Monday, March 13, 2017

Ephrata in a Nutshell (March 13, 2017)

So, basically the entire time I have served in Ephrata, I have not written good emails that actually explain anything of what I do here.

So, with transfers happening this week and me being shipped out 20 minutes away to Moses Lake, I figure now is a good of time as any to give out a rundown.

I live in an apartment with 3 other sisters - my companion and the English sisters. There are 4 sisters and 4 elders in the Ephrata area with 2 companionships of Spanish elders in Quincy. We are the only Spanish missionaries in all of Ephrata.

Two Sundays ago was Stake Conference. Saturday night our dinner canceled and so we begged our favorite members, the Nelsons, to feed us. They were also feeding the elders that night so we waited outside until they were done. They saw us and took their plates outside and sat by the window with Luke and Audrey making sad faces because we kicked them out but I didn't even feel bad because she made Cafe Rio style food and it was AMAZING! They are goofs. I love the Nelsons and the elders always make an already entertaining meal much more memorable.

Then we rushed to Stake Conference where we were super late and we sat with one of our amazing returning less-actives whose baby sneezed on me. It was cute. Since the only open seat in the actual room was in the dead center right up front, we decided to forgo sitting in the room and sat in the room with the Spanish elders who were translating. By the time President Lewis rolled around, they were pretty tired and they handed me the headset. So, my first time translating I got to translate my mission president at Stake Conference! I have never really appreciated how hard it is to translate but now I understand why they charge $30 an hour.

Sunday was a similar ordeal. Turns out there were only 5 headsets and way more than 5 people showed up which resulted in Hna Buss and I translating for two different groups as we sat behind them in the back of the gym, Hno Matus translating for headsets and then after translating three talks in consecutive order we begged the elders to come help. As soon as they took our spots we ran to relieve hno Matus and give him a small break. Long story short, we need more headsets because we had 5 translators for 15 people. Crazy!

Mondays are fun. Pday starts at 8 now and so we get a lot more done and have more time to play. Lately, the elders have been playing Settlers of Cataan which is so dumb - I'm not bagging on the game but it goes on forever and we just kind of sit around. Then we played volleyball for like 3 hours. On Monday nights we have Family Home Evening immediately after PDay. So, basically we go home, grab some food and then head back to the church where we played more volleyball, led a discussion on the Book of Mormon, and then played soccer for the rest of the night. It is such a fantastic way to bring people to the church and share the gospel. That being said, we are working on changing them so that Mondays really are Family Home Evening and not just 'play soccer for three hours'. Because that's been a little bit of a real thing.

Tuesday we had our last District Council of the transfer. Sister Hopkins is finishing her mission tomorrow and so we heard from her and talked about how crucial the youth of the church are. Then we did role plays where the investigator's name was J.C. (emphasis on the C) #theeldersarereallygoodatpushingmybuttons and we had a small argument over where the emphasis was really supposed to go before I gave up and taught in Spanish because English is hard. Then we had a couple of lessons and helped Sister Hay clean her house. I finally appreciate everything that my mom felt and went through with trying to keep the house clean. If I've learned anything while serving others, it's that it is hard to be a mom. Very rewarding, but really hard. It was a blessing to be able to sweep, scrub, mop, and wash her floors, walls, and dishes.

Wednesday we did service at the thrift store. We sort clothes, find empty hangers on the racks, put clothes on the racks, vacuum, organize, all sorts of stuff. Elders Nielsen and Peterson didn't really want to vacuum and so told us that it needed to be done and we were more than happy to oblige. While doing so I had a delightful conversation with a little kid named Ezekiel. He's 6 and he really loves Batman. He kept coming back to talk to me, and we talked about how being able to speak Spanish is a superpower and about how he's excited to go to school soon. I don't remember most of what we talked about but I remember his bright spirit that made my day. Children are so special.
Then we went and dug out giant cement blocks from someones yard. Don't ask me why but it was a lot of fun and I got to play in the mud. We also had a snowball fight. Then we talked about rum. Don't ask me. Elders are weird.
That night we were blessed with pizza. The sisters don't have dinners very often and our dinner that night had to go to Wenatchee so she ordered some pizzas. We walk in and say "Hey guess what! Free pizza!" to the sisters and they almost started crying. "Now I know of a surety that God is mindful of us - I was just praying that somehow I didn't have to eat oatmeal, cereal, or quesadillas for dinner and you walked in with pizza." It was an "eat drink and be merry" kind of night. But appropriately merry.

Thursday we do service at the food bank. This Thursday was special though because Soap Lake Food Bank called and needed help with a frozen vegetable shipment they just got in. So I hiked up my overalls and shoveled frozen corn and peas for an hour with Elders Nielsen and Peterson and the other sisters. Then we went to the other food bank where we bagged pears (have you ever seen moldy oranges? They get whiskers like no other) and did backpacks for the school so that kids can have food for the weekend.
That night we had a stellar lesson and dinner with a part member family and the Allreds where these two quotes were created:
"Who's that?"
"What's his last name? Hernandez?"
-Dollcey (she's 6)

"And then we come to earth to get this fleshy thing we drive around.."
-Hna Baird trying to explain bodies. #Istrugglewithingles

Friday was planning day. And it was ridiculously long. But for the first time in 5 weeks, we got it done. Then we had activities again that night and played some good soccer while also managing to missionary everyone there. #multitasking

Saturday is my favorite day because we get lots of time to missionary. I also got to practice for the special musical number I played with Sharon on Sunday

Yay! I was the pianist that day in the group so I played the first two hymns, played the musical number, ran to the other ward where I had missed our musical number, played it for the closing hymn and then ran back just in time to play the last closing hymn in the group. Twas fun. Also got a random stomach pain that left me on the floor trying not to die. Good last impressions on the ward - I'm the sister that plays the violin and almost died on the last Sunday she was there. Woot.

Then this morning we had a district breakfast at the Nelsons. Goodbye Ephrata! :)
Love you all! : Sorry it was so long this week, hopefully it makes up for the last couple of weeks.
Hna Baird

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