Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy Week

Hello All,
This week has flown by. This morning as I was starting to think about what I would put in my letter this week I was amazed by how much had happened. First, and probably the most trivial, I learned how to make tamale's on Saturday. We had an appointment fall through and decided to stop by a less active member who lived near the appointment. We showed up in time to eat tamale's from the first batch and to learn how to make them for the second batch. Hna Gutierrez has a friend who is going through some rough times and so they decided to make and sell tamale's every weekend to try and help raise some money. We're going back this upcoming Saturday to help make the masa (the dough part) and to learn how to make the salsa for the meat. I'm pretty excited because her tamale's are the best I've had my whole mission. YUM! (I attached pictures from the tamale's, I hope you enjoy them!)

Okay, on to more things that don't involve food. Our most memorable event this week was a lesson we had Thursday night. We've been teaching a family where all but the husband are members. There are a few things holding him up, even though he's been going to church regularly for six months, and most people think he is a member. We decided to take Presidente Lopez over for our appointment on Thursday. Saturday at Rossy's baptism I talked with him and asked him to come and he was excited to come help us out. Presidente Lopez is amazing. I love working with him, he's only been a member of the church for 14 years, but he really loves the gospel and he loves helping people out. It was really cool to have him at the lesson, he was able to relate really well to this family and to their particular difficulties. There is still a lot to work out but after being at a standstill with this family for 3 months we're finally moving forward again.

The lesson with Presidente Lopez was also interesting because to me it highlighted something that I really struggle with in Mexican culture. Mexicans talk over each other. Conversations between Mexicans can involve both talking at the same time and, as far as I can tell, it's who ever out lasts the other wins and then is able to direct the conversation for 5 more minutes. I'd known that I struggled with that part of the culture, but didn't realize how much until we took Presidente Lopez. He was really able to direct the lesson in ways we never can, because I always feel super rude talking over my investigators. I'm not exactly sure how to work on improving that one, because I feel like I need to listen to everything they have to say, but when we do that often our visits end up being far too long and also far too off topic. I'm sure I'll come home talking over everyone and have to learn how to wait my turn again...

Other news, we're still working with a whole lot of kids. They're all from families who have not been to church in a long time for various reasons. It's interesting because while we are teaching the kids, it is the parents who need the most help. That always makes for interesting lessons. In the case of one family, they are afraid to come back to church because I guess there was some huge argument before they left, and then in the case of the other the Mom keeps going back and forth on whether she thinks her son is ready to be baptized. In the case of the second we had a really good visit with Mom on Saturday night, and hopefully we can start moving forward again. Our other family we are working with has middle school and high school age kids, which is also interesting, but far easier for me to teach. I do a lot better with older kids than with the 9 year olds. Teenagers have a lot more things to work through, and often have more questions, but I have an easier time keeping their attention that I do with the younger kids we work with.

We also had a huge miracle on Saturday. I had written about a month ago about having to drop an investigator named Carmensa. Both Hna Aydelotte and I really have prayed a lot for her over the last month, with no apparent success. We stopped by again on Friday and as usual no one answered the door. I'm not sure if no one was home or what. Well, Saturday afternoon we got a phone call from the sister in our ward who we had taken to the lesson with Carmensa over a month ago (the one where we had to pray over and over again to figure out who to take). Turns out Carmensa had had some rough times and just needed a break from us. Carmensa called this Sister in our ward on Saturday and they ended up talking for a really long time and she was able to answer a lot of her questions. Long story short, Carmensa came to sacrament meeting on Sunday, and we are starting to teach her again.

I had an interesting experience on Saturday that I thought I would share. We were over meeting with a less active Sister and some how it came up that I play flute. When she asked if I had it and I explained that I had been asked not to bring it she was very vocal in her opinions of that decision and that I couldn't have my flute. What surprised me was that as she was listing off why she thought I needed it, I realized that I am really happy that I don't have it here. That was a shock. I love that I can completely focus on being a missionary and working hard. I really have nothing to distract me here, and I love that. I still struggle some times, but not nearly as much as at the beginning, and mostly I just feel peace that everything will be fine when I get home. I am loving my time here. Each day goes by so quickly, I'm always amazed as I find myself writing you all again each p-day, because it really only feels like it's been a day or two, not a whole week. I love the people we work with, and I am so happy each day. Missionary work is really, really cool.
Have a wonderful week!
Love you all,
Hermana Okeson

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