Monday, December 30, 2013


So, Christmas was good, if weird.. It was great to talk to my family! Technology has made talking with family so awesome, but I am glad it only happens every so often. It makes me miss people and realize that I don't see them as much as I want. But it was still great--especially seeing all of the babies! I love them and they are so cute! I am mildly sad that I don't get to see them when they are still cute and cuddly. Maybe in a year...?
(Insert story  here that she said could not go on the blog. If you want to here the story you will have to ask me personally).

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming. And I'm pretty much out of time for writing today--I'm sorry! I love everyone and I love the letters, photos, and presents you all sent! They made my day! I love you all and I wish I had more to report about. Oh! Someone we've been wishing would come to church for a long time finally came yesterday! It was good. Maybe next week I'll have a lot more to report.
Sister Loradona May

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Okay, folks. I have kind of squandered my time today (no judging! I'm just slow today), so this letter may be short. But first things first: It snowed last night! It looks super pretty. And it's already kind of dirty looking on the roads. But on the ground it is lovely! And it is crazy because on Wednesday this last week, it was 70!!!! I know! This morning, however, it was 10. Easy come, easy go.
We had our Christmas Zone Conference this last week, which was great. It is always great to see my mission president and his wife, and I love seeing them. One of the other missionary's mom knitted all of the sisters slippers, so we each got a pair of knit slippers! I love them and they are red. I might be wearing them every chance I get. I also received Christmas packages from Mom and from Jill and Cliff. If anyone else sent anything, then they will be New Years' gifts, because that is the next time I see anyone from Omaha and the next chance to receive interesting items. Then again, maybe that's all I get, in which case, let me tell you now: I love you and I love my gifts! I haven't opened them yet, but if it was unwrapped (the tights and the scarf) then yes, I have already put it to good use. If it was wrapped, then I put it on the end table in our apartment to stare at longingly. I love presents! Especially wrapped ones!
We have a dinner with members on Christmas Eve, so yes, I am being cared for. Are the missionaries in the wards where you are being taken care of? Invite them over on Christmas day or Christmas Eve, or any time this week. Tell them they can teach you a lesson and you will give them hot cocoa. Believe me, this is a hard time to try to get in with people at times, and even if the members just occasionally invite the missionaries over for 30 minutes and let them teach a short lesson, that would be a delightful respite and something the missionaries would be eternally grateful for. That is the best, truly.
We've done a lot of caroling this week. The best was with the YSAs for our FHE on Tuesday. One of the YSAs reeeeeally likes to sing. Just belts it out. And on O Holy Night, he goes, "Okay, I'm taking the solo." So he starts to sing, and none of us do, and then he stops and says, "What happened? Why didn't any of you sing? I still need back up singers!" Oh, heavens! What a funny guy. But it was so much fun, if cold. We are doing a little more caroling tonight, and maybe tomorrow? Who knows. Our plans for tomorrow kind of changed, so who knows what we will do.
The YSAs are all gone, the University is closed, and we are still here, Sister Muasau and I. We are a little stymied as to what to do. I mean, this isn't really the home base for much of our age group. Oh well. We shall figure it out. 
In the meantime: Christmas! I get to call (Skype? Google Hangout? Something) home, and that will be cool. We will get to spend much of the day with the other Sisters in Kearney, and so that should be fun. We also get to see members and basically help others feel the spirit of the holiday.
Anyway, Merry Christmas! I love you all! I love your letters, your packages, and your... everything! I will keep working hard!
Sister Loradona May

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Picture! And THAT'S NOT ALL!

I don't know how I did this, but I left myself very little time to write today. Sigh. I'm sorry! I don't know exactly what I'm doing for Christmas, but we do have a family that has invited us over and offered use of computers and whatnot, so that is cool. I will let you know as soon as I do what the parameters are for calling and when we will do it. Just let me know what your schedules look like of Christmas, and then we can coordinate.
This week was cooooold, and then it got above freezing and I was all, "Hey, it's tropical out here! Who needs a coat? Psh!" So that was nice. We also had a really cool contact where the girl was really interested in what we had to say, the idea of the gospel, but she's in the middle of finals and then she's going to be gone for Christmas. So "After Christmas will be better," she said. Wish us luck.
We went to Lexington for one day this last week to see some people. It went well, though none of them came to church on Sunday. That's okay. We're doing our job. We also had one girl we meet with feed us dinner the other night--she was adorable with it. And then we taught her a bit and she coaxed us into a little Uno before we left. It was fun, if unconventional. Serving in the YSA is definitely different than just about anything else. Sometimes it's strange, and has interesting perks. Like we get a luncheon every Sunday after church. Not a potluck--lunch. I feel like that is a very important distinction. It's very nice. It is usually something amaaaaazing and fantastic. Or sometimes the branch presidency pays for the branch to go to a dinner theater. It's a cool place to be. I love the folks here. They are fantastic and just so loving of everyone. Whenever we get a less active person or an investigator to an activity or church, the YSA branch members are super fantastic and cool. They just bring people in and love them. I think that's partially because they are a small group, so any new face stands out, and they just bring them on in.
Also, some fallout from the Gingerbread contest from last week: We got a text from one of the branch members: "Your creation is on display in the Student Union." So all of the houses/creations were in the Union. We just told him not to eat Baby Jesus, because that would be sacreligious (or sacrelicious?). Then he texted us: "Um, you are on the front page of" Apparently there is a whole photo gallery from the contest on there, though some people are not listed correctly in the caption. I haven't seen the photos, but a ward member forwarded one to me, which I sent to Mom. Enjoy! Otherwise, I'm sure you can go to the school website and see more photos. Weird, right?
Also, we have had a good week just being available for people who need us. Look around you for the people who need you. You never know where you might see them or find them! For example, Sister Muasau and I carried a couch up three flights of stairs in our skirts and all! Try it, you'll like it! Okay, you don't have to wear a skirt to carry a sofa, but look for people who need you. Hey, I love you all, and I love the letters you send. And the emails. And the photos. And everything. I wish I had more to report on, but it's cold, it's finals week, and then there's Christmas vacation. Pickings may be slim for a while. And that's okay. I truly love you and will write again next week!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Well, not frightful, but it did snow, like,5 or 6 inches yesterday, and it has been ridiculously cold. No, not Canada cold, but it has been below 0 at night, and highs around 11 during the day. Though tomorrow it is forecast to be 37 for the high! I am a little excited about that one!
We are working despite the cold and the snow, and I have a testimony of my snow boots and my winter coat: "I know that this is a true coat..." Also, I am glad Mom sent me my Canada mittens--those Canadians know how to keep a girl's fingers warm! Though I still need to purchase earmuffs and a few other things. A sister in the family ward served in Chicago, and we asked her for advice, and she said, "Forget Pretty!" So I am not usually very fashionable or pretty. I wear, like, three pairs of tights, and she said, "Forget the tights. Go with leggings. No one can tell under your skirt and boots." So I am off to buy leggings today.
This last week we've had our ups and our downs, but it is still going well. Sister Muasau received some not good news on Thursday (everyone's fine, but the news was disappointing for her), but then we headed off to the university to join a few other YSAs for a gingerbread house building contest. Before we started, someone asked if we thought we had a chance. I said, "I don't lose!" The school provided the graham crackers and frosting. Everything else had to come from us. We were assigned table 13--luckiest number ever, y'all! And we had 30 minutes to build our creation, which was supposed to be a manger scene. You guys, we were a little disorganized, and it was a little bit, um, messy. That's the nicest way I can put it. But we worked on it and made a little manger scene with gingerbread cookies as people. I gave Mary a halo. :) And then? Time was up. I looked around the room, and there were some cool ones: Hobbiton, The house from "Up" (there were lollipops coming out of the chimney!), and just some really neat things going on. And then they announced the winners: "Third prize goes to table thhhhhree!" We all totally thought they were going to say Thirteen. They did not. That's okay, we thought, we had fun. (Table three was Bilbo Baggins' house, by the way.) "Second prize goes to table 5!" That's it. We were out of the running. There was no way we were getting... "First prize goes to table 13!" ...Wait. What? We all burst out laughing and cheering. We were interviewed for the school paper, including that Sister Muasau and I were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we were in the group photo, with name tags and everything. The kicker? There was a first prize of $150. HA! I really, honestly don't think our creation was worth $150, but we were pretty creative with chow mein noodles for hay in the stable, and orange slices for the actual manger. So maybe that is what won it for us?
Moral of the story: when you feel a little low, you get the chance to make a gingerbread house and then win the contest! And then you feel better! Yay! So just look for those tender mercies of the Lord, and I am sure you will find them.
Sister Loradona May

Monday, December 2, 2013

And The News Is...

No, I'm not going to tell you right away! Because I am that mean and I do love torture! I will start with saying that we had a good week, and we were able to talk to some people and answer questions about the church and use the Book of Mormon to answer their questions about life, so that was a good experience.
Okay, I'll get to the part you all want to know. The last two times I have been transferred, I have also been training, and President Weston called before 7 am. So when 7 am came and went on Thanksgiving, I felt pretty sure I wasn't going to be training. Until about 7:45 when I am in the bathroom drying my hair and I hear a knock on the door. It was Sister Gulledge. "President's on the phone. He wants to talk to you." So I get on the phone and President asks, "Are you ready to train again?" Sure, I respond. "Sure," he repeats, and laughs. I guess "Sure" isn't the usual response? President couldn't say her name, so he spelled it for me: Sister Muasau. Interesting, I thought. And then the conversation ended. I turned expectantly to Sister Gulledge, because she had the look of someone who had been smacked on the head. "I'm training and opening the area to Sisters in Phillipsburg, KS," she says. HA! So, I'm still in Kearney, but with Sister Muasau instead of Sister Gulledge, who is now in Kansas. I might be a teensy bit jealous, simply because I wanted to get to all of the states in my mission, and I've only been to two. I'm still hoping for Kansas one day! And who knows about South Dakota...
So we went to Thanksgiving with the other Sisters at the Robinsons, the family where we bucked hay and cut up firewood. Sister Page and Sister Youngberg found out that Sister Youngberg was being transferred to Fairview, and Sister Call (who was with us in the MTC!) was being transferred from Fairview to Kearney. So basically, it was a straight switch. Thanksgiving was good! We spend the morning helping make dinner! And thanks to Mom, I was able to introduce the world (or maybe just Kearney) to the wonders of Tollhouse pie (thanks, Mom, for emailing the recipe to Sister Robinson!), and then we had dinner in the afternoon. We all worked together to make dinner, and a guy just returning to church joined us for the dinner, as well as a recent convert and his mom. It was a full, fun house. And then we went home so Sister Gulledge could pack and we could prepare for transfers the next day.
And then we went to the transfer point and got our new trainees! I learned that Sister Muasau is Samoan and you pronounce her name "Mwah-saow." So I traded in my Hawaiian for a Samoan. Poor President--he had so many missionaries coming in, I can't fault him for not knowing perfectly how to pronounce each name. I'm sure he'll get it figured out one day. In the meantime, she is from Midvale, UT, and she is a licensed massage type person. She is pretty cool, and she is just so excited to be a missionary. I love it!
On Saturday, we played soccer again, and again, I was reminded just how out of shape I am. Yikes! But, hey, it was fun, and we keep trying to get investigators to go with us. One day it will happen, I am sure.
On Sunday, I ended up playing the organ for both sacrament meetings. Somehow, I am now the de facto organ substitute. I don't know how that happened, especially since I am not particularly talented at it. Oh well, no one's ears were bleeding, so I'll take that as a boost to my ego.
But more importantly, one of our investigators came to church! And stayed the whole time! It was great and amazing and I love it.
I wish I had more to say and more time to say it in, but alas, I'm out of time. I love you all, and I'll write more next week.
Sister Loradona May

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time for Turkey! Almost

Today's episode picks up in Kearney, NE, where our heroine was frantically trying to slay the evil dragon with her sword! Or maybe just knock on some doors, find some new people to teach, and get them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. It just sounds more thrilling to say I fight dragons.
This week has been full of ups and downs. We went on exchanges, I had a sore throat, I went to dinner at the same house 3 times, and I have my first novel practically mapped out!
Let me explain about the novel: We were visiting a member one evening and joking around about post-mission plans. I said I was going to write the great American novel, and he told me that it would be titled "Through My Eyes" and would have lots of complex layers, and that the overarching theme would be irony. And then he said, "And your photo on the back cover will look like this," and then he did this hilariously stereotypical "author-photo-pose" that I can't even describe, but it was cool and Sister Gulledge and I laughed reaaaaally hard about it. So, you know, I can always write that novel when I get home. I am writing this down so I don't forget all of these precious, precious details. Remember this, people. Famous author, coming through.
Sister Page got a sinus infection, so we did some exchanges so that Sister Youngberg could still go out and get work done. Part of the time I went out with Sister Youngberg and part of the time I stayed at home with Sister Page. It was good, and was preparation for our real exchange later in the week!
Yep, that's right, two exchanges, one week! We went out for our regularly scheduled exchanges on Friday. Sister Page and I knew we wanted to meet someone that her ward mission leader knew where she lived, but we couldn't get a hold of him, so we called his wife, who said he was headed to the church building with the Elders to look at baptismal clothes (because there was a baptism on Saturday! Hooray!). We were already on our way to the church, so that was cool. We got there before the Elders, which was good, because we had keys to the closet they needed. And then (I am not explaining this well at all) while we were all looking at baptismal clothes, none of which were the right size, the sister who takes care of the building comes in and asks if we had heard an alarm. She had received a call from Salt Lake saying that an alarm had been tripped and to check to make sure that the building was okay. We had heard nothing, but she went around to check. When she called Salt Lake back, they said it was some sort of malfunction. But. She heard about the baptismal clothes issues and said she had a dress the investigator could wear that would fit! Hooray! But she said she needed a blessing; could the Elders help? They could! Hooray! And then we asked the ward mission leader if he could show us where the girl lived we wanted to talk to lived, and he could! Hooray! The moral of the story: Each of us needed something from the others, and each of us could provide the answer to the others' problems. So Heavenly Father arranged for us to be together so we could all help each other out. When you have a trouble, maybe someone nearby can help. And maybe you're nearby someone else because they have a need you can fill. And sometimes it's both! So look for those opportunities to be the tiny miracle and answer to someone's prayer.
So there was a baptism on Saturday. That was cool. And afterward, the ward mission leader had soccer in the gym. He had invited a bunch of his nonmember friends and had pointed out a few that were YSA age for us to talk to. It was so much fun. I may or may not have bruised my tailbone, but that is an unimportant detail. The most important detail is that most of the guys who came to play soccer were Latino, and I wasn't completely horrible. But I have also learned that I am waaaaay out of soccer shape. Oy. That's okay, though.
It also snowed this week. Not a lot, but enough to where we were sliding around corners. Not fun. I have to try and get used to this cold weather. It is pretty chilly these days, but I finally have some snow boots, so that's a happy occasion. I won't get frostbite! I just need some earmuffs? Maybe? I don't even know anymore.
Thanksgiving is Thursday (duh, you say), and also the day we learn about transfers. Yikes. I... don't know what's happening. I kind of think I will stick around, but I have no idea. I thought I was staying in Plattsmouth, and that didn't happen. You'll all find out next week! In the meantime: Happy Day, you Turkeys! And please, eat loooooots of food for me!
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another week!

Well, folks, it's been another week. Can you believe it? Sometimes I can't either. Next week is Thanksgiving... and transfers. We actually find out about transfers on Thanksgiving. Ridiculous. We have a family who let us know a month ago she wanted us to come over for Thanksgiving, so I think we'll be taken care of, more or less. :)
I feel like this week has not been the most exciting of weeks. I don't know what news I really have to share... We played charades with the YSAs for FHE, which was funny. I am apparently a good guesser, except when someone is trying to get you to guess Tinkerbell. Oh well. You can't win them all! We also had a good turn out for our game night--Volleyball time! Hooray! It has been a success for two weeks in a row, which is good. Some weeks it has been Sister Gulledge and me and one other person, sadly playing Uno. So lonely. But the last few weeks it has been great! We have had a variety of people of the active and less active sorts coming, and it has been a good fellowshipping activity. Plus just a chance to have some fun, which is good after days of fruitless tracting.
Oh, lowlight of the week: I was asked to play the organ in sacrament meeting. I thought, sure? Why not? And then I butchered the first hymn. Just slaughtered it. I am sure there will shortly be a warrant for my arrest for the murder of a hymn (hymnocide?). Oy. Seriously, I felt so dumb. The other hymns went fine, but that first one just shook me. Ugh. Perhaps if I had more time while on my mission to practice, it would be better? I don't know. I just felt lame. So give your local organist a hug and tell him/her that you appreciate their efforts and that they do a wonderful job. Because one day they might not be there, and instead a local missionary will be your organist...
We have made some progress with the people we are teaching. Baby steps, people. Baby steps. We also work with a lot of less active people, which is the hardest and most rewarding. Sigh. I love it, but sometimes it breaks your heart when you know that what people need is to obey the commandments and they don't. It gets even harder when you love them and realize how much Heavenly Father loves them. Do people forget that they are loved? Because they shouldn't. You shouldn't. Heavenly Father loves you, and you have the most lasting happiness when you do what he wants you to do. Just pray. Read your scriptures. Repent and take the sacrament. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.
So, what are everyone's Thanksgiving plans? Let me know. I'm dreadfully curious! I love you all and I hope you all have a lovely week!
Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Happy Veterans' Day! And Birthday!

Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, your regularly scheduled update was delayed by 24 hours because of Veterans' Day. But, on the upside, this means I get to wish Mom a Happy Birthday on her actual birthday! How cool is that? Happy Birthday, Mom!
This week has again been weird, but I'm beginning to think (no, I'm firmly entrenched in the belief) that every week on the mission is weird. But good! First of all, we had our first snowfall, not that it stuck really. It just made things slippery for a while. And now it is officially cold. I guess it was supposed to get down to 10 F last night? I don't know--I don't have the actual data, but it was cooooold last night and cold this morning. We stayed indoors for our exercise this morning. It was wiser than freezing our rears off.
We continue to work hard with a lot of those people who have been less active. Sometimes that is hard, but it is usually also really good. We had a really good game night on Saturday. We have a Game Night with the YSA every Saturday night, and of late, it has been really small. Like me, Sister Gulledge, and one or two other people small. But this last Saturday, there were enough people for an actual game of basketball, and then an actual game of volleyball! It was fantastic! We just keep hoping to make it something that will get less active members and folks' nonmember friends to come join us.
We also continue to look for people to teach. Sometimes that is easier said than done. It certainly is not the easiest thing to do, and I find it difficult sometimes to step out of myself and talk to total strangers about the gospel. I think it is something that I keep practicing and getting better at. One day I will feel more comfortable with it, right? Right? Okay, don't tell me. It's fine. :)
I have a funny story to tell you, though, from last week. Last Wednesday, around 10 pm, I was kneeling in the front room saying my prayers. Sister Gulledge was already in her pajamas and laying in bed reading. Suddenly, there's a knock on the door. The only thing I could think was that maybe a piece of mail had been put in a neighbor's mailbox on accident, and they were coming to give it to us (hey, we might be a little obsessed with the mail around here. And nobody better make fun of that!). I'm the only one still in regular clothes, so I get up and answer the door to see... The two Assistants to the President standing there, suitcases in hand. Um, what? The looks on their faces betrayed their utter shock, which was funny. One elder turned to the other and said, "I thought you said you knew where they lived!" The second Elder said, "I did!" HA! As you may or may not remember, our apartment used to house Elders. The apartment where the Elders in Kearney actually live used to house Sisters. So, you know, life is confusing. Oh, poor APs! Then they asked, "Do the Elders live in this complex?" Nope. "Do they live near here?" Yep. I gave them some directions, listened to their flustered apologies (they were at the sisters' apartment at 10 pm; I'm sure they felt a little uncomfortable about that!), and then shut the door. And promptly burst out laughing. I'm sure they heard. Oh well. I think I found it so amusing just because of how shocked and uncomfortable they looked and because, well, who expects the APs to show up on their doorstep at 10 pm? Not a couple of Sisters, anyhow!
Last night alone we taught 4 lessons, so we were hopping and running late and teaching like mad. Today? zero appointments. I wish we could kind of spread things out a little bit, but alas, we teach when we can! And then we teach some more!
I love you all! I hope you all have a lovely week until I can write more. I am positive I am forgetting something, but oh well. I will keep working and loving it! Nebraska is beautiful--have I mentioned that? It might be flat, but that means the horizon goes in all directions, so the sunsets are gorgeous! It's way cool. Find something beautiful about your situation--it makes life more bearable and helps you to see God wherever you are. I love you!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Weird Sisters

Double, double, toil and trouble! Fire burn and cauldron bubble! Okay, not that kind of weird sisters. We were weird sisters because a) we're missionary sisters, and b) life was weird.
Let me explain how this week was weird. First of all, my preparation day got destroyed by the piano. I got the music for the piece, and then I practiced for, like, six hours (which is why none of you got letters from me this week. The piano consumed all of my time and thoughts). And I was so sad because it wasn't perfect. And then Tuesday came, and we didn't get to Zone Conference as early as I had wanted, but I still got to practice with the missionaries who were singing, but I still wasn't perfect. And then I was asked to accompany another zone of missionaries who wanted to sing Come Thou Fount for their musical number, which actually was fine, since I have Come Thou Fount memorized. But then I played the first piece for the performance and... it still wasn't perfect. I got the last chord right, though! That's all that matters, right? The stuff in between isn't important, is it? Eh... It was okay. I don't think I ruined it. But more importantly, I did it. I did it, and I didn't die, and no one laughed at my mistakes, and none of the vocalists openly gave me dirty looks, so I think it was fine.
Zone Conference was good. We learned lots of stuff, and it went waaaay longer than we had anticipated, so that altered our plans for the afternoon and evening, which was fine, just unexpected. But I love seeing my mission president and his wife. He may call us to repentance, but he also reminds me of what my purpose is, and yes, I am doing it.
The week was also weird because of Halloween. It's not advisable to do a lot of tracting, especially in the evening hours, so we got a less active member to invite us over for most of the evening. We tried to see some people and potential investigators earlier in the day, all to no avail. So we made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and took them to some members of the ward and the bishopric. Yum! I may have eaten a couple, too, but don't tell anyone. Shhhh! So we got home at 8, because we didn't have any appointments after 8, and we just planned and watched The District. It made for a good, if weird, day.
The other reason this week was weird was because we were only able to get 1 lesson with investigators this week. 1! But we had a million and a half with less-active members. It was good, but weird. It just wasn't what we planned on. Sometimes things happen that you haven't planned on, but it turns out just fine because, you know what? That was what was supposed to happen after all. And then we had a bunch of people come to church that hadn't been for a while, and then we were able to take the Relief Society president to visit some people who hadn't made it to church (we don't usually get to go out with the RS President because she lives 60+ miles away in Grand Island (remember: neither grand nor an island)), which was awesome.
And then last night, we got to watch the CES fireside. There are some perks to working with the YSA bunch, and the CES fireside is one of them. We had some folks there who haven't been in a while, which was awesome.
Here's something else that is weird: Even though I thought working with the YSAs would be weird because I am no longer a YSA myself, I love them. They are such a fun, weird, awesome bunch of people, and I love them. I am enjoying being with them. And Sister Gulledge is pretty cool, too. It can be a little nutty to work with them, and sometimes it's awkward, but they are great. And our Branch Presidency is the coolest. I couldn't ask for a better bunch of men to be working with. They happen to think we're awesome, which is a nice benefit, too.
Something else that made this week, well, not weird, but Awesome! was the Awesome! package I got from Awesome! Hykel and Aaron. It was Awesome! Y'all, I don't think you realize how Awesome! this package was. They sent me pens (Awesome!), Moonstruck chocolate (double Awesome!) and Music! (Quadruple Awesome!) And a gift card! And other things I can't remember off the top of my head! (One million times Awesome!) Basically, it put the Awesome! in my week. I loved it and it gave my week a little boost to help me really make it through a weird week.
So: Even when your week is weird, it can still be Awesome!, whether it be because of Zone Conference, Millions of less actives being your friends, or an Awesome! package, there is awesomeness to be found in your week. I promise. Also, as a Weird Sister, I learned that blindworm's sting is difficult to find. Most stores just don't carry it! That and Shakespeare's recipes are probably not for the faint-hearted (just look up the recipe for pie from Titus Andronicus! Gross! :)
I love you all and also remind you that this past week I made my 6 month mark! Whoohoo! I love milestones!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, October 28, 2013

Another Week Down!

Hola, familia!
I just like Spanish. It's fun. That has nothing to do with the rest of my letter. Or my week. Which was a good one! Did you all know that tomorrow is the date where I have a year remaining on my mission? Can you believe it? I think that's ridiculous. I feel like I've been gone for, maybe, 2 months. Not 6. Anyway, tomorrow is also our Zone Conference in Grand Island, NE, which my companion says is a weird name for a town that is neither Grand nor an Island. She makes me laugh. Also, I was asked yesterday to accompany some people for a musical number. I just got the music, oh, an hour or so ago, and I haven't yet played it, so say a prayer for me? I'm a little bit nervous. Sometimes I wonder why I said yes.... sigh. I'm a sucker, that's why...
But this week has been amaaaaazing! Our Tuesday was rock and roll. We went tracting and found a handful of new investigators--hooray! And then we got to go bowling with the FHE group because a less-active member was going. Then it turned out that some other people we'd been dying to meet were going, and then another girl brought a non-member friend, and it was the most fun I've had on my mission, hands down. I've got an awesome picture of me  in a skirt and bowling shoes. I'm classy; what can I say? I'll send it as soon as I can.
Then we started to have lessons with people this week, and then we went and stacked more hay! And I have photographic evidence this time! Hooray! I will get those sent, and then you can see me sitting on some alfalfa. After the service, we had a dinner appointment, and we went straight there in our grubby clothes and alfalfa in our hair (and maybe teeth? I will neither confirm nor deny). We asked to change in their bathroom, and when I did, I left bits of alfalfa everywhere. Oops. I offered to sweep, and Sister Hall just laughed at me. I think she thought it was charming that I was worried about some grass when she has several small kids running about, and grass bits are the least of her worries most days.
We also were able to help the Elders out by inviting one of the members they've been working with to Institute--and then he came! It was awesome! He said he hadn't been to church in 14ish years, and it was just awesome that he was there. Some days, it feels like life is amazing. There are definitely reasons why I am here in Kearney right now. There are people that need my example (such as it is) and who I am, and while the work is still hard, it is gratifying to know that Heavenly Father's plan is working. I am doing the things I need to do, and there are little things every day that help me remember why I'm here and doing those things.
Yesterday was Stake Conference, and President and Sister Weston came and spoke! I wasn't expecting to see them, but it was great! I love them, and it was good to see them. I get to see them tomorrow at Zone Conference, too, so I feel extra special. Also, I told Sister Weston (and I keep forgetting to tell you, too) that my foot is 100% better, in case anyone was worried still. Sister Weston was, and so I am glad I remembered to mention it to her.
Also, at conference there were 3 youth-ish speakers. 2 were youth, and 1 was a convert of almost 6 months from the YSA branch, and all of them were powerful. Their talks were probably my favorite of the entire session, and they each talked about their conversion, in a way. Of course, the recent convert talked about his conversion and how he came to realize he was supposed to join the church. One young woman talked about how she learned to turn to the gospel and prayer to be reactivated in church, and then the third young woman talked about how Seminary has influenced her life and conversion. She was funny--She talked about how when she used to read Jacob 5, "I was, like, 80 pages about trees! Why would you spend 80 pages on trees?" And then she realized, through Seminary, that it wasn't really about trees.
I think that's a lot of life--things happen to us, and we focus on them superficially. "Why am I reading 80 pages about trees right now?" we wonder. We think that it's a waste to spend that time on 80 pages of trees. Instead, if we look at them in a different way, suddenly it isn't 80 pages about trees, but one brief chapter where we can learn so much about what we need to do and who we are. So stop complaining about 80 pages of trees and focus on why Heavenly Father asks to to read those pages!
Nebraska continues to be lovely, if cold and windy. No snow yet, and I am not complaining--not in the least! Snow can hold off for quite a while, thank you very much! I think the snow will be pretty--at first. And then I will be bored of it. I will want to just fast forward to Spring. But hey, just like you can't fast forward through 80 pages of trees, you can't fast forward through winter. Instead, just think lots of warm thoughts about me, and maybe that will keep me warm? I'm just glad I only have one winter that I have to wear skirts through. Seriously, whoever thought skirts in winter was a good idea should be put in the stocks.
I love you and can't wait to hear from you all again soon! Wish me lots of luck and blessings as I play the piano tomorrow!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, October 21, 2013

And The Verdict Is....

... I'm staying in Kearney! I didn't think I'd be leaving, so it isn't really a surprise. But I thought I'd lead off with that, just so you know for sure where I am. So you can still go to Google Earth or whatnot and spy on Kearney from space.
Kearney loves me, it seems. The Branch President told me he requested that I spend the rest of my mission in Kearney, and the Bishop of the family ward is trying to get me married off to one of the members of the YSA, not that that's awkward for a missionary or anything. Forget the fact that I'm not actually a YSA. Or that I'm really not thinking about that right now. Or that I would even want to marry anyone here. Sigh. Another banner week in Kearney! (Don't worry, Mom. I have no intention of marrying anyone any time soon, and of course I'll return to Oregon after my mission. I don't love Nebraska that much, though I do love it, oddly enough!)
We learned of transfers on Tuesday at district meeting, and no one in Kearney moved or changed or anything, but one of the Kearney Elders did become our new District Leader. Fun fact: Sister May has had a different District Leader for every single transfer of her mission! The first one I left because of transfers, the second one left because he was transferred, then the next one went home because he ended his mission, then the one I just had got transferred to Lincoln. It's cool, though. Change can be fun. Plus, our new District Leader seems like he'll do a good job. I don't think I've had a bad one yet, though one was kind of scary, and one was super trunky. But they've all been good.
One of the cool thing about working with the YSA is that we get to encourage them to attend Institute and then we go ourselves. That's really fun. We're always trying to get our less active and more recent converts to attend, as well as the regular members. It's slow, but more people have come the last couple of weeks. We're working on it and trying to build the numbers.
We're also trying to build the Saturday night game night into a missionary tool that people can invite their friends to as a way to get nonmembers inside the building. Sometimes it's easier to come to church if you've already been inside, even if you've just been into the gym to play basketball or Uno.
I spoke on Sunday! I spoke about faith and building faith, and acting in faith. Sometimes, you need to act before you can be blessed. Heavenly Father blesses us when we take steps forward ourselves, in faith, believing we can do what we need to do. I think it's time to invent a new word: faithing. I know, I know, as Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes would say, "Verbing weirds language." (Go do a Google search for that cartoon; you'll like it. Now back to our regularly scheduled letter.) But I think since everyone always says, "Faith is an action!" that we should make it an action word already. So I can go faith, or do some faithing. I am going to faith this week, and I hope you all faith this week, too. Faith with me, people!
We had a cool experience last night, teaching someone we've been trying to get back into contact with for ages, and we taught him and his roommate, and we get to go back next week, too! So we're making tiny steps of progress.
It's starting to be cold out here. I mean, it isn't freezing or anything, but it is chilly. So: Mom can send me a few scarves. Also? I find that I am wearing tights every single day. I am such a weather wimp. Last Monday, it rained so hard that water started pouring through our window! Luckily Sister Gulledge and I were sitting on the sofa writing letters when it happened, so we could just jump up and put towels all around the window. It certainly made for an exciting afternoon. We called the property manager, who was stymied. They said they would send someone to fix it.... but that hasn't happened yet. That's okay--it hasn't rained since then, so we haven't worried about floods. But I am mildly concerned, should it ever start to pour like that again.
Ummm... I feel like I am forgetting something. I'm sure I am. But that's the gist of the week. I love you all! Seriously, so much! And I love the pictures that you send me in my email and in letters--it's awesome!
One more Fun Fact: Last Thursday was my 6 month anniversary for entering the MTC, and today is Sister Gulledge's 2 month anniversary for entering the MTC, so we're celebrating today! Hooray! Next week is zone conference, so that should be fun. I'll tell you all about it in.. 2 weeks. Eh. I am sure it will be amaaaaazing!
I'll write to you next week! I hope you all have a good week and I love you!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kearney Continues!

We last left our heroine deep in the wilds of Kearney, Nebraska. What adventures lie in store for her this week? Let us begin our episode where we last saw her: Confused about what was happening with a training in Lincoln!
So. For some reason, we didn't make our own travel plans, but instead, three different sets of Elders were involved in our travel plans? Which meant that no one really knew what we were doing. We were initially told to travel to Lincoln Monday night and stay with one set of Sisters, but then we were told to stay with a different set of Sisters, and then we were told to travel Tuesday morning, and then we threw up our hands and gave up. And just when we gave up, we heard to stay with the second set of sisters on Monday night. Okay, we said, we can do that. We went to where one set of Sisters in Lincoln lives Monday night, and when we arrived, they said we thought we were staying with the other Sisters! Oy. It was fine, though. Just confusing. That's what happens when six people make travel plans, and none of those people are the ones either traveling or providing lodging. Lesson learned: Take deep breaths. Lots of them. And try not to be a basket case.
The training in Lincoln was good, though. We got the chance to see and hear from our mission president, which is always good. Always. Maybe I will learn eventually how not to be a basket case! That would be nice. Anyway, we had a good training, I got to see Sister Stiles again, which was fun, and we all got to enjoy being trained by the Assistants to the President which, again, is always enjoyable.
The rest of the week was really weird--we were able to see a lot of our less-active members and a lot of our recent converts, but teaching people who are new investigators (or even old investigators) was tough. It's like they all went into the witness protection program and we can't quite get a hold of them. Time to find new ones, I think? Time to get to work, is what that means.
We made cookies for a few people this week, and you know what that means: People love us! Whenever you make cookies, people have a softer place in their hearts for you. We hope.
We had more dinners with members last week, which was good, but it's the same four families every ding dong time. So let me just say: If it's been a while since you've fed the missionaries, feed them. Buy them a pizza. Something. It makes them feel loved. But what they really love is eating in your home. I guarantee it.
Don't get me wrong--I'm not starving! But eating with members allows you to feel like a part of the family. And that's sometimes something missionaries miss. Not me of course--I miss no one! I have a heart of cold, cold stone! But other missionaries miss people. Me? I throw darts at your pictures. I'm kidding! Kidding! I miss you all. There are no darts. But I'm serious about the meals.
This week is transfers, but it's a little wonky--instead of finding out on Thursday and transfer on Friday, we find out Tuesday and transfer on Wednesday. Tuesday is tomorrow, people! I'm fairly certain I'm staying put, since I'm still training Sister Gulledge. But you never know. I can make no predictions! So you'll just have to wait until next week to find out.

The strange schedule means that we're having district meeting on Tuesday this week, which will mean if people are getting transferred, we'll know at district meeting and we'll get to say our good byes. We know for sure we're getting a new Zone Leader, because one of them is going home. But other than that, I know of nothing! But I'm looking forward to district meeting--they're always good. And as far as I know, I won't be training! I will, however, get to speak in church on Sunday, so you know, that's awesome. Topic? I don't know! I get to choose it apparently, so that's new and unusual. Have I chosen it yet? Nope. Hopefully I'll get it sorted out soon.
Anyway, I love you all, and I hope you all have a lovely Columbus Day or Canadian Thanksgiving, whichever you prefer to celebrate today!
Sister Loradona May

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hay is for Horses! And Missionaries!

This week? This week was weird. It started off so strong, with some appointments with people we'd really been hoping to see, and even one person seeing us on campus, walking up to us, and saying he could meet that night (we'd been trying to meet with him for aaaaages!). And then it started to kind of fizzle out: people cancelled, forgot, or flaked out. The weather started to get cold. And windy. And we struggled to really teach people.
But don't worry. Life is still good. I gave a training in District Meeting this last week, all about faith and my favorite chapter of the Book of Mormon, Alma 32! Hooray! Plant a seed, y'all. Plant a seed. And then nourish it. And I hope Jeanette doesn't kill me, but I told her "It is moldy" story as part of my training. Nourish your seed, but don't let it get moldy! Give it the right attention, don't let it sit there doing nothing. Anyway, the story got a big laugh. Now, if only I could find a way to work in her story of the dirty socks... (I happen to think Jeanette stories are the best. They are just so funny to me!)
Then on Thursday we went to a home for dinner, and they live on an farm with some horses and a cow and a couple of calves. And after dinner, she asked if we would help feed the animals since her husband was out of town. Would we? Oh yes! So I have had some authentic Nebraska experiences, folks. I have fed horses while wearing a skirt. And I have helped chase a cow in an enclosure to get her into the cattle chute so the calves could feed (they aren't her calves, so she sometimes won't let them feed, but she sure loves to pester them and make sure they go where she wants). And I have helped coax a horse over an (insulated) electric wire so he would go to a lower pasture. And when I got home, there was alfalfa and hay all down my shirt. So, you know, I'm living the dream.
Then on Saturday, we got a call from this sister again: would we come after conference to help put the last of the hay up? It was baled and out in the field (the elders had helped with a bunch of it earlier in the week, but there was more to do), and she had received word of possible rain and snow to come, and there were still a bunch of hay to get to the barn. So Sister Gulledge and I put on our jeans and bundled up (did I mention that it turned to fall this week? It's chilly, people. Chilly.) and headed out to help with the hay. So we gathered hay into the truck, and then stacked it in the barn. Fun times! Again with the hay all down my shirt... Oy. And down my pants. And in my teeth. You would think I had been trying a snack of it myself! Alas, nope. The wind just blew it into my face, and sometimes your mouth is open so you can breathe, you know? And so you accidentally ingest some hay. That may or may not have happened. I will neither confirm nor deny.
When we arrived home, we were cold and tired, so we went to turn on the heat for the first time, and the breaker blew and put the power out for our apartment. We sat in the dark and waited for the maintenance guy to come and put things to right. Apparently there was a second breaker that is outside our apartment that had also flipped. Oy. That's okay, though. It all works out. We now have heat and lights and we are doing splendidly.
Let's talk about conference, though. What did you all like? I loved so much of it! I liked Elder Holland's, President Uchtdorf's, and Elder Dube's talks the most--though I think Elder Ochoa's was right up there. I think the thing that I really liked the most was President Uchtdorf's saying, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." I think someone should put that on a big ol' billboard with flashing lights. Faith is so much more helpful than doubts. Doubts just make you sad, but faith makes you hopeful. Be hopeful, not sad, okay? Sad is just... sad! I am hopeful! And I love you all! Keep up being awesome! And I love your letters and emails. They make me happy.
Tomorrow we travel to Lincoln for a training. Wish us luck and safe travels!
Sister Loradona May

In Which I Serve

So. First of all, everything I was going to write flew out of my head because I opened my email to see a million and one photographs of baby Craig! How fun is that? I'll answer that: Amazingly fun! I love the pictures and I love getting them in emails and in letters. They make my day! Plus I have fun showing them to the other missionaries, so that's awesome.
This week has been good. We still struggle with what to do when it gets dark and we don't have appointments. Only a few of the members live in Kearney proper, so that makes drop ins difficult, and we keep trying to make appointments first for the evening hours, but that's hard, too. But we must be doing good work, regardless, because the Branch President asked us to go visit a friend of his. So I take that as a good sign.
We still struggle getting investigators to church. We're working on it. I really want some to come this Sunday to conference. You all should invite people to conference! It would be cool! Plus, just think: We will all be watching conference together, no matter where we are! It makes me think of the little mouse from An American Tail--sniff! That song always gets me.
This weekend we did service pretty much all day on Saturday. It started at 4 am so we could be at the University of Nebraska Kearney by 5 to help set up for the local Race for the Cure. The bishop of the family ward was the director of the race, so he conscripted all 6 of us missionaries into  service for him--and we were happy to do it! Plus, we all got free t-shirts out of the deal--score! I love a free t-shirt.
It was also freeeeeezing! Not literally. But it was 47, which was the coldest it's been yet. The day warmed up, but not while we were putting up signs along the race route and carrying cases of bottled water around. My fingers were a little cold. But it was good.
Then we got to help tear everything down. So, you know, life moves on!
Afterward, we went home and had a lunchtime nap (or was it a naptime lunch? I don't know. You decide) and then studied for a bit before heading out to help an investigator and her member boyfriend pack up and move. So we basically stayed in service clothes all day long, until it was finally time to shower and go to the Relief Society broadcast. Which was, naturally, awesome. I hope my mother and sisters went (hint hint?). Because it was good.
Also, this week, we had some success with tracting. A little bit, anyway. We've been doing a lot of it because, what else do we have to do when we don't have people to teach? We have to try to find people on our own. Now, here's a reminder: tracting is the least effective way to find people who need to know about the gospel. Plus it can get discouraging when people don't really want to  know more. The most effective way is when people invite people they already know to come to church or to meet with missionaries. Just invite people. Don't make it more difficult than it has to be; just ask people. That's all missionaries do. Here's an article that might help you:
I found it while reading old Ensigns this week and I immediately thought how much people need to just relax about missionary work and not make it a big deal. Just ask people, and if they say no, no big deal. It will be fine!
I feel like I talk about that all the time. Sorry if I get boring. I am doing well, though! I just keep working. Nothing else to do, is there? Just know that I love you all, and I can't wait to hear from you all more. To quote Sister Baird: Whopdeedoo, the Gospel's true!
Sister Loradona May

Checking in for another week!

So: Life in Kearney is good. We have an investigator set for baptism in October, but he didn't come to church on Sunday, which just about broke my heart. Just come to church people! I'd like to take this opportunity to quote Cab Calloway from the Blues Brothers: "You boys could use a little churchin' up. You get wise; you get to church!" That's truth, folks. Truth.
We visited some folks in Grand Island this week, had a district meeting, and met someone who is a professional fighter. We told him he might be the awesomest person we've met yet, and he told us how his front teeth are all fake. Fun times in Kearney! We also, you know, talked to him about the Book of Mormon and how that is probably the most important thing he'll read.
We also gave out approximately eleventy bajillion copies of the Book of Mormon this week so we can work on following up with people and helping them to learn more about the gospel.
The weather is starting to turn towards fall, which is kind of lovely. I adore fall! The leaves are beautiful, and it kind of reminds me of Oregon--the mornings are cool, the skies are blue, and by afternoon it's sunny and warm! Hallelujah! (Well, that was what it was like yesterday, anyhow).
We have done a LOT of random knocking and tracting this week. It's hard, but it's good. And I am gradually overcoming my fear of knocking on a door and asking people to read the book of Mormon. It's hard to do, you know? In fact, my fear of tracting was a large reason why I decided that a mission was not for me when I was 21. Mission? Tracting? Who wants to do THAT? Well, I still don't want to do tracting, but it doesn't scare me anymore, either. I think it's a big reason why help from church members is integral--it's so much easier to go up to someone and say, "Hey, you know Sally Jones? She was thinking about you, and how much she values your friendship, and she thought we should share our message with you" than to knock on a door and say, "Hey, you don't know me, and this is crazy, but read this book, and call me, maybe?" (HA! I crack myself up sometimes.) So. If you have a friend, acquaintance, or neighbor, ask them over and invite the missionaries. Share some ice cream all around, and then talk about Jesus, Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon. And if nothing comes of it but a nice discussion while you eat ice cream, that's fine. At least you had some delicious ice cream! But you never know: something more might happen. You should all pray for an idea of whom you could invite to eat ice cream and meet your missionaries. It's a good idea. Besides, I can bear testimony to you that missionaries like ice cream, but lessons in a member's home are even better.
Ahem, where was I? In Kearney! You know who else was in Kearney this weekend? My mission president and his wife! President and Sister Weston came to Kearney on the invitation of one of the ward members? I forget exactly why, but it was great. I love seeing the Westons. And President Weston just cares for us so much. He wants to inspire us and help us to teach. And Sister Weston is just the best Mission Mom ever! (Don't worry, Mom, you're not being replaced! Just supplemented!) It's great to see her and get a Mom Hug from her and just feel how much they love us. And then they spoke to the Kearney Ward and the YSA Branch in a combined Sacrament Meeting, and it was great. I was reminded of why I am here: I love the gospel, I love the people, so why not combine the two so that the people I love can have the gospel? To go back to my obsession with ice cream, it's like saying, I love brownies, and I love ice cream, so let's combine them! Yay! I was also reminded of the scripture in 1 John (I think) that says that perfect love casts out fear. As I love people and the gospel, my fear (remember my fear of tracting?) is cast out. Take THAT! Hi-yah!
Basically, Kearney is lovely and wonderful. I'm still trying to work out how best to find people and work with the members, but it's good.

Today I am going shopping for a coat and perhaps a few other winter items. I bought a sweater at Goodwill last week, so that's one down! Today we are off to the mall to see if there are any other items to be had! Like a coat. Or maybe boots. I can't wait until I am ready for the snow, then perhaps I won't worry about my lack of a coat.
Seriously, people, I love you. You are some good family. Take care of each other, call each other, and I will try to write some letters today to send out! Wish me luck!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Like Deja Vu, All Over Again!

Howdy, everyone! This week was weird, but good, but weird. You know what I mean? Well, even if you don't that's tough!
We taught FHE to the YSA branch this week, encouraging them to do missionary work and we gave them copies of the Book of Mormon and pass along cards to share with friends. This week we will be checking up on them to see what they did.
One girl we know has been busy! She's been giving away books, and she even invited us to come to her dorm room to help answer questions a friend has. We are hoping to continue teaching him and follow up with him about what he is reading in the Book of Mormon.
We are also teaching a Chinese guy, who invited us to dinner tonight while we do our lesson. To a Thai restaurant. Just let that soak in and enjoy it.
Speaking of Dinner... Last night we knocked on a door because Sis. Gulledge heard them watching football and she loooooves football, so we thought it would be a good "in" so to speak. The guy who answered the door maaaaay have been a liiiiiiitle tipsy (okay, more than, but who's checking?), and he was a little eager to see (in his words) "two lovely ladies" at his door. Oy. But he's 24 and fits in the YSA bracket, so we left him with a Book of Mormon and said we'd check back with him. That's when he said, "Or maybe we could do dinner!" Um, yeah. Okay. Or maybe not. We said our goodbyes, bore brief testimony, and I went to shake his hand... And wouldn't you know it, he kissed my hand! Second time in my mission that a drunk guy has kissed my hand! Do I wear a sign that says, "If you're drunk, you should kiss my hand"? Sis. Gulledge shook his hand, too, and got a big wet kiss on the back of her hand. We laughed pretty hard once we were back at the car. Someone needs to explain to me the psychology of why someone who is drunk feels the need to kiss the back of my hand. I'd love to hear it.
We also got to go to Institute this week! Can I just say that I love institute, and it's been a long time since I've been. Plus, a girl came who has a boyfriend in Broken Bow who is a member, and she is thinking about baptism, so we're going to try to teach her. Fun times! We are still struggling with how to find people and of course working with a branch is different than a ward, which is weird. Plus they are spread out through the whole stake, and we don't know how many miles we have. The Zone Leaders haven't told us yet. I'm debating if I want to call them and ask, or if I just want to put my fingers in my ears and pretend miles don't matter (metaphorically speaking, that is). Obviously, miles matter. Just don't know what we're working with yet. Though I think we'll be good--we're at the halfway mark for the month and we've used about 200, so I think we're doing alright. Maybe we can save up miles and go to some of the further locations.
We also were able to attend a baptism this week! It was in the Kearney Family Ward, but we helped out with it and got to see how people can change and become members of the church and it was cool. One day, someone that I teach will take that step and it will be very exciting!
Also, fun fact: I know I have mentioned the TiWi before, and how it is our Big Brother in the cars. Well, this TiWi in our little ugly Ford yells at me all the time! Specifically, it tells me that I am doing "Aggressive Driving!" all the time. Okay, not all the time, but almost every.single.time we leave our apartment complex turning left. It hates left hand turns.
Okay, I feel like there is probably a lot more to say that I am forgetting, but hey, I'm not perfect, so this email will have to do, as is. Can I just say that I love you all? Because I do. Please keep writing to me, because I love it. It makes me feel happy to get letters. For reals. Even if sometimes they get waylaid in Omaha!
Keep going. I love you!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, September 9, 2013

Are You On Pins and Needles?

I know I was! So. Thursday morning rolls around and... President Weston called at 6:45 am to let me know I would be transferred, whitewashing, and training, all in one. I was sad to leave North Platte--I love it there! The members are fantastic and so excited for missionary work. 
What? You want to know details? Fine. Hmph. I have been transferred to Kearney to the YSA Branch! I think this is Heavenly Father's idea of a colossal joke, seeing how as it's been several years since I WAS a YSA! I am training Sister Gulledge, from Honolulu, HI, and she's awesome. She was a little overwhelmed at first (me, too, honestly), but we're working through it.
We are now living in an apartment that we took over from the Elders who were over the YSA branch before. It was... not the cleanest. I mean, it isn't like they left junk strewn everywhere, but they definitely had a different idea of what "clean" meant. The shower was... atrocious. I have pictorial before and after evidence. I scrubbed it that first day because I felt like I couldn't get IN the shower to make myself clean because it was so dirty. I decided that the shower hadn't been scrubbed for several months. And the kitchen? Also not awesome, so Sister Gulledge cleaned it. We have a lot of work on our hands, because it seemed like the previous Elders didn't leave us with much, work-wise. There are two investigators, one of which hasn't returned our message, and the other is moving in 2-3 weeks. We also have a very thin list of potentials to work with, which means we have a LOT to do. Wish us luck!
We did have a good lesson with one investigator and her boyfriend last night, even if she is moving to Omaha. What was cool is that I had already met her before when I was in Kearney for three days before! She opened the door and said, "I know you!" It was really neat to be able to see how that time, which I thought was a waste in Kearney for three days, is turning out to be important for what I am doing three months later. Heavenly Father has a plan, you know? And we just don't know it all or see it all or understand it all. We just have to have faith that what he has in mind is what we need to do and work towards. And I'm working on it!
So, for a little more of the amusing: Last week, I drove 4 different automobiles! Allow me to explain:
First, I had our regular red Subaru, nicknamed Tina. She was shiny and pretty. And we loved her. And then it turned out that the TiWi (our Big Brother in the cars) broke in a truck out in booneyville, and they didn't trust Elders to drive unmonitored, so would we trade cars with them? Okay we said. So the Zone Leaders met up with us and traded automobiles so I was driving my...
Second car, a minivan! Y'all, I kinda hate minivans. They simply are NOT cool. Not at all. And this one was less than cool, because Sis. Stiles and I got in, sniffed, looked at each other and said, "It smells like BOY!" Ugh. That van, 3 days earlier, had driven to Lincoln and back (4 hour drive each way) with 6 Elders in it. On a 100+ day. So, yeah, the Boy was strong in that one. We went to a member's house, and he is an ex Navy Seal, who told us we needed to stink it up like Girl. So he went to his supply closet and brought us some Febreeze! "This is the froufrou-iest scent I could find. Use the whole can!" HA! So we did. The van soon smelled like reeeeeally sweet cookies. Oy. I don't know that it was really an improvement. Then the Elders met us with our...
Third vehicle, the Chevy Truck! Whooohooo! Fun times. Even better? The Elders left a Lion King CD in the stereo, so S. Stiles and I were busy rocking out to "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" while driving a pickup around. Yes, we are that awesome! And two days later I was transferred, so that ended my sojourn with Sam the Truck. Sigh. It was fun while it lasted. And it felt like we blended in better with the rest of Nebraska, so that was a good perk. And then I went to Kearney where I met my...
Fourth car, a blah little white Ford. Sigh. I have definitely moved down in the world. I miss the Subaru! It was like a little tiny piece of home!
So, I'm on car number 4, and I will probably be here for a while. Sigh. I guess I just need to accept the fact that I don't get to choose my car, and that looking cool as a missionary just isn't important.
On the up side, there are now 3 missionary companionships in Kearney! There's us, the Kearney YSA sisters, the Kearney Family Ward Sisters (my friends Sisters Youngberg and Page! Hurrah!) and brand new Kearney Family Ward Elders (Elders Scott (who was in my district back in Council Bluffs) and Sorensen (who is brand new))! So it is cool to have so many missionaries in the area and it just makes life awesome.
So. Let me sum up: Transfers, Cleaning Apartments, Lesson, Car Musical Chairs, and Missionaries Galore!
I miss you all, but I am trying to work hard and just be a missionary. Send me letters! You know you want to!
Sister Loradona May

Saying Goodbye to Tina

 I (Mom) have been remiss in posting Sister May's letter. This is from last Tuesday - Monday being Labor Day.

Hello all! I shall explain the subject line soon, but I have other things to talk about first.

First of all, my foot is feeling tons better. It is still a little tender at times, and I'm not exercising on it yet, but missionary work is easier. Standing on doorsteps, though, is not my friend. Ick. 

We went to Lincoln! I had never been there before, but it afforded an excellent opportunity to see some old friends from the MTC and to say hello to new Sisters. It was great! We slept on the floor of a member's house where one companionship lives, and while sleeping on the floor was not ideal, hey, it was better than sleeping in the car! Remember how Sister Stiles was going to be playing a duet with S. Y'berg? Well, she was suuuuper stressed about it. So stressed that she started sleep walking. Have I mentioned that S. Stiles is a sleep talker? She is. Almost every night. And add a little stress, and she sleep talks AND walks! My favorite "conversation" was the one where I wake up to her proclaiming, "My name is Sister Stiles, and I just know this will bless your life!" HA! 100% missionary to the end!

Well, this week she started walking. For example, one night she sat up in bed and started babbling, but I didn't notice until she said my name: "Sister May, that was craaaazy!" she said. Then she threw off her blanket and said, "Hold on, I need to go to the bathroom." She then proceeded to head to the bathroom. When she returned, she left the bedroom door wide open and climbed back into bed. "S. Stiles?" I said. "Are you asleep?" "NO!" she responded emphatically. "Oooookay..." I said and got up to shut the door... It turns out she rememberd NONE of that. HA!

So. There we are in Lincoln. Sleeping on the floor. S. Stiles gets up, walks over to S. Page, shakes her shoulder to wake her, then goes back and curls up on the floor. Poor S. Page, so confused, looks over at me and asks, "Sister May, did you wake me up?" Nope, I respond, that was Sister Stiles! HA! Again! S. Stiles had no recollection of that, either. 

All of that stress was for nothing, though, because the performance was beautiful. I recorded it on my camera, so perhaps another time I will send you my memory card and you can share it with people. 

But you know who got to experince a little performance anxiety herself? Sister May! Yes, folks, that's right. The Assistants to the President neglected to alert me to the fact that they wanted me to be the pianist for the meeting. Ahem. A little advance notice is nice, Elders. Especially when the hymns you want me to play are hymns 250 and 251, We are All Enlisted and Behold a Royal Army--neither of which I was particularly familiar with. Hmph. It's fine, though. It turned out okay. I didn't die. And people sang loudly enough that I think they drowned out my mistakes. 

More importantly, however, was the fact that we got to listen to Elder Robbins teach us. I had been telling S. Stiles that I wanted an MTC refresher course, and then Elder Robbins came, and it felt like a delightful refresher course! I loved it. He gave us ideas, told us stories, helped us along, and shook each one of our hands and asked where we were from. He was so nice and lovely, and his wife was delightful, too. It gave us the chance to know what Heavenly Father wants us to know and teach. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. 

Nebraska gets another award this week, this time the Freakish Weather Award. Friday night was a huuuuge thunderstorm (not unusual), but Saturday night was a tremendous hail storm! There were hailstones larger than I had ever seen, but they were "only" golf ball sized. :) Sadly, they left our car looking a little more like a golf ball than we would like--she got all dimpled. Tina--we've named her Tina--has little marks all over her. Sob! We let the fleet coordinator know, but there's no major damage, so they probably won't repair it until they want to sell her. In his words, "There will be more hail storms." 

While we're on the subject of Tina, we learned yesterday that we will be switching cars with some Elders for... a variety of reasons? I don't know all of it. All I know is that they get Tina, and we get their.... Pick up truck. Unusual, right? All I know is that there are some sisters that have begged to get a pickup for their mission vehicle, and they have been denied. I'll let you know about the pickup next week. :) We don't know how long this will be for and when it will end. We shall see!

Speaking of next week, Transfers are on Friday! And I have no idea what is going on. There are new sisters coming to the mission, and S. Stiles is all trained, so it is entirely likely that we will be split up. I have no idea where I will be, what I will be doing, so you'll just have to wait with me! Dun dun DUN!

Mini miracle of the week: We were looking for an address: a half address. Like, 1234 1/2 W. Easy St. We could not find it. Finally, we pulled off onto a side street and S. Stiles said a prayer. I looked up, looked to my right, and there was 1235 1/2. So I looked left and there was a little house on that side, but I couldn't see a number. Let's go there, I said. As we walked up, we saw the address: 1234 1/2! Hooray! We knocked, and that's where she lived! Triumph! I love mini miracles. They are rock'n'roll. 

Look for your own mini miracles this week. I bet you'll find them. I love you all! I hope you're all in suspense about what will happen! I know I am. 

Sister Loradona May

Monday, August 26, 2013

Another week in North Platte!

Dearest Family,

For the bad news: Sister Stiles convinced me to see the doctor about my foot (it was swelling whenever I would walk for any length of time, which, you know, is not good for missionaries, or anybody, really). So I had xrays and whatnot, and (for the good news) nothing's broken! For more bad news, I have to stay off of it for a while. Today should be the last day? So cross your fingers for me. It's NOT bad at all, so do NOT even worry about me. I only tell you these things in the interest of full disclosure. The biggest problem was my own stubborness--if I had just sat and rested for 3 days right after I twisted my foot, it would be fine already, but because I was insisting upon working, it prolonged the healing process. So here's my message for you: if you are sick or injured, just stay home. Just get better. Or life will get worse. Boo. But I'm fine! The bruise on my arm is still way worse.
Here are some other highlights from the week: So, we went to Broken Bow for our district meeting. Our District Leader, Elder Thompson, has been providing us with meat for district lunch because he received a bunch of meat from a member. One week it was pulled pork(?) sandwiches. I think it was pork. But it was mystery meat from the member. The next week it was tacos with ground beef from the member. This last week, all Elder Thompson would say was, "District lunch SURPRISE!" And then we received a cryptic text from him: Is anyone allergic to cats? I wanted to respond with, "Sister Stiles and I love cat! Yum!" but I refrained. It turns out the home we would be eating at had about 4 cats and he wanted to make sure everyone would be fine with the cats. But this week's meat turned out to be amazing. Because it was steak. (And not Cat Steak, but real beef steak!)

I think you all know that I love me some steak. Love. And this was amazing. Apparently, it was also fresh, so you know, practically still mooing. So I have now officially had Nebraska steak, from Nebraska cows, in Nebraska. Go Meat!

We also had a funeral this week. A sister in the ward who had been battling cancer for 13 years passed away, and Sister Stiles, Elder Riley, and and I performed a musical number for it--Sister Stiles' medley of "Abide With Me, Tis Eventide" and "Homeward Bound" that we sang a few weeks back for Sacrament Meeting. We sounded really good, but it was definitely a different experience this time--most of the people I didn't know, and most of them were crying while we sang. But the family members were appreciative of the music and we were glad to help out. But that is my second funeral here in Nebraska. I don't know what that means...

Remember how we are having a mission tour this week? Well, we learned a few details. We will be going to have our conference with Elder Robbins on Friday the 30th, and we will have to head to Lincoln. I am a little sad that we will be so close to Omaha, because that means that we will be within an hour of the Temple, but not able to go. Sob! Maybe another time. (It's sad, because when you're way out in the boonies, you don't get to go to the temple at all. It's just too far.) But we don't know if we will get to carpool with anyone, or where we will stay. We will be driving out there Thursday evening so we can be there in time for the 9 am start time, but we don't know where we will be staying. And you know me: I LOVE a plan (and now I'm thinking of the A Team...), and not having a plan or even a hint of a plan is making me crazy! Sigh. I'm learning to be patient. (Between you and me, I think that the Lord is working to make me more patient--He's making me wait on my foot to heal, he's making me wait to know what our plans are, and I just think that patience is a bunch of what I am supposed to learn from this.)

Speaking of the mission tour, though, Sister Youngberg called us on Saturday. She asked Sister Stiles to accompany her on the piano (Sis. Y'berg will be on the cello) as the special musical number for our conference on Friday. The plan was at first to overnight the musical accompaniment to us, but then Sister Marshall (we live with her, remember?) was headed to Kearney, so she brought the music back to us that evening! Hooray! So since I am forced to sit with my foot up for hours on end, Sister Stiles has been playing and practicing for hours on end, and only freaking out a little bit. It is a bit unnerving to learn you'll be performing for a zillion missionaries, your mission president, and a general authority, and you only have 6 days to learn and practice the music. But, hey, maybe this is why I had to twist my foot--so Sister Stiles could practice and feel more confident! She got a blessing yesterday from the Elders and our ward mission leader. When he asked for her full name, the newest elder said, "I feel like that's information I'm not supposed to know!" HA! I heart elders. They're ridiculous. 

Another funny tidbit--Dad sent me a package, probably two weeks ago. I, however, did not even know a package was headed my way until this past week when a letter from Mom said, "You should already have the package by now..." Huh, I thought. What package? Well, thought I, maybe they're holding it in Omaha. Two of the Elders were going to a meeting, so I asked if they would check for the package for me. Sure, they replied, no problem. They go to their meeting and return. No package there, they say, it actually got sent to McCook, to an Elder. 


Really. They crossed out my name, and put an address label for this Elder in McCook on my package. Apparently when he got it, he opened it, got confused at the contents, then looked at the package, and saw my crossed out name on it, and then held on to it for a week. But our Zone Leaders were going to McCook, so they would pick it up for me and bring it back. Sigh. And when I got it, yep, it was my package from Dad, with the CDs in it and a letter. Oy vey. I have no idea what goes on with the mail sometimes. Maybe there's an Elder there in the office who has it in for me, so he hoards my mail and sends my packages to the wrong person. :) HA! It doesn't matter--I have it now. I may keep the packaging just for the pure comedy of looking at a package with my crossed out name on it and the McCook Elder's name and address plastered on it. 

Speaking of mail hijinx, though, next week is transfers, so who knows what will happen. If you don't mail something to me by Tuesday (Sept 3), then don't send it to the address where I live; send it to the Omaha address. Or wait until after Sept. 5, which is when we hear about transfers. I honestly don't want to hazard a guess, because I totally thought I would stay in Plattsmouth and Sister Harris would leave, but then I left Plattsmouth, and Sister Harris is STILL there! Go figure. Though you should all send me your guesses: Will Sister May stay in North Platte? Be transfered to Kearney? To Omaha? Or Sioux City? Who knows!

Also: Remember the man we met in the Wendy's two weeks ago? We're meeting him again tonight! Exciting times! 

Also, it's P-Day! Life is good. Now if I can just relax about not knowing what I'm doing on Friday, I will be fine. I love you all! 


Sister Loradona May

Monday, August 19, 2013

In Which I Am Injured

Okay, I'll get the suspense out of the way--on Tuesday I very gracefully slid down some stairs and maybe twisted my foot. It hurt, but there wasn't a mark on it! I was actually mad that it didn't look more swollen or bruised or something. I mean, I want something to show for my pain! Luckily, I bounced right back and after some ibuprofen and ice, life was nice. Now that it's been several days, though, a yellowish bruise is making an appearance, so that's... gross. HA! I have a better bruise on my arm, but unfortunately it doesn't photograph well, or I'd send you a photo. It's all colors and shades of blue, purple, and green. You should all be jealous!
We have continued to teach people this week, but it sometimes moves a little slowly when people cancel on us. Sigh. We've definitely had some good lessons and a chance to teach people. Last week's theme seemed to be the Plan of Salvation! Some weeks it seems like the Restoration is all we teach, but last week was different. I loved it, though. 

We traveled to Holdredge for our district meeting last week, and that was good, even if it was a 200 mile round trip. So far we are halfway through the month, and we have used about half of our miles, so we are on track. Sadly, however, that won't cut it when we have to travel to Grand Island (or maybe Lincoln? We haven't heard anything about that) when Elder Robbins comes next week for the mission tour. This week we travel to Broken Bow for our district meeting, which is only 150 miles round trip, so you know, it's an improvement. Have I mentioned before that Sister Stiles and I have decided that Broken Bow, Nebraska should be best friends with Broken Arrow, Oklahoma? Well, we have. And now I will get to see Broken Bow, so that should be interesting. Our district leader last transfer got lost going to Broken Bow and almost traveled out of the mission, so I hope the map doesn't lead me astray! The Address on for the North Platte meeting house is WRONG! Wrong number, wrong street, wrong, wrong, wrong! The building phone rang yesterday, and I answered it, and it was someone looking for the building but not finding it. Of course not, I thought. Everything is wrong! Argh. For future reference, the address of the North Platte church building is  4100 W. A and Lakeview Drive. (It's kind of on the corner.) So if any of you ever go to North Platte, just know that the directions on the church website don't work. Ask me instead. :) 

Things I have noticed about North Platte:
1. They love their lawns (by and large, anyhow). They also love to water their lawns. And it seems they also love to water their sidewalks. 
2. They've never met a garage sale they didn't love. They are everywhere it seems! We haven't really stopped at any, but sometimes when we've been out walking, we'll kind of walk slowly by! 
On Saturday we finally made contact with a referral we've been trying to meet since the beginning of our stay here! Hooray! She needed some help getting ready for the exterminators to come--hooray! Even better, she likes us and we'll be going back to teach. Life in Nebraska can be a little weird sometimes, but I think that speaks more about the missionary condition than it does about Nebraska. 

I love you all, and I think that life keeps getting better. And as someone smarter than I am once said, "It will be alright in the end. And if it's not alright, then it's not the end!"


Sister Loradona May

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Another Week in Paradise! (From Aug. 12th)

This week has been weird, but I feel like every week on a mission is weird. But first I lost my voice on Tuesday, so we did nothing. It's hard to teach people when you don't have a voice. Don't worry, though: I'm doing better now.
It was definitely one of those weeks when all of the seemingly-solid appointments cancelled on us. We even had a dinner cancel on us! She called us and asked if she could give us a gift card to Wendy's instead. We said, Sure. Why not? So we took ourselves out for dinner. We'd been sitting down no longer than about a minute when a man came up to us, stared hard at my name tag, then asked, "Are you Mormons?" Yep, we sure are! It turned out his grandmother had been a member, and he asked if he could ask us some questions when we were done. So when we finished eating, we went and sat with him as he asked question after question! We pretty much ended up teaching him the Plan of Salvation and all about the restoration. We also gave him a Book of Mormon and asked if we could call him to follow up. We probably won't get to go teach him since he lives a million miles away in the Sand Hills, but we can at least contact the branch up there. It was such a cool experience, though. He was really moved by a lot of the things we taught him, and I think it was just what he needed. 

The other weird thing about this week was my mail. See, for the last few weeks, I thought my mail was getting slow, but whatever. After you've been out for a while, you tend to figure people will slowly stop writing to you. But it seemed weird that Dad would stop writing. 

Yeah, that's what I said: Dad. I hadn't received a letter from Dad practically since the end of June. But we went to our District Meeting on Wednesday, and our district Leader said that I was the big winner for mail! Plus a package! Our zone leaders had brought back a ton of stuff from Omaha (forget the fact that they'd been to Omaha several times during the last transfer and this one), and among the stuff was my mail! (Let me explain how mail works: When you mail something to the mission address, they paste my local address over the mission address, then throw it back in the mail to get to me. So it takes 2 days to get to Omaha, a day to get sorted and a new label in the office, then another 2 to get to me out in North Platte. So, I usually get letters a week after you write them. Or, if there's a big meeting coming up, they will hold onto it until the meeting, and then they will send it with the APs to the meeting, and they'll give it to you there.) For some reason, the office hoarded my mail for the month of July, but not all of it. See, I've received 3 letters from Scott in July, but then one letter (from July 15) they held onto. I received no letters from Dad, so on Wednesday, I got four letters from Dad. I also received 3 letters from Hykel, a postcard from Chellae, and a letter from my friend Jessica. So, yeah. I was the big winner for mail, but I would have preferred they just forward it on like usual. 

So if I haven't written back to people in response to letters, or in response to specific questions in letters, that's why! I'm not upset, I'm just confused--how come some letters make it through (3/4 of letters from Scott Shea, for example), but others (100% from Dad) don't get forwarded at all? I have no idea. It made for a lot of reading on Wednesday night, that's for sure!

So, this week has been good, but we have a trip to Holdredge coming up, so that's a fun 100 mile (one way) drive to go to our District Meeting this week. Keep being awesome and writing letters--even if I don't get them until a month later! I still love them, and I love you!


Sister Loradona May

Teaching Like Mad! (From Aug. 5th)

So, Sister Stiles and I have been teaching like mad. Basically, wherever we go, we are teaching. We try to be prepared, and we try to plan for teaching opportunities wherever we go. At first, things were a little scary this week because we had some empty days. Days where it is like hollering into a cave and hearing an echo back. That's how empty it was. Yikes. So, we just prayed. A lot. And then we got ourselves out there and beat the fear out of ourselves. And we were blessed! We had a ton of lessons and we found 4 new investigators. I really think that our efforts are blessed. I also think that sometimes we doubt ourselves, and we just shouldn't. 
This week we were supposed to go to Broken Bow for our District Meeting, but that changed, and now we are going to have a Zone Training and it will be in North Platte. Oh, and I will be giving a training. So, you know, pray for me on Wednesday, willya? Also, I have decided that Broken Bow, NE and Broken Arrow, OK need to be buddies. One day I will get to Broken Bow, and I would like to say hello to Broken Arrow. Maybe one day. 

Sundays are the weirdest days, as missionaries. Normally, I would think of Sunday as a day of rest. As a missionary, it is more of the same, but with more meetings. Yesterday, our day started with Ward Council for North Platte 2nd ward, then we went to 20 min. of the 2nd Ward sacrament meeting before we started Ward Council for North Platte 1st Ward! Then we had the rest of the church meetings, followed by ward mission correlation. What that all adds up to is about 7 hours worth of meetings. And then dinner. And then work until 9. Day of rest? What rest? Don't worry, though--I'm not complaining! We had two reeeeeeally good lessons last night, so working hard totally pays off. 

What doesn't pay off? Having a cold. My throat is sore, and this morning I could hardly croak out,"Hello!" My voice is warming up, though, and it's a good thing today is P Day--perhaps by the time we have a lesson at 6 I will be able to say stuff! 

I try to remember things to tell you, and sometimes I forget what I wanted to say. I mean, each day is different, but it's kind of the same, you know? How many ways can I say, "So we talked to some people, they weren't interested, but then we talked to some other people who were, and then we talked to a few less active members, and then we went home and went to bed"? I hope this doesn't get boring. I'll try to think of some fun tidbits to share...

Have I mentioned that North Platte actually is in the flat part of Nebraska? It is. And we will be having a member of the Seventy visit the mission at the end of the month. I don't know what that means for us in North Platte specifically, but I think it should be exciting. 

Also? Everyone in Nebraska has a dog. Most likely they have multiple dogs. And I think I have decided I don't want a dog after all. They slobber, they bark, they run around, they chew on things, they bark, they ruin furniture, and they bark. Can you tell I don't like the barking? Maybe I'm just being a curmudgeon, but if people have dogs I wish they would train them. But then, people have kids, and they don't train THEM. But, yeah. Dogs are not growing on me. I think a pet rock sounds about right. 

One of our investigators asked us this week why we pray if God knows us, our thoughts, and the things we've done during the day. I've been thinking about it, and I think it has more to do with us showing gratitude and love than it is about making sure we fill in the details. It also gives us a chance to hear back from Heavenly Father. If we didn't ask a question, would he give an answer? I just know that I didn't get the answer to go on a mission until I asked what it was I should be doing. I certainly never would have come up with that answer on my own! So say prayers, people. You never know what Heavenly Father will say when you do!

I love you all and I am working on being a good missionary! Kiss all of the little ones for me! Snuggle them and remind them what Aunt Loradona looks like! 

Sister Loradona May
ps--I looooved the package, Mom! I have a snail mail letter dedicated to you all about it! I loooove packages! They are the best!