Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blonde hair blowing in the summer wind. A blue eyed girl playing in the sand. I've been on her trail for a little while, But that was the night that she broke down.... "Runaways" by the Killers...[Aug. 26, 2014]

At one point this week, we packed up our stuff and drove out of our area at 10:00pm in our pajamas. Yeah we were running away...from our house....because it was 85 degrees downstairs and way more hot upstairs. Our air conditioning broke and we decided to shack with the sister training leaders. Thankfully, we got a guy to fix it the next morning, but it's apparently 25 years old, so it could just die anytime now. I live a pretty gnarly mission....

But guess what, Griz got baptized! It was the sweetest experience thus far. His wife is a member and was SO happy. Now it's preparation for going to the temple in one year, it's weird thinking about that I'll still be in Kansas when that happens.

While tracting I ran into a guy who said his name was Ted Seymore. I was like oh my goodness that's my last name and he didn't believe me, I had to show him my nametag and he was like whoa, that's not how I spell it, but my kin spell it like that, (like thanks for ruining it for the rest of us, my name is always misspelled like that) He yelled in his house for everyone to meet his cousin and this lady came to the door and just rolled her eyes. He was black, so we probably are related somewhere waaay down the line. I should have given them a family history card, I totally spaced! But he did say he'd call us after I gave him a pamphlet. I'm not going to hold my breath, but now I can tell everyone I have a black cousin.

I also thought I'd share some classic Kansas recipes on here, just kidding there are no classic Kansas foods, but I did ask for a recipe that is really easy and yummy we had this week:
Brown 1 pound of ground beef with 1 T of sesame oil and 3 t of garlic. Then mix 1/4 c soy sauce, 1/2 c brown sugar and 1/4 t powdered ginger with the meat and serve over rice with green onions.

I was so close to being able to brag that I was going to have another baptism this Saturday, but she didn't come to church this Sunday and you have to go twice before you get baptized and she's only been once, so we are going to have to pick a new date, but I'll still introduce her anyways. Her name is Anna, (okay it's not, but I don't want to get sued or something and I want to start using frozen characters) She is widowed as of 6 years and her husband was a member. She is still in the grieving process and it's been really hard on her. She has diabetes and her extremities often feel numb, cold and hurt. The elders found her while tracting. She moved into a house, that has more issues than vogue, but step by step she is fixing it up. It's so hard because I know how much going to church and baptism will give her strength and you can only do so much for people before you just have to let them make their own choices.

 Spangles, a Kansas delicacy
where you can get burger, fries, drink and ice cream for $5,
and it's actually edible,
despite the many warnings from other missionaries
including,  "I got food poisoning 3/3 times from that"
and "it made my belly sad".

 My companion, Griz and I

 I like to stalk my investigators...also
 that outfit can be used to
 impersonate a delta flight attendant
or someone who works in the Air Force,
because I've been confused for either
of those people.
(There's an Air Force base in Wichita)

 Tracting was an adventure. 

Anna's little dog, she said it was 6 ounces
before we saw it and I figured she meant to say
6 pounds, nope 6 ounces. 

 People say all the time my companion and I
have a glow about us and so
we decided to take a picture
and see what they were talking about
and this is what came out...yeah, I crack myself up...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Humidity and Humility...[Aug. 18, 2014]

The beginning of this week was a bit rough. We had to do this report thing where it's pretty much you came short last week from finding new investigators or having a member present in a lesson or having people at church, so you have to explain on paper why you failed and what you will do differently next week. It's a bit tricky, because we are following the rules exactly and really I think people are prepared and people are not prepared, you will find the prepared people more effectively when you work harder, but everyone still has their agency. I just need to have more patience with being micromanaged.

Also rough at the beginning of this week is we had been living with the STL's (sister training leaders) for over a week and we didn't have a car, so I got to do 3 of my favorite things: burden other people, experience the consequences of trusting people who fell through, and biking. I actually enjoy biking, but with the humidity I sweat so much! It doesn't help that my companion looks runway ready, and I resemble more closely the Cracken. At least that's what I assume I look like based on the faces of people we see who also state, "Wow, it must be hot outside"...yeah....It wouldn't be so bad, but it just drips into my eyes and stings so bad! I'm considering buying an 80's sweat head band or maybe some rogaine for my eyebrows.

One day we attempted to just bike to an appt from the STL's, and we were biking literally 40 minutes and we still were not even 1/4 way there. I'm not exaggerating, we also had to stop, because Kansas does this awesome thing where the sidewalks randomly stop. I've heard from members we aren't actually supposed to ride on the sidewalks, but in the road...because there are no bike lanes. But I feel that getting hit by a car once in your life is we stopped there and I felt like calling this lady one more time, but my companion thought we shouldn't bc we called her earlier that day. I still felt like we should so after calling two other people we called the original lady and guess who happened to be available to help 2 sister missionaries out. She was able to pick us up and we made it there just in time.

Finally the APs moved out of the Woods house, so we were able to move in! It was so worth the wait. Bro. Woods is deployed and his wife is staying with family so we get it all to ourselves and it's awesome. Yeah, sometimes trials don't last forever, but they do if you don't maintain the faith that someone is actually there knowing you are biking the life out of you.

Bad news moment: Barbara dropped us. One of these days I'll get an investigator that lasts more than two blog posts.... We went to visit her and she came out with all the material we gave her. She tried handing it all to us and we were like whoa, what? She explained her sister (whom she lives with and takes care of since her stroke) doesn't approve of her meeting with us and will kick her out if she continues (her sister pays for everything) We asked her if she still has a testimony and her feelings from her blessing the elders gave and she was still strong with it all. We asked if it was not at all possible for her to continue reading the Book of Mormon and she thought about it and stuck it in her porch chair where her sister couldn't read. We can't come over anymore and I guess all we can do is pray that missionaries will find her again when the time is right.

Good news though is that we are having a baptism on Tuesday! Grizz, the man I mentioned a few weeks ago who is getting baptized on the 231st day of the year passed his interview for baptism. He has been meeting missionaries since September and his wife is a member and super excited for it to FINALLY happen. He has been on date since January, normally we only do it a few weeks out, but the sisters who saw him asked what date he would like which is totally not supposed to happen like that and he obviously said August 19th. We were told that he was totally not receptive to the elders and he would not listen to them at all until the sister missionaries came.

 The highway that cuts through our area.

Me and all my sweaty glory and my companion...

My new wheels.

Our zone, my companion is the only girl cut off. 

Our creepy basement, but it has
a washer/dryer so it's all good.

The front of the house.
This is what I look like the
first five minutes of
the doesn't
 ready for winter! Bring it.

Our kitchen, you can feel free
to compare it to my brothers "kitchen".
 I love state side missions...

The vent things that remind me
of The Christmas Story.
The house was built in the 30s.

Our street.

Monday, August 11, 2014

yada yada yada...[Aug. 11, 2014]

The big plan last week was to move in with the Robertsons. She is THE coolest lady in the world, she is a RM and just so funny. She renovated their basement, and it became crunch time last week, so they had members of the ward come every night to help. She bought us a fluffy rug and fluffy matching pillows and towels and then she organized and built the closet for our dresses and skirts to fit. She was so excited for sisters to move into her basement and we packed up our stuff and called her to see if it was okay to drop off our stuff (this was last Monday) that night. When she answered and said, Oh, you haven't heard yet.... She has a 13 year old son, which is against mission rules for sisters to move in and the stake president knew about it, but apparently the mission president had just heard. So we were kicked out of our last place, so we went to stay at the sister training leaders house along with another companionship, so it's just been a bit crowded, plus all our stuff is in random suitcases, because I just thought it was going to be in there a couple hours. Turns out we've been there all week. The elders also can't move in with the Robertsons, because Sister Robertson is home a lot when her husband is at work. The Robertsons deserve an awesome basement, though, so hopefully she'll use it as a sewing machine room or something.
We are--hopefully--moving in to a members' home where the husband is deployed and the wife is staying with one of her kids. Currently the Assistant Presidents are there, but they should move out today, because I told them so, because my bike doesn't have a suitcase holder and we won't have a car fun! 
I keep forgetting to mention this terribly sad story. I had the best of plans to convince the missionaries here that my first name is Elaine (can you tell I spent my last months watching Seinfeld all day?) Unfortunately, when we introduced ourselves in District Meeting I just stopped using my brain for a sec and introduced myself with my first name. Like my real first name, not the other one. Maybe after a few transfers I can attempt it. 
So we finally got dropped by Shelby (her sister just came out and said she told me she's not interested), but right after that we went to an appointment and got her on date for the same day Shelby had. I'll call her Barbara, because she seems like a Barbara. She is in her fifties and drinks and smokes. She has had a lot of death in her family recently and wants to change her life around. She has long straight brown hair and a deep voice and currently is sporting a black eye. She took a tumble while finding her bed in the dark and hit the dresser. I believe it because she doesn't have any contact with men or really anyone, so yeah. Kind of difficult to convince her to come to church with that though. She got a blessing from the Elders on Saturday and that was the best experiences I've had on my mission thus far. We told her it would be HF speaking to her through the Elders and you could tell she felt it. 

I've been a little daunted lately with how long my mission really is. I mean I knew this whole time it was 18 months, but then you put it into perspective like last night...I had to explain to the girls we're staying with what the fox says.

Photo cred my Aunt Tina,
who is lovingly taking care of my beloved cello.
I miss it so bad!

A bit of fields, not in our area,
but what I actually imagined Kansas to be.

The city of Wichita, it actually has a couple blocks of city.
Kansas is awesome, because the housing prices are so low,
but then you have to think about wait why is the housing so low,
oh yeah, it's because there is nothing here and
no one actually lives here of their own free will.
There's some really cool old houses that people just destroyed,
because you get low income families living there
and don't have money to upkeep these old houses.

Monday, August 4, 2014

What do you do with a problem like Christina?...[August 4, 2014]

Hey All!

Where to begin...first off my trainer, the lovely Sister Harston, is finally going to Brazil after 11 months of waiting on her visa. She will leave September 2 and I will be trained by someone else, I'm guessing in this same area, but I don't know. I am moving tomorrow (it was supposed to be today, but a pipe busted when they tried to install the sink at 3am on Sunday) out of the Bishop's home into another member's basement that is remodeled for us. It looks great and it's going to be an adventure, because they have four kids under the age of 13. If an apocalyptic tornado happens, I'll be sorry for y'all but I have nothing to fear, because we will be in the depths of a basement, with about enough food storage to feed the ward for 10 years.

I'm going to miss living with the Daley's though, first off because I feel like it's been about ten months since I've started living there. I think starting as a missionary is similar to being born again, because I remember as a little kid 5 minutes seemed like an eternity! I'm hoping that it will pick up and I'm guessing by the end I will lose sight of my days. I just need to get out of the habit of calling yesterday last week.

Bishop Daley is awesome though. He has a PhD in Economics and I found out through his counselor he is like the right hand man of the guy who owns coca-cola. He gives him advice on how to run the company like a free market kind of deal. Anyways, imagine having this guy as your bishop. The ward we're in has more than half the ward as less active to the point the members have no idea who a lot of the people are on the roster. We spend half our time finding the houses these members live.

So the girl I nicknamed Shelby last week, we visited her three times this last week and still haven't seen her since our first visit. For someone who's on house arrest she sure isn't home a lot...just when we left for the third time off her porch (btw she lives on the other side of the ward from us (when we move we'll be more centralized hurray!) it takes 45 minutes to bike there).  A tender mercy happened and something that is illegal in Oregon rang in it's delicious ice cream truck came! I was like LET'S GET SOME, and my companion was like I've never done that before, and then decided she was just going to watch me...haha yeah no, so I made her get some ice cream too and it was amazing.

I should probably eventually get to the title of this post. I was having a really hard time starting off. I love my companion to death, but it took me too long to figure out why she was meant to be my companion. The weekend before last I realized I was starting to feel like Maria having an overweight nun tell me I wasn't a good nun and trying to convince me to just go home...or in Maria's story go and take care of a single, wealthy, good-looking man's kids. My companion obviously never said I was never good enough, but in my twisted brain every time she told me to do something differently, I felt like I was failing.

I realized that I was being tested, not if I would follow the example of my trainer and turn into her, but if I would love her and not so much as strive to be like her, but realize what a good missionary she is and look up to her as an example. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's hard to articulate. We have completely different personalities and as in all things when you are with people 24/7, I find things she does that bother me, but I grew to really understand what it means to be a good missionary and qualities that I will want to establish during my mission.

Oh, I almost forgot, best tender mercy in the world happened. This is crazy. So I was sitting in bed in the morning one day trying to remember who and where I was, when I got a song stuck in my head. They have a CD here that missionaries made like 6 months ago that some of the songs have some real talent, but in all reality it's a Kansas Wichita Mission themed EFY CD. So one of the songs was stuck in my head and I was just so annoyed with it. There's a Foster the People song that I really liked (sorry Elder Seymour) called The Truth that I couldn't remember and just then I totally could remember every part of it. I could hear every instrument and if I had a piano and sheet music I could probably write every part. Throughout that day whenever I wanted, I could rethink of the song and it would play in my head. Then, of course, the next morning it's gone again and no matter how hard I try, I cannot think of that dang song again! Take a moment and go listen to Supermodel Album by Foster the People, because it is underrated. (again sorry Elder Seymour)

Speaking of my Spanish speaking brother, he would have been fairly helpful this week. We ran into this family that hadn't been to church for 3 years, because the church would take 2 hours to walk to. We were able to meet with them and find a ride for them, and throughout the whole lesson I understood none of it, because it was all in Spanish. My companion knows quite a bit and can speak it almost fluently. I just smile and try to pay attention.

Now for the most unladylike thing I did thus far on my mission...yesterday while biking I got a bug in my mouth and I attempted to spit it out real didn't work. Biking is always an adventure, then when you add a skirt to the mix it's pretty much stupidity, but I'm trying to be positive about's not working out. My companion wears knee length yoga pants and tucks the bottom of her skirt in, but I would die of heat stroke if I add another layer, so I've learned to just embrace the fact that my bare knees will show. I'm also dripping with sweat wherever I end up, and my companion is one of those people that never sweat, so it's quite a sight to see when we get somewhere. People just look at me and go, yeah I guess it's hot out...yeah it is.

Anyways thanks for the people who've written me, and if you haven't I will eventually get back and I'm fairly talented at ignoring certain people's presence. Just kidding, but seriously I love to get letters.

Love you all,
Sister Seymour

It actually rained the first day
 I was back on a bike, 
so I broke out a cardigan...crazy!
 That cooled down the rest of the week
so it stayed in the low 90s yay! 

Anyone know how to take bike oil stains
out of a skirt? 

 I also wanted to justify why I'm wearing
ugly brown shoes in the pic before,
 it's because my feet look like this...
I was also wearing to sets of socks to avoid
friction, fun times.

This is the Raya family. 
We did have baptism dates for them, 
but the girls are moving back with their grandma in Texas. 
Hopefully we can get their address and 
send some missionaries down there to them. 

Ice cream truck!