Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hola from OREGON!

My mission home address is:
Hermana Stephanie Blanchard
700 Deborah Road STE 260
Newberg, OR 97132-1298

My mission president and his wife are AMAZING. Their names are President and Sister Samuelian (Sam-you-lin) and they are incredible. Every word that comes out of his mouth just fills you with the Spirit.

On the first day, he and his wife with some other elders picked up all the fresh missionaries from the airport and drove us to the Portland mission, which is out of our boundaries, but was on the way to the mission home from the airport. He took us there because we might not have a chance to go to the temple at all during our mission. It was BEAUTIFUL. (I will be sending pictures seperately). There is a brand-spanking new visitor's center there and although it's small, it's also breathtaking.

After stopping by the mission home for lunch, President and Sister Samuelian surprised us with a road trip. We had no idea where we were going, but an hour later, we were at the shores or the Pacific ocean, facing a GIANT rock only 100 feet from shore, called Haystack Rock. They walked us up the beach, set up chairs, and we had a little devotional. For the OSM (Oregon Salem Mission), our motto is "Built Upon a Rock" based on the last few verses of D&C 6. We are not only strengthening our own personal foundation of Christ, but we are also building up the gospel on this rock that is Oregon. He stressed upon how we were making history, being the first missionaries called to serve in the OSM, and for some of us, also being the first missionaries to serve in the Spanish language fpr this mission (there are about 6 of us). President Samuelian told us that he received a personal vision from the Lord for this mission; it was vision of latin-americans coming, by the hundreds, and seeking refuge within our churches.

We live in Cornelius, Oregon and have been assigned to the Council Creek ward, almost 100% English. Our job is to start a Spanish branch from scratch. We live in a "Little Mexico" area where 50% of the population speaks Spanish. Let me just say that mi companera doesn't speak a lick of Spanish; her name is Sister Reeder and she was originally called English-speaking, Eugene Oregon mission. Then she received a phone call last Saturday... I am not even close to fluent yet, either. Needless to say, we have a lot of work ahead of us.

We went street-contacting around "Alejandro's Supermercado" and was able to communicate to some of the people there. And they LOVED how we were trying to communicate with them!! They were correcting us and speaking slowly for us, and they were so proud of us that we were trying to learn.
We just got here on Thursday afternoon, so we have mostly been doing visits to the less active and trying to find people from the streets or neighborhoods. We went walking around a predominantly-Mexican neighborhood on Friday and we managed to get an appointment this week with a man named Effe and his son, Enrique. They are our newest investigador. We are also planning on visiting with investigadores that the former Spanish elders from the Portland mission left behind. Looks like I'm going to be leading lots of discussions this week!

Some of the less active familes we have visited have been less active for a looooooooong time. I only spoke to each of the families about 45 minutes at a time, but I already felt a love for them and I wanted them to come to church so bad! Often I was baring my testimony and I have no idea if they felt the Spirit or not. Out of all them only one family came to church that Sunday as promised, but I was overjoyed to see them there. I love everyone in our ward, they are very missionary-focused, doing all they can to prepare for a Spanish exodus into their ward. Even talking about doing one of the Sacramental prayers in English, and one in Spanish...The Lord is truly preparing something great for us. We have ALL the tools we need to make my mission president's vision come alive. I only pray and hope and work as hard as I can to be the missionary that can take advantage of this!

Hasta La Vista!
Hermana Blanchard

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