Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 70 - February 25, 2014

Querida Familia,

Where has another week gone?!  Although it's amazing how much longer an 8 day work week seems when p-day goes all wonky with transfers.  Hopefully I don't have another one of those, but they are starting zone conferences next week and one of them is on Tuesday so some of the zones down there are having another Monday p-day.

We had one day this week of super strong wind and we had this one glorious moment of almost hitting a tumbleweed, but we just barely missed it!  Later in the day we had a consolation prize as I ran over a potato chip that was lying in the middle of the road.  It wasn't nearly exciting, but at least we got to crunch something under our tire.  Speaking of cars the mainish street by our house is called 8th ave,  Well it has been under construction the whole time I have been here and there are all these little yellow cone-like poles that line the roads.  Well at first it always made me think of the movie's version of driver ed...don't hit the yellow cones!  However, this week they moved the cones and there was this one turn that made cars turn sharply and I'm not kidding you it looked like something out of Mario cart!  It was like all the cars swerving to avoid the bananas or something and then they had to swerve the other way again.  The next day the construction workers had the cones in a better position because they must have though Mario cart on 8th wasn't such a smart idea after all. :-)

So I don't think I've mentioned how in my letters how oftentimes when we knock on a door someone shouts behind the door "Quien es?!" as in who is it?  Well when we say the missionaries and this is usually followed by several quien...quien...quien?!"  as we repeatedly try and explain who we are through a closed door.  You would think it would just be easier to open the door and look, but whatever floats their boat.  Anyway so as we were waiting on the door step of one house after they had told us to wait I turned to Sister Budge and said the next time that someone asks me quien es I am going to say "soy una hija de dios" (I am a daughter of God) and see if that gets them to open the door up faster. :-)  So on Sunday night we were having a hard time finding any one home.  Well we tried this one less active lady and she sent her son to tell us she wasn't home, even though the car was there and we heard her taking. Oh well...anyway so we were sitting in the car trying to figure out who we should try or if we should head in for the night, because it was getting close to 9pm.  Plus it had been kind of a long night and we were feeling tired and a little weary.  Well we were looking through the ward directory and one of the names lived on a street called Morning Dew.  I knew I had seen that street somewhere, but it wasn't on the map we had, so we passed that name and continued looking for another person.  Well we weren't finding any on the directory so we decided to drive somewhere else and as we were driving I saw a street sign and lo and behold we had been sitting on the street Morning Dew.  Well we took that as a sign that we should try one last person for the night.  The man on Morning Dew....kinda sounds like it could be the sequel to the movie The Man from Snowy River :)  Well we knocked on the house and from inside what do we hear..."quien es?!"  We say the missionaries and the normal back of forth of trying to explain who we are and them not understanding begins again!  Ahh!  Well finally he figures out who we are and tells us to wait while he changes.  So we are waiting on the porch when our phone rings and so I answered it, but just as I answered it he opened the door so Hermana Budge is flying solo talking to him while I am quickly telling our other investigator we will call him in a little while.  Well I heard as I was on the phone Hermana Budge ask if there was a woman in the house and then she walked in so I followed assuming she had received an affirmative answer.  Well we are standing in the entrance way and I am only seeing him so I ask if his wife is home and he says he's alone, so I am giving Hermana Budge the look and am trying to get us back out the door.  Last time I trust the greenie to see if there was someone else home. ;-) Well he is not having any of that and is trying to get us to stay and telling us that he is an old man and he can't do anything.  Well we know it's the principle of the rule not that we are worried about him, so we are trying to leave through the door and he is heading into the kitchen to make us hot chocolate.  I keep telling him we need to go and he just keeps ignoring me.  The whole time hermana budge is dying trying not to laugh as I am being schooled by an 80 year old man who is bound and determined to have us drink hot chocolate before he will let us leave.  We are standing in door waiting awkwardly and he is chatting at us through the doorway, while making us drinks, about everything from him being sick to loving the bible.  Finally we are able to say goodbye with two hot chocolates and a big bag cookies and an appointment to come back and visit him for real when we have someone else with us.  It was pretty comical all around and it was exactly what we needed to cheer us up. We laughed the whole way home and as a bonus the hot chocolate was really good.

All in all this week has been very good.  We have been working really hard and we have lots of people that are working towards baptism.  We have 7 people right now with baptism dates, so hopefully in March they will be baptized.  The hardest thing is getting people to come to church.  The biggest roadblock is working on Sunday.  We just have to have faith and continue to pray that they will receive the answer where they should be on Sundays.  In the meantime I am loving every minute of teaching and getting to share my testimony with people that I love more deeply then I would have imagined possible.

To close, I did want to share this thought that I read in personal study this week.  It was all about plans and how sometimes those plans don't go through.  I read it because as I missionary I know a thing or two about having plans fall through.  The quote that I really loved: "Some may even find that “plan B” was simply a way of making His “plan A” a reality.  I have seen this in my own life.  Had my plan A worked out I would never have come on a mission, a blessing that has truly changed my life.  I know that the Lord's plan A for me all along was to come on a mission and I am grateful that he lead me in life through all sorts of different plans until I found the right one.  I know that this pattern will continue as I put my trust and faith in the Lord.  I love my Savior so much and I am grateful for everything he has done for me.

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 69 - Feb 17, 2014

My sweet family,

Well I guess most of you already know that my sweet puppy and my heartdog Juby (Aka squishyman) passed away yesterday.  My heart is sad that my little squishy is gone, but my heart is full of the memories I have with him: playing hokey pokey with him, dress him up like a chicken, wins and losses in obedience, scolding him for eating things he shouldn't, crying in his neck when I was sad, choking in his hair when he tried to smoother me when coughing, having a baby bunny in his mouth that he caught but him being so gentle it wasn't hurt, barking at me across the ring when it was hot, people asking if he was a statue when he slept on the super's table at fair, sleeping side by floor because he never liked to sleep next to me because I was too hot, he was the only dog/person that could barf and have diarrhea all over my bedroom floor at 2 in the morning and I wouldn't be mad...well too mad - you know me and smells, following me room to room, his ears poking underneath the closed bathroom door, sneaking him food at the table, crying the last time I gave him a bath before I left on my mission thinking it would be last time I would have the chance, him jumping in my suitcase as I packed for my mission, getting to see him one last time on skype over christmas, knowing that he was able to go sleep on his favorite vent one last time.  I remember the first time I saw Juby and he was barking his head off (as much as he could :) ) and he was covered in mud and I thought not that one please.  All these years later I can't thank my Father in Heaven enough for sending me the perfect dog to be my ever-faithful companion.  Until we meet again squishyman you will always have a very special place in my heart.

Juby Agility

Katie and Juby

It's been a little bit of a roller-coaster week.  First off this was transfer week and no news is good news.  Yep I am staying and so is Hermana Budge.  I felt pretty sure all week that I was staying, but it always is nice to hear it come out of the district leader's mouth for sure.  We are super excited to have this last transfer together.  Now we know for sure that my daughter is going to "kill me" in missionary terms.  Both the Zone leaders are being transferred because they are moving the zone leader area, so they are leaving to be zone leaders elsewhere.  We will have to see what new elders are coming.  It's weird to think that starting on Wednesday I am the oldest sister in the mission...in mission time and probably in real time as well.  I'm not even tied with anyone.  I came in the lone sister and I will be leaving the lone sister.

I guess I should say Happy Valentine's day - or not.  So on Friday I felt ok when I got up, but by the time we left for district meeting my tummy was not doing too well.  Towards the end of the meeting we left to use the restroom and I lost all of the contents of my stomach.  That was then followed by 9 hours of not being able to eat or drink anything because I was throwing up so hard.  I was feeling pretty miserable by the end of the day and I just wanted to get better.  I asked the Elders to give me a blessing and they came around 8:30 that night.  I had thrown up probably 20 minutes before they got there.  Well they gave me a blessing and the Elder said my body would be healed instantly.  I've had blessing that said you will heal quickly or be able to finish what you need to, but never that direct of a promise.  After they left I started sipping liquids and they stayed down and I never threw up again.  Talk about the power of the priesthood.  I know that blessings are real things.  Plus it was also interesting that after he said I would heal instantly he said that I would need to rest.  It was like my Heavenly Father shaking his head down at me telling me to stay in bed and let my body rest.  Hermana Budge was laughing about that particular word as well because earlier around 3pm I was in tears feeling guilty about not working and she was calling me ridiculous because I was puking my guts out… "Do you want to hear a message about...bleaa!"  Yeah I think that approach would have gotten us a lot of new investigators.

I don't know what it is with me and the Lord sending me toilets.  We just had dinner with a member and it was about time for a pit-stop.  We were on the lookout for a bathroom.  As we we driving out of the neighborhood where this family lived, out of the corner of our eye we spotted a house with a front lawn covered in toilets.  I guess I know where my wagon load of toilets went...hehehe!  We actually had to do a back track so we could take a picture of those toilets even as we were laughing.  Then that night as we were visiting a member family who has a niece and nephew who are learning about the church.  As we were leaving they gave us a parting gift.  Most people give us water bottles, cookies, fruit, but what did they give us; 4 huge rolls of toilet paper!  Yes I never have to buy t-p on my mission again! Toilets, toilet paper all in one day Really?!

Toilet in the yard

The TP Gift

 The miracle story this week starts off with our recent convert who quit her job, so she could come to church.  She wanted to take us out to eat for lunch and the restaurant was outside of our zone, so we had to get permission to leave the zone, which we received.  As we were driving we passed the road Paseo del Norte which is the road the temple was off way up on the other side of town.  I had a thought that we should go to the temple, but I reasoned that it is pretty far, I didn't know if she would want to and we would have to receive more special permission from the assistants to go up there.  So we had a great lunch and as we were leaving I kept having the thought take Olga to the temple.  Well finally as we got back in the car I asked her if that is something she would like to do.  She said yes and so I tried calling the assistants to get permission.  Well they didn't answer and we were quickly approaching the street where we would have to turn.  Well I started a text and then erased it and thought it's not going to happen.  The impression to call the assistants again right then came, so I called and this time they answered.  They gave us the permission just as we passed Paseo del Norte.  We quickly did a u-turn at the next light and we were off to the temple.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  The sun was out and the temple looked radiant as always.  We got out of the car and we walked around the outside of the temple.  The spirit is so strong even on the outside of that special place.  Olga was in love with the fountain.  As she walked around the temple she kept saying thank you for giving me this gift and bringing me here.  We didn't do that much she is the one who drove. :)  Well when we were driving back home Olga shared with me that she had a dream right after she was baptized.  She was standing outside of a beautiful temple nestled in mountains, but she couldn't go inside.  She said that this day was her dream.  I was instantly humbled and grateful that the Lord used us to help bring her dream to pass she had several months ago.

With Olga at the Temple

These are the miracles that the Lord has in store for each of us.  I know that miracles are real and that God does exist because I have seen his hand every day in mission.  Thank you for all the prayers in my behalf.  They really do make a difference.  I love you so much!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week 68 - February 11, 2014

Buenas Tardes Familia!

How is everybody doing?!  I hear that my mother is posting falsehoods about how much time I have left!  Ignore the Facebook post!  I still have an eternity to serve!  :-)   I can hardly believe that my last transfer starts next week.  I am not really sure where the time has gone.  I am hoping I get to stay in Rio Grande with Hna Budge.  There is no reason to change us, so hopefully we will stay.

So we have had a fun week.  Where should I start...

I received a package Thursday last week from UPS so I had to sign for it.  The funny part was when I opened the door and he says I have a package for H-her-hermana.  Hehe people who don't speak spanish are funny when they think "sister" is my first name.  I just go with it and tell them it is pronounced Ermana.  Not sure what my mother was thinking giving me a name with a silent H on it.  Weird. :-)

So I hear that good old Washington was buried under snow this week.  I think it was last week that we had a tiny bit of snow, but nothing major.  It does however get cold at night even if we get to enjoy nice 60 degree days.  I have to tell you the sad story of the fishy.  As background, whenever my family has ever been slow to respond to an email I often send the following email "Fishy why are you sleeping?"  Usually they respond very promptly.  Well as I was on exchanges this week we went to this house and they had a pond.  A very cute little pond out in front of their house.  However, a tragedy occurred in that little fateful pond.  I have included a picture because I couldn't resist.  Two poor little fishies are sleeping never to answer again.  The pond froze and these little fishies in their attempt to escape didn't quite make it out and now are forever frozen there little fishy bodies stuck in the ice as a sad witness to all that ABQ can be cold at nights.  So no making fun of me for being a cold weather pansy.  It's so cold in ABQ that things meet their end!

The Fishies
Other than that I had a really good exchange.  I went to the singles ward with Hermana Morris.  That is the sister who's brother served in Ridgefield ward.  We had a good time and we taught some good lessons.  There was a little miracle involved with this exchange as well.  We were actually suppose to go on exchanges on Tuesday night, but I was sick so we had to reschedule.  We were planning on doing it this week, but then another companionship of sisters got sick on Thursday night, so we ended up doing it pretty last minute after zone conference on Friday.  The miracle was that on Friday night, Olga and her son Justin were getting baptized at the stake center.  I had been wishing that I could go, but even though it's in the zone, it's too far to travel.  Well with the exchange being moved to Friday I was in Los Lunas that night and we happened to have a baptismal interview for the other sisters that night at the stake center.  So I was able to see Olga right after she was baptized and get a picture with her and tell her how happy I was for her.  So the Lord works in mysterious ways.  Sometimes even through fevers. :-)

Exchange with Hermana Miller

Olga, Justin and Dulce after the baptism

Another cute story tied to that fever is when Crystal (one of our investigators who is going to be baptized at the beginning of March) was texting us because we had to reschedule our visit since I couldn't go out that night and work.  After we got all of our new plans arranged Crystal texted me and said "I will pray for you because now I know how."  It was one of those moments that melts your heart.  It is such a blessing to know that I am helping people in their lives.  Something as simple as teaching someone how to pray to their Heavenly Father has such a huge impact on the rest of their lives.  It's another moment that just shows me that this mission is exactly where I am meant to be.

Tug-o-war with Sugar, Crystal's dog
Another miracle we had this week was finding Mona and her daughter Johana.  Well we actually found them about 2 weeks ago but we weren't able to have our first lesson with them until this past week.  We had this great lesson as we built Jesus Christ's church with Jenga blocks.  It was interesting because she has an almost two year old son who really liked the Jenga blocks and thought it was lots of fun to throw the Jenga blocks around.  You know you are an experienced missionary when you can teach while Jenga blocks rocket past your face without getting distracted.  We actually went back last night and Mona had found one of the Jenga blocks that we had missed in our clean-up from the last lesson.  He was really throwing those blocks!  Mona is really excited about the Book of Mormon.  She said her mom had a copy on her shelf but she never knew where it came from.  She also was interested to find out that Joseph Smith didn't write the Book of Mormon, but that it was written here in ancient America and that Joseph Smith only translated the book.  I am excited to see where this little family goes.

Well if I ever had any fears that I won't get married, they have all been put to rest.  For one of our dinners I ended up helping the Sister finish making homemade flour tortillas, which are delicious by the way.  Anyway as I was cooking them on the hot plate they were getting really big and fluffy.  Well she walked over and told me that if you can make tortillas puff up like that it means that you will get married and be a good wife.  Good to know.  It reminds me of the time I was like 10 in cooking 4-H and the guest at my breakfast turned to me and told me that "You make good wife."  Yep as I recall I spilled hot chocolate all over the table after he said that because I became so nervous. :)  So, I not only know how to make some fantastic tortillas, but they have predicted my wonderful married future ahead of me.  From all of the proposals I've received on mission I'm sure I can find someone. hehe  Plus the the tortillas have spoken, so what else is there to say.

Well last but not least we have had some great member missionary work this week.  One of our recent converts, Manuel, invited us to come share the gospel with his buddy.  By the time we got to the lesson he had three other people there as well ready to listen to the lesson.  All he did was ask them if they wanted to sit in and they all said yes.  It was interesting teaching 4 different people at once, but also challenging because you are trying to address all of their individual needs and teach a lesson as well.  It went really well and they all are learning more about the church right now.

Our other recent convert, Olga, had an interesting week as well.  She hasn't been able to come to church since the start of the year because she works a night shift and with our ward moving to 11am it was too hard.  She kept asking her boss to change her days off from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday so she  can come to church.  They originally told her yes and then they changed and told her no and they kept giving her the run around.  It's a sad thing to see because I have seen so many people who stop coming to church because of work and bam 5-10 years have passed and they have forgotten their testimonies about the gospel.  We have been praying a lot for Olga and on Saturday we stopped by to see if she was home, but we weren't sure if she would be sleeping.  She opened the door and was super excited to see us and proceeded to tell us that the night before she had quit her job.  She was so happy and excited to tell us and she kept saying that she has faith that God is going to help her find a new job and that she wants to go to church.  Sure enough she was at church the next day.  I absolutely love her and her desire to put the Lord first.  What a great example she is of faith and trusting in God.

Well that was a long letter.  I'd better stop writing otherwise you will all fall asleep at your computers.  I love you all so much and we'll talk to you in a week!

Les Quiero,
Hermana Klaus

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 67 - January 4, 2014

Querida Familia,

So I was pondering on the date, and 8 years ago today I got my license to drive.  Crazy!  Where has the time gone?!  It seems like just yesterday that I was learning how to drive, but it wasn't.  Good thing I got my license because it has come in handy on my mission.  I don't think I or my rear end could have survived 18 months on a bike! hehe  So yay for getting a license a long time ago!

It has been the time of tumbleweeds here in ABQ.  Hermana Budge I have tried in vain to run down a tumbleweed.  There can be 4 or 5 tumbleweeds just rolling in front of us taunting us with the roundy explodiness, but they go too fast or too slow and we can never time it just right to watch them burst into a million pieces.  It has been entertaining to watch other cars to enjoy the epicness of exploding a tumbleweed, but alas it is just not the same as getting the satisfaction of doing it yourself.  I don't know how much longer we will see them rolling around, but maybe there is still hope.

Winter definitely isn't ready to let go quite yet.  We had a little snow shower last night.  Hna Budge was like a little Utah girl on Christmas to see snow again!  :)  I am now too much of a Texan/New Mexican and it just makes me cold!

Hermana Budge and I are having adventures of all sorts.  We have to take care every time we walk out of a room in the apartment because it seems like one of us is always hiding behind the wall ready to jump out and scare each other.  We've had some good reactions.  Hmm maybe I'll have to find a way to buy a nerf gun without her seeing and then we'll see who's surprised!  It's wonderful being able to serve with good friends and have fun, but always be ready to get down and work hard as well.

One funny thing that happened this week was during companionship study.  I seem to always be losing pens, but I've been really careful not to misplace this one pen I have been using.  Well we were reading together in preach my gospel and I went to make a note and all of the sudden I couldn't find my pen.  I am looking all over for it.  On the desk, in the desk, on the floor etc.  Hna Budge is looking around too and we can't find it.  Well it's one of those moments where you just can't let it go so as we continue with companionship study I am slightly distracted about where in the world my pen could have gone.  I mean it was on my desk one minute and then the next it was gone!  I used another pen to write my little note and we were both just baffled about the mystery of the lost pen.  Probably 15 minutes later when I have pretty much forgotten about my mission pen, I start to feel my hair fall out.  I reach up to fix it and wouldn't ya know my pen was stuck in my hair.  I had my hair down that morning and then without remembering I had used my pen to knot up my hair, so it was off my neck.  I started laughing and Hna Budge probably thought I was a little nuts until she saw where my pen had been.  I got to give her a bad time too because she saw me looking for my pen all over and she never noticed it in my hair either.  Needless to say I have my pen back and I will try not to lose it in my hair again!

This weekend was awesome.  We had stake conference and the Saturday night session was one of the best conference sessions I have ever been to.  It was all on missionary work, which is why President Miller wanted us to be there.  They had about 6 people give short 5 minute talks on a variety of missionary topics.  One of the neatest ones was the Young Adult in the singles ward who actually opened up his mission call in front of all of us.  The Stake president had been sweating bullets all week because his call wasn't coming and wasn't coming.  The stake president kept sending texts...did it come yet, did it come yet?!  Finally at 3pm on Saturday the call came and that is nice, because it meant he only had to wait 4 extra hours instead of a few extra days to open his mission call.  He was shaking on the stand as he opened it.  He got all teary eyed and his voice cracked when he read to us that he had been called to the Madrid Spain Mission.  If that doesn't help people feel the spirit of missionary work I'm not sure what will!  The entire room was electrified!

This other man told a story about a little boy who really wanted to help share the gospel, but he was told that he was too little and that he couldn't.  Well that little boy was so sad that he went to the town's graveyard and he got on his soap box so to speak and standing on a broken down stump he started to preach to the empty grounds.  He bore his testimony on the Savior Jesus Christ, the restoration, the plan of salvation, our purpose on earth, and everything else that he could think of.  He spent most of his "preaching" talking to a run down rusty car with all it's windows shattered.  Well that Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and the little boy sat in the bench feeling sad that he couldn't share the gospel because people told him he was too young and small when an old man got up to bear his testimony.  Nobody recognized the old man and when he spoke he thanked the little boy for sharing his testimony with him.  He said that I was laying in the backseat the entire time and your simple testimony is why I am here today.

Then the Stake President was hilarious.  He told of the time he tried out with his friend (who wanted to meet a girl) for a yell leader on the cheerleading team.  He talked of the horror and humiliation of the open audition.  He had us all rolling in our chairs laughing.  He told the stake that he was waving his spiritual pom poms and telling us to get in the game.  It is time for missionaries and members to work together to bring this message to all the world.  I hope that people don't just say oh that was a nice conference and then leave things the way they are.  If you're satisfied with what you are getting out, then keep doing what you are doing, but if you want more, then put in more.  There is no greater joy than to share the gospel.  We don't have to be perfect to share the gospel, but we have to share the gospel to become perfect.  I know that is the truth and that we can all put a little more work into our own missionary efforts and the Lord will pour out his blessing upon us.  I love each and everyone of you and I am so grateful for the prayers that have been uttered in behalf of myself and all of the missionaries around the world.

Les Quiero,
Hermana Klaus