Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brought into the Fold

Week 6 of the transfer has come and gone. Transfers are tomorrow morning. But that news comes later. I can hardly believe how fast time is flying by here in New Mexico. It seems like I just got here--like I just left home, yet I know that next week I'll hit my 5 month in the mission and 3 month in New Mexico mark. And not only that, but I can hardly remember what my life was like before the mission.

Monday: P-day. We spent the morning cleaning our fridge. That took us about an hour working together. There were Elders living in our apartment for who knows how long before we moved in, and it was evident. There was food in the freezer that was long-since freezer-burnt and expired. Not to mention spills of who-knows-what. But it's clean and sanitary for the next missionaries who move into our apartment so they won't be grossed out like we were.

Tuesday: I woke myself up in the middle of the night praying in Spanish. We'd been teaching a lesson and I was giving the closing prayer. I was trying to bow my head when I woke up--you try doing that when you're laying on your back dead asleep. We drove back and forth from Rio Rancho to Bernalillo about twice for appointments... or was it 3 times? I don't remember. All I know is that our appointments just didn't work in a nice order. But it was a good day and we got home absolutely exhausted!

Wednesday: We went to Pena Blanca--which is about 40 minutes north of Bernalillo via the freeway out in the middle of nowhere--to do finding. Yes, it's still in our area. Still in the Bernalillo ward. I swear, I've never heard of a ward with bigger boundaries. And the boundaries of the ward go even further than that, and up into Rio Rancho. It would take at least an hour to drive from one end of the ward to the other. Pena Blanca is a tiny town--no gas station, lots of dilapidated buildings. I'm trying to remember if I even saw a stop sign. Judging from the outside of the post office, it would fit in mom's living room. But we found a couple new investigators, so our time wasn't wasted by any means.

Thursday: We had our last district meeting of the transfer. The elders all like to make predictions of where everyone is going--it was predicted that I'll be the next Sister Trunnell--staying here for at least 11 months of my mission. And honestly, I would have been okay with that, but I'll go where the Lord wants me to go. I made an apple pie (don't get all excited and impressed. One of the members gave us a jar of pie filling, and we bought the crust at WalMart). We also took pictures (speaking of, my memory chip is on it's way, or will be, so you can see all of my pictures from the past little bit). We were also past our cold snap and had beautiful weather again--we were just fine without jackets again. Yes, I definitely could get used to this weather.

Friday: Happy Birthday Grandma! I hope it was a good day. We did our planning for this week--the first week of the next transfer! Also, while I was putting dates in my new planner, I realized that I'm going to hit my 6-month mark during the next transfer. What!?! This can't be happening!!! Where has the time gone? I'll spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years in my next area... wherever that is. The 13-year-old son of the family who had us for dinner invited a non-member friend. It was so neat! As we shared our message about the Book of Mormon, the son gave his friend a copy of the Book of Mormon and shared his testimony, and invited him to read it. If only they were Spanish... but then again, the Elders in that ward could use some more people to teach and heaven knows we have enough.

Saturday: We had apartment inspections. While they were there, the phone rang. It was a different ring... meaning one of 2 people: President or the Assistants. Regular transfer calls come Saturday nights. If you get a call from President Saturday morning, it means that one of you is training or getting a leadership position, though for sisters it's only news about training. I answered, and President asked me to get Sister Michel and put the phone on speaker. Well... I knew right away what that meant. We're staying together and training. Yep, that's right. I've only been out for 3 months/ 2 transfers and I'm training. Well, junior-training. I'm training to be a trainer. It's a little nerve-wracking, not gonna lie. I'm just glad that I don't have to do it by myself. I'm not that good with the language yet. Though it should greatly improve during this transfer--our new companion is from Peru learning English. Sister Michel is way excited because she thought that she'd have white companions for her whole mission... well, English speaking because my skin is darker than hers. Now I'm going to be the odd-one out language wise. But I'm excited to meet her bright and early in the morning--the training meeting is at 7:15, meaning we're leaving our apartment no later than 6:30. Anyway... back to Saturday: Magda and Emma were baptized! We were teaching Emma before the area split, and because she and Magda are both in the same ward we had a joint baptism with the Elders so the Bishopric wasn't there all day, because there was also an English baptism in that ward. It was such a neat experience. As I look back to the attitude about life and the problems that Magda had when we met her 8 short weeks ago, and look at her now, I can hardly believe the changes she has made. She is definitely one of those people who I will never forget--and one who has greatly blessed my life. I feel so blessed to be able to know her.

Sunday: We went down to Pena Blanca. One of the people we met on Wednesday really seems interested to learn more. And we knocked on some more doors. While we were driving home after our dinner appointment, it hit me. I've had 2 roommates from Peru! So if Janet and/or Maggie are reading this, or someone reading this has contact with them tell them hi for me, and let them know that my new companion is from Peru. I think that's pretty cool that I've already been partially exposed to her culture. But now I can communicate in her language!

Well, I love you all. Be excited for next week's e-mail and details about our new companion. And Thanksgiving. Pray that I don't explode with the 3 dinners we have. I'm just glad it's not 4 like we thought we were going to have. One of them didn't work out.

Hermana Good

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bernalillo, NM Transfer 2, Week 5

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week has flown by here in New Mexico. I really can't believe how fast time is going. I was laying in bed unable to sleep one night this week--no doubt because I had caffeine in my system from the Coke one of our investigators gave us earlier that day (it's rude to turn it down, especially after they've opened the can and poured it in a glass--but I don't like it) and I realized that yesterday marked 4 1/2 months in the mission. And do you know what that means? Yeah--I'm 1/4 of the way done. And I don't know if I like that. I love serving the Lord. Don't get me wrong, I miss all of you like crazy and can't wait to see you again, but I am having so many wonderful experiences here that I wouldn't be able to have if I weren't here, and I am learning so much. And as I was sitting in Stake Conference yesterday with the Luna family (they saved us seats so we could sit with them) I realized that I will miss these people here just as much as I miss all of you when I get transferred and go home. Seriously, the Luna family is my adopted family. Brother and Sister Luna have told us that we're their adopted daughters. And Lily and Fer (their daughters) are my sisters, and Alexis and Luis (Lily's sons) seriously feel like my siblings. And there are so many other people here who feel like my family, but it really isn't the same.


Monday: It was preparation day. We went to the post office to pick up a package that had my sweaters! And just in time too... it's been cold the past few days. It also had a piano book--just the one I was thinking of when I asked mom to send me one. And boy was I happy to see that! Not that I have time to play the piano, or that I'll be able to play any of the songs because I haven' t really touched a piano in so long, but it's worth a try, right? At least I'll be able to tell them that I can do a special musical number for zone conference next time they ask me.

Tuesday: Our apartment was a little chilly (but no where near what it had been before they fixed the heater) so I slept in my hoodie mom sent me Monday night. It smells like home, which made me feel a little homesick. But it was a nice smell. (side-note... today I'm wearing another one of those sweaters and it also smells like home). Funny story from while we were out tracting: We went to contact a former investigator. She invited us in and we had a nice visit, setting up an appointment for this week to return and teach them more. But before we left, we had a conversation that went something like this (if you can, translate into Spanish to get a better idea of how it went)
"Do you want a bottle of water?"
"No, we're fine thanks."
"For the walk?"
"How did you know we're walking?"
"Because your shoes are filthy!"
We accepted the water and left. As soon as we got off her porch, Sister Michel and I turned to each other and said "!Que Verguenza!" (sorry... I don't have ability to do Spanish characters--and for you who don't speak Spanish, that basically translates into "How embarrassing!") We got a good laugh out of that one... and our shoes were polished before we left our house the next morning.

Wednesday: The weather was beautiful... absolutely perfect. If the weather would stay like that for the rest of the winter, I'd be perfectly happy. We did lots of knocking on doors... but found absolutely no one who speaks Spanish. Or if we did, they slammed the door in our faces. But we remembered Alma 26:27 and kept working with smiles on our faces.

Thursday: We had District Meeting. We got information on our Christmas Calls home... Do you prefer Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? And do you want me to give you a number so you can call me, or buy a phone card so I can call you? I don't know where I'll be yet for those days or how things work, but let me know. Also at District Meeting, we'd been talking to the Spanish Elders so that naturally comes out in Spanish. Then one of the English Elders said something to me and I responded in Spanish. He just kinda stared at me until I realized what I'd done. It was actually quite funny. It was a little chilly, but every time I thought I was cold, I remembered Idaho and suddenly wasn't cold anymore. We had a meeting with the leadership of Magda's ward so we could discuss her baptism coming up this Saturday. Too bad we didn't have more baptisms in their ward when we were actually in their ward boundaries because they are amazing to work with! In every other ward, we have to do all the hard work, but this ward does everything for us! Yeah, we like that, it saved us time during our Friday planning session.

Friday: Funny story... but you really would have had to be here to get the full effect. Sister Michel and I have laughed every time we've thought about it or driven past the camels for the past 4 days now. We were on our morning walk (it's light outside when we get up now, so we can walk outside again--so much better that walking back and forth in our apartment, though I don't get as much reading in Jesus the Christ done). We were almost home when we saw Brother Komadina pulling out of the driveway in the pick-up loaded with hay for the animals. Well, one of the camels saw it too, and took off running across the pasture after the truck. This camel was outright running... and Brother Komadina kept on driving to the horses further down the road. It was SO funny! We did our weekly planning... for the LAST week of the transfer! Where in the world has the time gone? We'll get transfer calls on Saturday! I can't believe how fast it's going.

Saturday: It was a little bit colder. I was grateful I'd bought boots a couple weeks ago so I could wear socks--so much warmer. I was thinking of Britney and Jeff. One of my best friends got married... and I can't wait to see pictures! I hope the day was everything you wanted it to be. The Sister who fed us dinner fixed Hawaiian Haystacks, which I thought was funny because that's what mom usually makes when she has the missionaries over... but I'm not gonna lie. I like mom's better. Her sauce is better, and she has more stuff to put on them and make them yummier. Though they were still really good. After we went to the Saturday session of Stake Conference because Sister Michel needed to be on standby for translation. It was seriously one of the best meetings I have ever been to! There were many references to Elder Scott's talk from General Conference--which was one of my favorites. I encourage you all to go back and read it if you haven't since the Conference issue of the Ensign came out.

Sunday: We woke up to snow and wind. Gee... it looked like home. But it had stopped and was melted by the time we left at 9:00. It didn't warm up all day though. The Conference was again a good meeting. I was grateful for the opportunity to be there. So many wonderful talks were given.

Well, that pretty much sums up my week. I hope you all have a great week. Keep your eyes open next week to find out where I'm going, or if I'm staying and who my companion will be.

Hermana Good

Monday, November 9, 2009

Bernalillo, NM Transfer 2, Week 4

Family and Friends,

Yes, another week has absolutely flown by. I can't believe how fast the time is going. We're still here working hard to find people who are ready to hear this message of the Restored Gospel.

Monday: We had time to catch up on letters, so if you'd written me but hadn't heard from me in a while, you probably got a letter last week. If not, it's because I haven't received your letter :) We had an amazing lesson with Magda--I started talking and I couldn't stop, and Sister Michel told me later that she wasn't going to interrupt because that doesn't happen very often. I used words that I didn't know that I know! The gift of tongues is truly an amazing gift from our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday: We spoke all Spanish, all day--except for maybe 2 hours. My head felt like it was going to explode by the end of the day, but I felt very accomplished. We were absolutely exhausted by the end of the day, and I collapsed into bed and fell right to sleep. The weather was BEAUTIFUL! I took a jacket with me, but it stayed in the car all day long. Yeah, I could get used to this. They tell me that the cold-front that came through a while back is unusual, and some of the members have been blaming me for bringing it from Idaho. Oops. My bad ;)

Wednesday: We had absolutely no success, but it was a very humbling experience for Sister Michel and I who are so used to having at least some success throughout the day. We had lots of doors slammed in our faces. But we didn't let it get to us, because we knew we were just that much closer to finding people who are ready to hear the beautiful message of the Gospel. And I'm not gonna lie--I bet all you people in Idaho wish you were here, because I know that by now you all have snow on the ground and it's here to stay until Spring. I'm still able to go without a jacket at least until it gets dark, sometimes all day.

Thursday: We had District Meeting. We talked about overcoming the "fear of man" and opening our mouths to talk to people. Yeah... about that. Sister Good has a hard time opening her mouth when people speak Spanish because she has a tendency to not understand everything and get lost in the conversation. Needless to say, I have a new resolve to open my mouth and speak more--especially to Spanish-speakers. The Bernalillo ward invited us to their Relief Society Holiday Dinner. (They also asked Sister Michel to translate because they invited the Spanish Sisters as well) They had traditional Mexican foods--tamales, posole (sp?), rice, beans, pastel de tres leches. Boy was it yummy! And even better, we had 2 of our investigators and 3 less active sisters there!

Friday: We had our weekly planning session. We took a break in the middle to go to a baptismal interview for Magda. Then we went back home and finished planning. We had a couple of appointments that evening. Our dinner appointment fed us fish. When I called to confirm Thursday night, she asked if there was anything we didn't eat, and I thought about saying fish remembering the bad experience I had with shrimp a few weeks ago, but I figured that the chances of being fed fish were small. But no, we got there and she said, "I hope you're okay with fish." But ya know, it wasn't horrible. It wasn't super tasty, but it wasn't horrible. It was probably better than the cooked spinach she fed us. Okay, enough complaining. I really am grateful that we are being fed... though we went to an appointment right after that and got fed again. But I feel bad. The Elders have seen our dinner calendar. Apparently we had 5 people sign us up for Thanksgiving dinner, or try to, and they don't have anyone yet. And we may not even be here at Thanksgiving! Transfers are 2 days before. So anyway, if you're reading this and have a chance to sign up to feed missionaries, please do, because I feel bad when I find out that they aren't eating and we're eating enough for us and them.

Saturday: It was another long day of knocking doors with no success. All of our appointments except one fell through. We're trying to get more miles so we can go out to Pena Blanca to work, because we're running into a lot of dead-ends down in Bernalillo and we've been told that there's a lot of Spanish speakers out there. It's just a really long drive--Sister Michel says about 45 minutes, so I'm guessing close to 100 miles round trip. We called the Assistants last night, and hopefully we'll find out today if we can get more miles or not.

Sunday: The Bernalillo ward had their Primary Program, so we had sacrament meeting combined with them. It was so fun to see that! Magda really enjoyed herself. They had a sister in the ward translating for the Spanish-speakers, but for fun, I sat there and translated to see how much I could do. And ya know what? I was able to say a lot more of the things in Spanish than I thought I'd be able to. That was a confidence booster!

Umm... yeah. So that's been my week. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers and letters. I appreciate knowing that you're thinking about me. I love you all!

Hermana Good

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bernalillo, NM Transfer 2, Week 3

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week and another month have flown by. I am once again sitting here in the library in Rio Rancho. It was been quite the week with lots of exciting things happening. I can hardly believe that I have been here for 2 months now. I've been on my mission for 4 months. It was one year ago today that I told people that I was coming on a mission--I'm sure you all remember that well. Very well. I've been reflecting on that a lot the past couple of days. How grateful I am for the experience I had that prompted me to serve a mission. These past four months have been such a blessing in my life, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. No, they haven't been the easiest. There have been times when I've wanted to give up. But as I think about the ways I have grown over the past few months, I realize that there isn't anything else that I'd rather have in my life.

Onto my week:

Monday: We drove all over. We went down to Bernalillo to have a part replaced on our car that they finally got in that we've been waiting for for about 3 weeks from the time before that they had the oil changed and the service shop didn't put one of the hoses back on right and it fell down against one of the belts and wore away. Then we headed over to Albuquerque to get new tires put on the car to fix my boo-boo from Saturday night. Then we went down to the post office in Corralles to pick up a package from my family. Then we headed to the far edge of Rio Rancho for all of our appointments. All that and we were only 17 miles over for the day:)

Tuesday: It was cold--inside and out. I wrote last week about how the heater in our apartment didn't work. We were wrapped up in blankets and coats and gloves and had as many blankets as we could on our beds. And it wasn't any warmer outside. Actually, it felt warmer outside. That night we went to the trunk or treat for the Star Heights ward. We had some investigators attend with us, and they had a dinner after wards. We pretty much froze, but that's okay. I'm a tough girl from Idaho, right? (haha--I've felt colder than Sister Michel) And oh yeah... another exciting point. We were going to an appointment after the trunk or treat and I went to turn on my blinker, and accidentally hit my high beams. And it just so happens that a cop was coming the opposite direction. Yep, last week Sister Good blew a tire, this week she got pulled over. But just to make sure everything is okay. Nothing bad happened--just that I almost had a heart attack. At least I know that the cops are doing their job.

Wednesday: We woke up to see SNOW in the mountains. And I'm not that far from the mountains. I just thought I was coming to a warmer climate. They called us from the office to say it was snowing in Albuquerque (remember, I'm only 15 miles from the mission home--and that's not as the crow flies) and that they were bringing us sweaters and more blankets since our heater wasn't working. Well, not too long after the Martinezes come with our sweaters and blankets, along comes Hermano Fonseca with a new thermostat for our apartment. When we walked in for lunch an hour after we left, it had warmed up a lovely 6 degrees. While we were eating, we got a call from Elder Frey with some sad news. Our area has been split again. They have taken Star Heights from our area and given that to the Elders as well. Yes, we lost the Lunas. We lost Norma and her family. We lost the Yeomans. We were quite distraught, but we know we're leaving them in good hands with the Elders. And we realize that it's for the best, and as we think about it, we realize that most of the people we had in Star Heights will probably progress better with the Elders than they did with us. It was a sad night when we went over to the Luna's to say goodbye... though if I'm still here in January-ish when the branch gets started I'll get to see them every Sunday :) Sister Luna has been my adoptive mom for the past 2 months, and Lily and her boys and Fer are like my brothers and sisters. Seriously. I felt like I was leaving my family again.

Thursday: Our apartment is nice and toasty. We woke up to 80 degrees. Actually, that's getting a little TOO warm... but we can't figure out how to turn the darn thermostat off. We've flipped the switch to off and turned it clear down to 50 degrees, and that thing is still blowing out hot air. We had district meeting. It looked like a nice day when we left, so we had our blazers and took a light jacket, just in case. Well, we were walking to an appointment, and Idaho found me. Yep, snow. Lots of it. And of course our jackets were in the car. And the snow stuck. Yep, it was cold. I felt just like I was at home. I decided that I really needed to buy some boots... which I did today. Now my feet won't freeze, because I can wear multiple pairs of socks underneath, and I can wear long johns under my skirts. Yep, Sister Good finally has a brain... I think. Wait, maybe not. Who knows ;)

Friday: We had another successful planning day. We went with the Elders to the Yeomans so we could say goodbye and introduce them. They were sad, but we think it will be good for them to have the Elders. Sister Michel and I really feel like we were preparing people for Baptism, but that Heavenly Father was saving them for the Elders. Now we can place our full focus in Bernalillo, where there is SO much potential, we just haven't had the time to go find it (and also Rivers Edge, if the Elders find anyone to give us a referral). We got a phone call from the Elders that Emma, one of the girls we were teaching and passed over to them at transfers, has a baptismal date! We were so excited! We called out of our area to talk to her and congratulate her. She is so excited, and so ready! Neither of her parents are members. She is living with her mom's sister and her family--and they are members. Actually, Emma's mom passed away when she was a baby, so this is such a wonderful blessing for her, to be baptized herself and then to be able to go do the work for her mom. We're excited to be able to go to that baptism.

Saturday: Today marks 2 months in New Mexico. Seriously? Already? All of our appointments fell through. We did lots of door knocking in Bernalillo. We're trying to find people who are ready to hear the wonderful message of the Restored Gospel. We had to be in our apartment by 7:00 because of Halloween, but were given an assignment to study. We had to think of the "questions of the soul" we have been asked and find answers to them in the Book of Mormon. It was a very enlightening study. When we walked in, we were greeted by a blast of hot air. Yep, the temperature is still climbing. It was a very toasty 90 degrees. We opened a window and the screen door and turned on a fan to try to cool things off, and it had dropped a few degrees when we went to bed 3 hours later. Let's just say that my blankets are not being used right now.

Sunday: November 1. Four months ago I said goodbye to my family for 18 months. One year ago I decided to come on a mission. What changes I've felt in my life in those times. Sister Michel and I forgot that it was daylight savings... at least it was fall back and not spring forward, right? Our alarms (cell phone and my clock) went off at 6, and I laid in bed for a few minutes then rolled onto the floor to pray. When I got up from my prayer, I looked at the phone because it was the closer of the two, and it was only 5:13. I was very confused. I looked at my clock and it was 6:13. Yes, VERY confused. Then I remembered. Daylight Savings. Sister Michel and I could have gotten up and done a little bit of study before church, but no. We both stayed in bed until the real 6:00, though neither of us went back to sleep. I think I was too hot to sleep, despite the fact that we'd left the door and window open all night. When we left our apartment to head down to church, I REALLY felt like I was in Idaho. I had to scrape the windows on the car. Seriously, I thought I was coming somewhere warm for my mission! The Idaho weather is following me! At our dinner appointment, we had a lesson with the members about the Book of Mormon, and the Brother went into his office and brought out his 1970 edition of the 1830 Book of Mormon. It was so neat to see that and to be able to hold it in my hands. I was able to feel the power of the Book of Mormon. After that, we headed up to Star Heights one last time so we could say goodbye to Norma and her family and to introduce them to the Elders.

All in all, it was a good week. Very productive, very busy. I am very much enjoying my time here in New Mexico and feel so blessed to be able to be here.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Oh... and Katey... Congratulations!!! You should have seen my face when I read your letter this morning. But I'm really happy for you :) More details coming in a letter, hopefully today.

Hermana Good


Kira sent a letter with the following inside and asked that I post it on her blog. This is a result of a wonderful zone conference they had on the Book of Mormon.

“After our Zone Conference on the Book of Mormon, I want to write my testimony of the Book of Mormon and send it to all of you.

Oh how I love the Book of Mormon. I have such a strong testimony of its truthfulness. Every time I pick up the Book of Mormon to read, I learn something new. There are so many wonderful truths included in its pages. The Book of Mormon truly does testify of our Savior. As I have read the Book of Mormon, I have been able to feel the love that my Savior has for me. I can feel the healing power of the Atonement as I read stories of people in the Book of Mormon who applied the atonement in their lives. My faith has been strengthened as I have read the stories in the Book of Mormon about the great faith those people had, and the ways they strengthened their faith. There is so much to learn and apply to our lives today. There are many wonderful role-models for us to follow. Lately I have been paying particular attention to the missionary examples in the Book of Mormon—from Nephi to Moroni. There are so many wonderful examples of things I want to apply into my teaching. I have felt an added power—an increased intensity the past few days as Sis. Michel and I have testified of and taught about the Book of Mormon. As we have done this, our teaching has become powerful—the Spirit has testified to our investigators of the power of the Book of Mormon. I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is a true record. There is power in the pages. I know that everyone who reads it can be strengthened. The hardest of hearts can be softened. Unwavering testimonies can be built. I have seen the power of the Book of Mormon change peoples’ lives over the past 2 months. For that matter, it has changed MY life. Just one year ago I wasn’t going to come on a mission, but my Heavenly Father spoke to me as I read the Book of Mormon, and I felt that I needed to come on a mission. For the past year as I have read and studied the Book of Mormon, I have found many applications to my own life. I have had prayers answered. I have had questions answered. I have been able to gain a stronger testimony of the Gospel. My testimony of the Savior has been deepened. I can better understand the teachings of the Gospel. Oh how I love the Book of Mormon and the power and message it contains. This book has changed my life.

At Zone Conference, President Anderson invited us to do a special study of the Book of Mormon, and I am extending that same invitation to each of you.

Take a clean copy of the Book of Mormon ($2.50 at the distribution center and I believe BYU-I Bookstore). Have 2 colors, and with one, mark every reference to the Savior. With the other color, mark the doctrines and principles of the Gospel. I have begun doing this, and it truly is an enlightening experience. It is so neat to see the many, many references to our Savior, and to see the basic doctrines of our Gospel. I know that as you do this, your testimony of the Book of Mormon will be strengthened.

I would also love to hear the experiences you have while doing this. And as President Packer said, “A testimony is found in the bearing of it.” Share your testimony of the Book of Mormon in testimony meeting, with your family, write them down and send them to me—in Spanish if you know it. I know that as you do this, your life will be greatly blessed.

Happy studies!

Hermana Good”