Friday, February 26, 2010

Israel Israel God is Calling....

Tingey Clan:

How has everyone been this week? I hope you all did something fun to celebrate Jessica’s Birthday. And it looks like MJ got an e-mail address so that’s way cool. I put it on my contact list so let me know if you get this one or not okay janey? My little baby’s all grown up and saving china!

So are you all ready for another one of my amazingly witty, inspired, all at once laughter-inducing and tear-jerking e-mails? Good. Because this one isn’t going to be any of that. There’s just no time. I need three men on this job. THERE’S NO TIME! Have you seen my desk?

That having been said, I guess I’ll start in on my actual e-mail:

One thing I noticed this week about why I think I was supposed to go on a Spanish-speaking mission: (one thing among millions) We teach people named Israel. And this past week I had the joyful experience of being stood up by Mr. Israel and therefore found myself standing dismally on his front porch with my companion, in a light drizzle, disappointed once again that he wasn’t answering the door. Then, in a stroke of pure genius, I started singing: “Israel Israel God is Calling!” hahaha. And it was actually TRUE! You tell me what other missionary can do that.
Now it’s bad because whenever we go over I secretly hope he’s not home. Haha no but kinda. Little bit. (ghost town!)

We met a woman last week named Graciela and went over to follow up with her this week. She talks A LOT. Like a lot a lot. And she basically told us that she loves us but probalby won’t ever come to our church. NICE. Then she went and got us some orange juice to show us how much she loves us. She poured it for me (talking a steady stream) and then as I went to take my first sip she launched into this time when she got sick and how she was coughing up blood and all this nasty nasty stuff! Hahah. There I am with my lips against the cup, making sympathetic noises with my throat and opening my eyes up wide to show how sorry I am about her nasties but in my head I’m wondering why in the world she chose RIGHT after she fed me to tell me about that stuff. Come to think of it, why bring something like that up at all? I don’t know what it is about being a missionary but everyone wants to tell us about their sicknesses (maybe to show how god healed them or something) but I’ve seen more moles and bruises and scars and heard about more gross experiences than anyone should ever have to. People just see our tags and start pulling up their shirts and their pant legs and asking us to poke weird bumps. Gross. I think there is a special blessing awaiting me in the afterlife for the weird mole I hade to touch on some lady’s leg.

This was actually a really really good week for us. We had some crazy experiences finding people. One night after an appointment in an apartment building, we were walking back to the car when I saw these two people standing on their back porch. I was going to have to walk right past them and I knew it would be an awkward contact over the fence so I starting reasoning with myself that it was kinda dark and kinda late and I didn’t need to contact them, but then I realized what I was doing and we had just had a really good lesson and I was thinking that one way I could show God that I was grateful for his help in the lesson would be to contact those two people that I really didn’t want to contact. So I did. And yep, I was awkward. They didn’t want to set up an appointment or anything but I felt like I did my best. Then, as we were walking away I hear this leetle voice call out “excuse me!” And we turned around and realized that their neighbor who lived right above them had been standing out on his deck the whole time listening to our contact. He asked us where he could get a Book of Mormon! He had an LDS friend years ago and recognized that we were from the same church when he heard me contacting that couple. We are going back to teach him. You tell me that’s not a miracle. Especially given how bad my contacting skills are.

Our investigator Veronica who had a baptismal date looks like she’s going to be waiting a little longer to be baptized. She just got a second job but doesn’t have a set schedule and so it’s basically impossible to find her at home and she hasn’t been coming to church because of it. Dang. I hate that! It’s so frustrating, but we’ll keep working with her and keep finding more.

Maximiliano is progressing nicely! (he’s the one I told you about last week who already had a book of mormon in his house) Oh yeah, and Hermano and Hermana Palacios (our ward mission leader and his wife) have us over for dinner every Sunday and feed us mexican food and they said they’d teach us how to make some of it if we want to sometime! Awesome.

Hope everyone is doing well. Love you all and miss you. Hasta luego!


p.s. just to clear things up: Elder Seeburger puts his HAND on my shoulder, not his head. Peter, did you hear that? His HAND. He’s a good guy. I used to think he was way weird but he’s just touchy that way. Kinda like someone else I know (cough dad cough) it’s not a bad thing. But it does make me kinda nervous given the circumstances.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"You know...pee pee?"

Family of mine:

Wow. welcome to white-wash trainer Becca's life. There have been lots of times in the past week where I've wanted to just go into the bathroom, lock the door, and not come out. haha. Too bad that's not EVER going to happen. But I've also started to see how I will eventually really love it here. We have the best ward you could possibly imagine (dare I say better than Pasadena?!) This is the oldest Spanish speaking ward so the members have lived here and been members for forever and they absolutely love missionaries and missionary work. They're so solid! They feed us every night and they flipped out when they realized there were hermanas coming. The women are especially excited to have us here because that means they can come on visits with us. After relief society they all came up and introduced themselves and hugged/kissed us. I almost started crying. And everyone loves me of course because they didn't have a piano player before so the quality of their sacrament meetings just went up 100% just because I know how to play the piano! haha thanks mom and bonnie.

The area is really different from pasadena. It's a lot more affluent. Still a lot of apartments, but they have locked gates with codes and things aren't as dirty. There's also not as many hispanics! We run into a lot of black people. We're right up next to Hobby Airport ...literally. So we always have planes low over our heads. It's a lot faster paced than Pasadena - there's actually a bus system and traffic! The apartment is a little bigger than my last, but has pretty much the same furniture and everything. We have a car. it's a 2010 corolla so we're stylin'! haha. And mom, I got my bike to my new area like any normal person, with a bike rack on the back of the car. haha. My new companion, Hermana Harry is really cute. She has perfect skin - I think she looks like something out of a Jane Austen book. (I would) She has lots of ideas about how to improve things: the apartment, our lessons, our meal plans, my hair, everything! hahaha. She's from Seattle, Washington and she likes yoga much better than running but she's a good sport and goes with me anyways. We usually go about a mile and then she's pretty spent so I'm working on a way to get to a park or something so that she can walk while I run. She LOVED the MTC and tells me stories all the time about "her elders." haha. And mom, you always told me that one day I'd have a child that talked as much as me. That day came last wednesday! except I think she has me beat. six or seven times. I feel like I'm trying to reign in wild horses sometimes as I watch the clock and our study time tick away. But I guess that's part of training. I miss Hermana Hansen a lot, but Im having fun with Hermana Harry.

The elders that left told us they had twelve baptisms lined up for us but if I ever get near Elder Bentley again i'm going to give him a piece of my mind because we've had nothing but rejection from his "progressing" investigators ever since we got here! No, that's not entirely true, but I'm jsut worried becuase he made it sound like we'd have a ton of baptisms this transfer and I don't want people to think we dropped the ball or something. We're doing everything we know how.

Speaking of baptisms this transfer, I got a call yesterday from Hermana Hansena and Carmen and Alberto are getting baptized this Saturday! Oh my gosh I was so excited when I heard that. Yes mom, I miss my old investigators. Like crazy. I feel like I abandoned them- I have huge guilt complexes all the time. But Carmen and Alberto asked if I could baptize them. haha. time to review Priesthood authority, but I thought it was a huge compliment.

It's been really fun for me to be with hermana Harry because it helps me see how far my spanish has come. She is pretty good for just studying it for nine weeks, and she improves every day. But as she talks about how much/little she is understanding and how hard she has to focus, I realize that I understand just about everything that is said to me, unless it is specialized vocabulary like medical terms or something. And I can say pretty much whatever I want to say back, just not always in the way that I want to say it. And I'm not nervous to talk to people in spanish anymore. I like it. I can laugh and tease the members. It's fun.

what else. . . My district leader is going to be a trial of my patience, but our district is pretty good. It' sjust us and two other elders - elder elkins (DL) and elder seeburger. Seeburger always puts his hand on my shoulder and it makes me so nervous! I swear that's breaking a rule. But he's a really good missionary and I think I would die without him here. He is very calm and makes sure I have everything I need. He does a lot to help me. He's always asking me if i'm okay and then asking if i'm sure. haha. He shouldn't ask that. It has been a crazy week.

One funny contacting story- we did a door approach to a guy that told us he already studies the bible with jws so I told him that we're actually not here to study the bible, we have a message to share about the restoration of Christ's church. Long story short, we talked for a long time on the porch and ended up setting up a return appt. He was a spanglish speaker which makes me dizzy - he switched in and out of english and spanish way fast. in the middle of sentences. but he had a really strong hispanic accent. Anways he talked a lot and started telling us how he smoked weed for ten years and still wants to smoke it but can't because for his job he has to be drug tested. in his words: "i do da drug test. you know - pee pee? (hand motions to correlate. sir. please don't do that.) I go pee pee, and dey test pee pee and den dey know if I do drugs." I was like please sir. just speak spanish so I dont' have to listen to you say "pee pee" anymore! haha we were laughing so hard afterwards. I don't know how I didn't crack up! hermana harry was like "that was the only part of the lesson that I understood, and I was just wondering WHAT is my trainer teaching this man?!" haha. Those spanglish lessons are so awkward because I never know what to speak, so I just stick to spanish. usually. awkwardness. haha.

but we've had some really amazing experiences as well. After one really intense lesson with a man who knew his bible and got pretty intense with us, I was sweating and shaking and completely wiped out because I had felt the spirit so strong. It's a really cool thing because while I'm testifying I just feel tons of energy running through me and my mind is just perfectly clear and the words just run out smoothly. As soon as we leave though, I get soooo tired! haha. but it was an amazing lesson. By the end, he had agreed to read and pray about the book of mormon. He wasn't bashing us - he was really polite. He just felt really strongly about Christ and had some false ideas that we worship joseph smith that made him really concerned. It was one of the best experiences of my mission so far.

We also have spent a lot of time driving around in circles while I get more and more desperate about the amount of time that is passing without us talking to anybody. One time, we started down a one way street that started taking us to the freeway and I flipped out because I have no idea where anything outside of our area leads and anyways it was just really frightenig for me and I said one of those mad prayers where I basically said If you're going to leave me here alone then you better get me out of this situation! And it was the weirdest thing - I just took this one little road that looked like it lead nowhere and we ended up right by the church - against all logical calculations. I know is sounds totally corny but it was a huge tender mercy for me at the moment.

anyways sorry this e-mail is way scattered. That's how the week has been. haha. Thanks for all your support and John thanks for your email! I can't wait to get your letters this week. This mission thing is crazy - I just want to be good at it. I think it's coming. 'litle bit. haha (thanks to everyone who reminded me that that is from GHOST TOWN) I can't believe I forgot that! also, i can't remember the name of the store that is across from the post office, where we always drop jessica off for work. This is totally dumb. What is it called? I can't remember and it puts me in a bad mood because I should totally know that.

okay anyways, my time is almost up.

I love you all.

love Becca

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hermana Harry Potter...What?

Family dearest;

Is everyone wide awake and sitting down? Good because I’ve got NEWS FOR YOU. I’m being transferred!!!!!! What? Yeah, that’s what I thought too. Here’s the story:

Last Friday we had interviews with President. I had a few things I wanted to talk to him about and so I got in the room with him and started talking and he didn’t really give me any advice, he just wanted me to keep talking so I said a few more things and then he asked about my companionship. I said it was going great- that we had really different paces but it had just been a little give a little take and that we got along great. He nodded and then said, (and I’ll never forget it) “Hermana Tingey, the Lord has revealed another big change in your life. You’re going to be white-wash training this next transfer.” I just sat there in shock for a second and then it hit me and he asked if I had any questions then he laughed and said he just wouldn’t tell me where I was going. Then he showed me a picture of my new greenie, Hermana Harry. Yes, Harry. Like potter. Haha and yes, I’ve said it in an English accent a million times since then. (by the way, white- wash means I’m going into an area where Elders were serving this past transfer so neither me nor my companion know the area AT ALL. Or the members. Or where we live. Or how to get there. Or where the post office is. Or who our investigators are. ) I’m going tonight to Kingwood to pick up Harry. (okay sorry, Hermana harry) and I’m about to wet my pants I’m so dang nervous!

I’ve been told the area is amazing though, and supposedly it’s on fire right now. The elders that just left said there are between 5 and 12 investigators within a month of being baptized so that is really exciting. But I’m not going to lie, I’m kinda scared that I’m going to ruin it! Haha. I just really don’t know what I’m doing. And now I’m wondering if President knows what HE’S doing. Haha. My new district leader called me and asked how long I’ve been in the field and then he said “what’s President trying to do, kill you?” yeah. My thoughts exactly. Haha. Then the zone leaders told me that all the zone leaders have known this was going to happen for the last couple months! WHAT?! I told him, “how could you just let me walk around happy as a lark with that DOOMSDAY hanging over my head and never even WARN me?!” but he just laughed.

So that’s the big drama. Missionary-style. But I’m going to miss my little Pasadena apartment and my cute piano student and my four investigators getting baptized this month. (that’s right! Martha and Amy have a baptismal date for the 27th and Carmen and Alberto for the 20th) And I’m going to miss Hermana Hansen too. I’ve been sleeping on the couch the last couple nights because her new companion, Hermana Lealaisalanoa (say that five times fast!) got here on Monday when everyone else transfers (only the greenies come on Wed.) So basically I’ve felt like the awkward third wheel for the last couple days (but I’m used to it because of all the time I’ve spent with Sarah and John I guess) and I totally miss Elder Trappett. He’s flying home today! Probably on the plane right now. I bet he’s dying.

Anyways, the other day we went to visit Carmen and Alberto and I don’t know how but we got on the subject of Chinese people- I think we were talking about languages because they’re learning English- but Alberto pulled his eyes out and made some comment about “how can they see?” and I was laughing so hard to see a mexican make fun of someone about their race! It was just ironic seeing as I’ve made fun of Mexicans since the day I was born. I guess what goes around comes around. Haha. Then he asked me if I knew how Chinese people name their kids and I said no and he said they throw a fork on the ground and it goes “ping-pong!” and I thought “my best friends name was Ping. Then again, he DID steal my girlfriend…” “I’ve got a name, and it’s a boy’s name too!” But we were all laughing way hard. That night, Hermana Hansen and I couldn’t sleep because we got laughing about it again. She said “cow dung” because it sounded like Chinese and then she asked how you’d say that in Spanish and we realized it would be “vaca kaca” (sounds like bucka kucka) kucka, like something that is gross. I hope you guys are getting this because I really came close to wetting the bed I was laughing so hard. Maybe it’s just not funny. Haha. But I enjoyed it. Especially when I realized that Tingey sounds like Chinese. Haha.

Okay and I’m having trouble focusing because all I can think about is the Boy Who Lived! (wingardium leviosa!) sorry if this e-mail is all over the map. (what map, I dunno the one that I’m going to be staring at TWENTY FOUR SEVEN this next transfer) And Meg, if you’re reading this, here in the mission when you get a greenie we call you a mom, so basically right now I’m expecting my baby ‘Los ) And mom, you never should have joked about me being pregnant. Here she comes, and it’s a girl! (a girl named harry, and I just called her ‘’los. You’re all fine) After this we’re going grocery shopping and then taking my bags to my new apartment that we don’t know how to get to and we’ll see how bad it is after having elders living there. Do you realize what this means? Jessica, it would be like you having to move into Spencer’s bedroom. I asked them if it smelled like men in suits but they didn’t get what I meant. Haha. They just told me the left a lot of ties for us. Thanks elders.

But here’s my new address:

7950 Bellfort Apts. #75
Houston, TX 77061

I love you all to death and I hope I survive this next transfer – pray for me and pray for Harry! (who is disappointingly not Hairy.) She actually looks way cute (yeah mom, she’s skinny. Let’s hope she runs because otherwise she’s going to have a fat trainer) Wish me the best of luck! Hope all is well on Briarcreek Drive.

Love love love

Becca Potter. I wish. Harry is pretty attractive. Not my harry. The real harry. The un-hairy, English speaking actor. What’? I dunno. Someone’s throwin stuff. And guess what, I can’t remember what movie this is from _”(lipsmack sound) little bit” SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME! IT’S KILLING ME.

JW's. My favorite.

Helllllllllllllllooooooooo la la la:

Sorry, I had to. It’s kinda hard to address these weekly e-mails since I don’t really know who I’m writing to specifically but oh well. Hello family. Hello blog. Hello cyberspace. (hello void – name that movie! Or is it goodnight void? I can’t remember! Ahhh I’m losing my movie quotes. Soon I’ll be quoting “the restoration” movie to y’all. Watch out)

Good week this week. Last week of the transfer. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see any baptisms this transfer – but we made some definite progress so that’s a good thing. This past Sunday we had some investigators come to church that I never dreamt I’d see in a chapel! Number one on the list is Martha, (the one who got beat up) and I couldn’t be happier – Thank Goodness! (name that one)She is currently living with a friend but we’re still teaching her and amy (her daughter) and she’s been coming with us on Monday nights when we go to eat at Hna. Zeniths house so we’ve been doing family home evenings with them too. I think they’re going to start coming to mutual/piano class on Wednesdays so that will help too. Last night we watched Finding Faith in Christ with them and they loved it and Martha told us she wants to get baptized and that she’s drinking less coffee. She will get there! Her life is changing and you can see it on her face. It’s so crazy.

As for yours truly, I’m on a diet. I know. I know. I’ve been trying to hide it but I can’t fight this feeling anymore. I’ve forgotten what I started fighting for. It’s time to bring this ship into the shore, and throw away the oars forever. In other words – I’m not buying food ever. Again. Haha but actually that’s a lie because right after this we’re going to walmart to stock up for the week. (or at least as much as we can on fifteen bucks because that’s what I’ve got left in my billionaire missionary account since it’s the last week of the month) Lately I’ve started eating these rice puff things instead of chips in a vague attempt to be healthier. It’s kindof like eating packaging peanuts with spices but as long as my jaw goes up and down and I swallow, I feel better than not eating anything. Haha.

This is a sad week for me. Our district leader, Elder Trappet, is going home, and you’d think I was his long lost twin or something with the way I’m mourning over it. I’m seriously having a hard time with him leaving the field! Haha. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! That’s the thing, it’s just hard for me, personally. I don’t’ know. We’re just good friends, and I think he was basically my trainer since Hna. Flores left so soon after I got here. I ask him everything. Literally. And he lets me talk, unlike every other elder in the field I’m afraid! But it should be exciting to see who our new district leader is. I think Hermana Hansen and I are both pretty much guaranteed to be staying in Pasadena for at least one more transfer. Which is good. I don’t’ ever want to leave Pasadena!

Interesting contact story for the week: We went to teach a woman yesterday morning but she totally stood us up (can you believe that? Who does that? Oh wait. About 98% of the people we meet. That’s why we like to use the “sneak attack” tactic, and just drop by randomly a few days later. Works every time. Kinda like the bend and snap. But kinda not. We also use the “knock until the person you can see through the screen door, who is sitting on the couch watching tv, gets annoyed enough to actually come get the door” tactic, which is also nice, but not as conducive to bringing the spirit.) anyways, on our way back to the car, we contacted a nice looking black man on a bike. He pulled over his bike by dragging his tennis shoe on the ground and no doubt experiencing quite a bit of warmth on the bottom of his foot, and asked us to teach him. Awesome right? Wrong. Two words: jehovah’s witness. Aka, thinks Heavenly Father’s name is Jehovah and that if we call him anything else, we’re from the devil. Also doesn’t believe in the eternal soul, but thinks we’re some sort of piece of god’s spirit (god IS a spirit to them) and that when we die we just re-absorb. Kinda like dwight’s twin tissues. Anyways, an hour later, after he tried to convince us that our preacher is wrong we finished getting in the car and drove off. I hate talking to them more than anything. The whole time my leetle heart just beats soooo fast and my legs get all jello-y. (that’s Spanish for mushy) They know their bible backwards and forwards, they just don’t get what any of it means. But I did trip him up for a second this time. He was quoting a part where Jesus cries to his father and so I asked him “what did Jesus call God?” and he said “father” and I said, that’s right. What do you call your parents? And he said “mom and dad” and I said that’s right. We address God as our Heavenly Father. Knowing his specific name doesn’t matter as much as knowing the relationship that exists between us – father and child. But he just said something about offending God when you don’t call him by his name, which I thought was a pretty weak comeback. Anyways. There you go. JWs.

Other than that, I was just amused once again this week by all the people we meet who are too busy to talk to us. How is “obtain eternal salvation” not at the top of your to-do list? what? No. I don’t’have time for that. I can’t – have you SEEN my desk? These people are BUSY. B.U.S.Y. hahaahahaha. They should be pushing and shoving to get into that baptismal font but. . . we can’t force them. Everyone up. Push and shove. Rush the gate. Hurry. Hurry little piggy. Oink, oink oink!

Okay I’m getting rusty. And fat. But you’re fine. I love you all thanks for the letters, hope all is well on Briarcreek Dr. (and solar circle sorry hanskie panks. But maybe if your HUSBAND would write me a LETTER. . . with my husband. . . with my boyfriend. . . with my companion. . . with my by myself. . .)

love love love
-Becca Bo Becca