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

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