Welp, so far this little “home Missionary Training Center” isn’t so bad!

There were lots of good questions about how this all works in my last post (back HERE), so I figured I better do a post about it now that we’re a week in.

Grace was originally supposed to report to the Mexico Missionary Training Center last week but because of the way the world is right now, all missionaries prepare from home online.

They sit in front of computer screens for HOURS every day, diligently plugging away at learning their language, and learning their scriptures more in depth.

As someone who has prepared for a mission in the actual MTC (years and years ago, but still…), I wondered how in the world this would go, but guys, it’s pretty awesome.

The most amazing thing is that that girl comes out of that room, after hours of working hard, just GLOWING with what she’s learning.

She still has an assigned “companion” just like she would in the MTC (she loves her), and a district (group of fellow missionaries also learning Spanish, loves them too), and they have two three-hour classes each day (with a few little breaks mixed in), personal study, companionship study, and a workshop each week.

She has gone from staying up all night and sleeping in all morning to going to bed by 10:30 at the latest and getting up at 6:30 each day. Since her classes are on Mexico time, she logs in to her morning class at 7:00am each morning and does her other study after that first class.

Also, so far we’ve been able to work in a tennis match every single day in between it all, and we are LOVING that I tell you! It is hot as blazes out there, but so fun to smack that ball back and forth. Also, the perfection of green smoothies when we’re done 😉

When we were sitting together for dinner that first evening, eating some good Greek marinated chicken skewers (recipe HERE), Dave was laughing telling Grace that this wasn’t your regular “real” MTC food (ha!), and also that by that evening lots of regular MTC kids would be laying in their bunk bed with their ears filling up with water (tears…ha…lots of kids, of course, get so homesick that first night away from family!). But it was sure nice sitting there all together getting to be a part of that whole MTC first day experience! Pros and cons for sure.

Especially nice that she gets to hug her siblings in her little breaks and that Max happened to be home for her first missionary weekend. (He came for an orthodontic appointment trying to fix some teeth issues…but sure, also for Grace 🙂

Some pretty exciting news came in yesterday as well…Grace got her “reassignment.”

Until covid calms down and Uruguay opens up for missionaries, Grace will be serving in AUSTIN, TEXAS!

She is SO excited about that new piece of news…so nice to know where you’re heading, you know? And deep down, she’s always felt a little like a Texas kind of a girl!

This sure is an adventure, and she’s here for it!

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  1. I had no idea that Grace’s name was Hermana! I would love a post about each of your kids names and where the inspiration for them came from.

  2. TEXAS!! Our son and his little family live in the Austin area. They LOVE it there!! Maybe she will bump into them at some point. It’s a small world!!

    1. PS….Just so you know I’m not a crazy stalker……This is our son that is friends with your hair stylist Aubrey 🙂 Aubrey can vouch for them.

  3. Love that homemade sign! So thoughtful of you! Are you still able to call her grace or is she only “Hermana” now? Can’t wait to see the whole home mtc setup for your new missionary! She’s very lucky to have such a supportive & loving fam 🙂

      1. My daughter has been serving for 13 months in California and she actually told me recently how much she appreciates that I call her by her first name instead of her proper missionary name of “Sister. ” She is always “on” as a missionary and she appreciates that with her family in emails and on phone calls, she can just be “Alli” again for a little while.

  4. My 13 year old daughter started an Etsy store this summer making those signs after she made one for her older sister. When I looked at her orders I mentioned that I read your blog. So fun to see her work here!! As a sidenote, my older daughter’s two best friends (twins) are currently serving in the Austin mission as a reassignment. If Grace is looking for more Austin mission information I can point her their way. We also did home MTC here…the cafeteria is a definite bonus! 🙂

    1. No way, your daughter is the one who runs that Etsy shop? Wow that’s impressive! And Grace is so excited for any Austin mission information, please send us more info!

      1. My daughter is wondering if she can use Grace’s picture in addition to the others in her Etsy shop? My daughter’s name is Caroline. Also, if Grace is looking for more specific information about life in the Austin mission have her write to kirsten.helzer@missionary.org (originally called to Rome Temple) or Samantha.Helzer@missionary.org (Originally called to Goiana, Brazil). They are my daughter’s BFF’s and fun girls, and would love to fill her in on life in the mission. Best wishes to Grace! Look forward to reading updates about her service on your blog. 🙂

  5. I read someone’s recent link about rules around being a sister/missionary. Which leads me to ask: was tennis competitive? Did you keep score? I don’t mean to troll, I genuinely mean to understand the guidance of the church vs lived reality!

    1. You bet we keep score! Ha! It’s ok to play sports, in fact, it’s really encouraged to keep bodies healthy in the midst of so much studying. We are having so much fun getting that extra exercise in every day in the hot sun!

    2. And I don’t think that question is trolling at all. I think this all must seem pretty out-of-the-ordinary to many people and I welcome any questions, keep them coming!

  6. Yeah! Join the club. My son was reassigned from Argentina to Austin Texas as well. He has been in Texas a month and LOVES it. Congratulations!

  7. My daughter, Emma, is serving in Dallas, Texas, also Spanish speaking! She was raised in North Salt Lake, Utah, but has always been a “country girl” at heart. She is LOVING being a missionary in Texas, and just thriving! Please message me if you or Grace have any questions about missionary life in Texas.
    Felicidades Hermana! Al ser misionera es un gran bendicion y privilegio. Que Dios te bendiga.

  8. Congratulations, Grace! We normally work in Austin, but due to COVID have been working from home in Bastrop which is 30 miles away from Austin. I hope she enjoys her time in Austin. The weather is normally HOT, but (crossing my fingers) it appears to be cooling off somewhat. Tell her to try all the good eats in Austin like Torchy’s Tacos, Terry Black’s Barbeque off of Barton Springs Rd… Nobody does barbeque like Texas! By the way, Grace is the one that I believe looks the most like you. 🙂

  9. Best wishes to Grace! I live in Austin, and it’s a fantastic place. Our recently created mission has lots of missionaries serving here on temporary assignments, so many wards—including mine—have companionships with four people. We just ate a socially distanced dinner with our missionaries at a local park a few nights ago! Times sure are tough, but Grace will be well cared for here. 😀

  10. Hi Shawni! So fun to see your Grace is headed our way! We live in San Antonio now, just an hour south of Austin. Was thinking about you because Emi Edgley and I both have daughters who just got mission calls to the same mission (Tahiti) and the enter the MTC on the same day! So fun huh?! It has made me think of all the friends I made during that American Mother’s Convention so many years ago. So fun to come over here to check on you and see you have a missionary daughter too! She will LOVE Austin. It is just wonderful! Love to you and all yours!! Stephanie

    1. Oh how crazy they both got called to Tahiti! My friend’s daughter is heading to San Antonio, I’ve heard great things about that place as well! So good to hear from you!

  11. Austin is a very diverse, fun city! I’m curious what Grace’s experience being a missionary there will be like. Now that they can phone their families every week and are on the internet more, is the letter-writing shared/posted for friends still a thing for missionaries? I hope you can share a dispatch from Grace (at least of the amazing food they have there – fab TexMex)!

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