Friday, 28 June 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This post is written by Sue.  Kenzie sent mostly pictures & answers to letters this week.  She has been made a trainer, and is feeling the weight of this responsibility, which has come much earlier to her in her mission than it usually does, but she is keeping on keeping on!  All is well :-)  She asked me to write a little something about what is going on, and ask for prayers of strength & courage for her!  She knows she can do it, but she really wants to do it well.

So last week I happened to be on the computer when I saw that she was emailing; it went kinda like this:
     Subject:   REPLY -- "Is anyone on?  Email now if you are pleaseeeee"

Then another email followed.
     Subject:   BUT REALLY   

I replied and asked her what was up.  
"I start TRAINING a BRAND NEW GIRL straight from the CCM this transfer.  I literally end my own training today, and start training her tomorrow.  I'm freaking out.

We emailed back and forth (reminded me of the old instant messaging!) and I reminded her how incredibly capable she is, that the Lord is in charge, and to take it one day at a time.  She has never been a fan of change, and that is something that is constant for her right now.  Companions change, her area changes, etc., regularly!  But change is also a catalyst for growth, right?

So her new companion ended up being a 19-year-old from Lehi, Utah, who has just graduated from high school, has never left the country or lived anywhere but home, never took spanish, etc.  Kenzie says, "She is super excited about the work and just about everything in general.  And honestly the hardest thing is just trying to direct all that energy while trying to clarify whatever comes out of her mouth, or finish a conversation/invitation with whoever she decided to run over and invite!" Sounds to me like Kenzie's spanish, and everything else is gonna improve exceedingly quickly for the next little while!  I know she can do it, and I have insisted that she not be too hard on herself :-) 

Kenzie's new companion, Hermana Petersen (left)

So here's the pictures:

Kenzie baked a cake for me!  
What a sweet daughter!
Could I ask for a better birthday gift?
I think not!!
(I'm sure it was delish & it was completely calorie-free ... for me!)

Kenzie & Hna Laughlin went exploring last week on their P-day.  
She loves the beauty of the area she is in (Gazcue).

This Week in Numbers

My week in numbers:

1- the number of hit and runs we saw (one completely knocked the sideview window off a car and drove away!)

1- Also the number of furbies that stared at me in the gua gua 
2- Number of white 5'3" girls walking around the dominican republic in my companionship

2- Number of marriage proposals I recieved this week

2- Number of times a bee stung Hna Laughlin this week

3- The number of women named Carmen we are teaching

4- The number of transfers I've had as of tomorrow, also the number of companions I'm going on as well. And, the number of months I celebrated on the mission as of the 13th of this month

5- The number of weeks this transfer (there are 6 weeks between transfers) that hna laughlin spent talking about how she was leaving gazcue at the end of the transfer... she was right

6- The number of dead, absolutely squished, pigeons I saw on the sidewalk -- I don't know how they get so flat!

7-The number of times people asked us if we were from spain because of hna laughlin's accent and my face -- apparently I'm getting tanner and she's getting lispier?

8- The numbers of blisters on our feet from switching back to shoes, building up callouses is hard!

15- The number of rats we've seen this week

23- The number of fruits people have handed to us!  A bunch of mangos and a papaya :-)

 My District

 Hermana Avery is going home tomorrow - so weird!

Getting a 'last' coco with Hermana Avery (& Hermana Laughlin) today

Monday, 10 June 2013

Humility & Answers to Prayers

Feeling much better this week! My companion and I were trapped in the house for a few days while I worked on getting better, but we´re back in action now!

Today we had an activity with our zone (and 2 others) Such a yummy bbq, even though it got interrupted by a pretty heavy rapid onset rainstorm (this is the dominican republic after all). Fun to see everyone.

There are some changes coming with all the new Hermanas and it looks like our sandals are going to be the first thing to go... sad, but every rule comes with blessings, right?
My companion and I have been studying a chapter in Preach My Gospel & working on our Christlike attributes, and this week's happens to be humility, go figure.

As much as being in the house stunk, it really was neat to get to know Hna
Laughlin better and to work on my patience. We were able to find ways to serve, and things to clean, and study to pass the time, although it was a super weird transition.

This week I want to share a story about a menosactivo (non-active member) we visit.  He's an older man who used to be an active member of the church (he served a mission and served in is ward as a bishop), but has been inactive now for a while. His wife is completely uninterested and refuses to share with us when we come, and in our last few lessons with him, he has been really hard to teach. He plays a sort of devil's advocate during our lessons, saying things even he knows aren't true.

But this week when we went to teach him it was so different. I had had a hard morning, and was feeling frustrated and discouraged.  Hna Laughlin suggested I take a minute to myself before we left, and said that I was required to pray (& cry, if I needed to... gotta love her!) for at least 10 minutes ... and that's exactly what I did  (missions are so great, but they are also so hard & require a lot of a person; we all have our days). Honestly, the release felt great, but I just wasn't sure where I'd go from there.

So, we got to his house and this time we had decided to talk about peace with him. The lesson had such a different tone from any in the past and before I knew it, he started giving advice specifically to me. Telling me never to put off what I could do today until tomorrow; that everything has a time, and that the Lord never gives us anything more than we can handle. He told me that, as much as I need the atonement and the strength of my Savior on my mission, I will need it just as much when I return home.

We left the lesson and Hna Laughlin turned to me and said, "Woah!  Did you understand everything he was saying to you??" We talked about what he had said and the different feel in that lesson. I could see him for the first time in a new light, I could see who he had once been, and who he was capable of being. I just kept thinking "woah".

And not only that, but he had ended up unknowingly being the answer to the prayers I had said before I left, and honestly, he may never know it.

So just remember that this week. You never know the impact you have on others, you just don't. You don't know what they are going through or what they need, but many times it is through us that Heavenly Father answers the prayers of others.
Take a moment to listen to those around you & try a little harder to be just that little bit kinder.

That's all, I would say I'd get off my soapbox but ... it turns out this is my blog sooo chances are I'll be back up here next week ;-P

And just so y'all know, the mission is not all stress -- that just happens to be what comes out on my blog!   Lots of smiles too, over here in sunny, tropical paradise!!

thoughts & moments:

1. filled up my first 16 gig memory card for my camera, a lot of them are videos but still in 4 months, I'd say thats quite an accomplishment... and everyone laughed at me when I said I brought 5....

2. Saw a blow-up pool hanging in an electricity line.

3. An investigator gave us a huge bag of mangos from her tree and later that same day we helped another woman carry a bag of fruit up to her 2nd story apartment and she handed us 
two more.  SCORE!

4. I have seen more bats in the past week than in my whole life.

5. Hna Laughlin and I have made a goal to only speak spanish when we leave in the mornings, we later decided that the evenings are for working on our accents, british accents that is. We're thinking after we master those we're going to move on to scottish.

Hna Morales and I!
We were facebook friends before I left, we found each other on some facebook group and knew we were going to the same mish

All the hnas at the bbq!

Be of Good Cheer - It's a Commandment!

(Kenzie didn't send any explanation of this ... just the list of scripture references.  I have entered them as links so you can easily read them all, and get our Savior's message for yourself :-) 

much love,
hna coe

Heyy everyone! not really sure where my head is at today, so sorry. I've been in the house sick since yesterday and I'm feeling a little fuzzy. Nothing major, just a nasty cold/virus that's been taking out a lot of the missionaries.  Fevers in the DR are overrated...

But I do love you lots and think about you always, Especially when I realize what a blessing my first aid kit is. (thanks for the pharmacy-in-a-bag, mom!)

Today I ran into my first "meanies".  The first people to just be absolutely rude and ignorant when we were talking to them.  The things they said were just plain dumb and mean.  It really bothered me at first.  This was something that had always intimidated me about missions -- talking to people like these two men ... and here it was happening to me in real life.

And then you know what I realized?  This was the very first time it had ever happened to me. Practically four months and no one had slammed a door or yelled or been angry!  What a blessing in my life.  And besides that they hadn't even been Dominican.

So here is my challenge to you -- be kind.
It's as simple as that.

I'm not sure what their thought process was, or what they planned on gaining from it, but I can promise you it didn't benefit anyone.

And in the end I'm stronger because of it.  This life really is what you make from it.  It can build you up, or break you down, but in the end, the deciding factor is what you are made of.