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

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