Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter in Phoenix

Hi All!
This week has been a pretty good week. We've been really blessed and found a lot more Spanish speakers who want us to come back and teach them. After the first 2 weeks of not really seeing much of anything here, it is nice to see things moving forward again. We spend our afternoons out meeting people and then our evenings running from one appointment to another. I like it that way, but I have a feeling that once it warms up here we'll try to move things around so we aren't out in the middle of the day. Most of our visits are to families in the ward who need extra support.
One of my favorites is visiting Hna Gutierrez and her son. She's out of work and barely scraping by. We usually stop by to talk to her a few times a week and to share an uplifting thought. Her son is 13 and very autistic. From what I've seen he functions more at about a 6 year old level. I've been working pretty hard since we first went by to get him to be comfortable enough with me to talk some. Finally last Friday when we went by he talked to me for a few minutes. It was a huge breakthrough. I've discovered he likes to play games, so today when we go shopping I'm going to buy a cheap game of some sort that is for 5-8 year olds and see if he'll play some with me next time we go by. He really just needs a lot of attention, and isn't getting it, so it's nice to be able to give that service even for such a short amount of time.
Another family we stop by a lot is the Valenzuela family. They have been through some really rough times recently and need lots of support. The husband has become fairly antagonistic about religion and so we usually go over and try to share a very mellow message. When it works we get to stick around, when it doesn't we usually end up leaving pretty quickly and then try to come back another day when he's in a better mood. Last night we stopped by and he was doing better and so we had a really nice discusion about how being obedient blesses our families... not sure if any of it stuck, but it was a nice visit... the first nice one we'd had in a while.
As far as the people we're teaching goes, most of them are either really new, or have been investigating the church for years... but we do have one sister who we've just started teaching who we are really excited about. She had us over for a Columbian dinner last Saturday night and we had a really good visit with her. She also came to church for the first time on Sunday which we were really excited about. She's really really busy, so she's hard to get ahold of, but she's always excited when we come over and has really good questions.
I thought I would share an interesting experience from this past week. We had a Zone Conference last week on "finding" aka how to find people who want to listen to us. We've had some really cool experiences this past week as we've put it all into practice. In just one week we went from finding about 4 new people a week to this week where we found 16! The coolest one happened last Friday. We'd felt like we needed to go tract in a trailer park near the chapel. After being there for about an hour we got chewed out by a cranky security guard and he told us to leave. When this happens we usually leave, and then come back and talk to people another day. So, we left. We still had another hour planned to contact people in that area and we decided we needed to stick as close as we could to that area. As we were out contacting people near by we ran into an older gentleman. He lives in an area of town we don't normally go to, but that day he was over watching a grandson who was sick. He had talked to missionaries in... Mexico (I think)... but when he came here he lost contact. He was really excited for us to come by and teach him.
Other points of interest from the week... I ate at my first taquero stand this week... there's a family in our ward who have a stand where they let the missionaries eat for free. We decided to go try it out. I enjoyed it a lot and we'll probably go back when we're in that area around dinner time. Also I'm back on medication for migraines. It's made for some interesting moments. It makes me really really sleepy all of the time. Hopefully in the next week or so it will stop doing that, but for now I'm always feeling half asleep. I do pretty good, but it's doing funny things to my Spanish. I feel like I have to think twice as long to say half as much, or I just mix up my words and say things I don't really mean. Hopefully in the next week I'll aclimate some and be able to speak and not have headaches. :)
That's about it for life here in Agua Fria. This week we have a huge mission conference that no one knows exactly what is going to happen, so we're all pretty curious. I'll be interested to see what is happening. It's gotten cold here again, which has also been interesting after having a very warm early February, Phoenix has again decided it should be "winter" so I've not been able to put away my coat... maybe this week.
Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Okeson

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