Linnea is now in Salt Lake City and officially on her mission. All mail sent to her goes to the mission home address that is posted to the right on this blog. She gets her mail once a week on Fridays.
Here are some excerpts from her first two letters since she left the MTC.
My companions name is Hermana Picausi. She is from Ecuador. So far we are getting a long pretty well. She is kind of intense but its okay. She is a super hard worker and a really good missionary. She has been on her mission 6 months and this is only her 2nd area. She served in Sugar House before this (I think) for 6 months. She really connects with the investigators and can relate really well because she is a convert and used to be Catholic(which most of our investigators are) She helps me a lot with Spanish and hardly ever lets me speak English. She always tells me "No entiendo ingles" She speaks English fairly well but wants me to practice Spanish which is good.
The name of my area is called Riverside B. I'm in the North Zone of the mission. My area is called Riverside but the neighborhood I serve in is called RosePark. RosePark is very North Santa Fe-esque for all the Vista natives who will read this. There's not much here in my area of RosePark except a coin laundromat which has at least 12 people in it at all times, a Discoteca, a sketchy bounce-house rental place, and tons of Latin America "travel" services places. Hay MUCHA gente hispana aqui. Every person walking down the street is hispanic which is good for us ha.
My companion and I cover one half of one stake, which is tiny compared to my companions last area. She covered the area of FIFTEEN STAKES. Crazy. The stake is called the Salt Lake Riverside Stake. Our area consists of 3 English speaking wards and half of the area of the spanish speaking ward. Elders Homer and Jeffries cover the other half of this stake (2 English wards and the other half of the Spanish ward) We don't ever teach in English and the only communication we have with the English wards is for dinners really. There is a pair of Elders who cover all the English teaching in this stake. If we get an English referral we have to pass it to them and vice versa. The Spanish ward boundaries is the entire stake so my companion and I teach on one side of the middle boundary and Elders Homer and Jeffries teach the other half. Elder Homer is my district leader. He is pretty cool. I like him. And Elder Jeffries got here the same day as me so we are greenies together.
Like I told Nigel....I am biking. Who would have guessed it? We didn't get our bikes until Monday so before then we were walking. Our first full day of the mission(last Thursday) it was 38 degrees outside. WELCOME TO UTAH! So far it hasn't snowed down here but there is snow on the mountains. The last couple of days it has been warmer though...sweater weather as opposed to coat weather. We were walking about n average of 10 miles a day, sometimes 15 so I'm glad we have the bikes now, cuts the in between time down a ton.
We live in the basement of a members house. It's just her and her 15 year old granddaughter Louisa. Her granddaughter is mentally disabled. She is hilarious. She thinks that all missionaries are Elders so she'll come downstairs sometimes and say "GOOD MORNING ELDERS!" haha. Its funny. The basement is pretty small but there is only 2 of us so thats good. There is a study room, a common room(which basically has all her stuff in it and was like a play room for her grandkids) and our bedroom. The doorways and ceilings are only like a couple inches taller than me. We don't really have a kitchen which is a bummer. There is a mini-fridge, a microwave and a toaster oven in our study room. This kind of limits the things we can make but so far so good. The member who owns the house is so nice to us. She lets us use her washer/dryer whenever we want and supplies us with the basic things we need like toilet paper and such so we dont have to buy it. She has also given us rides which is really nice of her. One morning she came downstairs while we were studying and said "Would you sisters like some home-made apple pie and hot cocoa for breakfast?" It was delicious. She also made us dinner the first night.
The Utah Salt Lake City Mission is the highest baptizing mission in The USA and Canada! As a mission we have a goal to have every companionshiop baptize every week and to have 5 people on date for baptism every week. President Winn promised us if we have 5 people on date every week we WILL have a baptism every week. By the end of the year the mission goal is have 3000 baptisms which would beat the previous record in 2009 of 2000. So far we have already passed 2000 and if every companionship baptizes every week for the next 12 weeks we will surpass 3000. Pretty cool huh?
President and Sister Winn are AWESOME! So cool. They are super nice and understand how to be great mission presidents while still having fun. There are also a lot of senior couples and they are seriously the best. They love us and are so willing to help us with anyting we need.
Along with the goal of 3000 baptisms the mission has a goal of 300 marriages through the state of Utah. A lot of people are living together and not married and in order to get baptized they have to be married. There is a senior couple (the Deyhles) that handle most of this. Elder Dehyle or Elder Guapo is his nickname is the marriage guy. He takes our investigators to the marriage office to get a license and can marry people through the state of Utah also. Most of the people who he marries are hispanic but not all. So far we have about 250 marriages this year. The Deyhles are such a generous couple. They LOVE working with the hispanic community and they are in charge of this program that helps investigators or anyone that is interested in learning english. Its called daily dose and senior couples go to these peoples houses to give them english lessons. Its pretty cool. The Deyhles also pay out of pocket for all the marriage licenses. They love the people and want them to have the blessings God has in store for them and they don't want them to feel restricted or second guess their decision because of money. Also if you help a couple get married Elder Deyhle buys the Elders a nice tie and signs the back of it with the couples name and date of marriage. For the sisters they get a gift card to Deseret Book. They are awesome people and sister Deyhle is one of the nicest people Ive ever met.
Julia y Marvin: I can't even tell you how rad thes people are. Julia is from El Savador and has 2 daughters and Marvin is from Honduras. Hna Picuasi met Julia in her last area because Julia's brother and sister in law got sealed n the Salt Lake Temple and she attended the reception. Hna Picuasi taught her once or twice at her brothers house but when she got tranferred to this area she found out Julia and Marvin live in our area. She called her and we have taught them like 4 times int he last 6 days. They are not married but on Monday we went with them and Elder Deyhle to get their marriage license. They are getting married the baptized on October 22 as well as Julia's oldest daughter. They are so awesome. She has also fed us 4 times since we've been here because we havent gotten our meal schedule worked out. BEST FOOD EVER. Best frijoles Ive ever eaten in my life. hands down. I told her I was goint to get fat if I ate at her house every day. They are so solid and Julia even invites her sisters over ot hear the lessons when we comver over.
Nayeli: She is golden. She wants to be baptized soooo bad but needs to be married to her husband first. Only problem is he works in Park City and doesn't have transportation right now. We are working on that and she will be baptized ASAP. She has a crazy stong testimony of the BOM and wants so bad to be a member.
Teresa: She was a sister referral from out of our area. She had been attending churhc for like 3 months straight. She is super nice. She had a baptism date but has recently had family problems and it has caused a ton of stress in her life. She also has had some negative experiences with members which is sad. But we will keep working with her and hopefully we can help her overcome her difficulties.
Luz: Hna Picuasi was also teaching her in her last area because her and her boyfriend owned a mexican restaurant in that area. She is really solid and should be baptized in the next couple weeks along with her son. She is super nice and loves us.
There is a ton of work in this area. It seems like every one we meet is ready or interested in hearing more. It is hard to balance out everyone but with the bikes it makes it a lot easier to get around.
We wake up at 6:25. Excercise til 7. Get ready til 8. Study/eat until 1. Teaching/contacting til 5. Dinner til 6. Then teaching/contacting til 9.
Biking is okay...its good excerise if nothing else and it beats walking. Its hard though because the weather changes so randomly here. Its hot when you leave so you are only wearing a sweater and by night you are freezing. But there's no where to put a jacket on a bike so you're kinda out of luck. I love the people in my ward. They all love us and are so welcoming. I love it too because there are so many people from different countries. I enjoy hearing all the different accents. We have people from Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republic the list goes on and on. Its pretty rad. My Spanish is getting better...every one tells me I speak well and that they are impressed that I know so much and have only been here less than 2 weeks. We didnt have a baptism last Saturday :( but we have 3 this weekend (Julia, Marvin, Laura) and their wedding right before. Its going to be awesome. The Elders who also serve in our ward have a baptism of a family of 7 that same day. They are baptizing la familia Sanchez. Such a solid family and way cool. We have 10 baptisms in one day in one ward...thats gotta be a record! :) It's getting colder but I will get some clothes here once I get my debit card...When should that be coming anyway? Hopefully soon.
Yes we really do study from 8-1. Its broken up between language study, personal study and companionship study. companionship study is 2 hours because we plan the lessons for that day and we also have a training program we have to do. In the mornings I usually just do like strengthening excercises with the resistance band, crunches, push-ups etc. We only have 30 minutes and its too cold to go outside . So far we've done more tracting than I thought but we've been getting a ton of referrals so I think that will start taking up more of our time. The pictures of when I was little were NOT in my backpack thank goodness. (Linnea had her backpack stolen and lost her camera, license, glasses, scriptures, journals, all the letters people had written her and her ATM card.)
Oh every transfer we take a trip to some church historical site or event. This transfer we are going to an organ recital by Clay Chritiansen(Morman Tabernacle Choir organist) and then taking the Beehive house tour. That should be fun. Also this was interesting to find out...for General Conference the whole mission goes down to Temple Square all day for both days. We basically attend at least one if not all sessions. Super stoked for that. And if you come at conference time I can see you. :)
Sister Winn bought me new scriptures/hymn books for the ones that got stolen. Oh and a new journal. She is so awesome. She wrote a note in the journal that was so sweet. She is the best and the senior missionaries too. There is a couple that does housing inspections every month for our zone and if you pass the wife will bake you whatever treat you want. Their name is Bro and Sis Reynolds. Of course we passed our inspection so a batch of oatmeal choco chip cookies will be delivered to us tomorrow. YES!
Amy and Quincy emailed me their first letters from Romania...I havent been able to read them all the way through but they sound like they are doing awesome which is good to hear.
Talk to you next week! I think and pray about you guys all the time!
Con mucho amor siempre jamas,
PS Thats so cool you saw Krystal. I haven't seen her in ages. If you see her again tell her I said HI!
PPS. Breena wrote me a letter and she said I hadn't written her yet. Tell her I sent her one from the MTC. Hopefully she got it. I will write her again today! :)