Monday, February 29, 2016

Welcome Back to the Real World, Hermana!

So this week was pretty crazy, as you can imagine. Not as crazy as other weeks I've had. 

Monday I went to my last p-day with the Othello Zone. It was kind of sad, but I was pretty much through all of that by then, and getting excited for Yakima. We also said goodbye to Hermana Hall for good. She finished her mission. It was pretty funny because we were all signing transfer journals, and usually only one or two people are leaving the zone, but this time everyone left except three people, so it was like yearbook day. I was so tempted to just write HAGS!

​Final Othello Zone picture. I'll miss these guys so much!
Sis. Rasmussen is going to Yakima too, so hopefully I will see her.

Some of my besties from the Royal District

 Hermana Knight, Sister Fabiano, Sister Rassmusen, Sister Hirsche, 
Hermana Luevano, and Elder Gaburel

Hermana Knight, Sister Fabiano, and Sister Rasmussen 


Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty sad because we had to go around and say goodbye to everyone. Saying goodbye to Ana was especially hard because of all the progress he has made and what a crucial point he is at right now. We told him we were leaving and he started to weep. It was the sweetest and saddest thing. And then a miracle happened--HE PRAYED. He is 81 years old and has never prayed a day in his life, and he prayed. It was amazing. It’s so hard to leave, but so amazing to see this miracle before we left. We were doubled out, meaning both companions are leaving, and elders were put into our area. Hopefully we took good enough notes!! That was seriously stressful. We got to meet the elders at the transfer site though, and I feel pretty good handing over my Royal to them. I know they will do great. Plus, now this sweet widower in our ward gets to have roommates! So that is really exciting for him. It was so hard to say goodbye to Bishop and Nancy. It was almost like leaving home again! I got really close with them. I am already looking forward to the day I can go back and introduce my family to them. Same with Katie and Larry, who gave me a very sweet goodbye present (Hi Katie! Love you!), Yvonne, and a bunch of other golden members. Ah, Royal. The promised land.

 "Mama Lee". She takes such good care of us!

Us with Andrea, the Branch President's wife 

 Us with Belinda and Ana

 Us with Bishop and Nancy and some of their kids.

 Us with some members of the branch in Royal.
I will miss them so much!

With our friend Yvonne

SO now that I finished my novella, TRANSFER DAY. Wednesday! I got to the transfer site, and started to get really excited. It's fun to get a new beginning and fresh new streets of new doors to knock, new investigators to teach, and tons of new Colombian vocabulary to learn! But then Hermana L started to get really sad. It hadn't really hit her yet, but she had a really hard time saying goodbye. I sure love her. I can't wait till I can see her again. When we got there, we found out I'm actually in a trio here in Yakima. I'm with Hermana Dee (Hermana L's trainer) and Hermana Streuling, and we are actually taking over both the Yakima Central and Yakima North areas. Hermana Streuling was supposed to be in Yakima north with a brand new missionary, but it turns out the new missionary is having a bad health problem and is staying at the MTC for a little longer. So it’s kind of sad, but fun to be in a “tri-pan”. We get to explore a lot more of Yakima, and it's cool because now I'm in Hermana Aldrich's (MTC Companion) old area. So I get to teach a bunch of her old investigators and converts! It’s also exciting, because she is in my zone so I'll get to see her today at p-day. It will be fun to catch up. I haven't seen her in about three months!

 Hermanas Knight and Dee

 Hermanas Knight and Streuling


It is so weird being back in a city again. There are actual businesses here! It was seriously culture shock, after six weeks in the MTC and then three months in Royal. There's so much stuff here! There's fast food all over the place, and Target, and a mall, and like 6 dentists.... WOW. It's exciting but so weird! Also there's like... neighborhoods. And not at least three miles in between every farm... and not farms. It's also pretty weird that there are five companionships of missionaries in my branch! So we see other missionaries all the time! We also have our own washer and dryer in our apartment, so that's pretty nice. Let’s see, what else... Oh we don't really get fed by members here that often, so that's really sad. That used to be one of the highlights of my day. But there are a lot of recent converts here (we had I think five baptisms last transfer in Yakima!) so now we get to visit recent converts every day. I think that's going to be my new highlight. 

The sign says "Welcome to Yakima" 

My desk at my new apartment

I can't really think of anything else to write about. It’s been a crazy weird week, but I'm adjusting pretty well. Hopefullly I'll have more exciting stories next week. 

Here's a great quote to start out your week. :
"Let us all be a little more forgiving, a little more tender in our associations with each other, a little more generous of each other's feelings. We are all our Father's children." -Elder Matthew Cowley, April 1951
Love you! 

-<3- Alison

 Me with a cool old car

I ordered a spare nametag and look what came! 
It's in SPANGLISH!!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

I'm Moving! What?! 4 Months down!

I will miss my roomies!

BIG NEWS. I'm getting transferred! I'm moving to Yakima Central area--100% Spanish speaking! Wow!  So that's huge. Hermana Luevano and I were expecting her to leave, since she's been here for a long time, but not me!! We are being “doubled out” and Elders are coming here to Royal! Actually, all four of us are leaving! Hna. Hall is on her way home. She's done with her mission, and Hirsche and Luevano are going to be companions in Moses Lake! (shout out to Dannai!) and I'm going to Yakima!

"False Prophecies" about the transfer.
Everyone thought I was staying!

My new companion will be Hermana Dee, and it's actually hilarious, because she used to be Hermana Luevano's companion here in Royal before I got here! I've never met her, but all the people here in Royal say she's great and I will love her. At first I was pretty nervous because apparently she doesn't like pink and she doesn't like Texas..... BUT I know as long as I keep a great attitude, we will have a great companionship. I'm excited for what the future holds.

Another thing that made me super nervous that first night when we got the phone call on Saturday night, is that I will be in an only Spanish area. Here, we have Spanish and English, but there I will only be in Spanish! GAH. Also, it's a walking area, which I'm actually kind of excited about. AND THERE'S A TARGET IN YAKIMA. Can we just take a moment to appreciate that? I miss Target so much.

Getting my area ready for two elders to be doubled in is SO STRESSFUL. So anyway, I'm actually really, really sad and having anxiety again, but I'm trying my best to keep up a great attitude. I also got a blessing from our Ward Mission Leader yesterday afternoon, and that helped a ton. The Priesthood power is so real. 

 Last District Council with these guys

So some fun activities this week: (This will be a bit shorter, because I have a lot of stuff to do to get my area ready for two new elders!!!) 

Hermana Luevano has been really sick this week, and now the mission nurse thinks she may have an ulcer :( It's been so hard because we want and need to be out doing things but she is so weak from not eating. On Wednesday Hermana Hall and I actually did an emergency exchange so some work could be done in my area. It was actually a really good day. We met some people who were really anti-Mormon, but they for some reason let us in. Then the woman and I ended up really connecting, because her son is going through a divorce right now. I was able to share a few verses from the Book of Mormon and the Bible with her, and she said "Hmmm, maybe we do have a few of the same beliefs". Then she invited us to come back any time. Miracles!

Hermana Luevano doesn't like soda, but she 
was trying it to help her stomach (didn't work)

Yesterday was my Month-iversary! I am now officially 4 months into the mission. I can't believe it. Sometimes it feels like I have been here forever, and others it seems like I just left yesterday! It's crazy.

MIRACLE FOR REAL: Last night we went to Ana and Belinda's house to say goodbye. It was so, so sad, but then something seriously amazing happened. ANA PRAYED. He has never ever prayed before in his whole life (he is 81) and he always refused to in the past. Holy cow! The new elders better take good care of him!
Another person that was so hard to say goodbye to is Yvonne. She has really become one of our best friends here. She is so sweet and we love her so much. 

Aww, I just remembered something so sweet. I don't know if I've mentioned Earl before, but yesterday at church he came to say goodbye to us and said "I ain't never gonna forget you, you're real special to me, like an angel sent from heaven above." AWW! He’s like a big teddy bear. 

Us with "Earl"

In Sacrament Meeting, Bishop asked us to bear our testimonies, I was bawling. It was so embarrassing, but I love them so much. 

One of the main reasons I wanted to be a missionary is to know what it feels like to love others like Heavenly Father loves them, and I have definitely experienced that here in Royal. 

I have to go pack now! Sorry it's so short! 

Sean and Natalie Gilbert 

 Tyree and Kyle Gilbert and Family

 Jean and Woody, some of our golden members. 
They drop everything and run to help us. We love them!

 The Larios. Anahi makes the best Chorizo!
(my fave food besides fried pickles)

 Kristen, who lets us do laundry at her house

 Janet, one of our "missionary mommas" out here

Jonny, who was baptized a few months ago.
Truly an amazing example.

 Filling boxes at the food bank for the needy

Monday, February 15, 2016

Alma 26:16 Last Line

"...Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."

GIANT apples in Washington! 

On our way to email home! 

This week has been chalk full of amazing spiritual enlightenment! It has been a seriously great week. We started the week running in the morning.  I don't mind running too much, It’s definitely not my favorite, I'm just seriously not a morning person... working on it :)

Monday at p-day we played a really fun game called 4-hit kill, its where we all stand in a circle and hit a volleyball and keep it in the air 4 hits, and then we can throw it at someone and if it hits them they are out. It's so simple, but so fun! I love volleyball too. 

Tuesday we had an awesome patriarchal blessing meeting. It was for a RS activity but since we had a less-active member coming with us, we went too! It was great, and we got amazing insights. Some of my faves: Patriarchal Blessings are divine perspective of ourselves, not a complete outline of our lives--just a couple of things to focus on; They help people of all ages, not just teenagers; They help give you guidance for the future, but also help you recognize blessings and miracles in the past. 

Wednesday we had interviews with Pres. Lewis and then got to have a talk with Sis. Lewis after, and she had some great insights as well. She was talking about focusing on our strengths, which was so helpful because here on the mission it is so easy to get really perfectionistic and self-critical. We all have strengths, talents, and spiritual gifts. Strengths are things you have to exercise to have, talents are natural tendencies that you have to develop, and spiritual gifts are totally free, and you don't have to develop them to be good at them. She said everyone has these and they are different, so use them! We were called to our specific missions, and lives, for that matter, so don't try to copy others or compare yourself to others.  While we were there, one of our golden members, Jane, bought us a ton of pizza! It was awesome and delicious. I haven't had pizza in such a long time! 

Family History Night was a huge success! I loved being a presenter, teaching about genealogy. It reminded me of watching my dad at SQL Saturdays. 

Setting up for Family History Night

Thursday was Hna. L's BIRTHDAY!!! :) We had district council first thing in the morning, and it was so great! I always learn so much at those meetings, and it's fun to see other missionaries. E. Gaburel was showing us some funny BOM valentines. And the other sisters made a surprise birthday cake and hid it in the church building (where we had the meeting) the night before! It was so funny watching Elder Najarian distract Hna. Luevano so they could get the cake. The night before we had come home to grab some pens for Family History Night, and the other sisters were so worried we had smelled the chocolate cake smell! Ha ha it was great. Then we all went out to Subway for lunch and a nice man bought our food! So awesome! 
Funny Book of Mormon Valentines! Ha Ha

 Happy 20th, Hermana L!

 People are always giving us Subway gift cards,
because it's the only restaurant in Royal!

We also got to visit Reina, and Ana on Thursday. We helped Reina (investigator) make some Valentines for her son's class. They were so cute! They were little mice things and they have a note on them that say "Mice to know you!" Made out of Hershey kisses. We also got to make tortillas with her using her tortillera. I've used one before with Belinda and Ana, and I just love it! I want to get one for home. We had MIRACLES at Ana's house this week. SO exciting! He asked his son Tony (member) for a priesthood blessing!! And the whole branch fasted for him last week, and now he is feeling so much better and his leg is healing. AND THE BEST PART. He wants to go to church this week to thank everyone for praying for him!! MIRACLES ARE REAL!

 "Mice to Know You!"

Friday is weekly planning, and this week we did it at the church. It was so much easier to focus! And we used the chalk board to write everything out, so it went so much faster! We also went to Aide's house for lunch and she made us CHORIZO CON HUEVO! I love it. Seriously so delicious. It's so simple, but so good. Except then she just kept feeding us and feeding us and feeding us, and it's really rude in Hispanic culture to turn down food. We were SO full I thought I was going to throw up! We didn't eat dinner or breakfast the next day.  We also got to meet the cutest little man, Gernando! I say little man because he's 11, but he talks like he's 50. When we left he said, "Alright ladies, see you soon! God bless your souls" ADORABLE.

Weekly Planning

Friday night I finally got to meet the Busters’ dad, Chad. He had a really nasty accident in October and shattered his foot, now he doesn't have a big toe! It looked so freaky but fascinating. He's actually healing really well, so that's really exciting. He also taught us about penguins in Argentina....really useful info! Ha ha. There was also a community play on Friday night of “Aladdin,” and everyone was there! It was a bummer for us because nobody was home, but I love it though. This town reminds me of Stars Hollow on the show “Gilmore Girls”. Everyone is so supportive of everyone else! I love small towns. 

Saturday was a GREAT day. We had a fantastic lesson with Kevin. He has an amazing way of gaining so many new insights out of scriptures. He loved Alma 17-18. Then we visited this adorable elderly couple, Penelope and George. They were showing us their old family pictures, they have been married for 63 years! They said they love us so much they feel like we are part of the family. I love being a missionary! :) 

63 Years and Still Happily Married

 Penelope and George

Original Fender 300 hollow body electric
straight out of the 1950's! George is SO COOL!

Valentine’s Day yesterday was actually so, so, so good! It was funny because at about 10 am we all were sitting in our apartment studying, and it dawned on us.. hey! It's actually Valentine’s Day! Ha ha Then we went to a special church service that was a regional broadcast for parts of Canada, Oregon, Washington, and California. It was Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It was a great address. He related everything back to The Restoration and talked about how we do things in our church because of revelation. He also talked a lot about the Plan of Happiness <3 and made a great comment that if we are treating others with prejudice and unkindness, we are engaging in plan-stopping behaviors. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. That's what Jesus told us to do. We don't have to agree with their lifestyle to love them. 

My dad also sent me some flowers for Valentine’s Day! I loved them! It was so sweet! I never understood the joy of getting flowers before, but it's the thought! The note was my favorite part. Thank you, Ploddie!

We also went to a couple of members’ houses last night in the evening, and one of them gave me a Rubba Scrubba! It's a really awesome carpet cleaning thing, and I am so stoked to use it today! (I have a weird passion for carpet cleaning.) We also went to Jane and Willy's house for dinner, and they showed us some really cute old pictures, too, just like Penelope and George. They also have a really funny dog! It was hard to find people to visit on Valentine’s Day, but we had an impression to visit a member's house, Linus, and ended up solving a 25 year old mystery about an inactive member!!! WOW. Thank you, Holy Ghost! 

 Willy and Jane being adorable in the 1970s
Jane and Willy being adorable in 2016. Happy Valentine's Day!

Jane and Willy's funny dog

So yeah, you could say it was a fantastic week. I can't wait to see what this week has in store! 

Hermana L is TEENY!