I teased Katie a bit about how her emails were getting shorter and how Katy Vance (another missionary from our Ward) was giving her a run for her money on email length. I think she outdid herself this week... :-)
Buenos Dias Familia!
So first off we acknowledge the date...It's my half birthday. Yay! Which means I have been in El Paso for over 6 months! Double yay! I am also starting to feel old. We had a zone lunch after zone meeting on Friday and I was sitting with all the sisters in the Zone and almost all of them were 19! At least I don't look like an old maid. People are always really surprised when I tell them I am 23...and a half, because they always think I am younger than I look. I know I must sound like a broken record, but I love being a missionary! This week has been filled with blessings.
First this week starts off with the Great Turtle rescue! Once upon a time in a land very hot and dry there were two missionaries. One of the missionaries had a history with turtles and it seems like her trend of turtles is going to continue. One day the missionaries were driving around in a big magical carriage with a wonderful thing called air conditioning. As they were driving, the driver saw what looked like a weird brown rock in the middle of the road, so she steered the carriage with the wonderful air conditioning over the brown rock so as not to hit it and then in unison the two missionaries realized that the rock had a head. Quickly with the skills of a nascar driver they pulled over and jumped out of the carriage to do what missionaries to do best. They set off to serve. They battled the dragonish heat, but they finally were triumphant and they recused the little turtle from the middle of the evil road. Then the two missionaries had a problem. What do with a little lost turtle. They couldn't keep the little turtle because they were too busy battling the dragonish heat everyday and there was a law throughout the land that missionaries can't have pets. Besides they knew the turtle must belong to someone. So they decided to do what missionaries do best...well best after serving. They decided to knock on the neighboring castles to see if any one had lost one of their guard turtles (so much better than guard dogs. ;) I can see the signs now, Beware of Turtle!) The missionaries looked at all the houses around and then they decided on the brown castle with high walls. As they approached the house and walked into the yard, to their delight they saw another guard turtle sadly walking all alone around the big castle grounds. When they knocked on the castle door the lady of the castle exclaimed in delight over the rescue of her lost turtle. She thanked the missionaries and told them sad tales of other turtles who had been stolen from the yard, but didn't have two brave missionaries to battle the dragonish sun to rescue them. So the missionaries prevailed and the deed was done. They wielded their backpacks once again and returned to the magic carriage with air conditioning and set off into the sun looking for their next good deed. The end!
Our next adventure was just a normal "I'm graceful" moment. We were sitting down to start a lesson and they had very graciously given us poweraids to drink in water glasses. I'm not exactly sure what happened. All I know is that one minute I was contemplating getting a cookie and the next minute I had poweraid all down my front. When will I ever not spill food on me?! My only consolation was that I was drinking red poweraid and I was wearing a red shirt. I know the Lord can inspire us in the little things because that morning I had almost decided to wear my one white shirt, but at the last minute I decided to wear the red one instead. Little blessings. It all turned out ok because we had a great lesson. The only sad part (for us) is that she lives in Juarez on the weekends so she is going to go to church and be baptized in Juarez. I know the church is true where ever you go, but I wish we could get permission to jump over to Juarez so we could be there when she is baptized. One thing that has stayed with me very powerfully this week is even though I won't always be right here to help these people and some I might not get the chance to see after my mission, but I know that one day we are going to have one of the biggest sweetest reunions ever in heaven.
So the fourth of July. We had a good fourth of July, but nothing too extreme. We started off the day with a ward breakfast picnic. Well I thought it was going to be breakfast, so I didn't eat anything. We got there at 8:30am and what are cooking... Hotdogs wrapped in bacon. I don't know if this is something people have just started doing or if it's because my family never eats hotdogs that I never knew people made hotdogs wrapped in bacon. Whatever the case people eat them all the time down here and I must admit they make hotdogs enjoyable. Especially when you can throw a couple of jalapenos on top. yum! :) But normally I try to lay off the chili until at least 11am. The breakfast also included nachos with chili. I decided to go with a burrito to start and then I moved on to the nachos and chili all before 9am :) Good times at the border. Then it was just a normal work day. I guess that is the one good thing about teaching in Spanish is most of our investigators didn't really do anything big for the fourth of July. We did have a yummy dinner as well. I had the biggest burger ever. It had the works including jalapenos, guacamole, and a hotdog on top. (Again I haven't seen people do that before my mission, but it could just be me.) Also at that dinner I bonded with a little scaredy-cat chihuahua named killer. Hermana Mitchell says it's my mission ambition to bond with every dog that hates missionaries! Then at the end of the day we walked out with some of our investigators and we watched the fireworks at the stadium from a distance. It was almost time to be home so we started walking back to the truck and 30 seconds later we could hear, but sadly we couldn't see the finale. We were a little bummed that we missed it, but at the same time we were happy that we got to see some fireworks.
What else did we do? Oh this week we meet the new president. President Miller the second. We drove up to Las Cruces and it was fun to see all the missionaries. I saw Hermana Biancardi for the first time and she is doing great. President Miller is amazing and so is Sister Miller. She told about how they have 9 grandkids under the age of 4 and she says when they have family gatherings "it's like puppies!" Anyone who can bring puppies into the conversation in the first 5 minutes is good in my book! Sister Miller has a beautiful bright smile and such a sunny bright personality. She told us all about how they received their call and a little bit about them. Then President Miller spoke. He is really big into last names and as he was having all the missionaries stand up and introduce themselves he asked several Elders what their last names meant, but none of them could answer. Then about 2/3 of the way through he got to an Elder who went off on a 3 minute speech about the history of his last name. President Miller then turned, staring down at the rest of the missionaries and said "take note and learn from him" If I had been thinking I should have said I am Sister Klaus and I am from the north pole, but I didn't think of that until after my turn, so no such luck. President Miller also had us laughing when he told us that the first thing we were going to learn about him was that he was old and deaf (he's not that old) :) We all laughed, but the best part was one of the senior couples stood up to introduce themselves and the husband said I have one up on you..."I am old, deaf, and blind!" hehe oh missionaries. I am so excited to work with President Miller and I know he is suppose to be here, right here, right now. I felt that confirmed to me very strongly as I was sitting in that meeting. That he is a man who has been called of God to be the Albuquerque New Mexico (including me down here in El Paso, Texas!) Mission President.
The last two little miracle stories. The first has to do with a family we are teaching. The husband has been looking for job. We had been asking people in the ward, if they knew of any work, but we hadn't been having very much success. Then we were at another one of our investigators houses and we had just finished a lesson. We were getting ready to leave and some how it was brought about that our investigator was tired and it had to do with he had a ton of work, but he was the only one doing it. I then asked if he needed help and he quickly said no, I am sure because he thought we were offering to help. I told him not for us, but that we knew of someone who knew construction and was looking for a job. He told us to give him his number. Right after that we had a lesson with the family. We gave the number and he was very grateful. After we left he did call and our investigator told him to come to work with him tomorrow. He gave him a job. What a blessing in both of their lives. From what we have heard from both ends they are very pleased with the working arrangement. It was a really neat blessing to witness.
The final story of the night has been one of the biggest miracles on my mission and it all starts with a puppy named princess. We have been teaching a girl who likes and fosters a lot of dogs. She has loved learning about the gospel and told us how it feels right and that she really likes the plan of salvation. She has a roommate that at first we didn't think really liked us, but after a few meetings we started to get to know her too and we became friends, but we didn't think she was really interested in learning about the gospel because at first she would always go inside when we taught her roommate. The last time we visited them we had a really good get to know you type of a meeting. We shared stories about cow hustlers trying to my family's cow at the rest stop to her almost petting coyote puppies without realizing it. On Saturday we stopped by to see them, but the weren't there, so we texted her. She told us that she was at work. (she works at the humane society) Then yesterday happened. We stopped by again and we knocked and no one answered so we gave her a call. She told us she was almost home, so just wait for her. We did. She got home and we did the usually greetings. I told her of the dream I had about her "dummy pigeons" (background: dummy pigeons are the pigeons that live at their house in the rafters but haven't figured out that it is too small so they keep laying their eggs and the eggs keep falling and splattering on the front step. The first time I saw the splatters I thought they had been egged! I guess they had, just not by teenagers but by dummy pigeons.) Anyway so we were sitting on the front porch talking and she talks about people asked who texted her yesterday at work and she said the mormons. She said they gave her these looks like what?! They said are you serious? She said yeah they're really cool you should come over and meet them! Not even a member of the church or investing the church and she's inviting her friends to meet the missionaries! So then she brings out one of the dogs who we love and who she is fostering right now. An english bull dog named princess that is handicapped. Princess can't use her front legs, but she wants so badly to walk. We have watched princess go from not being able to move at all to now she can walk down stairs! So princess starts doing this weird hop crawl and that got us talking about army crawling. That reminded me of the mormon message Dare to stand alone. As missionaries we try and ask inspired questions. I think yesterday's inspired question was "do you have internet?" She did and we asked if she would like to see the message. She said yes. We watched the video and she really liked it. Then we watched the video Dayton's legs. There is one particular part in that video when the distances flash across the screen that just are very powerful. Right at that point she started blinking really hard and at the end she said man you made me cry. Then she told us that she didn't know very much about our church. We then told her that's what missionaries do is that we teach people. Then we talked about how God is our heavenly father and we showed her "our true identity" After that mormon message she asked us "what makes your church different?" We then shared the message of the restoration. After we quoted the first vision we asked her what she thought and she said something that I will never forget. She said "It rings true." I have never had anyone say something that simple and straightforward. It was like being hit by the spirit truck. We testified about the Book of Mormon and she kept saying that makes sense. I have never heard it like that before. Then at the very end we ended up testifying about the priesthood and how that power has been restored. I told her of an experience that I had with a brother's blessing my first year of college and that lead us to watch the last of the mormon messages of the night, "sanctify yourselves." That message had been in both Hermana Mitchell's and my mind, but we didn't know how to tie it in or if that was just us really liking that video. After that video we just sat there and then we asked if she would pray to know if what we were telling her was true and she said and I can feel it all over that it is true. She said all the videos, but that last one in particular hit me really hard. It was one of the most inspired, relaxed, and powerful lessons I have been a part of. We literally flew up the hill on our bikes we were so happy. It is amazing the power that the gospel of Jesus Christ can have in people's lives and I am so blessed that I can see this effect everyday in people's lives.
I love you all so much and I hope you have a great week!