Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My mission in "Neverland!" ;)

FUN FACT ABOUT MY AREA THAT I LEARNED TODAY: Michael Jackson lives here (Well, lived here, of course.:)!! Yep, his "Neverland" is right here in Los Olivos.  Our church is actually next-door to the Jehovah's Witness church he attended.  And...his doctor used to be our ward mission leader.  (But don't worry...Brother Saunders is not the one that killed him. ;)

Well...with THAT good news out of the way, our week went about like this:

So, Euell had surgery this week. :(  It was one that he thought would be just a day in the hospital, but it turned out to be a lot harder than he planned.  We had to cancel our lessons, and he wasn't able to make it to church this week.  BUT it's okay.  Everyone in the ward LOVES him, and has been so supportive as he's gone through these surgeries.  They bring him dinners, give him rides to his doctor's appointments, and he says he really feels like part of the ward family.  We'll start teaching him again this week, and hopefully we'll be setting him with a baptismal date!  Lenore's doing great, too. She's a little bit crazy, but we love her.:)
She says she believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that the church is true.  She says "She's a Mormon at heart, so she doesn't really need the official label."  Ooooh, Lenore. I'll let you know how that turns out. :) We've also been teaching Tomas, a man that we met tracting a few weeks ago.  He's Spanish, but speaks English very well.  He LOVES everything he's been taught, but we thought he'd understand the Book of Mormon better if he could read it in Spanish, and since we aren't much help with that, we're passing him over to the Hermanas this week.  We're a little sad, cause we love him...But it's okay.  He'll get baptized and we'll get to see him at church.

We had a really great lesson with one of our investigators, Albert.  He's met with us consistently every week since I got here, but he tends to get distracted and sidetracked in lessons.  At first, it seemed like he hadn't been absorbing much of what he was being taught.  This week though, we were able to teach him about the Book of Mormon, and he TOTALLY gets it all!  We took the chance to read with him, and the spirit was so strong.  He's committed to reading the Book of Mormon, and we'll keep meeting weekly.  We also met with a woman named Christina earlier today (we accidentally planned a lesson on P-day :), and it went SO well! She knows a few families in the ward, and she thinks really highly of them, so she was so excited to be able to learn more about why they do the things they do. She set up another lesson for tomorrow morning!! She also has the cutest little kids in the world -- Jonas and Clive.

Tomorrow, I have exchanges with...SISTER COX!!  I seriously couldn't be more excited.  She and her companion, Sister Hegstrom, are coming down from SLO (San Luis Obispo) to spend the day in Solvang and Buellton with us.  Man, I've missed her.  I'll tell you all about how it goes next week!  Transfers are coming up on the 12th.  It seems like this transfer has gone by SO fast (it was even a week longer than usual!)  I have a good feeling that I'll be staying in Solvang, but I guess you can never be quite sure.

Well, I have to go get my haircut...but I figured I owe you a quick update on the work, since I've been such a slacker these past few weeks!  (I don't know why, but P-days here are CRAZY busy!  Maybe it's because we have to drive to Lompoc to shop, and have sports with the Elders.)  I love you all, and miss your cute faces.  But I know I'll be seeing them soon, and that I have an eternity to spend with you all.

♥ Love you guys!
Sister ShayShay

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Euell, Lenore and chocolate chip cookies!!

Dear Family,

I'm sorry this letter is so short, but I am nearly out of time.  And, I'm also sorry it's been two weeks since I've given an update.  I promise all is well here. :)

So what's new?  Well, let's see...

Right now we're teaching a man named Euell.  He's GREAT.  He's about 60, African American, and he's HILARIOUS.  He's in pretty bad health, unfortunately.  He got in a plane crash a couple years back, and now does dialysis 3 days a week.  He's had a lot of hard things in his life, but he loves Heavenly Father so much, and is so grateful for what he has.  The other day he said to us, "You know...I"m looking for something...something like...the Mormon Constitution!!  I want to know ALL your doctrine, so I can understand what my roll will be when I'm a member."  HEY EUELL!  What a coincidence!  That's what we're here to teach you!!  He's started making friends in the ward now, and friends in Priesthood.  He's already a part of the ward, and has started the Stake challenge to read Preach My Gospel over these next two he just needs to get baptized.

Then there's Lenore.  Ooooh, Lenore.  She's ALSO hilarious.  She's this little old baptist lady who loves God, and loves Billy Graham.  Oh, and she loves us.  She seriously thinks we're angels...but literally...
which is somewhat nice, cause she's always excited to hear what we have to say. :)  The other day, we sang to her, while she held up her and hands and praised God.  After we finished, she said, "That was better than a month-long trip to Bora Bora, staying in a deluxe motel, with FREE room service!" then, "Wow. That was like a shot of Valium, I just feel THAT at peace!" (I've never had my singing described that way before.) We explained to her that that's what we call feeling the spirit.  Man, that lady is great.

In OTHER news, Pete and Doenice came to see me on Saturday!!  I was the happiest missionary in the world.  They took sister Platt and I to Pea Soup Andersen's, Buellton's one and only claim to fame.  It was delicious (who knew pea soup was even good?!), and so good to see the wonderful Chavez family again. Mom, Doenice told me the two of you text all the time.  Pete says you two are new best friends.  I'm glad you get to talk to them, and thank you for all the help you've been.  They seriously love you!

We also had President's Interviews this week out in Santa Barbara. Sister Felix sat and talked with the district while each of us interviewed, AND she made us chocolate chip cookies.  YUM.

I've got to run, but I'll write again soon.  I love you all!!
♥ Sister Shay Shay

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy 4th of July!!

Sorry, I'm 3 days late...but HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!  I hope it was wonderful, patriotic, and fun-filled!

It's always a little bit weird celebrating holidays away from home...especially with people I met a week ago, and am still learning their names, but it really was great!  Buellton is a pretty small town outside of Solvang, and it's sort of got a "country feel."  Everyone wears cowboy boots and hats, and has a strangely southern accent.  It seems a little out of place, but we like it.  A lot of the ward is from Buellton though, so we had a cowboy celebration for the 4th!  I was a little worried I'd feel out of place, dressed up in my red, white, and blue, but I've never seen so many button-up, American Flag shirts in my life.  It was AWESOME.  We all made pancakes at the church, then everyone brought their guitars and we sang "This Land is My Land" together.  It was GREAT!  We also live pretty close to the old Catholic Mission, so they did a GIANT firework show.  It was past our curfew, so we did our best to watch it from the apartment.  It didn't work very well.  Luckily, we got to pop the poppers Mom sent from our our balcony.  It was a LOT of fun! :)

Along with that, we got to go down to Goleta and meet President Felix!!  President Felix is WONDERFUL.  Crazy Story:  He actually had a heart attack 5 weeks before he left for the MTC!  At the time, President Castro was unaware, but asked that as a mission, we begin praying for him to be able to come, and be prepared to serve.  President Castro said that when he had the heart attack, he knew it'd be okay, because he had 230 missionaries praying for him!  He had two stints put in his heart before he came out here...So, we've got something in common!  Oh, and he has season tickets in our favorite North Stache Zone--we're basically destined to be friends.  This Thursday we'll be going back for ANOTHER meeting, where they'll announce the changes that will be coming to our mission.  (Last year they said they'd like to have all US missions to have iPads by this July, so that may be part of it.  We'll see, though!)

Sorry my email is so short today--I'll write more next week.  I'm about out of time, and we're running off to OstrichLand with the Elders.  Love you. ♥

♥Shay Shay