Monday, December 27, 2010

Mexican/Asian Christmas

my dearest of dear loonies...
okay!  that phone call just stoked the fire.  It's really not nice the way they do that to us.  haha but it was so good to hear from everyone!  I'm sorry I talked way too much.  Next time i'm taping my mouth shut and just listening to all y'all tell me how much you love and miss me.  haha.  So did you all get off and analyze me?  What was the verdict? Am I weird?  haha.  or just fatter than you thought... hahah which leads me into:  thanks so much for the presents!  I felt like I had the Mary Poppins package...I just kept pulling things out of it!  and then me and my companions would ooh and ahh over whatever it was and we'd all try it on (the jewelry at least) and so it was exciting.  I told my companions that it's not fair that my family sends me a skirt that is too small for me and a bunch of candy all in the same package... talk about mixed messages.  haha jk it was all perfect.  Jessica.  That shirt was inspired.  I can't wait to wear it around all the zoobies on p-day.  Spence, your letter made my whole week.  I think missionaries are happier with mail and pictures than with anything else you can give them.  Sarah, I've already gotten a lot of compliments on the scarf, and I was actually looking at THAT VERY SCARF in the store the other day and wanted to buy it so bad but couldn't afford it so way to go.  we are so in touch.  The magnet is adorable and it's perfect because we have our bookcase sitting on our study table against the wall... (can you picture that? ) but anyways it's metal so I magnet up a bunch of pictures on the side of it and i was needing more cute magnets.  perfect!  John, the cd is amazing.  very inspiring.  Thank you thank you!  And as for Daddy and Mommy Warbucks...holy cow!  Did you realize how many price tags you left hanging on the stuff you gave me? haha.  you guys are in trouble.  It was all very cute stuff.  I love the pink flower ring.  darling.  i have the cutest jewelry of anyone in the mission.  it's just a shame that I serve in cloverleaf where I can't wear it so it only comes out for special occasions, but hey, i have something new to wear every zone conference.  Nice work picking it out.  You nailed it.  And MaryJane!  I love you, and i'm starting to wonder how busy a 12 year old can be?  haha but knowing you i'm sure it's legit.  Just don't forget my name before I come back. 
So Christmas was wonderful.  On Christmas Eve we went caroling with the English elders, which sorta feels like fraternizing with the enemy...and so then we bailed and headed over to a Christmas dinner at the Palomo's house.  They had a TON of people there and they had a whole Christmas program first, which included going around the room and bearing our testimonies, whether or not we were members of the church.  it was actually really cool.  And then we just ate ourselves silly.  Mexican Christmas food means tamales and pozole (a type of soup) and bunuelos (a fried flour tortilla dipped in cinnamon sugar...heaven in a tortilla) and champurado (hot chocolate with corn flour in it...there's more to it than that but it's also very good).  They even had  presents for us!  (gloves and toe socks) and the kids had written us some cards and stuck them in the christmas tree. 
Christmas day we got up and opened presents, then did our studies and then the Jacinto City hermanas came over for breakfast and we cooked bacon and mom's cinnamon/marshmallow/croissant things and german pancakes and eggnog and everything good.  it was really fun and we took up our whole lunch hour doing that. haha.  The crazy part is, between the five of us hermanas, we all go home on the same day!  So we're pretty close and we got laughing pretty hard all together.  AFter that we went out and worked until it was time to call the family. The Bishop's wife had us eat first (talk about tension...we were all so anxious to get on those phones!) but she made a complete meal of seafood, which not one of us likes.  haha.  it was really sweet of her though, it was a really nice meal - fish soup, crab legs, shrimp, and some weird tentacle salad.  Here's my thought process:  when I turned in my papers I had two stipulations for God:  I didnt' want to go asian and I didnt' want to go stateside.  (The asian thing was purely because of the food choices. )  Well...I went stateside and here I am trying to be positive and telling myself that AT LEAST I will never have to eat all that weird asian stuff...hahahahaha!  it's just so ironic.  Merry Christmas.  (spencer, that's a direct quote from you. )  Oh the best part of that visit was that they have two kids, an eighteen year old boy and a sixteen year old girl, and they're all really shy and quiet, and we're all really shy and quiet, and to top it off, the boy brought his girlfriend and she only speaks english so then if i could ever think of anything to say I didn't know whether to say it in spanish or in english...haha but it reminded me of the awkwardness of meeting your boyfriend's family and I wanted to laugh at that girl and tell her "i bet you're wishing you were on a mission right now." haha but i think she was having fun anwyays.  But Bishop and his wife all of a sudden busted out awesome english!  So that was entertaining.  They must really like this girl because they were pretty eager to make her feel comfortable.  they NEVER speak english.  great accents.  feliz navidad.
After dinner and talking to the family we met up with the elders from our district and went caroling (in spanish this time) to our investigators and members of our ward. Very cold.  But fun. 
So there's all Holiday the details.  Yesterday was such a great pay day because Fernando passed the sacrament! hahah he did a great job.  And he had the biggest grin on his face the whole time.  Next week he's blessing it.  I can't wait.  haha. 
This morning we had to clean out an elders apartment because they just moved and they needed help cleaning out their old apt.  NASTY.  And as i'm staring at their mold encrusted, rusty, grime and germ collecting toilet, I made eye contact with one of the elders with a horrified look on my face and we both started laughing and then I said where's your toilet bowl cleaner elder? and he said "what's that?" and that says it all.  So we found it finally in the back of the cupboard, completely full, and I got that toilet looking great in no time.  But let me say this:  That is true love right there.  And I told Elder Peterson that.  And he agreed.  (why wouldn't he, when someone's cleaning your bathroom for you, you don't disagree with them about anything!) But in the end, it was worth it because they let us take their cute clock and their full length mirror.  Oh the joy of mission apartments. 
But hey, i'm out of time but i love you and i'll try to email some pictures next week. sorry.  i left my camera in the car and dragging three of us off computers and out to the parking lot is just a lot of effort.  But anyways.,  You guys are SO LOVED!  hahah (don't tell president)  I can't wait to hear from ALL of you (cough cough) this week.  and if i don't, then i'll just keep waiting.  Thanks for supporting me - i think we're actually going to make it!  hahah keep the prayers coming. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Happy P-Day!  and more importantly... MERRY CHRISTMAS!  We had our big Christmas conference this past week, so I got my Christmas present from you guys and it's sitting under our little tree, just begging me to open it.  I also got a package in the mail from Grandma Tingey that I am also waiting anxiously to open, so when you see her you can tell her it got safely to me and thank you so much!   It was fun to be at the Christmas Conference because the whole mission was there so we were all together.  Our whole conference was focused on the theme "miracles."  So as you all know and diligently remember, we had the mission goal of doubling our baptisms from last year.  We fell short by about a hundred and fifty baptisms, but we had the highest baptisms this mission has seen in eleven years! so that was a miracle for us.  One sweet sister even pointed out that if you add the number of missionaries serving in our mission to the number of baptisms, you get our goal, and WE have been converted during this year.  haha.  but that's actually a pretty good point.  We had Gifford Nielsen and his wife there to speak to us and in case you haven't heard him speak, he was a BYU quarterback and then went on to play pro.  Did I mention he played football for BYU? I think he was the quarterback for Brigham Young University. and when he played pro here in Texas, well... you just learn so much about the gospel playing football, it's hard to separate the two topics in your head.  ;)  Let's just say, I had a couple different spirits fighting for my attention while he spoke.  and to top it all off, yours truly was involved in three musical numbers so it was kindof a crazy day.  they had me and hermana cannon play an organ/piano to the world.  it was intense. haha dusting off those old organ skills.  It was a really good meeting though, even if it did last from nine until three.  haha no seriously.  And someone's mom sewed these little texas boot stockings for all of us and stuffed it with stuff like gum and candy canes and toothpaste which was really sweet. she sent a letter to the mission and signed it love mom so nobody knows who sent it (although i'm sure her son does).  For a minute I thought it might be my mom becuase she's really mom-mom like that but then I realized she said she felt honored to have her "son serving in THE mission."  ouch.  oh well.  it's the thought that counts, right? hahah jk mom i love you.  and I would have been mad if you had done something like that - spending all that time on other missionaries when it should be focused on ME! haha jk jk!
Well, this week was (can I say this?) a little boring.  At least as far as emailing the family.  We didn't have too many crazy contacts, just a lot of people who weren't interested.  But we had some pretty cool lessons.  One woman we taught let us in and was all smiles and really cute to us becuase we reminded her of her daughters who are in honduras...we started teaching her a first lesson but as we talked, we started noticing things.  (like, she told us she and her "husband" weren't really married)  so we started kinda directing the lesson towards that and finally we asked her a question and she just put her head down on her arms and broke down sobbing.  She told us that she doesn't go to any church but she feels like she's letting God down because she's living with a man without being married. they've been together five years and she said she's never felt right about it.  How crazy is that?  She said she's to the point where she doesn't care if they break up or stay together, she just wants things to change.  I think she might be one of the few people I've met that actually understands the seriousness of breaking the law of chastity.  and she doesn't even have a religion!  Talk about the light of christ being inside you.  I'm just glad I'll never be in her position.  That law of chastity is a doozey, but i've come to love it! 
We had another similar situation yesterday.  A man who we've been working with named Sylvestre didn't come to church so we stopped by to see why.  He was bbqing and so we got talking to him and he started opening up and telling us how he gets afraid when he's inside churches and he just wants to get out.  We kept asking questions until he finally told us that nineteen years ago, he had a little three year old girl that died of cancer and ever since then, he hasnt' gone back to church until a couple weeks ago, when we invited him.  It was a much longer, sadder story than I have time to type out but we were able to teach him the plan of salvation and he was in tears.  When we talked about the celestial kindom he said he wanted to be there.  with his nina.  It made me think of you dad and the time we spent together in the hospital when I was about that age.  It made me think about you, mom, and how you are literally my very closest friend.  It made me so grateful for my siblings and how close we are, and more than anything, I thought about the promises we've made and will someday make in the temple, that bind us together so tight that nothing but our own disobedience can separate us.  It has been a bit of a goober week, as you can probably tell.  But i want you all to know that this is the last Christmas I'm ever spending without you guys.  haha.  I hope.  And I think that being on a mission is the only place I could be and still enjoy Christmas without my family there. 
It has been a really neat experience this year to experience Christmas without any of the fluff.  Does that make sense?  Like, Only the Christ stuff about Christmas.  The rest is really fun, and it is good, and I'm not saying we should do away with it, but it's a pretty rare experience to be able to step out of all that and just celebrate the birth of the Savior.  (don't get me wrong, the only way I can do it is on a mission, because i HAVE to.  it's a lot harder to have commercialism when you can't watch commercials) But I'm glad my mission timeline fell such that I have two Christmases in the field.  (the first one was similar, but I was so green it was hard to enjoy it. haha)  I love it too because it's so easy to see the good in people during christmas time.  Everyone is thinking about others.  lots of people we meet are bitter and say that christmas has lost its true meaning but i think it just depends where you look.  Thanks so much for sending me stuff for the holidays!  i think the best gift will just be getting to talk on the phone!  I love you all and I'm sorry I can't really send everyone a present but I'll be thinking about you. 
talk to you soon!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Time is flying!

Hey everyone:
Was it just me, or did this week go by RIDICULOUSLY fast?  We had a lot going on this week.  I'll try to hit some highlights:
On Friday we had a service project at the George W. Bush International Airport (no it's not a joke, and what sort of cruel, ironic humor drove our zone leaders to set up a missionary activity in an airport?  I'll never know.) But we were setting up a Christmas Fantasy Carnival for terminally ill children from Texas Children's Hospital which is in downtown Houston.  It was pretty cool.  We got to wear jeans (shock!  a little tighter than they used to be!) and we set up inside an empty airplane hangar.  But it was cool because at first they had to move a plane out of it so we were basically standing right there while they moved the plane.  Then they fed us and got us unloading more christmas decorations than you've ever seen in your life.  I spent most my time decorating about twenty five christmas trees that they had to set up all around the hangar.  They had Christmas music going, they let us build a stage for Santa to sit on, we brought in hay for the petting zoo (the elder from gunnison was having christmas morning right there when they brought the hay in!) yeah.  it was cool.  and as I said, Nothing says "Christmas" like "petting zoo."  Only in Houston. 
Next big item:  We had a recent convert marry an hermano in the ward this week.  Let me just set up for you the awkwardness of this situation.  He got divorced last february.  His ex-wife is still in our ward.  yep.  they both come to church every sunday and every activity.  they just sit on opposite sides of the chapel.  So now he is married to a lady that got baptized around the time he was getting divorced and they asked the MORMON MISSIONARIES to sing at their wedding.  why not?  So there we were, directing traffic, setting up tables/centerpieces, and singing spiritual hymns, when it suddenly hits us... they're using us for free labor because we can't say no! hahahha jk we love them but still... kinda true.  And then i start asking myself, as I'm hearing love songs blaring out of their dj sound system...this really isnt' a missionary atmosphere...did we ask permission to do this?  and I start asking around among the zone leaders and turns out...NOBODY ASKED.  so we probably weren't even supposed to be there.   But oh well.  hahaha that was a funny mission experience.  they made us take pictures by the bride and groom and i was laughing so hard because we looked like bridesmaids and groomsmen.  hermana case just kept getting creeped out seeing the elders in suits at a wedding... and then we just started teasing everyone about the next time we're all at a wedding together and who the bride and groom will be.  we're definitely awkward missionaries. 
And I'm basically out of time so I'm sorry this one is short this week.  The best part of the week was sunday.  We had four investigators come to church so we're hoping to get some of them progressing towards baptism soon.  (why does it always have to be so hard? haha jk) and "atheist" Fernando got the priesthood! haha he was smiling so big.  he's so ... i dont' know he's just crazy and I love that kid.  We asked him how he felt after.  we said, "how do you feel Fernando?  like a million bucks?" and he just laughed and said "MORE!"  He's working on his parents becuase he wants to go on a mission!  he'd be agreat missionary too because he came out with us this week ON HIS BIKE! to go do visits. haha he calls us the LDS biker gang and says that we need to buy leather jackets.  He even wore a helmet and everything.  adorable.  haha he said he wants to do something for us for christmas since we've "been helping" him and everything.  He said he wants to do something for our families so we'll see what he comes up with.  we already know what we're giving him for christmas.  he always asks if we can get him in to get his picture taken with the prophet and we always tell him no so then he finally dropped his expectations and asked if we could get him in with the twelve apostles - ANY of them.  hahaha!  NO FERNANDO, we can't!  so we bought a picture of the twelve apostles and we're photoshopping him into it with them.  i can't wait to give it to him!  hahaha he's so great. and he says he's going to move to utah to find a "righteous girl" so i'm guessing you'll all get to meet him someday. haha you have to.  he's my favorite!  i mean, i don't have favorites.  love him. 
okay have a good week! i love you all!  counting down to christmas phone call...

Monday, December 6, 2010

You just fit his stereotype...

Dear Family,
I'm sitting here, late, because we've had one after another unfortunate event prohibit us from emailing on time and in the normal place (san jacinto college campus).  So thus i'm crouched on a tiny chair in the children's section of the public library, next to a woman chomping chewing gum, and I have a "runner's" magazine staring me in the face, begging me to pick it up and read it.  But...never fear.  That's an easy one to resist.  I can't even run two miles anymore without breathing hard. As for the woman next to me... I think she'll resist the temptation just as easily as I will.  Although she is dressed in a bright pink running suit, she seems a little too into her abc streaming of some doctor show.  (not to mention, just based on her build, i'm going to guess she's NOT a runner.  but that's okay.  not everyone is.)
So here I am!  and it's another beautiful day in the neighborhood.  i mean, the 'hood.  A little cold today.  the weather this week has been crazy.  On Friday it was about eighty degrees, but then the next day it was about thirty. so what can you do?  buy tights to go under your skirt, right?  WRONG.  wal mart doesn't carry my size!  they have ten billion pairs of tights but NOTHING my size.  so ironic. haha oh well. 
ANYWAYS.  It has been a good week.  We had a family home evening last monday and brought Carlos and Fernando and Carlos had his conversion moment!  That may sound weird but... it's true.  He just kept saying how suprised and grateful he was that they would let him in his home.  He said he has been so happy ever since his baptism.  You could see it in his face.  Then, last night we took him to the Christmas Devotional and I got talking to him after and asking about his parents, who he is about to move back in with in Mexico, and he got all choked up telling me how he doesn't really know his parents because at age eight, he moved out to go work.  He said he doesn't have even one loving memory of them.  and he really doesn't remember NOT working.  Here is this grown man, once an alcoholic, who has definitely seen some hard things in his lifetime, breaking down about the childhood he never had.  I wished so badly right then that I could just put my arm around him or something.  But he said he finally feels hopeful about the future.  He said words wouldn't say how grateful he is to us.  I told him he doesn't have to say anything - just stay in the gospel and share it with others. 
So the other day we had another "experience" to add to the "weird contacts" list.   We were knocking these three trailers and set an appointment with the first woman, who thought we reminded her of her daughters in mexico who are our age...the second one was a drunk man who just shrugged and smiled really big when we asked if he'd be interested in our message... but then the third one kinda threw us off.  We walked up and it was dark but we could hear a dog barking from under the trailer, we jsut didn't know if he was chained or not.  of course I (the fearless leader) went walking right up to it and realized it was behind a fence thing... so I walked up the front stairs and then saw their second dog, just waking up.  luckily, the owner walked out right then otherwise I might have been writing this emial from a hospital bed!  But she (the owner) hurried and stepped on the dog's chain, right up by it's neck, and asked in a great white lady texan accent, "what religion are y'all from?"  we told her and she said, "okay, NOT INTERESTED."  (ouch) and then she went on to tell us how we really shouldn't be out after dark in that neighborhood, that after her street we might as well just give up because everyone was so bad (oh wait, we baptized carlos who lives four streets up from her!) and how cops will pick you up just walking the streets in cloverleaf because the prostitution problems are that bad.  (that's kinda true...)  then, mid conversation she stops, looks at me and says, "you are soooo CUTE!  I wish my brother was here so I could line you up with him.  (texan accent still) You just fit his stereotype:  tiny, white, and pretty!" hahahaha????!!! what? ahahha that was weird.  So we all just laughed and said "yeah"  but in my head i was saying "not on your LIFE you crazy lady!  what on earth makes you think I'd be interested in marrying your brother who lives in a trailer in cloverleaf texas, with a sister who says no to mormon missionaries?!"  haha but hermana case told me that if things don't go well dating wise for me after the mission i'll always know that there is a tiny white guy waiting for me in cloverleaf.  so true. 
well, I have a really bad headache today so i'm sorry if this emial isn't so great.  i'm having trouble focusing on this bright screen.  But things are looking great for us - we had three people come to church yesterday and we've got a few prospective baptismal candidates so we can't complain!  I think I've finally gotten to the point where I'm really falling in love with my mission.  I never thought I would really ENJOY missionary work but it is addicting.  and it helps to have two companions that you really get along great with.  i thought three would be hard but it feels like everything is easier with the work spread between the three of us.  Loving life!
p.s. how are christmas preparations goign?

Monday, November 29, 2010


Ok Sarah here. I'm begging all of your forgiveness since I've been a little behind on this blog! I know. I've already slapped my own hand. I commit to be better. (Mission language since it's a mission blog...that's the thing.) Anyway, the next 3 POSTS are new so please continue reading all through the November posts! Thanks!

Just another day in THE life:

Happy P-day!  I hope Mom's birthday went well, I hope she didn't go too crazy having everyone over on Thanksgiving, and I hope you're all sitting anxiously on the edges of your seats and staring with wide eyed anticipation into the empty void of your computer screen, just waiting for me to send this email so you can read it.  I know you're all really worried about what goes on in my life in this little corner of the world.  Don't worry, I'll send it in about a half an hour.  Whipe that sweat off your brow.

This has been a crazy/amazing/unforgettable week in THE mission.  (said with emphasis.  like you mean it)  That's probably because we had TWO baptisms this week.  Plus we got a new companion (the ever-fashionable Hermana Case) and we ate ourselves silly at two dinner appointments on Thanksgiving.  That's all. 

Our first baptism was Fernando.  haha I really can't believe that that kid is actually a mormon.  We had him in our phone under "atheist Fernando" and so now we need to switch it to "mormon Fernando."  haha.  he did it all in true Fernando flavor, but he got baptized!  He has been so happy.  Especially yesterday at church.  I've never seen him like that.  We had talked about taking the sacrament (because he would never take it and asked us if he HAD to take it after he was baptized...punk) and yesterday I was watching him from my perch on the stand by the piano.  He took the bread, looked right up at me, ate it, then laughed when he caught me looking at him and looked back down.  That laugh was worth a million dollars in my book.  DONE.  covenant made. He told us afterwards that he wants the priesthood (and that his "ultimate goal" was eternal marriage).  I told my companions that we need to teach him that the Priesthood power is not HIS power, it is GOD'S power...and then he called us up and asked what he would be able to DO once he got the priesthood. haha.  point proven.  one step at a time.

Carlos was our other baptism!  Do ya'll remember Carlos?  you may not.  But he accepted baptism on his first lesson and we were way excited about him until he told us he was moving to Mexico.  FALSE.  well, not entirely.  But he didn't go yet.  We ended up teaching him lessons 2, 3, and 4 this past week because we realized the bishop was willing to baptize and confirm him on the same day (saturday) which was also the day he would leave for Mexico!  Turns out he didn't even leave so we rushed it for nothing but that's okay.  He's baptized.  And he's so great.  After church yesterday he came up to me and asked how he pays his tithing so I got to go help him fill out his slip, which I've never done before, and I thought that was such a cool experience.  He is a great man. 

okay, next item of business: Thanksgiving.  So President gave us a "p-day" for thanksgiving... which basically was no different than any other day for us because we went to teach carlos in the morning, then headed to our meal appointment with Hector and Esperanza.  After we were completely stuffed silly, we went home and took a quick nap and then headed back out to our next meal appointment, with the Mendez family.  This one was SO much fun because a bunch of the other hermanas were there (not hermana warner, but don't ask her about it, because her district leader wouldn't give her permission to leave her area even though she got invited and she's pretty bitter...unrighteous dominion...haha what?  no...) .  But yeah.  it was way fun.  we ate and then we played games and guess what one of the games was? . . . JENGA!  Grandma Tingey's house anyone?  I was third in the line up and we just kept going around until it fell but the person who knocked it over had to sing in front of everyone.  needless to say I was shaking in my boots thinking of my voice singing spanish songs... but luckily i have years of expertness at that game!  Everyone thought it would fall on me the second time around but i miraculously managed to find a brick that was loose and wiggle it out. my hands were shaking really bad when I set it on top and everyone was laughing at me but hey, i didn't have to sing!  I knew all those jenga games with uncle brian would come in handy some day.  Everyone was so impressed. haha.  jk it was fun though. Overall, the best part was just being together with all the Hermanas.  Last year was kinda lonely for me at thanksgiving because I didn't know anybody yet and I was just missing home, but by now I feel so close to everyone and so it was like being with sisters or something.  or hermanas. haha

Anyways, it was a good thanksgiving, it was a good baptismal saturday, it was a good "gift of the holy ghost" sunday, and after church we went out and taught a guy named Luis who accepted a baptismal date for christmas day.  so that was a nice way to end the week.  "i'm dreaming of a white christmas...." 

I love you all!  I wish I could share so many more experiences but it will have to go in the journal and wait for a few months.  too much happens in one week to type out in one hour!  Have a great week. 

Happy Tanksgibing Bach. (What movie!?)

First off, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Is mom going crazy making the kids scrub the doorframes and everything? haha.  I wish I could be there.  That will be fun.  But i'm going to have a pretty fun thanksgiving myself.  Let me explain why:
1. I'm staying in Cloverleaf, so I'll actually be spending it with members that i KNOW. 
2. Hermana Killpack is staying with me so I'll be with a companion that i love. 
3. Hermana CASE is now with us!  so there's more cloverleaf hermana to share thanksgiving with!  hahaha
that's right everybody.  This duo just became a trio.  Welcome, Hermana Ashley Case from Manti, Utah.  Here's the cool story:  She started her mission the same day as I did, but when she showed up to the MTC, they didn't have a companion for her because her companion she had been assigned to had been moved up to the advanced class.  Yes.  are you putting this together?  we were supposed to be companions in the MTC!  so we've been wanting to get together for about a year now.  she's really cute.  One of those people who just has that "cool" factor.  And she's a great missionary.  She just got done training so she's all on fire and all that. haha.  We're excited to have her.  I don't know how the shower situation will work out...three girls and one bathroom...wait.  I grew up with FOUR of us using the same shower! haha we'll work it out somehow.  So i'm a little apprehensive about being in a trio but i'm excited for her to be here with us for the holidays. (this transfer covers thanksgiving, christmas, AND new years) 

Other good transfer news:  I'm having not one, but TWO "grandbabies!!!"  that's right:  both hermana Harry AND Hermana Warner are training this transfer.  I'm really excited for both of them.  They'll be great. I know you don't know them but they've become a huge part of my life. haha.  it's cool.

So for thanksgiving, we're going to go over to a member family's house.  They are the Mendez family.  And their son has decided to go to the U of U because of the good word I put in for my alma mater.  (what? i don't know if i used that word right... haha) But he called me yesterday from the u of u campus because he was lost. huh?  i know.  I told him he was making me trunky and he couldn't call for stuff like that! haha he's a fun member.  they're hilarious.  we're excited to go there.  and they're inviting like every hermana in the mission so it should be a blast. 

Other than that, we have Fernando's baptism on Saturday morning, and the Cardenas family all came to church again.  Good days for the work here in cloverleaf!  We just wish they weren't going to the english ward...haha jk.  (but seriously)

Fernando is getting ready for his baptism.  He told me last night that he knows that God governs his life and that he's not the one in control.  He also said he feels a "special presence" in this church.  I think it's so cool how far he's come.  He still has a long ways to go but I feel good about his baptism.  He's ready.  Now let's see if we can get it all organized and ready to go in time! haha jk we will.  the ward is totally behind him.  they love him.  And I just found out that one of the english ward members was his cross country coach in highschool so he came to one of our lessons and told him he's going to come to the baptism and he told him he was proud of him and his decision to be baptized.  That had to be huge for Fernando.  He gets so little positive adult feedback.  It was sweet.  There are some really good people in this world!

Other than that, nothing too exciting.  i'm trying to rush it today because we only have half a p-day to get everything done plus transfers.  president decided that if we just had half a pday today then he would give us the rest of it on thanksgiving so... i guess that works.   but thanksgiving will be a nice break now.  So i'm sorry if this sounds really scatterbrained but I love you all and i"m THANKFUL FOR YOU! haha

Hello to all my Jamaican brudders!!

Hey mon!  so I sorta wish I was in jamaica with my padres but then I look around at the muddy ditches and homeless refuse of cloverleaf texas and realize that I have it WAY better than mom and dad, and they should think about coming HERE for their next romantic getaway.  haha keep telling myself that, right? false.  I do not miss Jim.  and the truth is, I really do have it at least as well off as they do, because while they're lying in a hammock on a sunny white beach, and buying red, yellow and green beads to braid into eachother's hair, I am watching THIRTEEN members of the Cardenas family walk into the chapel on a sunday morning and file in to sacrament meeting!  that is right folks.  they ALL came and they took up the whole middle pew!  It was amazing, to say the least.  Veronica (momma cardenas)  seemed so happy to be there.  Normally you try to sit by your investigators when they come to church, but seeing as how there were SO MANY of them there was no room left on the pew, hermana Killpack and I sat right behind them and we saw Mom and Dad Cardenas start holding hands halfway through sacrament meeting.  It was very cute.  That was one of those heartwarming moments you wish you could bottle up and keep to open on a cold day when everything is going wrong.    It was a cool sacrament meeting.  I think the english ward was slightly in awe of us. haha.  The english elders have asked us to help out with teaching them because there's so many kids in a little tiny house so it's hard to have the spirit there when the kids are running all around.  Hermana Killpack and I will probably take charge of teaching the younger kids so I'm excited to see what happens with them... it won't count for our numbers but that's not what it's about anyways, right? haha. 

Fernando is back in business.  He wants this baptism thing.  I just hope I don't get transferred next week so that I can be here to see it happen.  His testimony has really come just through reading the Book of Mormon. It's crazy how nothing we could say would convince him but as he reads he just gradually softens.  That book is magic.  or something close to that. 

So in case you're all thinking that missionary life is EASY after all that sugar I just poured out, this morning I had one of the GROSSEST experiences of my life.  I was vacuuming and once again turned the vacuum off halfway through to complain to Hermana Killpack about the weird smell issuing from the ancient depths of the monster that is our vacuum, along with the irritating lack of suction coming from the bottom of it, even when I went over and over the same spot and let it sit there for ten seconds or more.  Sister Killpack is very down to earth so she just asked if I had changed the bag recently (and I had!) so I just kinda said "yeah, I don't know what the problem is" in a whiny voice and then she said, "well, let's tip it over and see if we can see anything wrong with it."  So we tipped it over and there was about one full Jon Tingey head of hair rolled around the bottom brushes of the vacuum.  In fact, so much hair that you couldn't even see the brushes.  I looked at Hermana killpack and we just stared at eachother in silence for about five whole seconds until i said, "SICK." and she kinda laughed and then I said, "go get me the scissors and a plastic bag."  twenty minutes later we had cut our way through that rodent of a hairball and were able to take some nasty pictures and turn the vacuum back over and successfully vacuum the rest of the room!  hahaha it was NASTY.  nasty.  Everybody reading this go right now to your vacuum and make sure that you are cleaning it out with regularity.  I probably just ripped out a five year's supply of sister missionary hair from our vacuum brushes.  yuck! 

Other than that, the work is going well.  We met a really cute girl named Linda this week that we're really excited about.  We've only taught her once and probably won't see her for a while because she's going out of town because she's in the army or something, but she's really cool.  She's our age so that's always fun.  And she speaks English which helps... (don't tell all my friends who are on foreign missions!  it's just easier to relate to them in english, ok?)  The good news is, she asked if we had church services in spanish because she's always gone to church in spanish.  hahah yes we do! so we get to keep her. 

We're getting excited for our temple trip this thursday (and i'm WAY excited because Hermana Warner is going to come stay with us Wednesday night and go to the temple with us because her companion has a doctor's appointment that day and since she's in a trio the other companion is going to go to the doctor so she gets to come with us!  i can't wait to see her again.)  And then it is transfers!  I can't believe another transfer has gone by so fast.  It's ridiculous.  I think I'll probably stay here with Hermana Killpack but I guess you never really know.  I'll just leave you all on the edges of your seats on that one and get back to you next week with the results. 
Love you all!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Lord's Way...

Hey there Fetchers!  (from that weird dog show...not the way my cunado says it)
First things first:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOUUUUUUUUUUU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOUUUUUUUU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MARYJAAAAAAANE.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!  happy birthday we (I) sing to you, may your dreams and wishes come true.  May your hours be filled with happiness! and all your days with love be blessed!  Tis love brings us (me) here.... Tis love brings us (me) here.... happy birthday maryjaaaaaanne.  Tis love brings us (me) here!  So what are you now, twenty two?  hahaha jk Maryjane!  you are twelve.  That is cool.  Beehives or bust.  haha  I hope you have a good day today and know that I am thinking about you and talking about you to my companion.  No more primary!  that's always a good day.  Not that there is anything wrong with primary know what i mean.  So this makes twelve years since we moved in to HOLLAday.  that is weird. I love you janey.  and I'm sending you a car for your birthday.  A mexican one, which means it will be two toned truck with really loud speakers that you can blast your mariachi music from and crazy blades/ rims/whatever they are and a smokestack and at LEAST a six inch lift.  you should be excited.  you're going to look great in it!
We had such a cool experience this week!  We had a day where EVERYTHING fell through.  I'm talking like seven appointments and all of our backups and so we ended up knocking doors on the spur of the moment.  We even had someone call and full on YELL at us over the phone for a misunderstanding they had, so I wasn't feeling too pumped up, but we did a "let's go right here" and "how bout right again" until we got to a good street to knock.  We got off the bikes and I started walking into the first driveway I saw, which happened to have a mom and kids out playing in the yard.  As soon as we got within her fence, she stood up and walked inside.  I was thinking in my head, "nice.  real nice." and then (even better) she sends her husband out to deal with us.  I was feeling like "of course.  of course you send him out to get rid of us."  Until I introduced myself and shook his hand and he immediately invited us in. It was all royal treatment from there - he's getting us chairs to sit on and asking if he can get us something to drink... the whole shebang.   Turns out, she originally thought we were jehovah's witnesses (i HATE it when that happens.  almost as much as i hate it when they think we're menonites.. no.  actually, i'm just a normal young girl wearing a really ugly skirt.)  but that's why she went inside.  She told her husband "you better go talk to them because if it's anyone but the church of jesus christ of latter day saints, I'm going to say something mean to them." what? haha how often do you hear that?  Her mother and grandmother are both members, but she was raised catholic because of her stepfather.  She and her husband have NINE kids and they were taking the discussions but then they moved and haven't been able to get in touch with the church since then.  She said that the other day she was having a really hard time with some of her kids and she wanted to read the "mormon book" so she started looking for it and realized she lost it!  She didn't know what to do or how to get in touch with anyone from the church so she was pretty desperate.  She said,"my husband doesn't even know this, but I knelt down that day and pryaed that if I couldn't find the Mormons, that the Mormons would find ME."  what?????  i know.  It was incredible.  The only thing wrong with this whole experience was that they speak english.  but that was so cool!  The elders for the english ward are basically kissing our feet now.  "Hey elders, we have ELEVEN golden referrals for you!"  But I just think Hermana Killpack and I were lucky to be a part of answering that woman's prayer.  And it was a good reminder for me that God's plan for our day is ten billion times better than OUR plan for our day.  Welcome to the fold, Cardinas Family!
Fernando update:  We've put his baptism on hold until he can change a few things.  As of right now, he's just not doing it for the right reasons.  I think he feels a stronger desire to join the church than he does to have his sins washed away.  He knows he needs Christ to cleanse his sins, but it's almost like that BUGS him or something.  I dunno.  But he is still coming to church and reading the Book of Mormon and he even went to a fireside last night without us knowing it... but he's still got a lot of pride.  He was pretty disappointed though when we told him he couldn't get baptized yet.  He told us he'd pray about it - so that is a good sign.  A few weeks ago we would have been the ones asking HIM to pray, and he would have had a huge problem with that.  so we'll take whatever progress we see. 
Anyways, life is good.  We saw a live possum walk through our headlights while we were recording our milage at the end of the day yesterday.  Welcome to Texas.  ROUS. 
oh yeah, and Hermana Killpack's bike broke.  Her tire has something wrong with it but we're too independent to be needy and call the elders so we've basically wanted to rip our hair out for the past couple days.  It went flat one day while we were out in the very far corner of our area so we ended up walking a bit until (miraculous tender mercy) we saw a kid on the side of his trailer pumping up his bike tires and he let us use his pump!  so then we were able to ride to a member's home where she gave us a ride home. But we now know how to change bike tire tubes!  every cloud has a silver lining...(and we did have young albert insured!)  nobody will get that but us Tingey's - we're odd like that. 
I love you all!
have a great week!

PS. Hey I forgot!  The cutest thing ever happened to me yesterday. 
We have a sweet little old lady who just recently converted who lives in our ward and she is almost 100% deaf but she always gets up to bear her testimony and so the whole time she just gets louder and louder until she's just about yelling into the mike. haha.  it's so cute.  but she is so sweet and I went up to her after Relief Society and told her thanks for her testimony and she gave me a big 'ole hug.  I saw she was wearing this funny sparkly necklace so I told her it was pretty and she said, "do you like it?" and I said yeah, so she said "I'll give it to you." and she took it off her neck and put it around mine!  It was so nice of her.  I felt bad... but it taught me a good lesson about being Christlike.  How are some people so good?  I need to be more like that. 
anways, pass it on.
me again

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hope y'all had a good day yesterday.  Everyone you know was just GIVING out candy! how is that not a good day? anyways, on to the good stuff:
Let me just tell you what a "missionary's dream" of a sunday we had yesterday.  SEVEN investigators in church.  count them.  seven.  siete.  shi shi - whatever.  It was cool.  IT WAS SO COOL!  And two of them have baptismal dates:
the first is the guy Carlos that we met last week and he's just progressing great.  the only problem is he works late during the week so we can only visit on sundays.  bit of a setback, but nothing huge.  He's living the word of wisdom and the law of chastity already and i'm pretty sure he felt the spirit pretty strong at church becuase it was the primary program and everyone was feeling it. 
the second is . . . drumroll... ATHEIST FERNANDO. what?  i know.  So we dropped him about a week and a half ago and then he started humbling himself and actually praying.  He kept coming to everything and we'd ask him how his prayers were going and then this week I said, You know Fernando, if you're praying, that means we can start meeting with you again.  So we met again and got him to admit that what he wants MOST is a family.  From there, we talked about dying and not having a family if you haven't lived the gospel.  Then we talked about making promises with God that assure us we will have things like eternal life and an eternal family.  We told him he hadn't made any promises with God up to this point in his life.  So he had no assurance of any of that.  He thought for a long time about that one.  We finally told him that when we make a promise with God we know he'll keep his side of the bargain, so if we live obedient to our side, then we can live IN PEACE, knowing what the outcome will be.  He showed up in a suit to church that sunday and called me after and asked if he can be baptized on Saturday.  We told him he'll have to wait until november 20th because he still hasn't taken the discussions. haha.  but it's cool how much he has changed.  Now if we ask him to pray he doesn't even hesitate.  Last night in his prayer, he thanked God for the person he was going to become.  Now that is poignant.  have I ever said that in a prayer?  
We also had a man named Pedro and his daughter Melisa show up unexpected to church yesterday.  We have taught pedro and his wife gloria before but gloria basically told us, my door is open to anyone who talks about god, but please leave.  so it was a bit of an awkward situation and I knew that pedro liked what he was hearing but we didn't really have a choice.  I asked him what he thought and he said "i think I shouldn't break up my family.  I go to church with my wife."  But I guess his member friend talked to him and he's going to start coming now.  It was good to see him there.  I almost had a heart attack, haha but it was good to see him.  
The others who came are people we've been working with - we're glad they came!  I do have to say though, finding rides for investigators on sundays is probably the bane of my existence!  but it worked out.  
Like I said, it was also our primary program yesterday.  Don't you just love primary programs?  They had us all dress in white (I say us because I am the primary pianist.  and the relief society pianist.  and the ward pianist.  and the stake choir pianist.  you get the idea) but it was so cute to see all those little dark kids in white!  (can I say that?  it was cute though)  And they get up and say their little spanish parts.  so cute.  "Dios vive."  I especially loved when my favorite little Julie got up and gave her part.  we eat at her house every tuesday and so I was the one that helped her learn her part!  I just kept saying it over and over and making her say it and then i'd say it and leave out a word or two and make her fill them in.  (she's four and adorable)  but she got up and without any fear at all said, "Jesucristo tiene poder sobre de la muerte."  (Jesus Christ has power over death )  except her part really went "Jesucrist tiene poder sobre la muerte."  we couldn't get her to stop saying the de.  but anywyas.  it was cute. 
So we had a good week.  to say the least.   
but that's about it.  we're still here, speakin da spanitch.  (that's what our less active elderly Hermana Banda [who could probably beat up a hardened criminal] always says to us if we start speaking english in front of her:  "HEY you supposed to be speakin da spanitch!" haha)  but that's what we do all day. 
Hope you have another good week!  sounds like everyone is doing well.  thanks for your letters!  I LOVE YOU ALL

Monday, October 25, 2010

One Year.

hey everyone. 
Can you believe it is October?  I don't think that has quite sunk in yet, and we're almost done with this month and on to November already!  So weird.  I remember so vividly walking into the MTC one year ago.  haha.  I had no idea what I was headed into.  But that's probably a good thing.  hahahha. Do you remember that day Mom?  It was a memorable one.  We left and bought this little dog collar of a watch (still hanging in there) at Wal-mart - the first of many quality wal-mart purchases to be made during this mission experience.  (we shop at wal-mart. haha) Then we drove down to provo.  (ew. but it had to be done.)  and went to TGIFridays and ate molten lava cake which, for the record, I think we should eat soon after my arrival home because it was awesome, and I felt weird for being in a skirt even though everyone and their dog in the restaraunt knew exactly what was going on.  Now when I go into restaraunts, I still feel weird in a skirt, but nobody knows what's going on.  they just think i really am weird.  and sometimes I want to wear a sign that says "in real life, I wear jeans like a normal person." haha  it's better just to eat in our apartment.  But now I know what the polygamists in st. george feel like when they shop in the same store as people like us who rubberneck them all around the store. 
ANYWAYS And then we went up to the temple and took some pictures and my biggest regret is that I didn't take any on my camera!  so i've never seen them.  but they're probably great.  and then we walked down and took more pictures and then we walked back up and got the car and drove down and before we could even get a good cry on they whisked me away!  Rip that bandaid off I guess. haha.  And ever since then I haven't had two minutes to sit down and think.  okay that's not true but that's how I feel.  It was a good day though.  And I hardly slept at all that night.  
My sleeping has improved over the last year, so that's a relief.  Now I can't seem to get enough!  But I have yet to fall asleep on my knees (dad's favorite) so I think I'm doing pretty good. 
What else have I learned in the past year? 
spanish.  .  . sortof. 
spanglish.  for reals. (it really is a skill to learn!  before it used to confuse me but i got it down now)
that Christ came to the Americas (just kidding mom, that's your story! )
that my brother spencer is a saint for cleaning our hair out of the drain.  i hate doing it. 
that elders leave things in the fridge for years at a time.
that dogs aren't pets, they are guards.
tortillas are a utensil!  roll them up to be like the mexicans. 
mujer en volante, peligro instante.  this has proven to be true. 
cucumbers taste good if you squeeze lime over them.
just about anything tastes good if you squeeze a lime over it.  (except cow stomach)
most people come to the door after the third time you knock it.
cockroaches come in three sizes.  tiny, big and huge. 
they hide in the dishwasher, microwave, under the fridge and in the crack between the carpet and the floor. 
most people are spiritual.  but most people aren't religious. 
If you are carrying a bike up a flight of stairs, it helps to grab the bar below the handlebars and below the seat, then heft up onto your hip.
the freeway system in Houston is just two big circles
bolilla means me.  so does guera.  so does americana.  so does misionera. and they call us that.
the mailman comes at three thirty.  his name is Batiste.  he is a very happy black man.  and he knows everything about missionaries. 
it never pays to be stressed over being late. (dad, I owe you an apology for every day of my highschool career)
 it never pays to be stressed over anything
I could add a billion more obviously, but I think most of all if I had to choose just one, I would say that I have learned that having faith means trusting God.  That means doing what you know how and trusting that he will do a loaves and fishes miracle to make that be enough.  It means not to stress about where your next investigator will come from because he will provide.  (abraham was right!) It means not to stress about anything related to the future.  just do your best, enjoy the present, and keep going! 
this was a good week.  We met a man named Carlos who accepted baptism in our first lesson!  We haven't been able to follow up with him yet but we're excited for him.  What's weird is that when we were driving to our appointment with him, I got to his street and for some reason went past it.  I knew I was passing it but I just couldn't turn down.  We stopped our bikes and Hermana asked me what was wrong and I said I didn't want to go down his street.  She just kinda looked at me and I said "we have to, don't we." and she said, " you want to try going around the block and coming UP the street?"  so I said no and turned the bike chariot around and went down.  it was so weird.  I dont' know why I had that.  But it's interesting how sometimes we hesitate right before something amazing is about to happen.  Why do we do that?  I dunno. What I do know is that fear is pretty much at the root of all failure.  and like hermana keele and I posted on our wall, "the chief cause of failure is sacrificing what we want most for what we want in the moment."  I don't know.  but there you go - a little pep talk for you. just call me Kyle Whittingham.
alright that's all i've got.  
I love you! have a good one!
p.s. we dropped Fernando (against his own wishes) because he refuses to pray.  but he came to church and everything.  he can't get enough of us.  more on him when he humbles himself enough to admit that he actually needs god's help to come to a religious conclusion.

Monday, October 18, 2010

White and rockin!

Dear people who may or may not be reading this because my sweet sister sarah may or may not be updating my blog regularly these days:
How's everyone doing?  I am tired.  I guess that's a good thing haha.  We hit it hard this week - and plus it doesn't help that Hermana Killpack's bike chain broke so we ended up walking about four or five miles Saturday night trying to get out of the gangsta ghetto of cloverleaf before dark.  But actually, it was kinda nice to get off the bikes and walk for a while.  I gianed a new appreciation for the differences between the cluttered ditches of cloverleaf, TX and the paved roads of Holladay, UT. We've started a list entitled "things found in the cloverleaf ditches" and so far we have :beer bottles, mangy dogs, frogs that make a creepy bleating noise, COUCHES (see picture from last week), newspapers, deflated basketballs, an upside down doghouse, garbage of all sorts, a shopping cart, coke cans (those are rare because so many people walk around collecting soda cans, so it's ten points if you find one of those) and if you're lucky, maybe a dead possum or cat or armadillo.  This list is an open list, so you may hear me make reference to it in the future.  stay tuned. 
So Hermana Killpack is going to be awesome.  correction: she IS awesome.  I've never been with a harder working companion.  Today is actually her Birthday so here's a shoutout to my girl Killpack.  and just between us, her name is Jessica so I liked her right off the bat.  She LOVES pride and prejudice so we were basically made for eachother.  It's fun to finally be with someone who has just as much time as I do on the mission.  I feel like we have the same goals and the same sense of near urgency as we're about to hit our year mark together on thursday.  We were talking about how we both feel like there was SO much we expected to accomplish on our missions and you start to realize that a year and a half just isn't that much time.  So there's lots to do.  The ward just thinks it's HILARIOUS that she is named "killpack."  they told me that I went from one "kill" to another.  (for those of you who are cocking your heads to the side and reading that past sentence more than once, Hermana Keele was my last companion and it is pronounced "kill") and now they just call Killpack Hermana kill.  It's a good thing she's a good sport.  
So this week we were out knocking doors (ALL DAY EVERY DAY pretty much) and we found this weird looking house with the stairs coming up on the side, slanting at about a fourty five degree angle so that I had to lean to the side in order to walk up onto the porch and knock.  Nobody answered.  Darn.  I wanted to see if the person living there leaned to one side.  But as we were walking off, I noticed that the driveway went way back and there was another shed/house looking thing in the back, with a black girl sitting on the porch.  At first I kinda thought "too far.  and she definitely doesn't speak spanish" but my guilt got the better of me and so we walked back to contact her.  She was way nice and seemed pretty interested so we referred her to the elders.  They are currently whitewashing their area so I was pretty suprised that they went over the next day but they called us and apparently she loved the restoration message - they said she broke down crying, and said she didn't want "this feeling" to leave.  She was supposed to move on Friday but she stayed to figure this "mormon thing" out.  haha!  she went to church yesterday and she has a baptismal date.  So we're pretty good at finding people for the english elders to baptize.  I told them they owe us one. 
Other than that, we're looking for people to teach.  So if you know any spanish speakers in the Cloverleaf area, write me back ASAP!  hahahaha.  It's going to be a good transfer though. 
Hermana Keele called me from her new area to tell me that she lives with two english sister missionaries and their names are Sister Wallace (whom I already knew) and her greenie...sister...BOWHUIS (whom i ALSO ALREADY KNEW!) what?  that's right.  MaryJane, are you freaking out right about now?  because Mrs Bowhuis' daughter courtney is in my mission!  newly arrived.  I'm excited to see her. I got to say hi and she sounds good.  zippy and unexpected twist:  she was actually dating the brother of a boy in my district in Broadway 2, so I've known she was coming out all along but just didn't realize it was HER.  (nobody ever said her actual name.  they all just said "Elder Gardiner's brother's girlfriend" was coming to our mission.)   So that was pretty funny.  I asked Hermana Keele how Baytown was and she said "very large, very WHITE, and rockin."  Not to be outdone by the infamous Keele, I shot right back, "oh so it's just like me."  and she DISSOLVED into laughter.  I could literally hear her hit the floor and roll around.  That's why I love her.  Everything is a big deal.  hahaa.
So that's what's new with me.  I think we're going to go grocery shopping after this, then get the car washed and get our hair cut!  woohoo.  so it's a big day.  Hope everyone has a very white, very rockin week.  Lovin this October in Texas weather. 
Hermana Becca

Monday, October 11, 2010


So first things is TRANSFER DAY. I am staying in the ever gangsta clovaleaf but Keele got transferred. she's opening up a brand new Hermana area in Baytown so I'm afraid I won't be seeing her much anymore! I need to take a moment to feel bad for missionaries all over the world who, all to often, have their lives turned upside down when the person they live, sleep, eat, cry, fight, and breath with has to move. But it happens so often that nobody even feels bad for us. It's really not fair. Losing a companion is worse than breaking up with your really serious boyfriend. haha. almost. not really. But i'm going to miss Keele! That was a tough one for me. I was suprisingly emotional about it. My new companion is Hermana Killpack from Idaho. She started her mission the same day I did and so we'll be going home together five transfers from now! that sounds so weird. let's not think about it. She's really cute though so I'm excited for the transfer. Time to show her around this crazy town! We're going to have fun. I can already tell.

Rafael did it! He is officially a member! That was such a great way to end our transfer together. It was kindof a stressful day for me though because we started off the day by going to a tri-mission conference (that means everyone serving anywhere in Houston) to hear Elder Costa speak! It was cool. We got to shake his hand, and he gave a really good, really motivating talk. Just what I needed! But it was out of our mission so it took us a while to get home and we barely made it in time for the baptism. Oh well. It worked out! He is such a good guy.

Alright. time to talk about atheist Fernando. (go on everybody, sing the song! ... I've never even heard it but everybody is mentioning it so I know that's what you're all doing in your head right now! are you done yet? okay let's continue) He's still an atheist, but he is an atheist that is in LOVE with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. hahahaha! He came to our correlation meeting on Wednesday asking all about For the Strength of Youth, then showed up to a lesson with parts of it underlined! He came to church on Sunday, (got in an argument with the Hermanos about faith, so we gave him a pretty tough talking to telling him that he couldn't come to our church just to argue and that he needed to come to LEARN) and afterwards he called us and the elders and asked to meet at the church again, where we talked and finally broke down a couple walls about his personal life and he asked what he would need to do to be baptized. what? still hasn't decided if there's god, but he's reading the book of mormon and coming to church. we know he believes in God, he just doesn't know it yet. But he's almost there. Stay tuned. I think he's going to suprise us all.

I hope everyone is doing well - sorry this email is so scatter-brained, transfer day does that to the best of us! I love you and miss you! enjoy the pics!

love, Becca

p.s. sarah, you tell me how well the hair worked in the humidity? I thought it did pretty well... this was the end of the day.

p.p.s.just another day studying scriptures in our classy classy area! isn't that nuts? we've started a list of things we find in the ditch on the side of the road - COUCH! crazy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

what? it is October.

Hey you guys

So what do you do on a pday when you have laundry to do, letters to write, scriptures to study, an apartment to clean, and a language to learn? You obviously sit in front of the mirror for an hour and straighten your goldilocks curls! hahah. But only if your companion insists (incessantly) (did i spell that right? I don't think so...)and she curls her unforgiveably straight hair so that you're not alone in your sudden change of appearance. That's right. It's straight today. And I feel weird. I'll let you know how it goes after a day out in the 67% humidity. Speaking of that - can you believe it? sixty seven percent! It feels soooooo good outside! And we're actually down in the eighties. I told Hermana Keele this morning that I was going to wear a sweater. But then I decided not to and I'm glad I didn't. Not THAT chilly yet.

Alright so last Tuesday we were knocking doors and having ZERO success. We were having the opposite of success actually. It was one of those days where you start to maybe almost doubt the first line of the young women's theme a little bit. (the "who loves us" part) Anyways the last straw for me was one of the last doors we knocked when a punk eighteen year old kid answered with his headphones on and took one look at us before saying "Christians? I'm not interested. I'm atheist." and attemped to shut the door in our faces. Luckily, Hermana Keele doesn't take that from ANYBODY. haha so she asked him what makes him atheist and he said a few things and then I started pouring my heart out testifying that there is a God and that he is our loving Father and he said "yeah yeah, that's nice." and shut the door. mid-Hermana Tingey-sentence. We both kinda threw our heads back, and said "Alright thanks so much, have a nice day" through the glass of the door, and walked off to get shut down by the next door. (a little more kindly at least...they just turned their music up louder and never answered haha) The next day, keele said "remember that punk atheist kid we met yesterday who totally ticked you off?" and I said "hermana. I'm trying NOT to remember him, thanks." haha Well somewhere in our exchange with the atheist, we must have slipped him a pass-along card because next thing we know, Wednesday night we're sitting in correlation and IN HE WALKS. what? yeah. headphones and all. but get this - he's wearing church clothes. Turns out he totally researched everything you can possibly read online about mormons and he came to ask us a few questions...which turned into him repeating over and over again that he was atheist and us just ignoring him and teaching him. Finally I said, "Fernando. It's not too often that an atheist walks into a church." He said "i know." But long story short, we now have "atheist fernando" under our "progressing investigators" list because he came to THREE of the five conference sessions AND he read 1 Nephi chapter one. He said it was "okay" and that he didn't really get it. But he keeps calling us. Definitely not atheist. Hermana Keele bet me fifty bucks that he gets baptized. I'm starting to think she's right. He keeps saying maybe he'll pray "a little later on" but he's not ready to yet. And yeah, we're pretty excited about him. Interesting fact: he said that what got him interested in us was how we maintained our composure on the doorstep when he was rude to us. pretty cool.

We met a quirky little couple this week named Benny and Bianca whom I couldn't even BEGIN to describe, but let's just suffice to say he's your typical strong silent hispanic guy with tatts all up and down his arm who draws beautiful pictures while he's "locked up" and she is a white redneck with an obnoxious laugh who desperately wants to be the mafia member's girlfriend. But she had faith like you wouldn't BELIEVE and when he was telling us he doesn't feel worthy of approaching God to ask him if the Book of Mormon is true she said, "Benny, you CAN ask God. Because I know he loves you. When I first met you after leaving my ex-husband, I prayed and I said, God if this is the man you want me to be with, let it be. And you BEED Benny. You beed." Yes folks. He beed. it was so funny, but it came at such a tender moment that I couldn't even laugh. She is amazing. Her ex husband came up behind her one day in his eighteen-wheeler while she was driving with her three girls and purposely rammed into the back of her, knocking his three children out of the car and paralyzing the left side of her body. Her faith is based mostly on the miraculous recovery she has had (really just her eye droops now) and the fact that her three daughters were unharmed. That is cloverleaf. But we love it.

Rafael is on for this Saturday. He's going under the water and coming back up a Mormon! We're so excited for him. He's so excited. It's all just good feelings all around. Gotta love the guy. He's incredible.

That's all folks. at least all for now. i'm kinda bored of typing. But I hope you hear from ya'll real soon. I love you and I miss you and I appreciate you all! Take care,

Monday Monday....SO GOOD TO ME!

That is our theme-song for P-day. But sometimes we sing it to our investigator Belkis (sounds like BELL-keys, mom). and we put her name in there so it goes "Belkis, good to me!" haha and the best part is she is totally gangster and she doesn't even flinch. We come riding up on our bikes singing that out to her and she just goes,"hey." without even CRACKING a smile. doesn't even acknowledge that we're doing anything out of the norm! she's incredible! she's got a sense of humor like steel! haha but man has she had a hard go of it. She is twenty one and pregnant with her fourth child and her boyfriend is abusive in every way possible. It's scary. But I think she holds her own. Seriously. She has told us stories. If i were a man I would be terrified of her.


So last monday night. hahaha. three words: noche de HOGAR! family night. We asked our recent convert Esmeralda if we could do an FHE at her house with our investigator, Rafael. So around three that afternoon Esmeralda calls us and invites us to do it at our relief society president's house instead, because the elders were doing one with her and she invited esmeralda and it just turned into a string of one mexican inviting another and the end result was that we totally crashed the elders' FHE. haha but at about six forty five she called us and said that she was waiting outside our apartment to drive us to it and so we walk out and realize "wait a minute. that's not esmeralda's car. who is that man in that truck?" and it turns out that RAFAEL was driving us, and Esmeralda, and FOUR other women from the ward to the noche de hogar! of course the five women squished in the back seat of the truck so that Hermana Keele and I could sit up front, nice and cozy with our investigator, with his crucifix swinging wilding from the rearview mirror right in front of our noses, while he frustratedly tried to get directions from the five giggling women in the back who lovingly refer to him as "rafa." hahahahhaa I think next time they'll just stick us in the trunk! that's the way we do it here in cloverleaf. Needless to say, I think he's doing well in the "fellowshipping" department. And that was the best FHE i've ever been to. It's a party here in Houston 7.

So "Rafa" is doing great. He really is though. He's a little timid but he told us that he's getting more comfortable around us now and he certainly is telling us more during the lessons. And he prayed for us last time! so that is a good sign. We haven't been able to meet with him as much as we wanted to so we've moved his baptism back to the ninth. He's great. Loves the church. Just really worries that he won't be prepared enough to get baptized. I think he has very little confidence in his spirituality. but we've got lots of confidence in him! he understands everything we teach and expands on it!

It's a good thing we've got Rafael because just about everyone else that we know shut us down this week. Quite literally. and I wish I were kidding. Teresa let us down and didn't come to church even though she PROMISED us she would be coming. So we went to her trailer to chew her out and found her whole family plus every cousin twice removed she's ever had watching the soccer game. not to worry, they invited us in and pulled up some chairs for us in the corner - handed us spicy mango suckers, and went back to the game. So we talked right there in the corner with Teresa. I think she'll figure it out. She's just confused. But she definitely feels the spirit around us. Other than that, we've been doing a lot of finding and we met a woman named... Lily Luna. She is loony. I want to caller her Luna Lovegood! she lives in a bright pink house and she has all these plants and she had one foot painted blue toenails and the other foot green and she doesn't shave her armpits. Anyways she immediately fell in love with us. Didn't listen to a word we were saying. But it was a funny time. The best part of the story happened a few days later though when we were back on her street visiting one of her neighbors and I looked up and saw her...ON THE ROOF OF HER HOUSE! Of course. Of course. hahahhaa. that was a good laugh.

We also met a WHITE guy this week named Josh. He actually waved us down on the bikes - he was standing in front of a gas station, drinking. And he was quite drunk. But he told us all about the girls he met once who were missionaries and how dang fine they were. Then he asked if we were married and "what would happen if he showed up to our church in a tuxedo." hahaha! we just both started laughing and he started laughing and we were laughing at him but he didn't realize it so he just kept laughing and that made us laugh even harder. He said that he needed us and Hermana Keele said, "no Josh. you need Jesus." That is the conversation in a nutshell. Actually it lasted about ten minutes and he just TALKED AND TALKED but never said ANYTHING. For example he would say something like this, "yeah, I know who's ya'll and my buddies, we talked and a fine girl like you, GIRL, you's so da*# SMART! ya'lls iz smart as he#! and one day we put on our finest up ther in pine trails and i be drinking and she had such fine blue eyes and i need ya'll. i need ya'll." and on and on and ON. Meanwhile, the homeless couple we contacted about a block back had made it up to the gas station and while the wife (who only had one breast, and definitely did not have even one bra cup) went inside to buy something, her husband listened in on our convo with Josh and then got right up in my face (he should probably get the skin cancer removed from his nose) and laughed and said "what's his problem!?" and I just kinda pulled my face back and said, "good question." and then he said "huh! he's bin drinkin." Well diagnosed. Which brings me to the other homeless man we met this week named Monty who carried a backpackers backpack and as soon as we gave him a pass along card crumpled it up and started picking at his teeth with it. Made for a difficult time not laughing when we had to refer to the number on it and he had to un crumple it and wipe off the plaque. yuck. Once he realized we were "Jesus people" he just threw his hands up in the air and walked off without saying anything, which I guess is one way to deal with us. Hermana Warner looked at me under her cute little green helmet and said, "I guess Monty's just not into that Jesus stuff." haha. We saw him at a bus stop the next day, yelling across the street at some kids. We sped by and called out "hey monty!" and he said "GIRL, you lookin' FINE today!" so if not a great contact, he's at least a good confidence booster.

But hey, we had a trunky moment watching the women's conference. The hermanas were all saying how they knew their moms were watching it right then and I remembered how my sweet mother always skips it to go to the football game. So I secretly sang the Ute's fight song in my leetle hart so that I would feel connected to my mom too. Kinda like when I come up and hug you from behind mom. But hey - I really do love you and you should read the Prophet's talk because it was a good one. Thank you so much for sending me those notes! i hope you read them first. It's cool to see those blessings coming true! others i'm still waiting for...haha but it helps me have more faith. Okay I love you all this is an incredibly long email for a fairly uneventful week. All in a day's work here in the clover leaf! Take care. "Do work son, and peace be the journey." (quoted from Hermana Keeler.)
love Becca