Monday fue mis cumpleanos! It was so wonderful. After reading emails and such, guess where we went.... Target. (Yes,Target. that's all I wanted to do. I hadn't been for 6 months.) It was glorious. We also hit up Forever 21, also a marvelous place. After we went to a member's house for a carne asada (BBQ) because it was his birthday too. We got there and he turned the party into my party. I was super surprised. We played Hemmingsen classics, Four Men on a Couch and Octopus 8 outside in this cute little gazebo with the whole district. then, they brought out a beautiful cake with fruit on it and made me eat a corner of it without my hands (welcome to Mexico). Then when I thought the day couldn't get any better, Elder Van Katwyk started beatboxing and Cano rapped a song she wrote just for me. These people are so great, you guys. I had a wonderful birthday.
You're probably wondering how Thanksgiving went down. I didn't have to eat my heart out (which is good.) We started the day the classic mormon way with the Turkey Bowl. Words can't describe how happy I was because I knew all of my fellow friends in Siouxland were at North High's field bundled up playing 2 hand touch just like me. (except I wasn't bundled up... #texaswinters #80degrees). So it started off as football, but then Brother Latulatu showed up and explained probably one of the greatest games known to man, rugby. It's so fun, and so fast. We played the whole morning and then ran to the Cottos.
Ok. Where do I begin with the Cottos?! They are newly weds, and probably the cutest people you'll ever see. If I could choose to have a relationship it would be Ashley and Xaridel's. It's like a movie.
We made all this beautiful food with amazing colors and smells, plus there were Motown vinyls playing songs like "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" in the background which made the atmosphere 78 times better.
After a few hours, we went to the Tiltons. Sister Cano, Hannah (the daughter), and I made all the food. We played a card game, helped Hannah rearrange her room, and then ate dinner all together. Oh was it good. I love the Tiltons.
Going back to football, I wanted to retell a story we heard from Elder Foster's wife a week ago. He is a leader in the church who is touring some of the missions in the states. (He was in Vegas before Texas. Shout out to Elder Faldmo.) Anyways, his wife told a story called "Noah's Ark Football.
The animals we getting restless on the boat, so they decided to rally together for a game of football. It was Lion's team consisting of Lion, giraffe, monkey, and rhino. Then elephant's team consisting of ostrich, centipede, and horse.
Lion's team kicked off and the game begun. Ostrich caught the ball and ran to the 25, but monkey took him down. The nest two plays were no good, and then giraffe got the ball and ran it all the end zone. The game continued and at half time, Lion's team was up 41-0. Rhino hiked the ball to Lion,he went for it when all of a sudden, centipede came out of nowhere and tackled Lion to the ground.
After the play, centipede came back to the huddle and horse congratulated the successful tackle.
"Centipede, where were you the first half?" elephant asked.
"I was lacing up my shoes." centipede replied.
I thought a lot about how I can improve myself here in the mission and how I can get out there and go to work, not getting caught in the middle lacing my shoes.
Taking the story to heart, I write down things I wanted to improve in. My number one is Spanish. I realized that I am almost 1/3 done with my mission and feel as if I can't speak as well as I should. I understand most of what is said, but when it comes to speaking, I can't think fast enough to respond.
I wrote down a couple of things I thought could help and then remembered a conversation I had with Sister Campbell, a sister in Harligen. I asked her how she had learned Spanish, and she said she did an "English fast" from Thanksgiving until Christmas.. Meaning she didn't speak English unless she absolutely had to.
I thought about it, prayed about it, maybe even cried a bit about it because I knew how hard it would be, but then I just said, I can do it.
So on Black Friday, when all of you were standing in lines I started speaking puro espanol. Aye! Fue dificil. Esta dificil pero, cada dia aprendo mucho. Mi companera me ayuda mucho. It's nice having a native who can teach me proper Spanish. It's only three days and I feel like I have learned so much. Why didn't I do this sooner?
It's so rewarding to go outside and talk to people in the streets and surprise them that I know their language. (I'm sure they think "who is this white girl?")My goal is by the end of my mission to speak like a native, and at this rate, I can!
Oh, it's amazing how much one learns on a mission. I am so grateful for all that I have learned so far and for my parent's example. I love them so much, and never realized how much they taught me, even when I was so young.
All is well. Transfers are tomorrow. Cano and I will be staying together in Laredo, until at least mid-January. Poor Sister Vargus is leaving the apartment. We will miss her bastante.
I encourage you all to look for something in your life that's a weakness and make it a strength. Like Ether 12, 27 says: 7 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Find your weakness, and with the help of our Heavenly Father, make it a strength. Let us not get caught in the middle of our missions, or our lives, lacing up our shoes. God needs us! We need to be in the game from the beginning. If not, we fall behind, and it will be hard to catch up. Lace up your shoes and get to work!
Until next week, loves
xo hermana hemmingsen
Shout out to my dad for writing to me in hashtags last week and Kendall for sending me the cutest pennant flag decoration. I LOVE IT.
S/O to the Faldmo's and the Jensen's for sending me a package. Y'all are the best.