News from last week in Modesto:
More hard goodbyes, eating a pound of See's candy with my companion, learning how to make papusas with Hna. Torres... all in just two days!! I learned a lot from my time there and from that branch and the people in it. I am glad that they could love me even though I wasn't always so great at communicating or understanding what they were saying. I can't wait to have time to go back and visit all of them! Oh also Daniela and Jonathan got baptized Saturday after I left :).
News in Yosemite:
No snow here! (phew.) We literally run up a mountain every morning. Some times it makes me feel like Hercules and sometimes it makes me feel like a tortoise as I slowly crawl up the hill behind Sister Vernon. I guess the Lord really does want my mission experience to be on an incline to strengthen me in ALL sorts of ways. It is different being in the Mountains. We actually live in Oakhurst and cover a lot of little surrounding areas including Coarsegold, Fish Camp, Raymond, North Fork, and O'neals. Driving to Raymond makes me want to hurl. Seriously there has never been a road that has made me so car sick before... not even the Alaskan Highway. (Note: no I don't normally get car sick but apparently serving here is an exception). The people are more down to earth though. They have good values and work hard. There are wild deer all over the place all the time and little quails too. Oh man let me tell you... I wish I could just take each of you out on a little star gazing trip each night. There is NO light pollution. It is fantastic. Sister Vernon has been serving here for a while and so she knows everyone and everything. I frankly have no idea how I'll ever find anything on exchanges haha.
We were able to help Marjorie get baptized just yesterday! She is a suuuper sweet 82 year old woman who was so prepared for the gospel. Another member here (Sister Reali) actually just met her in the grocery store a few weeks back and because of that encounter Marjorie was introduced to the missionaries and now just a few short weeks later is baptized. ( I think we probably knew each other in the pre-existence, because Marjorie thought she already knew me when I first met her).
We went to the Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall this week. I can tell Sister Vernon and I are going to have a LOT of adventures together. It was a very unique experience and proved to be insightful for me. I so often doubt my own testimony and personal conversion but every time it comes to a trial or a "make or break" type situation I KNOW without a doubt that I know what I know is true. These two elderly women knocked at our apartment door and we agreed to talk to them and that is how the situation kind of happened. We laid out the fundamentals of the Restoration and then had a discussion. No one really walked away "changed" or convinced of the other's position but I think it was an educational moment for all involved.
So even though I am in an English area again... I realized (was reminded) that the Lord truly has much bigger plans for us than we normally realize. Initially being sent back to an English speaking area felt as if the Lord didn't trust me enough to continue speaking Spanish. I was a little saddened at that thought, but also excited to serve in an English area and feel like a full contributor again. Well little did I know that part of my assignment here would be to help my English speaking companion study/learn Spanish. Wow. I don't really feel adequate for that, but we are chipping away at it. Hopefully I am not teaching her too horrible Spanish. (Luckily she is pretty smart and already speaks French... so prayer, prayer is always good haha).
Funny of the week was when one of the Elders here shook up the balsamic vinaigrette without realizing the top wasn't screwed on. There was salad dressing EVERYWHERE. We were all laughing so hard. The poor member feeding us had to go change and we tried to wipe up her mini-blinds. And the Elder who did it was very calm and not at all angry or embarrassed as I probably would have been. (Don't worry I had him take a picture of his not-so-white shirt before we started cleaning haha).
Lastly I learned how to split wood this week! I really am a mountain woman now ahaha. I managed to split one round after I don't even know how many swings. (I know you are all wondering who trusted me with an ax... in a skirt and flats.... but again don't worry! I didn't hurt anyone haha).
Love YOU!! Merry Christmas! Make it a great one!! Remember the birth of our Savior and his Ministry this week.