Tuesday, September 24, 2013

#42 [La Venta - 2] Sept. 23rd, 2013


I am sorry about the fish. Good thing they are super cheap! Not like Mimisiku, who ate FIIISH for lunch, and they were the father’s prized possessions. That’s not good! haha

Too bad that BYU lost. But I could honestly not care less, so...

It still feels a lot like summer here. I think they only have one season... summer. They claim to have winter, but let’s be real, that is a joke! hahah

Yeah, Kelton mentioned in an email that he applied (to BYU.) His emails to me are pretty much the same as they were to his family in the mission–short and lacking much detail. haha

But I am happy to hear that the family is good. I miss you all a lot. I love you all. Now I will tell you about the mission life here in the DR.

Life is good. The mission is good. This week was good. Nothing really great happened. Ok, that is a little bit of a lie, but not too much. I will tell you all about my boring week. Gosh!

So on Monday night, a member gave us arroz con leche, and I was really worried. I remember the last time I had it... it was super gross! But this time, I really enjoyed it. We had to eat it really fast, and I would have liked to take my time and eat it, but whatever. I liked it. I got the recipe. I will have to make it when I return, because it was just that good.

So on Wednesday, we had a zone conference, and it was really good. I don’t remember a lot of what happened, but I remember something. Get excited, because I usually don’t share spiritual experiences in my emails! But here goes nothing...

So, the assistants had called me to play the piano and I agreed. But then I found another elder who played really well, and I thought it would be ok to have him play. So the morning of the conference, I talked to the assistants, and the elder was like, hermana, you are already on the list, we can’t change it. And so I started freaking out because I hadn’t practiced or anything! And I get sweaty when I play and people sing, you know. So I tried to beg and convince, and I was really nervous. And then Elder Chinchilla pulled out a scripture — 1 Nefi 17:50-51. When Nefi is talking about how the Lord has done so many things, why can’t He show Nefi how to build a ship? And then he applied that to me, and I told him that I didn’t want his scriptures, cuz I was being a stinker (me and him are super good friends, so I can do that and not be judged...)  and then he was like, "Hermana, was José Smith prepared when God called him?"... No... "Were there more prepared people that God could have called?"... Yes... and that made me think. I was still freaking out a bit, and then he just asked me to play the prelude and think about it, so I accepted, with full intent of not playing for the conference. But as I was practicing, I realized that God could really help me with something super small, and then I told them I would play, and I have not played as well as I did that day ever in the mission. It is such a dumb experience, but it really crecio my faith. It was neat. And then the rest of the conference went well. It was about obedience. I have notes, but I learned more from that conference even before it started. I love the gospel .)

This area is still great. I hope you all have a great week. I love you all so much. Sorry this is short. I also have nothing to say. Maybe next week will be more exciting. :)

Thank you for everything you do. I am so blessed to come from a beautiful family who raised me in the gospel. Thank you. I love you all!

Peace and love!

Hermana Erickson 1

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

#41 [La Venta - 1] Sept. 16th, 2013


He actually sent me a picture of the house, and said that he hadn’t seen if you were home yet. Ah, happy moment. What a stud. You’re all studs, too :)

Anyways, HELLO!!!!

I am writing you from a nice internet place in a town called La Venta, in the area Las Caobas. I am still in the capital :) I love this area. I will tell you a little more about it in a few minutes, hold your horses. First, like always, I will talk about your happy letter.

CONGRATS TO MANDY for tying the knot!!!!! ...and to Michelle for getting out of the DMV. 

Oh, are Kama and Rusty still working on a temple marriage?

Josh, you look stylish in your magenta tie. I like your date. She’s pretty. Reminds me of myself, since I’m pretty... hahahahaha kidding. There is nothing pretty about being a greaser. Yeah, I have learned that. Except all of the Dominicans think I am super pretty. It’s a confidence booster for sure, especially when you’re a greaser. At least someone thinks I look good greasy ;) kidding.

To Jacob: Jakey, I totally remember that! but you just announced it to the world!!!! Goodness! hahah. I love you and can’t believe you are growing so tall!!! Maybe you’ll be taller than me when I get back!! Love you bud! Hope school is going well.

Ok, so now I will tell you about my week. I GOT TRANSFERRED!, but you already knew that. I am now in an AWESOME area, and I love my compa. We aren’t anything like me and Beesley, but we have a good time. Her name is Sarah Peck. She is from Logan. Do you remember Hermana Rupp? from the MTC? they are friends!!! Small world.

Branch meeting house
But yeah, we opened up the area for sisters. Apparently this area is "tranquillo," but we "shouldn’t walk the streets a night." I think it’s more dangerous than people tell us. But I am safe, nonetheless, and happy.

This area is like a mix between my last two areas, also my first two areas... It’s half campo like Azua, and kinda city like Independencia. I really love it.

The Elders were here before, and they got totally whitewashed. They were ticked! I can for sure see why, this place is paradise. The first day, the elders showed us around, and the people are so prepared and love the missionaries. They didn’t know sisters existed, but now they do, duh. But yeah, the people love us. I am surprised that there aren’t more members. But wow, this place is great, mainly because of the people. 

We have a few investigators, and they are all AMAZING! There is a family that is golden, who has been to church ever since they were introduced two weeks ago. They want to get married, and they want the gospel in their lives. I love them.

We have this 16 year old girl, Gloria, and she speaks fluently in English, and wears a chastity ring and talks about the gospel to everyone. She is prime; so prepared for the church; she is wonderful. The only thing about most of our investigators is their parents. The problem was that they didn’t like the elders going to their house to teach them, but now that we’re sisters, I think they will be members shortly. :)

It’s so fun here. Like, not really the house I live in, or the other herms, but the area, and the branch. We have a rock solid president who is ALL ABOUT HELPING US OUT. The branch has a Noche de Amistad, which is a FHE with friends and such, and they do those weekly. I love them for many reasons, one of which is that we are allowed to eat at FHE, so we get to eat Dominican food!

I don’t really know how to explain more, so I will just play this game called "Good news, Bad news."                                                
Good news: We have a mission leader who is bomb!
Bad news: He calls us every half hour and checks if we’re ok.

Good news: I’m learning to be more open to help from him.
Bad news: I’m also super stubborn and kinda a feminist... oops.

Good news: We have a beautiful house with a coconut tree, cherry tree, and a mango tree in the front.
Bad news: We’re moving... :(

Good news: I am senior companion.
Bad news: Pretty sure my comp knows more Spanish than I do...

Good news: I have been using my mosquito net every night.
Bad news: There are more mosquitoes inside my net than outside... and my legs look like they have acne... GROSS.

Good news: I don’t have dengue.
Bad news: I might get it because of all of the lumping mosquito bites.

Good news: This area is seriously like the city of Enoch.
Bad news: It'll probably be translated tomorrow!

Good news: We have an actual shower! NOT A BUCKET SHOWER
Bad news: I liked bucket showers.

Good news: We have two main streets that we work with, so it’s easy to not get lost.
Bad news: The streets face east/west, so there is never shade, and I just get fried.

Good news: We have a lot of people at church.
Bad news: They are mostly dry members who can't get baptized yet.

Good news: We're the only sisters in our zone.
Bad news: We're the only sisters in our zone.

Good news: I love this area.
Bad news: Yep... there is none! Me and Peck are just waiting for something bad to happen to this area, it’s too perfect.

But yeah, with more time, we’ll become more comfy in this new area of ours. I feel very blessed to be able to open it to the herms. I can see how the people and this branch were being prepared for a while for us.

OH! We have a Zone conference this Wednesday. Someone important is supposed to be coming, maybe it's Zwick? I can't remember, you know my memory :)

Also, there are a bunch of people that just come to church, and we get references like crazy. For example, we had 15 investigators at church, and then have gotten 5 references since Thursday. The branch here is all about missionary work. Also, we have this cute lady who is a young mother that really wants to do our laundry, man, this place is too good. I must’ve done something right in my life to get this. Really, I can’t even tell you. I have just had the easiest mission so far, which is bad, because I am sure I need something bad to happen. Just don’t do anything stupid, ok family? Don’t want a death in the family being my mission trial! But seriously, just be careful :)

A couple of people that have seen the family pic think that dad is a movie star... again. Don't let it get to your head, dad. But maybe you should look into that, pa. Little House on the Prairie 2! It could be a huge hit!

So they have seminary here at 6 in the morning. They have had a lot of kids show up. Most of them are not members. We went this morning. We ran there to exercise and stayed there. The teacher must be some former Baptist, because she shouts and really gets into the gospel. AMEN! Hallelujah! But it’s cool to see her ask a question and then have 7 hands fly up in the air. This place has a lot going for them. It’ll be hard to leave. But yeah!

For my nine months, we really did nothing. I think we made muffins and enchiladas, but nothing spectacular, which is fine. It's unreal that I am old in the mission. I still remember when I left. You were all crying!

Anyways, I should go. I hope you have a wonderful week. I love you all demasiado. I love my mission. I feel so happy and good all the time. I love it.

I don’t really know what I would need. Sometimes I crave fruity candy like NOW and LATER’s and Starburst’s and such. I also don’t have an umbrella. Mine broke like, 7 months ago. I don’t think I need one though. If so, I'll buy it here. But I would also love more music. Just the EFY CD from when I was a counselor. I actually have a list of things, but I don’t think they are necessary. I am doing well. 

I love you all and am so grateful that I have this gospel. I love you!

Peace and Blessings, Fam!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

#40 [Independencia -12] Sept. 9th, 2013

Wow!! I cannot believe the street flooded like that! That is about how the streets here look after rain, but the water is filled with trash and other undesirable things; like poop. But whatever! I wish the DR got a sewer system, but it is what it is! I hope that the family at the bottom of the hill is doing well, (which could be a pun...haha so funny.) But yeah.

I am SO HAPPY that you and the Beesley’s went out to eat! Me and my comp were thinking about it all day long, and yeah, we just imagined how it all went down, and by the sound of your description, I was pretty close. I know you both too well :) hahaha also, I did know that Herm Beesley got her call on that day. She thought it was cool, and then I trumped it with me going on my mission that day, haha.

To answer your question, Yes, I do like the raisins that you made. I liked the apples better, but raisins are also good. I go through phases of liking them. Right now, I like them :)

Go JOSH! Way to ask a girl to homecoming! Don’t go on and kiss her! Well... maybe, but you have to tell me about it! Also, good luck on his talk. He is such a stud. I remember when he was chubby... my how he’s grown!

To answer your other question, No, I never did watch the broadcast, too lazy. I will watch it in 9 months I guess. I just don’t have the motivation to watch something that happened 3 months ago... oops.

Wow...... thank you for those images of the comic-con...gross. I saw that perfectly in my mind... too bad. Glad Jeff didn’t dress up, that’s not how to find a wife!

That’s weird that their leaf mail only cost them 87 cents. I don’t know why yours cost more, maybe cuz it was awesome? Not sure. Sorry you had to pay money to get that.

I am glad to hear that you all had a great week. I love hearing all about your silly updates about thermostats and such. Remember how when Jeff was on his mission, all of the kids would write to him on Sunday? Man, that would be nice.

Anyways, I am going to tell you a little about my week of greatness.

Well, this last week was the last week of the transfer. It really went by so quickly. fastest 6 weeks of the mission thus far. And to tell you the truth, nothing too great happened. In fact, I have also not had this much failure in the mission yet, either. We would go to all of our appointments, and they would all fail. So we’d walk to the others, and they failed, too. It was rough. In total, we only got 23 lessons in total (with member, without member, and recent convert/less actives combined!) which is horrible! We usually get about 20 without members. So.... yeah, rough week, but to make me feel better, it’s not about numbers....................... but really.

On Thursday, all we could think about was that our parents were going to go out to eat together! We were just so stoked. We thought you guys would hit it off pretty well, since we hit it off great. For lunch, we decided to make enchiladas, and then save some for dinner so we could all be eating Mexican food at the same time! So clever. Ah, I love the Beesley’s. I don’t even know them, but I just love them, haah.

On Friday, we had intercambios again. The girl I went out with last week went home the day before. She had some super bad health problems, and yeah. The doctor told her that she had to leave. Gallbladder problems, and she also has a hole in her spine. I don’t know what that does, but apparently it’s bad. But since she wasn’t there, we did a trio. We had this girl who was just so stoked to be a missionary. I hope she keeps her zest (mom’s favorite word!) for the mission once it actually starts. Also, there are about 15 other elders coming in this transfer. One of them came up to me and said he was from Orem, and then was like, "are you Josh’s sister?!" YES! and so we bonded awkwardly for about 2 minutes, and so I took a picture. Yep, it’s weird to talk to someone that has more recently talked to my own brother than I have...

On Saturday, I finished the Book of Mormon again in Spanish. This was the fastest that I have finished it in Spanish, so I felt pretty accomplished. Also, that was the last thing on my list for Personal Progress. So that means that I finished that, too! Pretty cool. I think that I could’ve gotten more out of it if I wouldn’t have put a time limit on it, but whatever, It’s done. What’s done is done. As Rafiki would say, “It’s in the past!!” but yeah, so that is checked off of the to do list for the mission!

Oh!!!! haha on Saturday, we also had a thing that was super weird happen. So there is this guy that is always on the corner at his work, and when we pass, he gets all lit up. He’s kinda  a creep. We are just nice to him and invite him to church and whatnot. Anyways, about 8 weeks ago, we were walking by his work, and we were eating ice cream, and he was like, "Rude! you didn’t invite me..." obviously we didn’t, he’s a creep! Well anyways, on Saturday, we were walking by, and he said, "Okay, you guys have bailed me for 3 weeks in a row,"(which is true, because we have told him that we would go get ice cream, and I think he actually went... oops!) but he continues, "so tonight, we should go". We thought, what the heck, and so we set a time, which was 10 minutes before curfew, and yeah. We stopped by his work, and he was there, so we walked in the rain to the ice cream shop, and we order, and then HE BUYS IT FOR US! It was totally an awkward date scenario... like.. ah. It was nice that he bought us ice cream... but man, it was awkward. He kept being like, "so maybe we could go to the movies sometime... yada yada yada" We told him no, and that we were strictly missionaries. We left, but first we took pictures. Man, what a weirdy. He is 26, yet he looks about 37. hmmmm...

Um... I seriously think that is all. OH!, we had transfers. We knew that we’d be splitting up, so the past couple of days, we’ve taken pictures of our friends and had them all write notes. Honestly, their notes were pretty lame to me, since they figured that Beesley would be leaving since she has more time here, but I couldn’t complain. I love the people here! Haha anyways, I had a huge migraine last night (the night of the transfer call,) and that was the worst. I wanted to go to sleep super badly, but no, I stayed up. So the phone rings, and the DL tells us a few rules. He also tells us that transfers are a bit different. He says that the president will only tell us WHO is leaving, and not where they are going, nor who their new comp is! – not until today, which is the next day. We had our predictions. We thought that Gamez would stay, Balanzategui would go, Beesley would go, and I would stay and possibly train. BUT we were WAY off. Everyone is staying! Except me. Yep, they’ve booted me out of Independencia, to who knows where! I have no idea. I just got all of my stuff packed and ready to leave. Tonight we’ll find out what is happening. I think Beesley is going to train, but we’ll see. The elders think that I am going to go to a white washed area and open it and train, but I don’t wanna get my hopes up. I will probably just go to Quisqueya (the nicest house in the mission, right next to our area - there are 6 girls there... God would do that so I learn to get along with girls.....) I’ll go wherever though. BUT yeah, that was transfers... I am really going to miss Hermana Beesley. We’ll be buddies for a long time. Probably until one of us dies.

Anyways...that is pretty much the week. I had a great last time. I will let you know where I am. Maybe I will go to a store and buy something with my debit card (so you can stalk me.) Also, I still don’t think I have money. I changed over 50 dollars of my personal money to buy stuff this week. I will reimburse myself though. Anyways, we’ll do this—if I am training, I’ll buy a chocolate bar, if I am not, I will buy something else; deal!? hahah, then you can know before next Monday, haha.

Anyways, thanks for your support and love. I cannot believe that I almost have 9 months! – gawl, this is flying by. I hope it is flying by for all of you too, I just know how much you miss me, haha.

Peace and blessings, fam-bam.

Con Amor, Hermana Erickson 1

Monday, September 2, 2013

#39 [Independencia -11] Sept. 2nd, 2013


Yay for Camille!!! She’s married!!! weird... but good for her. Way to go, Camille!!! ETERNAL MARRIAGE is the best. The only way to be happy eternally. Ah, the mission has really made me excited to get married, just because it’s one of the main things we talk about, “you can have your family forever”– “the gospel can bless your family and strengthen it” – “a Christ-centered home is the best home to have”, etc. Gosh. I can’t even apply these principles in my life, yet :) haha anyways.

Thanks for the update, as usual. I am super happy that you got my leaf mail. I thought it would be legit, and it was. We did write on it while it was green, and let it harden up for a few days until we sent it, to make sure it wouldn’t crumble. I actually put a stamp on it, but I guess it fell off. I didn’t think it would work if I taped it on, because they might think it was not legal or something. So I guess there is a stamp somewhere, lost.

Also, glad Jeff got my letter. Did he like it? haha I bet he did :) haha and also, another thing. I am happy that you get to meet B’s parents. She is the best. I think the world of her, and we are going to be friends for sure after, so you might as well become best friends with her parents, too. Then we can just hang out all the time together, hah.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH - A G! I love that kid. It should be ok to have him (chat on Facebook with Heather), he is such a sweetie. But he is not getting baptized. He has all of the lessons, and just won’t get in the water. He is K’s best friend. Just tell him that he should get baptized. Maybe she can do some missionary work! That would be helpful to the sisters in Azua. I know they just tried his 5th baptismal date, and he failed on that one, too. What a weirdy. Maybe ignore him. Jeff had a friend from his mission that did that to me, too. I was definitely creeped out. hahahah

Here is the week in review. Get ready for this :) it was a good one.

SO after we had written on Monday, we went to A's to prep her for the baptism. We were stoked because we were positive that she would be getting baptized, and it wouldn’t fall through like last baptism... :( So we get there, and she’s like, “Hermanas, I have a problem. I enrolled for school, because I don’t have my high school diploma, and I paid for my classes, and I just got my schedule. It starts on Saturday from 2-6, and then on Sunday from 8-12; every weekend.” So she signed up for these classes, because she’s from Spain, and her credits didn’t transfer over, so she can’t get a job here, so she wanted to get work, so she could support her and her son. So she did this to be self-sufficient. And there was a problem, because this special course lasts until January, and it would give her the last 2 years of high school, in just a few months, and it would be easier to get a job faster. So she had that problem. Our hearts sunk super deep. We weren’t sure what to do because both things are good. We asked her if she could talk to her profersora and see if she could miss class on Sunday, so she would be able to go to sacrament meeting, and so we planned on meeting up with her again Tuesday. Tuesday came, and she had not talked to the teacher. She thought that maybe there would be another time for church, so she looked into that. Right after that, we decided to have a fast for her. So me and Herm. B. fasted. Man, it was SUPER tough. We had no energy, and it was hard, but worth it. (and then, to make it even harder, when we got home to eat dinner, we found out we had no electricity in half of our house—which lasted for 5 days, and that we had no gas for a stove. So we moved the microwave into the kitchen—one of the only places with power, and made microwave-able lasagna. Super good. Anyways, back to A.) We go back on Wednesday, and she’s like, “I don’t know what to do. I can’t miss a class at all, or else I have to suspend the program and wait a year to do school. I don’t know what to do. I want to get baptized, etc.” and so we’re like, “A, we’re gonna be blunt. The bigger the sacrifice, the more God blesses us.” And we go off on that in Spanish obviously for a bit, and then she starts to tear up, and tells us that she has made a decision. So we filled out the paperwork and got all ready for the baptism. It was a miracle. I know it all worked out because of her faith and our prayers. We worked way too hard for her to not get baptized. It was such a tender mercy. I feel so blessed to be able to be one of "her missionaries.” Ah, I love her.

I say baptisms because 3 people got baptized. The other herms had 2 baptisms. One was an 8 year old, and the other was a father; the last one in his family. It was a great baptism. That family had been praying for 20 years for him to accept the gospel, and now they are so happy. It was a fantastic Saturday :) I will for sure send some pics.

Random note, I started a new journal. I am still 100% on my days. How are your journals? Are you keeping a good history of the happenings in Orem ?

Also, we had a recent convert give us some super ugly clothes the other day, and I decided to wear a vest because we were going to her house—and she wasn’t there, so I wore the hideous vest all day. It could’ve been one of the worst days of the mission because of that dumb, ugly vest. Never again. She missed out seeing me in it. A lot of old people told me I looked nice. That’s not really a compliment, seeing how they have zero fashion here...haha.

Also, we did intercambios the other day. It was fun, except all we did was walk. She’ll get over it, because really, you do a lot of that out here. She’ll see.

Haha man, I love my mission. Anyways, I am so glad to be here serving. It’s crazy that waking up early to do the exact same thing day after day can be so rewarding and fun. I love it, and don’t know why. Just know that I love you all so much and hope you are having a great time, too. I also bore my testimony in church for the first time since I have been out, and I FREAKED out. Man, it is so tough, which is weird, because that is all I do, 24/7. Weird how that worked. I still sound like a 2 year old when I bear it, but oh well. Judged!

I hope you have a great week! I will talk to you in 7 days! (not like I am counting... it just happens that I know how many days are in a week... haha.) But tell the grandparents “Happy Grandparents Day” on Sunday :)

Peace and blessings—stay out of trouble,

Herm Erickson 1