September 28, 2015

Modesto: They call it meth, death and auto theft

Hello from Modesto!

This week has been great, a whirlwind and crazy but great. Tuesday was an adventure trying to pack all of my things and all of Sister Amos' things in our chevy some miracle we got everything to fit and we were off to Modesto. She's serving in Oakdale with a new sister she's training, so we dropped off her things at their apartment, then moved my things into my new apartment and then took both Sister Amos and Sister Porter (who will be training 2 new spanish sisters in a nearby zone) to the office. In the Fresno and now Modesto mission they have a farewell testimony meeting that night; where the missionaries that are leaving bear their testimonies and the new missionaries and their trainers attend. Other members and investigators can attend as well. Because our apartment is a minute away from the mission office we stopped by at the end to bring a few more things to Sister Porter. With 20ish new missionaries sending everyone off in the right car with their luggage and bikes was straight madness. The assistants and senior couples were running all over the place trying to get everyone settled and on their way. The first week of the transfer is always so busy.

There are 4 sister training leaders, my companion and I cover 12 english sisters, and the other sister training leaders are covering 14 sisters so the four of us will be staying busy busy going on exchanges several times a week. They give us extra funds because we do so much traveling and hardly get to be and work in our own areas and attend several leadership meetings. Our misison president just loves the sisters and wants us to do and be all that we can to better serve these sisters. He's always telling us to act on every good impression, so even if that means driving all the way up to Galt (like an hour away) to go be there. He emphasized the importance to minister the way Christ would: not just with a text or a voicemail but to be there at their doorstep. I've been loving reading in the New Testament reading about Christ's ministry. I've found it interesting that in the 4 gospels it often mentions that a great crowd or multitude followed him. He was WITH the people, mingling and talking with them, with his perfectly collected and confident yet humble presence. He wasn't getting stressed or dashing to appointment to appointment but taking the time to be and talk with the people knowing that that what was most important. While we'll be very busy, it'll be a great opportunity to learn how to lead and serve more the way Christ would.

Alright family, my companion, Sister Maukeni is the best. We are having so much fun together. We've both expressed to one another the gratitude we have to be in this companionship. She's been a STL for almost 9 months and was really ready to be done, and I was under the impression that I would train but we both prayed before we got assigned to serve together to be blessed with companions that we would be where the Lord needed us and if it was His will to be with companions that we could have fun with while still enjoy working. Hallelujah he answered that prayer! I really loved Lodi but those transfers were difficult for different reasons but we've both said how we feel like we're gaining speed and momentum again as missionaries: being obedient and diligent, getting out there, working hard, talking with everyone and laughing along the way. I'm just a happy camper to be her companion, honestly she's great. I've found out that she spent most of her childhood years in New Zealand (so she has a stronger accent from there) but submitted her papers from Samoa, her family has moved to Australia since she's been gone and goes home in January. I think with reaching my year mark I realized I really only have 6-7 months left. And while that sounds like a lot, I know it's going to go by so quickly and I want to take advantage of every opportunity I can to be better. To love and serve more. I'm sure it sounds cheesy but I don't want to regret anything while I'm out here serving. I'm so happy to have a companion who is on the same page that I am and wants to work hard and stay focused just as much as I do.

Because we steward over 12 sisters that are all over the mission, and in order to go on exchanges with all of them twice this transfer we realized we needed to start right now. We felt like we needed to exchange with a set that live in another zone as they train on Friday. The trainer struggles with a lot of anxiety and comes from a negative background so she has a lot of challenges. She was NOT happy about her new area, new apartment or having to ride on bikes and looked for every opportunity that she could to be negative and complain. It made me so thankful that I was raised and made the decision to be positive and optimistic. Let's be happy people! Especially us as missionaries, come on. Yeah it's hard but think about the work we are doing, that alone should have us celebrating. I know we look completely ridiculous on bikes but it's fun and a great way to talk to people. I get a sweet farmer's tan, I look so dumb. My arms are tan but everything else is still pretty fair, haha what are ya gonna do? And then a lady we were talking with just stares at me and asks, "How old are you? You look like you're 17..." I'm not really sure how to react when people ask how old I am and then find out I'm 22, I just laugh and say I'm short. They tell me to embrace looking young which I guess is good haha.

The YSA branch is great! We cover the whole stake so we do a lot of driving but the branch is very small like 20 or 30 maybe, especially now that everyone has gone back to school so we do a lot of work with less actives. Sacrament meeting is silent and takes about 5 minutes but it's great to have a few minutes of quiet time to focus on the Savior and our covenants. I've discovered  unless you're a girl, married or you wear a missionary tag i do not know how to talk to you. aka men. So awkward. I seriously have no idea how to start a conversation anymore. But Sister Maukeni told me she and Sister Porter felt the same way their first Sunday so it'll get better. We go to family home evening on Mondays so hopefully that'll help to so i'm not so weird talking with people my own age. Oh the joy.

The branch has activities quite frequently so it's fun getting to spend time with all of the sisters, a lot of them are returned missionaries so it's been great talking with them about their missions and the advice they give to us is the best. On Saturday night we were invited to one of the branch presidency's homes to eat pizza and watch the women's session of conference. I hope all you sisters got to watch it! If not, repent and go watch it online! The talks were incredible and it got all of us so excited for conference this weekend. And we're getting 3 new apostles, can you believe it! The elders quorum president has his own house so he offered for us and other members of the branch to come on Sunday so we'll be watching it there.

That's about all for now, I'm happy and doing well. I love it here! Happy to be apart of the Lord's work in trying to do anything and all I can to serve these sisters and those in my area. Hope you all have a great week. Enjoy conference! It'll be fun to think while listening to one speak that we're all connected during that time ❤

Love to you all,

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