Monday, November 24, 2014

Week 12: El Tiempo Aquí Es Más Raro Que Lo Que Es En Utah...

Hola familia!
Mom notes:  Here are the questions this week :
1) Did you finally get the winter stuff?
2) How was your training last week?
3) I have your boots you wanted in the box for Christmas stuff.  Anything else before I ship it this week?
4) Did you have transfers yet?  Are you staying in the same place?  With the same companion?
5) Did you have a dinner appointment for Thanksgiving this week?

1. Yes. Muchas gracias, momma! Although, you did send way more than I had expected, they are all very much appreciated.
2. Uh, it was good....? Honestly, we're lucky when we do 12 week four times a It's a bit of a toss up. But it's good. Everyone says they love this program. And I think it's really helpful. So it's great. The trouble for us is just making the time. Cause it feels like we are always just go go go. Haha ah well. It's good.
3. Nothing comes to mind now.... But maybe I'll remember to come back to this.
Oh, thought of something! So I'll maybe/probably get to Skype or FaceTime y'all for Christmas so you're not allowed to open my gifts/cards for you until that call. That's all I want for Christmas (:
4. Transfers are tomorrow. But we're both staying here. This is Hna Israelsen's last transfer, as well as Sister Oliphant and Elder Skinner. So the only two (?) leaving are Elder Nielson and Elder Bennet. (We're still not sure if Elder Olsen is staying or leaving. We will find out on Wednesday...)
5. Yes, we've been asked by multiple members so we're definitely okay on the thanksgiving account, now we've gotta try to get appts that day....

Okay, well I don't wanna re type a bunch of stuff so here's what I sent Presidente and then I'll add more info. (Sorry it's in Spanish. Just plug it in to google translate and maybe it'll make sense...)

Pues, esta semana fue muy bien. Por algunas razones.
Primero, ¡Charlie fue al bautismo en Sábado! El problema es que él tiene como miedo de muchas personas....entonces, cuando él fue a la iglesia ayer, no estaba muy bien para su mente, supongo....y él nos dijo concerniente de sus problemas y no sabía cómo responder.... ¡Lo sentí mucho! Ay.... No sé. Pero, sé que Dios sabe, porque Jesucristo se ha sentido lo que Charlie se siente. Lo que he aprendido el más esta semana es como cuan bendiciones que tengo, y las bendiciones he tenido todo mi vida. Y yo sé que es por medio del evangelio restaurado de Jesucristo. Estoy tan agradecida por eso.
También, pasamos a la casa de la familia Rodas en Martes. Son muy amables y lindos. Ellos se movieron hace una semana de Los Ángeles. Son de Guatemala; la Hermana Rodas no es conversa (sus abuelos son conversos) pero el Hermano Rodas es así. Tienen tres hijos: quienes tienen 18, 8, y 3 (?) años. Su hijo que tiene 8 años está tan emocionado para ser bautizado,my él tiene mucho amor por el Libro de Mormón. De estar con ellos fue una experiencia que nunca voy a olvidarme. También me di cuenta de la diferencia entre los hogares de los miembros y los que no son miembros. No sé porque no la he visto antes, pero ahora yo la veo.

Pues, la obra aquí está muy bien. Todos los misioneros están dispuestos para trabajar duro, yo pienso. Está un buen tiempo para ser misionera para mi. Me encanta el sentimiento al fin del día cuando tengo mucho sueño por causa de la obra. ¡Es excelente!
Mom note:  here is what she just said thanks to Google translate:
Well, this week went very well. For some reasons.
First, Charlie was baptized on the Sabbath! The problem is that he has the fear of crowds .... then when he went to church yesterday, was not very good for your mind, I guess .... and he said concerning their problems and did not know how respond .... I felt sorry fro him! Oh .... I do not know. But I know that God knows, because Jesus Christ has felt what Charlie feels. What I have learned the most this week is like how I have blessings, and blessings I've had all my life. And I know that it is through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for that.

Also, we went to the home of the Rodas en Martes family on Sunday. They are very friendly and cute. They moved a week ago from Los Angeles. They are from Guatemala; Sister R is not a convert (her grandparents are converts) but Brother R is. They have three children who are 18, 8 and 3 years (?). His son who is 8 is so excited to be baptized, he has much love for the Book of Mormon. Being with them was an experience I'll never forget. I also noticed the difference between the homes of members and nonmembers. I do not know because I have not seen before, but now I see.

Well, the work here is fine. All missionaries are willing to work hard, I think. It is a good time to be a missionary for me. I love the feeling at the end of the day when I need a lot of sleep because I've worked hard. It's great!

Okay. Also, before I forget, I am officially a Facebook missionary. So if you want to add me you can but absolutely NO messages or posts on my wall or anything. If we become friends with family we have to unfollow them so that we're not distracted. But if you wanna do that, you can.

So Tuesday last week was zone training. Pres. talked about the principles of eternal families and how thAts what we ought to be focusing on when we teach people. So that was really beneficial. After all of us sisters went to lunch at an Asian buffet. It was fun. One sister said I looked almost exactly like one of her companions; she showed me a picture and it's true. It was so weird.....

Uh......I'm not sure what else happened.

Julia told us that she's been praying and reading (listening) to the Book of Mormon but hasn't felt like she's gotten an answer, but she basically told us that when she does she'll quit her job so she can come to church, so now we've just gotta help her recognize it. Also, kinda funny in this lesson: we had a member with us and Julia kinda started going off on how we (misioneras) can't relate to her because we're too young and don't have kids and all this because she thinks we just pray all day. (She also told us a while ago that she didn't want to join the church because she thought she'd have to be a missionary basically. Haha) So that was kind of odd. We told her we weren't offended, which was true, but it was just random. Luckily our member she could relate to.

The Acevedos family didn't come to church yesterday......but, granted, their daughter was sick. But still. We were really disappointed. However, we think we are making headway with Juan Antonio, so that's a plus.

Last week we had 19 people on date as a zone--10 as a district but now we're down to 5. Satan is trying so hard to stop the work. But we know that he'll never win, not in the long run.

I wish I had like two extra hours of study every day. One is not enough for personal study.....but. Oh well.

Oh, a while ago we had stake conference, and President Fenn spoke. He's really just so great. I'm so sad they're going home this next year.... They're just so awesome! Ah. Anyway. I wish you all could hear him speak...

The other day in Relief Society, the teacher brought up how in Downton Abbey, they deliberated over getting a refrigerator. (It was related to the lesson somehow.) But anyway, I thought of you, momma.

Also, last week in the Normal Ward was a mission homecoming. Yeah, that was really weird....

We made scalloped potatoes today. Unfortunately we FORGOT to buy ham at the store, and then the first disc we put it in didn't fit in the microwave and the second dish (belongs to a member who brings food for us and the sisters s dry Sunday so we got it from the sisters) but it didn't have a cover so we just used a circular lid.... I'll send a picture. Anyway so they weren't fantastic but ah well. We tried. Haha

Also, I felt kinda bad for not sending any pictures for a while so I'll send some in a separate email--we're not repeating week one....

Also, so I bought a keyboard for this hunk of junk (I'm just kidding. I respect the church's choice to use Apple products but it just might be the death of me.... And again, I know I have no room to complain so just bear with me.) and yesterday the keyboard decided it wasn't going to type two diagonal rows of keys--including a key included in the password for this iPad. So..... Luckily they let me return it at Walmart today (without a receipt, I might add) so that was really nice. I'm debating if I try again with either the same or different brand or do I buy a cover without a keyboard? I dunno. We'll see in a week I suppose.

Well, that's about it this week I think. I promise I write in my journal every day so in approximately 15.5 months you can go through it and see what I really did on my mission. (:

Can you believe I've been gone three months? Cause I can't. Wow. Time really does fly....

Anyway. Love you. I love this Gospel. I love the work, and how it is forcing me to grow. If I don't come out of this a completely different person, I did something wrong. Thank you for all the love and support. 

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
Hermana DeBuck
 The English speaking Sister missionaries who live next door.

 Making do with what you have or can borrow....scalloped potatoes attempt
 No ham, but still pretty good.
 Papas por la comida para las hermanas (Potatoes for the Sisters' dinner)
Hermana DeBuck and Hermana Israelsen

Monday, November 17, 2014

Week 11: It Snowed Last Week, I Almost Cried

Questions from my mother:)
1) What kind of food do you eat each day?  Are you cooking?  Is it healthy? can you get what you are able to make easily/quickly?
2) Did you get the box(es) of winter stuff I sent?  Also, did you get the bubble package with your slips?  Did I miss anything else you can think of?
3) How much money do you really have to work with for groceries/toiletries/etc each month?
4) For black boots, can I just put money in your UCCU account and have you buy them out these for Christmas?  Or did you want me to find something and guess a size?
5) Is there anything I can add to your Christmas box that you might like to have to give to families /individuals you are teaching?  Obviously it is something small...and inexpensive.

1. well, we usually eat some sort of "Mexican" food--burritos with refried beans, rice-a-roni, and taco/hamburger meat, plus Valentina sauce, have been the most recent common food. It's delicious. We also eat frozen pizza some times, and we made hamburger helper last week--that was an adventure in a not-ten-inch pan. Oh yeah, I eat a bagel lots of mornings. Sometimes we cook. But it just takes so long....and I'm not even gonna pretend that we eat healthily....sorry.
2. No....but we've got zone training tomorrow, so I may (?) get it tomorrow when the assistants/sister training leaders come. Or transfers are next week so maybe then. We'll see. Either way. I'll be okay. Hopefully. Pray that I don't freeze; I'll be okay. I can't think of anything else....if I do, I'll let you know. Thanks momma! You're the best(: Eres la major.
3. I think we get $150 a month.....I'm not sure. Hna Israelsen and I split the grocery expenses every week so we do okay. It might be $160.......the sisters and my hermana are saying $160. So there you have it. It's definitely enough to survive.
4. I was hoping you could just send me the ones I already would take so long to find ones that I like. Plus, it'd be silly to own two pairs of the same boots. And if you were to look for them, they would be found in one of two places (I'm pretty sure). Either in the teal blue tub in my closet, under the laundry basket, or in the purple lid tub underneath my bed. Pretty sure they're in the former. I'm talking about the black long No worries on sending them soon or not. I have boots so it's not like I'm gonna get frost bitten toes. But that was the best/number one thing I could think of for Christmas. Plus, then, you don't have to buy anything except postage. (: haha. No worries either way though momma.
5. Little (cheap) CTR rings. Those I understand are like 30 cents. Other little LDS paraphernalia would be good. Stickers and cards and things.... I dunno. 

Well. I dunno what else to write.....................................
I really cannot believe how much success this area is having. Well, I mean I can believe it because it's happening, but it's just so awesome! Especially in the Normal ward. It's fantastic. The coolest thing (I think) this week was this man we met with. His name is Charlie. We found him while we were driving, on our way home, and I told Hna Israelsen, "I think that guy's hispanic", so we flipped around and went and knocked on the door of the house where I saw the guy. We weren't even sure if he was, but when he answered, he did speak Spanish--and English. So we set up an appt to come back (it was late at night) for that next Saturday. We weren't sure if he was really interested in what we had to say or not, but when we met with him on Saturday, he was really solid. It was great because he asked a lot of questions, and we were able to answer most of them well enough, I thought. We invited him to be baptized on Jan 3 and he said he would be, if he felt ready. So we're (I'm) really excited to work with him. It'll be great.
We're working with a lot of great people, and doing our best to work with whole families. 
The Acevedo's are really awesome. I think they're kinda like the poor of the Zoramites in the Book of Mormon--they've kinda been forced to be humble. So we're glad that they're turning to God and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through us. They're so sweet and fantastic. Marcela (madre) and Emily (8 yrs old) are on date for Dec 13. We've gotta explain the Restoration to Juan Antonio--he missed that lesson, so he doesn't really get authority....but he will.
There really is so much good happening. I think every quarter ought to be the last quarter. Because we are seeing so much success and progress. I've definitely noticed it as we, as a companionship, do our best to really follow the fourth quarter focus, as well as our zone focus. We've definitely got a lot we can still improve on, but I'm excited to do it.

We went to district lunch this week. At this place called Pizza Ranch. If you ask me, it's a lot like Pizza Pie Cafe but more expensive and not as tasty. But it was fine. The elders picked I think....ah well. It was funny though; Elders Campbell and Olsen were telling about this lesson they had where the investigator told them that he was a vampire in a past life. And he was completely serious about it. Elder Campbell said he was legitimately scared for his safety. haha it was funny too because the point in the story where I began listening was when Elder Olsen said "I have a confession." Then Elder Campbell, "I was a vampire in a past life." hahaha oh man....too funny. I wish you could've been there. My retelling is definitely not sufficient.

Well, that's about it. I'm also about out of time; sorry. I'll let you know next week if I get the package or not. Thanks again! 

Oh, could you tell me some more about our family history (both sides) as members of the church? I can't remember (and it's killing me) if Gma converted after she and Gpa got married--Gpa's family converted when he was a kid/younger right? And then I really have no idea how dad's side found the church/was found by the church. But I wanna be able to tell people. (Hermana Israelsen asked, so that's what brought it up.)

Okay, now I think that's really it. Love you lots! Thank you for all the support.

I wish my emails were more spiritual. But I think this is all that'll happen this week. Just remember that I know this church is true. Every time we meet someone and/or teach someone, we talk about the Restoration, and every time I get the opportunity to bear testimony of it, my testimony grows stronger and more resolute. That is the best thing about serving a mission I think--if you think you've got a testimony, serve a mission. By the end of it, if you've done it right, you will have a testimony, without a doubt. I promise you that.

Con Todo Mi Amor
Tu Hija y Amiga
Hermana DeBuck

Sent from my iPad

Monday, November 10, 2014

Week 10: No Me Gusta El Invierno

Pues. Los días están largos pero los años están cortos cuando está un misionero, pienso yo. Y pienso que los traslados estarán cortos, también.

Mom translation: So.The days are long but the years are short when you are a missionary, I think. And I think that the transfers will be short, also.
Mom Notes: 
5 Questions:
1) Did you really want your winter clothes that were in the yellow tub in your closet sent to you?   I have 2 packages ready to send--and can get them to the UPS place tomorrow if you do--if you really want them.  I also included a few more space bags, so you can either send home your summer things so you can fit it all in the the suitcases when you have to transfer, or store them all really tightly and make it fit.
2) Did you finally get the package of treats?
3) How was
the new missionary training meeting in Naperville?  What did you do?  What did you learn?
4) Did you know that Naperville is where Pam's son Andrew and his family live?  They were going to look out for you!
5) Can you ask Hma Israelsen for her mom's mailing address?  I'm making something for their family for Christmas.  She has been so lovely and I'm thinking we could be good friends, whenever we finally meet in person.  I'm happy to communicate with her in the meantime via email.
Mis respuestas:
1. I thought my winter ropa was in a grey tub... but, regardless: I have made a list.
- there should be two or three "wool" skirts (dark grey and purple/black houndstooth.....I think....) basically whatever skirts are in that tub: please send.
- scarves (there should be quite a few; I believe I bought a hanger thingy for scarves so if it's not too much hassle, you could just send the scarves with that...that'd be great for me anyway.)
- cardigans--I'm not sure if I have a grey one, but if I do, could you send it. If not, you could count that as a Christmas wish. Also, I think there's a brown one that's kinda thick ish...that might be good. Those would probably be hanging in my closet, unless you guys have moved stuff around.
- in the tub, there should be a big cream sweater...well, two. One is striped, one isn't. One or both of those would be nice to send... Also, I can't remember if I bought a teal sweater or if I only thought about it. If I have one, will you send it? If not, I'm just kinda crazy is all, so don't worry about it. There is also a brown/tan sweater that would be great...pretty much any and all sweaters would be's goin' get cold here, stat...
- fuzzy socks. I should have a thick pink pair and then a not-so-thick black/white/grey pair.....also there's a light blue pair. Somewhere...sorry I'm not more help on where stuff is.
- will you please send me my slips? I don't need the ankle length one, but there should be two others. Those would be great momma.
- that peplum black/white houndstooth blazer we got at the Sister Missionary mall would be greatly appreciated....
- I decided this is what I want for Christmas: my black boots. I bought a pair of tan ones at Walmart, but I would like a black pair, but don't need a black pair.
- also, these aren't winter specific things, but would be nice if there's room: black with white thin stripes short sleeve shirt, green sleeveless shiny blouse, light blue short sleeve shirt, grey short sleeve shirt. And, I'm not sure if I actually have a black blouse but I think I do...will you look and see if such a thing exists? I have a black blouse here but it irritates me to wear I don't need another but it would be nice.
Really, whatever warm you send me will be fine though. Don't worry so much, momma. Also, I don't really need any of this (except the skirts...and probably sweaters) so just whatever works. And sorry for the misunderstanding. That was my bad. Lo siento, mama.
2. Yes. Santa vaca, momma. So many treats! I brought it all to district meeting the next day and shared with all the other missionaries in our area. They enjoyed that. I cannot and should not eat that much candy...I have  funny story about some of it too, but I'll get to that later.
3. Okay. Training meetings are probably the greatest things of all time. First, let me say that I have the greatest mission president of all time. He's seriously like Elder Holland--he's a literal scripture master and he's funny and he's fiery. It's awesome. I could listen to him speak all day and just take notes. For reals. So, I learned a lot. We also did a lot of practices and so many people tell me that my Spanish is so good. I still think they're all just saying that.... more specifics on this later. Just know that we have the best mission president of all time--for example, he said he's sent home fewer missionaries than any mission in the US (early return missionaries I mean). And then, according to a church survey thing, this mission has the most obedient missionaries of all the missions......just sayin'. (:
4. I think I knew that at one point...but now I remember. If I ever serve in Naperville, that'd be awesome!
5. Okay, here it is:
135 East 200 North 
Providence, Utah 84332
I would suggest not posting this part on the blog though...just as a precaution.
Also, while I'm thinking about it: I'll give you our apartment address, but here's the deal: you're only allowed to send letters to his address and I would highly recommend not sending them the week before transfers, every time they come around. (Mom note here:  Technically the next week of transfers would be Thanksgiving week)  Because I won't know I'm being transferred until the Saturday beforehand. But it's your job to know when transfers are (every six weeks). So yeah. Here it is:
1111 Ekstam Dr #108
Bloomington, IL
So, just be aware of that. Feel free to send them here, but if I get transferred before the letter gets here, I may not ever get it.... Also, you are NOT allowed to send packages to this address or any other apartment address I may have. Only send those to the mission office. Okay? Okay.

Alrighty. First off: I'm a terrible family member...
Happy belated birthday to my favorite 14 (?) year old cousin, McKay!! Woohoo.... You're probably older than 14. In fact, I bet you're almost a Laurel, if not a Laurel right now.... sorry. Your cousin is losing her mente.
Also, I do believe Allie had a birthday as well. Happy birthday cutie!
Also, to my favorite tía roja, happy birthday! haha I hope it was a good one Aunt Brenda!
Lastly of the catching up, happy birthday two days ago to my Grandpa Herb! I hope you're doing well, and sorry I can't be there to give you a hug in person. 
Love you all!
Also, in this upcoming week, my cousin-in-law has a birthday. Happy birthday Phil!

So, here's some more random information about being a missionary from yours truly:
We exercise every morning (except Sundays) for half an hour. Who'd've thought it would take a mission to get me to dry land on a regular basis? Yeah, not me. But, there you have it. The first week was a struggle because I was so exhausted and didn't want to do anything. But, in my handy dandy notebook I brought, there's a section on exercising and has work out suggestions. One such page has a short work out for every day. So that's what we do. Monday is by far the worst. I dunno if it's just because it's Monday, but I think the work out itself is actually harder.... But hey, if it helps me stay healthy, I guess I can keep going it. However, can anyone tell me what "bird dogs" are? Cause we have no idea...and it's on our list. So either we skip it or just replace it. haha ah well. We do what we can.
Then, there's the matter of feeding ourselves. Dinner is usually a bit of an adventure. This is how it usually goes: pasta? Sure, we've got a lot of it. What can we put in to add more flavor? can of chicken? Great. Oh hey we've got sauce too. Let's open this can of green beans too. Oh and we can eat carrots and ranch while we wait for the noodles to cook. And grapes. Always grapes.
So, yeah. It's a little sad, but at least we don't starve. haha there are definitely worse things that what we've got.

The other night, I had a dream/nightmare I was getting married. It ended with a black widow's egg sac breaking open and spewing forth these tiny demons sent from the depths of the infierno. Yeah, I'm definitely supposed to be on a mission right now. I don't need no ring; I've got a black name tag.

So this past weekend we had exchanges. I admit, I was skeptical at first, because I'm simply not a people person. But, I should've known that the Lord would only call hermanas/sisters to be training leaders who are easy to get along with. So I had nothing to worry about. In fact, I had a great time. I was with Hermana Johnson, who was just called as an Hermana training leader the transfer I got here, and she and Hermana Israelsen were companeras in the CCM. So that was cool. She was awesome.. It really is so cool to see how other people do missionary work. It helped me realize what things I can better and the areas that I most need to improve in. We had such a good time together. Already I'm looking forward to the next exchange. So it was definitely a good experience.

Tuesday, for new missionary training, we had a two hour drive, one way (the sisters that picked us up had already driven an hour when they reached us; I feel for them...) and it was just a really good meeting. President Fenn talked to us for 2-3 hours, I'm not sure, and it was amazing. Like, it wasn't even long enough for us to be satisfied. That man is a genius. No wonder Elder Bruce R. McConkie allowed him to marry his daughter....No joke. It was great. Plus, I got to see Hermana Capps again! Oh man. Love that girl. We're hoping near the end of our missions, we get to be companions again. (: I am praying for that... Also, I did get a big puffy "marshmallow" coat from the mission office to use (it goes down to my knees) so I should be mostly set for winter. I just gotta get some winter boots, but I'm not sure exactly what to do about
Oh, you asked what I learned, too, huh? Well, I'd tell you but I just can't sum it up. In however many months you can look through all my notebooks. Cause you can bet I"ll bee rereading them too.

Funny story first? Okay.
One day last week, we stopped at an investigator's house as kind of a last chance. It was her drop-or-not day, as I like to say it. She ended up being there and let us in, but soon after her friend dropped her kids off for our investigator (Ariana) to cuidar. there was a baby and a little kid, maybe three? I'm bad at judging kids' ages. But anyway. The older one's name was Santiago, or just Santi. The kids were kind of distracting so I took it upon myself to keep Santiago busy so that the lesson could progress (this sort of tag team effort happens a lot, so I'm told). So I pulled out one of those Life Savers mints you sent, momma, and offered it to him. He needed help with the wrapper, so I opened it and gave it to him. That kept him quiet for a few moments, then he got a look on his face that said "what is this thing in my mouth?!" I'd forgotten it was kind of I put my hands out in a cup form to take it from him and he daintily put the saliva-y mint in my hand. I just left it there because I was focusing on the lesson. A minute or two later he comes back and puts the mint back in his mouth. It was kinda funny. My hands were kinda sticky after that, but at least he was busy. Also, I had pulled out the smiley face stickers you gave me and he started putting them on his hand. He had probably eight on there and I convinced him to put them on his shirt, so he moved them all and then began adding more, one at a time. haha he ended up with probably 20 bright orange smileys on his shirt....with one or two blue ones. It was funny. I'm definitely not at the point where I want one of my own though, so no worries there... (we had a conversation with a member about seeing babies and wanting one of our own. I said I have never experienced that....and that's the truth.)

So, one of our miracles this week: (because there are always a lot)
Thursday we had stayed in the apartment a little longer than normal to plan better for exchanges the next two days. We were trying to decide where to be during some time and I said, "we could go see Lucia and Juan Antonio..." And right after I said the second name, the phone rang. The caller ID said "Juan Antonio". So that was a little freaky/cool. It was his wife, Marcela, asking us to come over. [In case you didn't know, that pretty much NEVER happens....] so we told her we could be over in an hour or so and then got all ready and whatnot. When we got there, she told us about what's going on. To sum it up, her grandson, whom she has raised, was taken from her by thee boy's mother, Marcela's mother. And she's really upset about it. And that was just the most recent thing. She's had trouble with work and some false accusations and then she had a health scare (a lot like yours a while ago, momma, actually.) So she was really just in distress. SO we just comforted her and testified that God really is listening, even if it seems like He isn't. I felt prompted just before we left to ask if she wanted a priesthood blessing. She readily agreed to that. So we called the elders in that area (the zone leaders) and asked if they would have time sometime that day to do that. So we got that all figured out and we ended up back at Marcela's that evening. The elders asked to know a bit about what was going on--but the thing with most hispanos is that they don't sum things up; they just tell you the whole story. So we were there for longer than expected and we ended up just having to interrupt them to get the blessings going....but it was fine. Also, just so you know, these elders speak zero spanish. For real. (the one asked how to say hello/bye in spanish.....haha pobrecito) but luckily the family actually understands a lot and speaks quite a bit of English. And the blessings were absolutely perfect.. Elder Nielson (not a zone leader--they were on exchanges) couldn't say her name, but the entire rest of the blessing was perfect. He was definitely listening to the spirit. And same with Elder Skinner. So it was awesome. The concerns Marcela had told us earlier that day were directly addressed in the blessing. It was awesome. I love sitting i on priesthood blessings. It's great. Then, on Saturday, Hermana Johnson and I went back to this family and taught them the restoration with two members from the ward (he speaks spanish, she doesn't) but we ended up doing most of the lesson in English because the youngest daughter, who is 8, understands english better. And, to sum it up, all three of them accepted to be baptized on December 13! Oh man. We're so happy. Like, I cannot even describe to you how I feel. The best way is from the scriptures: "my heart is brim with joy". So, needless to say, this was a really good week.

Well, I think that's about it. I mean, obviously more happened, but I'm hoping to get somme real letters written and I've only got about three ours to do that plus clean and whatnot, so. I hope you're happy. (:

Oh, also, here's a small thing that would be cool for Christmas that I would actually use: a Book of Mormon perspective chart. You might be able to find it at Deseret Book or online at I believe. It's SO cool. Go find one. (:

Thanks for all you (all) do for me! I can feel the prayers and love from home and wherever you are. I love you all so much! I know this Gospel is the true restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and I love sharing it with the people I meet. Pray for missionary opportunity and don't be afraid to seize them! The worst that can happen is they say no. (:

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Su Amiga y Hija,
Hermana DeBuck

Sent from my iPad

 I'm not a fan of the non-grid street system, but they sure do have great names for their streets here.

At the thrift store, lookin' fabulous.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Week 9: Dientes de Lion

First off, what do you think the subject/title of this letter means? Because it's not actually "lion's teeth", which would be the literal translation.  It's dandelions. Just so you know.
Okay, so first off, I'll answer your questions from last week. I am sorry that you didn't get the whole email, but I really didn't have time to retype everything. Sorry, momma.

Mom Note: 5 Questions from LAST week:
1) Do the members feed you regularly?
2) What kinds of things are the members doing that is really helping the work you and Hma Israelsen are doing progress?
3) With how many wards do you serve?
4) Are you driving or sharing a car with the other sisters?
5) Did you get your coat/tights/stuff for the cold?  Do I need to order anything for you from Lands End or put more $$ in your account?

1. the members sort of feed us regularly. I personally have eaten with members five times. They pass around a calendar in the wards and people can sign up to have dinner with us. It's a little weird with us hermanas because we aren't assigned to just one ward....but it works. I'll explain more on that later.
2. Most of what the members do that helps us is 1) give us ride (when we don't have the car or the buses, on Sunday) and 2) come to lessons--regardless of their ability to speak Spanish. We've had a couple lessons with MP (member present) who didn't speak any Spanish, and we just translate in the lesson. Which works. It's just great that they're willing to help us out, even when it may not be comfortable for them.
3. Okay, so we serve, technically, with three wards. However, we are the only Spanish-speaking misioneras in our zone....but yeah. What just happened here though, is a ward split. They took two wards and made it into three. So the stake president (Pres. Johnson) and our mission president (Pres. Fenn) told us to pick two wards to focus on. We chose to focus on the Normal ward and the Bloomington 1st wards, because there aren't many Spanish speaking investigators in the Bloomington 2nd ward. And then Sundays: we made B1 our base ward, but if we have investigators coming to the Normal or B2 wards, we also go to those meetings. So, potentially, we could go to about 8 hours of church....but that hasn't happened yet.
4. We share a car with the sisters. They live right next to us (we're in an apartment building) so it's easy to switch. So we have the car on Tues, Thur, Sat, and then we switch off Mondays.
5. I did get some winter clothing taken care of, between today and last week I think--including a cheap pair of boots for when it's cold but not necessarily snowy, a coat (but not meant for real winters here; it's just from Walmart), fleece leggings (whoever invented these deserves a medal), boot socks, and a few scarves. Then, here's the rest of the plan: tomorrow we're gonna stop at the mission office and I'm just gonna borrow a big coat from them, and possibly boots, I'm not sure yet. And then I was thinking, well I wanna keep a big coat for winters in Logan, but if I just borrow one from the office and then buy one after winter when they're on sale--yes, that was my thought process--but Hermana Israelsen said I can just have her big coat when she lives. I told her it wasn't necessary, but she wasn't planning on taking it home anyway. She's seriously so charitable. So, that's the plan as of right now. Hopefully that works for you. Also, I will be (finally) obtaining the package you sent, Momma, so then I should be a little better prepared for the cold. I have no idea what you sent, but I'm good with whatever at this point. Thanks again. You're the best Momma ever.

Mom Note:  Here are the 5 questions from this week:
1) Will you PLEASE write us a "real" email this week?  The blog needs it, and so does your mother.
2) Do you have any requests for Christmas gifts?  People are already starting to ask.
3) Did you find a coat yet?  Boots?  Do you need anything sent from home to the mission office?
4) How's the money situation?  Do you need more deposited in your account?
5) Have you had any spiritual experiences teaching yet that you can share?
And then this week's questions--you get a double whammy:
1. Yes.
2. home when I call? haha I'm sure I'll have more details on that as it gets closer. Honestly I hadn't really thought about it. Our only thoughts that extend that far into the future are baptisms and hopefully going caroling, either as a district or just us hermanas and sisters. We'll see. But, back to the original question: I have no idea. For future reference, when I'm back in Utah at home, I saw in the Deseret Book catalog (we got it in the mail) there is a "Jesus the Christ study guide" help book or something. Please sign me up for that when I get back--I could probably read it as a missionary, but it's not that important. Honestly, I don't have the time to read so that wouldn't be a particularly useful gift. Also, have you ever heard of the musical The Lamb of God? It was done by Arizona people apparently, including one of the actors in the newest temple movie (fun fact). Oh man, please get me that CD. Not necessarily for my mission because I could only listen to it in the car, but sometime. If it's even available. I dunno. (Sister Olliphant is from Arizona so she knows a lot of the people who were in it; she's got a CD of it, but it looks like it was just burned, so I dunno if it's even possible to get the music...) Anyway. I dunno. Winter clothes are great as gifts. Money on my card if you'd rather not ship it, that works too. I dunno. You're creative Momma. I don't need anything, so you don't need to worry about getting me anything. Thanks though.
3. As I stated above, I do have a coat (and a plan for a bigger coat) as well as boots. I'm hoping you sent those wool skirts and scarves I had, and possibly sweaters. But, no worries either way. I'm happy with whatever.
4. I believe I'm good on money....we can use our mission cards for practically everything we buy, and what I have bought with my own card was a one time purchase (coat, boots, iPad keyboard, winter stuff, etc.) So I think I'm okay. Thanks though, Momma.
5. Yes. I'm getting there.
Alright. So. There is so much to tell you. First, let me apologize to everyone who I won't be emailing this week as I think I'm just gonna write as much as I possibly can in this email to try to make up for last week. Again, sorry about that. I do love you, it was just a weird and saddening thing....but, it's okay. No more picture in the middle of an email. I'll just send them separately. So. (Also, I can't remember what I've actually told you and what I would have told you so, sorry if I repeat anything.)
I realized I told you so much about my district in the CCM but you know almost nothing about my district here in Bloomington-Normal. So, let me enlighten you:

First off, mi companera: Hermana Israelsen. She has got to be one of the most charitable and outgoing people of all time. She's a fantastic trainer and an awesome misionera. I love her. We have a good time and work hard--at the same time--together. It's great. I cannot even contemplate her leaving me to keep this area going with someone who hasn't been here. Like, what? Just, no. It won't happen. I'm in denial.

Then, there's our sisters: Sister Olliphant and Sister Allen. Sister Olliphant is from AZ and Sister Allen is from Sandy. They're so much fun. Anytime we're all together, we laugh so much. And they're both such good missionaries. What's kinda weird/random is that Sister Olliphant has cousins in Pleasant Grove, who were actually in my single's ward during the summer. What a coincidence, no? We thought so. Also, she's related to the Laudie's. Matthew Laudie? His name sounds familiar but I can't place a might be able to. Or maybe Cameron. I dunno. And, Sister Olliphant is so great. Last P-day she told me "Hermana DeBuck, you're so awesome." I was kind of taken aback and when I asked why she just said, "You just are." So that was nice. I told her I was seriously worried I'd be that annoying new missionary that no would wanted to talk to and she said, "No definitely not." (That is not a direct transcribtion of that conversation but that's how I remember it happening.) So that made me feel a lot better. Hermana Israelsen says she forgets I'm a new missionary all the time because I just act like I'm not new. Which is surprising, but I'll take what I can get. (The sisters serve in the Bloomington Second ward.)
In the Normal ward, there are two sets of Elders: the district leader and his companion and then the zone leaders, coincidentally. Our district leader is Elder Noho. He's from Tahiti and apparently he didn't know English before the mission. Which is super cool. He also speaks French, and they've got some French investigators at the moment who are doing really well. It's awesome. His companion is Elder Nielson, who's from a small town in Utah, somewhere. I don't remember exactly. I guess he just graduated from high school this past spring and he's been out for about three months, so he's not a whole ton older than me. This elder seriously has the greatest facial expressions of all time. I wish you could have the opportunity to watch these two interact. It's so much fun. They're probably the happiest set of elders of all time. Except Christ....but yeah. They're great. Like, I don't understand how any investigator can not want to be baptized. Then the zone leaders are Elder Skinner and Elder Higgley. Both are from tiny towns, one in Utah and one in Arizona. They're awesome. Seriously. They're so well put-together and professional. Quite the example of missionaries, that's for sure.
Then the elders in the Bloomington First ward: Elder Olsen and Elder Campbell. Elder Olsen is from somewhere in Utah and Elder Campbell is from Oregon, I believe. He's also 20 or 21, which is kind of weird. These two....probably my favorite to watch interact. Because they're just so funny. Elder Olsen is really monotonous yet sarcastic--kind of like Mr. Palmer, actually, just picture him as a 19 year old--and Elder Campbell is serious but funny too. It's so fun...they're great.
And then the Pontiac Elders. I have no idea where they serve, other than the Pontiac branch. They're Elder Jensen and Elder Bennet. I can't remember much about them because we only see them on Wednesdays for district meetings. They seem like great missionaries too though.
Basically our whole district is just awesome.
And while I'm thinking about it, there have been some weird connections to PG with people here:
There is an Elder Bezzant serving in ICW. His dad is the Brother Bezzant that would do the sound and stuff for the plays at Central. I can't remember the Elder's first name. I think I knew his brother more though, but I'm not sure. So that was cool.
One of the sisters in the B1 ward used to live in PG as a kid. Her name is Bridella Frenzel, I think that's how you spell it. So that was weird. And she also lived in Providence, right by Hermana Israelsen. So that was cool.
Hermana Goodman, one of the sisters in the B1 ward, who served a Spanish-speaking mission (hence we call her Hermana) had a companion in the MTC, I believe, that was from Pleasant Grove. I think she said her last name was Turner, but I don't remember the first name....
Sister Allen also just informed me that you, Momma, talked with a Sister Winsor, in one of the wards here, on Facebook. Sister Winsor I guess thought Sister Allen was me so talked to her about talking to her mom who is actually not her that was funny.
And Hermana Israelsen said her mom sent you pictures that Hermana Israelsen had sent to her since you had gotten only one of mine...sorry again about that. I'll send more today.

I do know of Brock Bodily. At first I was thinking he was Brock Moon, as he was my partner in seminary for some time, but that is not the case. So, cool. haha sorry I can't be any more help on that regard.
I loved Chris' costume! That was awesome. Chris, I did get your photos. Everyone looks great. Sister Olliphant said the Olive and Pop-eye one was super cute. Just so you know. I liked the bacon guy in the background. That was sweet.
Glad Cameron didn't get a ticket, but that is really quite funny. haha tell him to be careful what he does in my car. I've got a rep to uphold. ....haha yeah right.
Oh, Hermana Israelsen said they'll give us a copy of the Conference Ensign, but if you could send me a Spanish one that would be perfect.... I'm so excited to study it!

I'm excited to read that book. It sounds great. I miss movies, I will say that much. Princess Bride good.
I wish I could go to the MoTab Christmas concert!! Oh lucky ducks. Send me some vibes when you're there....
Mom. You matchmaker you..... haha speaking of, Sister Olliphant was updating Hermana Israelsen about some missionaries that served in ICW. Two just got engaged (one was an assistant and one was a sister training leader) and two are dating or something (tech elder and sister training leader) so apparently the leadership here get real close....haha no worries on my end though. I doubt I get called to a leadership position anytime soon. Or at all frankly. Except....President Allred's setting apart makes me think differently...we'll see. Also, they said that President Fenn is planning on having mission reunions every six months after he gets back (every conference) for the first five years. Then once a year either until he dies or becomes a general authority--we think the latter is more likely. Sister Olliphant said she won't be going for the first three years until she's married to avoid that whole situation. haha it made me laugh.
I cannot believe how fast time is going. Already, I don't want my mission to end. I'm never coming home...........!
Alright, so onto other matters.
Let me tell you what I was going to tell you last week. Because, this day was just amazing, and straight up sent from the divine.
Two Saturdays ago, the 25th, I believe.
First off, let me just say that we did not talk to a single person we had planned on. Yet it was absolutely perfect.
We started out the day by dropping the sister's off at an investigator's house to do some service and we headed to the church for Yawa's baptism. Afterwards, we were doing our studies when we got a call from the sisters; we had forgotten to give them the bus passes. So we packed up to head back to the casa to get those to them. As we got in the car, we got a call from one of our investigators (Rene) asking if we were going to be coming that day. We told him no because it wasn't part of our plan. But then, after we had given the passes to the sisters, we figured we might as well stop by since we were kind of in the area. And most of the lesson was him talking to us about what had happened to him. He usually talks a lot but he seemed to be super agitated about what had happened so I think it was good that we talked to him.
After that, we went back with our regular planned activities. We were going to stop by a potential we had named Lazaro, but when the door was opened it was a woman named Maria Elena. (There's no Lazaro in the household as far as we can tell.) We started a lesson with her about the Restoration and she seemed at least mildly interested, but then her husband came in and demanded to know who we were and what we believed and the difference between our church and his (catolico). So we told him and he basically kicked us out. We did set up a return appointment though, and then went on our way. We were gonna go try another potential in the same trailer park, but we stopped to talk to this guy, David, who was washing his car(s). He wasn't super interested but he told us we should stop by this house on the corner, because the dad and the son (two years old) had just passed away in an accident. So we did. They let us right in and we asked if we could have a prayer with them, to which they said "claro" (of course). So we did. Oh man. The spirit there was almost tangible. It was amazing. And then we kind of stood around in (awkward) silence for a while. This guy eventually offered some chairs for us to sit down in so we did, and the just sat in awkward silence for a we were getting ready to leave (we didn't want them to feel like a project or anything so we weren't planning on teaching anything), we asked if there was anything else we could do for them, and this poor mother and wife asked if we could tell her what happens after death. We said of course and kind of taught the plan of salvation. To, I kid you not, 13 or 14 hispanos. Oh man. Even Hermana Israelsen said she hadn't ever taught that many people at once. She was kind of freaking out, I found out afterwards. I was just like, "what is going on...?" But it was good. So, that was awesome.
Then we ended up having a lesson with Sister Swartz. She's the mother of the Bishop in the normal ward, but she is super Lutheran. So we have lessons but she's told us she's not going to change. We just read JSH with her and the spirit was awesome there. Oh man. I hope she felt it. So good.
Then, our appointment felt through so we were knocking on some potentials--no answer. As we walked out of the apt building, one of our old investigators was walking in with her husband and they let us in and we had a lesson--just with the woman. We ended up inviting her to be baptized and she said "maybe". Which, at that point, was the closest I'd heard to a yes. So I was thrilled. It was awesome. I found out afterwards some of the details of this woman's situation and it is really not good. I wish we could do more for the people we teach, but as missionaries we're not allowed to get involved or counsel anyone about things like that. But, I think it'll get better, eventually. Hopefully.
So, basically, Saturday was heavensent. SO good.
Then Sunday, we invited someone else to be baptized and she said "most likely, yes". WOOHOO.
But wait. Monday. We had dinner with a member, after P-day. Sister Fritz. She's this adorable little old lady. She's awesome. I wish I could describe her, but just know she's awesome. And doesn't speak Spanish. But she agreed to come to a lesson with us, and this woman, Julia, doesn't speak any English. And it was such a perfect lesson. Here's some background on Julia first. She can't read. So she has some CDs of the Book of Mormon. Then. We chatted with her on Sunday a bit and she told us that she had listened to her CDs for 4 HOURS. Oh man. It was great. So then, our lesson on Monday, we asked her to be baptized on 6 Dec and she said YES!! Praise the Lord. For reals. SO excited.
Also, last night, we stopped at Rene's and had a quick lesson before our ride picked us up. And at the end I felt like we should commit him to a date. So we did! 15 Nov. He's been on date a couple times but he keeps skipping church. So he told us he won't be working on Sundays anymore and that he'll come to church this Sunday. If he doesn't, we may have to drop him. But, he'll be there.
Sorry those aren't more specific stories, but just wanted to share.
I'm loving it here and the people here are amazing. I never want to go home.

Tomorrow is our New Missionary Meeting/Training, so we've gotta go to Naperville (we'll stop at the mission office on the way back) and I am SO excited. I love training and taking notes. President Fenn has got to be my favorite public speaker of all time. He's actually a lot like Elder Holland, in that they're both bold and engaged when they speak. It's awesome. Fun fact: yes, Sister Fenn is the daughter of Elder Bruce R. McConkie. President Fenn, at transfer meeting, said something about when he asked "one of the greatest apostles of these latter-days" if he could marry his daughter. Oh man. Awesome. Dad, I don't care what you say. If my boyfriend/wanna-be-fiancee doesn't ask you first, I won't say yes. Or, at least, he's gotta ask Cameron's permission. Preferably both. P.S. I had a dream that I was getting married in two days. Yeah, that's way scarier than a mission. I don't ever wanna stop being a missionary.....just saying.
Well, I think that's about it. I'm sure there's more--of course there's more--but those are the big things I wanted to tell you. Again, sorry about last week.

I love it here, even though it's cold and windy and miserable at times, this is the happiest I think I could possibly be. Some P-day I'm gonna get some letter written but it's probably not this P-day. Lo siento.

I love you guys and I hope I'm makin' ya proud. Keep me informed of happenings I guess.

I love this Gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to know that my parents were sealed in a temple of God and that our family will be together forever, no matter the distance. I am so grateful for all of the people who have taught me what I know.
Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija,
Hermana DeBuck

with people (JK sort of with people...)
1. up before the sun... so pretty though

 2. district

 3. hermanas
 4-?) Just some random things...

 7+) statues and temple in Nauvoo