Monday, July 25, 2016

Straitt Outta Baltimore

 WOW it's been an interesting week. First of all I made it to Baltimore. We actually live in the city of Towson, but spend 100% of our time downtown west Baltimore. WOW haha. That's all. I don't know where to start.. or what to share haha maybe I'll save details for in five weeks. 
     From the very first hour I arrived here I was already devastated my time is so short here. Honestly the biggest struggle has been struggling with being content with the short time I have been given here. Every day ideas run through my head how I could manage to extend another transfer, but I know plans have already been made. 
     Me and my companion had an interesting experience this week. By the way, her name is Hermana Hart, and she's the greatest person ever. From our first lesson together our "comp unity" has been through the roof, haha. I was definitely blessed to be given a companion like her, that not only works hard, but does things a lot like me. She cares a lot about being genuine with people, creating real relationships. Something I haven't always had. So anyway, we are both really looking forward to this transfer. Saturday night we sat and talked about everything we wanted to accomplish this transfer, everything we wanted to change, and made goals. Overall, we just decided to lose ourselves this transfer. Something that missionaries often do, but things don't change and it just becomes talk. So the next day, we put it into action. From the train, the metro, the bus, and chasing down families on the streets talking to EVERYONE, we were literally seeing miracles all day, it was amazing. So we have an early curfew here, we have to be out of the city before dark. So after visiting a member we're teaching, (and eating everything in her fridge- we each had three tamales, 5 taquitos, tomatillo chicken, and flan, but that's another story, ((you eat what they put in front of you))) we head to the bus stop. We're waiting.... and waiting... and waiting.. the bus wasn't showing up. The sun went down, and we both found out exactly why the curfew exists. We were stranded in the city. I started praying, and praying, and praying, and finally it decided to show up haha. We were saved. After watching some horrendous things happen on the bus, we got on the lightrail to head back, thinking we made it. Then an announcement comes on and announces that due to construction the last stop would be North Ave, still 45 minutes from home, STILL in the city. We had to call some sisters to come get us out. Anyway, we were pretty frustrated with the whole situation obviously. When we got home we were talking about it and and both realized what was happening. Basically we came to the conclusion that the harder we work, the more opposition we're going to have. It was like Satan saw we were really carrying out our goals, and was trying to distract us. 
     One of my biggest worries here is that six weeks wouldn't be enough to make a difference in the lives of the members here, or have a relationship with them. But this week we had a couple experiences, and with those few members I already feel like family. The people here beyond humble me. One day we decided to go see a sister we are teaching, and it turned out she was being evicted from the room she was renting in a house, and had one day to get out, with no help. She has three young boys, ages 1-7, and her husband left her a few months ago, forcing her to work for the first time in her life. We came back the next day and helped her get everything into the new place- a tiny dark room in the basement of a house, with ceilings no taller than 6 feet for all four of them. But she was thrilled to have it, and beyond grateful for the help. We got to talk to her for a long time as we helped her unpack. Everyone has their own time to return, and this is hers. 
     Side note- the roaches here are nuts. When we took a mirror off her wall in the old room, not kidding at least 200+ cockroaches that had been huddling in one big mass behind it immediately scattered to every side and corner of the room, and the ceiling surround us, hahaha. The worst part was when we came back no more than 60 seconds later there was not one in sight. 
     After we finished the job, you could tell she felt so relieved  that everything was going to be okay. She took us out to get tacos after, and treated us to tacos de pescado, cordero, cabeza, carne, nopales, and carne de piel. Fish, lamb, cabeza (picking parts of the brain out of that one,) salted beef, cactus, and pickled pork skins. (Those ones are so chewy you just have to try and swallow them whole, hahaha.) I'm back to eating like a Mexicana, it takes a minute to re-adjust to habanero peppers a chile in everything haha.
     The branch is amazing. It's a lot bigger than the Columbia branch in Lancaster, which had no families or young people. Little kids speaking spanish is my favorite thing ever, they're all my friends already. There are three sets of missionaries in this one branch. 
     It has been really interesting adjusting to the mission culture in the Maryland Baltimore mission. I didn't realize how different things would be. It was really hard the first few days. I was still waiting on a confirmation that this is really where I'm meant to be, but I didn't wait long. It came the very first time we sat down in our first lesson here, as I was reminded that it really doesn't matter how much the mission culture around me changes, or how different the missionaries are, my purpose has not changed. Every reason I decided to be out here is still the same, and it's the people sitting across from me as I teach. I have never had a hard time loving the people I serve on my mission, but here it has been immediate and overwhelming. There are days it will just hit me how short my time is, and that I can't do this forever.. and I just cry. haha. I can't tell you how grateful I am for a missionary like Hermana Hart, she has already helped me personally so much. She is also the only companion I have been able to speak spanish with all the time, which will mean huge things for my spanish, only having served a total of six months in spanish work. We are going to do a lot of good together. The best companions are the ones who are willing to work with you until you're so tired at night you're falling asleep in nightly planning. The longer you're out the more you're just drained, everyday. I read a talk this week that talked about how fast general authorities age, because of how much they are filled with the spirit, and their physical bodies can't keep up. That is honestly how it is as a missionary to a degree. 
     Anyway, things are very different. But I definitely got exactly what I had been praying for for the end of my mission- to be forced out of my comfort zone so I would continue to grow til the end. So much more has happened, but not enough time. I love you all, Baltimore is a serious adventure everyday, I love the city, and the people even more. Don't worry mom, the blue light districts aren't so bad when the lights aren't flashing. Hahaha

chao chao,
hermana sears 

ps. the church is true.

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