Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week Two

Hello again! Here on the alphasmart because so much has already happened since Tuesday and this thing is a lifesaver because one hour email goes by in a snap.

Tuesday went pretty well. I got hit on for the first time buy a guy. He asked if we were into any extra-cirricular activities like swimming which we had to break the news that we didnt' even have a swim suit packed. He took a Book of Mormon though and our number (I dont think he realized that we gave him our number to call us for questions on the Book of Mormon) so who knows with that guy.

We had an entire day of cancellations so we tried tracting and came up with a huge zero so that was nice.

We tracted down another road and got more rejections, one lady seemed genuinely interested so we got her number and I'm pretty sure she'll read the Book of Mormon. We were knocking on a door when a car full of teens pulled up and two teenagers started swearing "who the --- is that?" where at first we were like "aw shoot" but then we went up to them and although they were 17 and smoking cigarettes they still listened to our message and took some Books of Mormon. So lots of tracting experiences. Some other old creepy guys walking down the street said "you look good today, ladies" where I threw up in my mouth a little bit but what can I say.

We volunteered again at the thrift shop and they had us hang up Halloween decor and such. The elders were supposed to help but ended up suit shopping instead. We then got to price old vhs tapes and they had a lot of 80s "beach booty" yoga videos that the elders laughed about but refured to take home.

Wednesday was a ridiculous day. We had every appointment cancel except one, and so we tracted the area instead and got a big fat 0. One lady's door we knocked on, I was telling Sister Stringham that I feel like every time I talk, the people dont want to listen. Anyway, while I'm saying that some older lady cracks open her window and says "What do you want?" so I turn and say "We're sister missionaries fro-" then she sharply interrupts me and says "I don't want to talk to you" and slams the window then locks it, as if we're gonna break in. Point proven right there. I honestly always dreamed of having someone do that to me so it was more exciting than degrading, but still, her loss. We had a few good lessons that evening, including V--- and her girls, where they explained they wanted to go back to church so horay. Sister Stringham suggested I slow down a little bit which I knew talking fast would come back to bite me. So I know what I'll be working on this week. Also the other day while we were teaching, we looked to our right and saw some old lady on a jazzy dragging a desk, cruising down the sidewalk. It looked like she had gone garage saling and found a great find so she found a way to get it home. She tied it up and hooked it to the back of her jazzy. She was unstoppable. Unfortunately I have no doubt in my mind that if dad every finds himself in a jazzy, he'll be doing that exact same thing.

We also had our first meeting as a zone which was fun, it was a zone training. They already found out I play the piano so I got stuck with prelude which was actually kind of nice because I miss the piano. The training was good and I learned a lot and also the missionaries were all super nice to me and didn't treat me like the pathetic newbie I am. We drove to Durango for the training, which is pretty nice...lots of trees and green. I guess work there is pretty slow so I am good staying in Cortez. Still a fun training.

We got to teach J---'s recent convert friend named G----. He's an older guy and farms a marijuana field. He also knows all about the Bible so I got very nervous when we approached his door. He was more curious about our church rather than interested in baptism or anything of those sorts, so we basically told him what we believe and asked any questions he has. Sister Stringham thinks if we teach him correctly that baptism will become more of an option for him.

We've been having troubles with exact obedience which I thought at first was a load of bologna because they tell you, "Exact obedience brings miracles" and I thought they just said that to trick you into being obedient but by proof of the other missionaires  who are experiencing amazing things out there, we're gonna give it a try this week.

We also have a baptism coming up! Her hane is K-----, she's 9 and her family is just starting to come back to church. She gets baptized on the 17 and she's pretty excited. The only thing she is nervous about is her interview which will be with our district leader- our district leader's name is Elder Bowie and he's a little Canadian guy who likes to cook and his mom sends him cookboosk so he's the least intimidating person I've ever met. So she should be fine.

We are also teaching J---'s brother, D----. He is a little odd and he frustrates me because he seems so insincere when we teach. He goes on about how he "always knew this gospel was true" but like if you knew it was true why didn't you do anything about it earlier?

Weirdly enough I'll be in Utah today because we're going to the temple. my companion is dying because she hasnt gone in 6 months and I'm excited but not on the verge of crying like the other sisters because I was literally there 3 weeks ago. I'll still injoy it and I"ve never been to the Monticello temple so it will be good.

I've been out for over a month! Weird huh? I mean I'm only on week 3 of the field (which thats still half the transfer!) but including the MTC I've been out a month and 2 days. Its been fast and slow. I kind of feel like I've been out forever cause the MTC felt like so long and was still pretty recent.

I love you all soso much, give Spud a hug for me and Kiki some nice scratches.
Sister Madison Nilsson
                                    SOME PICTURES FROM THE MISSION FIELD

                                The glories of tracting
her best breakfast yet
Monticello, Utah temple
more Farmington, NM sister missionaries

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week One. First stop- Cortez, Colorado

Dear Family,
Wanna hear something awesome? I'm typing on an alphasmart! Do you remember those? From Elementary School when we had to practice typing? Well my companion's mom sent her one of those so she can type her emails beforehand to save time on actual email day. These weeks have been crazy! We got to wake up at 2 am on Monday, drag our bags to the bus to frontrunner, frontrunner to trax, trax to airport, fly to Denver, fly to Durango, be greeted by our mission president and wife, drive to Farmington, then collapse in the president's house. We were fed a traditional Little Ceasers pizza with green chiles on top which was way delicious. Not sure if it was so good because I was starving or what but pizza had never tasted so good. We had a quick orientation thing about medical stuff then president said we could just relax and stuff while he did individual interviews. Never have I wanted to cry for joy more than in that moment because I was exhausted. Sister Barber and I tried to nap but failed and ended up hanging out with the elders on the couches and just chatting and being lazy. Then we got to go out with some sisters and help teach. We taught some native americans and I'm already learning some Navajo.

On Tuesday we finally found out our area and companion. My area is Cortez, Colorado and my companion is Sister Strigham. She's very nice and helpful and patient while I try to figure out life, and she lets me borrow butter for my eggs and toast. We get along pretty well so that was a worry I dont have anymore. I was pretty tired all Tuesday so that was kind of a blur but we taught some and met members. I was pretty homesick but Wednesday was much better. We are teaching a lady named A--- and her daughther S----. They are both native and her dad is LDS so he told her to look us up. They want to be baptized but they have to get to church, so on Thursday we gave them a tour of the church building. They really enjoyed it and A---- was touched by a lot of the pictures on the wall (which the Spirit prompted me to ask about so that was fun). A--- called later and thanked us for the tour and said she saw her husband reading from the Book of Mormon (which at first he said he wanted nothing to do with us) so she was very excited about that which made us excited.

The members here are very nice and into missionary work, we got fed a couple times which was nice. Nothing nasty yet. There was a recent convert named J--- here who is like best friends with the missionaries (Sister Stringham to be exact) and its so funny. Sister Stringham watched his entire conversion process so they are really good buds. He is a mason and he invited us to one of their events. I guess masonry is basically a sophisticated adult fraternity. They do like initiations and its super exclusive. Liek a brotherhood! It reminded me of that one Spongebob episode where Squidward wanted to be a prat of that brotherhood thing. Anyway so that was interesting and cool to learn about. I got to meet the grandmaster so how lucky am I.

Everyone is super un-impressed that I'm from Utah though. I said I was from Salt Lake and some guy said "Oh I see straight from the factory" so that joke is getting old. I can see one mountain here that connects to Utah so thats kinda cute.

Also I'm not on a reservation so no worries, the closest reservation to us is called Toawoc and we can only go there if we have a set appointment during the day and we have a priesthood holder and his wife present. So basically we never go there haha. The elders are usually on the reservations but there are still a lot of native people living in these citites. We got ourselves a Navajo workbook and we have got a lot of invites to parties where they are making their famous Navajo tacos. So lets see how good they really are. They served us some in the cafeteria in the MTC and Sister Barber hated it so that will be fun for her. I think we will be having some Monday night so lets see if it lives up to the hype.

So we also volunteer at an old folks home where we are the bingo callers, and I felt like Mr Burns. The old people were sooo cute. There was one table of ladies and one of them could not hear to save her life and the other ladies were getting so frustrated with her. You could always hear them saying "No she said B7" or "You have that one, Judy" or stuff like that.

We also had a DELICIOUS dinner at a member's house on Sunday. The dad made his own smoker and was smoking a variety of ribs. Then we had mashed potatoes and salad and cheesecake with blueberry icecream. I ate so much but it was fast Sunday so it was okay. One of their kids started choking on a rib and his siblings were laughing and his parents just sat and watched while Sister Stringham and I are frozen with fear that we are gonna watch this kid die. Eventually he ran to the bathroom and I guess he got it out, nobody went to check on him which I was like what the heck? But I guess they raise their kids tough. It was terrifying though. But the food was good.

We adopted this investigator from the elders- his name is D---- and he was originally in the elders' area living with his girlfriend but then got kicked out and has a restraining order against him so now he lives with his mom in our area. He has a baptismal date and everything so thanks elders! But of course it is always uneasy teaching a dude with a restraining order against him. They gave us freshly picked apples though so I guess I shouldn't complain.

I'm still adjusting a lot and these days are a little hard but I knew I would go through this and Bishop Reese told me I'd be okay so I can't disagree with him. I do get pretty homesick but luckily that just helps me realize how much I love you all. Sorry I didn't spend as much time with you before I left, I really wish I did. Missions really sort out your priorities. But I know this is where I have to be and I knwo we'll get back to Disneyland on my return :)

So we also get free Dairy Queen on Mondays I just found out so again, one way ticket to weight gain. Its funny because I guess some elders in the past abused this priviledge and they had a competition to see who could eat the most hamburgers so now the elders can only order something thats 5$ or under. The sisters on the other hand, can order whatever. So yesterday we ran into the elders at Dairy Queen getting only a salad or shake or whatever and they were begging us to order them a shake. Poor guys.

I've been out in the field basically a week so thats nice. The first few days really sucked but they are gradually getting better.

I love you all sooo much