Monday, November 17, 2014

My first P-Day, Elder Bednar in Oakland, and a lot left to learn


I have made it to my first P-day. Well, let me back up to how we got there...


My last week at the MTC was fine (not counting the fact that I was sick). Sister Lytle and I taught our investigators and they were making progress. We were really sad to leave them. The other sisters in our zone also came and said goodbye to us. Sister Lytle and I also made a vending machine run and I got ice cream (yes, they have a frozen food vending machine. It is awesome) to celebrate my last night in the MTC. Don't take that the wrong way, please. I loved the MTC! 


According to our travel itinerary, we had to be at the Travel Office at 3h35. So, we got up around 2h30. We then got ready (thankfully we had packed and cleaned the night before) and made sure we had everything before we left. We wheeled our stuff to the Travel Office (of course it has to be the farthest building from us). We then got on the bus and the bus took us to the train station in Provo. We then got on the train (it left at 4h30) and traveled to our stop in Salt Lake City. We then went to the Salt Lake airport. Once we had our boarding passes, and were checked in, we went searching for our gate. The Salt Lake airport is HUGE! (Then again, so is San Jose International). We found our gate and then Sister Lytle and I went to buy some food. We were standing in line to buy some food when a man came up to us and told the woman who was taking our order to add it on to his and that he was paying for it! We thanked him and he told us to have a great mission. They love missionaries in the SLC Airport! :D

The flight was fine. The flight was about an hour and a half and we landed in the San Jose airport around 9h30 (left at 8h30 Utah time). We then wandered through the San Jose airport toward baggage claim, where we were told that someone from the Church would be waiting for us. On our way, we ran into a bunch of San Jose missionaries going home and they almost attacked us! They told us repeatedly that we were going to the best mission ever. We continued on our way and found a huge group of people waiting for us! It was President Mella, Sister Mella, the Assistants, and the couples who work in the mission office. The first one to great me was President Mella. It was amazing. 

We then went to baggage claim and President Mella told the elders to grab the luggage off the carousel. He said that if any sisters touched the luggage, the elders would be in huge trouble! We then all took the luggage to the cars waiting for us. We put our luggage in the transfer van and Sister Mella took all of the sisters in a big van. We went to the Institute Building in Downtown San Jose. 


When we arrived, we had an orientation by President Mella and his Assistants (Elder Fisher and Elder Black). We were then informed that we were going to go out and do some street contacting! Because we don't do tracting here, we do contacting. We talk to everyone we see on the street and invite them to hear a message about Christ, come to Church, or be baptized. I couldn't believe they wanted us to do that on our first day! We hadn't even been in San Jose for an hour! Sister Lytle and I went with Sister Bliss (one of the Sister Training Leaders) and we went out to contact on a nearby University Campus. We were really scared, but Sister Bliss encouraged us, and I was able to open my mouth and contact people! 

We came back and then went to the Mission Office for lunch. We met more of the people who work in the Mission Office and ate. After lunch, we went to President Mella's house and got to take a nap. We all slept on the floor in sleeping bags. It was one of the best naps I had ever had! I woke up about two hours later (around dinner time) and did a recording. Apparently, they record you when you first come in and then again when it is time for you to leave. I am excited to see how much I change. I then had an interview with President Mella. I LOVE President Mella, he was so nice. He's like a Dad to all the missionaries.  I told him everything that I was worried about and we talked a lot about it. It was very comforting. We then had dinner and a devotional before the sisters went to stay the night at some nearby apartments (the elders got to sleep at President Mella's house).

The next morning, we packed up our things again and went to the mission office for breakfast. After breakfast, we had an orientation about vehicle safety and about medical information. We now have a mission nurse: Sister Conner.

After orientation, we went to the chapel where we would be assigned our companion/trainer and our new area. I was really scared and kept praying that I would have a nice, understanding companion. President Mella made some remarks and then had all the greenies line up at the front of the chapel before reading off who their trainers would be. He said, "Sister Palmer, your trainer is Sister Bliss." ! I was so excited. According to Elder Rich, an elder who was helping us out, I lit up. I was so excited to be with someone I knew! After everyone was assigned, there was a quick presentation and then we went to get pictures with our companion and with President and Sister Mella. We then grabbed my stuff and put it in the back of Sister Bliss's car (yes, I am in a car). We then went to lunch with other members of the Zone. Sister Bullcreek and her companion live with us, and Sister Lytle and her companion are in my zone! Sister Pattison isn't in our area though (sad). 

That afternoon, we had a Zone Training Meeting, so I got to meet the other members of the Zone. It took a few hours, so we had to cancel some of the appointments that Sister Bliss had had planned for that day. We did, however, get to teach a recent covert named Samantha (she was baptized on the 10th) and a nonmember named Mark. Later, we took my things to the apartment and Sister Bliss gave me a quick tour of it. We then went to dinner with a man named Isamel. He is a recent convert. It was us, Ismael, Sachin (another recent convert. He's the branch mission leader), the elders (Elder Ball and Elder Methvin. Elder Methvin came to San Jose with the rest of us), and Ismael's friend Jose (a non member). We ate and shared a spiritual thought. After dinner, we were going to visit some people, but all of our plans fell through, so we decided to visit a less active named Manny. According to Sister Bliss, we had a miracle lesson with him! She said that he never participates in the lessons, but he participated this time. When we got home, Sister Bliss and I did some daily planning and I unpacked before going to bed. It was a very busy day!

On Friday, we studied and then went and did service at the park. We need to do ten hours of service a week. So, we served at the park for a while, helping organize things and then came back home for lunch and planning. Oh my goodness, weekly planning takes a long time. It is very useful. I like to know what is going on for the week, but it takes a long time. We then had to go to MCM (Missionary Correlation Meeting). We met with Sachin (the branch mission leader), the Laytons (the elder and sister who are in charge of the Institute Building), and others. We basically prepared for Branch Council by letting Sachin know what we were up to. After that, we  had some training (greenies have a twelve week training program) before it was time to leave for our dinner appointment.  I learned that I am expecting too much of myself. I need to be patient and let the adjustment come naturally. I hate feeling like I don't know what I am doing though. ><

We had dinner with a member family with the elders and with Sister Hill (the other Sister Training Leader) and Sister Lytle. It was fun to talk to them. They are the Merkleys. I asked if they are related to our Merkleys, but it doesn't look like it. The only family they have in Washington is in Bremerton. Also, he grew up in Blackfoot and said that he knew Walt Harper! We were then going to have an appointment with Samantha, but she cancelled on us. 

Saturday was one heck of a day! We had personal study and companionship study before doing some training and going contacting. Sister Bliss taught me more about contacting so it was easier this time. We didn't have much time though because we had to go to the Oakland Temple to see Elder Bednar! He had a three hour meeting with us missionaries. He asked us questions about the talks that he had asked us to read before we came and then we got to ask him questions. It was an amazing experience. Elder Bednar is so funny and he is much bolder with us missionaries! It was amazing to see the Oakland Temple and to be able to be in the same room and spend time with an Apostle of the Lord. 

I was considering not telling you this, but I need to with all the blessings that have come from it. On the way home from the temple, we were in a MINOR car accident. We were in stop-and-go traffic when the sister who was driving behind us was rear-ended by a guy going too fast and not paying attention. She then rear-ended us before bouncing back, hitting his car, and rear-ending us again. It scared me really bad, but none of us were seriously hurt! All ten sisters in the Zone and no one is hurt, what a miracle. Sister Bliss called the Zone Leaders and our Zone Leader said "Sisters, I see you" before pulling over and jumping out of the car. We had to fill out an accident report and give all of our information to the police (that was interesting. "No officer, we aren't headed to Prom. Yes, we always dress like this. We're missionaries."). The other two cars had to be towed (the guy who hit the other sister had his air bag go off and couldn't drive and the other sister's car had some damage). Sister Bliss had also called President Mella and he showed up almost at the same time as the tow truck. He made sure we were all okay and we drove to a nearby church building. President Mella made sure we were all okay and told us to text him as soon as we were home. We ended up missing our dinner appointment so the entire Zone went out to eat before we went home. I cried when we got home. It is super scary to be rear-ended when you don't see it coming!

Let me explain my area or this won't make sense. We serve near a university and we serve in a YSA Branch. I am in Downtown San Jose. 

On Sunday, we went to Branch Council before teaching a new investigator! We are teaching Jose (Ismael's friend). Samantha was also confirmed and Ismael and Sachin were endowed on Saturday. Good things are happening in this branch! We had our regular Church meetings and then had lessons with a couple of Branch members who are struggling. We then had lunch an d did some more contacting. We actually ran into a girl who was interested in meeting with us! Her name is Rosie. Can't wait to meet with her this week. We then had dinner and went to a broadcast of the temple fireside with Elder Bednar. It was good. We then went to see Colin. He is preparing to serve a mission and we go through PMG with him. He was ordained that day too! It was great. 

Well, I got to run. My hour is almost up. I have some bad news: I didn't have my camera with me, so I can't attach photos this time. I AM SO SO SO SO SO SORRY. I also found out that we can only use church approved websites, so no DropBox. I will have to attach my photos to emails to you. Although, next week my email shouldn't be so long! I am emailing you about a lot of things! 

Love, Sara

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