Monday, July 26, 2010

Santa Fe, NM Transfer 8 Week 5

Dear Family and Friends,

Another week has flown by here in Santa Fe. It's hard to believe that we're already in the last week of the transfer and will find out transfer news again on Saturday. Crazy times. As for our area book, I think we’ve finally contacted everyone and have at least a bit of info on them. And while we can’t go back in time to update it, we make sure we do it every night. One does phone calls and the other area book and switch. Out of curiosity – which mission did Addison Rice end up in – Mesa or Farmington?

Monday: P-day. The Elders from here, Espanols, and Los Alamos and us all got together and played Ultimate Frisbee. I about died between the heat and the altitude. But it was SO fun. I got to thinking, and I really think that the last time I played Ultimate was my VERY first weekend in Rexburg--like the weekend I moved up there for the first time in 2006 almost 4 years ago. I had SO much fun! I may consider being on one of the teams when I get back up there. One of the elders got the frisbee stuck in a tree, so another elder threw his shoe up there to try to get it out, and succeeded, but in the process got his shoe stuck. So he threw the other shoe up to try to get it out, and yep. You guessed it--got that one stuck too. Then the elders tried to throw rocks up, and were unsuccessful with that too, until one of the elders played monkey and climbed the tree to be closer and had the other elders throw rocks up to him and threw them at the shoes until both were safely back on the ground. It made for some good laughs. That much time in the sun caused me to get a sunburn on my head where my hair was parted.

Tuesday: The rain washed our car. (That means it rained a lot. )

Wednesday: We did service for one of the sisters in the branch. She's actually the new Primary President. There are two pianists in the branch, the Relief Society President and Me. And I'm only temporary. At most I have 5 1/2 months here. Her children know the basics of piano, but don't really know how to read music, and definitely not the hymns or primary songs, so for as long as I'm here I'm going to help them once a week learn how to play some hymns and primary songs. And I got word that my little brother has started driving AND that he's taller than me. Only by 1/4 inch, but in 6 months, that 1/4 inch is going to multiply by who knows how much. That sure sent my head for a spin. We finished cleaning what we've been putting off for the past 5 weeks (such as the oven) because of apartment inspections.

Thursday: We had district meeting, and then apartment inspections. The elder and sister told us that we should be the official apartment cleaners for the mission--meaning that it was clean. Really, it doesn't even look like the same place we moved into 5 weeks ago. That night our neighbors knocked on our door to introduce themselves. They said they'd heard that the elders had left and sisters were here now. Apparently the elders helped them move into their apartment about 6 months ago.

Friday: We had weekly planning. That night we had a pretty good rainstorm. As we were driving across town in the rain, our "flat tire" light came on. No bueno. I pulled over at a gas station where I could check the tires out of the rain. A couple were a little low on air, but nothing that couldn't wait until the rain had subsided, thankfully. We had an appointment with some new investigators, and they had lots of good questions about Adam and Eve and stuff. Good thing I'd just been studying that in my personal study. Even still, I didn't understand all of the questions.

Saturday: We were finishing up our studies, when Sister Cabello looked out the window and saw the Jehovah Witnesses walking up to our apartment complex. They knocked on our door, and we answered. They left us very confused with their doctrines, and their scriptures. We had actually found JW bibles in our apartment (does that mean that some elders in the past actually invited them in to teach them?) so after they left compared the scriptures they shared with us and that we shared with them between their bible and our bible. And nothing made sense! How grateful I am to have the truth! As we were driving to our first appointment, a relentless downpour started, and as we walked from our car to the house with raincoats and umbrellas, our skirts were drenched! They don't come out of the washing machine that wet! It was pouring rain that day, but did let up enough for us to go put air in our tire. But that wasn't exactly an easy process either because we couldn't figure out how the air compressor at the gas station works. We went in to ask for help, but they were kinda rude about telling us that they couldn't help us. Well we COULDN'T go anywhere else at this point because we'd let so much air OUT of the tire trying to figure out how to get the compressor to work, so we prayed. And you know what? We figured it out! (A little tip for those of you preparing to serve a mission where you'll have a car and are as car-illiterate as I was a year ago-- learn how to check all the fluids under the hood, change a tire, and put air into a tire. You never know when that kind of information will come in handy. Trust me.) Oh, and happy Pioneer Day!

Sunday: We got word that one of our investigators is definitely going to get married this week so she can get married {I think she means baptized} this weekend! Yea! We've been waiting for this for a long time--since we got here. As for the other two investigators, they are the children, ages 11 and 9, in a part-member, less active family. These children are reading and praying and keeping commitments, except going to church. They want to, but their parents won't take them to church. We always set appointments with them and try to keep a schedule, but the parents frequently leave and take their children with them so they aren't there when we get there for the appointments. At times the parents aren't even in the room present for the lessons. We feel that they aren't being very supportive of their children and their desire to be baptized. We had a baptismal date set for them for this coming Saturday, but as a result of them missing several lessons and not going to church, we went this week and explained to them that we will have to change the date. The mother seemed offended that we have to move it, and the little girl was upset. But we had talked to them about the importance of being at church. When we set the baptismal date, we explained that we needed the three appointments a week to be able to teach the children what they needed to know in several, short lessons. We have never taught more than one or two principles at a time, and would have had plenty of time to teach everything before the baptism. They have only been to church once since we have been here, though have said every week that they would be there. Sister Cabello and I don't know what to do to help them. We want the children to be baptized, but we don't want them to go inactive because of their parents. We’ll keep trying. It was once again a rainy day. And it was cold--only in the 60s. We turned our heater on in our car (yes, we're pansies, and proud of it.)

So yeah. That's my week. Probably the most eventful I've had in a while. I hope you all have a great week!

Hermana Good

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Santa Fe, NM Transfer 8 Week 4

Dear Family and friends,

Yet another week has come and gone, and I am officially down to a short six months until I go home. That seems like so little time! But there is so much work still to be done, and I pray that I can continue to be an effective missionary and bless the lives of the people here in New Mexico (and possibly Texas, depending on if there are Sisters in Texas and where I get transferred to--if I get transferred again.) I have 4 short transfers left. It's crazy how time flies! It’s crazy that Lara Bishop will be home like next week. That means that Heidi Josephsen isn’t far behind—if you see when her homecoming is you should go to that. That also means that Whitney and I are the next ones, with Jennie Olsen, Jori Nef, and Shanna Tavenner following close behind.

We’re starting to learn our way around and use our map less each week. I am getting used to the little car, but I still miss the truck. The branch is small with lots of less active members. We teach all in Spanish. There’s Elders for the English ward. There are now 16-18 Sisters in the mission, with 8 being Spanish.

We have five people we are preparing for baptism. Three of them had their interviews this week, and are ready to go except for getting married. The Sister's husband is supportive of the church and the decision she and their two daughters have made to be baptized, but he is taking his time going with her to get their marriage license. We think that will happen this week, and they'll be baptized within the next two weeks. The other two are children in a less-active family. They are on track to be baptized on the 31st, providing they're at church this coming Sunday. They have been several times, but it's been a long time and I don't feel comfortable baptizing them if their parents aren't willing to get them to church. So we're praying for them and that all will go well. Keep them in your prayers also.

Monday: It was p-day, and we did some more deep cleaning in our apartment in the corners and such that we didn't attack when we got here. We do still have to clean the oven--which we're not looking forward to because it's SO caked with food and other grime. But that's about all we've got left to do.

Tuesday: We spent a good portion of the day tracting, and it was very hot--close to 100 degrees. We go nowhere without a bottle of water--or several.

Wednesday: I had a horrible headache all day long. Actually, when one of our appointments was a no-show we went home so I could try to sleep it off with the help of some IB Profin, but even that didn't work. We did have a successful day with lots of lessons. Our last lesson of the day was outside with a single man, and I think I must have been standing on an ant hill, because I came away with 2 bites on one ankle and 1 on the other--and a mosquito bite on my head that I didn't find until I was washing my hair the next morning. By that time it was too late to prevent it from swelling up and had a bump the size of a 50 cent piece on my head.

Thursday: HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEVIN AND BRETT! I hope you had a great day! We had district meeting. Our district leader asked us to do a presentation on finding people (we later found out that it's because we have higher numbers than the other 4 companionships in the district combined). After that, our appointments fell through, and we went finding. Or at least tried to. A German Shepherd and Pitbull decided to follow us, so we spent the better part of an hour trying to lose them because people didn't want to talk to us with these two ginormous dogs following us. We finally did lose them, only to have them find us again in less than half an hour. At that point we just gave up.

Friday: We did planning, and had our afternoon plans fall through.

Saturday: EVERYTHING fell through, even our backup plans and dinner appointment, except for our first appointment and our baptismal interview that afternoon. We found a Papa Murphy Pizza, and I was able to fix a pizza craving that I've had for MONTHS! I haven't had PM Pizza in over a year, and boy was I in heaven, and we've still got 2 or 3 meals left of that pizza. Yummy!

Sunday: We had Church, then once again our appointments fell through. We can't figure out what is happening. We're praying that that will change soon or it's going to be a really long week. We did have dinner with our new Relief Society President, who is SO willing to help us out with everything. What a blessing to have her!

Lance, I thought it was funny that Bear ate your cookie. He probably just thought that since you were enjoying it so much that he wanted to try it too. That’s pretty cool that you were on the news. And again with puppy in the pool, he was just hot and wanted to cool off. Kesha, I’m glad you’re enjoying your job. I think I will like Toy Story 3—and I’ll be able to understand Buzz without the help of subtitles—ha ha! I’m sorry your 4th of July was cold. Ours was nice and toasty. I really did enjoy the article Theresa Crawford sent into the New Era.

I hope you all have a great week, and have some great adventures!

Hermana Good

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Santa Fe, NM Transfer 8 Week 3

Dear Family and Friends,

Time is flying by. I can't believe that another week has passed and that this transfer is half over already. We did have a pretty good week.

Monday: The Spanish Missionaries from Rio Rancho (aka Sis. Michel and Sis. Field and the elders) came up for p-day. They're in our zone, so that's allowed with permission from the Zone Leaders. The Marquez and Yeomans families, as well as Fernanda Luna came up. It was SO good to see them again! They were all pretty impressed by my Spanish and how it's improved in the 4 months since I left Rio Rancho. We were also told that Becky and Judy Marquez (and possibly Leo) would be baptized on Saturday!!! Oh how happy that made me! We went to the plaza and had a picnic in a park and walked around the plaza a bit.

Tuesday: All of our appointments fell through, as did our back-up plans. So we resorted to tracting. Toward the end of the evening, we were walking up to a house when we heard dogs barking. The inside door was open, with just the outside glass door closed. The dogs came running to the door and we got a little nervous when we saw them: 2 adult pitbulls and one baby. Then we discovered that one of them knows how to open that door and they all came running at us. Needless to say we were terrified! The lady who owns them came out and called them back and told us that they were harmless, but with the way they came running out the door, I don't know.

Wednesday: We went tracting more, and in the rain no less. We have learned that our umbrellas are to never leave the car because these rainstorms are pretty common. And we always know when it's going to rain.

Thursday: We had district meeting, and interviews with President. Because we had zone conference last week and thus no district meeting, I made my birthday cake that mom sent me to take to district meeting and share with the elders, because Sister Cabello and I feel fat enough without eating a whole chocolate cake by ourselves. I put the candles on for a picture, and then took them off and fixed the frosting because we can't have fire in the church. When I got there, one of the elders had written on the board "Happy Birthday Elder Paulsen!" on the board. So I wasn't going to say anything about the cake really being for my birthday. In fact, I wasn't going to mention anything about my birthday. But when I was talking to Sister Miller because she wanted to visit with each of us to get to know us better, she told me how thoughtful it was that I brought a cake for him for his birthday. I admitted that I had no clue it was his birthday, and that I'd actually brought it because mom had sent it to me for mine with an apology that I had to make my own cake. So she announced to the Elders that I'd had a birthday too, and that no one had known. She felt bad that they hadn't known because they didn't have a birthday list from the office yet on the day of my birthday/ zone conference. She felt even worse when she found out that they'd seen me on my birthday. I got a letter from home that week, and mom printed off the birthday wishes from facebook and sent them too me.

Friday: We had our weekly planning session, and a couple appointments. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dad and Aunt Heather! I hope you got your cards on time, but if not, sorry.

Saturday: It was a normal, hot day. We had some appointments, and did some tracting.

Sunday: We had church, and had a great lesson with a new investigator! As Sister Cabello was giving the Joseph Smith story, I was watching this sister's face, and it was obvious that she felt the spirit. She told us after that she'd never let anyone religious into her home to talk, but that she felt something different with us the first time we knocked on her door. At first she told us that she was busy, so we went back a few days later and she invited us in. We feel something very special for this sister. She is searching for something more in her life, and the Gospel will bring her what she needs. The Spirit was so strong, and she was touched. We're praying that she'll be able to get Sundays off work like she wants so she can come to church. As we were walking back to our car after contacting some people we'd talked to during the week, we walked past a man sitting in his car with some Latin music playing. I can't even describe how strong of a desire I had to dance at that moment. Holy Cow I wanted to dance. But 1) missionaries can't dance, and 2) it would have been even more inappropriate to break out dancing in the middle of the street. So I contained myself, but it wasn't easy. I had to keep telling myself "6 more months. Just 6 more months."

It was a pretty good week, and we have a pretty good week lined up for this week too. Hope all is going well for everyone!

Hermana Good

Monday, July 5, 2010

Santa Fe, NM Transfer 8 Week 2

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, another week has come and gone here in Santa Fe. This transfer is going fairly well. We've pretty much figured out what is going on here, as best we can with an un-updated area book after a double transfer. We're starting to learn our way around better and using the map less. And we're getting things figured out and our area book updated. When we got here, we knew WHO was being taught, just not where they lived or phone numbers or what they'd been taught. We spent lots of time on the phone with Elder Cuello (Elder Neck) to find out where people lived. And we're just starting the lessons over for EVERYONE. It's frustrating for them, and it's frustrating for us, but we didn't know what else to do. Especially since most people are telling us that the Elders were just visiting them and sharing a scripture right before they left. Our investigators are all doing great.

Good luck with Lance's Eagle Program tonight! I wish I could be there to see it. How many flags did he end up getting?

Monday: Our first p-day here in Santa Fe was spent cleaning the apartment. I have one word to describe that experience: GROSS! We're still not quite done cleaning the kitchen cupboards, but we got the pantry and dishes clean, and the bathroom.

Tuesday: We went and did some more service for Karina, one of our investigators who is moving into her new house today. The house they're moving into has been abandoned for a couple years, and several mice decided to make it their home. Needless to say, thanks to the branch and missionaries, this family (the people, not the mice) are going to have a nice clean home to move into. We had several appointments, and had dinner with some of our investigators. That evening, I got a call from the APs, who asked if I'd be able to play a song that Sister Miller just handed them in Zone Conference the next morning. What was I supposed to do, say no? Of course not, so whether or not I had confidence in my abilities, I said that I would do it.

Wednesday: The primary birthday song that says "One year older and wiser too" came to my head, and it is so true. (In case you were wondering, yes, it was my birthday). I don't know if I have ever learned so much in one year as I have in the past year since becoming a missionary. We woke up really early because we had to leave around 6:30 to make it to Zone Conference in Albuquerque. The first thing I did was open the gifts my family sent me for my birthday. In our family, we have a tradition to have the gifts sitting out all day long on our birthdays for us to look at and be curious. Well, I got the package a WEEK before and was being tempted for a whole week, so I figured I was justified to open them at 5:15 in the morning, no? And besides, I assumed there were clothes and that I'd have something new to wear to Zone Conference. I was right! The morning was spent in Zone Conference to meet President and Sister Miller. And you know what, I even did okay on the song... though we got to the church WAY early so I could practice. Zone Conference was good. President and Sister Miller are great people. I'm excited to get to know them better over the 6 months that I have left in the mission. The afternoon was spent knocking doors, because all our our appointments fell through. Well, all except for one. And we got to that one just as they were sitting down to dinner, so they invited us to eat with them. It made for a yummy birthday dinner--since we didn't have one and were planning on eating macaroni and cheese when we got home that night.

Thursday: I hit my one year mark. Crazy how fast time flies--it hardly seems that way! Like I said, I have learned SO much this past year. And it was another day of New Mexico Rain.

Friday: We had planning, then went out tracting. It was another rainy afternoon. At least I've gotten to where I can tell when a storm is coming in.

Saturday: We went to help the Elders with a lesson they had with a single sister. Let's just say that it was a good thing we didn't have another appointment set for 2 hours, because we wouldn't have made it to our next appointment. We got a referral from the office for a family who are recent converts and just moved here. And it turns out that they were taught and baptized by a sister Sister Cabello knew in the MTC. That was crazy.

Sunday: It was fast Sunday. During Sacrament Meeting, I was reflecting on how I used to assess my progress each fast Sunday by how much I was able to share in my testimony, and how I haven't done that for a while, probably because I haven't struggled with sharing anything for a while and haven't thought about it. A year ago, I never would have imagined that I'd be where I am today. We had to be in early because of the 4th, and went to bed listening to the fireworks. I tried, but couldn't see any from our first floor apartment.

So yeah. That's my week. I hope you all have a great week. Lately I have started more diligently studying Preach My Gospel every day. I am learning so much, and wish that I'd done so early in my mission, instead of now that I'm well over halfway done. Most recently, I have been studying the lessons in chapter 3 again, and have found a lot of interesting insights as I have been studying the scriptures involved with each of the points in the lessons.

Love you all!

Hermana Good