Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mexico City MTC

Travis has been gone for over a month now learning how to be an effective missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is currently in the Mexico City Missionary Training Center or CCM (Centro de Capacitación Misional México) and will be leaving for Chile soon.
These days he goes by Elder Woodfield. This name tag accompanies him wherever he goes as does his companion, Elder B.
(Elder W. and Elder B.)
(Elder B. and Elder W.)
They share a room with another companionship, Elder H. and Elder P.
(Elder H., Elder P., Elder B., and Elder W.--photo courtesy of  Elder B.)
(Travis has the bottom bunk--tight quarters for a 6'5" guy.)
(Travis' closet)
Travis says that they wake up each day at 6:30 am, eat breakfast, have personal study time for an hour, class for 4 hours (which includes Spanish, practicing with investigators, and Book of Mormon study). After lunch and some ping pong, they have more study time, then gym (usually basketball) then online language study followed by more study for a half hour then planning time. Dinner is at 5:30 followed by more class time and a small District devotional at 9:10. Bedtime is at 10:30 pm. This starts all over again the next day. Travis says it feels a lot like the movie Groundhog Day.
(Photo courtesy of Elder B.)
(Photo courtesy of Elder B.)
(Photo courtesy of Elder B.)
Once a week the Elders have a "Preparation Day" (or P-Day in the Mormon Missionary vernacular.) This is when they do their laundry, clean, email home, etc. Most recently they have begun a soccer tournament with other districts. A district is made up of several companionships.
(Travis' District on their very first P-day while visiting the Mexico City Temple)
The Mexico City MTC looks like a pretty amazing place to me, but Elder Woodfield is eager to fly to Chile and get to work. He has had some really rough days this past month, but also moments of incredible growth, understanding and joy. The type of experience he is having can't be duplicated in any other situation. We miss him very much, but we are so happy he has made this choice.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Girls Camp at Heber Valley

Every summer our local Church congregation holds a five-day camp for young women age 12-17. This summer was my 8th year going as an adult leader and I have been blessed to always have at least one of my daughters there with me.
Abby is a true source of entertainment--especially at Girls Camp.
This year we spent the week at Camp Rebekah in the beautiful Heber Valley Camp.
The lake was perfect.
Heber Valley was replete with wildlife. One evening a buck plopped himself down in the brush just a few yards from our large pavilion and stayed there for quite some time.
A doe and her fawn could be seen almost every night.
Our very first morning we awoke to the loud blast of an air horn. A bear had been spotted in camp and everyone was to remain in their cabins until he was far far away. Groggily I sat up in bed and stared out the window by my bunk. Within seconds I saw a brown mass move amongst the blurry forest backdrop. Frantically I grabbed my glasses and there he was! He even stood up on his hind legs for a brief moment before he lumbered off into the trees. Amazingly, one of our camp cooks snapped this photo of him right after he had overturned a trash can. (My cabin is one of two hiding behind the cabin on the left.)
Even though it rained almost every day, Camp was a great success. Many faithful and dedicated women and young women made it happen.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Year Med Student

A week before Travis left, Kellie and Brian flew to New York City to get Kellie settled into her new apartment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
(Kellie in Central Park)
This is what Kellie sees when she looks straight out her apartment window:
This is the view when she looks down:
This is Kellie's view when she walks out of her apartment building each morning--the tall brown building is where she has class every day:
 This is where she goes to church:

The Manhattan LDS Temple is about a 2.5 mile walk through Central Park from her apartment.
She took these photos from atop an apartment building adjacent to the Manhattan Temple:
(That tall brown building on the left across the park is her classroom building.)
Kellie is one brave soul to come to New York City all alone! I don't think I could have done it when I was her age. Classes started last week and she loves the exhilaration of learning so much in such a short period of time. She's already been in the anatomy lab doing dissections and what an emotionally challenging yet fascinating experience that has been.
She has explored the city on foot and on bike and even joined in on a pick-up soccer game one afternoon.
She was asked to play in a league game another night on Roosevelt Island under the lights. 
and rode the tram back home.
In a week and a half I fly to NYC for Kellie's Class of 2018 White Coat Ceremony. I'm excited to get a first hand view of her life for the next four years. We miss her so much, but know this is where she needs and wants to be.