Wow, Ha-ha Hi Mama and Everyone!
What a great email! You didn't tell me that Chris got a job! WOO HOO!! Congrats to him!! :D
Last I heard he was still applying, so that's so great! When is he going to write me? Maybe I'll shoot him an email today since we have a little more time (but not much). I love hearing about the family and am sad I couldn't be a part of the wonderful family dinner the other night, but I guess not too sad, because I know I'm where I need to be. I miss my nieces and nephews! Pictures please?
So you didn't tell me your show is all the way up in Logan! Wow, what a drive! How did you get pulled into that? It sounds pretty great though. Will there be a video recording of it? I would love to watch it when I get home. You're such a star mama!
I didn't hear anything about the pants thing. I mean, we did have a few women wearing pants at church, but I think only some less actives and our investigator. It wasn't a political statement or anything.
How long will M, J, and D be in town? Will they be around to Skype? Speaking of, I'll be Skyping from a member's home. We don't have a set time yet, but I believe it will be in the evening, maybe around 6? So I think that's 7 your time. I'll probably call you on the phone to let you know I'm ready and then call on Skype, but we'll see. I told Padre to call you because he and Susan will be coming over. I think the only other person I invited over was Kimi but I think she'll be at her parent's house, so I don't think you should be expecting anyone else.
I hope you get all of your grading done soon so you can enjoy your break! I was wondering if I was ever going to get a plaque. I want to use one of the pictures in the red blouse, not the blue one that I sent in with my papers. My scripture is Mosiah 4:15. I did know about the boundaries. I rode in President Cook's car on the way back from the airport and he was telling us all about the boundary changes and things like that. Fun stuff.
Man, there's so much to tell, and yet, I feel like I don't have a lot to say. The field has been...different so far. Good, but different. My companion is Hermana Ruiz. She is from TX (parents from Mexico) and has been out a year. We live with the English sisters - Sister Workoff and Sister Halling. They are all pretty sweet, although I think Sister Workoff doesn't like me. I'm not really sure why, but I don't mind too much because we hardly see them. Our area is pretty big. I'm in the Temecula area and we cover half the stake and the Spanish Elders cover the other half. We drive a lot from place to place with takes time and I feel like we could maybe plan out and use our time a bit more productively, but at least we're working and I am learning every day. I still feel fairly uncomfortable approaching and talking to random strangers, but Hermana Ruiz is great at it and helping me out.
We contact in both English and Spanish and then just give any English referrals to the English missionaries - though we get a lot more Spanish contacts than English because white people are crabby and don't like to talk to us. Latinos are so great though! Even if they don't care and completely disagree with you, they'll still be kind and talk with you for a bit. The other day we found a woman named Maria (every other woman out here is named Maria) and she invited us in. She didn't agree with anything we had to say (hard-core Catholic) and was against things like the Book of Mormon and Prophets, but at the end she still said she would read and that we could come back and gave us hugs and kisses. Ha-ha, I love these people. You meet someone for the first time and they hug and kiss you, it's great! (Not the men though, don't worry. We follow the rules.) We are in a pretty ritzy area but there are some lower-class areas (those are the best for finding), but all of it is pretty great.
I wish we would do a little bit better job on some things like planning, goals, and shorter/more focused lessons, but seeing as I'm still learning and I don't really know how to fix the problem, I'm just trying to do my best with what we have. The rules are pretty strict here. I can't give out my apt address to ANYONE, I mean anyone (yes, even you mama). SUPER against the rules. We have really strict cleaning checks/guidelines, and we have to run every morning for 30 minutes (no exceptions period, even if you're sick, unless it's diarrhea and you can't be far from a toilet). I hated running a week ago, and now I really look forward to it in the morning. Crazy, I know. Our area is really pretty. I haven't really taken any pictures yet - I should probably start that.
Hmmm, what else? Studies are really long. Every morning we study for 4 hours (usually - Sunday and Tuesday are a little shorter). It will go down to 3 after my 12-week training, well actually 11-week because next transfer is a short transfer - only 5 weeks. Not sure why. I'll be going on exchanges soon (which makes me nervous) but it should be a good learning experience. I'll be going to Escondido, which is apparently the best area in the mission, so that should be cool. My Spanish is actually coming along fairly well, though I still have a hard time with those who speak very fast (most everyone it seems like) and I get frustrated with the grammar. I have faith that the Lord is helping though, and it seems to get a little easier every day.
The branch here is pretty great. It's small, but the members are really involved and really loving. We're taken care of pretty well and we're working with the Ward Council to get the members more involved in the work. They had an awesome Nativity activity last weekend (open to the public) and it was legit. This Friday we'll be having a branch dinner (plus friends of members - hopefully getting them interested) and program. We'll be running a table with LdMs (Libros de Mormón) and answering non-member's questions. Should be fun. Christmas eve I think we'll be at a member’s (not sure why - we should be proselyting) and Christmas day we'll be having a mission conference.
Well, I'm running low and on time, and I'm kind of running out of things to say, to be honest. Everything is so new to me, so hopefully next week's letter will be more interesting. I LOVE YOU MAMA! I'm so stoked to talk to you on Christmas! LOVE YOU!
P.S. Oh yeah, we do have 2 investigators right now. Maria P. and Magali. I'm not sure how quickly they'll progress because they both have some concerns, but hopefully we can work those out soon. Appreciate all of your prayers! <3
P.P.S. I can't even tell I'm in Cali; it has been so rainy and cold. Super lame! L
P.P.P.S. FELIZ NAVIDAD A TODOS!