Serving as a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint in the Texas, Fort Worth Mission

Sunday, April 27, 2014

4/21/14 Week Six - Arrival in Texas

Last week in the CCM.  Elders are on a spiritual high!

Wow where to start...this has probably been the most INSANE week of my entire life!!  No, not probably, it has!  

Let me start with Travel Day- haha!  I swear I’m cursed! (see week 1)  We were supposed to be at reception at 6:00am and the van was leaving at 6:30.  Hermana Tate set our alarm for 5 so we would have time to finish packing and get ready.  So I go to bed and next thing I know I hear someone knocking on our door, then Hermana Tate jumps out of bed and looks at the clock and its 6:25!! She set our alarm for 5 pm!  So basically it was a freakin mad dash but we made it.  After that everything went super smooth, other than the fact that we all looked like stinky zombies all day.  When we got there we went to this orientation meeting, then had dinner with President and Sister Ames (brisket…yum).  We stayed the night at this member’s house that lives in a castle!  I stayed in the "Italy" room.  I won’t see a house like that for awhile.  The next day we went to the church, had a meeting, got our comps, and then went out to teach!  Super insane day!!  

The newly arrived sisters at the Texas Fort Worth Mission home

In the first 5 days of me being here, Sister Black and I (well mostly Sis Black) have been able to commit the whole M... family to baptism, get 2 new investigators, and one of them, (this cute mom named Sara) said she is open to being baptized!  Incredible!! The baptism date is not until June, but they came to church and everything yesterday which is a really big deal!  So if they keep progressing like this we may bump it up!  Normally Sundays are days of rest right?   NOT on missions, its like the opposite!

What else…we went contacting for only an hour and a half and found 3 people who were genuinely interested in our message.  We have a return appt with one and got the phone #s of the others.  And we’ve been able to teach what seems like a million other lessons!  Maybe I had a distorted view of what missionary life would be like here.  I thought it was going to be doors slammed in our faces all day, but this is awesome!:) 

Sis Black is from Oregon and she is awesome!  She goes home in August, so I will most likely be her last companion. She’s really nice.  She knows so much about the language and the culture.  I’m really glad she’s my trainer!  She’s very open to new ideas and very accepting of me and my silliness!  I’m still working on getting her crazy side out...everyone has to have one right?  I’ll go crazy if I never have any way to get my weirdness out!

First awkward mission story; we were teaching the M.. family, and usually before lessons we talk for a little about their lives.  People LOVE talking about their lives, and since I pretty much never know what anyone is talking about unless its related to the gospel, I just nod and laugh and say "Si" to everything.  So I thought Pureza was just telling me whatever about her life, so I was just laughing and nodding like I always do, but then I looked over at Hermana Black who was trying to get my attention.  She was totally giving me the "shut up “eye, so just sat back and let her talk.  Then afterwards I was like "what the heck happened in there?" and she said "she was telling about how her nephew almost committed suicide and you were laughing and smiling!" Ahaaahh!!!  In my defense, her face did not imply what she was talking about!

I think I had pretty much the most memorable Easter of all time.  I should have known it would be interesting when our investigator Y.. invited us to her sister’s house for a BBQ, but I had no idea!  We showed up to Lupe's (her sister who’s kind of a member) house and she had just moved into this trailer park area and there were a million tiny ninos running around everywhere.  Then Lupe told us to come in and she had us start filling these hollow eggs shells with confetti and flour because she said she wanted to start a war with them! haha!  As we are doing that we hear the rain start.  I had NO idea how crazy the storms are in Texas!  One second it was this perfect sunny day then the next...Notebook rain scene…crazy downpour complete with lightning and everything!  So for my Easter I had a BBQ during a lightning storm on the porch of a trailer home:)  Oh, and they had to move the kid’s Easter egg hunt inside, which was super fun to watch.

So mostly everything is great, but there are a few things that I’m going to have to get used to.  For one, I’m learning that being a Spanish speaking missionary, while it has some definite perks, also has its disadvantages.  Pretty much it means that our living conditions are not great at all.  We live and work where the Hispanics are, which definitely aren’t the nicer parts of town.   Our apartment sucks, straight up…really gross.  We have started naming the cockroaches that live with us.  So far there’s Alfredo, Bill and Carl.

President Ames is pretty much THE BEST!   We get interviews with him every 2 transfers. Randomly on my first day all the other missionaries kept telling me that I reminded them of Sister Ames..HUGE compliment!:) 
President and Sister Ames
I really love my ward!  It’s a massive ward, and the awesome thing is that we get to go to YWS and its all in English!  It’s frustrating though because most of the people in my ward speak English, but they encourage us to speak only Spanish with them.  So it’s like, I could totally get to know them and talk with them, but I want to be obedient.  It’s a weird situation.  

It’s hard to get used to not being able to talk with anyone!  It’s tough being a Spanish speaking missionary in America, because I really really want to teach the gospel to people, and I see so many English speakers all around me that I wish I could teach so badly!  But they have other missionaries for that.  So for now I bear my testimony as much as I can in our lessons, but that’s about it.  I have NO idea how to carry on a normal conversation with people in Spanish!  Only five weeks of language training in the MTC is not much.  Ahh gift of will come:)  

I definitely get lonely sometimes.  I’m sure it will get better once I start learning the language, but I miss having someone I can laugh with and relate too.  I guess I just need to get over myself, because that’s not why I’m here but for now I feel a little bit like I’m losing my personality.  

About a billion other things have probably happened this week that I have already forgotten about, but I think that’s good enough for today:)  We are going shopping today!  Food was a struggle last week.  I lived on eggos and pop tarts because we had no idea how old all of the other stuff was. 

I love all you guys so much!  I’m realizing now that I still have a lot more to learn about this gospel, but I do know one thing for sure, this gospel is true and it brings happiness!  


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4/10/2014 Week Five

Another gorgeous day in Mexico City.  District and Branch Presidents on far right

Havasu Falls- We missed you Sierra

I’m trying not to think about how jealous I am that right now my family is pretty much taking one of my dream vacations without me.....jerks.   We better go again in a few years!!   My emails will be pretty short today...mostly because I’m STILL in the MTC/CCM and I’m officially out of things to tell you about this place.  Like I wrote last week, it’s pretty much like I’ve been reliving the same day over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over  -  Did you ever see the movie Ground Hogs Day?  You get the idea:)  But not for long because I’m out in FOUR DAYS!!!  So that means I get to email you again on Monday and maybe call you on Tuesday, wouldn’t that will be weird! 

I’ve decided that the CCM is pretty much just like a church high school. It’s seriously funny!  When we first started we were just little freshmen who didn’t know how to do anything, but now it’s my last week and it’s like we are graduating seniors who know every inch of this place and are ready to move on.  It’s hard to continue to stay focused in all the classes!   I’m ready for the real thing ...except my Spanish isn’t.  A few days ago we did this exercise were we had 15 minutes to go around campus, find people, introduce ourselves and our purpose, and ask them for references.  It was fun, but like I said, whenever I try to talk to native speakers about non-church topics...that’s when I realize how much Spanish I don’t know!  Haha - so dad, si usted tiene algunas maneras para ayudarnos estudiar la idioma, por favor dice me:) 

This one is my favorite!
Life is still going great!  I’m officially used to all the peculiar quirks of my fellow missionaries.  Like yesterday, an Hermana made a goal to be "exactly obedient", which is great right?  So technically after 10:15pm is “Quiet Time” so that people can write in their journals and stuff if they want, but she took it as literal quiet time.  So after 10:15 even though we were all up and about she decided that she wasn’t going to talk, so if anyone had to communicate with her, she would act it out without speaking.  That way she was keeping the rules!  I have to admit I was really cracking up inside!

In other news, I’m speaking on Sunday (yes in Spanish) and my talk is on the Fall.  I’m using that metaphor mom thought of when we were driving somewhere in the HOV lane and the cop had to pass us...ring any bells??  I told it to Hermana Olsen and she thought it was brilliant:)

***Update on my talk....So how it goes here is they assign a topic for everyone to prepare talks on, and then the next week during church they announce who is giving the talks.  Talk about nerve-racking, and they have to be all in Spanish of course!  But this last week, since we had Fast Sunday then General Conference they assigned 3 topics for us to write talks on: the Fall, the Apostasy, and the Atonement.  We had to write all 3 talks because we didn’t know which one they were going to call us to give! Ahh!  The only reason I knew I was speaking was because I hadn’t spoken yet and it was the last week.  So I prepared these awesome talks on the Fall and the Atonement, and then for the Apostasy I couldn’t think of anything good so I just kind of threw some stuff together and prayed they wouldn’t pick me for that one!  Of course which one do I get picked for? Yep – the Apostasy!  It was so bad!! I think my testimony at the end might have saved it, but I forgot my Spanish Restauracion folleto (pamphlet) so i had to sit up there looking for the First Vision in my scriptures that didn’t have JSH...slightly embarrassing.

I'm going to miss them so much!!
 I loved General Conference!! ...except I suffered exceedingly from Numbum Syndrome. I loved pretty much all of it minus a few expected snoozers.  A few talks that I really liked were Elder Bednar’s about the truck and the load of wood, and how our “loads” in life are necessary and help bring us back to the presence of Heavenly Father.  And of course I loved President Monson’s talk about charity and love!   I also found entertaining the first speaker from the Women’s meeting…I’ll just call her Relief Society Barbie!  Haha! Oh...ya no offense but if you saw her face and heard her voice you’d know why;)

I haven’t been that sick here, just some indigestion, but pretty much every single person here has been somewhat affected by the food!  This comida is the ultimate stomach bomb all of the sudden.....uggggggggggg   i.need.america.


Don't EVER get haircuts for free from people who learn off of YouTube! I'm not even going to send an after pic

Weston:  HAPPY BIRHTDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  So how was the Sweet 17 in the Grand Canyon??   I wanna hear all about it!!  A present may or may not be coming soon for some of ya’ll;)   I got a package today, but the post office is closed till 3!  Its killing me!! Is it from you guys?

Keep the phones close on Tuesday and you might get another email from me again on Monday! Love you fam!

The Wonderful Sister Jones gave me a safety pin and bag so I wouldn't lose my passport this time!

Se que el evangelio de Jesucristo es verdadero, y se que Dios es nuestros padre celestial he el tiene mucho amor para nosotros se que si nosotros vivimos el evanjelio seriamos bendicidos.
te amo!