Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm in Oklahoma!!

HOLA Y ALOHA!!!!!!!!

Guess what? I'm in Oklahoma! And I survived my first half week here! Life is good!! 

First of all I'd like to give a shoutout to my parents who have been married for 20 years on Wednesday! Wow. They don't look that old do they?

Alrighty, here's a rundown of what I've been doing lately:

I had the lovely opportunity of going to the travel office at 2:30 am to fly to OKC. The airports that we were in provided my first opportunity in public as a missionary. Basically you get a lot of weird looks. Especially when there are 26 of you traveling together! All of the missionaries coming from Provo were English speaking except for me, but we picked up 2 Spanish elders from the Mexico MTC in Dallas during our layover. The whole rest of that day I was super tired, but my mission president is awesome and it was fun staying in the mission home. They have a legit tornado shelter. Like concrete walls and metal hatches and everything. It was intense! Oklahoma is basically a flatter Illinois. I wouldn't think that there was anything flatter than IL, but I haven't seen any hills whatsoever. It was pretty warm until Thursday night when there was a sudden thunderstorm that turned the switch from summer to winter in a matter of hours. So now it's pretty chilly.

My comp/trainer/mom is Hermana Crockett! She's super great! She's really kind and patient and organized and I'm so grateful to have her. Your trainer on the mission is compared to your parent, and she's definitely almost as caring as Mamie. But not quite of course. We're splitting the Norman 3rd Spanish branch with the elders that were already here, so we're whitewashing and shotgunning the area. That basically means that we're opening and taking over an area. The elders here have been super helpful, especially considering we're taking half of their investigators and their car. What we're doing kind of feels like being dropped on a treadmill going like 20 miles an hour, but the elders have been great about trying to make it as easy a transition as possible. Our new apartment is also really nice. We're the first missionaries to live in it so everything is new. And we have 2 bathrooms which is AWESOME.

Basically we've been trying for the last couple of days to put together our area book and get to know the branch. The people in the branch are just AWESOME. Most of the work we do is in trailer parks, and I've decided that trailer park people are the best. They're super receptive to the gospel, they're religious already so even though they might not be interested in the church they respect us as missionaries, they're humble, and they work very hard for very little and share what little they have. Case in point is Hermana Santos. She's a member who cooks for the missionaries every Wednesday and never lets you leave until you can't eat anymore then she sends you home with more food! She's also hilarious, and is convinced that feeding gringos spicy food will improve their Spanish. It's a good thing my Spanish is already pretty good. She also gives nicknames to all of the missionaries. I'm Hermana Halloween and Sister Crockett is Hermana Cracker. I think it's very appropriate that her name is Santos, because she definitely is a saint!

Michelle and Becki will definitely enjoy this story. I had my first "bless your heart!" since being in the South last week. Hna Crockett and I weren't sure which mailbox was ours so we ended up getting our key stuck in somebody else's mailbox, which necessitated the maintenance man replacing that lock and us getting a new key from the very nice lady in the front office that actually "blessed our hearts" to our face. It was a great moment. (PS our mailbox was empty...)

Oh, and I had the first door slammed in my face! Last night we went around and said hi to our neighbors and one man just opened the door a crack and said "not interested!" before immediately closing it again. The Hispanics are usually nicer than that. :)

General conference!!!! So good!!! What really stood out to me the most was the strong themes that there were. They were a lot more prevalent than other conferences. I especially noticed that many were warning that a testimony of the truth isn't enough. You truly have to become converted to the gospel in order to withstand the storm that is coming! Conference definitely made me recommit to becoming a converted and a consecrated missionary. If you don't strive to be better EVERY DAY, you start to go backwards.

I've also been doing a cool study in my scriptures that I recommend. I got a brand-new paperback copy of the Book of Mormon, and I'm reading it and marking it with a specific theme in mind. This time I'm focusing on the Holy Ghost. I got the idea from an MTC devotional by Elder Bednar who said to do this continually until you have a whole shelf of Books of Mormon that is really a progression of your spiritual learning. I think it's awesome so far and I've already learned a lot of cool things. For example, have you ever seen how Lehi and Joseph Smith are really similar? Think about it. Makes sense.

Well until next week! I love you all! You are all wonderful! I wish I had more time but that's all I got.


Hermana Holloway

Elder Lier has a fake tooth that he can pop out. 
It was pretty entertaining the first time that happened.

This is what P-Day looks like at the MTC. Basically, laundry. 
Intense biking with my companion.

Elder Grimm on his first day at the MTC still wearing his dot.

Hey, Look it is the Daines!!

We're adorable!

Hermana Holloway and Mission President, Brother Walkenhorst and his wife.
She said, "Yes, he really is that tall."

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