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, 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 

no subject? still in Twin tho lol

'loha fam

so this week has been nuts but sooooo good. We got a call from President Bartlett on Wednesday and he asked Hermana Nielson to go to Boise with Hermana Landrin, and I got Hermana Bashford! She is waiting for her visa to go to Ecuador, she has been in the field for 3 weeks. We have literally laughed this whole week and the Lord knowwwwws our needs, because this has been such a good change for me. She has a shirt with John Mayer and Dave Chapelle on it. Gotta be a homie. 

We've had a great week and got to chill with some cooooool people this week. We taught this guy named Gil and he invited us to Dutch Bros after sooo lol but really the lesson was real sweet. We taught him about the Restoration, he's from Mexico and can speak one of those weird other languages they speak there (what is that called?) and he loves to read about religion. We left him with the Book of Mormon and he was really attentive when we talked to him about it.

I've just been stoked to be a missionary lately and it feels so good. I feel like I've been lacking that lately, lacking the excitement and love, but God knows exactly what we need to get back on our feet. I love sharing the Gospel, and I love the way that it makes me feel. I'm missin' the sand and the ocean still (won't ever stop) but it's been warming up and reminding me of the crazy summer days that me and Hermana Sundstrom had in Boise, magic. Stayin' happy. 

Love you all more than anything, thank you for your loves
stay fly,

Hermana Elkington 

"Hermana...are you wearing a hoodie?"

As we drove out of South Park on Saturday night, I looked out at the fields of Twin Falls and the sunset and had an "Our Search for Happiness" moment and remembered exactly why I'm here and how much I love being a missionary. It's been a rough patch of ground here in Twin, but I can't even describe what I felt in that moment - just that God was real, as real as my hands on the steering wheel, and that he loves what I'm doing right now. Better than free slurpees from 7/11. 

We had a lunch with the Ramirez family in the Branch (who have no interest in coming back to Church) and they made us shrimp and we strengthened our relationship with them. I had the hottest salsa I have ever tasted in my LIFE and almost had to leave the house. 

Fernando came to the last session of General Conference and afterwards, we went to the Branch President's house and had a lesson with him there. We talked about the things that he had learned in conference and the things he had felt. He said he was impressed that there are leaders of the Church from all over the world - there was that one guy from Germany who talked a lot with his hands, and he realized that there are missionaries like us in all parts of the world. I expressed that I was grateful for this too - howzit that we got 2 new apostles from the Lord that 'aint full white, prayerzzzzz answered! Just kidding, we love 'um all. 

We finished reading the Book of Mormon as a mission just in time for Conference and I think the thing that I learned the most this time around was to relax and enjoy the gospel. I have so many questions and so many doubts and so does everyone we teach - but we focus on the basics, we focus on the Savior and His love and example, and everything works out in the end. Our questions area answered, our doubts are relieved. We feel happy, even through hell, and that's what the gospel is - it allows us to be happy. 

I walked into District Meeting this week, not having the hottest day, and our Zone Leader asked, "Hermana Elkington......are you wearing a hoodie?" good laughs, we know judging others isn't the best but when you add a laugh to it, don't take stuff 2 seriously, loosen up and we'll all be happy together. When we're friends, everything is better. I'm grateful for the countless friends I've made on the mission and the love they've shown me - Hermana Sundstrom sent me a package of cliff bars and other good things that I love and she really does know me! *cries*

Love you all fam. Hope this week is stellar and good and full of laughs and food and family and friends.

Loads of love,
Hermana Hanatea Elkington