Hello everyone! Be prepared for a long one today because this week was PACKED. I hope I will have enough time to write everything I want to.
First of all- before I forget. Mom's birthday present- go look up the song "M.O.M" by Nashville tribute band. Then cry, then think of me :) I love you!
Secondly- my favorite song this week- “Stronger” by Nashville Tribute Band from "The Work" album. Sooooo good. And so encouraging and inspiring!
So! This week was packed, as I said, and so chalk full of amazing and crazy experiences. Monday I had my first p-day here in Yakima and it was insane. Usually people just have p-day at the church with their zone and my last zone was 14 people, so pretty decent size, and good to play games and stuff, etc. But then I got here and we were doing a joint-zone thing with the English Yakima zone, and each zone has like 40 missionaries or something. There were like WAY too many missionaries all crammed into one cultural hall. It was really fun to get to see a bunch of people (including Sis. Rassmussen and Fabiano from my Othello zone, and my MTC companion, Hermana Aldrich.) But it was kind of lame too, because there were so many people we couldn't play anything! We got the volleyball stuff out and the basketball stuff out and were rotating in games, which was good so everyone would have a turn, but there were so many people to rotate through that each person only got to play for a couple of minutes. It was a good Idea, but it just didn't turn out that great.
I got to see Sister Fabiano at P-day!
Today we are just playing with our zone, so I think it will be better. I really was so excited to see a bunch of old friends though, and President Lewis came! One thing that was so funny is that earlier that day Hna. S had asked to Hna. Dee, "So what does President do on p-days? Just come around to visit p-day games in Yakima or something?" and Hna. D was like, "no it’s not like he just shows up unannounced to random p-days... he has a lot of work to do!" Then he showed up unannounced to our p-day. :D Hna. S and I had a good laugh out of that one.
Monday night we had an awesome Family Home Evening with some English members, Bishop White and his family, and our recent convert, Antonia and her husband Jose and their son Jaime. It was really fun, and cool to get to translate a lot. My brain was on fire!! We also visited another recent convert, Daisy. She's ten and so sweet and shy. We had a lesson about the law of chastity and she was being so funny about it.
Tuesday we did some service for a few hours at Northwest Harvest. It's the place where all the food from grocery stores and farmers gets donated, and then sorted through, and then sent to food banks all around the state. I was sorting and labeling canned vegetables along with a few elders in my zone and we actually ended up getting a really good system going! Between Elders Barker, Wilde, Kiser, and I, we sorted, labeled, built, and filled 500 boxes of cans in only 3 hours. I was so proud of that! Plus it was really fun to get to know those elders a little bit, because I have never served with them before.
That night we had a lesson with some of our main progressing investigators, Delilah and Fernando. It was actually a pretty bad experience with them. They were in a really weird mood or something and just being rude and disrespectful. At one point Delilah was literally laughing at us. It was so sad and hard to feel the spirit. They also hadn't kept any of their commitments to read or pray. On Wednesday and Thursday we made some goals for the transfer and my main two were that I want to extend more commitments, and be more involved in the lessons. On Saturday we had another lesson with Delilah and Fernando and about 10-15 minutes in, it started to go downhill again. So far I hadn't really said much, just been listening and trying to think of something to say that would help but my mind was blank. So then, I said a quick prayer and listened even closer to what the Holy Ghost was telling me to do. I prayed for what I should say, and how to say it in Spanish! I wanted to be like "wow ya’ll are rude we are never coming back here, good luck" but then I remembered the verse in Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 that says, “the worth of souls is great in the sight of God.” I realized once more, that this isn't about me, it’s about them. It’s about helping them come to know and have a relationship with Heavenly Father. What if we are their only chance? As soon as that clicked in my mind, I began to feel a Christ like love for these people. I saw them through the Savior's eyes, and suddenly the words just came to me. There was a brief silence, and I stepped in and asked "How do you guys feel when we come and visit and read the scriptures with you and learn about the Savior together?" there was another pause (very rare because Delilah is a chatterbox) and my companions just turned and looked at me. Then Delilah said "I feel a great peace." Fernando said "I feel good and warm" I told them that this was the Holy Spirit testifying to them the truth of what we were learning, and that the reason we always invite them to read and pray on their own, is because we love them and we want them to have the chance to feel like this even when we aren't there. We want them to feel that peace and receive answers to their questions. It was SO COOL because it was 100% not my words, it was the Holy Ghost, and for the first time since I got here to Yakima, I felt like a missionary.
Thursday was a really great day for me. My companions are the Sister Training Leaders here in Yakima, so they had a Mission Leadership Conference to go to at the mission home for the day. So I got to take a brand new missionary out with me in the Yakima Central area and work together all day. It was so fun getting to know her, and especially hearing her conversion story. She got baptized just a few years ago in high school--so inspiring! She's also from Henderson Nevada, where my dad lives, so that was really cool too! She is so cute and so sweet and we really had a great day.
Hermanas Knight and Dee
Hermanas Knight and Streuling
Hermanas Knight and Juarez, my "greenie" for the day during MLC
Hermanas Knight and Streuling, Elders Cataldo and Fordham
Me, my trainer and my trainer's trainer!
When I went to pick up my companions from the mission home that evening something SO AWESOME happened. I don't know how, but somehow I had forgotten that now Hermana Luevano is a Sister Training Leader in Moses Lake, so I GOT TO SEE HER! We walked into the big room downstairs and I saw her and we just squealed and ran to each other and hugged. It was so cute. "I miss you!!" It was so crazy because you'd think after three months together 24/7 we'd be sick of each other, but we aren’t! We were talking like we hadn't seen each other in forever, even though it was only eight days. She and I actually both got a little teary-eyed. I didn't realize how much I missed her till I saw her again! It was awesome because I also got to see Elder Shugart, Elder Call, and Sister Hirsche! It was so fun and really refreshing to see some familiar faces from my Othello family. President was there too, of course, and he said it was adorable seeing me and Hna. L reunited. It was so cool, too, because Elders Shugart and Call are still in the Othello zone (zone leaders). They were talking to the new Royal elders and updated us on some of our old investigators up there. Ana came to church AND bore his testimony! MIRACLES!! I can't wait to get a baptism invitation from that man. Also his leg is healing a ton.
Hermana Luevano!!! I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!
Friday was pretty good too--a little weird though, because my companions had some more meetings. But this time there weren't any other sisters that needed a companion, so I just had to sit in a room and study for four extra hours... at first I was like... okay, wow, how am I going to fill that time? But then I got going and just couldn't stop! I started the day in the end of Helaman and ended up finishing the rest of the Book of Mormon, and started over in the New Testament. Now I am in Mark chapter 2. Holy cow, I learned SO MUCH. The scriptures are seriously such a blessing. Mine are getting really colorful lol. I also got to read this amazing talk by a returned missionary about all the most important things he learned on his mission and what he would do differently if he could do it all over again. It was really motivating and encouraging.
Friday afternoon all our appointments fell through, which was a little disappointing, but it actually ended up being really, really good! We got to go out knocking on doors and contacting a bunch of referrals we had gotten from the English missionaries of people they had met that only speak Spanish. We ended up finding three new families that we are now teaching! Blessings. We also got to see a BAPTISM ON FRIDAY NIGHT!! Woo hoo! It wasn't someone we had been teaching, but she is in our branch (There are five sets of missionaries in the branch.) It was so, so, so exciting. It was so cool to see my first Spanish baptism! It was also great to see the amazing support that was given to these new sisters and the enthusiasm the members have for missionary work here. I really am beginning to love this branch so much! We also got to do a musical number in the intermission, which of course was so fun for me. I loved it, because it brought the spirit. It was Hermanas Dee, Streuling, Aldrich, Clarke, and me.
Saturday we had Zone training meeting. (TONS OF MEETINGS THIS WEEK) This zone is very different than my old zone in Othello. It's interesting to see the different dynamics of different groups of missionaries getting put together. I'm really looking forward to seeing the growth and improvement of this group, and finding the things that I can contribute, and learning how Heavenly Father wants me to help these missionaries. We learned so much in Zone training meeting and really had a "revelatory experience" as Elder David A. Bednar would say. We focused on how to use the Lord's time wisely, and also about not speaking negatively about other missionaries. We talked about the importance of our attitudes as individuals and also in our companionships, because those combined with the other companionships in the zone, and all the zones’ attitudes combined is what creates our mission culture. Most of the missionaries that were transferred here to the new Yakima mission last year when it was formed came from Kennewick and Vancouver missions, and most of them are getting old enough in the mission that their time is up, or is going to be up soon. It's exciting because now all of the missionaries here will be purely "Yakimites" and have no influence from the other missions. Our goal is to "light this mission on fire!" We want to have a great mission culture. It was so great and such perfect timing to talk about these things, because even though I know we can't be perfect, I have seen a few things this last week that I know we can really do better. I'm excited for the changes and improvements that are coming! We already have seen an improvement in motivation and hard work just in the last couple of days. Woo hoo!
Saturday night we went out to see a family we found in our area book. They were listed as a "former investigator" but we felt strongly that we needed to visit them. When we got there I was like, "Hey wait a minute... this seems really familiar. Have we been here before?" Hna D was like "I don't think so..." and then the dad opened the door, and I realized I had been there before! The first night I got here to the field on Dec 1, I went out with a couple of local Yakima missionaries, Hna Kennedy and Pons, and this was the lesson we went to!!! It was so cool to see it come full circle and visit the family I had my first lesson with! We had a pretty good visit, but I'm not sure much will come out of it. Unfortunately they don't seem as interested as they were that first visit in December.
Sunday was a really good day for me as well. We had testimony meeting and there were a ton of youth going up to bear their testimonies. Probably 6-7, so that's a lot, especially for a little branch. They were all talking about a youth activity they had gone to on Saturday night, and then I realized they were talking about youth conference!! It was a huge combined youth conference from all over the mission and it was held in Royal! I remembered Sis. Lewis telling me about it a couple of months ago saying she was excited to visit Royal, because she was in charge of the service project--a Days for Girls project. It was really a tender mercy for me to get to hear from these amazing kids about what they had done in Royal just the night before. I still miss Royal, so it was cool to hear about what is going on there. I love the youth here so much. They are amazing and there's not one of them that I have met that doesn't want to go on a mission as soon as they can. They are so inspiring and so nice!
I also got to sit by Daisy (the 10-year-old convert) in Sacrament Meeting. It was so cute, because she's really shy but came up to me and asked, "Can you sit with us today?" Aww! Sunday night we had a lesson with Amaro. He is one of the investigators that Hna. Aldrich was teaching here before, and she left us some notes about him. He hadn't really been visited that much, and so far since we have been visiting him he hasn't seemed super interested. His girlfriend is really chatty and kind of takes over the lessons, so it's hard to really tell if he's not interested or just doesn't have a chance to talk. Then last night the girlfriend wasn't there, so it was just us three with Amaro and his brother, and we had a fantastic lesson! We also put him on-date for baptism!! Woo hoo! My first Spanish baptism date. He is working towards the goal of April 8th for his baptism. We are so excited!
Whew! I think that is actually everything for this week! I told you it was long! This week has been so packed with amazing things. I'm so glad to see the fire that this area has and all the great things that are happening here.
Can't wait to hear from you all soon!
Love and miss you SO MUCH.
I fixed Elder Wilde's pants
I fixed Elder Aguilar's tie, so then of course Hna Dee had to model it for us
Cool origami at a member's house
My hair is soaking wet! I went out tracting and forgot my umbrella!