Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 17: In which I make new friends, roll in the MAV, and play cello at Zone Conference.

Hola, todos!
[Hello Everyone!]

Esta semana fue fantastico! Estoy muy animado por estar aqui en Wenatchee. Todavia yo necesito mejorar mi Espanol. Pues, esta bien. Pienso que hablo mejor que escribo.
[This week was fantastic! I am very excited to be here in Wenatchee. I still need to better my Spanish. Well, it's OK. I think I speak better than I write.]
This last week was crazy. So much happened, and yet it felt like a maximum of 3 days. Last Monday after emailing, we went out to try to do a lot of finding. That's pretty much been the last couple of weeks. We ran into a person named Nayeli last Monday, and we had a really cool lesson. Everything seemed to go well. She seemed to want to know more, and accepted a return visit on Thursday.

When we went back on Thursday (I was on exchanges with Elder Call at the time), she apologized profusely to us. Apparently, she was just too nice and too shy to tell us the last time she already had a church and wasn't super interested. We talked a bit, and she seemed to begin to understand our true purpose. I think she thought we only do what we do to add new numbers to our church. Not so! At least, that's not our purpose as I see it! As we talked a bit, she began to understand that our purpose is to invite others to come closer to Christ by experimenting on the message we go about sharing. She then accepted a challenge to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true and from Him. It was a really cool lesson. She was still extremely hesitant to accept a return appointment, but seemed open to us coming back at an unspecified time to help answer whatever questions she might have about what she will read. I'm not sure how that will turn out, but at least she's open to try.

We also met a cool lady named Hermalinda Friday. She lives relatively close to a less active member of the church. We had an awesome lesson with her, and we have a return appointment set for tomorrow. I really hope that goes well! She seemed pretty open and willing to learn more. Another person we met was Adriana. When we met with her, she seemed pretty interested intellectually, but she didn't seem to understand that we weren't there to convince her to change religions, but to invite her to ask if the things we share are true. However, she said something very interesting; she said that she loves having the Mormon missionaries over, because we always give a special, different kind of peace to her when we visit.

Hello! That's exactly it! For her, she doesn't seem to recognize when the spirit is trying to testify to her. It's just like she described. It's not just ordinary "peace", but a "special, different" kind of peace. It's a peace that is given to us, not like the world gives peace, not an ordinary peace, but a truly special kind of peace in your heart. Having that with me all the time, having the spirit to guide me, is absolutely essential to being a missionary. It's not about us trying to add to little numbers on a sheet; it's about us trying to share things that are not only special to us, that have made an incredible difference in our lives. I have heard and seen how this good news we share has made an immeasurable difference in the lives of others as well.

We've been rolling around this week in the MAV. MAV is the name we finally gave to the beloved van we share a bit with the Zone Leaders. It stands for Mormon Assault Vehicle. It's only a minivan, so it's not really a true MAV, but since it's the car we use, it is henceforth and forever known as MAV.

This last Wednesday we had a fantastic Zone Conference. We learned how to be better missionaries and better followers of Christ, and we were all able to strengthen each other. I think the funniest moment, though, was hands down the video we all watched about good table manners. It was made in the 80's or so, so it was all a bit... out of date. At least, the hairstyles were.

It all finished up with a special musical number by Sister Baird on the piano and Yours Truly on the cello. At the very, very end, we all heard the powerful departing testimonies of those faithful missionaries leaving in the next 12 or so weeks.

I can't believe so much time has passed! It's crazy that I've been here in Wenatchee almost 3 months (a little less)!

I'm going to finish up with my own testimony that this is really a great work. Seeing the happiness of others is truly one of the things that can bring the greatest joy in this life, especially to help bring the special peace of the spirit into people's hearts.
Answers to Questions from the Editors:
Sister Lewis posted many pictures from zone conference, including a video of your cello performance. Did you play the same piece for your two performances yesterday? Were those performances in different wards?
Did not play the same piece for the two yesterday. Will try to send a recording later. One was in the Spanish Ward (Columbia River) and the other was in the English Ward (Mission Ridge). The two wards share 2nd and 3rd hour, and the Spanish Ward has sacrament meeting after the other 2 hours. So, basically, English sacrament meeting, 2nd hour with both, 3rd hour with both, and Spanish sacrament meeting closing it up.

Where did you get the cello? It doesn't look terribly bad and sounded like it had decent tone and got the high notes.
I got the cello from a member who lives up near Leavenworth. It's a ways away, but he works here in Wenatchee. We just picked it up from his office last Tuesday, kept it at the apartment (got permission from Zone Leaders) practiced some, played Wednesday, practiced Friday night and Sunday morning, and played on Sunday.
Did you get the bike fixed?  Are you happy?Bike, no.  Happy, yes.

Do you need anything besides shoes?
Really just shoes right now.
Does your companion need anything?
Doesn't need squat, just for me to tell you "thanks for letting me come on a mission (from him)"

Are you wearing deodorant?
I'm wearing deodorant, thank you. Why, can you smell me all the way in Massachusetts?

Is it cooling off?
It's cooling off, yes.

And finally... some pictures!

First... many of the missionaries decided to encircle the car of another unfortunate companionship (in the truck).
Yay, spiders! We found this one in our apartment and caught it in a glass jar. We took pictures and subsequently released it.
Elder Aguirre's legendary cooking! Huzzah!
The bushes are infested with many, many spiders...
 ...right next to: Our Apartment! (With complimentary Elder Aguirre)

Me, but in the MAV

A top-secret, exclusive view of a random house in our area! Ta daa!

An aerial view of our area! Yay! Our area is on this side of the river. The two borders are on the outside streets next to the hospital and the college (with the big red track). Basically, our area includes both the hospital and the college, but those are right on the borders.

This is Saddle Rock, from which the previous picture was taken:
 My shoes:

Elder Aguirre organizing the Area Book:
Elder Wunderlich (in back) and his new companion (in front) at Zone Conference:

 Most of the Zone on Saddle Rock:

Bonus:  Video & Pictures from Zone Conference, posted by Sis. Lewis, the mission president's wife.

Spot Ben in this video (hint: he's right in the middle in a gray suit.)

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