Can you believe it?! I'm in New Jerseyyyy!!!! I love it here!
Hmmm Union City isn't as crowded as San Fran. There are a lot of people but it's not overwhelming like San Fran.
Everyone speaks Spanish here. Like EVERYONE. The younger kids speak a lot of English because they learn it in school, but literally every older person I have met, starting in their 30's and up are not from the U.S. And they are literally from EVERYWHERE. Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Spain. You name it, we have it. . UN POCO LOCO. So I get all sorts of accents in!
So, if you didn't catch that, EVERYONE speaks Spanish here. Even if their skin is white or black, it's always Spanish. So that means I have to speak Spanish! DUN DUN DUUUUNNNN.... it's been rough but I was called and set apart to do this! So I can :) I usually just bear my testimony or share a scripture. Sister Schwendie leads the lessons, and sometimes she'll say "mi conpanera quiere compartir una escritura/ su testimonio con usted." (my companion would like to share a scripture/ her testimony with you) And I'm like, I WOULD?!?! Haha but she is always inspired to say things at the right time, and it's amazing how it works. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I am shaking my head as violently as a sister missionary can in the middle of the lesson. But she just nods hers and smiles. So I take a deep breath and try to speak as best as I can! I always do fine, and sister Schwendie always politely helps me.
SHE IS THE GREATEST!!! She reaches her 6 month mark on September 20th! She is fluent in Spanish and has a love for the people and for the work!
There is a rather large Jewish community here! There is like a building for them with Hebrew letters I think?
We literally just roll out of bed at 6:30, say a quick prayer, get dressed and hit the ground running! One time we stayed in and stretched but we deserved it. Then we work out for the full 30 minutes, so if we start at 6:40, we end at 7:10.
Then we shower, get ready and eat and start personal study at 8:00 -30 minutes of book of mormon, 30 minutes of PMG or other approved material.
Then we do companionship study for 2 hours. It doesn't take long though, because I have a great companion and we go over what we learned in personal study, read out of the missionary handbook (the rules), read a page of a conference talk that came in my mission binder a binder for newbies.
Then we do something called 12 weeks, and it's a program that helps me take the lead and be more involved. This past week, I was supposed to take charge in inviting our investigators to be baptized. We watch videos of the district (we have a baby DVD player) and we do role plays pretanding to be our investigators. Then before we know it, the 2 hours are GONE! Then it's language study from 11-12. I have a little study plan and I feel myself improve each day. I read out loud from the BOM for 20 minutes, for pronunciation and reading gospel terms. I also write down 10 spanish words a day to memorize.
And then I do a lesson from one of my study books from the MTC. It's fun and that hour just flies by!
Then it's lunch time!!!! We always eat at home and we try to eat somewhat healthy. Then after lunch, it's off to work!
We set up lots of appointments and back up plans. Since we are in a walking area, we go by and see who's home. It's a really easy area. There are main streets, like New York Ave, Palisade and Burgenline, and then there are numbered streets, like 36th, 27th, etc. Then there are houses on "blocks" Like the 200 block or 700 block. So Say an investigator lives at 201 27th street. We go down burgenline, turn on 27th, and if we are at the 500s we walk down until we get to the 200 houses.
We had a pretty "dry" week with investigators. We had a Zone conference on Wednesday, and weekly planning started on Thursday, which takes 4 hours! So we didn't have a lot of time to see people and set appointments. But we set 14 appointments on Sunday so we are going to have a full week! I like being busy :)
So we have a progressing investigator! His name is Miguel and he actually plays piano for Sacrament meetings but he isn't a member! He is SO good at the piano too! So I was in charge of extending a baptismal invite and I did! AND I DIDN'T MESS UP! He said he had to think about it. Sister S wouldn't have that! So she was bold and challanged him to pick a date and pray about it... And he did and he stuck to it! We met with him again on Sunday and had a lesson. He is still on board for October 27th.
I don't know much about any other investigators. I think we have 3 with bap. dates but I haven't met them yet! 3 came to church but I was so lost at church. We had correlation in the morning, then church right after. So I had 5 hours of using my brain to translate. It was hard! I'm also behind on time and elevation from Mexico, and jet lag but it's not as bad as I thought it would be! It's working out well!!
Funny story: So we have columns in our planners, and we plan EVERYTHING, meals, study times, meetings, appointments, back-ups, back-ups FOR the back ups, everything. So I think it was like my 4th day, and we were planning, and I asked sister Schwendie why we didn't have a back up for the "Almuerzo" family. Well, for those of you who don't know, Almuerzo is Spanish for lunch. DUH. Oh I was pretty embarrassed. But I just had to laugh it off with Sister Schwendie! It was really funny.
Also, I have a little bit of a Spanish accent.
I love it here! I am safe, happy and healthy and there is a lot of work to be done.
My trainer is SOOOOO AWEESSOMMMEEE. She is from Sandy, Utah. So is so fun and she does nothing but be happy and obedient, but not like a Robot. I LUCKED OUT SO MUCH. She always asks me how I am, and I've only cried once this week, when I was telling her how much I loved her and how my prayers were answered! I can't stress how much I just love her. I tell her all the time that the rest of my mission is going to be a big bummer because no one will compare! Okay that's not true, but it will be really hard to have someone as great as her!
Know that I am doing so well! LOVE YOU!
Con muchisimo amor,
Work Hard, Play Hard.
P.S. Stay sweet. (Hot Rod)