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