Monday, September 30, 2013

A year Ago I was at the Conference Center attending the RS Session

Thank you for sending me that picture!!! :) I love it!!!! I also just got all of your letters yesterday, and it was such a tender mercy to receive them :) Completely made my night :) Joci, I love the quotes you sent me :) They literally made me laugh out  loud :) Thank you!!! You always make my days brighter :)
 And Kayla, thank you so much for your words of comfort, you truly have the Gift of Comfort :) Don’t you ever underestimate yourself, you have such a good and pure heart. Un Corazon de Calidad :) I can’t wait to see where you go in these next chapters of your life. Keep on SMILIN :)
 And Mom, thank you so much for your words of guidance too! I am so grateful for you advice siempre and your guidance always helps me to see the good within me and see the hope in mi vida :) You really have been a great example to me of enduring fe y esperanza.

 And Dad, muchas gracias for your words of advice :) You have the gift of teaching with Humility, and I have and continue to learn so much from you. Again, thank you so much for your support, your hope and your light. I truly have been born of goodly parents-- parents who teach and guide with charity and humility.

 And, Lola, I love you so much too! Keep doing your yoga and eat some spam for me :)

This last Saturday was the Relief Society Broadcast, and for me it was a great and spiritual experience. It was broadcasted in Spanish, which was very interesting and eye opening to me. I didn’t understand a lot, but I learned and was edified so much. It is just so amazing to me how faithful people are to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to modern revelation today when they can’t understand the language it is originally given in. Being able to understand and know English is such a tender mercy to me and it is something I have definitely been taking for granted all my life. For me, the tone of voice makes such a big impact on how I receive what is being said to. It truly is a gift to be able to translate-- not just the words, but the tone as well. When President Burton was finishing up her remarks, she was getting choked up and tearing up as she spoke. I don’t know what she said, but I felt the Spirit so strongly at that moment because the woman who was translating was speaking in a choked up and teary voice as well. Her message had that much more of a deeper impact because of the tone it was presented in.

I think it would be an incredible job to be able to translate for conference. I want to help people receive the words of these inspired leaders in the best and most impactful way as possible. What I mean by this is that I want to help people feel a deeper connection to their words by presenting the words of these leaders with reverence. This night was a testimony to me that revelation surmounts language barriers, especially when President Monson spoke.

It also hit me this night that a year ago, I was at the RS session live at the conference center with my roommates and ward. I had no idea then that I would be serving a mission a year later, let alone that I would be watching this session in Spanish in Guatemala. Back then, my mind was preoccupied on other things-- I was trying to spread my wings and soar as I just started this new chapter of my life living away from home. I was thinking about drawing homework assignments, the music culture of downtown Utah and a bunch of others things. But a mission wasn’t even a thought to me then. It doesn’t feel like a full year ago, but it amazes me all that has happened since a year ago, how my life plans have changed for the moment, and how my priorities have changed as well. It’s exciting to me to see where I will be a year from now and to see how I have grown and to see the new bits of wisdom I have gained. This next Saturday will mark the year anniversary of the big mission announcement, and it is very interesting to me to look back and see where I am now. And to ponder about where I will be later.

And lastly, like I said before, I have gained a deeper appreciation for the English Language, especially when el profeta(the Prophet) speaks. I know that the power of revelation conquers language barriers, pero, es mas calidad a escuchar las palabras de los profetas en ingles (but more quality to hear the words of the prophet in English). I don’t know how to describe it, but there is a special spirit when His words are heard in the original form. Hence, I have a deeper desire to help mi companera y others a aprender ingles (my companion and others to learn English). I told mi companera (my companion) this too after the session. I wish I brought more pictures of temple square and of the conference center. She has such a strong desire to see these places someday. She thinks it’s absolutely incredible that I have actually been in the SLC temple and that I have actually seen the prophet.

This is true faith. In contrast to los hermanos de Nefi en 1 Nefi 17 (the brothers of Nephi in 1 Nephi 17) she doesn’t have to see the prophet in person or have actually been to the SLC temple to know that Thomas S Monson is the true prophet of God and that the power of temples is real. And I am so amazed and so inspired by her testimony and the testimonies around me. This truly is a blest land, and I want to work so hard to make any impact I can here.

I do get frustrated sometimes, I have such a hard time understanding the needs of the people. But I know that I just need to have patience with learning the language and learning how to teach. Again, I am so grateful for all of your advice, comfort, and prayers. This Is Possible. And I Know Miracle Are Waiting To Happen. I just need to move forward in fe (faith) and believe in myself. God will never EVER put us in a situation that will lead us to only fail. DIOS NOS AMA MUCHO! DIOS NOS CONOCE PERFECTAMENTE! (God loves us and knows knows us perfectly)And He sees us as all that we can become.     


I have such a strong testimony in the Evangelio de Jesucristo, yo se que el Evangelio es verdadero (Gospel of Jesus Christ and I know the Gospel is True)

I send you all my love, and may rain come your way :)

Con Mucho Amor,

Hermana Sonrisa Tiewa Esquerra

PS. I introduced mi companera to Pringles this last P Day. She really likes them and says "Son muy ricos!" :) Pringles really are an international snack--DT.


First cold bucket shower.....And it felt so nice!!!

I love these projects Mom!! (For Relief Society Super Saturday) It is so good to hear from you :) I AM OFFICIALLY IN PETEN, SAN BENITO!!!! :) I’m in the very top of Guatemala (as we drove here, we drove right through the intersection that takes you to Mexico). It is really hot here. But I love it. I GOT TO RIDE IN A TUC TUC FOR THE FIRST TIME HERE :) They are basically shelled mopeds. And mi Companera es de Ecuador-- Hermana Castaneda. She doesn´t speak English, so I am definitely getting a lot practice. And our neighbors (our home owners) are incredible too-- they don’t speak English either. The Blanca Familia. Hermana Blanca  cooks terrific food and Hermano Blanca tiene un guitarra (has a guitar) :) I got to play for a little bit today.

We have been working a lot with inactives. The goal here is to form the branch into a stake. We have a lot of members, but the big issue is not having full tithe payers. I really want to work so hard to help these people.

We also have a sister come with us on splits and she is working on her mission papers. Her name is Maria Patricia-- Patty. And she speaks Chetqui. I learning from her too :)

Last Tuesday was when we left the CCM. From there we drove to Coban (4-5 horas) and then the next morning, we drove to Peten (6 horas).

Since I have been here in Guatemala, I have developed a greater appreciation for many things. Like knowing English. Whenever we watch General Conference excerpts, it is always through translators. It is such a tender mercy to able to understand the general authorities speak without a translator... their words are still true, but it make a difference to hear and understand their own voices. Hopefully I’ll watch conference in English, but we will see :)

I also took my first cold bucket shower my first day here. And it felt SO NICE! They are very refreshing after the day’s work. I am very grateful for these cold showers here :)

Hermana Adair is also here in Peten!!! I get to see her on Sundays and I even saw her here at the computer lab. It was great to be able to travel all the way up here with her. My district leader from the CCM is also here, and he is even in my district! Again, its great to see familiar faces.

There are  times here when I do get frustrated, but I know Heavenly Father is only a prayer away. My testimony in the power of prayers and the scriptures (especially the Book of Mormon) have grown so much! I love the Book of Mormon. I was studying 1 Nefi 17 reight now, and it is so amazing what new things I find and how they apply to my life right now. Cristo Vive!!!

I am definitely keeping Kayla in my prayers :) And I am so glad to hear that mom got her new schedule. And that joci is in chorus!!!  :D You will definitely have to send me pictures of your hike too!! I have a lot of pictures too, and I plan on developing them soon.

I love you all con todo mi corazon!(all my heart) Cristo vive y nos ama y nos conoce. Y su evangelio es verdadero y esta restuarado :) Guarde la esperanza y fe siempre!! :)

Con Amor, Hermana Sonrisa Tiewa Esquerra

Friday, September 20, 2013

Arrives to Coban Mission

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear Esquerra family

We are very happy to inform you that Sister Esquerra has arrived safely in the Guatemala Coban Mission.  It is a great blessing to have her with us. We will have many opportunities to serve in the mission and we look forward to hastening the work together.

Each missionary is encouraged to write the mission president and her family each Monday. Whenever possible, e-mail is the best way to communicate.  She should only use the authorized church e-mail account and not other web sites or services such as Facebook. It is also important for her to receive word from home.  It seems that the most happy and productive missionaries are those who receive active support from their family and priesthood leaders with regular and positive letters.

The mission experience is one of great challenges and blessings.  It is also a time of significant change and development in the lives of the missionaries.  It is our desire that each one that comes to the mission will be able to reach their full potential as a disciple and representative of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This will come through their faith, obedience, diligence and desire to bless the people they serve. 

We appreciate your love and prayers on behalf of Sister Esquerra, her companions, their investigators, and the marvelous work she is doing here.  We pray and have confidence that the Lord will bless you and your loved ones.

With Love and appreciation,

President and Sister Curtiss

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Hola Famila!!!

I am so excited to here from you all!!!! YOU GOT
RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOO HOOOO!!!!! I haven’t gotten the dearelder
yet, but if you send it before Sunday it should be coming in that
following Thurs.  Esta bien :) I just got back from a morning session of
the temple, and I just absolutely love it there!!! I notice something
new every time I go. The celestial room is just absolutely gorgeous. It
is so bright and aw, just so beautiful. I noticed today that there are
many little sun motifs throughout the celestial room, which adds to
the beautiful mirror motif of a sun on the ceiling. Very Tangl-ish ,(From the Movie “Tangled”
haha. But in all seriousness, I am constantly reminded of our loving
Savior while I am there. The Sun. The Son :) And the sealing room is
just off of the celestial room, and I like to look at it every time I
go. I definitely want to be married in the temple :) The temple is
smaller, the session rooms have 3 rows of pews and the veil is also in
the same room. But I love it!!! Its just so cozy and inviting (Plus, I
like the pews because the witness couple can sit together and hold
hands. Missionaries can’t be witness couples, but its cute to see the
witness couples sitting by each other. The CCM is also very small. The
capacity is 150-160. It used to actually be only 100, but they have
converted the hostile attached to the CCM as an extension (that’s
where the sister missionaries stay). So the CCM has been under
constant reconstruction. But I love the CCM. The size is not
overwhelming and you get to know so many people (because you are
seeing the same people all the time). New missionaries also came in
this week, including the girl from my dorm!! It was so nice to see
her. We also got 2 new roommates. They are 2 Latina missionaries. They
are so nice. One of them knows English pretty well, but last night I
was talking a lot with the other sister. She had a rough first couple
of days, but we talked a lot about family and things we like to do.
They are both so nice and have the most beautiful smiles :) Mi
companera is so great as well. Her name is Hermana Empey and she is
from St. George. I have been learning so much from her on how to be a
better person. Having a companion was kind of weird to get used to, but
we have been so blessed with unity and the ability to communicate to
each other. Such a Tender Mercy! We both want to get better at the
language and better at teaching and sharing the gospel through the
Spirit. Speaking of getting better at the language, we got una
sorpresa este lunes. (Surprise on Monday) From 10 am - 9 pm, my district and another
district need to speak solo espanol. We’ve been given 5 straws, when
you hear someone talking in English, you take their straw. The person
with the most gets a big chocolate bar. We will be doing this for the
rest of the time that we are here at the CCM. Honestly, it was a bit
overwhelming, pero (but) it will only help us get the language down. We are
supposed to always carry our Spanish dictionaries with us everywhere, as well.

Last p day, we got to go to the Mercado (market). Seriously, I felt
very Destination Truthish (One of Tiewa’s favorite TV shows) as we were going through the mercado. It
looked a lot like the one they went to in Mexico. The night before,
our district was given 2 Books of Mormon to place there at the market.
Our teacher has taught us that we should always be carrying a Book a
Mormon in our hand. And towards the end of visit, me and 3 other
sisters placed our Books of Mormon!!!!! Hermana Adair (the missionary
from the airport) was talking to the vendor about the Book of Mormon.
He then asked if they were our copies. I then said "No, queremos
compartir!" (No we want to share it with you)  And then we placed them!!!! We even got their contact info
and gave their contacts to one of the teachers. It was crazy!!!!! But
so neat to try to communicate and hear people’s stories. The people of
the mercado were so kind with big smiles. The people down here have
the biggest smiles!! En Serio :) (Seriously)  We also visited a relief map of
Guatemala (giant map made of cement). I got to take my camera, so I’ll
be sending those home too.

How has school  been? Do you have first day
pictures? How has the archery been going for you Kayla? Dad, I also
got your letter this week, and it came at a time when I really needed
it. Thank you so much!!!!I know I am known and I am Loved. Your letter
reminded me of your phone calls when I was up at school and you were
coming home from work. Thank you so much Dad!!! Thank you all so much
for all of your constant love and support. I am strengthened so much
by your support. I finally got to send out my letter home yesterday
(since were under construction, its been kind of tricky to find the
mailing out box and when its out). I’m sorry its taken so long for me
to send it out I hope you get it soon. Can you also send me Kathee and
Martins address too? How was your birthday Joci!!! I’m sending you a
little something special :) I love you all con todo mi Corazon (with all my heart). Muchas
Gracias por su amor! (Thank you for your love) I am still so happy about the rain. And thanks
for telling me how Lola’s (family dog) doing, I have been thinking about her. Give
her a big hug for me and a really good belly rub (and a really good
ear scratch too)! I love you all!!!!!! Cristo vive!!!! Yo se!!!! Yo
se!!!! :)  (Christ Lives! I know I know)



Con Amor, Hermana Esquerra