Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hello Family!!

What a crazy rollercoaster week it has been!!  I don't even know where to start!  I guess I'll detail the last few days at the MTC then jump into Arizona :)

This week at the MTC I had a really neat experience.  I was in class one day and I just could not focus.  I would try to understand what was going on, but it was like I had never heard Spanish before.  I sat there wondering what the heck I was doing on a mission!  People were sharing experiences they had had and how it built their testimonies, and how those would help them teach investigators.  And I'm thinking "I don't know anything but the church!" I've never been bad!  I was starting to get frustrated and overwhelmed, completely unable to follow the class discussion.  My teacher Hermana Williams finished her teaching shpeal and had us break off into new companionships to practice getting to know the spirituality level of investigators.  I was put with Elder De La Cruz from Spain.  He was the missionary first, but he could not figure out how to start so Hermana Williams decided to help the two of us.  She started by asking questions to De La Cruz and he shared a neat experience he had back when he had been inactive in the church.  I had never seen this kid show emotion before, but he cried as he told this story. I could feel the Spirit as I listened to him describe a moment when he had realized the truthfulness of the gospel.  Then Hermana Williams looked at me and asked if I had a hard time sharing personal experiences.  I told her I didn't have a problem with it, I just didn't think I had any!  I was raised in the church, never doubted it was true, I had no conversion story to tell!  She practically screamed.  She told me to turn to 1 Nephi 1:1.  "I Nephi having been born of goodly parents....." she told me that my purpose as a missionary having been born in the church was that I was the example of how parents would want to raise their kids.  They would want their kids to know the peace and comfort I've had all my life. She said "Hermana your home is rare....that peace is not in most homes. This hit me like a ton of bricks! I didn't have to have bad experiences....my good ones were what people needed!  In a lesson with an investigator later that week I talked about how it felt to grow up in a home where my parents exemplified faith, and where I always felt safe and at peace with my life.  I told the investigator her kids could grow up that same way if she chose to follow the example of the Savior.  Hermana Williams was playing the investigator and I could see in her eyes that this is exactly what she had been teaching me I needed to do.  I felt like I had a direction to go with lessons finally!  So thank you mom and dad for being "goodly parents" and raising me in a gospel where I never was confused about who I am or why I'm here :)


       The second neat experience was my last Sunday at the MTC.  Imagine 1400 missionaries sitting in an auditorium.  We were listening to Janice Kapp Perry tell us about her hilarious life, and singing some of the songs she has written for the church.  The final song was the EFY medley, but the sisters sang the sister missionary version.  It goes like this:
 The sisters of Zion are called to God's labor, we willingly serve him with Spirit and might.  We go to the   nations with truth everlasting, we teach of the Savior our lord Jesus Christ. We go forth enlisted in Helaman's army in numbers much greater than ever before.  With power and spirit and truth everlasting   
          The Heaven's have spoken, the truth is restored.

 The sound of all those sisters is so cool!  We were told there is about 40% sisters at the MTC right now.
 The final verse is everybody singing "We are as the armies of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth.  And we are NOW the Lord's missionaries to bring the world his truth."  As we sang this verse every missionary and leader in the room stood.  Not because we were told to, but because the power was so strong in that room that we could not sit.  There were not very many dry eyes that night. And we are only 1/80 th of the missionaries around the world.  It's incredible to me.  Saying goodbye to my district was sad.  But we are all excited to be in the field finally :)
     

 We woke up at 3 am Monday to leave.  The Airport was a breeze....luckily the delta lady was nice and understanding so even though my bags were almost 5 lbs overweight each, she didn't charge me :)  I flew with 11 other missionaries all going to scottsdale.  Me, Vargas, and Chacon are the only new Spanish speakers.  When we landed the president, his wife, and the assistants to the president were waiting.  Sister Sweeney gave all the sisters a hug and the President you could tell had been studying our names and did pretty good!  They are both funny and super nice.  Sister Sweeney told us if we aren't having fun on our missions, we should be so let her know. :)  They took us to the Mesa Visitors center and we took a tour, took pictures and had a testimony meeting.  Then we went back to the mission home where Sister Sweeney and some couple missionaries made us cafe rio salads!!  Then they let us take a 45 minute nap which was very needed!  That day we had to go contacting.  HA!  That was the only thing that made me nervous and for good reason!  The sister I went with was very bold and friendly and I'm freaking out because the people are talking so fast I can barely keep up!  We placed a few pass-along cards...I gave out one of them to a little girl who looked to be about 11.  And we found one family willing to listen to lessons.  We were tracting in a trailer park, and there are so many Chihuahuas it was ridiculous!  And that was my first experience with the heat.  It was unbelievable!  We were soaked with sweat!  And questioning why people would ever settle here in the first place.  But the people seemed pretty friendly?  That's not my area now though so I haven't gotten a taste of where I'll really be serving. 
   
 Tuesday we got up and did exercise with the President, then they made us pancakes and bacon and eggs, and strawberry smoothies for breakfast.  We went to a meeting and finally got our trainers that afternoon.  I am with Hermana Baros.  Hahaha this will be an adventure for sure.  She just finished her own training, and now has to train me and be a Sister Training leader.  She's super nice, she's 21 from Draper Utah and was working on her graphic design degree at UVU.  
    
Last night we finally left the mission home about 5 and went to my first dinner appointment.  OH I forgot.  We are white washing an area too.  My poor companion has a lot to deal with this transfer.  It's a brand new area so we don't have an area book, no idea who's investigators, and really no idea where to start.  Hopefully the other sisters in our branch will be a lot of help.  There are 8 missionaries serving in the Camelback 1st Branch.  It's a spanish branch, and apparently there must be a lot of work to do!  So at the dinner appointment we were at the Relief Society Presidents house with two of the other hermanas.  She puts down a plate of half an avocado, probably 7 tomato slices, corn, and lettuce.  Gulp.  I ate the tomatoes with the lettuce and some ranch, and luckily I didn't mind the avocado.  THEN.  She puts down a plate of beef...carne asada looking stuff.  And I'm not joking probably 3 CUPS of mashed potatoes.  I was freaking out!  I ate all the vegetables, and all the meat.  Then I tried the potatoes and they wanted to come right back out of my mouth.  I'm thinking, I will barf if I try them again...what am I going to do?!!?  I looked panicked at my companion and she smiled at me, knowing I hate them, and kind of shrugged cause she's new to this too so she doesn't know what to do!  I looked at the other hermana and she was no help either.  So I tried one more bite and can see them trying not to giggle.  Sister Mackillop said quietly "don't worry about it, she won't care."  I could have hugged her right then!  The sister didn't say anything I just acted really full :)  Then we had tres leches cake, which wasn't fantastic but was much better than mashed potatoes!!  Ew.
     After dinner we went to a meeting with the other sisters with one of their investigators.  Rodolfo.  I could understand everything!  It was fantastic!  Me and Hermana Baros just let the other sisters teach the lesson with the member that was present.  Sister Toledo, she is blind, and helped a lot with the lesson!  Rodolfo committed to prepare for baptism and it was cool to be there to witness that.  It was a great entrance into the mission field. Then we had to run around town, get my luggage from one apartment, take it to the other one, then rush to plan for today so that we could be in bed by 10:30.

Last night after our investigator lessons we had missionary correlation meeting.  I had all ready had a super long day, and now we sat in the Branch President's living room til 9:15ish talking about investigators me and my companion don't know...in Spanish.  Let's just say I was so focused on keeping my eyes open, I have no idea what they were talking about.  We got the assignment to visit a less active family this week, but now we have to find her address.  Seriously our life is so confusing.  I'm brand new, my trainer just left her trainer, we are white-washing, we aren't fluent in the language, and my companion is a sister training leader.  We are in for a ride!!!!  I like a good challenge though so by Sunday I hope we can be up and running :) I was so exhausted last night there are not words to explain it.
  This morning we got up at 6:30 and ran for 20 minutes, then got ready and studied. I have slept.....but I don't know if it's possible to catch up.  I'm just used to a lot more sleep and a lot less work so I'm adjusting :)  I had to run this morning.  AGH I might die here. :)  Hahaha I seriously just tell myself...just flow with the motion of the ocean everyday :)    I wrote some letters, hung up my clothes, and now we are at the library!  We are going to Wal Mart next.  There are 2 sisters living with us but only for 11 days til their apartment is move in ready.  So I slept on mattress pads on the floor.  It might be a long 11 days.  We can't really settle in til they move out :/  
 
 I'm excited to start working tomorrow.  Sister Mortensen and Sister Mackillop are going to take us on a tour of our new area tomorrow and maybe introduce us into some of the investigators we'll be covering.  We really need to get organized....white washing especially for one newbie, and one barely trained seems crazy to me, but I guess we'll take it and run. 
 
 I know God lives!  I know I'm here to find his children and bring them back to him.  And I'm excited!  It's like 120 degrees, but there's work to do and I'm willing to do it.  I love you all!!! Have a great week everyone!!!!

Love,
Hermana Short

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