I feel like all of my emails start the same way every time "happy monday" or "hello everyone" I need to be more creative but for now Happy Monday and hello everyone will just have to work!
Sister Maukeni and I had a fun week here, busy with exchanges mostly. On Mondays we attend the FHE with the YSA and we had a game night which was fun. A member, Genny took us to a corn maze as well and I bought myself a little pumpkin for my desk. A few weeks ago things were starting to cool down but then it warmed up again so it doesn't feel like fall at all. The corn maze only took us about an hour to do when it could have taken a lot longer, there was an entrance and an exit to go in and if you came out the exit instead of through the entrance again that's how you know you had done it a correct way. By the end we were all pretty hot and thirsty and happy to see a way out, we were more excited when we saw we actually left through the exit sign! Although it doesn't feel or look much like fall it was fun to go and do that and at least pretend.
On Tuesday we went and worked in some of our sisters area for a few hours. As we were starting to drive away our car started making this clunk clunk clunk sound and turns out we had a flat tire. So I got to change one for the very first time! Technically, the elders we called supervised because I didn't have the upper arm strength to do the car jack by myself, so pitiful. But I did manage to take the tire on and off by myself, and I knew to take the screws? lugs? (I'm not even sure what they're called because I know nothing about cars) you know, those things, in the star formation.The elders were quite impressed. They requested (demanded) we make them cookies for coming to help us in our time of need. We planned to go to Pep Boys that night but we ended up going the next day. While we were waiting for our car, we sat at one of the tables in front of Sonic next door. It's in a rougher part of Modesto so there are quite a few homeless people wandering around, they call them tweakers here cause they're always on drugs haha. Anyway, while we're sitting there this lady comes over to Sonic and starts rummaging through the trashcans looking for food. She was probably there for 10 minutes or so talking to herself and was pretty pleased when she found some onion rings and a half eaten cheeseburger that she took a huge bite out of as she was walking away...sick nasty. I've seen people in Sacramento digging through trash looking for bottles to exchange for money but never digging through the trash for food to eat. A few minutes later she was screaming, and I mean screaming about how bad she needed a cigarette. I wasn't quite sure what to think. Pity? Disgust? Compassion? It makes me so sad that there are so many people around the world desperate for food, desperate for shelter, but it's sad to see when people have put themselves into these conditions when they've become so addicted to drugs or alcohol and there's not a whole lot that we can do for them. Anyway, just a random story from the week, gotta love missionary life.
Wednesday we had an exchange with some of our sisters. For the most part they are doing well. Some are having a hard time adjusting to missionary life or to training new sisters but it's been fun to spend time with them. Sometimes when we feel prompted we'll just show up and see how they're doing, it gives us the opportunity to see what's really going on when we aren't around and to talk and get to know them better. I've had some sister training leaders that I was with only on the one exchange but after that never saw them again, so we try our best to go and see the sisters, work in their area and are trying to do at least 2 exchanges with each companionship.
Thursday we received several calls from Sister Palmer and district leaders about some different things that were happening that needed to be addressed, so on Friday we spent the morning and afternoon with some of the sisters doing studies with them, role-plays and helping them with some of the challenges they've been having with teaching or with their area. After spending a few hours there we drove back down to Modesto where we had the chance to talk with President and Sister Palmer. We weren't planning on it, but everyone in the office had left so it was just the four of us. It was such a relief to have that time to talk openly and express some of the frustrations we had and talk in more detail about what was really going on with some of the companionships. I told President I felt bad that i was complaining and he told me, "you're not complaining. There is a difference between complaining and being honest and giving the facts. We owe it to the Lord to speak honestly and I need to know what's really going on here." I love President. I remember other friends talking about their mission presidents with so much respect and I totally get it now, now that I've been able to get to know the both of them on a more personal level. He's very honest and says it like it is, it's nice not feeling the need to sugar-coat anything and to put everything out on the table. Sister Maukeni teased in the car the other day that we're probably the most disliked sisters in the mission, which could be true. It's not easy to be corrected by your leaders but something we have to do in a kind and tactful way and help them understand the principle behind rules or commandments that we have as missionaries. Not just do what we say but to really understand the why behind it.
The stake is huge but sadly we haven't been teaching a lot of people; we work with several less actives and have been making some good progress there. A few weeks ago the relief society president sent us an email of all the names that are in the age range to attend YSA. The list is over 167 pages...so we're working through that. A lot of them have turned out to be married or are off on missions or at school. It's kind of a little game to see who will be on the other side of the door we're knocking. Are they mormon? Are they active? Does the YSA still live there? It's funny when one of the parents will answer the door and say, sorry sisters they're off at school or sorry sisters they're on a mission as well. We've been making some progress and know that there will be more as we continue to work through it. So although we aren't teaching a lot of people now, we know that as we keep working hard and do our best to serve these sisters, the Lord will provide as He always does. We're doing all of these exchanges and going on visits for the sisters but if they don't gain or learn something while we steward them, I know I will and how much it's helped me try to be a better leader and to be more like Christ. I'm no where close to leading as He does, but I'm trying to do what I can to help these sisters and my companion. I'm so grateful for her. We've been having so much fun together and she's always so calm! Even when she's frustrated or feeling overwhelmed she manages to always stay calm and grounded, definitely something I need so I'm thankful she's helping me with that!
Sunday was a great day, it's nice to have such a quiet sacrament meeting and have that time to ponder and think about the Savior. Several of you have asked if my companion and I are doing the "ponderize" thing, we haven't really gotten into it yet just with spending time during studies focused on other material but something I'd like to spend more time when I get home! Glad that everyone is enjoying that though. We downloaded a few of the talks to my flashdrive so we listen to those in the car. I am so excited for the talks to come out to study them all.I was telling my sister, Emily that I need to start a list of the many things I've learned and loved most on my mission and reading/studying the scriptures is at the top. I was always so bad at reading and studying my scriptures but I get so excited to sit down and study each morning. So many good things to learn and apply into our lives and those we're teaching.
We have zone conference this week, which will be great, so we're looking forward to that and several exchanges and time with the sisters this week. Thanks so much everyone for your emails. It's great to hear from all of you. Hope you have a great week!