Monday, March 21, 2011

6 more weeks in Agua Fria

Hello all!
Well, the first order of business is transfer news. President didn't move any of the Spanish Sisters. We're all staying put. We have one new sister coming in this transfer and she is headed down to South Phoenix (the area where I started) and she will be part of a trio. I'm excited to have another 6 weeks to be here in Agua Fria. After the first 6 weeks in an area you start to finally get names down and know who people are, so I didn't really want to have to go start over again. Also Hna Aydelotte have gotten a lot more used to working with each other. We have very different work styles, and so the first few weeks were really rough. We've made progress though, and it'll be good to keep moving forward.
Work is starting to move forward here in Agua Fria, slowly but surely. We're working on trying to help investigators keep commitments and also to get the members more involved. We've really seen the blessings as we've tried to have members in our lessons, as they are able to support the investigators, and the members also feel better as they are able to be more actively involved in missionary work. We also finally have an investigator on date for baptism. We've been teaching Tristan, a nine year old whose mother recently came back to church for the first time in many many years, and he told us at our last visit that he wants to be baptized on his birthday, May 4th. We're pretty excited and his mom is too. We've got some things to work out, but we're glad to be moving forward with him. Our other investigators are also moving forward and we've found some new people to teach in the last week. It's also been interesting as both Hna Aydelotte and I felt that we needed to start working in an area where neither of us had worked before. It's at the northern most end of our area (we drive 6-8 miles just to get to where we start working when we work up there) and because of the distance no Spanish missionaries had worked up there in at least the last year or so. Besides running up the miles on our car, we're excited to be working in a new area and we're excited to see who we find up there.
I've shared previously that we often eat dinner with the members. My years of eating Indian curries and such have paid off, as all the Mexicans are amazed at how hot I like my food. I've eaten all sorts of salsas, and now that the members catch on that I can eat spicy they are feeding me more "normal" Mexican food. It's only come back to bite me once, and that was when I sneezed while eating something with Habenera peppers. That hurt. Most of the food they feed us usually is a variation of meat, tortillas, beans and rice. So when I eat lunch at home I've been eating lots and lots of salads to try and still get some veggies. We've also got members lined up for the next few p-days to teach us how to make different foods. One sister is going to teach us how to make tortillas, another is going to teach us how to make Postole (my favorite Mexican soup) and the Bishop's wife is going to teach us how to make empenadas (a Chilean specialty). I'm pretty excited.
Lets see, other points of interest... I'm making progress on my Chilean accent. At least while I'm with Chileans. I do a pretty good job trying to mimic the Chileans while I'm with them, but the minute I leave and start talking with Mexicans again I sound like a Mexican. Yesterday we had dinner with the Bishop's family and they are all from Chile, so I had plenty of time to practice. Also, it was fun to listen to them talk, because the Bishop is one of the oldest members of the church from Chile. He joined when he was a young man, and was a member of the first branch in Chile. I hadn't realized how young the church was down there. He also told us that now Chile has a higher percentage of LDS than any other country, with about 20 percent of the population being LDS.
Saturday night we went to the mission farewell for one of the young men in the ward. It was quite the party. The family went all out, and cooked Barbakoa, a specialty from the part of Mexico they are from. It's grilled lamb, and it was really really good. At the dinner I talked to a member of the ward who told us about his experience joining the church. The missionaries taught him for a long time, and he would mostly argue with them until one Elder finally just asked him if he just wanted to argue or if he believed any of it was true. That Elder baptized him the next Saturday.
The final cool experience from this week happened last Friday. All of our plans fell through. Our back up plans for our back up plans fell through. Nothing at all was working out, and it had been a long frustrating day. At 8 pm both Hna Aydelotte and I were tired and not sure what to do since everything we had planned had fallen through. We prayed and decided to go check on a former investigator. We went over and no one was home. Then we remembered a sister from the English ward who lives in the same area. We felt like we needed to go over. Angie is 22 and often comes out to help the missionaries. We stopped by, and as we got there she told us that her Bishop had just told her she should think about going on a mission. We spent an hour with her answering her questions. It made me think of the Sister Missionaries on Temple Square who stopped and talked to me over a year ago when I first decided to go on a mission. It was cool to feel like in some way I was giving back, I feel so incredibly grateful for those Sister Missionaries who talked to me, and it was cool to be able to offer the same help that they had offered me. (I think I wrote about it on my blog, it should show up around thanksgiving of 2009).
I love you all, have a wonderful week!
Hermana Okeson

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