I can't believe September is here and gone. October is going to be great though, I can feel it!Sister Hernandez is by far my favorite cook out here. Mmmmm.. Last night we had dinner with her. She made her homemade Hamburger helper soup. It's to die for. She's gonna teach me how to make Horchata finally next time! And she's gonna make us tamales soon! No one makes tamales until Christmas, so sadly I haven't had any yet. But she said she will spoil us and make em. :)
We had to drive to Merced (~45 min away) to watch it at the Stake Center. We invited one of the Recent Converts in the ward, Juanita, to come with us and we got a ride from Natalie Montes in the ward. She's from Morgan, UT! She served her mission here and met her husband and is now married and in Los Banos again. So we had fun talking to her on the ride down of her mission and stuff. I think I mentioned her before. I never remember what I've put in previous emails and what I haven't. Sorry! But the 4 of us were the only ones there from our ward. Of coarse. :( But the 4 of us had fun and we really enjoyed it. I think we need to do better at keeping our covenants wouldn't you say?! :) I took from it that we can't be hard on ourselves in thinking we're not keeping our covenants when really we are through our service. We are here to nurture and care for those around us. It made me think of one of our investigators who doesn't understand why she can't have the priesthood. I thought of her and realized myself that we as woman have equal qualities and assignments just like men but in different ways. We can't all do the same task of paddling on one side of the boat. We as women are given the task of paddling on the other side, and together with the priesthood, we go forward.
This week has been good but challenging as well. I don't want to be rude or judgmental, but do not like the Elders here at all. I'm so hurt to see how they spend their time and how they are treating the investigators and converts Hna Miller and I worked with. They are great Elders, and I know they are sent here for a reason. I just wish they would see that and get working. One of the Elders came from the South where Hna Hammer was previously serving and I guess talked bad of this area making fun of all the missionaries that got called here. So he gave Hna Hammer a hard time when she got called here saying "You're going to the crappy part of the mission. Let's hope you get along and love your companion a lot because the area sucks and you're gonna be miserable if your companion sucks too." As you can tell, in the mission, no one wants to serve here in Los Banos or Colinga. Both have that hard stereotype. So this particular Elder is throwing a fit being here and is sitting back till he gets his way. A lot of the members are already coming to us thinking we're still part of the ward and can help them instead. Sadly it's not our area any more. Hopefully the coming weeks will get better and these 3 Elders straighten things out. Sorry to vent. It's times like this though that your realize how much you love something. I love this area and just am afraid other missionaries are going to come in and destroy it all right when we were getting a good foundation.
We had a lot of cancellations this week and so we were not able to see any of our solid investigators. We did see Montserrat, but she sadly is making her way down the ladder instead of up like we had going. I don't know what more we can do for her. She doesn't see a problem in drinking coffee and tea. They're good for you! With Cheryl Kaplan (our less active we've been helping) stopped drinking for 4 days, but then picked it back up to be rebellious. She is comfortable where she is at and just can't change. That just didn't settle with me so I told her she can't say that until she ran it by with the Lord. How sad it is to see people get comfortable with their lives and refuse to change. I'm not telling them to change, it's their Father in Heaven. I don't understand how you could be so hard-hearted like that and turn your back on God. Back to the Relief Society broadcast, are we keeping our covenants? We have them to protect us, give us true happiness, and to lead us back to our home above. We're here trying to rescue her from a fire and she's just sitting there saying "no thank you, I don't want to leave the comfort of my couch." not realizing the house walls are burning down before her! I am truly seeing this week the need to call people unto repentance. We can not be satisfied with life. It's always changing. Satan tells you it's okay to do the same things every day. God is the one telling us we need to keep moving forward and not being idle. I read back in my journal this week when I hit that point of not wanting to go on a mission because I didn't want to leave my comfort zone and sacrifice everything a missionary has to sacrifice. How grateful I am to say I did not let that keep me from coming out here. How selfish that would have been of me. It's hard having to sacrifice things we love so much. But when we love God, we will have no difficulty sacrificing all we have. He will bless us. I want all of you to think of something you can sacrifice this week after you read this, and go 7 days without it. Some examples I thought of if I were still back at home would be: not going on Facebook for 7 days, waking up early in the morning and not sleeping in, avoid eating snacks, not watching TV all day, etc. Whatever it is, do it and replace it with something wholesome like; writing your favorite sister/daughter on her mission, reading an article in the Ensign, exercising, cleaning the house, making a gift for a friend or neighbor, etc. I want to know what all of your sacrifices are and how you accomplished them or how you did or are doing. My sacrifice this week is snacks. During studies and lounging at home, I nibble a lot on food. So I am not going to buy tempting snacks at the store today so I won't be tempted this week!
- hermana Sorensen