Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Missionary Life in Cortez

Well everyone, Here we are with another week gone by. While I'm thinking about it, don't be expecting an e-mail next Monday because we'll be in Albuquerque for the mission temple day (and I'll be there this Wednesday too to go through the Temple with one of Sister Shade's converts). I believe we'll e-mail on Tuesday, but if not that's why.

Monday: It was a really pretty day, much better than the previous two Mondays when the wind was so strong we could hardly stand up. It did get a little windy in the afternoon, but nothing in comparison. We had Bishop and Sister Decker come with us to a lesson with a new family we're teaching, which was great because they were able to know someone when they went to church yesterday.

Tuesday: We contacted some referrals we'd received from the members. I love how involved in the missionary work the members are here. We had some good lessons and knocked some doors. Basically, it was a normal missionary day.

Wednesday: It was rainy and kinda gloomy outside and were both kinda down in the dumps for unexplainable reasons. Then we got some wonderful news! We found out that we had a ride to go to Albuquerque this week to go through the temple with Sister Gloria Perez, who was baptized 13 months ago in Bernalillo. Sister Shade and Sister Trunnell were together when she was baptized. Sister Trunnell is flying down, and we'll be there too. Oh what a tender mercy this was to find out that we'd be able to go to the temple.

Thursday: We woke up to snow. And not just a little skiff, though less than last Tuesday when we had to drive to Durango. It was a little chilly all day long. But we did have some good lessons, which is always nice.

Friday: We had our weekly planning session, and once again were amazed at how fast the time is flying. Here we are now in week 5 of the transfer! Incredible. While we were eating lunch, we looked out our kitchen window (and only exterior window in the apartment) to see 5 or 6 deer grazing in the clearing below the window. We sat there in awe watching the deer. I love Colorado!

Saturday: It was really quite hot, which felt nice after a cold morning. We had to have a couple lessons outside and did lots of walking and finally got some color back on our arms that we had 2 months ago down in Rio Rancho but quickly faded away after we got up here and had to start wearing our coats and sweaters again. It's probably time to break out the sunscreen.

Sunday: We had a good day at church. It was a good meeting, and we had the new family we're teaching there. And the weather was beautiful! We think that Spring is finally here.

Wow. This is really short this week, but really I don't have anything else to say. It was just a normal week without anything too exciting going on. We're keeping busy working and whatnot. Sorry if you were hoping for something a little more exciting. But the e-mail you'll get next week will have more in it, I promise. Have a fabulous week!

Love, Hermana Good

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cortez, CO Transfer 6, Week 3

Well, another week has come and gone and spring is definitely here. The trees are turning green, the fields are being planted. And the snow is gone. I also can't breathe despite allergy medicine because of the pollen in the air. But it's beautiful, and I'm not complaining because spring is my favorite season to watch come in.

Monday: It was another windy p-day. The wind was horrible, but still not quite as bad as the Monday before (we know because we could still see the mountain that had disappeared the week before). And my appetite was mas o menos back to normal after the incident over the weekend and not hardly eating anything.

Tuesday: We had Zone Conference, so we had to wake up early to drive to Durango. Well, we woke up and looked out the window and saw a few inches of fluffy white snow covering everything. As I drove to Durango, there were times I could hardly see the road. Boy was I grateful that I learned how to drive in the snow. But the Conference was beautiful! It was definitely my favorite one yet. I don't know. The Spirit was SO strong and I learned SO much! It was such a wonderful thing to be instructed by our President and the Assistants and our Zone Leaders. President Anderson also told us about the new mission Presidents. President Miller who will preside over the Albuquerque mission also served in the Southwest Indian Mission--the same as President Anderson, and President Jones who will preside over the Farmington Mission is currently an area authority 70 over the area. He said they are both wonderful men. It will be interesting to see where I end up in a few weeks. When I saw Sister Anderson at Zone Conference we told her about the fish (because we'd thought of that since we called her) and she said it could have been partly an allergic reaction as well. So yes, Sister Good is allergic to fish. I have been drinking water like crazy (when I told Sister Anderson I was drinking a lot of water she said "I know. I could hear you sloshing clear down the hall." I love her!)

Wednesday: We had beautiful weather. We found several new English investigators, which was one of our goals for the week, because we were teaching mostly Spanish people (which wasn't a problem for us, but since this is a bi-lingual area, we decided that we really need to teach English speakers as well).

Thursday: It was another day exactly like Wednesday. Beautiful and full of finding new English investigators. We met several wonderful people.

Friday: We did our weekly planning for week 4 of the transfer and were wondering where the time was going. Time is rapidly passing. And with each day that passes, Sister Shade is more in denial of how soon she goes home. We make a point not to talk about it (which is hard with members asking her all the time how long she has left). It was rainy and thundering.

Saturday: It was another beautiful day. We did more finding and taught a few lessons to some new investigators. Our dinner appointment was out in tim-buc-two. We thought we'd never get there. But it was a beautiful drive through a canyon (if we'd known how far it was we would have had them pick us up). Everything is turning green. And you want to know what is really hilarious? Out there, the cows are just hanging out, grazing on the side of the road. Nope, they weren't fenced in. It's real deep country out there. I was just 7 miles from the Utah border, and found out that our ward boundaries go clear to the border. (And totally random side note--when I walked into their bathroom, they have the same floor that mom used to have in her kitchen, remember the old gray floor with blue flowers? Talk about a trip down memory lane).

Sunday: Sister Shade and I were asked to speak in church, and they ask the speakers if they want to do a musical number, so we sang too. She spoke about obedience and I spoke about missionary work and how members can help. We sang "We'll Bring the World His Truth," doing the first verse in Spanish, second in English, and third in Spanglish--me singing English and her singing Spanish. I translated in Relief Society for one of our investigators. I always feel bad when I have to translate because there are so many words that I don't know. But a missionary's gotta do what a missionary's gotta do.

All in all, it was a really good week. And we're looking forward to another good week this week.

I love you all.

Hermana Good

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cortez, CO Transfer 6, Week 2

Dear Family and Friends,

Another good week has gone by. It was a little weird, but we'll get to that a little later. I am doing great and still loving it here.

Monday: P-day. We spent the day cleaning the truck and apartment that the Sisters who left this area left in complete disasters. Actually, we didn't even have time to finish cleaning the inside of the truck (that's on the to-do list today, especially since we have car inspections tomorrow at Zone Conference). And I got to experience Colorado wind. Oh boy. Idaho wind is NOTHING. We were driving out to one of our appointments that evening a few miles from town, and had very little visibility. The mountain that is a mile, maybe two had completely disappeared because of all the blowing dust. That was quite the adventure.

Tuesday: It was cold--I was bundled up in my winter coat and was really wishing that I hadn't left my scarf in my other bag. We went out tracting for several hours, and found some new English investigators.

Wednesday: I dressed for the cold, but realized that I'd made a mistake because the weather was actually quite nice. One of the Sisters in our ward called us to see if either of us wanted them to take anything up north for us, as they were heading up to Rexburg for her little brother's graduation, so I threw some things in my little suitcase and let her take that on up to save the postage. When we got to the church to meet up with her, I was able to meet a few other members of the ward. I'd only been here for a week and knew... not very many people.

Thursday: We had District Meeting. It was once again a beautiful day. I finally met the Bishop over the phone. He was out of town when I got here, was back for a day, and then headed back out of town. And he's a farmer, so it's getting into his busy season so we hadn't been able to meet up yet. We ate lunch with one of our investigators... and I thought I was going to die. He prepared fish... which I don't like anyway. He served us 2 big pieces--which was more fish than I've eaten in my life. I survived by smothering it in guacamole and beans and wrapping it in a tortilla. But then when I finished, he asked if I wanted more. I said I was fine, which really, I was full and I so didn't enjoy it, but he asked if I was sure, so I said that okay, I'd eat a little more. Well, he gave me the biggest piece, which was bigger than either of the first 2 I ate. When we walked out, Sister Shade looked at me and asked "How did you do that?" I told her that I had no idea, but that I'd probably regret it later. Boy was I grateful that we didn't have a dinner appointment that night because I was still very much full when I went to bed.

Friday: We had weekly planning. We contacted a few people we've been trying to go see. And we had an appointment to meet the Bishop. I'd been here for a week and a half, so it was about time, no? Well, when we got out to his house/ hay farm, his wife was there and told us that they'd had some sort of problem on the farm (maybe a pipe burst? I don't remember what she told us) so Bishop Decker wasn't there. I was like "I'm here and I still don't get to meet Bishop." But I got to visit with Sister Decker a bit. She fixed us lunch, and we went out to see their farm. When we got back into the house, we were standing in her kitchen talking. Now here's where the "weird" that I mentioned at the first comes in. Mom, DON'T freak out, I'm PERFECTLY FINE. But I started feeling a little lightheaded and dizzy. I thought it would go away, so I ignored it. Well, their voices started to fade out a bit, which really was a little scary for me. I asked to use the bathroom so I could splash some cold water on my face, but when I took a step I almost blacked out. But this was certainly the place for that to happen, because Sister Decker is a nurse. She immediately sat me down and told me to breathe deep. When I came to a little bit, she helped me into her bed to lie down until I felt better. She gave me water and put ice on my head and gave me a popsicle and an orange. She thought it was heat stroke. She called Bishop and told him what had happened and asked him to come home so he could give me a blessing. What a way for the Bishop to meet the new missionary, huh? Laying on his bed, half out-of-it, looking whiter than a ghost (and for me, that's quite the feat to look whiter than a ghost). When I finally felt good enough to sit up, we went home and I laid back down on my bed. We called Sister Anderson and she told me that she thought it was dehydration and altitude sickness. She gave me a recipe for home-made gatorade and instructed me to get my fluids back up and call her in the morning.

Saturday: Well, I got up feeling a little better. A little. I was still a little dizzy and sick to my stomach, but thought it was probably just because I hadn't really eaten anything since the fish on Thursday (and it's possible that I was just intoxicated [I think she means toxin from the fish] from that fish--I'm thinking I'm going to avoid fish from now on). So I got up and showered and got ready and sat down to study and eat breakfast, but the longer I was up, the worse I felt. When we called Sister Anderson back, she told us it would be best to stay in for the day so I could get my energy back and water back into my system. She told me to eat things like jello and toast and rice, which I did, a little. I felt HORRIBLE because all of our appointments were first appointments or with investigators we're preparing for baptism, but I really knew that it wouldn't be safe for me to drive. So we canceled the appointments, and I actually slept for most of the day. That evening I was feeling well enough to go for a walk to the mail box (but only after I'd been sitting up for a few hours to make sure I wouldn't fall over). I drank about a gallon of water throughout the day, but it worked. I got better.

Sunday: We had church. I felt fine. Actually, I was STARVING which was a good thing because I hadn't been hungry in like 3 days. I ate a bit of oatmeal and toast. I had a water bottle with me at church. I was able to meet the Bishop looking like a missionary, not half-dead on his bed. But church was really weird. It was in English, and I haven't been to church in English for... oh about 9 months. It was actually kinda depressing. But I'm not going to let that get me down--we can work here for the same thing we worked for in Rio Rancho. They do have Gospel Principles in Spanish. And actually, the teacher was late yesterday, and it was my turn to go to the Spanish class, so guess who got to teach with NO time to prepare. Yep. Yours truly. When the teacher got there, one of the brothers in the class was like "Your salvation is here" and I told her that if she had something prepared she could take over. But no. She let me suffer. I guess it was good for me. And I did have my book in English with me too, so that helped. Good thing I know Spanish... mostly. And that evening I was finally able to meet Sister Mikkleson (we live above her garage). She's been out of town so I haven't been able to meet her yet. They've got a 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son who are adorable! Not to mention the most hilarious dog in the world, but I've met her and she tries to play with us every morning when we get out to the truck and every night when we get home.

So yeah. That's my week. Today I am feeling perfectly fine, like nothing happened. I promise. Trust me, with the way I ate this morning, I feel fine. And yes, I'm going to be sure to drink a LOT of water. Usually I do, so I don't know what happened last week that I didn't but whatever. I've learned my lesson. It helps that we can actually drink the water here and don't have to buy it. That makes our life easier.

I love you all. Have a fabulous week.

To all my friends who graduated on Friday: Enjoy your life as college graduates. Good luck finding jobs. Go out and have some fun, and I'll join you in a couple years.

And to everyone who has sent me wedding announcements recently (Leeann and John, Megan and Aaron, Jamie and Tyler) (okay, and everyone else who is engaged who hasn't sent me an announcement) congratulations! I'm excited for you!

And... okay I think that's it. Have a good one.

Hermana Good

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cortez, CO

Well here I am in Cortez, cold but happy. But before we talk about Cortez, how about an update on my last week in Bernalillo because I forgot my notes last week. (Give me a break--things were CRAZY getting ready for transfers and whatnot)

Bernalillo, NM, Transfer 5, Week 6

Monday: It was a beautiful day. We went to the mall in Albuquerque with a member to see some new scenery. It is a huge mall. It was kinda weird to be walking around in a mall again after 9 months of having Walmart as the biggest store I'd been in.

Tuesday: It was colder and overcast. My companions told me that I woke them up during the night praying in Spanish. But what's new, right? The APs called us and asked us if we could meet up and change cars so they could get the dent that's been in our door for 3 transfers now fixed. The first thought that went through my mind was "We haven't washed the car all transfer!" Let's just say that the car was washed and vacuumed before we met up with them. I was driving one of the Chevy Malibu's, which I liked so much better than our Fusion.

Wednesday: The weather was really weird. It would POUR and then the sun would shine and it would POUR and the sun would shine. And that's how it was all day long. I was really enjoying driving the spiffy new car.

Thursday: We had our last District Meeting of the transfer. We sang in Spanish because 5 of the 9 missionaries in the District were Spanish speaking. We watched the new Joseph Smith movie, and took end of transfer photos. We walked all over Bernalillo (mostly because we were out of miles). While we were knocking doors, I saw an adorable Golden Retriever puppy about the size that I remember Bear to be.

Friday: We did planning, and there was a windstorm. Oh how the wind blew! We were glad that we were inside for most of the day.

Saturday: It was a beautiful day, and pretty good despite the fact that most of our appointments fell through. At dinner I ate a couple jalapeno peppers. That was the first time I'd been brave enough to attempt it, and I really liked it. I thought about Grandpa Good and how proud he'd be of me. And we got transfer news. I wasn't surprised at all when I was told that I'd be leaving Bernalillo and heading up to Cortez. I'd felt it all transfer. What did surprise me is that Sister Shade was heading back up here with me and Sister Michel was going back to Bernalillo. I thought for sure that I'd cry when we got transfer news and I was told that I'd be leaving because I love the people and the area so much, but I guess I'd been preparing myself all transfer I didn't shed a tear--so unusual for me.

Sunday: I hardly slept Saturday night. I laid in bed and tossed and turned, and finally around 1:00 got up and went out to start organizing my desk and whatnot so I could pack. I went to bed around 2:30 or so and woke up between 3:30 and 4 and was unable to go back to sleep. Maybe I was nervous for what laid ahead? Quien sabe. Church was HARD. I played the piano for sacrament meeting, and was able to look all of the people I have come to love so much over the past 7 months in the face, and it was really hard not to cry, but I was able to hold back the tears. Just before Church, President Frank asked me to give the Sunday School lesson as a goodbye, so I had during Sacrament Meeting to prepare. I feel like it went pretty good, and I was even able to hold back the tears during my testimony (at that point, not many people knew that I was leaving). It was after Relief Society that I completely lost it. Hermana Luna was the first to hug me, and I was a mess from then on. She was my mom away from home (and when we went to her house after church for a dinner she had she gave me a giant stuffed gorilla, Jorge, so I'd always remember them--like I could forget la familia Luna), and I have grown so close to everyone else too. It was horrible. I felt like I was saying goodbye to my family all over again. The day was spent saying goodbye to people. Oh, also, one of the sisters in the branch who has recently moved to Rio Rancho with her family is from Snake River, and we made the connection that she was really good friends with Klade in high school (Marcela Sanchez Zarala). Small world, no?

Okay. That's what you were supposed to get LAST week. On to this week.

Monday: It was p-day. Sister Shade and I spent it washing and packing and saying goodbye. Not exactly the preferred way to spend the day, but it was necessary. Now I understand why dad is so good at packing. You don't have much of a choice as a missionary when you have a lot of stuff and very limited space to put it. I had a hard time packing all my stuff when I left the MTC, and I've accumulated more since then, but I was able to fit all of my stuff PLUS Jorge the Gorilla in my 3 suitcases and backpack. And stuffing Jorge into the suitcase was no small feat, as my family will see when I send him home (and there will be pictures coming soon, so maybe mom will put that one up so you can all see how big this gorilla really is too).

Tuesday: Oh what a struggle to fit all of our luggage in the car. We'd called the Elders and put them on standby--just in case. But after lots of cramming and stuffing and praying, we did it. Poor Sister Cabello in the backseat had about half a seat to sit in. Good thing it's not very far to ABQ. (I've got a picture of her stuffed in the backseat with the suitcases too, pobrecita). When we got to the mission office, we were looking for Sister Trunnell (she trained both Sister Shade and I) but we found out that she'd been really late the night before and instead of getting to Rio Rancho like she was supposed to she spent the night in Bloomfield and had to drive down that morning. But we got to see her for a minute before she left--we had to wait for her to get there with our truck. Yep, that's right dad. I'm driving a Chevy Colorado Pickup. I know you're jealous. We were also supposed to follow the caravan of missionaries heading north, but they couldn't wait for Sister Trunnell to get there, because there's a tight schedule on transfer day, so I got a map and we headed up with another companionship of Sisters who were waiting for Elder and Sister Martinez to get there with things they needed to take up to Bloomfield. They followed us up, so we weren't completely alone. We also took some things up that didn't make it on the transfer van and met up with the Elders in Farmington--and got lost trying to find the church. There was lots of middle-of-nowhere-ness on the drive, but it was pretty. Alright--here we go. I'm sure you're all asking "What's it like in Cortez?" Well here you go. It reminds me a lot of Idaho, actually. And there's still snow on the ground, but it's not as cold as I was expecting it to be--thank goodness! We live in an adorable apartment above the garage of some members (I'll take and send pictures after we clean, because the other sisters left a disaster that we now get to take care of). Their dog is HILARIOUS! I'm going to have to get video of Roxy. She's a Boxer, and SO playful. It makes me laugh to watch her play. We went and met some recent converts who made me feel welcome.

Wednesday: We were both really sore from lugging our suitcases down the stairs in Corrales, stuffing them into the car, pulling them out of the car, loading the truck, sitting for 6 hours, unloading the truck, and lugging them back up the stairs to our new apartment. I spent the day meeting people and learning my way around Cortez. It is really weird teaching in English. And it was COLD! I wore my coat for the first time in weeks! I feel really good here in this area. I know it's where I need to be.

Thursday: We woke up to blowing snow. I pulled out a scarf and gloves. We had district meeting, then we went and did service for a less active sister in the 4th ward (because the Elders can't go in alone) who is pretty much bed ridden from an injury she got at work a while back. It was my 9 month mark in the mission, and we went to Dairy Queen for lunch/ dinner because we'd forgotten our lunch and didn't have a dinner appointment. The snow was blowing off and on all day long, which made me a little nervous driving because I'm not familiar with the area at all. But we survived.

Friday: We had weekly planning. It took us a long time, because although Sister Shade isn't new here, she's new here because she's been down in Rio Rancho for the past 6 weeks. She doesn't know what's going on with the investigators. On the way home I almost hit a skunk and a deer. I don't know which would have been the lesser of the 2 evils... luckily I avoided both.

Saturday: Happy Birthday hermanita! I hope you had a fabulous day! General conference was really good, at least what I was able to understand of it. We were watching in Spanish. It was definitely better than October when I couldn't understand a thing and just cried out of frustration. All of my notes are in Spanish--which means I need to translate them before District Meeting on Thursday and Zone Conference on Tuesday. Between sessions, we went to lunch with Gabby, one of our investigators. And it was a beautiful day.

Sunday: Yet another amazing day of General Conference--though my brain was totally and completely 100% FRIED by the time it got over. I was having a really hard time focusing by the end (mom, if you'd send me a copy of the Ensign when it comes out that would be great, because we only get it in Spanish). It was a beautiful day.

So yeah. That's my past 2 weeks. They've been pretty good. I really am grateful to be here and for the opportunity I have to meet more people and help more people. Take care!

Love Hermana Good