Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gettin' Down in the Ghetto

Transfer week feels like throwing a board of Risk pieces up in the air and hoping they all land in groups of twos with a car and a house to boot. 

And all of us newbies, we're the recruits. 

Line up, single file, meet with the commander (President), receive your orders (assigned area), grab your gear (2 huge suitcases, a dufflebag, and a purse), report to your officer (your trainer), and off you go to your barracks (usually a smoke-smelly apartment).  

In reality though, it's awesome! Leaving the Utah MTC on a coach bus at 5am with 30 odd missionaries, filing through the airport with the stares of every Mormon there on you, breaking down crying on the phone with family while facing the smokers lounge and all it's's great. 

What could be better?

Oh yeah...GETTING TO YOUR MISSION!! It felt unreal landing in Chicago and being greeted by the Woodburys. They're the sweetest people! I love them!

After loading our luggage in the mission trailer (they know Sister Missionaries and their luggage well:), we hopped right on the L-Train to hand out Book of Mormons!

Welcome to the Illinois Chicago Mission.

Next, we got a tour of the city...

Chicago is BEAUTIFUL!

And that's saying a lot coming from me, miss country girl. It's got such a majestic yet quaint feel to it. We got to so some sightseeing (pictures below) and then were bussed back to the mission home for dinner.....deep-dish Chicago-style pizza. 

People, Chicago takes pizza to a new level. Don't even try, Dominoes. Seriously, so good!

That night, all 23 sisters stayed in the mission home. Everything still felt so unreal...I was numb. Happy numb, nonetheless. 

Next morning, we had interviews with President. I'm going to love working with him. He's such an incredible person, with a noticeably big heart and sincere interest in his missionaries. 

Transfer meeting was next. Being a greeney, you feel like you're being auctioned off: "New missionaries, please sit in the front two rows so everyone can see you...Now stand up, turn around, and take a look at everyone here." hahaha! 

It's a lot of fun (more like heart-throbbing tension) watching each trainer get up, introduce themselves and then listen as President gets up to announce who their assigned greeney is going to be. Pins and needles. Pins and needles. "Oap, nope, not me."  And, of course I was the second-to-last one to be picked so that was me 21 times. Finally, I got picked! 

My trainer is Sister Fengel (pronounced Fingle)! She's been out 9 months and has trained 3 times (they needed an experienced one to handle me:)! She's from CA and we're both equally into teasing each's great! 

My area: Willmette! It's actually the same ward as the mission president! We live in Skokie, but cover the areas of Wilmette, Glenco, Evanston, Northfield, Kenilworth, and Winnetka.

So, we get the best of both worlds: the really rich areas, and the "kinda" ghetto areas.  From working in DC last summer, I'm now not phased by the frequent winks, whistles, and catcalls we get while tracting.

 The ward is great, but I've never been in such a noisy sacrament meeting!

There are a lot of students in the area since there are multiple large schools here so most families have lots of little three nursery's worth! Our investigator, John, mentioned this week (before I'd attended Sacrament meeting), that he'd never been to a church that was so "informal." 

I'm thinking, "What's he talking about? We're formal in the church." My thought process during Sunday meetings: "Ohhhhh....yea. Ok, I can see that. Uh huh! WHERE ON EARTH IS THE SPIRIT?! It's so loud!" haha! It's awesome though, the kids are adorable and I feel right at home. I just pray that anytime we bring investigators to church that they'll actually be able to hear the talks:)

On a more spiritual note, we have 5 progressing investigators! We're teaching a family, Yolanda and Niguy and their five boys...such a sweet family. By the way, there's nothing like going over to an investigator's home to teach when the dad shows up 15 minutes late because he's been at the funeral of two gang member "friends" who were shot only two streets down, three days ago. 

That's cool. I'm totally safe. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Anyways, they're progressing well........just need to get the parents married:) Can do. With a lot of prayers and help from the Lord:) Pray for them!

Our other investigator is John. He's coming along well! I got to challenge him for BAPTISM on Saturday! Best. Feeling. Ever! He's hesitant and said he'll think about it, but I think he's on his way to committing, he just needs to make one little step--to believe that there's a God. 

No problem. So, basically the only thing keeping us from getting 5 baptisms tomorrow is a marriage and a belief in God. Alrighty. Shouldn't be too hard, right? We're staying positive and trying our best:)

On Tuesday, during planning at night, my companion mentions that we have a dinner appointment for the next day with the Mangelsons.

Nobody has that last name and is not somehow related to me. Sure enough! We're second cousins! Yay, I have family here! They're such a sweet family, and I think an exception to the no-missionaries-can-hold-kids rule may be in order because they're related:) I hope so, because their two boys are a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.!

The work out here is progressing! Our ZL's and DL's are setting high goals for us. In this morning's studies, I brainstormed tons of ways to do missionary work (other than tracting---- which is so ineffective here!) Getting down on the creativity! Head's up, Chi-town!

I'm doing well! Staying positive and trying to work my hardest! The Lord's work is truly rolling forth! Missionary work is just as President Monson said--the most important and fulfilling work you could ever do! Staying strong! 

Onward and upward!

Sister Anna Parker

Funny of the week: 

Sister Taggart (a senior sister who works in the office), wearing jeans, "I should really change into a skirt. Wearing these pants makes me rowdy!" lol

Welp......rowdy senior sisters....I guess they exist!:)