Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Hello All!

This has been yet another busy, busy week here in Phoenix. The exciting news of the week is that Raphael is on date for baptism! He's going to be baptized on the 30th of July. It's a little later than we would like, but he and his girlfriend have to get married, and that's not much time to plan a wedding. We're pretty excited and he is too. We're going over on Wednesday night to start wedding planning with them. It should be lots of fun, and a little work too. I've not been able to help with wedding plans before on my mission, so this should be an interesting experience.

Trent commented on having a last interview with his Mission President. It made me a little jealous. For various reasons we aren't doing final interviews before the Becks go home, but we do have Zone Conference this week. I'm excited to see what they have planned. I've heard from one of the Elders who has been helping with planning this Zone Conference that it will be really, really good. I'm excited to see what we have planned. And to answer Mom's question, I believe all Mission Presidents come to their new missions on June 30th. In our case that puts us in week 3 of this transfer, which I think is nice. It gives President a good chance to try to start getting to know the missionaries before transfers come again. So for my e-mail on the 11th I will have met the new mission president and then can tell you at least a little. I don't know how much interaction we'll actually get with him right at the start. Because of some of the things that happened at the beginning of my mission I had a little higher interaction with President and so from that I got to know him a little better faster, but really we don't see much of him. I'm assuming it will probably be the same with President Taylor.

As far as the heat goes, we're surviving. You know it's really getting warm as you can feel the sweat drip down your back. It's a pretty common feeling. It's also been interesting because Hna Graves and I have tried to go out on bike more. We smell pretty bad a lot of the time. I always feel bad when we come into people’s homes and they want to kiss you on the cheek, and I'm really hot and gross. I've gotten a few comments like, "wow, you sisters are really warm" or, "it must really be hot out there, make sure you are drinking enough water", although, it has its advantages. That's how Hna Graves and I got the biggest slice of watermelon I've ever seen. I attached the picture because I thought you all would enjoy it.

I also almost passed out for the first time on my mission. Don't worry, it wasn't from dehydration. My weak stomach kicked in as we were contacting a fellow who went into very, very graphic detail about the Crucifixion of Christ. I blacked out, but wasn't out cold. He felt pretty bad, and my companion was a little nervous. I felt sick for the next hour or so, but was fine after a little bit, quite the experience. Hna Graves was just glad she didn't have to call into Sister Beck and explain that her companion with a weak stomach was passed out on some guy’s doorstep.

Wednesday we had an interesting experience. As we were at home doing our planning for the week, one by one all of our appointments for the afternoon canceled. We were pretty bummed, until Mary, the Sister who was baptized last month called us out of nowhere and asked us to come by, have dinner with her and answer some questions. It worked out perfectly, the exact amount of time from our appointments canceling was used getting up to Mary's house (she lives really far away) eating dinner, and teaching a lesson. It was also really good because she left for San Diego for a month on Friday morning, so it was good to get to see her.

Friday night was the ward party. They were celebrating Fathers Day, and it was quite the party. English wards just hand out candy, Mexicans throw a huge party with tons of food, music and dancing. The Sisters from the Relief Society put together one of those cool Mexican skirt dances. It was so cool to watch. I attached a picture of Hna Gutierrez all dressed up for the dance so you can have an idea of what the outfits looked like. Then the next day in a visit I got Hna Gutierrez to let me put on her skirt and try spinning it around, it was quite fun. The primary girls also put together a dance that was quite impressive. I think Mexicans just have dancing in their blood, because they are really, really good at it. The food was also incredible, and after Hna Graves and I decided that if we're going to keep going to ward functions we may need to ride bikes there and back. We did have a really good turnout of investigators, and so that was good (because what Mexican will turn down a party?).

Saturday we got to go to the Mesa Temple visitor’s center with Leonila. It was a really, really good visit, although we felt a little like the blind leading the blind since neither Sister Graves nor I had been to the visitors center here before. It turned out really good, and I think Leonila really enjoyed the trip. I hadn't realized just how small that visitor’s center was until we went into it. With having gone a few times over the last few years in Provo to the Visitors Center in Salt Lake, I've forgotten that it's far bigger than any other visitors center would be. It was still really good, and I loved being there.

Sunday I got to give my first talk (in Spanish) in Sacrament meeting. I felt like it went well, and I was pretty happy about it. Giving a whole talk in Spanish really made me work hard, but also was a good gage for how much Spanish I have learned over the last 9 months. It's really quite impressive. I've reached a point where it's only a few words here and there that I don't understand, and when I'm talking I feel like I can pretty comfortably say what I want. Especially in the last few months I've finally really started to hear all of the different verb tenses and be able to use them comfortably, which is nice.

I think that is about all the fun I have to tell you about for a week. I love you all. Thanks for all of your support!


Hermana Okeson

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