Howdy ya'll. yeehaw! I'm in Houston, TX (Hafer is my area). Home of the nicest people on earth and the best food.
ADDRESS!!!! SEND LETTERS!:
18203 westfield place drive #618
Houston, TX 77090
Let me take a minute to break down this past year. Wait, what? That was only a week? you little liars.
We got on the bus to SLC at 3 AM and flew to Dallas at 6. When we landed, this very very very nice guy came up to our group and told us he'd buy us breakfast. WHAT? There were 25 of us and were all very hungry. He's from Salt Lake, and just likes doing that for missionaries when he travels. So there we were, all 25 of us, just standing in line at the tiniest McDonalds in the world, ordering breakfast. Those poor workers... THEN! Guess what happened. I saw my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Hogle!!! What the heck? Her family owns Hogle Zoo. My companion and I talked to some people about the church and (to be said in Elder Calhoun's accent) GUESS WHO PLACED HER FIRST BOOK OF MORMON! This Hermana. That's who. Another Hermana had been talking to him, and I came in to ask him a bunch of questions about himself, and he asked about the Book of Mormon play, and I said nope, that's not us, but would you like to read the real thing? And he said yes. So I gave him my handy dandy pocket sized BOM and he said he'd read it. MIRACLE. It conveniently had tabs on my favorite chapters. golden.
After our 30 minute flight to Houston, we got our stuff and waited for President Pingree. He is so welcoming and I love him already. His whole family is great. We did a lot of training, ate a lot of food, and spent the night at the mission home in a REAL BED.
The rest was kind of a blur, but we got our companions the next morning after breakfast, and were off to work! I'm in a Trio with Hna. Villanueva and Hna. Carter. They are both amazing and so patient and caring. Hna. Carter is the kindest person I've ever met. she's been out 7 weeks. Hna. Villanueva is fluent, so we kind of rely on her. She's been out 10 months.
The first day, we went to a lady's house and made tortillas with her and her daughter. I didn't know we'd be eating, but oh boy we did. I got so full. THEN we had a dinner appointment where she fed us KFC, and I thought my stomach was going to just explode right there. I'm glad I made it out alive. It's all so good, but my stomach is soooo tiny :( I can't handle all this food. I pray super hard before every meal haha.
I'm in love with the skies here. It looks like a painting. There are fire ants everywhere, and I'm pretty sure one bit me. If I die, you'll know why. We have to put all of our "sweet smelling" trash in the freezer and throw it away when it's full so the ants can't get to it. candy wrappers, apple cores, you name it. It helps keep the apartment smelling clean :) An Elder in the mission told us about this tuna and honey sandwich his Dad used to make on his mission, so I tried it, and it's actually REALLY good. I've eaten it a few times already.
I saw a frog in the middle of the road. That was weird. I picked it up and got a picture. I've never seen a frog outside of a tank! The rain here is nuts. One second, the skies are perfectly clear, the next, gale force winds, then BAM! it's dumping buckets of rain. We walked from the car to a member's apartment, and we were SOAKED. it was probably 20 yards. I love texas :) It makes for fun memories.
Okay. now for church things haha.
The field is so different than the MTC. In the MTC, we teach lessons... all the time. There are very few moments where we live a real mission life. Here, there's a lot of surviving going on and lots of finding. We have a few investigators, but most of them are backing away from baptism. A few of them had dates, but either moved, or just won't answer our calls or answer their doors. I joked about putting post it notes over the peep hole so they'll open the door, but I was partly serious. It's frustrating sometimes. So many appointments fall through, but we just keep knocking until someone listens :) We don't give up very easily.
We had a MIRACLE happen the other day. Yet again, an appointment fell through, but a girl named Wendy was sitting on the stairs with her baby. She spoke spanish and english fluently. Um... can you say perfect? I can speak one of those languages! English haha. She is so well prepared, and said she's been studying the bible and is scared about not being saved. We answered a few of her questions about life after death and told her about eternal families and her cute little face just LIT UP. She said "I will be waiting for you guys on Tuesday". This may just be greenie naiveness, but I really have a good feeling about her. Our mission president said he had revelation that the Lord prepared tens of thousands to hear the gospel in this mission, and we just have to find them. I believe we found at least one of them. I really like her. PRAY that this lesson on Tuesday will go well and that she will recieve the gospel. I really want to help her.
We got a recent convert/less active to come to the church for the first time in 3 months! He was the one were we ran to his apartment in the rain. I think he felt bad that we got soaked, so he let us in haha. He has such a strong testimony, but I think it's just hard for him when the rest of his family aren't members.
Our ward is the Houston 6th ward. We have so many sweet people in our ward and they love to feed us. If I get chubby, just know it's from the members loving us too much. And you should all love me too. haha. I have no idea what anyone is saying, pretty much ever, so in sacrament meeting, apparently they asked me to get up and bear my testimony, but I didn't understand him, so I just sat there staring into space. Then Hna. Villanueva told me to go up. Luckily my testimony is one thing I really can say in Spanish, so I wasn't too worried. I just wish I could have a conversation about something other than Gospel topics.
oh yeah. in case you didn't already catch that, I'M SPANISH SPEAKING! I feel so lucky because so many people from the MTC got reassigned to English, and I would hate to lose the little Spanish I do know. It's such a blessing. I don't know how long I'll be in Houston. Just until my Visa arrives. It will be at least 6 weeks cuz they won't take me out of the mission in the middle of a transfer. The mission president's wife told me to plant my heart in Houston and make sure to not just wait around for my Visa. I'm here for a specific reason, and I need to continue to search for that reason.
1// We have a favorite family with 4 daughters and 1 son (he's milo's age :( ) It makes me feel a little more at home cuz they're around the same ages as our family. I MISS YOU GUYS! but I'm so happy here and I'm working hard :)
We had the following conversation with the youngest daughter (she's around Kitty's age)
us "What did you learn at Church today?"
her "That Joseph Smith wrote the Bible" ....
Sister Carter "Oh boy."
Now we know where all these very very false statements come from. The mouths of babes. We have a lot of work to do haha.
2// We like to greet people, and Hermana Carter happens to be a very bad judge of race. She said Hola to this kid, to which he responded in a very heavy accent, "I'm not hispanic, I'm Asian." That was rough. I covered her by saying we speak Spanish. I don't think it helped.
3// Hispanic people cannot carry a tune in a bucket. They sure do try. very very loudly. Sacrament meeting was interesting.
I can't think of anything else :( Dang it. I actually have time to talk to you all.
Oh yeah. My birthday is on Friday. the big TWO OH :) feel free to write me a letter or send me pictures of you. I don't have very many and want to show you all off.
18203 westfield place drive #618
Houston, TX 77090
Yo se que esta iglesia es verdadera, y yo se que Jose Smith fue un profeta de dios. Estoy agradecido por todo mi bendiciones y la opportunidad a ser un misionera. Esta obra es marvillosa.
// Hermana Allred