Monday, September 26, 2016

Week Thirty-Eight: Where I Need to Be

Area: Buena Vista Spanish Ward
Companion: Hermana Zambrano

This week was super good. We were able to see a lot of miracles and to meet a lot of cool people. The work is going on here in Buena Vista!

One of the good things about living in our area is that we don't have to use our car that much. In combination with the cooler weather, we have been walking a lot and getting to see our area a lot more. We have been trying new approaches to try and meet people. One of the things that we have been working on this week is asking people if they would like help learning about their family history. It has actually been really cool to see how people have been responding to that message. I think that I have realized recently just how much people love their families and how much the gospel of Jesus Christ can help people to increase that love. It really is amazing!
We found a cute dog on the street. I was trying to tempt it with some dog
treats that I bought at the dollar store.
While we were walking around this week, we found a woman who was really nice. She didn't have a lot of time, so we went back a couple of days later to talk to her about the Restoration. When we got there, we started teaching about the Restoration when she started asking us a lot of questions about what happens to us after we die. It turns out that one of her close friends recently passed away and she has been feeling really depressed about it. We were able to answer a lot of questions that she had and she was super excited to learn more from us.

This week, we got a new investigator named Sergio. He actually was being taught by the Elders for a while, but he recently moved to our area. He is super cool. He just moved to Bakersfield from Alaska. We have taught him a couple of times and he came to church this Sunday and he really liked it. He really wants to learn more about Jesus Christ and how to come closer to him. I feel a little bad that he moved away from the Elder's area, but I am super excited for this opportunity to teach him. 
Me wearing a sweater. It isn't super cool, but I wear it
because I miss the cold.
This Saturday, we went to see the Woman's Conference. Before, we went to the dinner that was put on by the Stake Relief Society. The food was really good and there was a big ice sculpture of the Relief Society motto that had been donated by a member. There was live harp music provided as well. It was really fancy. The conference was super good as well. I never realized before my mission how much I loved conference, but here I am able to feel the spirit so much. We were able to teach a couple of our investigators about how we had living prophets on the earth and how they speak to us personally each year. They were blown away by that and it made me think about how special it is for us to live during this time.
This fuzzy picture is one Hermana Zambrano took of me after our investigator
gave us the spiciest food that I have ever put in my mouth. I was sweating
during our entire lesson!
This last week was a good time. I we have been able to follow the spirit to see a lot of miracles. I love that we have been able to share the gospel with the people here in Bakersfield. I know that this is the place in the world where I need to be right now. I love this gospel and I love Jesus Christ.

I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau
One of the giant trucks that everyone has around here!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week Thirty-Seven: Cool Enough to Walk

Area: Buena Vista Ward
Companion: Hermana Zambrano

This week was pretty good. We were able to meet with some pretty interesting people and have some pretty spiritual experiences. The summer is winding down, so things are starting to get pretty interesting around here.

This week, it was a little bit cooler than it has been recently. One day, I was actually able to wear my sweater for the entire day. I don't think that it ever got to be below 75 degrees, but I am still taking everything that I can. One of the benefits of the weather is that we are able to walk around a lot more than we used to. One afternoon this week, we decided to pretend that we didn't have a car, so we walked for hours. We were able to meet some people who were selling fruit and elotes and some hobos sitting in the parking lot. We were also able to meet a really cool old man named Belindo. It was an adventure!

We ate dinner with one of our members named William. We finished up eating and we were about to share a message with him and his Grandmother when we heard a knock on the door. It turned out that it was a traveling salesman. William invited him in to eat a home cooked meal and we were able to share our message with him while he was eating. It turns out that all of his coworkers are Mormon because the company recruits returned missionaries in Utah. It just goes to show that you can make dinners be effective as well.

We have been having a lot of encounters with Punjabi people recently. It is always a little strange when I try to talk to someone and they don't speak English or Spanish. I guess that this area is here just to show me how the English missionaries feel when they try to have a conversation with people in Spanish. It is always super funny when we get referrals of Spanish speaking people from the English missionaries. They will tell us that they are pretty sure that the people are super nice and that they really want to learn from missionaries. When we talk to them, they will tell us that they were really telling us that they wanted the missionaries to go away and that they already have a religion.

Last night, we had a really cool experience. We didn't really have any set plans, so we decided that we wanted to go see one of our former investigators. When we showed up at his house, his son was being picked up by his grandparents. It was a pretty heated situation. After the grandparents had left, we went up to talk to the man, Oscar. He was telling us about how he was just trying to help his son out in this life and that he really wanted to do what was best for him. We were telling him about how we could help him with that. In the end, we asked him if we could say a prayer with him. After we were done, he did a big sigh and told us that he felt a lot of relief. He has a crazy work schedule, but hopefully we can go back and talk to him again.

Last news for the week. I am staying in Buena Vista with Hermana Zambrano this next transfer. She broke my curse of having a different companion every transfer. We are changing apartments, though, so after I am done emailing, we will be going back home and moving our stuff across town to live closer to the area that we work in.

That is pretty much it for this week. Nothing too crazy has happened, but things are just chugging along. Life as a missionary is great and I love the work. I know that the gospel is true and that it really can help families eternally! I hope that y'all have a good day!

Hermana Blau

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week Thirty-Six: Fun Times

Area: Buena Vista Ward
Companion: Hermana Zambrano

This week was super good and we were able to see a ton of miracles in the work. We found a lot of new people to teach and we have been working extra hard.

One day this week, we were walking down the street and we saw an old man in his lawn. We went over to talk to him and he came up to his fence. He put his hands on my hair and started talking to me. I guess that there are a lot of people in Mexico who have hair like mine, so he asked me if I was from Mexico. The entire time he kept his hands on my hair. It was a super strange experience. 

One of the people we met was really interesting. We were walking down one of the streets in our area and we decided to try and knock on the door of one of the former investigators who the elders who used to work in this area taught. We wentp to the door and we knocked on it. We waited for a while, but then a lady opened the door. We asked her if we could teach her and she said yes. While we were teaching her, she looked really out of it and we were wondering if she was on drugs, but she said that we could come back. 

Flash forward to a couple of days ago. We went back for our return appointment and the lady answered the door again. She asked us if we would like to go into her house. We walked in and immediately noticed that something was up. There was absolutely no furniture in the house. Rosario asked us to sit down, so we sat on the fireplace step. We were teaching her across the room and she kept giving us this strange stare and laughing a Joker-laugh. It was super creepy. We asked her if she had had the opportunity to read in the Book of Mormon. She said that she gave her copy to her cousin and then gave us his phone number. Rosario told us that she couldn't come to church because her cousin took away the key to her house.During the rest of the lesson, Hermana Zambrano was really uncomfortable and thought that Rosario was going to knife us. I did not notice her concern, so I made a return appointment. After we left, we called the number that we had for her cousin. The number was right, but he said that he had never gotten a Book of Mormon and he didn't have a cousin named Rosario. When we went back for the return appointment, we asked her what her name was and she said that she was named Elizabeth. She was still laughing really creepily and looking at us strangely, so we decided to give her some time before we go back. Fun times on the fly.

One cool story from the week. On Monday night, we were walking down the street and we saw a little family walking around. We went up to talk to them and we were telling them about how we share messages about how we can come closer to Christ and be happier in our families. We got down their contact information and they told us to come back the next day. When we returned, we sat down and started talking to the parents. We asked them how they were doing. The husband then told us all about his life story and the problems that he has had. Then he told us that he wants for his family to have a deeper knowledge of Jesus Christ and that they have been struggling as a family. They said that they had felt something when we told them that we could help them out in their family life. We taught them and it turned out really good. We are super excited to teach the entire family!

This week was pretty good. We met a lot of cool people who are interested in learning more and we have been having a lot of really good lessons. This week, we had a Zone Training Meeting and President Layton challenged all of us to read through the Book of Mormon in 65 days. It has been a really cool experience reading hard core through it. I really have a testimony that the Book of Mormon in true and that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. I love being a missionary and being able to share this message with other people as well.

I hope that you all have a good week and that you are able to have fun! I love you all!

Hermana Blau

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week Thirty-five: Rapture-Ready

A tiny book exchange that we found. Guess what we left there?
Area: Buena Vista Ward
Companion: Hermana Zambrano

This week has been pretty good. We have been working a lot and finding out a lot of new things about the area. It has finally started to cool down out here, so we have really been taking advantage of the weather to go out and talk to everyone who is hanging out in their yards. We have been meeting a lot of cool people.

Yesterday, we met a lot of interesting people. I don't know what was going on in Bakersfield yesterday, but there were a lot of strange people out. While we were walking down the street, we looked over and saw a man who looked like a mix between a hobo and a hippy, so we decided that he needed the gospel in his life and that we should talk to him. We went up and started talking to him about Jesus and he told us that he had just been having a conversation with Him. He then started asking us about what we believed about the Rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ. We were talking to him a little bit about our beliefs. Then he looked us right in the eyes and said that we looked like we were "Rapture-ready". I guess that that is a compliment. We started to give him our card and we told him that we could put him in contact with the English missionaries. Then he stared at us again and said, "I love you". Hermana Zambrano and I are hoping that he meant that more as a "I love what you all are doing" rather than an "I really love you". We gave him our card and beat a hasty retreat. I love talking to everyone!

We are still trying to get used to the sun going down earlier now. Generally, we park our car far away from our plans and walk for about 30 minutes to get there. The other day, we were doing that and we lost track of the time. It was getting to be a little dark and we needed to get home on time, so we started walking back to where we thought we had left the car. When we got there, we realized that the car wasn't parked where we thought it was, so we ended up walking around for about 20 minutes trying to find it. Luckily, we were parked in a pretty nice neighborhood, so there were a lot of street lights around. We made it home that night!

Hermana Zambrano likes to takes pictures as we are driving.
On Wednesday, we had a couple of adventures. We were talking to a lady at her doorstep and she wasn't very interested. We had asked her for some water bottles and she was about to go in and get them when her cat walked right up to the door with what we thought was a dead bird in its mouth. The lady started freaking out and she slammed the door and the cat was freaking out a little because we were all making a fuss. It dropped the bird and we discovered that it was still alive. It flew away and the cat chased after it. The lady came back to the door and she gave us the water. We told her that if her cat ever brought a dead bird into the house, she could call us and we would come by and clean it up as service.

This week, we have still been working with Claudia and Jose. We went over to talk to them last Monday and they said that the father had started making a fuss about them coming to church with us. He said that he is okay with them learning with us still, but that he doesn't want them to go to any church that is not the Catholic church. We have been working with them and we are continuing to teach them. Hopefully things will get better in that regard. They both are progressing really fast and they love to meet with us.

This week has been really good and we have been having a lot of good experiences out here in the Buena Vista ward. We are finally starting to get to know the members and their needs. I really like this area and I am super glad that I am able to help the people who live here for a little while!

That is just about it for this week. We have been working hard and getting to know the area more. It is always an adventure to be a missionary and I love this experience. Tomorrow, I hit my eight month mark. I can hardly believe that I am almost halfway through! I love you all and I hope that you have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Photo evidence of me teaching Hermana Zambrano to sew.