Monday, June 28, 2010

Santa Fe, NM Transfer 8 Week 1 -- The Good and the Bad

My dear family and friends,

Oh what a week it was. I hope you've got time, because this will probably turn out to be a novel.

Monday: My last p-day in Colorado. It started out with a phone call from Sister Wilkes (the sister who was being trained by the sister who went home last week) asking to talk to me. When I answered, she sounded like she was almost in tears, or trying to cover up that she was crying. She said, "Sister Good, what do I do if Sister Anderson won't get out of bed?" (Sister Anderson was in denial BIG TIME that she was going home and had told me that she wouldn't get out of bed on her last morning.) I was like "Oh boy. I have no idea." I told her that we were almost ready and would be there in 20 minutes (seeing as how we lived 20 minutes up the mountain). I had no clue what I was going to do when we got there, other than assess the situation and work from there. I go back into the bedroom, and was a little confused because I thought that Sister Anderson had the other bed than the one she was in, but I wasn't positive. I told her that I didn't think she was really serious when she said that she wouldn't get out of bed, and if there was anything we could do to get her up. Her answer to both was "Nope." Well, this went on for about 5 minutes when Sister Anderson jumps up and says, "Just kidding. I've been up all morning and am almost packed. I just wanted to see what you'd do." They were just getting back at me for the idea I had for the District Leader to call Sister Wilkes early and tell her that she was training. We spent the day cleaning and packing. I wasn't about to leave the apartment a mess for the elders who were moving in like it was when I found it. It was spotless by the time we finished... after staying up until 12:00 or later Monday night and getting back up at 6:00 Tuesday to finish it. We saved our hardest goodbyes for Monday... don't ask me why. I was so proud of myself last Monday because I hadn't cried yet. Yet, being the key word, because I was a blubbering mess by the time we headed home Monday night. On the way home, my mood was lightened a bit by a phone call from Sister Quick, one of the members in the ward who was dropping a package off to my family that day. She told me that her dog got to play with ours, and that Mom invited them for dinner. (BTW, she says I've got a pretty cool family. I have to agree ;) )

Tuesday: Like I said, I was up way late and early Tuesday. That left me a little on the unhappy side. But I did a good job at keeping a smile on my face. And I was even able to stay awake on the way from Cortez to Farmington (good thing, since I was driving) The transfer van got to Farmington early, which never happens! (Actually, it's probably better said that it got there on time, instead of late as always). It was a long ride down to Albuquerque. I wanted to sleep, but I can't sleep in the car. So I stayed awake. Other than the AP who was driving and the Elder in the front seat, I'm the only other one who stayed awake the whole 4 hours to the mission office. When we got there boy was it toasty! Right about 100 degrees, with no wind. Yuck. The APs loaded our luggage into our car, a tiny Toyota Corolla (I miss my truck!) and came and apologized because it is a horrible mess. By that point, I was like "Whatever." I'd already been told that the elders we were double transferring in behind had passed their cleaning inspections with flying colors, so I wasn't too worried about the state of the apartment, and I knew that they were good elders, so I wasn't worried about the state of the area book either. I could handle a messy car for a week. But, when we got to Santa Fe and found our apartment, it was even worse than the car! That didn't make me too happy, and then I saw the area book and started to cry (it didn't help that I was exhausted). It hadn't been updated in 2 transfers! For those of you who have served missions, you know how important an area book is, especially in terms of a double transfer. But we're working through that. We went and met our branch president, President Lopez, that night. He is great, and seems to be really willing to work with us.

Wednesday: We did a very quick blitz cleaning of the apartment to make it liveable until today (sanitizing the bathroom and washing 3 or 4 days worth of dirty dishes) and then had a long planning session to try to figure things out, which in case you're wondering, isn't so easy without an area book. Then we set out to try to find our way around and meet people. It's a good thing we've got a good map.

Thursday: We had District Meeting... in Espanola, about 45 minutes or an hour away. Our district is huge... 11 missionaries, I think. They were all grateful to have had a pianist transferred in though, not to mention sisters to keep them on key when singing they hymns. We spent the afternoon meeting more people and learning more about our area.

Friday: I found corn flour in the pantry at our apartment, so I decided to make tortillas for breakfast. For being my first time all by myself, they didn't turn out too bad! But I thought of a couple things I'd change the next time I make them. It was a long planning day, with a good chunk of time spent on the phone with the elder we were following to get information about the investigators and addresses, or at least directions of how to find them. We went out tracting. We also had a lovely New Mexican summer rain storm. I think I'll be seeing a lot more of those.

Saturday: When we went home for lunch, we were completely clueless of what we wanted. There was a can of soup in the pantry that had an alternate recipe for shepherd's pie on the back... and we had fake potatoes. Yes, I actually stooped to the level of making fake potatoes (but at least they were Idahoan!) I know, my family is probably cringing and saying "You did WHAT?!?" That evening we went and helped one of our investigators paint the house she and her family are moving into. She told us yesterday that her husband was amazed at what we were able to do in such a short period of time, especially since it wasn't the easiest place to work--above the stairs hanging over the banister upstairs and literally bending over backward to be able to paint the wall that is on the same side as the banister. It was great fun.

Sunday: It was our first week in the branch. It is tiny--this branch has more members than the Rama Coronado, but fewer people attend. That's sad. We need to change that. We were able to meet more people. And we finished the day off knocking doors, and finishing off our first trailer park. We have yet to run into someone who speaks English, and this was a good-sized trailer park. (We're told that Santa Fe has nearly 50% Hispanics).

Overall, I really like it here. It's a great area. We're slowly but surely learning our way around and getting to know people. I think things will be better by the end of the week.

Have a great week!

Hermana Good

Monday, June 21, 2010

New Mexico Albuquerque Mission or New Mexico Farmington Mission??

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, Saturday was the big night to find out if I'll finish my mission in the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission or the new New Mexico Farmington Mission. But we're not to Saturday yet, so you can just read on ;)

It was a good week, though we pretty much did the same thing every day.

Monday: We went to Mesa Verde. We were waiting for Sister Cabello's foot to start feeling better so she could walk without the boot she's been wearing. She was to wear it for a full 8 weeks which she wasn't quite to yet (which was hit yesterday) but we wanted to go do something that she'll probably never have the opportunity to do again in her life. Her foot was hurting by the end of the day, but she was able to keep up with us (don't worry, we slowed things down a little). It was a perfect day to be there because it was overcast, so it wasn't too hot.

Tuesday: We did some tracting and started saying our goodbyes to people up here, because we really were 99.9% sure that we were being transferred.

Wednesday: We did some more tracting and said some more goodbyes, but threw some service into the mix.

Thursday: Pretty much the same, but take out the service and add district meeting.

Friday: Shaina--if you're reading this happy birthday! If you're not, I hope someone passes on the message that I was thinking about you because I don't have your address to have sent you a card. Sorry. We did weekly planning, and boy was it a nightmare. We planned very thoroughly for the Elders who would be coming into 2nd ward and Spanish. We wrote out detailed explanations of where each of our investigators are in their progress, and even added backup plans for them! That's what I hope I'm going into with this double transfer, but I'm following Elders (though I hear they're very good elders) so we'll see tomorrow evening. Things are hard with a double transfer, because you know nothing about the area or the people.

Saturday: We had lots of visits and lots of goodbyes. We got transfer calls Saturday night, and as I'm sure you can assume, Sister Cabello and I are being double transferred out of Cortez. We're actually bouncing right back to the same Zone we just came from, though an entirely different area and stake. We are going to: Santa Fe North (is there a song that starts with "Santa Fe", because if not, I've made one up and it's been stuck in my head for the past 2 days) We'll have a Spanish branch up there which is pretty exciting. And we are following 2 really good Elders, so I'm expecting a very updated area book and plans for the week with information about the investigators, but I'm not so sure about the apartment. That one kinda has me nervous that I'm going to have to go in there and clean up a big mess (but at least we won't have to fix the area too.) President Anderson told us that they have been working very hard up there to have a good strong area.

Sunday: Happy Fathers Day Dad and Grandpa! And speaking of Father's Day, do you know what I realized as I was sitting in Sacrament Meeting yesterday listening to the talks on fathers? That it was exactly one year ago, on Father's Day 2009, that I gave my farewell talk in the Single's Branch. Has it really been a year? It was our last day of church. The ward members are very sad to see us go, and sadder to hear that they've got Elders coming in, but it made them feel a little better that they're the Zone Leaders coming up from Durango. We pretty much finished up our goodbyes, though we still have a couple left today before we head south in the morning. We started laundry and packing when we got back to the apartment (with 2 of us leaving, we kinda had to start washing our clothes because otherwise we'd never finish washing and being able to pack with all of our clothes, towels, and bedding to wash. We got 4 loads done last night, and did 4 or 5 more this morning, and we're still not done!)

So yeah. That's what's going on for me here. I will be staying in the New Mexico Albuquerque Mission with President Miller. Oh, did I mention that Sister Cabello and I are staying together? 'Cause we are. That will be 5 of my 8 transfers that we've been together. It's a good thing we get along. I'll get to meet President Miller at the mini Zone Conference on my birthday next week. That will be exciting! What a great way to spend your birthday as a missionary--at Zone Conference learning from your mission president! I'm pretty excited! (I'm just hoping that the Church Zone Conference is close to one of the train stations in Albuquerque, because there is NO way that we're going to have enough miles to go there and back on the last day of the month when the car we'll be getting is already going to Albuquerque tomorrow for transfers because the Elders both have to get down and we both have to get back to Santa Fe.) If not, oh well. We'll be walking. Oh, and you all know how I'm a big 'ol cry baby and how I sobbed when I said goodbye to ya'll a year ago, and then again when I left Rio Rancho 3 months ago? I haven't cried yet, and have said goodbye to many people I have grown to love dearly. Maybe it's because I know that I'll be able to get back in contact with them all in just a few months? Who knows. Or maybe my tear-makers have just stopped working.

Um... yeah. SO that's me for this week. I'm closing another chapter of my mission and excited to see how the next one goes. Stay tuned in next week!

Love, Hermana Good

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cortez, CO Transfer 7, Week 5

Dear Family and Friends,

It was a nice sunny week here in Cortez, and successful, which a missionary always likes to see.

Monday: It was hot. We had a nice relaxing p-day with the other Sisters, and then went to dinner with Bobbie and Lou, two of our investigators. They took us to a yummy Mexican place. That evening our appointments fell through, but we were able to do a little bit of tracting and found some good contacts.

Tuesday: It was once again hot. We were tracting (and probably drank 1/2 gallon of water a piece--don't want any more dehydrated missionaries here in Cortez). We walked more than we'd walked all transfer, and I got a bit of a sunburn. My arms were a little red, though you all know how I am. They were brown the next day. But the part in my hair was another story. I should have put sunscreen up there. Elder and Sister Martinez were up here to do apartment inspections, and took the 4 of us Sisters out to dinner (Sister Anderson has had the cleanest apartment for several consecutive transfers, and we were in their ward for 7 months) It was fun to see them one last time before they get done with their mission next week.

Wednesday: Guess what: It was Hot again! And we were tracting, and now look like all the other missionaries in the district with red arms and faces. We went to a BBQ that night for the Addiction Recovery program that we're going to with a couple of our investigators, and tried bear meat. It was pretty good, though that was one tough old bear.

Thursday: We had district meeting, then went and did service for a sister who owns some apartments and needs to re-do an apartment that they kicked a pyromaniac out of because there is so much smoke and fire damage. We had dinner with one of our investigators. It wasn't super spicy, but it sure left me with heartburn for the rest of the day.

Friday: Happy Birthday Mom! We did weekly planning and then went out to dinner with one of the sisters in the ward. It was pouring down rain when we got done. We went and did more service, then headed to our appointments. One of our appointments was with the sister who was baptized on Saturday, and she wasn't there. And she hadn't been answering her phone for like 3 days. She'd had a really bad toothache when we saw her on Tuesday, so our first thought was that she and her husband had gone to Mexico to get it taken care of. Sister Cabello and I were freaking out, because she never misses appointments, and always calls if she's not going to be there. We drove by right before going home for the night, and they told us that they were just at the grocery store.

Saturday: It was cold and rainy, but sure ended on a good note, which for a missionary is a baptism. Gabby was baptized, and it was such a wonderful baptism. She'd asked Sister Trunnell to give one of the talks, so she was there. It was fun to see her again, and to meet her mom--and a lot less weird than it was when i saw her 3 weeks after she went home. Gabby asked me to sing "When I am Baptized"--Spanish style. She says that she loves my voice and wanted me to do that for her. The Spirit was so strong, and we really don't think it will be too long before her husband will start taking the lessons.

Sunday: We had ward conference. After Church we went tracting, and that's pretty much all we did all night long because our appointments all fell through.

It was a good week, and it's hard to believe that we're already in the last week of the transfer. It seems like just yesterday that I was transferred up here, even though I have 3 months.

I love you all. Have a great week.

Hermana Good

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cortez, CO Transfer 7, Week 4

This post is late because we were on vacation. Enjoy!

Dear family and friends,

Well, I hope my family is having a great time in Nauvoo. Someday I'll
make it there.

Monday: P-day. I fixed and cleaned our vacuum that I'd been told
doesn't work. I don't know if I've ever seen a vacuum work as good as
that one does. It just needed a good cleaning. After I finished
cleaning and turned it on, the room was still filled with a nice cloud
of dust. I also tried a recipe for bran muffins. They were yummy and
made a nice breakfast for us all week long. It was a hot day, but
gorgeous. We had all of our lessons that evening outside (one because
a couple of our investigators took us to dinner and we ate on the
patio of the restaurant and the other because it was with a single man
and we weren't sure if he was going to be able to so we didn't bother
to ask a member to come with us). When we got home that night, we had
just 4 miles left, but we didn't go over for the month, which means we
didn't start out this month in the hole!

Tuesday: I can't be June 1 already! Time is going too fast! It was
another beautiful day, and we were able to contact lots of people
(maybe because we actually had miles to use?) We also ran into a bunch
of kids playing outside in a trailer park. Their mom didn't want to
talk to us, but said we could read them a bible story about Jesus. It
was so cute as those kids from about 2 or 3 to 6 or 7 gathered around
sitting on chairs or logs or their bikes to listen to the story about
Jesus. I rationalized in my head that there's no difference in the
stories in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and we have pictures in the
front of the BOM and one of our pamphlets about Christ coming to the
Americas, so we told them the story in 3 Nephi 11. That made my day to
see children as young as they were so excited to learn about Jesus. I
just wish that a) they spoke Spanish because the trailer park isn't in
our area, but we find most of our Spanish speakers in trailer parks
and b) that their parents were interested.

Wednesday: It was once again really hot. We were able to contact lots
more people. That evening, we went to the LDS Family Services
Addiction Recovery Program with a couple of our investigators. That is
a good program.

Thursday: We did service for one of our investigators who has health
problems anyway and had fallen the day before. Then we headed to the
church for our interviews with President Anderson--our last interviews
with President Anderson. That was kinda sad. But there are lots of
exciting things coming up in the mission. July 1 will be an exciting
day! (and if I stay up north, I'll be able to meet my new Mission
President that day because we got word last night that that day will
be our Zone Conference.) President told me lots of exciting things
that will be happening for us as Spanish sisters. I can't wait!

Friday: We had planning, and then went out and promptly had all of our
appointments fall through. But such is a day in the life of a

Saturday: It was HOT! And when I say hot, I mean almost 100, which
people tell us is very unusual for this time of year here. And we
again had plans fall thorough and were out tracting in that hot sun.
It was fantastic. But we had some good conversations about the Gospel.

Sunday: We had church, then went out tracting for a couple hours. It
was once again hot. We were out in the country, so it wasn't all
walking. The houses are too far between to park the truck and walk to,
not to mention there is no where to really park the truck because
there are ditches on either side of the road. But while we were out
doing that I found out that unlike mosquitoes, I am NOT allergic to
wasps. Good thing, because I found out the hard way. But, this is
really a funny story. So we're out in the middle of no where tracting
(you find a lot of middle of no where in our area). We pull up to this
house and get out of the truck and this teenage boy comes out of the
house. We're talking to him and find out that he's less-active but
that his dad is an active member of our ward. The kid lives with his
mom, who is also a member but against the church (and one of the
people on our list to contact, but we didn't have an address for). He
told us that he wouldn't let us talk to her because of this. As we're
having this conversation, I brush my arm against my side, and
instantly felt something stinging on my elbow. The first thought that
went through my mind, even before "I've just been stung" was "Please
don't let me be allergic." The kid offers to go inside and get some
stuff to put on it, and I look at my elbow and realize it was a bite
not a sting. So his mom comes out and says that she heard that I'd
been stung and invited me in so she could fix me up. Hey, the way I
see it, it's a blessing that a wasp bit me. It got us in the door of
that house--though when we started talking about the Gospel she wasn't
too happy so we quickly ended that conversation by inviting her to
Ward Conference on Sunday and left, after thanking her for her help.
Oh the adventures you have as a missionary.

So it was really a pretty good week. I can't believe how fast the time
is flying. Transfers are 2 weeks from tomorrow. I'll know in less than
2 weeks if I finish the mission in the New Mexico Farmington Mission
(where I currently am, boundary wise) or in the New Mexico Albuquerque
mission where I started when I got down here 9 months ago. Exciting
times! And this week will be a great one too, because we have a
SPANISH baptism on Saturday!

Love you all! Hermana Good

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cortez, CO Transfer 7, Week 3

Well, it has been another good week, full of adventures.

Monday: P-day. We went to lunch with the sisters, then we all piled into our truck (okay so we didn't really pile because there's plenty of room for all 4 of us) to go to Walmart. But so we could fit everyone in we put our stuff (cooler and shoe-box of supplies) in the back of the truck. We were going to meet the Elders there to help them get their groceries back to their apartment because it's kinda hard on bikes and had a few extra minutes so we decided to go get our car washed. Well, we're in the middle of the first cycle when Sister Wilkes looks out the back window and says "Sisters! You put everything in the back!" Oh no. Sister Anderson jumped out of the truck before I could and threw the box of supplies into the truck. Forget the cooler, it can go through the car wash. Poor Sister Anderson almost got a second shower for the day, and waited outside until we were done in the car wash. But she told us that she'd always wanted to get out of the car in the middle of a car wash, so we really made her day. Oops. At least she saved our DVDs and Books of Mormon and pamphlets. We ate dinner with Bishop Decker's family, and his wife made us a tasty Peruvian dish. Sister Cabello sure liked that.

Tuesday: We spent the day contacting less active members, with the help of members to give us rides because miles are running short in the month. It was a beautiful wind-free day which sure was a nice change.

Wednesday: We had Zone Conference in Farmington. It was combined with the northern half of the mission, because it was our last with President and Sister Anderson before they go home on July 1 (one short month from today). It was an amazing conference, and I know I say this every transfer, but really, this was my favorite Conference we've had in the 7 transfers I have here in the mission field. It was all about the Restoration of the Gospel. The Spirit was so strong, and I learned so much! It's been fun putting it into practice. I also met Elder Lopez, whose dad served with my dad 25 years ago in Brazil. He thought that was pretty cool.

Thursday: It was hot. We had some good lessons and contacted several less-active members. We've pretty much conquered our list of people to contact and are hoping we'll get permission to start doing a little bit of tracting when we see Sister Anderson on Thursday so we don't have to do it without permission (but hey, there's only so much you can do when everything falls through and you don't have miles to go anywhere to contact anyone else on your list without having confirmed appointments).

Friday: We had our planning day. We were getting a little toasty in our apartment, which was a nice change from having to turn the heater on every day. We went tracting, and ran into both extremes of people: those who only wanted to bash and those who were very open to having us come back and teach them more.

Saturday: It was again a toasty day. We tried to contact more people but with it being a holiday weekend found a whole lot of no one home.

Sunday: It was just a normal church day. After church we had a few visits. And happy anniversary to my parents! I hope it was a great day.

To all you who are getting out of school this week, have a great summer. To Kesha and all her friends who graduate tonight, congratulations! Remember that although high school was great, the best is yet to come. And to my family, have fun in Nauvoo but plan on taking the trip again in a year or two (probably two because I know that mom is already planning her Disneyland trip next summer, or at least will be as soon as this year's gets knocked out of the way).

Have a great week!

Hermana Good