Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, 2013 New president & family, July 4th, good week

Girls Night IN - Young Women with
Sister Missionaries
A fun up-do hair-do for one of the YW

Mon. July 1:  After email last week, we stayed at Lopez's house from 1pm till 5pm!!  We did our laundry, I vacuumed our car, we ate some food, and I wrote some letters to Kristen Bean, SISTER EMMA SMITH, and the Scows. :)  We ran a couple of errands – for facial soap and food .  :)  In the evening, we had a great Girl's Night IN with young women “R” and “T” and Flor. :)  We had fun!!! 

Tues. July 2:  We had weekly planning for 2 hours.  Woot.  We taught about Patriarchal Blessings to recent converts Wanda and her daughter “S.”  I then had the opportunity to call Sis. Smartt (new mission president's wife!) about my hurting thigh.  They're from ALABAMA!  Try talking in Spanish with a Southern accent.  FUNNIEST, most awesome thing to hear ever.  Haha!! (Say this with the Southern accent: "Hola.  Como esta?  Bien?  Estoy agradecida!")  Anyway, she's so sweet and helpful!  We taught the Plan of Salvation to new investigator “G” (16 yrs old).  It was wonderful!  And she wants to be baptized Aug. 3- her birthday!!!  We then had ward meeting in the chapel, and planned for tomorrow.

Wed. July 3:  We drove to PONCE (1 hr drive) to get to know President Smartt and his family!!  :)  They're great!  President Smartt is 43 yrs old.  Sister Smartt likes to call the president "Lanny" (his full name is Philander Knox Smartt III). Haha,  They have 2 young daughters, ages 12 and 8.  President Smartt is from Burlingham, Alabama, and loves to work.  He is the primary share holder of a lot of companies (all us missionaries think he's a millionaire or something).  It's semi-intimidating.  BUT- he's nice and knows Spanish, and has the same physicality as Pres. Alvarado - Haha!  They're a very upbeat family!  WOOT!  In the evening, we met with "M-a," had choir practice, and met with a referral from the Elders, named MH.  :)  

This chicken is destined for a table
Thurs. July 4th!! - HAPPY JULY 4TH!!  I wore red and blue!  (and my skin's white, so it worked.)  We met with “N” in the morning, then visited with “C” in Anasco (she has such faith!).  We went over to Walgreens to buy some medical tape and gauze rolls after we got permission from Sis. Smartt (My thigh is so sensitive, even my clothes against it hurts! Ouch!)  Afterwards, we taught “N-a” and her teenage daughter “L.”  Around 6:45pm we met up with member Brother Montalbo, and ate at Sizzler’s!!  My first time! 
July 4 with Brother Montalbo
Woot!  It's kind of like Golden Corral.  It was nice to have a mini-celebration for July 4th!  I even heard a couple of my favorite songs in the background.  :)  I thought of Mom and Jonathan at Stadium of Fire the rest of the evening! :D  (I cried for a second missing them!)   Afterwards, we met with member Betsy, then drove to Anasco to get missionary Sis. Galvis (a sister missionary trainer who stayed with us the next day!)

Sister Galvis (in the middle) is a great missionary and trainer
Fri. July 5:  During Personal Study, I found some encouraging scriptures and prepared a visually-based lesson for “D” who wants to quit smoking!  (Thanks Elder Bean for the idea!)  We met with “M-re” after lunch, briefly met with “K” (who has a bunch of snazzy energy!), then ate food at Marta's.  Marta is a sweet, loving, kind lady (I’ve mentioned her before and you know I love her) but when I couldn't eat anymore, and there was still food in her BIG serving bowls, she began to sternly command me to eat: "COMER!  COMER!  COMER!"  Oh boyAlmost scared me!  Haha.  Anyway, we then drove to Anasco, said g'bye to (sister missionary trainer) Sister Galvis (it was fun to share the day with her!), and we got to briefly meet with “T” and “V.”  

Sat. July 6:  I had a lot of time to prepare the many different packages I want to send to my family!  WOOT!  We then got member Flor, and tried to meet with some people, but no was home when they should've been.  :(  Sad face.  In the evening, we met with MH and answered her very intelligent questions about the gospel!  :)  

Sun. July 7:  EARLY in the morning, before Church at 9am, we raced around trying to find our investigators and bring them to church, but no one was home in Anasco, or in Mayaguez.  Sad, sad day.  BUT our 16 yr old investigator “G” came to church!!!  :)  It was awesome!  And in Relief Society, we had 36 women present!  The most we've ever had!  WOOT!  Testimony meeting was really spiritually uplifting.  6'9" basketball player Gary from Logan, UT shared a STRONG, emotionally touching testimony (translated in Spanish by Bishop Berrios).  I also shared a simple testimony- all in Spanish.  I really enjoyed this testimony meeting, also sitting next to our  investigator / young woman “G”!  :)  We had lunch some time afterwards, and then met with “N”- sharing scriptures that testify that the Lord has revealed both The Bible AND The Book of Mormon to be His word to us.  :)  She seemed to understand, but she is a little hard for me to “read.” :)  I can tell she enjoys our visits, though.
Adiana is a great return-missionary and friend.
  We then carpooled in Adiana's car!  :)  She is such a blessing in my life!  She is an especially powerful example of the type of missionary (and person)  I want to be!  :)  How grateful I am that I know her!  (She's the member that served at SLC Temple Square.)  :)  We had a great lesson with spunky-fun “A”, and then had a mini meeting/interview in the chapel with Elder Acor.  We found other coquis too!  :)  We then all drove up to the Bishop's house in Anasco and ate some pretty fattening, but tasty food.  We planned late, till 10pm.  Whoops.  

Mon. July 8:  We cleaned our house at 6:30am.  We had normal studies, and then had a 1 hour session of weekly planning.  I then prepared 2 packages that are ready to be sent home, and we are now emailing!   WOOT!  :)
Elder David Bean stands in front of a view of Mairipora, Brazil
I enjoyed seeing all of Elder David's new pictures, which he emailed today!!!  His mission in Brazil is a BIG part of my mission in Puerto Rico!  I'm grateful I can serve a mission alongside twin David, and my friends! 
And Mom sent some pictures of the 4th from home!  :)  I'm so grateful for all the love and support we have as a family!  
Firework burst over Provo, UT
I hope all of you have a wonderful week!  I'll try to find more time to write to more people!!  Keep on keeping on! :)  

Love, Sister Bean

Another rainbow over Puerto Rico (West end of the island)
Land, ocean and sky 

July 1, 2013 A Bruise, a Butterfly and some Baby Iguanas

From our outing last week!
Hola otra vez!! :)  [Hello, again!]

Tues. June 25:  After emailing, we visited Marta's mom in the hospital, then had Ward Council meeting in the chapel. (The Mission Nurse, Sister Visker flew home today!  She was a special friend to me.)

"YI" and Hna Bean  I just love this boy!
Wed. June 26:  We contacted all around Kmart and other stores for 2 hours!  A lot of random groups of punk guys gave us all sorts of fruit...?  We ate and taught a lesson at Margarita's house, and then tried to find some new investigator's addresses- no good.  :( Couldn’t find them :(  To end the day, we visited with Hna. Marta and her grandson "YI."  :) 
Wonderful Marta - I love her, too!

Thurs. June 27:  We again contacted till lunch.  We then met with a new investigator named “C” (her lower leg was amputated).  She has SO MUCH faith and such a strong testimony!  She's a joy to teach!  She enthusiastically says "Amen" to everything we say.  We then visited a less active member named “E” with joyful, wonderful, happy member Adiana!  :)  The night ended sad for me, though, cause I got discouraged about the lack of Spanish that I have.  (“E” talks 1001 miles per hour...)  BUT the work continues.

Fri. June 28:  After studies, we went contacting, and while going down a hill, I hit a speed bump too quickly.  Well, I pitched forward, the bike wheel HIT my inner right thigh hard, and then my beloved, thick, heavy Mountain Bike fell on top of me as I hit the loose, HARD gravel road. :(  Pretty bad accident.  First bike fall (on a mission, and as an adult).  The Lord blesses his children, though, because the person whose house I fell in front of, came rushing up to me, hoisted me up, sat me down, gave me juice, and got out her first aid.  I cried ‘cause it hurt, and I was scared and… ya know.  BUT she made me feel better because she cleaned my knee (which is cut and scraped up) and stuff.  Titi is her name. :D  I was able to walk back home, and have some minutes to rest on my bed. I looked at family photos, listened to some special recordings from home, and felt better.  After lunch, we visited with Ana (a recent convert), “W” (an investigator), and Betsy (a member). We went contacting between visits.  This time I was understanding and speaking more Spanish!  It comes and goes.  But the day ended fairly well!  :)  My legs just hurt a lot.

BIG bruise!  Haha
Sat. June 29:  I woke up and looked down to see a GINORMOUS bruise on my thigh (and it's been growing and darkening ever since)!  Yippee.  I'm slightly worried about it- half my leg is black and blue.  
Moth / Butterfly thingy!
We tried to visit “S” or “R” but they weren't there.  A moth or butterfly thing was there instead.  Ha. :)  We visited with recent convert WR, and she told me some crazy techniques on how to heal my bruise!  (Use a comb on it??)  We then visited with “D” and her 2 girls. :)  These girls (ages 9 and 10) really, really like me.  And I adore them too! :)  The lesson was good- and “D” wants to quit her 20 years smoking habit. :)  WOOT!  (I wanna try Elder David's cigarette idea, taping scripture references onto the cigarettes and stuff.)  Haha.  We then ate some delicious rice and beans and meat at Ana's house (recent convert).

Sun. June 30:  Church classes were combined both hours - all on missionary work!  We are strengthening the members so they feel more comfortable/confident contributing to the work.  We met with new investigator AF (she's got a cute 6 yr old boy named “L” and she reminds me of Hna. Thomas from the CCM!)  She speaks English and Spanish, so I knew that the lesson went well. Haha :)  It’s nice to understand more.  She's wants us to come back again next Sunday!  We enjoy each other’s friendship. :)

Ruth the bishop's dau-in-law gives me some more wound care for the knee.
We then drove to Cabo Rojo and visited with Maritza and Irving (their twins “N” and “C” didn't have time to hear our message).  Elders Deaver and Blake in Cabo Rojo also showed up, and we had a nice time talking about the gospel! :)  We then went to the bishop’s to eat and talk about missionary work. :)  
Pres. Smartt arrived today.  He now holds the keys to missionary work here (because he was set apart and given those rights or keys by proper priesthood authority).  So, Pres. Alvarado is now released, and no longer has his mission president keys. :(  After about 3pm, the two of them had an hour-long meeting in the president’s office in the mission home, and that was that.  Fare thee well President Alvarado!  Thank you for helping me transition to being a missionary, and WELCOME Pres. Smartt!  :)

Our district July 1, 2013
Mon. the 1st of JULY!!  We got up at 5am to clean our house and car.  :)  We had District meeting at 7am.  We then did our car reports afterwards, and raced over to email! :) 
Future plans: We hope to go to the zoo today (the ONLY zoo in Puerto Rico) with the Elders and recent convert Cristian!
We're going to see our new Mission President Tuesday or later this week!
On July 4th an eldery member named Brother Montalbo is going to take Sister Flores and me to Sizzler's for a July 4 celebration/dinner! No one celebrates July 4th like Utah (Haha), but I'm grateful for his kindness.
I also have lots of letters I need to write (like, 3 weeks worth)!  Thank you to everyone for your love, prayers, and support!

This month of June was crazy!  Sister Flores had dengue fever for 2 weeks, I fell off my bike, we don't have a Mission Nurse anymore, but we got a new Mission President!  WOW!  Let's see what happens in July!  We have transfers about the 17th!  :) 

Until next time:  I LOVE YOU!! :)  Hermana Emily Bean

These boys had baby iguanas - I held one just after this picture!

Monday, July 1, 2013

June 24, 2013 Singing, teaching, touring and farewell

SOOOO much happened this week!  I will be as brief as I possibly can - don't have a lot of time …SO here we go…!

Mon. June 17:  After email, we did a couple errands (food, Walgreens) and then had a group FHE with Rose and Talia!  :) 
Family Home Evening group

This is a COQUI sitting on my missionary name tag!
Tues. June 18:  Got more bloods tests done for my companion Hna Flores.  Met with “B.”  Taught the Plan of Salvation to “S,” a newer investigator!!  Ward members Hna. Amaraliz and Edmary took us to Pizza Hut because today was Sis. Flores's 24th bday!!  There was a crab under our car.  As we were trying to slowly drive away, it ran in front of the car tire.  NO!!! :(   I think it was suicide…and we tried so hard to not run over it!  BUT we stopped by the chapel and I got to HOLD AND PLAY WITH A COQUI!  I saw it, and touched it!  WOW!  My tourist-goal came true already.  Perfecto!   After planning, I gave Sis. Flores a present and card. :)
Close up of the cute little coqui!

Choir rehearsal
Wed. June 19:  We went contacting in the hardcore RAIN!  We then visited with “M-ta.”  :)  We had a long visit with here.  That evening, we had our first official Choir practice!  We're singing Joseph's Smith's First Prayer Saturday for a stake talent show.  WOOT!  It was great to direct the choir and create an arrangement!  I'm also singing a solo called "The Maker's Touch." :)

Thur. June 20:  After studies, we drove up our neighborhood hill to find out about what looked like a SERIOUS fire that was there.  Turns out, a happy family was just burning tons of trash.  They, in return, gave us mangos (freakishly shook a tree to get the mangos down haha!) and let us see their new pitbull puppies.  haha We then gave them some information about the gospel and left. :)  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ to “L”, and also taught her granddaughter, also named “L!”  It was a great visit!  We then met with “AR” about the Word of Wisdom, and then with Marta.  We talked about charity. :)

Fri. June 21:  After studies, we met with “H” and her mom.   We had a crazy turkey stalk us during the lesson.  (The turkey gobbled when I gobbled.  Yup - !  I'm a professional gobbler.) 
This is the stalking turkey.  Gobble!
Afterwards, we met with “D,” and she wants to stop smoking!!!  We're so excited for her!  She's really making great changes for herself!  As we were then driving to Cabo Rojo, I saw a woman in bright blue, sitting on the curb of a bar, and I felt that I should stop driving, and talk to her.  It was a wonderful experience and we have her info, and a visit set with her sister too! :)  In Cabo Rojo, we saw 8 people in one family baptized!!  And then contacted a reference from the Elders, to visit a woman who just lost her mom to cancer 2 months ago.  It was a very sad experience for “E” to lose her mom like that.  I am so grateful we know God’s plan for us, and can bear testimony that “E” will see her mom again.

Sat. June 22:  We RACED over to Marta's house, cause her elderly mom had to go to the Intensive Care center.  Marta was feeling extremely sad and called us to come over there immediately.  We comforted her and shared some scriptures and our testimonies of encouragement and about the gospel. :)  We then drove to Anasco for some contacting.  We ate pasta at a member's house.  We then raced over to the chapel in Mayaguez for our Stake Talent Show. 
Pink power rangers Haha!
After running through our song a couple times and setting up my karaoke song from my iPod, the activity began.  I sang first, then I directed the choir (who sang great and followed me perfectly!)  The rest of the night, I sat with “D” and her 2 girls (daughter and cousin I think).  We were all wearing PINK! :)  Haha!  There was lots of food (of course -This is PR!).  Afterwards, SO many members talked to me!  We then met with “T” and her boyfriend. :)  The night ended kinda scary when we heard 3 gunshots go off 2 apartments down.  “T” and her wonderful neighbor escorted us back to our car.  WHEW!

Missionaries and members on Sunday June 23
Sun. the 23
:  Church was lovely, and I sat by 3 young Primary girls: “N,” “M” and “P.” :)  They drew me pictures. :)   Sis. Flores and I packed our stuff after church, and at 2pm, drove to the office in Bayamon!  We were the first to arrive!  At 6pm, ALL us missionaries in Puerto Rico watched the Worldwide Leadership training!  In Spanish translation.  Woot.  haha! :) I understood half-ish of what was said.  I also saw some familiar faces - John W and a couple of fellow Women's Chorus ladies (from my BYU days)!   I looked for my brother Jonathan who sang in the HUGE choir of around 2,000 (1,100 missionaries from the Provo MTC and about 900 local members), and my mom (who was there), but the camera did not show them.  I also received some letters- one from Sister Emma Marie Smith (shes’s on a mission in  )!!! And the other from Kristen Bean!  WOOT!  After the broadcast and meeting with Pres. Alvarado, Hna. Flores and I stayed over with the sisters in Bayamon.

Mon. June 24:
  Got up at 4:30am.  Drove through RAIN, FLOODS, and WIND to get to a chapel in a nearby city.  ALL us missionaries had our studies, and then everyone carpooled up to Old San Juan!  For the majority of the morning, we got to look around the El Morro!!!  The most famous site in Puerto Rico!! 

On the trolley car on our way to El Morrow
Hna Bean in a turret of the old castle

Beautiful view from the castle wall
Back at the chapel, we all lined up and shook hands (exchanged our last comments) to Sister and President Alvarado.  They then shared their testimonies, and we sang "God Be With You Till We Meet Again." It was spiritual, and sad.  Their family waved goodbye and exited out of the chapel.  That was our last time seeing the Alvarados. :(   On the way back to the Bayamon apartment with another pair of sisters, our car was making BAD noises. We pulled over on a deadly highway, waited for the Elders to come, and rip off a rubber backing that was against our tire.  It was stressful!  But we soon got on our way!  Whew!  After we sisters split to our separate cars again, Sister Flores and I got lost trying to find the number 2 that would lead us to Mayaguez.  (I don't like feeling lost. haha) .  AND it was after dark.  Everything looks stranger at night.  Eventually, we figured out we were right by the office in Bayamon.  I had a feeling to go there and receive a blessing of comfort, even though it was almost 8pm.  To my amazement, the Whitakers were there, and after being comforted by Sister Whitaker, Elder Whitaker gave me a blessing. :)  He said that I would be able to drive to Mayaguez (a 2+ hour drive) safely.  After goodbyes, Sister Flores and I filled up our car with gas, and at 8:30pm started our drive back to Mayaguez.  I felt half asleep at times, but my eyes remained open.  Our car was guided, and yes we did make it safely to Mayaguez by about 10:30pm (VERY late considering mission hours).  We were so grateful for our safety!  I then called the Mission Nurse, Sister Visker and wished her well for her trip to Lehi, Utah, the next morning.  We're gonna be in touch every now and then.  :)  Around 11pm, I had the strength and energy (and the will), to read my Patriarchal Blessing – as this is the anniversary of when I received it. :)  WHAT A DAY THIS WAS!  WOW!!!  Wonderful.

Tues. June 25:  We had our normal studies and weekly planning.  We then had lunch and now we're emailing at the University.  :)  Life is good, life is about to change AGAIN (with the change in mission president), and I certainly am hoping I can change well with the change. :)  I hope all is well with you!  I love you all, and keep you in my prayers!  Till next week!  Love, Sister Bean

More views of our day at the castilla, Old Puerto Rico, etc.:

Famous street of typical pastel houses
La Perla - a dangerous crime area.  Scary!
Second generation of missionaries!
Our mothers both served in France Paris.  

I got a picture with Hermana Page!  Her mother, Soeur Lund, and my mother, Soeur Kirkwood, were
sister missionaries in the France Paris mission!!

They were junior companions to Soeur Wright (our good friend Anne Wright Adams) - my mom when she was in Orleans with Soeur Wright, and Hna Page's mom when she was in Bordeaux with Soeur Wright!  How COOL is that?!?! :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Missionaries gather to honor President Alvarado

June 24, 2013:  Missionaries from the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission gathered for this photo
with President Alvarado and his family.  Our Hermana Emily Bean is on the front row, 8th in from the left.

GRACIAS to the Alvarados for their excellent service 
     to all the people within the Puerto Rico San Juan Mission!

June 17, 2013 Back and forth and finally home, again!

Our angel:  mission nurse Sister Visker!
Tues. June 11: We packed and were free to drive back to Mayaguez!!  We got a ton of pills and food for Hna Flores, and once home spent the bulk of the day in our own house.  It was really good to be “home.”  I had lots of free time to unpack, organize my stuff, eat lunch, and focus on studying, etc while Hna Flores rested.  At 7pm we went to our Ward Council Meeting, even though we had not been able to meet with ANYBODY this entire week.  We just enjoyed being there.  

Wed. June 12:  We made plans for two visits today, but before that could happen we got a frantic call from Sister Alvarado (wife of the mission president and sort of our mission “mom.”).  She called us AND our mission nurse, Sister Visker, and said we had to RACE back up to Guaynabo (a 2+ hour drive) to the hospital!!  Something was VERY, VERY wrong with Sister Flores!  They had received more blood test results that morning (from the blood drawn on Monday), and her numbers for her liver were 10X more than they should be! (Instead of a normal 30 and 50, they were like 300 and 500.)  So, from this sudden emergency call, we packed for the week, and drove up there!  We met up with Sister Visker who immediately took us to the hospital.  We waited in the FREEZING waiting room for hours and hours--for the rest of the day!!  They took Hna Flores’ blood again, checked other things, gave more tests, and FINALLY found out, at about midnight, that her numbers were already down since last they checked – and it was not as serious as they’d thought.  Of course, it was all a reaction from her having dengue.  Whew.  We did not need to stay the night in the Emergency Room, or the week in the hospital.  THANK HEAVENS!!  We then conked out at Sister Visker's house in Guaynabo, at 12:30am. 

Thurs. June 13:  7:30am we got up, packed, and once again drove back down to Mayaguez (2+ hour drive).  We got a couple things at Kmart, and I had a much wanted Taco Bell visit!!   We got back to the house safe and sound.  Later that evening, we had a chance to make a visit and talk about the 10 Commandments.  The woman we visited had concerns about obeying "Honor thy father and thy mother" as her parents are not exactly honorable in her eyes.  We talked a lot about that particular commandment.  Then we met with Marta, who is no longer in the hospital in Mayaguez, but she is still pretty sick.  She's back in her house, and trying to stay there - ’cause they don't have any more money for the hospital. :(  

The Espinosas will soon return home.
Fri. June 14:  The morning was relaxed and chill.  We studied and read, and waited for the senior missionaries Hno & Hna Espinosa to come inspect our house.  They brought MY MAIL!!  Thank you to Holly, Melissa, Uncle Mark, Mom, and Andrew Woodruff!   I spent some time writing some responses. In the evening we went over to the chapel and helped set up for the Ward Father's Day Dinner and Party. 
Big sign made for Father's Day dinner
It was A KILLER PARTY!!  People in Puerto Rico really care about Father's Day!  Big celebration!  The food was "rico!" :) And so, so good (except for the deep-fried pork skin chips I tried – they are not very “rico” – uh)!  I talked with Adiana N, who had just returned from her visit ALL OVER Utah last week!  She visited the Salt Lake City Temple, BYU Campus, and other such places!  Most important, she was sealed to her deceased parents.  What a blessing.  :)  We had a lot of fun talking about Utah.  :)   We both LOVE Utah so much.  Utah is our home! :) 
 We then watched a powerpoint that our ward Relief Society president had put together honoring people's fathers, or fatherly-figures who have been examples of strength and goodness for them.  I had submitted a picture of my Uncle Mark (like 2 weeks ago) as one such person in my life, and it was fun to see his face flash up on the screen! :)

Sat. June 15:  I had a lot of time to read today (while comp rested):  The Book of Mormon, and also Teachings of Lorenzo Snow. :)  We then met with recent convert Wanda, and also with Margarita.  It was a chill day – as we try to make sure Hna Flores gets her rest.  

Hna Bean w/ 6' 9" Garrett
Sun. June 16:  Church was nice!  2 little Primary girls gave me missionary drawings, and also made paper missionary nametags for themselves!  SO cute! :)  We also had a 6'9" basketball player from Logan, Utah visit, named Gary or Garrett.  Everybody wanted their picture with him!  IT was so funny!  I then read The Book of Mormon during lunch time (got from 2 Nephi to Mosiah!!)  We then drove to Cabo Rojo (the next city over) and visited with Maritza and Irvin.  They asked me tons of questions about UTAH – ’cause they are thinking about moving there. :)  They said that my coming to their house was an answer to their prayers!  It was a wonderful and very happy time talking to them, but poor Hna. Flores didn't understand any of it, ’cause she doesn't know English!  Haha  Afterwards, we had a group family dinner at the Bishop's with the Elders.  It was also very, very good!  (I better find a good diet --if this is what the Puerto Ricans do for Father's Day, then what's it going to be like when Thanksgiving and Christmas come around!?!  lol) 

5' 9" Hna Bean w/ tiny Hna Flores
Mon. June 17:  7am we had a District Meeting.  9:30am, we drove to the Post Office, where after weeks and weeks of waiting- I FINALLY have postal boxes, and tape, and bubble wrap, and more stamps!!!  WOOT!  I'm so excited!  From 10:15-noon, we did some laundry, and washed/vacuumed our car at member Lopez's house.  Whew!  NOW, we're back at the Mayaguez University, emailing! :)  What a crazy, random, kinda slow, yet kinda fast week!! 

Today, we might be going to the Zoo with the Elders and a recent convert Cristian.  We'll also be having an FHE group at Rose's house (talking about Eternal Families!).  Tuesday we're going to go to a Lab and get Hna. Flores's blood drawn and tested again - to be sure the numbers are going back down to normal.  Wednesday at 7pm, we will have Choir Practice, and practice singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" for the Stake Talent Show, which is this Saturday night.  I will also be singing a solo!  (That is, of course, another JOY for me!)  

Well, that's that!  I love you all!  Have a wonderful, wonderful week, and I'll write again NEXT Monday! :)  The work continues!  
Love, Sister Emily Bean 

Hna Wilson, another sister missionary in PR,
will be going home next week.  Don't you love our stair-step heights?!

Love, Sister Emily Bean

June 10, 2013 Dengue Fever week

Hello friends and family!  It's Sister Bean again!  Well, another week has gone by, and it has felt like the slowest, laziest week of my mission thus far, BECAUSE my poor munchkin-sized companion, Sister Flores, caught dengue fever Sunday, and we haven't been able to work ALL week.  It was hard to tell the District leader, ALL our numbers were zero.  :(  Here's more detail about each day.

Mon. June 3:  After many hours at Bishop's house, with Hna Flores at 100.3 degrees, we hurried over to Kmart to buy whatever food we could get quickly. I had time to grab 3 new shirts that cost $16 each. :)  Color, style, and fit are perfect and they make me happy.  Haha The thing is my clothes are getting too big, and not very presentable to wear.  And the missionary handbook says, wear clothes not too tight and not too loose.  I'm practically wearing tents, so I'm VERY happy with these 3 great shirts!  And they're MODEST!  uh huh!  : )

Tues. June 4:   It was a slow morning, but we got through our Weekly Planning, up until Sister Flores threw up and stumbled back into bed.  She's really SICK –very weak. :(    I then had hours and hours to organize my study desk and read and write.  Sis Flores kept throwing up, almost every hour.  So I called the mission nurse, Sister Visker, and she gave me instructions.  We were told not to go to our Ward Council meeting, so I had to write all of our information in Spanish, and complete our weekly form.  WHEW!  The Elders then came over to our apartment, and visited me in the drive way. We talked about Sis. Flores's condition, and they delivered the weekly mail (THANK YOU MOM FOR THE PICTURES, AND MELISSA FOR YOUR LETTER!), and discussed this week's up-coming interviews with Pres. Alvarado.  

Wed. June 5:  Hna. Flores seemed to be getting worse, so I called Sister Visker, and through her authorization, we were allowed to drive the 2.5 hour drive up to Guaynabo (her house) that very moment, without the Elders.  So we packed, I prepared our food, and closing down the house. We drove straight to Sister Visker's house with no problems in just about 2 hours.  :)  I felt like an ambulance! :)  Sis. Visker whisked Sis. Flores into bed and started serious medication.  The rest of the day was relaxed and easy (for me), with visits from other sister missionaries, and long hours of study.  

President Jorge Alvarado
Thurs. June 6:  We got to the office, and from 7am till 5pm, we were in Bayamon, reviewing basic missionary info and learning how to better ourselves as servants of the Lord.  During this time, Pres. Alvarado took each person, and had an interview with everyone, for only 10 minutes. This day was our last interview with President Alvarado.  I anxiously waited my turn, and prepared a novel of a thank you card to him, with my missionary picture.  Soon, around 3:15pm, AP Elder Peacock (everyone says we look alike), escorted me to President's office.  The 10 minutes whizzed by.  I couldn't believe it.  It was strange, yet spiritual, and emotional.  He talked, I listened, I smiled, we cried, and then he opened the door, shook my hand, I gave him my card, and that was that.  It wasn't what I expected.  But it was what it was.  :(  That evening back at Sister Visker's house, I had many questions and Sister Visker answered them with such simplicity and logical faith.  The day was good.
Fri. June 7:   I was spent the whole day in Sister Visker's house staying with my sickie companion, Hna. Flores. I feel so sorry for her. :/  I read and studied and wrote and ate.  That was it.  I also watched some Church videos.  Sister Visker let me watch "17Miracles," and may I just say:  a mission is NOT hard compared to what the pioneers went through traveling with handcarts.  WOW.  Anyway, that was my day.  No work.  Just study and a little media.  Feeling sluggish, and kinda stuck.  

Sat. June 8:  We had planned to leave for Mayaguez at 10am, but Sis. Flores threw up again and her body can't hold down any food, or even handle any movement, besides resting in bed. Dengue is a VERY sensitive disease, and the effects of it can last from a month, to 3 months.  It can kill, and there's NOTHING like it in the states.  And it's ALL from an infected mosquito.  It's horrific.  I'm terrified of getting it.  Those mosquitoes are out during the day.  Oh gosh I hope I don't get dengue.  Sister Visker said about 1/3 of the missionaries here in Puerto Rico have gotten it.  It's nasty, nasty stuff.  
Anyway, today was just another day in the Visker house: studying, watching, reading, writing, eating, and going a little nuts (stir crazy).  But at least I am well.  

Call out to Elder David Bean- if dengue's possible in Brazil, wear OFF and pray you don't get it.  It's worse than malaria.

Sun. June 9:   Sister Visker had me go to church with Sisters Parker and Dominguez (while she stayed home with Hna Flores).  We sisters attended both the English sacrament meeting and the Spanish one.  The APs (Elders Peacock and Mello) know how worried we are about Hna. Flores, so they went over to Sister Visker's house, gave them the sacrament, and also gave Hna. Flores a blessing.  I was with the other sisters at the time, so I wasn't there.  Anyway, we eventually got back, and ate a DELISH gluten-free dinner - thanks to Sister Visker. :)  Then it was ANOTHER day with hours and hours of free-time.  Same old, same old.  Think how tired of this Hna Flores must be! 

Sis Visker: a nurse, a cook and...
she carves wood, too!

Mon. June 10:  Sister Visker and Sister Flores went to the Lab to get some blood tests done for Sis. Flores.  Sister Visker gave me a fieldtrip!!  She let me go with Sisters Parker and Dominguez to their District meeting today at 7am!  :)  It was so nice to get out of the house and know that missionary work is still going on in Puerto Rico!  Haha  It was nice to be a part of it again.  After the meeting, we drove to a LEGIT, ENORMOUS 2 story Walmart and got some food/snacks. We then cleaned the house.  I'm now emailing from Sis. Visker's laptop.  :) 

Well, that's my week.  I certainly never know how my days are going to unfold.  I don't know when we'll drive back to Mayaguez this week.  We probably will soon.  Sis. Flores is getting slowly better.  But this MONTH is going to be very, very slow.  Our schedule will basically be morning studies, sleep.  Lunch, sleep.  Go out to give one lesson.  Back to the house to sleep/rest.  Maybe give a second  lesson, then back to the house for the rest of the afternoon.  That's what Sis. Visker says we have to do.  If we push Sis. Flores too hard, then she'll take longer to recover or even get worse, rather than better.  Sis. Flores doesn't like that, and isn't too patient with that thought.  Sometimes she doesn't obey when Sis. Visker isn't around.  This month may be hard, slow, long, and with little work.  I'm worried.  But it's been a HUGE blessing to have Sis. Visker to help us.  Her mission is done in 2 weeks.  She'll be back in Lehi, UT very, very soon.  So, I dunno what's going to happen after Sister Visker leaves (there's no nurse replacement).  PRAY that I don't get dengue.  It's dengue season, and that's always very, very bad.  OH and it's also hurricane season. The days are getting hotter.  :)  “FUN” stuff coming up right?  :)  Haha  ANYWAY, I'm still a missionary, trying to help my very sick (and sometimes confused) companion.  I will need to apply much patience this next month.  

I love you all, and can't wait to receive my mail for this week (I'll get it when I'm back in Mayaguez).  I LOVE YOU ALL!  HAVE A GREAT START OF YOUR SUMMER VACATION and I'll write again next week! :)  Love, Sister Emily Bean

My study desk 

June 3, 2013 Lots of Lessons about the Plan of Salvation

This structure is a handy landmark -
not far from our house.
Another CRAZY week!  Read on!

Mon. May 27:  After sending emails, we bought some food at the store, and then visited with Marta in the hospital. 

Tues. May 28:  We had lunch (spaghetti!) at the Valle's house, and taught the Plan of Salvation to recent convert “O.”  :)  We visited with Marta again in the hospital, and felt the spirit so strongly as we visited with Sonia, her daughter who was visiting.  :)  We then had Ward Meeting. :) 

Wed. May 29:  We did a fair amount of contacting, then visited with “AR” and her neighbor “M.”  Afterwards, AR wanted some curtains hung up.  I tried to understand what she wanted, but instead, they all just howled with laughter at my confused face. :)  How wonderful for them - Haha.  :)  (This happens to me – a lot! )  Anyway, we then drove out to a struggling member’s house, and discovered she has become confused about some basic things (such as why church attendance is a blessing, or why the commandments should be kept), so we are patiently re-teaching her.  :)  We ended the day at Rose's house.  We taught the Word of Wisdom to “E” and “V.”  They seem to be determined people, and I pray they will progress well. :)

Thurs. May 30:  After morning studies, Hermano Montalbo (a ward member) invited us sister missionaries and the Elders for lunch at Chili's Restaurant.  :) It was super good!  Everyone get the Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta.  Haha  

We then visited with “L” - a less active, and then got Abigai  (a Young Woman) to come with us to visit “T” to whom we taught the Plan of Salvation.  :)  Later, we met with “M,” and then had a Family Home Evening- type group get-together at Hermano Florencio's house.  They didn't have a DVD player, so Sis. Flores and I had to come up with something fast!!!  After much talking and scripture reading about eternal families, I had everyone do an activity.  I gave every one a piece of paper, and a pen, and we all drew our family within 10 minutes.  Then we had A LOT of fun going around explaining our pictures.  SO funny!!  We had a great evening, with delicious munchies afterwards!  (I'll be sure to get the recipes within 14 more months!)
Drawing pictures of our family members.
One of the great teachings of the restored gospel is that families can be sealed together for eternity in holy temples.

Fri. May 31:  We got in member Nellie's car and visited with “N” and “A.”.  :)  They're doing well and coming to church! :)  We then visited with “D” and her family, and once again, we taught the Plan of Salvation.  :)  Woot!!  Nellie lost her phone, so we spent some time looking for it.  No good results.  :/  After we got back to our car, we drove to the hospital (a different one called Perea), and we visited with Marta and her family.  I took the lead this time, and read/explained the story of Abraham and his experience with his son Isaac.  The Lord blesses us, AFTER the trial of our faith.  I then applied this biblical story and truth to Marta and  her two week situation in the hospital.  She began to cry and bore her testimony.  Such an incredible experience with her family. :)  Side note: They all say I'm learning Spanish quickly... I dunno.   In the same hospital, we visited with member Betsy who has health problems from  past cancer treatments.  She's doing okay though.  Later, before going home to our apartment/house, we stopped at the Lopez’s.  Hermana Lopez (a member) made us mashed potatoes, toast, and hot chocolate!  :)  Fun stuff!  The people do love to feed us.

Car wash and turkey sandwiches
Sat. the 1st of JUNE!!! - I’ve completed 4 months!!  It feels like 4 months, and yet it doesn't... BUT YEAH!!  We did some service for Hermana Amaraliz by thoroughly washing her car.  :)  She made us triple cheese/turkey sandwiches!  Oh boy!! 

Hermanas Flores and Bean with Bishop Berrios
The Elders helped us fill out our monthly car report, and then we drove to the Bishop's to celebrate his birthday!!  The Puerto Ricans know how to party and how to eat.  Whoa!!

Apostasy Jenga at the Obispo's (Bishop's) party
We played Apostasy Jenga with the Elders and members, and had INTENSE sea food!!!  I had the best slushie ever made, and I gave Bishop a card (written in Spanish! – not perfect, it was a word-for-word exact translation, but the best I could do, and Bishop understood).  We then visited with AR, and on the way to the house, I ran over my first animal.  :(  I ran over a turtle.  How sad and stupid is that?!  Who runs over a turtle??  I didn't even see it- it wasn't moving, there weren't any glinting eyes, and the shell was the color of the street.  I felt so bad.   :(  My goodness.  It was a sad and weird way to end the day... 

Sun. June 2:  In Relief Society, returned sister missionary (early April) Jaz M. from Caguas came to visit her boyfriend!!  It was great to see her!  Anyway, church was great, testimony meeting was nice, and guess what- it finally hit me: we have ZERO young men!  Anyway, after church, we had our first choir get-together in the front of the chapel!  I was in charge!  We sang a short hymn, said a prayer, figured out that Sundays after church and Wednesday nights at 7pm work for everyone, and then we had another prayer to close.  I am soooo excited to be a choir director!  I've always wanted to be one, but little did I know my first experience would be in a Spanish-speaking ward in Puerto Rico!  Oh my word!  I'm on an island teaching people the gospel and teaching people how to sing!  Looooove it!  After lunch, we visited with Betsy, and then with Marta again and they're both doing much, much better.  Then we went over to J's house, to start our first lesson with her, but Sis. Flores asked me to call the Mission Nurse because her bones and back and head were hurting.  It turns out she has dengue fever!!   It's a nasty high-fever illness you get from a mosquito bite.  :(  I got many instructions from Sis. Visker, the nurse, and Joann gave us Tylenol, a gallon of juice, and some fruit to take with us.  :)  She's adorable.  We got to the house about 6:30pm and I checked Hna Flores’ temperature.  102.4 degrees!!  She went to bed, and I suddenly had unexpected free time...  Elder Acor said my music on my iPod was approved, SO AFTER HOW MANY MONTHS?? I listened to my iPod while writing and studying. :)  It was nice, but weird!  Music is very important to me.

Mon. June 3:   3am and 7am, I gave Sis. Flores more Tylenol with the hydration drink (which is juice and water mixed with a pinch of salt.  "Pinch of salt, lots of love..." Haha!  Playing nurse is fun.  :)  Sis. Flores is so upset she's sick!  It's so cute, and actually such a powerful example of a hard-working missionary.  :)  Wow.  The morning was relaxed, and around 1:30pm we drove to the chapel for the Elders to give her a blessing.  Her temp got down to 99.5 so she's getting better.  We also got Zantac from the Elders.  :)  Now, we're emailing and doing laundry at the Bishop's house. :)  Woot!  Anyway, I'm so grateful for this mission experience!  It's hard though, ’cause as much as you plan for the day, you never know HOW it's going to go, or what's going to happen!  It's crazy!  But, I love you all!  I'm sending out more letters so people watch out! :)  Thank you for your support!  Have a spectacular week!  
Love, Sister Emily Bean

Below: pictures of lessons teaching the Lord's plan of happiness for us, often called the Plan of Salvation.  It answers questions such as "Where did I come from?"  "Why am I here?" and "Where am I going?"

We are each a beloved spirit child of Heavenly Father's.
We lived with God in a pre-mortal state prior to our birth.
We are here to gain a body and be tested.  We live by faith - keeping the commandments.
God knew we would make mistakes and sin, so He provided a Savior for us.
We will be resurrected someday, and assigned to a kingdom of glory.
God loved us, so He sent His Son to help us return to Him through
the atonement.