Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Week 62 - December 31, 2013

iFeliz Ano Nuevo!...Casi :)

Where has this year gone?!  It is so weird to think that a year ago I was sitting in the mission home as a greenie excited to start real missionary work and wondering where I would be sent and who would be my companion.  The 31st is also my anniversary day for entering the MTC!  Wow so much has changed since then and mostly it has been me that has done the changing.  I wouldn't trade the experiences I have had as a missionary for anything in the world.  This year will always be one of the best years of and for my life.  I am sure that there will be many great years to come, but I don't think I will have a better year for my life.  I have been stretched, pulled, pushed and trained to become the person that I can become.

So Christmas in the field was different, but I loved it.  So let's start on Christmas Eve.  We went to Tucanos and I ate a chicken heart.  If only chicken heart was the weirdest thing I ate this year.  Hehe it was actually relatively normal.  Then we made the mistake of going to Walmart to do our food shopping.  It was a zoo!  We tried to be quick, but it still took forever with the lines.  You would have thought people would have been more prepared to make tamales or turkey instead of waiting until the last minute to swarm Walmart in a mad tamale-turkey frenzy!  We did make it out alive and that was basically our p-day.  Then for dinner we went with the Valdez family in our ward.  They made so much food!  But they also informed us that they didn't make very much and that we would be shunned in Mexico for eating so little.  (yeah I think we were still feeling tucanos...oops meat coma!)  It all tasted soooo good.  I especially loved the tamales.  Then for christmas morning we went over to the other sisters' apartment and we opened presents for exercise.  Stretch while you reach for the next gift...hehe yeah right.  It was fun.  Then we got to talk to our families on skype.  I was overwhelmed by all the babies!  Although they all are pretty darn cute!  Then we ate left over tamales for christmas day dinner and then we visited a few people and that was about it.  In Mexico they celebrate christmas eve a lot more than christmas day.  They wait up until midnight and open all their presents and then Christmas day is a lazy recovery sort of day.  It was a really nice christmas.

So transfers are next week!  I can't believe how quickly they keep flying by.  My twin, Hna Bills, goes home in less than a week!  Crazy!  We have decided that we need to pick a day and we are going to dress like twins.  Randomly we have several of the same shirts and skirts, so now we just have to decide which we want to choose.  I think what's crazy about her leaving is I have always measured my mission by her mission because I met her on my very first day on the ride down to Las Cruces in the transfer van.  Now that she is going home, it's one of those slight freak-out moments where you are like "wait! You're done?! That's impossible!"  It's been fun getting to serve around her.  We've probably spent the most time that is possible without actually being companions.  What else is new?  One of the Assistants to the president is going home this transfer and like i've been saying for the past 4 transfers Elder Taylor is now the new assistant.  When he left Mount Franklin he was sad that he wouldn't get to speak as much spanish in his group up in santa fe and now he gets to speak no spanish at all in an english singles ward.  I think I'll stick to my spanish wards and enchiladas.  Yum!

So one thing I have noticed here in ABQ is that basically every single house or fence has a "Beware of Dog" sign.  I think I saw more dogs in El Paso, but I have seen more signs here.  Loco!  Anyway, so I had a dream two nights ago and I was walking up this street and I was passing by all of the Beware of Dog signs when I came upon a different type of sign.  It said "Beware of Rattle snakes"  I was like that is so clever.  Who needs pit bulls when you just fill the front yard will rattlesnakes.  The only problem was as we were walking by the fence the rattlesnake went through the slats that a pit bull can't get through and bit me!  So then I spent the rest of the dream going to the hospital and wondering how I was going to explain to president Miller that I couldn't work this week because I didn't heed the "Beware of Rattlesnake" sign good enough.  Desert dreams!

We are teaching some really wonderful people right now.  We have this new family that we found talking to people out on the street and what's interesting is they are only visiting their mom/gma for the holidays and are returning to Belen in a few days.  The interesting part is that the spanish sisters in Belen (one who happens to be Hna Mitchell!) met this same family about a week before we did.  It is a very small world sometimes.  We've been having fun teaching them and the kids are the cutest things ever!

Probably one of my favorite people here is a recent convert named Soledad.  She was baptized the week before I got here.  They had found her 3 weeks before that at a bus stop and she basically asked the sisters when she could be baptized.  Soledad is a firecracker!  She is in her 70's but don't let that fool you.  She says the funniest things and she is just awesome.  She owns the crazy cat that growls when she is sitting on your lap, but won't move.  She'll just bite you until you leave her alone, so she can go back to sleeping on your lap.  Yesterday the cat was in a mad battle with my keychain and wouldn't let us leave because she had a death grip on the keys!  We had a really touching lesson with Soledad yesterday when we talked about temples.  She started to cry when we talked about eternal families and how she could be with her mom and dad again.  The spirit was really strong and it's one of those moments in the mission when you think, "This is why we do it."  We leave everything behind and come to a place where we don't know anyone often thousands of miles from home and have good days and bad days.  We hit the pavement with blisters or sore rear ends (if you ride a bike) in blistering heat or freezing cold.  We talk to hundreds of people and more often than not we get rejected, but we do it to help the one.  We do it, to sit in a lesson and feel the spirit testify to someone that they can be with their family forever.  There is nothing greater than the life of a missionary.  I thank my Father in Heaven every day for this chance I have to serve him and helping him to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and that we all take a little time to remember all of the wonderful blessings which Heavenly Father has blessed us with this past year.

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Week 61 - December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!  Feliz Navidad!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  I know I am.  Actually Christmas came early this year.  We received a call yesterday and we are now sporting a new chevy cruz!  It makes the poor malib look like chopped liver!  Pobrecita!  We are excited to be able to visit more people now and really kick things up past 6 gear!  hehe  We still will ride the bikes during the day, but it will be nice not to freeze at bus stops at night.  This past week the bus didn't come once so we ended up waiting another 45 minutes until the next bus came, so we could go to the ward christmas party.  It will also be a nice change for my feet!  Even my blisters have blisters now!  Oh well...Shall we not go on in so great a cause? 

Sunday was nice.  We had a christmas program with lots of music.  I don't know what has changed since being on a mission, but I feel like I am being repeatedly dragged outside my comfort zone for music during church.  First playing the piano and now singing duets in sacrament meeting!  A sister noticed me singing alto for the Relief society choir so she asked me to sing with her a christmas song.  I agreed because I can do alto, but then when she told me how she wanted us to sing it, she had me starting out singing soprano with a solo!  I nearly died of fright!  Give me a room full of people to talk to about the gospel any day but ask me to sing is a whole another matter.  Well luckily I think it went well and from what people told us it sounded nice, but I don't know if we can trust them with all the christmas spirit and niceness floating around. :)

Wow this is kind of a short letter.  This week went by so fast.  We have been teaching some really wonderful people, so that is always a bonus.  I am excited to let you all know about christmas next week.  We have some fun plans including all of us missionaries heading to Tucanos for christmas eve lunch today!  Yumm!  Well be safe!  I love you all!  Feliz Navidad!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

The new 2014 Chevy Cruz
Christmas Eve Lunch at Tucano's

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 60 - December 17, 2013

Querida Familia!  Amigos! 

How is everybody doing?  I am doing great!  Especially since it has gotten a little warmer in ABQ and I am not an icicle anymore!  Yay!  We are looking pretty good on our bikes.  We were riding with the other sisters to dinner on Sunday and these two extreme bikers with the outfits were riding by and I said "Yeah that's how good we look too!" (Yeah right)  hehe As long as I don't look completely ridiculous on a bike I am happy!  I am getting pretty good at mounting and dismounting in a skirt.  Plus we get to talk to lots of people.  Strange things happen here though.  Just the other day we were headed to dinner and we see these two cowboys riding their horses in downtown ABQ going to Sonic!  I wish I had gotten a picture, but they didn't turn out. :(  Maybe they'll want another half price shake next week too!

Well just when I think I won't have a roach story to tell, one magically appears.  I made it all the way through the week until yesterday.  We were sitting in this new lady's house and I saw one walking across the floor and so I smashed him with my foot.  The lady said they had lots of roaches and I told her that I understood completely.  So we continue talking to her and not more then 5 minutes later I feel this crawling on my hand and I looked down in horror to see one walking on my hand!  That was a first!  Ok I shrieked a little and flung it away, but I was proud that I didn't totally scream and jump.  Just a little one. :)  I now have a cockroach sling slot (thanks Stephanie) so watch out little buggers I'm gonna get you!

We are having success finding people because we have made a goal to talk to as many people as we can each day.  We are meeting lots of wonderful people, but we have also had some interesting experiences.  Actually just yesterday there was this elderly lady walking down the street and she kept stopping and she was holding a bag.  So we flipped around and turned the corner to go ask her if she needed help.  I saw her ahead and she had just done one of her stops.  I pulled up next to her and I asked if she needed any help and she just stared at me.  She gave me a kinda a creepy stare.  I asked in spanish because maybe that was the problem.  She didn't say anything and kept staring, so I told her to gave a great day and I started to bike way.  I had hardly gone two paces when she gave this super loud piercing scream and I looked back and she was staring at me and screamed at me to get away from her.  My poor companion had been behind her and she just looked afraid.   We left, but it was really weird. I didn't expect that reaction.  As I was pondering on this experience it made me think of people in the scriptures and church history and the mobs that had intense hatred for people for doing nothing wrong.  Even the Savior of the world was mocked and crucified.  I am nowhere near the caliber of those people in the scriptures, but I am proud to wear His name and withstand a little bit of unpleasantness that others too have felt in his behalf.

Last week we had zone conference and Elder Foster of the Seventy came.  It was awesome!  I am feeling inspired and uplifted!   So they always do car inspections first and we just got to socialize and not have to feel guilty when they had to tell other missionaries to get back to work.  Maybe in the future they will do bike inspections.  That might be good, although I am getting pretty good at fixing a bike and the best thing about living in an old elders apartment is all of the tools that we have.  Like WD40. What sisters apartment would just randomly have some of that stashed away when you need it?!  So thanks Elders!  Back to zone conference.  Elder Foster talked about missionary work!  Surprise!  He talked about where missionary work is heading and how we are a partnership with the ward.  He talked about the different phases of missionary work.  Phase one: Missionaries doing work.  Phase 2 members helping missionaries.  Phase 3 missionaries helping members do missionary work!  Right now the majority of the units are in phase one or two, but when we all catch the vision together and realize that every member has a responsibility to share the gospel, we will get to phase three and the Lord will pour out his blessings upon us!  It's important to see that missionary work isn't just the theme for this month or this year, but is going to be continue to a central focus and you can bet the apostles and prophets will continue to talk about it's importance.  So go help your missionaries!  We need you!

The other point that really stood out to me was during Sister Foster's talk.  She used the phrase "I can do hard things."  Ever since I went to Philmont at the end of my senior year, that has been a little bit of a recurring theme that has popped up in school life and here on the mission.  It was just in brief passing, but it felt like the Lord included that just for me.  I know the Lord knows each of us.  Missionary work is one of the most rewarding, but it can also be one of the most challenging things.  You have good days and bad days.  You have cockroaches and old ladies that love you or scream at you in street.  I have been stretched and pushed to my limit on various occasions, but that's what life's about.  It's about growing and learning, and I know the Lord doesn't give us anything that we can't handle.  He gives us experiences and trials to help us become who we are meant to be.  I want you to know that I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that He is the head of this great work.  This time of year we should all spend a little less time thinking about ourselves and more time thinking of others and most importantly our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Pellet is enjoying his transfer north!  He likes doing exercises in the morning with us!

Pellet Exercising

Sisters on bikes...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Week 59 - December 10, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Ok so it's been fun getting into the swing of things up here, but I think I am getting our area down pretty well.  At least I don't feel lost anymore. :)  We are pro's at getting on and off the bus and we can even do it with our bikes.  That always seems to draw attention to itself.  We are friends with all the bus drivers and they always like to comment on the bikes.  It's good being friends with the bus drivers because one night when we were waiting for the sisters to come pick us up to take us to dinner they were late about 30 minutes and it was freezing outside.  A bus driver was waiting to start his route and he came over and talked to us for a minute and then said I have 10 minutes before I leave and you can go sit on my bus.  Well he didn't need to ask twice we were on that bus lickety split to get warm.  Yay for little blessings.

As I have already mentioned it is really cold and we actually got some snow this past week.  That's ok because people take pity on the cold sister missionaries and let us inside to warm up a bit.  We did see some strange sights including a cactus with snow on it.  You don't see that everyday.  I'll include a picture for you to enjoy. 

I am not sure what it is about me that attracts cockroaches, but I've got a good story for you.  So we are teaching this man named Oliver and his family.  He has lots of questions, but he really wants to know the truth, so it's fun teaching him.  Anyway we decided to watch the Joseph Smith movie.  Just before we started it there was a knock at the door and it was the apartment manager telling them that they would be coming in tomorrow to spray.  I should have known that didn't bode well.  Anyway I was sitting on the edge of the couch closest to the wall and near the start of the movie I see this little black shape creeping along the wall.  Sure enough cockroach.  I would know those creepy crawlers anywhere.  So I do my best to ignore it and we are all watching the movie.  At one point the little kid plops a kitten on my lap so I am petting the kitten.  We are probably about 3/4 through the movie when I see him crawling on my armrest right next to my coat and scarf.  I move a little bit and I loose track of him in the couch!  So now I am slightly freaking out because I don't want to distract from the movie, but I am having these horrible images of him crawling in my coat and hitching a ride home with me.  If I had been quick enough I would have sicked the kitty on it, but I was given instructions by Katherine Hatch to stop feeding cockroaches to cats because that's gross! Hehe  Well the kitty was no help and I am squeezed as close as I can get to my companion trying in vain in the dark to locate this cockroach.  After about 5 minutes of unpleasantness I see him walking towards my face on the back of the couch and I steeled my nerves, took aim and I flicked that cockroach as hard as I could off the couch without making a single noise.  Win!  I saw him (or at least I think it was him) Crawling along the back wall near the christmas tree a little while later.  I must be a cockroach whisperer and they are just drawn to me!

We are still working on finding lots of new people.  We have been going through the area book and finding people to stop in and see if they are interested in taking the lessons again.  The good thing is that we are teaching, just not as much as I would like.  Hopefully things will keep picking up and we will have some people start progressing towards baptism.  We are working with one kid named Cesar, but he hasn't ever come to church and that is key.  Hopefully, he will come this Sunday.  He didn't come this past sunday because of the snow...grrrrr.  ABQ is just like Washington where everything shuts down for a little sprinkle of snow.  Oh well.  It doesn't look like there is any more snow in the forecast so that's good.  Hopefully we will stay a little bit warmer.

We are excited because this coming week because we have a Seventy coming for our Christmas Zone Conference on Saturday.  We are all really excited to hear what he has to say.  Plus Zone conference is always amazing, so it's for sure going to a good one.  Well that's about it for this week.  We are going to try and head over to old town with what's left of our P-day and see what's there.  When we accidentally tracked into that street it looked really cute, so we'll see!  I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Snow on the cactus
Sisters in Rio Grande ward all wore purple
Hot air balloon mural

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 58 - December 3, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Well it's official! I am now serving in the New Mexico Albuquerque mission (instead of what seemed like the El Paso, Texas mission) and I am right in the heart of downtown Albuquerque.  If there is one thing I have learned about missions it's that the Lord doesn't let you get comfortable.  He will jerk you again and again outside of your comfort zone and make you grow a little bit more.  Well I'm growing again as I conquer my fears of a big city...again.  Really, wasn't El Paso downtown enough? :)

Well about two weeks ago Hna Fallentine and I were talking and I made the mistake of wondering what would be harder...riding a bike in 115 during the summer or 15 during the winter.  Well we all know the Lord has a sense of humor and I'll let you know as soon as I have decided.  Yep that's right.  Good missionaries get put in bike/car share areas, but awesome missionaries get put back in full bike areas.  Yay!  I can eat all the Christmas food I want and not feel guilty at all!  Wahoo!

Ok so let's see.  A lot has happened this week.  On Tuesday we were at the transfer site at around 10am.  I just happened to drive the Zone leaders truck up.  They have this little hamster named Pellet in the truck that sits up front with a button that says ask me why I am awesome.  Well I just couldn't resist.  So I had Hna Biancardi write a little note that said "Dear elders I am being transferred north.  Love Pellet.   PS sisters rule!"  :)  So I was all about getting into the transfer van quick before the elders noticed he was missing and came and hunted me down.  It actually was just perfect.  We were sitting at the stop light, them in their truck about to head south and us in the van about to head north, and they looked over and pellet waved goodbye to them.  The looks on the elders faces' was priceless.  The entire transfer van was rolling in laughter.  I think I might have to ransom pellet for an amor por juarez sticker.  I never got one of those.  So Pellet is currently enjoying his first transfer up north.  He was pretty excited to ride a bike too!

Hermana Bills and I both came up north and we are serving in...are you ready for this...RIO GRANDE.  Yep I am serving in Rio Grande again.  Hehe.  Actually this ward was mentioned in conference about a year ago.  It's like a really awesome ward, so I am excited to work!  My new companion is Hermana Gubeli.  She is from Gunnison, Utah and she'll be 21 in January, so not too much of a young'un.  We are getting along great and I think we'll have a lot of success together.  The only down side about my new area is the apartment.  Elders had lived in this apartment for who knows how long and it has been slightly abused.  I believe we should make things better when we leave then when we came, so we are going to make sure that the next sisters who come won't even realize Elders had lived there. We have cleaned and scrubbed and got rid of the ugly bench press and overall have made our apartment a little nicer.  We are still working on the interesting smell that accompanies the apartment.  It makes me think of the movie Tangled where he tells her to take a big whiff and overall it just smells like the color brown.  :D  Well if it's not roaches it's something else.

Thanksgiving was really nice.  We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner.   We actually were able to visit a few people which was good.  It was pretty low key overall and really just felt like another day as a missionary.  The best part is taking the time to remember all of the blessings we have been given.  I am always amazed at all of the little blessings the Lord has given me and I know there are so many blessings that he has given me that I don't even know of.  Hopefully we can all remember to take a little time to ponder on the wonderful gifts that we have been given in this special time of year.  Love you all!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Pellet in his new bike area

New companions

Can she really get it to go that fast?