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Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Gospel Just Hit Me... Like A Truck

Ok so this week has been interesting, as my companion has had a series of minor health issues.
On Monday I had an awesome companion exchange with Hermana Anderson from Virginia. We went with a member named Ellie to a referral named Wendi. She was super sweet.
Then we visited Brittany, our recent convert. She has been sick lately, so it was good to see her again.
Then we went and asked the store to set some things aside for a Young Women´s activity that we are doing on Friday, THEN we contacted another referral from the Assistants to the President. 
Their names are Jonathan and Cati. Jonathan is Dominican but lived in Pennsylvania for 22 years. We asked them how they met the elders, and they were like, ¨They didn´t tell you?¨
Then they told us that they were on their motorcycle when a big white truck came the wrong way and caused them to crash. Cati was showing us her bruises and scratches. ¨I had a hole in my ankle!¨ she said.
She said that a ¨Gringo¨ (American) and a Mexican came out and were freaking out. They gave her a blessing. They ended up having to pay 2,000 pesos for the damage and medical care, but Cati let them go pretty easily. They managed to get their contact info and they wanted us to pass by. 
That would be the BEST conversion story, wouldn´t it? 

In other things...
Juana and Tony came to church! Tony is less active but is coming back. He even got up and bore his testimony, saying that we are working with his wife so that they could get sealed in the temple! 

Tomorrow is my one year mark in the mission! Time flies by toooooo quickly!

Love you guys! Thanks for writing me!
Hermana Twiner
Jarabacoa, Republica Dominicana

I Survived a Hurricane and a Waterfall!

​So... that ¨Hurricane¨....  It was raining from Thursday night until about 3pm Friday. We were getting ready to leave when our district leader called and said...

¨Hey you guys had better not leave today.¨
¨What are you guys doing? Just staying in the house?¨
¨Well... My comp just went back to bed...¨

We waited around until 4pm, and there was no rain. So we left to go see some recent converts, and their aunt opened the door and was like, ¨Sisters! What are you doing out of the house? There´s a hurricane coming, we are in the eye of the storm!¨
Having survived a hurricane (Hurricane Katrina in 2005), I got nervous, and said to my comp ¨Hey I think we´d better go home. But first let´s get some snacks.¨
So we went to the supermarket... And our branch president called, saying that we needed to get into the house RIGHT THEN.
So we got home, watched a church movie, and......... NOTHING. We wasted a whole day, thanks to Erika.

The rest of the week in terms of numbers... stinked.

Hermana Kellogg left monday morning 😢 But she´s safely back in California, ready to start BYUI! She left me a bunch of stuff... I like ¨Killing¨ a companion! (¨to kill¨ in missionary terms means to be their last companion before going home.)

I stayed in Santiago for 2 days with Hermana Snow in Nibaje, near the mission office. It was fun... We rocked out to Christmas music. Which reminds me... It´s September now, and Christmas starts in September in the DR!!!!

So now I´m back in Jarabacoa with Hermana Landaverde from El Salvador. She´s 26 years old and is nearly done with her mission. I´m excited to get to know her!

Today we visited a waterfall near my area with the zone!!!  It was beautiful! (I fell down one of the smaller ones, hence the title of the email... My arms hurt because I had 2 people grab me at once and yank me up.

Beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who preach the gospel..

Ok so when I was a kid I loved to play Pirates of the Caribbean online, which was a virtual pirate world where you could fight different kinds of enemies such as zombie pirates, alligators, man eating plants and... Giant caribbean wasps. This week I discovered that I am better at battling Caribbean wasps in the virtual than in the real one... But in my defense on the game I had a sword and was battling only 1 at a time instead of 11. (See below for all the beautiful details.)

I´m really loving training. Hermana Peters is so adorable. She´s practicing her Spanish at every moment possible. It really takes me back to nearly a year ago in my first weeks in the field. You learn a lot in the mission. And I learn more from her than she learns from me I am sure.

We set a baptismal date with our investigator Nelson for Halloween yesterday. I´m really excited for him!

Things are looking up in Jarabacoa. THe members are excited for the work. I gave a talk in church on Sunday and the entire meeting was based on the work.

I love you all!
Hermana Twiner

Quick Note

Everything is going great in Jarabacoa!!! 

We currently have 3 people with a baptismal date... Nelson for Nov 21, Juana for Nov 21 as well and Marlenis for Nov 28!!! I´m super excited! 

Nelson invited us to his house on Monday for a BBQ party and I can officially say that I have eaten the best chicken in the world. We also played Dominos, which is a Dominican favorite. Someone commented ¨Wow they learned really fast!¨Someoneelse said ¨It´s because they´re white!¨ Then I said something in Spanish and he said ¨She learned SPANISH too???¨ haha I love Dominicans.

Rainbows are beautiful here, and I have seen more on my mission than I have ever seen. It rains everyday in the late afternoon which makes it perfect rainbow weather.

Things are going great here in Jarabacoa... I love my mission and I love the people. Sorry I don´t have a lot of time to write a ton!!!

Here are some chicken eggs Nelson gave us... I ate one this morning and it filled me up like 4 eggs.

Surviving a Dominican Hospital for 5 Days... I´ll put that on my resume.

Ok before anyone freaks out I wasn´t sick, but my companion was.
It began a week ago, when she felt really dizzy all the time. On Friday we left the house 2 hours late because she had a migraine, and she was really suffering the entire time we were out, but didn´t want to go home. Our branch president kept telling us to go to the doctor, but we thought she was just a little nauseous.
At 5:30 am Saturday morning I was awakened to her shouting in her sleep... She was delirious with 102 fever. I called our Branch president and he and another member came by and took us to the emergency room. After they stuck her a million times (I felt bad for her because she is scared of needles!) they took us to room 303 and left us there until this morning... Well not exactly. They occasionally left a plate of rice for my companion and would wake us up at all times of the night to take blood tests... I´m not sure if 4am is the best time to wake up a patient, but whatever.
I´m really grateful for the members here in Jarabacoa. I think I gained weight from the food they brought us everyday. On saturday we had basically the entire branch squeezed into our little cell.
Hermana Peters´s family sent her a huge bouquet of sunflowers yesterday... We managed to get it into the house!

But we´re good now! We got out 2 hours ago because Elder and Hermana Grange came and saved us... They wouldn´t even let my companion leave her room until we payed the 19550 peso bill... She wasn´t even supposed to be unhooked from her IV but she took it out by herself.
Well this week was interesting but I sure learned a lot of Spanish medical terms!
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner

The Heroic Tales of Hermana Twiner

Ok sorry for the super cheesy title... My creative juices just aren´t working that well today.

Anyways... We´ve been super busy this week. We´ve made it a goal to contact every person we can on one street, then move on to the next. It´s really fun! Even if they aren´t interested they are usually nice and have interesting things to say. We even met a guy who regularly goes to Utah for work and loves the temple and wants to go inside. He said that we can teach him and he lives right behind the church!

My investigator Nelson is officially the sweetest, cutest old man in the world. He likes to invite us to crackers and cheese and orange juice and told us that he always feels better after our visits. He´s like my Dominican Grandpa.

My companion and I have started to try to get into shape... We´ve started running every day and have cut out sweets and fatty foods... We save a treat for Pday so we have something to look forward to. I´m already feeling better and have more energy. We are taking advantage of the avocados which are in season right now.

This week I hit 13 months... WHAT??? 

I love you all! 
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner

Conference, Yaroa, and Creepy Haitian Guy

Well This week was awesome... General Conference was amazing as always! To watch a session in the church on the computer, we bought yaroa, which is one of the best dominican foods... French fries topped with pork and sauce and cheese. 

We made lots of contacts this week, one of which was a guy from Haiti, who is super nice, but I think he´s more interested in his visa to the US than in the church. He´s come to every activity that we´ve invited him to and he tried to walk home with us last night.... We managed to get out of the church and take a detour. We made it to the corner where there is a big cement wall and BOOK IT! we were laughing... Only in the mission would we have this experiences. 

We have 3 investigators that have accepted to be baptized and we have set an offical  date with one of them.

I am really loving training. My ¨daughter¨ is just amazing. I am learning so much.

Sorry I didn´t have a lot of time to write today, but I love you all bunches!!!!!
Con Amor,
Hermana TWiner

The DR has survived Hermana Twiner for 1 Year!

Wow, I never thought that I would have ever made it this far... It´s definitely been a roller coaster this last year.  But I have learned SO much. I am not the same person that I was this time last year.
This week has also been a roller coaster... not much happened. We are trying to find more people to teach, but it seems like almost everyone isn´t interested.
On Friday we had a Young Women´s activity in President Buret´s house... I taught them the magical deliciousness of Smores! They LOVED it! And of course we ate a rice dish... It´s not a Dominican activity without rice and salami!
We had a lesson with Jackson, an awesome guy from Haiti. He accepts all our doctrine except for one VERY important one... the way in which we baptize. We are still working with him, telling him that God gives us answers depending on our efforts. We´ll keep praying for him.
Today we had Pday Santiago! We went with Hnas Frost and Bradford to the office and PriceSmart (It´s like Sams Club) and Wendy´s. It was pretty amazing. Hermana Frost goes home next week, so it was good to spend some time with her.
I love the mission... it´s the hardest but best thing I´ve ever done!
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner

Actually I'm in my 9th of 13 Transfer

Wow! It´s Wednesday AGAIN???? 
Well, this week was interesting... No baptisms, no one new accepted a baptism invitation, we had no investigators in sacrament meeting (Although we passed by someone´s house and they PROMISED that they would go!) 

Something fun? We went with the Elders to eat pizza at some touristy place in town... They served us some over priced and under flavored cherry juice. Oh, and there were about 20 other Americans there... This may sound strange, but I feel really awkward around Americans. They talk so... American. And they look weird. What´s it going to be like when I am IN America again, surrounded 24-7 by them? 

Our branch president, President Buret, is an awesome chef. He made us pizza last week, which was divine. I just realized that the last two paragraphs were about pizza... 

Have I ever mentioned that Dominicans think that the US is New York? I can´t tell you how many times I have to argue with someone that they are NOT the same thing... Dominican men have a tendency to ask us to marry them so that they can get their visa to ¨Nueva York.¨ Then I tell them that I´m not from New York, and they ask me where I´m from, and I reply the US. Then they say, ¨Well it´s the same thing!¨ 
Luckily there is a map of the US in the back of my Book of Mormon, which I have gladly colored in the state of New York and Tennessee to show that the US is MUCH bigger than New York.

What else happened? Oh yeah! 
My companion and I watched Charly a couple days ago... We cried. 

We are going to change Juana´s baptism date AGAIN because she isn´t coming to church. She´s been worried for her daughter, who was in a serious motorcycle accident about 2 months ago, but she wants to come back. She´s doing great with leaving coffee though!!!!

So we have a Haitian investigator named Jackson who is super smart and really religious... and strong in his opinion. He had a doubt about the manner in which we baptize (In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost), because in Acts 2 Paul tells everyone to be baptized in the name of Jesus. Then 3,000 people were baptized. 
So, I studied especially for him, found Matthew 28,19, when Christ commands his apostles to preach the Gospel and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. I happily shared this scripture with him, to which he replied ¨But no one was baptized in this instant!¨ I still don´t completely understand why it has to say that someone had to be baptized in the instant, but I know that what Christ commanded his apostles to do is how we should do it.
It was a struggle to not lose my temper in that lesson...

Another funny Dominican tendency... First lesson... We ask what their beliefs are about God. Then they tell us all about the Virgin Mary. 

I found mint-chocolate cookies! 

Today for a zone activity we had a barbecue and karaoke party, and watched a version of Beauty and the Beast while eating. Everyone got me to sing ¨I Dreamed a Dream¨ from Les Mis.

Well, I love you all very much and hope that everything is well with you! Thanks for your support and prayers on my behalf! 

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Twiner

Beginning Transfer 8 of 13! (August 12)

So today we had transfers! We are finally going to have a normal 6 week transfer! 
I am still in Jarabacoa with Hermana Kellogg!! She´s going home in a few weeks to start school, and I found out that I will be recieving a sister from my group who went home in my first transfer... Yep! That means I´m training!!!
Brittany got baptized on Saturday! It was amazing to see the love and support we recieved from the members. Afterwards we went to her house and made cupcakes in celebration.
Last night we had a girls´ night with our Sister Leaders. We made apple pie and had a good time talking. It was Hermana Bates´s last night... She, Hermana Gonzalez (My trainer) and several other awesome missionaries are going home today. I am grateful for my time in getting to know them.
Funny story... One of our less actives was fed up with her 12 year old son constantly leaving the house on his bike, even when she told him not to, so she told us that she slashed his tires... Just enough to let it explode when he put his weight on it. In that moment her son came up and said ¨Mom! My tire exploded!¨ and she said ¨Well, maybe you should listen better.¨ She was cracking up laughing!
I am loving the mission more than ever... It is amazing how the Lord can change you as you forget yourself and get to work. I love these people and am grateful for how the have embraced me as part of their family.
Love you all, and hope you have a wonderful week!
Con amor,
Hermana Twiner
p.s. I passed my 11 month mark the other day... Can someone tell me how to slow down time?