Friday, December 6, 2013

Tania's baptized, Two dear friends and the bishop

December Update

December is here? Where's the snow? Mom, where's the hollyberry spiced candle that you always put near the fireplace? Why can't I hear Mariah belting out "All I Want for Christmas is You?" Wait, does that thermostat say 95 degrees? Am I sweating again?
Oh yeah, I'm in Ecuador. 
And I am loving every second here.

Tuesday: Hermana Smuin and I gave each other quick, little besitos and parted ways for my first exchange (insert looming "duh duh duh" here). I took off with our lidereza (sister zone leader) to Guayacanes to watch how she worked as a missionary. I admired her dilligence and awed from afar the love that just radiates from her eyes. I learned how I can be a better missionary and determined I would apply everything I learned into my companionship. But only three hours in, I was nearly under a separation anxiety attack. Where. Is. Hermana. Smuin. We've already established that my companion is incredibly fabulous. But I did NOT know it would be so hard to be without her. 

Wednesday: In the morning, I just counted down the hours until I would see her at noon. When Hermana Perez and I arrived at the chapel, I spotted Hermana Smuin down the hall and had to literally contain myself from running to her and screaming: IMISSEDYOUSOMUCHOHMYGOODNESSLETSNEVERHAVEINTERCAMBIOSAGAINICAN'THANDLEANOTHER24HOURSWITHOUTYOUILOVEYOUSOMUCH.
We greeted each other with besitos and politely exchanged companions, then headed up the stairs. Finally, I looked Hermana Smuin in the eyes as we almost simultaneously said, "I missed you so muuuuuch!!!"
And for the rest of the day, I was on cloud nine.

Saturday: Whoa, It's days like these that make all of the hard, sweaty, unbearable moments so completely, wonderfully worth it.
Tania was baptized today. Hermana Smuin and I sang her favorite hymn, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and watched her eyes fill with tears. We watched Alejandro and Tania come up from the cold, cold water. They came up and Hermana Smuin and I slipped out to help Tania into the bathroom. While we waited in the hallway, I pulled her into a hug as we just cried together in silence. We squeezed each other tight and cried with smiles on our faces. Hermana Smuin looked at me with tears running down her cheeks and whispered, ¨"I'm just so happy".
This feeling is why we go on missions and never want to leave. We taught Tania from day one. We developed such a strong love for her, spending hours in her house teaching her, testifying to her, comforting her. To watch her come up from the baptismal waters was just...I can't even describe how pure and heavenly that feeling was.

Also, while someone was giving a nice, spiritual talk at the baptism, I was distracted when I suddenly noticed Obispo (bishop) looking straight faced at me, flaring his nostrils. So I flared mine back. Then he took it up a level and squeezed his nose down (you know, like that one scene in Princess Diaries?). I squeezed back, Determined to win this battle, he wiggled his ears at me. Dang it. Obispo, you know I can't do that. Unfair. Bah, 1 point for Obispo. Zero for Hermana Scott.

Sunday: Apparently, the entire ward found out that the mission had transfers today, that Hermana Smuin would most likely be leaving Samanes for good, after four months here. We were bombarded with hugs and squeezes and besitos, then shuffled into the hallway for pictures. What started out as an innocent picture with our new convert, Tania, turned into photo shoot with the missionaries. Hermana Smuin and I just stood there as everyone rotated in and out of pictures with ¨"Las Favoritas". Usually, I would be all emotional and nervous with everyone saying goodbyes and farewells, but I felt abnormally calm.
We went through our day normally, enjoyed church and had a delicious feast with Hermano Olaya and Pilar (the BEST - have I mentioned that I adore these people?!).
At 11:40p.m., we woke up from a call. The zone leaders. NOOOOOOOO. They only call if a companionship has transfers. Hermana Smuin answered while I rolled over and felt my heart beat in my chest. "Hermanas, thank you for your work, for all you've done...Hermana Scott, we need to talk to you." No. You can't make me! "Hola, Elders" with an obvious nervousness in my voice. "Hermana, thank you for all you've done, too....hahahaha, just kidding! You don't have transfers!"
Cruel, cruel torture.
And then a sweet sigh of relief!
Hermana Smuin and I will be together another six weeks! We have been working so hard and apparently, we have more work to do in this ward as a companionship! And I couldn't be more thrilled!

This mission is changing me. As I study from the Book of Mormon, and pray at all times, I am transforming my weaknesses into strength. I am learning that I must completely depend on my Savior to make it through with a smile on my face. I know that all things are possible with God on our side.
Watching Tania get baptized confrmed that truth to me. We trusted in Heavenly Father to help us. We had some major obstacles on our path with her to her baptism, but with faith, hope and a whole lot of prayer and fasting, we watched miracles happen.
God is so real.
And He is in the details.

With so much love,
Hermana Scott

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013


Another adventurous week in Ecuador starts now.

Tuesday: Hermana Smuin and I finished a lesson a lot later than we intended. We are supposed to be in the house at 8:30 because a lot of robberies happen at night, but if we're teaching a lesson, we can stroll in at 9:00. Well, it was 9:10 and we were only halfway home. While chatting with Hermana Smuin, I felt a pit in my stomach and the Spirit whispered to me, ¨You're not safe¨. I swung my backpack around my shoulder and pulled out my wallet to stick it into my shirt where it would be safe if someone grabbed my backpack. As the truck passed us and slowly rolled to a stop, a pit formed in my stomach. I turned to Hermana Smuin and said very calmly, ¨We're not safe¨. A look of horror struck her face and I said to her, ¨RUN¨. Immediately, we took off running through the parks. I heard the truck speed up to catch us while we dodged trees and swingsets through the dusty streets. After running through two parks, we stopped at a street where a group of adults were chatting. I looked to my left to see the truck waiting for us at the end of the street. In a moment of panic, I looked around and realized we were at the street of Bryan Mendoza, a 17 year old in our ward who is our good friend. We quickly walked to his house, trying to appear somewhat normal to the group of adults staring at us. We buzzed his doorbell and asked if he could walk us home. When he walked through the door to meet us, a wave of peace washed through me. The priesthood was with us and we were safe. 
In that moment, the Spirit witnessed to me that the priesthood power is very real and powerful. The Spirit also showed me that God protects His missionaries. The Spirit was with me through this entire experience and I reacted so calmly. I scream when someone pops out from a corner. The fact that I responded so calmly to this whole situation shows that the Lord is with the missionaries at all times. And I am so grateful for the priesthood.

Wednesday: Today, Hermana Silvia Moscoso came home from her mission in Cochabomba, Bolivia. We attended her little bienvenida meeting and watched her cry as she played with her name tag in her hands. She had been released from her calling as a full-time missionary and you could see the sadness in her eyes. The nametag was taken off her chest and she was left to clutch it in her hands as she hugged the family and talked about adventures from her mission. That moment seems so far away from me. Really, it is. It's a whole 17 months away from me. But this first month has absolutely flown by. And I'm just grateful I get another 17 months here as a missionary.
Even if that means sweating every day.
Sweating a lot.
But really, the heat is getting cray cray.

Thursday: Hermana Smuin tripped over air while walking in the street today and what came out of her mouth? ¨Poopy poopy gumdrops¨. Hahaha, I love that woman! While Tania had her baptismal interview, I did my best to entertain Tayra and Gianni in the chapel. Hermana Smuin gave Gianni a sucker and he was good to go...until he started touching every single thing in sight with his red, sticky hands. I let Tayra braid my hair, which felt more like someone yanking my head around, and the Elders arrived to interview Tayra. I told Tayra it was her turn for the interview and she clutched my arm and cuddled up to me. She was scared of the Elders, haha. It totally makes sense. She shows up at the chapel and she is supposed to have an interview with big, tall, official-looking men in suits? No way, Jose. She was not havin' it. We coached her through the process and told her that she would see our faces right outside the door, and finally, we went in. She came out of that interview ready to conquer the world and get baptized. It was so darling! She was so, so excited for her baptism. I knelt down on the ground and hugged her with a big ¨Felicidades, Tayra!!¨

Friday: Tayra was baptized! Watching her come up from the water was so calming and just...awesome. Hermana Smuin and I sang ¨Abide With Me, Tis Eventide¨ at her baptism and we sang it right to her. 
Life is wonderful. 

I've got to run! But I love you all and I thank you for your support and prayers! By praying with all my heart and truly searching the scriptures, my testimony that this gospel is true grows immensely every day. 
God lives.
He loves you.

With a nice watch tan and a smile,
Hermana Scott

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Writing letters on Preparation Day and feeding the wildlife in Parque de Iquanas!
Stellar youth in the ward!
Lauren with a grown woman and new friend!

Lauren with her 1st companion in the field, Hma Smuin.

10/8/13 Update

ThuI've been on my mission a month.
Only a month! 
But whoa.
It feels like forever, in a good way. Every single day is jam-packed with things to do and people to visit and rice and beans to chow down and testimonies to strengthen. Man, my life is pretty stellar right now.

Since I'm now such an impressively organized missionary (I can't even imagine what would happen if I dared leave home without my agenda misional), we've going to organize this week by days of the week. Sound good? Chevere.

Tuesday: We had our zone and district meetings. Our leaders are awesome. Man, I feel like I've lucked out in every area of my mission. It's such a blessing to have an obedient and hardworking companion, but then obedient and hardworking zone leaders? Life rocks.
For lunch, we ate some really chewy meat. Although the texture was weird, I tried to look past it and swallow. "Do you like the meat, Hermanas?", Maria asked. "Yeah, its great!", we responded in our overly cheery missionaryness. The cat's out of the bag. That's COW TONGUE. No wonder it's all bumpy and extra chewy. I gagged a litle bit, slyly spit it into a napkin and hid the evidence under my plate. I'm getting good at this sneaky sister missionary style.
Hermana Smuin and I gave a Libro de Mormon to Tania, one of our dearest, wonderfulest investigadoras. Feeling good!

Wednesday: This morning, I woke up exhausted. You're tired every day on the mission, but this morning was extra extra rough. Before studying with my companion, I asked Heavenly Father to give me a little pick me up. As missionaries, I know that angels walk beside us at all times to uplift and protect us, so I asked that Heavenly Father would just let me know when we walked surrounded by angels. The day pressed on and the hot sun beat down on my glowing gringa skin. Exhaustion struck again. My legs felt like 100 pounds each. Suddenly, a little white butterfly appeared near us. Immediately, I knew that that butterfly was the little sign from heaven that angels were walking with us that very moment. I testify that angels walk this earth. We receive help from heaven every day. We need only recognize it.

 We walked through a war zone of Jehovah's witnesses. There were J dubs lining every doorstep on the street. What do you do when you're a giant sized gringa walking through J dub territory? You smile and say "buenas noches" to everyone you meet. 
Tonight I pulled a pretty quality prank on Hermana Sanft. The lights were out all along the street and Hermana Sanft was explaining how she is so afraid of the dark. I hid in te armoire in our room, picture the wardrobe that leads to Narnia, because that's what it looks like, and quietly waited. she came back for something in her closet, so I screamed when she pulled open the door adn she let out a blood curdling screamand fell backwards. We laughed so hard that we cried. 

Wednesday: rsday: The power of the priesthood is real and intense. I wish I could share more but I'm low on time!

Friday: Around 3:00, we had stopped by so many houses to make our visits, but no one was home. Every door we knocked. No. One. And one family saw us at the door and never answered. Exhausted and dishearted, we sat down in a park and did the only thing we could. We prayed. We humbled ourselves, told God that we needed His help and just begged to know what to do.
Immediately, Eva (an old investigator) walked by. Coincidence? I think not! She invited us into her house and we gave she and her 13-year old son Luigi (thaaaat's amore!) a beautiful lesson about the Plan of Salvation. She accepted our invitation to watch General Conference. We'll call that little number Miracle One.
Then we stopped by Tania´s place and talked to her about repentance. She talked us about a lot ot confidential things and the Spirit guided us to know what to say. Miracle Two.
It's kind of amazing how miracles happen all of the time here. I'm lovin' it.

Saturday and Sunday. General Conference was so, so, so good that I could cry with happiness right here, right now, sitting it this little Cyber Cafe in Ecuador. But I shal restrain myself and tell you that I LOVE THE PROPHET. General Conference witnessed to me that we really do have a prophet of God here on the earth, named Thomas S. Monson. Since General Conference focused so much on missionary work, I feel honored to be a part of tis exciting wave of missionaries! It will be so cool to tell my kids that when the prophet announced the missionary age change, that I was personally affected by it. And I am on a mission at 20 right now because of it. From General Conference, I was also reminded that the end is at hand. We just need to stick it out a littel longer. Try a little harder to be  alittle better.
Sunday night, we stopped by Eva's house for her little birthday party. We shared a little message about how life with the gospel is so full of joy and happiness. I love bearing my testimony of the joy this gospel brings me. It just makes me want to dance. Really, that's true.
I am so happy every single day because I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Okay, time to peace.
I love you all and I am so grateful for your support! 
God lives and He loves you!

In some sticky, sweaty gringa skin,
Loves from Hermana Scott

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Update: Lauren flew to Ecuador on the 24th!

Leaving MTC

Missionaries used to tell me, "Ah man, the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days." I never understood, nor internalized, what that meant. Now I really know how they feel. Each day is jam-packed with activities and things to do. The phrase "down time" does not exist in MTC vocabulary. It makes us so productive, though!

Since I'm really low on time, here is a quick summary of my time here:

Wednesday: Cleaned our building wearing one of those super cute ghostbuster vaccum packs. Let me tell you, I was rockin' it. After our service project, we walked to class and welcomed every single missionary with a little orange sticker on their tag. That little sticker is a red flag that screams, "I'm NEW!" Aw, the cute little nubes arriving at the MTC for the first time. I remember those days.

Thursday: In-field orientation! Wasssup! We spent from 8:00 to 5:30 doing in-field orientation, which was like EFY on steroids, but way more mature. And all about missionary work.

Friday: Got sweaty playing volleyball with the Elders, and my companions. Since we can't high five each other, whenever someone makes a good kill, we pull this awkward handshake action. It's actually pretty hilarious.

Saturday: Super relaxing. Hahaha, that was a joke. Every day is busy. But AWESOME.

Sunday: Church was amazing, and I got to sing Hilary Week's song "He Hears Me" and I think my song really brought the Spirit. I was sincere in what I was singing and people came to me afterward and told me that they were really touched by it.

I wish I could write more, but I am out of time!
I love you all so much, and I love being a missionary!

For future reference, please do not email me. I never have time to respond. Please send me letters and I will happily write you back :) 

So send all letters to:

Sister Lauren Chenoweth Scott
Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission
Casilla de Correo 16160

Love from the MTC!

Sister Scott

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Studying outside

One of several care packages. Thanks Loving Aunts!

1st Mission Letter



Breathe, Lauren, breathe.
Er, I mean, Sister Scott! No wait, Hermana Scott!
I arrived at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) on Wednesday and walk away from dear family and friends with a smile extending from one ear to the other. This is it. I'm here. I'm really, really here! I walked a few steps and saw my good friend from freshman year, Lauren Bos. "SISTER BOS!" I squealed, as she squealed "NO WAY! SISTER SCOOOOTTTTT!" back to me in a graceful sister missionary-like way. We're refined here, at least we're trying to be. We jumped, then squealed, then hugged and repeated that process about three times. Then, she sent me on my way. I walked into the main MTC office as they ushered all of us missionaries through the stations. They are really organized here at the MTC, sometimes herding the new missionaries like clueless sheep, which is pretty much what they are.
A sister pulled the name tag out of my little packet, and was about to pin it onto my chest (don't worry, I drum rolled for this big moment) and then looked me in the eyes and said, "Welcome to the MTC, Sister Scott" and pinned on my tag. 
Begin excited hyperventilation now.

Sister Bos and I caught up about her stay here as she recounted how much she loves the MTC, andI finally made it to class and met my companions (the two girls that I will spend every hour with for the next two weeks here at the MTC)! Hermana Gigger and Hermana Torres are amazing! I have come to absolutely adore them both! But all of that comes later.
Back to Day One.
I walked into the classroom to meet my companions and my district to find all of the Elders (male missionaries) chatting away in Spanish at warp speed. Oh no, I thought. What have I done? I agreed to be in the advanced Spanish class, but I didn't think that meant talking with NATIVES. They spoke about soccer (I told you they're the real deal) and where they will serve their missions and how they became Mormon. Multiple missionaries will serve in California and Tennessee missions, one goes to Bolivia and I go to Ecuador! We all went to a welcome orientation where we gathered as the new missionaries and sang the song, "Army of Helaman" but the lyrics were changed from "we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth" to "we are now the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth". I looked around me to see hundreds of 18-21 year olds with missionary tags on their chests and the light of Christ in their eyes. Then I looked down at my tag and realized that I was one of them. People see me, and they see a missionary. No more Lauren Scott with the big hair and an addiction to red lipstick (let's be real--those aren't going anywhere). I'm now a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I am set apart as a representative of Christ.
The first day seemed to last 500 years until I made it to bed completely exhausted. Thursday, we got to know our district, met our incredible teachers, spent all day in classes and tried to accustom ourselves to missionary life. (Sidenote: If you are not a Mormon and want to know more about my new life as a missionary, check out where you can read all about it). Friday was also incredibly long, just because we study for hours on end and do missionary training exercises. The days are long, but so full of experience and growth. One of my companions was having a really difficult time adjusting to life with such strict rules and 16 hour days, and I have been so blessed to help her and console her. She broke down one day and cried and I felt so, so, grateful to love her. And I saw her for who she really is. She is amazing, she is talented, she is beautiful and she is a daughter of God. And I sincerely hope that we remain friends after my mission. That's what this mission is all about. It's about learning to love people. And I can't wait to do that for the next 18 months! On Sunday, all of the sister missionaries went  to listen to Music and the Spoken Word, a musical concert put on by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and wow, I just love being a woman. All of us gathered together in one room singing the words, "The errand of angels is given to women" just really touched me. We had church and ate some delicious BYU Creamery ice cream in the cafeteria. I will never be able to express how much I love that BYU Creamery Cookies N' Cream ice cream. Talk about chicken soup for the soul. In the cafeteria, girls are treated right. Well, at the entire MTC, girls are treated right. All of the Elders greet us with a "Hey, Sisters!" or my personal favorite, "Hola, Hermanas" while holding doors open for us. Hmm, I will never get sick of that. After church, we walked around the Provo temple and took pictures as a district and as a zone. It's so funny to look at pictures  of my zone and see all these Latinos...and then hey, who's that one white girl? Wow, she is reeeeally white, like ghostly white.
Yeeaaahhh, whitey pride.
After our nice little temple walk, we attended a fireside given by Ron Tanner, the producer of 17 Miracles and Ephraim's Rescue. He showed us some clips of his new film, Ephraim's Rescue where two star-crossed lover pioneers kiss, and the entire audience of missionaries went wild. Screaming, hooting and howling. Poor things. Leaving their girlfriends at home only four days ago must have created a little wound in their soul, as they preapred to be kiss, hug, and touch free of girls for two years, and then boom. Let's pour some salt in that wound and have them watch people kiss. Pobrecitos.
It was kind of hilarious, though. They loved it.
No more kissing scenes for you, Elders. Up for a little chick flick night with your companion? Chomp on some popcorn to "The Restoration" for the next two years!
Hahaha, missionary life is so funny sometimes! We aren't allowed to high-five or pound Elders-- you know, like roll your hand into a fish and "pound it", not beat up on them--because we are to respect their callings as missionaries. So we can only handshake them. I was playing volleyball with some of the Elders and other Sisters and an Elder made a nice shot, so I went in for a solid high-five. Our hands get an inch away, and we both just sit there and say, "...oh". Then we slide that (almost) high-five into a nice, sturdy handshake. And taking "Hey Sister Scott, wanna take a picture with me?!"
"Yeah!", I exclaim as I run over.
"Oh wait, get your companion."
"Hermana Torres, come here and take a picture!"
"Okay,, uhh... you two just crouch down and we'll stand here behind you"
10 Points for adorably awkward encounters!

One more thing. Trying to comfort Elders is even more hilarious. One of the Elders in our district was upset with his companion and I couldn't pat him on the back. I just pet him with a spoon. At least he seemed to like it.

Well,  my time is up! I will write more next week!
I love you all, and I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true!

With love and hugs,
Hermana Scott

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Story: How I Chose to Serve a Mission

When President Monson announced that the age female missionaries could serve was lowered from 21 to 19, I was traveling all day with BYU's study abroad program in Spain. Being eight hours ahead of the broadcast made us switch around our plans a bit. After seeing the "rain in Spain fall mainly on the plain" (10 points if you can quote that movie), my roommate Kensie and I headed back to our tiny room in our tiny apartment and logged onto the Facebook. My news feed was bombarded with statuses like, "8 hours, 15 minutes--already have all of my papers done!" and "This is an answer to my prayers!" and "I'm going on a missiiiooonnnn!!!". What? What is going on? Kensie looked up from her screen with a puzzled look on her face, "Are you getting all of this mission overload, too?"I puzzled back, nodded, and a few moments later, Kensie gasped at her laptop screen and read aloud the announcement published in the Church News. You can guess what happened next:

Lots of jumping and squealing and giggling.
Then I dropped onto my bed and thought.
Wait, I'm 19.
I could serve a mission as soon as I wanted to. 
I could go right now.

I hadn't even thought about a mission since I assumed I had another year and a half until I was of the age to serve, but hey, sometimes God throws you a curve ball with a smile on his face. 
For the next seven months, I debated serving a mission. Searching for some sort of inkling either way, I pondered, pray and pulled my hair out over this decision. In April, I realized that God was not going to tell me what to do. He wanted me to make my own decision. So I did.
Four weeks later, I ran--while squealing-- to the mailbox to find a big, white envelope with my name on it. 

I carefully opened that big, white envelope to read that I would serve in the
Ecuador Guayaquil North Mission 



Now that I'm eight days away from my mission, I look back and see how everything fell into place. If I chose to stay home and go to school, God would be just as happy with me. But He let me make my own decision, and He worked His magnificent ways to transform that decision into an adventure that I will begin in eight days time.