Monday, February 27, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
President gave us permission to send a brief e-mail home with our new addresses. Today was the first chance we've had to do so. I am now serving in the Solano ward with Hna Maria Garcia. It's in the Glendale stake. It is an ALL BIKE AREA.... So I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks. I'm exhausted constantly, but it's a lot of fun. We meet a lot of crazies being out on the streets on bikes at all hours, but we also meet some really cool people. There is a pretty good teaching pool here, which is nice. I've not often had that luxury when coming into a new area.
Okay, I've got to run... but I thought I would send a picture to describe my companionship...
I love you all lots, and I'll write more on p-day.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
Well, it's been an interesting week. I was thinking a week or so ago as I read Trent's letters that there are some interesting similarities and differences between the areas and people we work with. The biggest similarity is that like Trent, it is very easy to get in for a first lesson, or to have people agree to have us come back and teach us. What is tricky is getting things to stick. We've seen a lot of this over the past few weeks. Actually, I've seen it a lot in this area. I've found more new investigators here than any other place on my mission, but we've had a far harder time getting investigators to progress much. It's been an interesting new set of challenges, but that's okay. I'm learning new things, which is good.
I think I have officially reached the "super old" missionary stage. Over the last week, every single dinner appointment has asked me (and only me) how much time I have left. I asked Sister Harding if I have a sign taped to my back that says, "She's going home soon and doesn't want to talk about it, so be sure to ask!" Yeah. I remember before my mission how people would tell me that this would pass by so quickly, and I think I finally understand. It really does. There are really long and hard moments, but now as I look back, it's incredible to see how much I have done in this time. I've taken to reading my journal from the start of my mission, and it is so interesting to see how I've changed and grown in this work. I know I still have a lot more I want to try and learn in the next 2 months, but I also feel really good about my service and this time.
I think I've learned a lot about diligence and just sticking things out. Missions are not easy, but it's been cool to see how I can just hold to this and get up at 6:30 every morning and go exercise and do studies and then go out and ride a bike all over Phoenix (and sometimes all of it in 120 degrees). I've learned that sometimes you get placed in situations that maybe aren't the first choice, or with people who maybe wouldn't ordinarily be your friends, but that it doesn't matter, I can choose how I want to deal and what I want to do. I've learned that prayer really works. Sometimes it takes a really, really, really long time to get an answer, and sometimes it seems like the answer may never come, but especially as I was looking back at some events over the last year, I realized that the answers did come, but maybe I just needed a little more time to be able to see them from a different perspective.
In Preach My Gospel (the book missionaries study from like crazy) it has a chapter on Christlike Attributes. I certainly have a long way to go on all of them, but it has been interesting to look back and see how different events and circumstances of my mission have really been hand tailored by the Lord to give me the opportunity to develop and become more like the Savior. It's also been interesting to reflect back and see how different lessons I've learned from different companions and investigators have applied as I work with my current companion and investigators. I've learned a lot about patience. I think I came on a mission to learn to be patient. I don't know that I'd call it a stunning success, but I think I'm a good deal more patient with myself and with others than I was when I started.
I remember last October for General Conference, someone made the comment that not only should your mission be the best 2 years of your life, but it should be the best 2 years for your life. I really liked that. I think I can say that I have learned many lessons that I will treasure and take with me for the rest of my life. I've been blessed to work with so many great people and families, and to learn from them. I think in many cases these people have taught me a lot more than I was able to teach them. You learn a lot from people as you spend time serving them and getting to know them. I've been really blessed over my mission to work with some really incredible women. I was looking back, and I've taught mostly single moms, and let me tell you, they are amazing. I've learned a lot from them, and really look up to them.
Sorry this week wasn't much of one for a lot of exciting news, it's just that way sometimes. Thanks for the prayers and support. I love you all lots!
Monday, February 6, 2012
It's amazing to me that a whole week has gone by again. This week makes for one of the most stressful of my mission. We've seen some pretty incredible miracles each day, but we've also seen more opposition than I've ever seen. Long story short, we have an incredible investigator who is so ready to be baptized, but due to family opposition we have to wait. Yeah... it's been rough. But it's okay, she's handling it really, really well, and we know that it will all work out in God's time... it's just teaching us all a lesson in patience. I've learned a lot about prayer, and also about working hard to turn things over to God, which is really hard. As a missionary you love these people so much, and it is so hard to watch them go through trials.
On a happier note, we had some really fun lessons and experiences over the last week. Actually, the first one happened two weeks ago and I forgot to write about it. We were out tracting and met this really nice lady, we had a good conversation and set up an appointment with her for the following Saturday. At the end of our conversation she asked us if we liked cabbage. Mexican's like cabbage in everything, but it still seemed like a bit of a strange question. But we told her we did, she then proceeded to walk out to her car and open the trunk where she had a huge box filled with cabbages. Turns out she works on a farm, and gets to keep some of the surplus. I ended up with two huge cabbages in my backpack... it was a little weird.
Next, I got to pet an ostrich! Yeah. A real live ostrich! We taught a lesson to some new investigators this past week, and after the lesson they asked us if we wanted to go out back and see their greenhouses (they do a lot of farming). We said yes, and on the way out there saw a bunch of goats, chickens, ducks, geese, 2 emus and finally 2 ostriches! It was quite the farm. It made me think of a children’s Richard Scary (is that even how you spell his name?) story Dad used to read about some farmers who had all sorts of birds and got the eggs from them... I just remember the picture with the story, and now I'm pretty sure I know where the inspiration came from. Anyhow, long story short, one of the ostriches was sitting on the ground and they told us you could pet them... They're actually a lot softer than I expected, and really quite tame... I'm not sure if that applies to all ostriches, or just the ones we ran into.
We had Zone Conference this week. It was fun, but a little different. This year, President has decided to move to smaller Zone Conferences for 2 of the conferences of the 4 that we do. This was a small one, it was a little weird to have so few missionaries, and I was a little bummed because I didn't get to see any of the other Spanish Sisters. Oh well. We learned a lot, and had some really good discussions. It also got me out of metro-Phoenix again, because the conference was way out in Buckeye, which is pretty much (as far as I could tell) the middle of nowhere. There were just cotton fields and cactus, and then in the middle of 2 huge cotton fields there was a church. That's where we had our conference. It was fun.
I also got exciting news this week. For exchanges in 2 weeks I get to go with Hermana Graves! We are both super excited to get to spend a day together again. She was one of my very favorite companions, and I am so excited to get to work with her. She's now serving down in Montana del Sur, and I spend a few weeks there at the beginning of my mission, so it'll be fun to be back with a former companion in an area I'm at least a little familiar with.
I think that's all of the excitement for this week. I could go for a calmer week after this last one, I'm a little exhausted, but it doesn't seem to work that way. Maybe today I'll get a p-day nap in. That would be nice.
Oh, and to end quickly, last week Mom asked for favorite scriptures from my mission. I really like 2 Nephi 4:34-35, because it teaches us to trust in God... something that I've really had to learn on a mission. Also, (because I can't just pick one), I like 3 Nephi 5:13, because it talks to all of us as disciples of Jesus Christ. Finally, of late I've really loved 2 Timothy 4:6-8, because I want to be like Paul at the end of my mission and say that I have fought the good fight. It's my goal to work as hard as I can over the next 2 months and give my all so like Paul I can look back with no regrets.
All right, now I really am done. I love you all lots! Thanks for the prayers and the support!