Thursday, October 13, 2011

Episode 2 - Where Sis. Dunkley Eats a Monster From the Deep‏

Tia and her prayer rock

Sister Johnson smiling at me
Well, dadgummit, I'm practically out of time already and I've got SO much to write about! Let's see how this goes.
I didn't even share my interesting food experiences with you last time! Because everyone has to have those on their mission, right? I'm such a heathen of a daughter/sister/friend. Well, mine included a whole, baby octopus. In Texas. Huzzah.
To be fair, it was at this chinese buffet place in Lubbock our second day there. But eat it I did! In one bite! And there are pictures, but they're on Sis. Crane's camera in Amarillo. Don't worry, I'll be seeing her next week.
In reality, though, I've eaten a lot of good home cookin' - we get fed a lot. I've already realized that all I need to buy at the grocery store is cereal, carrots, and chocolate and all my dietary needs will be met. I'm already gaining weight. Bleh.
The ward here in Clovis, though? They're awesome. I have already met some of, who will soon be, my favorite people in the world. Take Sis. Johnson - she's a convert of 4 years from Odessa, TX and Shreveport, LA who has a most "colorful" vocabulary and will go out for hours with the missionaries (even if she didn't swear, her language would still be "colorful"). Some statements of her's include:
"Why, she told me I had more chins than a Chinese phonebook!"
"Dadgummit" - my favorite
"My life is a 360 [degrees], y'all"
"We'll just fuss, cuss, n' discuss!"
"But, yeah, I like beat it. With a dead horse."
All said in a fabulous, Texan accent. The others are more entertaining, I won't lie, but I won't be repeating those anytime soon *grin*.
She's totally solid, though, and makes me feel completely at home. In fact, there's a whole group (4-5) of 50-60 year old spunky convert women that feed us/go teach with us all the time. Only one of them (Sis. Carter, whose husband is a spiritual giant if I ever saw one) is married to a member. The rest of their husbands aren't baptized but know everything there is to know about the gospel.
That's one thing that's so nice - the members treat you amazingly. They take such great care of us, feeding us and loving us, and basically treating us like family. Sis. McGregor's already told me that the way you survive being without your family for 18 months is by making a family out of members. And I can see where it works. They spoil us, no lie - I'm starting to see that you get the extremes on a mission. You're spoiled and rejected left and right. It'll give you a complex, I swear *grin*.
This morning we actually went to a member's house (one of these women), Sis. Dee Black's, and drew on rocks. Now, this sounds pretty sad to say it, but I it's way cool! We were essentially carving hyreoglyphics (how do you spell that) onto these rocks. She showed us books about different drawings in the southwest and their symbolism. I. Loved. It. I "drew" a woman (hourglass) in a prayer position with the breath of life going down into her heart. SO awesome. I'm putting it on my desk where I study.
I've learned over the past week that mornings are the hardest. You wake up at 6:30 (it's not the time, trust me. I haven't had a problem with waking up early at all) and you don't leave till 11 or noon. Study time, 8-11, is the worst. I don't know what it is, but in the morning I'm feeling the sacrifice of time, habit, comfort, family whereas as soon as we get out teaching, I'm loving every second! Really and truly. It's so wonderful being with so many interesting people and teaching so much.
Now, this may just be because I'm in Clovis, which is the highest baptizing district in the mission with Roswell. We've barely gone knocking, we're so busy with appointments. We have 6 set baptismal dates - Isaiah this weekend and Connie, Janet, Andrea, Joseph, and Audri the next! They're so prepared. Connie, who's in her 60s going through dialysis with one leg, just eats everything up. She didn't even let the missionaries ask if she wanted to be baptized, she asked first! She's so incredibly spunky and feisty - she takes on her neighbors and her sisters (who draw faces on her stump - what psycho 50 year-old siblings!) head-on, condition be darned. We went through the Word of Wisdom and the law of chastity with her yesterday, the two hardest parts usually, and she just nodded left and right, saying she agreed with everything. She's so spiritually strong. She sees when the devil's trying to keep her from baptism and she has a strong testimony of Joseph Smith.
Isaiah is the most amazing 10 year old ever - his mom, aunt, and uncle are baptized, but less active. He started taking the lessons two months ago and can't hardly wait to be baptized himself. I love to joke around with him and his little brothers - we'll squish Australia on the map and so forth. But Isaiah is totally solid, as Sis. McGreggor would say. He worries about his older brother and knows every commandment.
When we're not visiting investigators we're seeing less active members. There are 600 people in the Clovis ward. 600. How many actually go to church? 150. It's crazy. They're all really nice, but they're either comfortable with their life or they put something else above God or they feel guilty or whatnot. I think as a missionary you have a certain aura about you that invites people to tell you their intimate worries, problems, trials, etc. I know more about people in this ward and area than I do about most of my friends. It's crazy.
Our apartment (which, by the way, this is Curry County, hence the name - awesome!) has every and any reject from all of its previous missionary tenants. Clothes, shampoo, detergent, food, you name it. My entire bed is made from things other people left behind. And it's nice.
Plus, since my companion can't eat hardly anything (she picked up a parasite in Paraguay, where she was originally called and can only eat chicken, green vegetables, and fish), I have all this food from her and her previous companion. It's great, I won't lie.
My companion! Well, she's from St. George, adopted, graduated from the U in Psychology (is getting her masters now), played softball at the U (got a scholarship off it), and was a snowboard instructor up in Park City. Yeah, she's a beast.
New Mexico still has so many beautiful things I remember. Grand sunrises/sets, warm days, morning glories everywhere, and amazing thunderstorms. I'm loving it. Amusingly enough, everyone hates Clovis, because there's nothing to do. Luckily for us that doesn't matter, and since Clovis is such a hot spot for missionary work, it's actually great!
Well, I think that's all. I have to be off anyways - if anyone's not getting my emails, let me know. I know it freaks out when I send it to Dad, and I don't know if I have Daniel or Dave's email right. And I have no idea what you want me to do, Wills. But I love and miss you guys!
Sis. Dunkley

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