Monday, April 1, 2013

I'm in Palmdale California!

Oh, my, lanta, I am so stinkin' happy to write you. First things first:


So, I'm in Palmdale, specifically Esperanza West area, yes Spanish speaking :) I was super stoked about that. I did NOT want to get sent English right out of the gate, but apparently, President pretty much keeps Spanish missionaries in Spanish areas because hellooooo, there are TONS to teach! Most of the people in my area are from Guatemala and Mexico. A couple from Peru and El Salvador. Don't worry, I have plans to learn how to make all of the delicious food I'm eating. I CANNOT believe I haven't had a papusa, yet. Don't worry. I'm going to fix that soon. Anyway, I'm legitimately in the DESERT out here. I'll send/take pictures today. Our apartment has pretty green grass, and then as soon as you turn out of our complex it is DEAD. sand, joshua trees, the whole 9 yards. I love it. It's so gorgeous. I LOVELOVELOVE it out here! The people are absolutely wonderful. This area hasn't had Hermanas in 8 years, so everyone is SO EXCITED to have us. And, we're white-washing the area, so we came in the area and hit the ground running. Luckily, the elders who were here before us were awesome and really set us up for success. So, we had a baptism yesterday, we have another one next Sunday and another 2 on the Sunday after that :) First Sunday, First baptism! It was an awesome blessing. Her name is Margarita and she has 2 daughters that we are hoping to teach as well. 
Palmdale, California...I'm HERE!

President is awesome. SO AWESOME I CAN'T EVEN TELL YOU. His wife? EQUALLY, IF NOT MORE, AWESOMENESS. They love each other so much it's ridiculous. Totally reminds me of how much you and dad love each other. He loves sports and Doctor Who. Like, what? Who are these people? LOL. I only got to talk to President Hall for like, 3 minutes and he asked about me and what I like to do and everything and I mentioned about how I love sports and the sunshine and how happy I am to be here, but I also love music and I'm kind of a nerd and he just giggled a little and smiled and said, we are all about that in this family. It was awesome. They are like the grown up, married, cooler forms of me. They are amazing. They just always have the Spirit with them. We had a little training the next day by Sister Hall (what a gem) and she said "We don't care where you are, we care where you're going!" and I about fell out of my CHAIR. How many times have I said that? President also said something that I really liked: (paraphrased) If you let the mission go through you, instead of you going through your mission,  your eternity will change. Your spouse will be different, your kids will be different, everything will be different just by the way you decide to live your mission. 

I'm going to let the mission go through me. I love it. One thing Elder Holland said in the MTC is that he can't stand it when missionaries say things like "life after the mission" or "when i get back to real life..." etc. He said THIS IS REAL LIFE. If you serve your mission correctly, your life when you get home won't be much different! Just without a tag and some other little things! 

Okay, so, more about me and the area :) 

The people are amazing. The branch is tiny, but good! The Bishopric is awesome, and we have an awesome ward mission leader, so things are set for some awesome work! Bless my heart and the heart of anyone who is patient enough to suffer through my Spanish. When I got here I realized how much I have to learn! And, it's "funny" because my English is kind of... well... it's hurting lol! It's hard for me to read out loud in English. I can read it just fine, don't get me wrong, but when I have to read it out loud, it takes me just a tiny bit longer than it did before. lol I love it. SUCH an awesome side-effect of learning Spanish. This past week we went and talked to Juanita. Juanita is from Oaxaca, Mexico. Like, she is FROM OAXACA. (prounounced wah-hawk-ah) She is the smallest hispanic woman I have ever seen in my entire life. Smaller than Grandma Dodge, and if I remember correctly, Grandma was small! I love her. She is so kind. She is like 90-something years old and ADORABLE. I'll take a picture with her, don't worry. I remember you telling me that Grandma Beaujeu was so small you could stick out your arm and walk by her and she would go under your arm. Hahaha. This lady is just like that. She is absolutely beautiful. She loved it when we sang hymns to her. She just got baptized a couple weeks ago. Last week, actually. I think. She loves visitors and so we set another appointment to come visit her and teach her a little more on Wednesday. 

My new companion is Hermana Tavoian (pronounced tu-voy-yahn) is amazing. She is my trainer and is everything a new missionary could want: obedient, kind, follows the Spirit, supportive, knows more Spanish than me, but not condescending or prideful. She is an angel! She's from Malad, Idaho! And, she went to BYUI before the mission! She is quiet, but i love her. I have quiet companions. Do you think the Lord is trying to teach me something? lol I love it here. Everything is going so awesome. 

Funny story: There are some awesome youth in this area. So we went by Jesus, Allen, and Oscar's place to ask them about some referrals they gave us and they were so excited. Anyway, they asked us where we were from and Jesus said "You're from Utah, right?" and I was like,  "NO way!!!!! I'm from TEXAS!" and Allen smacked Jesus in the arm and said "You just said that because she's white, didn't you?" and he goes, "Yeaaahhhh".... and we all laughed. I was like no way! I'm from Texas! and I've got a little Mexicano in me! It was hilarious. I'm definitely the minority here. The bishop gave us time at the beginning of testimony meeting yesterday to share our testimonies. Everyone really liked that. Nobody knows this is my first area so every family we've had dinner with is super surprised because "my Spanish is so good".... but it's NOT! I have so much to work on, and I'm not worried about it though, I know the Lord is helping me a ton, but I just don't understand why they keep saying that. lol!

p.s. Johnny Jarnigan is going to BYUI after his Mission? HECK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PARTY!

p.p.s. We're driving a 2013 Chevy Cruze. brand new. Our zone is JEALOUS. And we love it. :)
My new address is:
Hermana Dodge
38121 25th St. East
Palmdale, CA, 93550
Thanks for sending me some pictures. That Mormon Prom pic of Lara Peterson is absolutely gorgeous. So is the one of Hailey in that picture. Absolutely stunning girls.  :)
I LOVE your Sew Sandi! Sew cute! (see what I did there lol?)
Also, I feel Grandma Dodge's presence all around me. I love the white skirt you sent me. ABSOLUTELY love it. At first I was like, eh, maybe not, but I brought it with me, and I wore it the other day with that blue shirt and my tan flats and the wind was blowing a little bit and we were in the desert walking around the apartments to and from appointments and I could just feel her there. I looked down at my skirt flowing a little bit in the wind and I had my Spanish scriptures in my right hand and I just felt her. I felt my ancestors and how proud of me they are. I know they're happy! I know grandpa Dodge is so happy! When I'm with Juanita, I feel so in touch with my roots, ya know? I know I'm white. But I really hang on to that Mexicano culture! I always have and I always will! I mean, it might sound weird, but I'm so in touch with my ancestors here. I can feel their love and support for me. Don't get me started on Grandma Beaujeu. I'll cry. You can share that with some family members if you want!
p.s. I have to go now.
p.s. If anyone has written me in the past like 2 weeks,  I haven't gotten it. the MTC said they would forward our mail to us, but i'm not holding my breath that it's going to get here anytime soon. They are so busy. You have NO idea. lol
I love you so much, y'all!
I need letters! And get erika's email for me please! Thanks to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who has taken the time to write me. I appreciate it so. much.
 Hermana Dodge




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