Search This Blog

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Many are cold but few are frozen

Ice cream below zero. Cold.

American Swedish Institute
This is on the inside of an apartment building where the windows freeze on the inside and out. Happy Winter!
Notice the -24 windchill...

Sorry it took so long, we were home all day, no wifi!

Hola Family,

I didn't do a very good job at keeping notes of the cool things that happened this week, so I might jump around a lot. To start off, this week was cold. We discovered pretty quickly that the official salutation of Minnesota is "stay warm." It makes us laugh every time because literally EVERYONE says it. I have been surprised how easy the cold is to handle if you have a big coat haha. It hasn't been as bad as I expected but most of our work is car to door door to car. Dad asked if the work has slowed down a tall because of the cold, and the answer is not even a little bit. It actually has been one of our busiest most productive weeks. We are finally hitting our stride and scheduling has been awesome. Basically we bundle up and go to work. Today which is obviously Pday we have 6 set appointments. That never happens. Especially on Pdays. We are connecting with the members and had meals every day this week. Really good stuff like puerco con achiote, empanadas, sesina, this other breakfast thing that I don't remember the name, alambre, etc. Our bodies are having a hard time keeping up #tums4lyfe.

Church was cancelled this Sunday in Minneapolis because it was so cold. In the city wards a lot of people bike and walk and take the bus, so they cancelled. We went to the Bloomington English ward instead. It was weird being in an all English ward for the first time in 6 months. The dynamic is totally different, and my brain has started automatically switching to Spanish during church. One of the speakers was one of the counselors in the mission presidency and he talked about receiving revelation through the Holy Ghost. His talk was really powerful. Something that I really liked is when he talked about when Christ was talking to the apostles and said that to those who follow his commandments, he would manifest himself unto them. It wasn't a promise just for them, but in today's world "manifestations" are for crazy people. But we are promised that Christ will manifest himself unto is if we are obedient, and he does that through the Holy Ghost. I thought it was neat.

Sis W is really sick today, so we basically have to cancel everything and just chill. It's interesting to me how when you are really good friends with your companion, it's not annoying when they're sick, you just want them to feel better. But either way we've been doing really well. Sad that I'm getting transferred because that means starting
from scratch. More about that in a second. I really appreciated your emails this week. I am super jealous about
cross fit, that sounds so fun. I've decided to start working on my pull-ups again. I was really good for a while, but let it go, and now I'm just sore.

Ryan are you alive?!?!?!

Grandma said that Ashlyn's surgery went well, it sounds like they had lots of help. I'm grateful for the Friday email from dad. It's true that sometimes the little acts of obedience seem so tedious, but they make all the difference in missionary work. My focus lately has been on patience. I have found myself getting impatient with our investigators because they aren't progressing as fast as I want them to be. To me it's so clear and so simple. But I'm learning a lot about what it means to be patient and how it shows our love.

The video of Lauren made me laugh so hard. I died. I seriously love videos if you are ever bored just snap one or two. So transfers. I'm going to Lakeville! The dream team is gone:(( but it's ok. I'm ready for a new adventure and I know that Richfield is in very good hands. I can't believe I've been here for six months. It feels so long, but so short at the same time. It just kind of throws a wrench in everything because I feel like we are doing really good work and this area is progressing rapidly. It makes it hard to leave, but maybe Lakeville needs that too. There is a family we have been teaching that we met with 3 times last week. Which is a huge deal, the last person that was willing to meet with us that often was Christina. We also started teaching Ahmed (Mitch) who is recently married to a member. He is from Egypt and has been investigating for a while. One of the reasons he hasn't been baptized yet is that at some point he wants to return to Egypt to see his family, and that is not exactly safe for a Muslim-turned-Christian. A few of our long term investigators are making really good progress.

I've spent some time packing this afternoon because Hna W was sleeping, and it makes me sad. It's been home for the last six months. Even more so with Hna W. We are totally going to be friends for a long time. We already have plans:) but like I said, I am really looking forward to new people, new experiences, new challenges. Lakeville is a Spanish branch of about 20 active members and most of Lakeville itself is rich white people. The missionaries live with a member family, and most of the work is done in Burnsville and outlying areas with trailer parks. It
will be a very different experience. My new companions name is Hna Rowland, she came out with me. That's about all I know. Hna W was "born" there which is mission slang for it was her first area.

That's basically all I have to say today, so here's to new adventures🎉 Stay warm!

Love, Emily

Monday, January 11, 2016

Rosca with the Nino Jesus
They literally just Zamboni the parks and play hockey.
Hey family! This week has been crazy. I feel like every other week is like that haha. Last week I didn't do a very good at writing because we were playing chair soccer which is like soccer except everyone is on their own team and you're trying to knock over other people's chairs with the ball. It's super fun and I was a little distracted.
Right now, we're at zone Pday where we're doing a "one-bite" challenge. Can you tell that elders planned it? We're watching Inside Out later I think, so that will be better:) but I missed some stuff from last week. 

For New Years Eve we went to the family Vegas house and ate and then when we went home we drank sparkling cider and went to bed at 10:30. Super exciting. We also had interviews last week and something that I liked a lot is that I asked what his definition of a consecrated missionary is and he said that it is improvement. I like that a lot because it seems so much more achievable than anything else I've heard. Because I can improve!

This week we had a hard time staying motivated. On Wednesday we went to get new tires. We show up at 4, they start working on our car at 4:30, we didn't leave until 8:30!!!!!!!!!!!!! They finished by about 6, but we had to pay through the church's account. The system couldn't find their account, then when they did find it after almost an hour and three phone calls to our vehicle coordinator, they found the account, THEN the account wouldn't let it enter 1 field and the whole thing couldn't move forward. So we called it. We called the APs who came and picked us up. In the morning, they had figured it all out so the STLs came and had to take us back to our car. We were so mad. We had three set appointments and had to cancel all of them. Nothing kills your drive like 4 1/2 hours in a Firestone.

Wednesday was also a holiday that is a Mexican tradition called Día de los Reyes Magos. They have a tradition where they cut the rosca which is a sweet bread and they hide little baby Jesuses in it. If one of them is in your piece you have to make tamales for everyone on February 2. We did it twice and we both got two babies. It's a fun tradition:) We had an unplanned lesson with Christina and it made everything better. Christina and Victor got us matching scarves and socks for Christmas and then we talked about temples with Christina. It just put
everything into perspective.

It sounds like you all are staying so busy and life is good. Also I demand pictures of Sara minus braces and of house plus new things! I like what Dad said in his email about "falling down" before the tree. There's a talk that I really like called "Stay by the Tree" that talks a lot about all of the symbolism in the Vision.

I'm glad you enjoyed that video it was fun haha I'm planning on sending a "this is what -25 degrees looks like" video. Yesterday was cold! And getting colder! We're doing good. Transfers are a week from Wednesday, and we're a little nervous, but excited.

I love you!
Love, Emily

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Happy New Year!

Minnesota Institute of Art
Sister Dumas and I

Happy New Year!!
Hey family! 

I have so much to write about this week, we have been working hard and doing lots of stuff. We found 8 new investigators and taught a lot of lessons this week. We visited a family with five kids, we met them knocking doors, and went back this week. We stopped by and Leticia (the mom) answered and told us they were about to watch a movie and to come back. The dad from inside said come in! It's her birthday! Let's say a prayer! So we went in and talked a bit. Turns out they have spent a lot of time with missionaries and already were investigating for a long time. They moved and didn't tell anyone. They're really cool! More on them in a second.

On Tuesday President grounded all the cars because of snow. Where we were there was hardly any snow. But we ended up walking to Walmart and buying snow shovels. It was really fun haha we never get the chance to really be outside. Wednesday we had exchanges and I hung out with Sister Dumas, she's cool. Her personality was not what I expected at all. She's very artsy, and does photography. It was chill, nothing too exciting. New Years same thing, we ate at a members house but nothing too exciting. Missionary New Years are lame. It's been really neat to set new goals knowing that this whole year will be dedicated to missionary work. We had a lesson with the Assistants and learned a lot about how our teaching could be better. We set goals together on how we could be better. It was hard to focus for a bit because all the sudden I go home this year! Crazy! There's a term that missionaries use that describes when you are thinking a lot about home. They say you're feeling "trunky." And so I was a little trunky after New Years but we're good.

New Years Day was our actual Pday so we went to the museum! The Minneapolis Institute of Art. It is really big and really fun it was a nice break from missionary life and to feel like a normal person for a second.

Saturday we had a crazy day. We met with an investigator for the first time in almost three months, but that was just the beginning. That night, we had three lessons in a row. Intense lessons. Lesson one: The family that has been seeing scary things in their house. So the mom is telling us about some of the new things they've been seeing. Eventually she starts telling us about this guy who knocked on her door and told her that Joseph Smith saw a demon who told him to form a church. He told her the Book of Mormon is what is bringing evil things in her house. She kept asking if that was true, and even after testifying and teaching she kept asking, but we were eventually able to leave with the he spirit. 

Ok. Second lesson. The family I was talking about earlier. We stop by and the dad opens the door, he says let me get my wife. She comes out and is in tears and lets us in. He had just let her know that he wants a divorce. It was so sad like I said, they have five kids. The oldest is 19 and the youngest is 3, it made us so sad.

3rd lesson. It's a part member family where all the kids are members, but the mom isn't because she has to work Sundays. But on Christmas Eve she was making pozole and somehow the pot tipped over and burned her feet. Like bad. Like half the skin is gone. When we went over she had her feet really and aged and she was on the couch. Her kids are not overly helpful, and it was sad too. We learned how easy and quickly we've fallen in love with these people. Sunday I was watching the priesthood pass the sacrament and I just loved seeing the jeans and missed matched jackets and pants and the street shoes. I just love them.

I'm excited Mom that you're going out with the missionaries. That will
be good! I love you all! Happy New Year!

Love, Emily

Yay Christmas! Happy New Year!

Habanero Pepper Eating Challenge


Vegas House
Christmas Dinner

Hey family!

It was really good to talk to you on Christmas. It still doesn't feel real to me, kind of like a dream. I miss hanging out by the fire and having nothing to do haha. Missionary work is WORK. Go figure. It was fun hearing about your lives from your actual voices and seeing your faces. Only 4 1/2 short months until we do it again for the last time! 
Christmas was a good day, we spent breakfast at Bishop's house, and they were really nice to us. We played cards and ate and called home. After, we went to the Vega family's house, and they fed us lunch. There is this challenge that the Vega family affectionately calls "the Habanero Challenge." They like to see the missionaries suffer and so every time they have a group at their house, they do this challenge. It's pretty simple. Whole habanero, eat it. We joke that it's how you become fluent in Spanish. So we did it. FIRE. It burns bad. Like can't-breathe-for-multiple-minutes bad. I'll try to attach the video. I was crying and sweating and everything. But I handled it pretty well comparatively speaking. Aka at least I didn't puke. After the Vegas, we went to another member's house, Hna Arriaga, and she had invited 3 coworkers over too. So naturally we taught them:) We spent the rest of the night caroling with some Elders and Sisters from our zone. We had a lot of fun, and it was a memorable Christmas. 

Thanks for all you do and the support I get. I really am doing good, I don't anything, I'm trying to work hard.  
Lately I've really appreciated how much the Gospel blesses our lives. We had a lesson with a less-active member and his 8 yr old son who we've been teaching so he can be ready for baptism. We asked the 8 yr old if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes, and then turned to his dad and asked if he could baptize him. His dad, for various reasons, is not worthy to do that and it broke our hearts when he said "I would love to but..." Then being really perceptive the 8 yr old asked if it was for the same reason his dad couldn't eat the bread in sacrament meeting. It made us really sad to see that this man couldn't be the priesthood authority in his home because of the choices he had made. Before my mission I really didn't understand the kinds of blessings we receive from following the example of Jesus Christ and accepting His Gospel. 

I already told you everything! We haven't really done a lot since Friday, and I told you all of the important stuff. 
Here's a funny story, at service last week, I helped this old guy (he seriously had a walker) find shoes. After he asked me  "do you have a boyfriend?" I said no, I'm a missionary. He asked "are you married?" I said nope, I'm a missionary. "Do you do dinners?" (like asking me to dinner) I almost choked. I said yep, but not as a missionary (and in my head I said and not with old stranger dudes that I meet in basements on Lake Street). Awkward. He said "Oh I understand, I was just offering." Ew. I didn't know how to react except to shiver and gag a little. At least he was nice about it. 

So that's my life a as a missionary right now. I'll try to send some pictures and a video!

I love you, Happy New Year!
Love, Emily

T minus 4!


The poor Elders are on bikes all winter
Victor, Hna W, Yo, Christina, and Saul
This picture describes our relationship with Hno Benjamin
Hey family! This week's email is going to be short becauseee..... SKYPE IN 4 DAYS! I'm not going to lie, I'm kind of nervous because there is a high possibility that I cry my eyes out, plus being homesick is not fun, and I feel like that's what will happen when we Skype. But it's ok! because I'm mostly excited! So anyway, I'm not going to say a lot, mostly pictures, but we can talk Friday.

We are going to Bishop Volz's house Friday morning so expect a call between 9 and 12 my time. I think that Facetime might actually be easier and might work better than Skype on the iPad, so we might try that. If I call Dad on my iPad it should show up on the phone and the iPad. Yay!

Seriously I'm excited, and I have nothing else to talk about because we can discuss on Friday. But here's what needs to happen. Basically I can talk about my week and then I'll have nothing to say, so you guys have to think of questions to ask so that it's easy to keep a conversation without saying I miss you over and over. I also don't know how long we are allowed to Skype for. The least amount of time will be an hour, but I'll find out for sure. The thing is that the mission president before President Forbes was really strict on everything and set 45 min Skype calls, then when he left President Forbes literally copied and pasted all those rules and then put his name on it haha so nobody actually knows what the current rules are. But it will be an hour at the least. 

I don't have much to say, because I want to hear about the cruise, Christmas, presents, life, and everything and tell you about the baptism we had (surprise!), presents, mission life, etc all in person! 

I love you! Talk to you Friday!💞🐩
Pictures to come!
Love, Emily

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Look ma! No snow! Plus these power lines are really cool and go for
miles but you can't really see  in this picture. But for real, it's
been such a mild winter so far, hardly any snow, and in the forties
the last few days.

Hi family! I know you're probably in the middle of the ocean somewhere or relaxing on an island, but I figure you have wifi on the fancy boat. Usually I don't really have anything to write about but this week I've been keeping notes, and now I have a ton of stuff! This has felt like the longest week on my mission by far. 

We had transfers, so Monday we met up with the rest of our district for breakfast at the church and to open the transfer email, we have a new district leader, and the other set of sisters is training. Hermana Brittner from California is the newbie. She's cute, I like her.  But with this last set of changes, Elder McVicker, who came out the same time I did, and I have seniority in our ward. How crazy is that? As much as I love this area and the people in it, I am ready for a change. Luckily, I am still with Sis W and the work is going really well, so I have things to keep me motivated and not bored.

Tuesday night, we did service in Minneapolis. We were with the group we do service with once a week (FOCUS) and helped them translate for their Christmas event. Through the schools they invited certain families to come and "shop" for new things for free. It was really neat to see how grateful some of the parents were. It was one of those it really feels like Christmas moments. It just felt good, you know what I mean? We also met this lady named Irene. She is almost 80, and is one of the most vibrant people I've ever met. She did not look even close to that old and still gets around really well and stuff. But she was super cute. We and the Elders were talking to her and she said that if we were ever in St Anthony Village where she lives, we could feel free to stop by for a cup of cider or something. So cute. Her sister is almost 90 and was there too. I want to be that type of old person.

On Wednesday, we got a call that invited us to the mission leadership council lunch, and we were freaking out all morning. We had no idea why we were invited. Turns out they literally just had too much food. That was nice of them haha. Plus the food was good and we got leftovers. Then we had dinner with a member and she made nopales which is cactus. It was super good! AH! Sis Warmbier decided to cut her hair and then got more than halfway through and decided it was terrible! and then I got to fix it...:I...haha it was really funny, and it actually turned out ok. We also got a package from mom Warmbier with some Christmas presents for both of us, cuuute:) We have this cute Christmas garland thing that you hang Christmas cards on. So send me a postcard from Puerto Rico or wherever you're going haha.

I know that the day by day emails are boring, but seriously this week was so long. It's the only way I can remember everything. 

Thursday. We went to Chaska and had a lesson with Martin, our recent convert. It was an impromptu lesson, we were only planning on dropping off a couple things and showing the Christmas video. But we should have known better, because he loves to talk. What happened is that he has been struggling with the idea of tithing,  He really doesn't like that it's a set amount that we are obligated to pay. So he was praying for an answer to know if tithing is a law of God or man. He is from a Catholic background where you donate whatever you want. He found a video on YouTube by some Christian dude and took it as his answer! He said that it talked about how we don't belong to the house of Israel so we don't have to pay, and how Abraham payed tithing on the treasury money or something and so it's different, I don't know, but I was ticked. Luckily I stayed pretty calm and we were able to try and talk some sense into him and explain. He kept trying to show us the (sixteen minute!!) video, we watched like 3 minutes and I refused to watch anymore. I just started talking instead of watching, and we were able to leave with a pretty good spirit and testifying of the truth. This was a moment where I really felt the gift of tongues as a real thing. I am convinced that I have never spoken that easily. It still wasn't perfect, but I was able, with Sis W's help, to communicate what he needed to hear. Here's the other kicker, he left for Mexico on vacation for a month! We are a little anxious about that, but we'll see what happens. 

Friday we had a multi-zone Christmas Conference! It was really fun, we sang songs, President Forbes talked about the events preceding Christ's birth and how the prophecies were fulfilled, and then after lunch, we watched the Sound of Music! It was way fun because missionary/President Forbes commentary was so funny. Also during the conference Sis W and I sang! We sang Estrella de Luz and it turned out really well. 

After the conference we had an appointment with a member. There have been a lot of humbling moments on my mission, but this was a big one. Her and her two teenage kids live in the basement of a home, and it's basically one room. They have a twin bed  on one side in the corner where her son sleeps and then her and her thirteen year old daughter share a bigger mattress on the floor, their kitchen is literally the space under the stairs and consisted of a hot plate and a fridge. She was so nice to us and made us fajitas. Her kids are sweet too. I really am learning to love these people a lot. It's easier now that I can mostly understand them. 

Saturday we had a slow day, we only taught one lesson, and it was to a member that we stopped by. She is a RM and brought a wonderful spirit to our evening. She just went through her second miscarriage, and testified of God's plan and love for us. Amazing.

Sunday was crazy. Good crazy. Cristina came to church again! yay!! She stayed for all three hours and was answering questions and participating. She is literally the perfect investigator. We've only taught her a few times and she is already almost done with second Nephi, she comes to church and says her prayers are improving. She's awesome. We had to leave her in the hands of the other sisters during third hour because we taught young women's. I finally know all their names now. We taught them about missionary work (surprise surprise) and easy ways to do it. It was a good lesson and they were good at participating. Plus it was in English so that was nice too. After church we had tithing settlement in our ward. It's unusual here because they kind of have to adjust it latino-style. They have a really short meeting all together right after church, and talk about what it means to pay tithing, and why and what it is and the shpeel they give at the beginning of tithing settlement. Then they do a potluck and while they eat, they go in family by family and all they have to do is answer the yes/no question "do you pay a full tithe?" and then it's done. Bishop said that they get 4 or 5 times more people to tithing settlement this way than the "gringo way" as he called it:) Sunday night we had a lot of success. We went and visited two less active families that we hadn't seen in a really long time (one of them came to church whoop whoop and the other we had never met) and were able to teach them, and then we had a lesson with a family we haven't been able to see in a while. It was a nice boost after Saturday of not teaching much. 

Woo, so that was my week. Lot's of neat experiences. I don't know why it felt so long. Plus I've been sick for the last couple of weeks, and cough up a lung every time I laugh. I should prooobably talk to Elder Graff about that, cuz it's not really getting better. 

The last thing I want to share is from my studies this week. Our mission has this study packet all about the Atonement, and President asked us to read from it every day to prepare for Christmas. So I have had the really cool opportunity to be reading about the Atonement along with my reading in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Jesus the Christ. I have been reading about the actual event of the Atonement and Crucifixion and learning more about the Atonement in general. But something that really stood out to me this week was about the nature of Christ and His power. So because Christ was born to a mortal mother, he inherited the ability to die, or in other words, for his spirit and body to separate. From his immortal Father, he inherited the ability to control the separation (and reunion) of his spirit and body. I have been thinking a lot about the implications of this. Reading about the crucifixion gives me shivers, because it is literally the worst possible way to die, and the Romans knew that and perfected it. But if Christ had/has the power to control when he dies, he could have decided at any moment to stop the pain, to give up, to relieve his body of the hours and hours of agony. But he didn't! It wasn't until his work was done that he pronounced "It is finished" and gave up the ghost. Or literally allowed himself to die. He decided, it was never up to anyone else. I think it's the most amazing thing and has really added to the depth of my understanding of the Atonement. Christmas has been the perfect time to study and learn more about Christ and what he did for us. 

Have fun this week! I'll give you Skype details next week:)
Love, Emily

Break it Down

Stove S'mores
Add caption
District Lunch

Hey family!! So we get the transfer email every transfer Monday around 10 and Sis Warmbier and I were freaking out. I was so conflicted, because I would love to go to St Paul or Lakeville or something, but I also would love to stay here with Sis Warmbier for Christmas. The email is scary because it's literally a chart with all of our faces, and we have to look for our face! I'll forward it to you so you can see. But the news issss..... I'm staying here with Sis Warmbier!! That will make at least six months in my first area. As of Christmas I will have been on my mission for six months. That's a third of my mission! So the breakdown goes like this. Only one year, two Skype sessions, 8
transfers, 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days! That is not very long at all. There's this weird time warp as a missionary where you forget that time keeps going. Like yesterday we went to visit someone that we just met, and Sis W looks at her record and we haven't seen her since November 19th! It seriously goes like that. We have no idea how long it's been and so we really have to stay on top of it because all of the sudden we won't have seen someone for a month.

Remember last week how I talked about learning lessons and seeing success from diligence. Well this week we found 8 new investigators. Plus Christina came to sacrament meeting and has read all the way to beginning of 2nd Nephi! We are learning a lot about what works and what doesn't work, and we are starting to stress a little bit about how many people we have to see. It's really fun.

This week we also went to the temple! It was seriously the best. The St Paul temple is laid out just like the Medford temple, and it felt just like home. It was a serious boost and it was so nice to relax. Sister Cupkie picked us up in her awesome truck. I loved it. It like a really nice Ford. Like really nice. She picked us up and then after
took us to five guys. I have been really impressed with her. The Cupkie's are really dedicated to helping the missionaries. She said "when we weren't serving the Army anymore, we said why not serve Gods army?" And that describes their dedication. I'll have to tell you more about her sometime. She has the craziest life. But she cares a lot about the missionaries.

We also got to see the Christmas devotional! We were super excited to go, because originally we weren't planning on it but both our appointments cancelled. But obviously, I loved it. I loved Elder Bednar's talk on Christ being the light. I love driving around every night seeing all the Christmas lights on our way to appointments. It's
a beautiful remind of why we really have Christmas. Also our fast Sunday was cool because the stake was doing a fast for the missionary work in this mission, that we'll increase the numbers of members in this area. We fasted for our investigators. It's easier when you have people to think about.

Thanks for taking good care of the sisters there. Give them hugs and do what you can. Sara, as a laurel you can go out with them to teach occasionally. Even if you don't want to go on a mission, it would be a good experience. And let me just tell you that missionaries are always looking for joint teachers and rides. Have fun on the cruise, take lots of pictures! And tell everyone hi! Also for Christmas, I would really like thermals, fleece lined tights
(preferably not leggings), and an iPad case would be really awesome. Because mine just broke. It's an iPad mini:) thanks for spoiling me.

I love you!