Our flight was great - everything was smooth sailing. I didn't really feel much like sleeping on the plane, but I think all the other missionaries took a two hour nap - it's hard to get up at 5:00 in the morning when we had had such a crazy and stressful time packing and saying goodbyes. I don't blame them for sleeping on the plane. I got a lot of studying done though - finally memorized D&C 4 in Spanish like I was supposed to have done. It sure came in handy when we had our transfer meeting. We arrived in Boston a little bit ahead of time and we got our luggage SUPER fast! Sister Evans was the first to greet us and guide us to the mission van where we all piled in after throwing our luggage in a truck that the AP's drove behind us to the mission. I couldn't even tell you where the mission home is, but it was very beautiful and we got to drive down the Charles' river and watch people practice their rowing - that's when I really knew I was on the East Coast.
When we got to the mission home we had a lovely dinner, got to know each other and some of the senior missionaries, and filled out some paperwork. I did get a picture with Pres. and Sister Evans but I didn't think to take one with my camera - oh well! I had a quick interview with President Evans and then Sister Hildenbrand did the same. There wasn't enough room for all the elders plus us Sisters to spend the night in the mission home, so we got sent off to our apartment right after all the festivities. It turns out that we get to be roommates! It's really nice to have a friendly and familiar face around the apartment all the time. We actually got dropped off at an appointment because Hnas. Hales and Jardin were at a service appointment when we got into Revere. I was so scared that we were going to have to teach or something, but they were just finishing up doing service for this lady who actually has no interest in the church. Missionaries have been helping her out for 5 years, but they just go help her clean and stuff because she's in a wheelchair and has a LOT of stuff to clean. It's like a museum! She's Jewish and very stubborn. It was cool though because as we were leaving, Hermana Hales asked her to say a prayer and besides the fact that we all held hands, she knew exactly how we say prayers.
I have SO much to tell you and only 23 minutes left to do so! Ahh!! So, I'm assigned to the Revere 1st ward with my companion Hermana Laurel Hales. Us along with two other elders (Elder Dowdy and ELDER PITCHER!! - we were in the same MTC district!) are over this Spanish-speaking ward. The ward covers Chelsea, East Boston, Revere, Everett, and Malden (that I know of). The Elders cover Chelsea and East Boston and we cover the other parts. We are lucky enough to have a car because the public transportation where we are at right now is not that great and we have a lot of places to go. When I first started discussing investigators and what our schedule would look like with Hna. Hales, she informed me that we had actually been dropped by a few investigators. So, we've been able to do a lot of finding which is SO SCARY! But a little bit fun too.
My first lesson that I got to be a part of was on my first full day and it was actually with an inactive member. She's SUPER sweet and her family seems really nice. We talked a lot about temples and about goals that she could set to get to go do baptisms for the dead. She even said that she's interested in us teaching her two oldest children who are old enough to be baptized. And she gave us the most delicious tres-leche cake I've EVER had!
The traffic is madness here! The roads are tiny and twisty and have parked cars lining the sides making it so that if the traffic is two-way, a lot of weaving has to occur in order to make it so nobody gets hit. It absolutely boggles my mind! I have a pretty good sense of direction in Utah...but this is a WHOLE different ballgame here. I get lost just when we go running in the mornings.
Growing up I had always thought it would be so cool to have a house with three floors! It turns out, I just need to move to Boston. The houses are SO tall! It's a little overwhelming when you turn down a street and have these monster houses looming over you, but it's also kind of cool. This area is very lived in, which I also like. All the houses are just so unique which makes it a fun adventure to walk down different streets.
My Spanish is not so great. Hna. Hales really likes to talk, so that really hasn't been too much of a problem so far. It's also kind of nice because when we do contact, it's mostly in English. We've been pretty lucky to find several families/individuals that speak Spanish who actually seem pretty interested who we're following up with this next week.
My first time at church was crazy! Everyone was super friendly but I had to try really hard to keep up with what everyone was saying. Because I was concentrating so much on what people were saying and trying to come up with responses, I don't think I can even remember very many names. One couple that I do remember their names though - I met Mami and Papi Ruiz who are apparently the missionary grandparents of our ward. Most of the ward members are from El Salvador or Guatemala and those areas. Some of them are really hard to understand but I'm slowly learning.
One of my coolest experiences so far is probably when we were out tracting on Saturday. We had an appointment at 2:00 so we were just out talking to people in the neighborhood. We ran into this woman named Ailine and gave her the schpiel (I don't think that's an actual word...oh well). She didn't speak English very well, but she understood we were missionaries and asked if we would come to her house to talk more. So, we walked a couple of blocks until we got to the most run-down apartment on the street. She led us upstairs. We met her husband Gabe and her seven year old daughter and 2 year old son and they graciously invited us into their dark and run-down shack. She said they were working on rebuilding - her husband is in construction so I guess it has just been a work in progress. We found out after talking to Gabe that they are Muslim and he is from Israel. We were so surprised at his keen interest but he actually knows a lot about religion. We basically taught them the first lesson and gave them a Book of Mormon. I felt the Spirit really strong! I hope they could. We have to give the contact over to the English-speaking sisters (Hna. Hildenbrand and Hna. Jardin both speak Spanish but are over Revere 2nd ward which covers our same boundaries just English instead of Spanish). I'm kind of sad we don't get to go back.
I had my first dinner with a member last night. I thought it would be super easy for me, but it was tough because Hermana Choto Cruz speaks Spanish and her two children there spoke a lot in English, so I didn't know which was best to use and ended up just keeping quiet and playing with their dog Luna. I want to show the ward members that I'm trust-worthy and that they can feel comfortable giving us their referrals, but it's going to take a while before I'm comfortable with the language.
Something a little bit surprising that I didn't get any warning about was the super-friendly greetings that are common in the Hispanic culture. Between women it's super super common to give a little kiss on the cheek just to say hi and goodbye. So...that's what we do. It was kind of weird at first, but now it's kind of endearing.
Today was our preparation day, but I still do not feel like I'm ready for the next week already! Part of the problem was that we accidentally scheduled an appointment today. It turns out that we had a SUPER-GREAT first lesson with this guy named Ronny. He seemed super interested and wants to come to church with us on Sunday. I hope he's serious and isn't just being nice. I hear that because of the Latin-American culture, a lot of people will let us in just to be nice.
Here's my new address (PLEASE WRITE!!!!)
(email/call Mom or Dad to get the address...I probably shouldn't post it publicly.)
Revere, MA 02151
We have Zone conference on Thursday this week....Don't know why I put that here...I guess it's interesting.
I really just can't believe that I'm in Boston. It's super weird to think of. I've gotta go. We still haven't eaten and we need to be to a member's house at 6:00 to help with FHE. I LOVE YOU ALL!!!
LES QUIERO MUCHO!!!