Monday, January 25, 2010

An Amazing Week!

Well my family and friends, I had a most amazing week here in New Mexico! It's weeks like this that make all of my sacrifices and heartaches of being a missionary seem so small in comparison to the blessings we're receiving. Oh how grateful I am to be able to serve here right now in this area at a time when so many exciting things are happening!

Monday: It was a holiday, so the library was closed. We went to the Coronado State Monument that is located between our apartment and Bernalillo. It was so interesting! It is ruins from the Kuaua (koo-aa-wa) people that are 600-700 years old. It was so interesting to see that little bit of history in this area. I really enjoyed my time there. It was interesting to see how the native people in this area lived. And it is way neat to think that they were probably desendents of the people in the Book of Mormon! The history of that location is so rich! Dad would love it. The weather was fairly nice, I was only wearing a sweater and didn't freeze. And that night we had yet another amazing lesson with the Marquez family. They hosted FHE in their home, and Brother Marquez taught the lesson about the Plan of Salvation. This family is so amazing, and are progressing so well!

Tuesday: It was a normal missionary day full of lessons and cancellations etc. We tried out a new object lesson on faith that we borrowed from some of the Elders (they did it for the dinner message when we ate with them one night). It had a really powerful affect. We'll have to do it for a FHE when I get home.

Wednesday: It was cold and windy and it hailed. It made for a miserable day, especially since we did lots of walking because we were kinda worried about where we were sitting mile-wise on our car. We actually spent a lot of time walking this week.

Thursday: We had District Meeting, and it was probably my favorite one we've had yet. Elder Jorgensen was very inspired and I felt like what he was saying was specifically for me. It was a wonderful meeting! It was again cold, and we did lots of walking.

Friday: The scab finally fell off of my dog bite. It really doesn't look as bad as I'd thought it would, and as I continue to take care of it, it will continue to get better. We had weekly planning. And we had yet another amazing lesson with the Marquez family. We committed them to be baptized! They are so excited and so ready for this step to improve their lives. This will be such a blessing to this family. I love them so much, and am so grateful to be able to be a part of their process to learn about the Gospel and make these changes in their lives.

Saturday: Once again, it was cold and we were outside walking. But we were all in a good mood after our lesson Friday night and didn't really notice the cold.

Sunday: We got the BEST NEWS EVER!!! Okay... story time. Are you ready? 7 1/2 months ago when Sister Michel was first transferred to this area, there wasn't really any support for the Spanish speakers, other than one ward who has a lot and does translation every week. But in the Bernalillo ward, where she was serving, there was nothing. Their investigators would go to church and not be able to understand anything. So she and Sister Trunnell started talking, and ran an idea past President Anderson, and President Roundsville, the Stake President. This idea was to start a Spanish service, because there weren't enough people for a branch yet. They liked this idea, and so a Spanish sacrament meeting was started, presided over by one of the counselors in the Bernalillo Bishopric. A few weeks later, Sunday School was started in Spanish. And my first week here, they had all 3 hours for the first time. What a blessing this became! President Roundsville had a vision. He wanted to start a Spanish Branch here in this area. He knew that there were enough members here in the area who speak Spanish to support a branch, so he started the process to send a request to Salt Lake for a Branch, with the hopes of having the Branch start on January 1. Well, December came and went without any word from Salt Lake. We were calling President Roundsville every week to give him an update on our work, and to ask if he'd heard anything. January 1 came and went as well, but we didn't give up hope. Well, around 10:00 we received a phone call from President Roundsville. We'd called him Saturday to let him know about the Marquez family, so that's what we thought was the purpose of the phone call. And we did talk about that. But then he gave us some VERY good news! La Rama Coronado is going to be started on February 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm!!! A horrible time for church, I know, but we've got our branch! What we've been working so hard for and the members have been faithfully and diligently waiting for has become a real blessing for the people here! Only one short month and the people in this area who speak Spanish who have been attending church in English and not really understanding, or listening to translation and not getting the full message will be able to attend church in their own language and will be able to bless and benefit each other! What a blessing for me to be here right now at this time!

(I’m thinking part of her letter didn’t come through because no signature and below is another short e-mail home and she never talked about pictures in the above part—oh well! At least we know she is having a great week and her leg is doing better )

Just kidding. No pictures. I found a card reader in my desk drawer here and thought it would work for my memory card, but it doesn't. I'll send my chip home soon. But I promise that my leg is looking so much better!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bernalillo, NM Transfer 4, Week 2

Well, here we are in another new week. I really can't believe how fast the time is flying by here in New Mexico.

Monday: We went to lunch with the Sisters who were transferred into our zone. It was fun to visit with them and do something different for our P-day. After that, we went to the church where the Elders always gather to play basketball so I could practice the song I volunteered to sing in Zone Conference. We practiced for 2 hours... and when we were done, I didn't have a voice. That was NOT a good thing, but we both knew the song and felt comfortable singing and playing it. That night, we had FHE with the Marquez family. We watched "The Way Home" about the little girl who is killed in an accident and how her family changes and are baptized so they can be with her for eternity. There was a very strong Spirit, and they said it gave them a lot of hope.

Tuesday: We had Zone Conference. There was an amazing Spirit. I love Zone Conferences. There we were told that we had 517 baptisms in 2009--a 60% increase over 2008, and a record for the mission. And we were told that the goal for 2010 is to have 736, another 60% increase over 2009. This is such a wonderful time to be a missionary, and to be here in this mission. I can't wait to be here all year to have a part in helping so many of my brothers and sisters come to have a testimony of their Savior. The song went well... sort of. Everyone told me it was beautiful, and President told me that I sounded like an angel. But it could have been better. They had me sing it right after lunch--which was a double-whammie. I was warmed up in the morning then sat through the conference and didn't talk, and it is harder for me to sing after I eat--especially high notes. I felt like I was flat the whole song, and especially on the high notes. It certainly didn't help that the song was at the tippy-top of my range anyway. But I did it. After the conference, we had our interviews with President, which I always love and helps me to feel uplifted. We also popped in to the Marquez' that night to take them a video they'd asked us for. Well, our pop-in turned into an hour and a half full of questions from Elva. She told us that she feels very comfortable with us and loves the changes that she is seeing in her family since we've been visiting them.

Wednesday: It was Sister Michel's birthday. We had a member with us for our appointments... but every single one of them canceled on us. So she took us to KFC for lunch :)

Thursday:We had District Meeting. We had a great discussion about the Armor of God, which we also talked about in Zone Conference (see D&C 27:15-18). We got there at the same time as the River's Edge Elders, and when they saw us pull into the parking lot, they took off running into the church. We just thought they were being weird Elders like they usually are, but after District Meeting, they got into one of the cupboards in the RS room and pulled out a birthday cake for Sister Michel. So really they were running to keep us from seeing the cake. The Elders I've worked with here really are very thoughtful... with the exception of the 22 trick candles they put on the cake.

Friday: We had our daily planning. And a lesson with the Marquez family. We taught them the Plan of Salvation. The Spirit was so strong! One of their daughters had a couple friends killed in a car accident the weekend before, and Elva's dad has passed away. They commented after that this really gave them a lot of hope for what is to come, and that they realize that they need to be baptized in order to be able to see these people again. This family is so amazing! We absolutely love them!

Saturday: We had lots of interesting lessons... though I don't remember why I took that note that we had interesting lessons. The weather was beautiful!

Sunday: We spent the morning knocking doors. All I had on was my jacket, and I was fine. I was thinking about how it was Grandpa Thompson's birthday ( HAPPY BIRTHDAY ) and how it is always so cold, and it really wasn't.

So yeah. That's my week in a nutshell. It was a great week, and this week is starting out just as great. Yesterday was a great p-day, though you're going to have to wait until next week to find out what we did :) Have a fabulous week!

Hermana Good

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bernalillo, NM Transfer 4, Week 1

I am including pictures of Kira's dog bite this week. Hope they don't gross anyone out:) (day it happened)

Dear Family & Friends,

Wow! What a week! It was definitely an amazing week, one that I'm not going to soon forget.

Monday: Magda has wanted us to go to her house and exercise for some time now, so we finally made time on Monday. We went on a nice, long, fast paced couple mile walk (luckily the weather was gorgeous, more like March or April that I'm used to) then we went back to her house and did an exercise routine that worked every muscle in our bodies from the tops of our heads right down to our toes. We were dead tired by the time we left.

Tuesday: Transfer day! But like I said last week, I'm staying right where I am with both of my companions. We did go down to the office because Sister Abrith, one of the office sisters, is leaving next week, so we went to say goodbye to her, along with one of the other sisters who was going home. The weather was beautiful--I didn't take a coat and was just fine with only a sweater all day long. And it was quite entertaining... the longer we got into the day, the stiffer we got and the harder it was for us to move as a result of the exercise. We get our exercise, just not that hard-core. We had some amazing lessons too. We went to visit the Marquez family, who we have been trying to get into since my first transfer, and they let us in. We've met with Elva, the mom, before but never really with Eddy, the dad, other than on the door step and he told us that he wasn't interested. Well, Elva invited us in and said that Eddy was going to join us for the lesson. Mind you, this was just a pop-in visit on our part. Well, the lesson was great with a very strong spirit, and we were able to set up a return appointment.

Wednesday: Again, the weather was beautiful. That sure makes walking around outside a lot nicer. Later that night, I answered the phone and it was one of the members who speaks Spanish, so naturally I answered in Spanish, though forgot to say my name. Sister Gonzalez was like, "Hermana Cabello". No, soy Hermana Good. I said. She said that she thought I was Sister Cabello because of my accent. I have lots of people thinking I'm a native speaker because of my accent, and I have another year to practice that and improve it.

Thursday: We had a 20 degree drop in the temperature. I kept telling myself that it would be colder in Idaho, but that wasn't very comforting. As I was sitting at my desk studying thinking how cold it looked outside and told myself that it would be colder in Rexburg, I realized that if I wasn't here I actually wouldn't be in Rexburg right now. I'd be living in Utah doing my student teaching which thought really weirded me out. I can't be old enough to be almost graduated from college yet! But really, I am and if I weren't here, I would be. Yes, I am very grateful for this time which I have to continue learning and growing before I really get out into the world.

Friday: I said that I would sing a song that was a special request for Zone Conference from President. The Zone leaders brought me the music, and as I looked at it I really got scared. It is at the top of my range, and the piano part looks way hard. I felt bad for the poor Elder who said he'd play for me. The song is called, O that I were an Angel. It is a really pretty song with a beautiful message, I'm just praying that I can sing it. Your prayers would be appreciated too :) We had another lesson with the Marquez family--and this time all of their 4 children, ages 10-14, sat in on the lesson too. Again the Spirit was amazing. We invited them to be baptized, and the 10 year old daughter eagerly nodded her head. Eddy said that they'd need to attend church a few times to see what it was like before they decided anything, though Elva was a little more apprehensive. We have a very good feeling about this family. As we were teaching, Eddy was explaining things to his children, with quite a bit of detail, from what he'd read in the Testimony of Joseph Smith and the 3 and 8 Witnesses. What an amazing help for his family!

Saturday: Elder Wood and I had time to practice the song for Zone Conference... lets just say that any and all prayers would be appreciated that he'll be able to play and I'll be able to sing. I was able to hit the notes okay, but the timing in a few places for me is a little weird, and the piano part is way hard. He told me that he'd already practiced for over 2 hours and was still very uncomfortable playing it. Oh boy. We did NOT know what we were getting ourselves into. But with faith and prayers, it will be absolutely perfect by tomorrow (Tuesday).

Sunday: What an AMAZING day! The Marquez' had told us that they'd be to church, and we told them that we'd pass by their house so they could follow us since they weren't exactly sure where the chapel is. Well, Eddy called us in the morning and said that he was up in Santa Fe with his boss and wasn't sure if he'd be able to make it. We knew that if he didn't come, none of the family would, so we started praying. We passed by their house anyway, and the kids told us that Elva was finishing getting ready and that they were waiting for Eddy so they could go to church. We kept praying. Well, 1/2 hour before church starts, Eddy called us and said that he was home and was going to change and they'd be there. And then he called us back and asked if they needed to bring anything other than the Book of Mormon. It was so exciting to see that family arrive at church. And the Spirit in the meeting was amazing! Just what they needed to hear. And everyone was so welcoming to them and helped them feel very comfortable. After church, they told us that it was a very good experience. Not to mention, there were 44 people in the Service. The Stake President was there again, only this time there were 4 times more people than the last time he was there. And he bore his testimony, which was so good for the Marquez family to hear. The Elders actually had a couple of investigators there as well (a couple sisters who we were teaching before the area split) so there were 8 investigators in all. And about that many members who are less active. We just could not stop smiling the whole 3 hours. What an amazing day at Church! Then after church, we went to one appointment, then to our dinner appointment. The family we ate dinner with has a tradition to gather around the piano and sing hymns every Sunday night and invited us to join them. We didn't have anything other than language study, (and singing hymns for pronunciation is very good for Sister Cabello) so we stayed and sang hymns for close to an hour. It was such a neat spirit. I really kinda miss singing hymns with my family, so that was good for me. Oh yeah. And while we were in the foyer at church waiting for the Marquez family, a sister in the River's Edge ward (I can't remember her name) came up to me and said that she'd been e-mailing mom through Missionary Moms this week and gave me a hug from my mom. That was fun. Not quite the same, but close enough.

So yeah. It was a very amazing week. It's weeks like this that really make me glad that I made this decision to serve a mission so I can feel the Spirit that I can here and have these wonderful experiences that are really helping to build my testimony. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve and for all of the amazing opportunities I have to meet people and make new friends. The experiences I am having here really are helping to shape me into the person I will become. What a wonderful way to spend a year and a half of my life!

Hermana Good

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bernalillo, NM Transfer 3, Week 6

Ah. I could get used to this. All you who have recently returned from missions, or who fought with for 18 months or 2 years will be jealous to hear that they have switched systems and our e-mail is now through google. It will be easier for me to attach pictures and such to my e-mails to send home pictures on a more frequent basis (though my camera chip is in the mail, or will be tomorrow).

Anyway, it has been another good week here and I can't believe how fast the time is flying for me. It seems like I was just here in the library writing my e-mail.

Monday: P-day. I received letters from a couple friends who I haven't heard from in a while. It was good to hear from all of you and to get updates on what you're doing and all of the exciting news you all shared with me! We went and visited the family whose dog bit me for the first time since I was bitten. They were very worried that I was mad at them, but really I'm not. Accidents happen and my leg just happened to be in the line of fire. It is doing a lot better now. (There are pictures on my memory card that is coming. You should post one or two so I can gross everyone out ) It is looking 10 times better today than it was 2 weeks ago.

Tuesday: We had a member go with us on several of our lessons. She was an amazing help. It was wonderful to have a member with us to help us out. It is hard for us to find members who are available to go with us during the day to help us on lessons, because our Spanish-speaking members who aren't working or have other things going on are in short supply. They're working on calling some ward missionaries who speak Spanish to help us, but we haven't heard anything yet. I also received a package from home with homemade bread and cookies. Oh it was heaven! We were too full Tuesday night to eat anything, but Wednesday and Thursday morning I will admit that I had cookies, along with toast from homemade bread and cocoa for breakfast.

Wednsday: We spent most of the day at Magda's helping her clean. She is living alone and has back problems that make it hard for her to do several things. She has a flat roof that had collected a lot of gunk, so my companions climbed the ladder while I used the bissell cleaning machine someone had loaned her to clean her sofas. And then after the Elders got there with their vacuum and I could vacuum the carpet, I spent 3 hours on my hands and knees using the same cleaning machine to clean the carpet in her living room while the sisters helped her elsewhere in the house. We were there for 5 or 6 hours and had a blast! But let me tell you... I was sure hurting later that night and the next day. It also snowed, which I always love to see. But what really cracks me up is that down here they actually have snow plows. I know, crazy right? Up in Idaho I rarely see snow plows, but rather bulldozers and graters to clean the roads. Up where they actually have snow. I think that's a little backwards. And another thing I find crazy is that the plows and sanders are out before the snow even starts to think about sticking. Gee whiz... people who don't know how to drive in the snow. But another thing I find funny is that Sister Cabello starts to get really nervous to go anywhere in the car when it is snowing because there is one of our investigators who talks about black ice and how dangerous it is to drive on snow if you don't know what you're doing. But I learned how to drive in the snow, so I know exactly what I'm doing. It's the other crazy drivers out there I'm worried about.

Thursday: The last day of the year. Where did the time go? I can't believe how fast 2009 flew by! We went to Magda's with the Elders and she fixed us a turkey dinner that was very delicious! I absolutely loved her stuffing! She added corn, peas, sliced olives and cubed apples. Yummy! After dinner, we helped her move a car that has a dead battery from her backyard to her garage. The Elders said that one of the sisters got to drive... steer... something... and since I'm the only one who can drive (Sister Cabello has been in a car more in the 6 weeks she's been here than she ever has in her life) I was the one who was chosen to do so while everyone else pushed and Magda took pictures. After that, we went to the Luna’s for a Mexican New Year's Party. Sister Luna loaned Sister Cabello and I huipils (wippills) so we could all be dressed traditionally. Sister Michel has one. When I put it on, Sister Michel told me that I looked even more gringa.

Friday: Happy New Year! I woke up at like 12:01, though I didn't realize it until morning. We had beautiful clear blue skies as we were out working. When we got home that night, since we had to be in early, we did our weekly planning, for the first week of NEXT transfer! Holy cow, where is the time going??? I can't believe how fast everything is flying by! Seriously! It was my 6 month mark Friday. I have been gone for 6 months! It really doesn't seem that long. Wow. 1/3 of my mission completed. Incredible.

Saturday: What a beautiful day! The temperatures were close to 50 degrees. We were driving past the KFC restaurant in Bernalillo, and we saw a car that looked like the car of one of our recent converts who moved to Albuquerque and disappeared about 2 1/2 months ago. Sister Michel and I have been freaking out, let me tell you. We knew that he used to work there, at least before they moved to their new location about a month ago, so we decided to take an early lunch. In the parking lot, we drove past the car and knew that it really was his. It was so good to see Jose again know that he is doing okay, though his schedule changed and he works from open until 4:00 on Saturday and Sunday so he can't go to church anymore. And we received transfer news! I am staying here for another 6 weeks, along with both of my companions! We are excited! And they are bringing in sisters to one of the areas in our stake, so there will be sisters close who we can do things with on p-day starting tomorrow. We're really excited! We actually know both of the sisters. Sister Waters is in the next stake over and has been at least since I got here 4 months ago. She trained the sister I flew down with. And her new companion, Sister Allred, got here a transfer after me and is the sister I took knocking doors for part of their orientation.

Sunday: Church has changed to 1:00. It really made the day fly by! We were grateful for the opportunity to have our studies in the morning. We never had time to do anything in the mornings because we had to leave our apartment by about 8:10 or so. We had a little time in the morning to go knocking doors before church, and after church we went to dinner and had one more appointment and headed home. We received some good news... at least we hope it's good news. We saw the Stake President, President Roundsville, and he told us that he called Salt Lake and they are reviewing the application to start nuestra rama Coronado this week. So if you would all please keep that in your prayers, we would appreciate it. We should know in the next week or two. This will be such a great blessing to the people here who are attending church and not fully understanding because they are using translation. And for the people who are attending our Service, they will be able to have actual leadership. While we were out knocking doors in the morning, Sister Michel slugged me and was like "Why didn't you say anything?" I was very confused. She proceeded to tell me that she'd completely forgotten that I passed my 6-month mark and we hadn't done anything to mark that. I remembered, but really it was just another day. What's really crazy is that I'm now less than 3 months away from my half-way point. Wow is time flying!

So yeah. There's my week in a nutshell. I hope you're all doing well and are looking forward to a wonderful 2010! I know I am looking forward to another wonderful year of missionary service!

Hermana Good