Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Arrived In Phoenix, Serving in Phoenix

Hi Family and Friends,
So, p-day is technically on Monday, but with this weekend being a holiday weekend, President moved P-day to Thursday, but we're e-mailing today. We meant to do it sooner, but things have been so crazy that this was the first time we could get to the Library.
I don't even know where to start. I'm serving in Phoenix in a Spanish speaking ward. It's myself and my companion and then two Elders who serve in our ward. To give you a geographic idea of what kind of area we cover, we're covering about 3 wards (at least as best I can figure out). The Elders cover the other half of our ward which is also about the size of 3 English speaking wards. It takes us up to a half hour to drive from our apartment to some of our investigators, and they aren't even at the end of our area. That means that yes, we do bike. But often we drive part way, and then bike the rest. We do that mostly so that we can save time (because biking for over an hour to get to an appointment really doesn't yield a whole lot besides being nice and sweaty for the appointment) and then when we bike for part of the distance it helps us get out and talk to more people.
I quite like biking, especially because the weather is really pretty here right now. I've enjoyed being able to be outside after spending two months inside in classrooms. Speaking of biking, I had a rather interesting experience my first day biking here. It was my second day here, and we were biking to one of the church buildings for our District Meeting. The bike was fine on the way to the meeting but on the way back I hit a bump and the next thing I knew my handlebars came loose. My companion was ahead leading the way and I didn't want to loose her, so I just kept riding as my handlebars were sinking lower and lower. By the time we got back to the apartment instead of being like an upturned u, they were completely flipped down. It was quite the experience.
My companion Hermana Hoof is really really good. I'm learning so much from her and really enjoying serving with her. She's the oldest of six, and with me being the oldest of five we've made a companionship goal to work on not being so bossy. The first night together as we were talking about our families it came out that both of our families think we are bossy oldest children. Neither of us know what they are talking about. The interesting fact about Hermana Hoof is that she is half Native American, her father is from the Blackfoot Tribe. How cool is that? I think it's pretty cool. Hermana Hoof has been out for a year, and we actually celebrated her year mark last Thursday. That year mark seem so far away to me, but she assures me it comes all to quickly.
Ooh, another interesting fact, her last companion was an opera singer. I've informed her that she is one step closer to exaltation since she's moved to the best of the musical instruments. *grin*
I thought I would share my cool experience from the week. My first night here in Phoenix I went with Hermana Hoof to meet an investigator named Alma. She had made a baptismal commitment, but had yet to set a day. As we were planning on Thursday we felt like we needed to extend December 4th to her as the day to be baptized. We had a return appointment for Friday and so the plan was that we would meet up after being on splits in time to have both Hermana Hoof and I there and the two sisters from the ward who were with us. I showed up at the time for the lesson but Hermana Hoof was no where in sight. We tried calling and she didn't answer. So, after waiting and talking with the Sister I was with we decided to go and start the lesson and pray that Hermana Hoof would show up soon. We started the lesson, and still no Hermana Hoof (turns out they had checked on someone who was way chatty and taught a really good lesson, so it was fine that she wasn't with us). Well, the part of the lesson comes when we wanted to extend the baptismal date to her, and Hermana Hoof was still gone. I wouldn't have been nervous, except President Beck has a whole memorized set up that he likes us to use. It's one of the few things he is very very adamant about using from memory every time. I'd started memorizing it in the morning to be familiar, but since Hermana Hoof was going to be there I wasn't too worried about getting it done. All I can say is in that lesson there was a greenie who was super stressed. It went really well though, and we have a baptism planned for the 4th. I'm so excited for Alma, she's really really wonderful and she just looks so happy.
Okay, a little about my ward before I have to go. In the ward they call me Hermanita O. Hermanita is usually used as a familiar term for a younger (smaller/shorter) sister. They use it with me because they can't get over how tall I am. The ward is really wonderful. Hispanics are so generous. I've really loved getting to work with them so far, and my Spanish is holding up pretty well. The only times I really have trouble is when there is a lot of noise going on. The only problem with speaking well, is that they all assume I've been on a mission much longer, and so sometimes they ask me things that a more seasoned missionary would know, but I'm still pretty clueless and don't know. Oh well. We don't get fed too much because there is a rule that to feed missionaries you have to have someone who isn't a member there. Luckily for us that rule is not in effect tomorrow, so we have about 4 dinner appointments all in a row. I think I may need more time on the bikes after this weekend.
I think that is about all, well, at least for now. I love and miss you all.
Hermana Okeson

ps- This is Nicole's mom. If any of you out there would like to have Nicole's address in Phoenix you have two options. One is to respond to this blog and I will get back with you and the second is to check on her profile info on facebook. She loves hearing from everyone. Thanks for your support.

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