Normal email days will be Mondays, but because the libraries were closed on New Year's Eve, they got to email today... (Hurray!)
Also, Katie said to send normal letters to her local address instead of the main mission address, or else she won't get them for quite some time. The new address is:
Hermana Katie Klaus
7049 Westwind Dr #8007
El Paso, TX 79912
Hola de TEXAS!!!
Yep that's right I have been assigned to serve in El Paso, Texas. I love it here! But I am getting ahead of myself...
So I left the MTC on Monday morning at 6:00am and went to the airport. My bags weighed 49 and 50 pounds! Yeah, I know how to pack! We had about an hour delay for our flight, but we soon were on our way. We landed in Albuquerque and went through security and President and Sister Miller and the Assistants were there to meet us. We had a short spiritual thought and then went to the temple to take pictures. We went to the mission home after that and had lunch. It was delicious. We had chicken salad sandwiches and after 2 months of MTC food, it was pure heaven. Then we had a few orientation meetings with the President and his wife which took a few hours. Then we had another delicious home cooked meal of pot roast and rolls. We ended the day with a testimony meeting and one last spiritual thought from President Miller. Then the 7 elders I had traveled with went with the Assistants and spent the night at their apartment, and since I the only sister, I stayed with the Millers in their home. It was probably the best night sleep ever because they stuck me in the general authority room since I was by myself, and it was the most comfortable bed ever! I was asleep in 2 minutes, but that could have been the fact that I had been up 18 hours and had very little sleep the night before!
In the morning we were up and out of the house by 6:30 and headed over to the church for my first transfer meeting. It was at a local church building. All the missionaries in this area that are being transferred come. It starts with a song and a prayer. Next all the missionaries going home give a short testimony. Then the APs started announcing the transfers. They start with the newbies. All but three of us were given their companions and were serving in the Albuquerque area. We, along with several others, were told to head south to Las Cruces for the next transfer meeting. So we piled in a big old van and drove for about 4 hours down to Las Cruces. I was in front so while all the other missionaries snored in the back, I talked to the driver and now I am an expert on all things between Albuquerque and Las Cruces. The brother who drove us down was very nice and it was fun to chat and ask questions about the area. Then we arrived for the second transfer meeting. It was very similar to the first. All the missionaries heading up to Albuquerque went into the van and the three newbies (two elders and me) got into a truck.
We were heading to Texas! (can I mention here that Hali and I are officially in the same state?!) :-D So on the way (it's another 45 minutes) I had my first piece of Mexican candy and not to be outdone by the elders, my mouth was on fire with a chiliboncha which basically means chili bomb. It is watermelon candy laced with chili. Wow it was hot! So we finally made it to El Paso and the crazy thing is that on the freeway you look out the right side of the car and there is Mexico. You can see houses and people it is so close! When we got to the church I finally was at my transfer session. I met my new companion. Her name is Hermana Cruz. She is from Honduras, so she is a native speaker. What a blessing! I am already trying to speak as much Spanish as I can with her and when she needs it I am helping her with her English. We've hit it off great. We've already had some good times. She's been out in the field for about 10 months. Did I mention we have a car. It's a white ford fusion. When all the missionaries pulled out of the transfers in their cars and trucks with bikes in the back it made me smile! I love being a missionary. It's so fun!
Ok so we went to our apartment. When we pulled into the complex, Hermana Cruz asked me if I knew which apartment was ours. I laughed because it was easy to spot. We are the only one with a picture of the Savior hanging on the window. :-) So we dropped off my stuff and then we went to work. We had bad luck for the first little bit. No one was home. Then we went to this elderly lady's home. We had a nice visit with her and I had my first experience in Spanish. It wasn't as bad as I thought. I don't understand all of what's going on, but I'm not totally lost either! Yay! Then we went to two recent converts. They were baptized on Christmas. They are sisters and one is married and has two kids. It was a very interesting appointment. The highlights were that while we were sitting on the couch Hermana Cruz stood up and she forgot she had set a glass of orange soda on the couch so it spilled all over the both of us. Then after we had been sitting there for a little while, this cat came and jumped on the couch next to me. I looked at it and then went back to concentrating on the conversation. The cat walked to the end of the couch when all of the sudden it turned around and charged my arm and pounced on me! It startled me and I jumped into my companion causing everyone to laugh. The cat left for a while, but then returned and decided it wanted to eat my arm, so it proceeded to bite and claw on my sweater. It didn't hurt at all and I was just laughing. My companion tried to get the cat to come to her and it turned and stared at her and then went right back to attacking my arm! It was so funny. In the MTC all the teachers warned us to stay away from dogs because they can be mean, but nobody warned me of the diablo cats! I think that cat could tell that deep down in side I was a dog person.
After that we had dinner at a member's home and it was very entertaining. The other elders who serve in our ward were there too. The entire night they kept trying to convince me the enchilada I was eating was intestines, but I didn't believe it. It gave me pause at the start, but then I decided well I have to eat it anyway, so oh well! They were impressed that I just ate it with no reservations. After dinner all the seasoned missionaries gave me the privilege of giving the spiritual thought. I was really nervous because there were a lot of people and they all spoke Spanish. I said a quick prayer and then read a scripture from the Book of Mormon. 2 Nephi 25:26 which talks about we rejoice in Christ, we speak of Christ and we preach of Christ. I then bore my testimony on the Savior and what he has done for each of us. It was very simple, but felt a sweet peace come over me as I testified of the Savior. After that we went home, and after unpacking a little we went to bed!
This morning has been studying and we visited with a lady in our ward who fed us lunch. I have to let you know that I have reached a milestone in my life. I ate refried beans for lunch today and I didn't even make a face...in fact they were pretty good. That could be because it's hard to taste anything with all the chili they put on their food! It's been 2 hours and my mouth still has a little burn! Maybe in my next package you better send me some TUMS!*
Well that's about everything. I am loving it down here. I can't believe how quickly we jump into being missionaries. We have 4 more lessons this evening and I am teaching right along side Hermana Cruz! Pray that I can do this! I know the Lord has blessed me already. My companion and the two elders all tell me that my Spanish is really good. At dinner last night, the Elders said I know twice as much Spanish as they did coming into the field, so hopefully that means some latent Spanish knowledge from Spain is surfacing. However, it is nice to know that at least I'm not behind in learning the language. Well that's all for today! I love you all so much! I hope everyone had a great New Year. Take care!