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