Monday, April 25, 2016

Genius 10-Year-Olds, OYMs, Birthdays, and 6 Months Already?

Springtime in the Northwest

Okay, it literally feels like I just barely hit my four month mark, and now all of the sudden I'm a third done with my mission?! Wow! It's actually pretty exciting :) And sad at the same time. I'm starting to understand the whole wanting to be in denial about how short of a time you have left in the mission thing. I'm starting to really, really love being a missionary, and really want each day to last as long as possible!

This week was AWESOME. First of all, thank you so much to everyone who has been writing me for my birthday! It seriously means so much! It's so fun when I open my P.O. box to a bunch of letters. Thank you specifically to Jaina, Sis. Rogers, Noemi, Gma and Gpa, Candi, Jessy, and Katie! I also got a package from my mom this week, and am expecting one from my dad today! 

 Birthday Package!!!

My companion made me birthday breakfast!

So we started off the week with a challenge from the Hood River Elders to try to get 50 OYMs (open your mouth and talk to someone new) the way you do that is either talking to someone on the street, at the store, knocking on their door, etc. It counts as an OYM if you introduce yourself, get their name, and tell them you are a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints. In my past areas it has been very, very hard to get even 20 in a week, just because it has been cold and winter, and nobody was out! And in Royal all the houses were really spread out, so we spent a lot of time driving. So we worked really, really, really hard this week at talking to literally every single person we could possibly see, and got 40!! We were so close! This week we are going to shoot for 50 again. I think we can do it! 

We met so many cool new people this week, including a girl named Kira. She actually walked up to us! (that never happens) and asked, "Hey are you guys church ladies?" and we were like, "Well, yes, we are missionaries.... etc., etc." Then she was like "I have never grown up with any religion or anything, but I believe in God, and I have been searching for the truth for a long time. I saw you ladies and your name tags and just had a huge urge like I NEED to talk to you." It was INCREDIBLE. We are teaching her tonight, and I am so excited! We also got a new list from the Executive Secretary of the ward, of part-member families and found an awesome new family to teach. The Merrills' mom is a member, but none of the 4 kids or husband have ever been baptized. We are also teaching them today, and I'm excited to see how they go! 

Park where Kira found us

Tuesday was my birthday! Woo hoo! I already talked about that a little, but something also fun that we got to do was do some service at a thrift store, and we got some free clothes! And then for our member dinner that night, the Kings (AWESOME COUPLE) took us out for dinner at this delicious local pizza and sandwich shop. We had these amazing sandwiches (I love, love, love sandwiches) and tons of extra pickles! Unfortunately no one makes fried pickles here, which is a birthday tradition. So that was sad, but I got some Tillamook ice cream. I guess that makes up for it. :) 

Wednesday we had a really good day filled with tons of companionship bonding. I finally got to meet Erin, an eternigator (investigator for eternity) that has been being taught in this area by missionaries for nine years! My last eternigator, Ana, just got baptized last Saturday, so I'm excited to crack down on this one too! It's funny because everyone's so afraid of offending them or hurting their feelings or something, and I'm just like, what have you got to lose?! They're not progressing anyway! I believe in being bold with people, it’s the only way things get done! There's an awesome quote that I heard from a missionary who is super inspiring to me: "The difference between being bold and being overbearing is, overbearance is boldness without love." How true is that?! It's like the difference between tough love, and just being mean. So anyway, I'm excited to start working with Erin.

 Companionship bonding!

We also got to meet the most interesting little kid, James. He is only ten but is SO smart! We met his mom a couple days ago and shared our message with her, and she asked if we could come over and share it with her son, too because he would be very interested. When she said he was ten we were like, hmm that's kind of weird, but okay. Then we got there and met him and holy cow! His vocabulary was insane. We asked him what he would like to get out of our meetings and he said, "I would like to have enlightenment and knowledge about my purpose in life" We were like ............. wow." So anyway, I'm very excited for him, too.

Thursday we stopped by the church for a meeting with our bishop for a while to talk about the work in the area and saw a bunch of the youth going in and out of the gym with a bunch of random supplies and ladders and lights and stuff. So we got curious and followed them in there and found them decorating the gym for a stake dance like Harry Potter themed!! IT was so cool! It looked just like the great hall in Hogwarts. Thursday night we had an awesome member dinner with the Rogers, a cute older couple who actually went to Utah State! My comp, Hna. Marble, is from Logan and wants to go to USU after she gets back, so it was really fun to be around a bunch of Aggies! (We even sang “The Scotsman” together. It was so fun!)

Harry Potter dance--You walk through
the brick wall at platform 9 3/4--get it?

Friday night we had so much fun because we had a ward barbecue. At first when they said barbecue I was like, "Yeah right, it's probably just hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill... it's a grill-out." But then to my pleasant surprise it was legitimately a barbecue! A brother in the ward brought his Traeger and made pulled pork! It was so, so, so delicious and refreshing! I think he was using maple pellets, or maybe cedar. It was also really fun because our investigator Tyler (who is on-date for baptism, btw!) brought his non-member parents, and a non-member friend, Aaron! It turns out that Aaron ended up getting his hands on a Book of Mormon a few years ago and actually read it and has been having some questions for a while. But he never knew how to get a hold of the missionaries. SO anyway, that was a miracle.

Legitimate barbecue!

 Fun at the ward barbecue

I ate cactus!

Friday we had a lesson with an almost eternigator (it's been two years), named Dory. Her issue is that she has a ton of questions about deep, deep, deep doctrine that we can't answer! I don't know if anyone can answer it but God himself! She is just studying literally everything she can get her hands on. We’re not sure where to go moving forward with her, so if you could pray about that it would be great! We could use some inspiration. We also accidentally knocked into a less-active named Juan. It turns out he hasn't been to church for 20 years, but he never stopped believing. Now he has a heart disease and can't go out. It was so sad! He told us his conversion story, and I was almost crying by the end of it. I am so glad we found him and can start helping him now! 

Saturday we got to go over for lunch to a less-active’s home and have Mole Verde! I had eaten mole rojo a lot before, it's a really common dish, but never verde! It was really good. I'm not a huge fan of mole, but now I really like it. I also ate cactus! It was surprisingly not that bad. It just tasted like a not-ripe-yet cucumber. I also ate Aloe.... very strange. 

Hermana Marble eating Mole Verde

Saturday in the day we drove up to Carson to contact a referral. Carson is a little town on the very edge of our area, and it is SO gorgeous up there! I have tons of pictures. Something kind of funny is that on the way up there, we were winding through tons of mountains, and I got soooo carsick. I was about to throw up... so we stopped at a gas station to grab some Dramamine for the drive back (it's about 45 minutes). I took a Dramamine but totally forgot that they make you really drowsy! So ha ha, when we got back that evening, I was totally falling asleep during the member dinner! I was so drowsy the rest of the day.

 The drive to Carson

My favorite quote from church yesterday: "Who you are is good enough, don't be so hard on yourself! Keep going, keep trying, keep progressing." 

My favorite thing I learned this week: "Restauracion= Restoration AND restitution, in Spanish. How perfect is that?!

Welcome to Washington! 

Welcome to Oregon!

 Her last name is Marble! Hee hee!

 These cute vans are everywhere

I LOVE this street sign!

 Strange sign we saw

Everything about this town is so cute and woodsy.
Even the post office looks like a cabin!

Bridge over the Columbia River

 Beautiful scenery around White Salmon

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