Monday, November 29, 2010

Horizon City, Texas, Transfer 11, Week 5

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and that you didn't overdose on Turkey. I had a great day.

Monday: It was p-day. The Elders had told us that we'd play volleyball, but changed their minds, so we went and looked around World Market instead. We had a great FHE with the McDermed/Longoria family and one of their non-member friends that evening.

Tuesday: I woke up with my jaw locked mostly shut (I could barely fit one finger in). I don't know what brought that on, but it's fine now. I woke up in the middle of the night and it was fine, and when the alarm went off 3 hours later it was locked. I couldn't open my mouth very wide, and it did hurt to chew, so eating was a slow process for a couple of days. I called Sister Miller about it that morning. She said it's probably because of stress or clenching my teeth at night, and to call her if it continued to give me problems. She told me to put a heat bag on it and massage it. I got a blessing for it the next day and it started getting better. We did lots of walking to contact former investigators. It was a beautiful day--I didn't need to wear a coat during the day and was fine with just a light sweater after dark.

Wednesday: We had district meeting. We also went and did service for the Browns again. I love them! We had dinner with all the Elders that night at Delia Lincoln's house. She is one of the most amazing converts I've ever met. While we were on our way to our appointment after that one, we got a nasty phone call from the wife of one of our investigators telling us that we should have stayed away from her husband and that because of us they were splitting up and she was cussing up a storm (at least I assume that's what was going on, because they were words I don't know and cuss words are not in my Spanish vocabulary). We'd seen her husband twice in a one month period. But needless to say, we'll stay away--which is sad because he was so interested in the Gospel and was one of our few progressing investigators. We had a second dinner at our next appointment that night. It kind of reminded me of Rio Rancho where the people would prepare us a dinner just because they knew we were coming whether we wanted it or not.

Thursday: I hope you all had a happy Turkey day, and ate lots of Turkey because I didn't eat even one little bite of turkey. At our first dinner, we had tamales and ham and played Bingo. Then we visited another family for pie. Then we went to our second dinner and had ham and corn and beans and biscuits. It was all real good food, but I'd been looking forward to a good piece of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Oh well. I guess there's always next year. We also got our Christmas tree put up (it took us all of 10 minutes--6 ft, pre-lit tree.) So our house is looking Christmasey. I also filled up journal #2. So now I'm using a little notebook, because I don't have enough time left to fill up another journal on the mission.

Friday: We did planning. Then we went to Sister Gladden's and did service. And once again, all of our Friday night visits and back-up plans failed.

Saturday: I learned my lesson the hard way. Mom's been nagging me to go get a flu shot, and I didn't listen because I'm broke. Well, I was in bed all day long oober sick with the flu. One of the counselors in the Spanish ward Bishopric was going to give us dinner that night, so he brought us dinner, along with Bishop and they gave me a blessing. I did start feeling better after that, but I'm still not 100%.

Sunday: I still felt pretty sick in the morning, so I slept in a little longer, and we didn't go to the Spanish ward. But I got up and was feeling okay-ish to go to the English ward. So we went to church, and did a couple of visits after church.

It was a good week, aside from getting sick. But everything will be all good. I'll be back to my normal, chipper self in a day or two. Transfer calls are this weekend. I'll find out where I'm spending my last transfer, whether here in Horizon or in some other area (Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Anthony, or opening a new area) Any predictions of where I'm "dying?" We know that we're getting 2 new sisters this coming transfer. But I really don't know if I'll be training again or not. I kinda feel like I'm staying with Sister B. But who knows.

We should be having a baptism this weekend. Celali, the 18 year old girl we've been teaching just has a couple more lessons to be ready, and she has such a strong testimony. We're planning on having her interview tomorrow evening, and the baptism on Sunday after Church so the young women she has come to know can all be there. She is so excited. What a blessing this will be for her. When we saw her last Tuesday, she said that her grandma was still unsure if she should be baptized, but we talked to her on Wednesday and she told us that her grandma said that she was so happy after she got home that evening and that if she wanted to be baptized she would be supportive. What a blessing this will be for this sweet daughter of God! I am so grateful to be a part of helping her progress in the Gospel. This morning I looked back at the Survey for the Fundamentals of PMG that I did back in August, and re-did it. I was amazed at how I have improved. As I've been studying these 8 lessons, I've found myself subconsciously doing things from the trainings, and I have seen the blessings that come from it. I am so grateful that I've been able to be here in the mission at a time when we have this new training and for the way it has blessed my teachings.

Hope you all have a good one, and enjoy the snow up north!

Hermana Good

Monday, November 22, 2010

Feliz Dia de Gracias!

I don't know about all of you, but I can't believe that Thanksgiving is here already! The past year has absolutely flown by! I still remember Thanksgiving last year! I was only in my 3rd transfer and felt like I'd never finish the mission. And now I'm sitting here, once again at Thanksgiving, only 8 short weeks away from going home. Where has the time gone?

Monday: It was a nice relaxing p-day. We pretty much just relaxed and wrote letters and got a jeopardy game ready for an FHE we had scheduled that night (they ended up canceling so we're doing it tonight). It was really windy which was horrible for my allergies.

Tuesday: We went out to exercise as normal that morning. About halfway through our time, I felt my pocket where I always put the keys and they weren't there. I realized that I'd forgotten to grab them before we went out. But I didn't remember locking the door either so I thought we'd be safe. But no. The door was locked. And we're not talented enough to pick the lock, especially when all we've got are a couple of flimsy bobby pins. We walked over toward the manager's apartment praying that she'd be outside. She was! She was taking her son to practice. When she got back, she told us that a) she normally charges $50 when people lock themselves out of their apartments because she's had a lot of problems with people knocking on her door really late or really early but would let it slide this time because we're new and didn't know that rule and b) her son normally goes to practice even earlier and she goes back to bed when she gets home from taking him so she wouldn't have even been awake. Boy was Heavenly Father watching out for us. We spent the day out tracting.

Wednesday: We had a great day! We did a lot of tracting again, in a wealthy neighborhood. Can I say that I miss my trailer parks that I've knocked my whole mission? But we did find an amazing woman who immediately invited us in, and we have a return appointment with her this week (mom, can you put her name, L. M. on the prayer roll, and R. S. too). We went and saw R. that night and after the lesson helped her and her kids clean up the kids' rooms. She works full time, leaving her house before 6:00 am and not getting home until after 6:00 pm and has two little kids and doesn't have a lot of time and is so tired when she gets home. It took us 1/2 hour to do what would have taken her a couple of evenings to get done. We also lost our cell phone... but found it by using R's phone to call it and searching for the ringing under the seat. At least we hadn't put it on silent before we left the house and left it in the truck!

Thursday: We had district meeting, and started our weekly planning because we had a full day of service planned on Friday. We had a couple of good lessons that night, one with a part-member family and the other with a family who has started coming back to church since I've been here.

Friday: The day started out with a nice hot breakfast at the Gonzales' (our old WML). Then we helped them pull out all their Christmas decorations from storage, put up the tree so the kids could decorate it after school. And the Elders climbed on the roof to put up the lights while we laid lights around the front yard (we could never get away with that up in Idaho.) Brother G blew out his knee and can't do much, and Sister G just had a new baby so they really appreciated the help. Then we went and made more banana bread for Sister Brown who is still in bed with a broken tail bone, though doing much better. Then we went to YW in Excellence for the Spanish ward so I could play the piano. On the way, we were behind a VW Bug that was decorated for the holidays with Christmas lights--yes, they were on! It was hilarious! From there we rushed as fast as was legal to J's, a 19 year old boy we are working with who was less active. Sister Jardine and I helped him stop smoking and he has been cigarette free for almost 2 months now. His aunt sent us a text telling us that he was having a REALLY rough day. But as we taught and testified about the power of the Atonement and the help that the Savior could give him, his heart was softened. He was feeling much better when we left. It was my 2 months until I go home mark as well.

Saturday: We had brunch at the McDermed's. Mayra made us a yummy quiche. Then we went finding for a while. And we had what felt like a double dinner, but was really just one. The sister prepared us both 2 GINORMOUS tortas. They were like 6 inches wide by 9 inches long and stuffed with beef and avocado. Oh so good, but boy did we feel sick afterward. And to top it off, she gave us a huge dish of Coldstone Pistachio ice cream for dessert. J came to a lesson with us and was doing so much better.

Sunday: The only pianist for the Spanish ward wasn't there, so I played for Sacrament Meeting and Primary. That was fun. They're all praying that they'll get another piano-playing missionary in when I leave. We went finding for a while after church. And we had a lesson with J that completely made my day! He told us that he was able to take the sacrament for the first time in a few years and that he felt so clean. And he told us that he's going to be getting a calling in the ward. I was so happy to hear that! It really made my day. That kid is amazing!

The 40-day fast is still going well. One of the things I wanted to work on was to pray for people specifically by name. As I start my day thinking about the people we are working with and praying for them and their needs, I feel that I am staying more focused on them and how I can help them throughout the day. I think about them during my personal study--especially while I am studying the Fundamentals of PMG and how I can best help them, and we talk about the people we are teaching throughout the day during companion study and how we can help them as a companionship. When we are out finding, teaching, and rescuing, I am able to listen better to the promptings of the Spirit so I can meet the needs of these people because the Spirit knows exactly what each person needs. As we are out finding, I am testifying more of how the Restored Gospel can change the lives of these people--even if they aren't interested I add a simple testimony. As we visit with members, we constantly ask for referrals of people they know who we can teach so we can help these people receive the blessings of the Gospel. We are striving to uplift and edify the members in the wards where we serve. In our nightly planning, we talk about how things went during the day, and make the plans for the people we are going to see the next day and the lessons we'll teach them. We also plan what we will study together as a companionship so we can best strengthen each of the people we teach. I am trying to be more accountable in my nightly prayers, and praying for people by name and specific needs. These last few transfers I feel that I really have become more focused on my purpose and really do know why I'm here. I wish this was something that I'd figured out early on in my mission, but I am applying it with all of my strength now.

We don't have very many investigators and aren't finding a lot of new people who are interested to learn about the Gospel. It's always hard during the holidays because people are busy and are caught up in the worldly aspects of the Christmas season.

Yeah, if there's a good deal on computers for Black Friday go ahead and get a new one for me. That computer was giving me problems anyway (missing a key, not staying charged, etc.) and I was planning on getting myself a new one sometime in the near-ish future anyway. Dad knows more about computers than I do and will be able to select one better than I could. It sounds like I'm really going to have to hit the pavement looking for a job so I have money to do anything at all. But if the house isn't done, I'll at least be there to help paint. I've become a semi-expert on my mission, as I've helped lots of people paint their houses.

And yes, send me the info to do the petition for BYU-I. If it's for school, President Miller lets us do it on Mondays (2 elders in my district have been registering for classes and looking for other stuff about school). I have 2 dinner appointments on Thanksgiving, 4 if you count the 2 who told us to pop in sometime for pie. But 3 of the 4 visits are with families in the English ward who won't be offended if we are too full to eat, and the one in the Spanish ward is our first one.

I hope you all enjoy those nice cold temperatures... I've started taking a sweater with me, but my freshly dry-cleaned coat is still hanging in the closet and will be for a while. But good luck on the house! Yeah, it was a great week! I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving, and I'll see you soon!

Love, Hermana Good

Monday, November 15, 2010

Horizon City, Texas, Transfer 11, Week 3

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, I have to rub this in... you're all getting snow and our temperatures are still in the mid 60s to 70s. But that just means that when I get home here in 2 months y'all will be just fine and I'll be freezing my little backside off. So I guess I shouldn't rub it in too much, because you'll be rubbing it back in my face very soon. And good news for all of you who got bored with last week's long letter: This week wasn't near as exciting, so this will be much shorter.

Monday: It was p-day. It was spent walking around target while the oil in our truck was being changed at the Pep Boys across the street. I also got a bunch of stuff boxed up to send home because I found someone heading north. There was a lot of stuff I figured I could live without for 10 weeks. Better to live without than pay overweight charges on my luggage.

Tuesday: There was a boxer dog hanging around the golf course while we were doing our exercise who wanted to play with us. We didn't want to play with him. It was really windy, so my allergies were really bad (and it's the same way today). We had our first coordination meeting with our new ward mission leader in the Spanish ward. He's going to do a great job!

Wednesday: I made a call to the mission office with a question for Sister Clifford, who told me that she was working on January travel arrangements this week and cried when she saw my name on the list of missionaries leaving. And it made me cry too, because that made me realize how little time I really do have left. And then that night, I got a letter from dad with the topic for my homecoming talk. I kind of just sat there in shock when I got that... I realized that I really am almost done. But it's all good. I've got several good ideas running around in my head (but could I ask for my first journal to be sent back to me so I can get my stories straight? Just whenever is convenient in a bubble-mailer. Thanks!) We did some service that afternoon for a sister who broke her tail-bone. We went to clean her house, but she told us that she had a ton of bananas that needed to be made into bread, so we made a quadruple batch of banana bread. And we spent the evening following the Ysleta Elders around because they had an appointment with the family we ate dinner with right before our dinner, and we stopped by to see the YW President and they had an appointment there too and got there right after we got there. Oops. Maybe we should stay on our own turf? Nah.

Thursday: We had district meeting. And we did service for another sister in our ward helping her clean her house. We had time to go tracting in the afternoon, and made a few good contacts. And we had a Roster Review for the Socorro Ward.

Friday: We did weekly planning. Then all of our appointments fell through.

Saturday: It was another day of "everyone's avoiding the sisters." Yup. All of our appointments fell through again. Pero asi es la vida de una misionera. I played the piano for a baptism in the Spanish ward. Everyone's going to miss me when I go home. The sister we ate dinner with made pumpkin pie for dessert, and sent one home with us. It was yummy!

Sunday: The day was spent in church. We had a couple good appointments in the evening.

Yeah... boring week. The most exciting day was Wednesday, and that was just depressing, realizing how fast the mission has flown by. But I have caught myself, though on very rare occasions, letting a trunky comment slip out. So I guess I will be glad to get home and see all of you again. Okay, no. I will be glad to see you all again. The time is passing quickly, then I'll be back in Idaho. And we'll be able to do all sorts of fun stuff. All I can say is that my sister and Rexburg friends better be ready to put on their dancing shoes, because I'm tired of hearing Latin and country music and not being able to dance!

Love ya!

Hermana Good

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Horizon City, Texas, Transfer 11, Week 2

Dear Family and Friends,

Well, like I've said many a time before, el tiempo se pasa burlando! (The time is flying by). I can't believe that I'm down to 10 short weeks left. For those of you who have gotten bored reading my e-mails that's good news, but for those who enjoy them, I'm sorry. But the good news is that you'll actually be able to see my face soon, so that's good, right?

Monday: It was our p-day. And it was spent in the police station. No, I didn't get in trouble for anything. I had to go get my fingerprints taken for my student teaching and it's just a little bitty police station here in Horizon and there weren't any cops there. And we spent time running around trying to find out where to get the VIN # on our truck certified so we can get it re-registered to New Mexico from AZ. And we had some great lessons that night.

Tuesday: We had a good day. We did service... but I don't remember what we did.

Wednesday: We had an amazing day! We went and had lunch at the Gonzales' house one last time. He is the most amazing Ward Mission Leader I've had my whole mission... and they changed the ward boundaries and kicked him out of the ward. We made some really great contacts knocking doors that night. And had an amazing lesson with a family who we're helping come back to activity. And then they were all at church yesterday! It was amazing! And I got lots of letters from people I haven't heard from in a long time--some of them my whole mission. It was pretty sweet!

Thursday: I got to go to the leadership training meeting, but this time my greenie didn't get to go with me because there's two other sisters down here with greenies. So the greenies got to hang out together and knock doors while the 3 trainers went to the training. Our greenies came back super excited. We found out that there are 2 new Spanish sisters coming in next transfer. And with only 8 Spanish sisters right now--6 of which are either greenies or trainers (and 2 of us are going home after next transfer) my guess is that the 2 sisters up in Santa Fe will be training. One of the Elders who was at the training just got transferred down here from Rio Rancho, and he said that the Marquez family said to tell me hi and that they miss me. I miss them too! And that night we had a really good lesson.

Friday: We were up oober early to be able to make it to Las Cruces on time for the training. And we should have been on time, but we left my GPS with the greenies so they wouldn't get lost, because I thought I knew where we were going... but I didn't. We got super lost! My bad. The training was amazing again. At the end, they had the two elders who go home this transfer who were there share their departing testimonies. One of them was in my zone my first few transfers, and I got to know him pretty good, and the other is my current district leader. It's gonna be sad to see them leave, but then again I'm not much behind them. When we got back out to the car after the training, the car battery was dead. Thanks to our zone leaders who had jumper cables in their truck we were quickly on our way. When we got to Anthony to pick up the greenies, they were sitting on the back of the truck with their legs dangling. The 3 of us commented that it was like we were picking them up from school. We were exhausted that night, and went to a lesson with a new investigator who asked us a ton of good questions. It was good though.

Saturday: We did our weekly planning since we weren't home on Friday. And taught a few lessons. And I played the piano at the child of record baptism for the Spanish ward.

Sunday: We got an extra hour of sleep because of daylight savings! Amazing! Then we went to church. I taught Gospel Principles in the English ward... and it was super awkward. The class was on the Law of Chastity, and it was me and Sister B the 4 Elders, a 19 year old we're helping quit smoking and come back to activity, a brother who was baptized last year, and another brother who comes to the class every once in a while. Yep, that was fun. I finished Acts in my Bible reading (I started with Genesis 1 last December and it's my goal to finish it before I go home). We finished our weekly planning after church because we didn't have time on Saturday.

Rosa is still really struggling. We haven't seen her since last Tuesday, and are really worried. But we're not giving up on her. We'll keep working and helping her progress to baptism. I keep her in my prayers. We're working hard here, and things are starting to pick up here in Horizon. I love it here!

So yeah. That's my week. Hope y'all had a great one.

Love you, and see you soon!

Hermana Good

Monday, November 1, 2010

"The Time is Far Spent"

Well, my family and friends, once again another week has absolutely flown by. I'm sure that anyone who has served a mission knows exactly what I'm talking about when I say that each week seems to go by even faster. (My greenie thinks that this was one of the longest weeks of her life, and it was about one of the shortest of mine). For those who don't know, Spanish speaking sisters only have 12 transfers, of 6 weeks each. You do the math. I know that my family has a countdown of exactly how many days there are until I get home and remind me in every e-mail and letter that I get of how little time really does remain. It reminds me of a hymn, "The Time is Far Spent."

The time is far spent; there is little remaining
To publish glad tidings by sea and by land.
Than hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand.

Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend,
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.

What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world's bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.

(Hymns 266)

If any of you could see what goes through my mind as I lie down each night, you'd know exactly why that came to my mind. I'm trying really hard not to get trunky on my greenie and talk about home too much... we're going to flip-flop this weekend, meaning that she'll have been out for more time than I've got left, and she just barely started!

Anyway, on to my week! (If you're getting tired of reading these weekly "this is what I did this week" letters, there aren't very many more to go and then we'll be on to other adventures of Sister Good's first days as an RM. That could be exciting)

Monday: It was p-day, but we didn't do very much normal p-day stuff. I packed Sister Jardine's suitcases (I felt bad, because I got her sick and she was really not feeling well) and cleaned the apartment so my new greenie wouldn't come into a messy house. And we went around so Sister Jardine could say goodbye to the people she's come to love.

Tuesday: We went and helped a sister in the English ward with a project we'd told her weeks ago we'd help her with. We were going to do it last week, then were sick in bed. And Sister Jardine knew more about what to do to help her, so she had to go. Then we headed up to Las Cruces where we were went to switch companions. We were there a good hour before the transfer van, so spent the time talking to the few elders who aren't afraid to talk to sisters. We were very outnumbered. Then the transfer van pulled up. As well as a couple of cars, and a truck with FIVE sisters, including my new greenie, Sister Batchkoff. She's from Moreno Valley, CA and is super excited to be here in the mission. She's super bubbly and loves life. And was told by other sisters at the mission office that she's just like me... I can't figure out why, because up until I met her I wasn't near as animated as I am now. And I guess it's a good thing to break my bubble before I go home so I don't have to worry about that. We went grocery shopping that night, and she made a contact while we were standing in line for the tortillas (if you could taste these tortillas, you'd understand why we waited in line instead of buying the regular mission tortillas). Except the lady she tried to contact didn't speak any English, so I took over and led the conversation. At one point, I looked over at Sister B and her mouth was dropped wide open and her eyes couldn't have been any bigger. Good thing she was able to rebuild her confidence that night at the church when I was talking to one member and another started to talk to her.

Wednesday: We went around so Sister B could meet people, and did planning so she could get the hang of things in the area.

Thursday: We had district meeting. We practiced teaching, and I was amazed at Sister B's Spanish--and so were all the Elders. Yup... my greenie definitely showed me up. I wasn't willingly contributing to lessons by just jumping in during my first week--even if it was just a practice! We did service for a sister in the English ward that afternoon, and taught some great lessons.

Friday: We did weekly planning, then taught a few lessons. We were also able to see the Soto family again, but something has changed. The light was gone from Sister Soto's eyes. We have an appointment with them again tomorrow, so we're praying that we'll be able to bring the Spirit back into their home again.

Saturday: We went tracting. It was like 85 degrees and beautiful. We went to the trunk or treat for the English ward that night. I like those. When we got home, our door was open. We kinda freaked out a little. I remembered locking the door. We called Jimmy, a 19 year old less active that we're working with. We just helped him stop smoking. He came over and searched the apartment and gave us the all-clear that it was safe to go in. The door just hadn't gotten shut tight and one of the neighborhood cats must have pushed it open.

Sunday: We had an AMAZING meeting in the Spanish ward! It was all about missionary work. During the combined 3rd hour, they had put together a slideshow with pictures from all the members who have served missions, along with pictures of missionaries who have and are currently serving in the ward. It made me cry, realizing that very soon my mission will be a bunch of memories and pictures. But I'm going to keep working strong! We had dinner at Bishop Zuniga's house. While there, he and Jonathan, a friend who lives with them, pulled out the SWAT vests that they dressed up in for the Halloween dance the ward had. So of course all of us missionaries had to try them on. And Sister B and I became the SWAT sisters: Sisters With A Testimony! Boo-Ya!

So when are they going to be starting work on the house? You really should have seen my face when I read your letters, because just the week before it was really sounding like the addition wasn't going to happen. It really would have been funny to not tell me though and just see my face when I walked into the house here in a few weeks. And they're really expecting to be done with it, or almost done, by the time I get home? That's not very much time!

Things are going great with Sister Batchkoff! We're really working well together. More details in my weekly letter. I am feeling totally confident in my abilities, and I am pretty much over the illness I had last week. Every once in a while I've still got a cough that sneaks up on me, but other than that I'm good. Well, and my back has been bothering me again, but that's nothing new for me. I take IB Profin and I'm fine for the most part. It's starting to feel better too.

I got the packet of stuff to do my fingerprinting, and plan to go get that taken care of right after I leave here today.

The work is going good. We're finding new investigators. We have no baptisms coming up in the near future. R. is really struggling, and I'm really worried. Please put her name in the temple. She was so ready for baptism but was struggling with quitting smoking. She really was doing very good, but she kept getting discouraged and has started ignoring our calls. It breaks my heart, as her baptismal date was for this coming Saturday. We won't give up on her. We had a great companion study this morning for her and ways we can help her. It's just really frustrating. But we're going to do all that we can to help her. Also C. She's the one who turns 18 and was supposed to be baptized on Friday, but she's having lots of problems with her mom and we haven't seen her for 2 weeks. We finally got a hold of her on the phone last night and she said that she's probably moving to San Antonio with her dad after Christmas.

So yeah. That's my week. Guess this e-mail is a little more exciting... and quite a bit longer than some that I've sent. Hope ya'll have a fantastic week!

Love ya!

Hermana Good