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