Monday, February 24, 2014

Hello.... Sioux City?

In her new area Sioux City, IA
So, the biggest news of the week was that it was transfer week. I thought I was staying put--I'd only been in Kearney for 5 and a half months, and President Weston has been adamant that people are staying in their areas for up to 8 months. Also, I've only been Sister Muasau's companion for 3 months, so I was sure we were staying together longer (plus there weren't any sisters coming out, so I knew I couldn't be called to train anyone new).
Imagine my surprise, then, when Thursday morning came and President called. I was being transferred to Sioux City, IA to serve with Sister Gomez and to be a Sister Training Leader. I think I was definitely shell-shocked. I was not thinking that I would be taking part in such a huge change. But I was. And it shifted all of our plans for Thursday: Suddenly I had to PACK. And clean up. And boy, I was not prepared for either of those, or I might have tried to sort through some things on PDay. So, Mom, you can expect a package to come home with some things I could no longer keep with me. 

I was so sad to leave Kearney and the YSA. I have grown to love them so much. But then, Thursday evening, after we taught the mission prep class, a bunch of them threw me a going away party and surprised us. I may or may not have cried later, but I will neither confirm nor deny. And you definitely shouldn't ask Sister Muasau. Anyway, we've struggled to find investigators, but one of the people we've been working with to come back to church thanked me for helping him to return to church and study his scriptures. And his girlfriend thanked me for answering her questions and giving her a Book of Mormon. And I realized that even though not all of my efforts resulted in a lot of people being baptized, I still fulfilled my purpose as a missionary and inviting people to come to Christ. I will miss them a lot.

On Friday, Sister Muasau and I said mostly dry goodbyes and I headed on a van to Omaha. I was met by Sister Gomez in Omaha, and then we headed up to Sioux City, Iowa! Sister Gomez and I were in the MTC together, though in different districts. We saw each other in Zone Trainings there, but that was pretty much it. It's cool and exciting, though, to be with an experienced missionary. I feel like she is training me. I am driving, so I get to know the area, but I still really have no idea where I am. I wish I had a map to look at. That might put the info in my head. 

Anyway, our area covers parts of Iowa, Nebraska, and (drumroll please) South Dakota! I get to go to South Dakota on Tuesday for some appointments, so I will let you know if it is all I've dreamed of and more. The YSA area covered parts of Kansas, but we never got to go there, which is a shame. I really wanted to see all the states in my mission, but I may have to save Kansas for another time. Also, we have a member taking us to the reservation sometime soon to meet some of the members there. We don't really have the miles to get there ourselves, so we need a lot of rides. 

I met the ward on Sunday, and they are really neat. I like them all a lot and I look forward to getting to know them. And one of the speakers ended up not being able to speak, so guess who got to speak? That's right, the two new missionaries! (The Elders had 1 switch out as well.) That was fun. It's one of the pitfalls of being a missionary: Any time the meeting goes short, you're on the short list for whom to ask to come up! 

I am living with a family again, which is nice! The Luebberts are really great and friendly. They also provide a lot of food for us, which is also nice. I love living with members and being able to come back to a home. It is so much nicer. I highly recommend it. ;) 

I feel like there is probably a million more things to say, but I can't think of any of them. Maybe next week? In the meantime, I love you all and I can't wait to let you know about the next big adventure!

Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Kearney Saga Continues

So I don't keep everyone on their toes, I did win the Stick Pull in our Zone Olympics, which just means I get to compete against the other zones at Zone Conference next week... Unless I get transferred when transfers come at the end of the week. Dun dun dun! So send mail this week to the mission office until I can let you know what happens. I don't know that I'm leaving--in my last interview, President told me to get comfortable in Kearney, because he intends for missionaries to stay in an area for 8 months. If that is the case, then I have the potential to be here for a while yet. I've only been here for 5 1/2 months, so there's time. But after I won the stick pull, one of my zone leaders said, "Please don't get transferred!" HA! Fun times.
We have continued to work with the membership of the branch and working on reactivating and strengthening the branch. It has been rewarding and great. One thing that was fun about this week is the whole YSA went to do laser tag for FHE, so we asked our Zone Leaders if we could join them, and we got permission! So we got to do laser tag, which was fun, and just a little bit wacky. I may or may not have bruised my trigger finger, but I refuse to confirm or deny that report.
We also just had a weird week in that everything that we tried to do got sidetracked, altered, or wiped out for other things. Sigh. I guess that's just part of life. But we got to participate in the MTC Experience activity with the Kearney Family Ward. They issued calls to the YM/YW, then sent them out to visit people from those areas (One family was Australia, which is where I went with a YW. Other families were Germany, New Mexico, and other places). The YM/YW had to learn how to teach in little workshops, then go teach the families they were to visit. It was truly a fun activity. When it was over, they returned to the church building for a testimony meeting, and they had a great time.
I also had a lesson this week that was just so powerful, spiritually speaking. I felt the Spirit really strongly and I knew that what I was saying was what God wanted for the person to hear. It was good to know that I was able to help and be the missionary I was supposed to be.
We also said goodbye to our friends from Alabama this week. Sob! It just makes me realize how much impact just a couple of people make. We can all make a difference in the spheres where we are, and that is all God asks of us. So I am here in Kearney to try and make a difference. If I get transferred, then I will try to make a difference there. Life is full of weirdness, but just improve where you are, and everyone around you receives blessings for that.
Yesterday was the most fun I've had on a P Day since I started my mission. We met one of the YSAs at the store yesterday, then went to lunch with her and 3 other girls, then just had a Girls' day and wandered around and window shopped and got to be girly. That never gets to happen while on my mission, so I enjoyed it a lot. It was simple, but just what I needed. Plus, if I get transferred and have to leave, at least I will have made a lovely P Day memory with them! I just love them here, and I love the people I work with, and I just know that I am making friendships and bonds that are going to last for a long time. I feel such love for the people here, and it overwhelms me sometimes.
Anyway, wish me luck in transfers, Mission Olympics, and anything else we can think of! I love you all immensely!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, February 10, 2014

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

So, winter finally arrived this week. By which I mean that on Tuesday it snowed and blowed, and Yesterday it snowed (less blowing, though), and our cars got grounded for the majority of the day! That was fun...
We got to do service at a museum in Grand Island for a fundraiser. They do a Pioneer Princess Party, where all of these little girls and their mommies (and sometimes a very dedicated daddy) come and get glitter face paint, pink cookies, pictures with Miss Nebraska, and all sorts of silliness. Sister Muasau and I were helping in the "Tea Party" room, pouring soda and putting tiny pink frosted cookies on plates for the servers to take to the "princesses." It was all unbearably cute and pink. I think Lilia would have loooooved it.
We also helped round up all the YSAs to go to the UNK talent show to see a couple of the members of the branch perform--and one of them won! He's one of my favorite people, and I couldn't have been happier that he won. We got to meet his parents and they were so pleased to see how the YSA branch had turned out to support their son. It was kind of neat. I just love the YSA branch members. They have such love and fellowship--they want to include everyone and they are always more than happy to welcome new people. The only thing that gets hard is then you want to be their friend... but you are really their missionary.
During our mini blizzard this week, we had kind of an interesting surprise meeting with a guy who met with us in a coffee shop and bought us cocoa. We talked about the restoration of the gospel and apostasy and Joseph Smith, and then he invited us to his church on Sunday night and said he'd come to our sacrament meeting! Sadly, our cars got grounded and we couldn't go, and he couldn't make it to the Branch meeting. Next week? We hope! Next week is Branch Conference, so it should be pretty good.
It is a chilly place to be out here, and our visitors from Alabama are still here because of the cold! Sister Muasau and I have stopped praying for cold weather, because we know that they need to get their work done eventually. But we've enjoyed having them. And any cold weather from here on out is not our fault! (Although, we accept full responsibility for the subzero temperatures last week. We apologize to anyone this may have inconvenienced.) Thank goodness for snow boots and fluffy winter coats! I have to say, I am still grateful for my warm weather gear and all that jazz. It keeps me from getting frostbite, so, you know, life is good.
Which reminds me: Life is good! Don't forget it, okay? I love you all. And watch the Olympics for me, because I am dreadfully sad to be missing it. Sob!
Sister Loradona May

Monday, February 3, 2014

Good morning, it's coooooold out there!

Another week and it's... still cold. We actually got some measurable snow this week, for the first time really. The last few times it has snowed it has been probably an inch. Maybe two. It still isn't a ton, and Nebraska needs a lot more rain and snow right now, but it's better than it has been. The snow also gave us a really good opportunity for service. We were driving on our way to the UNK campus to meet with Johnny, our Branch Mission Leader (he's a student there, naturally) when we saw this older woman shoveling her walk. Sister Muasau said, "Sister May, we have to help her!" So we drove around the block until we could park outside her house and offer to help. It turned out she was 86 and was just clearing a path from her door to the mailbox. So we shoveled her walkway, the sidewalk, and her driveway. Good times! And by the time we were done, I was sweating and wanted to take off my coat! Friday was a good day for the chance to do service because of snow. I loved it. Sometimes people don't want to accept our help, whether it's because we are wearing skirts, because we're girls, or because we're missionaries, I don't know. I just know that sometimes we offer and people turn us down. But. We have carried a couch up three flights of stairs in our skirts, I have now shoveled snow in my skirt, and (though I wasn't in a skirt at the time) I have bucked hay and fed horses. And I have helped with canning. So. When Sister missionaries offer help or service, take them up on it! They love it! Seriously, even if it is something small, service is what we looooove to do.
Did I tell you last week about our fun visitors from Alabama? They're still here, and the one who is a returned Sister missionary came out with us on Saturday, and she was amazing and just perfect to join us. I will be so sad when they all have to leave. However, they can't work in the warehouse if it gets below 10F. So Sister Muasau and I have been praying for cold weather. :) Is that evil of us? We just reaaaaaallly like them and the energy they bring to the YSA. So we've decided that if we can just find 4 people to either reactivate or to bring to the church, that energy can be there all the time. Imagine: if you could find 4 people to bring to your ward, how cool would that be? It's amazing the difference that 4 people can make. You wouldn't think it would be a big deal, but it is.
Also, the YSA had a temple trip on Saturday, and I was jealous I couldn't go, partially because the Branch President arranged for them to fly to Omaha on his jet. See why I'm jealous? One of these days accepting a ride on someone's jet won't be illegal for me, and I will jump on that opportunity! Sigh. It's okay. I'm a missionary right now, and that means I need to focus. Speaking of which, I love studying in Preach My Gospel, even when it smacks me on the head and calls me to repentance. Which totally happened today. I realized that I let myself get too distracted too easily, and that for us to make the progress we need to make, I need to focus more and just be more diligent. Not that I'm a bad missionary. I can just be better. I think we can all be better. Not that long ago I had a zone conference where the Assistants to the President talked about 100% responsibility. If I take 100% responsibility, then I will not make excuses for things that don't go right or when I miss an opportunity. It means that I will be responsible and trying to be better.
Anyway, my time is up. Pray for cold weather! Is that weird of me? It's probably weird of me. It's okay, though, because I was walking around on Saturday or Friday or maybe it was Thursday? I forget. Anyway. I was walking around with my coat unzipped. It was 8F. I'm getting used to it out here!
Sister Loradona May