Last P-day we were able to go and tour the Pier nearby. The harbor was pretty cool. Because of the weather not many people are out walking around. So we get a few weird looks as we are taking photos and "touring" the sites.
Last week we were able to find the best beach access for our morning runs. We are learning to appreciate the area we are serving in, where we can see the ocean, a small village, or be downtown in less than 25 minutes. Had a great run! It was foggy that morning so we had some cool photos to add.
(Derek sent a lot of photos from the Pier and his "run" - they can be found in the Odessa Folder. His camera started acting funny so he took out the batteries but didn't update the date, so his photos are a bit out of order when you look at them. You can find his newer ones more in the middle of them all)
During the week we were able to go over to the Mikkelsons (Senior Couple in our area) and bake cookies. Cookies work miracles here. We were able to visit some people in hard times and the cookies did more than we would have been able to with words to be honest. I am glad that as missionaries we are bold and we say what needs to be said. At times I feel that I can come off offensive and even a tad impolite, but as long as we remember that we are here to do the Lord's work and to act as if we were the Savior talking to these people, it adds a sense of peace and authority when teaching the people we love.
We have been working on making the entire branch a "House of Order" and did some cleaning up. On Thursday we were walking back from the Church talking to people. Met a man name Annatoli, who acted like he knew us personally and was one of the nicest people I have ever street contacted. I even asked if he was already a member of the Church by how he greeted us. We gave him a pamphlet and parted ways. We kept thinking about it and realized people like that don't just come by very often. One of the first times on the mission, I decided we need to run back to this man. We caught up and because it was raining he told us to follow him to the opera house. He just walked in, said hi to the people and kept ushering us to follow him. We honestly just wanted his number and figured he was going to grab it.
Turns out he was an administrator for the opera and wrote us a free ticket to tour around and even for a free show! Randomly, we were all of a sudden in the famous Odessa Opera House with a ticket to go do anything we wanted! We decided to use our dinner hour and tour around. We had an appointment that night and the staff was very confused why we were leaving right before the show started! But wow... so lucky. We were blessed that night.
(Derek took several photos of the Opera House and sent them to us. I have put them in their own folder to the right so you can see them all if you are interested. Amazing opportunity for them!)
We have been working really hard to gain referrals from the ward. I think with me being here 2 transfers now (the longest I have been anywhere here on my mission) we have started to finally break that shell and the members are trusting us. When a ward and the missionaries are in harmony, the work goes so much smoother. We were able to have Cherry Vareniki (like a Cherry Dumpling or Turnover that a member made for us), checked out scuba gear of a member for when we come back after our missions, and then we also were asked to teach part of Elder's Quorum. Tons of experiences because of the trust increasing.
I don't know quite how to explain it, but my weaknesses that I know I have as a missionary kept replaying over in my head for a couple of days straight this last week. Felt the impression that I just needed to write them down and post them on a paper that I would see every day. I did just that. The next day the transfer info came and I will continue to serve in Center Odessa with Elder Glade but we were called as Zone Leaders. Humbled by the opportunity, because I know nothing, but I know that the Lord sustains those he calls. Excited for the new opportunity and to become a better missionary. The Lord was helping me strengthen myself, by me realizing my weaknesses.
That is it for the week. Find someone this week and have some good quality 1 on 1 time. It can be between a lonely friend, relative, sibling, parent, the Lord, or even your scriptures. Find some 1 on 1 time. It is more precious than anything you can buy or go do.
Love you all,
We were very thrifty this transfer (7 weeks) so we splurged and went out and got the best hamburger
we could find and afford! It was amazing!