Alright. Feels way good to write home today. I have made the conscious choice to stop struggling. I apologize for sounding really downie brownie last email. We are instructed to not write home anything negative about our areas, companions, etc. So I felt really bad that I didn't strictly adhere to that guideline. I am really trying to embrace the ghetto!! Haha as weird as that sounds. There is a sister missionary that hate my guts right now because she feels that she should be here. She wanted to be here so she isn't and I didn't want to be here so I am. Same thing with companions. Be careful what you wish for or what you don't wish for. I have to quit comparing everything to Silverdale. Which is semi-difficult because that was all I ever knew until this point. But I am here now so that's where my mind and heart are going to be as well. I wanted to take the majority of my email time like always to devote to writing so I didn't really read any of the emails you guys sent me in lieu of having more time to type. So if I didn't answer your questions, sorry! I will handwrite you letters sometime this week.
My comp's name is Faoliu (Fah-oh-lee-ooh). Haha yeah everyone including myself just calls her Sister F. Saves you like 10 seconds of your life each time you do. She is straight up from da islandzz. (that's how she talks and writes). Her and the other poly elders in my district say that they'll turn me brown by the end of the transfer. I said that they couldn't turn me brown with a 40 gallon bucket of paint. Ha! She is kind of an unusual Polynesian in that she is an only child. Pretty quiet. Her dad works in the states and sends money back home to her and her mom in Tonga. Her mom is an english teacher at the Church high school, Liahona. We have really different senses of humor but we still manage to laugh together. Most of the time at her expense. She is way afraid of birds! Haha and she laughs everytime families feed us gross food or food in general when I am not hungry. She can pack it away like nobody's business. My stomach has definitely shrunk significantly since being on the mission. Good for the waistline but bad for being at members' houses. Especially Samoan members. My stomach churns everytime I see a boiled banana!
Want to hear a funny but pathetic story? Sure you do! Ok so the other day it was raining way hard. We were driving up this super steep hill and it's really really dark out. Hardly any street lights in WA. We drive past this large elderly man going up the hill in a motorized wheel chair. No umbrella. Just a baseball cap on and a light jacket. We pass him in our nice heated car. Hmm..we should help him. But how? We are not allowed to give him a ride and even if we did, where were we going to put the power chair. I know! Let's walk beside him with my giant umbrella over his head. Ok! Flipped the fastest U-turn of my life. The fact that he whizzed past the car super fast should have been a tell-tale sign of what was coming next. By the time I threw the car in park on the side of the road and got the umbrella out of the trunk he was a speck at the top of the hill. WHAT THE HECKKK!! How did he get up there so fast. So get this, I take off running in the pouring rain with my skirt flailing and my umbrella turning inside out from the intense wind chasing after a fat guy in a motorized wheel chair. With a tongan girl huffing and puffing up the hill behind me. We couldn't catch him. I finally just yell, while trying not to just bust out laughing or crying at the same time, "Heyyy!!!!! Wait uppppppp!!!" Just then he crosses the street and zooms into underground parking of an assisted living home. It was a scene out of a Robin Williams movie, I swear. We were soaked and just got out run by a guy who can't walk. All in the name of service!
Want to hear a gross story? Sure you do! Ok so we are tracting this semi-ghetto street during the middle of the day on Saturday. We walk up to the front door which was kind of on the side of this one house. I round the corner and low and behold there are about a half dozen giant raccoons just feasting on a spread of dry dog food that is scattered all over this persons porch. I have never seen so many all at once and in broad daylight!!! I was staring into the eyes of disease carrying vermin the size of spaniels. My comp was like "oh, cutttee!!" I told her that they are way dangerous and propelled her into the swarm, sending the group scattering all over the yard. We quickly knock on the person's door as we are watched by the peeved raccoons. "Um, do you know that you have like a billion raccoons on your porch?" The lady that answered was like "yeah, they're my friends." Hmm. Ok cool well, want to come to church? Bring the whole gang!
Want to hear a grosser story? We knock on the very next house to the coon lady and this place looked like a cough or sneeze could blow the thing down. Just beyond condemned. Nasty, nasty place. We give a couple of solid knocks on the door. As we are pivoting around to leave, this lady opens the door. Looks like the last time she took a shower was 1995. No pants on. Cigarette breath out the wazoo. Just had seen better days. Invited her to church and she was like "right now is not a good time." Oh, because you don't have any pants on? Just kidding I didn't say that. But who opens the door with no pants on?? Bremerton's finest on parade, I'm telling you.
I love the support that all of you showed me in the form of getting peeved at the lady who took out her frustration/anger that the elders left and was therefore stuck with us the sisters. Haha yes, she may or may not have contributed to me crying. We had an appointment to go back and teach her on Friday but I just was dreading it. Just dreading it. We were reviewing our lesson plan and right before we were about to go over we get a call that she is feeling "sick" and that we can't come over tonight. Haha oddly enough, my prayer worked! Usually missionaries pray for people to teach, but that night I prayed for not having to teach her.
Time for a "when it helps not being white" story moment! So we have the feeling that we should go knock this one street. We don't really get a lot of anything but "Nope"s. Then we knock on this one lady's door. Turns out she is Samoan and her Dad's name is Faoliu. She was staring hard core at my comp's name tag. Usually when people stare at our name tags they follow it up by shutting the door. But this time she invited us in to look at family pictures. Turns out she has a mormon sister that lives in none other than Gardena, CA. Her name is Sarah Teo and her husband's name is Eric and they had a daughter name Emalina who passed away. Maybe Grandpa Ted knows her. Don't know if she is really interested in the church, my guess is probably not, but she told us to come back any time. Here is another Samoan story. So we get this referral from my last zone leaders in Silverdale that there is this Samoan family that they met tracting that is interested in the church and moving into our area. They tell us the street that they are moving on but they didn't know an address. They described vaguely what kind of cars that they drove, but that was about it. We looked at the street and saw that it was about a mile walk round trip. Hmm. Lot of houses to knock on when we are only looking for one. We pull over on the side of the road after surveying the street and say a prayer asking for help in finding the house. The spirit prompted us to start in the middle and to walk to the right. It was a miracle but the very last house on the street was the family!! I literally jumped for joy when we found it. Two cars that matched their description. Turns out they weren't home, but it's ok because now we know where they live and can go back and pretend to "knock into them". MIRACLE.
Another miracle is our investigator Dani. We found her tracting our first week here. She is a 22 yr old navy wife that was at her friend's house who actually just joined the church a couple of months ago. She was looking for a church to join but didn't know where to go or how to even go about looking. Her recent convert friend said, "Why don't you do what I did? Pray about it." So Dani prayed about what church to join and then missionaries knocked on her door the very next day. COOL, RIGHT??? We taught her about the Restoration, which she totally identifies with, took her on a church tour, and she came to church on Sunday. She said that she was a little overhwhelmed. It was the first time that she stepped into a church in 8 years. She said she liked it and wants to start bringing her husband when he gets home from the boat in a couple weeks. MIRACLE.
Last night we broke our fast with our new favorite family, the Wahlquists. The mom is this itty-bitty Filipina lady (of course) and is the YW president. She had told us about her neighbors across the street the last time we were over there for lunch. It's a half Japanese widower with a son that is japanese/filipino. Score. We asked her if she would want to walk over there and introduce us after dinner and so after dessert we walked across the street. Long story short, the Lord answered my prayer to find a family to teach, we are now teaching them!!! MIRACLE.
Heavenly Father let me sink to the bottom so that I could rise to the top and help the people of Bremerton do the same. People here need the gospel so desperately I just don't even know where to begin. I feel embarassed and ashamed that I even questioned why God would send me here. I am finally starting to realize that I can either complain and wallow or get to work. My companion and I are the only missionaries in the entire world assigned to this area at this time to find the people that are waiting to receive the message that we bring. That Jesus is the Christ. That He lives. That God, our loving Heavenly Father still reaches out to His children today and has called a Prophet on the earth. That the Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel and that by living by its precepts we can find quench the thirst for joy and peace that the world can never offer.
Don't worry about me here. I am fine. I am more than fine. I am doing great. Not to say that it isn't hard, but I need to find the people that have wandered off on forbidden paths and stumbled through mists of darkness and bring them back. To place their hands on the iron rod and allow the Spirit to guide them the rest of their journey. I love you all.
It's always better to look up, because He is looking down