Hello from the heroine capitol of the world, Butler PA. Hahaha. I don't know where to start!
The flight alone from MX-GA-PA was pretty stressful. I definitely realized pretty fast that I'm not in Utah anymore! But I made it in one piece. For some reason I seem to end up alone for all of my traveling, hahah. I gave the guy next to me on the plane a Book of Mormon. I wasn't going to honestly but we started talking and his phone had Steeler's written on it, so I took it as a sign haha. When I arrived unfortunately none of the other missionaries had made it due to delayed flights. So again, alone, I hung out with President Johnson and his wife all night- VIP treatment. Sister Johnson and I went on a hike the next morning. Perks of having the former REI CEO as your mission president. So this is why I was called here. Jk.
Pittsburgh is unreal. The view as you come out of the Pitt Tunnel is awesome, video included. So pretty, day or night. There is not a flat spot here. Hills on hills on hills. So green and pretty. I love the rainy and snowy days, though it's warming up.
Butler is just outside of the city. We live in downtown Butler, basically in the ghetto. It was just opened up to sisters again, it had been an elders only area for a while for safety, so that's good.
There are sooo many churches here. I thought Utah had it bad. There's one LDS church. I think they've started running out of names for their churches, there's literally at least three or four on every block.
I met my trainer, Hermana Davis! She's so great, we're going to be awesome together.
Wednesday was my first dinner appointment! We ate at the Bonetti's. Outside downtown is anything but city. Everyone lives in the woods. Brother Bonnetti has a thick accent and a long thick black beard and hair. He was burping and cracking jokes all through dinner, haha. They even brought out the homemade pickles for the occasion. Sister Bonnetti drives a school bus. The members here are so awesome, we have dinner appointments every night, they buy us groceries and call us all the time to see how we're doing.
I got to meet lots of the people I'll be working with. You learn really fast the second you walk in the door people are willing to tell you anything and everything, we hear some crazy stuff. These are not your average people.
So the mission is nothing I expected it to be. Our focus is almost all on reactivating members. We are almost discouraged from tracting. I'm already figuring out how much harder reactivation is than non members. There is also a lot of service involved.
I will not be using any spanish for now. Any spanish speaking people we meet are passed on to some elders.
It is not what I expected, but I see so much room for improvement with the system here, so much potential to get things moving again here. It seems to be at a standstill of sorts.
Let me tell you about some of the people we're currently working with. There quite a few excommunicated members we visit. Sis. W (Not using names) is a recovering drug addict, who's 21 year old daughter is in prison. We're trying to arrange lessons with her at the moment. She's awesome.
Sis. Y- my heart goes out to her. Her husband is deployed and she's at home with her 8 month old and 4 year old. I can't even imagine her situation.
D is our new investigator. He is amazing. For months I have prayed that the people here would be prepared, and he is. He is a recovering alcoholic. He actually attended church with us this week. He had so many great things to say. He told us This about how he felt the Holy Ghost.
"I felt it. It went deep. Like the worst grief you've ever felt, only the exact opposite. Is that why your eyes radiate all the time? Yeah, I want that. I only wish I had found this sooner."
So blooper of the week.... oh my gosh. We knocked on this guys door, a non member referral, and he invited us in. If you have ever wondered if 'hoarders' are real, they are. He told us to sit, so Sister Davis and I cleared off a small chair and sat together. Also, it smelled way good in there. We began to teach and as sister davis was talking, I looked down and there was a cockroach crawling up her thigh towards me. I panicked and smacked it off. Everyone stopped and looked at me wondering why I had just smacked my companion. They hadn't seen it. Not wanting to embarrass the guy, I just said 'sorry' and continued the lesson. I realized they were everywhere. The walls, floors, everywhere. I don't know what half of them were. I looked down ant there were three or four by my feet. As I desperately tried to teach, I could feel them crawling up my legs. There was some bag that kept rustling in the corner, who knows what was in it. A rat maybe.
We set our next appointment to be in the park.
It's a strange thing being a missionary.I feel like I'm walking around with the cure to cancer. What every person here needs to be happy.
So who am I to walk past a single person?
I feel so overwhelmed as we drive from appointment to appointment, of all the people and houses I pass. Who am I to pass them up? I feel a lot of weight on my shoulders, to be responsible for the entire area, just us two missionaries. We have a very large area to cover, almost all our appointments take 30-40 minutes to drive. We are so busy with appointments we don't have time for anything else. It's good that we're busy.
Being in this 'loud' city with such a 'quiet' message is somewhat intimidating, but I'm ready for it. Here's to the next year and a half!
Adios, Hermana Sears