Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014

Bowling with the Latinas

This is a little creepy!

Cute children of the "sandwich" lady.

Dear Family,

Life is good. I think that is my new theme. Life is good when we count our blessings and remember that Heavenly Father loves us.

Today we bought a shake and some fries for a Pday treat. I was sitting there, innocently dipping my fries into my ice cream and then plopping them in my mouth, when I Heard ¨LOOK, that girl eats fries and ice cream together…¨I turned my head to see a shocked mother and her daughter at the table next to me. The voice was one of COMPLETE amazement…and it came from the mom. I smiled and said, ¨You should try it, it´s delicious!¨Then she commented on how I wasn´t from Chile. The funny thing was, it was never a conversation. She was just talking out loud to herself. We hurried and finished eating, feeling slightly uncomfortable that we had an audience. Then we wished her a good day and left. My companion was laughing and told me that really what was going on is that all the people there in the food court pay an entrance fee to see the gringa eat in her natural habitat. It made me laugh. There could be no other explanation for that experience.

The sun was out, so we went home after writing the family and put on a mini skirt (knee length) and a tee shirt and sat on the patio to relax in the sun. Someday I will be normally tan again, not just from my elbows down and from my knees down. I'm glad I am not going to return in summer for that reason, I would have to use a wet suit.

So, my companion and I have set the goal to run every morning. So far, so good. Here is what happens every morning…

The alarm goes off at 7:25, five minutes early so that we can say a morning prayer and go to the bathroom.
I curl up into my ¨prayer position¨on the top bunk. I pray. I try to say prayers of gratitude in the morning, because let´s be honest, ain´t nobody all that grateful when they hear the alarm.

Then I fall out of the top bunk. Literally. Every morning I miss the bar and slip and fall until I run into the wall to support me.

Then we run run run. Our BFF dog friends are always waiting to snap at our heels, cross our path, and flaunt the fact that they can run faster than us. The neighbors smile and wave and encourage us on as they load up their half asleep school children into their cars.

Then we finish. Come inside. Drink water. Shower. Begin studies.

We left with a lot of faith today. For our companionship study, we did practices of how to teach The Restoration message simply and powerfully. Miracles! With that practice we were off and at it and all day, with EVERY person we talked to, we were able to teach and pray with them!

One of our investigators, Tatiana, who is 11 years old, told us something super cute. Here is what she said…
¨Hermanas, my religion teacher (in a catholic school) was telling us about all the different religions. I noticed she forgot one, so I raised my hand and told her. She asked which one. I said, ´The Mormons´! She said she hadn´t heard of it, but I told her that the missionaries always come by our house to teach us.¨

Oh, precious. I died listening to her cute little story. She loves the primary songs, and we always sing I am a Child of God before every lesson. The adorable thing is that her Little sister who can´t read has now heard the song enough that she knows it by memory.

At night we passed by the house of a member who has a problem with her hip to see how she is. We shared a message and then heard a car pull up. Who was it? SUPERHermana Molina, the branch president´s wife. Poor lady is always doing visits and helping EVERYONE. She, in her infinite kindness, offered to drive us home. It was such a blessing because we didn´t have to wait in the cold for a bus and we didn´t have to pay for one, either. I love that woman! Her daughter gets home from her mission in Mexico in November and I am so excited to meet her and have her accompany us!

Hermana Volkert made me eggs with pepper this morning. They were delicious and they put me in a good mood despite the cold fogginess outside.

After that we went to district class. Elder Lambert, Ellie Eyestone´s cousin, is still our district leader.
Then we went to lunch. On the bus ride to lunch there was a clown, who really was just super annoying. Who really just was a man wearing a nose that made his voice sound funny. Who really didn´t even say or do anything to entertain, he just got in peoples faces and insulted them. He didn´t pass up the opportunity to call me his ¨Blonde Queen¨. One of those moments when I wanted to dye my hair black. The weird thing is, everyone still gave him a tip!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOCIETY?! And that is why I continue to loathe buses.

We walked a whole bunch today. I think more than I have ever walked in the mission. We had appointments in the four quarters of the earth. Thankfully everyone was there and it wasn´t time wasted!
My companion has to give a talk on Sunday so I am taking advantage and inviting everyone to hear her speak. Really, it is a great way to help people want to come to church. It gives them an initial incentive, and then once they attend one time they can feel the spirit and will want to keep coming back.

As we were heading to our last visit, my companion started to feel sick. I don´t really blame her, we ate a lot of fried food for lunch…but she started to throw up every 15 steps. I frantically began to call all the members with a car, because at that throw up rate the public transportation just wasn´t going to cut it. I actually felt really proud of myself as I called and explained the situation about 4 times in Spanish, mind you, at NIGHT with a tired brain, mind you, before someone was actually close enough to be able to help us. Three cheers for our recent convert, Andres, and his darling wife, Paola. They picked us up and took us home. Their 5 month old son has the biggest crush on me. Every time I walk into their house he starts to giggle and bat his eyelashes. It has to be the cutest thing I have ever seen. We were in the car, driving in the dark, and baby Jaime was crying. They turned on the light and he saw who was sitting next to him, cough, me, and he instantly lit up and started flirting and gooing and giggling. We all died. He is definitely one of those Latin babies my mother would steal if she could.

Today we went to help Loreto, a mother of 3 children under the age of 3. She has 1 yr old twins and a 3 year old. We cleaned the kids room and then we had lunch with her. She is also studying to be a lawyer in all her free time… yeah, kind of like…yeah…supermom. She gave us lunch and afterward we had a lesson. She wants to be baptized and pretty much knows the doctrine better tan I do…

The cute thing was that when she prayed she asked that the spirit could be there in her house so that it can be like a temple. Shows she was listening a few Sundays ago when Pres. Molina mentioned how our homes need to be sacred places.

This week I have seen some pretty hideous things.
1. The Rincon Spider. Deadly. In our house.
2. A dead bird that my companion nearly stepped on.
3. Winnie the Pooh bear stuck in the 100 acre Woods.
4. A cat that wanted to pounce on my head from the fence.
5. The bags under my eyes.
Besides that, it has been a great week! We set really high goals and are working hard. Every night I come in and my knees are knocking together from how tired they are. It´s a great feeling.

Today we had a branch activity. It began with a musical number sung by 6 children investigators and a few kids from the primary. They sang ¨I am a Child of God¨and we had everyone join in after the first verse. There was a special spirit there and the mom of the some of the kids told us that she wants to come back to church. Funny thing is, we THOUGHT she was an investigator. Nope, she was baptized into our church 15 years ago. The Lord literally LEADS us to the less active members here. We had control of the message, and we decided to show 3 short videos. We watched the Mormon message from Easter, the one on individual worth with Ester, and the short movie called ¨The touch of the master¨…I think that is what it is called in English. Afterwards we Heard 3 short testimonies from recent converts. Then they started karaoke…that was a show. We had to leave to get home on time, but overall it was a success!

HOLY MIRACLE. Today we had 5 investigators at church and 1 less active who hasn´t been in 15 years. I was AMAZED. I sat next to the two kid investigators and explained how to read the hymns and what the sacrament was. It was a tender experience for me because they are about the same ages as Max…oops, Truman, and Grace. It was a good feeling to know that my brother and sister are in California doing the exact same thing that we are doing. I just wished that my siblings could be here to befriend Matias and Scarlette because there aren´t too many youth in our branch.

We came home and my companion made us all lunch. I can´t complain, if this was a real marriage I would be quite content that I never have to cook. Hermana Diaz makes me laugh because she won´t put salt in the food, just for me, but then she dumps a pile on her plate afterwards. She says that I like food without flavor, and I say she just likes the taste of salt.

Well fambam and friends, hope you are all doing well! Thanks for the notes of love and for your constant prayers!

Hermana VanCott

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