Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'm in MESA!!!

Wow, can you say longest week of my life?! Tuesday was the longest day of my life, followed closely by Thursday. But I love it! I don't even know where to start. first of all, I'm sure many people are wondering about the weather. Yes, it is hot, but surprisingly 115° isn't near as hot as I was imagining it. I've only been here a week and I'm already used to the sweat and the sun. I think I have gotten more tan in a week than in my entire life, even though I wear sunscreen everyday.

So, as I've found in my journal writing this week, It is better to just recount a few big things, rather than a step by step account with no details so that's what I'm going to do. On Tuesday morning we arrived in Mesa and met our Mission President and his wife and the two elders that are his assistants at the airport. we loaded up our stuff and went straight to the Visitor's Center. There were 19 of us that came in this transfer (a transfer is a six week period and missionaries come in and leave on the first day of the transfer). At the Visitor's Center (which I'll tell more about later) we all sat in the room with the Christus statue of Christ and Pres. Bassett talked to us about how we (with our companions) are the only ones in our area that have the ability to bring salvation to the people of our area by bringing them to Christ (no pressure right?!). Then we all drove up to the Mission home in Scottsdale where we had interviews with Pres. Bassett, had a little orientation, and then got our areas and companions!

My companion's name is Sis. Blades, and I have to tell you a quick small world story about her. We figured this out when we were driving home Tuesday night. So Sis. Blades went to BYU Idaho and had a roommate up there who transferred down to BYU and moved into the Arabic house! Then she was my roommate for one semester. And the even funnier part is that Sis. Blades came down and lived at my apartment over Thanksgiving that semester and we even went out to dinner together! Crazy, huh?! And now she is my trainer. Anyway, our area is Ensenada Park, in the Superstition zone. We live with some English members of our Stake.

We work in a little Spanish branch with about 40 members, but I love it. Because we are in such a small branch we know all the members and they always fellowship the investigators that come to church. No one gets lost in that branch. Yesterday in church Relief Society and Priesthood were combined because it was the fifth Sunday of the month. The RS President, Hermana Parra, got up during announcements and said "the Mestres, the Ayalas and Hna. Vichez weren't at church today, who is going to visit them?" I was so impressed that it didn't take us as the missionaries to point out the people that were missing. The Mestres are some of our investigators, but you wouldn't know it because they are some of the most active members of the branch. They are going to get baptized as soon as they can get married. As a side note, just a little something about the family situations here - they are crazy! I have a hard time keeping track of them. Hno. Mestre was married to someone in Mexico before coming here, so before he and Hna. Mestre can get married he has to get divorced, and the way they work out divorces in Mexico is that they narrow down an area where his wife might be, put ads everywhere, and then wait a certain amount of time. If noone responds to the ads then he is divorced. We were supposed to find out last week the results, but the lawyer hasn't called yet. So we are just praying and waiting. I would say that the majority of hispanic couples around here are not married to whoever they are living with, even if they have been together for a long time and have children and everything. The hardest thing for me in the branch is showing them I love them. Sis. Blades and her last companion whitewashed the branch 5 and a half months ago, meaning they came into the branch when there hadn't been missionaries for almost 3 years. So the branch really thinks of Sis. Blades and her last companion as "their" missionaries and now that the other sister has gone home to Colombia, they really miss her. It is one of the most common topics of conversation, so I am really trying to show the members and the investigators that even though I am new I am going to work just as hard and love them just as much, but it is still a little intimidating.

So that is a little bit about our branch, now on to the Visitors' Center. First of all, our area is the farthest away of the areas Visitors' Center sisters work in, almost 30 minutes away. The rest of the sisters are much closer, in the areas directly surrounding the temple. I love the Visitors' Center! There are 3 senior couples that work there, the Burkes (the directors), the Rowes, and the Ogdens. They are all so nice, it is like having 3 more sets of grandparents. Speaking of grandparents, the first thing that Elder Burke said to me when I met him was "are you related to Don Ladd?" It turns out that Elder Burke was the bishop of the Washington DC ward when Grandpa was stake president. And since he was in that stake he of course knows the Coltons too. He wrote a book about the history of the Washington DC ward, and I think I remember him saying something about Grandpa Ladd being the bishop of that ward before he was. And he said that he interviewed Uncle Sterling for the book. So there are some more small world experiences! His first name is Lee, and he wasn't ever married when he lived in DC. He married Sis. Burke only about 5 years ago.

I don't even know where to start with the VC. We work in shifts, which are usually 6 hours a day, except when other sisters have p-day or on Sundays. And once in a while we will have a "full field" day, which means we don't work in the VC at all that day (hence Thursday, my first full field day, was the second longest day of my life). We only have about 2 or 3 full field days a transfer. There are 8 companionships that work in the VC and we are split into groups of 4, so for this first 6 weeks I will mostly be working with the same 3 companionships. Our shift changes everyday, so we don't always work in the evening or morning, etc. I like that because it keeps things changing. Also, we talk to more people in the afternoons and evenings, so they try to give all the companionships at least 3 nights a week in their area. Our p-day will also change every week, but is almost always on a Monday or Tuesday. I can't remember what day it is next week... More about what we do at the VC: We have different posts every hour. Some days there is hardly anyone there, and some days (like last Saturday) we have more than a thousand people come through. They said that during the Christmas season we have thousands of people go through just in the evenings. There are lots of presentations and aspects of the VC and to space it out, I'll only talk about a few each email. We will start of with my favorite exhibit, the Book of Mormon table. We have a table with the Book of Mormon in 83 languages (easy to see why it is my favorite, right?) And really, there are languages I have never heard of, which is saying a lot since we learn about even crazy dying languages in Linguistics. I will have to send a list of the languages some time so that my family can do some research and tell me where all of them are spoken. There is a sister from Brazil at the VC at the same time as we are, so between her and the Portuguese Book of Mormon maybe I can pick up some Portuguese while I'm out. All of the sisters are a lot of fun to be with, and being at the VC sometimes it is like I have 6 trainers instead of one. We are actually going to lunch with another companionship right after this, another trainer and a sister that came in with me.

Wow, time flies, I have already been typing for 50 minutes. We only have an hour to write, because we are at the library and there is a line of people waiting for computers. Some important info for communication with me: Just keep using the mission office as my address - 6265 N 82nd St. Scottsdale, AZ 85250. They can forward the mail and always know where we are living. Also, they bring mail down to the VC twice a week so we get it there. If you send any packages, again use the mission office address, and try to send them by USPS if you can. FedEX, etc. can't be forwarded, they have to wait until someone is coming to our area, so while I'm in the VC that is fine, but when I am outbound (or full field, or full pros, or whatever you what to call it) then it might take a while. Oh! one more experience and then I'm out.

We are teaching a woman named Mirna, and she was actually the first lesson I taught. We asked her if she had been praying and she said yes, but that she wasn't sure if she was getting an answer, because she didn't feel any different when she prayed. Then at 3:30 Saturday morning we got a call from her saying that her "husband" had been in a car accident and was in intensive care. We prayed with her on the phone, then as a companionship, then individually (we do a lot of praying on missions...) When we woke up again on Saturday we got permission from our President to go to the hospital (it is in Phoenix, and either on the edge of our mission or across the street out of it). We had to work in the VC in the morning, but we called the Branch Pres and he took two other brothers and went and gave Aliseo a blessing. Then we went about 2:30. We still aren't quite sure what happened, but something in the car exploded (we don't know if he was in it or in front of it looking under the hood) and his body was burned from the waist up. When we got to the hospital he was sleeping but when he woke up he seemed like his spirit was still strong. By the time we had gotten there he was able to drink by himself, and they had taken all tubes out of his throat and nose. His 2 year old son called while we were there and he tried really hard to be able to talk to him. Also, Mirna had brought her Book of Mormon to read to him (he hadn't really been interested before). She asked for us to show her a part she could read to him later, but he wanted her to read it right then, so we read a chapter with them and then left them with a prayer. She called us on Sunday to tell us that he can now eat by himself. Then we ran into her yesterday and she said they had taken off all but one of his bandages and that his task for yesterday was to walk. And this is all in just 4 days! It really is a miracle. we are hoping that this will help her progress more. She has already exercised faith when she called us and asked us to pray and reading the Book of Mormon with him. He had to have surgery (today I think) on his hand for skin graft, and so the doctors say that he will be in the hospital another 4 months for therapy, but we are praying that at least he will be able to be transfered to a hospital closer, especially because Mirna is thinking of moving out there during those 4 months and that is way out of our area. If she does move then we will just pray that the missionaries out there will be able to keep teaching her and continue helping her progress. I love seeing the Lord's hand in this work!

De MESA con amor!

Hermana Ladd

No comments:

Post a Comment