Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas, and Being BOLD!

 A member gave us each a little Christmas stocking. Mine was a cowboy boot!!! So cute!

Hello! Merry Christmas everyone! I had such a great week this week. 

On Tuesday we were on exchanges! This means we switched companions, so I was companions with Sis. Hirsche, and Hna. Hall and Hna. Luevano were companions. It was pretty fun to get to learn from a different trainer and gain new insights. Plus I got to really practice my Spanish a lot, because Sis. Hirsche is an English missionary and hardly knows any Spanish, so it was all me! It was a little overwhelming at first, but I did well.

 On Exchanges with Sister Hirsche

Cute Lab puppies we saw at an investigator's house

In the early afternoon, we spent a few hours at the local food bank getting boxes of food ready for needy families in the community to have a good Christmas dinner. I was kind of having a hard time about it, because I hate it when people just expect free hand outs all the time, but when I saw the looks on the children's faces, and really started thinking about it from the kids' perspective, I felt so blessed to be able to help them. It's not their fault that they don't have food, and there's nothing they can do about it. I am so glad that God helped me to soften my heart and grow in compassion for these people.

Then, that night we were driving around Sis. Hirsche's area. We had a few appointments, which all fell through, so we started just knocking on doors. Then we ended up with five new investigators! It was so awesome, God is really preparing people here in Royal to receive our message, and receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday was pretty crazy, I don't even really remember anything in particular, except that we were running around like crazy people. One of our Spanish investigators has a really nasty blood clot in his leg, because he has been smoking for like 70 years. He can't get the surgery to get it fixed, because he can't afford it. So now his leg is pretty much just rotting off. It's pretty nasty and we're not really sure what to do about it. His wife and son are members of the church, and the branch is trying to help where they can. His son has given him a lot of blessings, but he really needs the surgery. I don't know what to do but pray. He can't even really have lessons anymore, because he is in so much pain that he can't pay attention and we can't understand him when he talks. His words are very slurred like a drunk person or something. Please keep him in your prayers.

We also had District Council on Wednesday, and we were really focusing on how we can be more bold and loving with people. We want to share how important our message is, without being overbearing, but we also want to be really confident and fearless, so that was a huge goal for the rest of the week--we focused on being BOLD!

The boldness, and fearless attitude started to really pay off right away, because Thursday we found a new family to teach! We were driving down this road, trying to find a less-active family Bishop asked us to visit, and we couldn't find their house. But we drove by this green house, and I just felt like we needed to stop. I pulled the car over and said, Hna. Luevano, what do you think about that green house? She was like "Let's knock it!" It was crazy, because usually we are feeling too awkward to go up to a random person's door. But we wanted to be bold, so we thought, "What have we got to lose? So what if they slam the door in our face? We're just here to help them! We're just the messenger. Lets do it!” And we ended up talking to this family, a mom and three of her kids, ages 13, 12, and 12, for almost two hours! They had so many questions about God and Jesus Christ. They occasionally go to a Catholic church in Moses Lake, but they were just really confused about a lot of things. We were able to help them with all of their questions, and even teach the restoration! It was amazing! We have one of the daughters scheduled to be baptized in a couple of weeks!

I'm going to fast forward to Saturday. We went back to talk to the family in the green house again, and ended up being introduced to another sister, Liesl, who is 17. She is SO ready for the gospel. She had so many questions as well, and has been searching for something for years. She said she has always admired the Mormon kids at her school because they are all so nice and stick up for each other, and even when they are in different cliques and don't really have anything in common, they are still friends, just because they are Mormon. She said she has always wanted to learn more about our church, but never new how. We ended up talking to her and the other sister who is scheduled for baptism for another two hours and taught the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, and baptism! Now Liesl is on-date for baptism in two weeks too! It is so amazing to think how the Spirit just told us we needed to stop at that random green house! It wasn't even on our radar, but Heavenly Father knew that family was searching. I am so blessed to get to be an instrument in His hands, and help others find what they are looking for.

Then Saturday night, I was at a Spanish member’s house and learned how to make tortillas from scratch like a real Mexican!! Woo hoo!!

CHRISTMAS. Was Awesome!!!! I loved my presents! Thank you all for the leggings, socks, tights, scarves, books, boots, pictures, and especially my bag! I had forgotten I asked for a bigger bag, so it was an awesome surprise. It is perfect! I'm wearing my new boots at this very moment and the leggings from Grandma and Grandpa. Pretty much I am just set for winter now, which is good, because it is freezing here! I haven't had any time to put up my picture wall yet, but as soon as I do, I will definitely take a picture and send it to you, Lib! Thank you!!!

 Christmas morning

 I love my new BIG bag!

Hermana Luevano loves her presents! 

HA HA! Hermana Hall gave me this, because I'm a mission baby!
After the four of us opened our presents, we got ready for the day, read the Christmas story in Luke together, and told about our favorite Christmas traditions at home. Then we drove to the Stake Center in Othello and had a special Christmas breakfast with the other ten missionaries in our zone. It was really fun, and we also got to watch “The Best Two Years”. It was really good, but totally different than I expected.
Then we drove home and went to the Anderson's house to Facetime our families!!!! It was SO amazing to see them. I got to talk to my family for about two hours on Facetime. I thought it was going to make me really homesick, but it was actually very refreshing. I loved seeing how much they've grown even just in the last couple of months, and especially loved the one on one conversations with my parents and getting to see my puppies! At the end of the Facetime, my sisters and I all sang a song together. That made me miss them, but was so fun. I love them so, so much.

Hello, Momma and sisters!
Then, after Facetime we went to the Perez's house for dinner and had tamales, along with a lot of other super good Mexican food. I ate goat.... it was weird.... sorry mom. haha. Hna. Luevano and I also got to do Secret Santa for a needy family in the Branch, so that was really fun too. I also got a Dolly Parton Gospel CD from my roommates... haha they know me so well! It was a really great Christmas!

Ok, back to Saturday for a minute. HAPPY SWEET SIXTEEN, MOOGIE MOO!! I seriously cannot believe my little "Elimy" is 16! Wow! (My little sister, Emily)
Sunday was pretty good, a little weird, and a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but good nonetheless. We sang in Sacrament Meeting (all four of us) in three-part harmony of course! We sang in English and Spanish. It was really fun, and we made people cry! We also had to translate in Sacrament Meeting. My brain was pretty much melted after that. It was exhausting going back and forth English, Spanish, English, Spanish.... whew! 

Then after church we spent a couple of hours in the Family History Library so I could teach Hna. Luevano about Family Search and Ancestry.com. We are planning with our ward council on having a family history night soon, to teach people how to do genealogy. Hna. Luevano needed to learn about it, to, so we could teach others! We got her Family Search all set up and actually found a few new people, so that was awesome.

 As I was in the library, some Spanish members came by and wanted to say hi to my mom!

Then we went and visited a few more people, including going to a member's house for dinner. We had an interesting conversation with her. It started out a lot different than usual, but we ended up talking about the exact thing that she needed to hear.

Today has been pretty great so far, except I'm getting pretty sick, and our car got stuck in the snow!! Hna. Luevano had to get out and push!! Haha! It was so funny, but we made it out okay. She's like the Hulk! 

Anyway, I think that's all! I love you so much!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Time in Royal City!


SO this week has been CRAZY. So many ups and downs, kind of an emotional rollercoaster really. Plus we had so many meetings! On Tuesday we had our mission Christmas party. It was really fun to get to see almost all of my MTC friends. Our party was the north half of the mission, so about 90 missionaries, plus a few senior couples and of course President and Sister Lewis. (look for pics on Sis. Lewis' blog!) It was especially fun, because my zone all got together and did a musical number "Mary's lullaby", and I played guitar!! Woo hoo! It was so fun. We had a great lunch together, with some amazing apple juice freshly pressed from apples grown in that very orchard where we were! (I'm obsessed with apple juice) and we got to watch “Meet the Mormons” together. I forgot how good that movie is. Especially the part about the Candy Bomber. I love history.
Home Grown Apple Juice!

Apple orchard!

Amazing "Ranchion" where the party was held 
(those that know Alison well know how much she likes
to talk about her future mansion on a ranch, or "ranchion")

Tuesday night was pretty rough, because my companion got really sick. We ended up staying in and not teaching anyone and asking Bishop and Larry to come over to give her a blessing. Then we wrote a song together! I told her it's the best kind of therapy, and it really was. She did so much better after that.

Wednesday was a day of miracles. First we had a district counsel with the other hermanas, and three sets of elders. I gained a lot of knowledge and spiritual inspiration, and then the elders gave us some blessings. Then later that day after some appointments, we went to dinner at Bishop and Nancy's house, and Nancy texted my mom :) She ended up taking a video of me singing "Merry Christmas Darling" and sending it to my mom. I almost started crying in the middle of the song, and I'm sure mom was just bawling, the lyrics that say "We're apart that's true. But I can dream, and in my dreams, I'm Christmasing with you."  Gah! I'm getting choked up right now just thinking about it. I love you, Mom, so so so much.

District Council

Then after our dinner we went to Anastacio's house, and seriously, a miracle happened. He is an old man, probably about 80 or so, and in the past he has been very prideful and stubborn. His wife, and son, and his sons' family are all converts and really active in the church, but Anastasio said he doesn't need church because he doesn't sin... he's a good person, but not perfect!  Anyway, when we got to his house his whole countenance and disposition was so different. He was warm and inviting and his heart had been softened so much. Apparently he had this dream where his uncle, who is dead, who he looks up to so much, was talking him and telling him he is being foolish and stubborn and that he needs to listen to us. Then he had a dream about being lost, and a huge scary black dog was chasing him around. And then these two people came to him and saved him, and they were us! Anyway, now he is taking lessons from us and really progressing a lot just in the last few days.

Then we had a really great lesson with Maria and Elmer. And the gift of tongues was SO real. Usually I don't get to talk too much in Spanish lessons, because the people just talk to Hermana L because she is a native. But we were just teaching, and all of the sudden I was speaking perfect Spanish and they were listening to me! I can't even totally explain it, but it was just awesome. Miracles are for real.

So something funny about Royal is that everyone here is related in some way! Sunday we were at a meeting with some of the leaders in the ward, and I was trying to take notes of how all everyone is related. It was so funny. Then they were all like, "Sister Knight, I would love to see your notes! And see an outsider's perspective." then we decided I'm like a detective. Haha!  It's pretty funny and crazy!

Go Royal Knights!

Thursday during the day we went to Yvonne's and cleaned out and organized her entire bathroom, it was so hard but so refreshing and fulfilling. My mom would be proud. I should have thought to take before and after pics. Also, Yvonne gave me a brand new Hot Tools curling iron that she didn't want! It's awesome!  Then Thursday night was the English Christmas party, and it was so fun!

Friday we had to go to Les Schwab because Ruthie (our car) was sick. But don't worry, she's all better now! Then that night I got to do a couple more musical numbers at the Spanish Branch's Christmas party. My roommates and I all sang "Noche De Luz" and "El Burrito de Belen" together. I've gotten them hooked on 3 part harmony of course... haha. 

Only white person at the party!

Saturday was a pretty weird day. But we did end up driving about 50 miles out to the very border of our area and found a grocery store!! It was amazing! There were so many people there that we talked to and gave Pass Along cards about "A Savior is Born!"  It was like the Promised Land. Haha! We were so excited.

Sunday we had our Christmas service, and it was really beautiful. So many people came too! It was very exciting, and then we went to see one of my favorite families. Their mom is SO much like me, but she's extremely inactive in church. She has a lot of issues with Utah and her childhood, and is having a hard time separating Utah culture from actual doctrine. It's really a struggle. They have three daughters who remind me a lot of my sisters, and the cutest little dog who is just like Tobie. I feel like they are some of the people that I was specifically sent here to help. Usually the mom is pretty closed off about spiritual things, but last night when we were talking to them she really opened up to me. It was amazing. We had a total heart to heart for about an hour, and then her youngest daughter who is nine bore her testimony about how when she feels sad or alone she knows that Jesus is always with her and understands how she is feeling. And then she started telling all of this stuff she was remembering about the last lesson we taught them. It was so amazing. She really brought the spirit into the room and her mom even started crying. She is a seriously good kid. I just love that family so much. Please keep them in your prayers, and pray that the spirit will guide Hermana L and I to know how to help them come back to church. 

Merry Christmas, everyone! I am so excited I get to Skype my family!

 Winter in Royal City

 All bundled up! It's FREEZING here!

 I love my little Christmas Tree! Thank you Mom!

 So many presents!

Each morning we've been receiving Secret Santa gifts!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Washington, Week 2

Hello, lovely people!

This week has been weird. It's been pretty good but also pretty bad. Good, because I love being a missionary, and I love my companion, and I've been very spiritually edified. Bad because almost all of our appointments fell through, and nobody will answer their door in this town! It's frustrating. Even a lot of our dinner appointments fell through, which never happens. It's always a highlight of my day to go to member's houses for dinner and visit with them. So it's really sad when that doesn't work out.

Have ya’ll seen the new Christmas initiatives this year? Go to www.christmas.mormon.org and the main one "A Savior is Born" is right there on the top, then if you scroll down there's another one on the bottom left corner of the screen called "Why We Need a Savior" It's so good! So powerful too. The videos really help you feel the Spirit. The other awesome thing is called "12 Days of Social." Not sure if you've seen it, but it's really awesome. For 12 days of December, famous Mormons are making YouTube videos that go around the theme "A Savior is Born." Of course I love the Gardiner Sister's video. Also Studio C's, and David Archuleta's are both really, really good, too. David Archuleta's almost made me cry. So powerful! We've been sharing it with all the members and also when we go teaching. This one brother, named Big Ed (he's taller than my friend Jared, and reminds me of Hagrid) actually broke down in tears sharing his testimony. I love how music does that to people. It takes the emotions, and spirit that you are feeling and just amplifies it. Gah! Music! Love it.

I met a lady named Gloria De Dios, this week. LOL

I got Hermana Luevano hooked on SmartPop white cheddar popcorn! She had never tried it before, so I gave her some of mine and she was like "How have I been living without this?" ha ha

The other thing that's been not so great this week is that we're all four getting sick. Hermana Luevano and I have been getting migraines and nausea all week, I had a fever last night, Hermana Hirche had a fever all week, and has been throwing up, Hermana Hall is starting to not feel well, too. Apparently it's going around church, so that's awesome. Please send some prayers our way! 

I got to see my other missionary friends a lot this week! First on last Monday after I got done emailing, we went to Othello and went grocery shopping, and then went to the church and saw all my friends in my zone, including Elders Cordon and Buchanan!!  

 Elders Buchanan and Cordon and Hermana Knight

We also had zone training (SO POWERFUL) where I got a really cool quote from Sister Lewis. I'll just take a picture of the whole deal, but basically we talked about how when we are teaching we need to not be a Homie or a Robot, we need to be a true friend. We also had trainer/trainee meeting. I got to see President And Sister Lewis! Woo Hoo! And Elder Harman. So that was really fun.

"The best missionaries aren't trying to be the grey area between black and white, they don't try to be the balance between a bad level and a worse level. They are a whole new level, a true friend."

Tomorrow we are having a huge Christmas party with all the missionaries in the northern half of the mission. All my MTC Friends will be there, except Hermana Aldrich, who is in Yakima, so in the southern half. My zone has been practicing a song to sing at the Christmas party called "Mary's Lullaby," from the Children's Songbook, and I get to play guitar with it!! SO fun and so refreshing. I love, love, love guitar, and I have missed it so much.

 Practicing Mary's Lullaby

 Playing chair soccer in Othello

Some other interesting and entertaining activities this week: On Thursday we helped Yvonne (less active member who had a heart attack a couple months ago) make some garland and put it up on her front door. It was really surprisingly hard!! It took us probably 2.5 hours, but now her house looks so pretty! She's also been coming to church the last few weeks, so that's really good! We also had two investigators show up at church yesterday, both unexpected. It was such a great, pleasant surprise. It was a Christmas miracle! Woo Hoo! I also finally tried mushrooms for the first time last night (I've never thought about it before). They were gross and tasted like a dirty sock, but I'm glad I at least tried them!  Hermana L. and I went to a single, less active sister’s house the other day and almost got trampled by a bunch of horses! We go and help her muck the stalls and put out feed sometimes (she's pretty old).They are normally a really nice bunch of horses, but it was raining and freezing cold. So I guess the little pieces of ice hitting them all morning really spooked them. It was pretty crazy. Jill was able to calm them down for a few minutes while me and Hermana L hurried and got out of the stable. It was pretty intense! I know Heavenly Father was watching out for us.

 Helping Yvonne decorate for Christmas

 Us with Yvonne. We love her!

 The finished product!

Another fun thing this week is a random secret family in the ward has been bringing all four of us presents all week to our apartment! It's the "12 Days of Christmas"! It’s so sweet! Yesterday we got ornaments and candy canes, and a plate of cookies. We haven't opened our presents from today yet. Also, Hermana Hirche's mom is sending her 12 days of Christmas every day too. So it's really fun when we get to open five presents every day! We also got a cute little nativity book from a member and we read a little story out of it every night while we drink hot chocolate (I drink milk, LOL). Anyway it's fun to have this cute little family to have Christmas with. I love my roommates. The other day Hermana Hirche got a random package from her weird uncle that had a blow up buck, some blow up teeth, and a set of blow up organs (like stomach, liver, etc.) and the note said, "Dear Hermana Hirche, I love you. Here is the most random things I could find. Merry Christmas" ha ha!

 Putting up our new ornaments

 Missionary Christmas tree!

Blow up buck from Hermana Hirsche's uncle

Anyway, I guess that's everything this week. It's been pretty weird. Hopefully things will start going better soon and I can get over this nasty bug, whatever it is. Please keep me, my companion, my missionary friends, and all my less active, and investigator friends in your prayers! 

Much love, Alison <3