Oh man. I’ve been dreading writing this email since Friday.
I’m going to keep this short, just because it makes me sad.
I’m going to be coming home a week from today because of my TMJ. It has been causing me a lot of pain the past two or three months, and after a lot of prayer and talking with my mission president, I have decided that it would be best for me to come home and recover. I’ve had to stay in a lot, and I’m tired of hindering the work because of my weaknesses.
I feel very at peace with this decision, and though I’m sad to be leaving, I know Heavenly Father has great things in store for me at home. Who knows, maybe there are more lives that I can touch at home than here now.
I’m excited to see all of you!!
Man this week was way busy!!!! It was so great!!!
We started out great last Monday!! We went to Jonathan and Yaritza’s house for family home evening, and it was great!! They are the couple we are teaching that are getting baptized at the end of this month. They have been investigating for 6 years!!! We are so excited to help them finally make the commitment. Its really going to be excellent, because they are getting married on Friday the 28th and baptized on Saturday the 29th!! And I got to pull out David’s Bridal Sister Roberts and give Yaritza advice on her dress and tell her the best way to get it steamed and altered. Oh man, I miss the wedding industry. We had a great lesson with them, plus I got to hang out with their 2 month old blue heeler puppy!!!!
We also got to be taste testers for the Young Women this week for their mutual activity, because we teach an ESL class that no one showed up for. Each age group made a different dessert, and we couldn’t know which one made which, and we had to choose our favorite!! The Laurels won with a delicious brownie peanut butter oreo concoction (Yeah, peanut butter always wins in my book :)). It was great to spend time with the Young Women, because they all come from part member families.
Funny story: Elder Swanson is probably one of the funniest people I have ever met. He and Elder Power were given this foul smelling dessert by someone this week, and they wanted to get rid of it, so they run over to Sister Baltazar, who is so precious and gullible, and shove it into her hands and run. As they run, Elder Swanson yells “EAT IT! IT WILL GIVE YOU GOOD DREAMS!!!” Oh man. I haven’t laughed that hard in so long. Sorry if you don’t think that’s funny. You had to be there?
We also got up at 5 am on Thursday to go do service at the local soup kitchen. I will revise my statement from “Jesus is the only one I get up before 9 a.m. for!” to “Jesus and homeless people are the only ones I will get up before 9 am for!” I love service so much. Each time we go to a nursing home or soup kitchen or someone’s house for service, I leave feeling like I am in fact fulfilling my purpose as a missionary. I kinda want to do a service mission now after this, actually. Yep.
We also had another great lesson with our less active Olga again this week!! She had a concern about prayer, so instead of teaching the Plan of Salvation like we planned, we ended up teaching her about prayer. And she came to church again this week, and stayed for all three hours for the first time!!!
And yesterday was just straight up the coolest day of the week.
First off, church was simply amazing. I love going to church so much. I can’t stop loving the fact that the church is the same everywhere, and there are so many people in this world that have the same beliefs as me, but all of our testimonies are different, and were gained in different ways.
We were then able to go do service for a nonmember widow of a very active member. Her husband died unexpectedly of brain cancer, and she is very young to be a widow, so we try and visit her frequently and just be good friends to her. We helped her clean all of the debris from the last ice/wind storm that went through out of her ginormous back yard. Her back yard is a beautiful acre of woods bordered by a river, and is my new dream back yard. I would love to throw tennis balls into the river for my dogs and have them run all the way across the huge yard to go jump in the river. I also got to use “loppers” for the first time (Pennsylvanian for huge garden shears or heavy duty stick cutters) and I got to chop lots of branches off of trees so they would fit into garbage bags. That was super fun too :). Plus it was just so nice to be outside the one day the weather was above 40 degrees!!
After that we went to visit an active family with two less active YSA age kids. We have been asking them for a few weeks now if we could stop by and see them, it just never happened until yesterday. It was for sure the Spirit prompting us to get in with them, because it was a very amazing lesson/chat. I have such high hopes for that family!! We are hoping the 19 year old son will come play with us at the church today for pday.
And then, the best part of all… We got a flat tire on the way home last night and were stuck on the side of the road for an hour and a half in the 28 degree darkness!!! Luckily, a member that lived close by was able to come and rescue us!!! We got some good pictures of that mess. Haha.
Anyway! The church is just as true as ever, and I am so grateful for everyone’s prayers, emails, and letters!!
Pictures: Us at service, me in Elder Howell’s giant shoes, and Elder Howell wearing my glasses like a boss.
Mormon Message for the week is Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?
Love ya! Muah!
So Mother Nature has been super mean this whole winter. It dumped snow from November to last week, and then it was warmish this week (if you call 41 degrees warm, which I do at this point), and now its supposed to snow another foot tomorrow and the next day. Womp.
But, since the week was warm, it was AWESOME missionary work wise. Not so awesome PA citizen wardrobe wise. I felt like I was on a nude beach (exaggeration, but ima missionary so it was kinda traumatic) because there was so much skin everywhere.
But we had some really amazing experiences this week!!
One of my favorites I think has to be when we went to see our investigator Jasmine. She went to another church last Sunday, and the first thing she said when we got to her house was that she liked the other church better. She has never even been to our church, so we were a smidge frustrated at that, but we were able to follow the spirit and testify of the Restoration to her, and her heart was softened 🙂
Another cool experience that we had was when we got to see out other investigator Chelsea! We had planned on teaching her a lesson, but we felt impressed to ask her if she needed us to help her with anything, so she asked us to help her make stuffed animals for charity that she was pretty stressed out about. I made a cute owl that she let me keep and also a kitty and a pig!! It was so fun, and we could definitely tell that she needed us to be her friends and not missionaries that day. She has been much more receptive to the lessons we teach her now, and I think its starting to hit her how important it is to have faith in Jesus Christ.
I wish I could write more, but I spent a lot of time writing individual people back today!!
I love you all so much, and I know that the work I am doing out here is the Lord’s work. I hope all of you someday have the opportunity to experience bringing someone the gospel that either has never had it before or has forgotten why it is important, because it is the best feeling in the WORLD. But, as Elder Eyring so eloquently put it, there is a danger in the word “someday”. So my Mormon Message for the week is Choose Ye This Day.
I love you all so much!!
Not sure if I’ll have time for pictures… We’ll see.
And I had to eat my cereal with a fork this morning.
This week has obviously been really snowy. It snowed every day last week except I think Friday. We were stuck inside Thursday morning, but otherwise the roads were okay to go out the other days.
We had two new people move into the area that we have begun working with. One of them is a less active from the Lititz ward. She is a super cool single adult that loves star wars and combat boots. We’ve met with her once so far, and she seems like she is very willing to start coming back to church and start following Christ with all of her heart.
The other person is Eric Vasquez, who moved here from Harrisburg. The Elders there have been working with him for a while, and he had to move here so he could find a job and live with his parents to help them out. He understands English very well, but understands Spanish much better, so its awesome that he moved here because we are a Spanish speaking area!! We teach him in English, but if he doesn’t get it Sister Baltazar explains in Spanish. He is a very good guy, 20 years old, from Puerto Rico. We went over the baptismal interview questions with him, and we feel very strongly that he could be baptized next month. Pray for him that he will feel the Spirit and get an answer from God about being baptized next month!!
We very sadly had to drop our investigator Bill this week. We showed him a talk by Elder Nelson on baptism and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and at the end he told us that he didn’t agree with what he said and pulled out his Bible and started warning us about following false prophets and how we didn’t know what we were talking about because we hadn’t studied religion as much as him, because he is 66, and the Spirit just left the lesson. It was very sad and it got very contentious on his part. It was very heartbreaking and traumatizing to not have the Spirit even for that short period of time. I am so grateful for the Spirit in my life, and the calming and peaceful influence that it has. Its so crazy that sometimes I feel like the Spirit is with me so much that I am a little desensitized to it, and it was a very good reminder not to take the Spirit for granted.
I also got an email from Makayla today, and she told me that she and Leanna are being baptized in two weeks!!!!!!!!!! They are all now following the Word of Wisdom, and Brandon is even considering being baptized soon. BEST. EMAIL. EVER.
And the Young Women heart attacked us this week!!!
Sorry, I feel like my thoughts are kinda psychotic and unorganized this week… Haha.
I love all of you so so so so so so so so much!!!
Mormon Message of the week is a little outdated now, but its Expressions of Love!!!!
Have fun this week!!!!!!!!!!!!!