Friday, August 30, 2013

Aug 19th

Dear Family,
Guess who I found this week!?!? We got an address and a last name from Obispo G for a member move-in that he didn't know and asked us to go check up on them. So I went over this week while we were on exchanges and knock knock!! Who's there? Soledad!! I think we were both pretty happy to recognize a familiar face. My Spanish is a lot better than it used to be, but she was still really, really, really hard to understand. I had a flash back to sitting in the Beluga Bus and listening to Mom trying to teach her how to say "scarf." "Echarf?" "No, SCarf." "Eharf?" "We'll keep working on it."

Guess who else we found this week? Enough Sudanese and Iraqi refugees to start an Arabic branch. The same day that we met Soledad, Hna. M and I taught a first lesson in Arabic. Speak English, called in Spanish, teaching in Arabic. Here's how it went down. We knocked the door, it opened, the woman was brown, so I started in English. All I got was a stare, so I tried again in Spanish. More stares "Do you speak English? Espanol?" She looks at me for a minute, and then says, "Arabic." Well, that ain't the language they taught me in the MTC, so I whipped out a card and typing in the air asked "computer?" "Oh!" she said, "laptop?" "Yeah! Laptop." So we got onto, and checked out the languages section, but my favorite website in the whole world let me down. No Arabic. At this moment, we're sitting in her house, unable to communicate, unable to invite this woman to come unto Christ when all of a sudden, like manna in the wilderness, Heavenly Father sent us an interpreter. He's also an Iraqi refugee that lives across the hall named S. He interpreted for the US Army in Iraq for a while before coming to the US. It was a long, slow lesson, but after comparing Islam and Christianity for a while, we were finally able to get into the Restoration. Hna. Montgomery felt like we needed to share the First Vision, so we did, and while we were in the middle of quoting Joseph Smith, S asked "Is that a real story?" To which responded that yes, it was. "Well that's really weird, because in Islam, God doesn't come to people. He just sends angels." All things considered, it was a great lesson, and we got a return appointment for Saturday. Unfortunately because neither English nor Arabic is Spanish, we can't teach them and had to turn them over to the APs. But! We saw the APs at church on Sunday and they told us that S is an awesome investigator (F ended up uninterested) and he was at church with them. We also passed them another family that was at church, and we gave the sisters a referral that now has a baptismal date, and we gave the other sisters a family that they are teaching as well. We're thinking that maybe our purpose in Monte Vista isn't actually to teach anybody, just to give really awesome referrals to everyone else. I'm ok with that. It's all team Jesus. And eventually, the blessings will come back our way.

Yesterday, we were at the apartment complex where all of the refugees seem to live (we've also met people from Burma and Nepal), and one of the gentlemen from Iraq asked through an interpreter if we knew anyone that could teach him English. He can't work without English, and he's really motivated to learn. So, we told him that we're going to start a free class, and we'll tell him when it gets rolling. That's our project right now, is to get that going. And then when we do, eventually we'll pass all of our students over to the APs to be taught and baptized, and pretty soon, there will be an Arabic branch in San Antonio. My Spanish is a lot better now. Maybe they'll just reassign me to learn Arabic too! Or maybe, they'll make that apartment complex it's on mission and call a pair of Elders to the Texas, Nob Hill, Arabic speaking mission. :)
We're planning on going to the temple before the end of this transfer. Hna. L called me from Del Rio and said the G Family is planning to come up this Saturday to be endowed and sealed, and if that happens, we'll definitely be going. Unfortunately, they haven't translated the new video into Spanish, so it'll probably be the old one. I'm thinking I'll try to go again some time when I can see the new one. I've heard it's really good. And I need to go to the temple.

Mom, I'm feeling really pooped. I think I'm at an endure to the end stage. I've just been so tired, both physically, emotionally, spiritually, all around. Personal study the last few days hasn't been as rewarding as usual, I get grumpy super easily, and I'm experiencing all kinds of weird twinges and palpitations at random times and in random places. In fact, as we speak, there's a muscle spasing out below my left rib. Weird. I love what I'm doing, but I'm just wiped, and sometimes the thought of being here for another whole year without the hope of napping whenever I need to just seems a little bit overwhelming. But I'm trying to take it one day at a time, love my companion a little bit more, pray a little bit harder, and I'm trusting that I'll be able to snap out of it eventually.

The Lord is blessing us. We taught two member present lessons on Saturday, which is more than ever so far, and yesterday, we got an awesome referral from a guy in Utah. He came down here on business in April and gave a Book of Mormon to a hotel worker that looked like he needed it. Through this guy's son that served a Spanish speaking mission, they found out that the Hotel Worker had been reading the Book of Mormon every day since April. And we talked to him this morning on the phone. He's going out of town, but we're going to meet with him when he gets back. So cool!!
Some thoughts about food. I've been able to stay well within my budget eating the way that we do at home. Of course, I don't eat as much as a voracious 18 year old, but the budget hasn't been a problem for me. I usually eat cereal with a banana and soy/almond milk for breakfast or I'll make a smoothie or some oatmeal. Every now and then, I'll whip up some banana pancakes which are pretty easy to make. 1 banana, 1 c flour, about 1/2 t salt, about 1 t baking powder, a half spoonful of sugar, and water until it runs right. For lunch, sometimes I like to put a sweet potato into the oven at 400 while I do language study, and then it's done an hour later when it's lunch time. PB&Js are a good option, bagged salad, frozen veggies, canned beans. He could buy some minute brown rice and throw some black beans in a pot with onions, garlic powder and a little cumin, and voila! Rice and beans. Refried beans and tortillas with spinach and salsa works. He could even make oven fries and a hamburger. Often times, people give us food and we end up with left overs too. I like making other stuff too, but it involves a little more cooking.

I love you all. The gospel is true. Heavenly Father loves us so much and just wants to bless us. He just waits for us to ask because he doesn't want to take away our agency. Keep up the good work everyone!!

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