Monday, February 23, 2015

I Can Make Tamales!

Hello Family!

This has been a great week. Awesome things are happening in our area. Here we go!

FHE on Monday night was awesome. We played a really fun game and had the lesson by Linda! I was so happy watching Linda teach. I felt like a proud parent....until she called on me. Seriously though, I was so proud of her! I really like how our FHE coordinator (Michael) is asking a lot of our recent converts to teach. It really helps them! I also met a really awesome person! His name is John and he speaks almost twenty languages! He works for Google and he is helping them make Google Translate better. He and I spoke French for a while. He isn't a member of the Branch (he is a member of the Church), but he sometimes comes to Institute. He offered to help us out if we need any translation help. We may ask him to come to Michelle's lesson so they can both geek out about languages. I mean, I can only geek with her on French. He can geek out with her on EVERYTHING else. Seriously though, it made my night. I don't have much of a chance to use my French here. 

On Tuesday, we had service at Veggilution and then Institute lunch. Institute lunch is when the support specialist (Sister Fitzpatrick, or Sister Fitz for short) makes lunch and anyone who wants to come can eat. We met a guy there named Nate who is looking into taking an Institute class. He also seems interested in meeting with us! Keep your fingers crossed! :) We then helped Sister Fitz clean up. We also met with Christina (a less active) and had a lesson with her. She has a lot of questions and we took one of her questions and made a lesson out of it. It was a really great lesson. That night, we had dinner with the Merkleys. They live up on the top of a mountain. Every time we drive up there I get car sick! It was a really fun dinner. They are members of another ward, but Brother Merkley is the High Councilman over the Branch so he likes to feed us and the elders to talk about the Branch. It was great. We also taught Hana (a less active). 

Wednesday was not a good day for Sister Chu Shing. First off, she woke up not feeling well, then her companion (*cough cough*)accidentally fed her peanuts (she is allergic to peanuts) so she was really sick, then (at Institute dinner) she bit open a sore in her mouth and was bleeding for a couple of hours! Poor thing! Wednesday morning was also district meeting and then we helped the Laytons prepare for the big dinner. We had some extra time before dinner, so we went on visits. Meaning, we went through the list of people in the Branch and went looking for those who haven't been coming. When we were in the Berryessa area we found an investigator! He lives next door to the people were looking for! We gave him to the Berryessa elders to teach. :D For Institute dinner, we were celebrating Chinese New Year and decorated the room with Chinese lanterns and fans. We also had really yummy Chinese food. Chinese New Year is a big deal here in San Jose! Institute dinner was great, other than Sister Chu Shing getting hurt. Mercifully, none of our people we wanted to teach showed up so we were able to go home and she could go to bed. 

Thursday was a good day. We had lunch with Brother Sydall again (this is going to be a weekly thing). He took us to a nice restaurant (along with a female coworker) and we had a fun time. He was really happy that I finished all my food (he is Samoan and that is a big deal) and he picked on Sister Chu Shing for not finishing hers. We were so full! I have made a note in my planner to not eat breakfast when we eat with him!!!! We then went and visited Manny (a less active) and taught him. He and Christina promised to come to Church on Sunday. Later that night, we met with Nathan and had a good lesson with him. We think we are beginning to understand what it is that he really needs. We also had dinner with the Chandlers. They love feeding the missionaries and we had so much fun. We then had a lesson with Colin. We have been doing Preach My Gospel with him and we are on Chapter Six: Christlike Attributes. It was great. 

Fridays are pretty slow here. That is when we do a lot of planning and service. We did, however, get to go to a Branch Activity. The Rogers (President Rogers and his wife) had a farewell dinner for the Laytons (they leave next week, 4 March) and they invited the whole branch to come (without telling the Laytons that everyone was coming). It was so much fun! There was a waffle bar and we all just ate and talked. They also have a giant chess set and I went against Guy (a member of the branch). He creamed me. It was fun though. We then met up with the Spanish sisters because we were going to do an exchange. So, I was with Hermana Reyes and spent the night at their apartment. 

Saturday was an interesting day. I spent all of it in the Spanish program and a decent part of it on a bike. :D First, after studies, we went to Zone Service. We then went to lunch before going to serve a woman named Lorena. She was feeding us that night and needed help making the tomales. So, I learned how to put tomales together! We did that for a while and then went and got our bikes so that we could go visit some other people. We saw Leonardo and Aristeo and taught them about the Plan of Salvation (I listened. The only english speaker we had planned that day cancelled!). We also tried to go see a recent convert named Bety, but she wasn't home, so we saw Hermano Sanchez and his wife. We then went and saw Hermana Blancarte and taught her the Plan of Salvation too. Before the lesson with Hermana Blancarte, Hermana Reyes needed to use the restroom, and left me alone with Hermana Blancarte and her husband. Thankfully, they both knew that I speak very little spanish! I tried to start a conversation and they were really nice about it. But, man, that was stressful!!!! I felt so useless. I speak very little Spanish T^T We then went to dinner with Lorena, which was fun., Spanish dinners. You have to eat everything on your plate and take multiple servings so that you don't offend them. So many tomales... It was really good though! After that, we exchanged back. It was a lot of fun, even if I don't speak Spanish and I was sore the next day from the bike! :D 

Later that night, I found out that while I was gone, Sister Chu Shing and Hermana Dominguez set a baptismal date! Another set of sisters gave us one of their investigators because he is YSA age and they set a baptismal date with him! His name is Daniel and he will be baptized on March 21st! I am so excited to meet him this week and teach him! :D

Sunday was great. The Laytons spoke in Sacrament meeting to say goodbye to the Branch. It was so nice. President Hoggan (stake president) was there too. Brother Smalls (Alisa's grandpa) was there too because he is in the Stake Young Mens presidency. He is so awesome! After Church, we met with Linda and talked about temples. The Branch had a temple trip the previous day and she went (proud parent moment again)! We also met with Hana again. I worry about her. We then had dinner with Christina. It was so fun. We then saw Colin and continued teaching him about Christlike Attributes. It has been fun teaching him about that. It makes me take a look and see what I want to work on. 
New Pamphlet and Book of Mormon in French!!

I'd send a funny story, but I think all of Saturday was funny. I mean, poor little me sitting there trying to figure out what everyone is saying! Thank goodness for French, or I would have missed a lot more than I did! XD

Today has been a good day so far. We did our laundry and grocery shopping. Now we just have some letters to write and then the Zone Activity. We are going to go play pukana on campus and see if we can attract any potential investigators! Pukana is a game from Sister Chu Shing's home. Basically, it is like the game signs mixed with the haka. The point is to try to intimidate the person going after you. So fun!!!! I hope it works :D

Love you so much!


Monday, February 16, 2015

The Search For Investigators

We had a great week this week, full of adventures and excitement. Okay, maybe I raised your expectations too high. Anyways! We had a great week :D (Gotta keep this short too, I have a lot of pics to send!)

On Monday, we met with Linda and taught her. She is doing so well! For FHE, we made valentines and I made valentines for my roommates. It was so much fun. Sister Chu Shing made me a valentine too! 

On Tuesday, I went out with Hermana Reyes while her companion (the other STL) and Sister Chu Shing had a meeting with the Zone Leaders. We went to visit someone, but they weren't home, so we went and got ice cream. It was fun. Sister Chu Shing and I also taught some other members of the branch. Later that night, Sister Chu Shing and I saw Hana and her friend Alexandra. We read "His Grace is Sufficient" by Brad Wilcox with them. It was really good. Thank you for sending me that talk (we read from the copy you sent me). Hana is also teaching Sister Chu Shing how to play the ukulele. It is really fun to watch and listen to Sister Chu Shing practicing. When we were walking home that night (just around the corner, it was okay) Sister Chu Shing was practicing and a guy stopped us and asked if he could play. We talked with him for a bit before going our separate ways. We are both considering taking the ukulele with us contacting!!!!

On Wednesday, I finished reading The Book of Mormon in French!!!! All I can say is wow. The Church is true, no matter what language it is in! I am trying to decide for when I read it through again this time if I want to do it in English or French. Sister Chu Shing and I also went trash tacting downtown. You meet interesting people downtown! I can't repeat what was said...not appropriate. Anyways! Institute dinner was really fun too. We had pizza! I also went on an exchange and ventured into the Spanish program! Hermana Reyes and I went and visited a family that she and her companion teach with the elders. They were having a birthday party so they fed us cake and then we had a lesson with them. I mainly sat and watched. I caught a little of what was going on, but not much. After that, we went back to Hermana Reyes's apartment to get ready for bed. It was really fun. 

On Thursday, we exchanged back and had lunch with one of Sister Chu Shing's friends (the same guy from last week). His name is Brother Sydall. We had lunch with him and then went to have our interviews with President Mella. I love President Mella! My interview with him was just what I needed. We talked a lot about some of the things that I have been struggling with since Sister Bliss left. It was so nice. We also picked up a new investigator named Serena. We met her contacting on campus. Unfortunately, she texted us this morning saying that she didn't have time right now to meet with us. :( We were really excited to have her as an investigator though! I also got your valentines box that day. Thank you so much!

On Friday, we had ZTM (Zone Training Meeting). It was all about finding people to teach, because we are all trying to find people. That, and President Mella has set a high goal for us to find six new investigators a week! We can totally do it! :D

On Saturday, during weekly planning, we decided to call a bunch of former investigators and called a guy named Harry. He asked if we could meet right then and we said yes! We met him at the library at SJSU and talked with him. He is from Nigeria. He has a strong belief in God and really knows his Bible. He doesn't like t he idea of The Book of Mormon though. We will see what happens. :) Right now, he is an investigator. 

Sunday was great! Both of our speakers (I think they are from the Stake or the High Council...) spoke about the sacrament. I feel like I understand the sacrament so much more since coming on my mission. In Gospel Principles, Elder Layton taught us. He is such an awesome teacher! I wish I could go to his Institute classes, but we usually teach people then. In Relief Society, we talked about finding happiness in troubled times. I needed that! It was all great. After that, we finished weekly planning and then went to visit members of the branch who aren't coming. We had a cool experience! We were looking for a girl and the address she had listed was her grandpa's house. It turns out, the grandfather is Samoan! So, he and Sister Chu Shing got along really well.  It was so much fun to talk to him, his wife, and one of his daughters. He and Sister Chu Shing might be related too! They invited us to come over some time for Samoan food too. They are members of the church and love missionaries. 

Today has been great. We did laundry, got groceries, had lunch, and later today we are going to go play lazer tag with the zone. Then, we have dinner with a member of the branch and possibly her non-member roommate and FHE.

I forgot to tell you last week, after Transfer Meeting the Polynesian Elders did the Haka in the parking lot. It is really INTENSE when they do it! I loved it. It was so cool!

Have a great one!

Oh, and here is a picture in Santa Cruz with the sisters I lived with before Sister Bliss left.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lots of Changes

Talofa! <-- hello in Samoan

How are you guys? I hope things are going well. Life goes on in San Jose. This has been a crazy week. We went to Santa Cruz on Monday, Transfer meeting in Tuesday, and then trying to work with all of life's curve balls. The Lord is preparing us for something, I just don't know what! Let me get this all out quickly. We have a busy day planned!

On Monday, we went to Santa Cruz. We got most of our P-day things done early and then we caught the bus to Santa Cruz. It was really fun to sit in the back of the bus with the whole zone. We then made it to Santa Cruz! We went onto the pier and looked at the sea lions. We then went to Woody's and got lunch. They have amazing clam chowder!!! We then went shopping on the pier before going to play on the beach. Sister Bliss took a nap in the sun and I ran around with other missionaries in the zone. It was so much fun. We then caught the bus back to San Jose. It was super fun!! I have a lot of pictures!! For FHE, we played a really fun game where we shared random facts about ourselves and everyone said goodbye to Sister Bliss. 

On Tuesday, we had transfer meeting. This is where all the missionaries who are getting transferred and their companions go to the mission office and we find out where we are going and/or who our new companions are. I am staying in Washington Square and my new companion is Sister Chu Shing! She is from Wellington, New Zealand. She is Samoan and Chinese (hence the greeting in Samoan. I have asked her to teach me some phrases). She has two brothers, one of whom is on his mission in Arizona. This is her first time in the United States. She has been out for about fifteen months. Also, she has not seen Lord of the Rings. Everyone asks her that when they find out where she is from! ;) We also saw Michelle that day. She is doing well and we came up with an idea to help her with her scripture reading, but I am getting ahead of myself. :) We also met with Christina. We then had dinner with Guy and Ali and the elders. It was fun. 

On Wednesday, we welcomed the new missionaries and took them out contacting. I took Sister Jones out and she did a great job! It was fun to see all the new missionaries too because Elder McGann, from when I was in the MTC, was there! Also, the new Elder that Elder Methvin is training was there (Elder Forsgren). That night, we had Institute dinner too. It was really fun. Sister Chu Shing served in the other YSA ward and would come to Institute dinner, so she already knew a lot of the people there. I also met a girl there who is a French teacher! We haven't spoken in French yet, but it was so cool! I hope to see her again :D

On Thursday, we met with quite a few people. We went to lunch with one of Sister Chu Shing's friends. He is from New Zealand too (I felt very short being with him and Sister Chu Shing!). We then came back and taught Michelle. We taught her about prophets and gave her a talk by President Monson to read. I also gave her something to help her with her reading: I gave her my French copy of The Book of Mormon. The one I brought with me. Someone suggested that I get her a copy in French. I won't say too much, but I prayed about it (because I didn't want to just give it away!) and gave it to her. I hope that she treasures it. It was so hard to give that away! :< We also had dinner with Ismael and then had a lesson with Nathan. He is an interesting individual. We also helped Carmina prepare for her FHE lesson (which is tonight). She'll be great! :D

On Friday, we had district meeting. Normally, we have them on Wednesdays, but we did Friday this week. Half of the district is new (to the zone) so we did a lot of get to know you things. I think we are going to have a great zone. :) We also went and did service at Roosevelt. It was so much fun. We also met with Linda. She and Sister Chu Shing are both very friendly so it was great. 

On Saturday, I went to morning sports. You read that right. Sister Chu Shing likes sports and so we went. We played volleyball. Later, we did our weekly planning and we focused on finding more people to teach. It took most of the day. It was really good though. Hopefully, now that we are on the same page, things will be easier and I won't feel like everything is on me. 

On Sunday, we had Branch Council and Church. We left Church early because Sister Chu Shing wasn't feeling well and we went home to rest and she also unpacked.

Oh, here is your funny story for the week! So, when we welcome the new missionaries, we wait at the Institute building for them to come and the APs keep us updated on where they are (because the APs and President Mella are the ones who bring them to the Institute). Every time we do this, Elder Fisher (one of the APs) can't remember the address to the Institute, so I cornered both of them before transfer meeting to confirm and give them the address. 

Me: Do you know the address to the Institute?
Elder Fisher: Yeah, *street name*, right?
Me: Yes. *gives address*
Elder Fisher: Right by *cross street*
Me: Yes. 

The next morning, they called us as we were waiting at the Institute...

Me: This is Sister Palmer
Elder Fisher: Hello Sister Palmer, how are you?
Me: Good. How are you Elder Fisher?
Elder Fisher: Good. ...can you give us the address to the Institute?
Me: *tries not to laugh* ...Yeah, I can do that. *gives address*
Elder Fisher: One of these days, we'll get this. 
Me: you need anything else Elder?
Elder Fisher: Nope. We'll be there soon.
Me: Okay, see you.
Elder Fisher: Take care. 

Seriously elders?! XD Just write down the address instead of calling us every transfer! XD

That is about all for here. I hope you are having a great week. Have a happy Valentine's Day <3

Love you lots, 


Monday, February 2, 2015

Not A Normal Week


Well, this is going to be quick considering P-day is almost over and that I had a really uneventful week. Here goes...

Monday to Friday I was sick. I went out a little bit and worked, but it was really hard. We went to the Urgent Care and both the strep test and the flu test came back negative. They gave me antibiotics for a bacterial infection and I am feeling a lot better. The weekend, though, went well. 

On Saturday, we went to Veggilution for service and spread mulch. Reminds me of working in a certain someone's garden. ;) We then went out to lunch as an apartment. After that, we went home and did a massive weekly planning session. We had to get everything that Sister Bliss knows onto paper so I am super prepared for my new companion. We also talked a lot about my getting a new companion (what my concerns are, how to get to know her, etc.). We then went out to get dinner and we got in another car accident. Our car (we named her Lucinda) is cursed!!!! We were stopped in traffic when this guy tried to turn into our lane and scraped the end of our bumper. He then sped off! Seriously?! Anyways, we were totally fine. Just irritated because we got our car back from the shop this week! We then met up with some elders in our zone so Sister Bliss could practice her song for the outgoing. We then went home. I was exhausted by the end of it! 

On Sunday, we went to Branch Council and then to Church. This Sunday, the Branch cancelled classes for the last two hours of church and everyone paired up and went to round up all of the less-active YSAs who don't attend the Branch. They were given specific assignments on who to find and those without vehicles were to pair up with those who had one. Sister Bliss and I didn't go because we had Michelle with us and we weren't about to just leave her. So, for those who didn't want to go, we taught a gospel principles class. There were about six of us total and we all read Alma 32 and discussed it. It was a success. After that, Sister Bliss had SMCM (a meeting that she has to go to because she is in leadership. It is an MCM but on the Stake level, I think). This meant that I was with Sister Lytle! :D Before Break the Fast, we taught Linda (she is doing great! She just started school and she is trying to balance school and work) and then had Break the Fast. After that, Sister Lytle and I helped Sister Layton do the dishes and then our companions came back. After that, we came back home and did some things before going to the outgoing fireside. Did I explain what an outgoing is last time? If not, it is a fireside where all the missionaries who are leaving speak (they share their testimonies). You can only go if you bring someone with you (an investigator, a recent convert, etc...). Or, as in my case, if your companion is leaving. It was really great. Afterwards, Sister Bliss got to talk with a lot of people and get pictures. I also got to say goodbye to some of the missionaries that I know who are leaving. After that, we came home. 
Sunday night was also transfer calls. About half of our zone is being transferred. We are losing Sister Bliss, Sister Hill, Hermana Robinson, Elder Ball, Elder Davis, Elder Arnell, and Elder Puente. I am so sad to see them go!!!! Tomorrow, though, is transfer meeting, so I will get to see where they go and who they are with. That is also when I get my new companion. :)

Let me give you a quick run down on our investigators. We have picked up some people: 

Jose - Jose dropped us. I wasn't there and I don't completely understand his reasoning, but he has some things that he needs to work out. I hope that some day he is baptized. 

Kyle - Kyle is taking a break. He has a lot going on right now and he needs to really decide if these things are true. 

Michelle - Michelle is progressing well! I am excited to continue to teach her with my new companion. 

Elio - Elio is doing well too. He was taught The Restoration this week.

Akki - Akki is Elio's friend who was also taught last week. He is Hindu. 

Nathan - Nathan is another investigator that we are teaching. He is taking a Book of Mormon class at the Institute (for the free parking) but doesn't really get what he is learning about. So he is meeting with us.

Let me end with a really funny story:

So, when I was sick, I asked Elder Ball and Elder Methvin to give me a blessing. Elder Methvin then asked me for my middle name...

Elder Methvin: Your middle name is Jean, right?
Me: ?
Elder Ball: What the-?
Elder Methvin: What, I thought her middle name was Jean. Sara Jean...
Me: No, it's Kelsey. Sara Kelsey
Elder Methvin: Oh, okay
Elder Ball: where did you get Jean?
Elder Methvin: I don't know...
*after the blessing*
Elder Methvin: maybe I was thinking Sara Jane...
Me: My grandma used to call me Sara Jane. Thanks, Elder. That makes me smile. 

Grandma Allshire, are you messing with "my" elders? ;) 

Anyways, I gotta run. Love you lots! Have a wonderful week <3 <3 xoxoxoxo...

Did Sister Palmer really go to Santa Cruz? Who will be her new companion? Stay tuned for her next email! Same missionary time, Same missionary address! :D