Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Last. Email. Ever.

Are you ready for this?

LAST EMAIL.  ever.

haha and so begins my week of "lasts!"  Everyone keeps asking me how I feel.  It's reminding me of when I opened my call.  I just say, "weird."  and then I sit there in an awkward silence.  haha no jk.  i try to accurately portray the conglommeration of nostalgic, frightful, anxious homesickness, mixed with an "i'm going to disneyland" feel of seeing my family again and moments of terrible, nauseating, "i'm leaving my mission" realizations.  It's impossible to communicate.  But I feel like I swallowed something way too big for my throat and there's something alive in my stomach.  It's easier not to think about how I feel, but everyone keeps asking me about it! hahaha

This was a good work week though.  We met a woman named Rosa that I am sure is going to get baptized.  She lives in the apartment right below one of our recent converts and she was sitting out on her patio one night and he noticed she looked sad so he started talking to her.  She lives here alone - all of her family is in california- and her husband died two months ago.  It's really sad.  He started talking to her about the gospel and she told him that she had been meeting with missionaries in California but stopped once she moved here.  She has already read most of 1st Nephi and she prayed asking God if this is what He wants from her.  She said that her husband had been telling her that they needed to find a church to go to and so after he died she told him that he should send her someone to point her in the right direction.  Next thing she knows, we're sitting on her couch.  She's pretty sick though, she has kidney problems, so she didn't feel well enough to come to church yesterday.  bummer.  but we'll get her feeling better and then she'll be good to go.  It was interesting because she was describing how she has felt these last two months and she was saying she feels empty.  I can't wait for her to feel the spirit and have it fill up all that emptiness inside of her!  She needs it.  She is a really good lady.

We had fun this week, too.  The elders don't get fed much in this ward so Hna. Warner and I volunteered to make them dinner on Sunday.  (it actually happened because they heard us planning out the dinners we were going to make that week last p-day and then one of them was like, "you make actually dinners?" and...yeah. hhaahaha we took pity on those ramen-noodle/cereal eaters.)  So we made them sunday roast!  with mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls!  hahaha i know.  it was so yummy.  we even had brownies and ice cream to top it off.  They came over and sat on our steps because they're not allowed inside our apartment but it was way fun.  (really hot though.  we were all sweating.  gross.  it felt like a swimming pool outside yesterday.  today is much better)  And for the record, I think we're the best hermanas in the mission. haha.  And I think they agree because we had a nice heart-to-heart with one of the companionships and we were let in on quite a few of their secrets.  Let me just say one thing:  the human drama that happens in a mission will blow your mind.  Hermana Warner and I like to tell each other that everyone in our mission is taking crazy pills except for us.  After what went down this week, we just looked at eachother and said "CRAZY PILLS!"  haha but i'll explain all that when I get home.  (indoor plumbing...it's gonna be big)

Tonight we are going on exchanges and i'm going back to Broadway 2 with Hermana Warner's baby, Hermana Naufahu.  She's is my grandbaby.  that's right.  I'm kinda scared though, in all honesty.  She's a scary hermana. haha. but it should be good.  I'm excited to get to be back in that area for a day.

Today is zone p-day and we're getting together with two other zones and having a waterfight!  I can't wait.  It is going to be SO much fun.  Such a great last p-day for me!  haha I get to see everyone I know and love pretty much.

and then I begin my LAST week!  ahhhhhhhhhhhh!  I hope everyone is buckled in tight and ready for awkward RM Becca to be back in their lives.  In preparation, I think I'll list a few things that might happen, just so that you're not shocked and appalled at me when i get back.

don't be suprised if...

-I have a sudden fear of being left alone in a room, even for a moment.
-I cringe when you turn on the radio
-I say things like "this skirt isn't THAT bad" because it only has one hole in it.
-I make dumb scriptural jokes that only missionaries think are funny
-I schedule out what I'm doing each hour of each day and have a running "to do" list
-I ask for a comp inventory if you're getting on my nerves
-I wear long sleeves and long pants and any reference to my large, white body in a bathing suit makes me cry!
-I jump out of the car saying, "i'll back you"
-I write down funny things that happen "to write about on Monday"
-I finish every conversation with "is there anything we can do for you?"
-I listen to spanish music and forget random english words
-I start to sweat whenever I see an airplane
-I try to share my testimony in awkward situations

alright, the list could go on forever but I am out of time!  I won't tell you which of the above mentioned might really be true.  haha.  Just be ready for anything! haha jk i am SO EXCITED to talk to you guys on sunday and to SEE you on Tuesday!  I love you so much!  Thanks for all the love, support, and letters.  you are the best!



Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

I hope you guys had fun.  Were you all candied out? haha.  Let me guess, you all got a bunch of chocolate egg whoppers and ended up giving them all back to Mom.  That's why she buys them, you know.  haha just kidding.  I love you Mom.  You package didn't come!  I'm hoping it will be in the mailbox today.  Hermana Warner's mom sent a package that didn't get to us either, so we were both bummed together.  But, her aunt sent a random Easter package so we had a little something to celebrate with.  Plus, Sandra and Felipe celebrated FOR us!  There is a tradition here to drain the eggs and fill them with confetti and then smash them on each others head.  So when we went to our appointment with sandra and felipe they waited until after the closing prayer and then pulled out a bunch of those and WHACK!  right on the top of our heads.  We started running and screaming but they caught us and felipe took a couple and smashed them good in my hair.  I was pulling out eggshell and confetti all day long! haha.  it was funny.  We also went and had a special Easter dinner (shrimp cocktail...you can imagine how excited I was about that...) at a member's home.  Then we went to our second Easter Dinner at a different members home, which was a completely American meal, seeing as she is an American girl.  (in fact, she's the American girl that came on a mission here and then five years later married her investigator.  weird! hhaha)  But they're a really fun couple and she gave us a ton of clothes to go through so she's on the top of my "favorite people" list right now.  Plus, she fed us ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, ROLLS, and jello!  it's was so bizarre.  And so delicious! haha. Afterward, we went to the chapel to see a satellite showing of "Savior of the World" in Spanish, which was really cool.  Everyone loved it. And the best part was, we got to see all the Spanish missionaries.  I LOVE THAT!  a bunch of us are going bowling for p-day today.   it's going to be fun.  they're going down!

I don't' even know what to write about this week.  We had our "week of becoming"  which was cool.  One of the requirements was that we were with members from six o'clock on, every night of the week.  So it was good to work with them like that and really get to know them better.  We had a baptism on Saturday for one of the Elders' investigators who has been investigating for a YEAR now.  It was good to see him finally go under that water! He bore his testimony afterward and he was so solid.  He knows exactly what he just did.  We've been working a lot with a girl named April who has seen some really hard things in her life.  She wants to be baptized, but she didn't come to church yesterday because she had to go to the hospital with her mom, who is really really really sick.  I don't' know if she'll be ready for baptism before I go, but I hope so.  We're going to see what we can do.  It was actually kind of a somber week for us, missionary work wise.  Sometimes people like to unload on missionaries, and I don't blame them, because we're great secret keepers and we just sit there and listen and then offer consoling advice from the scriptures, so who doesn't want that in a time of crises?  but anyways.  There are some people that walk around with really heavy burdens.  And we talked to more than the usual amount of them this week.  It just makes me really grateful for the life and the family that I am going to be coming home to.  And the future that I have ahead of me!  The best is yet to be! haha.  But me and Warner are still living it up together.  I wish she could come home with me and live in my bedroom! haha.  She is really good when I start freaking out about the whole "going home from my mission" thing.

well, I'm sorry if this is a lame e-mail.  Next week's will probably be much worse, just to warn you! hahaha.  Alright.  I love you so much!~  Be good.  We get to talk on the phone soon! 



Monday, April 18, 2011


I know what you're all thinking... that's not spanish!  That's the thing.  We had a luau this week!  We had a crazy week actually.  We had a luau, a Relief Society program, and a shotgun baptism!

Luau:  So the Hermanas in Broadway 2 are Hermana Lealaisalanoa and Hermana Naufahu.  (yeah, picture the mexicans trying to say THOSE names!  They can't even say Tingey! hahaah it's always fun to hear them try).  But Lea is from Samoa and Naufahu is from Tonga.  So they put together this huge luau ward party with cultural food, music, and dances.  They wanted us to come and bring investigators/recent converts/ less active members and to help them serve the food.  I had so much fun!  I'm sending pictures.  The best part was the dancing.  They taught a bunch of members how to do hawaiian dances and then they had the Elders do the hauka (spelling?  i know that's probably way off).  And they had some Hawaiian members from the area come and do a legit series of real dances which were amazing!  I felt like I was right back at the PHI summer luau, watching Sarah get peer-pressured into eating a pig's eyeball!  haha not quite...but almost.  There was one dance that was kinda funny.  The girls had this big red furry thing on their hips in the back and they would shake it all over.  I was laughing so hard!  Especially because all the Elders were sitting behind us with their jaws on the floor.  That was a little much for us missionaries.  But we had a fun time.  haha.


Relief Society Program:  Anyone heard of Woman At the Well?  Our Relief Society put it on this week.  It's a musical program about women in Christ's life.  Anyways, Yours Truly was the pianst for it.  (see picture)  It was really fun, but took way too much pros time. (Sarah, you're fine!  Missionaries love their pros time, okay? haha) I think Hermana Warner has special blessings reserved for her in heaven for sitting through all the musical programs out here.  She comes from a very musical family and has a very sensitive ear.  I don't think she heard a right note the whole night! haha but it's amazing how strong the spirit can be in those things, regardless of musical talent. haha.  It was a nice night.  They worked really hard and it came together well.  I'm pretty much the stake pianist now.  I played for THREE sacrament meetings yesterday.  Yeah.  I guess Bonnie was right all along.  Thank you, my dear mother, for making me practice! hahaha

which brings me to...

Shot-gun Baptism:  That actually took place this morning!  I KNOW.  on p-day!  Last night, the Elders found out that their baptismal candidate who was scheduled to be baptized next saturday, just got a job in El Salvador and he was leaving today for the next four months.  They called president and he said to go ahead and try to get him baptized today if possible.  A billion phone calls later, he was on for a baptismal interview, and service, and a confirmation this morning before he left!  The seminary kids turned on the font for us at five in the morning.  The whole morning was what could be called a Series of Unfortunate Events.  Hermana Warner and I set our alarm wrong so it didn't go off so we didn't get our laundry in until seven.  Then, the machine in our complex was busy so we had to go to the washateria down the street.  Turns out, they're way expensive and we didn't have enough quarters so we had to drive to the car wash to get more quarters, then mid way through our laundry cycle, up to our elbows in cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floor, the elders call us and say "he's at the church right now, can you come get us asap?"  So our laundry got left in the dryer, we threw our hair back into ponytails and spritzed some perfume, and next thing we know we're setting up the relief society room for a baptismal service.  The water in the font was all green for some reason, and someone had locked the accordian doors that cover the font from the viewers and we didn't have a key...the list goes on.  One elder was trying to pick the lock with a paper clip and the rest were running around finding white clothes and people to speak on the spot.  When all was said and done, I think this was actually one of the sweetest, most spiritual baptismal services I've been a part of.  We had a fairly good turn out and we never got the door unlocked so we all just crowded into the bathrooms to see him baptized from the side.  We were all smiling at eachother and sorta metaphorically shaking our heads at the crazy situations we find ourselves in during this whole mission gig.  Like our zone leader, Elder Jex said, "another buck wild morning as a missionary."  so true.  Unforgettable experience though.

Well that was my week in a nutshell.  Hermana Warner and I have so much fun together, it really shouldn't be allowed.  We got ourselves "trunked out of our minds" talking about going salsa dancing once we're both home.  (that's the thing.  we're mexican now. )  We both agreed that we need to come back and go dancing with some of the young adults out here.  They go all the time and it sounds so fun!  Anyways, I can't stop thinking about May 10th!  I got a letter from President today telling me that on Monday of that week we'll be doing FHE at the mission home and then on Tuesday we're going to a 10:00 session at the temple and then heading to lunch and the airport!  That sounds and even kinda feels so unreal to me right now.  But it's coming!  ready or not.  Alright I love you guys!  Have a good week!  HAPPY EASTER!

love love love


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy one-month-left mark!

that is a weird thought.

here is a weird story:  So the weather here has been a little crazy lately.  Well, okay.  it has been hot.  and muggy.  (what else is new?) but the WIND has been crazy!  I think it's all of those 90 degree afternoons that get the wind going wild.  So the other day, Hermana Warner and I had been knocking a lot of doors and we took a break to eat our lunch in the park.  It got really hot and I got pretty sunburned and so we decided that we would swing by mcDonald's and get an ice-cream cone before heading back out.  (benefits from serving stateside and driving a car...:)  if anyone says ANYTHING about any sort of diet...that's what I thought.) so there I sat with my little ice-cream cone and I was facing my sweet little companion and we were talking and then through the window behind her I saw a little old homeless man in a dirty little wheelchair, wheeling up to the door which was immediately to my right.  In anticipation of his struggle to open the door and wheel himself through, I  jumped up (ice-cream cone in one hand) and grabbed the door for him.  But it went terribly wrong.  He must have thought I was trying to get out, so he told me to go ahead... so I went out and then held the door with one hand (cone in the other) and whooooooosh!  A huge gust of wind....right under my skirt!!!!  Next thing I know, I'm smearing ice cream all over my skirt, which is now somewhere around my ears, while i'm trying to pull it down without dropping the door on the poor little homeless man!  And of course a cute trendy young black couple comes walking up and witnesses the whole thing.  I went back inside, covered in ice-cream, to a rolling-with-laughter companion who had just seen it all through the window.  And she told me that I had done "a lot more than just open the door for that man."  hahaha oops!  We had to walk past him on the way out and he had a bit of a creepy grin on his face.  HELLO MCDONALDS!  I am the girl with the white shorts.

so that was weird.  and not very spiritual.

But we had a really cool miracle this week, speaking of spiritual things.  I dont' know how much attention you pay to my investigators that I write about (John, you keep an area book at home with details about them in it, right?) but about a YEAR ago exactly, we met a woman named Angelica.  (we being me and harry) We found her knocking during a four hour knocking session in the middle of what president lovingly called the "week of sacrifice" which was the week of easter and which has now become the "week of becoming" so yeah, we're doing it again this year.  anyways, she was someone we met during all that.  She was so amazing and she felt the spirit so strong!  She was pregnant at that time with her first child, and the only reason she didn't get baptized was because she wanted to do it together with her husband and he wouldn't go to church with her.  she came to a few activities and even came to sacrament meeting once but we had to drop her because she really wouldn't do it without him.  Well this past Sunday, Hermana Warner and I were walking into the chapel to go to our correlation meeting and I saw a car that looked exactly like angelica's. ( warner and I were the ones that really taught her, harry adn i just found her together) I told Warner "hey look!  angelica's here." and she said "don't' even tease me" and tried to smack me.  I just laughed and said, "can you even imagine if she were just here?? that would be so cool!"  Well... fast forward about twenty minutes and I'm sitting on the piano in sacrament meeting for Broadway 2 (turns out our ward mission leader didn't show up for correlation and I got roped into playing for them even though they're not my ward anymore because i love them and they don't have anyone else who plays...) So there I am playing the sacrament hymn and I see this little family walk into the back of the chapel out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to get a closer look and it was ANGELICA and her husband Marcos and her eight month old baby girl jacquelin!  oh my gosh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  THEY CAME! hahahha I just about fell off the piano bench.  I have to confess, I hardly paid any attention during the sacrament, I just kept looking at her and smiling and looking at warner who was making huge eyes at me on the pew behind them and I just wanted to jump or cry or something!  That was the coolest thing ever.  After the meeting, she came running up to me in the foyer to show me her doll of a baby girl.  That was the first time they had both come together.  It was cool.  God is good.  planting seeds!  that's what I'm talking about!  I KNEW she was good.

This has been a crazy week.  I feel so weird lately.  It's a lot like the four weeks before my mission.  You just kinda want to either be staying forever or to be gone.  Because everyone starts talking about the future and your future is just a big blank spot in your mind and it's just weird.  You emotionally detach.  But that's okay.  it's all a part of the process I guess.  I think the best way I could possibly describe what I'm going through right now would be to say that I feel like I do when I've been water skiing for a really long  time and I'm exhausted, but I just hit a beautiful patch of glass and I don't want to let go.  You know that feeling?  So you just keep cutting and then pretty soon you have to stop in between cuts and just lean backwards and drag a hand in the spray to rest it, and the let boat pull you for a second until you can catch your breath and hunker down for another cut.  That feeling? yeah.  that's how I feel right now.  I am so tired.  I don't WANT to stop, but I NEED to stop soon.  Every night it's like I drop into my bed completely dead (dragging that hand in the spray!) and opening the door the next morning is going out for a few more cuts on beautiful glass!  It's a good feeling.  but exhausting.  So that's about where I'm at.

Alright.  I love you all a whole lot. Have a good week! Take advantage of the last few chances you have to write me a letter!  my mailbox has been a little dusty lately! haha (i wish I could say jk right now, but that wouldn't be true.)

love love love!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Annnnd....WE'RE BACK!

I had the most tiring, hilarious, fulfilling week!  So as you all know, I'm back with Warner...and I had forgotten how much I love her!  We are like two little girls at a sleepover all day every day. haha.  Last monday I lost my voice because we were talking so much!   I get to listen to Michael Jackson again (she sings in the shower). haha.  And it's really cool to be with her because she has changed a lot from the last time we were together.  Her spanish is incredible and she is a really good missionary.  i'm learning a lot from her.  She keeps saying, "my how the tables have turned!"  hahah because she's the one showing me around and introducing me to all the members and all that fun stuff that I was doing for her in Broadway 2.  I feel a little weird in this area though because I KNOW that I won't be staying.  So it's tempting to just let her drive everyday and just to follow her around, but I told her she can't let me do that.  I have to learn the area for myself.  It's a crazy area too.  It's the closest Hermana's area to downtown.  The elders in our ward are basically tracting in the shadows of the skyscrapers.  Lots of freeway driving, homeless bums, and taquerias!  We mostly tract houses, but they have ditches like cloverleaf! haha weird combination of the other areas...
We had a crazy week because on Friday we had a wedding and a baptism!  This was a couple that Hermana Warner and her last companion have been working with for about three months now, but they finally got everything arranged and we were the wedding planners!  Craziness, let me tell you.  That was the first wedding that I've actually PLANNED on my mission.  But it was great!  They looked amazing, they got married, and then they got baptized that same night!  They have two adorable little kids and they are already looking forward to the temple a year from now.  It's actually a really cool story.  They call it the story of the four Felipes. You ready for this?  Stay with me.  It starts with a man named Felipe (#1) who married a woman and had a son (Felipe #2).  They ended up getting divorced, and he married another woman and had another son (Felipe #3).  She passed away and he got back with the first wife, so now his two sons are friends.  Felipe #2 was a recent convert, and while showing Felipe #3 around town, he told him about the church.  The hermanas went to go visit Felipe #2 and his mom, because she hasn't gotten baptized yet but comes to church every week, and they met Felipe #3 and his girlfriend, Sandra.  Sandra loved the message and referred her family.  They happen to live out of our mission so we dont' know many details but the bottom line is, they ALL ended up getting baptized!  She and Felipe were just waiting until they could get married.  After ironing out some relationship issues, they finally decided to take the plunge, and as of April Fool's Day, they are officially Felipe (#3) and Sandra Chavez!  and mormons.  haha.  I know I know, you're all wondering where the fourth Felipe comes into play, right?  Did you remember that I told you they have two kids?  Well, their kids are Bryan and Valeria.  (cutest kids ever by the way)  so nope.  it's not a felipe jr. jr.  But while the Hermanas were teaching them, the Elders played a trick on them and told them that the dog's name was Felipe!  So they spent the whole three months calling it Felipe until finally Sandra asked them why and they said, "isn't that his name?" and she laughed way hard and said, "no!  why would we name him that?  we have enough of those as it is!"  So there you go:  fake Felipe # four.   And just to bring this gig full circle, Felipe #1 (who was totally against them getting baptized)  showed up to the wedding reception with his mariache band!  He is the lead singer.  (just don't tell our Bishop, who asked us to not have music at the reception since it was right after their baptism and he wanted to "keep it spiritual"  In our defence, we had no control over it.  And he was in Mexico visiting his sick mother so ...i don't think he knows. !)  Anyways, their reception was pretty rockin.  and they got frosting allllllllllllllll over hermana Warner's face after they cut the cake!  haha.  (maybe I was kinda glad they're not that close to me yet. haha)
Then, we had conference!  That was good.  It always is as a missionary.  My favorite part was that when we walked out between sessions, the Broadway 2 ward was there!  Do you guys remember Noel Ramirez?  Well he's been breaking my heart for about five months now because he quit going to church!  I've been writing him letters but that's all I could really do.  Well he was there!  and I got to talk to him in the foyer!  He said that he messed up and quit coming because he was ashamed, but now he realizes that he has been miserable these past five months.  He said the three months after his baptism were the happiest months of his life.  He said he has it in his heart to give everything he's got to coming back and staying.  That was so good to hear.  He was excited to see me and Warner together again.  So were a lot of the members.  One lady made us go over to the side of the foyer and she took our picture! haha she's so sweet.  It made me feel like I had Grandma Woodbury with me! hahah.  We need more of them in this world! 
We also had an investigator named Rosa who came to the conference.  I haven't taught her yet so I'm still just getting to know her but she seemed to like it.  That was her second time to the church. 
I've been really tired all week but it is such a good tired!  I feel like i can't wait to get out of the apartment in the morning because I know everything we touch is going to turn to gold!  I love the way Hermana Warner works.  She is high energy!  hahaha it's all I can do to keep up with her but I feel like this was the best "last transfer" situation I could have possibly chosen.  Life is so good!  Time is so short! I hope you all liked conference.  I thought it was awesome.  Can't we just freeze time?  haha when it goes fast like this, it scares me.  Alright, have a good week!  Spence...still waiting on that story. 
Love you!
thank you for your letters!

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Baby is Killing me!

Is everyone sitting down?
alright.  GUESS WHAT???? I got transferred!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yeah.  totally crazy.  When Elder Gardner called us we were totally prepared for him to say that Elder Archuletta would be leaving the district and we'd both be staying.  He said, "I have some good news and some bad news; the good news is three of us are staying. . .  Hermana Tingey. . .we're going to miss you."   There was just a huge pause as me and Gibson kinda looked at eachother completely confused.  Then I said "what?" and he said mmm hmmm.  so the next forty eight hours were a whirlwind of me trying to throw my stuff in my luggage as fast as I could while working around appointments and writing goodbyes to people.  I didn't get to say goodbye to anyone in the ward because we had ward conference and so our meetings were kinda focused on that.  I was up at four this morning trying to load my stuff in the car and get the 'ole bike rack out again, so I'm exhausted and I feel like I've got ten billion thoughts running around in my head.  I'm kinda in denial that I'm sitting here right now as a matter of fact. 
it's not over yet. 
Still sitting down???? gues who my new companion is???????????  Hermana WARNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I KNOW!   I'm sooooo excited!  You can't even imagine. hahah it's like a sleepover party or something.  We haven't stopped talking since we got together this morning at six forty five.  my throat is killing me. haha.  I can't believe my baby is killing me.  that is blowing my mind.  (and everyone else's as well).  So I don't know what went down but somewhere in my youth or childhood I must have done something good.  haha.  I miss Hermana Gibson already, but I know Hermana Warner is going to pound it hard with me these last six weeks.  Also, our converts from last june (the last time me and warner were together) Claudia and Mariana Collazo from Broadway 2 have moved into this ward so they are hosting us tonight for family home evening!  she's getting ready to go through the temple come June and she has a calling in the young women's. does life get any better?  I submit that it CANNOT!  I can't express to you how happy I am right now.  We're going to make these the best six weeks of my mission.  I can feel it.  Oh before I forget, my new address is:
5718 Eskridge #9
Houston, TX 77023
Anyways, that's the big news.  As far as missionary work goes, Iris got baptized on Saturday!  It was such a nice service.  She got baptized around three in the afternoon in Texas, and her eight year old son got baptized at six in the evening in Honduras.  So they did it together!  Yesterday she got confirmed and then was asked to bear her testimony in sacrament meeting in front of all the stake leaders that were there for ward (branch) conference.  She did great!  She had invited us four missionaries over for dinner and she made us fish soup with bananas in it, coconut rice, and cow's tail.  hahaha.  but it was delicious!  she's a great cook.  Honduranean food is really yummy.  really sweet and lots of fruit. 
Our zone went to the temple on Thursday.  It felt so good to be in the temple again.  I am really looking forward to being able to go whenever I want.  (I know that sounds missionary goobery to all y'all, but hey, I'm six weeks out)  Speaking of six weeks...yeah, mom it's p.m.  sorry!  haha right after we got done e-mailing I told hermana Gibson that I had forgotten to write am or pm but we decided you'd realize it was pm since otherwize I'd be getting up at like two in the morning to get there on time.   But it was especially cool to be in the temple this time because we had a lady come a few months ago and talk to us about the process of building the Houston Temple and I didn't realize that they had artisans from all over the world come to work on the temple!  They have these glass walls that have been etched that are so beautiful and the woman that did them isn't even mormon but she's the best glass etcher in the world right now so that's why they chose her.  It was cool to go and pay more attention to the details. 
Let's see...I'm sorry this is so scatter-brained, but given the circumstances...let me look in my planner and remind myself what we did this past week. 
Alright.  So last Monday we went to dinner with a newlywed couple in the ward.  They are Cesar and Karla and they totally grew up here so they speak perfect english and are basically your typical mormon american couple.  She was telling us how they wrote his whole mission but then broke up when he got back because he was so weird.  For example, she said he used to ask her, "is there anything I can do for you?" at the end of their dates.  WEIRD.  hahahaha so anyways drama drama drama they ended up together happily married.  (sound familiar?)  BUT.   Now it has opened my eyes to MY OWN WEIRDNESS.   weirdness isn't the right word.  I will let you know when I think of one that is better to supplant it.  And for the record, I would NEVER ask that at the end of the date! I'm not THAT weird yet.  haha.  pot calling the kettle black, eh?  Naw, but I'm just a little scared of the real world.   It's strange because I know that I like things like TV and stuff, but I just can't imagine myself watching it.  I just don't want to!  I don't know why!  So everyone is just going to have to be kinda patient with me.  haha.  i'm sorry.  But I just don't want y'all to be havin' huge expectations.  I'm going to try to ease back into it all.   But not yet.  Right now I get to soak in the missionaryness of it all as much as I want!  Get ready to hear some miracle stories.  
Alright I'm not good for anything right now.  My head feels fried.  I'm going to go buy some groceries with the five dollars I have left on MSF (I thought I would be eating all the food I had been collecting all month!  there it sits in the jacinto city fridge...it lay there on the table...).  and then i'm going to go to the chapel and try to write a few people back and then i'm going to NAP IT UP.  (haha warner disagrees.  she says that's lame and I should play soccer.  we'll see.) so anyways.  I love you all, Have a great week!
p.s. Spencer, you're a lucky dog!  and i think you owe me a letter and a story...."I am sixteen going on seventeen, I know that I'm naive...."  (apparently not)  love you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chiropractors are WONDERFUL.

All the Gang:
Hey! Happy week six of the transfer. That means we went slim pickins on the grocery shopping today because we weren't sure whether we'd be staying or leaving. The next week will be spent silently trying to tally and figure out whether we'll move or not and then anxiously awaiting our phone call on Saturday night. Pray for us! haha.
This was a somewhat crazy week. We had exchanges, a visit to the chiropractor, and a special delivery in the mail.
First off: Exchanges. I went to Baytown to work with Hermana Keele's greenie, Hermana Arbon. We had a blast. And I was able to walk out on a dock over the bay! so that was cool. We met some sweet people that want to learn more. They of course have lots going on and several baptismal dates...but I'm not bitter. haha. miracles follow greenies! It was an interesting experience though to be with her and remember back to the first transfer of my mission and all those feelings came flooding back. Lots of stress and fear but hope as well. Some days I feel like I'm still just the same as the day I walked off the plane but being with her was a huge reality check and I've changed a lot. Like, for example, I know Spanish (somewhat) now! She was asking me for some "words of wisdom" and tips for missionaries and it felt so weird to be actually vocalizing some of the things I've learned. Well...haha I hope I've learned! So that was a fun day.

Next: Chiropractor. Elder Gardner's back has been really hurting him so he set up an appointment with a chiropractor this morning. The doctor is actually a member and so he told him to bring us all in for a free "adjustment." Basically I got my neck massaged and popped and my back popped for free! It was so nice. haha. felt awesome.

Final: Special Delivery. Our trunky papers came this week! Let me explain: a couple nights ago Hermana Gibson went to check the mail and I was hoping a letter from my family would be there since I hadn't gotten one this week yet, and I was waiting outside the mail room when I heard her scream. She came running out, holding two manilla envelopes above her head and yelling "we got trunky papers!" and generally just freaking out. haha. so we took a bunch of papers and then opened them and wow. Talk about trunky papers. We had heard that they come but that was nothing to actually seeing them. They sent us our flight plans! and a letter thanking us for our service and encouraging us to keep up these good spiritual habits that we've developed in the field for the rest of our lives...such as, praying morning and night with our SPOUSE and family! what?! yeah. totally weird. So we of course had to call all of the hermanas that are going home with us and figure out who is leaving first and who is on whose flight. that was hilarious. Every time we called someone they would just answer the phone screaming. So funny. anyways. that was weird. 

okay that's enough of that! hahah alright I"m basically out of time. sorry, that spotlight took me longer to write than I thought it would. We had some cool miracles this week! We've got a teenage girl named Dulce with a baptismal date so pray for her! I love you all and can't wait for your letters. have a good one!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Journal Worthy Week

You wanna know what's weird?
As soon as I sit down at this computer to type it's like I lose all memory of whatever I've done throughout the week. haha remember the good 'ole days when I used to jot down in my planner what I wanted to write about?  yeah....
So let's see.  This morning, we drug ourselves out of bed at six o clock (it felt like five though because of daylight savings) to go get the Elders because they do laundry at our place on p-days.  I was sitting shot gun in my pajamas, and staring out the window at the rain as Hermana Gibson drove us on the freeway towards downtown.  I couldn't help but laugh at the irony (once again) in the fact that we live right next to the Budweiser plant.  Every morning when I jog around the park in front of our complex I can see the blue Bud Light sign glowing cheerfully.  There's always a lot of steam coming out of that plant, and Hermana Gibson and I joke that we may not be able to watch the news, but we'll know that everything's okay so long as steam is still coming out of that place. haha- Welcome to Houston. 
Last p-day was a blast.  We went to Broadway and played kickball.  My zone won (of course) and we all got to see eachother again.  I love that!  The other Hermanas had a cake and presents for Hermana Gibson and a few other missionaries who had March birthdays so we had a party.  I think this is the only time in my life that I'll actually be able to say that all my best friends are teenage boys.  But it is so true.  I don't know how I'm going to leave them all.  haha.  sad....
So anyways.  We had a journal-worthy week.  We contacted a girl who looked like a guy but she invited us in and started asking us lots of really good questions and telling us she was looking for stability and for a closer relationship with God.  She was way friendly and I think we were both getting pretty excited until she asked how we feel about gays.  Hermana Gibson took the bullet and said that we love all people and recognize all people as children of god, but that behavior is immoral and is not accepted.  Next thing I knew, she was showing us the door.  So yeah, we got run out by a lesbian this week.  That was a first for me.  That SAME NIGHT, we went to teach our investigator Julisa, a twelve year old girl, at her Grandma's house.  While we were there, someone knocked on the door in a pattern that among Mexicans is a signal for prostitution.  Weird... but I just figured it was someone making a dumb joke, until the girls ran to get the door and I heard a black man asking for "Mommy."  I thought that was weird because the grandma doesn't speak any english, but as soon as she heard him, she went really fast to the entryway and I could hear him say, "mommy, i need some grass."  Great.  So I'm pretty sure grandma is selling drugs and we were right in the middle of it.  It actually rattled me pretty bad.  We were right in the middle of a neighborhood.  Like, I'm talking actual HOUSES, which is rare here.  So I would have said it was SAFE.  But I guess you can find that sort of thing anywhere.  
This week we got a crazy referral from the mission office saying that President Moldenhauer had gotten an email from baton rouge louisiana's president, who had gotten an email from one of his missionaries who lived in our area before his mission, sending us to visit his girlfriend's family.  President Moldenhauer had requested a personal update on what happened.  No pressure!  We set up an appointment for Saturday night and when we got there, they were really nice and warm and welcomed us in but then proceeded to bear testimony against us and proselyte the catholic faith to us.  Bummer.  We ended the night with bottles of water and two books on "what it means to be a catholic" and "becoming friends with christ"  but no new investigators.  They were really nice people though, and their house was unbelieveable.  It reminded me of something you'd see in Utah.  I think they had molding and everything.  So we have to report that to President today. . . but that's alright.  What would a mission be without a few of those, right? 
Me and Hermana Gibson had a mini miracle yesterday!  We have really been trying hard to get 20 lessons each week to meet the mission standard and last night we had about twenty minutes to try and find someone to teach before our 8:00 appointment.  The woman we went to visit wasn't home, but as we were walking away, we saw a member of our branch walking out of the complex!  We asked him if we could share something with him and he said yes! so we were able to get our 20 lessons again for the second week in a row - something I've been praying pretty hard for. 
Another little miracle we had was that Hermana Gibson was feeling really really sick on Wednesday but we were at the chapel for a lesson and the zone leaders came by.  They were able to give her a blessing and I think that really helped her.  She's had a rough mission with lots of physical challenges but we were able to work the rest of the day so that was a miracle! 
Anyways, lots of good stuff going on here.  I'm getting my hair cut by the elder's investigator who is going to get baptized on the 26th at four o clock today.  She's way cute.  I hope she knows how to cut hair though- i'm kinda nervous!  haha.  It will work out I'm sure.  Just don't make fun if I walk off the plane with a round face and weird hair, okay? haha
CONGRATS SPENCE ON MAKING THE BBALL TEAM!  I've been thinking about you! that's awesome.  I hope you have fun.  I love you all!  thanks for all your love and support. Have a good week!

Monday, March 7, 2011

20 Lessons!

hey everyone:
first off:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERMANA GIBSON!  That's right.  Today is my companion's twenty fifth birthday.  Oh how I love her.  The elders suprised us this morning by taking us out to breakfast with our ward mission leader.  They came and knocked on our door with a cake and a present and sang to her.  it was way cute.  She was excited.  Then, after this we're going to meet up with our zone and the other spanish zone and play kickball.  haha let's see if we win.  (of course we will)  So i'm sorry if i'm a little distracted right now. 
We had a crazy week!  One of the many things that made it crazy was what we call the "mini-mission" which is a stake activity where each of the youth get paired up with a companionship of missionaries for the day so they get to see what it is like.  We had to be at the stake center at six in the morning and just about every spanish speaking missionary in the mission is there so it was crazy to see everyone again.  We had a great day and our young woman said she wants to serve a mission (success!).  But as we came back at the end of the day, they had a fireside/testimony meeting and I was playing the closing song afterwards, which is a spanish hymnbook only song called "placentero nos es trabajar"  which is all about working in the lords vineyard.  There was one line that says "o hermanos adios pues adios.  el momento de ir vino ya" which translates to "farewell my brothers.  the time to go has come."  I couldn't help but note the parallelism with our own lives at the moment and so I looked up and made a face at Hermana Gibson who was (of course) STARING STRAIGHT BACK AT ME from the audience!  (our companionship unity knows no bounds!)  So then we both just bust up laughing and i'm up in front of everyone, trying not to mess up and going bright red...story of my life these days. haha.  Anyways.  it was funny. 
We had a really really cool lesson this week with a less active woman.  We (somewhat randomly we thought) chose a scripture on the sacrament to share with her and wanted to invite her to come back to church.  The scripture was 3 Nephi:8-9 and we talked about how the sacrament will FILL our souls.  Then we asked her when was a time that her soul was hungry?  She started talking about the time before she met the missionaries and how she literally had a HUNGER to know God.  She started crying and apologized, saying "even talking about that time in my life brings back that empty feeling I had."  She then told us how the gospel had satisfied that hunger and that she needed to go back.  The spirit was very strong.  yesterday she wasn't able to come to church but her husband was there on the back row, for the first time in years.  They are endowed and everything!  Little by little, we're going to get ALL of familia Pena back in that chapel!  I know we will.
We had a goal this week to get 20 lessons, which is our mission standard.  Last night at 8:40 we had nineteen but we had worked sooo hard and we knew we could get twenty so we ran and visited a recently re-activated lady that lives right below us.  it felt so good to report twenty lessons to our district leader last night!  That is good.  We have a lot of new investigators.  Still looking for ones that will progress though.  Like Hermana Gibson says, "we're about to die, we don't have time to mess around."  And that is true.  haha. 
hey before I forget, mom; will you send me the crepe recipe?  I think I remember it but I better get a recipe just to make sure.  MaryJane could probably send it from memory. haha.  k thanks so much!  I hope the baseball tryouts went well for Spence and MaryJane I think it was inspired that you wrote a book about a girl named june because that is my companion's middle name! haha she was so excited when she heard that.  Thanks for the letters.  You made my week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March already?!?!


so February...yeah.  that went by fast!  anyone else?

This week also went by pretty fast.  It's kinda hard to believe that I'm actually sitting in this library again already (with some little kid sucking on a cell phone and staring at me...why is it that little kids can just make eye contact with no shame whatsoever?  It's alright...I'm staring straight back in between sentences.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!).  But here I am and suddenly I find myself dreadfully unprepared to recount my week to the very beings that I love most in this entire world.  What did we do this week?  I'm whispering to my companion but she's just staring at an e'mail from her brother and asking me, with a bit of a blue glow in her eye from the computer screen, "I dunno... hey, what does 'dropping the L-bomb' mean?  Is that a utah saying?"  So I guess her brother is in love with his girlfriend, which is a real shame, because she was supposed to line me up with him once we got home...  But i'm not thinking about that.

There must have been something that we did between this jaunt on the good old e-mail account and the last.  let me see...

oh yeah.  missionary work!

We had three less actives that we worked with come to church this week!  That was exciting for us.  One is hermano Fernando Torres whom we had never met before wednesday but he came to a church tour we had set up with him and it was incredible!  We stopped in the chapel and just sat silently for about a full minute then asked him how he felt and he said.  Different.  Sooooo different.  When we finished, we took him to the relief society room and talked about the day he was baptized.  He was really intense.  He kept staring directly in between both of us which kinda weirded us out, but that made it all the more dramatic when he would suddenly look one of us in the eyes! haha crazy.  But I love seeing these hardened, dirt-under-the-fingernail, mexican men who suddenly wax incredibly poetic as they talk about God.  It is so...poignant.  I think  it's the contrast that makes it so great.  But he told us about the first time he met missionaries, and I think it's worth recounting:

He was living in Chicago and he said he was "real bad"...like, he would wake up not knowing if he was going to be killed that day, or if he was going to kill someone else.  That's how dangerous things were.  But he said that one afternoon he saw two young men in white shirts and ties ride by on their bikes right through what he called the "field of battle" like it was nothing.  He said he literally felt their peace as they rode by.  And he wanted that.  He didn't even know who they were, but he remembered that feeling of tranquility and when they knocked on his door, he accepted them in.  That is cool.

So it was good to see him in a church again.  When we started the tour he asked, "how did you know I had strayed?"  And he promised that he is back to stay.  I think he's right.

The other man we had in church is named Eduardo Sanchez and he rode his bike for an hour to get there.  'nuff said.

And the final guy we got in church is our man Marvin Ocon Roque.  Mom and dad, hermana cannon might have talked about him.  He is one of her converts and he lives in a school bus.  No joke.  But we finally got him back in the church after a few months of not being able to find him and that was a miracle in and of itself.

Other than that, if anyone has an investigator pool hiding in their garage or something, we'd love to find one.  We've knocked a lot...A LOT...of doors this week.  Gotta love it though.   Tracting makes for some crazy experiences.  We met a man named francisco who had no fingers on his left hand but still managed to hold on to a taco and chew on that as he slammed us for being LDS.  hahaha that takes talent.  We had a prayer with a family who was waiting for their son to come home from work and worried if something had happened to him because he was several hours late.  We had crackers and a cheeseball with a woman named Rebecca (that was weird) who is probably the most christlike person I know and the only thing wrong with her is that she is english.  She has been in and out of jail and now she's working on getting her sister to pray.  She actually understood the whole idea of a need for authority and she's going to read the book of mormon and get baptized once she gets her answer!  that was a good afternoon.  We met another english family - mom, dad, and two kids, who just opened a framing shop and it's doing great.  We walked in thinking that the mom was there last night at our appointment and when I found out she wasn't I was about to sit down so I guess I kinda blushed (like I always do...) and the girl was like, "it sorta looks like you're blushing," which of course just made me flame crimson.  then I looked like a huge dummy as I'm trying to explain about our rules and get out of the house asap.  hahaha some things never change.

In fact, I had another awkward blushing moment this week besides that one.  We had a wedding in our ward and the ward members signed up on our food calender saying we could come eat at the reception.  so there we were, four missionaries, at a wedding.  soooo not comfortable for us.  But it was kinda fun I guess.  We were sitting with two recent converts of ours who are girls our age so that's what made it work better than the last wedding we were at which I hope to just erase from all memory. haha.  But one of the girls (named yaneth) said to me, "I want to line you up with Polo (her brother) once you're done with your mission."  To which I turned a nice pink and then she said "sorry, I think I made you blush." and I said "no, haha..uh...it's okay..." and turned that same (now familiar) crimson shade that I inherited from my mother.  WHY DO I DO THAT?  we'll never know.  So the good news is, I haven't lost that.  haha.

Anyways, I'm kinda just rambling now.  Oh sarah, for the record, Rindfleisch is pronounced Rhine - flesh.  Hermana Gibson and I think it is "incredibly ironic" (name that movie!) that we are here in Texas with Pres. Moldenhauer, and elder Rindfeisch, and elder Orndorff, and Elder Doerfler, and elder Hugentobler, while her brother is in the MTC waiting to go to Germany!  God has a sense of humor. 

Alright.  I love you all and I wish you the best of first weeks of march.



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm 22. I love Libraries. And I'm a Mormon.

Hey everyone! 
I'm just going to say it:  we had a hard week.  Missionary work wise.  (in other words, we laughed all week long, but spent the whole thing knocking doors and nobody was in church.  happens to the best of us, but not a fun experience.) The good news is, we met a TON of people this week!  I think our best was Lottie: 
we were knocking a street and noticed this little old house with the cutest looking gabled porch.  we loved it.  so on our way back to the car before we left we decided to knock it.  A cute little old white lady came walking out around the back of the house and asked, "yes?" so we started explaining who we were and doing our whole (english version) missionary spill.  speel?  dunno.  But she said "oh my niece is a mormon!" and we loved that so we got talking about it more and asking her if she had ever read the Book of Mormon and she said no, so we tried to sell her on that point and she said, "as a matter of fact, I've got a Book of Mormon that I want to give back to y'all because I'm never gonna read it."  ouch.  haha.  we tried to convince her to keep it "just in case" she ever changed her mind, but she was adamant about giving it to us because it was a "nice leather copy" and we could give it to someone who might actually read it.  alright lady, we'll take it off your hands for you.  What a find!  She walks back out of the house with a 1966 edition of the Book of mormon, and as we start looking through it, Hermana Gibson's librarian mind starts noticing some subtle differences and with a weird, "we're not in Kansas anymore" feeling, we flipped to the front cover and frantically scanned the page until...published by THE REORGANIZED Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!  WHAT?  ahhahahaha it was so crazy!  So that's how we got our hands on the best thing my companion has ever found on her mission.  It is crazy.  Pretty different from the real Book of Mormon.  But exciting nonetheless. 
We had another exciting occurance this week:  We woke up one morning, did the usual routine, and when we went to get in our car, we noticed a little note on the windshield.  Hna. Gibson pulled it off and we realized it was one of the new "mormon.org" passalong cards they have given us missionaries to hand out. (by the way, here's my plug for mormon.org:  GO TO IT.  GET A PROFILE.  we're allowed to get on that website and i keep looking up everyone i know and they aren't on there!  so hurry! haha thanks) so anyways the note said "i'm 21.  i'm balding. and i'm a mormon."  handwritten.  it has to be a missionary, right?  so we immediately think of elder bernard, the only missionary we know is is for SURE balding.  but he works so far away.  so next we think of the elders who work our same area, only english.  It HAS to be them!  so we text them and say "we didn't know ya'll were balding!" and they were completely confused.  They finally said "no JIVING"  it wasn't them.  darn.  so who is it?  Well, turns out it was our zone leader and he had actually put it on our car the night before at the chapel but we didn't see it driving home in the dark.  But in the meantime, we started this huge joke with the elders who share our area about balding/mormon.org cards.  Next thing we know, that night when we go in, we see mormon.org cards all in the crack of our door and the spokes of our bikes which are locked out front.  haha they said hilarious things like "i'm 22.  i'm trunky. and i'm a mormon"  and "i'm 24.  I love libraries.  and I'm a mormon."  Hermana Gibson and I got a kick out of it. It's like she says, "those are the things that keep a missionary going!" and that is so true.  That and letters from home!  (got that plug out there too...i am good!) 
That joke actually ties into another joke that I wasn't going to write about because I don't know how I actually feel about it, but just for fun, here it goes:  One of the elders who left all the cards is named Elder Fife and he flew out with me.  This is the first time I've really worked around him since then but he reminded me that that morning on the bus ride to the airport, an elder (Hakes) had asked me to marry him (yeah.  boys are so dumb!) and apparently I just said "no!" and shot him down really hard. haha (he deserved it... asking a sister missionary to marry you...please.)  But anyways Fife thought that was pretty heartless and he got me feeling bad about it.  Then the other day he was on the phone with that same elder (Hakes) and I was there and so he handed the phone over to me and the kid asked me AGAIN!  hahaha so this time I said, Elder Hakes.  where are you serving?  (he said beaumont, which is about as far from me as you can get in the mission) then I said.  If you ask me IN PERSON before I leave the mission, then I will say yes.  So we all laughed and thought that was funny but then we walked away and I turned to Hna. Gibson and said "you dont' think he'll find a way to actually see me do you?" and she said, "oh no...." with a panicked look on her face, and then we laughed even harder.  But one of the mormon.org cards said "i'm 22.  I love Elder Hakes. and I'm a mormon."  Boys.  Even when you put ties and tags on them.  Part of them will always be that 14-year-old jr. high student. 
Anyways.  Manuel is struggling with smoking.  and a few other things.  I'm worried about him.  We met a few cool families so I'm excited to see what happens with them.  We did have a pretty cool miracle while we were out finding.  We picked a street that turned out to me mostly white for some odd reason so we were thinking about bagging it and going somewhere else, but we kept going and as we were finishing up, this hispanic lady drove by in her car, then stopped and rolled down the window and pointed to a house and told us that she lived there!  Alright.  She asked when we could come visit her.  Turns out she's a member, but has been less active for years.  She has a granddaughter that isn't baptized that the elders have now set a baptismal date with.  Pretty cool.  It was funny though because all the mexicans have this thing outside their front doors that has their name, house number and usually a scriptural quote on it, accompanied by an image of the virgin or something crazy.  But they had one that said "El Libro de Mormon.  otro testamento de Jesucristo" above their family name, and "Latter Day Saints" below it. haha sweet! 
Well, I love you guys!  happy president's day!  i hope jess had a fun birthday, and I thank you soooo much for the valentine's package.  the shirt is adorable, so is the jewelry and the headband, and the candy was delicious.  You guys are the best!  Love you!  Have a good week

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentines Day!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!   Pretty cool that it falls on a P-day.  And a transfer P-day at that.  Which brings me to the transfer topic, which I know you're all just on the edge of your seats about.  Well buckle up:  I am still in Jacinto City and my companion is . . . Hna. Gibson!  With Elder Gardner as distric leader and his companion is Elder Archuletta...so yeah.  We all stayed.  Pretty boring huh?  well, not so fast.  Me and Hermana Gibson did some quick calculating and based on where everyone is at right now we're about 85% sure that we are going to die together!  There are two areas that neither of us have been in: Baytown and Pecan Park.  But Hna. Keele is going to be training in Baytown (usually that means they're there for two) and Hna. Warner is in Pecan Park and just got there.  Since we've both been companions with her...we figure he's letting us die in style.  together.  in jacinto city.  But anyways.  Who's thinking about dying anyways?  not us! haha.
So last night we said goodbye to Hermana Cannon and Elder Rindfleisch.  Ouch.  OUCH!  They came to our chapel to perform in our musical fireside so we got to hear them play (both) and sing (elder r.) one more time.  Those are two talented people.  Elder Rindfleisch asked if he could do anything for us when he got home and I told him to just give you guys a call.  So be watching for it. haha.  his name is Andrew.  He is one of my favorite people that I've ever met.  haha I told Hna. Gibson that he's such a good guy, if he were to get down on one knee and ask us to MARRY him, we would have to say yes!  hahaha.  He is that neat.  Fortunately, he doesn't have any plans to kneel in front of either of us.  
But as for the musical fireside, it went great!  it was really sosoooo pretty.  We had about eight different musical numbers with people reading paragraphs in between about faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end.  (with subtle piano music in the background while they read.)  it worked PERFECTLY!  A few of the numbers came together literally seconds before we performed them, since half of the performers live in a different zone than we do... haha but it was great!  We had a great turn out, which was my biggest worry...and our branch president LOVED it.  President and Sister Moldenhauer came with the APs and they all loved it as well.  In fact, Sister Moldenhauer liked it so much that she asked us to perform one of the numbers for the visiting authority, Elder Gavarett who is coming in March!
So the other day we didn't have a dinner appointment, which is pretty rare for us.  I decided to actually cook something!  I made that vegetable dish that you gave me the recipe for Mom (the one you just learned how to make and you made for dinner group).  Hermana Gibson loved it.  In fact, I think she said that it had been "many a year since she had seen such an exemplary vegetable."  She's a quoter like that. hahah i love her. 
We had a baptism this week in our branch for an investigator that the elders have been working with for FOREVER.  It was exciting to see him finally go under the water!  and his whole family came to support him and they left asking for visits from the missionaries, so that's what we like to hear!  Let me tell you something about Felipe, our newest member:  He is a really really REALLY big guy.  Nicest man you'll ever meet.  Glowing about the fact that he got baptized.  But HUGE guy.  (I could insert a you've got mail quote here, but i won't...but mom.  you know what i'm thinking. hahaha!)  Anyways, we don't care about that.  Elder Archuletta brought some white clothes just in case, and when it came right down to it, the Brother who was baptizing him really did need help!  so that was a two man job.  haha Hermana Gibson was laughing because when our converts are really really big like that, we have to borrow the XXXXXL jumpsuit from the temple.  Turns out, Hermana Gibson has borrowed that jumpsuit for ALL of her converts except one!  hahahahhahaha.  I don't know what it is, but she just finds big people. 
Oh mom, while i'm thinking about it, I've been meaning to ask you to send me something:  I have a picture that I took when I was in Washington DC of the smithsonian castle.  It is the brown castle-looking building on the mall.  The rest of the buildings are white, you can't miss this one.  But could you print whatever photos i have of that building out and send them to me?  I know it's kinda weird but there is an hermana in this ward that feeds us dinner every sunday and she served a mission in Washington DC.  I was asking her which was her favorite monument and she said that building, but she was all bummed because she never did get a picture of it. haha i thought that would be an easy dream to make come true.  thanks for helping me out!  She is amazing. 
Alright...that's all for now.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESSICA ON FRIDAY!  hope you guys do something fun.  let me know if you ended up going to hna. cannon's homecoming or not.  I'm sorry your plans for bear lake weren't really working out.  Have a good week!  thanks for your letters as always!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Goober Becca. Gotta Love the Mission!

Hey everyone....and welcome back to so you THINK you can DANCE! 
I just had to say that. haha  I hate starting my emails.  The greeting always gets so old.  so anyways, now that that's out of the way, on to more important stuff. 
First off, I got a really cute package in the mail this week from the young women of the Holladay 3rd ward.  or maybe just the mia maids or something.  but it was really funny.  they each wrote me letters telling me how Spencer is going out with McKenna Tholen and how no matter what she says, it's true.  They're together.  hahaha then her letter was totally like "don't believe anything they say...it's not true!" it was fun.  She said it all started because they were going around saying who they thought were the cutest boys in the ward and she said you Spence.  I wholeheartedly agree. haha.  smokin'. 
Secondly, this is week six of the transfer.  That means a couple things;  first, we had to cut back on our groceries because we don't want to have a full fridge of wasted money at the end of the transfer in case we get transferred.  It also means we're spending p-day at the broadway chapel with everyone there to enjoy the "nearly dead" missionaries one last time.  Yesterday was stake conference so we were all there just barely and Elder Petersen found me and said that when I come, I need to give him my address because i'm basically dead!  and so it begins...  It also means that me and Hermana Gibson are going through our "lasts" together because we've decided to assume she's getting moved so that it won't be so hard on us if it really happens. hahah we're having some preemptive separation anxiety.  I have no idea what's going to happen.  This one is a tough one to call.  Too many variables with a greenie coming out and all.  Anyways.  happy week six. 
We had a cool miracle this past week with Manuel.  He is scheduled to get baptized on the 12th but he's struggling hard with an addiction to smoking.  This past week, when we got together at the chapel to teach him about the word of wisdom, we talked about getting a Priesthood blessing to help him break the habit.  We had tried to get an Hermano to come to the appointment with us but it fell through, so we were just going on the faith that somebody at the chapel would be a righteous priesthood holder to help us out.  (it was activity night)  Anyways, when it came right down to it, he wanted a blessing and so I went to go find the branch president and saw an hermano standing outside the office waiting to talk to the president and I don't know what came over me but I just asked him if he could help us out.  I didn't even know if he was in our branch.  All I knew was he was wearing church clothes and I felt like I should ask him.  Turns out, he IS in our branch.  He's a high priest, and he got baptized about five years ago, after breaking a 25 year smoking addiction.  He talked to Manuel, and then he and another brother were able to give him a blessing.  Pretty powerful experience.  He was so supportive and understanding and just sympathetic of what Manuel was going through.  Plus it was awesome to hear him tell him that he could do it and that they were behind him!  It's going to be tough, I don't know if he'll get there by the 12th but he's smoking a lot less than he used to.  He's a good guy, and he's come a long way. 
This was really a crazy week for me and Hermana Gibson.  So last monday we went to NASA, right?  That day it was about 70 F.  The next day, it dropped to thirty five, and it kept dropping, until by Friday they had cancelled all our meetings and wouldn't allow us to leave the apartment on car or bike because there was ice all over the roads.  IT WAS SO COLD!  They finally let us go out in the afternoon but we were dying.  10 F with wind chill making it about 2-3 F they told us.  We're just not equipped for that here.  It was kinda funny though.  It never even snowed or anything, just froze, but nobody went to work and the streets were just dead.  school was canceled.  it was ridiculous!  the freeways were all closed down.  I guess it's because they have no way to handle the ice so it's just too dangerous to go out on the roads.  Makes me grateful for the simple pleasure of having machines that throw salt on the roads in Salt Lake. haha.  but that was crazy.  And by saturday it was back up to 60 F.  Texas weather...
Hna. Gibson and I also had an eye-opening experience this week.  On Tuesday, we were invited to attend Zone Leader Coucil.  yes.  The Zone Leader Council.  I guess they always invite a companionship of sisters to it to represent the female side of things and get our voice out.   So we were the lucky winners this time!  That means we got to go to the mission home and sit around the living room with the APs, and about six companionships of zone leaders and just, you know...talk about the secrets of the kingdom! hahaha Finding!  Teaching!  and BAPTIZING the Father's Children!  hahaha it was actually really interesting and we learned a lot.  It's cool to be around the "cream of the crop" missionaries and hear their opinions on the work.  Any time we said anything we had fourteen heads turned our direction and tons of attention focused on us. haha nerve-wracking.  We also got to listen to them debate the topic of sweaters and whether or not they were appropriate for the elders to wear.  They had a hard time for a while trying to describe a certain style of sweater and they were using all kind of hand motions and drawing patterns on their chests until Hermana Gibson and I shouted out simultaneously..."ARGYLE." hahah so I guess it's a good thing they had us females there.  What would they do without us, right? haha.  The best part was, afterwards, they gave us lunch and we got to eat and talk and I found myself seated at a table with TWO other U of U fans!  I don't know if you appreciate how rare that is in a group of out-of-state, byu lovin' mormons.  But it was incredible.  haha. 
I had a great "open mouth, insert foot" moment at that lunch.  I've had a bunch of those lately.  I told Hermana Gibson that she's going to think that I'm a huge ditz by the end of the transfer.  Here's what went down:  As the meeting was coming to a close, a young couple walked in.  Turns out, the guy was a missionary in our mission who went home about a year ago, and the girl with him was one of his converts. . . yeah. . . so we were all thinking the same things you're thinking right now.  I asked Gibson if they were dating or something and she just did the "idunno" shoulder shrug to me (i always ask her stuff as if she knows something I don't...then I realize that we're ALWAYS TOGETHER so that isn't technically possible. haha) but they sat down at the end of our table.  fast forward about ten minutes and now I'm talking to U of U fan Elder Bernard, who was in my very first district in THE mission.  He's telling me about his trainer, Elder Trappett (my very first district leader) and the previous Hna. Aune who have now begun dating!  WHAT?!  I know.  I don't know what it is with this mission and dating eachother afterwards but it seems to be free game.  Somebody forgot to tell them.  So that makes it nice and awkward for all of us out here in the field still.  When we hear about people dating back home I always feel like we look around at eachother and then inwardly shudder. haha.  gotta love missionary relationships.  So anwyays, I said, "they're going to get married." and he said "do you really think so?" and I said this doozy...drumrolll please...."well you don't go and date someone from the mission unless you're serious."  which was followed by a couple splutters and coughs and then a lot of laughter from the happy couple at the end of the table.  In my defense, I didn't realize they were listening and I didn't TECHNICALLY even know for sure if they were dating.  haha but it was pretty funny.  serves them right, I say. 
But yeah, hahah it was a crazy week.  hopefully this next week will be a little calmer.  (If there is such a thing as a calm week on a mission.)  We're putting together a musical fireside for our branch which will be on sunday so that should keep us hopping all week long.  I'm excited for it though. 
Hey I love you guys so much.  and I miss you!  Every day now I think about you guys and miss you.  I finally had to replace all my family/friends pictures with pictrues of mission people so I don't think about it too much. haha.  But i've still got one picture of you guys up and you're all just such good looking people! hahah.  i love you.  keep writing me.  I dont' really deserve the letters but i really love getting them.  Thanks for everything!  have a great week! 
goober Becca