I have officially survived my first month as a missionary!!! Woohoo!!! It feels like it has been SO much longer then a month, and yet I still feel like I know nothing. So much has happened and changed!
As far as work as a missionary is going... we are having zero success. We have three investigators right now, but two of them are more concerned about trying to convert us to their religion then to listening to us. So we will most likely have to drop them. We do have one other lady that we are teaching. Her name is Elaine. She has LDS neighbors that she is very close to and so she agreed to let us come and teach her. I think we intimidate her though, she hasn't allowed us to see her at all this last week, so we will see if we get to continue teaching her. So right now we have no one letting us teach them. But we have hope that with the constant tracting and asking for referrals that we might be able to find some one who is open and willing to let us help them towards conversion.
We do get to do a little bit of teaching though. As missionaries we are also required to teach less active members and recent converts. They are usually nice to us, but they are so frustrating to work with! They are nice and want to be our friends, but they don't seem to take us seriously as missionaries. When we try and have them sit and listen to us share a message with them, or have them help us make a plan for them to become active again, or a plan to overcome things that are not aloud... they wont listen. They will sit there long enough for us to read a scripture or to present a plan, and then they want to tell us about their week, about a movie or a game, or about their families. So that has been something that we are trying to work on.
Apparently the last Sister missionary who served here was very casual as a missionary. (Because it was her last transfer and she was getting ready to go home) So instead of trying to teach people, she would play games with them and just be their friends. So trying to undo that idea of missionaries has been tough. She also offended a lot of people, and that's why some of the members and less actives aren't always willing to see us. Sister Villegas says that people have been so much nicer since I've come, so let's hope I can keep from offending any of them so that we can have more success.
So the other day the coolest thing happened! We had frozen rain!!! I'm not really sure how that works, but everything was covered in this huge sheet of ice! We also don't have an ice scraper for the car, so we had to beat the ice off with wooden spoons from the house! It was great! Sister Villegas didn't like the ice storm. She thought it was scary, but I loved it, I wish we got those in Arizona.
Now I need to tell you about some of the insane, crazy and down right ridiculous people that we encounter Every Single day here. The first one we met while we were tracting through an apartment complex. We knocked on her door and she let us in. When we told her we were Mormon, she went nuts. She started saying stuff like, "Oh I know about your church. You are all so weird. You have all these crazy rules and you don't like sinners." We tried explaining to her how no one is perfect, and how the rules are there to help us. But then she said, "I hate your rules about chastity. I'm a fornicator and I love to fornicate." Then she started telling us about all her kids and how they all had different dads. She told us she could never be a part of our church because she loves sin, and wouldn't be willing to stop sleeping around. And get this, while we were talking to her, her phone starts ringing. She answered it and it was her lawyer calling about a DNA test for her newest baby. When she got off the phone she told us, "I can't understand why my boyfriend insists that I do these tests." But at the end of our visit she did invite us to come back and teach her more about "Mormonism." So we'll see what comes of that.
The next crazy person was a guy. We were tracting (again) in another apartment complex and as we were walking back to our car, this black guy starts hollering at us telling us to stop so he could talk to us. He was holding this big case of beer, but we still stopped to talk with him. Bad idea. He told us about how he loves God and how he wanted us to quote some scripture to him. We kept telling him that we could share a message of the gospel with him, but he didn't want to hear us. Then he threw his hands up in the air and started praying that God would make us quote scripture to him. So Sister Villegas started quoting the First Vision to him. He didn't like that, he started telling us how we shouldn't let devils get to us. Then he started flirting with us. He kept saying how pretty we were and said, "I'm positive that your church in pimping you out. That the reason they sent the two of you out here is because you're beautiful and people will respond to that." That made Sister Villegas mad. And we decided it was definitely time to go. So she shookÂ his hand and told him it was nice meeting him. Then when I went to shake his hand he grabbed me in a HUG INSTEAD!Â And he smelt so bad, he must have been super drunk. As we were walking (very very quickly walking) away he starts yelling after us asking when were we going to marry him.
Sister Villegas carries pepper spray with her and after meeting some of the people we meet I think I might eventually want some as well. We are in the country, but a lot of the places we have to tract are pretty "ghetto."
So on Friday, we were at a members house for dinner and they got a call saying that the Elders from our area had just been in a bad car accident! They had been at an intersection and got T-boned by another car. They both had whip lash and concussions, and one of the Elders (Elder Avendonio*) has a broken leg. He has only been out of the MTC for 6 weeks. Usually I guess they send missionaries home when that happens, but he is so determined to stay out here, I think they might let him. He is staying at the mission home for now though. And on that same day we had 3 other car accidents happen to missionaries in our mission. So that was a pretty rotten day.
I'm surprised that we haven't been in a car accident yet. I'm not allowed to drive since I'm still in training. And my companion hates driving and isn't very good at it. She is from Utah and is exactly the kind of "Utah driver" that Todd loves so much.
Also, yesterday was Sister Villegas' 20th birthday!!! A friend of hers sent me a package full of birthday things to decorate the apartment with. So I woke up early yesterday morning to decorate before Sister Villegas came out of the room. He old training companion got permission from our mission president to come out and spend the day with us for her birthday. Sister Villegas loved it so much. She did have a tough day though. Being away from home for her birthday made her crazy home sick. She hadÂ a melt down at the end of the day and started crying to me and telling me that she just wanted to go home. That was hard, but eventually it got worked through.
By the way... the South is going to make me fat! These people really know how to cook! We have fried chicken quite often. Almost everything is fried, everything is served with butter. And to make it even better... one morning each week for exercise, Sister Villegas and I walk two blocks to a donut shop and buy donuts for our exercise.
My Companion Talk In Her Sleep!!! She doesn't just moan a little here and there. She will have full on conversations... IN HER SLEEP! She will talk ALL night long. It's pretty...interesting? I guess. And another thing that makes the nights super wonderful, I've started falling out of bed at night. The sheets they gave me are pretty slick, they're kind of plastic'y'. The other night when I fell out of bed, I smacked my head on the night stand on my way down. So that gave me a lovely headache for the most part of the day. I finally took myself off the sleeping pills, even though the mission nurse still wants me on them. I haven't been able to sleep through the night any more even with the pills, so I figured I wouldn't use them if they were no longer helping.
I have been doing better with the whole homesick situation. I still struggle and have to fight it every day, but I'm learning. I've been told that it will never go away, it will get Easier, but it wont ever go away. Thank you all for the letters of encouragement that you sent me. It was all things that I needed to hear. I miss you all so much and hope everything is going good back at home. I love you and my companion and I pray for you guys every day.
Sister (Amanda) MacKay
P.s. I can't remember most of what I already asked you to send me. I was hoping you could send me a list of birthdays and events so that I could put them on my calendar and send cards or e-mails for stuff like that.
Thank you!!! <3