Tuesday, May 29, 2018

blessings on rice

Sometimes I kind of sit on my bed in Hailey and look out at the sunset and the mountains and wonder how my life could be any better as a missionary. I've been too blessed, it's too good to be true - what did I do to deserve this? This week we got plenty of watermelon from members and it reminded me of the good Boise days when me and Hermana Sundstrom would get a watermelon a DAY. Sister Nelson had us over for dinner and was like, "oh you're from Hawaii you must miss having fruit!" and packed us up, ready to go. 

I got to go on an exchange with Sister Enkhbold, who is from Mongolia - I remember meeting her 6 months ago when she couldn't understand anything and now her English is incredible. She made me soup with rice for lunch. 

We came back from our run one morning and Uncle Doug came out of the house and said, "Want to learn how to bail trees? I'll make breakfast." So he made us smoothies and french toast and we helped him bail his trees (I think that's what it's called...), where you wrap it all up kind of like a Christmas tree. It felt so good to work with my hands for a little bit and to be outside. We talked with Uncle Doug for a while (he's got to be one of my favorite people in the area and takes really good care of me) and he said that he KNOWS Uncle Buddy - so he texted him and Uncle Buddy said, "Take good care of her and give her a hug for me, I've know that girl since baby days!" You know me. Just started bawling. Apparently Uncle Doug's mission companion was also Bro Ho Ching from Laie 2nd ward, I don't know how this even happens but God takes care of you when you need it fo'sho. 

This Memorial Day was kind of insane, we taught tons of lessons (which doesn't usually happen on holidays) and found lots of people around the area that were warm and friendly and happy to see us. I swear the sun makes all the difference. It was great - we had 8 of our investigators come to the Hailey 1st Ward this week and taught the Gospel Principles class (on the fllyyyyyyy) and have seen some major success in Sun Valley, I know that the Lord is working with us as we work hard. It's been pretty rad to see. 

Thanks for all the love and prayers fam, it feels too good to even explain to be in a good place right now. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you, if you like, I'll make you tacos when I get home.


breathe in, breathe out, don't make die ded

this week was incredible fam. Sun Valley doesn't stop giving good. 

We went to Dietrich, this little tiny town outside of Shoshone, and found a ton of people to teach, thanks to the members. There's this guy named Mike who had us over to his house and invited a bunch of Hispanics and his wife showed them how to make cookies. We taught them a little and set up a ton of return appts, afterwards Mike asked us if we could kneel in prayer. We did, and afterwards we were both inspired to have him introduce us to the people he knew. So Mike took us out to Dietrich and introduced us to all of his hispanic friends, and then took us out to get a chicken fried steak from the only place to eat in Dietrich called the Eagle's Nest. Do you see why I'm so happy? you know me. This Sunday we drove back down to Dietrich and one of those families came to church with us. This is what happens when members and missionaries and chickens work together. all good things. 

Back in Hailey, we went on splits and I got to go with one of the young women, a recent convert in our ward, she got baptized back in December. She was so excited to share the gospel and she taught it like a missionary who's been in the field forever. We visited one of our families that was a little stagnant, and after that visit, after hearing her conversion story and asking her questions about it, they decided to come to church together. 

It's been interesting being in an area that has given so much back to me. In my last area, I was so used to giving it my all and getting little in return; in the long run, what maters is your output, not the input you get. That's how we serve God - we try our very hardest and don't expect anything in return. But I'm so grateful to be here and experience something different. There's been some crazy thunderstorms in the valley and we've got caught in the rain on our bikes a number of times, usually the mountains are beautiful, but brown and dry. This week they've been green, almost like Hawaii green (I've just been away for too long I don't remember real green). And it happened in a matter of days. I thought about the healing effects of the gospel; how we can all be healed from anything, we just have to let the water in and be willing to get wet. And we can be healed in a matter of moments. Just allow it to happen - allow yourself to forgive & forget and be you. 

I'm so grateful for my mission. and for you! hope you have a baller week. email me if I can do anything for you 

loads of love,

ps if anyone ever wants to go with me to a Mumford and Sons concert hmu. not sure if they're still making music. been gone for like 8 years now. but still an option. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

coming from the cold

aloha aunties&unkos,

this week was good to me still, I keep waiting for it to take a downturn and God keeps givin' me good, so so grateful. This was our first week in the ward when we went to the English Sacrament Meeting and let me tell you, serving in a branch my whole mission has been a huge blessing, but also sitting there and listening to talks in English was kind of incredible. There are a lot more members than I am used to and it was cool to feel the spirit with all of them - I felt embraced and loved [and loved for who I am] by the people here and it feels nice. 

We went to Ketchum Burrito this week the day we didn't have a dinner and it was pouring rain, there was tons of snow up in Sun Valley (it's May but it's also Idaho, tired of being surprised), we ran from our car into the restaurant and bob marley's "coming in from the cold" was playing - literally we were coming in from the cold, but also serving here has been like coming home. I don't think I'll want to leave when the time comes. Brother Niedrich asked us to start his lawn mower this week and I felt like it might've been Uncle Buddy asking, but back to reality, still got the nametag on (still grateful for it too). Also got bikes this week, so you know how happy I am. 

We got a referral for a Part-Member Family this week and they live on the same property that we do, so we stopped by one night to go see them and it was one of my favorite meetings ever. We didn't end up teaching anything really, just kind of explained who we are as missionaries and introduced ourselves. They were leaving for a week and asked us to water their lawn each night, so we go over there and watch the sunset as we practice spanish and set the sprinklers off. It makes me real happy. But what made me more happy is that they offered to have us over for elk burgers when they get back, and I think that's what missionary work is all about - it's about teaching the gospel, but that's done in a lot more ways than I would have previously thought. It's about forming real human relationships with others and being you and loving. And that's how people really come to know Christ. 

Loads of Love,
Hanatea Elkington 

aina jams & lilikoi butter

Our Relief Society Meeting on Sunday (we work in an English ward but have a Spanish Group of about 25 members) was about ministering and how we can involve the Young Women in Ministering to those that need help, and it turned into "We think the missionaries need more food! When are the Hermanas coming to eat at my house?" for an hour and it was cherreh 

Still doing so happy here in Sun Valley - kind of waiting for the high to end, but it isn't. Every day I wake up and I WANT to be a missionary and do good for others, and that feels so good. The air is fresh and I can hear the water and I'm doing good [tru aina child] 

We saw one of the Family's we visit who have investigated the Church on and off for about 8 years. We had a great lesson with them about the Book of Mormon and just got to know them a little, and invited them to be baptized this Month and they agreed. They expressed how this past week there has been lots of change, new missionaries, but it's been something good - it was a reminder for me that the gospel is about change and things are changing all the time. And it always brings something better. 

The Members here have welcomed us so warmly it feels like Laie. Part of me feels like I've finally found the balance of cruising & working hard, cuz you gotta have both to be happy - here's to making more smoothies and playing more basketball w/ strangers, hope you all have some good jams this week 

loads of love,
Hermana Hanatea Elkington 

Monday, April 30, 2018

waves of good

so aunties this was the best week ever - choke kine happy, no jokes, no play. I'm forreal. 

Got to spend a bomb couple days with Sister Ely over in Heyburn and connect with some old friends and cruise a 'lil before the shiz hit the phone and we got transfer calls. Lemme tell you there is something special about that side of the mission - just sitting in the Burley Wal-Mart parking lot brought back greenie memories of weird (but incredibly good) times and it was good to be in the country. 

I got the call that I'll be with Hermana Nielson (otra vez! party!), whitewashing Hailey Idaho. Where's Hailey? 

So we met up at the Stake Center, the mission got destroyed and pretty much everyone is whitewashing (feels good to have some good obama change up in here!), I picked up Hermana Nielson and drove the hour and a half up to Hailey Idaho. It's close to Sun Valley - I had 0 expectations. President Bartlett stopped us at transfers as we were picking up the car and said "Sisters, sisters...do you know how lucky you are? Do you know what's happened? Do you realize? What's going on? Do you know?" And I was like "k prez enuf w/ the mysteries we'll just go find out." 

Hailey/Sun Valley is one of the most beautiful places I've seen - maybe I've just been away from the island too long, but it's gorgeous. We live in a small apartment on top of a garage, there's a river in our backyard, there's tons of Hispanics, the people are incredible. Our second night, the member that we live with gave us a call and said "hey I have a plate lunch and some taro for you," guess where he grad folks - LAIE ELEM. How blessed? How blessed? Me and Hermana Nielson have been working hard to get to know everyone, to get to know the area - whitewashing has it's challenges, but sometimes I really like simply starting from scratch. It feels like I'm baking this new batch of brownies that are kind of a wreck at first but after you put them in the oven for a little bit they'll turn out to be really ono (hopefully). 

Our first day at Church was Stake Conference, two of the 70 were here (don't rememba their names sbi) but we talked a lot about how the gospel makes you happy and ministering to others. A couple of things really stood out to me:

1. Ministering isn't about baptisms, it isn't about reactivation, it's about loving. 
2. The Savior's hands are the safest place you can be. 

This week has actually been pretty emotional for me, but in good ways, good food. I've been driving our subaru around (how could it get better?) and looking out at the mountains and breathing the air and talking to lots of strangers and I don't think I've ever felt this happy before. Like not just on my mission - in my life. Missionary work has still got the same challenges, still got the same struggles, the ups and downs, but this week I felt something in my heart that wouldn't leave. And it was a reminder that the basis of the gospel is love, and when we're connected with braddah Jesus, everything will be ok. I've loved the way that this knowledge has made me feel. 

Love you all loads, let me know if there's anything I can do for you. If anyone's down to come teach me how to snowboard @ Sun Valley after the mish hmu.

Hanatea Elkington 

aloha shoyu

This was straight up one of the hardest weeks of my mission, straight up one of the funnest too. Saying goodbye to Hermana Bashford was literally the worst and I miss that girl already. We drove her up to Boise yesterday and she got on the plane to Ecuador this morning - I wanted nothing more in the world than to go there with her (jk love my mission no worries beef curries) 

We decided to make some daily contact with our investigator, Fernando, and we went to Patagonia Grill where he works and got some Mate (I could drink that ish for dayyyyyyys) and Empanadas, Hermana Bashford looks out the window and is like "look who it is!" and Gil walks in, so we just cruise at the restaurant with him. Best daily contact, best lessons, all revolve around food. Have I learned anything on the mission? Yes. It's this. too much love. 

We tried and tried to get some of our homies to come to Church this Sunday and nothing worked, people said they'd come, we followed up like 800 times, passed by their houses, bailed. bailed. Sometimes I'm like why not? Why not come to church? It's like sunny today, 70 beautiful degrees outside, just come feel closer to God and feel the spirit and then go BBq with the fam and life will be just that much better. But no. So we went and taught Gospel Principles (despite none of our investigators being there, we had a pretty good sized class) and when we went to Sacrament meeting, we looked behind us and there's Diana. She came with her 4 year old daughter and I've never seen someone love the hymns that we sing so much. I guess they've got a better ring to them in Spanish. God looks out for us. 

Hope everyone has a baller week friends. Pray for me cuz I lost  my best friend (but also know that everything will be good). 

Lots and lots and lots of love,
Hermana Hanatea Elkington 


stellar week fam, Hermana Bashford gave her first talk in Sacrament Meeting and is starting to get to know the members in our Branch here in Twin (Hermano Zea came up to us yesterday wearing a purple shirt and was like "aye don't I look like a Jehova's witness? With my little bag? have you guys heard of the Jehova's witness God? I'd love to talk to you all about it") and then President calls us last night when we get home and tells her that her visa is here and she'll be leaving to Quito, Ecuador on the 23rd of April. We are 50% stoked and 50% bummed (actually maybe a little more bummed) and are trying to figure out how we can pull some strings so that she can either stay in Boise or how the Lord could somehow call me to Ecuador too, but it'll be g. She's been the best. 

Dad sent me an email this week and said that he had some sparkling water with a splash of watermelon. Hermana Bashord got excited because whenever her Dad is at a restaurant he'll ask for something with a splash of something else. So pretty much our dads our homies already.

This week I got to go on exchanges with Sister Fidow, who is from Samoa, still learning English, and she came to the Spanish area. The little things she did reminded me so much of home and in the morning, we went on a walk to watch the sunrise in our slippers. She kept dancing to the music in the car and then dabbing and I was like "so do they dab in Samoa?" and she was like "what is dab?" hahahahaa

We visited a Part-Member Family in the branch last night, and played some games and then had a really simple conversation about God, about who He is and what He does for us. We asked the kids how they knew God exists - Zurry said that she knows it because her parents love her. David said that He helps him all the time, in school and at home. We laughed together and drank fruit punch (do you love fruit punch cuz you is from hawaii or what) and these are the times when I feel the spirit the most. When we sit on someone's couch and laugh and talk about what's good in life and how we can be better. It reminds me of my own family and how we can be strengthened by those around us - God always places people in our path. We are strengthened every time we go there. 

One of my favorite people in the Branch gave the Relief Society lesson this week, she is from Argentina, and met her husband while he was serving there. lemme tell you I hate relief society (usually) and mostly it's just uncomfy for me and irrits but this time, I felt more at home then I ever have before in Twin Falls. During the lesson I tried to open my heart a 'lil and be willing to learn, and the Lord helped me learn. I felt the spirit so strongly during her lesson and afterward Sacrament Meeting, her husband came up to me and said, "You're one of the coolest people I know. You're always smiling and laughing" and I was so touched. I've never been this happy in my entire life, and it's during the hardest thing I've ever done - but I know that I'm happiest when I'm me. God loves all of it, everything you are, every part of you.

Pray for me plz because my comp is leaving in a week and idk what I'm gonna do but I know I'll be ok. "We'll be just fine." Loves aunties & unkos. stay fly 

loads of love,
Hermana Hanatea Elkington