Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easter week = Sacrifice

Well hellllllllllloooooooola la la:

Good Morning, hope everyone’s doing well. It is a gorgeous day here in Houston – about seventy five degrees with a slight breeze and huge, blue Texan skies. (also, the moon was incredible last night and the night before – I hope everyone has been taking note of it)

We’re early to the library today because President has dubbed this week “sacrifice week” and so part of the sacrifice is language study and p-day. We just have time to do the essentials today (I thought taking naps at the chapel were pretty essential, but go figure. ) and then we’re back out tracting by two this afternoon. President introduced Sacrifice Week at our temple conference last Thursday. He has specific reading assignments for us each day about the last week of the Savior’s life, and then we are supposed to be out “finding” (Mission President euphemism for “knocking doors”) for at least five hours every day. This doesn’t sound like a big deal to ya’ll but for us it’s killer. We are trying to figure out how to keep our investigators progressing while working around that schedule. It’s crazy. But we’ve been meeting TONS of new people this way, so it’s going to be really good for our investigator pool.

The Temple was a great experience. I sat next to somebody who went to highschool with mom and dad, so I guess you could say I swung my dead cat here in Texas finally. Or I guess I swun mom and dad’s dead cat. . . speaking of dead cats there is a dead cat outside one of the apartment complexes that we work in and it has almost completely decayed- all except the tail. Haha. It’s the weirdest thing. There’s just a cat tail sticking up out of the grass. Fascinating.

We have some bad news. Friday night we went by to visit Maximiliano and he came out onto the porch rather than inviting us in. That was abnormal… then he started crying and said he was embarrassed to tell us but that his “spouse” Maria didn’t want to meet with us anymore. For those of you who follow faithfully, Maria is the woman who was recently healed from a terrible skin disease through the power of the priesthood. She told Max that she was catholic and that she didn’t want to talk to us and she didn’t feel like they were hurting anybody by living together without being married. Maximiliano then went on to say how he wants to move away from her but he doesn’t have any money and no job and so he doesn’t feel worthy to come to church while he’s living in adultery. We assured him that he is worthy of coming to church – that Christ came to heal the sinners, and that he SHOULD be in church. So he came on Sunday, but Maria won’t even talk to us. Interesting to note that her skin disease has returned. I told Max that when the elders gave maria her blessing, they told her that it was dependent on her faith, then pointed out that as her faith waned, the disease came back. It’s just further evidence that the Priesthood power is real. He agreed. You always hear that there is a “sifting” going on and I decided this week that “sacrifice” is the sifter that God uses. When push comes to shove, those who are willing to sacrifice come closer to the Lord and those that won’t, fall away. Since it’s Easter, and I’m on a mission, I’ve been thinking a lot about the Savior’s sacrifice for us and how he really doesn’t ask us to do anything that he has not already done. I know my mind works weird but here’s a little bit of Becca-weird-ism for you: One of the first weeks of my mission I was getting really frustrated at myself because I was so SCARED to open my mouth and speak my broken spanish to anyone. The more time that went by, the more frustrated and miserable I became, because I literally couldn’t be happy if I wasn’t speaking, but I was “kicking against the pricks” and trying to avoid it. Finally I remember thinking “I just need to get rid of this fear so that I can go forward with my mission.” It seriously came to a point where I had to sacrifice my fear or not be here. I remember visualizing my fear fall away as I prayed that God would help me leave it behind me. And it did. I still feel uncomfortable speaking to strangers in a language I barely know but I sacrificed that fear. And I was finally able to break through and start progressing as a missionary. I think it’s the same with our investigators. Everyone has a sin or a doubt that they so badly want to hang onto but it stops them from progressing spiritually and it gets to a point where they either have to sacrifice that sin/doubt in order to move any closer to God, or they have to fall away.

Anyways, sorry to wax deep for a moment. But that’s what has been on my mind lately.

Yesterday I had a young kid we’ve been teaching call me “hermana Twinky” haha. I’m really hoping that he didn’t’ mean that. Sometimes I feel like a twinky out here- really white and really fat. I’ve been running my little missionary heart out in the mornings, doing lunges, situps, pilates, the works! And I’ve been lifting my “water-filled-milk-jug-I’m-a-cheapo-missionary-weights” so my relief society arms are starting to calm down again. But still… we get fed every night! Haha.

So there’s not much else to report. Aside from the fact that I think I should officially be counted as a member of the Tabernacle choir because I now have all their songs memorized. Except I still haven’t heard them sing my favoirte song “I want to sing at the party…Ramses is the one he sets the people all on fi-re. “ I’ll write the director and let him know to throw that one in the next CD compilation. And mom, just so you know, I am famous out here among the missionaries for linking a song to just about everything anyone says/does. The big one this week was “We just got a letter, we just got a letter, we just got a letter, I wonder who it’s from?” and I really was proud of myself for that one. (blues clues anybody? Taking us all back to our childhood.) And speaking of childhood television shows, Dora is everyone’s hero out here. That’s the thing- she’s bilingual- and so are they. Hey vamanos, everybody let’s go! (I say that one too. Cause I’m the driver. So it’s funny.)

That’s all folks

I love you lots, miss you missionary-style, and dream weird dreams every night. My sleep is crazy lately. Hermana harry said I was speaking spanish really loud and really fast in my sleep the other night. I guess that means we’ve arrived.




Friday, March 19, 2010

Hey There Y'all...

Hey there y’all:

So I had no idea how well my “Reading Rainbow” comment was going to go over, especially given that I got it WRONG. It’s “We’ll see you next time.” And I said “next week.” False. I’m not Jamall. Whatever his name is. That’s the thing. He’s collard. And that’s not fair, you don’t call them collard people!

So we had transfers and this one was the first where nothing happened to me. (we lost elder seeberger though, so peter should be happy.) But I’m stickin with my Harry Baby and guess what… the baby was unnaturally…GREEN! Hahaha I wish I would have thought of that last transfer. I laughed and laughed when it came to me and Hermana Harry didn’t think it was funny at all. Humph. Somebody write me and tell me how funny I am. Haha k thanks love you all.

So last night we were eating dinner in our apartment (Hermana Martinez dropped it off for us because she couldn’t have us over to her place that night) and by the way that makes me think of something I’ve been meaning to laugh about: every ward we go to is made up of the same members! Familia Martinez, Familia Gomez, Familia Gonzalez, Familia Ramirez, Familia Flores…the list continues. You move wards and they change faces but the name remains! Anyways back to my story. We were eating dinner and a guy came knocking the door, trying to sell us Comcast. I had to laugh at the poor guy. We told him we weren’t interested but then he asked if he could get us cable. WE said we weren’t allowed to watch tv. Then he asked if he could get us an internet connection. We said we weren’t allowed to get online, or use computers. Then he asked if we wanted cell phones. We said we weren’t allowed to have one that wasn’t provided through our church. Then he asked if we wanted a landline. We told him we weren’t allowed. Haha. He finally just gave up so we gave him a pass along card and shared a little bit. That’s the first time I’ve seen a salesman with absolutely NOTHING to say. (p.s. speaking of salesmen, john if you want you can send us some home pro carpet spotter. We’re dying out here with all the bike grease stains. And yes, I’ve totally repented of all the grief I gave you about it.)

Okay here’s the investigator update, so all of you who are the type of readers that I was before the mission can just skip this paragraph, but give me a break, that’s all I have going on in my life right now! Thanks. So maximiliano came to church again! Here’s the scoop: his wife is wayyyyyy sick with this skin disease that is terribly painful so the other day we were talking about priesthood blessing and she asked for one so ran and got the elders and they were able to give her a really nice blessing. Max felt the spirit way strong and started talking about baptism so we committed him right there. He said he feels like that is a big step and he’s not sure he’s ready but he’s preparing for March 27th. I think he’ll be ready. He’s loving the church. The members have really taken him under their wings and they’re going to help him get a job I think! Plus, his wife has been doing a lot better since the blessing.

The two teenage girls dropped off the face of the planet this week. Spring break. They went to Brownsville, so no news about them. (Brownsville is on the border…sketch!)

My two new favorite people are named Jose and Alvaro and they are brothers from el salvador. We talked to them last night unplanned, because they usually work late but since it rained yesterday they couldn’t work. So they were home when we went walking by and we started talking and they started asking all kinds of awesome questions and loved our answers and they told us to bring more time with us on Sunday so we can get to all their questions (it was late last night so we had to leave) (I don’t know how to translate “bring more time” sorry if that doesn’t make sense.) This is the guy that called out randomly to us from his balcony if he could get a book of mormon. Love them. They’re funny- we all joke around a lot. Except not alvaro. He’s very serious. And he’s saving up all his money so he can afford nice clothes to wear to church! I can’t wait to see what happens with them.

Hermana Harry and I made terrible tasting fruit smoothies this morning. Mom, I need you! Haha. But this afternoon we’re going to a member’s house and she’s going to show us how to make tamales, which I know you all LOVE (sarcasm drips) but I really do because I’m Hispanic at heart and I’m on a mission where they eat that so I HAVE to love it, right? But seriously. I liked them even way back when Dad’s Roundy workers would make them for us. So I’m way excited. She already taught us how to make chocoflan and I KNOW you’re all going to love that when I get back. And I’m also getting up a half hour early to run! Except now with daylight savings I don’t think it’s going to work. Hermana Harry is scared of the Park we go to when it’s dark. IT is kinda ghettho but there’s always people exercising there so we'll see...

Anyways, I’m not saying anything worth saying anymore so I’m going to end this week’s e-mail. Hope everyone is safe and sound and treasuring up little tidbits they can share with me when they write their next letter. Believe me, no one would think your manners to be rehearsed!

Hermana Becca

p.s. until next time… (cheesy music sounds) READING RAINBOW!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Texans...gotta love em.

Dear Void:

Well it has been another exciting week here in the lone star state. Actually, I was wondering this the other day: who have I been called to teach? People always come home from their missions saying “I love the japanese people,” or “I just love those Spaniards,” but what am I supposed to say? “I just LOVE those Texans!” False. Nothing against Texans, but every time we run into one it’s a disappointment because they’re not hispanic. We still teach them though. And so I guess I’d just have to say “I just LOVE those displaced-central-south-american-not-quite-american-citizens, and all their texan-multi-ethnic neighbors!” Wheph!

Speaking of Texans, yesterday we went on exchanges so I was serving in a neighboring area with Hermana Case (who I was originally supposed to be companions with in the MTC before I switched classes so it was fun to finally get to work together). But we ran across a dear little Texan man who talked to us several inches from our faces about his anger problems ensuing from the suicide of his father. Let me just say, instead of a sweet smell there was stink, and instead of well set hair, there was baldness! Not the most pleasant of experiences, but pretty funny afterwards. Those situations are always funny afterwards, but during you’re just glad the neighbor is out in his yard with one eye pointed your direction because you’re not really sure if the guy you’re contacting is going to demonstrate his “anger problems” on your companion since she didn’t give him the $1.50 he asked for. So that was my Texan cultural experience for the week.

My random lame thought this week is that I have developed a strange phobia, and if someone can tell me what it is called I will give them fifty points in the celestial kingdom. I am afraid of the eyehole in people’s front doors! Okay maybe afraid isn’t the right word- it’s more like this weird obsession thing. Idiosyncrasy. I don’t even know anymore, but it’s weird. Every time we knock a door I feel this strange desire to stare STRAIGHT into the eyehole. I think this derives from the fact that I know they’re looking at me out of it, and it’s kinda like when you pull up next to someone when you’re driving and you just HAVE to look over. Then you make awkward eye-contact and you look away quickly but you have to sit at the light and then you start getting weird urges to look back and… yep! They’re still looking at you and now it’s just totally awkward. That’s how I am with the eyeholes. I have to tell myself “don’t look at it! Don’t do it!” So finally my district leader told me just to hold up one of our pass along cards with the picture of Jesus on it. That way, when they ask us “Quien es?” (mom, that means “who is it?”) we can say God and mean it. I thought it was a pretty good idea. But still. I feel like those eyeholes can stare straight into my SOUL. “are you looking at my soul?” Bryan Reagan. Anybody?

Three nights ago I was snug as a bug in a rug in my leetle bed when suddenly I woke up. Weird. Why would I do that. Three in the morning and I’m wide awake. Then, I realize that people are yelling outside. Right outside. And seeing as I sleep right by the window, I could hear them as clearly as if they were right INSIDE. And let’s just say, they could use all the soap in Texas and they still wouldn’t have gotten rid of the filth coming out of their mouths. They were sooo drunk, and sooooo mad at eachother. And Soooooo in loooooooove with hiiiiiiim. “I looooooooove hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmm” is what one girl was crying over and over. I finally looked out and I could see her crying on the stairs, until she decided to get up and walk over to the parking lot and throw up. Then, they all started fighting and I stopped looking out the window because I hated what I was seeing and I feared getting involved in witnessing a crime or something. I’ve never heard people slam doors that loud, and that many times in a row. And this went on for about an hour. Finally, six cops showed up. But by then our poor missionary, overly-sensitive-to-cussword-nerves were completely frayed. Not the best of experiences, but I told hermana Harry that I’m really glad she doesn’t use her mouth like that. Let us oft speak kind words to eachother, okay everybody? Will you all commit to using a higher standard of language in the coming weeks? I know your neighbors will appreciate it and you will be blessed because of it. Haha. Okay I feel better now.

So last week we had two investigators come to church – Maximiliano, and Ezequiel. Sp? But I’m so excited about Maximiliano! (well, both but Ezequiel was a referral so I’m still just getting to know him) We’ve been trying to get Max. into the chapel for a while now. He loved it! He doesn’t have work right now and so he just picks up random jobs so he often works on Sundays. It’s really cramping our style, but maybe now that he knows how amazing church is he’ll start making room for it in his schedule.

We’ve also been working with two teenage girls that are cousins that are going to be baptized next weekend. They’re about fifteen and sixteen and way excited about church. I just wish their moms were just as excited as they are. One just isn’t interested and the other has been deported so she’s in Mexico, but she told her daughter to listen to us and do what we ask her. We originally started teaching the one girl, Ana, and her mom. Her mom wasn’t interested but one day we found ana home alone and so we taught her and committed her to be baptized because lately president is way into committing them on the first or second lesson. She said yes! Then she brought her cousin to church. Mission presidents are inspired.

Lots of good things going on. We have so many people to teach right now I feel like I’m going crazy! It’s hard to focus on everyone at once, but I think we’re going to see a lot of good things in the next few weeks. Cross your fingers I don’t get transferred on Monday! I don’t think I will, but that’s what I said last time. Harry and I are trying to stick together. Just call me Ron Weasley.

Hope everyone is doing well in good ole Utah! I miss you guys. Funny how the letters haven’t been coming lately…I’m not dead yet! Meagan…. You have a lot to tell me. Get writing. That’s a commandment. Sorta. Okay I’m done. Until next week! Reading Rainbow.

Love love love