Monday, July 29, 2013

Trailer Parks are my dream come true.

We have 2 new investigators. One is a former that was dropped because the other missionaries couldn't get a hold of him. He answered our call on the first try and said we could come teach him. He wasn't at all what I expected. He's in his 30s. No job. A total gamer. He had bouncy balls framed and displayed. But he seemed to like our lesson and we're going to teach him again this upcoming week.

Our other investigator is...DRUMROLL please... HISPANIC! His name is Bernardo. We found him because Elder Aiono and Elder Rasmussen have eternal investigators that are hispanic, Alejandro and Grace. They understand and speak English but it still is a bit of a barrier in their lessons so they asked us to come along so maybe my Spanish could help. Well when we got to the appointment they weren't home yet, so we walked down the road and started talking to Bernardo. He wasn't exactly interested in our message but I asked if I could practice my Spanish by teaching him a lesson and he agreed to that, so we set up an appointment for the following day. After our lesson with Grace and Alejandro, the Elders went to meet with a referral from other missionaries that they've talked to before but he was always too busy to keep meeting. Again they had us come so I could use some Spanish. When we got there Esteban said his dad wanted to come listen. Lo and behold, his dad is Bernardo! Esteban has read all the way to Alma with other missionaries and really likes the Book of Mormon. We gave Bernardo a Spanish Restuaracion pamphlet and made an appointment to come the next day to give him el Libro de Mormon. Both of them completely accept that God would have dealings with people in America and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. They think that all the people and stories are real. But they don't understand the apostasy mainly. I definitely see why missionaries in Latin America have so many baptisms. They were just so accepting of the Book of Mormon. Bernardo said he'd read out of el Libro de Mormon after his studies of la Santa Biblia. He even asked us where and when church was before we even mentioned it. It was interesting teaching because Bernardo can speak English but is more comfortable in Spanish so he'd switch back and forth. I did the same. I could follow nearly everything he said but the other missionaries were pretty lost. It was pretty interesting. I'm so grateful we found the one trailer park in our entire area so that I could use some Spanish!

We're in Carmel, Indiana which is a very affluent area, voted as #1 American city to live in, with lots of picture perfect people and our two investigators are Justin and Bernardo. Kinda funny how things work out.

Friday night we went to visit a less active. The story goes that she doesn't come to church because her ex-husband is in the other ward and she can't bear to see him, but she'll come when the time changes and the two wards no longer overlap. The good news is that in this Stake they change the times at the beginning of the school year, so that's next week. She was really grateful we came by since as sisters we can come into her home. She invited us to come teach them for Family Home Evening every other Monday when she has the kids. She has 2 kids old enough to be baptized but apparently the father won't give permission for them to be baptized (which is beyond me since he takes them to church at least enough that they know their friends from primary) Since they are older than 8 they need missionary discussions if they are to be baptized so we'll teach them the discussions at FHE. We will pray that the father will soften his heart and let them be baptized.

On Saturday we were praying for miracles, and we had no less than 3 small miracles. We went to contact a less active. It turned out he has moved but his neighbor was a saint. He goes around and buys things at garage sales and such and then gives them to refugees. He basically does that full time. He had to leave to go to a boy's birthday party and deliver him a tricycle but we got his contact information and hope that we can meet with him later. (we actually saw him at the library this morning too.)

Then we were at our dinner appointment early so we found a nearby cul-de-sac to tract. No one was answering and then finally one house answered. The lady said we came at the perfect time because her husband was at the park with the older kids and her baby was asleep. We gave the usual speech and I was just waiting for the "I'm not interested bit" when she said "Sure! Do you have any pamphlets?" We gave her a restoration pamphlet and a Book of Mormon. She didn't promise she'd read it because things get crazy with her kids but she said she'd try. We left her with testimonies and she said "Wow, you girls sure are good at this." Hopefully we'll be able to teach her that it's not us, it's just the Spirit telling her it's true.

After dinner we went to try to visit a less active. She wasn't home but her elderly mother was. We asked her if she could use any help and she let us in. She said her daughter left for a party and she had been sitting there wondering how she would ever feed herself, feed the dog, get her medicine and get to bed. She was cold and miserable and didn't know what to do. She somehow found the strength to come to the door so we were able to help her with all those things. She told us it was a miracle that we came. We told her she was the miracle we were praying for. I'm not sure how lucid she is but she said we can come back and teach her about our church. Even if she doesn't retain what we teach, we can at least go over and serve her.

 So no big deal, but we ate dinner with a Colt's player! Brother Moala and his wife had us over. (I think that's how you spell his name) He played for USC and last season he tore his ACL if any of that rings a bell to my espn-faithful father.

I SAW ABBY ALVEY! She came to the ward with her brother Jackson and I was able to talk to her for a bit and get a picture with her and everything. She was so sweet, earlier this week she left cupcakes for me and my companion on our doorstep. Hand-delivered packages?? Talk about spoiled! Too bad she will be moving back to Provo in a couple weeks. But it was such a blessing to be able to see her. Guess I'm pretty lucky that one of my best friends lives right here in INDIANA!

The ward here is really great to work with. The ward has a mission plan that has different ideas of how to share the gospel. And the families are pretty serious about it. The plan has been in effect for a while-ish and they have been instructed to strive for a missionary experience by October. Mom, next week I'll send you some of the ideas from it since you said you want to be more missionary minded!

I love you all and hope all is well!

Hermana Pearson

With Sister Rytting

My first companion Sister Howard

On to Indiana

Indianapolis temple under construction


In Indiana cornfield with Sister Hansen

With my former roommate

Abby in Indiana

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fireflies and Cornfields and Roadkill, OH MY!

First things first. My address is Carmel, IN 46032. The mission home was pretty crazy with 40 people trying to be there. The Elders all slept in the basement on little mattress pads on the floor. We Sisters had it cushy in the real beds upstairs. In fact all the Sisters get it easy. We have a full time car to ourselves but a lot of the Elders have to share their cars.
At the transfer meeting, I saw Elder Combs that I went to high school with. My companion has been out 6 months and this is her third time training. There are just so many new missionaries that a lot are training greenies as soon as they've been out for 3 months. My companion is Sister Hansen from Provo. We get along just fine. We live with another set of Sisters too that are the Sister Training Leaders. 
We got whitewashed. Our half of the area has't been worked in for a year. So we have exactly 0 investigators. So we've been doing a lot of tracting. I'm sure that will make Ryan happy to know that I'll be knocking on plenty of doors. The people are all pretty nice but they are devout to their own denominations and aren't interested in change. I don't want to waste any time I have here and really since I'm not using Spanish there's really no excuse to be timid. So I've been as bold as I can. I've given away 2 copies of the Book of Mormon but other than that we haven't really found anybody to teach yet. And the 2 people we did find don't live in our area so we have to pass them on to other missionaries.
Our ward is really getting on board with missionary work so that's exciting. Hopefully if the ward is helping we'll be able to get some investigators. We have the members sign up to everyday so we can teach them. That's to help us practice and help us get to know the ward so that we can hopefully get referrals out of them! Everyone is really nice! Our ward actually has 10 full time missionaries. Us, the Elders that split the area with us, a senior couple, the AP's and the Mission President and His wife. So that will be fun to get to work closely with President and Sister Cleveland. They're just great. President Cleveland is definitely a college coach. He's extremely motivating and builds team unity!
I won't have a chance to speak a lick of Spanish. I could not be in a whiter area. I have language study for an hour but it's just not the same. I do get to keep wearing my Spanish tag though. It will be interesting to see how long I'm here but until then I'll work hard here.
Elder Holland is coming in August to rearrange the stake presidency so I'm excited for that.
We live in Carmel, Indiana right off the Arts District. It's the cutest little street with statues all up and down the street. There are a million round-abouts or roaderies here. There's one at every other intersection. Like I said, we have a full time car and only walk when we're tracting. The difference between here and Salta will be night and day!
I already have a bunch of bug bites. Bed bugs are a problem here too, I guess, but I don't think our beds have them. I've finally seen fireflies! They're so cool. I get to check that off my bucket list. I've seen cornfields, the Colt's stadium, lots of roadkill and a Steak n Shake so I guess you could say I've experienced Indiana! We actually drove through Indianapolis on our way home from the airport so that was cool.
I defintely think about home less. There's just too much to do. Hopefully by next week we'll have found someone we can teach!
I love you all!
Sister Pearson

Dear Friends and Family,

We have a friend serving in another mission who indicated that in her mission they discontinued a mission blog at the direction of general authorities because people were finding out where their investigators lived and harassing them until they stopped meeting with the missionaries.  For this reason, I have removed Sister Pearson's address.  We received a letter from President Cleveland telling us to send mail directly to her address, especially packages, since packages cannot be forwarded due to postal regulations.  Therefore, if you want to send something directly to Emily please contact us and we will provide you with her address.


Carol Pearson

With President and Sister Cleveland

Friday, July 12, 2013

My golden ticket out of the MTC

WHELP, the reassignment is here:
Sister Pearson:
At this time, we have not received your visa to travel to your mission. You will be serving a temporary assignment in the Indiana Indianapolis mission until your visa arrives.
I'm so excited! I don't have any information about the mission. I don't know the mission president's name or how big the mission is or anything but I head out on Tuesday at 7:20. It's a direct flight to Indianapolis that arrives at 3:17. Since there is no layover I won't have much time to call but you can expect a call bright and early in the a.m. around 5:30-6:00.
I wouldn't mind a dearelder with some details about the area because all I know about Indiana comes from my roomate. Shout-out to Abagail Alvey for teaching me about cornfields, colts, and steak&shake.
I hope I get my visa soon but until then, I'm excited for my new mission!

Hermana Pearson
Map of Indiana Indianapolis Mission

Thursday, July 11, 2013

MTC - Week 5

Last Friday the Elders got their travel plans to Chile. Even Elder Muñoz who got surgery on his knee gets to go. The doctors told him he'd be stuck at the MTC for an extra 4 weeks but at his last appointment the doctor said he was healed enough to leave Monday with the rest of them. They have to come back to the states in 3 months to jump through hoops. It was a little depressing when we realized they will all leave and comeback before we even step foot in South America. But we all were keeping good attitudes about it. We all like the idea of a reassignment. Two missions for the price of one! But it was a little hard to see them so excited about leaving when our futures were still up in the air. Well the next day, Hermana Howard and I were studying in the other room and I hear, "I got my visa?!!!" so of course I run to the hall and see that Elder Gillins had brought back our mail. Elder Gillins says yeah I have papers for each of you. So when I get my hands on this piece of paper I'm so excited. It has my name and my mission and is on MTC letterhead. Everyone is screaming happy screams and as we look closer it's just a lousy piece of paper with check-out instructions. It made my heart break a little. But the good thing is they didn't plan to be mean and play the joke. One of the other sisters jumped to the conclusion on her own and then the Elders just went along with it. AS IF that weren't hard enough, later that day in the mail, the Peru sisters got travel plans. The rumor was true. They've started to send missionaries to Peru without their visas so they can wait in line at an embassy or something down there and get their visas much faster. (Amanda, there's great hope for you after all) So then they were on cloud nine. Poor Hermana Pullan, she would be in Peru by now if she hadn't broken her pinky. But she has to stay in the states for 6 more weeks for physical therapy. On her pinky... We're all dying to know where we are going!! It's possible we find out tonight but we might not hear anything until Saturday. We're trying to plan for the worst so that we won't be disappointed. So we're figuring that on Saturday we'll find out that our reassignment is postponed until next week (which happens a lot. yay for a 7th week in the MTC)
The other hard thing about it is that usually missionaries who have to stay extra time are fine because the zone's teachers just tutor them and what not. But our zone is dying. Since all the Spanish speaking missionaries are being shipped to Mexico, so are a bunch of teachers. They don't need our zone anymore. The teachers that aren't going to Mexico are getting transferred to other zones so we have no idea how that will all work.
So even though it's been impossible to not think about travel plans, this week actually has been pretty great. On the 4th we had an Independence Day devotional. Then we watched 17 miracles and went out to watch the fireworks. They were okay but I still think the best fireworks I've ever seen were at the all-stars baseball game with Dad. The weather has been great. There was a beautiful thunderstorm and we stayed outside to watch it and got pretty wet. I love love love the rain but I do see how it would become a nuisance when there's no way to escape it in Argentina.We committed our other investigator, Jorge to baptism too. It wasn't easy but we were bold and it worked out. Can't wait to do that in the field! We did TRC again and the lady we taught went to Argentina on her mission. Back then it was the entire country and she said Salta was her favorite part and that it's absolutely beautiful. Another set of great devotionals. I hosted yesterday and kept my eye open for the Ryttings. I saw them drive by and Irene said they dropped Hannah off already so I ran to go find her and I got to talk to her a bit. It's always fun seeing my friends here. One of the fun parts of the MTC!
Our teacher had us all share how we've seen our companion grow in the time we've been here. It's kinda neat that even when you can't see change in yourself you can see it in others. There's a lot the Lord can do in 6 weeks. But it is really sad to see how when some of the missionaries waste their time, they lose so much compared to what they could have accomplished. I know I've learned a lot here and I've been so blessed with how well Spanish has come to me. I feel like I can understand all of Predicad mi Evangelio and most of El Libro de Mormon. I can understand my teachers almost perfectly and the members that do TRC. I can manage to say what I want (at least roughly.) I don't feel fluent by any means but I do feel comfortable with Spanish. But I know I'm going to feel like I know nothing when I get to wherever I'm going.
Les ama mucho,
Hermana Pear hijo (as my teacher. Hermano Roberts says)
p.s. mom, don't expect a phone call about the reassignment. with so many missionaries and reassignments we only will get to email. and can you text amanda when I email you?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

MTC - Week 4

This is how I write letters!

The Prez aka The Best Sunday School Teacher Ever - President and Sister Swensen

Our fiesta

With Sister Heather Allen

The view from the Marriott Center pulpit

Tuesday devotional prayer givers

Querida Familia,
Guess what? Luz is getting baptized! Yeah, so she may not be "real" but it feels real and she is based off a real person. If it's this exciting now, I can only imagine how great it will be in the field. We committed her on Friday and now we have a lot to teach her in our next 2 lessons cause she's headed to the font on the 13th!
To work on our Spanish, we set aside Saturday to be a day where we couldn't speak any English--it was a quiet day. I'm to the point where I feel like my Spanish won't get any better until I'm immersed in it. I know all the concepts and I know a large chunk of vocab but I just need to hear the grammar over and over until it just comes out right. So now I'm starting to itch to get out of this place so that I can learn real Spanish and not just school Spanish.
Sunday was fabulous as always! Sheri Dew spoke to us for Relief Society and she was great! Then in sacrament, Hermana Howard had to give her talk. Each week we get an assigned topic to write a talk in Spanish for and then on Sunday whoever is conducting the meeting just says "we will now hear from Elder/Hermana so and so" and then you just get up and go. It's kind of a nerve racking few minutes until you know whether or not you have to speak. Then of course, the Sunday night devotional was given by the one and only "The Prez" Swensen. Wow! Can I just say, I had the best Sunday School teacher in the world? When I got the letter saying he would be here, I was waiting all week for Sunday! We got seats pretty close up to the front. I went up and talked to him and his wife for a couple minutes before they had to head up to the stand. They both gave fabulous talks. It will be the last MTC devotional they will ever speak at and I feel so lucky that I got to hear it! My favorite was at the very end something he said that reminded me of how he always taught our class that we and us is really spelled me and I, because the gospel is so personal and individual. Christ died for me not just for us. After he spoke, my district understood why I was so excited for him to come! He was funny and insightful and as wonderful as always. After we went up and talked to them a little more. He took down Hermana Howard's phone number so he could call her parents and tell them how she was doing. The funny thing is, when they got the call, I guess they thought that President Swensen was talking about her sister, Sister Howard, not Hermana Howard so she'll straighten that out in her letter this week. Jill Swensen went out and got my special hand-delivery (nothing better than mail on a Sunday) and since Leigh Martinez was at the West Campus they gave me her package too and asked if I'd try to find her at the Marriott devotional on Tuesday.
Speaking of the Tuesday devotional, guess who prayed in front of 3,000 missionaries? That's right, the one and only me! Our branch president was assigned to get missionaries to pray and he asked me if I would do it. They explained to me three times the correct way to pray and luckily I didn't end en el nombre de Jesucristo. It was way cool to sit on the stand. Good thing I got over being nervous back in the 8th grade-I wasn't really nervous at all. Maybe that's just cause no one really listens to the closing prayer that closely anyway. The speaker was Matthew Richardson from the Sunday School Presidency and he did a great job talking about the quote "where'er thou art, act well thy part." I scanned the whole crowd for Sister Martinez so I could get her the package and I finally saw her on the screen as part of the choir so then I was able to find her and give her the package that the Swensens brought down.
Yesterday we hosted new missionaries. We love to watch the families drop off their missionaries on Wednesdays. It's always so cute and tender. Before they let us host they told us we had to make them believe they'd love the MTC. I guess I didn't realize that a lot of missionaries don't like the MTC before I got here. I guess I only heard good things. I guess I'm just not the type to worry about things like this though cause I really never put much thought into what the MTC would be like. And now that I'm here I understand both sides. It's really wonderful the Spirit that is here and how fast you can learn. But it also is...well let's just say I'm glad I'm only here for 6 weeks instead of 9. And the people who are here for only a week and a half don't have it bad at all!
I swear every sister here is dressed up in bright red and blue to celebrate the 4th. We get to have a holiday devotional and then watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks after. Maybe we can hear a bit of good ol' Kelly Clarkson too, but I'm not counting on that. Since it's my pday and we have the Independence Day devotional I only have an hour of class today! And the temple is closed for all of July so my pdays now consist of an extra 2+ hours of pday. I'm looking forward to a solid nap today! Talk about a good day in the MTC. Other than the devo and the bookstore being closed I don't think there's much of a difference in the schedule as far as employees working and such.  Hopefully next year I won't be in America for the 4th, but who knows when it comes to Argentine visas! (My teacher thinks I'll get my re-assignment next Wednesday but that's mostly just a guess) Hope you all have a wonderful holiday!
Con todo mi amor,

Hermana Pearson