Monday, September 30, 2013

New beginnings

Dear family,
A lot has happened this week - and all of it quite unexpectedly. It began on Tuesday morning when we found out from our district leaders that the ayudantes (APs) were no longer the ayudantes.. From now on, they were just regular missionaries like the rest of us. We were a bit surprised by the sudden change because it is in the middle of a transfer and we'll probably never know extactly why President decided to do that (he tends to be a bit liberal with new rules, organizational changes). This news, while at first seemingly unrelated to us for the most part, was the first domino in a chain of events that completely reorganized our district.
First of all, the ayudantes were our only reliable line to and from the capitol (each week). With them gone, it means we can't request any cheap bulk foods (i.e. pancake mix or cereal), and most devastatlingly, it means that we are now only able to send and receive mail once per transfer (6 weeks) when the Clawsons (senior missionary couple) come to Azua for housechecks. (We're pretty sure that Elder Groberg from The Other Side of Heaven got his mail more frequently than that, even though it was the 1950s and he had to wait for a fishing boat to wash up on the secluded shores of his tiny Tongan island.)
Fortunately, the Clawsons would be at the DLs house the next morning, so we had one last opportunity to drop off any letters we'd written (although I didn't have time to write everyone I wanted) and to receive any mail that had come for us. For me, this included from Grandpa & Grandpa and Jessica! THANK YOU BOTH SOO MUCH! It made me feel so loved! And Jessica, you have no idea how much I am enjoying those treats - I've seriously been gong through peanut butter withdrawals :)
The next day, the former APs showed up to our weekly district meeting with some surpising news from President Rodriguez and we found out that this change would have farther-reaching effects than we had supposed.  Apparantly, not only are they no longer APs, but they're also moving areas to work over in Rama 3 (Branch 3), leaving us 4 hermanas as the only ones working in Rama 1.
At this point in their announcement, they pulled out several photocopied maps of Azua... becuase, guess what? With them gone, the 4 of us have inherited all of their area to work in addition to our own (and their area alone is about the size of both our areas combined). The elders spent the next few minutes helping us mark out all the area that we were now responsible for on the map. Like my current area, a large portion of the Elders' area was blank on the map. We then tried to ask them a few questions about their area, but for many of them, they honestly didn't know the answers. This is becuase, as APs, they spent 5-6 days out of the week in the capitol, so they never really worked In their area (in fact, they only have 1 investigator there). And before that, no one had worked in that area for nearly 2 years. So, whoever ended up working there would essentially be opening a new area.  Before leaving, the elders told us that it would be up to us to decide howto split up the land and who would work where. They also said that weshould start working our new areas as soon as possible.
That afternoon we pored over the maps and decided that the most logical to split the area would be be the pista, a highway that bisects the area and creates and creates 2 more or less equal parts (when consdering both geographical area and population). Above the pista was the elders area and below the pista was both of our old areas combined. The only question now was who would open the new area and who who take on both of the old ones. We decided to discuss it as companionships throughout the day and then come together at night to share our ideas and pray about it.  By the end of the day when we returned home, we all seemed to be feeling that Hermana Matteson and I should open the new area. So we all prayed about it, and then officially decided that was what we would do.
So that was it. Over the next few days we finished up the appointments that we already had scheduled and told our investigators about the upcoming change. It´s going to be hard to leave some of them. Let´s just say that Altagracia and her kids weren´t too happy about it and clung desperately to our legs to prevent us from leaving their house.. And of course, it´s going to be hard not being able to spend time with Carlos, Adabertino, and Tomas in Villa Palmarejo. When we told them the news, they started singing us a hilarious song, with the lyrics "no te vayas, te necesito, no me dejas aqui." At least we´ll get to see them and any of our other old investigators when (if) they come to church, becuase we are still in the same ward, even if our new area is a half hour walk in the opposite direction.
On Sunday, we took Hna Nodal and Hna Preisler around our old area so they could meet our investigators and set up some appointements with them. And tonight, we're having a meeting at the church with some of the members to see if we can pick up some referencias. Apparantly, there are also quite a few inactive members in our new area, so we'd like to try to find some of them, too. I hope it all goes well, becuase we officially start working our new area tomorrow.
It's exciting, but also a bit daunting, to think of all the work that needs to be done in that area and all the people who are waiting for us - but  I know that if we put our trust in the Lord, we will find success there.
Best wishes,
Hermana Kaitlin Olsen

P.S. I had to send a letter I wrote for Shana to our home address becuase I didn't have time to get her mission address from her mother.. When it arrives, would you mind putting the whole letter inside another envelope.
P.P.S. FELIZ CUMPLEANOS, DAD!!!!! Te amo con todo mi corazon, y espero que tu cumpleanos es un dia maravilloso. Abrazos y besas, Kaitlin :)
Kaitliin foot before

Adabertino, Tomas and Carlos


Azua Zone meeting

Birthday party for Elder Oganda

Carlos' puppies

Drinking coconuts

Kaitlin and Hna Matteson

Internet cafe


Juan's house

Investigators house

Kaitlin's apartment

Kaitlin's apartment

Kaitlin's apartment

Kaitlin's foot almost healed


On the way to Villa Palmarejo

Truck driver who has it right

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