Panama, Panama City Mission

Panama, Panama City Mission
Panama, Panama City Mission

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Trip to the Mexico City Temple and goofy Elder pictures - Week 3

¡Hola Familia!

Sorry it's a later email today! This morning at 8:15 my time, we met in front of the cafeteria and loaded onto the bus! We drove through Mexico City and arrived at the temple. They are doing renovations so we weren´t able to go inside, but I got plenty of awesome pictures. This week was pretty good! There are points in the day where I think, dang, 2 years is a really long time! I don´t know if I can do this. I read my patriarichal blessing and it makes me feel so much better! I know I'm going to do well in Panama. I am progressing really well in the language and gaining confidence in teaching. Okay mommy, here are the answers to all your questions!

Are you feeling better? Is your red blanket keeping you warm at night?

I am feeling a lot better! I just kept taking the meds dad told me to and I am completely over it, and yes my red blanket keeps me more than warm! I love it!

Did you have to talk in church on Sunday? Tell us about your week.

I haven´t had to speak in Sacrament yet! I have made it through 3 weeks and this week is fast Sunday! My week was good. Just staying busy and keeping in the normal routine. Oh and thanks for those flash cards mom! I look forward to reading them every day!

How are you doing with learning the Spanish?

I am doing really well in Spanish! I write out my whole lesson in English and take that to the lessons! That way I am forced to speak in Spanish! It is going very well!

Thank you all for the letters! I sent off like 7 letters last Monday so they should be arriving sometime soon! It seriously makes my day hearing from you all! I really appreciate all the prayers. I can feel everyone's love for me when I have rough days. Anyways, if I didn´t answer your questions email me back and I'll let you know!

I love you all SO MUCH!!

Elder Tyler Sanders

We were able to email back and forth again today. Here is some of our conversations.....


Im here! How is everything?

We are doing good! Things are starting to get busy! Brae and case sure love and miss you! You are an amazing example to us all! I'm in awe of how strong you are! Oh and you and Elder W. are seriously the cutest elders I have EVER SEEN!!!!! Did u like the pic of Brae and Gus in ur jeep?

Brae insisted we take a picture of him with TY'S CAT in TY'S JEEP! HeHe!

Yes I did! I showed all my friends! They thought it was hilarious! Haha! Thank you for everything you do for me momma. I love you so much!

You are my boy, TJ, even if you are 6'2"! You will always be my little boy! Let me tell you, you missionaries have a huge support/fan club behind you! These Missionary Momma's are amazing that I've come in contact with. (It's a Facebook group with over 5,000 Missionary Mom's that I belong to) Oh and I made you more cards to last through December (I'm making daily cards with scriptures, pictures, and encouraging quotes for Ty) I'm getting ready to mail a package to you this week. It's going to Panama!

Mom you're the best! I live to talk to you! You are my best friend. Today I felt the spirit so strongly in the Visitor's Center at the Temple, that I cried. We watched the video on Families. I realized how close we are and how much joy our family has. I cannot wait to bring that joy to other families!! Yay! More flash cards!! (:

Elder Sanders in front of the Mexico City Temple.

I love you sooooooo much! I brag about you all the time and get to share the gospel with others all the time because of you. I was at work the last two days and so many people asked about you! I was one proud momma! Don't ever forget that we are an eternal family. These two years are just a second of time when you look at the eternities that we will be together!

Elder W. (Ty's Companion) has been so awesome to me. And sweet!

What a huge blessing that you have a companion who you love. Heavenly Father knew you would need someone to help you adjust and I know you have done the same for him. Is it weird having someone with you 24/7?

Elder Sanders and Elder W. in the Visitor's Center at the Mexico City Temple

Elder Sanders and Elder W. in front of the Mexico City Temple

It is difficult but he is really chill. We get along great and haven't fought at all!

Case just came to me yesterday and said, "Mom, I know what we could do! We could read the whole Book of Mormon while Ty is on his mission!" He was SO excited. How can I say no to that?

I have almost completed the Book of Mormon since being here! It's amazing!

Wow Ty, that is awesome. The Book of Mormon is definitely addicting once you start reading it. It is a history of the people you will be teaching in Panama. Oh Tyler J, I love you sooooo much! You are my sunshine and you and your brothers make being a momma the best job in the world!

Well I gotta go mommy! Thank you for all the support you give me. I couldn't do this if it wasn't for you. I love you more than you can imagine and be watching the mail! There are three letters on their way to the house! Keep me updated on life!

I love you so much, and tell Brae and Case I love them!

Elder Tyler Sanders


Are you getting used to speaking Spanish on a regular basis or only when teaching? Do you practice with your companions? What are you gonna do the rest of your prep day?

I speak Spanish often. I do when I teach the whole lesson. I practice with my friends a lot and we are really progressing! We plan on heading back to the casa around 2:00 and sleeping for a bit! Haha, been a busy couple of days.

Nap time is awesome!!! Favorite time of the day after church on Sunday. Only three weeks until you head off to Panama. Are you super excited?

I'm getting way excited! My time in the CCM is flying by! I can't believe I'm halfway done.

Did you eat all the little treats that were packed?

Yup! I still have some Crystal Lite that I'm saving for when we have our Bro's Night in the living room Friday night!

Tell me about Bro's Night.

We sit out in the living room and eat all the food we got in our packages that week! Thanks for all you have done for me dad! I really appreciate it.

No, thanks for serving!!! We are truly being blessed by your service. I tell everyone about your service and they can't believe it. I'm always soo proud of your choices.

You're welcome dad! I gotta go dad. Thank you for loving and supporting me. You are the best. Cant wait to talk to you next week!

Elder Tyler Sanders
I love you!


Ty are you there? Has it been two years yet?

Yes i am (: I only have 1 year, 23 months and 1 week left (: Haha!

That is all? Okay we can do this. FYI Graham (Ty's three-year old cousin. He says Big Ty is on his mission over the mountains by their house) said to tell you that he went to the mountains with us and he didn't see you. He tells us that you are just over the mountains and when we went up the canyon the other day he said he was looking for you. I love you SOOOOO much and LIVE for your emails Ty! We went to Seagull Book yesterday and the kids wanted to buy everything in there for you. They adore you and thank you for the example you are to them. Love you!

Tell Grammy I said hi!! He cracks me up! I love you all SO much!


Hello darling grandson. PaPa and I love you and pray for you everyday. It is amazing to us to hear how you are growing in the gospel. We are so glad you gain strength from you Patriarchial blessing. Luci says hi! (my parent's dog)

Hi Meme! Thank you and Papa for your letters! They make my day! I love this church so much!! Hi Luci Lu!

This is PaPa, So glad you are feeling better. I think about you and brag about you everyday and all day. We live for any news from or about you. Can hardly wait for you to be in Panama so you can be a working missionary. Love you more than you will ever know.

I just sent a whole bunch of pictures to my mom! I hope she shares them with you! I love you all so much!

We can't wait to see them. You are welcome for the letters. We'll go out to the your house this afternoon and see them. Love you as big as the world and then some. Keep up the wonderful job you are doing. MeMe

I will! I just wrote you guys two letters and sent them off last Monday! So they should be getting there pretty soon!

I will be watching the mail!!!!! Thank you for sharing your experiences! It keeps us going! Are you getting enough rest with all you are doing?

I wake up tired but praying and eating a lot get me through the day!

It is important to nourish your body with healthy food! Just say, "Thank You, MeMe". How much time do you have to e-mail. I don't want to take your Mom's time. She adores you Tyler and loves you so much. I think she will have a great year at school. You certainly have a beautiful family that cares deeply about you. GGPa said when we message you to tell you he is thinking of you.

My hour just ended so I have to get off! I love you and Papa so much! Tell GGPa I'm thinking of him and I love him!

An Elder Selfie...

On the bus to the Mexico City Temple

A view of the city outside the bus window.

Elder Sanders with his package from Kayla and the Smith family.

I'm not really sure what is going on in this picture...goofy Elders!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Baptism Invitation, Playing Catch, and Lots of Answered Questions - Week 2

Elder Sanders really enjoying sacrament meeting
Elder Sanders was so excited when one of his good friends arrived at the CCM. Elder I. grew up with Ty and graduated from Monache High School with him. He will be serving his mission in Peru.
Elder Sanders and Elder M.... Ty told us the Elder M. was a pitcher in high school. Another Elder brought two gloves to the CCM and these boys got to play catch together. Ty refers to it in his email.
Ty's district in the CCM

Here is Elder Sanders' email this week....
Hi family!! It's been an awesome week. I have grown so much spirit wise. Just to let you know I received around 15 letters on Monday! Haha, definitely the way to start my week. So last week we had taught a total of 5 lessons with our investigator Jorge. I memorized the invitation to be baptized in Spanish and invited him. He accepted and it was the most amazing thing I had felt. Two nights later we are sitting in class and "Jorge" walks in, in a suit and an instructor name tag on. So come to find out he's a member and there will be no baptism. LOL! At least I don't have to teach him about tithing. I have seen Elder I. about 10 times and we took a picture. I sent it to your email mom. I'm getting really close with all the Elders in my casa. When we get done with our classes at night, we come back to the casa and we hang out for about an hour and talk. We are all pretty hilarious. I have been eating a lot actually. Every morning I make some toast and have a banana and an apple. Aren't you proud of me momma? We have gym time from about 2:00-3:00 everyday except Sunday. We have been playing volleyball. Now you all know how competitive I am. There are some other elders who think they know what's up and how to play so they try and boss me around. You all can guess how that goes! LOL!I should really work on being more Christlike. I have to say the letter I got from Braeden about sleeping in my bed and laying with my cat definitely cracked me up. The days here feel like weeks but the weeks feel like days. I honestly can't believe I got here two weeks ago. It has flown by. I have done my laundry by myself for two weeks now and have taken good care of myself. I'm fighting off a cold right now so I've been taking my vitamins nightly. Elder O., who's in our casa, brought two baseball gloves!!! So Elder M. and I played catch for about 20 minutes yesterday. I sent off a letter to home Monday. There is a letter for my family, one for Meme and Papa, one for Gramary and Papa Paul, one for Nana and Charles, and one for Kayla. There are some presents inside also. Here's the deal with the talks on Sundays. We have to prepare a talk and when sacrament meeting starts our Branch President (Bishop) announces who will be speaking that day. Pretty stressful. I haven't been picked yet but I think that'll change this Sunday.

Elder Sanders and his Nana's (my sister) conversation:

I don't want to take up your time with your momma but I wanted to tell you that the Jorge story cracked me up. I waited all week to see if you sent baptism pictures.LOL!!! I just got off the phone with Elder P. (Ty's best friend). He called us to say good-bye. I shared with him a few things from your email and he cracked up. He sounded so happy and he is SOOOOOOOOOO excited to go today to the MTC. He will be in the MTC in two hours. He wondered if he would see us. LOL! I love you soooooooo much Ty!!!!

I love you too Nana! My email time is an hour a day. I'm excited for Elder P. I hope he has an easier time than I did. The first week was really tough for me. Keep me updated on everything happening in life. I love you sooooooooo MUCH!

One more question....Did you like stick Ty?

Oh my goodness, it was hilarious! I showed my companion and he cracked up too!

We need THERAPY!!

It's okay, I did the first week too! LOL!

Elder Sanders' conversation with his dad:

How's the Spanish coming along? Do you need anything? Have you used your LDS bank card or your ATM card?

The Spanish is coming along great! I can talk really well when it comes to things pertaining to the gospel. Still a little iffy on common converstions though. I haven't found anything that I'm missing. I haven't used my bank card or my LDS one. When I got to the Mexico airport, I did a currency exchange for $25. I've been using that to get snacks that I need.

That's great! Has it been difficult to get used to a different currency?

Yes a little, but I'm adjusting to it okay.

How's Elder I. (Ty's good friend from home) doing? Elder P. reports today so not sure if you can send him an email to welcome him to the Provo MTC. Tell me about your flight.

Elder I. is doing really good. A lot better than I did the first couple of days. LOL! I sent Elder P. an email and let him know that he will love the work he's about to start. The flight wasn't too bad. I wasn't that nervous. I was nervous driving through Mexico City to the CCM though. Holy Cow, that was scary!

Bet it was great to play catch. How's the weather? Are you keeping warm and dry? Did you get a package from Gramary and Papa Paul?

Gramary and Papa sent a package with chips and dip, root beer, candy, and a letter. It was AWESOME!! I'm staying warm and dry, yes sir! Playing catch was the best feeling ever!

Hope you shared with your companions. Did your companions play baseball also?

I shared with them!! And yes, Elder M. was a pitcher. We played catch and I could tell from just tossing the ball that he could really bring it. Oh, and I love stick Tyler. It made me laugh! Haha!

This is "Stick Ty". He goes on trips with us and loves to have his picture taken. It's cheaper than therapy!

Have you gotten used to the food yet?

I have gotten used to the food I guess. I eat lots of meat and fruit. Oh and I make nutella/peanut butter sandwiches every morning for breakfast!

I think your time is almost up. We love you so much. Our family is being blessed by your faithful service.

Well my hour is up. I love you so much Dad. Thank you for everything you do for me. You're an awesome role model for me. I have taught my companion what Darryl means and he is using it. I love you dad and I will be looking forward to talking with you next week. Send letters, they help so much! Take care.

Elder Tyler Sanders

Elder Sanders' and Braeden's conversation:

Hey Homeskillet (Ty would punch Brae every time Brae would say this). It's Brae. Love you and love sleeping in your bed with Gus. LOL! I started band camp. Love you Big Bro!

Glad you started Band Camp and are getting used to high school life. Can't wait to hear all about it. I love you too buddy!

Elder Sanders' and Cason's conversation:

This is Cason...I love you Ty!

I love you too wee man!

Ty and my conversation:

Are you not feeling good? Is it really cold and rainy there?

It absolutely POURS here in the evening. I have never experienced so much rain and thunder. I am just fighting off a cold. No biggie! I'm taking my vitamins.

Do you have a schedule of your day? We would love to see a picture of it. We are always wondering what you are doing at different times during the day.

I'll take a picture and send it to you next week but this is what it consists of:

7:00 Breakfast
7:30-8:30 Personal study
8:30-12:00 Class
12:00-12:45 Lunch
1:00-2:00 Language study
2:00-3:00 Gym
3:30-4:30 Study
5:00-5:30 Planning
5:30-6:15 Dinner
6:30-9:30 Classes

Are you reading the little cards I made for you daily? (I made postcards for him for each day he is in the MTC with quotes and notes to him on them)

I am reading my cards daily! I look forward to them every night. I love them! Seriously, the testimonies and pictures you guys sent me with is what got me through the first week. I love you so much momma! Thank you for everything you have done for me. I couldn't ask for anyone better but you. I came here so prepared and am thankful for that. I love you so much! I miss my bestfriend!

I would do it all again for you precious boy! You and your brothers and daddy are my world. I'm so glad you didn't have to worry about the little things. The payback is that you are happy and enjoying this experience. We are all being so blessed because of your service. The tender mercies are pretty amazing. I wrote to you through dear elder and shared some of them with you. Don't get in trouble. When you need to get off, just let me know. I love you sooooooooooooooooo much!

Welp, my hour is up momma! I'll be looking forward to talking to you next week. I hope you like the note I left for you and I hope you all are getting back into the norm. I love you so much mom! Tell the brothers they are the best and to stay busy. I love my family with all my heart. My leaders are awesome and love and care about me. Until next week!

Elder Tyler Sanders

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Elder Sanders' Testimony in Spanish and so much more... Week 1

We just received Elder Sanders' first email this morning, along with PICTURES!!!!!!! He is already conversing, teaching investigators, blessing the sacrament, and bearing his testimony in Spanish. What an amazing gift! He sounds so good and like he is adjusting! I was even able to email back and forth with him for a few minutes. He would really love to receive letters from home, as you will read in the email. Here is his email home:

FAMILY!! Oh my goodness I have missed you all so much! Just to let you all know, I am doing GREAT. Not a day goes by where I don't think about you though. My first couple days here were really rough. It was really hard adjusting to being in a different country all alone. I started off Thursday with a bunch of classes and to be honest I didn't listen much, my mind was wandering. I missed you all so much. I decided Thursday night to get down on my knees and pray for strength. After my prayer was over, I immediately thought about my Patriarichal Blessing. I read it and the word strength was repeated about 10 times. Also, everyone’s testimonies helped SO MUCH. You all would be so proud of me!

My companion, Elder Wrigley and I blessed the sacrament on Sunday in Spanish!! It was incredible. Also, we have been teaching a real investigator in Spanish! We have had 3 lessons thus far and they are going amazing! Our last lesson was on Monday. As the lesson concluded something came over me. I decided to bear my testimony and at the end I felt impressed to extend an invitation to Jorge. I invited him to pray about baptism. He accepted and tonight I am going to ask him to be baptized. Mom, you have no idea how much strength that package gave me! It gave me the boost I needed to make it through the week! Following my rough first 3 days, I am finally starting to come around. I have noticed an amazing increase in my ability to feel the spirit and an increase in strength.

Something funny, on a daily basis we hear what we think is gunshots about 10 to 15 times per day. What they actually are, are cannon blasts. There is a Catholic Church nearby and every time someone gets baptized the fire it off! Haha. To be honest, the food here is like bad cafeteria Mexican food. But I don’t worry about that!

MY companion is Elder Wrigley and he is from Saint George, Utah. I haven't met a funnier person in my life! Having him crack me up has given me a ton of strength also. I have noticed tremendously that the power of prayer is amazing. I know I can ask my Heavenly Father anything and he will help me. You all would be amazed at how much Spanish I can speak! As I said, I can bear my whole testimony in Spanish now!

I live in a casa here at the CCM. Our casa has 13 elders including me (4 in my bedroom). I live with Elder Wrigley, Elder Taylor and Elder Halls. We get along really good. In the room right next to us is Elder Hillstead and Elder McArthur. Elder Hillstead and Elder Wrigley are from the same high school so we have been hanging out with them a lot! We are seriously hilarious together! My first week at the CCM has flown by. The days are slow but the weeks are fast! Everyone I want you all to know that I love you so much! I literally ran to the computers to get this email off. All your notes and support is what has got me through this trying time in my first week.

Something else I remembered! I have to prepare a 5 minute talk on Faith this Sunday for our meeting. We talk in front of a zone of about 45 elders and hermanas. Please when you get the chance write me any letters you can. They help so much! Something else! All 3 of my roommates and Elder Bush a room down are going to PANAMA!!

Here is a picture of the Elders that will be going to Panama with Ty….

A note to Brae and Case: Please try your hardest not to fight. You really don’t realize how much you love each other until you’re in a different country alone. OH and how is my clash of Clans doing? (Brae is taking care of his account for him)

CESPEDES WON AGAIN?? (The Home Run Derby, of course)

I want to leave you all with my testimony in Spanish.

Yo se que oracion ayudar suprar deficios y yo se que Jesus Christo es el hijo de dios. El libro de mormon es verdidero y Joseph Smith es un profeta de dios.
(I believe in the power of prayer and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.)

A little shaky, but true nontheless. Well family, thank you all so much for your support. The pictures made me SO HAPPY! Remember one thing, I am a servant of the Lord. As long as I do what I am supposed to, nothing will hinder the word of God. Keep me updated on life at home. I LOVE YOU ALL!

Until next Wednesday, Elder Tyler Sanders

Elder Sanders with his Spanish Book of Mormon

Elder Sanders and his companion, Elder Wrigley

The Panama missionaries with Ty!

Ty "picking the nose" of some statue. I hope he isn't being disrespectful, not sure who the statue is?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Tender Mercy

I got a surprise email this morning. We had sent Ty a snack package to the Mexico CCM. I got an email saying that he received the package and then another email with this picture of Elder Sanders. He looks so good and happy. Made this momma's day!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

He arrived at the CCM (Centro De Capacitacion Missional Mexico)!

We received an email from Elder Sanders tonight letting us know that he arrived safely. Please take a few minutes to write to him at the address below or use (This is a great way to write Ty and it is sent through the church's pouch mail system. You have to set up a free account and put in his name. It will ask you where the letter should go to and you will select Mexico City MTC. Then you just type your letter and hit send. It's free and you don't have to deal with international postage. Definitely the route to go. I know Ty would love to get letters from home! Please...Please write to him!
Mom and Family, Well I just arrived here at the CCM! I've gotten all my supplies and after this email I will go to my dorm and meet my companion. Not going to lie, it was really overwhelming at first but I know that I'm doing the right thing. We were picked up at the Mexico City Airport at around 5 my time, and oh my gosh the drivers here are crazy! My preparation day is going to be on Wednesdays so be looking forward to that in about 6 days! I will be departing the MTC on August 19th 2014. So I left you a little surprise just to show you how much I love you, so when you get a chance go and look behind the picture of Jesus Christ. I really miss my family but I'm trying to stay positive and lose myself in the work! It says on my orientation packet that the senior companion will be the one who has the last name closest to the letter A. My companion is listed as Elder Wrigley, so that is some good news! Well just wanted to let you know I made it safe and I love you all SO much! Can't wait to talk to you all on Wednesday. -Elder Tyler Sanders Your Missionary's mailing address is: Elder Tyler James Sanders 08/19/2014 16-A Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828 Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero 07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal Mexico The estimated departure date for your missionary is 08/19/2014].

Good-Bye Elder Sanders... God Be With You Till We Meet Again!

We took Ty to the Bakersfield Airport for his 6:30 am Flight. He flew from Bakersfield to Phoenix. He had a two hour layover and then flew to Mexico City. So proud of the man he has become! Here are the words to a beautiful hymn...God Be With You Till We Meet Again God be with you till we meet again; By his counsels guide, uphold you; With his sheep securely fold you. God be with you till we meet again. Till we meet, till we meet, Till we meet at Jesus feet. Till we meet, till we meet. God be with you till we meet again.
Our Boys at the airport.
Bret and his boys.
That's our Elder!
A Big Good-bye hug for Dad!
Saying Good-bye to Braeden!
Saying Good-bye to Cason!
My last Momma hug for two years.
And Elder Sanders is off!!!!!

Saying Good-Bye to Those We Love

After we were all together for Ty to be set apart, he said good-bye to his Papa, Meme, GGPa, and cousins Dalin, Dalton, and Ellie. The last thing his Papa said to him was..."You will always be the best catcher there is!" What a special baseball bond they have shared!
Saying good-bye to the best Nana!
Saying good-bye to Uncle Charles, Nana, and Graham
Ty giving Nana one last hug!
Biggest and littlest cousins!

Elder Tyler James Sanders Saying Good-Bye to his Best Friend

Ty was set apart by President Christenson on Tuesday night. Then he said goodbye to The Petersons and his best friend Tyler. "See you in two years Ty!"

Ty's Missionary Haircut and Last Supper!

Crystal, Tyler's best friend's mom, gave him his Missionary haircut yesterday before he was set apart.
Ty requested my homemade Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy as his last supper.

Goodbyes are Never Easy!

Ty said good-bye over the last few days to some wonderful family and friends. It hasn't been an easy last few days, but we know he is where he needs to be. He is going to be an amazing missionary!
Tyler with his cousin Tiffany
Tyler with his Aunt Maria
Tyler with his Uncle Eric
Tyler with Bishop Christenson
Tyler with his baseball brothers...Derek Pharis, Chris Leal, and Brian Halopoff
Tyler with Brandon Spann... Brandon was the All-Star Pitcher for Monache this year and Tyler was his catcher!
Ty with Bryson Pharis and Brandt Martinez....More Baseball Brothers
Tyler with Allison Pharis and Ania Crabtree...Good High School Friends!
Ty with Charlie Cuevas...Close friends since Junior High School!
Tyler with Frank and Debi Hayes...The best neighbors in the world. They are family to us!