Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Homeward Bound

This is my last email from the mission field. I have only a few hours left in Lincoln before they ship me off to Omaha. Fun fact that is bringing my mission full circle: I will be staying the night with the Plattsmouth Sisters (Plattsmouth was my first area) with Sister Youngberg as a sort of temporary companion (she was my MTC companion, remember?).

I am a little sad, and a little happy. It's definitely bittersweet. I have loved Nebraska and being a missionary, but I miss family and friends. And ice cream. :) I have avoided telling people I was leaving until this last week, and some people were truly surprised. Remember Muhammed? We had lunch with him again this week, and I told him I was leaving, and he went through all the stages of grief, in about 20 minutes. Denial: "You tell the church you not leave!" Sadness: "This is bad news, Miss May. Very Bad!" Anger: "I am angry about this, Miss May!" Acceptance: "In two or three months,  you come back here!" I forget one of the stages in there (Wait, is it bargaining? Because he totally tried to bargain with me: "You stay just a little longer. You part of my family"). He wasn't the only one. I hadn't even told my ward mission leader until our final coordination meeting, and he was sad, too.

Although, there have been some benefits! One woman in the ward agreed to feed us, and made the best African food ever! Another made me cinnamon rolls (they are back at the apartment right now, waiting for me to devour them!), and I have been using my impending departure as an excuse to get in doors. When one sister answered the door and saw us, she said,, "Not today. I'm busy." I then replied, "Oh, that's okay. We just wanted to stop by and say good bye. I leave next week..." And then she let us right in! It was amazing!

Did I mention that I got wrangled into singing in church last week? Yep, Sis. McCauley played the piano and I sang "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy" as a musical number. It wasn't too terrible :)
I am running out of time, but I will be able to see and talk to people soon! I love you all, and thank you for supporting me while I was on a mission. I truly appreciate it.
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So much to say...

This week was a fun week, but also filled with craziness. Sister McCauley has been sick and finally went to the doctor. She is now taking fun meds and is feeling a lot better, so that's good. We have been doing crazy service for people, which is good. I like service. I also love that we can grow closer to members of the ward.

We were also able to see “Meet the Mormons” this week with a member of the ward and her non-member husband. We were so excited to be able to go, but we were also nervous because some people have told us he is anti-Mormon. His wife feeds us, but she just brings us our meals. We never have meals in their home. When they picked us up, the first thing out of his mouth was, “I’m in a bad mood today!” Almost the second thing out of his mouth was, “I was born Lutheran, and I’m gonna die a Lutheran!” Sister McCauley and I thought, “Oh boy, this should be fun…” But as the drive continued, he warmed up to us, and told us all about his life in the Navy, his parents, and their kids. At the theater, he seemed to enjoy himself. And as we left and began talking about the film, he grudgingly admitted that “It was okay.” During the car ride back to Lincoln, however, he opened up and we had some good discussions. He ended our talk of the film by saying, “That was a good movie for anyone—of any faith! I would tell anyone they should see it, and if they disagree, I’ll tell ‘em what to do!” It turned into a really great experience for all of us. On Sunday, his wife thanked us for asking them to go and said it was another good step towards him being more familiar with the Church. “A few years ago,” she said, “You never would have got him in the car! This was huge!” So success achieved!

It was so weird to be in a movie theater, though. As a missionary, we can't watch TV, and spend every moment around a screen trying not to look at it. So when the previews came on, I had the biggest urge to look away, because I felt like I wasn't allowed to be there! Ha! I got over it pretty quickly, though, don't you worry! I definitely enjoyed my taste of movie theater popcorn for the first time in over 18 months! Yum!

We also experienced Christlike love and service in action in our ward. A woman we have been helping with her scripture study had her car break down, and her financial situation is not the best. When she broke down crying and called her visiting teacher for a ride to work the next day (it was 10 pm) the visiting teacher came right over and hugged her while she cried, and didn’t let go until she stopped. On Saturday, her home teacher spent all day—sacrificing his time and money—to help get her car running. We were at her home helping her clean because she felt so overwhelmed, and she told us all the support she’d felt and the love and we witnessed her home teacher’s dedication, and it was just the loveliest thing. It just reminded me how wonderful it is to serve, and the ripples that each action causes. And then our dinner appointment asked us if there was anyone we wanted to invite to dinner, we said we wanted to invite her, and she was so touched. We got to go to Indian food! I love Indian food. I ate waaaay too much, and enjoyed it thoroughly. So did the sister we invited to join us, so life is good. It was a good week to be a missionary in Holmes Lake.

We had another family invite us to go to see "Meet the Mormons," but since the Elders in our ward have struggled to find someone to take them, we suggested they ask the Elders. We would gladly go again, but we didn't want to hoard all the opportunities. And they did ask the Elders! WHen we saw the Elders on Sunday, they said to us, "We owe you Sisters sooooo much!" We were like, "Yeah you do!" Ha! It's cool, though. It's all about forging positive relationships and working together in the ward. I love it!

One last funny story: On Sunday, as Sister McCauley and I were standing at the chapel doors, a little girl approached us. “Are you Sister Missionaries?” she asked. Yes, we are! We replied. “Do you sleep overnight at the temple?” she asked. No, we said. But it was really cute, and it makes me glad to be here.

I love you all, and I feel like I can finally admit that I might be seeing you soon! I love you! Don't write me letters this week (who knows if I'd get them in time!). Just write me emails, and you can tell others to do that, too.

I love you!
Sister Loradona May

Happy Columbus Day!

Some of the Sisters thought the libraries wouldn't be open because it is Columbus Day. I said they were open. Guess who won? It was me! Hooray!
And even bigger hooray is the fact that someone I taught in Sioux City got baptized last weekend! I didn't hear about it until today because I missed my former companion's email about it last week. It's cool, though, because it was the girl whose father wouldn't let her get baptized yet, but we'd taught her all the lessons 3 times over. So instead we started giving her piano lessons. And then I got transferred. But I found out that her Dad finally gave permission, and she got baptized, and she played "I am a Child of God" at the baptism! Some people might say I have tears in my eyes at that, but it's just their word against mine, and no one would ever believe them over me.
It's a lovely October day here: 53 and raining! Feels like home. :) Luckily, Sister McCauley and I have the car today, so we don't have to bike in the rain. Unfortunately, our car share sisters have to bike in the rain... I guess that's how it goes.
This last week we have been trying to get people to take us to see "Meet the Mormons." Our mission president has said we can go if we get a member to take us, and if we can get someone who is not a member or someone who is less-active to go with us. We're working on it, but so far, no dice. If the missionaries in your area have the same restrictions, work on asking someone to join you and take the missionaries with you! The missionaries will love you forever, and might even volunteer to rake your leaves or something. Heck, they'd probably rake your leaves regardless, but they really want to see "Meet the Mormons."
I have I told you about Mohammed? He is a 72 year-old Pakistani man who comes to church every Sunday even though he is not a member. He isn't about to change or convert any time soon, but he looooooooves us. A lot. In fact, he tries to feed us all the time. All. The. Time. And he feeds us ridiculous quantities of food, and keeps pushing it on us. I never know what it is that he is feeding us. There's a significant language barrier, and when I ask what something is called, he moves on to some other topic. Anyway, last time we were there, we had another sister from the ward there, and Mohammed had made a chicken dish (along with 7 other dishes--all of them very spicy! Red Chili spicy!). After we were waaaay overstuffed, Mohammed points to me, "You like the chicken?" Yes, Mohammed, I loved the chicken! Then he points to my companion: "You like the chicken?" Yes, it was very good. Then he points to our team up: "You like the chicken?" Yes, it was delicious! Then he points to the dish of chicken, "Then why there still chicken?" Oh, boy. In fact, I think he has mistaken our appetites for those of boys. More specifically, I think he has confused us with 16 year-old Samoan rugby players. He wants us to eat and eat and eat. He is very sweet and well-meaning. I think he misses his daughters, all of whom still live in Pakistan, and so he thinks he needs to feed us until we pop. I have decided that when I feed the missionaries when I get home, they will be able to dish themselves, and feel free to eat or not eat anything. And if they have just come from a Pakistani household, they don't have to eat anything. They can just sit on the sofa and let food digest while they teach me a lesson.
That said, I am still glad to be here, still working, and still teaching people! I love you all, and I await your emails and letters!
Sister Loradona May

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Monday, Monday!

First off, I am thrilled that Cliff is back! Hooray for life! That really makes my day. And a HUGE high-five for Dad for emailing me the reunion photos. It made me ridiculously happy! So far, Dad is ahead of everyone else by about 45 points. Jeanette is in second place, because she is always sending me awesome pictures of her babies! Hooray! Everyone else is tied. I love you all! (There isn't really a contest. I hope you know that. I just like to pretend there are points and a contest. It's amusing! Back to our regularly scheduled email...)
So. I told you all about the emergency move. But my week in service wasn't over. On Tuesday I went on exchange in York and got to do service at Adopt-a-pet! We walked dogs in the rain, fed them treats, and then went to the cat room. Those kitties were so lonely that they came running to us when we entered the room. At one point, I had 4 cats on me. I was so sad I forgot my camera in the car. Sister Beers (the sister I was with) laughed at me really hard.
That night it then rained 6-8 inches. I KNOW! So we got a panicked call from a sister in the ward that morning: her basement was flooded and could we help? We could! So Sister McCauley and I quickly changed into service clothes and ran out the door. I ended up missing breakfast because we didn't have time, and it was an emergency. But I totally learned things about service this week. I think when you serve, especially in ways that may not seem glamorous or in ways that might not be popular, you feel Heavenly Father's love. And there is always a need for love.
And then there was General Conference! It was amazing, wasn't it? We got to go to members' homes both days to watch the conference, and it was so much fun. They had food and games and comfortable sofas. Most importantly, though, were the messages. I loved them. My favorite might have been Elder Bednar's talk. I feel like I want everyone everywhere to watch that talk, because it explains why I serve a mission. I serve because I want everyone to have the healing salve and bandages, too! If I have experienced the love and care of someone helping me, then I want to help them! It really was something that I loved the moment I heard the talk. It really hit me.
Hey, my time is running out, but you know I love you, right? Right! I love you all, even if I did award Dad more points. And, ultimately, it isn't about points, anyway. It's about how much you mean to me, and how much I appreciate your emails, letters, and support. I really do appreciate it. Tons.
I can't wait to hear next week what you all have been up to! What were YOUR favorite parts of conference?

Sister Loradona May

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Hello fellow Earth travelers!
This week was a little less eventful than last, but a little more normal, which is good. I just did normal missionary work, and did my thing. It was... not exciting. But it was good! It was being a missionary, and we got to do some service for the ward camp out by preparing food with the woman in charge of food, Sister Mar. We got to help cut vegetables like pros, and then we got a ride to the camp out so we actually got to eat the fruits (or vegetables) of our labors! We, naturally, didn't stay the night, but we did get to mingle with members and their families, and just fellowship. It was nice!

Even nicer was on Saturday, which was the Women's General Meeting for conference. It was so wonderful! I have been praying for help in establishing goals for myself, and I got some answers while I was listening. I look forward to more answers and revelation this next weekend. I hope you all pay close attention to what you need to learn or hear at conference. I love that we are able to hear from a prophet and apostles what God wants us to know for our lives. It is something I really appreciate!
Also, we are emailing late today because we were asked to do a last minute service to help a woman move. The missionaries in that area were desperate for help for her since none of the ward members could be there. I was a little crabby at first, which I'm a little ashamed about. I mean, it's service. Just do it! Last night when we got the call, all I could think was, "There are 6 days a week we could help, so why does it have to be this day?" But I put my crabbiness behind me, and I'm glad I did. We showed up, and there were 30 missionaries there! All of the missionaries in Lincoln (minus one companionship--lame!) came to help this sister move, and it was super fast. You should have seen those Elders move the piano! Yikes! But I realized something: I really was glad to help. And what is so special about Mondays that I feel I'm too good to help someone? Christ wouldn't have crabbed about it. I studied about Charity this morning in my studies, and I realized that I am not supposed to be childish or selfish in my charity. Because charity doesn't hold back. I need to have charity, and that was the lesson I learned today. Plus I actually had a lot of fun and saw missionaries I never get to see, so that was a bonus! Basically, do service, even if it seems inconvenient, because there will be blessings in it for you.
I love you all! I've attached a photo of all the missionaries following the move (from an apt. on the 2nd floor to an apt. on the 3rd floor--that's a lot of floors with a piano! Just saying...)
Sister Loradona May

Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Things About This Week

1. We had a broken fire alarm.
We were asked to make sure it worked. It did, but immediately after we tested it, it began doing the "low battery chirp" thing. Ugh. That happened all night. Luckily, it was Monday the next day and we could get a new battery! Hooray!
2. We had an awesome new member lesson with Whitney!
She is really neat. We helped put her at ease about speaking publicly and serving, which was good. I am just so glad I get to work with her.
3. I went to the doctor
Remember how I've been sick? Yeah, I finally went to the doctor and I have a sinus infection. Tah-dah! He took my temperature, and he said, "Oh, it looks like you have a little fever!" I said, "I do? I do!" I finally felt validated. I was trying to have a stiff upper lip about everything, but suddenly I had permission to be sick. So I got a prescription of antibiotics and went home and slept for 3 hours. Hooray! Now I am feeling better, which is nice. Here's to an awesome coming week!
4. We went to visit someone who is a lost sheep, and her birthday is on November 9, right between Mom and Jeanette!
It made me think of both of you. That is all.
5. We had a really good dinner with a member, Tina!
She told me I need to move to a big city. I said I'd think about it. I'll start with Portland. And her food was amazing!
6. Transfer week!
Sister McCauley and I are still together! Phew. It was a little uncertain at first, but we're here together for one more transfer.
7. Transfer week!
We had been working as the only missionaries in our ward, but with transfers came the news that we were getting Elders in our ward, too! We pulled together some good teaching records, a ward list, and a map color coded by area (to match the color coded ward list) to help them out. I think they appreciated it.
8. We got taken to dinner with Sister Cole this week.
She is cool, and has been on a cool trip to Scotland. It makes me want to plan a cool trip.
9. We had a rock and roll thunder storm.
So, I sleep with earplugs in a lot (my companion is NOT a quiet sleeper), but I was awakened at one point by the thunder. Yikes! It was still pretty cool, though.
10. Primary Program Sunday!
Oh, man. I did not make a Primary Program bingo card this year, but I did see some good classic examples of some of my favorite things: One kid dancing during songs, one little girl who kept beckoning her mom to join her on the stand (Mom just kept shaking her head, "no"), one kid who kept waving, one kid who got up to the microphone and promptly forgot what to say, and so many others. Have you all had a primary program recently? How did it go?
This week should be fun. Our ward camp out is this weekend (Yeah, I don't get it either. Don't you normally have a ward camp out in the summer?), and there is a RS activity, AND the general Women's Broadcast on Sunday! It feels like the kickoff to General Conference, and I am so excited about it! I hope you are, too.
I love you all! I am looking forward to the next few weeks, and I am working on being better every day!
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Best Week Ever

Hey family! Guess who had the best week ever? This sister! (Imagine me, pointing to myself, with a big grin. Got that image? Okay. Hold on to it.)
This past week was crazy busy but so good! We rode our bikes in the rain the first part of the week. I'm just glad that it was still a warm rain. Things have started to cool down, so who knows if we'll have warm rain in the future. It might start to be cold... Ugh. Speaking of which, we had an actual snow scare this week, which made me nervous, because I sent my winter coat and boots home months ago. Hopefully that wasn't a mistake... No snow arrived, however, for which we were grateful.  Whew!
Then on Wednesday, a member drove us and Whitney, our investigator, to the Trail Center for a tour and lunch. It was so neat. It was a cool experience to help Whitney see that she was about to become a part of a church with a history of faith and people who chose to be pioneers. It was also different to be there not as a tour guide. I haven't been to the Trail Center for a tour since I left, over a year ago, so I felt like I was supposed to be giving the tour, but not at the same time. It was weird, but we had a good experience.
On Friday, our zone was able to go to the temple! I really do appreciate it now so much more because I don't have the luxury to go except when President Weston says. It was a great chance to feel peace and calm, and to spend that time with other missionaries in the zone and with President and Sister Weston. They really are our mission parents, and they have so much love for us. I can feel it!

Then on Saturday, we had Whitney's baptism! We were told it would take 2-2.5 hours to fill the font, so we were there really early, and then... it only took an hour. And then half of it leaked out because the drain wasn't fully plugged. Ugh. But we caught it well before it was a problem, and the font was full of warm water by the time we started the service. (Whitney's daughter was baptized last year, and her water was cold, apparently, so Whitney requested warm water! When she arrived at the church to get changed, she asked if she could feel the water. We said sure. She leaned down to test the water temperature and said, "Ah! That feels about right!" So we did a good job!)
Her 9 year old daughter said the opening prayer, which was the sweetest thing, and then Sis. Spilker, the member who took us to the trail center, spoke. Then Sis. McCauley, Whitney's daughter, and I all sang "A Child's Prayer." I'm telling you, that song can make hardened criminals cry, so it is no surprise that everyone was sniffling at least a little bit. And then Whitney got baptized! The Spirit was really strong, and Whitney was crying the whole time. It was so beautiful. While Whitney changed, Sis. McCauley and I bore testimony (During which Whitney's daughter jumped up and said, "I want to bear my testimony!" How do you say no? Of course you don't. You say yes!) and asked everyone to consider their relationship with Christ, while a sister from the ward played the harp. As our Ward Mission Leader said, "There's a reason everyone always pictures angels playing harps in heaven!" We had another talk, and welcomes, and then refreshments, and it was lovely. We had a number of people from the ward come, and it was just awesome.

To put the cap on an awesome week, Whitney was then confirmed on Sunday. How can you have a better week than that? I don't think you can!
Now the hard work of finding and teaching continues. Hooray!
I love you all, and I hope you all have great weeks!
Sister Loradona May