Well, I have arrived safely in Texas. I am serving in Waco, and the surrounding areas. There are so many people to get to know, and so much to do. There is a small spanish branch here, and a few English Wards. But I will be primarily focusing on the Spanish people.
My companion is Hermana Martinez, but she is a Gringo just like me. It is a lot of fun to introduce ourselves to people. We have to tell them that we are mentirosas (liers), because we are both white with Spanish last names. Hermana Martinez's Great Grandfather is from Mexico, and my Grandfather is from Spain. She was studying to be a nurse at BYU and she has one semester left when she returns from her mission. She is super awesome, and I love her. She also is a great help and is helping me learn to be a great missionary.
I have learned some signs of recognizing if a house has Hispanics in it. If there are Christmas lights up, small little statues in the yard, or a lot of bright colors, then it may be a Spanish house. But we also contact the English Speakers as well, and then refer them to the Elders here.
We have a ton of investigators, and combined with the members, I am struggling to keep everyone straight. But I love them so much, and I am starting to learn each of them. After we have taught a lesson to the investigators it helps with remembering who they are, but I am still trying to learn who everyone is.
Spanish is definitely a barrior right now. But I love the people so much, and I seem to understand more when we are talking about the gospel then otherwise. The people talk very very fast, but they generally slow down a little when to help me when they hear my broken spanish.
The members feed us dinner every night, which is so nice. They are wonderful people, and they share so much with us. I want to be more like them.
I have received more hugs and kisses in Texas, then I think I have ever had in my life. Don't worry, I am not breaking any rules or flirting with boys. :D It is only with the women. Part of their culture is to greet each other with a hug and a kiss. But we only shake the hands of the men. I love is so much. I feel like I am part of a huge family. Hugs and kisses from everyone as a way of greeting is wonderful.
We have a ton of investigators and even more potential investigators. I want to help the Spanish Branch here become a ward.
One of our investigators is named Rito. He has a baptism date, and I am super excited for him.
We are also teaching Emma y Jesus. Emma is such a sweetheart. She has a deep love for the scriptures and the word of God.
Nancy came to church this week, which is super exciting. I haven't taught her yet, but she has three kids, and I really enjoyed meeting her.
We taught Dora y Juan the Plan of Salvation, and we brought a member with us named Zabdiel. He shared a really cool experience during our lesson, and it was really awesome to see the Spirit at work. I didn't understand a lot of what was going on then, because they started talking faster, but I was able to look at their body language and see the Spirit at work.
We were able to set a baptism date with Celia this week, but she wasn't able to go to church, because her sister was in the Hospital. She is so nice and sweet.
We are teaching the Morales Familia, and I am so excited for them. One of the daughters feels the spirit very strong.
We taught Krystal the restoration on her doorstep, and set a return appointment. So we will have to see what happens there.
We ate dinner with Elizabeth one day. She isn't a member, but she volunteered to feed us. While we were eating dinner, we taught her the restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon. Later, we went to a birthday party for her son. There was a pi~nata, and it was really a lot of fun. They do the pi~nata differently then we do. They don't blind fold the kids, instead the pi~nata is much more durable. The kids beat the pi~nata for about 30 seconds or so, while everyone chants a little song. Then they gave us a ton of Mexican Candy, and although most of it is very different than what I am used to, some of it is pretty good.
We also got a for Guillermo. He came to church on Sunday, and we are going to teach him later this week.
There is also Amalia, Maria, and Manuela, but I haven't met them yet. And there might be one or two more.
So, yah, we have a ton of investigators. But I love them all so much!
Texas is super green, and I love it. I have also seen a few palm trees, which makes me incredibly happy. They obviosly are native, but they can grow here, which makes me very very happy.
I am definitely in the Bible belt, or actually, the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt. There are so many churches here, and everyone believes in Jesus. Although it is hard sometimes, because it is hard to introduce the Book of Mormon, it is really cool to be in such a spiritual environment. There are so many good people here who worship God.
It rains a ton here. The only time I have ever seen as much rain, as I see now was went I spent a week and a half in Georgia. The rains just comes down in buckets.
There are also a ton of mosquitos, which means that I will probably smell like Bug Spray for the rest of my mission. :D
We had a cool tender mercy this week. We forgot to bring a present to the party, but we had just eaten with some members, and they gave us both a Mexican Twinkie to take with us. We were able to use the Twinkies as presents, which was very awesome. We also gave them some church movies. :D
Anyways, I love it here in Texas and it super rocks to be a missionary. As much as I loved the MTC, I love the Mission Field ever so much more, and I am so grateful to be serving the Lord in Texas, and more especially in Waco!!!
Y'all should write me, and let me know what is going on:
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
4502 Lakeshore Dr. #1207
Waco, TX 76710
Bye now and Best Wishes,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez