Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 44 Pictures - Amber's Baptism

Week 44 - August 26, 2013

Querida Familia,

So apparently it's been a hard week all around.  I am praying for Kara and I know that my superstar is awesome and will continue being awesome!

Our week was a harder week too.  These happen in the mission, but they aren't fun to go through.  We had one set of sisters calling us in tears this week, so we dropped everything and went out to visit them and try to help them.  It was a little frustrating because we had called multiple times to check up on these sisters and they always told us they were fine, but in reality they were struggling.  I know as sisters we like to be perfect and we want to serve so badly, but we can't carry the world on our shoulders.  After a long talk they were feeling better and we told them we were going to call and we said that when we asked how they are doing they had better be honest.  "We don't want to hear it's butterflies and roses when it's really cowpies and cockroaches!"  That is our new phrase :)

We had several people drop us this week, some over text!  I felt like I was in middle school again!  We had people hiding.  We had people driving by their house only to see us and keep going.  Blinds being shut right after we knocked and a whole bunch of other problems.  But what I love about my companionship is even with all these things we are so happy!  We still find things to laugh about and be glad about.  In the words of Sister Hinckley, "In this life you either have to laugh your way through it or cry.  I prefer to laugh because crying gives me a headache!"  Yep laughing is so much better and it's good for the soul.  I know that this week is going to be a butterflies and roses week and that the cowpies and cockroaches are going to stay in the past.  Speaking of cockroaches I had an epic battle last night.

So Sister Fallentine and I walk into the bedroom after planning, and we sit down on the beds and then I see a roach on the ceiling and gasp which sends her screaming across the room.  I laughed and then we got ready to kill it, but I decided I wanted to get it on camera.  We reenacted the first part and then Sister Fallentine went to kill it because it was over her bed.  She pushed it, but when she pulled the tissue back is scurried across the wall sending us both shrieking across the room.  This repeated itself and the cockroach fell and we didn't know where it went.  Both of our hearts were racing and we finally found him on the wall beside the bed and then I manned up and squished the little bugger.  I am so glad I got it all on video, but sad I didn't get our facial expressions.  I am sure that if we ever replay that moment in heaven we will be the laughing stock as two sister missionaries are outdone by a sneaky roach.

So even though there were some cowpies and cockroaches (literally!) this week there were also some super fantastic awesome butterflies and roses!  This week Amber was baptized!  I was able to go to her baptism and it was wonderful.  The spirit was so strong.  When she came up our of the water my heart was filled and it was a feeling like none other.  It was bursting with joy and love, and the spirit testifying that she had made the right choice.  When she got out of the dressing room she looked at me and that started the tears.  Then she bore her testimony and I was just a goner.  She said she didn't think that she would be this emotional either.  I know she feels different, and she told me when she received the gift of the holy ghost she felt different. 

Carmen and her family came to the baptism and they are preparing for their own baptism.  They are such a special family.  Amber was really glad they came because every time Ali would talk or be a little kid it made Amber feel more relaxed.  At one point I had to bring out the emergency stickers, so that Ali would stop trying to take off her dress!  I think the cutest thing Ali does is that she really has learned to say Amen.  After every prayer, she is right there saying amen.  In church you could hear her sweet little voice carry after every prayer and talk as she said amen.  This week Ali also saw something and was scared and the whole family was a little worked up, so they decided to read the Book of Mormon and say a prayer as a family and after they did that they all felt better and were able to go to sleep.  We also had a really fun Family Home Evening about keeping the Sabbath day holy and we ate sundaes.  We have another FHE with some ward members tonight, so I know it will be another great lesson.  Well I love you all.  I hope everyone has a great start to school!

Les Quiero Mucho!
Hermana Klaus

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Week 43 Pictures



Tea Party

Week 43 - August 19, 2013

Querida Familia y one super cute new nephew!

I miss you all bunches and I was so excited to get on today and see my new nephew Owen.  Feel free to use the head shot of me and take a picture with Owen, so he'll know his crazy aunt was there in spirit!   What a special blessing!  The Lord has just poured out his blessings this week.  It has been an amazing week.  I know I say that every week, but this week has been exceptional!

So I went on two exchanges this week.  The first exchange was to the university ward.  I was so excited to go and see Amber.  She didn't know I was coming, so I was excited to surprise her when she showed up for her lesson and I was there.  Amber is the girl who owns Princess.  I guess a sad note for the week is that I found out that Princess the little handicapped dog passed away.  I know that she came and fulfilled her mission in this life because without her and her funny little army crawl who knows if we would have started talking to Amber about the gospel.  Over a month ago I told Sister Mitchell I think a better name for her would have been Angel and now she really is a little Angel dog.  :)  So we were waiting in the institute for Amber and we were in the restroom when she showed up so when we walked out and she saw us I could tell she was screaming on the onside.  Hehe we were both were so happy to see each other.  What a special blessing from the Lord!  Amber is getting baptized on Saturday and I know that it might sound cheesy, but we are going to be forever friends and she will always be a miracle to me.  (hehe she is probably reading and this and is now embarrassed... oops don't be you're awesome!)

In other really exciting news.  I am not sure if I ever wrote to you about a man we were teaching.  He was deciding between two different religions.  We found him and started teaching while I was in El Centro and I was really sad to leave before he decided which Church he was going to join.  Well I got a special message from Sister Mitchell this week telling me that he has decided to be baptized!  He said that he prayed about it and it felt right to "become a mormon!"  It's a weird feeling being a missionary and being so filled with happiness because people that you found and helped teach are joining the church, but also a little sad that you can't be there for their whole journey

Oh before I forget - crazy thing happened yesterday.  We were driving down mesa and we saw this cop car come flying by us.  I was like wow he is hauling some serious tail!  Then we kept driving and a minute later we saw why.  We drove by just as the cop with his gun drawn was ordering some teenager to drop this huge black rifle he was carrying.  The kid dropped it instantly and was following the orders of the cop, so I have no idea what that kid was thinking.  Carrying a rifle in the middle of the city!  We were really relieved that the kid didn't do anything dumb otherwise we could have witnessed something very bad.

Ok so one of my favorite lessons of all time which will go down in the missionary history as being amazing happened last night.  So we were a little bummed because Carmen's family had been really busy the end of the week.  The couldn't come to church this week and so we were all worried and stressed about them.  We decided to stop by and see how they were doing.  They had just gotten home from Juarez a little bit before, but they were really excited to see us.  Carmen told us how they felt real bad that they didn't come to church and in the ending prayer of the night Sergio asked that they would be able to attend next week.  So last Sunday when they came to church they talked about the word of wisdom in gospel principles so we were going to go over it again.  We didn't even start the lesson when Sergio brought out some lipton's ice tea and asked if this was ok.  We told him no and they were bummed because they had just bought a brand new raspberry one.  One of the big containers.  So we started teaching the lesson and we had this little activity.  It was a piece of paper with a face and then a garbage can and then we had little drawn pictures of fruits, veggies, cigarettes, beer, coffee and tea.  So the purpose is to decide whether they go in the mouth or in the garbage can.  The funniest thing was the little two year old picked the tea and coffee picture and she put it right in the garbage can!  We cheered and even her parents were impressed.  She picked a carrot next and she put the carrot in the mouth.  I am telling you this kid is a genius!  So at the end of the lesson we committed them to live the word of wisdom and they said they would.  Then we asked them if they would give us their ice tea.  They were like "well I don't's brand new we might take it Juarez to sell it.  I whipped out my wallet right there and pulled out the 2 dollars in cash I had and then sister Fallentine pulled out 2 dollars and for 4 bucks we bought both their big things of ice tea.  Carmen was like "man I really wanted to try the raspberry!" (I am so glad we got that out of the house :) hehe)  Right after we "bought" the ice tea Sergio looked at us very seriously and then asked if we wanted to carry out with paper or plastic.  We were just rollin on the floor. It was so funny. They told us to have fun throwing away the tea and we smiled and said we won't throw it away in their dumpster, so they wouldn't be tempted to go get it.  Another miracle is that when we started teaching them two weeks ago we promised that they would start to feel more in love by living the gospel principles.  Carmen told us last night that it is so weird, but that she has felt her love for her husband grow.  So many blessings!  Then when we got to the apartment last night we took great pleasure in flushing the tea down the toilet!  The history nerd in me...I had my very own Boston tea party last night!

I love you all so much!
Hermana Klaus

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 42 Pictures

The weather balloon that we found

Flat Tire!

Week 42 - August 12, 2013

Querida Familia,

It was good to hear that you all made it through fair.  I wish I could have taken Logan around the cow barn a few times.  Hehe, at one point this week we were exchanging companions back right next to a dairy farm and I took a big whiff and said it smelled like Ridgefield.  Then I told Sister Bills that Sister Fallentine would not be amused by the smell.  Sure enough when we pulled up she had some good "this is the most disgusting smell in the world" faces going on.  When they first got there she asked what the smell was and the other sister pointed across the street to the huge dairy that was baking in the 100 degree sun in all it's cow-ey glory!  So even though I missed the fair, the Lord still decided to send a tender mercy and let me smell the fair, even though I am sure there were tastier smells at the fair besides cows.

My dad thinks I need to stop having "I am graceful" moments, so I guess I will have to confess that the Texas sun may be bleaching my hair blonde because Hermana Fallentine and I had a really good blonde moment this week.  It happened after an exchange with the 3rd ward sisters.  Sister Fallentine got to take a ride on the wild side and use my bike for the day.  Anyway because they had the bikes we drove all the way to their apartment. (where normally we just meet in the middle).  So we exchanged back and Hermana Fallentine and I were about to start planning when she was cleaning out her back pack and realized that she still had one of the bus passes!  We knew that the sisters would need their bus passes, so that meant we would have to drive all the way there and back again.  So we get in the car and we are driving and we are listening to a talk on CD.  Just as we are about 10 miles from our house I am pretty sure inspiration spewed from my mouth when I turned to Hermana Fallentine and asked "Do you have the bus ticket?"  Well after pulling over we ascertained that indeed we did not have the bus ticket, but that we must have left it on the table at home.  We drove back to the apartment and sure enough the little bugger was on the table!  I guess we were spared even more humiliation because had we driven all the way to their apartment and then realized the ticket was at home I probably would have just have bought them another ticket instead!

So I had an exciting exchange with Hermana Bills this week.  I was up in Las Cruces working in her area.  It was a really good day.  One of the highlights from the day was we got a flat tire.  It was funny because we must have rolled over the screw right as we parked, because she looked at the tire pressure on the dash and it said it was at 27 then 30 seconds later it was 15 and then dropped to 11.  I got out of the car and you could hear the air escaping from our tire.  I was super excited to change a tire in spite of the fact that I was wearing a skirt!  We managed to get the tire out of the trunk along with everything we needed before the Lord sent someone to help his sister missionaries out.  A nice man came and what would have taken us probably an hour took him 10 minutes.  We still got our hands really dirty because we had to put the flat tire in the trunk, so that made us go to a nearby gas station.  Just as we were pulling in something big and orange floated down from the sky and landed in the middle of the road.  We parked and went to investigate.  It was a parachute with some weird rubber coating and note that said if inflated could be dangerous.  It wasn't, so no worries.  Then we saw a white box on the other end so timing it with the traffic that was speeding by we managed to haul it across the road safely.  To our delight it was a weather balloon.  My favorite part was the sticker that said harmless weather instrument.  :-)  UFO!  We took some pictures with the weather balloon and then sent it off in it's prepaid package to Kansas and of course we couldn't resist putting a card in the bag when we sent it to the national weather service.  Always a missionary!

So the most exciting thing to happen this week is that Carmen, Sergio, Lizzete and Ali came to church.  They were so cute!  They all came dressed in their Sunday clothes, so I bet some people didn't realize they were visiting.  The cutest thing to us was when I brought out silly putty to entertain the kids and the 2 year old very loudly started telling her mother to "Mira el moco!"  or in english to "Look at the boogers!"  Hermana Fallentine and I were having to stifle our laughter from that comment!  The ward was wonderful and a family has invited them to come to an FHE tonight at their house, so we are excited about that.  We weren't sure they were going to stay for the whole three hours and they almost left at the end of the second hour, but Sergio was acting like he wanted to stay, so they did.  This family is so amazing!  We also taught them this week about the plan of salvation and forever families.  As part of our lesson we gave them a piece of the left over marble that was used to build the Juarez temple that a member had given us.  I really feel like there are unseen forces at work on this family and that everything is just working out so perfectly that the Lord really does have something special planned for this family.  I am so happy right now.  Being a missionary is so awesome.  I hope that everyone has a super great week!

Los Quiero Mucho!
Hermana Klaus

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week 41 Pictures

I didn't get to do the bear song at camp, but I gave a bear hug...

At Sparky's in Hatch

Another moment of gracefulness

Our cool new mugs

This was waiting for us in the empty apartment we stayed in up in albuquerque and it scared us pretty good.  It was hiding in the shower originally.  Well played elders!

Another statue at Sparky's

Week 41 - August 5, 2013

Buenos Tardes Familia - or maybe I should just say amigos because my family might be too busy with fair this week to actually read my letter! :D hehe

Ok so wow what a week!  I don't think time has ever gone so quickly on the mission before.  And I can't believe that this week I hit my 9 months mark!  Crazy!  They are really going to keep us busy with this whole sister training leader thing.  This past week we had one exchange and then we went up to Albuquerque on Wednesday and Thursday for Mission Leadership Council.  The exchange was my first one with an English speaking sister.  Sister Chatwin came to Rio Grande.  It was a really good exchange, but it was interesting because I was the only one who spoke Spanish.  We had a good laugh when we saw an apartment complex that had a sign that said "Biggest Apartments! Biggest Deals!" and then I added "And biggest Cockroaches!"  Which reminds me that those stinky roaches still live in the Rio Grande apartment, and let me tell you that Hermana Fallentine does not like roaches!  I've heard a few good squeals from her when she sees one on the counter.

On Wednesday around 3 we headed up to Albuquerque.  The drive was good.  The funniest thing was probably the rain.  It was the weirdest looking rain.  It kept hitting the windshield and floating up.  I don't really know how to describe it - just that it was weird and entertaining on the drive.  We of course got lost in Albuquerque.  2 of the sisters had served there before, but we still got lost.  The funniest part was we were looking for a street named Martin Luther King drive and it wouldn't show up on the GPS, so we just got off the freeway to head back toward the area that we thought it was in.  Then Sister Silva said oh wait it found it, so we start following the directions for several minutes when up ahead I see the freeway we just got off.  At about that same time Hermana Biancardi says the destination is 200 miles away!  Well we stopped again and after a few phone calls we finally found the apartment we were staying at that night.  Then in the morning we got lost again on the way to the mission home.  One of the sisters thought the elders said 9th street, but he really said Knight street.  Hijole!  But we finally did make it.  It was neat to see Hermana Cruz again.  It's the first time I've seen her since we split down here. I can't believe this is her last transfer!  The meeting was all about how we can be better missionaries and then help those missionaries under our stewardship.  President and Sister Miller are so funny.  I love them!  After the meeting we drove back to El Paso, with one stop in Hatch (a tiny little cow town) that has an awesome BBQ place called Sparky's.  I ate my first green chili burger and it was delicious. It was funny to remember reading about New Mexico food and thinking it was so weird that they put chili on their burgers and yet now I love it.  I also got some good pictures with some of the weird statues around the restaurant.

The next day we had zone training.  The Elders had us do a training and it went really well.  Hermana Fallentine and I even got a fist bump from the zone leaders.  Two highlights from that meeting...  First was the joke the zone leaders played on the zone.  They had a big official looking box and said we are going to be passing out something from the apple store.  There is one per companionship.  I was watching some of the missionaries faces - it was pretty comical.  Then out of the box they started throwing green apples (one for each companionship)!  Good one elders.  The other one was the joke we played on the Elders.  About two months ago the Zone Leaders showed up to zone training with these mugs that said world's greatest ZL's.  Now they bring them to every meeting and they always fill up the cups with their water bottles.  Well not to be out done.  Hermana Fallentine and I made mugs in pretty pink sparkle letters that said "World's Greatest STL'Z"  Then when the zone leaders left for break we went and sat up in their chairs and instead of water we poured poweraid in our water bottles.  It was awesome!  The entire zone was laughing and the zone leaders just kept shaking their heads.  It was so funny!  10 points to the sisters!  Good times as a missionary.

In other exciting news, Maria one of my investigators in Barrio 3 is getting baptized this Saturday.  I am so excited for her and I wish I could be there.  Maybe I can find an investigator to take to the baptism so I can go too.  Either way I am so happy for her.  She is amazing and wonderful and this is going to bless her life.

If you remember the miracle story I shared last week with the woman and her daughter, so we went back yesterday for our first lesson.  It was an amazing lesson.  The spirit was so strong.  Carmen (the mother) cried when she heard the first vision.  We all agreed that this was a miracle.  The whole family has agreed to be baptized on September 9!  At the end of the lesson Sergio, the dad, gave the prayer without even hesitating even though he had never done that before.  The spirit was so strong the entire time and after the prayer we just sort of sat on the floor and just took in those warm feelings that come from the spirit.  This family is so special and we are so blessed for the chance to get to teach them.

Well good luck at fair Kara!  I know you'll do great because you're great!  I miss you all!  I'm sending lots of happy thoughts and prayers your way!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus