July 21, 2014
SUCH A CRAZY WEEK!!! Before I fill you in on my time in the mission field... I will finish up about the MTC and what happened my last few days :)
Friday, we had in-field orientation all day so that was pretty boring haha. Then on Saturday we had our last day of classes and practiced for the... MUSICAL NUMBER that we performed on Sunday. The MTC was interesting because everyone would always want me to sing for them! As we all know, I am NOT a soloist; we leave that to Kristen haha. BUT on Sunday, Elder Cabas, Mota, y Hna Reina and I did a musical number to I Know That My Redeemer Lives... IN SPANISH! I sang a solo on the first verse and it was actually really good! Haha! I don't know where it came from lol!!
OKAY...SO NOW>>>> MISSION FIELD MONDAY!!
Monday morning Hna. Torres and I had to be at the travel office at 4:30 am. I LOVED talking to you guys on the phone! The MTC was hard and it just helped me to focus back in. When we got to CO (40 minutes later lol- SUUUUPER long flight haha) we walked through the airport and President Murdock and Sis Murdock were waiting for us. We met and shook hands and hugged and were on our merry way. Elder Cabas, Hna. Torres and this other elder and I rode with Sis Murdock to the church mission office where they had CHIPOTLE catered for us for lunch!!! I was in HEAVEN. We were able to just hang out for a while and we got to shoot a couple of baskets (in our church clothes lol!). I was shooting around and for some reason was making EVERYTHING and the elders literally thought I was Lebron or something hahaha. It was one of my finest moments thus far... mostly because we all know I am NOT a shooter. Bahaha... The spirit just willed the ball into the hoop... That's for you dad ;) (Kristen had it right in her talk when she said we were forced to play basketball growing up... haha just kidding.. it paid off :))
The rest of the day we did orientation.It was pretty average. Just rules and things. Pres M interviewed every person and we had a good chat. I LOVE HIM AND SIS M!!!! They are SO awesome and they remind me a lot of you and Dad :) Our interview went great... I was telling him about my family and about how Eiji just got baptized and of course my accident story was brought up... so I told him briefly about that and he was stunned. He said he knew I would be such a great missionary! So that was great. More about what he said about my future comp later :)
Later that night we went to the mission home and just had dinner and a little program. Next morning we left at 6:15 AM and drove back to the mission office for Transfer Meeting. It was so awesome and everyone that I met was SO cool! They announced everyone's companion and mine is HERMANA DOTTO!!! She is from Argentina and we are serving in STEAMBOAT SPRINGS on the WESTERN SLOPE. SOOO... as soon as the western slope transfers got announced, we headed onto the transfer train (a bunch of cars traveling in a long line to the western slope haha). We got all packed up and loaded luggage into the trailer and was off in our 11 man bus haha.
3 HOURS later we got to Rifle and I met Hna D. SHE IS AMAZING. She is 28- from Argentina and joined the church 4 years ago when she was 24. She is the only member in her family and speaks GREAT English. She is completely fluent and I like to give her pointers sometimes. We all went to Sonic; the missionaries eat free here because the owner is Mormon. Then were headed off for the 3 hour drive to Steamboat. We chatted the whole way and she was SO surprised at how good my Spanish was. We got to our apartment in SS and she told me that we would be moving to a member's home on monday so I didn't even bother to unpack. We went straight to a dinner appointment at the ward mission leaders house.. the Sandelin's. It is soooo different here than Texas. haha. First meal was pork'nbeans, sausage and rice and sauerkraut. It was actually really good :) I loved it! There is only ONE ward here and it is English. HOWEVER, it is split in half between English Elders and us, the Spanish Hermanas. SOOO... the ward is in English, but we teach pretty much ONLY in Spanish. I have yet to teach an English lesson. The only time we teach in English is when we leave a message at our dinner appointments.
After dinner at the Sandelin's we went to the church to meet with the bishop who JUST got called. He is... interesting. He is just super overwhelmed with the new calling. He is fine... but just definitely not a Bishop Smith. haha. It made me miss home a little bit. Afterwards, we went and taught our first two lessons. The first was with Marta (more on her later) and then the second was with these Peruvian Brothers (Abel y Fidel). Hna. Dotto is SUCH a great teacher. The lessons were in Spanish obviously and I bore my testimony about my thoughts in both of them. Hna D was SHOCKED haha. My espanol about the church is SO solid, but I have been struggling with my Spanish in just casual conversation. Which is interesting because before my mission I knew absolutely NO church words haha. More about Spanish later.
Wow... so Wednesday was awesome. We had a great planning session in the morning and study time. We had lunch with a lady in the ward named Sister Muhme. She is great. Afterwards we went and did service for 1 hour at the thrift store putting away clothes. We are asked to do 7 hours of service per week in our mission. It is hard because we are ALWAYS teaching, which is great. Later on we had dinner with a recent convert Gabby, who just got baptized not too long ago. She is 24 and made me think of Kristen. She took us to this really great taco place for dinner and then came to our lesson with Marta y Carlos (Marta's son who is 16) afterward. They live in a trailer park called Dream Island where pretty much all 9 of our investigators live. We taught them about the BOM and read it with them because Marta can't read. The day before we made Marta pinky promise that she would say the prayer in our next lesson, so of course we reminded her of that even though she doesn't like to pray for some reason. It took about 10 minutes, but she finally did it and it was AMAZING. It is insane how humble these people are!hey live in a 1 bedroom house about the size of our kitchen in TX. Her prayer was absolutely beautful. She started bawling and we realized the reason she doesn't like to pray out loud is because she gets so emotional. SO that was AMAZING and definitely my favorite moment in the mission so far.
After her prayer we taught about the BOM and read and I gave my testimony and actually taught quite a bit. The spirit is ESSENTIAL. One thing I loved that Kristen said to me in my email this week that relates exactly to how I feel and what I have been going through is "People will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel." Wow. SO true. I was able to convey my feelings about the truth of the gospel through my SPIRIT> not just words. The lesson was great and Hna Dotto and I both felt prompted to re-commit them to be baptized in THREE weeks. The spirit was so strong and they said, although they felt it was so soon, they would! We see Marta and Carlos almost every day and I love them so much. I will try and take a picture with them this week :) They are continually progressing.
Our other main investigators are Abel and Fidel. They are from Peru and live in Dream Island too. We taught them after Carlos and Marta on Wednesday about keeping the Sabbath day holy. Another great lesson. They would be good progressing investigators if they would keep their commitments. They didn't show up for any of our other scheduled lessons this week.
Kayla and Yesena! They live in a little nicer trailer in DI.They aren't super interested in the church discussions right now but we go over and teach them English for service all week and slip a message in here and there and maybe leave a few pamphlets. ;) Next to Marta and Carlos, they are my other FAVORITE investigators. They have a HUGE family that all live at the houses surrounding theirs and they love us. Most of our investigators don't know any English at all SO when they find out that we know English (didn't take long) they always ask us how much it costs to learn. (English lessons are SUPER expensive). When we say it's free... THEY FREAK OUT. So we always have people wanting us to teach them. We mostly just teach Kayla and her mom Yesena though because they love us and don't just take advantage of it; they actually listen to our message! They are so great and are always so excited to see us. They have a little boy named Julio, whom we LOVE, and a ton of other family members. They are awesome and invited us over for pan dulce y leche this week while we taught them (sweet bread and milk- you take the bread and dip it in the milk- SOOOO good. Quite the delicacy). They are great !Yesena's other daughter, Nancy, who is mid-30's, lives next door and fed us this awesome soup. Every time we go over to anyone's house in their family they always want to feed us. It's so sweet because they give us everything they have and the best things they have to offer. So humbling. Such an example of Christlike charity- and they don't even know they are doing it.It's just the culture. Definitely a change from back home.
With that being said... I had the most humbling day of my life on Wednesday. We had a lesson set up with Carlos but he didn't show up so Gabby and Hna D and I just ended up talking. (Gabby was there for a member present lesson). We talked with her and she told us about all of the hard things going on in her life. It is unreal. She is struggling with so much and lives in another trailer park nearby called Sleepy Bear. We were talking with her and realized it was 5:50 and we had a dinner appt at a member's home about 15 minutes away but we didn't want to stop teaching her and providing her some relief so we kept talking. She is really struggling, especially since she has no family here, rents a room in a trailer, and is the only member. It's hard. SO we leave at about 5:50 and call at 6 to Sister Burke, who is the lady who we are having dinner with, to let them her we will be 5 minutes late. Since she is white, I can talk on the phone with her. (Hispanics are super hard to understand on the phone so I handle all the phone calls with the white ward members and Hna D handles all calls with investigators haha). So I call, introduce myself (mind you, she hasn't even met me)... and I let her know we will be 5 minutes late.As soon as I finish talking... Sis Burke starts SCREAMING at me on the phone, telling me how rude it is to show up late and that the elders were already there ready to go and that they wanted to start eating 10 minutes ago; literally screaming at me on the phone! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I turn the phone on speaker for Hna D to hear and she couldn't believe it either. She told Sis Burke that we could talk when we get there.
When we arrive at the Burkes, Sis Burke pulls us aside, and starts screaming again and scolding us- telling us how rude we were. Unbelievable! I start crying. My first visit with the members of the ward! There were 3 other families there and the elders- just watching us get yelled at. We explain that we were in a lesson but they don't understand. So long story short... the rest of the dinner didn't go well. We had a lesson at 7 so we left ASAP. The spirit left completely and some of the other members made inappropriate, rude comments during dinner. [[[ SIDE NOTE: The ward here is interesting because it is ALL converts and almost everyone is divorced and has been remarried to someone else IN THE WARD. Suuuuuper awkward. So they don't really understand what we as missionaries do because none of them have ever served missions- even Bishop is a convert.]]] So, we were so upset; Hna D and I just lost it in the car. It was so upsetting. We felt so hurt!
We took Gabby back home (SHE WAS AT THE DINNER! The only Hispanic with a ton of white people- and they don't even give her the time of day- it was so unreal.) We take her back to her place in the trailer at Sleepy Bear (super poor trailer park). When we are dropping her off... There is a little 4 year old boy standing in the road with no pants on... only his undies... trying to pull his shirt down over his legs. I thought it was kind of funny at first... "so cute... little boy forgot his pants!!" Well... Gabby talked to Hna D in Spanish about it but I couldn't catch it because she said it so fast. When she leaves, I ask Hermana D what she said... The little boy without the pants was the son of the mom who lives in the same trailer as Gabby. The mom locked her 4 year old son out of the house this morning without giving him pants. She wouldn't let any of her kids into the house and he had been out there all day without anything but a shirt. Absolutely heart-breaking! Gabby said that apparently the mom doesn't care for her kids. She is an addict and just leaves them to fend for herself. When the mom was younger, she was beaten by her parents... which, we assume, is why she doesn't care for her kids. To say the least, I lost it. Bawled for the next 30 minutes, just wishing I could do something for that little boy that stood by the dumpster by himself, trying to cover himself with a t shirt, while all of the other kids played in the street. Imagine coming from the dinner situation... to that?
Life just isn't fair. I don't understand how people can live like this. I always knew that it existed... but I never knew how bad it was. All I wanted to do was run up and take that little boy and love him... because he had never been loved before. The rest of the night I was so upset and confused. It was so hard to see such totally different ends of the spectrum all within an hour of each other. The hardest day by far... and I'm sure one of many more to come.
Saturday we had a training in Grand Junction that we had to travel there for; 4 hours each way. A really super long drive. It was good. Not much else too eventful happened during the week. Yesterday... Sunday... was hard.
The ward, like I said, is interesting. It has a lot of tourists who attend. We had 6 investigators lined up to come to church, and none of them came. We even woke up early, took breakfast to Marta and Carlos, they were on their way to church and their car broke down. Satan stinks! So yesterday I was pretty hurt and a little homesick. Hermana Dotto and I had a huge long talk last night when we got home and I just vented about how upset I was and how hard the week had been. She reassured me that it was the hardest week that she had ever heard of for a new missionary. haha. So that was tough!Sister Burke apologized to us for the other night at dinner. But needless to say, it was a tough, tough week. Nothing at all what I expected it would lbe like, BUT... I'm improving and I am learning every day! Spanish is coming along. I love this gospel and know this is where I am supposed to be!
My new address is:
PO Box 774170
Steamboat Springs, 80477
Please try and send letters! I don't have much time to email and I would love to hear from you during the week!
I love you all so much! Thanks to Heidi Rawe for the package... I got it and it was a hit! Even brought some snacks to zone meeting :) I am eating healthy and working out... We moved to a new apartment this week... in the barn of a member's home... IT IS BEAUTIFUL! More on that next week. I have run out of time... and don't have an adapter so if we finish organizing our things at the new apartment, we will try and come back so I can send pics! But if not... Pictures next week!!!
LOVE YOU ALL!!!