Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ahh challenges, awesome people, a house and bikes

So yes it has been quite a week of change.

Saying goodbye to the city of laredo was a very hard thing. I love those people so much. That monday evening we went by like a million people to say goodbye. I was all stessed out because everyone and there dog wanted to feed me and we only had 3 hours to do it all. It was a crazy day. Tuesday was just as crazy but really involved no missionary work. Sadly. We visited a few people in the morning but most of it was just traveling to the distant land to a city called Raymondville. What a place.

Raymondville: population 9773

This town is tiny. But what's even tinier is the 3 little towns that are also part of our area. Lasara, San Perlita and Sebastian are puny little towns with only a couple of streets. Everybody knows everybody and its crazy. I have never lived in a place this small before. It is very different. But we live in a house. Yes a house. Sister Ruano and I live ALONE in A HOUSE. All to ourselves. It's weird to live alone. I've always been with four sisters, so it is a bit strange to come home and only have us two.

This area is the wierdest part of the mission probably. Not weird bad, but weird different. Why? Well part one is the missionary situation. So let's think. I just came from Laredo where there are about 26 missionaries in the city of Laredo. Before that I was in Mission, which is surrounded by lots of other cities real close and full of missionaries. Like 3 zones that get together on pdays. Now I am in Raymondville. Guess how many missionaries there are....4. Yes us. And our district leader and his companion (who is distantly related to the Prophet). Us four missionaries. That is it. All of the rest of our zone is about a 30-40 minute drive away. We are alone. haha. It is really funny. Yes we do have a car. BUT, the elders do not. So we have to drive them to things. Which is strange because it is strictly against mission rules to do that sort of thing anywhere else. But basically we see these two elders like every single day. THey ride in our car and hang out in our garage on p-day because they can't come in our house. It is strange. But fun.

The other thing that makes this area unique is the Branch. I know that God always has the big picture in mind when he puts us places. I started in Mission where the church is pretty strong and runs for the most part how it should. Then I went to Laredo, where there are 4 branches that make up a district and they were working hard at becoming a stake. And now...I am in Raymondville and the surrounding towns and we have one branch. One branch. And it is chiquito. Small. Very small. Apparently last sunday there were only about 20 people at church on sunday. Yesterday there were more, maybe about 40. No se. But it is cute. Our little branch is fun.

This week was the craziest week. Sister Ruano was shoked by all of the things that have happened right as I get here. This week felt like dumping week. And by that I mean that everyone and their dog THIS week just decided to dump all of their problems on us. It was a nice welcome to Raymondville I guess. There are a lot of things that I can see we need to work on. It can be kind of overwhelming at times when we as two little 22 year olds become the ones that everyone comes to to fix all of their biggest struggles. But that's what we're here for I guess. Us and the 20 year old elders. Oh goodness. THis transfer will be unforgettable for so many reasons. Being a small town everyone knows about everyones business and they get in it too much. THey need to work on that. The members have a lot of faith but it is hard because the church is so little and new. For example, the branch president has been a member for 2 years. The second counselor has been a member for 1 year and was baptized by my former zone leader. There is no first counselor at the moment because he was a 19 year old boy and left on his mission last week. The young womens pres has only come to church once in the past 6 weeks. I don't htink there is a ym's pres. The EQP and the RSP are husband and wife and seem to also be a bit newer to the church. As missionaries we are the ones with the experience. THe four of us together have more experience in the chruch than like the whole branch put together. It is crazy. So we have our work cut out for us. But it is good. The members have a lot of faith.

Let me tell you about my first sunday in Raymondville. Get up at 6:30. Go pick up the elders...weird. And take them to church. Greet everyone and meet them all. Play the piano for sacrament meeting. Pres Ramos speaks literally in Tex-mex in the meeting. Literally. Every other word in a different language. Literally. Welcome Hermanos and Sisters. Hoy vamos a sing hymn cientodos. No lie. He is for real. It's great. Give a talk in sacrament meeting. Round up all the youth...all 4 of them and teach their sunday school class (on the spot with no preparation). Round up all the young women and teach young womens also on the spot. Help a boy who was choking on a a hard candy. Ok then church ends and we take the elders with us, weird again, to a lunch appointment with the Relief Society pres and Elders quorum pres. Good food. Found out the RS pres was thinking of going inactive this past week. Give her a little animo. Teach some lessons. Carry a stick around with us to scare away pit-bulls and chiuauahs. etc etc. Then to finish up the night we are in a lesson with htis awesome investigator who has been one for a year and there is a knock on the door. Who is it? Oh it's the elders. Not like we hadn't already spent all day with them, but here they are. Random. But cool, whatever.

This really is a special place. Very unique. I can not convey to you all of the quirks of raymondville. It's awesome/I have my work cut out for me.

Sister Ruano is great. Oh and yes today we fixed my bike because we are going to run out of miles on our car and we still have like 7 days of the month left, so we will be biking a lot. It was super hot yesterday. It is hotter in Laredo, way hotter, but it is humid here so that is lame. But there is nice breeze. It is always windy here.

Well mom, that's a cool new calling. It has a SUPER long name. but you will do awesome at that.

Well thanks for writing, glad you liked the package. I need to send you memory cards soon.


Sister Petersen

P.S.  I saw four haveleenas (i don't know if that is how you spell it, but they are these wild pig things that are scarry. Kinda like pumba on lion king, but wierder)

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