Monday, April 27, 2015

Malta, ID First Area: 24 June 2013

Okay so i hope you guys are sharing these emails with the family (and whoever else is interested, I guess) because my brain just doesn't work well enough to remember to send it to everyone. Tina, that's your job-No slacking! :)

This week--well not even a week--has been insane! I don't even know where to begin. First, this email won't include many pictures... My camera card went crazy, so all the pictures from the MTC and the first few days out here are GONE. I am so frustrated, you guys have no idea. I had videos and stuff from the MTC, I'm so sad. 

Anyway, Thursday we got to officially start out here. We met with Jill (the one with the baptism on the 29th) and learned that she was amazing. Her testimony is so strong and she has such a desire to be baptized. Basically that first meeting with her exploded my brain. I know there is no such thing as perfection but if there was she would be it. She desires the gospel in her life, so much that she even took it upon herself to call the bishop of her ward for an interview so she could be absolutely clear of everything before her baptism, it was quite amazing. We are looking forward to her baptismal interview this Thursday and her baptism. I hope I can send pictures next week with the new card i bought today. 

We met several Less Active members (LA) and it looks like that is going to be the majority of our work out here. We do have several investigators but it has been horrible trying to find them. To be completely honest I have felt like we have wasted a lot of time since we have arrived. I am kind of discouraged by the end of the day when we have spent all day driving to a house and the investigator or the LA is not there. We are in absolute need of help from the members in order to give us rides to our appointments. We only have 1600 miles per month, we need to be smart with our miles. On all the teaching records for investigators we have very few addresses and lots of: "lives in front of dairy off Hwy 81" and "lives at the end of the road, past red fence". It has been so frustrating. People don't really refer to addresses out here, they use farms and last names of the owners to point us in the right location, that is why member help is so crucial. Plus, everyone knows everyone out here. there are NO secrets, it's kind of crazy sometimes. 

Bro. and Sister Zollinger are our Ward Mission Leaders (WML) for the Malta 2 ward and they have done so much to help us. Thursday they drove us around to Jill's and a couple other people's houses to meet with them. One of these stops was at the Beyler family. They are really strong members and help out the missionaries all the time. They invited over Reynold, an older native american man who is referred to as "the town drunk" (and that is the most PERFECT description of the poor guy). He was very surprised to see us there. We tried teaching him but he is very VERY baptist and will not even touch the B.O.M. We taught him to pray, he is looking for a way to quit drinking. He even asked for a priesthood blessing before we had arrived in town so he must have some faith. He called the Zollinger's last night and we went with them for an emergency lesson at his house... It didn't seem to do much more than the first time-to be honest, I think he just likes the company. At the MTC they taught us of our divine calling as missionaries, that as long as we are obedient and doing what we are supposed to we have "the right to call down blessings from heaven". Well, I took this seriously. I told Reynold that we would not be back until he was willing to change. I told him he had two options, either he gives us half of his stash of beer tonight OR we come and pick up all of it in 2 days. I told him I would exchange any beer he had for 5 cases of Diet coke (his OTHER favorite drink). He looked at me, and shook his head. I was SO frustrated! Didn't help that Sister Rex caught the cold I had coming out of the MTC so her voice was shot. We were about to break curfew so we had to get going, but we left him with a prayer and he said we could come back in 2 days... We are praying that he develops the desire to truly change. By the time I got home I ran straight to the bathroom and threw up my dinner... Reynold's place wasn't.... as clean as mom would like it... BUT we have prayed for him, we have faith that he will change. 

I'm trying to think of any other things that stand out. The Robinsons (who we are staying with) gave us a tour of all of our areas the other day. I don't know if I told you but we cover 6 wards... that is A TON of miles to drive. the towns we cover are:  Malta (2 wards), Elba, Almo, Albien, Yost, and Raft River.I will mail a letter today with a map of our area so you can see just how big it is. HAHAHA, Tina, please don't let mom come see me... Maybe I'll send Kent and Naomi with some boxes for you guys and you guys can meet them in Ogden! haha. so many people travel there to shop, its absolutely ridiculous. 

As of right now we are waiting on hot water, Kent had to wait until a water heater guy was "in town" to replace it. Oh man, these people out here kill me. You guys should hear the crazy things they say. They call cars/trucks "outfits", its not dinner- It's "supper". Kent the other day was talking about the bulls that they breed out here... this is a direct quote, "If I's a bull, I'd be smart and lay around the water tank, that way I wouldn't have to chase any women around, they'd come to me!". Not to mention its not the Ensign magazine around here, its the "ensin". We are learning so much out here!! haha. The Southern Drawl is definitely sticking.. be ware, I might come back with an accent. 

Yesterday's church adventure was inspiring, seriously. The Raft River ward was this Sunday (every sunday we attend a different ward), the chapel is HALF the size of the one back home. And EVERYONE is related to EVERYONE. We met 3 Webb families, a couple Hutchison and stop counting, that's the ward! jk. But it seemed like it. What I loved about this ward was that it was half English, half Spanish--and Backwards! Relief society is first, the English and Spanish sisters gather for opening exercises and then separate, then Sunday School. We attended the spanish S.S. that was incredible. The sister that teaches reminds me aTON of hna Baca back home, she knows so much and is so good with her words, it definitely made me miss home. Total there were 12 people in Sunday School, counting US! The ward is so small, but I am so excited to get to meet everyone. We were introduced during Sacrament meeting and the chapel "filled up" because a guy was leaving on his mission... Guess what?! I was asked by the bishop to translate sacrament meeting every Sunday I was in the ward! I am so excited, I'm happy to put my language to good use. I already have so much love for those Spanish members, they are so humble but they know a lot! 

I know Nat saw the broadcast, but I hope everyone else did too. Last night there was a sort of Missionary Training broadcast from the MTC. The first presidency and members of the quorum of the 12 were there, I basically cried the whole time. I hope it helped you realize the importance of "every member a missionary". We as missionaries rely on your help, we NEED members to help us find people. Our worldwide growth has hit over 7,000 but we still can't do it all. Please, I urge you to do the best you can in your respective wards. We need the help. Tina, I am so proud of you, kiddo for going out with the missionaries. I can only imagine how much your testimony is helping to reach those who are in search of the truth. I can promise you that the missionaries LOVE your help, don't ever feel like you're intruding, they need you. They need all of you! If you didn't get a chance to watch it I suggest you look it up, it was so good. 

So out here we are in the middle of nowhere, right? well, guess what I got to do?? Feed a calf! hahaha I am such a hick. I freaking love it out here. we were invited to eat at the Zollingers last Thursday. They have tons of cows and a couple horses. One of the cows gave birth so they separated it from the mom and took the big cows out to free range (Tina, remember when I spent hours watching Alaska: The last Frontier on Discovery? Well it helped a TON with all the farming they do out here, see... I DID learn things!). Bro. Zollinger prepared a bottle and Sis. Rex and I took turns feeding it! It started chasing us because we took the bottle when he was done, he thought we had more! It was quite a sight! Oh my goodness, this will show you exactly what Sis. Rex is like:

So after we fed the calf we were walking back and she asks "so how are they related? is he the mom or the dad?" She pointed to the calf, and the HORSE. Bro. Zollinger and I just look at each other and LAUGH. We could hardly breathe, she didn't realize (I'm not quite sure how) that the calf is from a COW, not from a horse. Oh my, it was so funny. I still catch myself laughing about that every now and then, haha. 

One last thing, I have noticed that everywhere we go we are being watched. Doesn't matter if you are being the happiest person on earth, if you do one thing wrong, you are in big trouble. We tried to knock some doors just the other day in a smaller neighborhood where we know a lot of Hispanics work. They work and live at the Grush Dairy Farm down the street from where we live (like 17 miles). We saw some kids outside so we went in that direction, as we waved and said hi they ran around the house and in through the back door where we had seen a mom and an older daughter just moments before. We were hopeful as we knocked but there was no answer. People tend to run away from missionaries, its kind of weird. Just a couple hours ago we were in Walmart, I have never seen the isles clear that fast. It's kind of sad, actually. The only people who would make eye contact were those who you could clearly tell were members. 

Although it's hard out here and I am not exactly super happy with the way things are going, I have been able to see the Lord's hands in our work. When we are close to giving up at the end of the day, He finds ways to keep us going. Whether it's with a laugh or a beautiful sunset, the Lord takes care of us. Just yesterday we were super discouraged and decided to head home early, that's when we got a call to visit Reynold. Two days ago, we were feeling pretty crappy. We parked the truck on the side of the road and decided to walk to the next house. We took some pictures along the way. We stopped at a different house than intended and we found a member family, but they seemed like they were hurting. Turns out the parents are in the middle of a divorce, its been hard on the kids. So much so that the 15 year old is in Utah at a sort of rehab place because it hit him too hard. The parents are separated but dad lives quite litterally, across the street. We shared a message with them, we helped them laugh. We even made an appointment to come back next Monday to give them a FHE lesson. Visiting that family was absolutely inspired, I know that for a fact. I have quickly learned that things don't just happen, everyone you meet--and everyone you DON'T meet at a specific time is for a reason. I am learning to teach AND walk by the spirit. I pray every day for patience, I am in definite need of such. 

I love you guys. I hope everything is going well. I wish you the best this week, don't forget to search for those who might need the gospel in their lives so you can share with the missionaries! 

Until next Monday,

Hermana Calero

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