Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Follow the yellow brick road...

Another great week in Hollywood Hills SOUTH!!! Yep, we have finally settled in, our plans are made, we have started meeting with the members and that relationship has been formed. Sometimes I feel like it is a precarious relationship, both sides waiting nervously for the other to either produce something or to botch it big time. What a fun, scary, thrilling, nerve-wracking time. Sometimes, as a missionary I feel like an underpaid, overworked baby-sitter. No, really. We have to make sure that people actually know what their calling is and then see if they do it, especially when it comes to our investigators/recent converts/inactives. Boys, do you remember that feeling. Walking into PEC or Ward correlation, just praying that an auxiliary leader actually remembered their assignment and that they actually did it? Or that stomach wrenching feeling right before Sacrament meeting, with a giant prayer in your heart, that one of the 50 or so people you invited to church actually made it. Or right after the Sacrament, when all of the late people flood in, hoping that one of your people will stumble in, looking completely lost until they see your face and their faces just light up. OH MAN, Sunday is the refiner’s fire, the day of judgment. If the final judgment is at all like a Sunday for a missionary, then I will have to use the bathroom before I get in line. It is just so nerve-wracking and exhausting. Then, to make matters worse, you don’t even get the traditional, and oh so needed, Sunday nap. In other words, it was a rough day yesterday. I find life as a missionary to be a highly humorous one because it is not reality, but more like a spiritual life on steroids.

Hna. Miller and I feel like we have three weeks to get this place moving, get the kinks worked out so if one of us has to leave, the other feels nice and tidy and ready to go. A large task, since really we only have 2 weeks to do it all in, but it is kinda fun at the same time. There is nothing better than starting over with a companion you know really well in a ward that already knows us. To say the least, we have been crazy busy and loving it. We have become more like sisters, hna. Miller and I. She and I even fight out loud. But then, after a nap and some food, we come together apologetically and move on. This happened yesterday actually. We were out contacting and there was some miscommunication. Someone said something to offend the other, the other got really mad and raised her voice. Then the first said something cutting. Then we both stopped. Looked at each other and said “This is where I am coming from.” The other responded, “Ok, this is what I was thinking.” Then we found a solution and actually found a couple of new people to work with. It was the craziest thing. Two months ago we would’ve given up and said nothing to each other for the rest of the day. I guess I am growing up and learning how to love people. I just hope that I can keep this temperament and use it when I get married because, let me tell you, if marriage is anything like having a companion, anything like it, than I am learning a lot of things about myself and how to work with someone, even when they might be dancing on your last nerve.

We really REALLY want to work with the members and start getting them self-sufficient. So, we are meeting every one of them, active or not. We really don’t know names, sadly, so this has been quite an adventure. That is our new phrase “I guess it is going to be an adventure!!” We say it whenever a wrong turn has been had, an address does not exist, or if someone hung up on us. Or, if a street needs to contacted on, but we have no stinkin’ idea where or why!! Most of the members are quite happy about the change, well…mostly the Relief Society. One mom even told us that she is so excited to have the missionaries come over and not be the only woman in the house. She then offered to hold an FHE this week with a couple of her friends because she thinks it would be fun. As long as there is a non-member there and we get to teach a little something something, ok. Then there a couple of inactives that are just thrilled that someone would call them up after so many years. We have seen so many tender mercies here, and though our numbers are a little on the small side, we feel peaceful and calm, knowing that we are doing the best we can with the resources we have. Plus, it was cool to actually know the Elder’s investigators because they used to be ours. Now the ward feels more like “ours” instead of yours and mine. Or, in other words, a little more like Zion. We still have challenges, this change has not magically fixed everything. But it feels like a good positive shake up for the ward and the missionaries.

There are so many more trailer parks in our new area. Some are pretty ghetto. Some are pretty normal and then some of them look like Trump lives in them. Those are usually the snow birds from Canada. There is one trailer park, it is huge, full of French speakers. They all drive really nice cars. Their trailers are pristine and beautiful. We even comment on how nice they look and if we would rather live in this one or that one. Then we stop ourselves and remember that it is a trailer park still. It is the funniest, most ironic things ever.

Talking about irony—I’ve got a great story. The other day my companion and I were having the worst day ever and we forgot to pack a lunch, so we decided to eat our feelings and eat something greasy. That all equated to McDonald’s (we both grew up a little more on the poor side, so going to McDonald’s as kids was quite a treat. We were looking for a treat at this time…). After we got our food and after everything was blessed we anxiously bit into our first greasy bite of a Big Mac meal. The McDonald’s we were in had two TV’s that would play the news. As we were eating this is what we heard from a CNN reporter:

“Bill Clinton was admitted into the hospital today after complaining of severe chest pains. As we all know, Clinton did not have the best eating habits. While in the Whitehouse he would jog to McDonald’s and then eat French fries, a Big Mac and a milkshake…”

We didn’t hear the rest, that was enough to ruin our treat. Well, not really. We just died laughing because when do you sit in a restaurant listening to negative information about that restaurant? Oh the irony!!

Hey, mom. We were teaching a man named Max in our old area. Ever since we met him I wanted to tell you about him, but I have forgotten until now. His name was Max, and we taught him. Then one day I asked what his last name was. “Medina.”

“Hey, it’s Max. Maaaaax Medina.” I said this to my companion then I had to explain where it came from. Now, whenever we talk about him we always say Maaaaax Medina. Funny.

Anyway. This letter wasn’t so serious, just a little more humorous. That is how our week has been. Ironic and humorous. I hope you enjoyed.

Love love love love love

Hermana Barros

PS—I got some great pictures—thanks!! And Brandon and Sarah. Thank you for the e-mail. I loved it. I sent you a post-card, but…when I put it into the irretrievable mailbox slot, I realized I didn’t fill the entire address out. So, there is the thought. I hope it counts. My little face fell as I realized, without the ability to fix my mistake, that I had made a huge error. Oh, and there is a picture attatched to this e-mail, just for little mr. Payton.

Love love love,

O sea, les amo--me

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