Monday, February 23, 2015

Week 25: No Title This Week

5  Questions:
1) Did the Valentine's Package make it yet?
2) Is it snowing or just cold?  Or it's so cold, the moisture doesn't really matter now?
3) How's the new companion?  Have you learned anything about her yet?  Sis Israelson's mom said Emily had been comps with your comp connections!
4) Did you get my little letter in answer to your questions for me?  I hoped I didn't send it too late for you to get it.  And THANKS for writing to your brother!  President A asked him today if he was writing to you....good thing he could answer honestly.  ;)
5) Do you have much interaction with the other missionaries, elders or sister in your mission?  Of just your district in Normal?
1. Yes. Thank you very much momma!

2. As of right now it's just cold--though tomorrow is supposed to be hot: 35 degrees F! But Hermana Araujo told me today that winter here (according to the locals) usually only lasts through February [I was expecting something like Utah where it'll snow in March sometimes, but it sounds like not this year...] anyway, winter is practically over so that's good. The gloves I've been using have holes in the finger tips and Walmart didn't have any gloves I'll be glad when it's just rainy. Hermana Araujo said the March weather is fun. I'm excited.

One thing I cannot figure out is how the humidity here works. I mean, if it's more humid, why are my hands so dry!? It makes no sense to me....but somehow that's how it is.

3. She's great! So Hermana Araujo is half Mexican and half Nicaraguan. She's probably the most adorable person of all time (she's like a doll, for real) because she's short and cute. She's also SUPER good with people. I love talking to members with her (well, I really just stand there and nod) because she just makes people feel important and special. That is a talent, I tell you what.

4. I did, thanks again. I put all my paper stuff in a flat rate today so I'll probably send it next week. Could you let me know again what the balance is on my card? I'm mostly just curious.

5. We actually do, but I think it's not very normal. It's really just because we work in three wards, so we interact with the Elders at MCMs and at church meetings, and then district meeting. So we know B2 and B1 Elders pretty well, and then the zone leaders (not in our district but see them at church) and the Pontiac Elders (in district but we don't see them on Sundays) we don't know as well. And then if we talk about the mission as a whole: everyone calls Peoria a black hole. Because you know next to no one from the other stakes (because we're so far away from everyone else). So we only interact with the other district in our zone and the other zone in the stake at zone meetings/conferences, and we have exchanges once a transfer with the hermana training leaders [one thing that's cool b/c we're in Peoria is that we get to blitz the town: both hermana training leaders come down here so we have two sets of hermanas for 24 hours. Everywhere else, one companion goes to the other companionship's area. But we can't do that because we're in Peoria. haha] So overall, we have very little interaction with other missionaries, but because we personally work with three wards, we work with the elders here on a regular basis. I'm excited though because we have a mission-wide conference in March! Woohoo! haha it's gonna be awesome.

I don't have much to say, so I thought I'd send some pictures instead. (:
The mission's good.
The Gospel's true.
The Book is blue.

And I'm gonna take a giant long nap in about 13 months.
Todo mi Amor!
-Hermana DeBuck
Because this is necessary when serving in Normal.

graffiti in Bloomington



 Hermana DeBuck with her new companion, Hermana Araujo!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Week 24: The 2nd Great Commandment: Love Your Próximo

5 Questions:
1) Did the packages get to you?
2) Were you transferred this week then?
3) Did you get a new companion?  If yes, please give details.
4) Did the members treat you to dinner for Valentine's Day?
5) Is it getting any warmer there?  It is crazy warm here.  I'm worried about water in the summer...I hope we have enough in the reservoirs to make it through.  The mountains look like it should be May, not February.

1. I got the boots--my toes have never been warmer--but not the other one. I'm guessing it'll probably get brought/sent down tomorrow for transfers. Thanks in advance!
2. Well, I'll get to this in a moment.
3. Yes. Once again, all shall be revealed with time...
4. Nope.
5. No, no, definitely not. (Name that movie.) It's still freezing. Somedays, I think I may just die. [that is a slight exaggeration, just so you know; I don't want you to worry too much.]

Alright. So in district meeting this week, we were talking about finishing strong (or something to that effect) and Elder Bise asked if anyone had done cross country running--one raised his hand. Anyway,
the point was the strategy when you run for long distances. Elder Rowley said the average person can run 3 more miles than they think they can; you just have to get over that awkward stage and push
through it.

Well, I am here to tell you that that is TRUE! I have officially made it three days longer than I thought I could with just one P-day. Just in case ya'll were wondering.

Now, as for transfers: let me tell you a story....
It's Valentine's Day in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen, and the dynamic duo of Hermana Grant & Hermana DeBuck are in for the evening, fulfilling their hour of language study during the less productive hour of eight o' clock to nine in the evening. Suddenly, the dread phone rings. The caller ID reads "AP Elder 2". It is the moment we've been anticipating: transfer calls. We pick up and exchange courtesies, then get down to business--to defeat the huns.

Elder Blackner asks us what we think is going to happen to us. We reply, "Well, we're pretty sure Hermana DeBuck is leaving, but we're hoping we get put in a trio so we can stay together."

A brief pause and then, "What would you say if I told you neither of those things was happening?"

"We would be very surprised." *awkward laughter*

"Then prepared to be surprised because, Hermana Grant, you're going to Wheaton!"

All is still for two heartbeats and then a faint "what" escapes her throat. A stupor of thought prevails in the mind of Hermana DeBuck as she struggles to comprehend the significance of what she has just

Then, again, Elder Blackner's voice: "Hermana Grant, your companion will be Hermana Lopez, where you'll be an Hermana Training Leader."

This time, a much louder "what" manages to make its way out of Hermana Grant's voice box. And the reality of what is happening settles firmly on the companionship. Logistics are discussed and information exchanged, through which Elder Blackner finds out that Hermana Grant actually only has one transfer more--the same as Hermana Lopez. Elder Blackner tells the Hermanas he'll check with President (who would have made this call but had other "pressing matters" to attend to...) and then get back to us.

26 agonizing minutes later, the phone once again rings aloud.

Elder Blackner says, "Change of plans: Hermana Grant, you'll still be an Hermana Training Leader, but you'll be going to Arlington Heights to be with Hermana Sewell, who still has another transfer after you."

In the end, this is what's happening:
-- Hermana Grant is going back to Arlington Heights where she will be an Hermana Training Leader; fortunately, this is the set of HTLs our area is assigned to, so she and Hermana Sewell (who was just here last week) will be back here this transfer for exchanges.

-- I will be staying in my lovely home of Bloomington-Normal for at least another six weeks. My new companion's name is Hermana Araujo.  However, I know next to nothing about her, save only that she's a latina, so I imagine my espanol skills will sky rocket. (: I'll give you more information when I have it.

Also, the next P-day is in 4 days, so I am just not motivated at all to write anything else. Sorry. I still love you. And I still know this Gospel is true.

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

Here is her district...looks like a fun crowd!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 23: Eres Un Enviado de Dioses

5 Questions:
1) Did the boots get to you yet?  Please let me know when you get them.
2) Same question, different package--the Valentine's package from me. I think it was supposed to be there Wednesday.
3) I finally found a copy of the study guide for Jesus the Christ. Did you want your own copy?  Or just access to the family's?
4) Have you ever noticed the descriptions of Pharisees and Sadducees (especially in Jesus the Christ) sound like they could be describing political parties--especially in Utah?  Maybe it is just me....I couldn't get the thought out of my head as I read that chapter this week.
5) When will transfer week be this month?  Any sense of going or staying?  Just curious.
1. Nope. But we've got zone training tomorrow (so might get them tomorrow if they got to the office today) and exchanges this week, so I could ask the Hermana Training Leaders to watch for a package for me.
2. Nope. Same answer as above.

3. Yes! Is it via electronic device...? Or what? But yes, I would love that.

4. Also, yes! And the only thing they have in common is that they don't like Jesus....crazies. [I love Jesus the Christ though. It's amazing.]

5. Okay so here's what's happening: due to some meetings on internet proselyting for mission presidents that will be held in Salt Lake, President will be in Utah the first part of next week--which is when transfers would be. But, since he won't be here, transfers have been moved to the end of next week, I think to the 20th of February. So our next P-day will be a Thursday, about ten days (?) from now, so don't expect an email from me until then. Regarding what's happening to me next transfer, I'm pretty sure I'm going, but that's just the vibe I'm getting.

Awesome! Tell Maddie & Brytni congratulations for me! They're going to be fantastic full-time missionaries.

Speaking of Mr. Wilcock (our fantastic choir teacher at the high school), we had dinner last night with the Thayn's, in Bloomington 1st, and Sister Thayn said that she grew up in the same town as Mr. Wilcock. I don't know what her maiden name is, but she said she was good friends with his that was kind of random.

Also, the Thayn's are awesome. Their two girls, who are 8 and 11 I believe, LOVE Harry Potter. It was so fun, and I just felt like I was at home. It was great. They went to Harry Potter World over Christmas break; I will admit I am slightly jealous....but it sounds like they had a blast (and drank plenty of  butter beer. which is a necessity.)
Hna Grant has a goal to sing all of the Spanish hymns, so we sing one every morning at the beginning of companionship study, and guess what today was: Love at Home. I expressed my dislike of the song to her yesterday, so you can imagine what the kniving woman put me through this case you can't imagine, this is what happened: as we read in the White Handbook, she inserted "love at home" at every possible segment. Needless to say, I was not "feeling the love" afterwards--JK, we were pretty much dying with laughter by the end.

So this week was pretty bad numbers-wise, but we first-contacted a boatload of people. Seriously. 18 people two days in a row, and then 6 on Sunday (when we had only been out for 50 minutes). So I'm pretty happy with that. Plus, Saturday, we actually made an effort to switch every door/person and it wasn't deathly terrifying! And I survived! So it turns out I am capable of talking to people. So that was great. I officially have a testimony of tracting. Even if we didn't really get any new investigators (or lessons, for that matter) out of it, it just felt so good to fulfill that part of our calling, to talk to everyone. Oh, it was awesome.
The reason we were so on top of it is because of our zone's focus this month: "forget yourself and go to work". As a part of that, they've kind of created something called Peoria 10/7, which means that the Peoria (East) zone is going to contact 10 people every day (per companionship), seven days a week. And they did that math: it figures out to approximately 2070 people contacted in the month (or what was left of the month when we started). So it's gonna be pretty epic. We're stoked.
Saturday, Bishop Goodman asked us to give talks, so we did that yesterday.... I was assigned Charity (from the Christlike attributes chapter in PMG); Hna Grant had Hope. The Elders had Patience, and Knowledge. Man, I had forgotten how much I dislike talks. But it was cool for me to study it because I've been doing this Charity Project thing (trying to anyway) where I broke down Moroni 10:45 in order to improve my own charity. The approach I took for my talk was how developing charity is part of our baptismal covenant, and how it relates to "the greatest commandment in the law", and "the second" (see Matt 22:35-40). So that was fun. What was funny was this: in Hna Grant's talk she said, "no good talk is complete without a food analogy..." so in mine I said, "Since no good talk is complete without a food analogy..." [I related it to neopolitan ice cream] and then in Sunday School, the teacher, Brother H, began by saying, "Since I learned today that no good talk, and therefore no good lesson, is complete without a food analogy..." haha then later someone in class said, "I bet Christ used food analogies." Someone else, "He did, all the time." One of the Elders, "'I am the Bread of Life'." hahaha oh man. Hna Grant and I were cracking up.

So here's something that I realized this week that I love about my companion:
- she doesn't mind when I tell her that she does something that bothers me. We just get it out in the open, figure it out, and move on. and it's totally okay! I love it. So I've determined to be like that my whole mission, and then we can avoid a whole lot of miscommunication.
- in every single finding/teaching opportunity, she invites them to do something that will bring them unto Christ. Which is what we're supposed to do, so I'm beginning to get in the habit. It's awesome.
- we laugh together, and have fun. We may laugh at really stupid things that no one else things are funny or even mentionable, but we have a good time. One of our goals this week from companionship inventory was to "strive for joyous dignity" because we don't want to be silly but we don't want to be somber.
Funny story for the week: On Saturday, we were doing some tracting in this apartment complex called the Arbors, and we met this guy and asked if we could give him a card, he said sure. When we asked if he'd heard of the Book of Mormon, he said yeah, it was a great musical. (or something to that effect). So we were like, "well the book is even better!" Anyway, we asked if he had much faith in Christ and he said not anymore, so we asked why that was. his response: "Look, can we just skip this part so you can go and I can go?" Oh man. It was so funny.....he was super polite about it, so it was just comical. We asked him to at least look up the website on the card ( and he said, "I promise". So weird. But so fun. Tracting: you meet the greatest people.
Now to more spiritual matters: so I made the goal to not mark the newest challenge Book of Mormon during personal study (because I'm trying to be better at studying for my investigators) but I still read the first challenge, so I've been reading recently in Alma, the war chapters. And because I love marking things, I came up with a scheme to mark more things during these chapters (remember, I'm marking for the Doctrine of Christ, the Atonement, and Missionary Work). Here is my cast for the war chapters in the Book of Mormon:
- Moroni = a mission leader (i.e. Assistant to the President, Zone Leader)
- Helaman = a mission leader (i.e. Zone Leader, District Leader)
- stripling warriors = missionaries serving under Helaman (as Zone or District Leader)
- the People of Nephi = members
- the Cities of the Nephites = converts/members
    - when the city is taken by the Lamanites = less-actives
- Pahoran = a ward/stake leader (i.e. Stake President, Bishop)
- Lamanites = Satan/opposition in general
So, the war chapters are pretty blue in my Book of Mormon...haha but it's really cool because it's actually SUPER applicable to missionary work. The chapter I read this morning, Alma 60, I related to trying to work with ward leaders. Sometimes we, as missionaries, feel like they're not supportive or anything and we're just going at it on our own, which is so much less effective. However, as we know, Pahoran was just dealing with his own problems. So, sometimes as missionaries, we don't see everything going on in the ward that the Bishop has to deal with. I mean, do we ever see everything going on? yeah, probably not. But yeah, so that's cool. I love the Book of Mormon.
Okay, is anyone doing the marking challenge? (other than Hermana Emily Israelsen) If not, at the very least I hope you all are reading the Book of Mormon....
Well, that's it for me. I love you all and I hope you're doing well. Can you believe it's February? Cause I sure can't. That means I've only got just over a year left on my mission. Now that is just insane, and totally not okay.
Con Todo Mi Amor,
Hermana DeBuck

6996 - washed the car today. we look so awkward (all the time)

6993 - I am just so buff that I ripped this jacket....
003 - one of our Bishops sent this to us. He's the greatest.
009 - one day, sitting in the car after talking to this lady who told us she keeps telling us not to come but we (missionaries) keep coming, and I saw this event, and the following conversation occurred, amidst roars of laughter; I was crying.
Trying to take a picture for Facebook, as it still had to do with Christmas, and I made a face at just the right moment....this basically exemplifies me, but I decided it was better not to put it on FB

Hna Grant had Chick-Fil-A for the first time. man, Canada is missing out....
There was this giant melting snow man for beer bottles as eyes...he looked like Jabba the Hut, so of course we had to take a picture.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Week 22: The Margins Are Weird and It Bothers Me, But I'm Lazy

5 Questions: 
1) About the boots, when I went to order the shorter, more traction boots--they didn't have then in a size 8.  How about these?  Will these work?  If you like them, I'll order then Monday. (Kamik Women's Vienna2 Boot)
2) If I am putting a little box together for you is there anything you would like me to include?  You haven't mentioned anything, really, so if you don't. you are at my mercy to send tings I think you 'll like.  Just saying.
3) How are your investigators progressing?
4) Do you even know why the ward has "trust issues" with the missionaries?  That is so weird to me.
5) Do you hear from anyone regularly besides me and Dad?  Just curious.