Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Culture Shock for Christmas!

We hit the ground running at 5pm on Monday, we went to dinner with Neil which included having to unexpectedly walk 20 blocks in heels so that we could eat chicken gizzards. I was a bit more subtle about gagging this time but I'm still alive so we're all good. He is getting baptized on Sunday!!! After that we drove an hour and a half to meet a referral from AZ. Whoa. She is probably the most legit miracle of my life. Literally a walking miracle. To start off, she was an "offering baby" which means that from the time her parents knew they were having her, they also knew they would be giving her away as soon as she was born. She liked her "mom" but she passed away a few years ago and she doesn't get along with her dad. She has no clue what "love at home" means. And then she met some missionaries and they introduced her to Mormons; they didn't drink or smoke so she liked hanging out with them. She moved back to NY 2 months ago and she felt something missing. She realized it was visits from the missionaries. Was had an INCREDIBLE discussion with her. I've never connected with someone so instantaneously. She opened the door and I immediately felt a bond with her. She said she was walking around in the city the other day and some fashion major yuppie came up to her and gave her the vertical stare and basically asked her how she could wear something so out of vogue. She said she laughed inside but was mostly hurt that people are so vain as to care about that kind of thing. She's been in third-world countries where people don't have showers or bathrooms and this guy was asking her why she is wearing a baggy sweater and leggings. This is only a millionth of the conversation we had but if I tell you the whole thing this is gonna be a really long letter (as always, sorry eh).

Alright so I literally don't know where to begin with my new companion. I guess her name would be a good place. I still can't say her first name but the English translation is Naomi. I just call her Sister Batsuuri (bat-sir). She is from Mongolia and is 23 so it's chill. So when I met her and I could immediately tell she is incredible. She clung to my coat or hand most of transfer meeting. I can't imagine what it must be like for her. On our way home I was being an idiot and asking about her family. I looked over and she had tears streaming down her face. She joined the church 6 years ago and is the only member in her family. To top it off both her parents passed away in the last few years so she is completely on her own. She has her BA in international relations and speaks 4 languages. Above all is her testimony and humility. I have never met someone so converted to the gospel, and so willing to do everything that is asked of her. To be honest I feel like an idiot training her because she is so solid. Ps her last name literally means "firm foundation." Like top that literally can't. Okay and not only that but she is hysterical and she doesn't even mean to be! Probably the funniest thing was when she told me I was skinny. Actually no the best was when I put a picture of a longhorn cow on the screensaver of our phone and she saw it and she was like: "oh, it's a yak!" I seriously can't even write this without bursting with laughter. I think it's just the cultural difference but oh man, we all think she's the funniest thing alive. There is one elder in our district who just can't seem to elevate his vocabulary so he's just going off all of district meeting about nothing of import and out of nowhere she innocently asks: "what is your favorite subject in school? Literature? Mathematics?" And he just gets this awk look and is like "does PE count?" We are all just rolling with laughter and she kept pressing, "what is it?" Finally he just admitted that he can't read. I seriously had tears coming out of my eyes. 

After Transfer Meeting they had about 50 missionaries go to the mall to show people "He is the Gift." It was awesome we marched in, showed it 150 times and got 11 contacts and marched back out in an hour. Sis Batsuuri and I showed it 16 times! She was so cute, I let her take the lead and whenever we walked away from someone she would say: "Sister, I just felt the spirit so strong!" She has such a strong desire to share with everyone. That night when we were eating dinner (I gave her the Nepali food leftover from our dinner with Neil) I was trying to get a feel for what she ate. I guess boiled sheep head and horse and seaweed are her favorites. I asked her if she liked cheeseburgers cause those are my favorite and she said no hahaha so we each are kinda doing our own food thing. She's been teaching me some Korean dishes though. She'd never had cinnamon rolls or doughnuts so she's got a lot to try. On Saturday one of the members bought us a Crounut (croissant/doughnut) with hazelnut filling. Seriously the greatest thing of my life. Everyone should try one and the world would be a happier place. 

We taught Richard who is investigating and so I told her she could extend the baptismal commitment to him during our lesson. She was about to do it and he was like "when can I be baptized?" It was so funny I guess we need to find some more people to teach so she can practice on them instead haha. She is so sweet when she teaches you can tell she knows it's true with all her heart. Lastly, she doesn't speak that much English so I am trying to help her understand what's going on (basically translating everything). I was explaining a hashtag and she looked at me like I was an alien. It's hilarious because I am trying to help her learn English but I am realizing how bad I am at explaining things and it's just so awk all the time. Like gloriously awk. Whenever she doesn't understand something she laughs which is probably what I'd do if the tables were turned and I was in Mongolia trying to learn her language and eat boiled sheep. It is soooo funny. This whole thing is just such a great experience, it's hysterical and spiritual at the same time. I'm still laughing about when she thought the longhorn was a yak!

So had my first Jewish fearless, and it was hysterical! (What part of a mission isn't?) we were in the Rego Park mall sharing "He is the Gift" and I walk up to these two YSA-age guys and they were super chill. Like it wasn't even awkward. I told them they looked like they could use a little more Jesus in their life and they said they liked Jesus so I started to show them the video. About 30 seconds in the first guy asked how old I was. I said 21 and he was like "you look like you're 12." First time I've heard that one. Usually people think I'm 30, especially if I don't fix my hair. Then the other guy pipes up "are you a model for your church? You're really tall." Ok so I look like a 12-year-old model? Jews are so strange. It was fine and they were nice though! They always look so angry when I pass them on the street, so I guess I need to stop judgin so much. 
Thursday night we stationed ourselves outside of Toys R Us and wrapped people's gifts for free. We had a super good turnout and showed the video 44 times! People are so much nicer at Christmas. You'd think it had to do with Christ or something....

Saturday was great, we went to the temple with some branch members and they took us to Times Square to see the "He is the Gift" sign! It was so cool! And they took us out to Olive Garden, the closest thing we get to a dinner appointment haha. It was Sis Batruuri's first time doing baptisms and she was so scared! I think this is really different for her but she is doing good. 

Something cool that I've realized is that we really CAN'T expect specific blessings when we obey specific commandments. We don't set those terms, God does. It is our duty to obey all commandments and trust that God knows what blessings we need better than we do. I can't obey the word of wisdom and then get upset when I can't run and not get weary and walk and not faint. Obedience should be our quest, and trust should be our attitude. There is nothing better than knowing that God is in control of your happiness. I know He won't ever let us down. In the Book of Mormon it talks a lot about prosperity in association with righteousness. We need not think that we need to have nice things to seem like we are following God. I have met some truly humble people in every sense of that word. They have almost nothing as far as possessions, but they rely on the Lord and they are happy. 

I am so grateful to be here and I love this work! It brings so much happiness and peace. Thank you all for everything you do for me, I am so excited to talk to you on Christmas! 
Love you !!
Sis Wads

1. Me and my trainee!
2. Sis Cox...the family fav
3. Just tryna stay warm!

4. Times Square billboard.

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