Happy New Year! We celebrated in typical missionary fashion... we went to bed. It looked like most of the people at church didn't do the same, as the congregation looked pretty wiped out Sunday. This round of the holidays has been a little more rough on the teaching and working. I have to keep reminding myself that last year I was covering two areas for the holidays, so that made it seem like there was lots of work. This year with just one area it's been a little harder. In our case it meant we were grounded when our appointments fell through new years eve, and also on new years day. Actually, the down time was nice. Not something I think I could get very used to as a missionary, because I would much rather be out working, but it was nice to have some down time for a day.
Honestly, the weeks are really starting to blur together again. It took me a lot longer to reach this point in my last area, but here the days just seem to run together into one big day. It's amazing how fast the time is going. I wish I could figure out how to put the breaks on, but each week seems to go by just a little bit faster.
I think the even of the last week that sticks out the most was meeting a woman named Erlinda. We met her on Friday. We were out on bikes with the goal of talking to lots of people and trying to set return appointments. I saw Erlinda from a distance and honestly dreaded approaching her. She was a little old lady, and usually if they are little old Hispanics they aren't much for talking about anything except the Virgin Guadalupe (the patron saint of Mexico). I'm a little ashamed to say I almost talked myself out of talking to her, but then as I passed her on my bike I felt like we needed to talk to her, so I turned the bike around and stopped. Talking with her will forever be one of my favorite memories from my mission. We didn't get a return appointment, we didn't get to give her any literature (she can't read), and we didn't even get her address. But, what we were able to do was to offer her a little comfort. Turns out her adult son was missing and she had taken the bus to come to his house and hopefully wait for his return. She was so sad and so alone. She just really needed someone to be there with her. We talked with her and waited with her for a while. She told us about her life and how she had come from Mexico. She told us a little about her family, and shared some of the trials she has experienced over the years. It was a really special experience to talk with her. I think that is really what we are here to do as missionaries. We say we're representatives of Jesus Christ, but I think we let ourselves fall short of that. She needed someone who cared enough to listen and to spend that time with her, and I'm grateful that we were in the position to help and serve.
I think I have a little writers block today... I can't think of much. We're keeping busy and working hard. Mom asked about our living situation... We live in some pretty ghetto apartments, but for being in Phoenix as missionaries it's not too bad. I know of other apartments where the smells that stick out usually are smells of illegal drugs and who knows what else, so ours is actually pretty good. We have plenty of room, it's a two bedroom apartment, and we have 2 bathrooms also. We have our beds in the smaller bedroom and them some desks and miscellaneous items in the larger room. We have an okay sized table in the kitchen and then in the "living room" we have one more desk, a chair that I refuse to sit in because it smells funny, and a couch. It's not too bad. This apartment has had missionaries in it for years, so it has tons of stuff. We have a closet that is just full of random things that Hna Wells and I found when we moved in. Every so often I think about going in there to clean it out, and then I think better of it and decide not to. Mom asked also about "smells of the mission" and the one that sticks out to me the most is the smell of the laundry detergent that I'm pretty sure all Mexicans use. I can pick out a Mexican home by the smell of that detergent. It tends to stick out no matter where we go, especially in some of the poorer neighborhoods.
I think that's all for this week!
Love you lots!