Monday, January 27, 2014

The Circus is Coming to Town!

Dear Family and Friends,

This is a week of change! President Wright called me on Saturday afternoon and told me that I would be heading to a new sector with Hermana Burnett and white-washing (starting new, taking over where Elders were). SOOO Here I sit next to my new companion! She is awesome. She is 22 years old and from Las Vegas. She is the youngest of 7 kids. Her step-dad is Jewish and SHE IS GRINGA. I am never going to learn Spanish! haha. Just kidding. I can get along fine. It actually makes us study harder because we know we can´t rely on our companion for help...haha, sad situation! She has 11 months in the mission, so I am still a baby, but! I am experienced as far as white-washing goes, so that is good! There was only 1 new Hermana this cambio (change), the numbers are dropping.

Saying ¨Chau¨ to Hermana Tibbitts was rough. She feels like my real sister. You get sooo close being with someone 24/7 for 6 months! It was hard. My tummy had that endless pit feeling all weekend and it was hard to eat and sleep. BUT, I survived and I am super excited to get to know Hermana Burnett better! She is adorable, and we are making plans to get into good shape with our new ¨Get ripped with Hermana Wright DVD¨. haha.

We arrived at our pension an hour NEW sector is GerĂ³nimo Alderete (hardest name to remember for me) and it is RIGHT next to my old sector. I already ran into Hermana Tibbitts at the grocery store. ahha.

Our pension is SCARY. I will describe it, and if you make it through without cringing let me know and I will give you a prize!

The walls are coated in dirt and sticky hand prints. There are grease stains on the couches from the boxes of pizza that were left on top of them. There is a BATHROOM in our BEDROOM. Not walled off or anything. It has just a toilet, sink, and a shower head. We have a clothes line outside. We also noted that the pension is missing a vacuum, broom, and cleaning supplies. BUT, they did leave plenty of cans of bug killer, so that is exciting! The real bathroom doesn´t have electricity, so there are melted candles next to the sink. I think we will go with a flashlight from here on out, though. We are here at the store to buy tonnnns of cleaning supplies so that we don’t get infections and diseases.

The Elders were nice and they left a page of good instructions for how to get places and the people they were working with. That is better than the instructions the Elders left in my old sector...nada! So, I will just be grateful for that and suck it up. This week will be long and hard, but this adventure will make summer go by fast! I am not excited to have to memorize new names, addresses, and phone numbers...but that comes with time.

It was hard to leave my old sector because we placed two baptismal dates this last week! It was two ladies who have two kids each! I actually placed both the dates when we were in divisions, and my companion still hasn´t met one of the ladies, but hopefully they keep progressing! I like to set the date early so that it can be a goal and we can see how serious they are. It was a great growing opportunity for me.

So, now for some realizations of the week. I live at the base of the Andes Mountains, yeah? That means, in relative terms, that Argentina would be placed where Heber is which is on the other side of the mountain.

Also, I realized that if I don´t buy Oreos, I can´t eat Oreos.

I also realized that waiting for news about changes is the most stressful thing in the world, and may cause one to lose 5 pounds instantly.

OH! I have a story. Sometimes it feels like we are hunting for lizards in a desert, and we pounce on the first person we see because the sector is literally deserted! I was praying for SOMEONE to reveal themselves...then she was there, taking in her garbage bin. I saw her, and we started in her direction. Irma. That is this 85 year old lady’s name. I said, ¨Hola, can I give you a picture of Jesus Christ? ¨ While offering her a pass along card. She said rudely, ¨No, I´m catholic and I don’t believe in what you believe in.¨ and I wouldn´t take that. She started to turn around to leave, and I said ¨You don´t believe in Jesus Christ? ¨ And then she said, ¨Of course I do! ¨ So, I smiled and said ¨Oh, we do too! We share the message of His Gospel!¨ She didn´t believe that. She made another snooty comment, and then I said, while smiling, ¨You are so nice! Thank you for taking your time to talk to us!¨ THAT caught her off guard, because she KNEW she was being a brat. So, she chuckled a bit and said that it was good that we all believed in Jesus. Then I re-offered her the card, to which she refused. Anyways, a half hour later after listening to her talk about how we were different and then pointing out that we believed in the same thing (Prayer, the Bible, The Atonement), she decided we were nice people. I got her laughing at some little things and we lightened the mood. I then said, ¨since you believe in prayer, and so do we, do you mind if we pray with you right now?¨ She accepted. After the prayer she told us that she is always rude to Mormons, but how there was something different about us and she felt something in her heart. I had the image of the Grinch’s heart growing in my mind...haha, but I was glad she noticed the change in her attitude! She told us to keep passing by, actually, she BEGGED us to keep passing by. In the end, I ended up giving her the card. She said, while laughing and holding my hand, ¨You girls got to me! And LOOK, you even got me to take your picture! ¨

Phew, long story. What I learned from it is that everybody has walls and it doesn´t matter if they are apparent up front or if they come up later during teaching. As missionaries, and members, and people in general, we need to learn how to talk to people! We need to learn how to get along and find common ground. When we go in trying to change everything about a person, we aren´t accepting them as the special child of Heavenly Father that they are. We need to take THEIR talents, interests, worries, and personality into consideration. The Gospel message is for everyone, and it can bless the life of ANYONE.

Thank you all for the emails and letters! I love them, and they are helping me stay positive for the upcoming (and hopefully) last real month of summer. You are all fantastic examples and I am grateful for the experiences you are willing to share with me.

If anyone, meaning, ¨future missionaries¨, have questions about general mission life, send them my way! I would be happy to answer anything.

Have a great week! I will let you know next Monday how everything is going if I´m not brain dead or dying of a bacterial disease.

Love you!

Hermana Van Cott


1 comment:

  1. I love reading about your wonderful experiences. You are a great missionary. Keep on keeping on. My prayers are with you and all the missionaries.
    Dale Kunz