Well this week has been good, but very down heartening as well. I I realized that all these hard moments are learning moments and to learn as much as I can from them. I just tell myself, "this is going to be a great story to share someday!", and "when I look back on my mission, what did I learn from this moment." It really has helped me have a better attitude towards my mission. Sure wish I would have figured this out 9 months ago! Well I think I've always know I need to do that, but now I really am putting it to action because I don't want to waste these next 9 months and have regret.
Yesterday was a hard Sunday. All Sundays are hard. You'd think they'd be spiritual high days. These are the days I question God's ways. Yesterday I was very hurt because a family told us Saturday to find them a ride to church. We told the Elders to bring it up in their WCM that morning. I called them and followed through and they said they got it taken care of. Come to find out, they didn't, even when I kept asking they said someone was getting them. I did not see them the whole block. No one got them. Here this less active family was waiting all morning to go to church but no one got them after we promised them someone would. I told the Elders to send someone over still so they can go to Sunday school. Did that happen? No. Now Hna Hammer and I look like the bad guys. Then the teacher for the Senior Primary wasn't there and the Elders left, so they asked us if we could teach the kids. We were nice and said yes (even though I was upset with the ward), and taught about Nauvoo to a bunch of kids. There were 14 of them. I guess that's what you get for being in a small ward. They combine Junior and Senior classes because there is not enough kids or teachers to teach by age. So we had the 8-12 year olds. I was pretty proud of how well we did though. I could be in primary. :) Then during our church hour, Sis Palmer stormed off after sacrament yelling down the hall as she's booking it out of the church saying she is never coming back to this church ever again and that she doesn't want the missionaries over any more and that everyone is a bunch of jerks. We tried running after her to see what set her off. Everyone kept asking us and we didn't know why she's mad at us. Sis Palmer called us after church just balling and saying how can the church be so mean and judgmental of them. She said she's removing her name from the church and is joining another one. Their family is struggling finance wise and has been getting help from the church for a while now. Well the Bishop says he can't help any more, so the Palmer's are furious. I understand what the bishopric is doing, because yes, they need to learn how to work and not just expect us all to pay for their bills for the rest of their lives. So it's just frustrating to see this family not understand that. They take things to the extreme. I know Hna Hammer and I have done all we can to help this family, but we can't do anything more when they have shut their hearts. We were both just so devastated at this and are hurt that they think others are judging them when everyone loves them. We have worked so hard with them lately and to see them not want us over any more is sad. She said to keep in touch though through letters and Facebook. THEN! Yesterday night we visited Lupe Coronado. Her mother died Saturday and is struggling with that because she can't go because her son is handicap so she needs to stay with him and then they don't have the papers to go to Mexico and back. We tried comforting her, but she is questioning the church also. Lupe Martinez was there at the house too and she just lost her job and is homeless again. Both these ladies are hurt by the members in the ward and don't want to come back. Lupe Martinez needed a ride home after church the other Sunday and asked for one from a lady. This lady doesn't speak spanish but understood and said yes. Well instead of Lupe being taken to her house, she just asked if she could be taken to Lupe Coronado's. This lady taking her stopped the car, told her she's not her taxi, and that she has 2 legs and can walk there. I know this lady and am extremely hurt she'd do something like that. I know it's true though because she told us her side the other day. Why can't everyone just get a long? There is no love in this ward. Everyone is hurt by words and actions of others and has left the church. We got in the car after this visit and I was just done. Hna Hammer and I were so hurt by everything that happened. The DeHerrera's were never picked up after we told them they would and are now angry with that, the Palmer's hate the Bishopric and members, and now these 2 ladies are hurt by the words and actions of 1 lady. We have been going to the auxiliaries this past week asking them how we can help them in their callings. We are getting everyone's input on this ward and how we can better it. From what everyone has said, it sounds like this ward was the funnest ward. Lots of fun activities and events that people all loved going to. Then we got some members in the ward who started saying we need to cut back. The cutting back got farther and farther all because of these certain individuals that had a problem with activities being to fun. This family got put into the higher callings like Bishop, Relief Society, Primary, etc. And then they cut everything off to were it was pointless to hold anything because no one wanted to attend because it was boring. Years later the feeling is the same. The YW paint nails or frost cupcakes EVERY mutual night. Nothing else. No one participates in anything. This ward is just so hard to get anything out of! How do you work and help in a ward that wants change but won't put the effort in it because of previous experiences of put down. I just want to destroy everything and build it back up. No more hurt feelings!
That was just Sunday. Sigh. I guess the rest of the week was good. We did service at a house with a bunch of black widows. I thought I was going to die. How could you live in an environment like that and feel safe? Zone Conference was Tuesday. We pulled into Turlock and I then realized I forgot my name tag! OOOPPS!!!! Thank goodness one of the sisters we rode with had her brothers name tag. So she gave me hers to wear and she wore her brothers who is serving in Iceland right now. I was Hermana McArthur that day and she was Elder (except in Icelandic) McArthur. Ha ha.. Friday night our dinner appt canceled but they gave us money to go out to eat. We went to Denny's. Amanda and Solomon, we spend $5 trying to win an ipad with that key machine! Ha ha.. I saw it and remembered us trying to win there in Texas. We got so close! But I guess that would be hard trying to split an ipad between the 2 of us and also trying to explain that to President. Broke the rules in the white handbook of not gambling. We also drank Vodka. Another rule breaker. Ha ha ha.. We were at dinner and the lady was telling us how she made the homemade vanilla. It's just vodka and vanilla beans. We didn't make a big deal about it because we didn't want to be rude. I know she knew we weren't suppose to have it, but she's a harder lady, and I think she was surprised we didn't say anything. She was probably bummed. So we had fun accounting all of that to our District Leader that night. Ha ha.. He said he had almonds that day and was looking at the ingredients and I guess one of the seasonings was Coffee. What a good leader he is! :P just kidding. Also I think I told you before, but Mickey lives here in Los Banos just so you know. He drives a mini cart around town every now and then. Hna Hammer didn't believe me for the longest time until Saturday when we drove past him. I need to carry my camera with me and have it ready for when I see him so I can take a picture! Oohh! Also, we taught Shen this week again at the Fairbanks, and as we were leaving Bro Fairbanks told us to wait because he had something for us. Lo and behold, he pulled out a new Saturday's Warrior CD for us! Ha ha ha.. they both smiled and laughed at our excitement! So we've been listening to that nonstop. I loved your letter Kimberly with the "line upon line" part because it was just so fitting that night when I got the fun family letter in the mail from everyone at East Canyon. I loved it! Thank you all for the sweet love notes. And Michelle, all my companions now fold their garments like the way you taught me. You're a legend here. :)
This week really has been good. We are slowly seeing things get better, but it still is far from being to where the Lord would like it. I guess I am here to help the members not doubt their beliefs and help them forgive. We are putting on a volleyball game this Saturday and are really trying to get a lot to come to that. Please pray that people will come and have a fun time. And please pray for this ward more than anything. I wish you could see and be here to see just how sad this ward is and how difficult it has been. I love being here there SO much and I don't want to leave. Transfer calls are this weekend. I hope I can stay for a little longer and help the ward and people here.
Sorry this letter is short and mostly about my Sunday. Things are going good and we have a lot of hope for the future. Thank you all for your love and support. I truly am blessed to be here and can't believe how much I have grown. I don't think I realized how much until this last conference when I saw the new missionaries get up and bare testimony and also during role plays. I am more confident in what I say and do. My Spanish is still needs help, but little by little. I was able to understand and even correct the new missionaries Spanish. So to me that is improvement! :)
I love you all! Please stay close to the Lord and forgive those that have hurt you. Turning away from the church is NEVER the answer. When you feel lost and alone, THAT is the time you need the church, prayer, and the scriptures more than anything. Don't let Satan win.