Hola from my first area, Nashua, New Hampshire! I've had a really huge week and I have learned SO MUCH in such a short period of time about people and why I'm here.
It was a crazy day flying to Boston without much sleep. Everything worked out with the luggage and all my things. I arrived in Boston safely, met the Mission President, and was fed really well at President and Sister Miller's.
We got to go street contacting in a big park in Boston this morning! It was a very cool first experience as a missionary preaching the gospel in Boston. I learned a lot of things about New England, like how driving here is crazy. Coming from LA, I thought I could drive anywhere, but with so many narrow one-way roads I'm very grateful for GPS because we would definitely get lost. Gladly, I'll be training for my first 12 weeks, so I won't be able to drive until at least my third transfer. I was given my first companion, my trainer, Hermana Parke and I was assigned to serve in Nashua, New Hampshire. My trainer has been out for almost a year and is fluent in Spanish. She also has been in the area for 3 transfers, so I will probably be here for 3-5 as well.
Today was my first full day in the field with Hermana Parke. I also got to meet the Bishop and get to know the two English Elders in the ward a little bit. The area I'm serving in is definitely Spanish. It's like a little piece of Mexico in southern New Hampshire. We have a Spanish group that meets at the building here in Nashua, about 50 people, but it doesn't have enough leadership to become a branch. We hope though, that this year it becomes a branch. There are many people in this area that really struggle financially. It's a beautiful place, but there are some rough neighborhoods that we don't go to at night graffiti'ed in Spanish. We met one less active family and had a lesson with an investigator fall through. I'm a bit overwhelmed by how much we have to do and how much Spanish I have to learn, but Hermana Parke has been so encouraging and says nothing but positive things about me and the work. I am so blessed.
Today really brought me out of my comfort zone and I had my first two lessons with real investigators in Spanish. It was very interesting and I just tried to have the mindset that if I was obediently present at these lessons and opening my mouth, Heavenly Father would help me to say the things I should. We also had our first district meeting.
In the morning we taught a Spanish class at the church. We had our first lesson with the son and granddaughter of one of the members. They are Dominican, like many of the people we meet and teach. It was a great spirit-filled lesson, but it was also listening exercise for me because heavy Dominican accents are very hard to understand. They speak very quickly, and drop s's from their words. During a lesson a Catholic lady stopped my and yelled at us in Spanish about how our church was of the devil or something (I didn't understand all of it because she spoke quickly and angrily) but the son asked her to leave and seemed very annoyed. We were still able to have a great lesson because of the family's unwavering interest and my companion's strength in testifying in Spanish. The lesson ended powerfully. In the evening we attended a baptism for one of the Elders' investigators. Hermana Parke translated for the Spanish speakers and it went well. A few people have been happy to see me because they saw a post my mom put in the MBM facebook page of me and Hermana Jensen from the MTC. Everyone, English and Spanish, has been very welcoming and loving (and they make great food).
I was introduced to the Spanish group and asked to give my testimony in Spanish sacrament meeting. Many times I have imagined myself to be able to bear my testimony fluently when I get home to the Barstow ward. I hadn't yet imagined bearing it in my first week in the field (not fluently, but as well as el don de lenguas allowed). It is such a special gift I've been given to be called to learn this language. If God knows that I am capable, then I must be. Nothing is more comforting than that.
It's been so neat and such a blessing to get to know and love the families here. Everyone has different challenges, some drastic and some not, and I had no idea how much missionaries got to know and help members in things they face. I've been given a really important job, and I am so grateful for it. This mission is definitely the craziest thing I've ever done, but I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be doing it. I love the people of New England.
Address of my first area:
1 Clocktower Place #128
Nashua, New Hampshire