This week has been interesting, and I feel as if I haven't been truly documenting my experiences. I hardly have time to write in my journal, actually, I have no time, so I am going to make these emails as detailed as possible so I can print them out when I get home from my mission and remember what happened.
Monday: Such a crazy day! We didn't have money on our cards so we couldn't get ANYTHING! Good thing we aren't really home much... We did go to a new restaurant for me. It's called Panera Bread and it is really good, kind of pricy, but really good. We stayed there for like two hours because there was Internet and we could receive emails. After that we had a zone activity which was really fun because we played softball. It was seriously so much fun! A few of the elders looked like they had played softball or baseball before. Elder Dickerson, he's from Mt. View, Wyoming, seemed as if he had played. It was a true show down because he was on the opposite team than I was. My slow pitch team would be proud of me because I pitched like a boss. Elder Dickerson swings for anything like Vladimir Guerrero so I gave him an outside bottom corner pitch, totally on accident by the way, and he went for it. It was an easy play, a back hand grounder and a throw to first. It was funny, the game isn't supposed to be competitive but...we are Mormon athletes, so it is. But Elder Dickerson was just laughing as he jogged his jog of shame. We were playing senior companions vs. junior companions and the senior companions were complaining that we had a softball player on their team...well, they had like 4 home run hitters on their team so I think we were about even. After that we had appointments but they all fell through so we were visiting people in the area. We didn't meet anyone but we did find some places that we wanted to tract. After that we felt like we should go visit a member and see how she was doing so we called her up and it just so happened, she was home! So we went over and it was perfect timing because she had just lost her job. She was really stressed which is understandable and we were able to help her feel the healing power of the Book of Mormon. It was the first miracle of the week.
Tuesday: We had an appointment in Wood Dale with a young family but they didn't answer...maybe they were sharing the gospel with their friends...or not. But anyway, after that we went for a surprise visit and had our first lesson in this potential investigators house! It was only like five minutes but it was inside her house and it was progress. It was truly quite fantastic. After that we booked it to Addison because we had another appointment. This was a first appointment with a young family and it went so well! The only downside was it was in English! We have one more lesson with her to see if she is still interested and if she is we have to refer her to the English elders. But she is amazing, her faith is strong and she is an amazing example for her family. She has faith that helps her get through hard times and she helps her family get through their daily stresses and difficulties with her faith as well. Her kids are super cute, her son, Romeo, is about a year old and dances by bobbing up and down. So tender. He is so fat, it's funny. Also, his head is like five times bigger than the rest of his body, like my brothers' heads are! Just kidding, kind of. I'm the highlight of my day was having the opportunity to watch Meet the Mormons! Everyone, Mormon or not, needs to go see that movie! Even if you have no desire to be a Mormon, that movie will help you grow your faith to conquer your trials. It's amazing. I loved it. I won't talk more about it, but go see it. October 10th and 11th. Date night, loner night, whatever. Go see it. ITS AWESOME! Then after the movie, my companion and I went on exchanges and I left my mission mom for the very first time. It was like going to kindergarten the first time. Frightening, and you had all the other school aged kids looking at you, knowing it was your first time at school...it wasn't really that bad. The beginning was only awkward because I am not good at really talking to people I don't know. Door Approaches? Easy, I'm most likely never going to see them again anyway. But having to spend the night with a leader...I was silent. I eventually opened up to, under obligation from my elder...and it wasn't bad! We went to go teach some of their investigators, we had an amazing dinner and a lesson with an investigator at a members house, had a lesson where we dropped an investigator, and had a new investigator following that. Exhausted, we returned home to the trainers house. And proceeded to do nightly planning in like 20 minutes, which in my opinion is just ridiculously fast! It was so nice to have time to relax before bed. I had so much time I didn't know hat to do! So I just read in my scriptures. Then off to beddy bye for me!
Wednesday: We had a full morning of studies, which is rare when I'm in my home area, normally we have studies scattered out through the day to accommodate the needs of our investigators. Following studies we had lunch, my leader made me a turkey wrap and aside from the soggy lettuce, it was divine! Yum! Then we had even more things to do...the iPad check. She went through all my apps to make sure I was only using the ones I was supposed to, my pictures to make sure I was staying focused (FYI, if you want to send pictures, printed 4x6 would be nice, I don't always have time to stop by and print pictures out so they get lost in my email), and went through my Facebook which took like two hours because it was no where near ready! So we finally left the house around three and hauled butt to our next appointments...we had a very full day! We met with a family, part member, the wife was a member husband and kids were not, and the lesson was awesome! The husband asked questions when he didn't understand and even offered ideas as to what things could mean. He is ready! After that we had some time before our exit appointment so we went to go knock some doors. We had one potential in that area so we went there first. On our way, we passed a very tall black man who had informed us that he had gone skiing in Utah so he knows all about "dem Mormons". I got a very good chuckle out of that, and no, not in front of him. So we went to this lady's apartment, and as most people do, she only cracked the door open. The more we talked the more she opened the door, and eventually she let us in. We had an awesome lesson with them and committed the family, the mom, son, and one daughter (the other daughter was only 6) to be baptized and scheduled a follow up lesson for the following week. Awesome. Except now we were late. So we were run-walking, because missionaries aren't allowed to run, it isn't professional, and my legs were on fire! Holy wow! We met at another members house with two less active young women and enjoyed some Popeyes! Whoo!! The lesson was hard because they were really goofy but at the end, the spirit was super strong and we committed them to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. After that we power walked to the relief society presidents house down the street to get a ride with her to her friends house, but we got there too late to make it. We ended up teaching the member about the temple and general conference it was awesome. Then I met back with my mission mom and I had never been so glad to see her as I had then. Wowzers.
Thursday: Thursday morning was a hard one and it definitely tried our faith. We had a bunch of people to go by and visit to see if they were still interested in learning, and none of them answered. It was so rough. But on the plus side, we stopped a lady with two six packs of beer and a pack of cigs and gave her a mormon.org card. She said she was going through a hard time and didn't feel comfortable telling us anything. But we reassured her, Heavenly Father was listening all the time. She was a nice old lady. And then the true miracle came! We were able to visit with Erelio! He either has been dodging us for the past two weeks or we just miss him every time we stop by, but this time we found him. It was probably the most powerful lesson we have had with him and it was on the side of the street! We talked about our purpose, and the blessings of the gospel and asked if he was interested in hearing the lessons. It was really hard because we love him so much, but he said he was still interested. He then told us he had a friend who he wanted to hear our message. We had an appointment to go to but we promised him we would come back right after me go with him to meet her. Her name is Mayda and she is so nice! She has plastic over everything...I kid you not...and about a bazillion pictures everywhere, but she is the nicest lady every. And that's how Thursday went. It started out rough but when we kept the faith, we were blessed with a small miracle.
Friday: This day was a struggle as well! It was planning day and this week we focused on 3 deep planning so we wouldn't have to do it during the week. 3 deep planning is only having a main appointment and two backups. Planning this ahead of time allows us to better focus on our purpose and not where we are going to be later and I feel that planning that during weekly planning when we are receiving revelation makes it even better because we are truly being guided by the spirit when we plan. Anyway, it took us forever but we have amazing plans on how to help all of our investigators and how to receive new ones. Planning seriously took all day. Nod then we had two appointments fall through but luckily our last one didn't! It was amazing. This appointment was with two young sisters, Monica and Celeste, who have really strong faith already. Monica is a young mother and her husband lives in Mexico so it is really hard for her, but that's okay because the gospel is perfect for that! The gospel will bless their lives so much and out of all the people we have, they seem like some of the most prepared of them all. We hope to see them go through the temple someday! The lesson was really good. They have a lot of questions to ask and want answers right away but we promised them that as they studied and listened to the lessons they would find all the answers they were looking for. We were super pumped to have such an amazing lesson! Okay, so one of the lessons that fell through was with Erelio and it was such a good lesson, we even were going to have it at a members house! Well. The member we were going to have the lesson with came to pick us up and she had a surprise for us! Hermana Avila is seriously the cutest, she had made dessert for our lesson and Mexican hot chocolate! She brought it for us and it seriously made our day. Hermana Santos asked how I liked the hot chocolate, it was good, but nothing like American chocolate, aka diabetes in a cup.
Saturday: GENERAL CONFERENCE! It is practically like Christmas when you are on your mission because you are so spiritually fed it is crazy! Conference, as you probably know was kind of different this time, but it was so cool. It is amazing to see how this truly is a world wide church. The gospel is spreading to every corner of the earth!! I loved the CS LEWIS quote in Elder Lynn G. Robbins talk. It does take courage to do what is right and it takes courage to have all of the other virtues of Christ as well. Good quote by a great man! I also loved president uchtdorf's talk and how he explained that a testimony is not a one and done kind of thing. Sometimes we all fall victim to that, it is important to Remember that it is a life long process. I also loved how much they talked about prophets! We are so blessed to have direct revelation from God for our church and our salvation. I am so glad that Heavenly Father loves us enough to bless us with Thomas S. Monson. He is truly a prophet of God called to bless and guide us through the turmoils of the last days. And I loved L. Tom Perry's talk, I am a little biased because he is my favorite, but it truly was amazing. After conference we went to a members house to eat dinner and do some service. They just moved and need help unpacking things. Their grandson was there so we were able to have a lesson with him.
Sunday: Oh my goodness, I had my first mental breakdown on Sunday morning. We could not find a ride to the second session or find anyone to watch it with and it was the end of the world! It really wasn't but that's how I made it to be. Why? No se. The Lord truly did bless us though. As a last effort we called a family who lives forever away from us to see if they could give us a ride and they did! It was a huge miracle! We watched the first session with Mayda and she offered to buy us pizza after, which was a really tempting offer seeing that we have no food in our house at all, but we politely declined and sped off towards home. Hermana Kitch, from Uruguay, came to pick us up and take us to the stake center. She is seriously so funny. I love her. She makes fun of the fact that I am from Wyoming, why, I do not know. But I told her I had a little brother that was a freshman in high school and that he was a real cutie and she wanted to set him up with her daughter who was only a year later. But then she realizes how ridiculous she was being and determined that it was only after Nick returned from his mission that they could be sealed in the temple. I got a really good laugh out of this one! I think she was kidding, but at this point, I just don't know. My favorite conference talk on Sunday was Elder Bednar's talk. It was for investigators. It was perfect! Wow, so many questions I had as to how to help my investigators understand why we teach the gospel were answered. It was awesome. I know that those words were truly inspired of God. I know that Jesus Christ is the head of this church and leads it through our beloved prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know that this church is true! I know it with all of my heart! If I didn't, there would be no way that I would leave my family, friends, and other loved ones behind. I know that my family is together forever and I am here to help everyone else do the things necessary to have that same blessing. I am here to help others know who Christ is and to come unto him.
This week was definitely one full of miracles. I know that the lord blesses those who are faithful, so remain faithful. Always. Pray and plead at all times. I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ we are more capable than ever imagined.
I doubt if next weeks letter will be like this...maybe I'll just suck it up and write in my journal.
I love you all and I thank everyone for their letters, packages, thoughts, and prayers. I love you! Heavenly Father loves you, let's change lives today!
Quotes (5) that Hermana Kunz sent home for this week. I just pretty them up with a picture and boarder.- Anna
Photos are on the very bottom.