MONDAY Monday night was really really hard. The absence of Hermana Smuin was pretty noticeable. The apartment was a depressing hole. We didn't get out to work until 6:40 because Sister Rawlings broke. She was just crying a lot because it all finally became real. She realized that she had 6 weeks left, and it just hit her. Hard. As soon as we got everything calmed down, we went out and worked. We went and saw Minerva de la Paz. She is rad, the lesson was rad...it was all just rad. Minerva read the first half of the Book of Mormon introduction and she had a ton of good questions. She told us how she and her husband have never been baptized and she hasn't had her kids baptized either because she wants to make it right. She said she doesn't agree with a lot of the Catholic beliefs like baptizing babies~~she said that they don't know what sin is so how can they sin? She said that she really wants to know what the truth is so she said that she will be baptized when she knows that our message is true. It was awesome. I wish Sister Smuin could have been there. That night after planning, it was Sister Tew's turn to cry. We all mourned her death...for sure.
TUESDAY - I'm sad to say it but I think sister smuin missed one of the best district meetings that Elder Diaz has ever given. He focused on the three parts of the Atonement- the merits, the mercy, and the grace and he really focused on teaching people, not lessons. He said how everyone that we meet is searching for something and one of those three parts is what they are searching for. It was super good. I started packing. I found a ring that sister Smuin left for me...she's kind of the worst. That made me cry for like a solid 5 minutes.We went out that night with Hermana Guzman. She was awesome! We saw Hermana Ayala with her and it was exactly what Hermana Ayala needed. We talked all about the temple and Hermana Guzman talked about how it was almost a year to the days when they went into the temple. She also talked about how when she got married, even though they had been together for years, it felt like it was stronger, like they were more united and how when they were sealed, it was even stronger. Hermana Ayala said that she wants to talk to Obisbo about the temple. It was awesome! Hermana Guzman was perfect, and I guess they used to live by each other so it was really perfect. At dinner we all made tortilla snowflakes in honor of Hermana Smuin.
WEDNESDAY - For lunch we went to Reyes de la Torta for lunch. Their tortas were pretty good but on their menu they had a $30 torta that was "8 inches tall" and it had "carne asada, pork tenderloin, sirloin steak, hot dogs sliced thin, and an omelette." Heart attack on a plate. I finished packing... thanks for the highlighters, I use them everyday. Miracle of the day: we found Maria Morales at home!! She cried when we were there. Things haven't been going so well for them. She said that one of the little girls stole some of Kevin's money and when she confronted the parents about it, they got mad at her and told her to be out by January. Enrique wasn't home :( During correlation I got this....I was right!
THURSDAY - it's official! Montaña del Sur. Elder Diaz went to chandler east as an English Zone Leader. They split the chandler zone because the Spanish Ward there moved into a different stake...something like that.Elder Cassidy came to replace Elder Diaz. Elder Allen is now in a zebra companionship as the zone Leader in Casa Grande. I think it was Elder Mabey that came in to replace him down in Yuma. Sister Day went to Ajo, Hermana Acosta is the new district leader out there. Hermana Salcido stepped down and is now working in English over in Ahwatukee. Hermana Sullivan ( she's been out for 9 months) is doing training again in Tempe. Elder Janis is with Elder Belnap. They talked a little bit about MLC...they said it was going to be a surprise, but that they tried to get an over-nighter approved but that Salt Lake said "no." But they did tell us to wear service clothes, and to bring a blanket and a jacket... I think we're going camping! Hermana Jones drove us home, she is so sweet. Hermana Bishop pis an outgoing happy ginger. She seems really sweet, but I feel like there is a little something that she is holding onto. We went to Ranch Market for dinner...carne asada tacos (it's cool if you're a little bit jealous, I understand.) That night we went up to Mesa to work at the Christmas lights.
FRIDAY- el día de los reuniones. Weekly Planning, 6 & 12 Week training meeting. Weekly planning was...a struggle. I felt like Hermana Bishop was fighting me on every single thing. She got really upset when I had us pray about some baptismal dates. Something about how we don't know these people and how we are trying to "divine" a date. Right after that we went to 6 & 12 training. At the end of it, President talked about not being a slothful servant and not needing to be "commanded in all things." Then he told us about Elder Lockhart (the elder with the brain tumor.) He is going home on Saturday. President talked about how he had gotten so weak and that he couldn't eat anymore, but how he wanted to be an obedient missionary so he would still get up at 6:30 every morning and get dressed and he would have just enough energy to work for 2 hours each day. We should all try to be more like Elder Lockhart, when we are at our weakest cry when there is hardly strength to walk, “Oh, Lord, I am yet strong. Give me one more mountain." President told us that he took Elder Lockhart to the Mesa temple, and he shared a part of an experience that Elder Lockhart had while he was there. President Toone read a part of Elder Lockharts experience (this is definitely not word for word, but I tried to get most of it.) Elder Lockhart was in the celestial room and while he was sitting down, waiting for President Toone to come through the veil, a man came and sat down next to him. He was told 'you have done enough, you have accomplished in 8 weeks what it takes other people 2 years to do. You have done your duty here and now your duty is to return home to your mother. Share with her your experiences and share with her the little time you have left. You have fought the good fight, you have done your duty here and you may now return with honor.' "Out of the corner of my eye I saw the figure of President Toone coming into the room and I knew that as soon as I looked away he would be gone but out of instinct I glanced over at president, just for a second. I looked back. I was right. He was gone. Besides the man that helped me through the veil I had been alone in the celestial room. I was only alone for a minute, but during that minute I was visited by a heavenly messenger. President, I knew I was being sent home but now I know that I have fulfilled my purpose here and I am at peace with it." President then continued by saying you are not here just do something for 2 years, you are here to become something. I'm telling you this because you are in the beginning of your missions, don't waste the precious time you have been given. This time is a gift. I have seen too many missionaries go home with regrets. Don't waste this time, use it to become who the Lord wants you to be! POWERFUL!!! It was incredible.
We ate dinner with Patricia and Armando. They told us that Ariel and Edgar moved up north somewhere near Sedona. We also went out with Hermana Hernandez (the primary president) and she was incredible! No one was home until the last person on the list. We talked to this girl named Eva about obedience and Hermana Hernandez talked about approaching the throne of God with confidence and being able to look Him in the eyes. Then she "invited" but really challenged Eva to come to church. It was rad. As we were leaving she told Eva again, "remember, before you do anything, ask yourself, 'can I look Him in the eyes while I am doing this?'" Super bold!
SATURDAY- first day of training...we have so many hours of studies, it's kinda rough. After all those studies we did Facebook and went out to look for people, but no one was home. After dinner we only had an hour before we had to leave to go to the Christmas Lights in Mesa so we went around looking for people. About 25 minutes before it was time to leave for the lights...I felt the strongest spiritual impression I've ever had before. We NEEDED to find Epi. It felt so strange, I felt so strongly that I needed to find him, the very thought of not finding him was literally giving me anxiety. And thus commenced the hunt for Epi. We went to his house...but then it wasn't...my companion said east instead of west. The feeling is getting stronger. So then we run over to his house and we met his dad. He told us that Epi wasn't there, he was at the Jones' house. To the Jones! There is still a knot. When we got there Hermana Jones told us that they went to the Moreno's house. LA LUCHA! So, off to the Moreno's. When we got to their house, there was a group of six teenagers standing outside listening to screamo music. Here begins the most awkward 2 minutes of my life. We hopped out of the car and said we were looking for Epi, in a very very cold manner they said he was there, we said hi, introduced ourselves and asked if he was going to be at church tomorrow and he said yes and then we left. I still have no idea why we needed to find him, but afterwards the anxiety feeling went away. I'm just going to tell myself that maybe they were going to do something stupid and we just reminded them that Heavenly Father is always watching. After that we went off to the Christmas lights. We worked the late shift...and he only had a spatula for a hand!! It was super cold, but it was kinda funny because at 10 pm on the dot, all the lights and the music and narrations shut off, so a whole bunch of people were in the middle of taking pictures when all of a sudden everything is dark and silent.
SUNDAY - Montaña del Sur is rad! We had PEC on Sunday. During my intro, I told them that I had been out for 13 months and then they started making trunkie jokes! The audacity! I was not expecting that for a few more months. During sacrament meeting, Hermana Fietz (the 94 year old one) did a musical number and it was very...operatic. For the last hymn, we sang silent night, and Obisbo Lopez was weeping. He was trying really hard not to let anyone see so he was hiding behind his hymn book. During Relief Society Hermana Jones threw down on the sisters for not participating more. She said that if they are not participating more, there will come a time when they have callings that require member participation and they won't get any. Essentially...what goes around comes around. The Infantes were not at church :(
Today I really learned the importance of questions. We went into a lesson to drop this investigator. Hermana Bishop was so set in the mentality that Blanca (and apparently a lot of our investigators) are not progressed and that we are just wasting our time with them. We went into this lesson and instead of doing a drop I just felt prompted to just asked a lot of questions- the kind that Kelli was telling us about, and Blanca told us that this is really really important to her and that she is very serious about this. Instead of dropping her, we put her on date for January 24. It was incredible.
At dinner we found out that Epi goes out with the Elders every week, so he's doing good.
MONDAY- Mission Conference. All the sisters in Rio Salado got food poisoning. Some are graceful when they puke...some are not. After Breakfast we went to a warehouse. So the YSA Stake President owns this food shipping company and his father started collecting western art. So, in their office they made a gallery...and its HUGE.
After lunch they did a "get to know "Jim and Karen." Some of the fun facts: 1. They didn't kiss until after she said "I love you" for the first time. 2. By their 6th child, Sister Toone was told that she is a high risk pregnancy. They went to a fireside for parents and they came out knowing that they needed to have two more children. So they decided that they needed to pray for twins...and they got them. 3. They have been married for 36 years and he was only able to sit with his family during church for 5 out of those 36 years. 4. President Toone's mom was 6'1" she made an all female basketball team and their team played against men. She loved basketball.
After Dinner President announced that we are going to do a mission 5K around general conference. We had "FHE" aka mission talent show. Our zone sang the "twelve weeks of training." It was really fun.
The 12 Weeks of Training (To The Twelve Days of Christmas)
1. AND invite them to come unto Christ
2. Feel the Holy Ghost
3. Don't break your iPad
4. Talk to everyone
5. ALWAYS LOCK YOUR BIKE!!!
6. Don't yell at Tiwi
7. Update referrals
8. Keep cleaning Facebook
9. Don't flirt with Sisters
10. Don't flirt with Elders
11. Guess all the transfers
12. Always be a greenie