you´re fat or ugly whether you are or not. You just can´t get offended, I´m so used to it now. Hashtag latino el salv culture. But yikes. Mom I hope you still recognize me!
Well, to finish on Sunday in Relief Society class we had a great lesson on prayer, faith, success and miracles. My favorite topics. I know and testify as we excercise faith, especially with prayer, we will see miracles. That is the story of my mission. We had a missionary come home this past week and she said, ¨What is one word that you would explain in your mission as.¨ She said, ¨Conversion.¨ Which I really liked. But I thought about it all week. And the word I would use to explain would be, ¨Miracles.¨ I love my mission, and I am so happy I made the decision to go. It´s the best.
Love you all, now we´re down to four more emails.
Sista Patt.”

You Aren’t Failing

“Well, the week flew as it always does, but especially these past months, I feel like time is running faster than I am. I would like to just sit for a minute. Yikes! I just am soaking in every little thing and moment here in Ayutuxt. Listening to the rats and pigeons on our ceiling, eating pupusas and drinking hot chocolate every night, listening to the ¨fireworks¨ (gun shots) behind our house, getting sunburnt, walking up and down what we call the mountain, speaking to everyone and their cats in spanish, getting whistled at by every eighty year old man that we pass by, and running away from big scary dogs. Haha, aren’t missions the best? Just thinking about the culture I live in and the culture I am now adjusted to… to think about going back home? Juela. That will be weird. 

So this week we got new peeps in the zone, hallelujah! The missionaries in our zone are so fun! And our zone leaders are super good at pumping us up to work. I am excited for this last change! Hashtag five more weeks. 
Jose worked with us this past week as a missionary, he did awesome! He testified, invited others to church, and prayed for families. We are so proud of him!
This week, my spiritual thought would be about agency. Sometimes as missionaries we literally do everything we can, we leave the house earlier to visit, we contact for hours in the sun, we plan lessons, we pray for people, we take the hits, the list goes on, but the point is we do just about anything they ask and do anything we can, to help these people progress in this gospel and gain trust in us. And sometimes plans don´t work out as we want them too. It can be hard. When they choose not to read, not go to church, not be baptized, etc. It can get us down. But I was reading in “Preach My Gospel” about successful missionaries. And how as missionaries, our responsibility is to do all we can and have the spirit with us. Then we are successful. And not get discouraged when other’s agency leads them otherwise. It really helped me this week, to remember that as long as we are doing all we can the Lord is pleased. And I think that applies to real life as well. Sometimes we do all we can to help others, loved ones, people at work, etc. And sometimes they don´t change, they don´t want our help, etc. But I know that God is pleased with you for making the effort to reach out to those around you. Just be that representive of Jesus Christ. Serve others, listen to the spirit, and remember to always do your part and your best. We are on the Lord’s errand, all of us.
Love you all!!!

And So the Countdown Begins…

Hello everyone, Tori’s mom here.  Last week Tori’s email was this:

“Sorry couldn’t write this week, I had to use my time for some missionary files, love you all!”

One sentence people!  I obviously did not post it on the blog.  I was surprised this week when more people besides my parents were asking what happened and why there was no blog post.  Then she did not email until late in the afternoon today.  I thought I was going to go crazy.  In this week’s email she ends it with “6 more emails to go”  and I am thinking that even when she gets home she still will need to write me a weekly email…..  so without further adieu:

“Okay, just want to give a big sorry for not writing last week! Ahh, I’m horrible. It’s just I had a million things I had to do, didn’t have time. So this week, I’ll write mucho.

Well, ya… it’s February. Does that make anyone else sick? Yikes. ONLY SIX MORE EMAILS. How does that make you feel? Sick? Anyone, anyone? And once again, yikes. Here we are entering in the next change. Changes are in two days, we’re pretty confident we are staying together, like no worries. Which will be awesome, because I’ll be with Baby Kava, and “die” in the area I was “born” in. #AyutuxtepequeForLife.
Ahhh, can’t believe it. Just don’t even like thinking about it. Just can’t imagine not being a mish, what was life like before? I always couldn’t stand it at BYUI when every single RM just went on and on about their mission and that’s all they talked about, and it was like alright cool, get out now. And now… that will be me! Hahaha! I’m sorry friends. Belize and El Salv stories for the centuries. 
So what went down these past two weeks…. oh ya… TWO BAPTISMS! Surprise surprise! Yes, so now I want to give a nice little shout out to our amazing Calderon’s who I love so much. So recap on how we foud them, the process, etc.
So eight weeks ago I was called to open an area and train a new little “gringa baby”. I was on an airplane back to El Salvs, and I can’t say I wasn’t a little bit nervous. BUT excited and basically my dreams came true. My whole mish I wanted to train. And Aytuxt was my only area I didn’t have a baptism, so it was literally an answer to prayers, returning back. We were left with three or five investigators, all investigators that were old when I was teaching them a year ago. Yikes. It was time for newbies. One night, we were out on the streets of El Salvs, and Kavs said, “Patt, someone needs us right now.” I told her I’d say a prayer. I asked God to put someone on that street that we were on, the next person we would talk too. That they would be prepared for the gospel and that they woud be baptized in January. Two minutes after praying, we were walking and a dog tried to eat me, the usual. That would be Boni the dog. She ran out, and that’s when we met Carlos Calderon. He was so interested in the church. And that’s where it all began. Lately we found out earlier that week before we found him, he passed by the church and had that feeling like he should be a part of it, and go. But didn’t because he didn’t want to go uninvited. And we found him days later. Their progression is just wow. I can’t even explain in email. They just loved it. Jose’s number one desire is to serve a mission, he is sixteen, and now is preparing to serve in two years. Then Carlos is already learning so much, and such a good fit in the ward. I want to share a cute little story from last week too. Well their only prob was their coffee. Oh my, El Salvadoreans loooooooooove their coffee. Breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternnon, dinner, before bed. And for them… when we told them that drinking coffee was something they would need to stop… you should’ve seen their faces! But they accepted the challenge. Just before the lesson that night, Karla had a cup and had put it down on the table for the lesson. So after we left little Andres said to Karla, “Hey… is that coffee. The sisters said you can’t drink that!” Karla was like, “I’ll just finish it off.” “No!” And he drained it down the sink. Hahaha! Then about a week into the challenge. Sister Kava and I passed by Mister Pan. As we passed Kava said, “Patt, someone needs us right now.” “Again?” Haha, I said a prayer in my heart, just asking God would put us where he needed us. I then had this insane craving for a donut. And then two minutes later we saw Karla. We asked where she was headed, “Mister Pan to pick up my dad!” You mean the Mister Pan that has complimentary coffee with a pan dulce. Why yes. In we went. CAUGHT red handed! Hahaha! Carlos was bright red. “Hermanas?!” Hahaha, he accidently got it, just out of habit. Then he ordered a round a Jaimaca juice for us all. It was a good little lesson, on how God’s always watching. Haha, and so sometimes he sends his little american sisters to catch you. After that we stopped by Mister Pan basically everyday and there he was with his pan ducle (sweet bread) and jamaica juice. So sweet. Anyways, just a lot of miracles with this family. The baptism was of Carlos and Jose, father and son. And we are still teaching the rest of this beautiful fam. Love them. The other night, the mom took us out for pupusas, and this week we are planting her garden. Karla was part of New Beginnings, sang and had a part. She is incredible, she’s like our sister. Love this family so much. It’s so amazing what the gospel does! This gospel is true and it changes and saves lives. I testify to that.
Well, we already found a solid three awesome news this week, excited to see them progress. This work is flourishing. Oh and fun thing, the ward handed out a calendar for February to feed us… they were fighting over it, my goodness. We have lunch and dinner for literally everyday of this month! Haha! That was another factor of coming into the area, pres told me, “Hermana Patterson your job is to train, open, and make the members love you.” I love these members. Oh my gosh! Obsessed with everyone, I feel like it’s my family ward. Incredible. And yesterday we presented our activity idea… we are doing a Hawaiian luau on the 7th of Marzo! Super excited! And we got a new mish leader, Brother Fuentes, who we already loved.
On to the funnies, this week I met a cat named Rasputin Vergolio.
A sister in the ward said, “I remember your first day you couldn’t say anything. And when I asked you how much time you had in your mission, you said, “Un poquito.”” She thought that was the funniest thing ever. I couldn’t speak at all when I was here, and Kava is talking like she has seven months in the mish. It’s no big deal. Love her and so proud of her.
Oh and the other day I realized… I’m white! Haha, my goodness, I have forgotten that for some time. I guess, I’m just used to the weird stares and such, or the creepy men that pass by and say, “Mi angel.” and such. Yikes. Anyways, I guess in my head, I am Belizean/El Salvadorean. And it’s not till I look at pics or what not I realize it. Also Kava said, “Patt you stick out like a sore thumb here.” Haha! I’m going to freak out going home. 
Oh and hello, so this morning…. my dream came true… WE WENT TO VOLCAN! The volcano! Just about cried, it was beautiful. I will send photos of everything next week/sorry about that. And the baptism.
Ah, so yes. There you have it family and friends. Thanks for the blog support ps, so grateful for it. SIX MORE EMAILS… just saying.
Okay love you all, keeping you in my prayers as always.
Love, Patt.”