Well, my dears, Let me start by saying, it wasn't Texas that needed me. I needed Texas.
I was praying last night to find out what it is that God needed me to do here, because I have been feeling like a slight failure as a missionary, and God very clearly answered by saying "This is a trial of your FAITH". WHOOMP! there is it. We have had a lot of struggles this week with appointments falling through, and sweating our faces off, and being dehydrated, and feeling like nothing we do is working, and NOW I know that this was God's way of testing me before I get to Peru. He wanted to see if I would keep going when it's consistently 105 degrees outside. He wanted to see if I would keep knocking when, day after day, appointments fall through. It was one of the hardest weeks of my life, but I made it, and we laughed and had fun along the way. Satan, get thee hence! You're not raining on my parade.
MIRACLES OF THE WEEK!
1// We had a Zone conference with Elder Golden of the 70 and dang.. he put us in our place. Let's just say the bar has been raised significantly for our mission. The mission president asked my companions and I to sit at their table for lunch! We got to eat food with a member of the 70!!!! So cool. (my companions are the ones on either side of me. My president is on the far right, and Elder and Sister Golden are on the left)
2// Lily. She is the craziest old lady I have ever met. She is 88 years old, from Mexico, and she learned to speak English from black people, so she has a really funny accent. She says "whatever" allllll the time and it always cracks me up. Usually when she's feeling the spirit, or we tell her we love her. Before I came here, they couldn't get in the door with her because "she's always busy" haha. she's cooking for her 60 year old son. She's not busy. BUT we miraculously got in the door this week and her son wasn't home. We talked to her for a long time and I think she finally feels something. She's been going to the Evangelical church with her son the last couple weeks, but she knows our church is true, and she just follows her son. when we see her next, we're going to invite her to be baptized this Saturday. She has been going to church since February, but has been stubborn with authority lately. IT WILL HAPPEN! Stay tuned for more miracles with her.
I went on exchanges with Hna. Koerner on Wednesday. SO MUCH FUN! It was cool to see how different people are when it comes to planning and teaching. I learned a lot from her. She's so so nice to everyone.
My birthday was fantastic. The night before, we went on a detour to see the temple :) We took a few pictures and I'll send those in the next email. We did all our studying and training in the morning, then we went to practice our song for the ward talent show (oh my goodness... that was hilarious. more on that later), after that, my companions said "during exchanges we set up an appointment to have lunch with a family from Chile" Little did I know, that that was code for WE'RE GOING TO CHILI'S FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY!!! :) They paid for it and everything. Best surprise ever. We did weekly planning after, then a million appointments fell through, even Wendy (the one we found on the stairs last week) which is fine, it happens, and it was my birthday so I wasn't even about to get upset.
THEN we knocked on an investigator's door just to check up on them, and guess who walks up to the door! The husband. MIRACLE. He told us later in the lesson that he was planning on going to the store, but felt like he should come home first. We taught him about the restoration, and just happened to have brought the Restoration movie for the first time since I got here, and I SAW HIS HEART SOFTEN! He said everything happens for a reason and really opened up for a second, then BOOM! he closed it HARD. He just kept saying over and over "Soy Catholico. No quiero cambinar" (I'm catholic. I don't want to change.) GRRRRRR! I was getting infuriated. I just bore my testimony and cried a little bit cuz that's what I do, and he said he likes listening, but doesn't want to change. He's going to want to change... I know he is. in the words of lily, "whatever". :)
We were all really really upset with how frustrating our week had been, so we went home for dinner and felt bad for ourselves, laid on the floor under the fan to cool off our pools of sweat (ew.), and left for the talent show. Just so you know, everything in latino culture starts late, and ends even later. If it starts at 6:00, it really starts and 7:30 and ends at 9:30. Good thing it was the most hilarious thing I've ever seen. So many off key musical numbers, and hilarious skits, and lots of cultural dancing. Even the Bishop got up and sang a solo. I LOVE hispanic culture. (minus the being late for everything... that's hard to adjust to) After, we went into the kitchen to (I thought) snatch leftover fruit, and THEY HAD A CAKE and Bluebell icecream for me :) I have the best companions in the world, and our week ended with Bluebell, so I can't complain (Bluebell is the BEST icecream on the planet. Someone find some in Utah so I have hope when I get home).
Weird things about life in texas
1// I used to complain about being cold all the time, now I'm sweating to death, so I'm pretty sure God has a sense of humor.
2// I've been bit by so many ants. Right now, I have 6 bites on my left leg, and 4 on my right. It must be my sweet sweet blood. :) thanks Dad.
3// Everyone asks me to pray. I'm pretty sure it's because they like hearing me struggle... I still have no idea what anyone is saying in lessons, so I just nod my head, and catch what I can. Sometimes it gets awkward when I smile and they're talking about something really sad. I HAVE NO IDEA! It all sounds the same. My only indication of a sad moment is when people cry. Other than that, I'm lost.
4// Since no one answers the door, I've considered putting a sticky note over the peep hole. I KNOW YOU'RE HOME!!! ANSWER THE DOOR! :(
5// All old ladies think i'm 15. Probably cuz I'm pasty white and I've sweated off the weight I gained in the MTC. Despite all the food they're giving me, I'm just withering away into nothing.
6// speaking of, I sure have learned how to eat. It's rude to not eat peoples food, so I just feel like an overstuffed sofa all the time. My poor belly is getting pushed to the limit. At least it's not guinea pig (yet). All these sweet mexican ladies teach us how to make mexican food :) I love it! I can't wait to get home and be able to make it. I'm starting to enjoy cooking again. Now that it's not my job haha.
I am happy, I love texas despite the heat, I love the people we teach despite the fact that they forget every single appointment, and I love my companions so much (no despite on this one. they're great.).
Just so you know, a little birdie told me I got my visa, but I have to wait for the President to call so I know it's real and WHEN I'll be going to Peru. It's very very soon though. STAY TUNED!!! :)
Love, Hermana Allred