I cant believe I've been out for 6 days already! I'm in a town west of Salt Lake City called Magna. everyone says its super ghetto but i don't really think it is honestly! Iike maybe if you compared it to peachtree city because its definitely not as nice here as it is there. But i love it here! It's just a bunch of houses really, there's not much else. And theres SOOO many latinos here. Like so many. So that's great! I'm soooo excited to be here especially on my birthday. I guess turning 20 is cool! I'm 2 decades old. I wouldn't want to spend my birthday doing anything else other than testifying of Jesus Christ. It's great!
Anyway i arrived here on Tuesday after taking the train from Provo. I was the only sister missionary to come out with my group. So we all loaded up on the train and when it came to our stop, we went down to the bottom floor of our car to get all of our luggage and stuff. The train isn't stopped for very long so we had to hurry and be really quick. One of the elders went back to get his 3rd suitcase on the train after he had gotten his 2 big bags out and then the doors closed and he got left on the train... haha some of you may know him. It was elder (Andrew) Lester. So since i was the only sister there i was going to be riding to the mission office with president and sister palmer! We waited there for elder Lester to call or come back or something and he eventually did about . Poor elder haha. Anyway after that we went to the office to get all set up and orientated and such. My companions name is Hermana Ávalos! She is from Chihuahua, Mexico! She is sooooo awesome let me tell ya. She speaks perfect English and Spanish so she helps me a ton with trying to learn. We have a great time together. So after that we went to our house to get situated and unpacked and stuff and then we headed off to our dinner apt. We had dinner with this lady in the ward from Peru, and the food was amazing!! It was this spicy beef and potato stuff with rice and avocado salad (yuummmm). And she made this weird juice drink with pineapple and cinnamon and some other things that she said but i couldn't understand. It was kinda weird haha. But her accent and the way she spoke was soooo hard to understand. In the MTC i felt like i could understand Spanish pretty well when our teachers and our TRC investigator talked to us and stuff. So i got a nice slap in the face when i couldn't understand a single thing. It was really frustrating and overwhelming honestly. Anyway after dinner we went to teach this little girl who's 9 and her family is completely active but she just hasn't been baptized yet... weird. Her dad isnt able to baptize her for some reason that we haven figured out yet. And her knowledge of the gospel is surprisingly small even though she goes to church every single Sunday. Sooo we taught her the restoration and we drew out some pictures with her of all of the things in the lesson and it went really well! We actually taught her in English too which was really kinda nice after how i was feeling at dinner time. And then we went to some other peoples house and talked to them for a little bit and then headed in for the night.Wednesday we didn't have any lessons planned so we went and contacted some referrals and some members. First we went to this lady in the wards house who failed her drivers test last week and needed some help/practice with driving . So we did that for a little bit. I sat in the back and talked to the little kids while Ávalos helped her drive. It was a good time. And then we went to try the referrals and they weren't home. So we visited this less active lady who's really sick and honestly sounds like she's about to die.but we were talking to her and we asked if we could do some service for her and she asked us to clean her bathroom. We happily did that (thank goodness it wasn't that nasty) and then we sang Christmas hymn with her. And after she was soooo happy it was so cute. And she gave us these necklaces with 2 hands and a heart around it. and seriously this family didn't hardly have anything in their house and you could tell that they were really poor but she still wanted us to have those necklaces. We tried to say no but she insisted. These people are so amazing. Next we went to our dinner apt and it was with this Venezuelan lady! This food is probably my favorite since I've been here. So first she gave us some horchata while she finished the soup she was making. So i drank a whole glass of it in the time it took her to finish and then she gave us really big bowls of soup and it was SOOOO GOOD. It was chicken with lime and cilantro and these dumpling things. Ugh omg. I could eat it every day. And so after the bowl i was kinda full but she made these bread things that were also amazing and put the really good white queso cheese in it and while i was eating that she asked if we wanted some more soup, and i said Si! Un poco poco por favor. Which means only A LITTLE! This lady filled my bowl all the way up. And when i was talking to Ávalos the day before she said that its super impolite to not eat the food that they give you and you should always finish the food on your plate. So im sitting there SOOO full and i have another huge bowl of soup and my bread and queso thing to finish. I have never prayed harder in my life in that moment for help to finish my food. So i started eating it as quickly as i could so as to try and not focus on my fullness and then i started sweating and getting light headed and i swear i almost threw up. By the good grace of God i finished and didn't throw up. Serious prayers answered man.and i learned my lesson to never ask for seconds ever again.
Thursday was pretty good. We figured out a good language study schedule for me y mi compañera. We had lunch at this Ecuadorian lady's house and she was soooo nice. I understood like everything she was saying too!! I was so happy y'all don't even know. I'd been super frustrated because of my lack of understanding and my bad Spanish. So i was really stoked. And then we didn't have a dinner appointment that night and we went to this AMAZING taco truck. Each taco was a dollar and it was the best $2 i spent in my life. And then we taught a recent convert Miguel about temples. He is seriously amazing. About a year ago he felt like he really needed to come to the states and change his life because he was an alcoholic and did some other bad things. So he came to Utah because he knew someone here and soon after he found the church and loved it so much. He goes to temple square every Saturday because he loves the spirit that he feels there. But anyway we were talking about temples and family history with him and he didn't know that he was able to go and do baptisms for the dead right after he was baptized! He was so excited because he thought you had to wait a year. Which is right but he can still do other temple work which is awesome. So he went yesterday to get a temple recommend and we can go with him sometime this week for baptisms! Also after we went to visit this girl Rachel. She's 15 and her family is having some problems. But my companion and her old companion just recently started teaching her and her mom. Her mom isn't really into it but Rachel really is! She needs better influences in her lives and she says she really loves all of the young women when she goes to activities and stuff. So anyway i accidentally left our phone at home so we didn't realize that Rachel tried to call and re schedule bc she had homework she needed to do. But we dropped by and talked to her and she ended up already making arrangements for someone to pick her up for church on Sunday all by her self! She was sooo pumped to go. Milagros!
Friday we had a zone training and a few companionships were assigned a few things about Jesus` birth to talk about. We were supposed to talk about the manger! So the manger is really significant to his birth. Mangers are something animals eat their food out of. I thought it kind of related to how Jesus is "the bread of life" and when we partake of his gospel we are spiritually nourished and through him and his atonement we are able to have eternal life! Explaining that in Spanish was a little rough but everyone got the message okay. Then after that we met with this lady Elida. SHe is amazing!! Both of her kids got baptized about a year ago and she's been investigating the church for about that time. A few months ago she didn't want to meet with the missionaries anymore, I'm not really sure of the reason. But right before i got here Ávalos and the old companion were trying really hard to get on elida's good side and were trying to get her to like them and she did! So we went to go see her and i think she liked me but idk. Anyway we taught her the first lesson and the spirit was reallllllyyyy strong. We both testified of Jose smith and the Book of Mormon and then at the end Ávalos asked if she would be baptized and she said yes!! She said that she knew that it was her time now and that she needs this in her life. Sooooo cool. Ávalos and i were SOOO pumped. Seriously i was so happy. And i still am. She's getting baptized on !
Saturday was super cool. There was this thing called Luz de las Naciones at the conference center down town and it was basically this latino Christmas program that like every latino in the salt lake area goes to. It's huge y'all. So all day we were trying to get people to go because missionaries aren't allowed to go if you don't have a recent convert or an investigator there. So we knew Elida was going but she was going with some different member friends, and this different investigator Jade is going but also with someone else. So we were relying on Miguel our recent convert,. Only problem is that he has a mexican phone service and we cant call him, he can only call us. So we were going to different members homes all day trying to figure out how to get a hold of him. We remember telling him about it in our previous lesson and didn't remember if he said he was going to go or not. So we couldn't figure out how to get a hold of him so we just decided to go anyway. We were praying so hard that he would call us and when we were on our way up there he did! And he was already there!! Milagros! So we went and it was soooo cool. So many Mexicans there it was cray awesome. Hermana Ávalos was sooo happy bc she misses Mexico a lot. This is her first Christmas not in Mexico because last Christmas she was serving in Mexico City waiting for her visa to come to the US. Also Saturday before we went, we had late lunch with some Chileans in the ward! They were a cute older couple and the lady had just had foot surgery so they haven't been able to decorate their house for Christmas. So we helped them set up their tree and some other decorations around the house and it was so great! The tree was really pretty. And before she left she surprised us with some scarves she knitted for us that week. Latinos are so nice. I am seriously in love with them!
Yesterday was my first day meeting the ward and everyone is pretty cool. Rachel and Elida came to church so that was great! They are so awesome. The bishop gave me a nice surprise and invited me to go bear my testimony in that very moment on the pulpit. I don't even remember what i said i was sooo nervous haha but it was okay! And we had dinner with elida too. She told us all about the different types of food they have in Peru and stuff. Apparently tortillas are a Central American thing and nowhere in South America really uses them other than if they're making Mexican food! So crazy! But we just talked to her and go to know her and her kids and she's great. After we visited this family that just recently came here from Venezuela. Idk if y'all know what's going on down there but it's really bad. The government is taking peoples money and there's hardly any food. So please keep all of them in your prayers! Anyway we talked to them for a little bit and their youngest daughter who's 9 got baptized maybe 2 months ago. Shes sooo crazy just like Cody but its funny. It was a good little visit.
I love y'all and hope everyone is doing well. Everyone have a feliz navidad and enjoy the time with our families and remember the reason for the season!