From: Jessica McKay <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Creepers and Transfer Calls
Date: July 8, 2013 10:14:46 AM MDT
What an INCREDIBLE week!!!
Wow, I don’t think I have ever had, or will ever have, another week like this. Let’s see what the best way to expound on all the new updates and crazy stories…Maybe I’ll just go chronologically by day…brace yourself for a big one!!
I had a wonderful last day P-day in Andover. I was able to take Linda’s old guitar to the shop to firstly, find out what it was, and secondly, to buy some strings so I could restring it and play it for her once before I went away. She didn’t give it to me—(yes, I would like a guitar now)—but she was sure overjoyed to hear someone play it after about 40 years of gathering dust. We went bowling as a zone too. That was fun…but a little worldly haha. It was so strange to hear regular mainstream music playing overhead.
I saw Dick one more time. He is sure a wonderful old man. He was really disappointed to find out I was leaving, but I told him to stick around for another year and I’d be back to visit. He said, “OK!” 🙂
We also visited Jackie one more time. She actually growled at me for leaving–haha! It was hilarious. I will miss her dearly, but she’s one of those people that you can never, I mean NEVER forget. Sister Beuchert, who finally passed off her lessons and received her driving privileges the day before, took me to the church at about 3:00 pm where I loaded a van and shipped off to Dodge City. We didn’t actually leave until around 4 because there was a meeting going on that didn’t finish quite when they expected. Ahh the smell that welcomed me when we rolled into the great city of Dodge, home of meat-packing and slaughter houses…haha no it really wasn’t that bad, but we did get a couple of rancid whiffs here and there. We arrived at about 7:15 where I met my new companion…(drum roll)…Sister McQuay. Hahaha! Sister McKay and Sister McQuay. We like to call ourselves the “McSisters.” We’re also thinking of starting our own apostatized break off of McDonalds…She is a little angel. She was training a really tough and disrespectful new missionary that honestly just wore her down. I think they basically sent me out there to give her a break, because truth be told, I’m a pretty easy-going companion–the polar opposite of the last sister. So that evening we went straight out to some appointments. I was so glad to just get to work–that’s the only thing could make me start to feel comfortable in a new area.
The church in Dodge City used to consist of an english ward and a spanish branch, but due to some recent circumstances, they ended up combining the two. There are 4 sets of missionaries here in Dodge, all working in the same ward. The two elder companionships speak spanish, the senior couple does both, and we are english. It’s been really fun for me to discover that I understand actually a lot more than I thought I would. I can’t really speak as well as I could before, but considering I haven’t practiced for over a year, I was doing pretty well. We asked the zone leaders if we could start studying spanish and they said yes! I was so excited.
We volunteered at a soup kitchen in the morning, then that afternoon, we met this extremely eccentric old woman named Wanda Fey. She’s a member of the ward, but the relief society had no idea who she was and sent us out sleuthing. She is crazy! She has no teeth, lays in bed all day, and literally talked to us for over an hour without us even being able to get in more than 5 words at a time. When we asked the 1st counselor in the bishopbric if he remembered Wanda, he responded, “She’s still alive??” She went off the radar when she transferred to an assisted living home and no one even knew she was still there. Oh Wanda. She would do this hilarious laugh where she’d open her mouth really wide and her lips would kindof fold over her toothless gums and she’d let out a sort of airy honk. I wish I could attach a sound to this e-mail. Just imagine, “Haaaaaaaaaaah.” Just one. Oh it was priceless. She’d just talk non-stop, hardly taking a breath of air, and intermittently throw a honk or two in here and there. Maybe that’s how she breathes… After that meeting, whenever Sister McQuay was feeling a little down, I’d just let out a little Wanda impression—face and all. Cure for any ailment 🙂 That night we also went to help the senior missionaries teach their english class.
Strangest fourth of July I’ve ever had. We organized our area into smaller areas by number–geocodes–so we could dive in more deeply on contacting less-actives in our ward. There are a ton! That took a while, but honestly, this kind of thing is so much more efficitent on the long-term scale than tracting for the same amount of time could be. So because of weekly planning and organizing, by the time we got out to talk to people it was pretty late in the day. However, it was not lacking in miracles. The first three people we talked to outside ended up being new investigators. That night we spent our 4th of July dinner with the other 7 missionaries and the Glovers in our ward. Yes, don’t worry, we DID have a bbq. Later that evening, we taught our one progressing investigator named Jennifer. I already love her so much. She has been through a LOT in her life and finding the gospel is honestly and truly an answer to her prayer. She has a lot of stuff that she still needs to work through, but she absolutely loves the Book of Mormon.
I witnessed my first “Colorado Springs Colorado Mission” district meeting. It has been awesome to be in this area, because I am the first missionary from the Missouri Independence Mission to make it this far west, so I’m surrounded by basically a completely foreign mission. There are so many differences from mission to mission just depending on the mission president, so my companion and I have been having the time of our lives comparing and contrasting and combining to be the most effective and obedient we could while awaiting some updates on things that depend on “President’s discretion”. I’ve learned a lot out here that is improving my teaching and overall missionary service as a whole, and the same is true for Sister McQuay.
Later that day, we had the “privilage” of teaching this (creepy) guy named Joe. He seemed normal when we met him, but then when we taught him later in the week and invited him to baptism, he told us the only way he would be baptized is if marriage was involved. Oh my. There were many not-so-subtle hints as to whom that comment was directed at. I guess we should have taken a stronger hint at the handshake that lingered just a bit too long…And then he showed us a tape he recorded. I don’t know what kind of reaction he was expecting from showing us, but whatever he expected, really he was just sorely mistaken and the whole thing (lyrics included) gave us the heebie-geebies. Thankfully he turned it off after about 10 seconds and we promptly left. Thank goodness we had a member with us! This is why we follow the mission rules and involve members. We turned him over to the elders right after that.
We taught a wonderful less-active member in the ward named Erika after that. She doesn’t speak english, but her son translated for us and I was able to understand probably 60-70% of what she was saying anyways. She was so pleased that we stopped by. She said the sisters had never visited her, which makes sense because she doesn’t speak english, but she was still happy to see us.
That evening we got a call from one of the assistants to the president telling Sister McQuay that she had been called to train again. We were shocked. Before I had come out to Dodge, I’d asked the APs if this was permanent for the next transfer and they had said yes…turns out it wasn’t. Then he called back about two minutes later and said that I had been called to train again as well. So, one of us would be leaving Dodge City. Inside I’m thinking, “I just got here!” Honestly though, if they were going to send someone to an area only to send her somewhere else a week later, they’d probably choose me. I guess being adaptable is both a blessing and a curse (when packing is involved). Sister McQuay was devistated. Training had really hurt her and she didn’t feel like she could do it again, at least not yet. I pointed out to her that looking back at the past week and all the talks we’ve had, she’s healed quite a bit. We had another nice long talk and by the end of the conference call the next day, she was actually starting to get excited to train again.
We had the conference call/meeting for all trainers. It was really exciting. It will be similar to how I was trained and how I trained, but there are some differences because this is a brand new mission.
Church was so great! Jennifer came to church, but she really struggles around crowds, so it kindof stressed her out. She was still glad she came though, so that is a good sign. It was so awesome to see english and spanish combined in the ward. The missionaries to a lot of translating for the ward, but a testimony is a testimony, no matter what language, and the spirit speaks to everyone.
After church we had a great lesson with a young woman named Brooklyn. She is 18 and is the daughter of a less-active member of our ward. She accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 26th of July, and this was the very first time she had been taught by the missionaries. The Spirit works! MIRACLE!!!
All 9 missionaries met at the Arkell’s for “thanksgiving dinner” that evening and they did this funny thing where the kids choose two backpacks from the living room and one gives the thought, another gives the prayer. They chose mine. One companionship of elders had actually prepared the thought already, but their backpack wasn’t chosen, so rules are rules. I pulled an on-the-fly thought with an object lesson I’d used in Andover and they loved it.
Okay. Here is the most interesting news of the week.
President Bell called me last night at about 8:00. He said, “Sorry for the short stay in Dodge City, Sister McKay, but the Lord has called you elsewhere. You have been called…back to Wichita to serve as a Sister Training Leader for the sisters in the Derby, Wichita, Dodge City, and Garden City zones. You’ll be companions with Sister Christnot as the other Sister Leader and the two of you will be training a new missionary as well. There are 4 Sister Leaders in the mission. The other two will cover the other zones. You will be serving in Bel Aire.”
WHAAAAA?!?!?!?!?!? I almost let out a “Wanda” laugh. I’m going right back to where I came from! A sister leader??? I’ve only been out for 6 months! And Bel Aire is right next to Andover!! So, crazy things are happening. I’ll go on splits with all the sisters in those other zones for training purposes and, as the McSisters were pleased to hear, I’ll get to come back to serve with Sister McQuay occasionally.
Well, sorry for the NOVEL. But it was a crazy week! Honestly, I didn’t even cover half of the week with appointments and other miracles. I really do like Dodge, but honestly, I didn’t feel like I would be staying here very long…funny how the Lord always prepares us so we kindof know what is coming. However, I did NOT expect to go to Bel Aire. In fact, Sister Beuchert and I used to joke about me serving there…careful what you wish for!