Arizona is a desert. If you weren't aware, well, no you know. Literally. Dirt. Cactus. Dirt. more dirt. And rocks! People just drive right up on to their yard because they have no grass. So bleak. But my skies are beautiful. I saw a meteor fall my second night here. Incredible.
Basically what I have experienced so far is your usual, pretty standard home down to the very lowliest places I have ever seen in my entire life. It breaks my heart. Some of or our area has trailers in it. A lot of these families have so little and give so much. The branch is the tiniest thing you've ever seen and the missionaries play a big part in that. My first time walking into Sacrament Meeting (which...I've only had one here haha) they asked me if I would play the hymns for the meeting! Bah! I am a terrible sight reader haha and I didn't end up playing because I didn't know the hymns they had already picked out. But a lady from the primary asked me if I would play the new songs for the primary starting in January. Since they don't really have anyone else, I agreed. If this is what I need to do, I know the Lord will help me. Speaking of songs and singing...they don't sing here in this little branch. They howl. haha I have never heard anything like it. And one of the songs was off of an iPad held up to the microphone. It's just so different from anything I am used to. But it was good. It was still church.
Ah...let's see. Well, we actually have taught more in English than Spanish lately, which I am definitely grateful for because I know what's going on! But there is definitely a lot of Spanish too! And since the Lord called me speaking Spanish, and that is the language that He wants me to speak in, I will get better and keep practicing so that I am not totally handicapped without my companera. She is great. She is so diligent and a great example to me. I look up to her a lot. (:
We are teaching a few different people so far and that has been fun. One that we see everyday is Frank. Frank lives against a wall near Lowe's. He has a drinking problem but has really really stepped it up. He is preparing to get baptized on the 11th of January. The only problem is that he keeps saying "I'll try...I'll try" He thought that if he had enough faith in Jesus Christ that he would be healed. We have had to teach him almost every lesson how faith requires us to actually do something about it. He is just now starting to get it and it is fabulous! Heaven bless that man that he will be able to do this! We have already seen miracles.
Ivon is someone that my companion had only seen once before I came here. (man, it feels like I've been here for a month!) But Ivon has 2 children, is divorced and just lost her job. We have taught her how the gospel blesses families and that trials help us grow. I got the chance to ask her to be baptized, also on the 11th, and she agreed! But we went to see her the next day and she wasn't there...It really worried me. We haven't seen her for a few days...I am nervous. But we just pray that something came up and so that's why she wasn't there and we still plan for her every day. There is hope! (:
Manny was a funny guy we met on the street one day. Haha we asked if he believed in God and he kept saying "I don't know, but I believe in love" hahaha oh dear. And we also got hit on in Panda Express. Gotta love that. A creepy middle-aged man. Asked us if he could take us out to dinner. No thank you (:
This was funny also: a lady in the branch yesterday, in her broken English, told me I was a Barbie. That cracked me up.
We have another investigator named Aishah. She is completely Islamic but wants to learn about different religions. Let me tell you, she is the smartest 15 year old I have ever ever met. She asks us the most complex questions you could ever imagine. And she comes back so quickly and clever. The only thing that can strengthen her would be to read the Book of Mormon. It is the keystone!
One last story about the people we see. We went to this home the other night to see a lady and her children. At the closing, we asked the little girl if she would say the prayer. She asked us again how to do it and so we told her, "well, you start by saying this...then what you're grateful for...then you ask God questions to find out if it's true..." and so on. So, this sweet little girl, 6 or 7 I think, starts to pray. She literally asks God, "what does it look like where you are?" "what does heaven look like?" and "What do YOU look like?" it was so sweet...and so funny! Because we didn't realize we weren't very clear about that. Just a cute little story (:
Well. That's about my week for ya. It was not too bad! I hope all is well with you, too.