Monday, January 23, 2012

Cookies and Tortillas

Hello All,

It has been a good week. Not necessarily an easy week, but looking back it has been good. We are making good progress in the area, and helping the work move forward. I'm not sure what all to write about. It feels like it all is passing by me so quickly. I find myself watching things happen and realizing just how short this time is. It makes me wish somehow I could put this on pause, but I guess that's not possible.

I think my favorite event of the week was teaching a family we work with how to make cut out sugar cookies. We've been working with the Jimenez family pretty much since I got here, and we're working on their 9 year old son, Nathan, to help him be ready to get baptized. He's a good kid, but is pretty quiet, which makes teaching him a little hard. We decided we needed to do something with him to get him to talk a little more, and decided that the best method was teaching him to make cookies. (We'd taken him cookies for Christmas and Thanksgiving, and they loved them!). It was a fun experience, and certainly got him talking a lot more. It's interesting, I never thought that as a missionary I would spend so much time working with children, but I realized that almost half of my baptisms have been children! I've learned a lot about working with them, and while I really didn't like teaching kids at the start of my mission, I enjoy it now. I don't know that I can say it's my favorite, but I do really enjoy working with them.

Speaking of children, we are still working with the Chavez family. Jessica got baptized last week, and now we are working on Mom. It was pretty funny, Jessica is all bent out of shape that she doesn't get her own lesson time with us like her mom does, so we are headed over this week for a lesson just with Jessica. She's rather set on the idea, and has told everyone that on Wednesday we are hers. Should be good. She's a lot of fun. We actually had a really cool miracle with her. When we started teaching her in December she could barely read. We knew though that she needed to start reading the Book of Mormon. In the lesson we felt really prompted to promise her that if she faithfully read her Book of Mormon that her reading problems would go away. Well, two weeks ago she took a reading test, and in less than a month had improved from a 17 to a 40. (I'm not sure what the scale is on, but I gathered that it was a huge improvement). Her teacher was amazed and asked her what she had been doing, she told her teacher she is reading the Book of Mormon. That's pretty cool.

We're also going to have an interesting experience with the Chavez family on Tuesday. Well mostly with Isabel... we're going to go help her give the dog a haircut. I'm less than excited, but Hna Harding loves dogs, so she's pretty thrilled. We've been doing random chores and yard work with Isabel for the last few weeks whenever we can, and it's provided a good time to just get to talk with her and get to know her better.

Mom asked what the most interesting thing that I have learned on my mission was... I'm not sure if it's the most interesting, but I've finally learned how to eat a taco like a Mexican. Growing up I thought that to eat a taco you got the tortilla, loaded it up with goodies, folded it and ate it. I learned pretty early that that was how the gringos ate their tacos. To properly eat a taco you rip the tortilla with your hands and use your hands, another piece of tortilla (or on rare occasion a spoon) and push some stuff into a small part of the shell and eat that. Depending on the food there are different ways of folding your little chunk of shell and eating with it. My personal favorite is making a little cone out of it, but that only works well for beans and rice and carefully cut meat. If it's a big chunk of meat you rip the meat with your hands and then put some in the tortilla. It was a little weird to get used to. Sometimes if it's a really nice meal the tortillas will come with the meat and salsas already in it, then you can just fold it and eat it, but the majority that I have eaten, have been a do-it-yourself sort of taco experience.

Does that count as interesting enough? The only thing I can't do with a tortilla is roll it like the Mexicans do when they eat soup. They place the corn tortilla flat on their hand and then run the other across it super fast and it comes out rolled up super tight and they use that to push the stuff onto their spoon for the soup and then to soak up the broth. I've also learned that a tortilla is the replacement for anything... they get used everywhere.

I think that is all for this week. I'm sure I probably forgot something or other, but at least this time the computer didn't eat my e-mail. I love you all lots! Thanks for your prayers and your support.

Love ya!

Hermana Okeson

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