Returning Home!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Life in Louisville

First off, I forgot to tell you that I wasn't going to be writing til today because they changed our pday. As a zone, we got to go to the temple!! It was a refreshing experience. I was SO happy to be back in the temple. I miss going every week! We just went and enjoyed it and cherished the time there because we don't know when/if we'll be able to go back soon before we go home. President & Sister Woodbury came too! Sister Woodbury told us some neat stuff about temples because she and President used to be ordinance workers in the SLC temple. It was really unique, interesting things. :)
Second off, I LOVE LOUISVILLE! I love being in the city :) I know I've said it a million times, but I really do. I just thrive on city life. Yeah it's a little sketchy at times, but I never feel unsafe. Plus we're meeting TONS of new people from all over the world. There's this neighborhood we work in here, and there are people from Iraq, Bosnia, Africa, Cuba, Mexico, plus a bunch of Greeks, Arabics, etc. It's amazing! Kind of throws me off though because I'll start talking to them in Spanish or English and they won't speak either language.... Fun stuff!!
My area has its own unique challenges, but I feel like we're learning how to work with them. We do find a lot of new people, but it's just a matter of finding the ones that are going to investigate and get baptized and really take it seriously. Definitely getting a lot of practice teaching. :)
We had some really great experiences this last week. We've really tried to focus on teaching according to needs rather than just teaching a lesson. Sometimes we get in the routine of teaching a lesson as if the person is a wall, but we've really tried to focus on applying it to their lives. This week we taught a couple named Pablo & Maridelsy, and after we finished teaching all about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he just held it to his chest, closed his eyes for a second, then looked at us and said, "Thank you." It was so precious! And they've been reading it non-stop everyday! Go Cubans! :) It was a really special experience. I really hope they keep going. We're going to see them again this weekend.
Our super solid investigator, Jose, is getting baptized in a few weeks! He's SUCH a good guy! He's from Bolivia, and his parents are going to get baptized in a while too. He's just a super prepared man. We're so happy for him!
One hard thing about Cubans is that they drink a loooot of orange juice...which I can't have. I've had at least 5 tall glasses of OJ in the last two weeks. It's killing me! Oh well. I carry my water bottle with me everywhere now (cause it's stinkin humid and hooooot!), so I just say I already have something to drink.
So yep, such is life! Just working, teaching, praying, finding, talking to a million different people, riding bikes.... We did exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders last week, and I was on a bike all day.... what an adventure. We haven't started riding bikes here yet because my comp hasn't had a bike yet, but we're going to. It's just getting really hot and humid. I hope my bike lasts. It's not the best bike....but I hope it'll do for now. Pray it'll be fine! I also have to go buy new shirts for summer because most of my wardrobe is winter stuff. Woof. This'll be fun!
But anywho! Not a whole lot of time left today because we got back from the temple later than planned. Just know I'm loving my area, I'm loving the people, the work is moving along, and you are all in my prayers! :) Adios from Kentucky!!!
Hermana Porter

Monday, May 19, 2014

Welcome to LOUISVILLE!

That's right! I got transferred to the Hikes area and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!!!! I love it love it love it! And my companion is AWESOME. We get along so well and are laughing all the time. I just love it here! I can't stop talking about how much I love it!
Ok, so I work with a LOT of Cubans. It's a huge change from what I was working with in Corydon. Everyone in Corydon is from Mexico except for William. He was the only Cuban there, and I had a tough time understanding him. But here the majority of the people we work with are Cubans. I feel like I've taken a step back in Spanish again, trying to understand them. Different accent, for sure. Slowly but surely :) I LOVE listening to them though. It's so fun!!!
My area has one of the three largest refugee programs in the country, so we have TONS of different people here: lots of Cubans, Iraqis, Somalians, Indians, etc. It's amazing how many different kinds of people are here. The thing with Cubans is, they don't look Hispanic--or at least what we see when we hear hispanic. They can look Mexican, Black or White. They're a little bit of everything, but you can definitely tell they're Cuban when they start talking. It's so fun trying to guess.
We are teaching some amazing people. First we have Jose and his parents, Hidler and Josefa. They're so solid. Getting baptized in a couple weeks. Hermana Carnahan found them like 3 weeks ago. Then we have Miguelina and her 4 kids. Two of them are old enough to be baptized. They kind of happened upon her, but they are just THE SWEETEST people ever. They have the chairs set up everytime we go over. The 11 year old son is reading in the Book of Mormon by himself, and they all pray together every night. They are so special. They come running to us everytime they see us :) The hard thing is, the Dad doesn't like religion and doesn't like them to leave the house. We're doing a whole lot of praying that a miracle will happen and he'll soften his heart. They are so prepared!
The people here are great. We're always finding Hispanics every day all over the place. We've met some really kind, sweet people who are so ready to hear the Gospel. It's revitalizing! I love it! I just feel so excited about this area and about the mission. I can't wait to get out and find more people and share the Gospel with them!!! What a privilege it is to be on a mission!
Also, I'm in Hermana Lawrence's zone :) I got to see her at Zone Meeting this week!!!
Also, I'm in another branch here. La Rama Quinta. :) (5th branch) There are only two branches in the mission, and I've served in both of them now. hahaha. I'm so lucky. They asked me to give a talk in Church my first Sunday here (yesterday). It went well I think! I'm excited to meet more members and help them do missionary work. That's something our branch really needs: more member missionary work! We have to strengthen the members that we already have so they're strong enough to carry on and do missionary work themselves. Also, we have 8 missionaries in this branch (4 companionships). Wow! Different, but I love it :)
So yep!! Life is good! We're working hard with a lot of great people! I can't wait to tell you more about my experiences here because I know it's going to be a great time. So many miracles happen every day in the mission field. I feel so privileged to be working with these people and to be speaking Spanish. Hermana Carnahan and I were talking about it last night, and we just can't imagine NOT knowing Spanish and be around all these people.... I don't even know how I didn't recognize it all before the mission! There's a whole other world right here in our country. Knowing their language opens a TON of doors -- literally. :)
I love the mission :) :) :) I love being in the city! I love Louisville! Although we run into some sketchy people, I love that we can meet SO MANY people all over the place and talk to them. They're all children of God and need to know that. What a blessing!
Ok, to end this I want to share a funny experience. We were out with a recent convert, a 15 year old Cuban girl named Maylyn, and Hermana Carnahan told me to go contact some guy across the street. I started talking to him in Spanish and he said, "I don't speak Spanish." He told us, "My name is Chad. I'm from Hawaii." But he looked Chinese... and Maylyn goes, "Are you Chinese? You look like you're from China." hahahahaha. She barely speaks English, and that is what she got out. hahaha. It was the most embarrassing contact ever. The poor guy...
Life is good :) Keep it real Louisville!
Hermana Porter

Monday, May 12, 2014

Adios Corydon :(

Welp. I'm shipping out of Corydon. :( It's really bittersweet! I've been crying on and off the past couple days just thinking about it. On one hand, I'm excited to go, but on the other hand, I'm going to miss these people to death. Ugh. It's so hard! I just love these people too much! A year ago, I didn't even have my mission call yet. I actually think I put my papers in a year ago today. But I never imagined that I would be here, in little old Corydon, Indiana, and that these people would be such a huge part of my life.
William got baptized this last Saturday! He's SO happy! He was a happy camper this weekend. The baptism went really well. Lots of people came, and he was just happy as ever. :) Had a little lunch afterward, then it started raining and we got soaked. Overall a really fun day. Except I got the transfer call right after the baptism. I'm glad I didn't get it before. Then Sunday he got confirmed! The confirmation was so precious. Heavenly Father has a lot in store for our little Cuban! :) He and Josue are doing well. I'm excited to hear all about them during and after the mission.
We've been doing a whole lot of saying goodbye to members this weekend. Tonight is jam packed. We have dinner with Josue, I have to go say goodbye to the Van Uiterts, and then after, Presidente Chavez and his family are going to have another dinner and activity for us. BUSY!!! I still have to pack!!! I'm almost done.
I've learned a TON here in Corydon. I'm glad I started my mission here. These people have really set great examples for me as to what it means to be a member missionary. They are fantastic. Corydon had its little difficulties, but I'm just so happy I got to be here to see two baptisms after a long drought. I hope the new hermana really loves it as much as I did. Corydon is a special place, that's for sure. It'll be my first stop when I come back to visit. :)
I actually don't have a ton of time today since we have to go do a million more things, but I will write a nice email next week all about my new area. :) I'm so grateful for all yalls support!! LOVE YOU ALL!

Hermana Porter

Monday, May 5, 2014

A Cuban is in the Water!

Guess what's happening this weekend?! It involves a Cuban named William, a font full of water and a recent convert named Josue who has the Priesthood.
That's right! A BAPTISM!!!! :D
Lots of miracles have happened this last week -- actually, this last transfer! William gave up drinking, and now he moved out of his ex-girlfriend's house into a members' apartment! We have been praying all week that he would find a place, and yesterday we ran into him a few hours after Church packing stuff into his car and moving out. We were so happy! His baptism is a go!!! Josue is going to baptize him.
Speaking of Josue! Josue is doing GREAT! He has been blessing the sacrament since he received the Priesthood 3 Sundays ago, and now he'll be receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood in Stake Conference this month! It's because he's going to be receiving a calling in a couple weeks! I'm so proud and happy! He's taking all this very seriously and is doing a great job of staying active! I'm just so happy to see him staying strong. Seeing your converts endure and stay active really makes missionary work all worth it.
Alright as for this week, I have lots of stories to share with you. It involves getting locked out, playing volleyball until I got bruises, and going to a car dealership.
Ok. So. My companion and I have decided that we need to go outside to walk every morning for exercise because we get too warm and cozy in our apartment and don't work out. So Tuesday morning we left the apartment, walked for 20 minutes, then returned.... but the door was locked, and my companion left the key in the house. I had the phone, but nobody in the office was answering, so we ran up to the office to see if it was open, but it wasn't. Then lo and behold, guess who drives by?

The same tow truck guy that rescued us from the mud.

You can imagine the look of embarrassment on my face as I told him we locked ourselves out of the apartment. He called me bad luck then offered to help. So he tried picking our lock, but after 15 minutes, nothing was happening. Then we remembered we had a spare in the car. He opened the car, we got the key, and all was well. This guy is a heaven-sent tow truck man! He made sure we had his card in case of any other emergencies. Then we saw him again at O'Charley's the other night when we went to dinner. So embarrassing.
There are just some good people in this world!
We had to go to a car dealership this week because there was some big recall on 2013 Chevy Cruzes. We were there for an hour and a half getting our axle checked. They also changed our oil, which was bad. I checked it a month ago and we were just a 1/2 quart low, but when the dealership changed it they put in 5 quarts!!! I was on the phone with our mission car specialist man, Elder Halverson, and he said I need to keep an eye on it because we shouldn't be losing that much oil in such a short amount of time. Yikes.
Saturday night we had a branch activity again. They play volleyball as a branch every two weeks during the summer and invite tons of people from the factory. We had a ton of people there, and this time we brought pants so we could play! I have so many bruises on my arms, and one gnarly one on my thumb. I didn't win a single game. :( We got to present a nice spiritual thought, which was great because we had tons of nonmembers there (8 or 9 I think). Then the kids wanted to play soccer, so we played for a bit. Then we ate food (that was rough. We didn't have any utensils, so we ate chicken and rice with our hands...) and then the kids wanted us to push them on the merry-go-round. I AM SO SORE. I have never been more sore in my LIFE. Usually in the morning, as soon as the alarm goes off, I roll right out of bed on the floor, praying. But this morning I couldn't move my legs. Sooooo painful. I guess this means I need to exercise more....
One last thing. Church yesterday was really special. Our Branch President's son bore his testimony. He was going wayward for a while, and then something happened to him about 5 weeks ago that landed him in the hospital. And since then he's been coming to Church every week, and finally he bore his testimony yesterday. I was a special day in Church for their family! It was just neat to see the change in him and that he's turning his life around. Our Branch President cried. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!!!
Transfers are next week. I think I might be getting transferred. You can all send mail to the mission home (1325 Eastern Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40204) until I get my new address.
One thing I learned this week is that people can change. I've seen it in Josue. I'm seeing it in William. I saw it yesterday in our branch president's son. I hear about the changes all of our members have made over the years, some of them more drastic than others, but all still amazing. Never give up on people! They can change. I think it was President Monson who quoted someone who said, "A man told me, 'Don't you know that leopards can't change their spots?' And the man replied, 'You should know that I don't work with leopards. I work with men. And men change every day.'" It's so true! We are all changing every day, trying to be better and to reach our potential. Help your brothers and sisters out in any way you can. And most importantly, don't give up on anyone. They can change. Don't judge them. You never know what they're capable of doing.

Love you!

Hermana Porter