Monday, July 7, 2014

Letter #42 (July 7, 2014)

How in the world is it P-Day again already?! I feel like I just had P-Day yesterday! Time is seriously just flying right on by. It's my eighth transfer already! Sister Fjeldsted and I are still together in Huntington!!! We survived transfers! We kind of figured we would since I haven't even been here for a whole transfer and she has only been here for about a week and a half longer than me.

So let's see if I can quickly sum up the week and then I'll explain more in depth.

This week I/we:
-Taught Jennie Supawong
-Shattered my iPad
-Got a new mission president
-Didn't go to the temple with James
-Started teaching a sweet couple
-Had people ask me for a pass along card
-Watched some illegal fireworks and some really pathetic legal ones
-Got some sad news from a less active that we are working with

So, Jennie first. We taught her the beginning of the Plan of Salvation. She is just so sweet. It's kind of sad because she has dedicated her whole life for the past 20ish years to raising her daughter. Her husband left her to raise her daughter alone, so her daughter has been her focus for years and years. But now her daughter is all grown up and successful, so Jennie feels like she doesn't really have a purpose or a goal anymore. We talked to her about how we all have a purpose in life and how living this gospel will help her to find her purpose. I know that this will help her so much and I'm so excited for her to have these blessings in her life!

My iPad. My poor, poor iPad. I've dropped it a couple of times and it cracked a little bit, but he other night I wast feeling very well and I just lost my grip on my iPad and it fell and just cracked all over the place. So now I have a new one. Well, an old one, it used to believe to a Chinese elder that I served with my first transfer. It has Chinese keyboards in it and he had a stopwatch running that just kept going after he left so it had about 131 days on it!

James (my rent convert from Glendora) went to the temple on Saturday( to do baptisms)! I had really hopes to be able to go when he went for the first time, but I didn't find out until last minute because I'm not in that ward anymore. I was really sad that I couldn't go, but I am so happy at he went! He's still going strong! I just love him so much!

I met President Villanueva on Tuesday when I went in to get my iPad replaced. Him and his wife were introducing themselves to all of us in the lobby and President got to me, looked at my tag, and sadly exclaimed "so many hard names!" Haha, poor President. Apparently his wife speaks better English than he does, but neither of them speak English very well. I still can't believe that the Becerra's are gone. It's too weird.

So the other night I was praying and just got a feeling that we should go see Gilbert the next day. Gilbert has basically disappeared off the face if the earth, so it seemed really silly. But I got up after my prayer, wrote it on a sticky note, and then went to bed. So we changed our plans a little bit the next day so that we could go find him. Which we didn't. We still can't find him anywhere. BUT. We found Jamie instead. She was just standing there and so we went over and asked if she knew Gilbert (she didn't) and then started talking to her about the gospel. Her and her family are going through a lot right now. They are staying in a motel temporarily until they can find a place to live, but they can't find a place to live until her husband finds a job, which is hard because they have no car and their phones are disconnected. Anyway. We promised her that the gospel would help her on her life and she said that we could come back the next day to teach her and her family. So we started teaching her and her husband yesterday! Her boys were sick, so we just taught the parents outside. Jamie told us that after we talked to her before. Her heart felt all fluttery. We have another lesson scheduled for Wednesday!

Okay, now this was way cool:
We were on our way to zone meeting and I tried to talk to the woman sitting next to me on the bus. But she didn't speak English (most people here don't). So I have her a Spanish pass along card. Then the lady across from me asks "do you have one of those in English? Can I have one?" Um, heck yes you can! And THEN the lady on the the other side of me asks if she can have an English one too! That NEVER happens. Ever. It was so cool! And I'm pretty sure the lady across from me looked on her phone rig then and there. And then she asked me if the handwritten number on the back of the card was for our church, I told her that it was for us missionaries, and she is just like "oh okay, cool." So maybe she'll call! Who knows! So cool though.

So we had two Fourth of July BBQs. The second one went on into the night (we left for curfew, no worries) so they started pulling out fireworks. I grew up watching fireworks shows, but in CA it seems that there aren't vey many places that do them because of the fire hazard I would assume. So the Besaw's (whose house we were at) pulled out some of the little ground fireworks. It was kind of funny because this was obviously a family tradition that a few of he families in the neighborhood do every year. I've only seen fireworks like that a couple of times, so I couldn't tell you which ones were snakes or piccolo Pete's or flowers, but they sure could! There were a few booming ones in the sky that other people were shooting odd, but apparently those are the illegal ones. Which is unfortunate, because those are the kind that I love. Oh well.

And then the sad news. We have been working with a family where the mom is less active and the dad and kids are not members. We have been struggling to see them for the past few weeks, which is strange, because the mom loves having us over. So we caught her at home yesterday and she told us that something horrible had happened that I won't get in to, but that resulted with her husband no longer being with the family. It is so sad. Sister Fjeldsted and I struggled to focus on anything else for he rest of the day. 

It is so sad for me to think of how corrupt the world is today. But I realize that the one thing that will help this family me most is the gospel. It made me so grateful for my own loving family and for the truths of the gospel that I know. Me and Sister Fjeldsted are the only ones that the mom feels comfortable talking to about their situation right now, so we are going to do everything that we can to help them get back on track. What is really amazing to me is that this ward hasn't had sisters in over 15 years. But this sister needed sister missionaries. The elders had always focused more on the non member dad, so they wouldn't have had the right connection with her to really be the love and support that she needs. I am so grateful to know that we have a loving Father in Heaven who is so aware of our needs. He knew what was coming. And he knew that she would need our support. So he made it possible for us to get here, and then to develop a bond with her that will help carry her through this time of trial.

Sorry that this email is all over the place, it has been such a crazy, awesome, fast, sad week. 

I love being a missionary. I love knowing that the Lord will take puny little me and use me to help others to find happiness. I am grateful for opposition in all things because it helps us to learn and grow. I know that this gospel is true and will bring everyone who accepts it unmeasurable happiness.

I love you all do much! Go out and do some missionary work!

~Sister Kretchman

The timer on the new ipad has been running for this long:

 Fourth of July cuteness

 Random house that looks like it's from Holland

 How to make a bed:

 Cockroach count. Once found 21 in 5 minutes.

 Giant gravy fries from The Hat

 Poor broken ipad

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Letter #41 (June 31, 2014)

Missionary time is so strange. I feel like I just emailed all of you at this Laundromat yesterday, and I'm already doing it again! Crazy. Seriously though, time flies by so fast! It's insane.

Okay, so let's see if I can even remember what happened this week.

Okay, so first of all, we did some service at a less active/part member family's ( the Diaz family) house. The mom is a member but the kids and husband are not. We had stopped by the week before and Sister Diaz just seemed really frazzled. So we helped her fold their clothes (while her teenagers watched) and then set an appointment to help her clean her daughter's room next (so this past) week. So we go to do that and there was just so much underlying contention and disrespect between the girl and her mom. Not saying that me and my mom always got along, but it was just so sad to see because I know that their relationship, and just their priorities in general, would be so much better if they were living the gospel. They had so much focus on material things and so didn't really have family relationships or righteous living or anything very high up on their priority lists. It made me so grateful to have grown up in a home where we were taught the value of saving our money and, more importantly, the value of having a close family. 

In contrast, we just had dinner with this awesome member family last night. They are all just so sweet and just really good, righteous people. They obviously have a desire to do missionary work and help their friends to find more happiness in their lives through living the gospel. It really made me ink about what things will be like when I have a family, and I just really want to have a family like theirs. They still had material goods, they had a nice house and a pool and nice clothes and things, but that didn't seem to be high on their priority lists. It was just such a testimony builder for me of how much happier and more loving families are when their focus is on the gospel and on each other. I just love them.

Same idea with another member family we met this week. There is a single mother and her 7 year old daughter that we visited with this week. We sat in their very humble and messy home in teensy little kid chairs (because we insisted that they sit on the couch, not us) and I just have rarely felt happier or felt more love for anyone in my life. I can't really explain it. The girl's dad died in a plane crash, so it is just the two of them and you can just tell that they love each other so much and that even e little girl just loves the gospel so much. Crystal (the mom) could have easily been bitter about their situation, but instead she was just beaming with a sweet inner joy and just bore sweet testimony to us that she loves the Savior and knows that He has overcome all for us. I had a hard time not crying as she said probably the sweetest prayer I have ever heard and I did cry a little bit when I got home. I just have he best job in the world.  Most people would find sitting in a mini chair in a tiny, messy home to be not quite ideal. But I just felt that there was no where else I would rather be. I was just so filled with love in that moment.

Anyway,  ow that I have gushed a little bit. The rest of the week! 

Miracles continue to happen in this area. One example is Jennie Supa-Wong (coolest name of your life no?) She is a former investigator that has a member sister in another ward. We tried to find her a couple of weeks before, but never managed to. So then this week we were locking our bikes and this lady walks towards us (she was walking a dog) and starts talking to us. We talk for a second and she tells us that she has met with missionaries before. And then when we ask her name, it is (of course) Jennie Supa-Wong! (Which doesn't sound nearly as cool when she says it in her Thai accent.) So we set an appointment with her and taught her for the first time this week.

Another miracle happened the day we taught Jennie and is going to sound rather strange. My companion got a flat tire. Why is that a miracle? It's not. The miracle is where. We were on our way to Jennie's house for our appointment when we got off of our bikes. Sister Fjeldsted found a thorn in her tire and it deflated right after she found it. Luckily this happened right across the street from my (and Sister Fjeldsted's who also served in Pasadena) old apartment. Which also happened to be very close to Jennie's house. So we rolled our bikes to our old apartment (the six pad that unused to live in is actually in Huntington ward boundaries), opened the garage with the garage code, left our bikes there, and walked to our appt. After the appointment, we walked to a member's house (who happened to live very close by) and she drove us home to get a tire repair kit. Of everywhere she could have gotten a flat tire, Sister Fjeldsted got one in the one part of our area where here was somewhere that we could quickly store our bikes, our investigator's house, AND members who could help us fix it. Now that's a miracle. AND we saw some people near the six pad that we later got a referral for! What!? Yeah. Pretty much. 

Lots more happened this week, but I'm going to stop more.

I love you all. I love being a missionary. I love this gospel!

~Sister Kretchman
Crazy car they saw

Maryland. Represent.

Feeling rebellious

Something going on with ice cream and a spoon

Letter #40 (June 23, 2014)

So I meant to write about this last week because it was he day after
last P-Day, but I forgot, so here you go:

I have officially been out for half of my mission as of June 17. I'm
going downhill now and I don't like it! I just love being a missionary
so much and I wish that I could be a full time missionary forever! It
is THE best job ever. Sister Fjeldsted and I continue to see little
miracles every day and it is just so incredible.

I've decided that I love white washing. It's so fun! It's hard for
sure, we are building up from nothing, so we don't really have any
progressing investigators yet, but we do have a ton of new
investigators! And we keep running into people in such incredible
ways. This HAS to be Heavenly Father's work, not ours. There is no way
that so many little things would work together so perfectly doe us to
meet certain people if God wasn't orchestrating the whole thing. He
really does make sure that everything happens the way that it is
supposed to.

So I guess I'll start with Manny. I'm not sure if I've written about
Manny before or not, but he is so cool! Sister Fjeldsted and her last
companion (the one that I switched with who actually went home soon
after switching with me) met him at 7-11 when they stopped in to get
Aloe Vera. He saw their tags and said that he is looking for a new
church and would like to try theirs! So they gave him the info for
church, found him a ride, and he came! He came three Sundays in a row
and then we taught him the Restoration last Tuesday. He is just so
prepared. We told him a little bit about the Book of Mormon, telling
him that we would talk about it more next time (because we have a
whole lesson dedicated to the Book of Mormon) but he asked us if he
could have one right then! So he has one now, I don't know if he had
started to read it yet, but still! He just really, sincerely wants to
know if this is true or not. We invited him to be baptized when he
comes to know the truth of these things and he said yes! We're hoping
to set a date with him this week.

There were some other really cool things that happened this week too.
I'm going to copy and paste some of what Sister Fjeldsted wrote to

"This week was amazing! We were led by The Lord time and time again to
find people who are ready and in need of hearing about the gospel. We
went to contact a referral at the beginning of the week and they
weren't home but as we left we ran into a man who is in the Hacienda
Heights ward and is a convert of about a year. He's staying here for a
little while and going through a hard time. His wife just got in a car
accident so she's in the hospital. He stopped going to church for a
little while but told us he knows he needs to and wants to come back.
We got his phone number but it didn't work and forgot to ask which
apartment number was his. So we went back to remind him about church
before Sunday but we didn't have the apartment number so we said a
prayer and began to knock (mind you, there are hundreds of
apartments). No one answered the first one but we saw a girl outside a
few doors down and so we talked to her. She said she didn't know
Gilbert but we got talking to her and her and her family were baptized
a couple years ago and also stopped going to church for some time. She
and her older sister were just in town visiting their brother (and
they were all baptized) so we shared Because of Him with them and had
a really nice lesson. Then as we walked outside there was Gilbert! We
had so many amazing miracles this week."

So cool. We have seen a lot of cool things at that motel actually.

And then there's Tony (copy and pasted from MY email to President):

"Since the Temple City sisters live in our area, we get quite. Few
referrals from them. So last night we had a member drive us around to
contact three of them. One of me was Tony. His information said that
he is 18 and going into he Navy and that he said that missionaries can
stop by sometime. When we knocked, his dad answered the door and was
polite, but I think a little bit put off by three young women looking
for his young son. He said that he is sure that if Tony wanted to talk
to us that he would call, so we left. We then tried one more referral
and then the member went home and we walked a short way to a less
active/part member family (the mom is a member but the husband and
kids are not) that we have been trying to work with. We talked to the
mom inside for a minute and then she sent us outside to say hello to
her daughter and her boyfriend. So we get talking to the boyfriend,
Tony, and he tells us that he is going to be going into the Navy... It
was the same Tony whose house we had just been at 15 minutes before!
We are definitely taking that as a sign."

Seriously though. There have been so many little miracles and crazy
coincidences that are definitely NOT coincidences. This is the Lord's
work and He is making sure that we cross paths with people at just the
right time for them. It is so incredible and I am just so grateful to
be a missionary. I wish that I could be a full time missionary
forever, but I can't. (Plus I do want to get married and have kids
someday, I just love kids so much). I fully intend on keeping the
motto "every member a missionary" though when I get home. I sure hope
that you are all dpi all that you can to help our brothers and sisters
to come unto Christ.

I love and miss you all!

~Sister Kretchman

Letter #39 (June 16, 2014)

So last week I told you that we were going to deep clean our apartment. Well. That ended up taking about 7 HOURS. Yup. Because partway rough we found out that we were going to have a cleaning check the next morning. So we just hauled out. There was SO much stuff from past elders and lots and lots of elder crumbs. We definitely had our work cut out for us, but we worked hard and came out on top. I'll try to send some pictures of the stuff that we found. It was pretty fun actually, but we were so dead tired by the end of it all. It was ridiculous.

The rest of the week was so good! We started teaching a man named James that the sisters met on the street before I got here. We also started teaching  two less active part member families this week and I just love the, so much already. It's so crazy how quickly you love people as a missionary. I really hope that that will stick with me after my mission too. 

So I'm going to tell you a little bit about the missionary life. It's my favorite, but there are definitely ups and downs. This week I:

-Went on a wild goose chase trying to find some referrals that were all fakes
-Reached 100 miles on my bike odometer (keep in mind that I only started using it about two weeks ago and we hardly biked in Glendora)
-Overhauled our apartment
-Talked to a Chinese handyman via a lady on his phone while he looked at our cracked toilet
-Tried to pet a drunk squirrel
-Tried to catch a bird in the laundromat
-Listened to the Beach Boys during weekly planning (not on purpose I promise, I'll explain after)
-Dominated a hula hooping competition with Sister Fjeldsted
-Got creeped on by our drunken upstairs neighbor who wants to kiss me someday
-Almost hit a bus (You read that right)
-Fell off of my bike about 12 times a day (I caught myself every time but once. One time was very impressive actually, I could tell that I wasn't going to make it part this pole, so I just stuck my hand out and grabbed the pole so that I didn't fall with my bike. I thoroughly impressed the lady at that bus stop)
-Sat down in some lady's front yard and shared a video with her and her adorable granddaughter
-Sat down on the curb and showed some man and his daughters the same video
-Sat down on a wall and showed a sweet girl a different video (all three of those were the same day)
-Gave a talk in church about conversion
-Tried to do some service for an old man in the ward who "just didn't feel right" about having sisters haul packs of water bottles for him (he was very sweet, but I'm much stronger than I look. Promise)
-Got pooped on by a bird
-Saved a wasp's life
-Found a styrofoam cup in the washing machine at the laundromat
-Killed some cockroaches in our apartment
-Talked to a man through his car window
-Watched a high school couple make out and then pop each other's zits
-Had a sing along in the back of someone's car while they drove us home
-Got sunburned again (I'm doing better as using sunscreen Mom, don't you worry)
-Almost got run over by the elders that live in our complex
-Made a classic Dad Tuesday surprise out of rice, mashed potatoes, green beans, garlic salt (aren't you so proud of me mom?) and cheese
-And tried to contact about ten people in a row while I rose the bus who all didn't speak English (or so they say)

Pretty typical.

So we had a ward activity on Friday, which is weekly planning day. So we went to e church to weekly plan (like we always do) so that it will be more peaceful and we'll be able to feel the Spirit more. But partway through the DJ for the activity (which was a 50's style sock hop girl's camp fundraiser) and started playing crazy 50's music! First none of it had words, but then he started playing the Beach Boys! Eventually we found he knob to turn thou me odd in the room that we were in, but it was pretty funny.

They had a hula hoop competition at the activity. One of the members asked us if we wrote going to participate and I said "we're going to dominate." Which we did. Sister Fjeldsted beat me, but we were the last two standing for quite awhile longer than anyone else lasted. When we went to sit down, the member just said "you weren't kidding when you said that you were going to dominate!" Oh no, missionaries don't kid around when it comes to hula hooping. It was pretty sweet.

The work here is going pretty well even though we are both brand new. Heavenly Father had definitely had His hand in our work here and has helped us to meet some really incredible people (a lot of them just yesterday!) It is so amazing. For example, the girl that we showed a video to on the wall: we were looking for a former investigator when we came across her in the apartment complex. We stopped and talked to her of course and she was willing to let us tell her a little bit about our message. So we went to the front of the complex and sat on this little wall thing. I think that we were both thinking that we would just teach a simple Restoration, but I felt like we should just show "Because of Him." So that's what we did. It was so cool, when the video was over she asked us if Christ really did die and rise again. We bore testimony that He did and that because He did, we can have eternal happiness. We went on to talk to her about how those message will help her and her family and she said "it already had helped me." It was so incredible. So we are going back on Tuesday to teach her whole family the Restoration!

I really do love being a missionary. It's not easy, but it is THE best job in the world.

I love and miss you all! I hope that you are all studying Preach My Gospel!

~Sister Kretchman

Letter #38 (June 9, 2014)

So this week was pretty dang crazy. As some of your might have seen, I'm not in Glendora anymore. I'll get to that though, let me start with the beginning of the week.

It started with exploding lumpia. For those of you who don't know what lumpia, it is super delicious Filipino style egg rolls. I don't like Chinese egg rolls, they taste like feet. But lumpia? SO GOOD. We would eat it every so often at home and I love it so much! So we were shopping last Monday and I randomly got a huge craving for lumpia. So I bought some. I've never fried anything before though, and neither had Sister Child. So I put oil in he pan and start heating it up, just like the instructions say. Then Sister Child goes to put the first one in and the oil just explodes! It went EVERYWHERE! Luckily it didn't hit either of is too badly, but it got all over our just-cleaned kitchen. So we turn down the heat and try again, it continues t explode, so Sister Child is holding up a dish towel like she is bullfighting and carefully puts them in the pan. They turned out great, but it was quite the process. Lots of screaming involved. I tried to get some of it on video, but I only got the iPad in time for the last one. Which didn't explode (the explosions got smaller and smaller every time). I'll send some pictures later though if I get a chance to get on a computer.

But anyway, the rest of the week:

So Monday through Wednesday evening, we got 5 new investigators. Five!!! That doesn't happen out here. We picked up a family that just moved into the ward (the mom is less active but her kids are not members). The missionaries from their last area sent their information to us and they're awesome! There are three boys that are old enough, and want to be, baptized. So that was awesome. Then we weren't FINALLY able to meet with that referral from the inactive member, so she was a new investigator. And we started teaching a potential investigator from 2010 who actually still lives there! (Also very rare). So basically the week was going pretty fantastic. But then we got a call during dinner. We went out to dinner with a member and I heard the phone go off in my bag. I looked at it while the member was getting our food and saw that I had a missed call, a voicemail, and a text from the same unknown number. The voicemail and the text both said to call back ASAP. So I figured that it was a nurse call for Sister Child that they just called wrong phone for. So I have typhoons to her. (That was supposed to say, so I handed it to her, silly iPad.) so she called the number back. The restaurant was loud though, so we went out into the parking lot. Then I hear "can you both hear me?" Um what? Both!? Uh-oh.

"Sister Kretchman, there is something hat we need your help with. We need to emergency transfer you to Huntington with Sister Fjeldsted, and Sister _______ will be in Glendora 2 with Sister Child. You didn't do anything wrong." What?!?!?! I was supposed to have four and a half more weeks there! That was supposed to be my first area that I was in for more than two transfers! And then Sister Child: "You're supposed to sing with Sister Murphy this Sunday!" So I got permission to go back on Sunday to sing, because our duet already got rescheduled once because Sister Murphy had something come up. 

So we went back to the restaurant and told our member the news and had to cancel our last appointment (with active members, not an investigator, so not quite so bad) so that I could pack to leave at about 8:30 that same night.

Luckily, I absolutely love Siser Fjeldsted (fell-sted). I haven't been her comp before, but I've been on exchanges with her and she's great. So that was a huge blessing, but it was hard to just up and leave so many people that I love and so many great new investigators! But I actually handled it really well.

So now I'm in the Huntington ward and we're white washing, which means that both of us are brand new to the area. Huntington hasn't had sisters for over 15 years. So they took out the elders (my iPad said losers! Not what I meant!) and put Sister Fjeldsted and the Sister that I switched with here instead. But there were problems with the other sister, so that's why they ETed me.

I'm really grateful actually though. I've been praying really hard lately for Heavenly Father to help me to become a better missionary, and the best way for that to happen is to be put in a tough situation. Like starting from scratch because you have to leave he area you love for example. I am so excited to learn! We really just have to totally rely on faith because we literally have nothing else. Neither of us know the area, the ward members, anything. So we have to rely on each other and we really have to rely on the Lord to help us to find people to teach. This all means that we're going to see crazy miracles. Heavenly Father blesses you so much when He knows that you are going to have a really hard time. 

I've already been able to see huge blessings. We've been able to teach one lesson every day so far. Which, considering, is really good. And the ward is really enthusiastic because we're a novelty. They haven't had sisters in YEARS. So everyone loves us already. Saying bye to everyone on Sunday when I went back to sing was hard, but everyone was so sweet when I went back to Huntington. The Relief Society sisters were so funny. One of the, introduced us to the Relief Society, and then she said, and the sisters will need the help of the ward because they are on bikes. Those ladies gasped like she had just said that the other sister had died or something. It was SO funny! They were quite appalled. It was great. I love biking, so I'm not too concerned, but they were horrified! I was only here for the end of Sunday school and then Relief Society, but I can already tell that this is a quirky ward. It's really small and just, quirky. I don't know. I think that it's going to be a lot of fun though.

Something else about my new place is that out apartment has been an elder apartment for the past 16ish years. So it's pretty intense. It's slightly nasty and we keep finis new surprising things everyday. It's so fun! And gross at times, but that's okay, we are basically just going to use out p-day today to deep clean the place. We'll take pictures of the fun stuff we find for you, don't you worry. We've already noticed lots of stuff written in Chinese (from when Chinese elders lived here), Looney Tunes pictures on the walls, a plate with a hand painted creepy Santa-like who-knows-what, a hand molded head that looks like a lemon, some toy tanks, and a mustache cup. Oh! And there are two random rooster decals on two of the tiles on the kitchen wall. They're hiding behind the toaster and the drying rack. 

And their are LOTS of elder crumbs. Which is what we call the random gunk all over the floor that gets stuck to our feet. So yeah. DEEP cleaning today. I might get to send you some fun elder stuff later. 

Oh, and something else that I've decided this week is that breezes are God's way of saying I love you to biking missionaries.

So sorry for he novel. I started to write this at the laundromat and didn't finish until right now, back at our apartment (we have wifi here!!!) I love you all and hope that you have a great week!

~Sister Kretchman
Emailing while doing laundry. First place without washer/dryer in apartment:

New companion

Letter #37 (June 2, 2014)

This week is going to awesome. I'm excited. For real. You know why? Because we actually have appointments set! That almost never happens. Usually we're only able to set appointments a day in advance or we just stop by and try to catch people at home. But we have SIX appointments tomorrow! I'm SO excited!

Also. Yesterday was such an awesome Sunday. It was so wonderful! There was a baby blessing, there was a newly baptized eight year old sitting with the bishop, and... drum roll please! James passed the sacrament for the first time yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He got to church an HOUR early in the hopes that he could do a run through a couple of times. But, of course, no one was there at 8 in the morning except for the ward council, so he just sat in the chapel. What an over achiever. I love him so much! It was so sweet to see this little 75 year old man with all of the teeny deacons. I loved it. Hopefully he'll get to bless the sacrament soon! And we're working on getting him to the temple soon to do baptisms. My heart is just so full. I love it. 

It was just so amazing to see so many new beginnings in one day. A new life, a new member, a new priesthood holder exercising his priesthood for the first time. Incredible.

Another suh-weet thing: We're biking!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been waiting for this day for about six months. Pasadena just wasn't much of a biking area, but here we could totally use bikes but Sister Child's bike was slightly broken and she just conveniently never fixed it because she hates biking. But the day has come. I biked every day since Tuesday this week and I'm LOVING it! I've missed it so much! AND I can finally use the bike odometer/speedometer that I got for Christmas! YAY. Seriously though, biking down a hill is one of the best feelings ever. I love it so much. My legs are having to re-adjust to biking, but they're holding up pretty well.

Oh, and this is silly, but my family will appreciate it: I have officially mastered the five minutes or less shower! I never thought this day would come. But it has arrived. I shower a tad bit longer than that if I have time, but I don't always have time, so there you go.

I love and miss you all! Write me!

~Sister Kretchman

A pillow she thought was funny

Ward BBQ

Letter #36 (May 26, 2014)

I'm at a Memorial Day BBQ.

So I'll try to write an email until they start playing games out here.

So I gave a talk on joy this Sunday, so naturally we had a not-the-best week leading up to me speaking about being happy. We had a decent number of appointments, but they basically ALL fell through. It was so frustrating!

There were some really cool things that happened this week though! 

The one member present lesson that we were able to have was SO good! It wasn't a regular lesson because we kind of felt like she needed so wing else. It was the little family with the awesome 11 year old. We showed the Mormon message "Mountains to Climb" and Crystal (the mom) told us that it is crazy how we seemed to now just what she needed. She also told us that she had expressed to her daughter the other day that she felt like we were sent to help her and her family just when they needed it. It was such a powerful moment! It is amazing how Heavenly Father is so aware of each and every one of His children and knows just when they are ready to accept the true gospel I to their lives.

Another cool thing is that we missed the bus. We missed the bus because somehow we walked the wrong way and so were heading to the farther bus stop. So we decided that that must have been on purpose and we were supposed to be in that area for some reason.  So we stopped by a potential investigator that we knew is usually only available on weekends. But we got to talk to her and picked her up as a new investigator! Unfortunately she ended up being one of he appointments that fell through, but we still think that she could be really good. We're excited about her!

Speaking of the bus... Sister Child ditched me on the bus this week! We got on the bus to go to our dinner appointment. We confirmed with each other where we needed to get off and then split and sat in different parts of the bus. Sister Child sat near front and I sat near the back. I started talking to the man that I was sitting next to and pulled out the Restoration pamphlet and all that. I asked if there was a time that we could stop by to teach him more and he said "well, I've still got a ways to go, so why don't you just start teaching me now?" Um, yes! Except then I realized, wait, I don't have that far to go. Wait, where are we? Then I looked to he front of the bus and Sister Child's curly head was gone! I politely asked the man that I had been talking to to push the button o stop the bus and then got off. Luckily I only got off two stops farther than I was supposed to. I just started laughing as soon as I got off and then started walking. It was pretty bad though because she had nurse phone AND regular phone. Which basically never happens. Usually I have the area phone.That's the first I've been alone since I was set apart as a missionary! Luckily a random Mormon (who turned out to the the daughter-in-law of a member of our ward) picked Sister Child up as she walked towards me and brought her to me. We laughed about it and then walked to dinner, about 15 minutes late. I was about to teach that man the Restoration! I didn't even get a phone number or anything. Well, he has the pamphlet, hopefully we'll run into him again!

Anyway, that's just about it! I'll try to email the notes from my talk, hopefully it will make sense...

I love you all!

~Sister Kretchman

Letter #35 (May 19, 2014)

So this week was zone conferences! I LOVE zone conference. It was kind of cool this time around though because I went to ALL of them. I went to zone conference five days in a row.

As I wrote in my last weekly email, we went to lunch at all of the zone conferences to do nurse stuff. It was a lot of fun seeing everyone all over the mission, and we ate well everyday! It was funny though, at both of the Spanish zone conferences, we weren't quite sure how to eat the food, so we looked around us and tried to copy the Spanish missionaries lead... I didn't quite master eating the food, but I did manage to eat, so it was okay. It was really funny though! Plus people kept trying to speak Spanish to us... 

Speaking of different languages, we went on exchanges this weekend and my temporary companion contacted a deaf man in sign language! It was so cool! I only caught bits and pieces because I have VERY limited signing knowledge, but it was really neat! There are two signing sisters in our mission and they are both in this zone, so hopefully they can rig things so that they can teach him! That would be so cool! He would come to our ward, so we'll have to figure that one out, but I think that it would be wonderful to have him :)

But I digress. Zone conference (the actual zone conference, not all of the lunches) was SO GOOD. As always. But it seemed to be especially powerful because this was our last zone conference with President and Sister Becerra. Which is SO sad to think about. I love them so much! It will be interesting to see what the new President brings! We've all been praying for him and his family. They are coming up from Mexico and they have three kids under the age of 18 coming with them, so it's quite the upheaval. 

One thing that we learned at zone conference that we're really implementing this week is to build up the members by teaching them how to be more effective member missionaries. We're doing our first lesson with a member couple tonight, so we'll see how it goes! We're trying to help people to really catch the vision of missionary work.

Back to exchanges though. Yeesh, I forgot that that's when most of the exciting stuff happened. (Only because it's the only day that we had the full day to work without having to drive to Timbuktu for a zone conference)

So we tried by Cynthia again. I don't know if you remember who she is. She was the referral from an inactive member that we got. It was a good contact, we set an appointment with her, were really excited, and then no one answered when we showed up for the appt. And when we tried to call, the phone was disconnected.

BUT. We caught her at home this weekend! When she came to the door she immediately apologized for missing our appt and said that she has had to quit one of her jobs that day. She also said that she couldn't pay her phone bill, so her number was disconnected. She said that the best way to contact her at the moment is through Fb. She said all of that before we said a word! She really seemed to feel bad. So we set up another appointment and promised to add her on Facebook! It was so cool, because I found her and added her and then the next time I checked Facebook, she had accepted the request and wrote this on my wall:
"Hey! So happy you found me! Looking forward to see you on Friday!"

How cool is that?!

Anyway. I also got crispy fried during exchanges. We both did. That's my first bad sun burn since I came out. Crazy huh? I expected to get fried way sooner than this because I have a tendency to forget to put on sunscreen... Don't kill me mom, I'm working on it! Anyway, it's a pretty beast sunburn. And I have a necklace tan now! Haha

I don't know if I told you that I was going to sing on Sunday or not. But I didn't actually get to because the sister that I was singing a duet with had something come up. So a member of the bishopric came up to me after RS and asked if I could give a talk next Sunday. So of course I accepted. I told him that maybe I could do my musical number next Sunday too and then speak right after so that I can thank myself for the wonderful Spirit that the song brought. We'll see if that actually happens or not. I'll let you know.

I love and miss you all! Have a great week!

~Sister Kretchman

Breakfast of Champions. Running late for Ward Council.

It's only May and this is the temperature: