Monday, April 18, 2016

I'm Still 20! Just Barely!

Hello from Oregon!! So technically I live in Washington still, a town called White Salmon. But my area is in both Washington and Oregon, and the church where I am currently sitting in, emailing is in Oregon. So hello from Oregon!

Hello, The Dalles!

GAH! Our Area! Is this real life?!

 On the way to our house

The view from our front yard. (You're jealous, I know!)

My area is seriously SO GORGEOUS. I can't get over it! I thought Royal was pretty, it was like an armpit compared to this place!! This week has been so seriously awesome, too. My new companion, Hna. Marble is the best! She is really nice and really funny. We already have way too much fun talking like Miranda all the time (shout out to Hannie) She looks like Camryn Lovett and sounds just like Candi Brundage! It's kind of funny when she talks in the other room because it sounds like there's a Brundage in there! 

Hermanas Knight and Marble

My adorable companion!

So almost everyone in our ward is old retired couples. Or people with young families. There's not a lot in between. Also our ward covers a HUGE area, so a lot of people are less-active, simply because they don't have the desire/means to drive an hour to get to church. It's kind of sad. We actually used to have two smaller branches here, but the stake decided to just combine them into a ward. But now no one can come, so I’m not sure how long that will last. The area is mostly English, which is seriously weird to adjust to! We only have about 5 Spanish members in our entire area and the other sisters’ area, so it's not even enough to have a group, let alone a branch. It's kind of hard, because there are a lot of Hispanics here, and we have a few Hispanic investigators, but we invite them to church and it's like, yeah... so we want you to come, but it's in English... but we can translate for you! And they're like Whaaaat? I've been praying that maybe we could get a couple of Spanish families to move in here that are already members that could bolster it enough to have a separate Spanish group, then the investigators and less actives would have a reason to go , and someone to greet them when they get here. 

There is actually a lot of drama that has gone down in this area in the last year. I'm starting to feel like that's one of the reasons Heavenly Father needs me here right now, to kind of clear out all the junk and re-focus this area on what is important. A lot of the past missionaries have been really homey-ish with some of the investigators, so that's something that's probably going to be a little hard to change, but I know we can do it. Hna. M and I are just so ready to hit it hard this week and light this place on fire! (figuratively of course--I guess that's a little insensitive considering last summer...) But seriously I'm so ready to just gut this place! We took a little extra time out during our weekly planning on Friday to clean out the area book. It was so unorganized and messy! (There used to be elders here...) We organized everything and made an awesome plan of how to visit everyone this week. We are going to be so busy, but I am so excited! 

 Doing service--pruning shrubs for an elderly lady

Something else cool and random is that we get to drive a jeep in our area, since we are up in the mountains and it is sometimes a pretty rough terrain, especially in the winter. It's really fun having a jeep. His name is Juan Carlos. I didn't name him.

Oh I almost forgot something weird! Yesterday I met the twin sister of a member in Royal!! I saw her in church and was so confused, I was like "I know her from somewhere, but I can't figure out where!" It was driving me crazy for like 2 hours, and then I realized who it was--a sister from Royal. So then I walked closer to the lady to see if it was actually her, and I realized that it looked way similar to her but not exactly the same. Then it dawned on me that once when we were having dinner at their house, she told us she had a twin sister that lives in The Dalles! So anyway, that was weird and kind of cool! I didn't have a chance to talk to her or introduce myself or anything, but hopefully soon. We also have a gospel doctrine teacher who is from NYC, his accent is really fun to listen to. It’s also interesting going to church in English again. I just felt like "this is too easy to understand everyone!" ha ha! But we have to translate things from English to Spanish a lot, so that's hard and challenging, and a great Spanish practice!

 Wild Turkeys!

These cute VW vans are everywhere--
usually with wind-surfing supplies strapped to the top!!

We had a funny dinner experience on Friday and Saturday. There is a family in the ward, the Lensons, and their mom is from Venezuela, and the husband served in Argentina on his mission so the whole family speaks Spanish and English. They are one of our top go-to fellowshippers for Spanish investigators, so we planned this appointment for an investigator, Anastine, to have dinner with us and the Lensons. But then the investigator just made  a bunch of food and gave it to us to take to their house, but wouldn't come with us... it was really awkward! We kept asking him why he wouldn't come, but he just kept saying "Nope! Nope!" He wouldn't say why... so we just took the food and went. He said, "I hope you love the food!" and he seemed really happy to give it to us, but just for some reason wouldn't come. So... that lesson and fellowshipping opportunity was a flop! I guess he didn't get the point...

It's my birthday tomorrow! Woo hoo! And guess what my favorite present is:
ANA GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!!!!!! My first baptism!! And I couldn't go :( I was so sad about that, because I really wanted to go and also visit Royal! But I'm glad that at least Hermana Luevano could go! She is still serving in Moses Lake, so she easily went. I asked for her to save me a program too, so that will be good :) 
Hopefully I can see some pictures as well :) 

Congratulations, Ana!
(Photo posted to Washington Yakima Mission FB Page)

Well I think that is it for this week. I love you all! My last email as a 20 year old missionary.

Some last pictures from Yakima:

Last zone pictures with these goofballs.
It's been fun, Yak Valley Spanish Zone!

 Goodbye to la familia Martinez-Farias

Goodbye to the Gomez Family! Les quiero!

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