Friday, July 8, 2011

Gatorade and Sunflower Seeds

Hi All,
It is HOT here in Phoenix. And as of the last three days it's decided to be humid. We spend most of our time looking like drowned rats... and we've started keeping perfume with us to try and mask the sweaty smell. It's always a little interesting when we show up in homes and the sisters want to give us a kiss on the cheek (that's the very very standard Mexican greeting). The increased heat has also turned most conversations to ones about what to do in the heat. Sunday we had a member give us four huge packets of Gatorade. I think we now have enough to last for at least the next month. He also told us to eat salty foods... so Hna Graves and I picked up a huge bag of sunflower seeds.
This week has been a really good week. Monday morning we got quite a fun phone call. Our Zone leaders were calling us to congratulate us for leading the Stake in numbers for the past week. We were pretty excited. I was especially, because I have seen so much growth here in my time here. Our "regular" numbers were numbers I could barely imagine for this area when I got here. This area was a historically "dead" area. I had heard about what it was like here before I got here, and to be honest, I was terrified. I remember spending my first few weeks here back in February feeling so over whelmed. It's really cool to see what a lot of hard work and prayer can do. We are so busy right now. By the time I get home at night I'm so exhausted. We spend all day every day working and working and working and I love it. Now I'm scared that in a few weeks at transfers they'll split the area. That's good news, but it would mean that one way or another we would loose some of the people we are working with. That would be really hard.
Our biggest news right now is that we are working towards wedding plans for Raphael and Berenice. Everything is starting to come together and it should be a really nice wedding. I'm so excited for them, and they look so happy. The Saturday of the wedding will probably be one of the busiest days of my mission, since that morning we will also have a baptism. I'm trying not to think of how we are going to fit everything in, or how tired we'll be. It should be a really really good day. We're also headed to Mesa with Raphael and Berenice to go to the visitors center with them. It's one more thing to be really really excited about. I'm pretty happy.
Mom asked about what work is like in the summer. Work in the summer is hard. We have a lot of people going to Mexico and very few people want to risk the heat to open their doors. It's also tricky to talk to lots of people, because so few people are on the street. I'm told that this is just what we should expect until the middle of September. Luckily at the beginning of August school starts, so the kids and their families will have to be back from vacation to start school. In some ways though, having some of our investigators gone has given us a little more time to focus on others who need a little more of our attention. We'll see what we come up with over the next month.
Tuesday we got to go on exchanges. I went back down to South Phoenix for a day. I loved it! I have such a love for those people and for that area. It reminded me a lot of the beginning of my mission, and it was fun to spend a day completely on bike without biking miles on end. It was also interesting because I was the decided Sr. companion in this exchange. I've done exchanges other times but for those I felt more like the Sr. companion by technicality... but this time I had been out longer than both of the other sisters (I was back in a trio for a day). It was fun to see the difference in work techniques and to get new ideas. I think that is one of my favorite things about exchanges is that you get some new ideas to mix things up a bit.
For anyone who was wondering... the Fourth of July is a fairly lame holiday as a missionary. That's okay. We were still able to get some appointments, while I think most of the English missionaries were grounded for the night. The rule was we could go to appointments if a member drove us there. None of our members had plans for the fourth, so we were good to go. It was cool though because we got to ask some of them what Mexican Independence Day is like. Let's just say I'm already getting excited for the 15th of September. True to form Mexicans like to party, and their Independence Day is no different. Ward parties are always good for us, because it's often the first time we can get some of our investigators to come to church and check things out. I also got a good laugh as I was looking through some old teaching records. The Elders who had served in this area a year ago added one more box to check on their teaching records. That box read "Invited to fiestas". Hermana Graves and I got a good laugh out of that.
I think that's all the fun for this week.
Love you all lots!
Hermana Okeson

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