Here's the story: so every week we volunteer at the food pantry and they give us things to eat for the week because the mission really doesn't give us adequate money to buy everything we need (especially because we're girls and we need more stuff than boys but we don't get extra money like other missions). Well this week, we didn't look at the expiration dates of things to see when things expired....... yeah...... so we had to throw out all of our food pretty much and had cereal and clementines. SO MANY CLEMENTINES. People grow them and give us bags and bags of them. We also have been getting sick every time we are in our apartment. It's kind of ridiculous... my companion wakes up with a sore throat and no voice and i get a runny nose and hives everywhere. So we called up the apartment complex and was like "there is totally mold in our apartment." So we had to move into the elders' old apartment for a day while they took out our walls and "cleaned everything out." There were drug dealers next door at the other apartment! How fun! And we couldn't get our toiletries out of our apartment so I wore the elders' old spice--I smelled like the man your man could smell like!
Anyway, when we went back to our apartment, we recognized that it just got WORSE! So yeah, we found a new apartment that we will hopefully be moving into soon. I thought things like this only happened to people who serve in like argentina and stuff.... nope!
We brought a bunch of people (less actives/nonmembers/etc.) to the ward christmas party--it didn't go as planned. We had a big performance (I played trumpet so that was fun) and it was all about WAIT FOR IT....... the military. THE MILITARY. I brought a big time pacifist with me to meet the mormons and all they talked about was how great the military is. WHAT ABOUT JESUS!? It's the christmas party!!! Oh well, it's over. He's never coming to church again though, sadly.
On the other hand, we ate lunch with a less active member who adores us and now her husband doesn't hate missionaries as much! So that's helpful! :) She is having us over today because in her own words: "I'm not paying tithing so I'm donating to the church by buying the missionaries clothes." So she got my companion and I clothes! She has style, so I'm pretty content.
We have been somewhat frustrated because our investigators simply don't want lessons and we try to find people but no one is interested, so we prayed about it and came up with the conclusion that we should focus our efforts on less active members. So what if we don't get a baptism? Activation is pretty important too!
Yesterday the stake president had his two children's mission homecoming talks in church, AND the mission president spoke. it was probably the best church experience ever! they taught every missionary lesson in the space of an hour... all that was missing was a baptismal invitation, pretty much! We are now teaching 2 of the people who attended about family history :)
We also found out yesterday that someone who we innocently talked to about family history outside of a restaurant is actually best friends with a member and the person is like totally obsessed with family history now!
Hello everyone this is Brandi and this is the first long email Amanda has sent me. We always get to just talking and forgets to send me one. I will post pictures hopefully next week sorry I haven't posted them yet I've been busy with school and have finals next week.
This week we celebrated both Thanksgiving and Hannukah! I had 2 regular turkey dinners on Thanksgiving, as well as 2 really cool Filipino dinners, and 2 desserts. Luckily my companion and I do lunges up this super steep hill for half an hour every morning I have actually been losing weight! My legs hurt constantly, but dang, I am going to have some really nice legs by the time this mission is over. Anyway, Filipino food is amazing. If you haven't had it yet, EAT IT RIGHT NOW! On Friday, stopped by a less active member's house. We taught a lesson while she gave me a manicure! She told me if I don't bite my nails, she will read her scriptures. What a good deal, right!? However, Saturday and Sunday were definitely the most interesting days this week! Saturday went as follows: We went tracting for the first time in a long time, and miracles occured! We first stumbled upon the ex girlfriend of one of the guys in my ward who is now serving a mission in Montana! I had met her like 3 times already so seeing her again was like OH HEY WOAH! Then, we found a new investigator named Jenny! She is pretty great! She told us we smell nice! We will be seeing her again on Wednesday :) Then we met this nice man named Mike who just told us how much he loves Mormons because they carry themselves well! He just talked to us for 10 minutes straight about his love for Mormons. Then we saw this nice man who is actually on a "do not contact" list of less active members. I don't know why! He was way nice! Then we went on to the Quisenberry house to make a nice Thanksgivakah dinner. Their friend, Dadi, was there from Israel. He is kind of a big deal chef. He's a private chef in Beverly Hills who cooks for people like Madonna and stuff... so yeah, it was a good meal. I made latkes! Gosh, I love latkes <3 Dadi said he misses them, and I made his night complete :) There were like 20 people there, from all different religious backgrounds. I had met Dadi a few times before, and he calls me "sister jewish." He laughed at me because the second I got in their house I was like "alright I'm cooking-- you need to get out of my path." Yeah, I sounded A LOT like my mother. Sis Quisenberry was like "oh gosh there are 2 Jews in my kitchen now. I'm not sure if my kitchen can handle this!" It was a pretty great meal. We did the Hannukah prayer and everything! At the end of the night, one of the people who sat next to me, Jacob (HES FROM ICELAND!), told us in front of everyone how he used to have an extreme hatred of organized religion but he is changing his mind because of how we missionaries act and how we can just sit and talk rather than forcing religion down peoples' throats. Seriously, it made my life complete. I FINALLY felt like I was accomplishing my purpose as a missionary. I really don't feel like I was sent here to convert a bunch of people who are already Christian. I was sent here to touch the hearts of people like Jacob, who is pagan. I think that my purpose is to help people from different backgrounds like I had, because I can't connect really to people who are Baptists and Catholics and stuff. I can definitely connect with the Jews and Buddhists, Muslims, and Agnostics, because I was agnostic for such a long time. People tell me all the time about how Jesus is their savior and stuff, and that's great! They often feel complete, so it is hard to convince them that something is missing in their lives, though there is. I REALLY like to talk to people who ask who Jesus really is. Because I had that question for such a long time. I hated religion for so long because people would shove Jesus down my throat. I didn't even know who the guy was for the first 15 years of my life! "He died for your sins." Alright well what makes him different from everyone else who was crucified though they were innocent? These are questions that I had for so long and finally had answered by this church. People who have questions like that are the kinds of people I like to teach! People who have a lot of doubts and questions often end up being such incredible church members, because those are the people who will truly study it all out and really come to have a firm knowledge of these truths! If they take forever to get baptized, so be it! I would prefer to baptize someone who has a firm conviction of everything, who took a while to understand and really get to know things, rather than someone who just wants to get baptized because we ask them to. Thus, planting seeds of faith with people like Jacob is so great and I really enjoy doing it. We haven't baptized anyone yet, but we have touched a lot of hearts and that makes me feel like we are fulfilling our purpose. SUNDAY: Well... right after ward council we texted our investigator, George, asking if he was going to come to church. In Sacrament meeting, we received this text: "Actually, I haven't really been interested in your religion at all. I just want to date Miss Berg." Well, Jorge, we are sad to inform you that Miss Berg is taken by both Jesus AND an amazing man. So... sorry sir. Okay, we didn't say that. But we did say "well, if you ever are willing to hear more about your savior, please feel free to text us! There will always be missionaries." Then we went to dinner at a very VERY Mormon family's home. Somehow the Book of Mormon Musical came up. The parents talked about how terrible it was and how it makes fun of faith and stuff. Now, I freaking love that musical. I think it is absolutely hilarious. So my only response was "well, I think we shouldn't judge it unless we see it, and lets face it: Mormons are kind of weird. We should lighten up and be willing to laugh at ourselves sometimes!" Yeah, the parents of that family don't like me anymore. They told me that I was pulling a "convert card," and quickly escorted us out of their house. The worst part is that is the first councelor in the bishopric and his wife... OOPS. So yeah, it was an interesting week. I hope all of yours were as fun as mine! LOVE YOU ALL