Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 13: Happy December!

At least as happy as it can be when you're preparing to be snowed in. JK. It's not that bad. But I imagine it will be soon. 

My district leader, Elder Noho, is from Tahiti. He was disappointed this week because it had gotten warmer and he thought he wouldn't see anymore snow before he goes home--in April. Oh dear. I'm afraid we'll see more snow that there is sand in Tahiti before then.......just saying.

Mom notes:
5 Questions:
1) What did you end up doing for Thanksgiving? Did a member family feed you? Did you have any lessons that day?
2) Any word yet on whether or not you are purchasing your iPad?
3) Is the weather getting wetter/snowier/colder?
4) How is Sister Israelsen doing, knowing these are her last few weeks in the mission?  Her mom mentioned that she will start USU right away when she gets home.
5) How are your baptism (those set with dates) candidates doing?
Okay, five questions:

1. For Thanksgiving we did go to a member's home. The Albrechtsen's signed up to feed us, and we went to Brother Albrechtsen's sister's home (the Anderson's) who had a daughter and son-in-law there, plus all the grandkids. Oh man. I have not been around that many Mormons in such an enclosed space for such a long time.....It was crazy. But good. (Unfortunately, no corn.) We did have two lessons: one with a less active couple and one with an investigator family. Plus, we did (most of) weekly planning in the morning so we had a busy Thanksgiving. Never a dull moment here in Normal, that's for sure.
2. I have no idea about the iPads. I think I'll know more as I get closer to the end of my full-time mission--which isn't for a while, thank goodness. I made a comment this week to Hermana Israelsen about how soon she's going home. She wasn't too happy about that....haha
3. Yes. The weather is colder--or was: this past week it got kind of warm again. (the calm before the storm). We have had snow a couple times but not even enough to cover the grass. And it has rained/slushed a couple times. But nothing too major in the weather department as of yet. Thank heavens.
4. I think she's doing well. She doesn't want to think about going home--I don't blame her--so we don't really talk about it. It's kind of a sore topic for nearly dead missionaries, I think. I found out this week that the Normal ward has a reputation for killing missionaries--they get to the end of their mission while serving in the Normal ward. There will be two from Normal this next transfer: Hermana Israelsen and Elder Skinner.
5. I will get to our on date people in a moment.

First off, just a kind of funny thing: in Bloomington First ward's Relief Society/Priesthood combined meeting yesterday, Brother Thayn taught (he's in the Bishopric) and before he started teaching there were four things written on the board:
1. Ban Harry Potter!
2. Golden Balls
3. From Ptolemy to Kepler
4. Wikipedia
Needless to say the first line bothered me quite a lot. But, it was okay. It was just to make a point about how we don't need to worry about other things distracting our kids (or whoever) as long as they've got a testimony of the Gospel. That was basically the point anyway (I think). But yeah. That was kind of funny. [Also, Golden Balls is apparently a British game show. You might wanna check it out, mom....haha.]

Second, I really don't want to leave this area. I wasn't worried at all about it until today when we were talking with the sisters about whatever and then the outcome of next transfer came up: Sister Oliphant thinks they're gonna pull us hermanas and the sisters out, make the district leader Spanish speaking, and then white wash the sisters's area with elders. I really hope not.....but I guess it could. Next transfer 18 sisters are going home and only 3 are coming we'll see what happens.

I am officially 6 days behind in my journal writing....but don't worry too much. I write a sticky note every night that sums up the day so that I have it when I get around to writing....haha. Ah well. You do what you can.

I cannot believe how time flies. Each day feels like a week but each week feels like a day. It's awesome but also scary--I don't want anything to change. But, I know it will. I'm already dreading (that's probably too strong a word) when Hermana Israelsen will leave. But I know whatever happens is what's best for me in the long run. So I'll just trust in that. I really don't want to leave this area though......just so you know....for what it's worth. But I will do whatever the Lord asks.

This week was really good. One day we ended up with four other lessons because people just let us in. (I really love being a spanish speaking missionary.) But I feel like all our people that we've made goals for in December are just falling off the wagon. I feel like we are trying so hard to do anything and everything we can do help them and they just won't have it. So that's kind of disappointing. But then Saturday we were knocking some potentials' addresses and we found two people (not the listed potentials) who are really promising. The one, Olga, asked "which of the churches was the original church?" She just asked such great questions that led right into the next part of the Restoration. It was awesome. And then the other, Jorge, invited us right in--there wasn't a woman so we couldn't go in--but then asked if we have church services and we said yes; he asked when and we said tomorrow at 1:30. He said he wanted to come but didn't have a way there, so we told him we would find him a ride. When we got back to the car we realized that we had told him the wrong time--we forgot which ward boundaries we were in--so we debated about whether or not we should go back and tell him because the actual time was 8:30 AM and most hispanics don't want to go that early....but we eventually decided to tell him and he said okay. He still wanted to come! So we found him a ride and then went with them in the morning, hoping he had remembered and was ready and whatnot. And then, miraculously, he was! We hadn't even taught him anything (other than at his door) but he said he enjoyed church and wants to come back next Sunday. I did feel bad for Hermana Israelsen because she had to translate all three hours and it seemed every speaker/teacher kept using all these words and phrases that we just can't translate--we only know Gospel topics in Spanish! But it was good.
The Acevedos Family are an emotional roller coaster. We keep thinking we've planned for everything and then something totally unexpected (and unplanned for) happens. So that's interesting. They have fallen off date because they didn't come to church so that's a bit concerning. We're not sure if they need more space or what, but we think we figured it out this morning during comp study: they don't understand the nature of God. That's basically square one; how can they understand (let alone have a testimony of) other doctrines if they don't know who God is. So, that's where we're at there.
Charlie: we thought we'd made some progress because we texted him asking how he's been and he said he got some medical help and is doing a little better. We asked if there's anything we can do and he said to continue to send him links. We told him of course and to let us know what he thinks when he watches them, which he said he would do. But he hasn't responded saying how they were or we're not sure what's going on there. And we're not sure how he would react to stop bys. But we're gonna try tonight, so I guess we'll see.
Overall, I feel really good about this area. I love the people--members and nonmembers. The hispanos are awesome because they just let you in, especially when it's cold. Granted, that is a bit of a double-edged sword because we have all these lessons but they're not actually interested... And then the members. They're amazing. They take care of us so well and then  every time we're in a members home and invite them to share a doctrine of the Restoration, they're already doing that! I wanna be like these members when I'm no long a full-time missionary. 

I'm really excited for this He is the Gift initiative and I feel like it'll be really successful--as long as we utilize it the best we can. What's really cool is the background info on this. We got an email that included a powerpoint used at a mission leadership meeting (or something) that gave some info about it.
- on December 7th, the Church has bought the "masthead" of YouTube in the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Brazil. It is estimated that 220 million people will see a 30 second version of the video with an invitation to learn more on
- inspiring messages and images will be available to share on social media sites (do it!)
- select visitors' centers will feature month-long displays inviting visitors to discover, embrace, and share the gift
- the Church will have a strong presence on video boards and billboards in the Times Square area of NYC; the materials posted will remain from 1 Dec through 1 Jan
- your December Ensign will include the same pass along cards that us missionaries will be using (so I invite you to use those to spread the Gospel!)
So get excited about this! The First Presidency is really pushing it and we're feeling it through our mission leadership. It's gonna be great. Plus, the video is beautiful. Share it with everyone!

But, I think that's about it for this week. I'm looking forward to another one! 

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

Sent from my iPad
So, we're at the church, hopefully not for too long, so I figured I'd send you some photos from my camera while I can. You should be getting a bigger email later today, so no worries there.

Hermana Israelsen's mom said she got your package and that it contained "delicious homemade candy" so I'm assuming you sent nanaimo bars/fudge. Hopefully you didn't tell Cameron....
Love you!

 Our apartment

 Mexican restaurant that we went to. SO delicious. But I have no idea what "Potrillos" means. (JK, it means "foals". The decoration are deceiving....)
Thanksgiving dinner. This is Brother Anderson. He speaks Spanish, and works in the Family History Center.

Because. We're awkward.
 Two others...

This guy's got you beat, Papí.....unfortunately, my photo doesn't even capture all the magical glow--there are decoration in the neighbor's yard too.

Some decor at Los Potrillos.

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