Events of the week. (drum roll please)
Ok. Bike story. Tuesday night she had a lesson at the church with an investigator. They put their bikes in the door entryway thinking that they would be safe unlocked. After the lesson they went back to find Sister Young's bike missing. The sad thing is that she only has two weeks left! They looked everywhere in the surrounding areas, but it was nowhere to be found. She was heart broken.
The next day they told their District Leader about the situation. He secretly took on the responsibility to find the stolen bike. They combed every street in San Benito for three hours, checking pawn shops, parks, and neighborhoods. They spotted two teenagers on bikes a little ways away. One of the bikes was abnormally red. Like I'm talking Neon red. The elder thought to himself, bikes aren't painted that red. He looked a little closer and saw Sister Young's U-Lock attached to the bar between the tires (sorry Ben Cork, I don't know my bike terminology) IT WAS SISTER YOUNG'S BIKE! The elders jumped in their car, had a street race with the teenager, and they obviously won. They got the what used to be a white bike back, and Sister Young can take it home... red. But hey, it still works. What a crazy story right?
Anyways. Life is full of miracles, sometimes we just need to take the time to see them. God is aware of everyone and provides a way. I received letters from a few of you this week encouraging me to keep my head up and be happy. I wanted to thank you so much, every letter is a treasure. (Literally. I keep them all.) I am so happy where I am.
Shout out to:
Maggie Faldmo for having a birthday August 22
Sami Moos, the soon to be mother
Miss Brenda Skinfill for getting married to her best friend last weekend
The DV students for starting another year
My friends going back to college. I'll join you soon!
Sister Stevenson, this is her FINAL SEMANA!
Love you all,
Someone recently told me 90% of your mission is awkward. The other 10% is extremely awkward. A few incidents this week proved this statement to be very true. 1} We had a sleepover with the sisters in Breeze Lake because Sister Stevenson is "dying" (aka she is done with her mission after this transfer) and she had to be at an important phone call that morning with another sister. Well we were all sleeping in the same room, and I wake up to everything. Every time someone talked, moved, or got up to use the bathroom my body thought it was time to wake up, so I would kneel down and say my "morning" prayers. Needless to say I said about 8 prayers randomly through out the night and actually woke up on my knees. The sisters got a good laugh out of it.
2} We were outside teaching a lesson with a woman, bearing our testimonies when all of a sudden a van full of funnel cakes drove by and the lady got up, bought a cake, and went inside. She never came out.
3} We were eating dinner at a member's house. On the table was a stack of tortillas, a salad, and everyone had black beans on their plates. The salad was in front of me with a fork right next to it. I assumed the fork was mine so I picked it up and started eating. About halfway through I looked around and saw everyone using tortillas as spoons. I realized that the fork was the serving utensil for the salad and I was the only one not eating with my hands.
4} Wednesday was so hot and we went to see a member family. The daughter offered me a popsicle. I was so excited to cool off; I took a big bite, and soon realized the flavor was chili. I had a quick "Jodi cough attack" and then quietly tried to eat my popsicle without drawing any attention to myself.
5} This one isn't really awkward. It's awesome. Saturday we went to the cemetery to do a little service project of cleaning/ weeding. Our hands were super dirty so we stopped at a community center to wash up. We walked in and there was a couple of people decorating for a party. They asked us what we were doing later that night and asked if we could help serve food. Who denies an invitation to a birthday party?! Not me! So while w were serving dinner at a 81 year old's birthday party all of a sudden a mariachi band walked in and serenaded the birthday girl. The awkward thing is that she didn't seem to happy about it, but everyone else seemed to enjoy it.
This week I deserved a little kick in the pants (or I guess you could say skirt). I had a few moments where I was feeling sorry for myself. Sister Stevenson was so wonderful and reminded me of my purpose as a missionary. I have been a robot missionary, and haven't been myself. I think I have been telling myself that once I learn the language that I can be happy. However, I realized that I won't ever be happy because it is going to take a lot longer than 18 months to master a whole language. I took a deep breath and thought of things that I make me happy right now. While I was thinking I thought of the writing 101 class I took at BYU-I with Brother Grant.
I can't describe the class because the whole purpose of the class was to figure out the purpose. (I know, confusing, right?) But it changed my life. It taught me that everyone learns differently and that we need to discover how we learn best. Then we need to figure out how the people we are teaching learn so that they can understand. I also learned to love people for the way they are and to be myself. I can't explain it, I just wish I could throw all of you into that class because I have such a new perspective of how to live because of it.
Well, that was a lame explanation, but I have to go. I love you all!
You know you're a missionary when:
Now most would expect to experience all of the events randomly through out the mission, however each of these things happened to Sister Stevenson and I this week. It's going to sound unbelievable, but for real, I'm not lying.
Lunes: Coming back from Laguna Heights, Hermana Stevenson's bike jammed (the chain got stuck between gears and we couldn't get the wheels to turn.) It was 8:50 pm, 4 miles away from home, and we are supposed to be home by 9. She looked at me and said, "Well, here comes nothing." picked up the bike, balanced it on her shoulders, and started walking. Every so often her arms got tired and we'd stop to take a break. At one point the front tire had twisted the break cord around her arm and so she was literally attached to the bike. She sat down on the ground and I tried to pry her out. Picture me trying to unwind the cord as she is laying on her back with the bike on top of her. Pretty comical now that I think about it. It took until 10:15to get back and we were TI-ERD.
Martes: Some people play football with it.. I eat it. Tuesday I ate Pigskin. Let's just say I was very glad I didn't know what it was until after.
Miercoles: Our AC went out again and we ended up sleeping on the tile in the living room.
Jueves: The mission office called and said our couch in the living room has fleas and that we needed to dispose of it ASAP. Sister Stevenson took this to heart, drop her shoulders, and push that couch (hide-a-bed and all) to the curb.
Viernes: We got another call from the office saying that one of Hermana Stevenson's previous investigator's little sister has lice. GREAT. (have you seen my companion's hair?!) Sure enough we checked her head and found the little buggers. We rushed to Walmart to get shampoo and cleaning supplies. We came back and while she combed through every strand I channeled my inner Martha Stewart/ Jodi Paige and cleaned the apartment. I scrubbed floors, threw borax on the carpet, vacuumed, and took every piece of fabric to the laundry room. We finished just before 2 am. But don't worry, we got up 4.5 hours later to a full schedule.
Sabado: this was a good day. nothing too bad.
Domingo: we go to 2 different branches, one in Brownsville, and one in Los Fresnos. We were asked to teach Sunday school, gospel principles (espanol), play the piano in both sacrament and singing time in primary. No problem, I got this.
Despite all the things that happened this week, it was actually quite entertaining and didn't bring me down. I am so happy to be here. Zone meeting was inspiring. We read from 3 Nephi 13. In verse 21 it says " 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
What I think about and worry about is where my heart is. If I think of home/ things not of the mission, my heart is there. But what I am doing here, now, that is what I should be focusing on. I have this time to serve heavenly father and focus on solely the gospel of Jesus Christ.
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,and all these things shall be added unto you.
God knows what my worries are, and so I will worry about his work and he'll worry about my worries so I don't have to. I've come up with my new motto.
"Give it all. Leave it all out of the field." field as in mission field. I thought it was clever.
Life is so sweet, treasure every moment you have and person you meet. Things happen for a reason.
Con amor de Texas de sur,
Hermana Hemmingsen is officially back in the USA! No more CCM!! saying goodbye:
Saturday was chalk full of swee tmemories. We listed to our final lessons of Spanish which was terrifying because subjunctives make no sense, but I'll get it eventually. Then we hung out and took pictures (photo overload actually). we cleaned the comedor and then our favorite chef gave us ice cream because he loves us.
Elder Sok surprised us all with sparkling cider to celebrate the occasion. We received awards from each other, mine being "The mama photographer" Shocker? Haha.
Sunday night our district photo was projected on the screen, we bore our testimonies, and it was over. On to the real world to teach real people!
Since Sister Rupp is going to Houston we had to say goodbye Monday morning at 2am.. not really morning. It was so sad. She was an amazing companion and I will miss her so much (and I will miss her random dance offs with Hermana Marlowe)
I arrived in the humidity of McAllen. They aren't kidding when they say 100% humidity. I met President Maluenda. He is amazing and see a little bit of a similarity of my own father in him. I love him and his wife already.
OK. What you all have been waiting for.
INTRODUCING HERMANA STEVENSON
A Spanish speaking Samoan born in Hawaii, raised in St. George, Utah. When we met for the first time she gave me the biggest hug that it knocked the breath out of me (literally. Before her mission she was a fighter.. don't worry about my safety here! haha)
This is her last month in the mission and my first month. What a great match, right? Just wait, it gets so much better. SHE IS GLUTEN FREE just like me. And also dairy free (not like me). Companionship from heaven? Check.
We are serving in Port Isabel, better known as the arm pit of Texas because it is the most south part of Texas (and maybe the USA). We cover three towns, Port Isabel, Laguna Vista, and Laguna Heights. It is right next to the gulf; I literally wake up every morning and could walk out the door to the beach. South Padre Island is right across the bridge, however we aren't allowed over there unless we are invited (it's the party town.)
We have a total of 6 active families in our area; it's hard. There are a lot of less actives because there is no church in the area, you have to drive all the way to Los Fresnos or Brownsville. A ton of people don't have cars and there isn't enough members to get them to church.
We bike everywhere. Laguna Vista is 7 miles one way and we bike it I swear at the hottest time of the day. We work hard and Hermana Stevenson always looks for ways to keep the day filled with fun. Like every time some slams the door in our face we do the tortilla dance. Seriously, she's the greatest.
A little story to show that miracles are real:
Last night we were walking around in Laguna Heights. There was a whole family practically waiting for us to come and teach them. Sitting on their porch steps, we walked over to them and asked how their day was, introduced ourselves, and then asked their religion. The father, Pablo, said they didn't have a religion but that they were looking for one. (cue my jaw dropping to the ground) We talked about how the gospel blesses families and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then the moment came, Hermana Stevenson looked at me and I knew she wanted me to invite them to be baptized. I did my best in Spanish, and the father said YES! I looked at the wife and she said, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you." So Hermana Stevenson asked again, and she still didn't hear.
Practically yelling and waking up the whole neighborhood, Hermana Stevenson said WILL YOU FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS CHRIST AND BE BAPTIZED BY SOMEONE HOLDING THE AUTHORITY OF GOD?
And what did she say? "Donde?"
what!?! This is crazy. Pray for Pablo and Cuca and their family. They are my first investigators and I am so excited.
I love the mission. It is so hard, but so rewarding. I know that this church is true and that the gospel can bring the greatest joy to anyone who is willing to act.
Con mucho amor,
ps: SHOUT OUTS!
happy birhtday to my little sister, Kate! fiesta like theres no manana, babe.
One of MY BEST FRIENDS IS ENGAGED! Camille, I thought we agreed to wait till I got home for you to get hitched.
My new address is 506 Marina Dr. Apt. 3 Port Isabel, TX 78578
a brief in photos
click below to see a slideshow
In our church we believe that everyone is a child of God. Being sons and daughters of the same God makes us brothers and sisters. Male missionaries are called Elders because that is their title of the priesthood they hold. Female missionaries are called sisters, it too is just a title to remind us that we are all apart of God’s family.
Hermana is sister in Spanish, and since I will be speaking Spanish in Texas,
my official title will be
month by month