Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Hot and Busy Week


First off, I got an email today from the office. The Hermanas get to pick when they come home. The actual 18 month date is in the middle of transfers, and the let the Hermanas choose to come home before or after their anniversary date. And the office would like to know sooner rather than later, so I would like to know when law school starts. (Just a heads up, can we start working on the law school application in like Sept. or Oct. I think there is an early admission program...) Anyway, I need to know when law school starts so I can tell the office when I would like to come home. The dates I have to choose between are July 10 or August 21 (2012). Just let me know, and then I can let the office know, and you as well. I actually got this same email when I was in the MTC, and told the office that I was applying to law school, and that the law school decision would affect my decision, and that I wouldn't know until April, but I got another email, and the church like to know months in advance so they can take care of all the logistical stuff. So I would like to know when law school starts, and if it is possible, when I would find out about admission decisions if I apply through an early admission program.

We are so excited to be teaching our new family! All of them came to church on Sunday! And this week we are going to invite them to be baptized! We can't set an actual date because the couple isn't married, but I don't think that it will really be a problem. They want to get married but haven't gotten around to it yet is what it sounds like. We can set a date for the nephews, so we will see. They have so many good questions in the lessons, and all of them had a good experience at church. And the nephews are going to the Young Men activity this weekend. We are so excited about this family.

Today is going to be a little bit crazy. We are going to Leganes to a BBQ with other missionaries. And afterwards, we are going to a birthday party for one of the members. The family of Josetty (the member who let me use her computer for the mother's day call) aren't members. The father won't let his daughters get baptized. And they are really good friends with a family in the branch. The kids are about the same age. Anyways, we were invited to the surprise party. So we asked the member to bring her family to a lesson that we are going to teach. I think it will be fun!

Last Sunday, we were invited to the house of one of the members for some treats, and we had a "mini" lesson with one of the less actives he had invited. So this week we asked if we could bring other less actives to their party. We had an interesting little lesson and testimony meeting. We end up spending more time with the members than a normal lesson, but so far we like being able to take the investigators and especially the less actives to the houses of members for a little bit of socializing.

We found three in-actives in the past few weeks. Two of them we contacted in the street. And the other we found through an old investigator. Hna. Marín and started teaching the investigator before I got here, but they could never get another lesson with him. Then one day, we ran into him in the street, and had a lesson on a bench. We called him to set up an appointment, but had a hard time getting in touch with him. His friend answered the phone, and told Hna. Marín that he is a member. We have had a few lessons with all of them, but none of them have come to church yet.

Monday, we went to a member's house for lunch. It was my first real dinner appointment. We ate with an older couple who live in one of the towns. The food was so good! And it was fun to eat with the members. Here in Guadalajara we don't eat with the members very often. But in other areas it happens quite frequently. Some weeks we don't have much socializing after our district meetings because the elders have to leave for dinner appointments.

It has been so hot here the past couple of days. I think that summer is officially here. We are going to have to be really smart with how we plan our days so that we aren't out in the street during the hottest part of the day. We do have mediodía from about 2-4, but we have more time we have to plan for. We've started carrying water in our bags, and I'm going to have to start putting sunscreen on every day.

Glad to hear that everyone is doing great! Even if you are all a little busy!
Love, Amber

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An "Average" Week?


We have had a bit of an interesting week. Wednesday night, we went to see Jeaneth. She had bought more cigarettes, and when we got there they still didn't have any electricity. But before we left, the lights came on. She told us that she can't stop smoking right now. She needs to sleep to be able to cope and can't sleep unless she has a cigarette. She recognizes that she needs to stop smoking to be baptized, but she doesn't want to try right now. So we invited her to keep coming to church, and to keep reading. Saturday we passed by her house again. She told us that she didn't think she was going to come to church. I don't think that we are going to be seeing her anymore.

But we have found some other families to teach. One is from the Dominican Republic. We have been teaching the mom, and her daughters. One is 13, one is 10 and the other is like 4 months old. They are really great, and really receptive to what we have been teaching. The dad works in a restaurant, and May is the big month for weddings, baptisms, and confirmations, so the restaurant industry is really busy. Sunny, the mom, has been working in the restaurant these past few days. So we haven't been able to see them all week. But we keep calling, and maybe we will be able to catch them all together pretty soon!

The other family is from Venezuela. They have two little boys the oldest is 3(?). We have just started teaching them, but we can tell that they are really great. We have another appointment with them tonight. They have called to reschedule, and one time we had an appointment set, but our other lessons ran long, and they called to see where we were. It is always a good sign when an investigator is willing to call us.

Sunday morning, when we woke up, Hna. Marín wasn't feeling very well. She called Hna. Watkins, who called the mission doctor, who called us, and eventually told us to take Hna. Marín to the hopsital. She has gastroenteritis. So we missed church Sunday morning, and took an extra long mediodía so she could rest and get better. She is feeling much better now! But it was a crazy day. So I had quite of bit of study time Sunday morning, and I had to cook food just for me the past few days. Normally, we cook together, but she has been eating different things. It was weird to have to cook just for me again.

And this week is the first week of my second transfer. It is a little weird to think that there are newer missionaries than me in the field, especially since I still feel like I don't really know what I am doing. I am going to work at it though, especially because in August is when we start to switch Hermanas, and the odds are that I am going to be training. Saturday morning was pretty entertaining though. We were supposed to get a call from our district leader to let us know about transfers, but he never called. Hna. Marín was texting one of our zone leaders, who let us know that we were both staying here in Guadalajara. Then I got to watch as she called other Hermanas, and other Hermanas called her, to find out where everyone was going. It was pretty funny to watch her face as she found out what changes had been made.

I'm glad to hear that Sophie had a great birthday party! And that she and Brenna did great in their recital, although I knew that they would be awesome!

We didn't feel the earthquake, at least not that I noticed. But we did hear some things, and once or twice we caught a glimpse of it on someone's television.

Congratulations to Brenna on her scholarship! That is awesome! My last few weeks of high school were pretty busy with all the AP tests, but once the tests were over, it was really, really easy. I didn't have many other assignments.

For the skirt, (I forgot to double check) I am fairly certain that the black Modbod skirt is a large. But I would prefer it in brown. And they actually are a little bit different. The black one is straight cotton, the brown is something else, but I like the brown more. And the dresses I am fairly certain are smalls. I remember that I had to go smaller than normal to find a dress that fit just right. But I don't really care about that color, whatever you find will be great. I think I would like you to send my sandals. They should be in the pile of shoes (The big blue box I think.) We bought some sandals today, but I think that I am going to want to have at least one more pair, so I can change what I have on my feet. Plus I think that if I have more than one pair, I won't need to buy another next year.

The contacting is definitely the hardest thing for me. (Big shocker, I know) But it is really different now that I am in the field, and not in the MTC. The goal in the contacting is different. But I am getting better at it, and it is getting easier every time I do it.

Today we didn't do anything really exciting for P-Day. We stayed in town and bought sandals, and food, and a new bag. Because mine broke on Sunday. The strap just snapped off. I bought a backpack at a Chino. I am going to call it the Spanish version of our dollar store, only a little bit better. They are called Chinos because they are owned by Chinese people. The have some pretty great stuff, and it is all very cheap. But things cost more that one dollar, or one euro, but the idea is basically the same. We did buy our sandals at an actual shoe store. I didn't buy some cheap knock-off brand sandals. I did buy a cheap backpack however.

It is starting to get really warm, but at the same time we still have some pretty chilly days. We had to break out the umbrellas again this week. And although it can get pretty hot in the summer, it still gets pretty chilly at night. It definitely feels like we are in the mountains at night. So it has been hot, and cold, but I hear that the late summer, July and August, can get really, really hot. Although it has been hot, it has been pleasant at the same time. And right now it isn't too bad, especially since I know that it is going to be worse in a few months. However, I do think that it was an unusually long winter, and that we are having an unusually long spring.

I can't think of anything else right now.
Love, Amber

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First Zone Conference!

It was fun to talk to you! And I haven't cut my hair since I left. Last night it sort of took me by surpise how long it was. I will let you know the sizes for clothes next week, and maybe other things that I would like. I haven't really had time to think about it. We have been pretty busy since I talked to you.

Our zone conference was great! We had our conference with the other two zones in Madrid. There were like 70 missionaries there. Pres. and Hna. Watkins spoke to us, and then the assistants spoke to us, and then we broke into zones. We rotated through, so we had a little lesson with each of the zone leaders, and then we had a lesson with just our zone. Afterward, we ate in lunch in the temple cafeteria, and then we went back to the church for pics and goodbyes. It was so great! I learned so much, and everybody feels re-energized to go out and work.

I also learned that there are like 10 hnas going home in the next few transfers, in August and September, and that we are getting 10 more. That is about half of the sister missionaries. That means in a few months I will be one of the "old" hermanas in the mission.

There was plenty of time for socializing as well, so I got to catch up with my MTC district. They told us to arrive at 9:15, and to start studying at 9:30. Which is good, because otherwise, we would have all showed up somewhere between 9:30 and 10:00 and would have spent an hour catching up with one another.

Our P-day was so much fun. We went to the park Juan Carlos I. The park is huge, and gorgeous. We rented bikes and rode around the park, then we played ultimate frisbee, and then went to lunch. There was a buffet just down the street. Hna. Marín and I rode a tandem bike. It was little weird, and more difficult to maneuver, but it was still fun. We had a great time, and I have a pretty good sunburn. I think that we have P-day with the zone once a transfer, and I have a feeling that they are going to be some of my favorites!

Our schedule this week has been pretty crazy. We haven't had much study time. We had our district meeting on Monday (and we always have to cut our study time a little short in order to catch the train.) Then yesterday we woke up at like 6:30 so we could have plenty of time to get to the zone conference. We didn't have to get up early today, but didn't get any study time. And we have had some late nights. But tomorrow should be mostly normal.

Monday night we taught the Word of Wisdom to Jeaneth. She told us a couple of weeks ago that she smokes one, maybe two, cigarettes every night. She doesn't like to smoke, wishes she didn't have to, knows that it isn't good for her, but her body needs the nicotine to sleep. We gave her a plan to stop smoking. She wants to stop, but doesn't think that she can. She is also having problems with her daughter, and the adoption of Sheimy, and is having a hard time financially as well. Last night, we went to see her, to pray with her and help her to stop smoking, and we had our lesson in the dark because they had turned off her electricity. (She was able to pay this morning though!) Not having electricity sort of pushed her over the edge, and she bought some cigarettes last night. But we are helping her, and we know that she can do it! She had a hard time sleeping, but I think that if she can go two maybe three days without smoking, and without sleeping, her body will make her sleep, and that is when this whole process will get easier for her. She wants to get baptized, and Monday night when we brought her some grapefruit juice, she was cleaning out her coffee maker! I think that as soon as she feels like she can get by without the nicotine, she will be able to be baptized. Jeaneth lives in a part of town called Aguas Vivas, and we have to take the bus to go see her, so we spend a lot of time with her, and a lot of time in transit. But it is definitely worth it.

We have a new couple working in the office. And they have overlapped with the couple they are replacing, at least for a month or so. They will get some training and orientation and stuff that is specific to this mission and their responsibilities. I imagine that that is what Gramma and Grampa will be doing as well. Finding out and learning what they need to do and how to do it.

There is still no word on transfers, I won't know until Saturday I think. I don't think that I or Hna. Marín will be going, but there is always a possibility. I think that I will stay here, partly because of my residency. I am in the process of getting my residency card and stuff. We had to register when we were in Madrid, and I had to sign a change of address form because I came to Guadalajara. I think that it will be too much work, and not very effective, at least logistically speaking, to move to a different city. However, there are some new Hnas. coming next week, and there aren't any leaving. So there is always the possibility that I or Hna. Marín could be going somewhere different.

I can't believe that Sophie had her interview. I'm sure that she did great. It is weird to think that she will be getting baptized in just a few weeks!

You can definitely save the pictures if you want. I don't send all of them home (that would take too much time) and I don't delete any (unless they are really bad pictures) I am going to save my memory cards and buy new ones as I go....Idea! You could send me some for my birthday. That way I will have all of my mission pictures. (I won't be sending memory cards home, I have heard stories about them getting lost in the mail.) I don't really care if I lose blank memory cards though, just ones with pictures on them!

Glad to hear that everyone is busy and ready for summer!
Love, Amber

Wednesday, May 4, 2011



I think that 5:30 will work just fine. I haven't had a problem with the internet yet, but I haven't been Skyping, so we will see how that goes. (We might be a little bit later - last week we had to move Hna. Marín's call back like 40 min.) We have about 40-60 minutes to talk.

Things are going really good with Jeaneth. She understands what we teach really well, especially the great apostasy, which can be pretty difficult for some people. She has a granddaughter, Sheimy, who is 9 yrs. old, and is working on the paperwork to become her legal guardian. It is very possible that we will get to have two baptisms. Yesterday, we invited her to be baptized, and she accepted. We have a little bit of work to do because she smokes, but only two cigarettes a day, and really wants to quit but doesn't think that she can. I think that she can do it!

So far no new investigators, at least that I can think of, but we are teaching quite a bit. We teach a lot of less actives. Last week we had a lot of less actives come to church, which was really good.

The Easter treats were delicious, and were still in tact!

For my birthday I could use another skirt like the ones we bought from ModBod. I wear them ALL the time. I would also like another dress (but that is more of a want than a need). As of right now, I can't think of anything. But I will think about it this week and let you know later.

The intercambio (exchange) was so great! My companion was Hna. Londoño, who is originally from Columbia, but has been living in Spain for the past few years. She served in Guadalajara for like seven months. Hna. Marín was her replacement. We had like eight lessons, which is really good for the first few days of the week in Madrid. I had a great time!

All of the other sisters share apartments with another companionship, so there were more sisters in the piso, which was fun as well. I got to go to their district meeting, which they held in the Institute (one of the floors in the MTC). Their district includes the Senior Couples serving in the YSA center and in the Employment Center. The Employment Missionaries are leaving this week, so their replacements were here as well!

After our meeting, we had enchiladas. Each of the companionships brought something different, and then the Senior Sisters put them together. They were so delicious! (and made with enchilada sauce from the states. The couple that made the enchiladas had their daughter mail them some!) After our district meetings we usually just have snacks. But they had lunch, complete with Texas Sheet Cake.

They have a really great investigator they are teaching, and yesterday we invited her to be baptized, which was fun. And then we went to the YSA FHE with her. It was fun to be in Madrid, and to have a little change. The work in Madrid is so different than the work in Guadalajara. I guess it is the difference in the big city and the small city. There were people everywhere!

Fun little side note: The Senior Missionaries can communicate with us in Spanish. I think some of the Elders served their missions in Spanish speaking countries, but even the Sisters can communicate with us. I know that Gramma and Grampa will have to learn enough Russian to get along!

The language is coming along. I can understand just about everything now. Especially in the lessons, because that is the vocabulary I am most familiar with. When we first get to the house and have a little bit of get to know you stuff, I generally don't understand as much, but I do understand most. And I am speaking a lot more. My main problem is putting together phrases. Once I think about how I would answer a question, they have moved on to something else. But I am making progress.

This morning we went to the Temple! All the Sisters were on Intercambios, and the Temple was a great place to reunite! And a lot of the Elders came too! This P-Day is pretty laid back. After the Temple we came back to Guadalajara and are going to go grocery shopping (and maybe buy some shoes).

I guess that is all until Sunday!
Love, Amber