Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Well, this past week makes for the craziest week of my mission. Easily. Everything will make more sense if I start at the beginning. About two weeks ago we got a phone call warning us that we would be moving apartments, we figured it would happen at transfers the first week of May, and so we didn't think too much of it. Monday we had a normal p-day that was mainly me sleeping a lot, as I was still trying to fight off a cold. When we got home from running errands I slept until we had to leave again for lessons in the evening. It helped a lot and I felt much better.
Tuesday we had the Sisters meeting, which was wonderful. There are about 30 sister missionaries here in the mission, and it was fun to have everyone together. Well, it was fun to see all the Spanish sisters... there's not much mixing between languages, especially because we have a few Spanish sisters who are far more comfortable in Spanish than English, and we really don't see much of the English sisters as most of them serve outside of Phoenix, and most of us serve here in Phoenix. It was a really good meeting and both President and Sister Beck spoke and I enjoyed listening to them.
After the meeting is when the fun really started for the week. We got a phone call right after the meeting from Elder Cherry, the housing coordinator for the mission. He told us that a new home had been located for us and that we needed to get over there as soon as possible because we would need to move in before the 30th. We were told we were moving in with an older sister, who lives at the very bottom corner of our area. Minus the location (now we drive a good half hour every day to get to anywhere) we were very excited and scheduled to go meet her on Wednesday morning. The rest of Tuesday was pretty normal, with lots of appointments and such. The work in this area has really really picked up and so we are teaching a lot, which I love.
Wednesday rolled around and at 10:00am as we were starting to study Spanish we got another phone call from Elder Cherry, telling us that we now needed to be moved in my Sunday night at the latest. That left us just a little stressed, as we had exchanges scheduled for Friday and so it meant we would probably have to move on Thursday. We canceled everything for two days (well, almost everything, we made it to two appointments on Wednesday), and after meeting the sister we would be living with we went back to the apartment to pack. The Elders in our area were going to move into our old apartment, and they are English Elders, so everything Spanish had to go. Spanish missionaries had lived in our apartment for years and years and years. We had to go through everything, especially because our new living arrangement is very very small. We spent all day going through documents and supplies and packing and cleaning. I attached a picture to show my handiwork and to give you all an idea of how much stuff we were working with... and what's in the picture is only part of it.
Thursday we had meetings we couldn't move and so after the meetings the Zone Leaders followed us home, we packed everything in their truck and drove the 20 minutes to our new home. Then at 4pm we frantically began to unpack, because by 6pm we had to leave to go on exchanges, because the area that I was going to was over an hour away. We got mostly unpacked before we left, but there were still some loose ends to finish up when I got back Friday night.
Friday I spent the day working in Wickenburg. Wickenburg is a town right out of the Old West cowboy movies. I think I saw more people in cowboy hats and boots than ever in my life, and there was cactus and tumbleweed everywhere. It was quite the change as I've spent my whole time here in Arizona in the city.
Friday I also made an interesting discovery. I discovered that somewhere in all the moving and packing and unpacking and everything else, that I had somehow managed to hurt my foot. More specifically my second toe on my left foot. I never realized just how much one uses their second toe. I have no clue what I did or how it happened, all I know is it hurts a lot to walk, and running, jumping or anything else is completely out of the question. I feel completely ridiculous. Who hurts their second toe on their left foot? And more specifically, what do you do for a hurt toe? I suspect I would just get told to stay off of it and so I've decided to just tough it out and see what happens. It was feeling better yesterday and so I tried to test my luck this morning for morning exercise and discovered that in fact it still hurts quite a lot. Oh well.
Besides the random hurt toe, I had a marvelous time in Wickenburg. I spent the day working with Hna Wells, the other Spanish sister missionary here from Michigan. She's from the Ann Arbour area, and also went to BYU. She's a studio art major, and about as far along as me in her program, so we decided that we've probably run into each other somewhere in the HFAC since we both were hermits there in our pre-mission lives. Small world. She's been here in Arizona for 4 months but has 6 months before that. She started her mission in El Salvador, got sick, came home to get better, and got sent here to finish her mission. It was fun to meet the people she is teaching out in Wickenburg, and we had some really lovely lessons.
Saturday, all things considered, was actually a fairly normal day. We finished getting settled in and unpacked and finally got everything organized. We also got to have lunch with the Sister we are living with and got to know her a little better, which was nice. Also, we got to know our new roommate. I attached a picture. Her name is Molly, and she is quite thrilled to have more people to pet her. Are you jealous Morgan?
Sunday was also more or less normal. We spent a good deal of time calling everyone and their dog on Saturday to invite them to church. We figured with it being Easter and all more people would want to come. Silly us, we forgot that in Mexican culture any excuse to party is a good excuse to party, and I got many replies of "We can't make it tomorrow, it's Easter." ??? The first time it happened both Hna Aydelotte and I were a little stunned.
We managed to have lots of people in church anyways, most of whom were there for the first time, which we were very very excited about. It meant that I spent most of church running like crazy (who ever said Sunday is always a day of rest never had a Sunday as a missionary) especially because Hna Aydelotte was playing piano for most of church, and also got pulled into the Primary to help out with the music. That meant that I spent most of the time running between people trying to make sure everyone had someone to sit with, and that I had talked to everyone we needed to. Hna Aydelotte and I have the goal to greet everyone every Sunday, so that alone keeps us busy, but then add anything else, and I come out of church feeling completely exhausted.
Trent talked in his letter about transfers, and so I thought I would comment on them as they are coming next week. We have a lot of Spanish sisters going home, and so there are all sorts of rumors about what will happen to the Spanish sisters next week. Everyone is convinced that a new area will be opened, and also that some sister will go there to flush-train (meaning go into an area that she's never served in with a companion who is fresh from the MTC and needs to be shown how everything goes). The current rumor is that we are getting 4 new sisters, which would be awesome, but means that there will be a lot of changes. Now you can all sit on the edge of your seats for another week and wonder what will happen. Of course at most next week I can tell you if I'm staying or going, because I won't know anything else until Tuesday after I've already written... but surprises are good, right?
Also, with the move there was a little mix up with the mail, so if anyone got mail returned to them, don't worry, keep writing to the same address you've written to. I think most of it made it to us, but someone may have slipped through.
I think that's just about all for this week. It was a crazy week, but also a good week. There are a lot of really really good things happening here in Agua Fria, and with transfers coming both Hna Aydelotte and I are nervous that one of us won't get to be here to see everything fall together. We'll see what happens next week.
Have a wonderful week. I love you all lots!
PS. I will post the pictures Nicole sent next week when I am back on my own computer.
Monday, April 18, 2011
This week has been quite an interesting one. On Wednesday I started feeling like I was losing my voice, and by Thursday morning I was in the middle of quite the head cold. This makes for the first (and hopefully last) time I've ever been sick in 100 degree weather. I think Arizona has ruined me. Apparently this is the time to get sick though, as many of the people we work with have told me that right now there are lots of people who have colds... I'm still a little surprised by the idea of having a cold when it's over 90 degrees every day. It really just means we are keeping our visits very, very short right now, I'm taking lots of cold medicine, and trying to stay away from people.
Besides being sick it's been a pretty good week. Friday we had Zone conference, which was very fun. I always enjoy the extra instruction and the chance to learn, although often it is hard not to come out of those meetings feeling like there are a million things I need to do better. Each meeting has a theme, and this one focused on church attendance. I really enjoyed learning about the purpose of church attendance and how it really can bless out investigators. Each time we have Zone conference (about every 90 days, or every other transfer) it runs all morning and into the afternoon, and so a ward is asked to prepare lunch. This time my ward, Agua Fria, was asked to prepare lunch for the missionaries. Personally I think they should always ask the Mexican wards to prepare lunch for us. Lunch was really, really, really good. It was also fun, because the night before Hna Aydelotte and I were able to help with some of the prep work. We spent a little over an hour over at a member’s home rolling flautas (little tacos) with their family. It was quite the party. All the kids and grandkids were there and everyone was helping with something. When we showed up to help we were surprised to see cars lining the street, and wondered where the party was... turns out it was just that everyone was there to help with preparing the food.
Saturday was also really cool. All of this past week, and all of this week there is a huge Easter pageant going on in Mesa. It depicts the life and ministry of Christ from the New Testament, and it's incredible. This past Friday and Saturday were the two performances in Spanish. As missionaries we can go so long as we take and investigator with us. Some things had fallen through and it looked like we weren't going to be able to go, and then on Friday everything slid into place, and someone was able to pull some strings for us, and we got last minute permission. The pageant was incredible. I really, really enjoyed it. This pageant is the oldest of the church pageants, and from what it looked like to me, the biggest (although I'm not completely sure about that one). There were hundreds of performers on the stage, and the whole performance was really very impressive.
Saturday afternoon we also had a rather comical experience. As we were out tracting, we knocked into an old folks’ home. They invited us in and we were able to share a short Easter message, which was quite nice. At the end though, they requested that we sing a song for them. We sing a fair amount, and so that wasn't the hard part, the hard part was that they all spoke English. I've not sung in English in 7 months. We picked a fairly easy song that we both thought we would remember in English... not so. We didn't even make it all the way through the first verse. Afterwards as we were walking back to our car I decided to try and see what songs I do remember in English. I can't sing a single church song all the way through in English. That said, I can't sing a single church song all the way through in Spanish either, but I was still pretty surprised to see that I've switched so much over into Spanish.
Tomorrow we have a huge training for all of the sister missionaries in the mission. I'm really, really excited. It's only a two hour training, but it'll be the first time I'll actually be able to meet many of the English sisters in the mission. Almost all of the Spanish speaking sisters are in Phoenix, so I've met all of them. But most of the English sisters are outside of Phoenix, so I've not run into many of them. It should be a really good conference.
That's about it for this week. We've officially been around 100 degrees multiple days this week. Even the locals think it is a really, really warm "spring" (to me anything over 85 degrees doesn't count as spring...). We've been drinking lots and lots of water, and I'm starting to understand why my companion is glad that if she has to go home, it'll be in the beginning of June, and before it gets too much hotter. Luckily people are pretty understanding and we get lots and lots of offers for water and such, which is always a life saver.
Have a wonderful week!