Email, April 20, 2015
Whoa! This first week was crazy. So much has happened. How do I even start to explain? Our days are so busy and there are SO many people to visit and talk to. It seems like there is never enough time and the days always escape us before we get enough done!
During my first day we had so much to do. By the end of it I was dead tired! And since we live in the attic above a chiropractic office and the owner/Dr. is a member, I got my back adjusted! Dad, the whole time I was hoping he wouldn't take a running start and jump on me like that chiropractor did to you years ago! Thank goodness he didn't, and the adjustment was helpful and quite needed! (Side note: our apartment is so small I like to pretend that we live in a closet just like Harry Potter, so y'all could say that we live in the Cupboard Under the Stairs at 4 Privet Drive -- ha-ha!)
So, I serve in Ontario, Oregon, but we live in Fruitland, Idaho. We call it the O-Zone! We are living on the edge of town and its complicated sometimes when we ask where an investigator lives. Sister Gutierrez (one of my companions) has told me that our area can be dangerous, but I always feel safe no matter where we are. And, contrary to popular belief, I'm not that naive, so I make sure we are careful at night.
We live right next to farms and it always smells like onions! Of course I totally expected this because I serve in IDAHO. We just have to plug our noses when we leave the house sometimes because it’s really strong. I have gotten used to the smell, and it doesn’t bother me anymore.
Many of our investigators work on the farms during the day and about 60 percent of them are without visas. They are such humble people and live in such harsh conditions. Since they don’t make much and aren’t eligible for other work, most live in trailers or small apartments. The conditions are often rough, not always tidy.
So we get fed pretty much every day. One of the first meals I went to was at the Mills’ house. Brother Mills is a fountain of spiritual knowledge as well as secular education. He received 2 PhD's in physics when he was very young. Long story but he’s also had a rough life. Anyways, he always interjects some science into his gospel lessons and I have resorted to taking copious notes during these classes because it’s all gold!! Brother Morton would have a heyday with him. Seriously, they would get along so well together!
On a completely different note, I met a woman who is a recent convert who, on my second day mind y'all, was already trying to set me up with her 27-year-old son! During our entire visit she was figuring out the logistics of our "impending marriage" and where we will apparently be living in the future after I finish my mission! Yikes!
Like I said, we’re blessed to have a lot of recent converts and investigators. This week we visited a 17-year-old girl named Patricia. She lives in a trailer with her two-year-old son and her older boyfriend. She has had a hard life and has made some mistakes. When we got to our appointment, we had prepared for and taught the third lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was really worried beforehand because I can’t yet speak good Spanish and I thought she might not be able to understand me. But, thank goodness, the discussion was in English and I was able to teach my assigned part about baptism and the Holy Ghost. The night before in our daily planning session, Sister Guti had asked me to extend the baptismal invite to Patricia. Fast forward to the next day, once we finished teaching the lesson, Guti looked at me as if to say, “go ahead!” So I began by sharing my testimony and telling her that God loves her and wants the best for her. I can’t remember everything that I said, but whatever it was connected with Patricia and brought her to tears! I looked over at Hermana Hawn and she was crying too! Then came the baptismal invitation, and SHE ACCEPTED!! Oh, the Spirit was so strong and I knew that the Lord is going to carry me through my mission. It was the most exciting moment thus far in my whole mission. There are truly no words to describe the experience and my feelings -- sorry for my lack of effectiveness in telling y'all about it.
This week I have eaten many strange things. One of the best things I've eaten so far were homemade pupusas at a Relief Society activity. And after Stake Conference this past Sunday, we had a dinner appointment with the Sanchez family. Hermana Sanchez raises and kills her own chickens for her family meals and she had prepared sopa ranchera . . . I thought it was amazing! But, little to my knowing, Hermana Guti told me later that she saw chicken FEET inside the pot! AAHH!!! I think the only preparation she did to the chicken before she put it in the pot was kill it, gut it and pluck the feathers off. I still can't believe I ate chicken feet (and maybe more?), but it was tasty and I shouldn’t be surprised! Laugh out loud!
Oh my goodness, so much more happened but I’m running out of time – more next week. I love y'all and miss you bunches!
Hermana Moss :)