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.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

May 27, 2013 FHE, "Blondie" Flores, orphaned kitty, friends at church

Ward Mission Ldr Rosario, Nellie, Hna Bean and Family Home Evening FUN!
Mon. May 20:  After late night email at a member's house, we had FHE with A LOT of members, and a couple visitors! :)  It was an activity about agency, and trying to roll water and cornstarch into a perfect ball. :)  We had a light dinner afterwards, and Nellie told me my blog is being acknowledged by OTHER missionary blogs!!!  :)  

Tues. May 21:  We visited Marta, who is in the hospital (asthma/pneumonia) and the hospital is scary!  It's a grey, blank, plastered, place.  :(  I think it's one of the older hospitals).  I had an impression to rub Marta’s feet, and she enjoyed it!  I also enjoyed it ’cause she was wearing fuzzy socks!!  Haha ! :)  Mom - I miss the massages!  Haha!  We contacted, and then visited with member Betsy (had dinner at her house).

Wed. May 22:  I FINALLY put tiny, colorful tabs in my Spanish Bible! :)  YEAH!  :)  He met with Magaly and her niece “E”, and watched the amazing DVD Finding Faith in Chris t- in English! :)  It was great!  Then we met with one of the families who live WAY up in the mountains.  Sadly, our progressing investigator, 14 yr old “M” was gone. :(  Today, I also started the All Scripture challenge.  :)  I will try and read The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price before the end of Sept or Oct. :)  It's great!  :)

Hermana Flores as a blonde?!?!
Thurs. May 23:  We had the opportunity to have ward mission leader Hermano Rosario with us for a couple hours.  We met with less active “A” and then “AR”  :)  They were great!  We then had lunch at the Balle's (members).  We visited with their 10 yr old granddaughter, and she brought out a long, blond wig that Sis. Flores tried on.  It was hilarious, and we just had to snap some photos!  Haha!!  :) 

We stopped by the Lopez's house and I found a very, very talkative, loving, hungry white and yellow kitten!  It slept in my hand!  The heartbreaking thing was that a family member pointed out a grown white and yellow cat in the road that had gotten killed. :(  It was the same color!  The kitten lost it's mother  :(  I cried and cried.  Lopez gave the kitten some food.  I took a picture of the kitten, and then just had to get outta there.  I NEVER want to see a run-over cat again.  No no no. (I love cats - we have 4 back home).  Anyway, we then went to Marta's house, and visited with her mom and niece “T”- who gave us hot chocolate, sandwiches and crackers.  They give us so much when they have very little!  It's hard to accept, but they so want to feed us!  They are so humble, kind and giving.

Fri. May 24:  We visited Marta again in the hospital- she's getting worse. :(  She's in intensive care. :(  We then visited with a recent convert, who needs support in keeping the Word of Wisdom.  I LOVE teaching about the Word of Wisdom!  And I felt the spirit like none other as I was testifying to her that she can overcome bad habits/addictions.  :)  I have a firm testimony about the Word of Wisdom, and love sharing it with others!  It is…  FUN to teach and testify about it!  Then we got young women Flor and Abigai to go with us to visit “M” up in the mountains- but sad news.  We learned that the children have been divided up into foster families elsewhere in Puerto Rico to help them sort out some family problems. :(   I will miss “M” a lot.  She was doing so well, and was truly coming closer to Christ.  I hope she seeks out the missionaries in her area.  :)  She has a lot of faith.  I know God has His eye on her, and she is in His watch-care (as well as the rest of the family).

Sat. May 25:  Sis. Flores and I were running out of food, yet she made spaghetti with sour cream sauce!  It was actually bearable!  :)  What a surprise that was!  Haha!  After lunch, we drove in a serious rain storm (IT RAINED ALL WEEK!) and we met with Yamari- and talked about something- but I couldn't keep up ’cause it was fast Spanish!!  HaHa!  We then tried to make other visits with other people - but…no one was home that afternoon.  :(  We ended up helping clean member Betsy's house while my clothes washed in their washing machine.  yeah! :)

Sun May 26:  An iguana was across the street from our house!  They run REALLY scary-like!  They will haunt my dreams now.  Running Iguanas.  Terrifying.  Haha.

Church, though, was great!  “A” and “O” (less active youth) came to church!!  I called them that morning, left a message, and they came!!  It just goes to show that everyone needs a friend and an occasional invite :)  We all sat together during sacrament meeting. :)  Later, we visited with Marta's family, and even though her husband isn’t particularly interested in religion, he repeated Sis. Flores's closing prayer.  He smiled so big after that prayer.  A smile sure means a lot. 
We took a picture of all of us (even their cat Garfield).  It was a great lesson!  

Afterwards, we followed the Elders of our zone up to Pontezuela, for a meeting Monday morning in the Bayamon Mission Office. :)  We slept at Sis Erickson's house! :)  We sister missionaries all had a great “girl's night out,” and all wrote in our journals together, with buns on top of our heads, writing about our missionary experiences.  Haha - it was quite fun ! :)

Mon. May 27:  We drove to the office, and had a GREAT conference with President Cornish (our area president), and Pres and Sis. Alvarado.  :)  What powerful messages!  It's SO sad to think how much I will miss the Alvarados.  We are getting a new mission president the end of June.  Hermana Flores and I then drove ALL the way back to Mayaguez, and bought food for the week. We called around to find a place to email, and then drove to the Bishop's.  :)  YEH!  :)  Well, I LOVE YOU ALL!  I wish I had more time to go into more detail, but know this: I am grateful for these experiences!  Transfers are the beginning of June, so I dunno who I'll be with or where I might go, but I think I may stay in Mayaguez…We shall see. 

THANK YOU to Lonette Stoddard and Aly Jensen for your letters!  I'll respond soon!  I still need to write Anne Adams, and other people who wrote me!  I love you all!  :)  Shout out to Jonathan -  you are awesome! Happy Birthday tomorrow!  Thanks for being my brother.  And thanks, too, to my twin Elder David! :)  Love you Mom!  Thanks for all the support!  I really do love you all.  Have a great week!  This work is real.  This work is hard. This work is worth it.  :)   Hermana Emily Bean

Monday, June 17, 2013

May 20, 2013 Inspirational training mtg and my new Puerto Rican Driver's license

Mon. May 13:  Night time, we drove to Bayamon, by ourselves, a 3 hour drive, but thankfully, we got to Bayamon in 2 hours because there was no traffic!  We found Sis. Wilson's house and slept at her apartment!
Left to right:  Elders Varner, Ovatt and Zenger
Tues. May 14:  We had THE BEST training for new missionaries at the Bayamon office!  Three return missionaries, Elders Zenger, Varner, and Ovatt came and taught great lessons!  Brother Zenger is an MTC Teacher in Provo!!  HE is an INCREDIBLE teacher!  WOW!  I have great notes about his talk!  :)  One of the things he said was, "This work should matter to you, as much as it does to Him."  :)  I said the closing prayer after the 5 hour meeting, and afterwards, some American missionaries commented how I sounded fluent… (hahaha I wish!).  
I then had several things to have done at the mission office, such as getting my documents to get my Puerto Rican Driver's License (next P day)!  Elder Pietz helped us fill our tires with air, and we then drove back to Mayaguez!  We visited Lourdes, who gave us stew for dinner, and then had Ward Council meeting in the chapel.  I talked about the people we're meeting with and what their different needs are, IN SPANISH!  Yeh!

Wed. May 15:  Morning studies were regular, and then we visited with a recent convert “C”, who has a very forceful aunt who attacked me with questions about the church.  She wanted to “Bible Bash” about different doctrines.  I just listened and prayed she would calm down.  (It was kind of sad and also alarming – Christians may disagree about points of doctrine, but to “attack” one another over it?  The Savior taught us to be peaceable. To be contentious like that is to be so…not like Jesus.)  Well, we got out of there alive!  We then drove up the mountains to visit with “M” - a 15 yr old who is interested in the church. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and I used my big diagram! :)  IT WAS AMAZING!  Best lesson I ever gave in Spanish.  Visuals are genius!!!  I also extended the invitation to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by proper priesthood authority, and she said YES!  :)  We're hoping for June 8th! :)  

Thurs. May 16:  A lot of people weren't home, so we didn't get to meet with most of our appointments.  We did meet with Sis. Lugo (Relief Society Pres.) and she gave us a list of some people to contact. :)  Then we spent the rest of the evening with Ana R. who talks in very fast Spanish, so I was completely lost the whole time.  haha.

Fri. May 17:  We biked along the freeway to the University!  GAH!  Cars driving 60+ miles an hour three feet away from you... Oh man.  It was terrifying.  But we lived!  We did our studies at the University, and then biked/walked back to our house.  (The walk back is mostly uphill.  Killer!)  We had 10 minutes to wait for a member to come with us to see “M,” so I quickly bought another SD card for my camera. :)  We taught The Doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31) and again, it was a nice visit.  She is such a positive person!  She's ready.  :)  We then met with “T” - another investigator, age 17.  She says she has a testimony, and enjoys the members, but doesn't want to come to church, or get baptized just yet.  We will continue to help answer the questions that she has, and help her to come closer to Christ.  We want to help her experience all the blessings of the restored gospel.  :)  

Sat. May 18:  A little silly for me to say, but… I colored my toe nails this morning before studies.  :)  I wear closed toed shoes 24/7, so it's pointless, but it makes me happy.  haha :)  After studies, we met with Yamari.  I tried to focus on her, but a crazy crocodile feature was playing right next to her head.  Crazy distraction!  (When trying to feel the spirit, or just communicate, turn off the media!) Then we met with Dayanara and her daughter N.  Dayanara knows me as the white hermana who scratches her back.  haha :)   We studied The Book of Mormon and talked about the verses we read. :)  We then tried to meet with Ana R. again, but she wasn't there. Instead, six kids, ages 9 to 16 were sitting by her apartment door.  Sister Flores taught them the Restoration, the example to be baptized, and answered their questions, all under an hour!  WOW!  I gave them all the Restoration pamphlet, and they want us to come back sometime next week! WOW!  That evening we went to the chapel to support Cristian getting baptized.  He was taught by Elders Acor and Mendez. :)  It was a great experience.  We watched the older 20 minute version of The Restoration.  :)  

Caba Rojo ward party
After Cristian's baptism, we followed others to Cabo Rojo and had a fun rest of the evening with the members!  We had dinner, a fun luau-type party, and I also got MAIL!  THANK you Mom for the journal, card and photos, and to Lonette, and Melissa for their letters! :)  I LOVE mail!!  Great way to end the day!
Sun. May 19:  Church was regular, very wonderful!  We had a long Ward Mission meeting afterwards, but it, too, was so wonderful!  Brother Rosario (age 24) is a phenomenal teacher! He's very, very helpful with teaching things clearly, and using visuals.  He can speak both Spanish and English.  After the meeting, and lunch back at the house, we visited with Wanda, a recent convert, and talked to her for a little bit about Temples.  Then we picked up Flor and Abby (Young Women) and we visited with “M” again, mostly answering her questions and reading from the scriptures.  :)

Mon. May 20:  7am we had a Zone Conference in the Cabo Rojo chapel.  Around 11am, we drove to Aquadilla (about a 30 minute drive), to Cesco, which was a very hard-to-find Driver's License building.  After many phone calls to Elder Acor, we eventually found the building, did all the paper work, visited the eye doctor, got my picture taken, and waited (about 4 hours total), to get my Puerto Rican Driver's License!  Yeh! :D   But it was hard to say g'bye to my Utah License, MY FIRST ONE!  :(  

After we got back to Mayaguez, I got Hermana Flores and myself Chocolate Nutella malts (chocolate makes everything better).  :)  I am NOW emailing at Betsy's house (a member), ’cause the University is closed.  It's later in the day, but all is well. :)  I won't EVER have to get a driver's license during my mission again (hopefully, haha), so next week should mostly be a normal P day for us (to get more stuff done)! :)

 I LOVE YOU ALL!  I'm working and doing what I can!  :)  I'm trying each day, and finding more light and happiness during the trials and hard times.  :)  Have a great week!!!

Love, Hermana Bean  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

May 13, 2013 Teaching wonderful people, Spanish improving, Mother's Day skype!

What a week it's been!  It's been the slow-fast happy-nervous type week!  haha  Here's the info!
Can't get over how GREEN Puerto Rico is!
Mon. May 6:  Mom and I have been able to plan by email when the best time to skype will be (for Mother’s Day!) and who's skype account to use, etc...  :)  After email, Sis. Flores and I went to the pueblo (store) and then to Walgreens, and I contacted several women there!  :)  That night we met with Hno. Harry who is inactive.  He said he'll come to church on the 12th!!! 
Before we drove home, we contacted a family, and I guessed every kids’ age correctly (there were like 5!)  :)  Haha

Tues.May 7:  I felt super sick and dizzy after exercising- I'm pushing myself too hard.  Well, we eventually did weekly planning and had lunch.  It RAINED AND RAINED all day!  Our house got inspected by lovable Elder and Sister Espinosa, who brought chocolate, donuts, and a jug of OJ, for us!  They're the bomb.  (I never use that term unless I mean it. haha!)  We visited with a guy -I forgot his name- and while there, I saw his fish (in the tank) kiss!!!  Fish actually "kiss?!" It's not just a Disney thing!  haha We then tried to meet with Ana, but she was not home.  :/  BUT I left my first successful voicemail for her, IN SPANISH!!  Well, we then tried to meet with a family who live UP the winding mountains, but it was dark, and raining, and we were lost... So we went back down for Ward Council meeting. 
Young Women and "orange" theme
Then we went and joined the SPUNKY fun Young Women for their mutual night!  It was orange themed, (everything orange, including the food!) and we celebrated Flor's 16th bday! :)  Feliz Cumpleanos!! :)  It was nice to eat cake (after how long?).  :)

Wed. May 8:   I made my first Plan of Salvation diagram!  :)  I'm super proud of it!  Unfortunately, we haven't been able to use it yet, but we will!  And it's ready! :)  Teaching with visuals:  it’s my best friend! :)  After studies and lunch, we met with member Hno. Daniel who followed us up to Hna. Hilda's house.  I bore a long testimony during that lesson, and used words I hadn't ever used before!  It was a real growth builder for me.  :) 
 Hermanas Bean and Flores with Hna Martinez
We then met with Hna. Martinez, and in her growling car, we drove to some houses (no one was there) and eventually we visited with a woman named Milde.  I had the opportunity to share a mini lesson with 2 children.  One of them, “J, ” is 11yrs old, and I absolutely adore him - and I don't know why.  I shared some info and my testimony with him and his sibling, by myself, while Sis. Flores taught Milde.  GAH!  Before we left, I called over a cat, and it instantly came running to me.  The 2 children were amazed haha.  So I speak cat.  Great!  Another language I actually know!  hahaha.  

Well, Hna. Martinez drove us back to her house, and we had sandwiches and juice. :)  We then visited with the Lopez couple and watched a DVD about temples.  :)

Thurs. May 9:  President Alvarado called and talked to Sis. Flores.  He wants me to start a Young Women's CHOIR!!!  WHOA!?!?!  [Tues. the 14th- Pres is gonna tell me more info/details about this project!]  We did our studies for the day at the University (at the table- Attack of the flies!!)  We got member Nellie and visited with Yardin, a 19 yr old mom.  We then went back to Nellie's house, and Sis. Flores made real Mexican enchiladas for us. :)  I had a great conversation with Sis. Lugo, and she gave us unique, legit gems, brooches, and earrings for do-it-yourself projects.  We then visited with a large family (with a crazy hyper puppy -like the Taoha's dog!) .  I also met with Jennifer F, who has been home one week from her mission. :)

Fri. May 10: The first half of the morning not much happened, other than I got terribly sunburned arms and legs (even though I was wearing sunscreen!).  :(

Riding my bike along the streets of Mayaguez.
(This was the day I got so sunburned)

Later, we met with Dayanara and her kids (nine yr old girl and her brother).  We asked them to come to church with us this Sunday.  Maybe! :)
The Rupertos live high on the mountain

Then that night, we had a big ward Mother's Day dinner! :)
The food, music, and people were wonderful! :)

Sat. May 11:  We drove to the Conde family and gave service.  We cleaned their kitchen cupboards for them.  We stayed and had lunch there, and before we left, the Elder gave us a doughnut.  (They always have doughnuts or pizza...) 

Then we went contacting by the OCEAN!  We met with Joann.  She has a rare skin and heart condition, and has a roller coaster life story!  Well, we got member Wanda, and met with a couple more people - including √≠nactive Marta.  :)  They're so nice.  Wanda gave me a plant that has healing gel in it!  You put this plant residue on your burns and it heals them!  I haven't tried it yet, but the plant leaf is in our refrigerator!  Marta's daughter also gave me a commercial gel for sunburn.  :)  It was nice ’cause my burns REALLY hurt.  haha

By the ocean
Standing along the rocky shoreline

Sending love across the ocean to Utah!
My twin David is serving a mission in Brazil!!!! Sun. May 12:  
At church, Hno. Harry came and Hna. Dayanara, too!  WOOOT!  I had a great chat with friend Adiana N (a return missionary from Temple Square!)  We had lunch, and then just enough free-time for me to read in the Liahona magazine.  We met with Rose in her apartment, and then drove to the Lugo's house where I got to SKYPE my family!!!  I SAW my twin Elder David!!  It was so good to see him and talk with him!  I'm so proud of him and am soo glad we're serving our missions together!  Being a twin is such a wonderful blessing!  

Grandma, Mom (holding Gypsy, our cat) and Jonathan

And I saw my family in UTAH!  I talked to Mom, Jonathan, Grandma, and saw each of my 4 cats!  Oh yes!  It was the best blessing!!  They are all doing so well, and I love and miss them a lot!  How blessed I am to have been given permission to skype two different accounts (rules generally only allow one skype connection).   I had some tears after skyping, but we drove to the Bishop's and had a great big dinner with lots of people!  It was good for me to focus on that. :)  It was a great Mother's Day!!!

Mon. May 13:  We had a meeting in the chapel, then did our laundry and washed & vacuumed the car.  We then RACED to the university to email! :)

And that's my week! 

I love you all!  I'm starting to write more letters to family and friends - I hope you’ll write me back! :) 

Hope you have a great week!  LOVE YOU!  The gospel is true!!  
Hermana Emily Bean

Even the mean biting red ants on this beach could not spoil the beautiful view.