Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letter 12-15-13

So news of the week:
Transfer calls came! On Wednesday Sister Larsen is leaving and a Sister Smith is coming. I will have to teach her everything she needs to know about this area. Luckily we have a GPS so getting lost isn't a concern (that's a huge blessing to anyone who is familiar with my sense of direction ;) ). I really love Sister Larsen and I am going to miss her. But a new adventure comes! The members threw a party to say goodbye to her and they gave her gifts. It was so heartwarming. There was a member here that even gave me a beautiful necklace, bracelet, and earrings. They are all handmade from the islands. Her kindness humbled me so much and broke my heart a little; the Marshallese people are the most genuinely kind people I have ever known. That level of kindness is just amazing. I felt so loved. I FEEL so loved. I love it here SO much.
Sister Short

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Letter 12-09-13

I am SO thankful President Shumway is the Mission President here! He and his wife are exactly what I need! They are kind and funny, but also driven and dedicated. When other missions have too many missionaries to know what to do with, President Shumway is requesting more! I love it! If I'm going to be here then I AM GOING TO BE HERE you know? :) I want to push--I want to reach! :)  
So not two days ago, but the week before we had a baptism! I can't believe I didn't mention it!!! AWG! He is the sweetest 9 year old boy and I am so excited for him!!! His name is Myron and he is just the brightest, quietest, most gentle boy ever!
Some things about Marshallese Culture for your edification;
-they don't wear shoes inside; much like the Japanese, you leave them at the door 
-Chicken and rice or chicken and fish is always on the menu
-Marshallese people park on the lawn
-Marshallese people always wear shorts--even with big coats in the dead of winter. They also wear sandals always. We see it a lot.
-Marshallese people have the BEST parties
-Marshallese people LOVE pictures.
-Marshallese people are always polite.
-Marshallese people teach their children--from a very young age--to greatly respect missionaries. We are treated like honored family--even being told by some that they love us like their own children. It makes me want to cry; it is so sweet. 
-In the Marshallese language there is no distinction between "mom" and "dad" or "aunt" or "uncle". Therefore, they refer to their aunt as there mom, their cousins as there siblings, their great-aunt as grandma, etc. This makes figuring out family relationships somewhat of a challenge.
-Marshallese people keep their houses nice and toasty.
-Most Marshallese people don't like bread.
-Deoderant is referred to as roll-on
-Marshallese people love rearranging their furniture--it's common to come back to everything in the living room rearranged like biweekly. 
This week I went on exchanges for a day and talked with ri palle (white people--pronounced "ri bell-aye") and it was SO fun! :) I enjoyed immensely knowing I can still just talk (I'm still working on my Marshallese language barrier)
That's all I can think of for now! :) love you tons!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Letter 12-1-13

This week has been interesting--lots of exciting things have happened. Firstly, when Sister Larsen, Masako, and I were out for an appointment, we got hit on and invited to "party". It was super funny and also awkward--I mean we look totally professional and also exude the Spirit so do we seems like we would be up for that. DEFINITELY NOT. But hey, it happens. The Spirit did not warn us of any danger, so we knew we were fine. It is amazing how the Spirit directs us--an unsettled feeling warns us of danger, a peace gives us bravery, and sometimes, as happened this week, the Spirit simply and continuously draws our attention to a person. The spirit is our guide, protector, comforter, and friend. I am convinced now more than every that ANYTHING THAT DISTANCES US FROM THE SPIRIT PUTS US IN DANGER. I am not saying this to come down hard; it is simply a fact that we NEED the Spirit, and we love it. We want it. So I am finding more and more that simple things like reading my scriptures daily, praying often, being obedient (or following the commandments, for the Strength of the Youth, council of the Prophets) to the best of our continuously progressing knowledge and ability, is the best way to be happy. Because, it is the Spirit which brings true joy. God gives us guidelines so that WE CAN BE HAPPY. This in no way excuses our responsibility to think and act; in fact it gives us the responsibility to seriously be true to that Spirit which connects our hearts, minds, and souls to the Father of our very existence. Without the Spirit I am blind, with it, I need not even see. 
I love this work with all my heart. This Gospel heals, helps, and brings joy. What more could I want?
--Sister Short

Letter 11-24-13

Everything is really going well!

So on Saturday I missed my first Weddingtism (that's what the missionaries call it) It's when an investigator gets married, then baptized on the same day. We were too busy to make it BUT that's okay BECAUSE the next one will probably be our investigator! WOOOT! Anyways, later that night something I've been looking forward to all week happened--MY FIRST KEMEEM!! Okay let me explain; a Kemeem is a really big birthday party for a baby that turns 1. This Kemem was for twins and also the family knows like EVERYONE so it was HUGE. They do them at the church (it's an awesome fellow-shipping opportunity) and basically the whole gym area was full of tables and people. They made TONS of food (seriously everyone who helps bakes all day) and it's all delicious. Since we are missionaries, they fed us right after the actual family, and they gave us like a Styrofoam to-go box with both halves entirely filled. I got to try this stuff that was like coconut mashed potatoes (I really liked it), got a rib (yum!), tried their raw fish in this sauce stuff (that was new :) ), little baggies with like this rubbery sweet stuff (you bite the corner of the baggie then suck out the stuff), this really yummy vegetable mix (I think there is crab in it), hotdogs and rice (love it!), chicken, pork, some boss potato salad, pickled veggies (I think it had Kimchi in it), pumpkin sweet-rolls, a rubbery desert square (dunno what they're called but I love them), sushi, etc. They really go all-out. So then we all go up, and, as is customary, everyone places a dollar (or more) in a dish for the family, then they say hi to everyone in the family. Then, entertainment starts. We didn't get to stay for the whole of the entertainment because of our missionary bed-time, but we saw like four performances by groups of young girls. They did like western and some hula and it was ADORABLE. Probly the funniest part was when, during a western song, the mother of the twins got up and pulled like a classic cotton-eye Joe type high-kicking dance. IT WAS GREAT!!! People would just go up and randomly join the dancers every so often. Kemem's are just SO cool! 
I think that's everything, 
-Sister Desiree Short

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Letter 11-18-13

So chicken and rice is eaten all the time here--and it's actually really good! I'm drinking a lot of soda too.The people are really kind and always like to feed the missionaries :) Like two days ago I got my first taste of fish here--they fry the whole fish (guts taken out of course) and then ya eat it. I got the fish head. Masako showed me how to eat the fish eyeball--you sort of scoop out the eye and suck out the goo. I ate chicken heart before in Utah so I was like "eh, why not?" and I ate the eye goo too. It tasted like fish pudding and I don't think I like it nearly as much as she did ;) but I tried it once and I am set. (Don't worry--it was totally my choice. Sister Larsen didn't do it so don't be scared about things like that ;) ) I was making "swoosh" and "pow" sound effects as played with my fishy food--it was really fun :) It might look interesting (pictures to come), but it was really good :) I think of it as an adventure and I get to try some really cool things :) I like it :) I was worried before I came on my mission about foods that I thought I wouldn't like, but it really does all work out :) One of my new favorite foods is hot dogs and rice--yum :)
So Marshallese people are super super polite, respectful, and kind. If they aren't interested in your message they are always at least polite about it. We tried knocking on some doors a few days ago and the first white woman's door we knocked on wasn't really nice BUT because God is kind and thoughtful and amazing and gentle and TOTALLY watching out for us, our next appointment was this SUPER sweet lady who believes in God, had a lovely light in her eyes, spoke English (woot for me! I'm still no good at teaching in Marshallese YET) took a Book of Mormon, AND set up an appointment for us to come back! It just goes to show you that everything has an opposite :) So, whenever I encounter a not great time, I'm going to think of it as adding up towards the opposite in goodness! 

It's really great here Mom! I love it! Don't fret--I'm well looked after :)
Love you! 
--Sister Short

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Letter 11-10-13

Ok here's the story I've been jittery-excited all week to tell! 
On the first day at the Mission Home, we were all exhausted. I loved the flying and everything but my stomach was a tad loopy from it all. So, after a long day we arrived and the sweet wonderful amazing Shumways and a few members fed us a delicious lunch. It was AMAZING to have a fresh chicken salad after so long of (good, but not homemade) MTC food. We did a lot of paperwork and such, but we were all exhausted. But (because our mission president and his wife are so understanding) they let us take a nap. So during the evening (dinner was the best brisket with heavenly bbq sauce ever--they do it right here!--and other bbq foods). During the evening we went and chatted with president Shumway individually as he looked for confirmations on who our trainers would be. He chatted with everyone, and then came and told us our area. He told me I was assigned to Springdale, Arkansas AND (and this is the really amazing part) I was assigned to the Marshallese speaking area!! I almost cried I was so happy. All night I was bouncy and laughing and I kept squeaking out "I'm so EXCITED!!!".  I didn't even know it was a language! But I wanted to learn it SO much! It's the language of the Marshall Islands. There's a huge community of Marshallese here because they work at the Tyson chicken plant. I wanted to learn a language so much! I didn't even realize how badly I wanted to until he told me I could, and then it's like my heart got a little bursted. I was so very overjoyed! The funny thing was that I was only a little apprehensive because I knew that if God had asked me to do this then I could so I was really just happy. 
We spent the first night in this house with a really sweet woman and her really funny husband. He reminded me a lot of Grandpa Short--sweet but kind of gruff. They were so kind to us and there house was probably the most beautiful home I've ever seen--open and lots of light colors. The art on all the walls were beautiful and sophisticated--yet it still looked inviting and welcoming. SO classy. 
The next day was a lot of driving, but I got here! I met my companion; her name is Sister Larsen and she is wonderful! She's a hard worker but chill enough to be very patient and uplifting. Her last companion was Marshallese so she speaks the language really well and is more than willing to help me. She explains everything so that I understand and doesn't mind if I ask over and over. She's really clever and sweet and is kind enough to let me help without pushing me so much that I feel overwhelmed. I can tell she will ease me into all of this really well. 
So, the first day was like a half day because of all the transfers. We started me learning the alphabet the first day. I think it was by the end of the next day that I had them down decently. By like the 3rd day I was attempting to read at a snail's pace out of the Marshallese Book of Mormon (or BOK IN MORMON as is the case). As of now I'm working on expanding my vocabulary and comprehending through the Book of Mormon. 
Anyways, there's a girl here named Masako who goes with us to lessons a lot. She is SO nice and adorable! She is 21 and is thinking about serving a mission right now. She's really sweet and will say words for me to help me with my pronunciation. She loves to laugh and even though she works nights she comes out with us to teach because she loves it so much. I think she loves the Spirit that comes as we teach. She is so amazing. Please, as you read this, say a quick prayer for her--to bless her--for all she does.
I am having trouble keeping track of names, but it's only really been a few days. We go to members' houses for dinner and they usually feed us chicken and rice (and like another thing). They're always these huge plates and I try my best to eat it all. I'm learning the art of eating with my hands. It's truely like being on an Island without actually BEING on an island. Also, a really cool thing is that many of the Marshallese understand (if not speak) English well, so, even though I can't speak it well I can still teach a lot. 
I've decided I really like talking to strangers and tracting. It can be sort of intimidating, but it also pays off really well. We've gotten a few referrals/lessons that way and it's a great feeling that makes me smile. I need to work on asking for referrals from members thought so that's going to be part of this week's improvements.

The one of me and Sister Larsen in our MuuMuus for Sunday 

second is Genate (I don't know how to spell is) Masako's niece

and last is Masako and me.

It's been really exciting! I love it here :) the industrialized areas are just like Utah--you only notice the difference when you can see there aren't mountains. But really it's okay because then I get to see these massive sunsets :) I love it here so much!

(Oklahoma Tulsa Mission)
(One True Mission)
(Open Thy Mouth)

Sister Short