Monday, December 1, 2014

Lots of Lists

Dear family, 

This week, of course, was Thanksgiving, and in honor of that I thought that for my letter this week I would share a list of a few of the things for which I've been thankful for this week: 
  • My testimony
  • Strong converts
  • A great companion
  • The gift of tongues
  • The ability and desire to learn
  • My patriarchal blessing
  • Good weather
  • Good health (despite my cold)
  • Shoes without holes
  • My blanket
  • A family who loves me
  • Warm bucket showers
  • Dominican hospitality
  • Guidance through the words of ancient and modern prophets 
  • Skirts with pockets
  • Letter and packages
  • Cold water/ cool breeze on a hot day
  • Quiet time to think
  • That for our Thanksgiving meal I made my first apple pie and stuffing from scratch, Grandma Padley's tarts, and roasted a turkey - all by myself - and it turned out wonderfully
  • Colmados that deliver
  • Pacas (flea markets) that sell long skirts
  • Baby wipes
  • Good advice at the right time
  • Guidance of the Spirit
  • The power of prayer
  • Ibuprofen
  • Bug spray
  • Lucy: the little dog that technically belongs to a member of the branch, but who follows the missionaries everywhere. Literally. She comes to our lessons with us, enters the grocery store to help us with the shopping, sits at our feet while we write at Internet, sleeps on our porch, attends Church each Sunday (no one can keep her out, and even runs behind the cars when they give us a bola (ride). 
  • Members that come out with us and give us references
  • Running water
  • Electricity
  • My mission call and all of the many experiences I've had in the past year and a half: wonderful & difficult, boring & exciting, stressful & fulfilling, disheartening & uplifting... and each of them valuable
  • ... Just to name a few...
And while I'm listing things, I thought I'd share a few more I'd written previously: 

  • When the 2nd counselor wears big-heeled cowboy boots and a Halloween tie to church... every week 
  • There's a dog in sacrament meeting (Lucy)
  • There are at least 10 motorcycles blocking the front entrance
  • There are at least 2 people cutting their nails and 3 people eating in Sunday school
  • When you sing the SAME hymn EVERY week for the sacrament
  • When people leave for a few minutes to go buy fried chicken from the street vendor outside
  • When no one knows how to sing the hymns, direct, the music, or play the piano
  • When "primary" means throwing all the children (& Lucy) in the same room and holding the doors closed so they don't escape
  • When the lesson in Relief Society ends up sounding more like an argument (even though everyone is in agreement)
  • When the majority of the children in attendance are there without their parents
  • When having to correct a little bit of false doctrine in a regular occurrence
  • When the church is practically empty because "it's raining." Ugh.
  • When everyone is related
  • When there are 6-8 missionaries in one tiny branch
  • When you feel amused, frustrated, out of place, and right at home all at the same time
  • "That skirt cost you RD$50? What a rip-off!"
  • When the gas goes out half way through cooking lunch and all the moto-conchos are on their lunch break
  • When the power goes out while you're in the shower.. and then your water slowly trickles to a stop as well
  • When people don't recognize you as a servant of the Lord and just see you as a free visa
  • When you forget to buy drinking water on Saturday night so you have to wait until Monday morning
  • When you can play connect the dots with all the mosquito bites on your legs 
  • When random people yell at you while you're walking down the street because you're either, walking in the rain, walking in the sun, or they just want you to say hello to them. 
  • When the answer to "will you go to church on Sunday? “is "Si Dios quiere"(If God wants). Dios siempre quiere!!!
  • When you have to use the bathroom but there's no water to flush the toilet. I guess I'll wait...
  • When people beep your phone so you'll call them because they don't have minutes (or just don't want to use them)
  • When all you have to eat in the house is rice and beans
  • When the washer is broken so you have to wash everything by hand (or just see how long you can get away with not washing things)
  • When finding someone who is a declared citizen and/or legally married is considered a miracle from God
  • When the music is soo loud you can barely think, let alone share a spiritual lesson
  • When the colmado is out of your favorite snack so you have to walk to the next one across the street
  • When you're in the middle of writing your family and the power goes out... 3 times
  • When you know the sacrament bread was bought at a colmado 5 minutes before the meeting and the water is from the hose out back. At least they blessed it.
  • When people don't know they live on an island and they think NEW York and the US are the same thing
  • When you're getting directions from someone and they say it's really far, but it's only a 5 minute walk
  • When people attend churches based on how close they are to their house, nut what they teach
  • When you're in the middle of a lesson and some Testigos (Jehova's Witnesses) show up
  • When you're eating lunch and someone gets shot outside your house
  • When you ask someone if they'll pray to know if our message is true and they say no
  • When a stranger proposes to you on the side of the road
  • When you're teaching a lesson and they start beating their child
  • When someone tells you they have 30 siblings because their father has 2 other families
  • When you're leaving a lesson and a man tries to kiss your cheek
  • When your opening hymn is interrupted by a rat or cockroach running across your foot
  • When you're teaching a lesson and your investigator pulls out her breast to feed her 5 year old child (or even more awkward, when the child pulls it out himself)
  • When you don't know if someone is their mom, grandma, or sister, or if their husband is really their dad... or grandpa?
  • When you're in the middle of bearing your testimony and your investigator's naked baby poops all over the floor... and they clean it up with their nasty all-purpose mop
  • When you go to shake hands with a one-armed man and he gives you his stub
  • When you're out with a member and you realize that he stopped to pee on the side of the road
  • When someone asks you what their English t-shirt means in Spanish, but it's something inappropriate... so you make something up
  • When you're telling you're investigator that, in order to get baptized, she'll have to either get married or leave her "esposo"... and he walks in. (Dominican men hate both of those things). "Was he there the whole time?"
  • When someone says they know English, but what really comes out of their mouth is pure nonsense... and they're waiting for a response
  • When someone offers you their child... and they're dead serious.
Until next week, 

Hna. Olsen :)

Lucy in the background proselyting


Thanksgiving pie

Thanksgiving dinner

Lucy at the church

Helping an investigator with the wash


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