Tuesday, July 27, 2010

27 Jul 2010

Querido mi familia,

Wow. What a week it sure has been. It's drug on, but gone by so fast! I can't believe it's already Tuesday again. I have no idea where it goes. The week just starts and then it's gone. What's even more hard to believe is that it's almost August and in 3 weeks, I'll be at my halfway point. What the heck? I seriously don't know where I've been or where the time has gone. It makes me sad just thinking that this grand adventure is halfway over. Man, I love being a missionary. There's never been something that's been so rewarding or made me so happy than to be here in Washington. I love these people. They are amazing! I can't imagine leaving them. They've given me so much and I've learned more on my mission already than I ever thought I'd learn. And not only about the Gospel, and Spanish, but about myself. And just my future. I've never felt so much love for people I've known for such a short time. I especially love serving with the Hispanic people. They are great! I'm grateful every day for the decision I made to come on a mission. It's the best decision I've made in my life! There are so many things I would be missing out on. In the MTC, I met people and also here in the field that have changed my life. I can't believe there was a time that I didn't know them. For 21 years. It's nuts! I've learned so much love. Patience. Charity. Hope. Service. Values. Perseverance. Acceptance. Boldness. Knowledge. The meaning of commitment. And more of the Atonement. I'm SO grateful I have a loving Heavenly Father who knows exactly what I need.

Oh man. Last Monday, it was super awesome and so hard. It seems like it always happens like that. Both hard and awesome at the same time. I was so...frustrated cause we had all these appointments and no one was home. Lovely, right? Yeah, no. But, we decided to go street contacting. I don't know. It just didn't feel right that we were where we were. I was trying to listen to the Spirit. We just got in the car and I drove to a place where we normally park. After we parked, I got out and it just felt right. Well, we said a prayer in the car. But we walked across the street to the park to find someone to talk to. There was a man sitting on the ground and I went and asked him if we could talk to him. We started talking and found out his name was Woody. He's homeless and can yell really loud. He told me I had pretty eyes and tried to touch my face, but other than that, it was fun to talk to him. I gave him a pass along card since I didn't have anything else. We just started contacting all these people and oh man. We found lots of people to talk to. There was actually a woman that came up to us to have the missionaries come to her house and visit her. Wow. It was one of those days where I just love being a missionary. Sometimes, I feel like it's me vs. Vancouver and when that happens, I think about my Savior that KNOWS exactly how I feel and will never leave me by myself. He's always there for me and He knows how it feels to be so alone.

Everyday my testimony grows of how involved the Lord is in this work. We're just the little workers and He's the boss. Oh man. And I just think about how if we would have changed one single thing, stayed a little longer or left earlier, things would not have happened the same. I really can't wait to get home and share the Gospel at home with people I meet. I'm stoked to go out with the missionaries. I don't want to be on of those bum RM's that doesn't help the missionaries. Especially when I know how it feels to have no help from the members and to go teach lessons without that powerful member testimony and help.

Saturday, too, was an interesting day. It was the same story - no one home. We were trying to make an R.A. with a lady named Blanca. We get to the appointment and there's this lady with her door open. A little girl running in and out. We go in and I start talking to her. She wants to show me a picture or two, so I just kind of invited myself in. Haha. She didn't seem to care so much. But she's precious! She's old and her husband has been dead for 26 years. She has 11 kids. Her name is Sara and she's so tender! And answer to a prayer! She already knows so many things about the Gospel. But, I really feel like she's ready for it. I hope that we can teach to her needs and she will feel the Spirit through us. Man, I love prayer. I love the feelings I get when I pray. I pray a lot more fervently and I love to pray for everyone. I pray to be a better missionary.

It really is amazing for me to see the changes in myself. Sometimes, I feel like there wasn't a life or a world before my mission. I know there was and I know I still have friends because they write me. But it's SO different. I can't even explain it. Anyways.

Here's something exciting! So, on Sunday night, we're driving home from our appointment and we have like 3 new voicemails. So check them, right? And one is from President Greer. And he's all like Sister Pleshek, call me back. I've got some things to talk to you about. So I call him back and I'm kind of freaking cause what's going on? He answers and tells me that I've been picked from the sister missionaries [along with 5 other sisters] to spend 4 days in the Tri-Cities, doing some training. Part of all the changes going on in the missionary program is the 8 new lessons for the missionaries to learn. We had training on 1 lesson already on Friday when we had interviews. But I'm spending 4 days along with 70 other missionaries, doing some intense training. I'll end up having to teach missionaries in zone conferences or other special training meetings. So, I'm pretty stoked and at the same time, I feel really special. I feel like I'm doing something right. And p.s. I really love the Greers! I love the Belnaps, but I feel a really special connection with the Greers. They are amazing people and I'm so lucky that they are my mission president and wife! I was lucky, I get 2! They really are awesome!

We had our interviews on Friday and it went really well. President and Sister Greer were so sweet! Hna. Rico was in first with President, so Sister Greer and I were just having a blast talking. She's so precious! We talked about medical things and then she asked me to tell her a story. President Greer and I just shot the breeze. He thanked me for my service and for training. It was really nice of him to tell me that. It's what I needed to hear. From July to November, the mission is losing 67 missionaries. Crazy, huh? I couldn't believe it! He said that means we're going to need 67 trainers. Haha. I just laughed.

Oh, so, I have this GIANT favor to ask. There's a family here and their names are the Beltrans. And they are awesome! They were sealed in October in the Salt Lake temple. And they told Hna. Kendell and I when the missionaries leave, they give them something to remember them by. It's been random things. One left a dollar, another left a name tag. One elder left a rap, and one left a reflector. Just random things. These people are amazing missionaries and are willing to help out with anything they can. They don't have a lot, but they still make sacrifices for us missionaries. So many! So, I was wondering if you could make me a SLC beaded temple? I want to give them something that's specific to me, but will also mean something to them. I'll just need it before I get tranferred...which I don't know what that is. I really think I'll stay here in Vancouver for a while. But that's all up to the Lord. And I don't remember if Amy has a large Nauvoo. I know she has a baby one, so I wouldn't think she has a large. But I for real don't remember. I want to see her wedding invite, so don't throw it away. Man, I think it's insane that all these people are getting married and having babies. It almost makes me wonder what I was doing with my life after high school. Eh, who knows. I'm here and that's what important.

We had our district meeting this week at a park. That was really exciting! Haha, the only reason we did it is cause the elders have only 100 miles left for the month. Well, about 80 or so now. But, we have like 500. Which okay, I don't know how. All 3 or so months I've been driving, I've had extra miles left over. In June, we went to Kennewick. 600 miles round trip. They gave us an extra 250 miles, but we didn't use them. This month, we've come and gone a lot of far away places. But now, we've got miles left over. I always explain it as a tithing principle. If you try and stay within your miles and are always planning with them in mind, they'll be there at the end of the month. I don't know how, but they are.

My hija has a swollen eye. It's been getting worse every day. We called Sister Greer last night and we did what she said [she thinks it's allergies], but it's just gotten worse. I haven't ever had a companion that didn't have an eye/swelling problem. All my comps have had that and allergies. I'm the only allergy free, normal eyed one. Haha. Cool, huh? Poor thing. She's miserable though.

I've been having trouble sleeping for the last little while. I'm not bothered by anything and I don't think its stress. I don't know. But, I took a Benedryl last night to help and I was knocked out by 10:15. I woke up this morning to find my pajama pants in the bathroom on the floor. I don't remember leaving the room, but it happened somehow. But I do remember thinking "I'm so tired. I'm just too tired to dream." I was dreaming in Spanish too, so I don't know. I really, this is like physically and emotionally and spiritually exhausting. I love it. Not that I'm exhausted, but that I'm a missionary and doing the Lord's work.

I've started reading the Book of Mormon over again. Little by little, it's becoming more and more real to me each day. Not that it wasn't real before, but it was just stories to me. I love the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I've come to a better appreciation for the Bible on my mission.

Man, so I played with the elders today. We played basketball and I was really good. Haha. I won't lie. I was pulling things out of places I didn't even know existed. But, it helped that there weren't a lot of people there. Yeah, today was zone p-day and no one told my district. Lovely, huh? Yeah, we were excluded, but oh well. We were still together as a district.

Anyways, I love you. The Gospel is true, the book is blue. Thanks for your love and I sure do miss you all.

Con amor,

Hna. Pleshek

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

20 Jul 2010

My dear familia!

It sounds like you've had some exciting things happening this week! Que suerte!

Last week was SO nuts and I'm sorry I was a poop and didn't write a longer letter. Getting everything ready for transfers was hectic, but things are a little less hectic now...sort of.

Yeah, so congrats on being Nana again, Mom. My daughter - Hna. Christina Rico - was born July 14, 2010 at about 12:40 p.m. She's got curly brown hair with her brown eyes. She's about 5'6" and 120 pounds. Okay 130. Nah, I don't know how much she weighs, really. She comes from Draper, Utah and she was only in the MTC for 3 weeks. Her dad is from Mexico and her mom is from California. She's the 2nd of 4, with a 32 year old brother who lives in Cali and a 18 and 15 year old sisters at home. Her family is less active, so I think it's legit she's here. But she's cute and I love her to pieces.

When I got the call last Saturday, Hna. Kendell and I were sitting/laying on my bed and when I heard I was training, I about fell off the stupid thing. Usually, trainers receive a call on Friuday before they send out the voicemail, but no call. I thought Hna. Kendell and I were staying together. Sunday morning, President Greer called me and he was like, "So Sister Pleshek, it looks like you have a new assignment coming your way" and I was like "Yep, I definitely learned that from the voicemail. I was shocked, that's for sure." He just laughed and told me that I was called by God and hand picked tobe her trainer. That made me feel semi-calmed. But he then proceeded to tell me her name was Sister Ree-cow. You know, like how people say Rekow. I figured it wasn't right because he said it with a gringo accent. And he had told me she was fast tracked through the MTC. So anways.

On Monday, I got a blessing from E. Arnold. I was just really feeling inadequate and like I couldn't do it. He...well, my Heavenly Father told me that He had already planned out my mission before I was even on one and that I was the right person for the job. When things like that happen, I just..I know Heavenly Father is mindful of us and loves us. There's no way He doesn't. He knows my fears and gave me the faith to overcome them.

Saying goodbye to Hna. Kendell was hard. Probably not as hard as saying goodbye to Hna. Dunoskovic because she was leaving the mission. I know I will see Hna. Kendell again, soon! And I can always leave her a message. But we had SO much fun together. She was great for me to have right before I trained. She helped me a lot and I grew so much!

We had a trainer's meeting with the Greers on Friday. That was awesome! I love the Greers! Sister Greer is SO tender and just...I love to give her HUGE hugs because she's a hugger and so am I. The meeting about about training vs. teaching and bold vs. overbearing. They also taught us tips on how to help our greenies more. I am the only sister missionary training this transfer. I'm also the only Spanish missionary training, too. It's fun because a lot of the elders that are training on this side of the mission are my buddies and first time trainers, too. It's really exciting.

My first day - Thursday - was really hard for me. I felt so alone. It wasn't good. But after being on my knees to my Father in Heaven, I felt a lot better. And Friday night. Oh my gosh, I was in tears. Elder Arnold had given a spiritual thought about sharing the gospel and his grandma. His grandma isn't a member, but he has a sister in Chile on a mision, too. And as they write home, they've started giving her reading assignments from the Book of Mormon. He said the have never given up hope and now, little by little, she's coming around. I just had all my thoughs turn to my Papa. I felt like I needed to write a letter to him. As I got my paper and started to write my letter, the tears just fell from my face. I was so filled with love and just the deepest desire for him to repent. Just like how Alma feels. I began to think of my experience in the temple and how I wanted my grandparents to be in the temple with me. I was breaking inside and the tears were coming and then the phone rang. It was Elder Bair calling about dinner and when he asked me why I was crying, I proceeded to tell him. He listened and then just talked to me. He told me to always remember 2 things. 1 - I was never to lose hope, even though I haven't. And 2 - if it wasn't for my Papa's testimony of the gospel, I wouldn't be here. He assured me my Father knew how I felt and once again, it was the words I needed to hear from the mouth of an elder. The Lord works in mysterious way, but they always benefit us.

We had a rock awesome day yesterday. We were getting really discouraged because we had an awesome district meeting and everything and then, we just weren't finding anyone to talk to. All of our appointments fell through. So, we just finally sat in our car and said a prayer. And, we started in a totally different place and just started walking. We ran into so many new people and got appointments to come teach them. It was SO awesome. And this lady came up to us, asking us how to get ahold of the missionaries because she wanted to take the lessons again. Oh my gosh, this is SO the Lord's work and He's in it 122429035239035823590%!!!!!!!! I have such a huge testimony of that.

Well, I love you all and things are really going good here. I love Vancouver and I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to train. Hna. Rico and I are growing and learning together and enjoying it while it comes. I love you and thank you for all you do for me. Be safe and don't let George come and getcha! =)

Con amor,
Hna. Pleshek

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

13 Jul 2010

This is going to be short because I'm out of time. And I just want you to know that I love you and that you should wish me luck bceause I'm getting my new companion tomorrow and she's green! But I love you and I'll write you again soon!
Love you!
Hna. Pleshek

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

6 Jul 2010

This photo is the Vancouver West zone with President and Sister Greer.

Always so many things to write and not enough time to do so. Ugh. But we'll start with first things first.

So, I already sent you a picture of my zone and the Greers. Mom, she's precious. I love Sister Greer. It was weird hearing from them because it just felt like they were visiting from the 70 and that they'd make their debut and leave. But they're here. And it'll take some getting used to, but I'm excited for them. The transition was so smooth. Nothing was ruffled and it was just...lovely. But, the missionary department has made a lot of changes. I'm not sure if this is international or just in the U.S., but there have been changes. Zone meetings and interviews are now quarterly instead of every transfer. We have 8 more lessons to learn as missionaries, but they're for us and not our investigators. For the sisters, the skirt line has been raised and we can now have shorter skirts. They need to cover our knees when we sit, but if they do that, then they're good! We also can wear open toed shoes. And ready for this...NO MORE NYLONS! The only thing we need to wear nylons for is for ordinances, so sacrament meetings and baptisms and stuff. But other than that, it's free air! And we there's no more color restrictions. If I want to wear lime green, I can! =) But, that's just an update on that.

On the 1st, Elder Arnold had his birthday and we threw a surprise party for him at the Churches. We [the whole district] hid in the closet and when they came in, we jumped out and yelled surprise. It was all sorts of fun and we had an absolute blast putting it on for him. Oh man, it was his last birthday here on the mission and I think he really loved it. I would have if I was him. Haha.

We also celebrated the 3rd of July at the Hibbards. We went out to see some people in Washougal and just made our way to their house that night. They roasted a pig and it was SO good! Oh my gosh. I ate the nose. Haha. Somehow, some people thought I should eat it. I took a bite of it and it was NASTY! I'll never do that again. Haha. If I hadn't known it was the nose, I probably wouldn't have eaten it. But I did. And it was bad. Haha. But, it was just so much fun and there were lots of other Elders there that I didn't really know too well and now, we're all buddies. We also got a new investigator out of it all, so it helped that we were still doing missionary work while enjoying ourselves.

On the 3rd, my compa and I spent some time with the Reschke's. They're a white family in the branch since the parents both speak Spanish. But we went strawberry picking in our skirts and that was really exciting. We also ate at their house on Sunday. It was fun to have American food for the 4th. But they sure did take care of us this weekend and I appreciate it.

We had an awesome day yesterday! Everything seemed to work out just as we planned and we taught some amazing lessons! I think Heavenly Father blesses his missionaries with good Monday's so then when it comes to the rest of the week, we're still pumped up and ready to go! WOOT WOOT! But, yeah. This p-day is going to be exciting. It's one of our last before the transfer. Transfers are a week from tomorrow and I feel like both my companion and I are staying. Of course, I'll do what the Lord needs, and I still am sort of scared for phone calls, but I feel like there's so much more for me to do here with her. I think we'll be okay. But of course, I'll let you know next week what happens! Haha.

I love you! And I'm sorry that this is short. But, life is crazy as a missionary. Thank you for all you do for me and I love you all!
Con amor,
Hna. Pleshek