Wednesday, December 9, 2015

El Fin

Here I come!

Buenos Dias Familia!!!!

I'm not talking about going home til the end of this letter or else I'll just cry.  I'll tell all the happy stuff first. Not that going home isn't happy.....i'ts both!!!!  Depends on the moment for me :)

Leaving Show Low was SUPER hard, but being with Sister Ferre has been a tender mercy and hilarious! We have not been able to keep our mouths shut, the first night we were back together we were up past midnight!!!

Sister Chloe Ferre
We have been going down memory lane and it's our first day together... when we first got on our bikes to ride to dinner and as we are riding down the street she is screaming at the top of her lungs, "I love being a missionary!" ha ha ha Then her last prayer with Ernie and Jairo, when she said "gracias por el tenedor de navidad" (the Christmas fork).   Also when they set up their living room outside so we could teach them in comfort and when she taped a lemon to her nose during weekly planning because it smelled nice, and when she ripped her favorite skirt trying to ride her bike with a full bag of lemons. Then there are the times when I would wrestle her to the ground or when I would scream in her ear to wake her up from her much needed lunchtime naps and apparently one of her favorites is when she would walk by and see me kiss and admire my muscles in the bathroom mirror.... I was doing it to make her laugh-- I promise!!!!  Really the list goes on for too long... it blows my mind that it has been a year and we are just as close.  The fun thing is that we both got to visit Show Low this week and visit people we both knew, plus this Sunday we get to go back to Camelback and see everyone together!!!  We are in heaven :)

On a more difficult note, if it weren't for Sister Ferre and President trying to sweeten the blow, I would be pretty miserable here.  Everyone wants to know where Sister Ferre's companion went, then they ask how long I've been out and realize that I'm only a "short" timer.  Yes, they think that joke is hilarious every time.  So I can't even
get to know anyone very well, I don't know what their needs are or what to do with them, so I basically just follow Sister Ferre and teach when I feel like I understand what is going on!  Plus we were only in our area, maybe 2 full days last week, and 2 this week.

Last week, I got hereon Monday and had a full day with Sister Ferre on Tuesday. Then, her lovely Sister Training leaders needed to do an exchange with Sister Ferre for the transfer, so I got shipped off to be with Sister Grooms for the day. That was weird!! We were back in Sister Grooms old ward, just like what we were doing 17 months ago.  Deja vu for sure!!!  I finally was back with Sister Ferre on Thursday, but we spent several hours at the mission home for my exit interview. Friday was weekly planning for half the day,  Saturday was pretty normal, but we spent most of the evening in Mesa at the Temple's Christmas lights with some investigators and less-actives. Sunday after church we met at the mission home, got food, then car pooled up to Show Low.

Mesa Temple lights

That night for some reason Sister Ferre got sent to Taylor to sleep, and I got sent to Show Low. The same thing happened with Sister Erekson and her companion :)  So Sister Erekson and I were back together in Show Low for a night!!!!  Another tender mercy....and another flash back. We stayed up til 1 a.m. that night because one story would end, and another would start. 

Monday we were exhausted, but it was worth it!!!  All the other missionaries had MLC that morning, but since I was only up there to play the hymns for the afternoon conference, Sister Ferre and I got to make visits in Show Low all morning! First Edith took us to Dennys for breakfast, then we visited Brother Phil. Afterwards we went to help Sister Durrant with the lunch for all the missionaries. She texted her daughter Drew who brought Bailey Gardner over to visit. Bailey started crying as soon as she saw me and Sister Erekson. hahaha I was getting so many flash backs it was ridiculous!!!  But do you see why I feel so unsettled all the time now?  Nothing seems to stay the same and I keep seeing everyone I thought I said goodbye to!  Oh is fun :)

Brother Phil
Breakfast at Denny's with Edith

Sister Durrant & daughter Drew

Bailey Gardner

Monday afternoon was our Mission Tour in the mountains with Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the presidency of the Seventy.  He spoke for about 3 hours on parenting and finding. He was a great speaker!!  We drove
home at about 6:30 that night.

Missionaries serving in Mountain area of Arizona Scottsdale mission
Yesterday, we had lunch at the Valley Mission Tour, but didn't stay for the training because we had heard it in the mountains so President suggested we just come for lunch.  Sister Sweeney said I could be in the mountain and valley picture since its presidents fault I'm all confused :).  President laughed when he saw me :)

Missionaries serving in Valley area of Arizona Scottsdale mission

This morning we got up at 4:45 a.m. to hike Camelback.  It was so steep they had to add railings and a fence to it....I only fell once. I thought I broke my shin it hurt so bad, but it looks fine now :)  We climbed up in the dark and we were able to see the sunrise.  I love that view of the whole Phoenix valley!!! Oh also....I didn't see in the
dark that the wall I needed to lean on was a cactus. My poor hand....hahahaha

My last sunrise hike!

Last hike up Camelback mountain!

Sister Ferre

Sister Ereckson

My exit interview with President Sweeney was really good. It was about 45 minutes and he covered a lot of subjects!! I think the funniest part was that I hinted at my detest for exercising and he then talked to me for what felt like 20 minutes about why I need to keep exercising every day.  ha ha ha!  He is kind of crazy about working
out :)  He talked a bit about dating, school, and spiritual goals. He asked about my converts and encouraged us to go to lunch with Ernie and talk to him about the Sabbath Day since he tends to work a lot....we are going tonight:)   It was surreal to be at the point where I was even in that interview.....where did time go??

Hermana Linford, Ferre & Ereckson = Favorite companions .... missing Sister Clark
I cannot even express how much love I have for the last 18 months of my life.  They have literally changed me.  I have met so many of my best friends, been welcomed with open arms into so many families, and have felt Heavenly Father in my life more than ever before.  I could not have made any better choice than to come here and serve.  I cannot believe that it is over. I want to end with my final testimony as a missionary.  As you read this, I hope you can feel my love for you and how incredibly grateful I am for the support you have given me.  My
mission would have been drastically different without you.

I believe the best testimony I can bear today is that Jesus Christ is our Savior and God is a loving Heavenly Father. I know that this is His work and His kingdom on the earth. As a missionary, I have experienced a lot of things I probably would have never seen had I not served. I can recall sitting in many humble homes filled with humble people who just wanted to see some sort of change in their lives.  Through teaching them, my testimony of the power in living gospel principles has dramatically increased. I learned quickly that the gospel applies to everyone, no matter the stage or condition of their life, and my love for the gift of repentance grew as I saw the hope and the relief in the faces of those who so badly wanted to be forgiven.

I know that the Savior loves each of his children. Biking down the streets of Phoenix, it was sometimes hard to imagine the love that God and His son have for each of the people we passed, but I learned to see people in a different light. Not as they were, but who they could become.

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know the church was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith, I feel the power in that knowledge every time I teach it. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and I know that reading it daily brings spiritual strength.  I know that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet today and that by following him, and trusting in his power and authority, we are kept safe from the evils of the world.

I am eternally grateful for my missionary experience here in Arizona.  I have learned and changed in more ways than I had even hoped for.  Again, I know this is God's work, he is in it every day.  I bear testimony that He lives.

I will see you soon.  I love you :) I Love You :) I LOVE YOU :)

Love Forever,
Hermana Short

Monday, November 30, 2015

Another Spanish Angel dies in the Valley of the Sun


So pretty much I wanted to die Friday.  President Sweeney called and told me I am being emergency transferred to the valley. Something happened down there and he had to make a lot of switches.  A Spanish sister needed to come down to serve with Sister Ferre, and that person became me.  HOORAY to be with Sister Ferre again!!! That is the only reason I am not hiding in the woods right now and refusing to leave.  President was smart :)  However, I bawled about leaving the area and Sister Linford.  I couldn't even respond to President on the phone
because I was already crying.  I will be in a Spanish branch again, and then an English ward as well. Just on the other side of the street as my old area.  Hopefully that means I will get to see some of my Mexican families while I am there!  I don't know why this change couldn't wait for two weeks, but I will go where I am told.  The crazy thing is that next Monday, President wants me to come back up here for the Mountain Missionary conference with Elder Robbins, and probably the Mission Leadership Council as well.  I think it's crazy, but I'm
packed and ready to head out in about 80 minutes.  Grrrr

So basically I am going to die in the valley (die is missionary term for finishing our mission).  Funny. When I left the valley, that is what I prayed for. When I left Sister Ferre, I prayed that we would be companions again before I left.  BAD TIMING!!!!  ha ha ha - Be careful what you pray for :)

Despite the really hard weekend, we saw a ton of miracles this week.  Delbert came to church for the 4th time in 1 month!!!!!  He wrote me the sweetest goodbye card and promised me that he would make it to the temple. Another less-active miracle was Cazzie!!!! Marie is a sweetheart and she went and helped Cazzie get ready for church, loaded her wheel-chair in the car, and pushed her around to every class.  Cazzie stayed the whole 3 hours!!!!!  We went to say goodbye to Cazzie on Saturday and she cried when I told her. She said a really sweet
prayer for me, and agreed to come to church. The funniest part was that she brought her mostly hairless dog to church and probably grossed everyone out!  She participated in class though and kept her sass to a minimum ;)

The Hale family also made it to church for the 2nd time in a row, and biggest miracle of the week was that Amanda and Paul came out of their slump :)  We stopped by during the week, and they finally let us in.  Church music was playing on the CD player, and they had the Ensign opened.  The Spirit was noticeably back in their home. Amanda told us that it had been a rough day, but they had decided they needed to make changes. So they are getting rid of the X-box, and starting to climb back up their hill.  It was so good to see them positive again. We had a lesson with them last night, and we basically need to start over with teaching them to obey commandments, but at least they are ready to try again!!!! They even came to church as a family again :)

Amanda & Paul
Thanksgiving was incredible.  In the morning Sister Durrant invited us to their family breakfast. We had pumpkin pancakes with Rum Syrup. No, there was no alcohol ;)  We talked to them for a while, then went and
played football with the Stake President and his ward. I accidentally tripped the stake president, and he fell to the ground, but he probably deserved it. He made fun of my Utah sweatshirt!!!!  After football we did some studies and then Delbert had us over at 1 for Thanksgiving. It was really good food!!!  After dinner his grandsons gave us nerf guns and we played with them for a while. They nailed me good! Right between the eyes!  It was fun to be with their family :) After Delbert, we went over to the Brimhall's for their Thanksgiving.  The food wasn't ready, so we played basketball outside in our skirts with their 10 and 11 yr olds. It was hilarious!  After we ate there, we went and sang some Christmas carols to lonely people with the other sisters. They had to leave early, so Sister Linford and I went to visit a single lady that one of our Bishops had suggested to us. It was a very fulfilling day :)

Thanksgiving Breakfast at Sister Durrant's

Thanksgiving at Delbert's

Nerf gun war with Delbert's grandsons

 Thanksgiving dinner #2 with Brimhall's
Yesterday I tried something new!!! I translated Sacrament meetings into Spanish for two members that came. We met with President Shumway this week (Stake President) to discuss what he wants us to do with the Spanish people. Essentially he wants us to help them gather to one sacrament meeting that would be translated.  Then to add a Spanish Sunday school, then Spanish relief society and priesthood, but it all starts with sacrament meeting. So we found the devices yesterday, talked to the Bishop and he said we can translate whenever we want! I did it yesterday and a member will do it next week.  It was a lot harder than I thought, but I was glad I tried it :)  Trying to listen through one ear, and make words of a different language come out your mouth is not easy!!!

Here is a hilarious story for the week. I got attacked by a vicious wiener dog. Thats right, a dog that looks like a giant hot dog! And it was wearing a pink tutu!!!  So one of our less-active families has told us about their mean wiener dog and how they always have to lock it up when we come. I've asked to meet it before, but they all 3 would shout "No!!" Well the kids forgot this time, and let us into the family room. I was standing there and looked into the kitchen, then saw the wiener dog. It was out and my only thought was "Uh-oh." Literally as if it had heard my thought, it whipped around and in a movement so fast I didn't see it, was on me!!!! I jumped on the couch,
and it jumped right up there too!  It clung onto my knee so I kicked it off, it bit my other knee 2 or 3 times before I kicked it off that one, and then it jumped up and latched onto my arm!!! Luckily I had my canvas-type material coat on and so it protected me pretty well, but the kids could not pull him off of me! I could hear myself yelling
"Ow!!! Ow!!!!"  Finally the mom grabbed it and ripped it off of me!!  She was horrified.  The poor lady started crying :(  She made me show her my arm and it only had little welts at the time. (It later turned into giant bruises).  I felt bad for her, so I didn't tell her that when I checked my knees in the bathroom they didn't look so good.  Since it didn't really break skin I didn't worry about it.  Just giant bruises :)  The mom was so mad, she wants to put it down, but I told her no, and that I was fine.  It is a hilarious story for me to tell!  I got attacked by a wiener dog wearing a pink tutu :)  hahahahaha

Who knows what this week will bring! I will be emailing again Wednesday, December 9th due to a visiting general authority on Monday.  I have a feeling that these changes are going to make time FLY!!!!  But I think I'm a little bit excited to get to be in Phoenix again :)  It might be sketchy, dirty, and smelly, haha but to me its like
Disneyland....almost ;)

I love you family!!! I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!!!  Send mail to the mission office.....I am living at the Arioso apartments just like my first 4 transfers, but its a different apartment number and things will probably get lost if they just don't go to the mission home for the next 2 weeks.  Ay ay ay, just when you feel settled, the
world tips upside down :)

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Short

Pictures below are beloved families of Show Low!!

Gardner Family
Mora Family
Janice - who thinks we're from Gideon

Martin Family


Hartman Family
The other Gardner family

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

It was a bit muddy this week!

¿QuĂ© pasa Mufasa?  :)

Can you believe it is Thanksgiving already???  Happy Turkey Day!! As you know, I'm not a huge fan of the holiday because it means a dinner of rolls, pickles, and peanut butter-filled celery for me, but since my food pallet has expanded in the past year, maybe I will enjoy it more :)  However I am pretty bummed about missing a 2nd Black Friday.  Seriously....Wal Mart today had all of their signs up and were doing preparations....I miss that crazy day!

We are spending Thanksgiving with the Brimhall family. We thought we would have 3 or 4 families invite us over, but almost every one we talk to is going to the valley for we are just lucky to have the Brimhall's still around!!! Plus we love that family so we are excited.  In the morning we are going to join the Young
Single Adult ward for a turkey bowl (since our normal wards don't even know what that is!), and after dinner we are going Christmas Caroling to some old folks homes :)  I'm excited!

This week was another good week, but we have started to get quite a few people who ask us to come back "After the holidays." Nevertheless, we just find new people to teach:)  For example, this week we met Mary and Eric.

Mary and Eric were referrals from the Elders. Eric is a member of the church, but Mary is not...yet :) They have a 7 month old daughter and live in a tiny cabin.  Mary really wants to get baptized. Eric introduced her to the church in the last place that they lived and she had attended one or two times and loved it. She told us she wants to get baptized asap! Ok!  She was sick with the flu on Sunday and couldn't come, but we hope to see their family progress.  We hope Eric will make some changes in his life as well and be able to baptize that would be neat!

The Gutierrez family is the new family that we picked up last week from Brother Miles. We taught them again and I thought the lesson was fantastic!!! The 8 year old and 7 year old were paying super good attention, and everything was was pretty great I thought!  Then at the end, the dad told us that this was great and all, but he is a Catholic, and if he ever goes back to church, it will be the Catholic church. Agh!  We committed them to read and pray and they said they would. When we tried to set up another appointment though, he told us he was busy Saturday and Sunday  was football, so maybe the next week.  Looks like we need to find a different way into their hearts :)

Cazzie was hilarious this week.  She had been awake for at least a few hours that day so she was more "with-it" than other times :) After we taught our lesson we asked if we could come sing to her on Thanksgiving. She then told us the funniest story about the Relief Society.  She told us about one of her favorite shows, "The Voice,"
and how on Tuesday nights, you have to wait til the very end of the show to see who gets eliminated.  She said that on Tuesday they were just about to announce who was leaving and the Relief Society President poked her head into the room and asked if Cazzie would accept a visitor. Cazzie told her yes, thinking to herself that she
could mute the TV and then still see who won.  Well, then in walked Sister Coons and 12 other women!  She was just appalled because they stood in front of her TV and insisted on singing folk songs.  In Cazzie's opinion, "they could not sing!!"  Sister Linford and I were laughing so hard when she told us that story.....Cazzie's facial
expressions were priceless.  She needs a DVR :)

After Cazzie, we saw Janice Peterson. She is 90!  We had to yell  for her to hear us and she kept telling me that she couldn't hear my companion. Hahahaha.  The best part was we were teaching her about God as our Heavenly Father and her phone rang. It was her son. She told him, "I'm just visiting with these nice girls who came to talk to me. They are from the...the....Gideons."  We could hear the son on the other line say "Who are they??"  She said "These girls!  They don't have very many Mormons in Wisconsin, but there are quite a few here, so I am learning."  ha ha ha So we are now the Mormons from Gideon :)

Alex and McKara's family is our newest and greatest find.   We got a referral from a girl saying she was Alex's sister, he is a member, and that he was ready for missionaries. So we drove by their house for a few nights and no one was home. Finally, we saw a family car home, so we knocked.  The wife, McKara invited us right in!  They have 2 sons, a 4 year old, Bannon, and an 18 month old, Chayden.  She told us they have lived there for a year, but have been inactive for 4 years.  The best news to hear though was that she and Alex had been talking about
coming back to church, and being able to be sealed to their sons!  We were so excited!  We set up a return appointment for Saturday, and met with them again. This time we got to meet Alex, and he really was as
willing to come back as his wife. She had made us dessert and they talked with us about prayer, scripture study, and coming to church.  They committed to do all 3 things.  Sure enough, 10 minutes  before sacrament meeting, in walks the family :)  They stayed for all 3 hours, Bannon loved his primary class, and McKara told me as they left that they would come next week too.  It was SO neat. Alex's sister that sent us the referral is on a mission in Pennsylvania, and I wish we could contact her to tell her what happened!  They are as grateful to come back, as we are to have a family to teach.  It is a neat feeling :)

I'm getting over my cold still, but the cough won't go away! It's so annoying! Yesterday I had to run out of Relief Society 3 times so I could go cough outside for 5 minutes.  You'd think I was quitting smoking or something.  Last night I think I coughed all night long.  One sister told me that in the middle of the night I sat up and yelled
"Seriously!!!" ha ha ha Brother Gardner tried to help and gave me some cough medicine, but we got home and saw that it had 10% Alcohol content in it! We thought that was a little excessive so I didn't take it. ha ha

It's bad enough that I have an endless cough....but everyone else is getting sick too!  Kendra and her kids were sick this week, so they cancelled a lesson. Amanda and Paul are STILL sick and we only got inside the door once this week. When we did, Amanda was rocking back and forth on the couch and almost completely zoned out. Apparently she had an abscessed tooth and was in a lot of pain. We asked if she wanted a blessing and she started to cry and tell us she wasn't worthy for one. We convinced her otherwise and had the Elders come over. She sobbed through the blessing and gave us a hug afterwards, but the rest of the week we couldn't get in again.  Patience, patience, patience....

Last night was a really fun night.  The Nashville Tribute band is a popular band among missionaries.  They have an album about missionaries, Joseph Smith, Trek, and the newest album is called Redeemer. They came and did a fireside for our stake last night and it was fantastic :)  Before the show they wanted all the missionaries to
meet them in the Young Women's room for a prayer.  They all shook our hands and asked where we were from, and then the lead guy gave a speech about how much he appreciates missionaries.  It was cool that they took that time out for us, we probably had 14 missionaries there!   One of our members in the Rainbow Lake ward invited an investigator to the concert and we are meeting with that same investigator this Sunday, so we are excited!
Due West & Nashville Tribute Band member

Due West & Nashville Tribute Band member

Dan Truman from Diamond Rio & Nashville Tribute Band

So those are probably the highlights of the week!  This week we have 4 hours of zone conference, Thanksgiving, and we are working at the local "Festival of the Trees," for a few days this week and next. A member is in charge of it, and wants us to serve there and it will help us be out in the public. Sounds fun to me! Hopefully it's not
outside though.....uh oh.

I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!  Have fun watching the Macy's Parade and eating cinnamon rolls :)

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short

Sister Linford found my monkey and my ipad!