Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"White-out can't erase your FAITH!"

Aloha Fam! This has been quite the week in the self-finding journey and the dealing with crap journey. Some good things happened and some bad things happened. It's been interesting how it's been evened out lately. 

First off, someone paid for our lunch at Costco. Thank the church members of Boise Idaho x1000000 (lol I always write about someone paying for the foods). Also we discovered AMITY and I love it up there - so full of grass and dirt and real stuff. 

Second, something I really learned this week was the importance of asking good questions. Something Hermana Allen always did in lessons was stop, listen, and ask really good questions to our investigators. As I've been a missionary, I've been confused about a lot of things - I'm always confused about what's going on in the Book of Mormon, in my studies sometimes I have no idea what's going on in what I'm reading, and at District Meetings, other missionaries are talking about an experience and I'm like whoa - that's a thing? SO - I've learned that if you're confused, just ASK. I wish I would have done this more while I was growing up, because all you have to do is ask! I remember always sitting in Sunday School and in Seminary and it seemed like everyone else knew exactly what was going on, so I was toooooo shaaaaame to ask any questions. THIS IS THE WORST. You should always feel free to ask and it's a part of the learning process. 

I've been really homesick this week, and I can't figure out why. It's been really weird - should get easier as you get further in, right? I guess not. Something that Aunty Sarah wrote in a letter to me really stood out, and I remembered some important things. 

"Calm down and remember that God's got all of this. All of it is in His hands." 

As I knelt at my bedside and prayed this week, I just cried. I cried because for some reason, I didn't want to be here. And I don't know why - I love these people! I love Idaho! I love Boise! But there is this weight in my heart that I hate. But I remembered that Jesus Christ knows how it feels to be homesick - he knows what it's like to just want to eat breakfast with my Dad and to just want to laugh with my Sister. He knows what it's like to be frustrated and to be sad. This is what we teach as missionaries. This is the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. "All of it is in His Hands." And so when we come across these rocks in our hike, He helps us get around them and jump over them and throw them out of the way. 

I hope everyone's doing cherrehhhhh. I love you all! I remembered this week all of the support and love I have back home and in other parts of the world - I am inspired by you and the people around me and who have been a part of my life have helped me more than they know. Let me know if you need anything! If you love me, shoot me an email! Tell me about your life! 

Keep smiling, keep laughing, keep juicing. lol. 

Lots of love & goob foods,
Hermana Elkington

P.S. For breakfast this morning I ate a bowl of oatmeal with a can of root beer and realized that I am a combination of my Mom and Dad in one person. Lol. 


Someone send me some workouts cuz I'm gaining weight like a freaking walrus (not joking) we've been given ice cream like every day this week from members (bless their hearts). 

I've never felt so Mormon in my whole life. I listened to MOTAB yesterday and actually like 12% of me liked the song? What's going on? Who am I? What am I? There's no turning back. Send help ASAP. 

But in all seriousness, I love being a missionary. There are things about it I don't love, there are people that are hard to get along with, there is difficult leadership and a constant feeling of inadequacy and ALL THAT JAZZ but I love it. Yesterday I was reminded how happy it made me - guess who came to Church:

        - Charlene and Angel! These kids make my day every time I see them. They love reading in the Book of Mormon, love spicy Mexican candy that I forreal can't handle, and are always happy to see us. 

         - La Familia Cortes! Mario and Ramon came again and guess who showed up with them:                    THEIR MOM CECY. She worked extra this week so that she could get work off on Sunday and she loved it. The boys had fun as well and got invited to go on a campout this week! 

The Spanish Branch here welcomed our investigators with open hearts and open, loving arms. It was SO COOL to see how loved these people were, even when the Branch had just met them that day! And again and again, I am reminded that the gospel and Missionary work is about LOVE. That's it. It's just love. There's so many dumb rules, so many dumb missionaries, and some crazy freaking people here in Idaho, but I'm here to love and to share love. 

Here's some things that made my week:

- Hna. Quezada showed me a pic of Rachel and Abby Shumway performing in Utah or something! I love those girls!
- I saw a license plate that said "Got Rice" 

Lastly, our Ward Mission Leader told us to chill out on P-Days and go "juicing," where you each bring a lawn chair, bring some juice, and sit and cruise as a District. I'm the biggest believer that you gotta take some time to just remember that you're okay and that the World is a beautiful place *Boise hippies gettin' to me*

Love you all, let me know if you need anything or have any questions! If you love me, write me back! #JESUSFORIDAHO

Lots of Love,
Hermana Elkington 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Free Pandas for Everyone!

Haiiiiiii Fam! How are your lives?

We've been busy as crap, which feels super good. We come home and just get all floppy and die and go to sleep early because we're so exhausted. Highlight of the week: a member paid for us at Panda! BLESSSSSS

Guess who came to Church! Mario and Ramon! It was so cool to see them there - they seemed to really enjoy it and the Spanish Branch welcomed them warmly. We talked to them afterwards and asked them what they learned, and Ramon said, "Well, pretty much all the same stuff you've been teaching us!" And I was like *yusssss I can kind of speak Spanish jajajaja* and we joked and laughed and it was great. They feel like family to me. 

I got to play my uke at a Relief Society thing and all the old ladies came up to me afterwards and said "Sweetheart, you have such a beautiful voice!" and I was showered and overwhelmed by old lady niceness. Also, the priesthood representative guy who was there was the spitting image of Shawn Spencer and asked me, "So, if one was going to plan a trip to Hawaii for a friend, what would one recommend doing while there?" and I felt like I was in an episode of Psych. 

We have plans of getting a bike rack this week so we will be ballin' in Boise soon enough. 

One of the people we work with, Hermana Cevallos, had lots of questions about the Plan of Salvation and getting sealed in the Temple, and I didn't have any answers for her which was frustrating. I started my own search in my studies this week and have been praying and hoping for answers, but haven't found a lot. When it comes down to it though, I know that what I feel is right. When I have that feeling of peace and love, I know God's gonna work it all out and sometimes, we just don't need to worry. 

We also started working in our new area, with one of the Elder's old investigators named Roy. He and Paola have a little baby named Jared who is the cutest bundle of honey bunches of oats I have ever seen - we taught him one lesson, but we love his family so much already. 

Hope everyone has had a great week! If I can help you with anything, or if you have any questions, shoot me an email! I love to hear from you and know what's going (and what's not) in your life. 

Lots of super happy joy,
Hermana Elkington

No chill in Boise

Aloha mi primos! 

Here's how I've seen the hand of God in my week:

- I got another Watermelon
- Hna. Sundstrom knew I love 4th of July more than anything and made me a little flag
- We got the privilege to teach 6 new investigators
- I got a Dairy Queen Blizzard and was reminded of BURLEY (also Hall&Oates was playing)
- Our 1st counselor in the Branch talked about Lion King in his Sacrament Meeting talk
- Our Ward Mission Leader's wife knows the SHUMWAYS

So if y'all know me (#youknowme) you know I freaking love 4th of July. And I was about to die because I wasn't gonna be able to jump in the water this 4th - but I had some wonderful people make up for that, and my day was just golden. We got to have a BBQ and hang out with the one and only Elder Price and Elder Burgess and play Redneck Life with them (loling), got to ride bikes, and I made Hna Sundstrom lay on the grass with me at 10pm to watch some fireworks. I think Heavenly Father was full on taking care of me and it was pretty gosh dang bueno.

Here's my transfer news - I get to stay in Boise with Hermana Sundstrom! Super stoked - we not only have our old area, but a whole new area to work in! So we get to whitewash half of Boise and keep the other half! They took the Spanish Elders out of the area, so now we are officially the only Spanish-speaking missionaries in all of Boise. I feel pretty trusted by the Lord and am still kinda thinking braddah my braddah can we really handle TWO areas? Our area covers 7 stakes and it's a little overwhelming, but I also feel blessed with this new opportunity to work even harder. We've already found new people to work with and joke that we are like the Sister AP's because we get to go wherever we want heh. 

Hermana Sundstrom gave me my favorite compliment I've maybe ever gotten haha - she said to me, "You're suuuuper chill but you say deep stuff all the time without even meaning it!" She then told me that she loves how I share my testimony with people through the things that I love to do, and that I share my testimony by being who I am. I was so touched by this - I've tried SO HARD to incorporate who I am to the mission work and share with people this gospel that has meant so much to me and made such a difference to me, and I was crazy cool to hear this coming from my companion. 

Lastly, I was reading in the Ensign about the first branches that were started in South Aftrica (when apartheid was still a thing) and how the branches were a mix of different people who had different cultures and different views. I thought it was beautiful how they handled their differences:
         "They opened their misunderstandings to discussion and improvement - they listened and learned from one another's differences."

I loved this! I think if we have misunderstandings or issues with the gospel or the church, or how things are run or ANYTHING, we need to be open enough and willing enough to resolve these issues. We need to be open to "discussion" and "improvement" and learn from one another and accept one another's differences. This is 100000x easier said than done, and it's something that I've been trying to do better - but I thought it was sweet. 

I love you all and hope you had the bombest 4th of FREAKING JULY ever. Keep on loving! Keep on chilling! Keep on cruising + working hard! 

Lots of super happy amor,
Hermana Elkington 

"Hermana Elkington, you're a good athlete." -Elder Burns

Aloha Fam! 

This was the eternal week! This week was a YEAR - this transfer has been a CENTURY, not even joshing! I feel like I was 5 when I came to Boise and now I'm literally 80. Me and Hermana Sundstrom will find out if we are getting transferred tomorrow night (because on the mission they don't support you using your time to say goodbye to people before you get transferred #supahsalty) but are both expecting to stay here in Boise. They don't move around the Hermana's very much because there are only 8 in the mission, and not actually a lot of places that we can serve. So we'll see! Come what may and love the crap out of it, right?

The week started out tough. Hermana Sundstrom got some bad news from home, and I was wondering how the work would go this week - but as long as this week felt, I think this was the funnest we've had yet. We were laughing 24/7 *and also almost crashed the car multiple times*

One thing my Dad taught me is that if you ever make Sweet Bread French Toast, you never make it just for yourself. I woke up on Tuesday feeling homesick as heck and didn't want to be in Boise anymore - you can hear the freeway from our house and it makes me want to throw up hahaha *dramatic* - so I made myself some Sweet Bread French Toast. And then some for Hermana Sundstrom as well - and the week began. And we just balled our way all the way to Monday! We were happy and working past hard things, but laughed our way through it and helped each other and loved each other! I have learned so much from her, it's been amazing. 

We visited one of the Menos Activos that lives in our area, Virginia, this week. Last week she had about 50 gallons of milk sitting on her table and this week she had about 200 packages of QUESO FRESCO in her fridge. We had just dropped by to say hi and she made us sit down and eat a ton of her cheese. Elder Parker, one of the missionaries with me in Burley, had lost 30 lbs by giving up cheese and all I could think was welp. There goes that plan - Blesssss!

Here's some of the pieces of Ted's Bakery pie from this week:

- Charlene and Angel came to CHURCH! We knocked on their door and Charlene comes out in her dress pants and a blouse and the Book of Mormon we gave her in her hands.
- We found a new investigator - his name is Armando and we call him the "Fish Guy" cuz every time we've seen him he's been cooking fish
- Karen is this Sister that has been a member for a while but isn't going to Church. We got to teach her and meet her this week, she's from Columbia! Her daughters did our makeup.
- Hermana Gomez, one of the members in the branch, bought me a watermelon.

Last week after we played basketball, one of the AP's, Elder Burns, said "Hermana Elkington - you're a good athlete." And I thought, "Do you think I'm an athlete? Because I think I'm an athlete." (Little, you better get that one) And let me tell you about Elder Burns - he is a LEGEND. He is possibly the most soft-spoken missionary I've met, and out of nowhere he is the best athlete in the mission - he played college basketball and coached basketball and played soccer and is even a beast at ping-pong. So I heard him say that and just thought I CAN DO ANYTHING CHEEEEPONO

Lastly, me and Hermana Sundstrom have decided to take on the Home Depot motto and "Let's do this" *in the deep Home Depot guy voice* and just go with it. A lot of crazy has happened this transfer, but we're still going. We're still working hard. We're still having fun and laughing - and we love the people here more than anything. 

Keep on loving! Keep on laughing! Write me and tell me about your lives! I love you all more than I love the ocean! 

Lots of love,
Hermana Elkington

Monday, June 26, 2017

Come what May, and Love the crap out of it

Aloha Fam!

Here's some of my favorite quotes of the week, some things that I either heard or read:

- "If Idaho isn't giving you all the sunshine and smiles, you gotta provide fo your brothers and sisters." -Jo Tueller
- "When we're friends, everything will be better!" -Elder Melo (from Braziiiiiil!)
- "I'm not here to receive praise and appreciation, I'm here for my Savior. And when I trust Him and work hard, I'll see miracles." -Sister Hansen
- "Come what may, and love it" -(A talk that I read - don't remember the speaker lol)

Before I left Burley, Hermana Allen told me over and over again, "You're gonna see so many miracles in Boise!" And (of course) she was right. Every week since I've been in Boise with Hermana Sundstrom, there have been absolute miracles in the mission work here. We have been running around like crazy, trying to find people to teach, running out of miles, exhausted, and yet are so full of happiness. I was talking with her last night - we had 6 people make commitments to come to Church and only one showed up - and although it wasn't our goal, we were sooooo incredibly happy that this one investigator came and felt the Spirit! We said to each other, even if no one had come, we still would have been happy. Because we know that Heavenly Father is proud of the work we are doing. 

This week we were blessed to be able to set a baptismal date with the Familia Cortes - the Mom, Cecy, and her two sons, Mario and Ramon. They have decided to read the Book of Mormon each day as a family on their own. Que milagro, right?! I don't know how these things happen, but it's way sweet to see. They are an incredible family and I have finally realized that Boise Idaho is exactly where I need to be serving (took me long enough right?). 

Also, me and Hermana Sundstrom had a hard day and didn't have a dinner, so we went and ate at the Cheesecake factory (I don't think I'll ever stop talking about the goob foods in Boise heh) 

Here's some things that I saw this week that reminded me of home!

- I went to Dutch Bros and got a smoothie and the guy that was working was Hunter Hancock's brother (or cousin or something) from the North Shore and he had just gotten back from Oahu like 2 days ago. And he gave us these huge mango smoothies fo free, how blessed?
- I saw someone walking in Downtown Boise that looked exactly like Pam Palmer! And I was reminded of my L2 family!
- I taught some Pidgin to Hna Sundstrom. She is actually like one native Pidgin speaker cuz she has picked it up pretty fast. Going be one native hayn soon ahhhhhh

Love you all! Thank you for all of your prayers and support. The talk that I read this week was entitled "Come what may, and love it" and I took this as my theme for the rest of my mission (let's see if I remember it next week haha). Because you never know what's gonna come! But just love it! It sometimes seems like the end of the freaking world, but you're gonna be okay in the end! So laugh through it and love through it. My heart is full of straight up cherreh love for you all - if you love me, write me back! 

Hermana Elkington 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mongolian BBQ & other Nuggets of Magic

Aloha Fam,

First off, Hermana Sundstrom and I got gift cards from the crazy members here in Boise and she took me to this magical place called Mongolian BBQ and I exploded with happiness. It was awesome - you put all the stuff you want in a bowl and they cook it on this rock thing and push it around with some sticks and it was some goooooooooob food. 

Some other cool things happened this week as well - we got 2 of our investigators on a Baptismal Date for August 12th! They are awesome and love having us come over. This week, if you could keep Charlene and Angel in your prayers that they will want to come to Church and feel the spirit, that'd just be greeeeeat haha - It's been so cool to see the Lord's hand in the work here.

Another cool thing - while I was on exchanges, I found this family that lives behind one of the Menos Activos we teach and we went and talked to them. Me and Hermana Sundstrom taught them this week - we did the Restoration and while we were talking, I just saw in their eyes that they were feeling the spirit. They are from Mexico and have been here for about a month now - when we asked them what they thought about all of the things we were telling them, the Mom replied with a simple, "That feels right to me." It was super neat to be able to be in tune with Heavenly Father and feel for myself that the things that we were teaching were true. 

We've had a crazy, stressful, miracle filled week - here's some of the ways I saw the hand of God in my life this week: 

- We got to see Elder Melo! He is from Brazil and cracks us UP
- A lady we had dinner with brought us cotton-candy flavored grapes the next morning just cuz she thought of us!
- We got 3 jars of applesauce from a family
- We had an awesome sidewalk-chalk lesson with one of our Investigators
- We didn't get lost ;)

Lastly, our Ward Mission Leader came with us to a lesson this week and after we were done, he came up to us and told us thank you for how hard we are working. He said that it's been hard to work with some of the missionaries in the past and that he's so thankful to have us here, and just said thank you for being such great missionaries. It was definitely something I needed, because sometimes you do all this work and no one really sees it but Heavenly Father - so it was cool that Hno. Quesada took the time to thank us and inspire us. We are really blessed to be able to work with some great people in (crazy) Boise. 

Hope everyone had a stelllllllar week - let me know if there's anything I can do to help you, or if you have any questions about the work here! Thanks for all of your prayers and support #DOITFORIDAHO #JESUSFORIDAHO

Lots of love,
Hermana Elkington