Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Long Short Week

This weeks been kind of crazy!  I feel like I was literally here just a few minutes ago writing a letter but then so much stuff has happened this week.  We have been keeping busy, that's for sure!  
For the most exciting news, Jordan got baptized!  It was nice to be able to go see the baptism even though I am not in that area anymore, and to see the people from the ward again.  It's funny how attached you get to people in just a short six weeks!  As always, the baptism was so good.  The spirit was strong and it is my favorite thing in the world to see someone come out of the water.  There is nothing that brings so much happiness than to see their face after they have come out of the water and the joy that is there.  So amazing!  I wish everyone in the world had the opportunity to see it because it just testifies that they are on the right path and doing the correct things to bring them closer to God.  
In other news...we weren't allowed to go outside a lot this week because of the smoke.  There are about 3 new fires in the area, surrounding us, so the air reached hazard levels.  So no bikes.  Luckily!  We had quite a few appointments this week so we were still able to work and spread the good news.  We did have lots of extra study time though because we weren't allowed to go do any tracting or street contacting because they don't want us to die, which is always a good thing.  The lessons we did have this week though were super good!  Many of them were new investigators so we were introducing them to the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith etc.  Which is always my favorite part because the Spirit is always there when you testify of the First Vision or of the Book or Mormon.  What made it even funner though was that 3 of the people we taught were philosophy majors or religion majors.  Deep thinkers!  It kind of blew my mind some of the questions they asked but they were always good questions and came from a desire to really know.  It helped re-affirm to me that this is the Lords work.  Because even though those are topics that interest me, there were some questions that I had no idea even how to BEGIN to answer them.  Then we would testify and sometimes I don't even know what I said or how it made sense to them but it did!  But it definitely wasn't my words that did it!  The Lord is at the head of this work and will always help us and make up for what we are lacking in our knowledge or experience or whatever.  Such a great reminder to me.  At the end of the lesson, all three of them committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.  It was a miracle!  
This is Jeremy at his baptism

Sis. Rae

In a Fog

This week.  There have been lots of fires in the area and in California so the whole entire town is covered in what looks like a fog and it smells like a campfire 24/7.  I like the smell of campfire but it's better if you can roast some marshmallows as well!  We are supposed to get some rain storms in this week so hopefully those storms will blow out all the smoke and we can actually see where we are going!
hmmmm...stories from this week.  It has been pretty uneventful. 
The best part of the week was one day we had some interesting experiences tracting.  Probably the weirdest tracting day ever ( far.)  So we go up to this first house and knock and (of course) we hear the dogs barking and running up to the door but we don't hear anything else.  Then the door opens and all we see is these three huge dogs standing in the door barking at us.  No humans in sight.  We call out hello but there is no answer.  There is no one there.  To make it even weirder, they had a screen that makes it really hard to see anything so it looked like a three-headed dog.  Like Cerberus or

Fluffy.  Then on to the next house.  No one else is home on the street until we come to this one door.  We knock and don't heard anything so we start walking away.  We hit the edge of the porch and we hear a knock back...exactly mimicking our knock.  So we are kind of confused but walk back up to the door, wait a second, and then knock again.  Nothing.  So we walk away.  We get to that exact spot again and we hear another knock!  Of course we start laughing because this never happens!  We go up and yell hello and ring the doorbell but nothing again.  So we walk away and at the edge of the porch we hear the knock again!  We decided to just leave and as we are walking around the corner we hear the door open and then slam and then more knocking but couldn't see anyone.  It was pretty funny.  We try every door on the street and those two doors were the only ones that we got any kind of response from.  And guess what the street name was?  Bellatrix.  No joke.  It's a street of magic.  Crazy folk live on that street; I was half expecting a door to open up and have someone with a long hook nose and warts with a broomstick and a witches hat.
But that's about it for this week!  Hope ya'll have a great week and stay cool!
Sis. Rae

Outside the Reservation

Driving Home (sorry it's upside down)

Just Another Week in Eagle Canyon

So this week has been for the most part a pretty regular old week.  Hitting the streets, talking to everyone we see, teaching people, and doing service.  Pretty great life if I do say so myself!  
This week, we had a baptism!  Glen was baptized on Saturday and it was such a neat experience.  The rest of his family is members and have been trying to get him interested in the church for many years so it was so fantastic to see it finally happen!  I watched his two kids faces when he came out of the water and they were just beaming from ear to ear, it was so amazing.  You could see the happiness roll off of them that their dad had decided to join them as a family in the gospel.  The (second) best part was the after party.  His parents (well, whole family) is Philippine and when something happens, there is food, because food makes people happy.  They invited the whole ward over for a dinner at their house afterward and there was SO MUCH FOOD!  I made the mistake of sitting by his mom and she made me eat 3 plates full.  Not that I am complaining because it was some of the best food I have ever eaten; homemade spring rolls have now rocketed up to my top favorite foods.  Then she sent us home with more food than we can eat in a week.  Good thing we are on bikes or you would have to roll me home!  It was fun to see everyone together and the built in family that come with joining the church and the support of the members for Glen and his decision.  That makes all the difference to someone coming in!
Another kind of funny thing that happened this week.  So we were out and about on our bikes and out of nowhere we see lightening in the distance.  We decided to head back to the car and load up our bikes so we can beat the storm since we were still quite a ways from the car.  It's all good until we almost make it to the car and it starts POURING.  So we are out there in this pouring raining trying to get our now slippery bikes on the back of our car and then I have to back Sis Ward out of the driveway....standing in the rain.  It was pretty great, at least it was time to head back anyway and we didn't have to go anywhere drenched!  But yesterday, a member comes up to us and hands us a bag and says, "for next time" and then walks away.  We open it up and find two umbrellas.  Apparently they drove by just as we were getting in and saw our lack of coverage. 

Thank goodness for kindhearted people! ;)
Well that's all for this week.  Hope ya'll have a fantastic week!
Sis Rae
Getting caught in the rain

Glen's Baptism

Monday, August 5, 2013

So I have come to the conclusion that the harder a day/week is, the more miracles are going to happen.  It seems like the crazier the week is, the more people we meet who are accepting of us and our message.  Makes me (kind of) look forward to those hard times because I know that if we push through it, then God has something great in store for us!
Well.  My week started off on a good note with almost being eaten by killer birds.  There is this lady that we teach, Kelly, that lives up on the Indian Reservation and has ELEVEN rescue parrots.  They are all birds that have been abused and are considered so abused that they can't be saved, so Kelly and her husband takes them in.  Since there are 11 of them, when they molt, dander gets everywhere and gets into her lungs and makes her really sick.  So she asked us if we could come and help her clean the house and the cages.  Of course we can't say no even though I am terrified enough of these birds when they are IN their cages.  Monday, we go over to clean and I get the lucky job of vacuuming and sweeping out the bird room while Sis. Ward gets to go beat/dust the blinds out in the yard.  There were several birds out of their cages and I had to go in there with a super loud vacuum and clean around their cages.  Every time I passed a couple of the cages, the birds would cuss at me (shows what sweet birds they are) and fly at the cage bars.  One bird in particular, a huge white Macaw, stared me down with its feathers all ruffled the whole time I was in there, and this one was NOT in it's cage.  I thought it was going to eat me.  Then!  She asked if I wanted to hold it!!  After she had just shown us all the scars that these birds had given her.  Thanks, but no thanks.  As we went to leave, she said she wanted to give us something in return for helping her.  We were expecting like some pop or water or something but she comes out with what looks like a wand and puts a spell on us for protection and safety.  Apparently, she is wicken/pagan/Mormon.  Don't know how that works but she really is a sweet lady and was concerned enough for us to offer us protection haha  They are always interesting visits up there!
The rest of the week was spent contacting people in the ward that don't usually go on Sunday or we have never met and tracting.  When we went tracting, on one street we literally didn't get past 'Hi! How are..." before they said they weren't interested and shut the door.  We also got TWO door slams out of one house on that street, I think that has to be a record.  However, the very last house on the street, we were walking up and they were coming out.  They saw us, got really excited and told us to come in and that they were just finishing up some cookies.  Apparently they have met with missionaries before and just happened to have a Book of Mormon sitting on their shelf.  They had never read it but asked us to pick our two favorite chapters out of it and they would read it for our next visit.  How cool is that?!  Even better, they gave us some of the most delicious cookies I have ever tasted to take home with us.  So those are the highlights of my week, it's been a fun week.  Can't wait to see what the next one has in store for us!
Love you all!
Sis. Rae

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Eagle Canyon

The week of transfers is always insane, but I survived!  My head is spinning with all sorts of new names and faces and roads but I am slowly getting it.  So our area is a pretty ritzy side of town and includes an Indian Reservation up in the mountains which is pretty cool!  My favorite part of my area is the road names; Running Deer, Prairie Moon, Talking Sparrow turns into Silent Sparrow (I think they got tired of listening to it and just killed the poor thing) Penguin etc.  It makes me want to laugh every time someone tells me where they live.  Since we have the Indian Reservation and live quite a ways out of our area, we have a car but don't have enough miles to use it all the time so we bike everyday, all day.  And our area is NOT flat.  I am going to be tanner and in better shape than I have in my whole life after this area.  Last transfer, they were double transferred in and mainly focused on people who were not active in the church, so the area is still really slow and we only have one investigator now (that is being baptized on the 10th of August!) so we have done a lot of tracting and finding this week.  It's a lot of work!  No one warned me before I came out that missionary work was so exhausting in every aspect.  But it is so amazing at the same time!  We have had some awesome experiences just in the last week with running into people who are interested in religion and one lady even asked us if she could buy a Book of Mormon from us before we even introduced ourselves!  The Lord provides if we just get up and do.  
My companion is Sis. Ward and has only been out one transfer longer than I have so we are both really new.  She is from South Carolina and is SUPER quiet, well, quiet when other people are around.  In lessons she barely says anything but when she does it is super amazing.  She has a strong testimony and is really fun to work with.  Not much to tell this week, it's just been a lot of knocking on doors and talking to random people!  Always a joy :)
Hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying the sun!
Love, Sis. Rae
Our inheritance in the apt.

Best street ever

 My new companiera!