Monday, July 28, 2014

Positivity, Dancing, and Eating!

So, this past week we had interviews with President Weston. You know it's a good interview when you feel better going out than coming in. And that's exactly how I felt. He told me stress was not a Christlike attribute, and to not be stressed :) He also told me to eliminate negativity and replace it with positivity: "The two can't occupy the same space, Sister!" He also gave me sage dating counsel: "If he's negative, ditch him, Sister!" Sure thing, President! It was pretty funny. But it has helped. Eliminate the negative and replace it with positive. It has really helped me rethink how I look at my work with the Sisters, members, and investigators. Sister Larson and I keep saying to one another, "Okay, quick: what are 5 positive things about _____?" And then we have to do it. It has helped.
Plus, I think other stressful situations are beginning to resolve, so that is good. We went to the 148th annual Winnebago Pow-Wow in Winnebago, NE, which, yes, is in our area. Sister Littlegeorge took us, and she knew everyone! She would introduce us to family and friends, and there were several people who had questions about us. One man heard us talking about being missionaries, and said, "Are you on a mission trip here on the reservation?" We explained it was part of our area, but that we were living in the Sioux City area and covered a bunch of towns in Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska. He thought it was cool because he had just returned from a "mission trip" in Sierra Leone (spell check doesn't like that--am I off?) and he thought it was neat we would do that here. We were able also to meet members from other reservations in Arizona, which was neat. We were able to eat Indian Fry Bread, and I wanted to try what was advertised as a "Rez Burger," or a hamburger where the bun was replaced with fry bread! I wish! Maybe next time, because there is another Pow-Wow in our area in a couple of weeks where a bunch of people from the Ward (active and less active) should be. We also were able to experience the dancing and drumming, which was neat. It was a good experience to see more of the local culture so we can understand the people here better. One of the sisters told us that it is important for the native people here to see us take an interest in their culture and dances, so I hope that can strengthen the relationship between the Omaha and Winnebago people and the church members. Maybe we can get more of the church members to join us for the next one, so they can mingle more. It's tough to get the native and non-native members to get together, partially because of culture, partly because of economics, partly because of distance. There just needs to be a way we can all be more unified in the gospel, you know? 

We continue to work, we continue to study, and we continue to do our best! This week includes an exchange in Le Mars, IA, the ice cream capital of the world! So, you know, I'm about to be very happy! It also includes a trip to Omaha, NE, so I'm also about to be very tired from driving. But also uplifted by trainings from President Weston. Whichever! I love you all. Have a good week, and remember: Positivity and Negativity can't occupy the same space! So kick one out and let the other one in!

Sister Loradona May

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It was the best of times... was the worst of times. This week? Has been a tough one. Let's just say that I have probably cried more with Sister Larson than with any other companion, and it has nothing to do with Sister Larson (here's my testimony of Sister Larson: She is one of the most obedient, diligent missionaries I know, and it helps me to be obedient and diligent. Plus she's funny). 
There's what's called the Adjusting to Missionary Life booklet, and in SEVERAL different places, it says something to the effect of, "If your tasks become overwhelming, break the tasks up and tell yourself, 'All I have to do right now is_____'" We like to joke about it and say things like, "All I have to do right now is... sit in a corner and cry." or "All I have to do is... lock the car door and cry." It helps with us to make it funnier than it really is and helps us to put things in perspective. And sometimes, we do actually cry. Like this week.  
 Let's talk about the Best of Times! We went to the temple on Saturday with Penny (This is the woman that takes the wonderful pictures)and it was the best thing ever!  It was amazing. After the crazy storm that is our lives this week, we were able to go to the temple with someone who has become a friend, and to see her experience the joy and spirit in the temple was amazing. And then to be able to just experience the peace ourselves was really important. It felt so good to be in the temple after being unable to attend for over a year.
 It's what I needed. It's amazing that Heavenly Father knows what we need.The timing was perfect, and you KNOW who's perfect. (Hint: not me!)
Basically, the temple was lovely, and I don't want to take it for granted again.

I have to go, but I love you all! I can't wait to hear from you in letters over the coming weeks!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, July 14, 2014

Candy Land and World Cup

Hello! I forgot to share one story last week: We were working at the Gospel Mission, serving in their soup kitchen, and one of the patrons asked, "Are you married?" My response: No... I'm a missionary! "But that doesn't mean you can't get married!" Yeah, but not until after my mission (unspoken: and probably not to you!). "That's a waste. You're pretty!" Thank you? Here's your food! The life of a Sister Missionary...

This week we learned that one of our investigators definitely won't be getting baptized any time soon. That was sad. We've seen him start to change, but those changes aren't enough at the moment to get him into the waters of baptism. It's okay, though. We're working on it!

In other news, I got to play Candy Land this week! Let me tell you how that came about: We were with a member, and we decided to pop on by a family whose 10 year-old daughter is not yet baptized. We went in and started to talk about Gospel topics when the daughter stops us and says, "Will you play a game with me?" Um, okay, kid. So she grabs Candy Land, sets it up, and we start playing! Good thing we can easily connect Candy Land to the Gospel: Even when you get stuck, or you have to move backward, you still have repentance and the chance to start again and move forward. There's always a new card to draw and a new way to get going! It might be the simplest game ever, but Candy Land gave us a fun opportunity to teach about repentance and the Atonement. Score 1 for us!

We had an awesome dinner with a part member family this week, where the husband is a total soccer fan, so we had a fun talk about the World Cup! Made my day! It also helped that we had a really good discussion on feeling the Spirit and prayer, too. Soccer discussion? Check. Spiritual discussion? Check! Awesomeness? Check!

Speaking of World Cup, last night as we were arriving to our meal appointment, the game was underway, right? Their teenage son was watching the game in the den, so I stood outside the door just to ask him the score. 0-0, he replies, right? So I say, "Go Germany!" And just then, Germany scores! Y'all, I totally helped Germany win the World Cup. I'm pretty sure I did that.

Also? It appears we will get to go to the temple this week with a member we've been working with to help her go to the temple for her own endowment. There's been some discussion about which missionaries and how many get to go, because our mission president has put a limit on the number who can attend, but right now I think it's us? I guess we'll know for sure on Saturday! Anyway, if we do get to attend, it will be the first time I've been to the temple in over a year. If you live close to a temple, GO! I've really missed it since I haven't been able to go. It's so far, and the mission has rules that you have to serve within a certain distance in order to go on zone temple trips. I haven't served near enough to the temple since my first transfer. Take advantage of being close to a temple and enjoy it!

I love you all, and I can't wait to hear from you in the coming week!

Sister Loradona May

Monday, July 7, 2014

The 4th...

So... It was the 4th of July and we had no appointments. No dinner appointment, no appointment for the evening, nothing. Ugh. Here's my commitment to you: if you have missionaries in your ward, make sure they have a place to be, even for mundane holidays, okay? Even for random stuff like Flag Day. Just help them out to not have to stress or feel sad that no one loves them enough to ask them for dinner on a holiday.

It's okay, though. We went to a member's house and ate a hot dog, but we didn't stay long because there were other missionaries already there, and it simply isn't kosher to have multiple missionaries at a members house for our mission (the hot dog wasn't kosher either, but hey, it was a holiday!).

We were able to catch one of our investigators at home, though, and we had a good lesson that evening, which was cool. Plus, we saw it as a blessing of obedience in continuing to work, even though it was tempting to just hang out with members or try to watch fireworks.

We went home and, because home is South Dakota, we had all sorts of fireworks in the neighborhood. Sadly, because it gets dark so late, we didn't get to see many of them. Can I just say that 4th of July is the least fun holiday as a missionary? All the things you would like to do (blow stuff up, stay up late, hang out with people) are against mission rules, so you just end up going inside and feeling lame. The most fun holiday is probably Easter: People are actually in the mood to hear about Christ, plus there's lots of candy around! AND all of the fun happens during daylight hours--bonus!

This is kind of a boring week--we went to Norfolk for exchanges this week, and we went to Omaha for a meeting, which was good. It helped me learn I was super prideful, so, hooray? Let's just say I am repenting and trying to be a good, humble missionary. Maybe you need to be more humble, too? Just get humble before you are compelled to be humble, and I bet you'll have a better time. :)

I have to go, but I love you all! Have a lovely week, and I will write soon!
Sister Loradona May

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Which You Will Learn that Potatoes are of the Devil...

No tornadoes this week, though that might change... Speaking of change, transfers were last week, and... nothing happened! Ha! Did I get you? Sister Larson and I are still together and in Sioux City. It's a good  place to be. This week has been a little bit weird, and full of cool things, like lots of members going out with us and helping us do our work, and also some really fun things.
For example, we are working with a 10 year-old girl, and we decided to continue doing Activity Days with her through the summer, just so she gets into the habit of doing something fun and church related every Wednesday night. Her dad won't let her be baptized right now, but we are keeping on with our efforts with her. This activity was awesome. The Primary wanted to help, and before we knew it, what was going to be an activity with the girl and her mom included all the girls her age from the ward and two other moms! It was perfect. It helped her to have a chance to make friends with the other girls and to also have a spiritual experience. We were so blessed to have that opportunity, and it was because of members that it was able to happen. 

We had another experience with a member going with us to a lesson this week. She was able to really be very frank with them because she was their friend. It was a lot easier to ask them to do things (like attend church) because it didn't come from us--it came from a friend who loved them. I think that is something I have learned is that members are the glue that hold this together and make it work. Missionaries can only go so far. Without the members inviting, answering questions, and being their friends, the people we teach will never progress. 

One last fun story for today, and then I've got to go: We went to dinner with Penny (the mom) and Journy (the daughter) Our lesson included teaching about feasting upon the words of Christ. Journy (who is 7, by the way), said she had a story to tell us. Her story went like this:

Imagine the words of Christ are a food you like, like eggs. They are really good. But the stories of Satan are like... potatoes! You can eat all the eggs you want, but don't even think about touching the potatoes!

So my loved ones, remember the wise words of a seven year-old: Don't even think about touching the potatoes! 

I love you and I will write more to you soon!
Sister Loradona May