So with a holiday yesterday the libraries were closed so we get to email today. What another fantastic week to be a missionary. We had a lot of neat experiences come our way this week. Plus since we had a little extra time yesterday we also had a crazy fun P-day! Hmmm where to begin? So yesterday we started our P-day going to get Hna Mitchell's hair cut. She has super long hair, but decided to cut it off because it is just too hot down here! So we went from hair place to hair place trying to find one that was open. We finally saw a sign that said Brenda's hair, walk in's welcome and so we didn't have to worry about which place would be best because there really was only one option. It actually turned out great. Hna Mitchell donated two braids to locks of love and she has a super cute bob/A-line. I was happy because I marked off one of the things on my district movie bucket list. (The District are DVDs of missionaries doing missionary work that people can watch on BYU TV or online I think). Anyway there is one scene where the missionary talks about family history while getting his haircut, so now I have talked about missionary work in a barber shop and one of the ladies wants the missionaries to stop by and teach her a little more, so we were excited. Then after getting her haircut we still had tons of time, so we decided to go up the tramway here in the Franklin Mountains. It was a beautiful view of El Paso, New Mexico and Mexico. We had to be careful about our skirts because it was super windy up on top of the mountain ridge, but we had a great time. One of the thing's I love about being a missionary are the random people who talk to you and then they say something in the first five seconds and you go, wait a second - you're a mormon aren't you?! That happened on the way back down the mountain. The park ranger asked, "so is it your P-day?" We said "yep what ward are you in?" He was in 5th ward. The funny thing was he actually served his mission in Washington (Eastern Washington, but still pretty close). That was funny because just the other day we were out at about 8:40 at night and we didn't want to return early, so we went over and started talking with this lady who was outside her house. As we were talking this cop car slowly pulled up behind us and I glanced at it, but didn't think anything of it. Then it pulled slowly to the side and for one split second I saw us being hauled off to jail for talking to people on the streets and having the Elders come bail us out. We turned and said yes officer? He then said have you seen 5 women and a baby stroller? We said we hadn't (we couldn't imagine why they would be looking for 5 women and baby stroller!) Then the officer said, so sisters how's the work going. We said fine and the little "I bet he's LDS bell" started ringing . Then he asked us what ward we were in and we told him and asked what ward he was in. He lives on the westside, so in my old area. Sometimes it's so funny being a missionary because I feel like I am living in one of the "I'm a mormon videos" We're just walking along preaching the gospel and then a random person walks up and says "Hi! I'm a park ranger and I'm a mormon!" or "Hi! I'm a police officer and I'm a mormon!" I love that feeling that we are all connected by the Church even if we've never met or if we live on opposite sides of the world. So then to end our P-day we played basketball with the zone. Two other sisters in our zone came and played too. The funniest thing about playing basketball with Elders is how careful they are. It's like there is an hermana forcefield and when you get the ball they all back-up 3 steps. We can practically walk up to the basket! So when there are more sisters, we have someone guarding us at least, so it's not that easy.
During the week we had several little miracles. This week at least 3 times we had experiences where we felt like we needed to go back or visit a person and because of that we had an opportunity to teach or serve. The first one was last Monday. We went to contact a person that we had talked to the week before. When we arrived she didn't have any time, so we got back in the truck and started to drive to our next plan. There had been two men working out on their porch and after we had gone a few blocks we felt like we needed to go back and talk to those two men. We returned and when we got out of the truck we didn't see the two men anymore, but there was a woman outside working on her plants. We started talking to her and after a half and hour and a short introduction to the gospel she wanted to learn more. The following saturday we had an excellent lesson with her and she wants to read and find out for herself if the Book of Mormon is true. That is one thing that is so wonderful and unique about our message. We invite everyone to ask God if what we are saying is true and we know that through the Holy Ghost a person can know what we're saying is true. People don't have to believe us they just need to be willing to ask. So now we are teaching her and are really excited to see her progress and learn more about the gospel. Then when we went to talk to the two men they weren't interested at all. We now know that when we felt prompted to return it wasn't for those two men, but for the neighbor next door. We had a similar thing occur on Saturday night. It was around 7:30 and we were trying to figure out what to do, so we decided to pray and ask Heavenly Father who we should visit. The name that came strongly to mind was a less active member. When we went over to her house she was in the process of moving and she actually needed our help to load things into the truck and then unload in her new apartment. Another little testimony builder that the Lord knows us and he will help put us in the right place at the right time. The third experience we had this week was with one of our investigators. We had been trying to visit her, but she kept being gone. It was around 8:30 when we drove by her cousin's house to see if her car was there, it wasn't. So we drove over to her house and she wasn't there. We weren't really sure what we would be able to do with so little time, so we were debating on just going back to the apartment early and maybe look through the area book to find people we would want to visit the next day, when the name of a couple in our ward popped into our heads. We decided that we would stop by and share a brief message and ask if they had anyone they would like us to teach. We checked their address and they just happened to live on the same street as Maria's cousin and as we were driving by, Maria was just getting out of her car. We were able to pull over and help her carry in her groceries and then share a message with her and her cousin who has invited us back to teach her as well. What a special blessing that the Lord helped us to find the person we wanted to visit by taking us to the very street she would be on. I love all the special blessings that I receive as a missionary. I am so grateful to know that the Lord knows each and every one of us and that he loves us. Being a missionary I get to witness first hand how aware the Lord really is as he directs us to the places and people where we can do the most good. I hope everyone has a great week. I love you all so much!
Ok so we had a very busy and exciting week...bike week always is! I don't even know where to start.
So this week I finally became a missionary. On Friday because of scheduling we ended up not being able to ride our bikes so we ended up walking most of the day. I now am sporting my first missionary blister that I got by the end of the day. After about 3 hours we decided to catch the bus to the other end of our area and it was bliss to sit in an air conditioned bus for a few moments. It has been really hot this week as is evident by my various tan lines. I have quite the farmers tan right now. My feet are varying shades of white and brown with stripes from my different pairs of shoes. Basically my feet just look weird. The tan line I am most proud of is my watch line. I think by the end of August I am going to have to wear sunglasses when I go to take my watch off at nights because my surrounding arm is brown and then under the watch it is like bleach white! Yikes! Is that my normal color in the winter?! I hope not! So when we got off at the bus stop we were trying to figure out the fastest way to our next appointment and we were going to get some water in water bottles before heading out. As we were about to walk over to the drinking fountain to fill up our nearly empty water bottles a pigeon flew over and landed on the drinking fountain and proceeded to drink out of the water spout. We then were faced with the choice. Fill our water bottles with the water we knew was being contaminated by stinky little pigeons or keep walking in the heat until our next appointment, hoping we didn't need any water. In the end we couldn't bring ourselves to drink the water, but luckily a nice lady on the next house we stopped at invited us in to have a lovely drink of ice water. I am not sure I can ever drink in outside fountains again knowing that birds enjoy drinking with us... Although come August things might change and I'll just have to carry around a water purifier, so we can still get drinks!
The second reason why I am finally a missionary this week is that I have finally eaten menudo. I knew this day would come. For our lunch on Saturday we were given two big cups with freshly made menudo. For those who don't know menudo is a type of soup and the meat they use is cow stomach and intestines. We had to give ourselves pretty good pep talks, before we ready to face the menudo. I was even the brave one and elected to go first. I got a really good piece of tripe and man was it chewy! It didn't turn out as bad as we expected, but there was still some mental shudders from knowing that we had just eaten parts of cows that ought not to be eaten! :)
Still recovering from the menudo experience from earlier in the day we decided that for our dinner break we were going to stop by and get some ice cream at the local super market. As missionaries we have limited funds, so we are always on the look out for a good deal. So when we see a sale on ice cream for 3 for 5 dollars we decided to do the economical thing and buy 3 half gallons of ice cream. :) Even with the bikes we were feeling a little self conscious to be buying that much ice cream, but we sought comfort in the fact that the sale was only valid if you bought all three. I would love to say we managed to buy our ice cream unnoticed and stash it in our fridge for wonderful enjoyment later on, but as we walked up to the counter a member stopped us and after giving us a little weird look she took the 3 boxes of ice cream and bought it for us. So we left the store with 1 1/2 gallons of ice cream and bright red faces. Don't worry we have only opened one of the ice cream boxes so far!
To the enjoyment of my family I have also enclosed a very special picture. I found my turtle! It just moved to Texas...that's why we could never find it! I await all your apologies for never believing me. Viva la tortuga! [For those not "in the know", many years ago Katie was in our back yard and (she claims that) she found a turtle. She started to play with it and then it "chased her and tried to bite her". According to her, it was green with red racing stripes. Now when was the last time that you saw a turtle chase anyone? :-) Anyway, I think we were gone, but when we got home she told us all about the turtle, but when she went to show us, the turtle was no where to be found. So we tell her she was hallucinating and she tells us we will have to repent and apologize in the next life.]
Aside from all the fun missionary experiences that are coming on a daily basis the real reason why I am out here it to share my testimony of the restored gospel. I love that I can wave and talk to people watering lawns, on buses, at bus stops, on their front porches and I can do it because I am a missionary. I am not afraid to teach and to testify to people about Christ's restored church and promise them blessings. I know that anyone who wants to know if Christ's church has been restored on the earth can receive a confirmation by the spirit. I feel that same spirit every time we teach a lesson. I am not here to convince people that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true, but I invite everyone I meet to find out for themselves and I know that Heavenly Father will answer very single heartfelt prayer to know. What a blessing it is to know that we have a loving Father in Heaven who will always answer our prayers. I am grateful for the prayers in behalf of all the missionaries including myself and I know that they make a difference as we work during the week. I hope everyone has a fantastic week!
It was so good to hear from you yesterday! Mom I hope you had a great mother's day and it was such a special treat to get to hear your voice. It sounds like every one is doing really well, so that makes me happy! I hope you are taking lots of pictures and videos of my adorable niece and nephew because I can hear over the phone that they are getting sooo big!
So we had a really good week. Like I said last week we had the truck this week, which was a great blessing because we found out on Tuesday that Hermana Mitchell's bike had a flat tire. So we drove the truck around and it is just a smidge bigger than the car I drove in Rio Grande. So I have had a few problems with bumping up on curbs when turning because my tail is just too long! Anyway so back to the bike... We waited to fix it because the Elders had our pliers and we couldn't get the bolt off the tire so we could put the new tube on. Finally yesterday the elders gave us the pliers, but we came to find out that we couldn't budge the bolt! Luckily the son of one of the sweetest women in the world, who we are teaching right now, was able to help us out last night and fix the back tire. Then as we were heading out to teach, her front tire went flat! We didn't have another tube, so we had to wait till this morning so we could send the elders up to Walmart to bring us back a thicker tube. Now we are all fixed and I'm hoping that I don't have any trouble with my bike wheels this week!
We are really happy to be back on bikes this week because last week we had attack of the Pan!! (This is "bread" in spanish for those who don't speak the language... :-) ) We ate so much mexican sweet bread last week! It is sooo yummy! On Friday we also decided to check out a bakery near our house and we bought a piece of bread and then later we were heading to our ward's mother's day party and the investigator we were riding with and her friends stopped at a bakery they just happened to own. So we went in and they said to give us whatever we want. So we each picked out one thing and then they said are you sure. We said yes, but they apparently didn't believe us, so they filled an entire bag full of empanadas and flakey pastries! Yum! So this week we are going to have to work off all the "pan pesadas" we put on last week! :)
So on Friday, Mexico's mother's day, our ward had a big activity. I haven't ever seen so much food on one plate at a ward activity! It was all so wonderfully delicious. Then we had an evening talent show. The little kids sang to their mother's which was adorable. The theme must have been cowboy because there was a ton of plaid. Hermana Mitchell leaned over to me and said "I have never seen so much plaid!" I said "I have, but what do you expect my mascot was a potato!" All of the ward had a wonderful time and it was nice way to celebrate the special women in our lives. I am so grateful that I was blessed with such a wonderful mom! Love you!
Other than that we have been working hard. We are finding lots of new people to teach. This week we started teaching a family and they are very interested in learning more about the gospel. The mother wants a church that is centered on families and will help her kids make good decisions. Another couple we started teaching are a little bit older, but they ask some of the best questions. They just want to know everything there is know and you can just tell how much they love each other by the way they act around one another. One thing I love about the gospel and teaching so many different types of people is that it doesn't matter who you are or what stage of life you are in the gospel can always bless their lives and bring even more joy and happiness. I am so happy to be able to bear my testimony about our savior Jesus Christ to so many different people. When we were in the bakery a lady asked if we would say a prayer for her cousin who was sick, so we said a simple prayer together there in the middle of the store. I love being a missionary! Have a lovely week and if you can, eat some Mexican sweet bread!
I hope you all had a wonderful week! My week has been full of lots of fun. Drum roll for my new area! I am in El Paso 3rd ward. So my new area touches my old area. This area is pretty new. It was opened last transfer, so we have a lot of work ahead of us. I am finishing training a new sister. Her name is Hermana Mitchell and I love her! She is awesome and we are going to have a great companionship together. I am so excited to be paired up with Hermana Mitchell we went on exchanges last transfer and after the exchange I had the thought that I would like to be her companion one day. I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but surprise surprise! She is from a small town in California. She is only 19, so my first young companion! I can’t even tell the difference.
My new area is pretty small but that is conducive to the fact that my new area is a BIKE AREA!!! Yep I am officially a missionary because I am riding around El Paso on a lovely purple bike in my skirt with my shiny black placa! We had quite the adventure in walmart picking out our bikes. Trying to test drive bikes with flat tires in skirts was interesting to say the least. Finally we found some help to get the bikes in working order. Then we had the exciting experience of getting all of our food, our bikes and our new helmets all onto the bus. We were very proud of ourselves for figuring out how to use the bike rake on the front of the bus. The whole way home we kept reminding ourselves, “now we can’t forget to get our bikes!” I mean how sad would it be to watch the bus drive away with our brand new bikes?! Don’t worry we didn’t forget. We were pretty excited to take our bikes out for the test drive. We rode about two blocks when the chain popped off Hna Mitchell’s bike and a washer fell off of my seat! Talk about companion unity! Our brand new bikes break at the same time! Yay! Haha. They were quick easy fixes and we haven’t had any more problems. The only part that is difficult are all the hills. Basically our whole area is one big hill. Which is wonderful when our investigators live downhill, but when we have to go up hills we huff and puff like two out of shape missionaries and wonder if we will ever make it to the top. Now I don’t want to brag or anything, but if I get to be on a bike for a long time I am going to have a very nice pair of legs! Hehe maybe missionaries can’t say things like that… So day one was very successful on our bikes, but day two was a different story. I think people two streets over could hear us moaning and groaning because we were soooo sore! When we first sat down on our bikes we both had to stand right back up because it hurt to sit! A week later we are doing much better, but we still have our moments. I think I have about 6-10 bruises on my legs from varying degrees of terrible dismounts. My personal favorite is when Hermana Mitchell is up front and I see someone to talk to and then I call stop stop stop stop and then she turns and looks at me like what’s wrong and I just say look someone to talk to. We found lots of new investigators this week from having the bikes, so I know they are a blessing. We actually aren’t on bikes all the time. We have two sets of missionaries in our ward and so every other week we have access to a truck! I feel pretty cool that I get to drive around in a truck. We had Zone training this week, so I actually got to drive back into my old area to the Redd chapel and it felt weird to go back. We also had a special blessing from the Lord because while we were driving back, a golf ball sized rock hit our windshield while we were driving on the freeway. I know the Lord looks out for his missionaries because my arms didn’t even flinch an inch even though my heart went through the top of my chest. We were so grateful that we were able to get home safely, but we do have to fix the windshield of the truck this week because there is a pretty big crack in it.
I am not sure why some weeks are jam packed with interesting things to write about and others take a little more thought to what happened that was new and interesting enough to write about. Another get the heart pumping story happened on the second day here. We were walking toward a less active member’s home around 8pm, so it was dark outside. All of the sudden we hear this mad barking and we see this huge pitbull charging along the fence, but what causes my heart to stop is that there is a huge gaping hole in the fence. I instantly grabbed Hna Mitchell’s backpack and jerked her backwards away from the angry mass of dog jumping through the fence and while I was mentally thinking what in the world are we going to do the dog’s chain snaps tight. We both were glad that the chain held and since then we have taken different routes to that sister’s home.
I am so happy to be here right now. I know there are special people here in this area and we are already working hard. One experience that I would like to share this week is from one of our new investigators. This was our first lesson and we were talking about Christ and his ministry on the earth and I don’t really remember what led to this point in the conversation, but I started testifying about prayer and I remembered the scripture in 2 Nephi 32:8-9 that talks about we need to pray always and only Satan would ever tell us not to pray. I said that we are always worthy to pray and when we don’t feel worthy to pray that is Satan lying and we should pray all the harder. She started to tear up and then said that she had just been praying about that very question. She said she had been asking God if she was worthy to pray and she said I answered her question, without even knowing that she had asked it. I felt very humbled that the Lord was able to answer her prayer through me and it was a testimony builder that the Lord know each and every one of us and that he will always answer our prayers.