Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Good Dogs and Good Dads

Here's some meeeean blessings I got this week:
- I got tons of letters from home (one packages had RICE in it! Thank you Houghtons!)
- I get all these crazy missionary emails every week from all my crazy cool friends that are having equally hard experiences
- It was warm for one day
- Someone backed into our car (lol not really a blessing but it was something different) 
- Still getting tons of good Mexican food SO ONO

We had lots of good experiences with dogs this week and also lots of experiences with Dads.

We have been shaving our less-active friend, Araceli's, dogs this week - they haven't been shaved in like 7 years and Hermana Peterson took this class in High School about taking care of animals and knows how to shave dogs! So I got to just pretty much talk Spanish with Araceli and shave her dogs! It was some bomb times. It got warm for a while and then it got cold again, and we need mid-sized jackets which sucks. Lol freeeeeeaking Idaho

Here's some of the names of Araceli's dogs (these are all pronounced with a Hispanic accent): Edward, Jerry, Alice, and Friend (plus like 8 more that I don't know the names of). Friend is my favorite jajaja

Every Hispanic Family has a little tiny dog that's super mean so we had lots of fun with the little Mexican dogs. We got to visit lots of people, investigators and less actives - it's super nice being busy because it makes the days go by a lot faster! Spanish is still super hard but progressing every day - it's way hard when you're speaking Spanish in an English speaking place. 

We visit a lot of broken families here in Burley. Tons of them have really bad problems with their marriage, or kids have problems with their parents, or parents with their kids - one of the biggest problems I've seen is that there are so many bad dads. Don't get me wrong, I love all these people tons and of course there are problems in everyone's family because everyone has some craziness that they need to deal with, but in a lot of these families, the dad is either not there or drunk all the time or really straight up not supportive. It makes me sad every day.

One thing that made my week so WORTH it and reminded me of my reason for being here this week was visiting Hermano Llanos. He is one of the good dads! He is a guy who lives right down the street from us - he is a single dad who has 3 sons who have had these crazy hard challenges in their lives; some of these problems have to do with divorce, drugs, suicide, and just not knowing how to be themselves and find their personality. Hermano Llanos talked to us for a full hour on his doorstep (we couldn't go into his house because we didn't have another member with us) about how hard it is to be a good dad to these kids but he tries so hard each day to help them and be there for them. He related his experience to the Savior - without the Jesucristo, we couldn't get through any of these crazy crazy hard struggles. He said he prays to God every day and night because God is his best friend. And here I am on his doorstep thinking holy crap! Hermano Llanos is the best! Just in that short hour, he taught me so so much and a lot of the times, I think the visits we have are actually for me more than they are for the people we teach. I learn SO MUCH each day, and as a missionary here in Burley I think one of my jobs is to just be someone that people can talk to and be there for. 

Talking to Hermano Llanos reminded me of talking to my own Dad and my own family - I full on lucked out. We are all put in our families for a reason and have something to learn from them (This is hard for me to believe sometimes because some families are just SO HARD and so broken). But I know that the Savior can help us through anything and everything! 

Hope everyone has a great week and stay sweet not salty! So much love for you guys! 

Con amor,
Hermana Elkington 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Gracias a Dios!"


Here's how I've seen the hand of God in my life this week!

- We had a volleyball tournament and lost but had fun
- Juan Trinidad got to come to Church this Sunday!
- Our friend Araceli got a tiny baby cow
- We have had really spiritual lessons about el Libro de Mormon
- We got to teach a Noche de Hogar with a bunch of kids
- Hermana Peterson taught me how to pump gas (lol) 
- Every Hispanic, when we ask how they're doing, will say "todo esta bien, gracias a Dios!" 

So Juan Trinidad is this old man who lives in a trailer who got baptized maybe 3 years ago. He has SO much faith and is always smiling and laughing, and has work on Sundays - he hasn't been to church in forever but this week a miracle happened! He got two Sundays off! He showed up to church in this huge Mexican belt and these nuts red and black checkered leather shoes and hugged EVERY person in the Branch and walked into the Relief Society room for class because he didn't know where to go. Me and Hermana Peterson welcomed him and took him to Priesthood and it was SO COOL to see him at Church! He reminds me so much of Grandpa Waha because he wears funky clothes and looooooooves to talk and tell stories! 

Araceli is our friend who is a less-active as well. She is always laughing and always smiling and joking and makes my day - we went to her house and she has like 9 dogs and 4 brand new puppies and now a brand new baby cow! We are going to go shave her dogs on Wednesday as a service project jajaja

Some interesting things about Idaho so far: Apparently there's a huge Meth problem here (which I didn't know before lol) and also we live right across from a Halfway-house (I didn't know about these before either but I think it's where people go when they're like right out of prison? Or right out of rehab? Idk but it's pretty sketch and fun stuff!)

We've had some really powerful lessons this week. Almost none of our appointments fell through which was awesome - we have a lot of investigators but not a lot of them are progressing which is frustrating; we also have a lot of people who are less active because they have been offended by the President of our Branch. It's straight up no bueno. But I was reminded this week that no matter what these people are feeling or if they are progressing super great or not, it's SO important that we continue to visit them and just straight up LOVE them, because that's what the Church is about. I think the most important thing about being a missionary is simply being people's friends and telling them that Jesus Christ is their friend too. Sounds simple, but I think it's so important.

We lost our volleyball tourney to the other Zone but oiiiiiiawoish it was way fun! Everyone thinks I should be good at volleyball cuz I'm from Hawaii and they are wrong jajajajaja 

Oh another funny Hispanic thing is that every visit, they give each of us a plastic water bottle because that's pretty much all they have. So we see how successful our days have been by how many plastic water bottles we have in the backseat of the car jaja. 

Thanks for all the support!
Lots of love,
Hermana Elkington 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Field is Hispanic and Ready to Harvest


Imma start with the bad this week:

- I saw two dogs get run over in a row which smallkine messed me up for the rest of the day  
- We had some crappy Mexican food with our District
- We tried to contact a referral and it ended up being this white guy named Randy so we couldn't teach him and his dog also attacked us

Here's the good!

- There's a lot of geese in Idaho and I love geese
- I saw the sunrise over Wal Mart (where all the action happens in Burley)
- There were some meeeeeean sunsets this week
- The milk in Idaho is really good (not sure if it's because there's a lecheria right down the road or if it's just in my head hahaha)
- We teach this guy with a knife that's stuck in his door 
- P-Day volley ball is the JAM
- I translated in Sacrament Meeting (skuuuurd!)
- Listened to some Sufjan Stevens
- I met a Hawaiian aunty and guess where she grad - KAHUKU

The work here is definitely tough. I feel like I've been a marriage counselor this week because literally every one of our about 19 investigators plus all of the less-actives we teach have marriages that are just straight up falling apart. A lot of the visits we have had have just been listening to people's problems and lots of tears and us trying to find something that will help them simply through the week.

Meeting that aunty from Hawaii made my DAY - she showed me pictures of her family at the Laie temple and at Kahuku. We teach her husband Jose because he only speaks Spanish. We also jammed on teaching the less-actives this week - I love teaching menos activos, it's my favorite. It's really sad to see people who have had these huge testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel and just don't want to go to church anymore for some reason or another, but it's good to just visit them and let them know that we love them. One of the less actives made us Enchiladas SOOO ONO

One thing I love so much about Idaho so far is that everyone has such different, unique stories! A lot of our investigators have these craaaaazy as conversion stories and they are so willing to share them with us! Half the time I can't actually catch half of the story because everyone speaks such quickkkk Spanish but I feel the spirit and it's so sweet! We teach a less-active family, the Familia Pacheco, and the mom told us about this experience with the Book of Mormon where she was like paralyzed one night and all she could do was read. She basically read the entire Book of Mormon in a span of 24 hours and couldn't eat or drink or anything. Nueses! Hermana Rangel is another one with a crazy story about her baptism. We have so many stories!

Lastly, me and Hermana Peterson were riding in the car back to Burley from doing some work in Paul and we were talking about music and Sufjan came up and she was like "I have one of his songs!" and she turned it on and I just bawled like all the way home because Sufjan is like this old friend that I have that I haven't talked to in a long time and then I got to talk to him and be filled with some super happy joy. Lovely. 

This week I have really learned I am here for a reason. We have had tonnnns of lessons and appointments fall through but the ones that we do end up having, the people say, "I really needed a visit from the missionaries today! I was having the worst day and then you showed up!" So me and Hermana Peterson are stoked because we know that we're doing the Lord's work and working as hard as we can.

Love you all! Remember that God loves you! 

Hermana Elkington 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Who da ho? IDAHO

Aloha all my pineapples! 

So Idaho! What! I'm serving in the Burley/Paul area - me and my Trainer are over 2 whole stakes here, but we go to the Spanish Branch on Sundays. It's about 2 1/2 hours away from Boise! It is cold and flat and brown and dusty and WINDY and snowy and full of dirt! I swear I have not seen a tree since I've been here (that's not actually true but it feels like it).

There are 8 Spanish speaking sisters in the mission. We are only allowed to teach people that speak Spanish, so there are no English lessons. Since I have been here we've had a new investigator, her name is Elli (she's from Mexico, as are most of the Hispanics that are here). She just had a new baby and we have been teaching her and her ten year old daughter - our last lesson right before we left her daughter ran up to us and slipped two cans of soda in our hands jajaja love it. 

So we've visited more people than I can count since I've been here - there are tons of people who are investigators, less-actives, or just members that LOVE to have us over. There's one investigator named Juan Trinidad who reminds me of Grandpa Waha because he's just this old man who loooooves to talk to us and tell stories which is what I love too. 

It's been way hard to speak only Spanish - I love talking to people and getting to know them but honestly so far I haven't been able to understand a whole ton. It's a process - my companion is from Virginia and has been out for 5 months and her Spanish is pretty good. 

One SUPER SUAVE experience I've had so far was on Sunday, two kids from the Rios family came to church with us. One is a girl (16) and the other is a little boy (10), they came with us because their dad had work that Sunday. We had to translate the classes for them because only Sacrament Meeting is in Spanish so that was crazy - after Church was over they gave us huge hugs and said they wanted to come back every week! That was crazy to hear from investigators - it's actually real! What in the eff! I was so strengthened to see that they were touched by the spirit that day. It's real stuff! It's good stuff! 

I love you all bunches and bunches. Someone back jump in the ocean for me PLEEEASE because I'm dying already and I haven't even been out a week. But on a real note, these people are wonderful and I feel such a love here, it's amazing. 

Lots of love,
Hermana Elkington 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The A-Team Jams around the World

Ohhhhhhhh saz! Here we go! This week the A-Team was split up and gone to different wonderful places across the world. Elder Clarke is in Portland, Elder Herman is in Mexico, Hermana Madsen, Hermana Saari, and Elder Gill are in Bolivia, Elder May and Hermana Holbrook are in Logan, Elder Morgan is in Tempe, and Hermana Hutchinson is in SLC. 

It was kinda cool (and freaking hard) to be the last one left at the MTC because I got to see all of these good friends of mine off - I'm crazy as nuts proud of them and love them more than I love the ocean. They have all strengthened me in multiple ways and are gonna make some bangah missionaries. 

I go to the travel office to leave to Boise in a couple of hours. As much as I've hated the MTC, I've learned a buttload about the gospel here (nacho voice) and met some people who were probably my friends in the premortal life or something crazyyy li'dat and we all said, "hey, let's all go on a mission at the same time!" I've learned to trust in God and trust that he's gonna take care of me, no matter what - because I'm doing His work and when I'm trying to do the best I can do, he's super happy with me.

Lots of love to you frutas,
Hermana Elkington