Monday, June 29, 2015

Tornadoes, Umbrellas, Llamas, and more!

This week was so marvelous!! 

First off - This upcoming week I hit my one year mark! So it's officially 6 months until I get home! Furthermore, I get home ON the 30th of December, so technically tomorrow is my "6 month countdown" 
Isn't that exciting!!! I miss you guys and I can't wait to see all of you in 6 months!! 

As for now, things are going incredible here in Lancaster. I love this area. Like, out of all of the places that I've served, I might actually consider moving back to and living here. But it's still pretty humid and I hate the gross humidity and so I probably won't actually do that. 

But! Good news!!! So who of you remembers last week when I was trying to summon a tornado and nothing happened? WELL! Let me tell you what happened!! The siren went off AGAIN this week! AND THERE WAS A TORNADO IN LANCASTER!! It did minor damage and threw a couple of trees around and only touched down for a few minutes and then it was gone!! 
Bad news is, I didn't actually get to see the tornado, so I'm not sure if the bad weather was actually worth it. Someone just showed me a video of it... But! I'm just happy to know that I have the power to summon tornados!! 

Other bad news... there were some fiercely hot days this week, my friends. One such day, we had planned to walk around Lancaster to try some investigators and less actives so that we could also be doing street contacting because we thought that would be effective. But it was like a bazillion degrees outside. Not a problem. Just working on our tan. 
Anyway. As we were trotting along, about to get into the downtown area, a member pulled over and stopped us and told us something about the heat index or something and out of the kindness of her heart, handed us an umbrella and told us to make sure to be drinking water every half an hour, if not more. We thanked her for her goodness and went on our way. 
But the thing about this umbrella... it was not like a handheld umbrella. It was like a full on SHADE umbrella - like one of those huge, enormous ones. So we're just plunkin' around Lancaster with this enormous umbrella and people are just giving us these super judgmental looks and one lady even had the audacity to tell us, "Hey, I don't think it's gonna rain today, you can put your umbrella down." 
So basically we were torn between following the wishes and desires of this member vs. the ridicule and persecution of the entire city of Lancaster so obviously we gave in and folded up the umbrella. But then I was just lugging this giant umbrella stick around. So then, like a champion, I started using it like one of those classy walking sticks that classy people use, and finally everyone accepted us and just flocked to us to ask us about the gospel of Jesus Christ and we baptized a whole city this week.

But for realz, there were no "city baptisms" this week. What a dream that would be. However, we did have the privilege to attend a baptism for Steve. Hermana Tolman used to teach him before we got moved to the Spanish branch. The spirit was really wonderful. Steve seems like a really good guy, and he got up to bear his testimony at the end of the service and it was so powerful and the spirit was so strong. Baptisms rock. 

Salvador is getting baptized this Saturday at 11:00!! We're so excited! It's the first baptism in the branch! Everyone is really excited! And then we're having a 4th of July celebration afterward! It's going to be awesome! 

We met some incredible people this week!! 
The first one is Jorge. He is so awesome, seriously! The Lord has prepared him so much for this gospel. When he was growing up in Ecuador, he said that he always saw missionaries and members and stuff, and always had interest in learning about the church, but never made it a priority! Then he lived in Italy for a bunch of years and didn't really make God a priority there, either! But then he moved to the United States and he met one of our other investigators, Diana, outside of a grocery store here in Lancaster! They had a conversation and are now together!! Diana is so happy about it!! And Jorge was ecstatic when he found out that she had contact with the Mormon church! So now he's taking the lessons and is so stoked to start coming to church and get baptized. The hard thing is, Diana is not ready to start coming to our church full time right now. She's still attending another church and keeps going back and forth. But hopefully his excitement and desire to learn about the church will spark a stronger desire in her as well!! 

The other person that we met was Terry. He's a llama farmer and probably the most legit person I've ever met. Maybe ever. He was so cool. We just randomly stopped on the side of the road with the elders on our way back from a dinner appointment to take a picture with a glorious llama, and then Terry calls out to us from the other side of the road and asks if we want a group picture with a baby llama!! So obviously we say yes!! 
Well, we got into this super long conversation about him and his life and about how his wife just recently passed away from cancer and how his parents are both passed as well and how, besides his llamas, he's all alone and doesn't really have anyone, and he's struggling with his faith and everything... we got this awesome opportunity to bear testimony of God's love for Him and how He has a plan for his life! The guy told us to add him on Facebook! We explained how our mission does not have Facebook yet and all that... he said not to worry and to just add him once we got it, and we could come to service on his farm! 
So! That will be awesome! 
Plus, we got to pet llamas! So it was a win-win situation! 
The baby llama's name is Sydney. Like Australia :) 
Llamas look so funny when they run.
Also. They play with you by wrapping their neck around you and trying to pin you to the ground. How fabulous is that. 
the things you learn as a missionary...

Funny story of the week:
One day we were walking and this guy was coming toward us and I was gonna try to talk to him, but instead this is what happened... I said, "Hi, how are you today?" and, without making eye contact, he walked right in-between me and Hermana Tolman and said, "Red rover, red rover."

Song of the week: 
I Smile by Kirk Franklin. That gospel music speakin to my soullll.

Quote of the week: 
"Happiness doesn’t come as a result of luck or accident. It most certainly doesn’t come from having all of our wishes come true. Happiness doesn’t come from external circumstances. It comes from the inside--regardless of what is happening around us."
Dieter F Uchtdorf

I hope you all have an awesome week! Remember - choose happiness!! 

Hermana Bills