Sunday, April 28, 2013

Zoe tries writing in Spanish for the first time!

(From David, Zoe's Dad: Read through to the end and you can see Zoe's first attempt at writing Spanish. Not bad for a first try!)

Hola everyone! So everything is good as usual. We just got 50 new missionaries today. From the US and from mostly all over Central America and the Caribbean. Most of them will be leaving with us in 2 weeks, but about 10 from the US will need to learn Spanish, so they'll be here for 6 weeks. It's always fun to get new people, but it means today is crazy just trying to get people moved-in and welcomed.
Things have been good. Nothing too new. But we did go to the University this last week and that was really fun! People would see our name tags, so they'd come up to us and say hi and I didn't know Santo Domingo had so many Mormons! One lady we met is a Mathematics professor at the university and she also works at the temple. But besides the Mormon's we met, we talked to a lot of people are they're always really friendly and nice and patient when we try to talk to them in Spanish. One man spoke English (which was awesome) and we ended up giving him a Book of Mormon. He said he was religious, but nothing specific and that he believed in the Bible (kinda) but doesn't believe everything he reads. So we had him read Moroni 10: 3-5 and told him that we didn't have to convince him that the Book of Mormon was true, because he would know if he prayed about it. And that was the end of that. But it was super awesome to be able to talk to him for quite some time!
Another cool experience was just at Church this Sunday (we just have church with the missionaries in the MTC) my companion and I taught our District a lesson on obedience and dillegence. It went so well! It was so nice to be able to teach in English. It reminded me that I love to teach and got me re-excited to start teaching even more and once I get a hold of Spanish things are going to be so fun! And seriously the lesson was WAY good and fun.
Also, as a side note, there's a senior missionary here with her husband and they're from France. She super reminds me of Aunt Linda, except for that she's French and not Welsh. She's super nice.
Also, mi espanol es ok (kinda), perro estoy muy nerivosa escribir en espanol. Perro, un dia escribe in toldas los espano. (sorry if this wasn't even totally correct)
Aaaand, we kinda of have a saying in our district that I will share (particulary for my sisters and a few other people who will get it.) Yo tengo nuenta y nueve problemos, perro mi espanol is no problemo.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zoe's New Nicknames & Dora the Explorer

David/Dad's Notes: 

Zoe just finished her sign language certificate and that is the second language she refers to. Zoe is 21 and has looked she was in college since she was 14, but here aging process seems to have slowed down....

Hola Familia!
Things are good here, but nothing to new is going on here. I'm at the half way point and that's exciting!

Thanks for sending me a package, even though I haven't gotten it yet.

My Spanish is getting better and better every day. I'm starting to really feel the advantage of already knowing a foreign language. I think it's really true that once you know one, it's easier to learn more. Even if the foreign language that I already know isn't spoken. I still have to do a lot of piecing together and picking out the words that I understand. It's a small victory every time I hear somebody talk and fully understand a sentence- but hey I'll take it!

Things are fun here with the new missionaries. It's weird, because on Tuesday morning everybody leaves except the 19 of us that came here together 3 weeks ago. It will be empty here for a day, but Thursday we'll get new people. I'm not sure where they'll be from. It's fun getting to know the different people from all over the place. Did you know St. Lucia only takes 1 hour to drive around? Crazy small! I talked to the Sister from there and she never left her island until she came here. She's awesome. She joined the church less than 2 years ago and decided to serve mission and teach other people, the way that she had been taught.

We got to go shopping. That was fun. We went to like a Wal- Mart type place. Nothing too exciting, but it was nice to just get out. The prices were interesting. Somethings were super cheap and somethings were super expensive. It's just different! I didn't really buy anything, mostly just hangers.

Oh some weird things. Everybody thinks I'm 19. It's weird. Nobody's thought I've been younger than I actually am. I guess I have a baby face now? Hahaha it's just weird, cause I"m the oldest one in my district. Everyone who enters our class room we make them guess how old we all are. I always get 19. Also, I still don't know too much Spanish, but I do know one thing, the Dominican's keep calling me Barbie. Grande, alta, or Barbie. 
People who I don't know just keep telling me that. The people here are not afraid to tell you what they're thinking.

Oh and Dora here is backwards. She teaches English. Weird.

It's good to hear from everyone!

Until next time!

Hermana Safeer

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Grand Week in the Dominican Republic

Zoe sent us this picture from the first day in the Dominican Republic. You can't see it, but she is wearing a blue skirt that Grandma Safeer gave her!

Just a reminder, I'm posting to this blog, not Zoe. If you want to contact her just write at:

Here is her e-mail from this week.

David (Zoe's Dad)

So this week's been grand. The Haitians all left back to Haiti and yesterday and today we got 40 new people! This place is overflowing! But it's great. We now have people from St.Lucia, Jamaica, Honduras, Panama, DR, USA, New Zealand, Guatemala, they're from all over the place! But most of them are Spanish speaking, which should be really nice for us to be able to practice. Because now there's a lot more Elders, we've switched rooms, so now I"m in a 8 person room, with 6 US girls from my district and 2 girls from Honduras. Also, this new group that came, I don't think anything of them are actually serving in the DR, I think they're all just training and then spreading out through the Caribbean and Central America.
It's crazy how many missionaries there are! We talked to a Senior Missionary Couple of the Santo Domingo East mission and they said right now they have 212 missionaries and about 10 of them are girls. The other 200 are Elders, so even though there is many Sisters here, there's still not very many out in the field. But we'll nearly double the Sister number once we get out there in 4 weeks! Also, the West mission has about 200 and so does the North. That's at least 600 missionaries and just in the Dominican Republic! Also, did you hear the missionary numbers at General Conference? There is 65,634 full-time missionaries currently serving, 20,000 people with their mission calls and 6,000 who have turned in their papers, but have yet to receive their calls. It's exciting!
General Conference was awesome here. It's like the Super Bowl for missionaries. All we did was eat and watch conference. Our mission President's wife made us home made cinnamon rolls one day and they were really good!
My Spanish is still slowly coming along. I had a full conversation in Spanish with my companion the other day. I was excited about it, even though it was a pretty rough conversation. She's a lot better at Spanish than me. Her name is Hermana Williams and she's from Provo, UT. She's really nice and cool. She's 20 and breeds reptiles and like rodents back home to sell to pet stores and zoos and things like that. It's different, but I think it's pretty cool. And she loves all the weird critters here. We get along really well and always motivate each other to work hard.
Also I would love some US stamps! If I send a letter here with US stamps it will get there significantly faster than if I send with Dominican stamps. Also, supposedly if you send packages with Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, or other Catholic/  Christian stamps the postal people are all Catholic and kinda superstitious, so I've heard they're less likely to mess with your packages.
Well I better go!
Talk to you soon and hopefully I can send pictures sometime soon!
Hermana Safeer

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Week One: Zoe's Schedule in the CCM Dominican Republic

We weren't sure when Zoe's preparation day was- the day she has access to the internet to write to us. So, we waited all day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with no e-mail. Then late Thursday, driving back from Las Vegas (where we saw Bernie and Linda)  and St. George (where we visited the Kiser's) I happened to check my e-mail and there it was! An e-mail from Zoe! Here is what she wrote:
Hola mi familia! 
Things are very great! I'm really enjoying the CCM (El Centro de Capacitacion Misional)aka MTC (Missionary Training Center). It's super fun, like a language bootcamp. I got my numbers wrong last time, there's actually another group of North Americans, so really there's about 20 Elders here and 30 sisters. However, I talked to a Senior Missionary couple from the East mission and they said they have about 210 missionaries right now and only about 12 are girls. I'm assuming the West mission is about the same. So we may outnumber the guys for now, but not for long. Also, that means there's about 600+ missionaries right now in the DR!
This building is awesome. There's 4 floors. The training center and our housing is on the top floor. The two middle floors house families who want to go to the temple. The bottom floor has like a gym and the kitchen. Because it was Easter week, we housed a lot of families. It only costs like $3 a night! What a blessing for these families!  
OK, I've had a request for knowing what my scedule's like. Here it goes:
6:30             Wake up
7                 Breakfast
7:30-8:30     Personal Study
8:30- 9:30    Companion Study
9:30- 12:30  Language Study
12:30          Lunch
1:30-3:30     Language Study
3:45- 4:40    Gym
5                 Dinner
6-9              Language/ Doctorine (but mostly Language)
9- 9:30         Plan for the next day
9:30-            Family prayer (MTC prayer)

9:30-10:30     Prep for bed and sleep. 
There is a ton of language study as you can see. We study by district. Our district has 9 girls, so it's super nice that we have such a small class and can get a lot of time with the teacher. Also, it's awesome actually being in the DR, because we still practice our Spanish all day, even outside of the classroom. We practice with ourselves, the workers and we can go outside and practice with the people that are outside the temple. I still can't understand much, but I always understand "Mucho grande!" which I hear a lot. 
I know it seems like there's a lot of language study, cause there is. I thought there would be more doctrine study, but there's really not. Mostly just on Sundays. Sundays we go to Church and watch a Devotional, or someone will come in and talk to us. 
On Mondays we do service projects. This week, we walked to the University that's about a 10 minute walk. We picked up garbage, and it was really awesome, cause the people are super friendly and kept coming up and talking to us! Luckily, my companion and a lot of the others know Spanish a lot better than I do! 
Outside is BEAUTIFUL! It's really and has a nice warm breeze. I think it's going to get really REALLY hot during the summer, but it's OK! 
Also, Thursday are our Prep days, so that's when I'll really be emailing. We go to the temple in the morning, and then the afternoon we can just get done what we need to. I like P-days.
Besides that we have a very strict routine, but I really like it! I'm getting a lot of work done! 
I'd love more email/ letter/ packages/ whatever! Also there's an awesome sight called that sends letters for free and is really quick! Just remember I'm in the Santo Domingo West mission.  
Also, I realized that for the next 5 weeks, I gave you the wrong address! Both mail and packages can be sent to:

Sister Zoe Danielle Safeer
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission
C/ Hatuey #73
Urb. Los Cacicazgos
Santo Domingo
Dominican Republic

I'm sorry my email's all over the place, I just don't have the time to draft it out or anything!

Well, I wish I could say more, but I've got to go! If you have any questions, let me know! I'd love to hear from you guys! FYI, is probably the fastest for me to recieve things, but I'll most likely email back. 
Talk to you soon! 
Hermana Safeer