|Sister Sara Smith and Sister Emily Mangum|
Dear Mom and Dad,
So now P-Day is on Tuesday and I am so glad that it is P-day. It’s been a very long week :) A lot of the missionaries in Albuquerque were having issues because a lot of libraries were closed on Mondays, so they had to email on Tuesdays and the area authority didn't like that.
I like the new person idea that you mentioned....change of heart and many other things!!!! And I really do feel like a different person, just in a month. It’s crazy. Yeah, it’s amazing. Everything that everyone says about a mission is almost completely true. :)
Being out in New Mexico has definitely been an eye-opening experience. The culture is so different, and we have been so blessed. Most of the people here don't have near the opportunities that I have had.
Thank you for the oranges!!! That will be awesome! Everybody calls me sister Mango because for some odd reason nobody can pronounce Mangum. And everybody asks about the Oranges in Florida, so that will be great!!! Thanks!!!
Grandma and Grandpa Mangum probably drove right through my area this morning on their way to Texas. The highway goes right along the Rio Grande and down past Belen. That’s so cool that they will be on their mission this week. I looked up the town they will be in and it’s right on the border, right across the Rio Grande. Very comparable to El Paso probably.
I've had a couple of run-ins with Spanish and it’s crazy. I think I need to learn how to do a door approach, there are so many Spanish speakers here, even up north close to Albuquerque.
The Spanish missionaries are always complaining about the tons of people who invite them in to talk then don’t really care about the gospel message. The other night we were tracting and we came across an elderly couple who only spoke Spanish, luckily my companion’s dad is from panama, so she knows a bit of Spanish because I was completely lost.
Mom Question – You mentioned a pepper spray story?
We had this investigator who lived in the middle of nowhere, and my companion was telling one of the Elders about it and he freaked out. So he dug out the pepper spray. Its super old and the most extreme kind. He was like "Close your eyes and don't spray it in your face, we aren’t sure how old it is and it might kill someone." But it is the type that will make you go blind. I just wonder why the elders had it in their apartment. There is all sorts of weird stuff in old missionary apartments.
I’m not sure if we are allowed or not, but sister smith carries the stuff that the Elders gave her, but I actually do want some, just in case, but I don’t know where to get some. The pepper spray is actually a really funny story (At least to me it is) But the Elders are super over protective.
We didn't end up going because we didn't feel safe. It may have been Elder Lee's paranoia rubbing off, but we felt better to be safe than sorry. That's the thing, we never go anywhere that we don't feel comfortable. There are a lot of strange people, so we always pray and make sure we both feel completely comfortable before getting out of the car.
Tell Josh I loved his note!
Dad question – Do you have your District Meetings on your P-days?
No, district meetings are on Fridays, we just don’t have studies on that day. Did you ever do exchanges? We did that this week and it was kind of awful. I’m not sure why, my companion didn't really prepare me very well, and they left me in charge of Belen, then the Sister Training Leader wasn't very helpful, but it turned out okay in the end. I’m just glad that it’s over, at least until next transfer.
Mom Question – Are you close to a reservation? What’s the area like?
Well, I don't know. It’s like an hour away and sisters don't serve there, but they are in my zone. There is one smaller town close to it with sisters, but I’m glad I’m not there because I know one of the sisters there and she said the state mental facilities are down in her area, so they get crazy people all the time.
If you think of the places that you see in movies with the really really poor people who live in the desert in a small trailer. That’s basically where I am. Not quite so bad, but about the same type of circumstances. It really eye opening to how lucky and blessed we are.
Anything new at home? The weeks are going by faster now, so that good. I can’t believe that this week will be the first whole month out in the mission.
Missionary Work is tough, really tough, but it is so worth it. It’s exciting. We've only been able to have a couple lessons that I have felt have gone really well. The English missionaries in the states have to work really hard to find people to teach, but once we find a couple people that have potential we are able to find that one person who really needs the gospel and is willing to accept it. Right now we are trying to work with this recent convert who fell away right after her baptism. She is super sweet and has two adorable little boys, but she is having major issues with the Word of Wisdom. We are trying to help her with that, but it’s hard.
If I have one thing to say about missionary work, it’s definitely get the ward involved. The missionaries are the ones who do it all day every day, but it’s the members who make a difference. The only active converts from the past few years are the ones who have been friends or family of members. That Fellowshipping is absolutely everything. Without it, nothing will ever get done.
Question from Mom – How is the tracting? What happens if a man answers the door and invites you in?
If a man asks us to come in we have to make sure there is another female in the house or we just teach on the doorstep. A lot of the time we try to have members come with us, so we don’t have to worry about that sort of thing and to help fellowship the person we are teaching. But it’s really hard. Don’t worry, we are always careful about that sort of thing. Tracting is kind of awful. But it’s the only way we have to contact people. It’s super hard, but we have managed to find a couple of people to teach. One of the guys' last name is Montoya, I wonder if he is related to the Montoya’s from our ward.
The family going to Texas will be fun. Still don’t know where we will be. The Elders have a dinner but we don’t. We might end up with the Bishop or Ward Mission Leader, but that would be ok too :)
I was informed last night that I have to give a talk in a couple of weeks in sacrament meeting. It’s on President Monson's talk from conference, but I can’t remember which one. I’m sure I'll figure it out :)
Jessica said that we could post her handwritten letter from Emily for all to see.
Oh my goodness! This week has been something, definitely! They are all telling the truth when they say that mission is one of the hardest and most stressful times of your life. But they are all also telling the truth when they say it is the Best time of your life.
It's only my 2nd week, but i have already met so many wonderful people. Most people are extremely sweet and kind! I've also met a lot of really weird and rude people, most through tracting. But is makes like interesting.
Luckily I've been told the hardest time of your mission is the first transfer which is 1/3 over!
Its funny, as a missionary you get very little free time to do whatever. Most nights you come home so exhausted that you just collapse right into bed.
Now i'm on the fourth week. I can't believe that I've been our for almost a month. It's kinda crazy. But I love it.
Most of the people I meet are super nice, even the ones who are devout in their own faith. I have had a few run-ins with some crazy's but that's okay, it makes life interesting.
We do have a few really good investigators now that we have high hopes for. Unfortunately both of our promising investigators have a girlfriend that doesn't want to get married, so that's an obstacle to overcome because you have to be married if you're living with someone before you are baptized. But we are going to be working hard to help them be ready.
How's school going? Is junior year of AICE killing you yet? Well at least the holiday's are coming up. That's sort of a little break.
Yesterday was kind of awesome. So about 2-3 weeks before I came to Belen the Elders started teaching this woman, who is what we call "golden" because we was so excited to be baptized right away. She loves everything about the church and will probably be active forever. Yesterday we went up to Albuquerque to walk around the temple grounds with her and her daughter. It was so cool and she is so excited to be able to go through in a year.
It is definitely interesting being a missionary. No matter where we go people recognize you from your name tag. Whether for good of for bad, lots of people want to talk to you and lots of people don't want to talk to you. Tracting is certainly interesting. I've already had my first anti-mormon, my first threat, and my first preacher trying to save my soul.
We ran into this couple who have their own ministry. The husband was kid of rude but the wife was crying as she went on and on about how Christ is our Savior and to be saved we have to accept him. My companion and I were just standing there and nodding like "yes, that is true." It was kid of funny, before we left we had a prayer and she prayed that we would come to know Christ as our Savior. Oh well.
We have found a couple of investigators who have a bit of potential, so that's good. But we do have a bunch of work to get them to the point they need to be at to be baptized.
It's also true that all of the new missionaries get sick. It might be the stress, the change of environment, or even a bit of temptation or maybe even all of the above. But one of the Elders in the same ward as me, who was in the MTC with me is really sick with bronchitis and his companion has a really bad infection in his kidney or at least that what we think it is. Both me and my companion have really bad colds but gratefully that it's not worse.
I hope you have a good time your junior year. I hope you have a great time with Homecoming and your friends.