Tuesday, June 18, 2013

#28 [Azua - 24] June 17th, 2013

That really is terrible news about Little House on the Prairie. I guess we just need to buy ALL OF THE EPISODES!!! Yes, I went there. Look into that! That show is just too good to be forgotten. A lot of my valuable life-learned lessons were learned from that show. For example: don't smoke, because you will catch the barn on fire and kill your blind sister's first child. You just don't do that! hahaah – But really, probably buy them.

Awesome that Sister O's daughter is getting married!! How happy. I am excited for them; yay!! and Shayli J. I want an invitation from her. :)

Congrats on winning dad, I knew you could do it!! –Never fail to disappoint. If you keep that up, we won't run out of money!!

Heather, you should tell me all about efy :)

I sent a Father's Day card to you (or rather, I sent it with Reeder, which he will send to you, so you should get it within a week.)

Missionaries serving in Azua
Also, thank you for the laughs, dad. You always make me laugh multiple times. I love it. Also, I remember the Hats Monkeys story. I was actually thinking about it about 3 days ago... I will NEVER forget that. "Hats for sale, hats for sale!!" Oh Derek... hahahah

I haven't received the package yet, but I am looking forward to it. Also, I am going to start my no sugar thing, so wish me luck. The longest I have been without sugar is like...maybe 17 hours, and 8 of those are me sleeping. It's gonna be tough, but I know that God can help me :) haha. Wish me luck.

Well, this week was pretty great. Nothing really interesting happened. We did end up going to the temple. We got to take our recent converts, and they all loved it. They were able to do baptisms. They have to wait a year to take out their endowments. We were able to hand out towels, and man, we sure handed out towels. In fact, me and Herm Hurlburt were there for 4 hours, passing out towels, because they needed help, and the people kept shuffling in. It was a different experience in the temple. But I could still feel the spirit. It's interesting to see people do baptisms for the first time... hahah. The Dominican people are great. I love them. I have grown so attached to this country. I will never move here, so no worries, but I sure do love the people. And they love me. Possibly cuz I am American.

But the temple was a great experience for everyone. I am glad that I was able to see all of the converts get baptized. The spirit was so strong, and I could just feel it. Ah man. It's been a long time since I have done baptisms, but I sure do love it. We didn't get to do them, but whate'er.

Transfers were this weekend, too. To continue with the tradition, we had a fire on the rooftop, and had mallows and hotdogs. They didn't call us until 10:30, but turns out that I am leaving! I figured that one out a long time ago. Also, Hurlburt is leaving, and getting a native, which will be very good for her. I am getting another American. I don't think my Spanish will improve much if I keep getting these Americans, but whatever!!! God knows best! I am going to Independencia, which is in the capital, and I am kinda excited. I love the campo, and I am going to miss Azua a lot. I went around and said bye to a few people. A couple were really sad. When I come back, I will have to visit them. I love Azua.

Well nothing else really happened this week... not that I remember. It was probably a normal week. We actually had more success than the last three weeks, maybe combined. We've been in a drought when it comes to finding people and all that jazz, known as missionary work. Oh, we haven't had water for about a week. We even ran out of our reserves. So we're in a real drought, too.

I know I am doing what is right for me, and I am loving it. Speaking of that, we went to McDonald's while we were in the capital.

Anyways, this is the work of God, and I am so glad to be in His Army. I am glad to be in the same army as Riss. I love her. I am so happy that she is serving. She's such an inspiration to me.

love you 4eva!!

-Hermana Erickson 1

Monday, June 10, 2013

#27 [Azua - 23] June 10th, 2013

Oh my goodness, sounds like a happy week!!! I am so glad that everyone is doing well. Hopefully Jdawgs starts to hire people! Preferably Josh.. :)

Thank you for all of the updates on the weddings! how exciting!! Tell Camille CONGRATULATIONS for me, and that I want to see pictures. Oh my, how exciting.

Being on the mission - in the DR especially - just makes me so much more grateful that marriage is a common practice in the US. I love the USA. Also, being on the mish makes me SO MUCH MORE PATRIOTIC!!! holy cow. Me and Herm. Hurlburt just sing “I’m proud to be an American!” a lot actually, and I get chills. I am SO proud to be an American! Speaking of that song, we made a remake for the DR. It’s to the chorus, and it goes like this – “And I’m proud to be a Dominican, where at least there’re mango trees, and I won’t forget my mosquito net, or else they’ll all bite me. And I’ll gladly sit down next to you, and pass my day away, cuz there ain’t no doubt, I love this land!!!!! God bless the DR, yay!!!” Pretty great, eh? I thought so. I made up most of the lyrics, and I am pretty proud.

Anyways – now to reply to your letter.

About the Dominicans calling me fat. I think they are right. I am guessing that I have gained like, 20 lbs. and if that is right, that means a little less than 1 pound a week, so that means, I will gain 76 pounds by the time I get home, if I keep it up!!! Gross........... so I am deciding to be better next transfer. I am going to give up sugar, and work out more than I do now. (Just so you know though, I do have an exception for the sugar rule - if I get it in a package, I will eat it, haha.)But yeah, I had that revelation the other day, and it made me pretty sad. But then I remembered that I am serving the Lord, and I don’t need to worry about my body. Because He will bless me. Especially because I gave up (possibly my only) chance to play soccer at college. Because let’s be real, I am going to be so out of shape when I get back. :( but whatever, I gave it up for God, and He’s going to give me more!!! Just hopefully not more body to take care of, hahhaha.

HAHAH, the power outages in Azua. It’s very common. That picture of me filling the font with a container, yeah, it’s because we had a power outage, and so we had to manually fill it up. It’s always an adventure in Azua. I am going to be sad when I leave... :(Which will probably be next week. Oh well, adventure is out there!!!!

I don’t think the hurricane season here will be too bad. Maybe a little rain here and there. Azua is just super dry, so when everywhere else is raining, Azua is just hot. It’s odd. We got rained on just once in the last 2 weeks, and everywhere else got rain. So we’ll see.

That’s awesome that Josh got to be a witness for his friend!!! Ah, so great. Congrats to him for joining the church!! Let him know I congratulate him.

That is a super cool idea about the chalk art!! I would love to do that!!! I have not seen any chalk around here, though. But if i do, I would love to do that. I should ask if it is illegal. I doubt it, people draw and graffiti all over. :) good idea. It reminds me of 9th grade when we did that chalk art contest, and it looked AWESOME!!!

Thank you for your thoughts, mom. I think about that a lot. and I want to consecrate my time to the Lord, but it’s tough to know if I am doing it or not, ya know? I think the hardest part of being a missionary is not being sure if you are doing your best. I don’t want to waste my time or anything, and there is always something better to do, so it’s tough. But that’s my thoughts about it.

Hahaha, don’t worry about giving us away. I don’t want to get married yet. Even a year from now seems too soon.

I know!!! 6 months – which is crazy. I only have a year left. I feel like I just got here, and that makes me sad. The mission is going to fly by, and then it’ll be done forever; weird. I don’t feel like I have changed very much. Like, I have, but not as much as I could. I am just scared to come back boring, like all of the other sister missionaries.................................................................yep.

But that ends your letter. Let me tell you about my week!!!!!

If I had to put it into one word, it would be: DUD. But holy cow. We had to use back-up plans for our back-up plans and for those, we had back-up plans, and so by the time we would be done with those back-ups that all failed, it was time for our next appointment, which meant more time for back-up plans. Holy cow. We ended up teaching like, 11 lessons? yeah. Rough week. But somehow, we didn’t really get down, and it was one of the fastest weeks that I have had. God works miracles like that. Terrible weeks go by fast – weird, but yeah. Terrible. And it wasn’t just like once, it was every single day. And that was the week!! really.

The one cool thing is the domino effect that I have seen. Let me explain. It’s really quite cool. So, we found A..., taught him, and then he invited his friend, C.... So we taught them. They went to Church and invited their cousin, T..., who loved the gospel. So he invited his nephew, A.., who is only 16, but loves the gospel. He decided to invite his friend. (who came to church with him) and then C... invited his nephew, too. So just out of one person, we are having success. I love seeing their zeal for the work. They love to share it, and recognize our efforts. I think Villa Palmarejo will have MANY members. All because of one man that I had a small impression about. It’s cool. We have contacted EVERY SINGLE HOUSE in that barrio (we made a list... and checked it twice – haha, couldn’t help but say that last part,) but they don’t listen when we contact. But when they are invited by A... or C..., they are all ears. It’s great to see it happening.

T... SHOULD be getting baptized on Saturday. A... was going to, but then we asked about it and found out that he needs to attend church one more time (4 in total), so he can get baptized. So I probably won’t be able to see that. T... needs to get married..... and so we’re really praying that will happen. He wants it too, so I have no doubt that it will, but still. It’s tough to plan for a baptism that Might not happen. Also, he wanted to get baptized with A..., so that could delay him a week or so. Also, we have our temple trip this Saturday, and so we’ll be stretched for time. We should get back to Azua around 5, but no one ever knows, so we hope it’s before 7, when the baptism will be at, if it goes down. It’s going to be a good week. :) Also because it is Reeder’s birthday tomorrow, and since he’s in the capital, we’re going to have a huge surprise party during district meeting on Wednesday, yay!!

About the temple... We’re stoked. We have found names for the family member of our RC (recent converts) and C... is doing his son that died, and A... is doing his father. K... will probably come as well. Super stoked, ah.

But yeah, that is the life in the DR, particularly Azua. I love it here. I am going to be sad when I leave. I am probably going to Ocoa. But who knows. I am going to try to get it out of Elder Reeder on Saturday, since he’ll know. But wow, I love being a missionary. I still have a hard time believing that I am actually on my mission. I have dreamed about being a missionary since I was a wee one. And now that it’s here, it’s already one-third done... man, but such is life. We gotta live in the moment.

Oh! I gained a testimony of something yesterday. I believe in deodorant. I forgot to put it on yesterday, and... oh boy. I know it’s true!!!! 

I love you more than you can even imagine. Thank you for your love and support. I know this is the true church!!!!

ox ox ox,

Hermana Rachel Erickson.

Love you to infinity and beyond!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry I have no pictures. I will for sure have some next week!!! Don’t forget to read your scriptures and study them!!! Like Riss, I am sad that I haven’t paid more attention to them earlier. I love the NT! and the BOM.

Monday, June 3, 2013

#26 [Azua - 22] June 3rd, 2013

Hello family!!! Thank you for your wonderful update about this last week! It made me laugh a whole lot. I love you all. I am so glad that we have such a sturdy relationship :) I am so blessed.

Ok, here goes the whole "replying to your email thing."

I am glad that you had the ward campout - Father & Son's outing. Sounds really great. I am sorry that you slept on a rock, dad, but happy that you got some sleep.

SO, do you want me to send you a package? Because Elder Reeder goes home in.. 15 days, and he mentioned that he has a lot of room in his suitcases because he is practically leaving everything here, and offered to take some stuff home for us. SO: that is a possibility. I could very well get you a key chain. Did Riss send you a package home then?

DID BROTHER RICHARDSON REALLY SAY THAT?! Oh man. I would be so happy. Especially if he mentioned the part about Rachel being beautiful and well-favored. Definitely a good scripture. ;) hahaha, but seriously.

I hope that Josh got his job. Keep me posted on that. Oh speaking of keeping me posted. Thank you for letting me know about all of my friends getting married!! goodness. Sally Marsh? Oh man. So many people that used to be single. I think I could be the only one single when I get back, and then Lou will return and we will be single together. I hope she is doing well. I wrote her a letter a while back, and wonder if she ever got it... who knows!!!

I never knew Grandpa had that cancer under his arms. In reality, I didn’t know a lot about him or grandma. I like to hear their stories. We should do another FHE with them when they just tell us all about their life. Or, you could do a project and do a biography. That would be nice. :) do you think you will have a biography done for you when you are older? That would be fun. That is one of the main reasons why I keep a journal. So when I am super famous, I can sell it and make millions. Get excited. I plan on being real famous, for something. :)

I am making 2 CDs of my pictures so far. Is that ok? I will probably send them with Elder Reeder. I trust him more than I trust the mail system. I will update you for sure. I am pretty sure that is the plan.

Dad, you mentioned that you are "still proud" of us. Thank you. I hope you will continue to still be proud :) haha

Mom, about the weeding. There are SO MANY WEEDS here, and I want to pull them and do a service project for the people, but I know it will be more effort than it is probably worth. No one takes care of their grass. They do, however, sweep their dirt, but they don’t pull weeds. It’s interesting, but it’s Dominican!!! Crazy Dominicans (I say that probably once a week, possibly once a day, haha.)

Michelle C. Durrant mentioned a really good book to read. Sadly, I can’t remember it... you could ask her, and she could tell you about it. I hear she loves it, and it seems really cool. It’s all churchy, so you would like it.

Well that is pretty much the gist of your emails, therefore, get really excited to indulge in my life. :)

Wow, what a week! Actually, let me rephrase that. WOW! what a weekend!!

This week was quite normal. It flew by, and I don’t know why, because we were super excited for the weekend, and it seems that when one is excited about the weekend, the week DRAGS on. But no, this was different. Thank goodness.

Just a quick recap of everything until Saturday. We put fechas with two people, who happen to be A... and C...'s friends, so they will for sure be getting baptized, possibly by them. They are scheduled for the 15th, right before transfers. So I hope that I will get to see them baptized. But in order for that to happen, T... needs to get married, so we are praying that he can get the judge all ready. I have never met a man more anxious to get baptized. Wow, what a stud. And it’s funny to call him a stud, because it sounds like stub, and he has 2 extra fingers, which are stubs. haha that was my whole thought process about that.. wow I am tired! but yeah, super excited about them.

Annnnndddd. That is all until Saturday.

Saturday, June 1st. We had a pretty normal day. We bought cake because on Sunday it was Matteson’s birthday, and so we bought a cake, and decorated the house while she was getting the font filled up for K...’s baptism. Then, we went to the baptism, and K... FINALLY GOT BAPTIZED! And wow, it was probably one of the most spiritual things in the world. Wow. He was so happy. I am so glad that I got to be there for it. I feel bad for Herm. Gamez, because she couldn’t be there to see it, but to make her feel happy, we all wore her clothes. She left a lot of clothes in a bag, and so we wore those to the baptism. Hahah, a lot of people called me fat, and so I used the excuse that it was muscle... um yep. But yeah, we took some pictures, so I will send those.

Also, with his baptism, he had me speak/testify, and I ALMOST cried. Then, we had a little activity after, and he got up and shared his testimony, and just told me how grateful and thankful (which technically mean the same thing) he was for me and it was really precious. I will never forget that.

I felt really great with A... and C..., but with K..., we got really close. Me and A... and C... are close, and same with T..., but us, H.G. & I, and K... were super close. Also, we had to work hard for him. Ah man. Being a missionary is just the greatest. I love it. I really can't believe that I am almost a third of the way done; time flies sometimes.

Ok. So that was pretty much Saturday. We ended up eating 2 cakes on Saturday. Then on Sunday, it was fast Sunday, so we didn’t eat until lunch. And we had made a cake the night before, so when we broke our fast, all we did was (ok, now don’t judge these next sentences.) cut it into fourths, and each eat a corner. We broke our fast with chocolate cake. Then, we had a meeting for Family History, we got some names for the temple trip, which is on the 15th, and got names for C... and A.... So exciting! Then, we had the missionary meeting, and the elders made a cake, so we ate some more chocolate cake. They also had cookies. Yummy! We went and taught a family about the proclamation, and then went and made a scone'nut because H. Matteson has doughnuts for EVERY SINGLE BIRTHDAY, so we decided to keep the tradition up. We got her to cry – mission accomplished, haha. But anyways, at night, we had 2 more people bring cakes. One was chocolate, and the other was an arepa, which is like a 25 pound cake, and it’s kinda like banana bread, but not as good. So...all we ate yesterday was cake and cookies.

For breakfast, we had leftover cake.

But yeah! That is pretty much how my week went. I feel so honored to be a representative of Jesus Christ. I  love this gospel and the peace and joy I feel when I talk about it. I get so excited for each day, because you never know who you are going to run into, it is a new adventure every day. Even though we do the same thing daily, it’s so different. I love this church. I want everyone to receive the blessings from being part of it. I have seen it change people’s lives. It is so sad to see people reject it, because they really don’t know what they are missing. I can’t imagine my life without the church. Without the knowledge that we are an eternal family.

I hope you have a great week. Just so you know, I now have 3 baptisms, and hopefully at least 5 by the time I leave dear Azua... but, who’s counting. Oh right, Jeff is, haha. Please tell him, ̈hi, pal.̈

Love you all super a lot. The church is true!!!

With loads of love from the DR,
Hermana Erickson 1