This has by far been one of the strangest weeks yet of my mission! So many random things happened! I will try and document most of the weirdness in chronological order.
Tuesday: We taught an Ateo (atheist) who is from Peru, which was interesting to teach because it is so hard to teach the gospel to someone who doesn't believe in a God! It was so hard for me to understand his point of view when I see evidence that God exists every single day! The lesson seemed to go alright, he isn't interested in learning more but he was very polite about it, which is fine. Now this is where is gets weirder. On our way out the door we were saying our goodbyes and I shook his hand and before I could even understand what was going on, he pulls me in and plants a big ol' kiss on my right cheek! This small time frame of a few seconds is a little fuzzy because I was in utter shock, but I do remember feeling like someone just burned a hole into my face, and then without saying a word, turning and walking out the door. Now this would have been much weirder if he was American, but it is just part of the hispanic culture to greet with a kiss on the cheek. The women in the ward do it alllllll the time, but the men know that as missionaries we are not to be kissed, hugged, or anything past a handshake. I haven't even hugged a man since I was set apart as a missionary, so to receive a kiss was REALLY weird and I felt really really really gross. Once Hna. Blanco and I were out of sight we both squealed and jumped around and expressed out utterly disgusted we were, haha, the Elders thought it was hilarious and said I was an apostate missionary. Rude.
Thursday: I woke up feel very sick, just was really weak and like I was going to throw up. So, we called Sister Hansen and she said I probably had the flu that was going around and that I needed to stay in bed for 3-4 days. My reaction was "Chyeah right!" I did NOT come on a mission to lay in bed for four days! Although I was polite to Sister Hansen and said I would heed her counsel. In the afternoon, after I had slept for about 14 hours, Elder Astin and Elder Morin came over to give me a Priesthood Blessing. In the blessing, Elder Astin said that according to my faith and my prayers, I would be healed and able to return to the work tomorrow. This made me so happy, I knew that I would be healed, and so I rested for the remainder of the day, and prayed that I would be able to return to work tomorrow. On friday, bada bing bada boom, HEALED. I felt better than I had felt in days. That was so great, I would have been miserable being in bed for 4 days! I am so grateful for the Priesthood, and the many opportunities I have had to receive a blessing from my Heavenly Father through the mouth of a worthy priesthood holder.
Sunday: In the mission it is a rule that if we need to put the car in reverse, one companion has to stand behind the car and guide the driver out in order to prevent any collisions. So, on Sunday I was backing Hna. Blanco out of the parking spot in our apartment complex when I felt something hit me pretty hard on the head. I looked in the reflection on the car window and a bird had pooped right on my head. So, I told Hna. Blanco and we went back in and I washed it out of my hair really quick and then we were back on track to church. Although this was very very disgusting, even more than the Ateo kiss, but I wasn't really upset. The phrase "Come What May, and Love it" seems to be resounding in my ears every day. I just laughed it off and ended up having such a great day. This sunday felt so rejuvinating. All day long I felt such a sweet feeling of peace and of the love of my Heavenly Father.
The first few weeks of my mission have not been what I thought they would be, even Hna. Blanco has had some moments where she feels discouraged. I have to wonder if my first area is this tough, what will the rest of my mission be like? Super Blessed and full of baptisms! That's what it will be! :) I feel very blessed to be going through such a trial right out the gate, I know the Heavenly Father has a lot of trust in me and knows that nothing will get me down or discourage me from doing this work. I love being on a mission and know that if I grow in faith and work as hard as I can that we will be blessed with evidence of our success. I know that no effort is wasted, and although it seems like no one cares about what we are teaching, that one day they will come to a time when they are ready to learned and will be ready to nurture the seeds which my companion and I have planted.
I cannot believe another week has flown by! Everyday is so busy so time is going by pretty fast! So, this past week was kind of difficult for me. I felt so on fire when I got to Texas, ready to teach everyone about the restored gospel and really help people, but I am not really witnessing much of that haha. Almost all of our appointments fell through last week so we only taught like...14 lessons this week, and a lot of those were to members and less actives. I also still feel frustrated with myself because of my inability to speak the language. I can usually express what I need to, but I have to speak so slow and don't really have confidence when I speak. Every always says i speak very well and that I should be fluent in a month or so, but it is hard for me to believe that. Everyone is very encouraging though and makes me speak all the time, which I am very grateful for. On Saturday we had a table set up at the Pulga (flea market) and it was pretty successful, we talked to tons of people and like 15 people write their numbers and addresses down so the missionaries in their areas could go teach them. I was feeling pretty confident in my spanish because I had just talked to a ton of people, when at the end of the day I was talking to this man and it was really loud in the Pulga, and he spoke really fast, so I told him I was having a hard time understanding because I am still learning and that he could talk to Elder Morin, then the guy told me that he didn't want to talk to us if we couldn't speak spanish. So, that sucked haha. But, I am keeping my chin up! I know if we keep working, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other, that Heavenly Father with bless us with some golden investigators who have been prepared to hear and accept our message.
Sunday was way good, I felt like I understand way more in church this week than I did last week and could actually follow along with what was being taught. Two less-active families that we taught were in church on sunday and two of our investigators were there as well so that was like the highlight of my week, to see those people we taught, attending church :). Our two investigators are "eternal investigators" meaning they have been learning about the church for years and just never commit to baptism, but I have hope that we can help them and that Heavenly Father is preparing them. We also went to a baptism on sunday night, they were taught by the Elders in the Hollister area. It was so great! The Spirit was so strong! I love being with the spanigh members, they have so much faith and so much love for the gospel. When they sing the hymns they are bearing their testimonies as they sing and it always touches me to see their amazing examples for me.
We taught some random lessons through tracting, my favorite one was this black family we knocked into who let us in to teach them. It was a good lesson and the family is really excited to meet with the English speaking Elders. But...the house was pretty nasty. During the lessons I was just watching the cockroaches crawling on the floor, on the couch, on the furniture...mmm that's Texas for ya. I have seen some of the hugest monster cockroaches here! I will try and catch one to send home for a pet ;)
Well I better get going, I hope everyone is well! I love you all so much!
P.S. I met a little kid this week in my ward named "Angel Moroni". No joke. Cutest little kid I have ever seen, but man I laughed so hard when the Elders called him over to talk to us haha. I love all the little spanish kids! they always try to help me with my spanish and they always ask me to spin them around. After I give in and spin them they yell "otra vez otra vez!" which is like again again! haha I love the ward so m
BAHHH I LOVE HER and how she still has a sense of humor! Happy Reading!
Hola Y'all! Finally out in the field, chyeah! It was kind of a culture shock after being in the MTC for 2 months, and because I don't know the area, and because I can't communicate haha. There are like no white people here, which is suhweet because i have been called to teach in spanish so we have found a lot of people to teach. My companion is Hermana Blanco and she is awesome, I love her to bits. She is from Maryland and had been on the mission for over a year, so I might be her last companion. She is waaaay legit at spanish too and is just a really good missionary. We are whitewashing in the Fairbanks area of the mission, which is a little north of Katy. Oh, white washing means that there were 2 Elders serving in our area and the President transferred both of them out and put my companion and I there, so neither of us is familiar with the area or the members, it has been quite an adventure. The Elders only had one person they were teaching (probably why they were transferred out) so on Saturday we spent the entire day tracting (knocking on doors and just talking to anyone to make appointments) and we had some awesome experiences! We tracted for a total of 8 hours and we were able to make 11 appointments to return and teach! Nevermind the fact that most of them will probably flake on us haha two flaked out yesterday. We met two really solid potential investigators, one was a family and when we knocked they opened the door and showed us the picture of Christ found in the front of the BOM was hanging on the wall, and they had the Finding Faith in Christ dvd and had been watching it. I asked him if he had read the BOM yet and he said he really liked it. Hermana Blanco asked if he had already been baptized and he said "todavia no", which is like "not yet" in spanish. So, we are super stoked to teach this family tonight. Another one was we were tracting towards the end of the night and this nice lady answered and let us in and we taught her the first lesson about the Restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith and about the Book of Mormon. The spirit in the room was so strong during the lesson, and the woman and her daughter looked so intrigued by what we were teaching them, we left a pamphlet for them to read and are going back to teach them again this week. They are basically golden. We also had some interesting tracting experiences...One Catholic guy cussed us out in spanish haha it didn't bother me, I thought it was funny. We knocked on one door and this really sweet white lady answered and invited us in. The second we walked in I could feel that it was going to be bad (I love having the Holy Ghost with me to give me a heads up all throughout the day.) We sat down and started with a prayer and asked what she knew about our church and then she went all kinds of crazy on us about Joseph Smith. She also turned her tv on and showed us a recording of a "prophet" who was really this Australian biker dude with a perm. She asked how we could possible believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet if he didn't "test the spirits" whatever that is and said it was very frightening to know that so many people have been fooled by Joseph Smith. I tried to find away out of the place for like 45 minutes but she just kept on going on her tirade so eventually I basically said, "We really respect what you believe and are really grateful for the concern you have shown for our salvation but as missionaries it is our job to teach people who are intestested in our message and prepare them for baptism, and it doesn't seem like you want either one of those, so we really need to go." She proceeded to say that God had led us to her home so she could save us, and we were getting up to leave and she wanted to say a closing prayer with us, which we allowed. It was very sweet, and I am sure her intentions were pure, but she sure was feisty! Poor Hermana Blanco is so sweet and just wants to help everyone and was trying so hard to help this woman open up and see that the church is true and I think the whole situation upset her, so I am glad that I was able to pull us out of there. I wasn't really upset, more entertained by the situation. We tried our best and it is our job to invite, which we did, it's not my fault if she doesn't accept the invitation. Life in Houston is ultra-legit, the members spoil us rotten. Y'all would be so proud of me, I ate the most delicious hispanic meal last night. It was a delish homemade tortilla with some meat, beans, rice, and salsa. That's right, I ate beans and rice, AND I totally liked it! Haha. I hope everyone is doing awesome. I am enjoying life as a missionary so much and feel like I am growing and changing every single day.