Monday, November 25, 2013

#51 [La Venta - 11] Nov. 25th, 2013

Oh man, you're right, that letter was pretty lame. But I can't blame you. Sometimes life isn't as interesting as we would hope! But I am glad you are all alive, and happy.

Man, my brain is racing. I feel like I have so much to tell you! This week was pretty crazy. It was a lot of running around. I am going to add a lot of pictures, so I hope you can see them all!
This is my week in preview:
Monday: Normal. Nothing really new.

Tuesday: also nothing new.

Wednesday: The Mission leader, Joseph and A__ (the man who was gonna get married) ran around town in the car trying to find all of the papers that were necessary for the two of them to get hitched. They spent all day, and it was insane!

Thursday: Good News!! They have a wedding date! for Friday! the next day! Turns out that Joseph had to bribe the judge to let them get married the next day, cuz you are supposed to tell them 5 days in advance, but he got it all figured out. Except we had NOTHING! So instead of doing normal missionary stuff, we went shopping with I__-the bride to be, for her dress! We only had like, 2000 pesos to spend on it, and she’s bigger, so it was a real chore. But we found one, and it needed altering, but there wasn't much time. So the lady got her size, and made a couple guesses, and then told us to pick it up later. She would not have time to try it on before the wedding... ah! We also ran around with her to get her hair done (which is a 3 hour process for the Dominicans.) and then we had an appt. with her at her house to fill out paperwork and stuff. She totally chewed us out because she didn't want her wedding day to be all rushed. (She had no idea how much time we had put into it, and how awesome it would actually be. It was all full of surprises.) And so they both got upset, and we were worried that they were going to back out and by this time, everything had been paid for. I am not going to tell you who paid for it, but it was expensive... Anyways, after her boche (what we call it here... there is no English translation.) we went and got her nails done. Man! that took forever. We had to leave early so we could be in on time for curfew. We planned and then I went straight to bed and fell asleep at 8:30. I was so tired! I may never have a wedding. It's too much work! I might just elope. :)

Friday: we had to wake up early and get ready for the wedding. We also had to go to her house and be there for support while she got her makeup done. We played with her kids, and prayed really hard for the dress to fit. AND IT DID! It looked so great on her! It was a miracle! really though. We all hopped into the car, and A__ was already on his way. We got there and took pictures, and then waited outside for the judge to be ready. We got inside finally and the second witness didn't have a valid ID because it had been damaged! Oh no! They didn't have another witness! Man... so I pulled out my passport and got to be a witness for their wedding. I got to sign the documents and it was great. I felt really official. Also, because I signed them, I was either the bridesmaid, or the godmother of their family, or both :) so that's exciting. Have any of you ever been a witness at a Dominican wedding before? I didn't think so. :) hahah. After, Joseph planned that we go to the temple to take pictures. He called the Pres. of the mission to come and take pictures with us, and also asked if we were allowed to go... since we were missionaries. :) he said yes! Before we could go though, Iris had to get her makeup professionally done. Luckily, one of the members in this branch is pro. and she made her look GORGEOUS! We all looked sick and sweaty next to her, but whatever. It's not my day :) haha Anyways, so we went and took pictures. We were also graced by the presence of President Rodriguez himself! How great. It was a fun day. We got home and had a couple of citas planned, so we went to those, and then we went home and relaxed.

Saturday: Well, today we spent most of the day getting ready for the baptism. Joseph planned a wedding party after the baptism, so me and H. Peck were in charge of decorating. We decided to make paper snowflakes. We are professionals now, seriously. We had the entire foyer decked out with snowflakes, :) but that took all day Saturday. Also, the font overflowed, and soaked everything in the bathrooms, so we had to mop those up. By the time it was the baptism time, we were sweaty and gross. It was sad, but whatever, it's not our day. :)

The baptism went well, and I__ bore her testimony about how the gospel saved her marriage. It was adorable. They are so much more in love. This gospel is totally for families. I am so glad that I was born into the church and that I don't have to go around looking for happiness. It was such a joy to be here to witness this wonderful shotgun wedding. No one thought it would happen, but it did! That's what happens when people are working together for the same cause, with a lot of faith and trust!

And that was pretty much the week. It has been the most crazy week ever. I am glad that we got to witness it before transfers. They are next week, and everyone is sad especially the members. They love us a lot, probably especially me ;) hahahah


There is this gross man that just gags himself everyday at 8. It's gross. Right during personal study. It is still going on. Super gross.

We got blessings from the branch president. We were asked to get those by the mission pres., and he finally got around to doing those. It was a neat experience. We were trying to figure out what transfers were according to the blessings. They all think I am leaving. We'll see!

Pres. Rodriguez's son just went into the MTC in Provo. Maybe you could drop something off for him, since it's super cheap. All I know is that he is going to Canada, speaking French, and he went in last Wednesday... huh. Anyways, I thought that would be nice, and maybe help my chances for staying in La Venta :) hahahaha

But yeah, that is my week. I am well. I love this gospel. I am excited for Thanksgiving, although we are going to probably eat nothing fancy. We have no money for that. We spent it all this last week... possibly on the wedding and stuff. Who knows?

But I love you all. This church is true. Sorry about the typos. I am just so happy. I love being a missionary. I hope you have a special Thanksgiving. Eat lots of turkey for me! Maybe send some in the package! yeah! Hna Peck’s mom sent a tree, so we set that up and our house is now covered with snowflakes and a tree. It’s nice, but still feels like summer... rats. Speaking of those, we have two. They poop everywhere and I am pretty sure they sleep in our dishes. But no one is dead yet. That's good news. :)

That's all! Have a fun FHE tonight! If it's not planned, PLAN IT! :) love you all!

ox ox ox

Also, Heather, good luck in your soccer tourney. I had a fantastic dream about playing soccer the other night. Oh how I miss it, and how my body misses it. Score one for me! :)

Love you!

With so much love,
Hermana Erickson #1
or Rachel :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#50 [La Venta - 10] Nov. 18th, 2013

Cool news about the General Meeting for Women. That's... good :)

Did you like playing Golf? I love that card game. I miss cards. Jeff has only a few more months to train - cuz everyone knows that I am the EGYPTIAN RAT SLAP MASTER! :) I am just the fastest. But he might have a chance after me not playing for 18 months. Maybe.

Mom, I also got your dearelder on Friday. It was much enjoyed. Thank you. It's been a longtime since I have received one of those. :)

But anyways, I hope you are all well. I am well here in La Venta. Aka, Paradise  or the Promised Land. Some call it heaven. But who knows :) haha

Heather --- J__ is SUCH a good boy. I love him. He is such a huge help here. I told him to add you, AND then he told me that you are cool, but you need to practice your Spanish... :) hmmm...

So on the Tuesday after last Monday, the 12th?, yeah, we had a lesson with E__. We were preparing him for baptism, AND we were stoked. So we go into his house, AND he's somber. WHAT? We were worried. But then he was like, "I hope you studied" (but in Spanish) AND we told him we had. Then, he turns us to 1 Nefi 11 an 12 AND goes into depth about the tree of life, AND then he opens up Gospel Principles, AND he says, "Please turn to chapter 8, page 75" (not the right numbers-don't go looking for it) AND so we do. SACERDOCIO–or priesthood. So he goes on to teach us about the priesthood. But not only does he teach, he has MEMORIZED the first 3 paragraphs. We were shocked AND pleasantly surprised. :) He's a good guy.

I read something cool in the Liahona. It's not going to sound cool when I write it, but you'll have to trust me that it was cool. It talked about Christ, AND how he is the Good Shepherd, but also the Lamb of God. Which is cool, because he literally is our shepherd, but he is also the Lamb! I don't know how to write it, AND I should've written it out before I typed this, cuz my thoughts don't make sense. But yeah. You think about it for yourself. :)

So C__ (our recent convert) was just called as the Teacher's Quorum President. Proud moment :)

Dad, do you still do Crepe Sunday? Just wondering.

On Saturday, we baptized our "ESCOGIDO." or in other words, E__. His name is really R__ d_ J__, but he was baptized AND confirmed as E__ B__... so... hopefully it counts in heaven! Everything went well for that, AND the rama is super stoked to have him. He is legit. We are hoping to baptize his neighborhood. :) We made the angel food cake for his baptism. Our stove is pretty much just an open fire, but they turned out decent. See picture for proof :)

So A__ AND I__... they are so great. A__ is the guy in blue in the picture. But they are so great. The ward has been trying to convince them to let the rama pay for their wedding, because they are missing out on blessings, AND they have been so stubborn! BUT, yesterday, they told us that they are letting the rama pay for it, AND apparently they are getting married on FRIDAY! AND baptized on SATURDAY!! :) We'll see. We were super excited. We've put a lot of effort in with them, AND they really don't see it, but we love them so much! I would love to stay AND see them baptized. It'll be close, cuz transfers are coming up, AND Dominicans are pretty slow... so we'll see! Pray lots for them!

Great things are happening here in La Venta. We have a few more people that we're working with. One of them is a friend of A__ AND C__, AND he came to church! We're just really blessed here. I am loving it. :)
Thank you for your love AND support. I love you all so much. I hope your week goes by quickly AND you get excited for Thanksgiving. :) Love you all! More than I love coke! ;) hahah

I think that is all I have to say. Have a great week! Read your scriptures! :)

Lots of Love,

Hermana Erickson 1 (Rachel) :) duh

Monday, November 11, 2013

#49 [La Venta - 9] Nov. 11th, 2013

Well, it appears that I am on before anyone else, so I have nothing to respond to, just stuff to tell you about this week.

I am happy to announce that this week has been good. It's about time :) hah, no. It's been a fun week and it flew by! I can't believe that it's already Monday. But yay!

So some happenings this week include:
- I finished the New Testament in Spanish. That was exciting. I started it in Azua, and stopped soon after because I was BORED. So I started where I left off (in Romans) at the beginning of the transfer, and just finished.

- We run to seminary every so often, and A__ and C__ were both there! Man, they are studs. Heather should really marry one of them. :) haha

- We tried a breakfast casserole the other day. I couldn't remember how to do it, so we just used bread, eggs, milk, sausage, and seasonings. It wasn't bad, but it made me wish I was eating the good stuff, haha.

- We're teaching a recent convert some of the retention lessons in English, and man! it is SO HARD! I feel like I can't teach worth anything. It's weird, cuz I talk to the herms all the time in English, but when it comes to praying or teaching, I sound like a 2 year old...

- Kelton and his family sent me a nice package. Inside, was a lot of food (nutella, crackers, easy cheese, jerky, twix, and other stuff) and then he sent me a SUPER nice toothbrush. I think it is called a Phillips Sonicare. I am guessing it was expensive... but yeah. My teeth feel great all the times. Really. It's nice.

- Um... every day here, I just hate dogs more and more. The other day, we were walking along the freeway, and there was a dead dog right next to us. It was recently killed, and I was so grossed out that I couldn't take a picture of it. Okay, I would've, but Peck was totally judging me for even thinking about it. But it's head was like, cracked open and it's mouth was open and its tongue was out and he had all sorts of bodily wounds. Man, so gross. Anyways, I HATE dogs.

- We should be having a baptism this weekend. E__. HE’S FINALLY GETTING BAPTIZED! (not to be confused with Aladdin – "she's finally getting married"- a party in Agrabah!) We are stoked for him. Nothing to say about him, except that he is a chosen vessel (hahahaha, I just used that naturally... the mission really changes people) and a golden investigator – soon to be a golden member.

- We are looking for new investigators. And the members are helping us out with that. I am just falling more and more in love with the people here. It'll be a sad day when transfers come. Peck is positive that she will stay, and I feel that I will leave. (ya know, just preparing myself just in case, defense mechanism). But I would love to stay.

- And that's about it. Nothing really happened this week that I can remember.

That's all. Life is good. I am happy. I love you all and hope you are all well. I didn't take many pictures this week, but for sure I will have some next week (my 11 month one! and baptism) but yeah, I hope you are well. I am sorry that I got on early and wasn't able to reply to your email. But I love you all to infinity and beyond, and I hope you have a fantastic Veteran's day! Be safe and happy!

Love Forever,

Hermana Erickson

Monday, November 4, 2013

#48 [La Venta - 8] Nov. 4th, 2013

Wow, so many people getting married. In reality, the fact that people are getting married is a miracle. Marriage is such a great thing. I wish there were more married people here. It's sad to see so many families broken up because of bad decisions and choosing to not get married. But yeah, CONGRATS TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE AT HOME FOR GETTING MARRIED!! :)

Sounds like you all had a good week. That's good news.

Speaking of pictures, here are our Halloween costumes! We were elders!!! :)

We thought we were so clever, and kind of nervous to go out to be made fun of, but wow, we got more compliments on how cute our outfits were, than ever before! Imagine that! Dominican people like girls in ties! :) I do too, but.. yeah. It was just funny. They still talk about it. No one even thought it was funny, not even the members. It was a sad Halloween, but whatever.

The other pictures is us in running poses, kinda. At 7:30 at night, which is quite dark, we were late for choir, which started at 7. And we were 40 minutes away - in the Tierra Llana place, so... we decided to run. So we ran with our bags and our skirts and bad shoes, and got there in 15 minutes. But we ran along the highway, with cars racing passed us, and we arrived just in time to practice a few songs. They assume that since I am the pianist, that I am also the director, and that's just not true. 
The last pictures are from the service on Saturday. It was a good day. Well, at least the morning. We cleaned up trash off the streets. And it looked nice for about 2 hours. Then it was just as dirty as it was before. The people litter here so much, and it's sad. "This is everyone's world—please keep it clean" - Eve said that :) (Shine bright-0 be a star!)


The other night, we ate hobo dinners for lunch, and it reminded me of home and Jake. Which reminded me that he sure never writes me. WHY NOT!?

Also, we are reminded about everyday about how dangerous our area is. Like, we never feel in danger, but people come up to us and are like, "are you guys here at night? cuz I wouldn't be... I have been mugged here about 3 times.." and just crazy stuff like that. People tell us not to be out past 5... but... I feel super protected here. It's just interesting. :) but don't worry, mom :)

So last night, we had a huge cockroach in the house, in our room. It seems like the only place that bugs go is in our room. It's gross. But I was in charge of the raid, and I had a heroic moment. The others all ran out after it ran under the bed, and I was left in there. We had all screamed a lot, just because of the excitement and such, and while they were out, the roach came out, and without saying anything, I sprayed it, and it was soon on its back. I was a hero. It was a good night to be me :) hahahaha

Um yeah. That is my week. The investigator pool is getting shallow - that is the problem with baptizing everyone! Darn this success. :) haha kidding! We just have to find more people to teach. There are so many people here that are prepared. I am super lucky to be here.

Well, this gospel is so great. I am so lucky to be a part of it. I love the mission and I am having so many good times and learning lots. Keep being a great family. I love you more than you can imagine. I say that lots, but my love just grows and grows. Thank you for your support and such! peace and love!