Friday, January 22, 2010

Ew! Cockroaches!

Hey everyone;

Today has been crazy. We had to get our oil changed and the guy behind the counter said it would take about forty five minutes but I think he really meant to say two hours! Needless to say, I was going nuts. Especially since the TV was on in the waiting room and it was raining outside. I tried to just write letters but then Ellen Degeneres (sp?) came on…haha. But I was actually surprised at how frustrating it was for me to be there. I didn’t realize but you’re so focused as a missionary – every minute has a purpose and a schedule – it’s hard to be stranded like that. It gave me a huge headache and now I feel like a rat on a wheel trying to think about ten billion things at once since we’re running almost two hours late! Anyways. Sorry ‘im late.

Update on investigators: Martha and Amy had to move so that her ex wouldn’t be able to find her again. They told us they would need help moving so I told her to tell us when and we’d be able to get a truck for her and some men from the church to help. She wasn’t sure when they’d be moving. But then a couple days ago we went to visit her around seven thirty and when I got there she was sitting on the couch eating an orange and talking about how they had to move so then I said, yeah, do you know when you’re moving yet? And she said yeah, tonight. I was like what? Tonight? And she said yeah, they’re going to put a lock on my door tomorrow morning and whatever is inside the apartment will be lost. I was kinda shocked and said, well do you need help? And she said yeah. But then she just sat there so I stood up and then finally she stood up and we got packing. I made one phonecall – ONE. To the ward mission leader. And within twenty minutes we had TEN men at her apartment, hauling furniture out and driving it to storage (three trucks.) They were all in their suits because it was Sunday and they had been in a meeting but it made me want to cry to see them all there helping her. She’s an investigator- most of them don’t even know her. But it was amazing how quickly they responded and she was really grateful. She came to a family night the next night and I think (hope!) she’ll start to progress here pretty soon. But I guess she had been in some sort of denial about moving so that’s why she was procrastinating. All I know is, I’m making sure I have a college education and legal U.S. papers so that I don’t ever have to go through anything like that, even if for some reason I end up as a single mother. Anyways. While we were moving her stuff we had quite the excitement over the cockroaches that would come scurrying out from the corners! We found a really big one and I was having a panic attack. I was trying to keep my backpack off the floor for fear a roach would climb in but eventually all the furniture was gone and I had to set it on the floor. Haha. You should have seen me squirm as we walked away from the apartment that night! It’s all mental, just like the fish in lake Powell, but EW it’s gross to think about one of those things being anywhere near me!

Carmen and Alberto are doing really well. We had a lesson with them about the importance of Scripture study, because I noticed that they haven’t been reading the book of mormon as much as they were when we first found them. They agreed to read every night, which will be awesome. But then they opened up and started being really honest with us about some doubts and just about their feelings about being baptized (which are really positive, by the way) and then it came out that their daughter who is in Mexico has been reading the Book of Mormon we gave her when she was here visiting over Christmas and she’s way excited about it and she keeps telling her Dad it is true! She said that she liked talking to us because we weren’t trying to persuade them but it was like we had won the lottery and we were trying to share it with them! Haha. Do you realize how good that makes a missionary feel? That’s exactly what we’re wanting them to feel. I told Alberto we could have missionaries go to visit her in Mexico but he said she was all alone and he didn’t feel comfortable sending people he didn’t know over, so he’d rather just talk to her about it over the phone for now, but he committed her to live the law of chastity after we taught it and she said she would! Haha crazy things happen every day. They are supposed to get baptized the thirtieth and hopefully all will go well, but we still have to teach the word of wisdom and I know they drink coffee so we might have to push it back a couple weeks. But I love going over to their apartment because I’m starting to feel really at home there. They are learning English so we have fun with the language stuff. (their new favorite phrase is “I got you”) They remind me of what we would be like as a family if we were investigating the church. They’re really smart. Carmen is reading The Divine Comedy. As a stay at home mom. Atta girl.
We got a media referral this week named Lionides and we stopped by but he wasn’t home, so we left a message with his Sister. Then, on Sunday the bishop came up to me and said your investigator lionides just called me and he wants to come to church but he needs a ride. What? Anyways, he came to church! I don’t know how he got the number of the bishop but whatever works, right? I went up and introduced myself and he’s probably about twenty five or so, but we set an appointment for Saturday. So crazy thing, our phone rings yesterday and who’s on the caller id? Lionides. What does he want? He wants to talk. He said it was a blessing to hear my voice. Isn’t that sweet. Then he said how old are you? And I started to get worried. Then he said, are you married? And I started to get really worried. I told him best I could in Spanish that missionaries are single but I think he thought I meant we couldn’t ever get married so then he went off about what a blessing it is to be married and asked if someday I would change my mind and give myself the opportunity to marry a “brother in Christ.” Haha. I was trying so hard to follow the conversation after that but you know when you’re in a situation where you really shouldn’t laugh but you start laughing anyways and then you can’t stop? I had one of those moments, while on the phone with him! I had to hold the phone away from my face and I had tears running down my face and was trying desperately to gain composure. I finally pulled it together enough to tell him that I’d think about it. I don’t know if he was proposing or what, but mom, how would you feel about a Baby Los in the family? He was pretty cute. . . haha jk Lots of adventures here, that’s for sure.

Dad asked about the economy and actually that has been a HUGE topic of conversation. I’d say the biggest. Everyone is out of work. There are a lot of abandoned buildings in Pasadena too. Our investigator Reuben might have to move back to Mexico because he lost his job here and he hasn’t worked more than three days in the last three months. It’s so frustrating because he was progressing so well but then this just takes his mind off of spiritual stuff and he doesn’t want to make any commitments when he doenst know how long he’ll be here and all that. It’s hard to get people to come to church on Sunday because they want to sell stuff at the pulga (flea market thing) and how do you tell them not to? Without a testimony yet, they don’t realize that it’s more important to be in the chapel! And that it would do them more good. Anyways, the next biggest topic of convo right now is Haiti. Everyone asks us to pray for the people in Haiti. I heard there was another quake this morning. So scary. I hope you guys are getting your food storage together! Haha. No but seriously. Tim. Seriously. The members here LOVE food storage because it saved them during hurricane ike. There is still a lot of un-repaired damage from that hurricane, and the missionaries that were here during it talk about how long the lines were to get into the grocery store or to get gas. Food storage is just a good idea. Period.

Anways, sorry nothing too crazy this week but I hope every one is doing well. Thanks for your letters! And sarah thanks for the pics! Steph. . . I wish I could have been there. Love you all!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mormon Haters...

Okay! It’s time for another one of Becca’s e-mails from the unforgettable jewel of Houston - Pasadena.

Big week this week. We had a visiting authority speak to us – Elder Maynes. He spoke at our zone conference and crunched a lot of numbers for us. President Moldenhauer is really good about saying catchy phrases to get us motivated and that’s awesome but it was really good for us as a mission to see someone crunch numbers. We’re serious about this Mission Miracle of 2010 thing, and Elder Maynes helped us see exactly what it’s going to take. It was crazy though because he basically figured out that we as a mission have been teaching people the lessons even when they’re not keeping commitments. He told us that we as saints are a covenant people, and that if we are moving on to the next lesson when the investigator hasn’t kept a commitment then we’re teaching them that it isn’t important to keep commitments, which he called false doctrine. So we went home and had to basically overhaul our teaching pool but it’s so much better now because we got rid of the people that we were seeing every week with no or little progression. We’ve knocked a lot more doors this week - we’re going through investigators a lot faster – but that means we’ll find the good ones faster and then we can teach them, which is WAY more fun than teaching someone who isn’t progressing. The point is, all this door knocking has led us to some muy interesante people. I don’t know what it was this week but I think we met everyone in Pasadena that hates Mormons. Haha. Okay that’s not true, but we at least met three of them. One lady called for a movie so we went to deliver it and she was so sweet to us and invited us in and sat down and told us her story of how she was searching for the truth (perfect! Here it is) and then I asked if we could share a message and begin with prayer and she got all weird and asking me why and what the message was about and then she asked me what God’s name is and proceeded to show us all the places in the Bible where God calls himself Jehova…that’s right. She was a Jehova’s Witness. Number one enemy of mormon missionaries. Our next hater was named Luis. Everything was going great gospel wise until we got to the first vision, which is normally the highlight of the lesson spiritually, but he kept interrupting me. Finally he told us he’s Pentacostal and he wanted us to talk to his Pastor. My companion said “when” but I had to put my foot down. I told him “why talk to your Pastor when I’ve already had an answer from God?” and that stopped him, but then I got a little heated in the car afterwards and told my companion that as long as she was with me, we would not be talking to any pastor, preacher, or anything of the sort, so don’t even think about it. Haha! First of all, the pastor would for sure win. I barely know anything about the Bible and he has studied it as a profession. Second, it would do NO GOOD for the “investigator” because he’s obviously not willing or open to asking God if he’s taking us to talk to his Pastor. and so I really don’t see the point. I hope I didn’t offend my companion though. She kinda agreed. But that was a little bit of Becca heat coming out for the first time since I’ve been here. We met a third hater that was a lot nicer to talk to because he wasn’t flirty or a j.w. but he very kindly told us our religion was wrong, then talked for about an hour about being apostolic. He was very impressed with our Spanish though. I finally had to interrupt him rudely (since I had already tried interrupting kindly three or four times) and bore my testimony about modern day prophets and then told him thanks so much for his time and have a nice day. But I was thinking later how good it felt to stand in front of him, look straight in his eyes, and tell him in all honesty that I have had an answer from God. That I know we have a prophet on the earth today. My heart was pounding pretty hard because he knew the bible really well but I could feel my testimony as tangible as my two feet planted in his muddy driveway. I don’t think there’s anything quite as strong/tender as a daughter of God who knows her Father. I was so glad to be me right then, and not him.

Anyways, contacts like that just make the good ones so much more worth it. We met a guy named Raymundo standing outside his apartment and taught him right there. He took it all pretty well and the spirit was way strong during the lesson. As I was giving the closing prayer, he interrupted me and asked if I would pray for his sister in law who is battling cancer. I don’t know why but I was really touched that he would show so much faith in God and in us as missionaries. It sounds dumb now that I type it out but it was one of the highlights of my mission thus far.

So as missionaries, we have some dumb rules. One of these is that we can’t back up without our companion standing behind the car, guiding us. This makes for some hilariously awkward situations. Exhibit A: This week we were leaving an apartment complex but some workers were blowing leaves in the parking lot. Hna. Hansen was backing me but as I looked out my rearview mirror I saw a dirty brown hand waving like crazy as well! Haha. The guy blowing leaves started backing me! He must have thought I had no idea to drive . But it was funny.
Something else that made me laugh this week was the fact that I’m in awe over our microwave. It cooks things so fast! Haha but my companion thinks it’s terrible – the three doesn’t work and it’s really old. That just shows you how bad our microwave at home really is. I was just staring at the revolving plate inside like it was the newest technology. My companion thinks I’m nuts. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or DO WITHOUT! Haha thanks dad.

love you all, and why don't you love me enough to write me? (that's for my siblings, friends, and brother-in-law, except Janie)

haha don't feel too guilty, just guilty enough to write me this week. haha jk


Welcome to Texas!

Hawdy y'all!

Every once in a while I forget I'm in Texas, but then something happens to remind me. . . this week TWO things happened to remind me. Thing one: Our meeting schedule changed with the new year and so the english ward is now before us. I was sitting in the foyer when they got out of sacrament meeting and whoooeeeii. They have some STRONG accents! Welcome to the lone-star state. Let me cook up some grits. Thing two: We THOUGHT we were knocking on the Garcia family's door a couple days ago, but I guess we got the wrong building (all the buildings are mirror images of each other so it's not hard to do) because a white guy opened the door! Imagine my suprise - I was so ready with my Spanish door approach, it took me a minute to collect myself and switch to english. In fact, I think I started in Spanish until he said/grunted "eh?" Let me paint you a picture of this character: Short, fat, balding. wearing sweats that haven't been washed in more years than I've been living. A big belly that kinda hefted up and down when he grunted. Little piggy eyes and five or six brown teeth sticking out at odd angles. After I introduced us, he said, yelling, "I put on my dog tags and I don't got no religion because (getting louder) God don't have NOTHING to do with WAR." silence. Then he opened his mouth with those five little brown teeth, took a deep breath, and started yelling about how everyone just takes from Americans and how If HE we President...I'm sorry sir, but try taking care of your own teeth before you take care of our country! haha so needless to say, he's not going to get baptized. But maybe if I ever get bored we'll go knock his door again just for fun. Welcome to Texas, just in case you thought you might be in Mexico!
Tender moment of the week: I'm teaching a little girl named Aleondra piano lessons every Wednesday. (she's my only regular student) She doesn't speak any english so the lessons consist of a lot of facial expressions and waving of arms on my part but she's naturally talented and learns really fast. Her dad cries every week and thanks us for taking the time to teach her. He can't afford lessons for her but he wants her to play for the church. This week after sacrament meeting I was playing postlude and she came up to the piano and said "Soy yo, Aleondra" and so I said hi and told her I liked her skirt. I was going to ask if she wanted to sit by me but she started walking off before I could figure out how to say that in Spanish but then suddenly I felt her come back up behind me and give me a hug. It was so cute. I love her!

We are way lucky to be in this ward. The Bishop is really into missionary work and he is pushing it really hard this coming year. Twice I've had girls my age come give me their phone number and ask when they could come out with us. Every time we ask anything the members are right there- they let us use their houses for FHEs and they're just awesome. I'm getting so I know most of the ward now and so it's getting more fun. I finally feel at home. I was telling Hna. Hansen that I don't want to leave Pasadena!

The other day we were eating at Hna. Torres' house and she was showing me a wedding announcement from one of the elders that served here...Elder Flamm! haha it was funny to see that and she was pretty suprised when I told her I knew them both. Then, we went to a Family Night at our ward mission leader's house and he had Adam/Elizabeth's picture up on the fridge, right next to my/Hna. Flores' christmas card! Who would ever have guessed that when we were going to Olympus? Pictures of the three of us on a fridge on Ave.A in Pasadena, Texas. haha. small world.

This past week when we were teaching Horacio we shared the Proclamation to the World on the Family with him and he loved it. Too much. THe next time we visited him he said he'd been praying for a couple days and had decided he needed to go back to Mexico to be with his family and to share the gospel with them. Three days later he was gone! So sad to see him go but so awesome to know that four more people (his wife and three kids!) are going to hear the gospel. He got our home address and he gave me his so we'll keep in touch. He said "This gospel is all about being united as a family during this life so that some day you can be united as a family in the next." He's amazing!

I was thinking last night how amazing it is that there is a Spanish Speaking Houston Texas mission. Most of the people we meet are displaced- they're from all parts of South America but almost none from here. So in other words, they're not where they're supposed to be! BUt the Lord knows they're here and he sends missionaries who speak their language to teach them. I read a scripture that said "the Lord is mindful of his people, whatsoever land they may be in." and it just got me thinking. He knows exactly where we are and what we need. I think it's so cool to be a Spanish Speaking missionary in this mission!

Well, that's all folks. Everybody drive safe and for Heaven's sake, brush your teeth so you don't end up like Mr. Not-Garcia!

Love Love Love


p.s. I got my companion laughing really hard today because I almost crashed the car and I screamed really loud and then said "Hermana, I almost killed us, and ruined the Lord's car!" She appreciated the Nacho Libre reference, and I hope you did too ;)

p.p.s. we're both safe.