Tuesday, November 29, 2011

6 More Weeks in La Joya!

Hello All,

As you can tell from the heading I'm going to be here in La Joya for 6 more weeks. I'm excited. I really love it here, and I'm enjoying the work. We had a little down turn last week as the cold that I fought off managed to find Hna Wells and really hit her hard as well. It took out some of our working time and left her as exhausted as it left me. Besides that things are going well. It's warmed up a little and so besides freezing to death on our morning run we've been okay. (I look rather ridiculous out running because I've crammed lots of layers on, but it works). It's amazing to see how much turn over we've seen in this area in the last 6 weeks. As this transfer came to a close I've done a lot of reflecting on all that has happened and it has been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. Hna Wells is another favorite companion. I will miss her. I still don't know who I will be serving with, so you'll all just have to wait until next week to find out. My options are Hna Garcia from Mesa AZ or an Hna H. from Orem Utah (she had a really long name and I didn't catch it all when President told me). I'm not really sure which I will be getting.

Now looking back over the week. Last Monday we played soccer as a zone. It was quite fun, the only down side was that I mildly sprained my ankle. OUCH! It left me limping for a few days, and biking was quite the experience. It's a little sore now when I run, but besides that I'm good. It was a fun Zone Activity none the less, and Hna Wells and I enjoyed being the handicap on each team (since neither of us actually knew what we were doing, we just sort of got in the way and tried to kick the ball... that was the best we had.... we're an art major and a music major...:-)

Tuesday and Wednesday were the days that we were down and out the most... between my ankle being soar and Hna Wells cold we were moving pretty slow. I guess it really just is that time of year right now. I'm just glad I got over it before transfers, because I want to work really hard with my new companion. We were really blessed to set a baptismal date this week. It's for a former investigator from the Elders who were here. He has a lot to work through but we're excited to work with him and to help him prepare. We have a few others where we've been working on getting them closer, some are progressing faster than others... but we'll see what happens.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. We were told that it was by appointment only... so we made cookies and took them to our investigators. It was pretty fun to drop by and surprise them, although we had to be quite insistent that we weren't there to stay long... Hispanics really are some of the most giving people I have ever met, and they just really don't want to let you leave without eating, chatting for a while, and spending time together. But, we did well. We only ate one Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving, which was our goal. Last year I ate 3 full dinners and wanted to die, so I vowed I would not do it again. I just got my Thanksgiving dinners for 3 days in a row, as every family we've eaten with this weekend fed us thanksgiving dinner.

I thought though I would note a few key differences about a Thanksgiving dinner with a Hispanic family. First, it doesn't have a designated starting time... we run on Mexican Standard Time... which means 30 minutes to an hour late at times. The ward thanksgiving started 45 minutes late, but our dinner on Thursday was actually pretty punctual. Second, you don't use a fork or spoon... you use tortillas. I've started to get really good at just eating with tortillas... I don't think I'll ever be able to eat tacos like a white person again:-). Third, there is no gravy. We use salsa. I didn't mind the salsa on the turkey or even the ham, but it was a little weird on mash potatoes, although it made for the spiciest mashed potatoes I've ever eaten. It was a fun Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed it. I really love the people I get to work with, and all day I remember thinking that I am so greatful that I am able to serve them and to be here in Phoenix. I know that Phoenix wasn't exactly where I wanted to come on a mission, but I love it here and most of all I love these people. They are wonderful.

Friday and Saturday were busy working days. We have been doing lots of visits, trying to meet all the members who live in our area. I'll be starting those again tomorrow with my new companion, but at least now I know everyone,

I've got to run I'm out of time.

Love you all.

Hna Okeson

Below some fun pictures of Nicole and Sis. Wells, Phoenix Arizona Mission's two Michigan Sisters!

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