Monday, January 31, 2011

Apollo 13 anyone?

So big news of the week:  TODAY WE WENT TO NASA!  That was so cool!  I think we all came out of there wanting to be astronauts! haha.  But i'm sending some pictures with this email so you can see where I was this morning!   crazy.  Dad and Spence, you especially would have loved it.  We need to come back.  Maybe this fall?  Let me know what you think.  But anyways, that's why I'm late today.  Sorry about that.  We got picked up this morning by our ward mission leader and drove through a really really thick white fog to NASA, which is technically outside our mission boundaries.  We went on a tour of some of the actual buildings that they use today and we saw the old mission control room with all the equipment from the Apollo 11 mission.  All very cool.  But now we're back on our territory and trying feverishly to finish everything we need to do before six o clock. haha. so goes mission life.  But I'm not going to lie, I've got a craving to see Apollo 13 again. haha. 
The other picture I'm sending is of me and Hermana Cannon.  I know it's hard to see, but she's got this nasty looking Y on her shirt. haha that's right.  she's a huge BYU fan.  We'll forgive her.  But we had an exchange this week so we had to take the picture.  She's down to her last two weeks in the mission field...which is weird, becuase she and I flew out together...but I always wished we could be companions and never got the chance.  We'll have to satisfy ourselves with that quick exchange.  Mom and Dad, or at least Mom and whoever of the kids wants to go...I'd love it if you could go to her homecoming.  It will be on February 20, and her church building is at 12300s. 700e.  I'm not sure what time but I got her mom's number :  801-571-8092.  Her mom's name is Carolyn. I really hope you can go.  I really look up to this girl.  She is probably the best missionary I've ever served with/around.  Give her a big hug for me and tell her I already miss her! haha. 
So we've been putting a big emphasis lately on doing church tours, and the other day we met a man and his stepson, had a first lesson with them, then invited them on a tour for later that same day...and they came!  The man's name is Lupe (i know, I thought it was a girl's name too, but turns out...) and his stepson is hector.  The tour went great, we were able to get a member to come with us and the spirit was strong and we felt way good about it.  But then, we went back to teach them again and we realized how truly cool Lupe is.  He had just had surgery on his eye so he wasn't able to read the Book of Mormon, but he made his three sons come in and listen to us and he told them that he really hopes and prays that they can all come to our church because he hadn't even been to services yet but he feels a peace there.  He also said they need to all read the Book of Mormon.  he said there was probably a better life waiting for them and they needed to give it a shot.  So after that amazing could they say no to baptism?  They all agreed to be baptized... yeah.  pretty sweet.  We dont' have baptismal dates for them yet, but that is a good start.  Lupe came to church yesterday and he really enjoyed it.  He talked about bringing everyone next week.  Sounds pretty golden to me!
Our other prime baptismals candidate, manuel, also came to church yesterday and he is so in love with this church right now! haha he was actually SMILING.  which is huge for manuel.  He is one of those people that has a really really dark look about him.  But he is changing.  He shaved his facial hair yesterday, which sounds silly but i swear that's a sign that he's accepting the gospel.  (that and the sudden desire to feed the missionaries.  he's not quite there yet.  But soon...)  He told me as he walked out that "we have lots to talk about."  hahaha i'm assuming that's a good thing. 
So the work is going great!  Me and Hermana Gibson are trying to do "transferology" and find out what the chances are that President actually leaves us together for the next two transfers.  Wherever inspiration sends us I guess...but we really wouldn't mind!  But it would be pretty epic to go out two of us together.  She calls it a "murder - suicide."  who knows! 
I hope you all have a good week and hey!  write me this week!  okay thanks.
love love love

Monday, January 24, 2011

Never Kiss A Missionary

wow January is zipping by!  how's everyone doing?
So I made a nice, long list of things I wanted to write about this week and then I (of course) left my planner in the car.  I know what all you returned missionaries are thinking.  "WHAT?!  what kind of missionary leaves her planner in the car?  A missionary without their planner is like a Jon Tingey without any hair."  I know.  It's hard for me.  But here's the thing:  It is POURING rain right now, and I didn't want to "dent the 'do" so I had to run for the library door.  And I got a little nerbis on the way in and so I grabbed my camera but not my memory card reader, and my wallet (totally unnecessary) but not my planner.  ouch.  and now I'm on the computer and there are people waiting to pounce on it as soon as I get off so I can't really leave.  Not to go get my planner and card reader...not even to go to the bathroom!  (which, by the way, with every passing moment becomes more and more urgent.)  Bummer.  Especially since I took a really sweet picture of downtown for y'all to see ... there's always next week.  haha.  sorry.
Alright let's see what I can remember.  Here's my favorite Hermana Gibson moment of the week:  We were driving to pick up the elders and somehow we got off quoting Princess Bride to each other.  Oh yeah, we were saying "never get into a battle of wits with a Sicillian, when DEATH is on the line!"  because she said something to me about something being on the line... haha anyways so then one quote led to another and she said, "with eyes like the sea after the storm..." and then it just got kinda quiet while we both pondered the full extent of that comment...and then she said, turning to look at me with both hands gripping the steering wheel...guilty narrowing of the eyes..."I'm going down a bad road Tingey!"  It took me a minute to realize that she was talking about a road in her thoughts, not the actual freeway...but when I did I just said, (with dramatic flair), "NO GIBSON!  COME BACK!" then, singing "The Spirit of God...." and that's as far as I got before both of us just burst out laughing and crying and wondering why there aren't more Wesley's in this world.  And more Gibsons as far as I'm concerned.  She's wonderful. 
Best Spiritual Experience of the Week:  We taught Manuel (the woman hater/changing before our very eyes man) at the church this week.  We were talking about the Plan of Salvation.  I've never seen someone so interested in our lessons.  He makes intense eye contact and asks some of the best questions I've ever heard.  This man is deep.  But he is so hungry for the knowledge that we have!  He opened up and told us how, after his wife left him, he was suicidal and feels like God won't forgive him for that.  He said he needs to learn more about repentance before he gets baptized on February 12.  Also, when we were committing him to be baptized that day (Feb. 12,) he said no way, because he hates that day, since it's the day he found out his wife had been cheating on him.  After a minute I told him I thought that would be the perfect day to be baptized then, and he just looked at me and then he said, "yeah, it's about time I stopped hating that day.  It has been five years.  And If I were baptized then, I would start remembering it as a GOOD day."  that's right, Manuel!  haha He also said (concerning suicide)  "Satan was cheating me becuase he was trying to get me to give him something - my life - that isn't mine to give!  God has loaned it to me."  is that deep or what? so he's progressing great.  We had a funny moment with him too, because sometimes he tends to get a little dramatic so he was saying how he has broken ALL of the commandments and how he's not a church person at all...blah blah blah... haha and so Hermana Gibson just looks at him with a dead straight face and says, "have you killed anyone?"  and he stops for a second, then said "no.  I haven't" and then we all burst out laughing.  Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny, I promise.
In fact, lately, everything seems funny to me.  Probably because I'm with Hermana Gibson, but the other missionaries around us are also a huge contributing factor.  For example, my beloved Elder Garner told us that we'd be speaking in sacrament meeting next week and we needed to choose a topic.  I chose Book of Mormon but Gibson told him to just choose for her because he had to go tell the branch president right then.  He came back and said, Okay hermana Gibson, so you'll be speaking on eternal marriage.  And he never even cracked a smile! hahahha gibson just spluttered out "are you freaking serious!?!" and then he laughed and we laughed and gibson got embarrassed for saying "freaking" as a missionary but it was just a really scary moment. haha.  Also, there is an elder here named Elder Majors (who I secretly want to line up with Jessica! )  But he always has chocolate kisses in his bag and so we finally figured that out and now every time we see him he gives us one.  You can imagine the jokes Gibson throws around that we probably shouldn't - "thanks for the kiss Majors... that was the best kiss I've ever had...where's my kiss?  ... can I have another one? ..." etc.  so this had been going on for a while and he was really the one behind it all and then on Friday when we were in the chapel for district meeting, Gibson and I were in the bathroom and he came and knocked on the door to give us our kisses.  I was still washing my hands so Gibson just yelled in to me "Tingey, Majors wants to give you and kiss!"  so I yelled back "Well tell him to come on in here and GIVE it to me then!" haha.  I thought that she was alone...but of course he was there...and he laughed harder than I've ever heard him laugh before! haha I don't think he expected that...haha and I came out of the bathroom a bit red in the face.  Moral of the story.  Never kiss a missionary. 
Speaking of getting kissed...I had a really awkward moment yesterday in sacrament meeting when I saw an old investigator man from Cloverleaf and he came right up to me and pulled me in and kissed me on the cheek!  Right in the sacrament room.  With Hermano Mendez standing by watching.  He came into our sunday school class to get the role and I just leaned over to Gibson and whispered, "He knows..." hahaahahah!  I hate the besos thing.  It gets so awkward when guys do it to unsuspecting, innocent sister missionaries.  I state again, NEVER kiss a missionary. 
Well the next big thing we're working on, aside from baptizing everyone in Jacinto City and Galena Park, is a musical fireside that Hna. Gibson and I have now been named "coordinating directors" over.  Hermana Gibson laughed when she heard that and then asked if we could change the title to "dictators in chief."  But I don't know where we're going to come up with people to sing in it.  Life is crazy!  Crazy!  I'm not kidding...the days go by so fast I feel like I'm watching a movie on fast forward.  But hopefully next week I'll have my planner and I'll remember some of the things that I'm sure I've forgotten to tell you this week. 
I love you all!  I'm sorry you can't be here with me!  Keep your lips off those missionaries in SLC! 
love love love

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Books and Puddles...

Dear Everyone,

How has the week gone for all of you?  We have had a good one here in Jacinto City.  It has been a little rainy...a little cold...but there's never a dull day in the mission field, right?  haha.

We had President's interviews this week.  With the new curriculum, we went from having interviews with him once a transfer (every six weeks) to once every three months.  so it felt like it had been forever since i'd been in interviews with him.  We spent most of it talking about the cyst the size of a grapefruit that had been surgically removed from one of the english sister's ovary.  nice.  Nothing like talking about ovaries to bond you to your mission President.  Hahahaha!  He and I always seem to have interesting conversations...haha.  I think it's probably my bad because he always asks what he can do for me and I always say nothing and so then it leaves him looking for something to talk about I guess. haha.  he's so funny.  But he's such a great guy, and he has really changed this mission.  We think that underneath his business exterior, he must be getting pretty trunky, because he goes home in june.

So, in all this rain, Gibson and I have been driving around a lot, visiting less actives and recent converts, and we've had some quality conversation time to really get to know each other.  What do a librarian and an english-major talk about you ask?  Books of course!  We had to make a list (i call it a "trunky list") of all the books we've told each other about so that we can read them when we get home.  and then we got laughing really really hard because we started to recognize a pattern in the books that we read...and that pattern was a little bit too illuminating into the secret desires/fears of our that was funny.  (secret marriage mom!  you know i told her about it!)

Hermana Gibson is so funny because she always gets laughing really hard at sad things.  We just about died over the area book because some previous missionary had written about an investigator that, "he expressed sadness about his lack of Christmas memories as a child."  and Gibson just put her hand over her heart and said "that is so sad..." and then she just broke apart laughing.  She's hilarious.  Gibson and her dry comments are killing me.  During the lessons she'll just mutter something like "semantics" out of the corner of her mouth as someone brings up a completely erroneous doubt.  It's genious.  And so hard not to laugh at her at times like that!

We met a really cool girl this week!  in face we're going to teach her right after this.  she accepted baptism on the first lesson!  She's sixteen and her name is Ariatna.  More on that later.

We also accidentally dropped our phone in a puddle and it got ruined so we've been trying everything from sticking it in the freezer to leaving it in rice overnight and we finally gave up and called the mission office for a new one and right afterwards we decided to try charging it and ta da!  on it went!  we called back and they told us sorry, but they'd already called the phone company and it was going to be shut off... so after all that we're phoneless again.

the moral of the story is, sleep with your phone!  (mom, i knew we were right after all)

I'm out of time but i love y'all and have a good week!

p.s. I forgot:  I had a cool story I wanted to tell.  We're teaching a man named Manuel that has a lot of problems and was really badly hurt emotionally by his wife years ago.  He has TONS of questions and he kinda gets in his own way of learning sometimes - our lessons with him are so intense - i always come out sweating!  But he told us last night that he's been changing since he has been meeting with us.  He said that before, if a woman had approached him just wanting to talk to him, he would have cussed her out and told her to get away.  Then he said, "now God has sent me TWO women to teach me His ways."  haha he said "why couldn't I have gotten the boy missionaries that I always see here at the church?
...God just wanted me to listen to women I guess."  haha. (he was laughing and so were we) It was actually really cool.  He said that now he doens't have harsh feelings towards women in general anymore.  He's learning that we sincerely do want to help him.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"that's a little creepy..."

Where do I start? 
Hermana Gibson:  is the funniest thing I've ever encountered.  I don't think I've stopped laughing since we got together.  She is very dry and witty and I've almost wet my pants like three times in the last week.  She has this habit of saying something HILARIOUS right as I knock a door so then i'm standing there losing it on the porch when they open!  haha.  it's so bad.  prayers are impossible.  Let me illustrate what I mean by giving you an example.  We went to knock a referral's door and there was a weather beaten catholic statue of Christ in their front yard, but we noticed as we walked up that the HEAD to the statue was sitting on the ground about a foot from the statue. She said, "that's a little creepy..." then asked me to cover her while she grabbed the head.  I told her no and knocked the door.  while waiting, she asked (whispering) "do you think it happened naturally?  or did someone have a moment of terrible vengeance? " haha.  The lady wasn't home, but we came back later and the head had been glued back on but instead of setting it upright on the neck, they had just set it so that the back of the head rested on the neck.  She made this hilarious shudder noise and said, "look at's grotesque!"  but then she just giggles and it makes me laugh so hard.  now that i type it out it's probably not that funny but you had to be there.  She's funny.  And she loves star wars (wears a shirt to bed) and lord of the rings, and she thinks the stripling warriors are hot.  ("don't mind if i DO" she says.)  and on top of that she's a really good missionary too.  which brings me to the next subject:
my area:  is actually made up of two different areas smashed together.  Jacinto City and Galena park.  We've been working mostly in galena park because hna. gibson said they never got out there last transfer and we feel like it's a gold mine.  It used to be an elders area but now it's ours due to lack of elders, and wow is it creepy.  Every area has a bit of a different personality  - for example, cloverleaf was ghetto in a colorful, crazy way.  Galena park has a strange, "sleepy-hollow"-like feel.  I told Gibson I feel like we're driving through a ghost town, even though there are people out.  It looks like something out of the fifties, back when it was probably full of white families whose dads worked at NASA and the moms stayed home and swept the back porch in their aprons.  Now it's all rusted over and the demographic has completely changed.  In fact, the elder we called who last worked there told us (in reference to a certain family's house) "you'll know you're on the right street because the brothas will be out selling drugs."  how right he was.  One side of the train tracks is Mexican, and the other side is black, and we're the only white girls for miles around.  people literally STARE us down.  That same elder advised us to buy pepper spray and only go to that part of the area in the middle of the day...that's what HE did.  oh thanks Elder Bench!  that's so're a bulky, full grown man.  we two fragile females will be just fine, i'm sure.  haha no.  In all honesty, we have to be careful, but we feel safe.  (okay mom?  we're great).  The Jacinto City side of the area is great.  Lot's of hispanics.  And everyone knows us in both areas and looks out for us.  It has this great small-town feel.  And the best part is, we've got a great view of downtown.  amazing.
We've had some cool miracles this week though.  We met two old investigators that the elders had been working with and set baptismal dates with them!  One man is named Ricardo and he kissed the Book of Mormon the first time the elders went with him!  the only reason he hasn't been baptized yet is becuase his work schedule wouldn't permit him time to come to church...but now that we've changed times with the new year that won't be a problem anymore!  sweet.  He seems awesome.  he talks really fast and he knows it but i think he's secretly impressed by how much we understand. haha. 
we've been finding lots of new families to teach!  things are going great.  My district is great, we're supposed to get a new car soon, the members feed us every couldn't get any better!  I will think of some hilarious Hermana Gibson stories to share next week.  But for now, I hope you're all doing great and I hope that somebody will please explain to me what all this computer talk is!  I have no idea what's going on and everyone keeps referencing it like I do.  haha love you guys, but I feel really out of touch with your lives when you do that! hahaha guess i've been gone a while...but anyways!  love you all, have a great week.
p.s.Sister Moldenhauer convinced President to let us go to NASA!  The man may be the head of the (mission), but the woman is the neck and can turn the head any ways she wants... i mean...  gibson and i are way excited.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Hey eberyone:
WHAT?!   It is 2011.  I left for my mission in 2009.  and now here I am in my FOURTH area with my EIGHTH companion, in my ELEVENTH transfer.  things just get weirder and weirder.  That's right.  I'm no longer in the ghetto cloverleaf.  Now I am in the ever ghetto-er Jacinto City, with the railroad tracks mere feet from our apartment door.  (okay maybe more like yards...)  with the trains choo chooing, and the stray cats meowing, and the ever so lovely hermana Gibson saying things like "epic," and "Riiiight?"  haha.  It's going to be a good transfer!   This new area actually borders my cloverleaf area and the branch meets in the same building as my old ward so I haven't strayed too far.  It will be nice to get to still see everyone on sundays.  That was a hard goodbye for me yesterday - harder than I expected.  I dont' know if my spanish is getting better or if i'm just gradually assimilating the mexican culture but I connected with the people in that ward better than any other.  I think partly because Hna. Keele helped me relax a little and be myself more around the members and investigators.  But yeah, I don't like that.  So I hope they don't move me anymore.  Next move I want to be coming to Holladay Utah!  (everyone pray that I get three transfers here, in other words haha.)  No i'd be happy to do whatever, but i'd be most happy to stay.  Anyway you look at it, a mission is full of goodbyes.  Elder Bentley is going home to Manti Utah today.  Sad! 
So Hermana Gibson:  She's a Las Vegas-er, and get this: she has her degree as a LIBRARIAN.  yeah, is that the coolest thing ever or what?  So right off the bat, she and I have a lot in common.  I was unpacking and I told her that I didn't even know how to "go about" unpacking, and she got a kick out of that.  She said she loved my vocabularly so let's see if I can stump her here in the future.  It'll be a challenge.  She's hialrious.  Very very social.  haha.  i'll email a picture.  We're in a four-missionary district.  (some call it a "double-date district")  with Elder Gardner (my friend from Broadway 2!) and Elder Archuletta.  No, he doesn't sing.  haha.  but i think we'll all get along. 
It was a crazy week trying to work around New years and president calling a "specialized training meeting" where he announced our next big thing (church tours!) and then of course, the rumors flying about transfers. 
One funny story from yesterday:  We went to lunch at an Hermana's house with two of the elders and she got talking about "what if an elder and an hermana fell in love on the mission"  (let me tell you, our favorite topic.....) and then she dared to take it one step further and said "for example.  What if you (pointing at elder peterson) fell in love with her (pointing at me!) and had to go home before her and then you'd have to wait ALL that time for her to get home.  That would be so hard.  and so romantic."  THANKS HERMANA.  Yours truly was trying to hide behind her cup, blushing five thousand shades of red.  haha but luckily Elder Peterson thought it was all pretty funny (he just wiggled his eyebrows at me across the table) and so we gave eachother bones when we got in the car afterwards.  that's to us falling in love.  Why do members have to do that?  For anyone who might be reading this:  DON'T TALK OPENLY ABOUT LOVE WITH MISSIONARIES.  we don't like it!  it is awkward for us.  We don't want to fall in love with ANY of the elders out here!
anyways.  that was my awkward moment for the week. 
Cute moment:  Our recent convert Carlos Guzman gave us each these really blinging diamond and jewel necklaces for Christmas.  It was so sweet of him!  He said he had been thinking and thinking and didn't know what to get us.  We all wore them to church yesterday.  I love follow- up teaching recent converts! 
Fernando blessed the sacrament yesterday and Carlos passed.  He said he was kinda nervous (and he kinda messed up but tha'ts okay- the hermanos were talking him through it)  He did great.  That was a cool way to leave the area. 
Oh my gosh I have so much on my mind right now but so little time.  I love you all and I hope you had a great new year.  Resolutions everyone!  And this time we really ARE going to do it! haha best of luck.  Happy 2011!