Monday, June 30, 2014

Arizona - week 1

Buenas Dias Familia!
So these past 5 days have been quite the adventure.  First of all I love my companion.  We get a long really well, and are able to focus and get things done.  We are opposites in diet though and it's hilarious!  I make myself a Tostinos pizza for lunch and she cuts up some fruit and eats yogurt with granola :)  Luckily I don't have to do much cooking.  We make ourselves lunch everyday, but dinner is with a member.  Except Mondays because it's P-Day.  Friday was the best dinner yet!  The Branch President's wife made us cheese enchiladas, beans, rice, tostadas, and s'mores for dessert :)  I don't like chesse, but man the sauce she put on those enchiladas was divine!  Saturday we ate white rice, broccoli, and some Asian chicken for dinner....I think people think we eat too much mexican food.  They don't know that that is impossible for me!  And last Thursday a sister bought us Costco pizza....my favorite!  

Hermana Short & Hermana Baros on left


     The struggle of the week has been exercise.  Remember....I haven't exercised since 1st semester of senior year!  Now we exercise from 6-7 in the morning while we contact on the street.  Saturday I think we ran 2.5 miles total.  Then we bike all night so by the time I crash in bed my legs feel useless!  Then I get up and do it all again :)  Our schedule is kind of crazy.  We get up at 6 exercise til 7, get ready at 8.  We leave the house at 9 and proselyte or make visits on our bikes.  At 12 we come back and eat lunch for an hour, then study for 4 hours.  Dinner is at 5.  Then we leave dinner at 6 and proselyte til 9.  Plan til 9:30, go to bed at 10.  Missionaries can choose to do this schedule during the summer so we avoid the summer heat and catch people when they are outside.  It works!  It's a lot of studying every day, but we don't complain because it's so hot outside.  We have an hour of personal study, hour of companion study, hour of language study, and an hour of training.  We probably bike 10 miles a day. 

     Next wednesday will make 1 month for me!  Man that sped by!  It's hard to keep track of what day it is anymore!  It's probably because I'm going all day long...right mom? :)


    This week I was super excited to get some mail!  Courtney sent me a letter and a picture of a temple she drew :)  Karsyn's letter had me cracking up laughing...people probably thought I was crazy!  And the letters from everyone at the cabin were fantastic!  Thank you everyone :)  I also loved my package mom, it's been a huge help!  Without those biker leggings I'd be in trouble!  We tried to ride bikes without them and quickly turned back to get them :)  It's one more layer of clothing, but you don't notice when you're all ready sweating gallons.  I felt bad the first day I walked into a members house dripping sweat, but then the other 6 missionaries walk in looking the same way, and the members keep their houses pretty warm so I've stopped caring about sweat :) 
     
    So my area covers about 12 blocks one way, and 18 blocks the other way.  I don't feel bad I didn't get sent to Mexico....I'm in Mexico!  I've all ready taught a lesson in a camping trailer, in someone's dirt front yard on the seat from their car, and contacted people outside in a trailer park.  Little Mexican men ride their bike carts around selling treats, and oh my heavens I've never seen so many dogs.  The culture is very open though which is nice.  We've gone to a gas station on our morning runs before and handed out pass a long cards to people filling up.  Yes it is awkward!  But at the same time it isn't because everyone knows that's our job so they expect it.  A lot of them even give us their address to come back!  We are going to visit those ones this week.
    

 Right now we have one progressing investigator.  His name is Daniel and he is 10 :)  The sisters who covered our area before us taught him his first 2 lessons, but now he is ours.  Yesterday he came to church for the first time and loved it!  He told me he wants to come back.  We teach him in English because he prefers it.  Yesterday when we first walked into the foyer with him there is the picture of Christ in white robes surrounded by trumpeting angels.  I said "Daniel do you like that picture of Jesus Christ?"  He replied "Yes, is that what heaven looks like?"  "Yeah, do you want to go there?" He's grinning now, "Yeah."  Oh man it melted my heart :)  The sisters found him while they were tracting.  His mom lets him listen to us and let him go to church, but he told me yesterday she won't let him get baptized.  We are going to talk to her this week and invite her to listen to a message before she decides.  He loved primary, is excited for scouts, and it's a miracle that we found him at this time because there are 2 other 10 year old investigators, and yesterday Daniel and Kevin became good friends :)  In sacrament I gave him a piece of paper because he was bored and asked him to draw me what he learned in Primary.  He drew Noah building an ark....he literally just soaks everything in and is so polite.  When we introduced him to his primary teacher he says "Good afternoon, it's nice to meet you."  He lives in a trailer park, has 6 dogs, and was wearing ripped pants, and a worn out shirt, but is more polite than any 10 year old I have ever met!  I love that kid! We are teaching him again tomorrow and we are really excited :)
   

 Last night we went to visit Yasuri.  She was baptized in October, but is struggling to stay active.  We went to set up an appointment for another day, but ended up staying for an hour.  Her parents live with them, and they insisted on feeding us.  We had all ready had dinner, but they gave us chicken tacos!  She has 3 little girls 8, 7, and 5 and we are going to do FHE with them Wednesday night.  I taught the girls the story of Noah while we were there since they weren't in Primary.  Yasuri committed to go to church this week, and we are hoping to begin teaching the grandparents. 
    

 Another cool experience this week was teaching Jesus. That looks funny when I type it....pronounce his name (hey-soos) since I can't type an accent mark :)  We were riding our bikes down a street trying to find an address and my companion stopped to talk to some guys fixing a car.  Jesus was one of them and he came over to talk to us. He let us teach the restoration to him right there on the curb!  We used a pamphlet and it took about 7 minutes.  He liked it and said we can come back this weekend to teach him more!  He seemed a bit odd....maybe intoxicated...so hopefully he remembers us when we show up at our door.  But intoxicated or not, we still taught the restoration in Spanish together for the first time!  
     

 Sunday was a funny day :)  We have church at 12:15 and sacrament is the last hour.  Well we get a text at 9 saying we need to prepare 10 minute talks each.  We freaked out!  So we are rushing to get ready and write talks, then we get a call at 10 from one of the other sisters saying "Did you know you're supposed to be at a meeting right now?"  Um no!  So our talks are maybe 4 minutes long, and we rush to this meeting.  We had about a half our for lunch and then we raced back to church.  Well the person who was supposed to pick up Daniel couldn't find him so we had to ask two teenage girls to run us to his house.  He was there and waiting!  The lady had gone to the wrong house :/  So we race back.  Sunday school and combined 5th lesson were in Spanish and I picked up most of it.  Sometimes my brain hurts from focusing on Spanish so much though that I tune out :)  I have to take a break then come back to focusing!  Sacrament meeting I wasn't nervous to speak which seemed weird.  I was the last speaker.  Well at 10 minutes before the end of the meeting they announce they only have time for one more speaker so my companion had to speak and I didn't!  She was so mad!  I had to bow my head and try not to burst out laughing :)  It explained why I wasn't nervous though!  I somehow knew I wouldn't have to speak!  After church we did our studies and dinner, then went to Yasuri's house.
   

 Me and Hermana Baros have been getting a lot of compliments on our Spanish and we get so excited!  One guy we found sitting outside of a Goodwill store was very impressed!  And everyone asks how we learned to speak Spanish.  I'm getting sick of telling people I'm from Utah, sometimes they call it the Mormon factory :)  "Ohhh la fabrica!"  It's funny :)  Most of the time they are not surprised or think it's freezing there all the time.  So I told someone I was from Chihuahua, Mexico and had them believing me for a minute!  It was hilarious!  
    
Overall I am having a lot of fun.  Biking in a 100 degrees isn't necessarily fun, but I catch myself smiling while I do it all the time :)  It just feels so good to be doing what I'm doing!  Sometimes I just crack up at things that would normally stress me out because I'm not worrying about what people think anymore :)  Like when I'm riding my bike in a skirt with a helmet and church shoes and I know people are probably thinking "what the heck?!"  Oh man we are quite the sight sometimes!  We joke about how attractive our helmets make us look :)  We have so much fun out here!  At night when it cools down to 90 is our favorite time to ride down the neighborhoods.  Some are really pretty to ride down!  Others it's just a bunch of dirt :)  
     
We haven't taught a lot of lessons yet, we are still getting our bearings with the area, meeting the few members we have in our ward, and organizing the area book and people the other sisters gave us.  Hopefully this next week we can get a tighter hold on things!  I've found that Hermana Baros's spanish is probably equal to mine, so it's been nice to learn and progress together.  I'm super grateful for her!!
I love you all so much!  Thanks for letters, and packages, prayers, and thoughts :)  They are what's keeping a smile on my face in this desert sun :)  Happy 4th of July!  Hopefully I get some sort of festivities with a member...who knows!  I hear we can watch fireworks outside though :)  Have fun at the cabin!!
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!
Love,
Hermana Short :)

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