So first of all I cannot believe that in less than 48 hours it will be 2014! It is just so crazy to think that. I wonder where the last 5 years of my life went!
But this year has been so amazing! From receiving my mission call to North Carolina to coming here to Burlington to everything in between! I've loved every minute of it.
This week has been a whole roller coaster of emotions!
Tuesday- Christmas Eve - we had dinner with the Frei Family. They are so wonderful! We helped them make a BUNCH of Mexican food for dinner. It was so fun! They also got us stockings full of gifts. Including crocheted earrings, yes crocheted! I'll have to send a picture sometime, but we'll see. We also went caroling as a district! It was so fun! :)
Wednesday- I hope y'all know it was Christmas. The best Christmas present I got was to Skype with my family! :) I almost didn't recognize some of my brothers, which that'll probably happen again on Mothers Day and when I get home. We made cookies for our neighbors, trying to be good neighbors, but no one answered their doors :(
Thursday- My 6 month mark! I CANNOT believe that I have been gone for that long. It feels like I left yesterday. But time really does fly. We saw Bill, one of our investigators. He told us he wanted to read the entire Book of Mormon before we taught him. So we stop by occasionally and teach him, without him knowing that we're teaching him. He likes his church, but he said if he had heard about the Mormons when he was in his 20s or 30s he would have joined!
Friday- We saw a less-active, Sister Rippy, she is CRAZY! She asked us to help her by going with her to the hospital to drop something off. First off, she had surgery on her hip about 2 or 3 months ago and hasn't driven since then and wasn't suppose to drive. We did not know that until we were half way to the hospital. Then she asked if we had time to go pick up some milk with her. Before we could even answer she says, "yeah I think you have time." So we go to the store and but milk and cereal, and soup. Then she needs to drop off some money at the bank. Then she needs to send something off to her grandson at the post office. Needless to say we spent about 2 1/2 hours with her, when we only wanted to stop by and share a 10 minute thought with her.
Saturday- We BIKED SO MUCH!!! It was like non-stop biking all day because we had so many potentials we wanted to see. For the first time in probably 7 months I had McDonald's, because we started biking at10 AMright after studies and didn't get home until5:30for dinner and McD's was the closest restaurant to where we were. Okay not really, but it was the only one I could handle eating at. I mean we have to have some standards right? :P
Sunday- Can I just say I absolutely LOVE Sundays! :) I was the only missionary in our ward that didn't speak yesterday. But the Elders and Sister Perez did a wonderful job! :) Sacrament Meeting was all about Missionary Work.
I know the true gospel of Jesus Christ is Restored. There is no doubt in my mind. If I didn't know this church was true, I could not be spending 18 months of my life out here.
I just love this holiday season where everyone is happy and in a such a giving mood. Let me start off by saying this is being typed on my iPad because the college is closed for the holiday and I am so glad we have iPads right now because going to the public library would just be a mess! So this letter won't be as in depth or detailed about everything.
This week has just been a wonderful one! First off, Christopher was baptized on Saturdayand confirmed Yesterday! It was so wonderful! But I'll get to that in a bit!
I want to thank everyone who sent me letters and gifts! I just got a package from the Young Women in Sunset Valley! I'm excited to open those presents! Grandma - thank you! And also all my cousin who helped her put that together! I love all the little notes!
Sister (Jane) Parsons said Elder (Jarom) Parsons got home this past week! What a great Christmas present! But I also cannot believe he is home! It feels like yesterday he left, 2 years/18 months do fly by! The day after Christmas will be my 6 months! Crazy!
On Wednesday, Chris had his interview with Elder Eckersley. I was so nervous! But he passed (like its a test :P). So we started really telling people that his baptism is on Saturday! We taught Sister Hinrichs (the less-active who came to church last week), she's so great! And she came again this week and brought her granddaughter.
Saturday - the BEST DAY EVER!!!! So after studies we went out and taught 3 lessons, and they all went super great! Then we went to the baptism. So first off we didn't know we we're suppose to tell Chris to bring white clothes (to be baptized in). So 10 mins before the baptism is suppose to start we're frantically trying to find something that will fit him and we finally find something that will work. So he gets dressed and we start (20 mins late). But after that fiasco everything went so wonderfully! Brother Keel baptized Chris and while they were changing we watched the Restoration. I absolutely love it! Because Chris really lives in Caswell ward (and they got missionaries this week) he'll be taught the new member lessons by them. And his mom, step-dad, and brother came. They said they had a good time and we're asking the Caswell Elders some good questions! I love baptism. And being a part of their conversion process makes them so much better. I know the gospel is true!
After the baptism we went to the Ward Christmas Party. It was fun!
Sunday, because Chris is in the Caswell ward, we were not able to be present for his confirmation, but we met with him after our church for a few minutes and talked to him about it. He said when he got up on Sunday he felt different. I know that is because he was baptized by the Priesthood Power.
In Relief Society our lesson was on Elder Holland's talk "Lord, I Believe" from the April General Conference. I love that he says, "If you only desire to believe, it is enough". How true it is! Faith is so simple, but so complex. You can have strong faith in one thing about the gospel, but are struggling with something else. But that is why we have the church, why we have friends in the church, with different strengths and weaknesses. We all help each other out.
Last night we had "Christmas in Greensboro" with our Zone, the Assistants, President and Sister Craven, and the Elders and Sister in the office (senior couples). It was so fun! We had dinner at the Stake Center and then played "Jeopardy". The categories were: Book of Mormon, Preach My Gospel, Craven, NCCM (North Carolina Charlotte Mission), and Misc. It was so much fun! We were split up in groups of 6 or 7 missionaries. But it wasn't just jeopardy, it was charades and taboo too! My group had to sing the entire mission song by heart A Capella. It was funny! I was the only Sister in my group, so when we stood up to sing I felt really short! And only 2 of the Elders knew the words, so it was like a trio singing! But it was still fun! Then we went to the chapel to close and have some testimonies. We bore our testimonies on our Doctrine of Christ study of the Book of Mormon. And I had the opportunity to bear my testimony! It was such a great experience! Reading the Book of Mormon and searching for the Doctrine of Christ in every verse. It really testifies of Him! I love the Book of Mormon so much!
Love y'all and Merry Christmas from North Carolina!
Well Friends and Family I am excited to say that my Christmas this year will be spent in . . .
BURLINGTON! :) That's right! I'll be spending yet another transfer here! :) I was so nervouson Saturdayjust waiting for the call to come! And our District Leader didn't call us untilSundaymorning! And I was in the shower!!! So Sister Perez told me once I got out that neither of us were leaving! I was relieved!
So for the rest of my week. . .
I honestly don't remember a lot of what happened. My friend Sister Eborn (in Sweden) sent an email that I read today that said it perfectly! As missionaries we don't remember what really happens in our weeks! That's why we have planners! (and a journal for myself!)
Mondaynight we started our bike week and what do you know, it stopped raining when we went out to bike! It was perfect! :) We taught Chris that night, and it was great! We talked about the Priesthood and why it is so important to be worthy to give blessings. The Power verses the Authority of the Priesthood.
Tuesday- well I forgot to say this last week, but Happy Belated Birthday Greg! It also hit me that in 2 months I will be turning 20. Not to mention, Sister Anderson (in Korea) said her birthday is this week (Happy Birthday!) which means everyone else's birthdays are around the corner! Anyway! It stopped rainingon Tuesdayand didn't rain again untilSaturday! :) We biked foreveron Tuesday! But we found 2 new investigators, Shanetta and Tyrone. But later in the week they weren't home for their appointments, so we'll try this week! :)
Wednesdaywe helped Sister Miranda paint her sister's house! It was so much fun! I love painting! And giving service! We taught Chris again in the Frei's home, about the Articles of Faith and Obedience.
Thursday- The best thing, okay not really, but it is pretty neat, happened! We officially got Mini-iPads. Yes, every single missionary in the North Carolina Charlotte Mission got mini-iPads. You can be jealous for a minute, but don't worry, I'm predicting by 2016 all missionaries in the United State will have them, but I don't know about foreign missions yet.
Anyway some good (and bad) things about the iPads:
No more GIANT Area Books. - Everything is online now. Right after each lesson you can update the teaching record and not have to worry about it later. It definitely keeps us more accountable.
No more Planners - I was actually sad about this one. I liked making covers for my planners and actually writing things down. (Sister Perez is having hard time with this one too). But this is a way to keep us more accountable to Salt Lake and our mission leaders about what we are doing with our time.
We have the whole Gospel Library! We can now show Mormon Messages and I'm A Mormon videos right at people's doors! (or in the park or whatever) I personally like this one a lot! Because we also have access to General Conference addresses and other manuals for lessons in Church.
We don't have to go to the college for Facebook, we can go to anywhere with internet access and just do Facebook there on our iPads.
Our email is now like our mail box. I can read emails through out the week, but only reply on Mondays (just like a letter). So if you email me beforeMonday(orSundaynight) I can read them before I come to the college to email (because I like actual key boards when writing a lot of stuff) and then spend less time on email :) and more time replying! :)
ThursdayI also got 2 packages! So it was a pretty good day! :) One from Hunter and one from Nana (Thank you both!) We have so many presents under our tree! (Did I tell you we have a Christmas Tree? I'll send a picture!)
We also taught Sister Hinrichs who's been less-active for like 10 years, but she came to church oneSunday!! It was so amazing! :)
Friday! The THIRTEENTH!!! :) Yay! :) We went on exchanges with the Tanglewood Sisters (near Winsten-Salem) Sister Bowman and I were in Tanglewood. Sister Bowman will be going home next transfer (right before my birthday). It was so fun! We ate at a members home who was just so wonderful! And her house was so colorful! I want my future house to be like that! It was colorful, but coordinating! She had a purple and blue table with hot pink chairs. It was so fun!
Saturdaywe spent a lot of the day driving (Tanglewood is an hour and a half away) and we also went to visit less-actives a half hour away. I'm so confused at people who get offended at church and just stop going. If the gospel is really true, then it doesn't matter what the imperfect people say or do, it matters what your testimony of Jesus Christ and the Restored Gospel is. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint is God's church on the Earth today. He restored it through the Prophet Joseph Smith and nothing anyone ever says to me or does to me can make me deny that. I can't say I know what will happen in the future, but I hope that I will never go less-active because someone "offended" me at church.
Sundaywe got the call in the morning and also learned that Elder Ebert and Elder Miles are leaving this area :( But we'll get some more great Elders! Church was fantastic as always! And Chris went to the Caswell ward (that's where he's suppose to go, they don't have missionaries yet so we are teaching him <they'll get missionarieson Tuesday>). And Chris is officially getting baptizedon Saturday!!!! :) GAH! I'm so excited for him! :)
Well I wrote a lot today, so for anyone who actually read through the whole thing, Thank you! And I love you! :) Dearly! :)
I hope your weeks are full of happiness and miracles! :)
And may this week before Christmas be wonderful and remember that Christ is the reason we celebrate this wonderful season! :)
So as you know, last week we got snow, well this week it was 80 degrees one day! I thought the weather in Texas was bi-polar! OH NO! North Carolina is worse! It was below 32on Saturdayand byTuesdayit was 80! Then this week it was 70on Fridayand bySaturday night it was freezing!
I might go insane because of the weather!
But the work is still worth it!
So transfers are next week, we'll find outon Saturdaywhat's happening. So if you send me anything this week send it beforeTuesdayor send it to the mission home!
I started a new journal and forgot to bring my old one, so I don't remember a lot of what happened at the beginning of the week. Ops!
I know we had interviewson Tuesdayand that was good!
I got my Christmas package! Thank you family! :) I was kind of mad when I opened it and everything was wrapped :P But I'll just have to wait until Christmas :P
On Saturdaynight the ward had their annual "Drive Thru Live Nativity" They set it up in the church parking lot and the youth are the actors. They stand still as the cars drive by. There are 5 scenes.
Mary and the Angel
Mary and Joseph with the donkey
The Angel and the Shepherds
The Stable with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus
The Wise Men
It was so neat! The missionaries help out at the entrance and exist! Sister Perez and I stood at the entrance and told cars to turn off their lights and welcomed them. The Elders were at the exist reminding people to turn on their lights and gave them pass-along cards. It was so neat!
Sunday- Guess what?! I sang again! :P I swear I'm going to sing more times on my mission than I have off! I did a duet with Elder Ebert of "O Little Town of Bethlehem". We got signed up by Brother Keel (2nd Councilor). But it was good.
I got to watch the Christmas Devotional! It was so amazing! but weird too because it wasn't just the First Presidency. We watched it with Sister Mebane (a less-active) because they didn't broadcast it at the church because of the weather!
Oh yeah! Speaking of that we only had sacrament meeting yesterday because of the weather! It was threatening an ice storm. The other wards didn't have any church, which is sad. This is only the second time I've ever been somewhere where church has been canceled (or part of it.)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! There is so much to be thankful for! I am thankful for my parents and my brothers, my extended family, and all of my friends, on missions and off.
I love this time of year! Of thanksgiving and giving and just wonderful! :)
This week was a good one! :)
Tuesday- I hit 5 months! I know! It's crazy! I feel like I've been here for 5 days! :P But it was good. It rained all dayTuesday! I'm pretty sure it started raining at like 9 and didn't stop until after I went to bed! And we were on bikes! I am so grateful that Gibsonville got Sisters! Because we called them and we all went to Facebook at the college. So that was good! It started raining too hard to even see when biking, so we redid the map! It looks so much better and now we can actually use it! That night we taught Chris in the Mitchell's home after dinner with them! It was so good! We taught the Plan of Salvation. And Brother Mitchell's testimony was exactly what we needed!
Wednesday- Let me tell you aboutWednesday. Well we had District Meeting from11-12:30, at about12 o'clock, we're doing role plays and I look out the window of the church, and what do I see?!?!?!? SNOW!!! Like REAL SNOW!! I was mad, needless to say. We were on bikes and it was snowing! I'm pretty sure I started crying when I saw it because I knew it was going to be freezing! But once we got out of District Meeting it stopped snowing! (After eating lunch at the church, so it was like1:30). It was great! I was so glad though that I got boots, gloves, and ear muffs at the storeon Monday! I needed them or I would not be writing this now! :P
Thursday- Thanksgiving! :) We ate with the Reese's! They have 4 boys, ages 17-8. So it felt almost like home! Oh! And the oldest, James, is on page 2_ something. It about Standing in Holy Places. Picture 11. Chris came to the Reese's for dinner as well! And then we watched the Restoration DVD with them.
Friday- We saw Sister Shelton, she just had knee-replacement surgery, but the Relief Society is taking care of her! :)
Saturday, we saw Chris again and taught the Word of Wisdom. And he is going to live it! :) He accepted a baptismal date for the 21st of this month! And we are so excited! :) He also brought us donuts and hot chocolate from Krispy Kreams! :)
I honestly can't believe it's December! But yesterday was so great! Chris came to church! And Brother Price! (A less-active, part-member family) and his wife (who's not a member) and his daughter, Sister Baldwin (who's been less-active for years!)! It was so great! :)
Yes, I got to hear
from an Apostle of the Lord this week. And OHMYGOODNESS! It was just so
AMAZING! So I'll get to why it was so amazing in a bit, first, the rest
of the week!
Tuesday, we let the Elders use the car, so we were on bikes. But it was good! :)
- We met Christopher! Christopher is so great! Let me tell you, he is
so amazing! He has Hunter's Syndrome (so he's only 4 feet tall, maybe),
but is a complete genius! He was taught by missionaries in the Raleigh
Mission on Facebook, and now we're teaching him! Although he's not in
our ward boundaries, but the ward he's in doesn't have missionaries. :P
So we get to teach him! :)
- I don't feel like ANYTHING happened! Because we had weekly planning
and drove down to Charlotte. So we had probably had 4 or 5 hours of
actual proselyting. But it was good!
- The day you've all been waiting to hear about!! The Mission
Conference with Elder Cook! It was just amazing as a I said before. His
wife was there too! Which was a miracle because usually when they travel
in the states their wives don't get to come with. He talked about how
our missions are the best things we can do right now to prepare for a
future family. And just so much more. I can't even tell you everything!
After the Conference we drove back to Burlington and worked for a few
hours then drove to Kernersville for a meeting on Saturday in Wisten-Salem.
OH! I almost forgot! So at the beginning of the
meeting we were sitting, listening to prelude music and one of the
Assistance gets up and says, "Elders and Sisters, we have a unique
opportunity today, not only do we get to hear from an Apostle of the
Lord, but Elder Quentin L. Cook wants to shake each one of your hands."
Yes, I got to shake the hand of Elder Cook! It was so amazing! I will
never forget this day! On Saturday,
we had a Special Sisters Meeting in Wisten-Salem. President and Sister
Craven talked to us and their daughter Sister Fransen, who served her
mission in Australia, in one area! But that's besides the point. She is
so amazing! And she gave us sisters some great advice! Sunday
- Christopher came to church!!! :) It was seriously the BEST THING
EVER!!!! This week has just been so great! And I'm ready to take on this
next week, even though it's going to be COLD! and were on BIKES! But
it'll be a great week! :)