Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cottage Grove: Week 1 (48) "Adventure TRULY is out HERE!"

Last picture of Dinkytown. The sky is literally on fire!
Ya, when I told you that I was venturing outside of the city away from the U of M campus, I wasn't kidding when I said that adventure TRULY IS OUT THERE!

I love Cottage Grove with every bit of my heart already. It truly is my new Sacred Grove. The work is indeed very different here, but can I please tell you that every day is an adventure! There ain't a boring day over here, I tell ya, my friend. And adding to all that excitement, or may I say, completing that is my new beloved companion Sister Amis, or aka, Sister "friend" for those of you who don't speak French. haha I LOVE THE HECK OUTTA HER.

So before I dive full fledge into the going abouts in my new area,
I'll go through a slight recap of my week earlier. 

Monday night, I literally was broken-hearted. We spent the day at the Institute building just relaxing, and playing the piano and playing ping pong, and soaking in the last of Dinkytown. We then went home and packed packed packed! (and hey Shar, I really was quite impressed with myself, I didn't have as much as I expected to have especially since I stayed there for a whole year! Sis. Huang surprisingly had WAY more stuff than i did!, so ha! I'm doing better...although i'm sure all my suitcases are still overweight for when I do have to hop on a plane...haha, but that's something to worry about later.)
Ekitzel Wood (Kitz) then came and brought us out to dinner, one last chance to get some pretty authentic Chinese food at Litte SzeChuan before going out into the wild of Minnesoota. 
Monday night, Elder Wall also found out that he won't be extending his mission so a bunch of the YSAs and the missionaries sang God Be With You Til' We Meet Again. Saddest thing ever. broke my heart all over again. Seriously, moving areas after staying there for one whole year literally felt like leaving home all over again. I probably didn't even feel so sick leaving home, than I did leaving Dinkytown and all my new converts, my children!

But anyways, Tuesday night, we had our Last Supper at the Institute dinner with almost all of our Chinese and other YSA's. It was lovely to get to see them all again. Then out of nowhere, Preston, one of our Chinese converts brought us bubble Tea! 撞奶style! So yummy! and then even more out of nowhere! Karem brought me a package that Sister Huang and the rest of the everyone in Dinkytown had put together for me to open on my one year mark! I was so shocked. Sister Huang, that stinker, always going behind my back doing secret combination works. She is just the most thoughtful, charitable person ever. I think that I am forever indebted to her as well. 

The morning of transfers came and it didn't feel as hard to be leaving, surprisingly. I think I was numb to it all until I stepped foot into the Bloomington Chapel for transfers meeting and then I realized that "This is Real Life!" But lo and behold transfers happened and now i'm ka-Powing it up in this new area of mine. 

The work here truly is different. No more Chinese. No more student carefree lives. No more constant flow of people to talk to on the campus. But now it's real life. Real family life situations. Real struggles (not that the students didn't have any) but it's just different. These are people dealing with families, children with autism, marital problems, divorces, addictions, deaths, sicknesses, debt, poverty, work, wayward children, you name 'em all. I feel like I have been in a bubble all my mission, living in a state of innocence and carefreeness. But now I feel even more alive, as I recognize that these are real life situations where the Gospel and healing powers of Christ's Atonement can literally extend to as well. Numbers and reaching goals of how many lessons taught just became so much less important, because these are real children of God, real people, real brothers and sisters that we are working with, that we are serving, that we are uplifting. I am glad that I had felt the importance of this scripture all in preparation of getting to this new area. Now I see the truth and significance of this scripture that much more!: I have learned the power of that scripture right off the bat through my lovely Sister friend, Sister Amis. She's Real. 

Here's the story of our friendship:
Once upon a time, two naive and innocent Sister missionaries stepped off the plane in Minnesota, cluelessly picked up their bags and was shuttled off to the Mission Home in Bloomington Minnesota. Neither knew any of the other missionaries that had come out with them because both had been on a different campus in the MTC. Realizing that, they decided to stick together for a little while even though neither one of them knew each other too well as well. Both however found out that they had both studied at BYU and knew some mutual friends from living in Helaman Halls Freshman Year. One was from Seattle WA and the other from Vancouver, Canada. Both had an appreciation for Fossil Watches ;)
After that first day of brief introductions, they went their separate ways for a whole year of their mission, neither living even within close distances to each other. Little did they know, a year later, they would become companions! And now the rest is history, waiting to be written!

Sister Amis is so great. She is half Mexican and half White, she studied at BYU before coming out here, she is from Seattle Washington, and loves the colour orange. 

So far, it's been a blast! Within the 4 days of being in Cottage Grove, we talked to a shirtless guy at his door, a few drunken people, got caught biking in a thunderstorm, ate 2 dinners in one night (full fledged dinners as well), acted out the story of the tree of life in a family's backyard, learned to knit with Grandma Gallus, met a man who in turn, prayed for us to find truth, Heart Attacked 3 families doors in the dark, and loved and taught two autistic little boy and girl. This place is the place to be. And as much as the ward is struggling with a lot of less-actives and trust issues, we are going to do all within our ability, seriously giving me all, to help build their trust, to help lift their burdens, to serve them in a way that I could've never been able to serve in Dinkytown. Prepare for great miracles and stories to be told my friends. 

I love you all dearly!

Sister Pao
Bike 'til you drop!
Ya, you tell me what's wrong with this picture.
My new companera!

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