This is gonna be a long one cause we didn't have P Day on Monday.
This week was really strange. I honestly don't feel like I've done any real missionary work since the first week. We've been so busy with the temple open house, being trained and everything. We never get much time to go out and tract. We mostly visit people we already know and eat. Haha. I usually write from the things in my planner or a little notebook I carry around, but I lost my original Indiana planner, so that sucks. I don't have the first two weeks. It's crazy how the time has flown. I can't believe we're already halfway finished with Week 4 of the transfer. I've been serving for over a month! Barf.
Monday: We had another special sister training for the temple again. It was good. The video we show before the tour has a few really good parts. There's a comment by Elder Holland about how he "can't imagine heaven without his wife and his children. It would not be heaven for [him]." You know how Elder Holland speaks straight to the heart of everyone. Every time we watch that video with the new tours, I nearly cry because it's just so sweet. Another thing is that they emphasize families so heavily. I'm so grateful for my family. I'm so grateful for the opportunity we had to be sealed in the temple and to be able to live with them for eternity. Being out here without my family has made me realize how important they really are. They say you don't know what you have until it's gone and it's so accurate. There hasn't been a time when I've been frustrated or sad or discouraged that I haven't wanted to see any number of my family members. It's a challenge and a sacrifice to serve a mission and leave my family. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't difficult. Anyway, I love you guys.. haha.
Tuesday: Okay, I'm still not sure who I told about this, but I have become the designated driver. hah. So we had a lesson in the morning and ate lunch with the elders. However, on the way to the restaurant, my companion got pulled over. I don't usually pay attention to the speed limit, so when she got pulled over I was confused. We were literally like 20 feet from the restaurant. He gave her a ticket for going 50 in a 30 zone..... It was awful. She waited the rest of the day to call Elder Smith, the senior missionary in charge of vehicles. He suspended her driving privileges and put me in charge of the driving. I'm not gonna lie, I was terrified. This place is crazy and I don't understand where anything is.. The other day, I turned right at a red light.. across a train track.. oops. Good thing we didn't die. But seriously, there are train tracks everywhere. I hate them. I feel like I'm going to be hit by a train every time I cross one...
Wednesday: Everything followed through today! We didn't have a single appointment cancelled. It was so great. We were like on top of the world! We taught three lessons and had dinner with the cutest couple. They took us to Bob Evans, which is like Dee's or Village Inn, kind of. It's a little diner. Anyway, they told me the best way to have a successful marriage is to get over stuff. Don't hold grudges. Talk about it if you need to and then move on and enjoy the positive things. I think that goes for everything. Just look on the bright side. Deal with the crappy stuff and then move on.
Thursday: While Wednesday was really successful, Thursday was not. All of our appointments fell through. Barf. It was sucky. We like wandered around all day from place to place trying to find people. It was sooo hot. That heat everyone told me about really killed us. We went to tract in a wealthy neighborhood, where the drive ways are like a quarter mile long and there's a bunch of land between each house. We walked forever, but didn't knock many houses because they were so spread out and the heat was draining. We were drenched in sweat by the second house. Not a pretty smell. Modesty is great, but it truly is the hottest. our dinner appointment fell through also, so we stopped by Velma Newton's house and helped her pick black berries and then she decided to feed us. Her son is in the Stake Presidency here and their whole family is the greatest. They are all so sweet. We'll eat at Velma's house then the Woodwards (which is Pres. Newton's wife's parents) and then at the Newton's too. It's so great. They treat us well! Velma fed us a cabbage thing... it was interesting looking but ended up tasting a little like healthy lasagna.
Friday: We had a pretty funny experience regarding dinner. So we drove to Cheryl's house for dinner, but as we pulled up a little early we check the phone to find a voicemail from her. She said she got really sick, (like really sick) and proceeded to tell us what the situation was in detail. It was so funny. She rescheduled, but I couldn't get over how similar the story was to Clark's MTC story.. HAH! So instead, we drove to Texas Roadhouse, to listen to the country music mostly, for dinner.
Saturday: Since nothing was planned or scheduled for the day, we drove the elders to Indianapolis so they could meet an investigator to go through the temple. We were kind of just chauffeurs.. It was funny though. They're such interesting guys that we had the funniest conversations during the 90 minute drive. After we got back from the temple, we dropped them off and went to visit Sue in the nursing home. She's so sweet and gives us kisses on the cheek when we visit her. I love that lady. She had a stroke so she talks different, but she's always so sweet to us. Following up with Cheryl. We had rescheduled dinner for tonight but she called us again and said she couldn't make it because she was in the hospital now, for completely different reasons than the night before. We asked if she wanted a blessing. She said yes, so we picked up the elders to go to the hospital. I swear, everyone in Terre Haute is strong minded. Everyone has a big opinion on anything and they are willing to share it. It's a hard thing to get used to, but eventually ya do. Sometimes you just let the words go over your head so you don't get offended..
Sunday: Regular church day, except we got to have the meeting in Brazil. It's an actual city in Indiana. We met there, but a non-member called us and asked if we wanted a ride to the meeting. it was really cool. We sat with her and then she drove us home. I think she enjoyed the meeting. It was a pretty cool experience. We drove to Indianapolis later that night to stay at Sister Tua and Hathcock's apartment in order to work at the temple open house on Monday.
Monday: What a long day! We started working in the Reception Tent. It was really cool to talk to people. I can feel myself gaining that confidence that Dad has. You have to just talk to people and not be afraid of the rejection. Some people will be rude and slam a door in your face or comment rudely, but others will need you to be there so they can ask questions. At first knocking doors was really uncomfortable for me. but as we've needed to talk to a lot of strangers in not a lot of time, I've gained more confidence in myself. It's pretty cool. The video room is cool too because you can get to know a few people before they go through. We never get real food though. They don't give us a scheduled break, but we don't usually die. Just exhaustion to near death by the end and then the best sleep ever.
Tuesday: Same thing. Temple open house. Super Spirit! Swag. Dinner at the Newton's. Good night(:
This week has been really good! I love you guys! Keep up the good stuff and have a great week! I'll send pictures another day!
Love,Sister SassDragon (that's what the elders in my district call me)
Wow, I've survived 13 days in Indiana. It's a completely different world out here. The culture is shocking. It's been a pretty nice week with cloudy skies and not too much humidity. I'm just waiting for it to get bad like everyone says...
Monday: After Emailing, we grabbed some healthy Wendy's for lunch and met the district, Zone Leaders (Wabash), and a set of the Wabash Elders. (There's three districts in our zone. Honey Creek, Wabash, and Linton. I'm in HC with two sets of Elders, Wabash has two sets of elders and one set of sisters. I'm not really sure what Linton has, I think two sets of elders.) We played sports and had a lot of fun! One of the Zone Leaders, Elder J Palmer, made fun of me for crying so much during the email time.. Awkward! But he said it gets better. I won the first game of Chair Soccer, more by default and no body attempting to get my out than my skills, but a win is a win!
After P-Day ended, we (Elders Campbell, Clark, Caplin, and Reece, and us)went to Sister Velma Newton's house for dinner. I was so stuffed by the end. She made baked mac and cheese, corn on the cob, vegetables, and apple-pineapple cobbler. It looked a little sketchy at first, but wasn't too bad once I tried it. Sister Carpenter said there's a famous meal here called Chicken and Noodles. It's like a thick Chicken Noodle Soup over mashed potatoes. It sounds absolutely delicious! I hope I encounter that, but who knows, maybe it's actually disgusting...
After dinner, I guess it's tradition to play Yahtzee until we have to be in our apartments for the night, so we played a few rounds with Velma and made our way to the cars...
HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY: I saw fireflies for the first time! It was so cool! Velma has a big patch of grass and they were glimmering in the twilight. It had just been raining really hard! So cool and Beautiful!!
Tuesday: HAHA! Funny story, we went to Bro. and Sis. Blanton's to do service with our district. While we waited to do service, Sis. Carpenter and I helped prepare lunch (cause they always feed ya) and the Elders fished on their lake. Eventually we went outside to fish as well. They have a beautiful stairway that walks all the way down to the dock where their two jet skies and pontoon boat hang out.
We watched the elders fish and got a few turns ourselves. While Sis. Carpenter was fishing on the pontoon, she had the car keys in her pocket, but they shimmied their way out of her pocket and into the murky lake!
As we prayed and tried to fish them out with a net taped to the end of a garden rake, Sis. Blanton walked out in her bathing suit and goggles and walks into the lake. HAH! She said in the 8 years they'd lived there, she had never put more than her foot in the lake. She said she felt like the Lord needed her to get out of her comfort zone and save us. She found the keys about 30 minutes after being in the water. It was a little miracle! The funny thing is that she just went on and on about how she had never been in the water and that the Lord delivered when she was willing to step out of her comfort zone!
After we ate lunch, we had an appointment with a man we met that day at the library while writing emails! He wanted to know more about us, but we had to reschedule because of the way the morning went. We met with a woman named Kera. She is so sweet. She'd been meeting with the sisters before. She was so welcoming and knew exactly where they left off last time.We read the intro to the Book of Mormon and tried to help her understand how it works with the bible, not against it. It was cool. Probably the first time I'd been voluntarily involved in the discussion.
We ate dinner at the apartment afterwards and went to work on Family History at the church. That was pretty cool! I loved being able to read about my great grandparents and see the pictures of them! (probably the Brady line)
Wednesday: We had a specialized training for the sisters for the temple open house! It was cool to hear from the Area 70 and the temple President. The Area 70, Elder Sinclair taught us about D&C 101:64. He explained how we should strive to build up others from where they are, not where we want them to be. The temple president told us that when he and his wife met with Pres. Eyring, he wanted to know everything about their lives. He said he likes to hear those stories because it's interesting the way the Lord brings you to this place where you were pre-destined to be.
I appreciate that because it reminds me of my purpose here. When I am discouraged or exhausted, I remember what he said and I can pick myself up again. We are all meant to be in the places we are right now. He knows us and knows what we are capable of. He will always provide.
After the wonderful meeting and training (where we learned the Video Room script and how to answer questions in the reception tent) we ate lunch and drove 2 hours back to Terre Haute. We met with Mike at 5PM at the library. It was easier to be involved in the lesson because he was new to both Sis Carpenter and me. We taught him about the Restoration and God's love. He seemed to really feel the spirit. We invited him to the Temple Open House. I hope he'll be able to make it with his children.
Thursday: Not much happened, but we visited sweet Sue. She is in a nursing home due to a stroke. She loves when we visit and talk with her. While we were there this week, she asked if I would brush her hair. It is SO long. Like, probably down to her butt. It's nice knowing that one simple action or favor for someone can brighten their day. I've started to love doing service for people. Sometimes because we can wear P-Day clothes, but a lot of times because it's something they need and it's lightening their burden. If pulling weeds or brushing someone's hair makes their life a little easier or nicer, it's worth it.
Friday: ZONE MEETING DAY!We met at the Newton's. They have a gorgeous they-built home. We had the meeting. They usually ask someone to give a training on something we need to focus on. Elder Decow gave one on the first 3 hours (studies and exercise). He talks like a scientific general authority. His lesson involved the story of Balaam's ass. He had us all read a verse. I'm pretty sure all of us read "ass" in the verses. I'm still not exactly sure how it relates to the lesson, but that happened..
He also included the example of the theory of relativity... I did not do well in sciences.. HAH! The zone leaders held a little zone workout because the Pres is all about staying fit! It's kind of cool, though. I haven't gained more that a few pounds since June 17. so that's cool. Then we ate a bunch of homemade Cafe Rio! It was SOO GOOD! They had homemade Italian sodas too. YUMMY!
All of our appointments (AKA only 1) fell through so we went with the Elders to a visit with their recent convert Salvadore. None of us are Spanish missionaries, but elder Clark started learning to help teach Salvadore. We read the children's Book of Mormon in Spanish with him. He told me that my Spanish is okay, but Sis. carpenter's isn't good. Haha! I'm planning on getting a Spanish Book of Mormon to start learning a little bit!
We have this less-active woman we visit. Her name is Linda. She's a little too honest and a little abrasive. We took the elders and she reamed them! It was a little funny because she was like that when I met her the first time. She grows on you. That's what I mean by the people are different but you really do learn to love them. It takes a little bit, but it happens. Also, what an awful 12 weeks it would be if we didn't love any of the people we visited! The Senior Missionaries had us for dinner and then we visited with Lori. She is so sweet. We were with her until curfew!
Saturday: Finally went on a run! It's a lot easier to run in this altitude than in Utah! We had a plan to do service for Sister Christie, but she called and cancelled, so we basically had no plans for the whole day. We called a different member and ended up weeding their garden for the afternoon. It was a really hot day and it kind of sucked.
TIP OF THE DAY: Vanilla body spray (or actual vanilla) keeps the bugs away. We've used it a few different times, but the people here swear by it! The gnats are absolutely AWFUL. Anywhere you go they are flying around your face!
For dinner, we met as a district at Texas Roadhouse. It was so nice to sit and listen to country music! Sis. Carpenter and I sang along to a lot of the songs. I loved it. It reminded me that I'm still normal.
Sunday: Gave a 7 minute talk, which was supposed to be 15.. Oops. It's so funny. The chorister is an older man. He sings very loudly with a LOT of vibrato. Like, you can't sing without hearing his vibrato. It shakes the building.
WE GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE OPEN HOUSE EARLY TODAY WITH INVESTIGATORS!!!! They held a special walk-through for missionaries and people they are teaching. It was so beautiful. Like, I can't even describe the feeling when we walked from the Telestial room to the Terrestrial room. It wasn't even the highest level, but it was breath taking. The light from the sunset was coming through the stained glass magnificently! It was amazing. Indescribable. We went through with Elder Clark and Campbell's investigator, Idassa. She was so sweet and kept saying, "Thank you Lord". It was really special to go through with her and see the spirit touch her soul.
We have another training on Monday (today), so we were assigned to sleep over at a set of sisters' apartment nearby. While we waited to go to bed, two other sets of sisters were there. I found out that one of them is a cousin of my manager, Becca Maynard, at the Hub! Her name is Sister Hanson! She is so funny! We talked all about Utah State and the Hub. It was so funny. We know a few of the same people that were there during both of our times! Small world!
This week has been amazing! We have a big few weeks ahead of us with the Temple Open house! I'm so grateful that I can be here during this special time in the churches history. It's so unique!
Thank you to everyone who has written me and supports me! You're all fabulous! Keep sending those good vibes and letters my way! I love you all! Have a good week! (:
Okay, there is so much I haven't been able to write about.
On Thursday in the MTC, all the sister missionaries were called in to a special meeting. We seriously thought with the mission president training and the general authorities on campus that we would be addressed by them. It wasn't the case. They told us our living building was infested with BATS! We had to move to another building. It was so funny, but the elders waited outside to help us drag our luggage across campus. They assigned us, the sisters leaving on Monday and Tuesday, to the top floor. Also, without any elevators in the building. hilarious.
Also, on Thursday, I saw Elder Smith and we took a picture. He's such a funny guy.I got a fun package from him which included a few bags of Japanese candy via David Smith (thanks!!).
Okay, so when I got to the mission, President Cleveland and his wife picked us up with the APs. We got in two vehicles and drove about 40 minutes to the mission office in Carmel. There we turned in driving records, insurance cards, and had a snack. We got back to the mission home and eventually had dinner and then a meeting. It was such a long meeting. Sister Harris and I had to sleep at a different apartment than the mission home. Pres. Cleveland's mother is serving here so we slept there. It was exhausting. We had to be awake and ready to be picked up by 7AM, but didn't get to bed until like 11:30. Ew. I seriously died.
We went to breakfast at the mission home and then to the stake center for an introduction to the mission and all the rules. They woke up at least 4 elders during the presentation. We met our new companions after that. It was super stressful. I was sad to say goodbye to sister Harris. We got really close and have been through all this together so far.
BUT I was assigned to work with Sister Carpenter. She is super cute! Kind of doesn't say much, but sweet. We are in Terre Haute with a bunch of elders, although, we never see them.
On the second day, we woke up and went to a mini zone meeting. They told us about spreading the news of the temple and gave us invitations to hand out to interested people. After that, we had lunch at Chavas (a Mexican place which my comp claimed "wasn't real", but it was pretty real). We went knocking doors afterward. We met Rhonda, Wayne, and Annie. Rhonda and Wayne are interested enough to talk to us again, but Annie is happy with her current religion but was more than willing to talk to us all afternoon, if we would've let her. I realized that comfortable shoes are a must on tracting days, which seems to be everyday...
Super weird situation happened on July 3. We were out tracting and met an old man named Bill. The conversation was so random and scattered. We tried to teach him about the temple, but it didn't exactly work. We were standing there and Sister Carpenter would ask him a question and he would begin to answer it, but then he would start talking about something completely random and disconnected to the conversation. We think he had a little mental slowness, because he was literally all over the place!
On the 4 of July, we got basically a free day. We did the usual morning routine, but went to a ward brunch instead of tracting. We were helping with the pancakes and french toast. Our bishop is a little bit of a hoverer. I stopped making pancakes after he snapped at me for half of the stove top thing not being hot... I was like, Okay....? Anyway, so we ate brunch with the missionaries and the two wards that were present had a Tug-Of-War. Our ward won ha ha! After the party, the missionaries went to the Frisbee golf course and played in pairs. It was fun! My feet were soaked from the grass by the second hole though.
Our ward of missionaries had to leave because the stake president was taking us to the Holocaust museum in town. A survivor of the Holocaust, Eva Kor, lives is Terre Haute and spoke to us about her story of survival. It was interesting,. but oh so difficult to stay awake during. After three hours of listening, the missionaries took a picture with her and made our way to the local Dairy Queen. We didn't eat very much besides ice cream because we planned to get dinner after visitng Burlington Coat Factory. I've never been the type to like a store like that or like Ross, but it was strangely fun and relaxing. Mom, I promise shopping is a lot more enjoyable when you're tracting every day and finally get a second to breathe.
Beach volleyball at Indiana State University campus was next. Sis. Carpenter and I borrowed a pair of shorts from Elder Palmer and the elders rolled us their sleeves and pant legs. It was fun! we looked like a bunch of reverse polygamists when we were walking around though. It's funny because I never did stuff like this in college, but it felt like that's what a bunch of 20-something kids should do for fun. The missionaries were given permission to stay out until 10:30 PM if we were with a member. So.... all the missionaries (12 of us) met at Fairbanks Park and sat with three members. It was so fun! We did sparklers and watched the fireworks together. I love the missionaries I'm here with. Due to the traffic and everything, we did not get home by 10:30 PM. hah! It was about 11:15 PM.
Sunday was a little bit of a blessing and a curse. We woke up and read the Book of Mormon for about 15 minutes, then took a nap before getting ready for church, because there wasn't ward council. The ward is pretty minuscule. Like there's about 60 people total, yet still more young men than the Taylorsville 15th.. haha! Also, Sis. Carpenter told me that the meeting never starts on time.. Mormon Standard I guess. We ate ribs at the bishop's house with all our ward missionaries, then had a meeting. After that sister Carpenter and I visited some potential investigators. It didn't go well. We went to Linda's house and visited, then our dinner fell through while we were there. She offered to have us for dinner. It was funny because she ordered pizza and Sis Carpenter was freaking out... HAHA! After that we visited Patsy. She is super sweet.
Everyone here smokes and has like 3 cats or dogs. I don't know if anyone knows this about me, but I hate animals hair. I hate when it gets all over me, so that's been a struggle. You just have to love these people for all they are and are not. It's going to be interesting getting used to the way things are here in Terre Haute, but I'd rather figure it out sooner rather than later. I'll probably be here for 18 weeks (12 for training, 6 for follow-up training). It sounds so terrible. They say the days pass like weeks and the weeks pass like days. I hope the second one is true. It's been a really long week. I'm not sure what I think about the area, but they all seem to love it.
I love you all, thanks for reading this terribly long, badly written email. I can't wait for next week to write more!
Love, Sister Mondragon
This blog is to share the experiences of Meagan Lynnae Mondragon as she serves an LDS mission in the Indiana Indianapolis Mission.