Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I Literally Live in a Cloud!

So guess what? I pretty much live in a cloud! I looked out the window this morning and what did I see? Fog! It is foggy here all the time. So I thought "Wouldn't it be cool to tell my family that I live in a cloud?" and then I thought it sounded kind of dreary, but it's not. You know how when you're little you picture clouds to be all bouncy and fluffy like cotton balls? Jokes... they really aren't. But the fog is really pretty in its own way. Hermana W and I think that we don't have to drink as much water in a day because we suck it in through our pores. Science, you know?

It was so great to skype my family at Christmas! I think the thing that surprised me the most was how normal everyone looked. But I'm pretty sure that in 5 months when I get to skype again Kloie will have grown like 6 inches and Zach will have a full-fledged beard. :)

We got to teach our favorite family again this week! Oh, I love them. They have a 2 year old who is basically a tornado. He loves to be all over everything. They try to control him, but that's just his personality. So it really hard to keep everyone focused and the Spirit present, but we try to roll with it and make sure we're focusing on them and not just on teaching the lesson. We taught about prophets and the Restoration and it went awesome! Carlos said that when he reads the Book of Mormon and prays and feels the Holy Ghost telling him it is true then he will be baptized!! A lot of people really shy away from baptism or even the invitation, so that was super exciting. So please pray for Carlos' family. They go through a lot.
On Saturday we went on a mini-exchange with some other Spanish sisters. We were tracting an apartment  complex. Through a weird chain of events, we were standing in front of a door when a little girl knocked on the door to pass out a flyer for a baptist church. So we were standing behind her, kind of like waiting our turn to talk about religion. Haha. :) I was talking to some kids who spoke Spanish that were playing by the door, and my temporary companion started talking to the lady in the apartment. When I turned back to my companion and the lady, it was like I walked into a wall of the Spirit. Like stepping into Narnia or something. This bubble of good feelings. My companion was testifying about how Christ loves each of us and knows us by name. It was such a sweet moment and the lady said we could come back and teach her more! We asked her named and--get this--she said 'Nefi.' Which is how you say Nephi in Spanish. We both kind of just stared at her and were like "...Nefi?" And she said "Yeah, it's a nickname for Neftali". It was so funny! Talk about being prepared! She'll love the Book of Mormon. ;)
So that exchange day, guess how many contacts we got? (Contacts are basically when you meet someone, share a restored truth, and invite them to do something) 46. 46! Tracting and street contacting are really not the most effective way to do missionary work at all, but still, it was awesome. We met some really cool people. While we were walking, we heard someone say "Sisters!" a man got out of his car, said he was a member, and that he wanted to pay for our dinner. It was awesome! Tender mercy.
So we live right in the middle of the city of Everett. Like downtown. I've never felt in danger, but on Saturday I did see a dirty gun. And a man thought we were prostitutes. Which I thought was super funny. We are wearing about 5000 layers of clothes and minimal makeup, which obviously scream prostitute. Haha. :)
We taught a lesson to a man from Yemen! I love meeting people from all over the world.
I learned how to make Mexican chicken soup! It's basically like any chicken noodle soup but without the noodles. Also, you have to start with a whole chicken. Don't bother getting boneless.
Did I tell you about the "No tenedor" rule? Our district leader made a rule that we are not to use forks if there are tortillas on the table. It makes for pretty funny meals. Good thing I love tortillas!
I'm not getting transferred, thank goodness! I really like this area and I want to stay here. Plus we are really spoiled that we live in the city where there are Latinos to teach.

ALSO. I have used my Russian like 5 times in the past week! How cool is that? There is this community of Ukrainians that live in Washington! They think it is so cute when I try to say hello and good morning, good day, and good night. They are usually like 50 times nicer than the Ukrainians that were actually in Ukraine were to me. They're so adorable. I wish I remembered more than "Stop the bus!" and "Mom is at home."
The new year is a perfect time to increase our faith! That's something Hermana W and I have really trying to focus on lately. Taking a few steps into the darkness and trusting that light will illuminate our path. Miracles will come when we pray for them.
I love you all so much!
Hermana Pellegrini

Friday, December 20, 2013

Maria Para Siempre

Hola, mi familia!

I was happy to read all your letters! 

Okay so last week we went to Boeing! It is where they make airplanes. It is the largest building volume-wise in the world! Super, super huge. I pass it like every day. We couldn't take pictures though. :( But it was fun! It reawakened my dream to be a tour guide. 

So we had a district blitz on Tuesday. That is when a whole district (9 of us) work in one area. And it was in ours! It was AWESOME!!! We found 4 new investigators that day. It was so much fun! The last house my group went to was super weird. I can't really explain it.... sometimes it is just so surprising to see the way that people live!

So once a week we have to weekly plan. That takes a couple hours and we always get distracted. But if we do it at a fast food place, then we don't get distracted! So we went to a place called Ivar's. It is a Washington-based seafood place and it was good! I got clam chowder in a bread bowl, obviously. It was pretty good, but not awesome awesome. We sat there for hours and when we left we smelled like fish. Haha. 

Soooooo there is this funny thing called "being in a Spanish branch". I don't know if I mentioned this, but we have a choir. It is so. funny. Okay, I can't sing, right? Like, I do, but I'm not noticeably good. Well, I'm one of the best in the choir. That gives you an idea of what this thing is like. Sometimes..... Mexican women are tone deaf. And they like to argue in rapid-spanish about what they think we should do in a song. It is so. funny. There is this one hermana who is like 65 years old. We were supposed to wear red and black to perform, and someone didn't. So this old hermana was like "Hermana so-and-so wants to sing with us, but she can't. She isn't wearing red." And it was so funny! It was like Mean Girls: Latino Edition. "You can't sit with us! On Wednesdays we wear pink." Bahaha.

So some members took us out for asian food this week. The hermana told us a little about her life... she always looks so calm and content, but they things she has gone through! It's so sad! You really can never tell what people are going through. Everyone has trials. So we can't use our trials or personal problems as an excuse to lead less-than-great lives. Because we all have to fight through something.

We're teaching a woman who is basically a Jehovah's Witness. Suffice to say that every lesson is filled with lots of questions. We try to keep the Spirit!

Okay so here is why I named this email what I did:
On Saturday we visited a recent convert and his family. They have this tiny little apartment that was super super messy. They wouldn't let us in until they cleaned it a little bit. :) We taught the kids the Christmas story. And guess who was Mary?! Me! My companions knew I am always Mary at home and so they wanted me to continue the tradition. I will attach the picture. It was pretty funny! The youngest son, JoJo, didn't want to be anything except for a chicken. He was a really, really good chicken. But he needed to be a Wise Man, so we told him that a wise man was a king. And he said "I am king of the chickens!" So the king of the chickens brought baby Jesus a gift. So cute!

There were 3 baptisms in the branch on Saturday! That was great. Afterward the lady invited us over to her house for a fiesta and it was SO fun! Mexican food, salsa, seven of us missionaries, and a bunch of people from the branch. All in this apartment. So, so much fun.

1. So you killed off Sister Jarimillo this week... how did that go? 
It is actually this week. Tomorrow. I can't talk about it or I will start crying! She is the BESTTTT.

3. Any fantastic insights from Preach My Gospel lately?
Here is a really easy way to work on charity: Just never allow yourself to say something not nice about someone. Not even if it is true. Take some advice from Thumper. "If you can't say something nice..." Just don't say it!

4.What would you advise we study spiritually over this holiday break to stay in the spirit of Christmas?
Oh man... I've only been out 2 months! I'm not a spiritual sage yet! Personally, I'm not a big fan of big, marvelous Christmas hymns or programs. Christ is my best friend and my brother. I think it is always nice to keep the Christmas spirit by just remembering all the time he as helped you. Write them out if you haven't. Write how you felt when you felt his love.

5. What is the best thing you have learned about people so far? 
These are hard questions! Probably that a lot of people are worried about us and want us to be safe. Even if they aren't interested, they always tell us to be careful. Being women, and all. They are afraid we'll get hurt. It always makes me grateful when people express a concern for us.

I love you a lot! See y'all next week!!!

Hermana Pellegrini

P.S. I just remembered a story!
So Hermana Jarimillo is leaving, right? So she wanted to visit some less actives that used to be in her area. (They split our area the day I came- we were whitewashing, basically). So we were supposed to text our District Leader that we were going onto Casino Road. We forgot. So we're all the door of this apartment and Hermana J goes "We forgot to text Elder Crowley! We'll text him after this." So we go in and we're talking. And then we hear a knock at the door. Elder Crowley's signature knock. And we all freeze. Of ALL the people he visits, he happens to be on exchanges on Casino Road THAT day and at THAT time. So we're like whispering to this member to not let him in. This is what happens when you aren't obedient, people!!!! Don't do it because you WILL be caught sooner or later!!!!! Haha anyway we ended up telling him and he just laughed. It turned out okay. But lesson. learned. :)

I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You (But not really)

This week I made a list of things to tell you so I wouldn't forget!

So the highlight of this week for me was teaching a lesson with some people named Carlos y Claudia. We said the prayer, and then I looked at Claudia and she was crying. I asked what was wrong and she said that Carlos' brother had just passed away from cancer that very day! So sad. We spend the next hour comforting and sharing scriptures that would help their family. I was just so grateful that we got to be there for them the very day they needed an extra dose of Christ's love for them. I really felt like we were fulfilling our duty to bind up the brokenhearted. I got to be Heavenly Father's hands for a little bit. :)

The other day we were walking around and we met a lady named Kim! She was really nice, but really shy. When we were done talking to her, I gave her a sincere compliment. She looked at me and said "That was the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Thank you." I remembered that something I LOVE to do is give sincere compliments. It makes people so happy! It's such a simple way to show Christ's love for them and I really mean what I say. So I think I am going to do that more. Even when people don't accept our message, I know that it makes their hearts softer to the Spirit and God's messengers when were a purely kind.

Tender Mercy: Wednesday was really hard. I was just really, really down. I didn't think I would get a letter, but I ached for one so badly! And then I did!!! It was from Coray. :) Basically he was saying that he's not writing anyone but his family and Reese now because he is a Zone Leader. But it was really nice and I was SO happy to hear from him! I am SO grateful that Heavenly Father knows me. Personally. Knows what I need (which is different from what I want, although he knows that too) and knows when to give it. I was just bursting with happiness after that.

Something good that I did this week is that I made a list of things that will still be there when I get home. Basically, everything will be. Except for my friends. And no matter what I do, I can't change that. It makes me sad, but that's life. But the list was comforting to make because then I didn't have to worry about silly things.

I watched the Christmas Devotional in Spanish yesterday! SO good! Usually I fall asleep in the devotional. But it was like seeing home! I was so happy! I loved seeing our favorite choir people, especially Mrs. Bird and that guy that makes the really funny face when he sings. It made me think of all of you. :) Anyway, I could feel the Spirit SO strong and it made me so happy! I was reminded that I am here to spread Christ's love. Because I want everyone to feel cozy and joyful in their hearts like I do when I come unto Christ. :)

Okay, so being on a mission you kind of get to see all the places where you can improve in your life. And as I'm getting better, I have a desire for my family to get better, too! I just want everyone to take one more step to Christ. Just one. Because He WANTS to bless you! So I want to ask you to do something. I just want you to SMILE at everyone! Living in Utah, I used to think "There is no missionary work I can do!" and yeah, missionary work is different. But one of the church's objectives is the perfecting of the saints. I'm going to be honest with you: I hate ward dynamics and drama and stuff like that. But what if we all just smiled at each other? Smile when people don't smile back. Smile at people in the grocery store. Smile at people in their cars. Just spread joy. That is missionary work! I meet people that are like "Oh yeah, I know a Mormon. They're nice." When if you're the only bit of Christ's love that people notice today? How are you going to be an example of Him? So my challenge for you is to smile at at least 5 people you don't know every day. You will be happier, I promise. :)

I love you all so much! I will respond to your individual emails now. I love you!!

Hermana Pellegrini

P.S. OH! TODAY IS MY 2 MONTH BIRTHDAY!!!! At this rate I will be 167 years old before I get home. It's been a long, LONG two months! But this is what I figure: If every month is a year in my mission life, then right now I am 2 years old. A 2 year old doesn't know anything! So it's okay I struggle. I'm a baby right now. That's comforting to me. Anyway, happy birthday to me!

Pictures: -Maria's Baptism!
-We made gingerbread houses. Ours was a classic Mexican house: 2 doormats, an old happy birthday sign, and Dish 500, and lots of stuff in the front yard. Those are what we really look for to find people to teach.
-We found this drawing in our apartment. It's so ugly that we hung it up. :)
-Kaelie-the lighthouse was on Elliot Point. I thought of Pete's Dragon and of you. :)
-A lighthouse! I FINALLY saw this ocean this morning!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hello Out There!

Well hello, family! What have you been up to?

Well, I guess the most memorable thing that happened this week was that a crazy lady attacked me. It was so scary! She wasn't right in the head. I'm okay, it was just pretty scary.

1. How did the investigator work out on Sunday?? 
Hahaha... well we went and visited him. He's one of those people that really really likes to debate. But the lady who lives with him (she is his landlady) is a lot more open and understanding, so we'll go back.
2. Is it awesome to be in a culturally diverse area?? 
Pretty awesome.
3. How's your Apartment??
Good! It's pretty big. It's on the second floor of a building. It's clean and warm and nice.

4. Are you exhausted when you got to bed at night?
I have never fallen asleep so fast in my life!

5. Do you feel at home there yet? 
No. That's the hardest thing for me. I don't know how I am supposed to do this for 18 months! That seems so so so impossible to me!

6. How are you doing? Emotionally, Spiritually, Physically?
7. How's the structure without the CCM to guide you in it? (Wake up. study, etc.) 
The CCM was heaven. I miss it. But we still have a structure and study and everything, so it's not too bad.

8. What do you want us to send you for Christmas? Is there anything we could send for your companion? 
1.A Weasley sweater in maroon with a golden K on it. I will ask for this for every Christmas and birthday until it happens. :)
2. Handwritten letters with your testimonies.
3. Pictures!
4. Church CDs. Specifically The Work by Nashville Tribute Band. Hermana J will take hers when she leaves and I love it.
That's all I can think of right now! Boots would be nice. Not like big hefty boots. The boots that looks like they are from 1901 with the laces. I don't know how to explain them! Boots that look like me.

9. Tell us about Thanksgiving! Did you eat more than one dinner?
We went to dinner at a member's house. It was fun! The McNeely's. (The mom and kids are Latinos). I thought of Cedar City and seeing movies. :)

10. How's the leadership in the ward/stake you have been placed in?
I'm in a branch. I love the branch president! We don't have a mission leader, though. But the branch is nice and everyone is welcoming.

I don't even know what to say! I guess I will just talk about yesterday. I still get really sick whenever I think about going out and having to talk to people. Physically ill. Yesterday I read a talk about miracles so I just straight up asked for a miracle. I said "Heavenly Father, I'm trying. I am doing this. Please, please just change my heart. Give me the strength to do this." and then I told myself that for a miracle to take place I had to believe it would happen. So I went out excited, knowing that God would carry me. Tracting went well after that! No one was interested, and it rained, but we had a good time and most of the people were really nice!

Oh, the other day while tracting something funny happened. We talked to this college student. He is black and his name is Daniel. Basically, he talked to us for a hour and a half! He was so funny! He knows his Bible really well, and basically we asked him multiple times if he was Mormon and just pulling our legs. Because literally everything he said was like our doctrine. From the nature of the Godhead to immaculate conception. It was crazy! So I bet he'll get baptized.

We started off the week with 0 investigators and ended with 4! And a lot of potentials. So I am excited to get to teach more and stuff.

We knocked on one door and we talked to a man for a while about the Restoration. He was Hispanic and Catholic. Of course. Anyway, I testified and he asked me how I knew this was true. So I got to tell him about prayer and stuff. So even though he wasn't interested, I still strengthened my testimony!

Thank you all SO MUCH FOR YOUR EMAILS!!!! I was seriously almost crying. They are just what I needed to hear. Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!

I think I will think of more to write in my personal emails to you all.

I love you a lot!

Hermana Pellegrini

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Is This Real Life!

Hullo, Family!

So usually I will have 2 hours to write, but not today. Our Pday was switched to Thanksgiving this week, but today we have an hour to email our family AND the mission president! What is with that?! Oh well, I'll figure it out.

Okay so I am here! Funny thing.... it hasn't rained at. all. Every day is sunny! Cold, but sunny. Is this the Washington I have always heard about?! So we joke that I brought the Mexican sun with me.

I have two companions. Both are training me. Hermana Jaramillo (from Arizona--she's the only convert in her family) and Hermana Whalstrom (from Pennsylvania). Hermana J is leaving in December and I am SO SAD! I love her so much. They are both great. Guess what?! Hermana W is a Whovian AND a Nerdfighter!! How did I guess so lucky?! She was like "I like youtube...." and I was like "NO. WAY." It was pretty exciting. Let's be honest. 

So on the way here I had a great thought: We were flying in the airplane above the clouds and the sun was so beautiful and the sky so blue. Then we went through the clouds and it was gray (that was the only day I have been here that it was cloudy). So you know how we say "The sun will come out tomorrow"? Well the sun is ALWAYS out! Sometimes we just can't see it. But it is comforting to know that the sun is always just behind the clouds.

Okay so this is probably the best first weekend that any missionary can get ever. You won't believe this:
Friday-we had a branch fiesta for Thanksgiving. Including line dancing. Superb.
Saturday-ELDER BEDNAR CAME AND SPOKE TO US! For hours!!! That really happened!!! It was so, so great. It was like a question and answer and he was so funny and we learned so much.

And then.... I HAD MY FIRST BAPTISM! Okay, I feel sort of bad because I totally piggybacked off of my hermana's hard work, but yeah! Her name is Maria and she is so great. General Authority and baptism all in one day. Best. day. Everett.

Okay so I know myself pretty well. And I knew that I was going to struggle knocking doors. Lo and behold, I did. Still do a bit. My tongue freezes and my chest knots up and it's uncomfortable. But here is the trick: you just do it. Just speak. And some people are mean, but most that I met are pretty nice-ish. There is a reason why I was called to teach in the Spanish language. I love knocking in the lower income apartments because people are so. much. nicer. So much nicer. I love them so much! So far I have met this really odd gay man, people from the Marshal Islands, Chinese people, a Native American woman who insisted we watch this funeral video, arabs, Indians, people from Nepal, and Mexicans. After a lot of tracting, we finally found a new investigator yesterday! We are planning to teach him on Saturday, and I pray that happens because he's really cool and super prepared.

I love the branch! They are so warm and welcoming and I love them so much. We have 9 missionaries for our branch of about 80. We're going to see some miracles! Oh, I guess I should tell you I'm in North Everett. The city. So there are trees, but not a ridiculous amount.

On the plane I sat next to a woman who was raised a Nazarite. She had problems with hypocrisy in churches. We talked for a long time and I bore my testimony to her of the Restoration. When I did, it was like my voice wasn't coming from me. It was awesome!

I'm trying to hard to be happy and positive and hard working! Satan is so mean and is trying all the time to get in my head. He knows that I have a deep fear of rejection and he uses it on me all the time. But testifying is like ripping off a bandaid. The worry beforehand is so much worse than the actual thing. After I bear my testimony, no matter what the person says, I feel warm and happy. It is when I let my fear get the best of me that it is hard. I just have to remember that. I pray that I can become the missionary who the Lord needs me to become!

So much love,
Hermana Pellegrini