Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 10, 2013- Birthday Week

Hola Todos!!
Como estan?? Espero que todo estebien con ustedes! tanto tiempo! 
It's just another crazy p-day here in good old Kent. I can't believe it's already the last week of my first transfer in the field! Time is a crazy thing. The sun is shining, and we've been rain free for a few whole days! I'm loving getting a taste of summer!
So the latest news...whelp, I'm officially 21 now.. although everyone in my district kept wishing me a happy 20th, so I guess I'll just stay 20 for another year. My birthday started out just like any other day here in the mission. and apparently my companion doesn't believe in birthdays. But, later in the day our district leaders and the other sisters in our zone brought me cards and cookies. We had a day full of lessons, and then that night we went to Monica's (the recent convert) for a lesson and a mini-celebration. We made dinner, and she bought me a banana and ice cream for my make shift "cake". (pictures to come!) We used the candles and the banner, THANKS MOM. I can always count on you to send me those pieces of love no matter where I am in the world :). I love you guys!
They gave me sandia for my birthday!!!!
(watermelon) because they know it's my favorite!!

Make-shift cake, Banana and ice cream!

Make a wish!
The rest of the week was...well... I'd be lying if I said it was fun. This week all but one of our progressing investigators decided that they no longer want to take lessons, including Roxana, that was heartbreaking. We had a lesson with her and she told us that she knows that it's all true, and that she likes to learn, but she just "doesn't feel it"... we talked about the ways that the spirit testifies to us of the truth, and tried to help her to understand how she could "feel" that answer. The thing that was the hardest for me is that she's such a spiritual person by nature that I think it was just hard for her to realize that she'd been getting those answers as she prays. But she told us that she'll continue reading, praying, and waiting for an answer, but she doesn't want to convert right now.
Due to our lack of lessons, we did a lot of knocking and a lot of coming up with new ideas to find people. 
I know that tracting is a part of missionary work, but sometimes it feels like THE most inefficient way to find people. For two days we tracted buildings that resulted in no Spanish people, and a lot of slammed doors. It's okay for a while, but after hours and hours it really starts to wear on you. I can handle the rejection, it's just knowing that people don't know what they're missing that really gets to me. We knock, invite, and a lot of times the door is shut before we even finish saying the name of the Church. I was thinking a lot this week of that picture of the Savior, when he's knocking on the door. There's no handle on his side. That's how this work is a lot of the time. We knock, and wait, and hope that they'll open and listen. The handle is on their side.
We did a service project on Saturday morning where we cleaned up some of the main roads in Kent. It was fun to be able to work with the Kent City Committee people and it was amazing how much they noticed the example and the work-effort of missionaries. It really goes to show that people notice a difference. We all showed up in our jeans and t-shirts (which was extremely weird and felt a little wrong), but they all noticed, and said " We were kind of hoping you'd show up in your suits and dresses, it really makes a statement! 
I can't tell you how many doors I've knocked where people are so shocked that there's "ladies" there at the door, the looks on some of their faces are priceless, but hey, their curiosity usually gives us enough time to at least place a card!
After service on Saturday, we had another day of knocking, and searching. We went to one apartment complex and the first 20 or so doors we got one opened, and they spoke Ukrainian. Then we walked into the street, we saw a bunch of kids up ahead, watching an older kid (our age) do tricks on a skateboard. They saw us coming, and some of them ran away, he turned and saw us and was about to take off. I waved and shouted Hello. He waited and we walked up, I smiled and held out my hand as we introduced ourselves. He hesitantly shook my hand and then asked what this was all about. He was covered in tattoos, and had lots of piercings. I told him we are missionaries, and when he made a face, I asked him what his beliefs were. He told me that he was more of a believer in the things of the world. We asked if we could leave a card with him, and he said "You can... but to be honest I probably won't keep it." I said Well, Chris, our message is that God loves you........and I stood there and testified that God has a plan, and that even when things are hard, and life seems like nothings going right, there's someone we can turn to.... midway through he got down off his skateboard. I finished, and challenged him to look at the website. He looked at the card, put it into his pocket, and said "Yeah, I'll do that. And hey, thanks." We shook hands again, and he took off on his skateboard. We passed by the spot on our way to the car, and he yelled hello, and told us good luck. I'm not saying that it's going to turn into anything....but then again, I'm not saying it won't.... but I've honestly learned that there isn't anyone who doesn't need the gospel, and as I talk with these people and learn to see them as God does, I can really feel how much he loves each and every one of them.
After a long day of knocking, and not much success, we decided to try a few more doors before we went to our last apartment. One of the kids that had run away earlier came around the corner and went into a house, speaking Spanish. Hmmm...being complete stalkers, which sometimes you have to do when you finally spot a Latino kid, we waited a minute, and then followed and knocked the door. He answered and told us that his mom was outside somewhere. So we followed him and he took us to her. 
She told us that she'd had a friend that is a member, but she'd moved to Arizona, she said she'd always been curious about the church and wanted to learn more. We asked her what she knew and she just said she really liked the peace and happiness that her friend had in her life. So we asked her to come to church the next day, and if we could come back and teach. She said they couldn't come to church because she has a child that has a lot of medical problems and she has to care for him on Sunday mornings. I felt prompted to ask her about her child. She opened up to us and told us everything about her son, when he was 2 months old he got severe pneumonia, has a trachea now, had a feeding tube for a while, has trisomy 21 and spends a lot of time in the hospital. As she was talking I was filled with so much love for her and the strength that she has. She is doing everything she knows how to be a good mom and to care for her other kids, she has been taking medical classes to learn more about how to care for her needy baby. We testified to her of God's plan, and we sang "Eternas Pueden ser Las Familias" (Families Can Be Together Forever). The spirit was so strong, and at the end we asked her how she felt. Her chin began to quiver, and she cried as she told us that that was the peace and the hope she needs in her life. We testified of the hope that comes from the gospel, and set up a return appointment with her for tomorrow.
I love this gospel. I love the message that I have the opportunity to share. I love that God's love for us is so unconditional, and so far-reaching. I have seen so many people whose lives are so hard, but that have been able to find peace in the truths that we know. I've learned so much about peace, love, and more than anything else, HOPE.
I love you all so much. Every day I am so grateful for all that I've been blessed with and the knowledge that I have of the gospel. I can't imagine life without it.
Sending this with lots of hugs and hopes that you all feel how loved you are.
Con Mucho Amor, 
Your Hermana C
Our zone

Monica was teaching me how "real women" open cans. 
aka; people who don't have can openers. She's awesome.


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