Thursday, August 22, 2013

Where the Water is Stinky and the Air is HOT

“Men and women who turn their lives over to God will find out that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends and pout out peace. Whoever will lose his life to God will find he has eternal life.” - Elder Bruce C. Hafen

Well Hello Family and Friends!! 

Hanford 2nd Ward is quite the change from Los Banos. First I have to tell you the rumors of the stinky water have been confirmed. There is some major sulfur in this water... I am not sure if I will adjust to coming out of the shower smelling like rotting eggs haha. And just to get my other complaint out now, our apartment has no A/C. Worst decision ever. Idk who picked an apartment without air-conditioning when it is in the 100's constantly here; but I guess there are worse things to endure. 

Sister Gneiting is a 19 year old missionary... she is like a little sister I feel. In someways we are so similar it is scary, but in others we are still worlds apart. (She is a lot better at being obedient than I am for one.) I am still excited to work with her. We have a TON to do in this area. Everything was kind of a mess when I showed up. The area book was in disarray, all the investigators just think we are their friends and have no intention of keeping ANY commitments, and our map doesn't even have a guide.... sheeze. But so far we have made some progress. I taught her how to really fill out a progress record and then we cleaned and organized all the random papers floating around the area book. She has been out just one transfer shy of me but she still didn't feel like she knew how to teach the lessons though. (BTW we are in an English ward... both Spanish speaking missionaries though). So we just took all of our study time one day and I had her teach the first lesson to me. It was like pulling teeth, but eventually we made it through and by the time it was over she was just crying and gave me the biggest hug and thank you. Other good news upon arrival was some familiar faces! Elder Keys (my first District Leader) and Elder Artal (an elder that worked in the Porterville branch with) are our Zone Leaders!!! Yay! They are both great Elders so I was pretty excited for that. 

Funny story of the week? Yep, got one:
Out contacting and Melissa (a potential investigator we found) was setting her garbage on the front porch so we offered to take it out for her, which led to us talking and praying with her. She was so sweet and said that she felt there was something sincere about our smiles when we waved to her. Well when we get in and are talking to her, her mother makes her divulge the "rest" of the story... she admits to us that she thought we were girlfriends of the Navy guys that live upstairs and that we were trying to scope out our boyfriend's neighbors haha (I still haven't even met the Navy guys, but I think one is an investigator?). Anyhow, I was laughing pretty hard at that one. [So also I guess there is a Navy base kinda near here... but not in our boundary/area. And three prisons? Crazy.]

Green Plums are DELICIOUS! Had my first one this week and now I am wishing that they were more common here, because they are sweet and juicy. I love serving in an area that fruit is so fresh and abundant, and where members and investigators just give it to us all the time. 

Another funny story? Why not: 
Went to the church to make copies of our records and we stumbled upon a youth stake dance... awkward... 16-17 doesn't seem like it was that long ago to me but then again it does. When I realized that 16 was 6years ago for me I think that I about died lol. Especially when that was something my little freshly 19year old companion couldn't relate to haha. 

I would like to know how many sister missionaries are forced to arm-wrestle their companions in Relief Society to open up the lesson on their first Sunday in the area? Yeah that happened to me too. Sad part? I almost lost. Sister Gneiting has a strong arm! But don't worry I held out and neither of us won or lost. The lesson was about how we need to be unified and work together in God's kingdom. 

Humbling moment/experience of the week. Artie is a dear dear sister in this ward. She's older and do to health problems that she grew up with she struggles to walk. Also this week we learned that she can't read either. She was embarrassed in Relief Society because she had a quote but didn't know that is what it was, but obviously couldn't read it. Furthermore, she is petrified because the whole relief society is going to sing "As Sisters in Zion" this next week in Sacrament. So we have been going over and trying to help teach her and have her memorize the lyrics/song because she can't read. I can't begin to describe this special experience to you. She is so excited about every little word she learns. She practices singing what we have taught her to her little dog after we leave. Sometimes while we are there she even sings Lion instead of Zion, but I have to tell you it is probably the sweetest spirit I've ever felt while singing that song when we are practicing in her living room just the three of us. So far she has memorized most of three lines or to the part that is to "the blessing of God". Over and over again I am reminded that I have been so blessed. I have so many miracles in my life and I need to be so much more humble and grateful. 

Last night was a little crazy. Apparently, there was a fire in a Visalia Electricity Plant and so all of town lost power. Meaning that we came home 30 minutes early after trying to visit some families. We ended our night by pulling out our emergency 72 hour kits (and putting them by the door), then taking cold showers by flashlight and trying to sleep in our unbearably hot apartment. Luckily at about 3:15 the power came back on and we were able to catch a few hours of sleep before arising and leaving for the TEMPLE at 6. The new temple video is AMAZING!! That was no joke!! Ah, I miss the temple soooo much. I wish I could go every week still. I can't wait till I can again. But all in due time, I am sure that day will come much sooner than I think.

Alma 39:10

I ADORE this family....
They are seriously the model family I want to create someday

My beloved Lagunas Family... I miss them so much.
(Even Matt is smiling in this Picture!!)
Hermana Miller

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